Machu Picchu & The Inca Trail planner is the best option of guide to start planning your next vacations in Peru! Ready for this adventure?
When to go?
All the high – season / low season trade offs are here. Winter (June through August) means drier weather and easier traveling, but it’s prime vacation time for those in the northern hemisohere.
Don’t forget that three major observances :
- Inti Raymi (June 24),
- Peru’s Independence Day (July 28)
- Santa Rosa de Lima (August 30)
Fall during this time, and translate into exceptionally heavy crowds of Peruvian travelers. The result is higher winter lodging prices and larger crowds. Prices and visitor numbers drop dramatically during the summer rainy season (October through April). For near-ideal weather and manageable crowds, consider a spring or fall trip.
In January and February the weather could most likely wreak havoc with your travel plans. But it’s also the time when visiting during the October . April rainy season. It’s rare, but visitors have been stranded at Machu Picchu or between Aguas Calientes and Cusco if the slides block the way, but usually only very briefly.
Health & Safety
Altitude: Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are a breath – catching 300-700 meters (980 – 2,300 feet) lower than Cusco. But to be on the safe side about altitude effects, locally known as soroche ; get an ample intakeof fluids, but eliminate or minimize alcohol and caffeine consumption.
(Both can cause dehydration, already a problem at high altitudes) Smoking aggravates the problem. Some large hotels have an oxygen supply for their guests use. The prescription drug acetazolamide can help offset the alkalosis caused by low oxygen at high elevations.
Water: Tap water is generally not safe to drink. Stick with the bottled variety, “con gas” (carbonated) or “sin gas” (plain).
Crime: Aguas Calientes employs a cadre of tourist police, decked out in baseball caps and white or blue shirt that say “Tourist Security Machu Picchu”
It’s an easy train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Most visitors board the train in Cusco, however or on foot along the famed Inca Trail to reach the remains of Machu Picchu.
By Train: Unless you’re doing the long hike, a train is how you’ll get to Machu Picchu. The Vistadome and Backpacker trains leave from Cusco’s San Pedro Station. They make stopsat Poroy, Ollantaytambo, Km 88 ( the start of the Inca Trail), and km 104 (the launch point of an abbreviated two-day Inca Trail). The luxury Hiram Bingham leaves from Poroy, some 15 minutes from Cusco.
Many travelers associate the terms “day trip”with Machu Picchu, but an overnight at Machu Picchu (in Aguas Calientes, the town below the site) lets you explore long after the day trippers have left the mountain, and head back up early the next morning, an especially tranquil time before the midday heat and next round of visitors appear.
It took the outside world almost four centuries to discover the existence of Machu Picchu, the fabled “Los city of the Incas”. After a visit to the ruins duringthe June – Augusthigh season, you ‘ll swear the world is determined to make up for lost time.
On a high season weekend Machu Picchu might host in excess of 3000 visitors a day. By September, daily totals fall to 1500 visitors, and a typical February day, in the lowest of the lowseason, sees a relatively paltry 1000 people pass through the entry turnstiles.
A current plan would cap numbers at 2500 visitors per day. The “Instituto Nacional de Cultura” , wich oversees Machu Picchu, is searching for ways to spread the numbers out more evenly over the year. Incentives may be offered for coming during the off- season.
Restaurants & Hotels:
The town of Aguas Calientes near Machu Picchu has numerous restaurants. Lunch is servedbetween 1 and 3, the busiest time for restaurant here. Dinner begins around 7, and most restaurants start winding down service at about 9. Most places do stay open in the afternoon if you wish to dine outside these hours.
A few in town lodging line the railroad tracks that’s not as down at the heels as it first sounds: the tracks are one of two main streets in Aguas Calientes. Those hostelries have rooms facing the Vilcanota river .
The big Four lodgings in Machu Picchu town is ( Sanctuary Lodge, Inkaterra, Sumaq, and Hatuchay Tower). Lodgings keep surprisingly early checkout times. Most hotels keep the same official rates year round but unofficially discount rates during the off-season of mid September through May.