As we are just back from the Machu Picchu, I’m sharing with you all the tips, information how to get to Aguas Calientes, how to buy the entrance, what are the prices, the difference between Llaqta Picchu, Wayna, Huchuy and la Montaña… and where to get your Machu Picchu passeport stamp!
How to get to the Machu Picchu?
1- Get to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu pueblo)
You can either choose to take the bus from Cusco (7h through a shitty road but only 70soles with return) or take the train.
We took the train from Ollantaytambo. You have plenty of discounts on Peru Rail website and it was cheaper from Ollantaytambo than from Cusco. We paid 28$ – 100soles and it took only 1h30 to arrive to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo.
You can go directly from the train station to the archeological site but we preferred to sleep there (50soles a double room with private bathroom) and go to the Machu Picchu first hour in the morning!
How to go to Ollantaytambo from Cusco?
You have colectivos starting Calle Pavitos in Cusco. It costs 10 soles per person and took 1h to get to Ollantaytambo.
Notes about the train:
– In the train you need to wear 2 masks + a facial protection (you can buy it 2 soles in front of the train station).
– No need to print anything: they scan your ticket on your phone.
– You need to fill in a declaration before boarding.
2- Get to the archeological site of Machu Picchu
Option 1: By bus
As foreigner, for 12$ (24$ with return) you can take a bus from Aguas Calientes. It takes about 30min and spares you a hard (but nice) walk.
Option 2: Walking
From Aguas Calientes you will walk 20min to the bridge (open from 5am). Then you will have 1900 steps to arrive to the entrance of the site. It took us 1h to climb!
How to choose your ticket for the Machu Picchu?
If you want to visit everything you will need to buy several tickets which is really annoying… We wanted to do the full tour (circuit 2) and to visit Wayna Picchu but you can only visit it in the morning, and only with the circuit 4.
Also the problem is the weather: in the morning it’s VERY cloudy. We entered at 7am (to avoid too many tourists) but waited 2h to be able to see the full view of the site. People who got a guide couldn’t wait like us so they missed the beautiful postal card view… Of course it depends of your luck and the season (rainy season is between November and April).
If you want to avoid bad weather it’s better to pick up an arrival time after 9am (but seing the clouds leaving and the site appearing is magical).
Do I need to book in advance the Machu Picchu?
Right now (March 2022), not really… We only booked our tickets the day before our arrival and there were still plenty! (maybe there was less tourism because of the CoVid, and the rainy season). You can check online how many entrances are left . I advise you to book it as soon as you can, because it can be full for weeks…
How to buy the ticket of Machu Picchu?
> Check the trend for the coming days and months
What are the different options of Machu Picchu tickets entrance?
What is Llaqta de Machu Picchu?
Machupicchu 1, 2, 3 o 4 or “Llaqta de Machu Picchu” offers you 4 circuits. You only can do one of them, in only one way (guards make sure you follow the road):
What is called “Montaña”?
It was closed when we were there, but it’s the Machu Picchu mountain that you can reach on the South part of the site, at 3082m.
What is Wayna Picchu?
Meaning “Young peak” this is the mountain you can see on the right side of all the postal cards of Machu Picchu. You need to climb very narrow and steep steps.
What is Huchuypicchu?
A new place to visit: the small hill you can see on the left of the postal card of Machu Picchu.
Tips to visit the Machu Picchu
- If you want to enjoy the famous view of Machu Picchu you need to pick up the first or second circuit. If you are tired of the circuit 2 (the big one) you can switch to circuit 1, the short one.
- You will need to pick up a slot: We took the general entrance at 7am-8am. We could still enter until 9am (they leave you 1h buffer). For the other tickets you are obliged to be at the entrance of the mountains on time. Example: If you buy an entrance at 7am for circuit 4 + Wayna Picchu you need to enter at 7am and to be at 8am at the gate of Wayna Picchu.
- The only solution if you want to visit everything could be: start by the Wayna Picchu (or other mountain) early, then go back to the gate and buy a second ticket to start again…
- If it’s cloudy, just wait, it’s getting better with a bit of patience:
– Some of the temples close during the day (see the picture above). The Inca Bridge was also closed and so was the Machu Picchu mountain and the temple of the Moon (on Wayna Picchu side).
– You have plenty of restrictions (no eat, no smoke, no umbrella, no selfie stick…) and the toilets are only available in the entrance (2 soles).
Where to get the Machu Picchu stamp on your passeport?
- In Aguas Calientes: At the “Centro cultural” Avenida Pachacutec.
- In the entrance of Machu Picchu.