You’ve seen our ‘journey to the end of the world’, now how about a ‘journey to the top of the world’?
No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting the iconic and ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. This historic sanctuary set high in the slopes of the Andes Mountains, was proclaimed a Cultural Heritage of the world by UNESCO in 1983 and remains of great archaeological value whilst continuing to reveal mysteries of the Inca Empire.
In recent years, Machu Picchu’s popularity has grown and gone are the days when a traveller could set up an Inca Trail trek for the following day. In order to limit damage to the trail, the Peruvian Government now limits access to just 500 people per day, including porters that help and guide travellers along the trail. Permits must therefore be prebooked and often sell out months in advance, especially for the peak summer season, so it’s important to plan ahead if you want to visit this amazing place.
Best time to visit:
One question that you will be asking, is ‘when is the best time to visit?’. The answer to this, is between May and October. You will enjoy sunshine and blue skies during the ‘dry season’, with the occasional rain shower, but be aware that the evenings are chilly in the Andes! The wet season runs from November to March, with January and February being the wettest on average.
For travellers looking for a safe, quick and comfortable trip there is a train which departs from Cusco to Machu Picchu station. Taking approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes and travelling a little over 30 kilometres, this impressive journey traverses through the beautiful landscape of the Vilcanota River, the mountain chain of Cusco, and traditional Andean villages that are found along the route. After arriving at the Aguas Calientes station, a bus trip of approximately 30 minutes will ascend the 10 kilometres to the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.
Alternatively, the Hydroelectric route is a cheaper option however the journey is long (almost 8 hours!) and will include a walk through the rich vegetation of the surrounding landscape. It’s recommended that you spend a night in a nearby lodging and visit Machu Picchu the following day.
For the more adventurous traveller and those who enjoy outdoor walks, the classic Inca Trail is the best way to get to Machu Picchu. The trail was built by the Incas hundreds of years ago to join Machu Picchu with Cusco and ranks as one of the most impressive hiking trails in the world. Combining stunning landscapes with incredible archaeological sites, the Inca Trail is a trek of around 39 kilometres, with the highest point reaching 4,200 metres above sea, and will take 4 days to reach Machu Picchu.
Where to stay?
There are plenty of options to suit a range of budgets, from the more luxurious Sanctuary Lodge Belmond Hotel with outstanding world-class service and direct views of the Huayna Picchu Mountain, to the unique and sustainable Mountain Lodges which are constructed using traditional Inca building techniques yet still offer all the comforts of home with a friendly and welcoming touch.
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