Making the most of a trip to Machu Picchu – Journey Latin America
If you are looking for an unforgettable gap year, why not discover the world-famous archaeological site of Machu Picchu for a thrilling experience. Set up high against the majestic Andes Mountains, this iconic destination is filled with an abundance of natural beauty, so you will be able to create many magical memories.
How to get there
Machu Picchu is accessible to everyone and there are several ways to get there:
- Hike the Inca Trail. It’s hardly surprising that this exciting trail is one of the world’s most famous walking treks. The Inca Trail is a fantastic way to explore Machu Picchu. As well as exploring the famous Inca sites, you will be able to see the undiscovered side to Machu Picchu.
- Take the train ride up to the top for the ultimate relaxing journey. Your train will take you through the region’s most scenic parts, with each view even more spectacular than the last.
- Catch the train from Ollantaytambo and get the bus from Machu Picchu village
Where to stay
The mountain valley of Cusco is a great place to stay en route to Machu Picchu, and offers superb accommodation. Surrounded by the lofty peaks of the Andes, the former capital of the Inca Empire is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful, unspoilt cities in the world.
During your stay, you can delve into the rich Inca culture and admire the baroque architecture of the golden churches and meticulous detail of the Inca temples. There are also lively markets and art galleries to enjoy. In the evening, you can sample the tempting local delicacies in the gourmet restaurants.
What to do once you arrive in Machu Picchu
This is your chance to see the legendary Lost City close up, and Machu Picchu is full of ways you can satisfy your passion for adventure. Although you can choose to explore Machu Picchu yourself, you might want to opt to go with a tour guide who can give tell you more about the site’s fascinating history.
There are two entry time slots for Machu Picchu per day (6am – 12pm and 12pm – 5.30pm), so it is advisable to book your slot as soon as possible. If you are hiking the Inca Trail, you will be able to get spectacular views of Machu Picchu early in the morning. If you are arriving by train, it’s best to go for an afternoon booking.
Check out the Guardhouse, which is a simple building with great importance, and enjoy the impressive panoramic view. Next, head to the Sacred Plaza and admire some of Machu Picchu’s most important buildings, the Main Temple and the Temple of Three Windows.
The Royal Tomb is also worth visiting – widely referred to as the ‘resting place for high nobility’. Be prepared to be amazed by the incredible carvings and burial structures.
If you are looking for a challenge, climb to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain. It’s a three hour walk, which you can choose to do independently (it will take you around 1 hour 30 minutes going up, 30 minutes at the top and 1 hour going back down). It’s an easy route to follow but please be aware of the changes in altitude while you’re exploring.