Machu Picchu is on many traveller’s bucket lists… it is after all one of the best preserved (despite mass-tourism) ancient Mayan sites in South America. Tucked away in the Ande Mountains, it escaped the Spanish Inquisition and was all but forgotten until the 20th Century. Fly with LAN from London (via Madrid) to Lima for only £423 this May.
This incredible site was only rediscovered in 1911 by an American archaeologist. Since then, its hiked to the top of many traveller’s “must-see” lists for obvious reasons. It’s the final destination along the Inca Trail and while historians and archaeologists still don’t know the story behind this ancient city, the unknown adds to the appeal.
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5 Things to know when visiting Machu Picchu
- When buying your entry tickets, avoid purchasing them from travel agencies in Agual Calientes. Instead, get them from the official cultural centre. Most hostels and hotels also sell tickets to enter the ruins.
- Give yourself enough time to visit. It takes 30 minutes to reach the site, which closes at 17:30. Be sure to head there early (first bus at 5:30), taking one of the first buses to make the most out of your trip to Machu Picchu. By foot, it’s an 8km hike (1-2 hours up, 1 hour down), mainly up stone stairs. It’s recommended to start heading up at 4:00am to arrive in time to see the sunrise.
- Take your passport. In most cases it is needed to enter. Also there’s a popular stamp booth on your way out where you can get the official seal of “I’ve been there!” to show off to your friends.
- Only small day packs are allowed inside (max. 20 litres). It is a pain to store luggage at the site so only bring what you need for the day.
- Don’t miss the chance to climb Wayna Picchu because of elevation sickness (common among travellers). Give yourself a few days in Aguas Calientes to adjust to the elevation before attempting this rigorous hike up the peak! A great solution: pack some ginger candies for the trip.