What an incredible place to visit. Once you get past the entrance gate and walk up the steps and see the whole site it really takes your breath away to see something made so very long ago still standing without the use of tools that we have now. I was very lucky to have gone in 2015 when you could wander around the site in most places and to also have a very knowledgeable guide.
Interesting facts about Machu Picchu:
- Amazingly Machu Picchu was hidden for around 400 years with no maintenance and the citadel was still standing when it was discovered only in 1911 by an explorer named Hiram Bingham.
- One of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- It is only 7,970 feet above sea level.
- It is a National Sanctuary in Peru.
- There is no mortar to hold the buildings together. The building are made from hand carved gray granite stones found in the region that were cut to fit together perfectly so even an earthquake can’t damage them. Not even a credit card can fit in between them.
- The rocks used are 250 million years old.
- They used no wheel to move the stones or iron tools to carve the stones.
- It was first constructed in 1450.
- It was abandoned.
- There is a no-fly zone above Machu Picchu
- It has a set limit of 2,500 visitors per day
- More than 600 terraces prevent the city from sliding down the mountain.
- You can get a Machu Picchu stamp for your passport.
- Llamas are used to keep the grass down instead of using a lawnmower.
May and October the weather is the best as it’s the dry season. November to April is the wet season.
I went in November and the first day we got there it was beautifully sunny and then all of a sudden it showered for a couple of minutes and as luck would have it rainbow appeared.
That night it down poured so heavy that the electricity was out in the morning. A group of us had gotten a second pass to go up to Machu Piccu first thing in the morning and it was just such an incredibly amazing view to see it covered over in clouds and it was a bit eerie as well as not many people decided to stand in the rain to go up in the morning especially since there was no electricity.
Only 2 ways to get there. Train or trekking.
You can take a train directly from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then bus to Machu Picchu.
You can take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo which takes 2.5 hours and then a train to Aguas Calientes and then a bus to Machu Picchu.
You can take a train from Cusco to Kilometer 82 and then walk there via the (Caminos Del Inca) Inca Trail which is 4-days. You will need a permit for this hike and there is a limit of 500 permits per day.
There are 3 main train companies. Inca Rail, Peru Rail, and the Belmond Hiram Bingham.
We took the PeruRail Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Piccu. It was well worth it. You got to see panoramic views of the beautiful scenery in comfortable seats.
Can be purchase online, in Cusco, in Aguas Calientes, or any city with a Banco de Nacion.
There are 3 different tickets you can buy.
- Machu Picchu Ruins Only
- Machu Picchu Ruins + Huayna Picchu Mountain Combo Ticket
- Machu Picchu Ruins + Machu Picchu Mountain Combo Ticket
Machu Picchu Rules and Regulations (as of 2019)
- You must hire a guide. If you go back the next day you do not need a guide but you do need your ticket from the day before to prove you had already been there.
- You have to follow a set route.
- You will have a designated time for entry and only 4 hours before you are required to leave via a checkpoint.
When I went in 2015 the list of prohibited was much smaller and we had selfie sticks and were allowed to wander around but those days are long gone due to the amount of tourists that visit this unique place.
- Tripods, selfie sticks, or drones.
- Backpacks, bags or bags including luggage that exceed 5 kilos of weight. You can check your bag outside.
- No diverting from the your route on your ticket.
- No Pets.
- Food, except for small snacks but wrappers need to be stored.
- Plastic water bottles.
- Illegal substances (drugs or their effects).
- Alcoholic beverages (or under its effects).
- Sprays or paints.
- Musical instruments, megaphones or speakers.
- Heels with hard-plant shoes.
- Baby cars (it is preferable to carry a baby carrier).
- Sharp objects and / or weapons of any kind.
- Banners, posters and / or posters.
- Clothing intended for advertising purposes.
- Metal-tipped canes (older adults can carry a cane with a rubber tip).
- No smoking or vaping.
- Throw trash.
- No loud clapping, shouting, whistling, or singing.
- Do not feed the animals.
- No inappropriate behavior.
- Climb any of the structures or walls.
- Tumulting, jumping or any other behavior that would cause disorder.
- No film or photos for taken for advertising.