Machu Picchu: Elevation, Location, Weather, Things to do & Travel Tips

One of the New Wonders of the World


There is a tremendous feeling at visiting this incredible sight known also as “the lost city of the Incas”. The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, 42 kilometers from Ollantaytambo by train is located in a high mountain with terraces falling away to the fast flowing River Urubamba snaking its course far below in the valley which provide a majestic Scene.

Historical Facts

For centuries Machu Picchu was buried in jungle, until Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in July 1911. It was then explored by an archaeological expedition sent by Yale University. Machu Picchu was a stunning find. The only major Inca site to escape 400 years of looting and destruction, it was remarkably well preserved. And it was no ordinary Inca settlement. It sat in an inaccessible location above the Urubamba Gorge, and contained so many fine buildings that people have puzzled over its meaning ever since. However, recent researches published in 2008 claim that Bingham was not the first to discover Machu Picchu. A local man, Agustin Lizarraga was the one who discovered Machu Picchu in 1902, as it was found written on one stone of Machu Picchu temple.

Aguas calientes

Aguas Calientes Only 1.5 km back along the railway from Puente Ruinas, this is a popular resting place for recovering from the rigors of the Inca Trail. It is named Aguas Calientes after the hot springs above the town. It is also called the town of Machu Picchu. Most activity is centred around the old railway station, on the plaza, or on Avenida Pachacútec wich leads from the plaza to the thermal baths daily 05h00-20h30.. They consist of a communal pool, which smells a bit sulphurous, 10 minutes' walk from the town by the banks of the river amid rich cloud forest vegetation. You can rent towels and bathing costumes at several places on the road to the baths, or buy them if you prefer. There are basic toilets, changing facilities and showers. Take soap and shampoo and keep an eye on your personal items.


How to get to Machu Picchu

There are two ways to reach Machu Picchu. The safest way is by train (from Poroy/Ollantaytambo station) with a bus ride for the final climb from the rail terminus at Aguas Calientes to the ruins. Some prefer walking up from Aguas Calientes, it takes around 2 hours, following the Inca path. The ruins are quieter after 15h30 but don't forget that the last bus down from the ruins leaves at 17h30.

There’s another way to get to Machu Picchu and is by hiking one of the Inca trails which lasts 4 days. The classic Inca trail is one of the most popular treks in south america, thousands of adventurous travelers participate hiking almost 40 Km. The Inca trail is open from March to January (the trail is closed every year in February).

If you're planning to visit Machu Picchu, we suggest considering these two options for your experience. Getting the train is a fantastic journey, you'll discover beautiful landscapes all along the way. The tour is ideal for couples and families. To get more details, visit our Machu Picchu tour by train.

What to do in Machu Picchu

Although one day in Machu Picchu is enough, other activities are available as long as you're willing to stay longer. Here we show you some options.

Huayna Picchu

Visitors are given access for 2 departure times daily, 07h00 and 10h00, latest return time 15h00. If you’re planning to hike the Huayna Picchu, please let us know in advance so we can book it as soon as possible, just 500 places are available!

huayna picchu stairs

Synonymous with the ruins themselves is Huayna Picchu, the verdant mountain overlooking the site. There are also ruins on the mountain itself, and steps to the top for a superlative view of the whole magnificent scene, but this is not for those with vertigo.

The climb takes up to 90 minutes but the steps are dangerous after bad weather and you shouldn't leave the path. The other trail to Huayna Picchu, down near the Urubamba, is via the Temple of the Moon: two caves, one above the other, with superb Inca niches inside. To reach the Temple of the Moon from the path to Huayna Picchu, take the marked trail to the left; it is in good shape. It descends further than you think it should. After the Temple you may proceed to Huayna Picchu, but this path is overgrown, slippery when wet and has a crooked ladder on an exposed part about 10 minutes before the top. It is safer to return to the main trail to Huayna Picchu, but this adds about 30 minutes to the climb. The round trip takes about 3 hours and a half.

Travel Tips to Machu Picchu

  • Decide which travel option you'd be interested in (train, trekking, etc.)

  • Contact a reliable travel agency to planning your trip.

  • Make sure to have all travel documents for visiting Peru as a tourist (valid passport, vaccines, etc).

  • Depending on your date visit, wear proper clothing (rainy season or dry season).

  • Machu Picchu is a fantastic experience, consider hire a local guide to show you not just history, but also real treasures only a professional tour guide can provide you.

Frequent Travel Questions

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Consider visiting Machu Picchu during the dry season, that is, from April to September. You'll have sunny and warm days.

What is the elevation of Machu Picchu?

Many people are afraid of altitude issues. However, Machu Picchu is located at 2400 msnm in an area bordering the jungle. The weather is humid and warm. Thus, no reason to be worried.

Is it safe to visit Machu Picchu?

The short answer is yes. All facilities guarantee a safe experience while visiting Machu Picchu. Neverthless, we always encourage you to follow all instructions that autohrities as well as your guide will provide you such as respect the paths, not to climb the walls, and watch out your steps.

How long can we stay in Machu Picchu?

The average time to visit Machu Picchu is around 2-3 hours. After that, you'll be invited to leave the place. If hiking the Huayna Picchu Mountain, you'll be able to stay around 5-6 hours.

Can we eat at Machu Picchu?

Eating isn't allowed inside of Machu Picchu. We recommend that you take a bottle water while visiting the citadel. You can get some snacks in Aguas Calientes, before taking the bus up.

How can I hike the Huayna Picchu Mountain?

If you're adventourous, we highly recommend you ascending the famous Huayna Picchu. Notice that this hike is so demanded, so make sure to contact us at leats 3-4 months in advance to guarantee a spot for you. Only 400 tickets are available per day.

Is Machu Picchu open during the Pandemic?

Machu Picchu has been closed for many months due to the Covid-19. However, it's now open to visitors. We suggest that you contact us first to have further information.

The Best Machu Picchu Tours

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Rainbow Mountain Tour


A beautiful hike over the 5000 meters above sea level

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Machu Picchu Day Trip


Experience a great day exploring Machu Picchu by train

machu picchu day tour package

Machu Picchu Classic


Enjoy 5 days with all inclusive services around Cusco & Machu Picchu