What is the best way to see Machu Picchu in one day?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Paul Brady

Some visitors start their day at Machu Picchu by racing to the mountaintop ruins before the sun even rises. While there’s considerable charm to seeing daybreak here, the stunning high-altitude light makes for a breathtaking spectacle at any hour of the day. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest strapping on comfortable shoes or boots to join other visitors at the gates midmorning. While the entrance is often laden with tourists, the ruins are so large that even on busy days you don’t feel smothered by crowds. If you’re interested in climbing the terribly steep Huayna Picchu mountain that overlooks the site, you’ll need to get in line early because access is capped at a small number of visitors. Otherwise, simply wander the grounds with a map and a camera in hand — you’ll need them both. The early birds will start leaving around lunchtime — and you’ll really feel like the ruins are yours alone. The longer you stay, the more deserted the site gets. When you’ve finally seen it all head back to Aguas Calientes or wherever you’re staying in the Sacred Valley to treat yourself to a giant meal of comida tipica, or typical Peruvian food, which is heavy on meat, potatoes and corn. A Cusquena beer or Peruvian pisco sour might also be in order. After all, you’ve earned it.

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