How to Travel to Machu Picchu

How to Travel to Machu Picchu
Perched in the Andes at an altitude of almost 8,000 feet, Machu Picchu is the fabled center of the Inca Empire. After the collapse of the Inca civilization, the city was forgotten by the outside world until the early 20th century. It combines the grandeur of one of the best sets of ruins in the Western Hemisphere with the mystery of a lost city. For the hiker, Machu Picchu offers a steep trek through the beautiful scenery of the middle Andes.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Mosquito repellent Water purification kit (recommended)
  • Passport
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Water purification kit (recommended)
Step 1
Check your passport's expiration date, and get it renewed if it will have less than six months validity from the date of your arrival. This is a standard requirement for international travel. Beyond this, Americans are eligible for a 90-day tourist stamp upon arrival in Peru, and no further visa is required.
Step 2
Update your shots. For an outdoors adventure like hiking in the Andes, the Centers for Disease control strongly recommends vaccinations for yellow fever, rabies and typhoid fever.
Step 3
Buy mosquito repellent. Malaria is present in most of lowland Peru, including the capital of Lima. In most places, however, it is a minor problem, and mosquito spray should be a sufficient precaution. Machu Picchu itself is above the 6,500-foot mosquito line, and is therefore mosquito-free. However, if you are considering hiking and camping your way to Machu Picchu, you might want to get an anti-malarial drug prescription, and remind your doctor that chloroquine is ineffective against the strain of malaria present in Peru.
Step 4
Take along iodine or chlorine water purification tablets/drops, and maybe a carbon filter. You will be dependent on bottled water in Peru, and these can serve as a good back-up, especially if you intend to hike to Machu Picchu.

The Journey

Step 1
Go to Cuzco, Peru. This is the standard base for a trip up to Machu Picchu. If you are coming from Lake Titicaca, you can get there by bus or train. If you are coming from Lima, you can take a bus or fly.
Step 2
Book a place on an Inca Trail hiking tour group if you want to walk up to Machu Picchu. Inca Trail guided hikes usually take 4 days to get to Macchu Pichu, and handle details like food, water and heavy equipment for you. By law, you must be part of a licensed group to hike up to Machu Picchu.
Step 3
Book a seat on the train from Cuzco, or charter a hired car if you do not want to hike up to Machu Picchu.
Step 4
Pay the entrance fee for the Machu Picchu archaeological park. In 2009, this was 122 soles (about $42). Note that you will need exact change.
Step 5
Tour the ruins. If you hiked up, your group might have a guide assigned to it. Otherwise, either hire a guide at the park, or go on a self-guided tour.

Tips & Warnings

There is an independent hiking option, which entails following the railroad tracks up to Machu Picchu. However, this is illegal and not recommended.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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