In this article, I will share with you 10 things you need to know before visiting Machu Picchu and during your visit so you are completely ready and can enjoy Machu Picchu without worries.
Short on time? Here is a quick summary of everything you need to know about Machu Picchu:
To get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes you have 2 options - by bus or by walking.
Take your original passport with you!
Enter the site at the time you have the ticket for.
Make sure you buy the ticket you want to not miss out on the famous viewpoint.
You can only spend 2.5 hours in the site.
You can only walk one way. No turning back during your tour!
Don’t worry about raincoats, they sell them up there by the entrance.
Be respectful when visiting the site! No dancing Tik-Toks.
Cafe up by Machu Pichu is extremely expensive so have your own snacks and drinks.
Use the correct pronunciation: Machu PiKchu!
If you prefer a video version of this then scroll to the bottom of the article and watch this as a video!
How to get to Machu Picchu
So no matter which trail, train, or bus you take before getting to Machu Picchu, you will end up in Aguas Calientes aka Machu Picchu town from where then you make your way up to Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes is a very touristic little town, so more expensive but very safe. Before leaving we actually had an amazing meal in Cala Tratoria, so I can highly recommend it if you looking for affordable delicious food and drinks. They also have some sofas there, so if they are free you can chill there while waiting for your train.
From Aguas Calientes, you have 2 options how to get up to Machu Picchu - by bus or by walking.
Walking is free. You will need to walk 30 minutes from the town to Machu Picchu's first check-in point and from there you cross the bridge and in front of you will be stairs taking you straight to Machu Picchu. The hike can take up to 2 hours because there are 1800 steps and they can get quite steep and challenging. Also, you walk through the rainforest so it can get quite hot and humid.
The bus goes every 15 minutes from the center of the town and will take around 30 minutes.
I personally recommend taking the bus, especially if you have arrived at Aguas Calientes by train. I did 3 day trekking before so I felt like cheating if I had done the last 4km with the bus, so walked up but you don’t want to be sweaty and tired for your Machu Picchu visit haha
Make sure you have your original passport with you! You will need it to pass the first check-in point. Also, I personally wasn’t asked for any Covid certificate proof but I had my original certificate with me, so I would recommend you to have that too.
Entry to Machu Picchu
The site opens at 6 am. You should enter at the time you have your ticket for but they are a bit flexible and you can enter within a 1-hour difference.
Also, make sure you have the right ticket. If you book via an agency I am sure they will ensure you have the right ticket but if you are booking online yourself check twice. There is a ticket that only allows you to enter the lower bit of the site, so you do not visit the famous viewpoint from where you can see the whole of Machu Picchu. By saving money you might ruin your experience, so just double-check when booking online yourself.
During your Machu Picchu visit
After the Covid outbreak, there is a new rule: You can only spend 2.5 hours (3h is ok) at the site. They might cancel it soon as it was purely because of Covid but as we stand today those are the time limits.
Once you enter Machu Picchu there is clearly marked trail. Once you pass some of the famous viewpoints or objects you can’t go back. So make sure you take enough pictures and enjoy the view to the fullest because there is no coming back and checking twice.
If it looks like it will rain, do not worry they sell raincoats at the entrance. So you do not need to worry about taking extra stuff with you.
If you are a Tik-Toker or Influencer then plan your actions carefully. The security there is very very strict! They do not allow any dancing or any other activity rather than calm walking and sightseeing. During my time at the main viewpoint, a girl tried to make pictures in a summer dress. She was obviously inappropriately dressed for the tour so the guard arrived and made her put on a coat and pants. Also, a guy took his shirt off and wanted a shirtless picture, again guard run up straight away and made him put the shirt back on. This is completely understandable, Machu Picchu is a very sacred place and actions like this are just disrespectful, so please be mindful when visiting Machu Picchu.
Up there at the entrance and exit of the site is one cafe but it is extremely expensive so if you like snacking like me then I suggest having your own snacks with you. Note, that eating on the site is forbidden.
One last thing!
If you want to be completely correct you should pronounce Machu Picchu as ‘Machu PiKchu’!