On any trip to Peru, you must travel to Machu Picchu; the Inca Citadel, which is located close to the Imperial city of Cusco. There are various ways to travel to Machu Picchu, for example, the famous Machu Picchu hike which is a very popular way to reach the site, involves a four day strenuous hike. However, if exercise is not to your liking, never fear, as there is the option of taking the train on an all-inclusive tour to Machu Picchu.
There are many companies in Cusco offering day tours to Machu Picchu. If you are interested in taking one, it would be well worth your while to do some research on who to choose, but there also many other things you should look for and expect on your day tour to Machu Picchu. If do not want an organized tour, the other option is to organize the journey yourself which will be cheaper but involves some work.
Machu Picchu Travel Package
Firstly, for a Machu Picchu travel package, a tour company should include transfer from Cusco to the train station in Poroy (that is considered Cusco) or to Ollantaytambo station in the Sacred Valley. Train tickets to and from Aguas Calientes (which is the station below Machu Picchu), bus tickets from Aguas Calientes and return to the gate of Machu Picchu, entrance into Machu Picchu and a guide for at least 2 hours. Some companies will also include lunch, and in the case that you would like to save where you can, you can ask to exclude lunch in exchange of a discount. This is the minimum that a tour should include, if they do not include these services, than look for another company.
Some of the cheaper companies will offer tours in a group service, which in Peru is called POOL service, so be aware that POOL service will be with a group of around 10 to 15 people so the going may be slower than a private service where it will be just yourself and your guide.
If you want to organize the tour yourself, than here are a few things to remember:
There are many buses from Cusco to Ollantaytambo daily, it is a good idea to stay in Ollantaytambo the night before your train leaves and to arrive early at the station.
There are three companies that sell train tickets: Peru Rail, which includes two different types of trains depending on your budget. Firstly, there is the Expedition train is a tourist train with big windows for a great view. Secondly, there is the Vistadome which has a glass ceiling and is more luxurious. The Inca Rail also has two trains providing two different standards. If you prefer luxury tours, than the Belmond Hiram Bingham service is the one for you, where you will be pampered and relaxed throughout your entire journey to Machu Picchu. All of these services have offices in Cusco or you can buy the tickets online.
Machu Picchu Tickets
For the bus tickets to and from Machu Picchu, these are also available in Cusco or online. For the entrance to Machu Picchu, you can buy online at www.machupicchu.gob.pe/. You now need a licenced guide to enter Machu Picchu; you are not allowed to enter alone. Many of the agencies will help you with finding a licensed guide, so you should be able to do this with ease. It is a good idea to have all of your travel and tour arrangements organized before you get to Cusco as after you arrive there may be no tickets available and there is a chance that you could miss out on visiting the ancient site.
Machu Picchu is opened all year round, with October through to April being the official rain season, but be aware, it can rain any time of the year, regardless of the season. The peak tourist season falls between the months of July and August, which is part of the dry season and you will be with thousands of other travelers, accompanied by long lines to enter the ruins and catch the bus. It is free to enter Machu Picchu on Sundays for Peruvians so the crowds tend to be bigger.
Because Machu Picchu is at a lower altitude than Cusco, many people choose to arrive into Cusco and go straight to the Sacred Valley and then to Machu Picchu. This is a great idea as you can stay in Aguas Calientes for a night or two to acclimatize and ultimately, this will make for a more enjoyable experience. The side effects of altitude can be challenging with headaches, fatigue and nausea spoiling your adventure, so it is a good idea to avoid physical exercise, alcohol and heavy meals when you first arrive into the altitude.
On your guided tour to Machu Picchu, you will learn about the site and its very interesting history; the Incas that lived there and how the historic site was constructed and its 100 years of inheritance. You will see the different sections that make up the city and discover the temples and sacred sites of Machu Picchu.
Remember to take your passport with you on your day trip as you will need it in order to enter the site. Taking a raincoat, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent and a camera are highly suggested items in order to make the most of your journey.
When you decide to travel to Peru Machu Picchu, to make the best of the experience, make sure to do your research to get the best value for your money. It pays to visit websites like tripadvisor to get some idea on the quality of the services of the agencies you are thinking of using. Machu Picchu is waiting for you in the Southern Andes of Peru!