Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most breathtaking archaeological wonders in the world. Nestled high in the Peruvian Andes, this ancient city is shrouded in mystery and history.
Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Machu Picchu is a must-visit destination. But with so much to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are the top 12 best things to do in Machu Picchu, Peru:
1. Hike the Inca Trail.
The Inca Trail is the most iconic way to reach Machu Picchu. This 4-day, 26-mile trek winds through stunning scenery, including cloud forests, ancient ruins, and the famous Sun Gate. It’s a challenging hike, but the reward of seeing Machu Picchu for the first time after all that effort is truly unforgettable.
2. Explore the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, take some time to explore the ruins themselves. There’s so much to see, from the Temple of the Sun to the Intihuatana Stone. Be sure to hire a guide to learn about the history and significance of each site.
3. Climb Huayna Picchu.
For an even more spectacular view of Machu Picchu, climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the city. This hike is steeper and more challenging than the Inca Trail, but the views from the top are simply breathtaking.
4. Visit the Sun Gate.
The Sun Gate, or Inti Punku in Quechua, is a sacred Inca site located at the top of a nearby mountain. It’s the traditional starting point for the Inca Trail, and it’s also a great place to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu.
5. Take a dip in the hot springs of Aguas Calientes.
After all that exploring, relax and soak your muscles in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu.
6. Go whitewater rafting in the Urubamba River.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, go whitewater rafting in the Urubamba River, which flows through the Sacred Valley below Machu Picchu.
7. Visit the Maras Salt Mines.
The Maras Salt Mines are a unique and fascinating sight. These ancient mines, located near Moray, are still in use today, and they produce some of the finest salt in the world.
8. Hike to the top of Moray.
Moray is an ancient Inca agricultural experiment center located near Maras. The site consists of several concentric circles of terraces, which were used to grow different crops at different altitudes.
9. Visit the Chinchero Market.
The Chinchero Market is a great place to buy souvenirs and learn about the local culture. Here you can find traditional Peruvian textiles, handicrafts, and fresh produce.
10. Take a cooking class.
Learn how to cook traditional Peruvian dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado in a cooking class. This is a great way to experience the local cuisine and culture.
11. Go stargazing.
Machu Picchu is located in a remote area with low light pollution, making it a great place to go stargazing. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way in all its glory.
12. Take a train ride through the Sacred Valley.
The train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu is a journey in itself. The train snakes through the stunning scenery of the Sacred Valley, passing by ancient ruins, colorful villages, and snow-capped peaks. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery before arriving at your destination.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to purchase your Machu Picchu tickets in advance, especially during peak season. Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance gate.
Planning your trip to Machu Picchu:
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, from May to September. However, the city is still beautiful to visit during the wet season, from October to April. Be sure to factor in the altitude when planning your trip. Machu Picchu is located at 8,046 feet above sea level, so it’s important to give yourself time to acclimate to the altitude.
I hope this blog post has helped you plan your trip to Machu Picchu. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and endless adventure, Machu Picchu is a truly unforgettable destination.