Top 29 Things to Do in Machu Picchu: The Ultimate Visual Guide

Machu Picchu citadel on a cloudy day with the text Things to Do in Machu Picchu: A Visual Guide

Machu Picchu, often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Machu Picchu offers a breathtaking experience with its awe-inspiring architecture, stunning natural beauty, and rich history. Visiting Machu Picchu provides a range of captivating activities and attractions, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the ancient Inca civilization.

Here are some of the top things to do in Machu Picchu:

  1. Hike to the Sun Gate/Inti Punku
  2. See the Sunrise
  3. Meet the Llamas
  4. Explore the Temple of the Sun
  5. Visit the Intihuatana Stone
  6. See the Temple of the Condor
  7. Prison Group
  8. Principal Temple
  9. Walk the Inca Bridge
  10. Climb Huayna Picchu
  11. Hike Machu Picchu Mountain/Cero Machu Picchu
  12. Hike Huchuy Picchu
  13. Enjoy the View from the Watchman’s Hut
  14. Visit the Agricultural Terraces
  15. Experience the Sacred Plaza
  16. Take a Guided Tour
  17. Experience the Sun Festival
  18. Marvel at the Incas’ Engineering
  19. Explore the Inca Trail
  20. Winay Winay
  21. Indulge in Local Cuisine
  22. Discover the Temple of the Three Windows
  23. Visit the Royal Tomb
  24. Visit Mandor Falls
  25. Mariposario de Machupicchu
  26. Take a Scenic Train Ride
  27. Visit the Museum on Site
  28. Learn About Inca History and Culture
  29. Shop for Local Souvenirs

To make the most of your visit to Machu Picchu, it is essential to plan your trip well. Understanding how to get to Machu Picchu, the best times to visit, entrance fees and permits needed, and safety guidelines are crucial.

Knowing what should be in your packing list for Machu Picchu and exploring nearby attractions can enhance your overall experience. With its majestic beauty and fascinating history, Machu Picchu provides a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that should not be missed

Table of Contents

Key takeaways:

  • Hike to the Sun Gate: Enjoy a scenic hike to the Sun Gate and witness breathtaking views of Machu Picchu.

  • Explore the Temple of the Sun: Discover the impressive architecture and ancient rituals at the Temple of the Sun.

  • Visit the Intihuatana Stone: Learn about the mysterious Inca stone used for astronomical and spiritual purposes.

1. Hike to the Sun Gate

Hiking to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu is an essential activity for any adventurous soul.

The exhilarating hike commences at the entrance and typically lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Be prepared for a challenging yet rewarding journey as you traverse the steep trail.

But fear not, for the breathtaking view that awaits at the end makes it all worthwhile.

Along the way, hikers will come across a variety of terrains and landscapes, including enchanting forests and ancient stone steps.

As you finally reach the Sun Gate, a marvelous panoramic view of lost city of Machu Picchu unfolds before your eyes, offering a truly unique perspective of the mesmerizing ruins.

Don’t forget to capture memorable photographs and fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking surroundings.

It is important to note, however, that this hike is not recommended for individuals with mobility issues or those unaccustomed to strenuous physical activity.

It is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable local guide or experienced hikers before embarking on this invigorating adventure.

Trail leading to Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

2. See the Sunrise

One of the best things to do in Machu Picchu is to wake up early and see the sunrise. The morning light hitting the ancient Inca ruins is an awe-inspiring sight.

To catch the sunrise, you’ll need to take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The buses start running around 5:30 am. Get in line early, because the sunrise spots fill up fast.

The best places to view the sunrise are at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) or the Guardhouse. The Sun Gate is on the eastern side of the ruins.

It’s a bit of a hike up but offers incredible views of the whole Machu Picchu citadel as the sun crests over the surrounding mountains. The Guardhouse is located near the main entrance. There’s always a crowd here, but it’s a good spot if you don’t want to make the Sun Gate an easy hike up.

Wherever you choose to view it from, sunrise at Machu Picchu is magical. The soft morning light blankets the stone structures and terraces.

You’ll hear birds waking up and singing in the trees. It’s a tranquil experience that is well worth the early wake-up call. Don’t miss your chance to see Machu Picchu greet a new day.

3. Meet the Llamas

One of the most charming parts of visiting Machu Picchu is getting to meet the resident llamas and alpacas. These docile, fluffy creatures roam throughout the ruins. They are descendants of the llamas used by the Incas to transport goods between Machu Picchu and Cusco.

Llamas and alpacas are very photogenic, so be sure to snap some selfies with them! You can find them resting in shady spots near the Guardhouse or grazing on grass by the terraced gardens.

Some will come right up to you, expecting treats or pets. Just be gentle and move slowly when approaching them.

While llamas and alpacas look similar, there are some differences. Llamas are much larger and can grow up to 400 pounds.

Alpacas are smaller and only get up to 150 pounds. Llamas are also used as pack animals, while alpacas are bred for their soft wool.

No matter their size or utility, getting close to the fuzzy llama herd is an essential part of appreciating Machu Picchu’s history and charm. Don’t miss out on some llama love during your visit!

4. Explore the Temple of the Sun

To explore the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the temple through the main entrance and admire the awe-inspiring architecture of the Temple of the Sun.
  2. Observe the precise alignment of the Inca masonry with the sun’s rays during solstices, a remarkable feature of the Temple.
  3. Marvel at the central rock called Intihuatana, which served as a solar clock or calendar within the Temple of the Sun.
  4. Climb the terraces surrounding the four walls of the temple to behold a breathtaking panoramic view of the mountain landscape encompassing the Temple of the Sun.
  5. Learn about the significant role the Temple played in Inca cosmology and its pivotal involvement in various religious ceremonies.
  6. Capture the extraordinary beauty and grandeur of this iconic structure through photography while paying homage to the Temple of the Sun.
  7. Preserve the integrity of the ancient stones by refraining from touching or climbing on them, acknowledging the ancient heritage of the Temple.
  8. Enhance your understanding of the rich history and cultural significance of the Temple of the Sun by utilizing the guidance of experienced guides or informational plaques.
  9. Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere surrounding the Temple and appreciate the powerful energy and mystique that emanates from the Temple of the Sun.
Top view of circular granite stone buliding called Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu

5. Visit the Intihuatana Stone

Visit the Intihuatana Stone in Machu Picchu. This ancient stone structure has great historical and cultural significance.

The Incas used it for astronomical observations and ceremonies. By visiting the Intihuatana Stone, you can learn about the advanced knowledge and skills of the Inca civilization.

The stone aligns with the sun during the winter and summer solstice too, demonstrating the precision engineering and astronomical knowledge of the Incas. Exploring the Intihuatana Stone allows visitors to experience the rich history and spirituality of Machu Picchu.

Intihuatana Stone on a cloudy day

6. See the Temple of the Condor

The Temple of the Condor is a must-see attraction in the citadel of Machu Picchu. If you’re planning a trip to Machu Picchu, be sure to see the Temple of the Condor.

This structure showcases the skill and artistry of the Inca civilization. Located in the Sacred Plaza, the temple is a chance to connect with Inca heritage and witness the architectural wonders of this ancient site.

The Temple of the Condor consists of a large rock formation that resembles a condor with outstretched wings. See the Temple of the Condor and marvel at the precision of the stone carving.

The beautifully cut stone represents the symbol of power and freedom in Inca culture. As you explore the temple, you can observe the attention to detail in the stone carving. It also has a stone table which many think is a sacrificial altar where they gave ceremonial offerings.

The wings of the condor form two separate caves, believed to represent the upper and lower worlds in Inca cosmology. Appreciate the significance of the condor in Inca mythology as you visit the Temple of the Condor. It offers insight into the history and spiritual beliefs of the ancient civilization.

Include a visit to the Temple of the Condor on your itinerary and see the Temple of the Condor to experience the rich Inca heritage and witness the architectural wonders of this ancient site.

Destroyed granite stone building with flat rock altar on the ground called Prison Group at Machu Picchu

7. Prison Group

One of the more mysterious areas of Machu Picchu is the Prison Group. This section is located in the northwest corner of the urban sector of the ruins. It consists of several buildings with small doors and windows encircling a central courtyard.

The name “Prison Group” is a bit misleading though. Archaeologists do not believe this area was used as an actual prison.

More likely, it was a residential sector for the lower-class citizens and servants of Machu Picchu. The tiny rooms may have been used to isolate people during outbreaks of disease.

Nonetheless, the Prison Group is an interesting part of the ruins to explore. You can admire the intricate stonework around the doors and windows. Peer into the dark, cramped rooms to get a feel for what living conditions were like back in the heyday of Machu Picchu.

Climb to the top of the Prison Group for nice views of Hike Huayna Picchu. This vantage point allows you to appreciate how the urban and agricultural sectors of the Inca citadel, were laid out. As you wander through this quiet corner of the ruins, take a moment to ponder what life was like for the average Inca citizen.

Destroyed granite stone building with flat rock altar on the ground called Prison Group at Machu Picchu

8. Principal Temple

The Principal Temple is one of the most impressive structures at the citadel of Machu Picchu. It is located near the Sacred Plaza at the northern end of the main citadel. This temple was likely used for religious ceremonies and worship.

The Principal Temple has classic Inca stone architecture. Its walls are made of meticulously cut granite blocks pieced together without mortar.

Look for the huge trapezoidal doorways that are designed in the classic Inca style. Inside the temple, there is a stone altar and intricate niches built into the walls.

Climbing up the stone staircase in the back of the temple brings you to the Temple of the Sun. This semicircular structure has tall windows perfectly positioned to catch the sun’s rays during the solstice.

Take time to admire the impeccable Inca masonry here at the Principal Temple. The joints between the stones are so tight that you can barely slip a piece of paper between them! Machu Picchu showcases the incredible stoneworking skills of the Incas. The Principal Temple is one of the best examples of this ancient craftsmanship.

Granite stone building with stone windows and stone altar called Principal Temple at Machu Picchu

9. Walk the Inca Bridge

If you want to experience Machu Picchu’s beauty and history, don’t miss walking to the Inca Drawbridge. Follow these steps:

  1. Start at Machu Picchu’s entrance and follow the trail to the Inca Bridge.
  2. Admire the views of the mountains and greenery.
  3. Follow the path to the Inca Bridge, enjoying the ancient ruins.
  4. Arrive at the Inca Bridge, a secluded site used as a hidden entrance and defense mechanism.
  5. Marvel at the precision-engineered Inca Bridge made of stone blocks.
  6. Cross the bridge carefully, as only a limited number of visitors are allowed at a time for safety.
  7. Take your time to enjoy the panoramic views from the bridge.

Walking to the Inca Drawbridge is a unique experience where you witness the Incas’ craftsmanship and appreciate the region’s natural beauty. Make sure to prioritize this activity during your visit to the Machu Picchu Citadel.

Bridge made of plywood called Inca Bridge crossing a drop-off with a stone path at Machu Picchu

10. Climb Huayna Picchu

  • Start early: Begin your climb of Huayna Picchu early in the morning to avoid crowds and make the most of your experience.

  • Secure your permit: Remember that a separate permit is required to climb Huayna Picchu, so make sure you have obtained yours in advance.

  • Prepare physically: Climbing Huayna Picchu involves steep steps and narrow paths, so be physically prepared for the ascent.

  • Take breaks: Pace yourself during the climb and take breaks as needed. It’s a challenging hike, so listen to your body.

  • Enjoy the views: Take in the stunning views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscapes as you climb. Appreciate the beauty of the site.

  • Be cautious: The climb can be challenging and potentially dangerous, so be cautious and mindful of your surroundings.

After conquering Huayna Picchu, pause to enjoy the breathtaking views, see the Temple of the Moon, and reflect on your accomplishments. It offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu.

Stay hydrated and bring snacks to maintain your energy levels. And don’t forget to capture memorable photos to commemorate your adventure up Huayna Picchu.

11. Hike Machu Picchu Mountain/Cero Machu Picchu

For breathtaking views of Machu Picchu, hike up Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Cero Machu Picchu. This peak towers over the ruins at 10,111 feet above sea level. The hike takes about 1.5-2 hours each way.

The trail up Machu Picchu Mountain consists of steep stone stairs carved rock side. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes as the route is quite steep.

Once you power through the climb, the panoramic views at the top are well worth it. You’ll be eye-level with the ruins sprawled out beneath you. Other scenic highlights are the maze-like agricultural terraces and the surrounding snow-capped Andean peaks.

Only 100 people are allowed to hike Machu Picchu Mountain each day. Permits are required and should be purchased well in advance. It’s best to hike in the early morning before the crowds arrive and the afternoon clouds roll in.

Conquering Machu Picchu Mountain is a rite of passage for many visitors. Don’t miss out on the awesome 360-degree unmissable sights of the Inca citadel and surrounding valley from the summit! Just take the challenging hike slowly and watch your step.

12. Hike Huchuy Picchu

If Machu Picchu Mountain seems too daunting, opt for the shorter but still rewarding hike up Huchuy Picchu. This “little peak” sits at 8,000 feet above the ruins. The hike takes about 1-1.5 hours each way.

The Huchuy Picchu trail follows a less steep, well-marked path through lush forest. You’ll climb endless stone steps passing through a cave tunnel and up to a dramatic lookout point. From here, you get a unique view looking down at the entirety of Machu Picchu.

The hike isn’t easy, especially with the high altitude. But the stunning scenery along the way makes it worthwhile.

You’ll see exotic orchids and flowers blooming along the path. Look for the whimsical rock formation that looks like a frog’s face near the top.

Only 200 hikers can attempt Huchuy Picchu per day, so secure your permit ahead of time. This lesser-known trail provides a peaceful, crowd-free Machu Picchu experience with rewarding views at the top. Catch your breath upon reaching the summit and take in the majesty of the ruins below you.

13. Enjoy the View from the Watchman’s Hut

Experience the breathtaking view from the Watchman’s Hut also known as the Guardian House or Caretaker’s Hut in Machu Picchu and marvel at the ancient ruins and surrounding landscape.

The Watchman’s Hut offers a panoramic perspective of the mountains, Urubamba River, and lush vegetation, immersing you in the beauty and scale of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

As you stand at the Watchman’s Hut, take a moment to embrace the tranquility and connect with the rich history lost culture, and spirituality of Machu Picchu. The experience is truly awe-inspiring.

To fully appreciate the view from the Watchman’s Hut, consider arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the site is less crowded. The soft light during these times enhances the beauty of the landscape and creates a magical atmosphere.

Granite stone building with straw roof overlooking grass terracing called Watchman's Hut at Machu Picchu

14. Visit the Agricultural Terraces

Visiting the agricultural terraces is a must when exploring Machu Picchu. These terraces were ingeniously built by the Incas and served as a vital part of their agricultural system. They showcase the ingenuity and engineering skills of the Inca civilization.

The terraces provide a glimpse into the sustainable farming practices of the Incas. They were designed to optimize water usage and prevent erosion, demonstrating the Inca’s deep understanding of their environment. Walking along these terraces gives you a sense of the labor and skill required to create such a complex agricultural system.

Exploring the terraces allows you to appreciate the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect with nature and admire the breathtaking scenery. You can also learn about the crops grown on the terraces, such as corn, potatoes, and quinoa, which were essential for the Inca’s survival.

To fully experience the agricultural terraces, consider hiring a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights into their historical and cultural significance. They can also point out interesting details and answer any questions you may have. Remember to respect the site by not climbing on the terraces or damaging any vegetation.

Visiting the agricultural terraces is a remarkable way to dive into the history and culture of Machu Picchu. Take your time to appreciate the magnitude of human achievement and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature that the Incas cultivated.

Multiple levels of terracing with grass in mountain at Machu Picchu

15. Experience the Sacred Plaza

The Sacred Plaza at Machu Picchu offers a remarkable experience. Experience the breathtaking view of this sacred space while immersing yourself in its rich history and spiritual significance.

Surrounding the central plaza, are impressive architectural structures, such as the Temple of the Three Windows and the Main Temple, showcasing intricate stonework.

Admire the panoramic views of the mountains as you appreciate the energy and beauty of this serene atmosphere.

It is a must-visit spot for anyone exploring Machu Picchu, providing an opportunity to connect with the spirituality of the ancient Inca civilization.

Central plaza with grass at Machu Picchu with Putucusi Mountain in the background

16. Take a Guided Tour

When visiting Machu Picchu, it is highly recommended to take a guided tour for a more enriching experience.

  • Do thorough research to find reputable tour companies that offer Machu Picchu tours. Look for companies with experienced guides who have extensive knowledge about the history, culture, and significance of Machu Picchu.

  • Make sure to book your guided tour in advance to secure availability. Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination, and guided tours can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.

  • Ensure you arrive on time at the designated meeting point for your guided tour. The guides will provide vital information about the site, including its history, architecture, and cultural significance.

  • Follow your guide as they lead you through different areas of Machu Picchu, pointing out key landmarks and sharing insights about the ancient Inca civilization.

  • Seize the opportunity to ask questions and engage with your guide. They can provide valuable knowledge and personal anecdotes about Machu Picchu that may not be found in guidebooks.

  • Listen attentively to the information your guide provides as they will share fascinating details about the site’s construction, purpose, and rediscovery.

  • Enjoy the unique perspective and in-depth understanding of Machu Picchu that a guided tour provides. It can greatly enhance your appreciation of the site’s historical and cultural significance.

Fact: Guided tours of Machu Picchu are informative and crucial for preserving the site’s integrity. Strict regulations protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and guided tours help ensure that visitors respect and preserve its cultural and archaeological value.

17 Experience the Sun Festival

Experience the Sun Festival at Machu Picchu, showcasing the cultural heritage of the ancient Inca civilization.

  • Witness the Inti Raymi, the grand sun festival of the Incas, held annually on June 24th in Cusco. This event commemorates the winter solstice and honors Inti, the Sun God.

  • Participate in the procession from the Santo Domingo Church to the historic site of Sacsayhuaman. Join the parade, where celebrants wear traditional costumes and perform dances and music.

  • Marvel at the recreation of ancient ceremonies, including offerings to Inti and Pachamama, performed by skilled shamans.

  • Immerse yourself in the energy and spirituality of the festival. Experience the excitement as locals and tourists come together to celebrate.

  • Learn about the rituals and beliefs of the Inca civilization. Gain insight into their agriculture, astronomy, and spiritual connection with the sun.

  • Capture views of the sunrise over the ruins of Machu Picchu. Witness the first rays of sunlight illuminating the stone structures and feel the magical ambiance.

  • Engage in activities and workshops, such as weaving, pottery making, and traditional food tasting. Indulge in Peruvian cuisine prepared with local ingredients.

  • Take part in organized tours and guided hikes to explore the surrounding natural beauty. Discover hidden gems like the Sacred Valley and Rainbow Mountain.

  • Immerse yourself in the history and traditions of the Inca civilization during this cultural experience. Forge connections with locals and fellow travelers, creating lasting memories.

18. Explore the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is a must-see for adventure seekers who want to explore Machu Picchu. The trail offers a unique opportunity to experience the history and landscapes of the Inca civilization.

  • Hike: Embark on a challenging hike along the Inca Trail, taking in the views of the Andes Mountains and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

  • Discover: Explore the ruins and archaeological sites along the trail, such as Wiñay Wayna and Intipata, to learn about the lives of the Inca people.

  • Experience: Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of the region by camping overnight in designated campsites along the trail, and connecting with fellow hikers.

  • Learn: Gain a deeper understanding of the historical significance of the Inca Trail through knowledgeable guides who can provide insights into the ancient Inca civilization and its architectural marvels.

  • Reach: Reach the ultimate destination – Machu Picchu. As you approach the Sun Gate, the view of Machu Picchu will leave you in awe.

Exploring the Inca Trail is an unforgettable adventure that allows you to connect with history, nature, and yourself. So, grab your hiking boots, embrace the challenge, and embark on a journey of a lifetime to explore the Inca Trail.

19. Marvel at the Incas’ Engineering

The engineering marvels of the Incas at Machu Picchu are awe-inspiring. The precise stone masonry and intricate terracing showcase the Incas’ exceptional architectural skills.

The stones fit together perfectly, with no space even for a piece of paper. The terraces, called andenes, were created to prevent erosion and provide flat areas for agriculture. These engineering feats demonstrate the Incas’ advanced construction techniques and their ability to adapt to the challenging mountain environment.

Pro-tip: To fully appreciate the Incas’ engineering mastery, take a guided tour or hire a knowledgeable local guide. They can provide intriguing insights into the construction methods used by the Incas and the significance of each structure. Remember to bring a camera to capture the stunning beauty and intricate details of these incredible architectural wonders.

20. Winay Wayna

No visit to Machu Picchu is complete without seeing the famous Winay Wayna ruins. Winay Wayna means “Forever Young” in Quechua. This collection of terraces and structures is located on a mountainside just northwest of Machu Picchu.

To reach Winay Wayna, you’ll need to hike along the classic Inca Trail and reach it on the third day. The path winds through a lush cloud forest with abundant tropical foliage. You’ll pass through an Inca tunnel carved into the rock before reaching the expansive ruins.

At Winay Wayna you can explore the various temples, fountains, and baths scattered across the terraces. The views of the Urubamba River valley and surrounding mountains are phenomenal. Winay Wayna was likely an important spiritual site along the Inca Trail network.

After exploring Winay Wayna, you can continue hiking for another 45 minutes or so to arrive at the Sun Gate. This was the final entrance to Machu Picchu’s sacred central plaza, for those hiking the Inca Trail. Take a break at Winay Wayna to admire the ruins before completing the trek to the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu’s sacred plaza.

21. Indulge in Local Cuisine

When visiting Machu Picchu, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the delicious local cuisine. The Peruvian dishes will give you a true flavor of the region. Experience the rich flavors of Peruvian cuisine by trying these classic dishes:

  • Ceviche: Indulge in the classic dish made with fresh fish or seafood marinated in citrus juices, onions, chili peppers, and cilantro.

  • Lomo Saltado: Savor the flavors of this popular Peruvian stir-fry made with tender beef, onions, tomatoes, and aji amarillo peppers, served with rice and French fries.

  • Anticuchos: Sink your teeth into these flavorful skewers made with marinated beef hearts, grilled to perfection, and served with potatoes and a spicy sauce.

  • Quinoa: Treat yourself to the nutritious grain and try it in dishes like quinoa soup or quinoa salad.

  • Pisco Sour: Enjoy a refreshing cocktail made with Pisco, a Peruvian brandy, mixed with lime juice, syrup, and egg whites.

One memorable experience I had while indulging in local cuisine in Machu Picchu was trying cuy. Cuy, roasted guinea pig, is a delicacy in Peru.

Despite being unconventional, the meat was tender and flavorful with crispy skin. It was an adventurous and authentic culinary experience that fully immersed me in the local culture. So, when in Machu Picchu, make sure to indulge in the flavors of Peruvian cuisine and create your own unforgettable culinary experiences.

22. Discover the Temple of the Three Windows

The Temple of the Three Windows, one of the many wonders waiting to be explored in Machu Picchu, is a captivating architectural wonder. Situated in the Sacred Plaza, this temple showcases the Inca’s meticulous craftsmanship.

Discover the Temple of the Three Windows and be amazed by its three trapezoidal windows, offering stunning views of the landscape and providing glimpses into the ancient Inca lifestyle.

When visiting this incredible temple, take a moment to admire the enduring stone masonry that illustrates the Inca’s advanced knowledge of astronomy and their architectural genius. Discover the Temple of the Three Windows and fully experience its beauty.

Remember to bring your camera to capture the intricate carvings and panoramic views from the windows. Take your time to immerse yourself in the atmosphere and envision the ceremonies and rituals that once took place in this most sacred temple site. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your tour guide for additional historical insights and enrich your visit.

Discover the Temple of the Three Windows and immerse yourself in its rich history and natural beauty as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the opportunity to explore all the hidden gems of Machu Picchu and create unforgettable memories.

Granite stone wall with three large windows looking over Machu Picchu called Temple of the Three Windows

23. Visit the Royal Tomb

When visiting Machu Picchu, be sure to explore the Royal Tomb. This significant archaeological site offers insights into the burial practices of Incan rulers.

  • Archaeological importance: The Royal Tomb provides a glimpse into the burial practices of Incan rulers.

  • Historical preservation: This well-preserved tomb showcases the rich history and culture of Machu Picchu.

  • Exploration opportunity: Visitors can observe the intricate architectural details and decorations in the Royal Tomb.

  • Educational experience: Learn about the customs and traditions of the Incan people by visiting the Royal Tomb.

  • Cultural immersion: Immerse yourself in the ancient Incan culture at this sacred burial site.

  • Breathtaking views: The Royal Tomb also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and landscapes.

  • Photographic opportunity: Capture the beauty of Machu Picchu by photographing the Royal Tomb.

Don’t miss the chance to discover the hidden wonders mysterious lost city of Machu Picchu at the Royal Tomb.

Brown carved stone steps at Royal Tomb at Machu Picchu
Granit stone temple with stone step underneath in the basement called Palace of the Princess at Machu Picchu

24. Visit the Mariposario de Machupicchu

An interesting attraction near Aguas Calientes is the Mariposario de Machupicchu. This butterfly sanctuary sits at the foot of Machu Picchu near the river. It’s a perfect activity for before or after your Machu Picchu visit.

Inside the Mariposario you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies from across Peru’s regions. See exotic species like the morpho butterfly flashing iridescent blue wings. Watch butterflies sip nectar from the flower gardens interspersed throughout the mesh-enclosed habitat.

The Mariposario also has orchids, tropical hummingbirds, and displays on Inca textiles. You’ll learn how butterflies hold significance in Inca mythology and culture. The onsite restaurant Mariposa serves teas, coffees, and light meals too.

Visiting the Mariposario is an entertaining way to appreciate Peru’s incredible biodiversity. You’ll leave with a new appreciation for the beauty and variety of butterflies. It’s a tranquil, educational experience for nature lovers of all ages.

25. Take a Scenic Train Ride

Taking a scenic train ride is a must-do when visiting Machu Picchu. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region, a train journey is a perfect choice.

The route will take you through the picturesque Sacred Valley, where you can admire stunning landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and winding rivers. This experience provides not only comfort and convenience but also breathtaking views from the large panoramic windows.

The duration of the train ride can vary depending on your departure point. There are options ranging from a few hours to a day trip or full-day journey, so you can choose the one that suits your schedule. To secure your preferred departure time and class of service, it is advisable to book train tickets in advance.

You have the option to travel in ultimate luxury on the Belmond Hiram Bingham train or enjoy the large windows of the Vistadome train. Both choices offer a memorable experience that allows you to fully appreciate the scenic beauty on your way to Machu Picchu.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the views as you take a scenic train ride to one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites.

26. Visit the Museum on Site

When exploring Machu Picchu, a visit to the on-site museum is essential. The museum provides a deeper understanding of the history and significance of this ancient Incan citadel.

Exhibits showcase artifacts like pottery, tools, and ceremonial objects, offering a glimpse into the lives of the former inhabitants. The museum also displays photographs and maps that illustrate the archaeological discoveries and restoration process of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century by the Incan Empire and abandoned over a century later. It remained hidden until its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, attracting millions of visitors annually.

Exploring the on-site museum complements your visit to Machu Picchu, allowing you to delve deeper into its rich history. As you walk through the exhibits, you’ll appreciate the engineering prowess and cultural significance of this ancient marvel. Be sure to include a visit to the museum during your Machu Picchu adventure to truly enhance your experience.

27. Visit Mandor Falls

If you have time before or after visiting Machu Picchu, make sure to see the incredible Mandor Falls. This stunning waterfall is located about 4 miles from machu picchu town in Aguas Calientes on the road to Hydroelectrica.

Mandor Falls cascades down a rocky cliff, dropping almost 330 feet into a misty pool below. The waterfall splits into two pristine white streams halfway down. You can admire Mandor Falls from a scenic overlook or hike down for a closer perspective.

Surrounding the falls are abundant tropical vegetation and bright orchids. The fine mist from the falls creates a refreshing atmosphere on hot days. For the best views, visit during the rainy season when Mandor Falls has a heavier water flow.

You can reach Mandor Falls by taxi or on foot from Aguas Calientes. Be prepared to get wet if you hike down towards the base of the falls.

Having the chance to see Mandor Falls will make for a beautiful hike and an even more memorable visit to the Machu Picchu area. Don’t miss this world-class waterfall!

28. Learn About Inca History and Culture

When exploring Machu Picchu, it is important to learn about Inca history and culture. The Inca civilization was known for its impressive architecture, engineering feats, social practices, and cultural customs. Understanding their history and culture allows visitors to appreciate the significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Explore the ruins: Wander through the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and observe the impressive stone structures built by the Inca civilization.

  • Visit the Temple of the Sun: Discover the importance of the sun in Inca culture by visiting the Temple of the Sun, dedicated to the worship of Inti, the sun god.

  • Learn about the agricultural terraces: Marvel at the sophisticated agricultural terraces built by the Inca people to grow crops in the mountainous terrain.

  • Study the Intihuatana stone: Examine the Intihuatana stone, a sacred stone believed to connect the spiritual and physical worlds in Inca cosmology.

  • Explore the Museum Manuel Chávez Ballón: Visit the museum to see artifacts and learn more about the Inca civilization, their customs, and their way of life.

By immersing yourself in Inca history and culture, you gain a deeper understanding of the significance of Machu Picchu and appreciate the remarkable achievements of the Inca civilization.

29. Shop for Local Souvenirs

When you visit Machu Picchu, make sure to shop for local souvenirs. Here are some suggestions for finding the perfect mementos:

  • Handmade textiles: Explore the wide variety of beautifully woven textiles crafted by skilled artisans.

  • Alpaca products: Keep an eye out for the cozy alpaca sweaters, gloves, and hats that are available.

  • Pottery: Discover unique and intricate pottery pieces that showcase the rich culture and craftsmanship of Peru.

  • Jewelry: Find exquisite silver or gold pieces adorned with colorful gemstones that will truly stand out.

  • Local artwork: Consider purchasing paintings or sculptures that capture the breathtaking beauty of Machu Picchu.

By shopping for these local souvenirs, not only will you bring home unique keepsakes, but you will also be supporting the local economy. It’s worth noting that bargaining is a common practice in Peruvian markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate the prices.

How to Get to Machu Picchu?

To get to Machu Picchu, there are several options available. You can book a flight to Cusco, Peru.

From there, you can take a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the closest town to Machu Picchu. Another option is to go on the popular 4-day trek known as the Inca Trail.

If you choose this option, you will hike from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you can either buy a bus ticket at the town’s bus station or hike for 1-2 hours to reach Machu Picchu.

Upon reaching the entrance of Machu Picchu, make sure to show your entrance ticket. Once you’re inside, take your time to explore the breathtaking ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

It’s important to plan your trip, especially if you want to do the Inca Trail, as permits are limited. Take into consideration the high altitude and take it easy to prevent altitude sickness. Have an unforgettable journey to this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site!

What Are the Best Times to Visit Machu Picchu?

The best times to visit Machu Picchu are during the dry season (May – September), which is considered the ideal time for exploration. During this season, there is clear and sunny weather, providing better visibility and reducing the chance of rain, which can make the trails slippery. With more daylight hours, visitors have ample time for exploration and can enjoy breathtaking views.

It is recommended to book tickets in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (June – August). This ensures that you secure your spot and avoid any disappointments.

To ensure a comfortable visit, it’s important to come prepared for the unpredictable weather in the Andes. Even during the dry season, it is advisable to bring layers and rain gear. Mornings and evenings can be chilly, so warm clothing should also be packed.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more peaceful and less crowded experience, visiting during the rainy season (October – April) might be a suitable option. Keep in mind that there is a higher chance of rain and fog, which can obstruct the stunning views of Machu Picchu.

Ultimately, the decision on when to visit Machu Picchu depends on your preferences and tolerance for crowds and weather conditions. Regardless of the season, witnessing the beauty and ancient history of Machu Picchu is an incredible experience that will leave a lasting impression.

What Are the Entrance Fees and Permits Needed?

What are the entrance fees and permits needed for Machu Picchu? The entrance fee for Machu Picchu is currently $41 per person. These fees can change, so it’s best to check the latest information before planning your visit.

In addition to the entrance fee, you will need a permit to enter Machu Picchu. The number of permits available per day is limited, so it’s important to book in advance. Permits can be obtained through the official government website or authorized tour operators.

Due to Machu Picchu’s popularity, permits can sell out quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. To increase your chances of getting a permit, it’s recommended to plan your visit and be flexible with your travel dates.

When visiting Machu Picchu, it’s crucial to follow all rules and regulations to preserve this historical site. Regulations include not bringing large bags or backpacks, not smoking, and staying on designated paths.

The entrance tickets, fees, and permits cover access to Machu Picchu itself. Additional costs, such as transportation and tour guide fees, may apply and should be considered in your budget.

For the most up-to-date information on entrance fees and permits for your visit to Machu Picchu, please check the official website.

What Should You Pack for a Trip to Machu Picchu?

When planning a trip to Machu Picchu, it is important to know what you should pack for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here is a list of essential items that you should bring:

  • Valid passport: Make sure to bring your passport with you for entry into Machu Picchu.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: It is recommended to have sturdy footwear that can withstand walking and hiking.
  • Layered clothing: Due to the unpredictable weather, it is advisable to dress in layers.
  • Rain gear: Don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket or poncho to protect yourself from rain showers.
  • Sun protection: Since Machu Picchu is at a high altitude, pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun.
  • Insect repellent: To avoid mosquito bites, it is recommended to bring insect repellent.
  • Water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the trip by carrying a refillable water bottle.
  • Snacks: Pack some energy-boosting snacks such as granola bars or nuts for a quick recharge.
  • Camera or smartphone: Capture unforgettable memories with a good camera or smartphone.
  • First aid kit: It is always wise to have essentials like band-aids and pain relievers in case of any unexpected incidents.

Before your trip, make sure to check the weather forecast and any regulations in place. Enjoy your adventure to Machu Picchu!

Fun fact: Machu Picchu, constructed by the Incas in the 15th century, remained hidden until its rediscovery in 1911. It is now recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

What Are the Safety Guidelines for Visiting Machu Picchu?

When visiting Machu Picchu, it is important to follow the safety guidelines for a smooth and enjoyable experience. So, what are the safety guidelines for visiting Machu Picchu? Here are some steps to consider:

1. Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear for the uneven terrain.

2. Apply sunscreen to protect your skin from strong UV rays at high altitudes.

3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

4. Take breaks and rest to avoid exhaustion or altitude sickness.

5. Follow designated trails and signage to explore the site safely.

6. Avoid touching or removing artifacts to preserve the historical integrity.

7. Be mindful of your surroundings and respect the natural environment.

8. Stay with your group and avoid wandering off alone.

9. Keep your belongings secure and be cautious of pickpockets.

10. Listen to instructions from your tour guide for a safe visit.

Machu Picchu, which was built in the 15th century, is a remarkable historical site that showcases the rich history and culture of the Incas. In 1983, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and continues to attract millions of visitors annually.

The site amazes visitors with its impressive engineering feats, intricate stone masonry, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Exploring this ancient citadel is an unforgettable experience, but it is crucial to prioritize safety to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit.

What Are the Nearby Attractions to Explore?

The nearby attractions to explore at Machu Picchu are:

  • Hike to the Sun Gate: Offers a stunning view of the ancient city from above.
  • Explore the Temple of the Sun: Discover the intricate architecture and learn its significance.
  • Visit the Intihuatana Stone: Witness the mystical energy of this unique Inca stone.
  • See the Temple of the Condor: Marvel at the rock formation resembling a condor in flight.
  • Walk the Inca Bridge: Cross the narrow bridge that once served as a secret entrance to Machu Picchu.

Additional attractions include: climbing Huayna Picchu, enjoying the view from the Watchman’s Hut, visiting the Agricultural Terraces, and experiencing the Sacred Plaza. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and culture of the Incas or indulge in the local cuisine for a taste of Peru. Don’t miss the chance to discover the Temple of the Three Windows and visit the Royal Tomb.

Fact: Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and remained unknown to the outside world until its rediscovery in 1911 by Bingham.

Before You Go…

Since you’re trying to figure out what to see in Machu Picchu make sure to look at our Machu Picchu Map which has the location of each site in in, and check out the Best Machu Picchu Tours for you. 


Some Facts About Things To Do In Machu Picchu:

  • ✅ Machu Picchu is a large ancient city located in the Andean hills, known for its impressive ruins and architecture.

  • ✅ The Sun Gate is considered one of the most important features of Machu Picchu, offering a spectacular sunrise view.

  • ✅ Huayna Picchu is a mountain behind the city that provides a bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu.

  • ✅ The Inca Bridge, carved into a cliff face, served as a secret entrance for the Incan army.

  • ✅ The Watchman’s Hut offers a fantastic view of the entire city. 

Things to do in Machu Picchu FAQs

What are the best things to do in Machu Picchu?

The best things to do in Machu Picchu include visiting the iconic viewpoint, exploring the ancient ruins, hiking up to the Sun Gate or Huayna Picchu mountain, and taking a full-day tour to see all the unique and amazing Machu Picchu sights. You can visit the Watchman’s Hut for a fantastic view of the city, explore the Temple of the Sun and the Principal Temple, and hike up to the Temple of the Moon.

Is Machu Picchu a comfortable destination to visit?

Yes, Machu Picchu is a comfortable destination to visit. The property is well maintained with clear trails and easy-to-understand buildings.

What are the interesting sights to see in Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu offers a feast for the eyes with its beautiful ruins and surrounding mountains. Some of the interesting and spectacular sights to see include the Funerary Stone near the Watchman’s Hut, the Inca Bridge carved into a cliff face, and the Mortar/Industrial Section, which represents the area where the average Incan person would have lived. The Sacred Rock and the Temple of Three Windows are also worth exploring.

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which is from May to September. This period offers the most favorable weather conditions with less rainfall. It is important to note that Machu Picchu is a popular tourist attraction, so it is advisable to book in advance and be prepared for larger tourist herds during peak season.

Can I visit Machu Picchu without a guide?

No, it is not possible to visit Machu Picchu without a guide. As part of the preservation efforts, visitors are required to have a licensed guide to enter the site. The guide will provide valuable information about the history and significance of the ruins, ensuring a meaningful and educational experience.

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