If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu and wondering if it’s worth the trek, the simple answer is YES. However, there are a few things to consider to ensure the best possible experience for your trek to Machu Picchu.

Before you travel to this bucket list landmark, there are a couple of things you need to know.

A person pointing to a map

How do I get to Machu Picchu?

There are many ways to go to Machu Picchu. Here is a list of some of the most popular trails.

The Inca Trail

This is the most famous path to hike to the ancient ruins. It offers first-hand views of the top sites of Perú, and its perfect to explore the mountains in a short amount of time.

People trekking in Perú

The Vilcabamba Traverse

This route covers 60 Peruvian Mountains of the Cordillera. However, this journey is not meant for everyone since the treks can be demanding and the journey takes more than ten days. Therefore we strictly recommend this to those more experienced adventures.

Salkantay trail

The Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience. You will travel the Andean mountains by foot as the ancient locals used to. In addition, you’ll have the amazing opportunity of sleeping under the celestial skies of the Peruvian heights.

Moreover, the Salkantay route is much less traveled than the more popular Inca Trail. To clarify this is because it’s the most difficult way to get to Machu Picchu.

This is due to the 30 miles traveled by foot, at 20,574 feet above sea level in a series of hikes over a period of 5 days.

The route is not recommended to people who are not accustomed to a lot of physical activity. However, there is an option to ride some of the trail on horseback if you find the trekking too difficult.

If you decide to choose the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu you will exchange all the hazards of common tourism for an unforgettable journey, nights sleeping under the stars, and making adventure friends for life.

Cusco, Perú

What to do in Cusco?

It is highly recommended that you arrive in Cusco one or two days before you start the trek to Machu Picchu because the city is located at an elevation of 11,154 feet above sea level and your body needs to get used to the altitude before doing any kind of physical activity.

You should take advantage of these free days to explore the surroundings of Cusco.

You should definitely visit Plaza de Armas the central square in this ancient city. The plaza is filled with restaurants and shops built from stone ruins with carved wooden balconies.

If you really want to feel like a local while in Cusco, we recommend trying some of the local cuisine. Try the world-famous Peruvian ceviche, Pisco Sour, Lomo Saltado, Cuy (Guinea Pig) and Aji de Gallina, just to name a few.

Person sitting with a suitcase

What should I pack for Machu Picchu?

Before packing your suitcase for Peru,  check the Machu Picchu weather report a few days before your trip.

It’s common that storms unleash at any time within the southern region of Peru, especially in the trekking area of the Andes.

However here’s a Packing list for your journey on the Salkantay Trail:

Salkantay Trail Packing List for Machu Picchu:

  • Backpack
  • Official documents
  • Underwear
  • Pair of hiking pants
  • Jacket
  • Four shirts
  • Hiking shoes
  • Raincoat
  • Cap or hat
  • Water canteen
  • Gloves
  • Trekking sticks
  • Lantern

Personal hygiene items for trekking to Machu Picchu

  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • toothpaste and toothbrush

You should also remember that Peru is one of the largest cotton and wool producers of alpaca in the world.

Therefore you will find very good quality clothes at a great price. So leave a little extra space in your suitcase.

Man taking a picture on a mountain

Photographs

There are a few regulations within the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu for taking pictures.

All visitors can take photographs inside the park, but a special permit is needed to use tripods. Since these can damage the surfaces of the archaeological grounds.

The use of drones has also been banned by the Peruvian government.

Machu Picchu Archaeological Park
Photo by Tomas Sobek

Rules of the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu

Since UNESCO granted the park the status of a World Heritage Site, the Peruvian government has taken charge of preserving the monuments of the Inca’s.

As a result of this in mid-2017 the Ministry of Culture of Peru published new regulations of Machu Picchu.

Here are some of the most important ones:
  • No bags or backpacks larger than 16 in x 13 in x 8in are allowed. Any luggage with a volume greater than that determined should be stored in the storage units at the entrance.
  • You cannot enter the park with drinks, food, or alcoholic beverages.
  • Entry with umbrellas or sun shades is prohibited.
  • Entry is prohibited with any object that could damage the integrity of the park’s remains.
  • The entry of musical instruments, horns, or any object that may disturb the tranquility of the space is prohibited. Just as it is forbidden to make any kind of abrupt noises inside the facilities
  • Smoking is prohibited within the area.
  • It is prohibited to feed the resident animals of the park.
Machu Picchu
Photo by Sebastian Tapia Huerta

Now that you know the best routes for trekking to Machu Pichu, the packing list for trekking the Peruvian Mountains, and the best way to spend your free time in Cusco.

Truly the only thing left to do to start your journey, so pick a date and fly over to Peru to start your adventure.  

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