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Exploring the Ruins of Machu Picchu: A Guide to Peru’s Historic Tourist Attraction

Peru is a country full of wonders, from the deep-cut valleys of the Andes Mountains to the hustle and bustle of its cities. But the one thing that draws people to Peru time and time again is the wonderful ruins of Machu Picchu, a site that is considered one of the world’s most impressive archaeological remains. This guide will explain everything you need to know about exploring Machu Picchu, from the best times to visit to the tips and tricks for getting the most out of your trip.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan ruin located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It was built in the 15th century and is believed to have been the site of an important Incan religious center. The ruins are made up of hundreds of terraces, temples, and buildings, all of which were built with incredible precision and craftsmanship. Today, Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Machu Picchu was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. It is a symbol of Peru’s rich history and remains a popular destination for tourists, historians, and archaeologists alike.

The ruins of Machu Picchu are located about 50 miles northwest of the city of Cusco and can be reached by car, train, or foot. Visitors can also take advantage of several tours that are offered to explore this incredible site.

When is the Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu?

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is in the dry season, from May to October. This is when the weather is at its best and the trails are less busy. It is also the time of year when the ruins are in the best condition and most of the archaeological sites can be visited.

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The winter months of November to April are also a good time to visit Machu Picchu, but the weather can be unpredictable and the trails can be slippery. During these months, visitors should be prepared for rain and cold temperatures.

Regardless of the time of year, visitors to Machu Picchu should plan to spend at least two days exploring the ruins. This will allow enough time to see all the major sites and take in all of the amazing views.

How to Get to Machu Picchu?

The best way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking the train from Cusco. The trains depart from Cusco and travel through the Sacred Valley before arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the ruins. From there, visitors can take a bus up to the ruins or hike the steep, winding trail.

Another option for getting to Machu Picchu is to take the four-day Inca Trail trek. This is a popular option for adventurous travelers who want to experience the ruins in a unique way. The trek takes hikers through the Sacred Valley, passing ruins and spectacular scenery along the way.

For those who don’t have the time or the energy to take the Inca Trail trek, there are shorter treks available from Cusco. These treks range from one to three days and offer visitors the chance to experience some of the same sights and scenery as the Inca Trail trek.

Things to Do at Machu Picchu

When visiting Machu Picchu, visitors can explore the ruins and take in the breathtaking views. There are also several other activities to enjoy, such as hiking, bird watching, and mountain biking.

For adventure seekers, there are also several opportunities to explore the surrounding area. Visitors can take a day trip to the nearby town of Ollantaytambo, visit the salt mines of Maras, or take a rafting trip down the Urubamba River.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, there are plenty of options for relaxation. Visitors can take a dip in the hot springs of Aguas Calientes, enjoy a cup of coca tea, or visit the town’s markets to shop for handmade crafts and souvenirs.

Where to Stay in Machu Picchu

The town of Aguas Calientes is the closest place to stay when visiting Machu Picchu. There are several hotels and hostels available, as well as campgrounds for those who want to camp out under the stars.

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For those looking for something a bit more luxurious, there are also several resorts located near Machu Picchu. These resorts offer stunning views of the ruins, as well as luxurious amenities such as swimming pools, spa services, and fine dining.

No matter what type of accommodation you are looking for, there is something to suit every budget and taste in and around Machu Picchu.

Tips for Exploring Machu Picchu

When exploring Machu Picchu, it is important to be prepared. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that is appropriate for the terrain. It is also a good idea to bring a map of the ruins and a camera to capture all of the amazing sights.

When exploring the ruins, it is best to start at the top and work your way down. This will allow you to get the most out of your trip and make sure you don’t miss anything. It is also important to be respectful of the site and not touch or climb on any of the ruins.

Finally, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions. Be sure to stay on the marked trails and keep an eye out for wildlife. It is also a good idea to hire a guide if you are unfamiliar with the area.

Visiting Machu Picchu

To visit Machu Picchu, visitors must purchase a ticket in advance. Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance to the ruins. It is important to purchase tickets as soon as possible, as tickets do sell out quickly.

Once inside the ruins, visitors must stay on the designated trails and respect the site. When leaving the ruins, visitors must leave before 5:00pm to ensure they don’t miss the last bus to Aguas Calientes.

Machu Picchu Tours

For those who want to explore the ruins with a guide, there are several tours available. These tours typically include transportation to and from the ruins, as well as a guided tour of the ruins and the surrounding area. The tours are a great way to learn more about the history of Machu Picchu and get an up-close look at the ruins.

Tours typically last from one to three days and can be tailored to suit the individual traveler’s needs. It is a good idea to book a tour in advance, as they do fill up quickly.

Safety at Machu Picchu

When visiting Machu Picchu, it is important to take all necessary safety precautions. Be sure to stay on the designated paths and trails, and be aware of your surroundings. If you are hiking, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes, and bring plenty of water, food, and a first-aid kit.

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It is also a good idea to hire a guide if you are unfamiliar with the area. The guides will be able to provide valuable information about the ruins and help you stay safe while exploring.

Machu Picchu Day Trips

For those who don’t have the time or energy to take a longer trek to Machu Picchu, there are several day tours available. These tours typically include transportation to and from the ruins, as well as a guided tour of the ruins and the surrounding area. The tours usually last from one to three days, and can be tailored to suit the individual traveler’s needs.

Day trips are a great way to get an up-close look at the ruins without having to take a long trek. It is a good idea to book a tour in advance, as they do fill up quickly.

Summary

Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites and a must-visit destination for any traveler. It can be reached by car, train, or foot and there are several tours available for those who want to explore the ruins with a guide. To get the most out of your trip, make sure to plan ahead and be prepared for the unpredictable weather. Finally, remember to be respectful of the site and take all necessary safety precautions.