Even before the Bingham expedition “borrowed” a vast number of precious and rate artefact from Machu Picchu and took them back to the USA, this incredibly important site had been garnering attention from curious and amazed visitors…but not many of them! Machu Picchu was an unknown place until the turn of the century, but as travellers and explorers became more intrepid, more and more of Peru was discovered and investigated.
Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing discoveries of that period and even now, more than one hundred years later it is still casting its mysterious spell over thousands of pilgrims every day. People dream of visiting this place…and with good reason! Machu Picchu has a lot to offer but times are changing and it’s not the same as it used to be. Some areas close to the site are becoming very developed and as a result, some of the important facts for travellers have changed. Some of the most important tips for having an unforgettable trip to Machu Picchu follow.
- You need to book a time slot! Yes, that’s correct…you can’t just turn up at Machu Picchu anymore and have a wander about. The site was seeing thousands of visitors per day and of course, that many hiking boots tramping around ancient ruins are eventually going to wear it out! The Peruvian government has put stringent measures in place to ensure that this special place remains special for many more years to come.
- How do you book a time slot? There are two websites for booking tickets to Machu Picchu but be aware that there is somewhat of a wait! There are many people keen to see this magical place so you should book well in advance! The first site to book at is the Peruvian government’s own site www.machupicchu.gob.pe the second place to go is to the tourist office in Cultura on the Avenue De La Cultura.
- Where to stay? Many travellers choose to stay the night in AguasCalientes which is the very small town sitting at the foot of Machu Picchu. This town can only be reached by train but you can book tickets from nearby larger towns such as Cuzco or Ollantaytambo.
- Do I have to climb up the mountain? No; there are buses from AguasCalientes and they start running at about 6.00am, but be aware that people begin to queue for the very first bus the night before at around 11.00pm. If bussing it doesn’t appeal then you can climb to the top with relative ease in about an hour and a half depending on your fitness levels. Your passport will be checked before you are allowed to enter the site and they always check them so don’t forget yours!
- What should I bring with me? Not a lot! Especially if you plan to climb; take a rucksack with water, your passport and other essentials. The gates open at 5.00am and if you are there for this, then you will get to the top before the first bus lets it’s passengers off.
Machu Picchu is an amazing place and visiting it is a dream for many; some organisation before you set off will save you time and money and your trip should go smoothly if you remember the golden rules! So, book your American Express Travel now.
Lara Ryan has written articles for a range of travel sites in her time and has traveled to Machu Picchu a number of times. She loves the great outdoors and walking.