You’re taking a trip to Machu Picchu by train or a trek to Machu Picchu, such as Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, or Lares Trek, and not sure what to bring, we conveniently have made a Machu Picchu packing list for you below. You’ll be able to see all the items we recommend and some we don’t. This is going to be categorized into three types. Things you must bring, things we recommend but are optional, and last, things you can’t bring.
Things You Need on Your Machu Picchu Packing List
There’s no getting into Machu Picchu without your passport or your ticket. If you need information on how to book your tickets to Machu Picchu, we have a complete guide regularly updated for you to read. When you purchase the ticket, make sure that everything matches your passport information.
This might not seem like a need; however, there are many instances where you will need money. There is a small coin fee to use the bathrooms at Machu Picchu. It’s recommended to tip if you use a tour guide. Food and snacks are located just outside the site, and if you’re hungry, they don’t give up food for free.
A small backpack/daypack
We’ll go over next what to put in this bag, but this will be your saving grace as you hike around Machu Picchu. Make sure that it’s small. If it is on the larger size, they will make you check your bag at the entrance. Bags over 20 liters are not allowed.
Layers of clothes
The weather changes very rapidly on top of Machu Picchu. We’re talking short-sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, pants, a puffy jacket, and a rain jacket. It can rain without any given notice, especially during the rainy season, it can get cold, warm, etc. The weather can be very unpredictable so prepare for all of the elements. Pro Tip- Bring a vented rain jacket over a standard. Hiking around while wearing a rain jacket can get very hot. If you get a vented rain jacket, you can open the vents under your armpits and release all the heat. A rain jacket won’t be as vital if it is the dry season. Additionally, it is a good idea to have a long sleeve shirt to accommodate the change in the weather.
There are no water fountains around the grounds. You’ll want to stay hydrated being in a high elevation as well as doing physical activity.
Things You Should Consider on Your Machu Picchu Packing List
Hiking shoes/hiking boots
This is no stroll on a sidewalk. You’ll be walking around on rocks, and if you’re doing any of the hikes, you’ll want some solid shoes/boots. That said, if it rains, most hiking shoes/boots are waterproof thus keeping your feet dry. Additionally, if you are doing either the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain hike, these will be vital to avoid slipping. Finally, make sure they are worn in, you don’t want Machu Picchu to be the first time you are wearing your boots. Leave the flip-flops at home. Don’t forget that puffy jacket as it can get cold at night if you are staying in Aguas Calientes.
I’ve never been big on sunblock… I’m sure I’ll get a lashing by my dermatologist when I get older. I’ve just never been one to get sunburnt. However, when on Machu Picchu a full day, I have gotten very dark. So that said, bring the block, especially if you burn.
It’s a good idea to bring a pair of sunglasses. Since you will be at altitude, the UV rays will be more intense, therefore making it easier to damage your eyes.
We did a roundtable at Cachi before writing this blog, and bug spray got brought up. I instantly was confused because I had never seen bugs while on Machu Picchu the two times I’ve been there. That said, our team has told us in Peru that gnats can run rampant sometimes. So in this case, bring bug spray to keep them away.
If you’re someone who gets hangry, bring some snacks to eat. It might be a long time before you can get to a restaurant, even though there is one right outside the complex. The place is huge, and if you’re on the other end of Machu Picchu and starving, you’re going to be thankful you brought something to munch. Especially all you hangry animals.
When we mentioned bringing water, that obviously can be carried in many ways. I find the most convenient way is that of a bladder in my bag. Scoop up a camel-bak bladder and toss it in there so you can have plenty of water throughout the day.
Power Adapter/Step Down Converter
To charge that camera you are going to need a power adapter. You won’t use it inside Machu Picchu but will use it in your hotel before the trip. The European and US plugs are different in Peru. Some places have plugs that will fit US plugs; however, they are 220 volts versus 100 volts in other areas. Your phone will still charge, but you risk frying your electronics. The step-down converter will help to prevent that.
You won’t need this at the actual Machu Picchu site as it sits lower in elevation than Cusco. However, if you are worried about suffering from altitude sickness, then you may consider bringing Diamox to help with the high altitude of the surrounding area.
Things to Leave at Home When Packing for Machu Picchu
Your country’s folkloric attire
We chatted about this in our 50 Facts blog/podcast, and I think it should be addressed if for some reason someone somewhere wants to wear their country’s attire on Machu Picchu. It’s banned, they won’t allow it, and you’ll look silly being turned away due to what you’re wearing. If you’re confused about what folkloric attire is, it’s things like a Scottish Kilt, German Lederhosen, or an American Flag Cowboy Hat. Not sure on that last one, but you’d look pretty silly wearing that into Machu Picchu as well.
As lovely as it is to use trekking poles out on the trails, they are not permitted inside the Machu Picchu grounds. They are only allowed if you are disabled and you must contact the Peruvian government ahead of time to obtain permission. If you get permission, they must be rubber tips.
This is consistent with the walking sticks. They are not allowed inside the grounds. Leave them at home.
Disposable Plastic Bottles
As of January 1, 2019, all disposable plastic bottles are not allowed inside Machu Picchu. You can still bring in reusable water bottles including Camelbak or Nalgene bottles. Also, don’t bring in disposable food containers. These are banned too. Peru is doing everything it can to keep the grounds clean and usable for everyone without spoiling the scenery with trash bins.
If you have small children make sure you bring a strapon child carrier.
There you have it, a perfect packing list if you are on a visit to Machu Picchu. It’s such a serene place. It’s is one of the wonders of the world, and it’s for a good reason.
Peru Travel Podcast: What to Bring and not Bring to Machu Picchu
Many people have questions in regards to what they can and cannot bring inside the Machu Picchu complex.
The number one item to bring in to Machu Picchu? Your passport. There is absolutely no way that you will be able to get a ticket to see Machu Picchu without a passport. Be sure to be on the lookout for the Machu Picchu passport stamp once you are there.
Be sure to bring a backpack to hold your hat, sunscreen, snacks, and water. However, take care that the backpack is not too large. There are certain dimensions allowed for your pack inside Machu Picchu, and it isn’t big.
We cover how to all the furry critters and creatures you might see in Machu Picchu including chinchillas.
When you’re in Peru it can rain, especially during the rainy season, so be sure to pack a poncho or rain jacket.
Finally, don’t forget your cash, cuz you ain’t going to the bathroom without a few soles.
Be sure to listen to the end to find out the “interesting” clothing items that you should not wear if you want to get inside.
Below is a transcript which has been modified for your reading pleasure.
David Kosloski: 00:17 Hello and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, David Kosloski alongside of me is six foot seven Charlie Thompson, and today we’re both going to be digging into what to bring and not to bring to Machu Picchu. Charlie, I just want to point out you are a very, very tall man.
Charlie Thompson: 00:36 You missed a half an inch actually, according to the doctor, six-seven and a half with my shoes on, six-eight, and no, I don’t play basketball. See, as all, you guys are wondering out there,
David Kosloski: 00:46 People do that. You know what I mean, I gotta get that extra inch, that extra inch, but here’s the thing, when going into Peru, we’re hoping to hook you up with no extra inches, no fluff numbers like that extra half-inch that he’s talking about. We’re going to go direct. We’re going to get you exactly what you need to know about what you can bring into Machu Picchu and what you can’t bring into Machu Picchu. How do you feel about that, Charlie?
Charlie Thompson: 01:08 Well, the thing is anywhere you go, you don’t want to walk in somewhere and be like, ah I can’t have that. In fact, I’ve even thought like when you go into an arena or anything like that, you know how they valet cars. There should be people valeting belongings. I mean, isn’t that a good idea?
David Kosloski: 01:22 That’d be neat. I’d be down with that.
Charlie Thompson: 01:25 Unfortunately in Peru, that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist at Machu Picchu. So what you need to do is listen closely and we will tell you everything you need to bring into Machu Picchu and what specifically you cannot bring. Otherwise, you will have to pay for a locker.
David Kosloski: 01:41 That’s right. And believe it or not, the first thing on the list is a ticket. No Way. Yeah. Dude, can you believe it? You need a ticket. You need the golden ticket to get into March Picchu. Now you need a ticket and you need your passport. A lot of people don’t realize that you need your passport. You’re going to make it? I thought you were about to sneeze. Sorry. I just literally looked over and I’m, he’s about to blow a gasket. You need your ticket and you need a passport, they check your passport at the gate, you actually need your passport in order to book it. So a lot of people want to book their tickets the day of, in fact, that is really not possible. Usually, I guess there’s probably special circumstances but typically need to book that in advance and you need a passport to do that. So most companies, if they’re legitimate, are gonna ask for your passport in advance to get that. Speaking of companies before we continue, we should probably do a plug for what it is we are. This podcast is brought to you by cachilife.com, bringing you all your Peru travel needs, uh, that being the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu Day Trips, Salkantay Trek, and of course the Sacred Valley. Did I do a good job with that? I’m not Vanna White or anything.
Charlie Thompson: 02:54 Vanna White, just presses buttons, fakely.
David Kosloski: 02:57 I feel like she should talk though.
Charlie Thompson: 02:58 She should. She should.
David Kosloski: 03:00 I think she has a beautiful voice.
Charlie Thompson: 03:01 Pat Sajak just hijacks the whole thing until the very end.
David Kosloski: 03:06 He holds that attention. Number two on the list.
Charlie Thompson: 03:09 Wait. I want to throw something in real quick because this is something that not a lot of people know, but they do not sell MAPI tickets. MAPI meaning Machu Picchu at the door, at the entrance, they’re not sold there. So what David was saying earlier is you could possibly get one the day of probably very difficult, but you would still have to get it through a tour operator in Peru. You would not be able to purchase at the door. They don’t have a box office at Machu Picchu. So keep that in mind. Everybody loves going to this place. It’s absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. So don’t forget your ticket ahead of time.
David Kosloski: 03:46 That’s right. Number two on the list that you probably should have is a backpack, like a day pack, something small. There are some measurements. 15.7 centimeters by 13.7 centimeters by 7.9 centimeters. You might need to get a ruler or just read the blog posts that we have up to about what not to bring into Machu Picchu and what to bring in. You know, at the same time I always like to bring snacks, things like that and places and I like to have some water with me. And so I bring it back to kind of carry my camera and things like that. So you can obviously opt-out of that option, but I’m not an octopus. I can’t carry eight things into Machu Picchu.
Charlie Thompson: 04:27 And for those that live in America who are listening right now, in case you don’t want to pull out your phone that has a calculator on it. I went ahead and did the math for you. 15.7 centimeters is roughly seven inches by six inches by three inches. So it’s kind of, it’s kind of a small pack.
David Kosloski: 04:48 So I want to make fun of myself right now. And if anybody’s listening, an octopus actually only has six legs. And, I said eight and then I went to 12, so I’m a dummy. But, just want to, for the record, clarify that. An octopus only has six. You did not hear it here that octopuses have eight or 12 legs.
Charlie Thompson: 05:07 And they’re tentacles, by the way.
David Kosloski: 05:09 They’re tentacles. See.
Charlie Thompson: 05:09 They’re not legs.
David Kosloski: 05:11 This has become like an animal show. We should talk about beavers next. And like hedgehogs and stuff. Those things are cool.
Charlie Thompson: 05:17 They do have some cool different animals in Peru we could talk about on one show, but we don’t have time for that right now. Dave. We got a lot to get to.
David Kosloski: 05:23 I just want to mention they have chinchillas and they’re the cute little fluffy fat little mice. Things that run around. And I saw one. It was adorable. All right, next one on the list is obvious. Bring your camera. Do you want to take photos? You don’t remember this magical memory for the rest of your life. You can’t actually film in Machu Picchu without a permit. But definitely take a bunch of different photos. You’re gonna want to remember that for the rest of your life.
Charlie Thompson: 05:43 There’s two things I’ve learned in this life. Well, I guess it’s one thing I’ve learned well two things that you always leave with are your wallet and your cell phone. If you have those two things when you leave the house or you leave your hotel or hostel or your Airbnb in Peru or in America or in Australia, wherever you’re at, you will make it. Because you got your phone, you get all your contacts, you’ve got an emergency if you need it, you got your wallet, you can pay for things. And guess what? Your phone has a camera.
David Kosloski: 06:15 That’s right. Take those pictures, snap, snap. Number four on the list is a raincoat, poncho, hat. So basically we’re trying to say here is sort of dress like an onion, if you will really bring layers because it gets cold. It can rain and you wanna be able to take those things off, throw em in your backpack that you brought because we told you to bring it. Boom, boom, boom. See what we’re doing here. And definitely bring those things just because the weather changes all the time in the mountains. It’s really hard to predict, I bet you the weatherman in Peru or in Cusco rather than probably make bank because it is probably a really difficult job.
Charlie Thompson: 06:46 I’ve got to steal a line from the blog post here because I love it, which means you need to go check out the blog and read this as a great blog cachilife.com/peru-travel-blog/. But in here, the weather in the Andes and Machu Picchu changes faster than Charlie Sheen can say, winning after three lines of coke. And if you don’t know who Charlie Sheen is, then you’re not winning.
David Kosloski: 07:08 That’s awesome. And then, and then lastly on the list is some extra cash. It’s hard obviously to figure out what takes a card, what doesn’t. We recommend bringing in some extra cash. There are places to eat at or right outside of Machu Picchu. Obviously, there’s restaurants in Aguas Calientes which just slightly off the road. Just bring that extra cash. You may also want to tip your guide. Your guide may want, you know, just your tours as good as your guide, right? We had a review that came in on Tripadvisor. Someone said that I love that line. And then being said, bathrooms also cost money. Ironically, I think it’s like fifty cents or something like that. Charlie may know the exact number, but they do cost some money and I’m definitely gonna bring extra cash for that. Alright, so now that we talked about what we can bring into Machu Picchu let’s go ahead and break down the nitty-gritty of what you can not bring in. And the first one is walking poles. You’re out of luck. So if you went through the Inca Trail, you got to ditch those hiking poles, you can’t bring them into Machu Picchu,
Charlie Thompson: 08:04 Although we do recommend them on the trail. It’s what’s one thing you do have to get rid of before you go in.
David Kosloski: 08:10 Third on the list is umbrellas. We talked about how it might rain. So you want to bring that rain jacket, but unfortunately, you can’t bring umbrellas into Machu Picchu, which could be a good thing for people like Charlie because if you don’t know this, the average height in Peru is actually quite small. I’m not judging here, but I’m just saying that if a bunch of Peruvians was carrying umbrellas I would have to say it’s safe to say Charlie would be whacked in the face by a bunch of umbrellas.
Charlie Thompson: 08:36 Might be getting whacked in the shoulders.
David Kosloski: 08:38 A fourth on the list is strollers, prams, and pushchairs. So basically if it comes on wheels, you can’t bring it in. It sucks. It’s unfortunate. But that is the nature of the beast. Fifth on the list is cigarettes and e-cigarettes. There’s no smoking in Machu Picchu. And unfortunately, that means you can’t bring in e-cigarettes. All you smokers out there, you better bite the dust. Charlie, kick the cigarettes, kick them out, get rid of them and never use them again. It even says no tobacco products. So chewing tobacco. Oh yeah, we’re here. We’re here in Nashville. So a lot of chewing tobacco going on around here.
David Kosloski: 09:16 Snuff, snuff. And there is a rumor. So we’ve been told there’s a rumor. We know it’s true, but we don’t know the extent of this rumor like exactly how far it goes, but we know that you cannot wear your country’s clothes in Machu Picchu. Now, let’s go ahead and exaggerate on that a little bit. That does not mean that you cannot wear a shirt that is made in the United States are made in China. What that means is that in you’re an Irish man, you can’t wear a kilt.
David Kosloski: 09:45 Ironic, weird. But that’s kind of how we’ve gathered and understood it. So that’s just what we’re telling you. Again, we don’t really understand the rule fully. We just know that it is there. So that’s everything that you need to know about what to bring into Machu Picchu and what you can’t bring into Machu Picchu. We tried to keep this one really quick for you guys, get you in and out, and get you up to date. So if you want to know more information, more in detail, again, it’s as Charlie had said, you can check out our blog post cachilife.com/peru-travel-blog.
Charlie Thompson: 10:14 You can also hit us up [email protected]. We respond to all of your emails. We can answer any questions you have. We’ve got some gear junkies, we’ve got some techie people, we’ve got some people that know everything you need to know about Peru. So hit us up. Guys thanks so much for joining us. We will catch you next time.