Here’s a few helpful tips to help you get the most out of your experience at Machu Picchu.
Want to go to Machu Picchu but don’t have a reservation for the Inca Trail, Check out this post for a great alternative.
1) Get Up Sleepy Head!!!
As backpackers we sometimes have troubles making the 11 o’clock check out… I know, I get it. But this is one experience that you want to see super early. Ask around to find out what time the gates open and get there before it… seriously! There will be a fairly large line at opening, and you will think it’s not worth it… but it so is! Once you get past the bottleneck of the entrance you’ll feel like you have almost the whole site to yourself. If it’s a nice day, this is one of the most memorable sunrises you’ll ever see.
2) Bring Water/Food
You might have to sneak it in, you might not… depends who you ask, but like almost any other large tourist site, you will be so much more comfortable if you have something to drink/eat readily available.
3) Hike Huayna Picchu
You will need to get tickets beforehand as there are only 400 people allowed up each day; 200 between 7/8am and 200 between 10/11am. This is not an easy hike, if you are not in good physical shape, it might not be for you. But if you are in good shape and ready for a challenge, the view from the top is amazing!
4) Bring Your Good Camera
Okay, this one probably goes down as the most obvious, but I had to state it anyway. The masonry alone will make you want to have a fantastic camera. And, if you follow tips 1 and 3, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for great shots, and a powerful zoom will be appreciated.
5) Put in a Long Day
There’re places out of view where you can nap/eat if required, but be prepared to put in a long day in mountain conditions. This means that not only should you have food and water, you should dress in layers, and be prepared for rain and sun, as the temperature WILL fluctuate; you should be well rested (a bitch considering the 4am alarm); you should have good hiking shoes; and you should be in good physical condition. Try to take in a high altitude hike or two before you go, bring a day pack well stocked, and sleep well the night before. If you do this day well, it will be one of your most revered memories!
No reservation for the Inca Trail? This post will help you out.
Do you have any other useful tips for getting the most out of Machu Picchu?