Machu Picchu: one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world
This old Incan citadel located in the Andes Mountains is one of the most famous place to visit in South America.
Machu Picchu is believed to have been built by the Incan Emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472) as a royal estate. However, after the emperor’s death, it was abandoned and later forgotten until 1911 when an American historian, Hiram Bingham, rediscovered it. Since then, Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
When is the best time to go to Machu Picchu?
The best time to go to Machu Picchu is during the dry season from April to October. This is when you can expect the weather to be clear and sunny. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time of year, so be sure to book your tickets and accommodation in advance.
Logistics: how to get there
The vast majority of travelers that want to visit Machu Picchu will need to book a flight to Lima, Peru. Indeed, from Lima you will be able to book a national flight to Cusco. This is the easiest and most convenient way to get to Machu Picchu.
A second option would be to take a train from Lima to the nearest city to Machu Picchu which is called “Aguas Calientes”.
But, if for a particular reason you do not want to use these two itineraries, the last option would be to go by roads. However, I do not recommend this option as it will be a long and exhausting trip.
How do you prevent altitude sickness in Cusco?
Machu Picchu citadel is situated on a mountain ridge at an altitude of 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. This altitude can be very challenging for travelers that are not used to such levels.
Here comes 5 tips to prevent the infamous altitude sickness:
- To help you acclimatize to the altitude, I recommend that you arrive in Cusco a few days before your Machu Picchu trip. Indeed, this will give you time to adjust to the altitude and minimize the risk of getting sick.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This will make a huge difference. You could also try the famous local Coca tea that has many health benefits.
- Even if it’s vacation time, I also recommend to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages during the excursion as it will dehydrate you.
- Eat light meals and avoid fatty foods.
- Get plenty of rest and take it easy on your first few days in Cusco.
The best ways to visit Machu Picchu?
If you want to make the most of your visit to Machu Picchu, I recommend that you take a guided tour. This is the best way to learn about the history and culture of the Incas.
A second option would be to hike the famous Inca Trail. This is a 4-day trek that starts in Cusco and ends at Machu Picchu. Please note that this trek is considered a moderate level hike but due to the geography (a lot of uphills) and the altitude, it can be quite difficult in practice.