Traveling to Peru and visiting Machu Picchu with Sean was simply a dream. This was our first international trip together and we wanted to make the experience as memorable as possible. Since Machu Picchu had been on both of our bucket lists, we knew that it would be an experience of a lifetime. The rich culture, history, delicious Peruvian food, and most importantly traveling with my best friend made the trip unforgettable.
Machu Picchu is everything that everyone says it is and more. Capturing the sacredness and magnificence of Machu Picchu is impossible, it must be experienced. If you have not placed Machu Picchu on your bucket list, I highly recommend doing so, you will not be disappointed! It is my hope that this post will provide some helpful tips and recommendations for visiting this incredible site and to inspire you to plan a trip for yourself! Please scroll below for my recommendations.
If you plan on visiting Machu Picchu, first be aware that there several options in reaching the site. You can travel by train and bus or you can hike the Incan trail. There are hundreds of companies that you can choose from if you select the hiking option. The hikes can be anywhere between 7 hours to 4 days or can even take a few weeks depending on the company that you select and where the trail begins. I’ve included a link to one company here (not sponsored).
Because Sean and I planned the trip at the last minute, we took a tour and ended up going up the mountain by train and bus. Keep in mind that even if you take the train and bus, at a certain point you still have to “hike” up the mountain. The bus does not take you all the way up. On our next trip to Machu Picchu, I would love to do the 7 hour hike up.
Be sure to dress in layers! When we left our hotel at 5:00am it was cloudy and freezing. I remember wearing a sweater and light jacket that morning. By the time we reached Machu Picchu a few hours later, it was sunny and extremely hot. I was so glad that I had listened to the advice of other bloggers who suggested layering up.
Make sure to carry a small backpack for all of your belongings. The trail is very narrow and rocky and the last thing that you want to worry about is holding any heavy items. Definitely wear sturdy shoes, (hiking boots or sneakers are great). Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, a hat (optional), sunscreen, bug-spray, chapstick, water, and most importantly your camera!
When visiting Machu Picchu or Cusco in general, many people complain of suffering from high altitude sickness. Cusco, the city where Machu Picchu is located is at 11, 152 feet and Machu Picchu is at 7,972 feet. Although Machu Picchu is at a much lower elevation, people still suffer from high altitude sickness. Symptoms include severe headaches and nausea. Peruvians recommend drinking Coco tea to help with the high altitude. Alternatively, many people obtain altitude sickness medication from a doctor before their trip to Peru. Thankfully, Sean and I had no issues with the altitude and did not need to take any medication.
Sean and I were amazed as to how the site was carved out of a mountain with the use of no technology and how the 3,000 large stone steps that connected the various levels were all man made. The mathematical precision and the spiritual meaning behind the various temples and monuments were incredible. The Incans were simply brilliant and so ahead of their time. I now completely understand why Machu Picchu is considered one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.”