What do we think of when we think of Peru? At MACHU PICCHU !!!
But since I’m neither an expert in Inca history nor knowledgeable enough to give you information about who-when-why-how (you’ll be spoiled for choice on the internet or on tour guides), but I can help you if you want to know how to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco and how to visit Machu Picchu. Yes, I’m just going to give you some tips to organize your visit.
First of all, we must understand what we are talking about … Everyone knows what Machu Picchu is. This Inca archaeological site is known to all but what about the mountains around?
What is Huaynapicchu or Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu?
It is the mountain that looks like a sugar loaf that we see in the background behind Machu Picchu. You can climb (2,700m) and see Machu Picchu from another angle (beautiful bird’s-eye view). But beware: the climb is difficult and avoid for people suffering from vertigo. The trail is very narrow and there are many falls including some deadly. So if you decide to climb, do not be foolish to take the “SELFIE”! Count 1h30 to 2h to make the round trip. Access is limited to 2 groups of up to 200 people per day with a 7-8 hr group (group 1) and another 10 hr-11 h (group 2).
What is the mountain of Machu Picchu?
It’s the mountain right in front of Huaynapicchu. It is lower than the Waina, easier to access and less popular so less crowded. Anyway, its access is also limited. They allow 2 groups of 400 people per day. Count 2 hours to go back and forth (2,160 steps). I did not choose this option but I had rather positive echoes. The view would be sensational with a 360 ° panorama!
How to visit Machu Picchu – Book in advance Machu Picchu tickets
This is VERY IMPORTANT: You must book a few months in advance your train tickets, your entrance to the site of Machu Picchu and especially that to the site of Huayna Picchu (see here below). Indeed, in order to preserve these fragile sites, access is limited to 2,500 people per day on the citadel of Machu Picchu and 400 people for Huayna Picchu (2 groups of 200 people). By booking in advance, you will have the choice for the schedules of visits of the sites but also the choice of the schedules of train. This is essential if you want to optimize the day by leaving as early as possible and returning as late as possible.
If you take the tickets on the spot, the risk is that there is no possibility of entries for the Huayna Picchu or that there is only a possibility to return by train to a schedule that would not be suitable …
Given the importance and extent of the site, I preferred to leave nothing to chance to be sure to do the maximum and not leave frustrated!
How to visit Machu Picchu – How to book Machupicchu Huaynapicchu admission?
The choice of time is mandatory and important if you want to do both sites.
Group 2: 10:00 to 11:00 allows you to quietly visit Machu Picchu in the morning without the crowds (from 6am to 10am) and enjoy following up to climb to Huayna Picchu from 10-11am. For this, you will of course leave very early in the morning (see my timing below).
So I chose a combined ticket Machu Picchu + Huaynapicchu 10h-11h (158 soles). Here is the link of the official website to book online:http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/
Be careful, they only accept VISA cards to validate the payment.
In addition, arm yourself with patience because this very old site does not stop to plant … but it is necessary to go to the end to obtain the confirmation of payment.
You will see, the adventure of Machu Picchu starts from there !!!
When you have a reservation code with the info “FORMATO DE RESERVA”, you must continue (be careful because this code is only valid for 3 hours) to make the payment.
You will need to get the proof of payment (to print) like this one:
Finally, here is what the final confirmation (after payment):
How to visit Machu Picchu – How to book the Machu Picchu train?
To book in advance my tickets for the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, I have of course booked online on the INCA RAIL website:https://incarail.com/
But you can also take your tickets directly:
- in Cusco: 105 Portal de Panes on Plaza de Armas
- in Ollantaytambo: at the railway station Avenida Ferrocarril
Be that as it may, you will have to go in advance to Cuzco (INCA RAIL S.A.C. agency – Portal de Panes 105, Plaza de Armas) to publish electronic tickets with your internet bookings.
On the day of departure by train, consider taking 2 copies of the electronic tickets: one for check-in and the other for boarding.
What is Machu Picchu train price
We paid the return USD 123 (it’s expensive but you avoid a tiring trek …). The trip lasts 1h40.
Train times Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu :
How to visit Machu Picchu – How to book Machu Picchu bus?
The bus ticket Aguas Caliente-Matchupicchu is valid whatever the schedule. The best is to buy it the day before not to waste time on the day! Bus ticket Machu Picchu $ 24 round trip.
How to visit Machu Picchu – Where to buy Machu Picchu bus tickets?
Ticketing in Aguas Calientes open from 5am to 9.30pm: Avenida Hermanos Ayar.
Ticket office in Cuzco open on weekdays from 9am to 12.45pm and from 3pm to 6pm: 433 Avenida Infancia and also to the following address: 380 avenida del sol.
Bus timetable Machupicchu from Aguas Calientes
The trip takes 20 minutes. There are buses every 10 minutes. The first part at 5:30 and the last part at 17:30.
How to visit Machu Picchu – Timing for visiting Machu Picchu
Here is our very tight timing:
- 4:00: Being in the queue at the bus stop
- 5h30: on the bus
- 06h00: Visit of the Matchu Picchu with a French-speaking guide
- 9:00 am: Inca Bridge
- 10: 00-11: 00 hike to Huawna Picchu
- 12:00 to 13:00: Get off Huawna Picchu
- 15:00: Sun Gate
- 16:00: descent to the exit
- 17h00: last bus for Aguas Caliente (take one before …)
- 18h00: pick up the bags at the hotel and quickly go to the train station
- 19:00: return train Ollantaytambo
- 20h40: Arrival in Ollantaytambo
- 20h45: Our private driver will wait for us at the gateway to Cusco
- 22h30: Arrival in Cusco and taxi to go to Arnaud guest house.
I’m sorry for you but unfortunately you can not copy my timing … Indeed, since January 1, 2017, always in a concern of protection of the site, it is no longer possible to spend a whole day at MACHU PICCHU. You will have the choice between a visit of 6 to 12H or from 12H to 17H30.
How to visit Machu Picchu – Useful information
Opening time : Every day from 6h to 17h (last entry at 16h)
Main prohibitions important for the organization of the visit on the site:
- food (plan to eat after) but you can still take some dried fruits and biscuits (well hidden);
- backpack larger than 40x35x20 cm (plan a very small bag);
- selfie sticks (due to accidents).
How to visit Machu Picchu – What to take at Machu Picchu?
- Camera / camcorder / phone / binoculars
- Windbreaker / rain poncho
- Hat or cap
- Passport + copies train tickets and Matchu Pitcchu
- Good walking shoes
- Aspirin or paracetamol
- Cookies and dried fruits
- Bottle of water
- Solar cream
The visa of Machu Picchu
To bring back a souvenir of this exceptional place, do not forget to ask the VISA MACHU PICCHU to stamp your passport!
My program of the next day? Come to discover it on: