Whether you're looking for alien life, mountaintop meditation or a challenging hike, Machu Picchu has it all. Yes, we said aliens (there’s a rumour going around that extra-terrestrials built the enormous site…we don’t really believe it, but draw your own conclusions). Regardless of who you think built the place, visitors flock to the 500-year-old ruins in Peru, often arriving through nearby Cusco and Aguas Calientes. Your accommodation in Machu Picchu might be a tent if you take a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail, but a Cusco, Machu Picchu hotel gets you to a transportation hub to catch a train or bus to the magical site—unfortunately, no spaceships.
Part of the Machu Picchu experience is getting there. The Inca Trail starts outside of Cusco on the Urubamba River, but you can't go alone. You might not have little green men to guide you, but local regulations dictate you must join a tour. Otherwise, you can catch a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and choose one of our Machu Picchu hotels to stay in. Then it's a short bus ride to the ruins…or you can use your foot power, especially if you want a steep and heart-pounding climb.
Inca Trail trekkers enter the ruins through the Sun Gate. Bus travellers go there by backtracking along the Inca route. In the morning, the sun rises here, a moving experience if not obscured by fog. Other highlights include the Intihuatana, an ancient sundial. The Temple of the Sun is a big draw during the summer solstice, when people watch the sun line up with the monument.
Climb Huayna Picchu for the best views, mid-morning when the sky is most likely to be clear. You'll need an extra ticket and strong legs. If Aguas Calientes is the site of your Machu Picchu accommodation, visit the hot springs and the market, where you can find a trinket to bring home some of that mystical mountain experience.
Buses to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes run frequently. Plan your trip to Cusco, Machu Picchu through Wotif. We can't help you hike, but we make it easy to find the best deal on your flight.
Hotels in Machu Picchu start at AU$18 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.