One of the seven wonders of the world Lies atop the Andes Mountain in the Inca Sacred Valley in Peru. Ancient Incan civilizations sat atop this incredible site once and used it for parties, rituals and ceremonies for over 100 days a year. The Inca devised irrigation systems and crop alterations that are mind blowing and can be seen directly at the site. Machu Picchu is simply stunning! This is a must see bucket list trip and I highly recommend planning carefully so that you get the full experience.
This is a difficult trip to plan and here is pretty much how you have to see the wonder.
Go for two days if possible and definitely get to the base of the mountain the night before. Staying in Aqua Calientes is a very nice way to rest up ad get there early to see the sight at sunrise. You will need to purchase bus tickets to the top of the mountain, costing $75 US roundtrip. Cash is king in these parts so take plenty and forget about mastercards. They probably will not be accepted in most places. Take water and snacks as you will be spending 8 to 10 hours walking around the site and you can only exit 1 time to get water, or go to the bathroom, or otherwise leave and re-enter for the day for any reason. Plan accordingly as the hikes are difficult and stunning! stretch out that morning and maybe even train a little if you want to do it right!
Plan a trip to cusco for 2 nights to acclimate and visit the city.
Get on the train to Agua Calientes and spend the night in a hotel or hostel of choice.
Take the bus at the first chance you get in order to reach the entrance by sunlight.
The trip is not cheap or easy, but it is worth it to see the site though.
Entrance options include seeing the citadel only, or adding the Montana, or the Huayna Picchu entrance. We opted for the Huayna Picchu Option to do the site and then the Huayna climb after, at 10 AM. Tickets are limited and I recommend booking ahead and tracking availability at Ticket Machu Picchu
I recommend getting a private guide from Cusco and seeing the Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Picchu on the day before, or for 2 days before. Even spending 2 days to see chincheros, Moray, and Olyantambo would be ideal to get the full experience of Olyantambo. Ideally, going on Sunday to the markets of Chincheros and onto ollantaytambo for the night, and then on is sufficient to see the best of the Sacred Valley.