Transportation: The first step of your Machu Picchu vacation is mostly likely flying into Lima, Peru. Lima has the only international airport in Peru, so if you wish to fly onto Cusco, you'll have to take a separate domestic flight. From Cusco, to get to Machu Picchu you have several options. One involves taking a train ride straight from Cusco to Aguas Calients, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu. You could also opt to visit parts of the Sacred Valley and then take a train ride from the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes. Once you're in Aguas Calientes you can take a small bus up to the entrance of the site, or you can hike up the hill on foot. A final option is to hike the whole way and take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is the most difficult but perhaps the most rewarding selection.
Tickets: It is very important to note that you cannot purchase your entrance tickets at the ruins themselves. You'll be a very sad traveler if you fail to purchase your tickets ahead of time. Rather, you must buy your tickets at the Instituto Nactional de Culture (INC) in Cusco or Aguas Calientes. The tickets are valid three days from the day you purchase them and are good for one entry only.
Visiting the site: There are a few things to take into consideration if you want to make your Machu Picchu trip the best it can be. Due to the site's popularity, it gets very crowded. Mondays and Fridays tend to be the busiest, as well as holidays. To beat the crowds, consider waking up early and heading up the hill before sunrise. This way you may also be one of the lucky few who are able to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, which offers a great panoramic view of the site. Note that due to its high-altitude location weather can be cold at the site, so be sure to bring enough clothes to keep you warm. The morning mist ads to the chill, but makes for a very mysterious experience.
This mini guide to Machu Picchu was written by an expert in Machu Picchu trips at Peru For Less, specializing in helping you plan your journey via the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
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