Machu Picchu backpacker guide. Machu Picchu is located near Cusco in the highlands of Peru. A smaller town called Aquas Calientes also known as Machu Picchu downtown is about 20 minutes from Machu Picchu.
How to get to Machu Picchu
Getting to Machu Picchu really depends on your interests. Almost every tourist are visiting Machu Picchu from Cusco which is a 3 hour trip. But Machu Picchu can be done in several ways.
The two primary options you will have, are to make it a one-day trip or 4-5 day trip. For the one-day trip you will have to travel by car or train and then visit the wonder.
For a 4 day trip you will have plenty of opportunities, and that is why I absolutely love this place because it is surely for everyone. You will have 3 different treks: The official Inca trail, Inca Jungle trek and Salkantay trek.
Machu Picchu Price
Going on treks for Machu Picchu can be pretty expensive, but it is still affordable if you choose to. The official Inca trail is by far the most expensive trek for approximately 700$.
The Salkatay trek and Inca Jungle trek are pretty cheap compared to the official Inca trail. Salkantay will cost you 200$ and Inca Jungle trek 240$. However, agencies don’t include trekking gear and equipment. There are stores who rent equipment in the whole city of Cusco so you are ready to go.
Where to stay
Typically you will stay at Cusco wherever you do Machu Picchu in one day or trekking. However, it is surely possible to stay in the Machu Picchu downtown, Aguas Calientes. This is definitely a tourist city with a cozy and chilling atmosphere, and you will be able to spend some time here. They have beautiful nature, hot springs and good restaurants – all for a decent price.
How much time do you need at Machu Picchu
Normally a trek last for 3 nights and 4 days but it is optionally – it can be longer. When arriving to Machu Picchu on a trek, most guides tell you that you will need at least 4-5 hours at Machu Picchu.
First of all, the Inca ruins are a very big place and offers a lot to explore. Secondly, you are located in the heights between mountains and jungle. It means that the weather is changing every hour.
You can have a cloudy weather 9 am, and two hours later you will have a clear view of the wonder. Make sure to stay there for a clear view! It is breathtaking and absolutely gorgeous.
When to visit Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is kind of seasoned. You got the rainy season between October and April and the dry season between May and September. The best time to go is during the dry season, at that time you got the best chances for clear weather. If you would like better chances for clear weather, make sure to be at Machu Picchu early in the morning. Besides better weather you will have a less crowded Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu backpacker tips
- Do a trek – every trek is fun neither you like adrenaline for the Inca Jungle trek, history for the official Inca trail or beautiful nature for the Salkantay trek. Nevertheless, when you arrive to Machu Picchu, soak in everything: The surroundings, the history and the stunning ruins.
- If you do have time for it, then go to Sungate and see Machu Picchu from a magnificent view.
- Machu Picchu is without doubt a very touristed spot all year. With that in mind you would probably expect some traps, but there really aren’t.
- Bring food and refreshments because buying stuff at Machu Picchu are extremely expensive.
- Don’t book Machu Picchu unless you know it is the sacred and official Inca trail that you wanna do. On the official trail you have to book in good time or else you can’t go on that trek.
- I did the Inca trail because I thought it was the only opportunity.
- Looking backwards I should probably have done Inca Jungle trek based on the adrenaline where you zip line, mountain bike and other stuff.
Why should Machu Picchu be on my bucket list ?
It is one of the seven wonders in the world! There is a reason to it – when history, nature and culture culminate into one piece of wonder, then you got it! Machu Picchu! If it is not on your bucket list yet, note it! If it is on your bucket list, go there! Machu Picchu is, if not my favorite spot, surely one of them.