Traveling to Machu Picchu is an opportunity to experience first hand the magic of the Inca's sanctuary. The 15th century citadel has retained many of it's unique architecture and remains one of the most famous destinations in the world. Located 7,970 ft. above sea level, Machu Picchu offered the Inca royalty family a place to rest and relax from the busy life in Cusco (over 11,000 ft above sea level). The journey was typically completed via the famous Inca Trail lasting about 4 days from Cusco. Join us in one of our many options to tour Machu Picchu or hike the Inca Trail during your visit to Peru.
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Machu Picchu Information
Hours of Operation
The Sanctuary is located at the top of a small mountain next to the town of Aguas Calientes (name of train station).
- There are two time slots for visitors to access the ruins: 6 AM to Noon or Noon to 5:00 PM
- Passes for each schedule need to be purchased separately.
- Access to the sanctuary is only as part of a 16 people group led by a local tourist professional.
- There is a mini bus service from the village to the entrance of the ruins that runs roundtrip services daily every 15 minutes from 6:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
- Beside the mini-bus, you can also access the entrance of the sanctuary by foot from or to Aguas Calientes (about a 1.5 hour strenuous hike).
- All the available hotels except for the Sanctuary Lodge are located in town.
What To Bring
- USD cash (recommended $300 per person)
- Credit and/or debit card
- Trip Itinerary
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Binoculars (light)
- Hiking boots or sturdy comfortable walking shoes (ankle support)
- Fleece top
- Wool hat (or buy one in Cuzco)
- Long pants
- Sun Block
- Money belt
- First-aid kit (Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Inca Trail & Salkantay Tours
In addition to the items mentioned above, you should bring the following:
- Walking poles with rubber tips (available for rent: $20 approx.)
- Low denomination local currency (1,5,10 soles)
- Rain Poncho
- Gloves (preferably waterproof)
- “Blisters” kit
- Plastic bags for personal items (e.g. Ziplock)
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen)
- Thermal or long underwear
- Waterproof and fleece jackets
- Water bottle (will be refilled during the day) and snacks. Also, you will be able to purchase water along the Inca Trail till lunch of day 2.
Money & Tips
Peru’s currency is called: Nuevo Sol. You can exchange money at the airport, banks and hotels. You can also get cash from any ATM machine (located throughout each city).
Banking Hours & ATMs
Banking hours are typically from 9a to 6p Monday thru Friday. ATM machines are located throughout major cities. Our guides will help you if you need assistance.
Cash, Credit Cards & Traveler’s Checks
Major credit cards including American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted at restaurants, hotels and shops in tourist areas. Some merchants may tag on a surcharge of 6% to 10%. We suggest you plan on bringing a credit card for any shopping, unforeseen expenses and emergencies. It’s also a good idea to bring some cash with you in US dollars (~$200 to $300 per person), using smaller denominations ranging from $1s to $20s. Make sure the bills are relatively new. Traveler’s checks are not recommended as they are very hard to exchange.
Tipping & Gratuities
We are often asked what gratuity is appropriate to leave the guides while in Peru. Of course the quality of service should determine the extent of any gratuity. Here is are some per person guidelines (OPTIONAL):
- 10% of the bill at restaurants
- US$1 per bag for bell-boys at hotels
- US$1 per bag to porters at the airport
- Tour Guides: US$5 to US$10 for a full day
- Tour Driver: US$1 to US$3 for a full day
- Transfer Guide: US$1 to US$3
- TransferDriver: US$1
- Inca or Salkantay Trail Guides: +US$50
- Porters: +US$30
Most of the time, airport taxes are included as part of your international or domestic flights.
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The best time to visit Peru is between Mary and September. During this period there is no rain and the average temperature is about 62 F degrees during the day. The table below shows the averages for Cusco. April, October and November also tend to be popular as they are months before or after the rainy season (December to March).
Best Season: May to September In-Between or Shoulder Months: April, October and November Low or Rainy Season: December to March
Trains to Machu Picchu
To prevent service interruption or delays due to rains, train services to/from Machu Picchu from January 1st till May 31st begins and ends at Pachar Station (versus Poroy - closer to Cuzco). Transfer from Cuzco to Pachar and back is via tourist class bus. From June 1st till the end of December, trains services are from/to Poroy Station.
- The trains from Cuzco to Machu Picchu have strict carry-on luggage rules. You can bring a small bag or backpack measuring 62 inches in total (length + width + height) and 11 lbs in maximum weight. Strongly recommended: Please leave as much as you can (suitcases) at your hotel (storage) in Cuzco and only take a small bag / backpack to Machu Picchu.
- Return to Cusco after completing the Inca Trail: Travelers are allowed up 50 lbs. in luggage at no charge. Need to present Inca Trail pass before boarding.
- To or from Puno: Same as above for carry-on. Larger luggage will travel in the same train, but in a separate cart.
Nazca Lines Flights Requirements
Original passport must be shown before boarding Nazca Lines planes in Pisco or Nazca airports. No sharp instruments allowed inside the plane.