One of the things on my bucket list is to visit this very historic site – Machu Picchu. I first heard about Machu Picchu from a travel show decades ago and I’ve read many articles and stories about this ancient citadel since then. Over the years, I’ve been fascinated about this ancient citadel and had been wanting to see it ever since. For my birthday this year, I’ve decided to take the plunge and go there to see it for myself. But first, I need to do some research and planning.
The thing about those articles I’ve read, and the TV shows I’ve seen is that most of the time, they never tell you how to get to these places. They only tell you how spectacular and incredible these places are. So, I was compelled to do some research on how to get to Machu Picchu. Turns out, there are many ways to get to the citadel. Let me tell you the ways.
One of the ways to get to Machu Picchu is to hike to the mountains. After all, this was how the Incas got there centuries ago. For this, you will need a guide and a lot of time. Hiking to the citadel can take days depending on where you are coming from. You will also need to be fit to do this. This is the hardest and the slowest way to get to Machu Picchu.
Another way to get there is to take a bus from Cusco. The trouble with this however, is at certain times of the year, the rain at the Andes can be quite strong that it would cause landslides covering the roads to Machu Picchu with mud and debris. You can only do this during the dry season, and it could take hours to get there from Cusco. The easiest and probably the most expensive of all ways is to take the train. This is what I chose to do, and it is worth every penny. Here’s what I did.
You can book your admission ticket to Machu Picchu separately or just book your trip with a local tour group offering packages for everything you need to visit – hotel pickup and drop off to and from the train station, train to and from Aguas Calientes, bus to and from Aguas Calientes to the visitor’s center, admission ticket and a tour guide. I often believe it is better to have a tour guide to show you around places because you will learn more about the place you are visiting. Not to mention, they know their way around the citadel. It prevents you from getting lost. All of these costs around $360 per person. It may be pricey, but it is less headache making things a bit easier for you. Regardless of which way you’d like to get to Machu Picchu, you will need to make arrangements for all these in advance. Visiting the citadel is very popular among visitors to Peru and the local government are now limiting the people visiting the site daily. It is up to you if you like to book a private guided tour or one that includes you in a group. Either way, you will get to see the spectacular and incredible citadel those travel shows and articles have been talking about. Once you have confirmed all these, be sure to bring a printed copy of your confirmation for good measure. Internet connection up in the Andes can be spotty at times. Now all you have to do is prepare the things you need to have for your visit. There will be some hiking involved and the weather in the Andes can be unpredictable so be prepared. Read about the do’s and don’ts and any advisories that the Peruvian government advises people when visiting the citadel so you will have some idea of what to do and what to bring.
Here are some of the things you will need to do and bring for your visit:
Wear hiking shoes or athletic shoes – the citadel is a big place and it is not flat. There are a lot of stairs at the citadel so there will be some walking and climbing involved.
Wear layers – it can be cold at the citadel upon arrival however, the weather can change from cold to warm the next hour.
A valid passport – you need to show your passport with your admission ticket in order to enter the citadel. Some tickets will have your name on it. Also, you can have your passport stamped for your visit to Machu Picchu.
Poncho or a raincoat – It can rain at Machu Picchu at any time of year so make sure you have a poncho/raincoat handy. Umbrellas can be cumbersome.
Hat or sunscreen – for visiting the citadel during the summer months or dry season.
Water bottle – for hydration, although there is a café outside the visitor’s center where you can purchase a bottle of water.
Camera – for obvious reasons.
Now all you have to do is go there and see the spectacular and incredible they have been talking about.