The legendary lost city of Machu Picchu is not only one of Peru’s most iconic sites, it is one of the most iconic sites you will find anywhere in the world.
Situated atop a mountain ridge at an altitude of 2,340m, the remarkable architecture of the ancient stone remnants perfectly melds into the steep hills of the ‘Old Mountain’.
Machu Picchu is one of those destinations that you have to see to believe. Whatever hiking option you choose to get you to Machu Picchu will be well worth the effort!
There are many options available to you, depending on how long you want to spend trekking before you reach the lost city and the level of comfort you want for your trek.
Traditional Inca Trail
The traditional Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the world, following a path built by the Incas more than 500 years ago.
This is the most popular route trekked by hundreds of visitors each day. It takes in many of the Inca ruins including Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna and, of course, Machu Picchu.
Over four days you will trek through the strikingly beautiful and diverse ecological zones and past impressive ancient archaeological sites, camping overnight along the way. This hike is challenging… but arriving at Machu Picchu, the lost Inca city with its remarkable architecture and ancient stone constructions… that is a memory that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Express Inca Trail
As the name suggests, this option gets you to Machu Picchu in a much shorter time – just one day. This is a great option if you want to add other hikes – such as Rainbow Mountain – to your journey.
The trek is intense, leading you to an overnight stay in Machu Picchu town followed by a guided tour the next morning.
This is a less strenuous route that climbs up to Wiñay Wayna where you join the final stages of the Classic four-day hike. From Wiñay Wayna the trek then descends to Machu Picchu.
If you are short on time, this trek has the advantage of allowing you to visit the beautiful ruins at Wiñay Wayna and also to experience at least part of the Inca trail.
As this trail is at a lower altitude, you also don’t need to be acclimatised like with the longer treks.
Inca Trail Seven-Day
If you have the time, we recommend this spectacular seven-day trek that passes beneath the sacred snow-capped mountains of Salkantay. This mountain God (or Apu) was worshipped by the Incas and is still honoured by existing Quechua farmers.
The trail starts in the warm citrus valley near Mollabamba and eventually joins the Classic Inca Trail route at Wayllabamba on the fourth day.
The trek combines the best of mountain scenery with the Inca ruins of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna before arriving at the citadel of Machu Picchu for sunrise on the final day of the trek.
Machu Picchu luxury travel
Explora Valle Sagrado is the first of its kind in Peru, offering luxury accommodation and experiences.
As with all of the Explora hotels, they believe that travel is all about the journey and not just the destination. And this is why there is so much more to each exploration than just reaching a location.
All excursions are limited to eight travellers, which offers an intimate experience as you visit Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Zapacto, Maras, Quimsacocha, Pisac, Cusco and Moray, among others.
We can recommend other accommodation options for your Machu Picchu adventure, depending on what you are looking for. And remember, luxury travel isn’t always about having the softest pillow to lay your head on at night. Sometimes luxury can come in the most unlikely form.
Machu Picchu travel advice
Sunrise is the most popular time to visit Machu Picchu… but we say go for the sunset instead. In the morning, fog can obscure the sunrise; not to mention the difficulty of battling the crowds of visitors. If you visit between 4:00 and 4:30 in the afternoon you will find that the crowds have thinned out and you will have a beautiful view as the sun is beginning to drop below the western peaks.
Our advice is to bring enough food, stamina and patience to spend the whole day at Machu Picchu. There is plenty to see and lots of ground to cover, not just climbing Huayna Picchu. It is also recommended that you visit the Inca Bridge, the Sungate at the terminus of the Inca Trail and even climb Machu Picchu mountain.
Huayna Picchu is the small green peak that appears in the background of many photos of Machu Picchu. At 1,640 feet, it offers spectacular views of the area surrounding the ruins—especially the white Urubamba River winding around Machu Picchu like a coiled snake.
The number of daily visitors allowed to enter Huayna Picchu is restricted to 400, so you will need to purchase tickets in advance to guarantee admission.
While the climb to the summit of Huayna Picchu is not recommended for visitors in poor physical condition, if you can do it, you won’t regret it. The views are simply phenomenal!
Machu Picchu is a bucket list destination for so many travellers… and we can help get you there. We have the local guides and the knowledge required to plan your perfect Machu Picchu adventure. Contact us to start planning your trip to the home of the Incas.