There are a few options how to get to Machu Picchu, i.e., on foot, by bus or by train.
Hiking the Inca Trail is very popular, however, it actually may be quite crowded and other hiking routes are also possible.
Bus or train are good options as well; you can even combine them and then take a shorter hike; all depends on you, how much time you have, how fit you are or what season you’re traveling.
I chose the train (but it was 2011 – so I’m sure some things changed), because I had very little time, and March/April is not the best season in Peru for hiking.
Machu Picchu is located in mountains at 2430 m (7970 ft) above sea level, so it’s much lower than Cusco (3400 m above sea level). Because of that, altitude sickness shouldn’t be a problem in Machu Picchu, but can be in Cusco!
Machu Picchu, The Lost City of the Incas, is an impressive ancient Inca city.
There is a very good reason that Machu Picchu is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s simply amazing ruins located in a wonderful scenery.
Being in Peru and not seeing Machu Picchu is like not being in Peru at all… However, keep in mind when you’re going there, it can be very crowded.
I was in Peru in April 2011, and it wasn’t crowded; just the weather wasn’t perfect, anyway, I still enjoyed it a lot.
In Peru, you’ll find many archaeological sites; from Cusco you can visit quiet a few of them, e.g., Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, Puka Pukara, Qenko, Sacred Valley or … Rainbow Mountain (well, not exactly an archaeological site but still very nice).
Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman) is an archeological site just outside Cusco.
Sacsayhuaman was an Inca fortress and its remaining ruins are very impressive. It’s a very nice and interesting place, definitely a must-see while being in Cusco.
Cuzco is a beautiful town, definitely one of the biggest attractions in Peru and a starting point for many attractions like e.g., Machu Picchu.
When you’re planning to visit Cusco, don’t forget that it’s located quite high, at 3400m above sea level, and altitude sickness is a common problem there. So take it slowly and react immediately after you see first symptoms of altitude sickness!
I had an idea to write some basics about the Inca Empire. Longer I was thinking about it, I got kind of overwhelmed… More I was reading about Incas, more I was shocked, surprised or impressed. 😉
Inca Empire is quite a complex topic, there are so many different aspects I’d like to talk about, so many details, so many positive as well as negative things. One was clear to me, I’m not able to write a short post and include everything I’d like to. It’s a travel blog at the end, so I decided to skip this idea, and I’ll just point you one interesting website that describes the Inca Empire quite well and quite compact at the same time.
Spanish is mostly spoken in Peru, however Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are also official languages of Peru.
If you don’t speak Spanish at all, visiting Peru may be quite complicated; e.g., people from my hotel in Cuzco didn’t speak English… Well, it’s somehow manageable, but may be challenging.