Machu Picchu, Peru

Here at Experience Chile, we can arrange two different ways for you to experience Machu Picchu. One involves hiking the Inca trail, which requires a lot of walking and sleeping in tents for several nights.

The other enables for a day trip out of Cusco by train.

On this page we offer a short description of these two options, as well as information about Machu Picchu.


Machu Picchu, also referred to as the Citadel, is the “jewel in the crown” of Peru’s tourist destinations. Above all it is a fascinating ruin and archaeological site located at 2,430m above sea level (asl) in the Peruvian jungle, 80kms northwest of Cusco. Considering its proximity to the Equator, summers (June, July and August) are hot, wet and humid. Particularly, the rainy season is between October to April and the peak visitor period is July and August.

Tourists can either trek the famous Inka Trail over a few days to get to Machu Picchu or take a train from Cusco. The route follows the Urubamba River through the Sacred Valley. Apart from being based at Cusco, there are options to overnight near the Citadel at Aguas Calientes, a village at the base of the valley below Machu Picchu, or just outside the entrance to the Citadel.

It should be noted that there is a daily visitor limit of 1,116 people. Therefore, getting access must be arranged well ahead of time.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a ruin that historians claim was built by the Inca people in the 15th Century. However, there are also alternative theories such as that it was built by extra-terrestrials. Whichever theory you believe, the site was built by a civilization that possessed intelligence and advanced knowledge.

For example, the site itself is atop of almost vertically sided, 450m-high mountain peaks. The solid rocks that form the terraces and buildings are cut in a precise way, with what had to be by precision tooling (not by the grinding of stones as visitors are regularly told), and locked together, cleanly, without any mortice or other substance.

Moreover, apart from being able to cut the rock into exact, required shapes, the other big mystery is how they were then lifted into place considering their immense weight.

There is also an astrological observatory, perfectly aligned with certain stars and planets as well as a technologically advanced (for the period) water irrigation system.

Visitors marvel at how on earth the place was ever built, because no one has yet figured it out. In addition, the surrounding scenery and location is one of “jaw-dropping” beauty. Another key point is that often in early morning, or after a rain shower, the area is filled by the beauty of mist clouds that slowly pass around the ruins as well as below eye level around the contours of the canyon sides.

Considering its mystic and setting in a dramatic location, it was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1891 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

Machu Picchu Recent History

There is debate among historians and archaeologists as to when Machu Picchu was constructed. For all intents and purposes, the current date period is sometime in the 15th Century. However, others would say long, long before that. Above all, one date that everyone agrees on is when a “modern foreigner” stumbled across the Citadel, and this was in 1911 when the American explorer, academic and historian of South America studies Hiram Bigham III arrived. At that time a lush jungle was hiding the ruins and they could not be seen from afar. He was responsible for bringing Machu Picchu to the attention of the outside world.

Hiram initiated a program of studies and secured support for excavation and cut back the Jungle overgrowth from Yale University and the National Geographic Society as well as the government of Peru.

Huayna Picchu

When you are at the Citadel, staring in awe at the scenery and trying to figure out how it was constructed, and why, you may notice another peak that appears to be isolated and higher than Machu Picchu. This is called Huayna Picchu. Only if you have a head for heights and are physically fit should you consider climbing Huayna Picchu, however, from here is a unique view back to the Citadel.


It should be noted that the circumference sectors of the Citadel are immediately in line, and on top of, vertical mountain sides that drop perpendicular down to the valley floor some 450m below. Some tourists have fallen to their deaths because of lose soil, tripping over something, taking pictures or feeling giddy from the altitude. Therefore, visitors need to be careful here.

Remember to take: Insect repellent and sunscreen, warm clothing, hat and sunglasses, camera, trekking gear.

Machu Picchu Quick Info

Altitude: 2,430m

Location: 80km northwest of Cusco.

Getting Here: Flight from Lima to Cusco, which takes around 1hr. Then a 3.5hr train ride to Aguas Calientes, the closest village in the valley floor below Machu Picchu, followed by a 35min bus ride up a meandering, steep mountain side.


Cusco is a fascinating, large Inca city, full of historical culture, churches, bars, restaurants, markets and general activity. It lies at an altitude of 3,400m asl, which is higher than Machu Picchu, and for most people poses a challenge when adjusting to the altitude. Therefore, for rest and pleasure, it is recommended to stay for the first two nights at least at Cusco, adjust to the altitude and discover the secrets of the city prior to going on to Machu Picchu.

In Addition, Cusco has its own impressive Inca ruins to admire.

From Cusco, the visitor can either join the walkers and trek the 80km to Machu Picchu, sleeping in tents on route, or take the 3.5hrs train ride to Aguas Calientes in the Sacred Valley.

Accommodation at Machu Picchu

There is one hotel just outside the main entrance to the Citadel and this is called the Sanctuary, currently managed by Belmond.
This is a high end, mid-level hotel and offers guests the chance to stay looking around the Citadel after the other visitors have left as well as being able to get into the site first thing in the morning.

However, most people, if staying overnight, will stay down at Aguas Calientes, located in the valley floor.

Experience Chile Itineraries

Experience Chile will be pleased to arrange an itinerary that includes some nights at Cusco, the train ride to Aguas Calientes, transport up to the Citadel and return to Cusco.

Alternatively, we can include accommodation at either the Sanctuary lodge outside the entrance to the Citadel or at the village Aguas Calientes, which is below the Citadel.

In addition, we would arrange pleasure or logistical accommodation in Lima pre and post your visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Please just state what you would like.

Please Take Note of Prohibited Items, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Entry into Machu Picchu

Pertaining to Entry into Machu Picchu
1. Carry backpacks, bags or purses larger than 40x35x20 cm (16x14x8 inches).
2. Enter with food or kitchenware, i.e. plates, cutlery, thermoses, etc.
3. Have with any illegal substance or to be under the influence of any substance.
4. Take in any type of alcohol or be under the influence.
5. Enter with umbrellas, walking sticks, portable chairs, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks or other photography/film stabilization accessories.
6. Bring in animals, except guide dogs.
7. Feed domestic or wild animals
8. Come in with any type of aerosol.
9. Deface or alter any part of the ruins, or leave any type of graffiti.
10. Enter with any type of musical instrument, megaphone or speakers.
11. Make loud or disturbing noises (scream, whistle, clap, sing, etc).
12. Use virtual apps in narrow paths or outside designated explanation areas
13. Enter with heels or hard-sole shoes.
14. Access with baby strollers.
15. Enter with knifes or Weapons of any kind.
16. Come in with banners, posters, or other objects of this type, clothing intended for advertising purposes, costumes, among others. Film or photograph for advertising purposes.
17. Generate turmoil, undress, lie down, run and/or jump.
18. Climb or lean on walls and/or structures. Touch, extract or move lithic elements such as rocks and stonework.
19. Disturb, collect or remove flora or fauna.
20. Carry out activities that distort the sacredness of the monument, such as fashion shows, dances, social commitments, obscene acts contrary to morality and good manners, perform any kind of activity that implies the impairment or deterioration of the monument, its natural environment and/or facilities.
21. Smoke or vape or start a fire of any kind.
22. Litter.
23. Stray from the established circuits/routes.
24. Sell or trade inside the monument and surrounding areas, until Puente Ruinas.
25. Fly over with paragliders, drones or any type of craft.

Performing acts or entering with objects prohibited in the above list will generate an immediate expulsion of the visitor without reimbursement and the start of legal actions if necessary. The park guards of the Ministry of Culture and the agents of the National Police are the authority within the monument premises.

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