Last Visit: May 2015
Stayed: 5 days
Suggest Staying: 1-2 weeks
Transport: Taxi, collectivo, train
1. Machu Picchu
Highlights: Mountains, ruins, rivers, hot springs
Suggest Staying: 2-3 days
Stay Around: Aguas Calientes
Highlights: Beach, restaurants, nightlife
Suggest Staying: 1-2 days
Stay Around: Miraflores (House Project Backpackers)
Highlights: Town, mountains
Suggest Staying: 1-2 days
Stay Around: Main Square
Highlights: Mountains, rivers, ruins
Suggest Staying: 1-3 days
Stay Around: Town Center
- Flights: $223 (Lima => Cuzco)
- Lodging: $209 (guesthouse, hostel)
- Transportation: $264 (taxi, collectivo, train, bus)
- Activities: $70 (Machu Picchu)
- Food: $150 (estimated $30/day)
- Food. Peruvian food is a wonderful cuisine, especially ceviche, roasted chicken, and pisco sours. Depending on where you are, be mindful of uncooked foods that may be rinsed with unpurified water. If you look around the country, the livestock, chickens, etc. don't look the greatest and vegetables/salads rinsed in regular water may contain bacteria that could make you sick. I stuck to cooked foods and was ok. Two "delicacies" unique to Peru are guinea pig and alpaca. If you decide to try guinea pig, order with the head ON because I heard stories of being served rat and you can't tell if there is no head. I wasn't daring enough to try either since I didn't want to risk eating something foreign before an amazing adventure.
- Water. I wouldn't recommend drinking from the tap or anything that is not purified or in a sealed bottle. I usually don't brush my teeth from the tap either, but that's just me being extra cautious.
- Altitude Sickness. Most people who visit Machu Picchu start in Cuzco which is actually higher in elevation at 11,000 ft. than Machu Picchu at 8,000 ft. According to the Internet, people begin to feel the effects of altitude sickness at around 8,000 ft. Therefore, if you want to avoid it, which could very well ruin your trip, you can either take a day or two in Cuzco to just relax and acclimate or you can pass right through into the sacred valley and stay or continue right on to Machu Picchu. From what I read, most people experience altitude sickness on their Machu Picchu journey because they started and stayed in Cuzco. If you're not aware of the effects, it's common for pounding headaches and diarrhea usually brought on by moderate to strenuous activity, so be mindful to take it easy and let your body adjust when you arrive. Coca tea helps and can be consumed as tea, candy, or chewing the leaves. It tastes great and seemed to help. I flew into Cuzco, had lunch, and went straight on to Ollantaytambo where we stayed for the day to avoid any chance of altitude sickness since the sacred valley is around 9,000 ft. in elevation. Worked out great, didn't have to rush since we planned ahead, got to see some of the sacred valley, and experienced no signs of altitude sickness.
- Coca Products. Cocaine is made from the coca leaf and is therefore not allowed into the U.S. so be sure to finish any tea or candy you purchased while still in Peru.
Purchasing Machu Picchu Tickets Online:
Entrance tickets cannot be purchased at the ruins. Instead you must purchase in advance. To purchase online, visit http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe and follow these steps. Hopefully there are better third party ticketing agencies at this point, but this site is the official government site.
- Although viewing the site in English is an option, the entire website is not translated. So, you have to go to the left part and at “lugar a visitar” and select your route, in this case, MachuPicchu.
- Just below, at “Seleccione la Ruta”, select what you want to purchase:
- “Ciudad Inka MAPI” = Machu Picchu itself
- “MachuPicchu y Museo” = Machu Picchu+ the museum
- “MAPI-Huayna 1G 7:00” = Machu Picchu + Wayna Picchu at the first group which is 7:00 a.m. or “MAPI-Huayna 2G 10:00” = Machu Picchu + Wayna Picchu at the second group which is 10:00 a.m.
- Select the date you want and, in the central part, how many tickets you want
- Click on the “step 2” button (located in the bottom of the central part)
- Fill out the form
- Click on step 3. Note: the English version of this step probably will not work and the third page may not display. If this happens, change the site to Spanish and go through the entire process from the beginning and then continue.
- Fill out your address although this is not mandatory
- Accept the conditions
- Click in “reserve generating” which will provide a reservation number which you must write down!
- Click on payment tab
- Enter your reservation code
- Click “pay” (they use “verified by visa”)
- Click on “check – in” tab
- Enter your reservation code. Note: If you get an error, wait about half an hour as the payment may not have gone through. Try again within an hour.
Note: Tickets are not sent to an email address but need to be printed from the screen as a PDF format so you need to be connected to a printer when you do this transaction.