Nine tips for making the most of your trip to Machu Picchu
On the drizzly morning of 24th July 1911, a Yale University lecturer chopped his way through an imposing jungle, balanced precariously across a bridge of logs and vines, and crept through thick underbrush. Eventually, with the help of a local boy, the lecturer uncovered one of the most confounding archaeological finds of the 20th century.
Machu Picchu is a towering citadel of stone populated by palaces and temples, all connected by narrow pathways. This awe-inspiring site went on to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Ever since, travellers have flocked to Peru to scale its dizzying heights and inspect the majestic ruins. If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, but require a little guidance, then look no further. Adventurous and historical holidays don’t need to compromise on luxury. Below we have listed our nine tips for making the most of your trip, and adding a touch of luxury to your journey through Machu Picchu.
⦁ Book strategically to miss large crowds and heavy rainfall
Nothing ruins an atmospheric, intimate holiday like masses of tourists and heavy rain. Machu Picchu’s popularity peaks during July and August, particularly as these are the drier seasons. Booking your holiday for April can help you to avoid both the larger crowds that gather in the summer months, and the heavier rainfall that peaks during January and February.
⦁ Opt for a package holiday to avoid the stress of arranging your own trip
Travellers are unable to walk the infamous Inca Trail without the accompaniment of a guide. Numbers on the trail are limited to 500, and 2,500 on the site per day, so it makes sense to book well in advance as part of a package trip via a British-based tour operator. This also removes much of the stress of arranging accommodation and mapping out your trip. Luxury package holidays are available from holiday providers, who personalise your itinerary and book private tours on your behalf.
⦁ Prepare in advance for the effects of a lengthy flight
An unpleasant flight can put a dampener on the first day or two of your holiday. One way to avoid this during your trip to Machu Picchu is to bring your own food and snacks for the flight. Processed airline foods can cause bloating, which may make you feel lethargic – and isn’t a flattering look in your holiday photos! As well as this, long-haul flights can leave your skin feeling dehydrated. The sudden change in climate, in tandem with being dehydrated, may cause your skin to break out. Avoid this holiday faux pas by drinking plenty of water and continuing to stay hydrated throughout your holiday. You can find out more about surviving long-haul flights in our recent article.
⦁ Spend time in Cusco to acclimatise and further experience the culture
The Inca Trail’s highest point reaches an awe-inspiring 4200m above sea level. As such, it is best to acclimatise before your hike. Cusco is a striking town characterised by Spanish colonial architecture and beautiful archaeological ruins. Prepare for the lofty heights of the Inca Trail by spending two or three days in this stunning location. Here, you can also enjoy shopping in the local markets and sampling luxury spas in the area.
⦁ Get in shape ahead of the Inca Trail as to avoid fatigue
Though coloured by rich history, incredible views and a fantastic culture, you may find the Inca Trail physically demanding. Ensure you train thoroughly beforehand to tackle the challenges ahead. Regular workouts in the run-up to your trip will make sure you are fit and healthy enough to manage the changes in altitude and long treks, thereby avoiding any stress or fatigue you may have otherwise experienced.
⦁ Pack more than the usual essentials
Prepare for the high altitude and changing temperatures by investing in rainproof clothing. As with any subtropical climate, high-factor sun protection is important. However, don’t limit yourself to the absolute essentials. Remember to pack the luxury essentials too, that will keep you looking your best throughout the trip, such as a pair of stylish sunglasses. If you’re taking your camera with you (something we recommend), why not carry a flattering cover-up to swap into. This is perfect to make sure you’re looking your best for any photos you take whilst at the top of the peaks.
⦁ Round off your trip with a touch of indulgence
A trip to Machu Picchu appeases the explorer in all of us. However, what getaway is complete without a touch of indulgence? Once you have soared the Inca Trail’s lofty heights, venture to the city of Cusco to enjoy one of their many five-star, luxury retreats. Here, you can spend your evening sinking into a soothing hot tub as you revel in the cathartic views you experienced throughout the day.
⦁ Schedule a horseback tour
Spending six days trailing Machu Picchu’s historic grounds on horseback will give you an encompassing view of the stunning scenery without the lengthy, uphill treks characteristic of traditional tours. As well as this, travelling by horseback adds authenticity to your trip. You will leave the tour feeling enlightened and incredibly relaxed.
⦁ Set the time aside to truly appreciate Peru, and the areas surrounding Machu Picchu
Peru is a stunning country with a rich culture. Be sure to allocate time during your trip to visit one or two neighbouring locations. Arequipa, the Alteplano, Lake Titicaca and various sites throughout Cusco are just a handful of unforgettable highlights. Map out your trip using a virtual tour; these are perfect to identify areas that particularly interest you.
There are many package holiday providers that offer amazing, bespoke experiences. With immersive holidays such as Machu Picchu, you can explore the deepest corners of the world and retreat from the stresses of modern day life. We hope you have found the above information helpful. Do you think there is anything we’ve missed? Tweet us your top holiday tips at @luxlifestyleuk.