What are the best things to see and do in Machu Picchu?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Paul Brady

Machu Picchu is legendary for its vast ruins, and there are plenty of ways to explore its wonders. The five best things to do and see at the magical lost city of Machu Picchu include:
1. Exploring. Simply exploring the massive grounds of the ruins can easily take a full day, from hiking the historic agricultural terraces to exploring the pristine temples. You can spend a considerable amount of time photographing the famous ever-changing clouds above the surrounding pinnacles.
2. Climbing Huayna Picchu. This very steep summit is accessible as part of the Machu
Picchu site, and a climb to this peak offers a stunning vantage point for photos of the ruins below.
3. Riding the PeruRail. This train leaves from Cuzco and arrives at Machu Picchu; it has panoramic windows for excellent views of the river gorge that carves a path through the mountains to Machu Picchu. Make conversation with your fellow passengers, who've likely traveled from around the world to see the site.
4. Hiking the Inca Trail. Many visitors hike the Inca Trail, a four-day guided trek that delivers you to Machu Picchu after exploring the Sacred Valley of Peru. While the 20.5-mile hike wouldn't be too strenuous at lower elevations, some points top 13,000 feet, leaving hikers gasping for air. Many insist the spectacular mountain scenery is worth the challenge.
5. Visiting other Incan settlements. Nearby towns like Ollantaytambo and Pisac are well worth the visit for their own Incan sites, and tour operators in both villages provide a number of excursions by van, bike or horseback that explore the wider Sacred Valley and its indigenous history.

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