How to Visit Machu Picchu on Your Own [With 2019 Entrance Fees and Rules]


If you are looking for how to visit Machu Picchu on your own, then you have come to the right travel guide. As all you dear readers know that I hate the idea of arranging tours and booking trips and getting into a group, I will be honest that I didn’t even look at the options of going to Machu Picchu with a travel agency. I took a bus ride from Cusco to a town near Machu Picchu known as Hidroeléctrica and then walked and hiked the rest of the way —which is around 16 kilometers and more than 3000 stairs —to the top of the Incan royal city sitting at an altitude of 2,500 meters.

I wouldn’t have even taken the bus from Cusco to Hidroeléctrica if I had known that I could have walked there all the way from Ollantaytambo, a UNESCO world heritage site and a village near Cusco. But I know now, and you, too.



If you are looking for the cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu on your own, then let us continue this guide for I have many things to talk about.

I hope you have read my guide to traveling Peru and Cusco. If not, read them here and here. So I am not going to detail that why Machu Picchu is important but let me tell you that more than a million people see Machu Picchu every year. In fact, most of the people who travel to Peru go there to visit Machu Picchu.

Concomitantly, traveling to Machu Picchu is business conduct for the locals (which is understood) and hence the prices of the tours and the journey to the ruins itself aren’t light on budget pockets of travelers like us who want to see the world in one lifetime. The prices of tours to Machu Picchu starts from a few hundred dollars and soar as high as a thousand and more. 

Helpful Read: If you are planning to go to South America, my mammoth guides to places to see in Chile and things to do in Bolivia will help. These are rare all-in-one-place information guides that provide all you need to know about Chile and Bolivia.



What does this how to get to Machu Picchu on your own guide contain?

    1. Machu Picchu Tickets — 2019 Rules, Availability, and all you need to know.
    2. What is the difference between Huayna Picchu, Waynapicchu and Wayna Picchu?
    3. How to buy Machu Picchu tickets?
    4. How to travel to Machu Picchu yourself?
      1. The two options of getting to Aguas Calientes by yourself.
      2. Why should you walk along the railway track when you can instead buy a train ticket to Hidroeléctrica and enjoy the time of your life? OR should you take a train to Machu Picchu?
      3. Why can’t you take the bus from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes?
      4. Where to stay in Aguas Calientes?
      5. How to go from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?
    5. Do you need to hire a guide at Machu Picchu ruins?
    6. How long can you stay at Machu Picchu?
    7. How to come back from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes and Hidroeléctrica?
    8. Why wouldn’t I recommend the Machu Picchu tours?
    9. What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
    10. Other useful things to know.


Machu Picchu Tickets — 2019 Rules, Availability, and all you need to know.

I will cut down on all the prices and will fulfill your dream of going to Machu Picchu by yourself but I cannot do anything about the one last price that you have to pay to see the Inca palace in all its green glory — and that is the cost of the entry ticket to Machu Picchu.

Let us first deal with the Machu Picchu ticket prices and then on we go on our independent journey.


You will have three options to choose from while booking your tickets — Machu Picchu ruins only, Machu Picchu with the mountain Machu Picchu, and Machu Picchu with the mountain Wayna Picchu.

I was confused when I visited the ruins as I didn’t know the difference between the three. I will explain the three choices otherwise you will curse me later.

Machu Picchu citadel or the ruins that we talking about are in the Urubamba river valley. Machu Picchu ruins are located on the tops of one of the Andes mountains in the valley, but not on the Machu Picchu mountain. Also, the mountain you see in Machu Picchu photos standing as a guard behind the ruins is Wayna Picchu, the steep one.

The mountain which is never shown in most of the photos and stands opposite to the Machu Picchu ruins is the Machu Picchu mountain. From the Machu Picchu mountain, which is 3,100 meters high, you get a beautiful bird’s eye view of the entire Machu Picchu citadel (altitude 2,430 m) and Wayna Picchu (altitude 2,693 m).

Let us see this picture to lay the grounds that I am not crazy.

Machu Picchu citadel, Machu picchu mountain, and Waynapicchu marked on Peru map
Image Courtesy Official Website of Machu Picchu.


Machu Picchu Ruins Only (also known as the Citadel or Llaqta).

Opening times — The site is open from 6 AM to 5:30 pm. Entries are now on an hourly basis until 2 pm as per the new rules of 2019. Various entry slots are 6-7, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12, 12-1, 1-2 (as shown in the image below).

Ticket Prices — 

Adults – PEN 152/USD 46/INR 3,100

Students – PEN 77/USD 23/INR 1,550

School child – PEN 70/USD 21/INR 1,450

General availability of tickets — When I checked the tickets in April 2019 for the same month, the entire month were available. I visited Machu Picchu in March 2017, and I got the tickets a week before the day I wanted to visit. Tickets to just the Machu Picchu ruin are generally available.

When to buy — Buy the tickets in Cusco a few days before you plan to visit. Or if your dates are fixed, buy online.

Observation — I have read comments on the internet that as long as you enter after the time on your ticket(let us say you want to go at 8 but your timing is 6-7) and before 12 (if it is a ticket booked until the 11 am slot), you would be able to get in. But you cannot enter before your ticket timing. 


This is how the drop down to choose timings looks like on the official website of Machu Picchu. A partir de las means to leave at .

Essential Read to help you plan your Machu Picchu tripSpanish travel phrases that will help you navigate South America


Machu Picchu with the mountain Machu Picchu.

Opening times — Entry to the mountain of Machu Picchu is combined with the ticket to Machu Picchu. If you buy an entrance to Machu Picchu within the 6-7 am slot, you can start the hike to Mountain Machu Picchu anywhere between 7-8 am.

If your ticket to Machu Picchu allows an entry between 8-9 am you can start the hike to the mountain from 9-10 am.

Remember that you do not have to finish the hike by 10 or by the closing time of the interval. The allotted time slot is only to begin the trek. 

Ticket Prices — 

Adults – PEN 200/USD 62/INR 4,300 

Students – PEN 125/USD 38/INR 2,600

School child – PEN 118/USD 36/INR 2,450

General availability of tickets —Tickets to the mountains are sold out way in advance. So if you are sure that you want to climb the mountain of Machu Picchu, please book in advance.

Round trip hiking time — Machu Picchu mountain takes at least 2-3 hours to go up and down.

The difficulty of the Machu Picchu mountain hike — The climb to Machu Picchu is less steep than to Wayna Picchu but is longer as Machu Picchu mountain is taller than Wayna Picchu.

When to buy — Buy as soon as you can.

Observation  I read all over the internet that it is very difficult to manage these time slots as tours to Machu Picchu are at least two hours long so you cannot start the hike within one hour of entering the citadel if you explore the ruins first(but every slot to hike begins after one hour of the entry time to Machu Picchu) – so you first maybe do the hike and then see the ruins.  

Machu Picchu with the mountain Wayna Picchu.

Opening times — Entry to the Wayna Picchu mountain is combined with the ticket to Machu Picchu.

If you buy a ticket to Machu Picchu to enter it between 6-7 am, you can start the hike to Wayna Picchu from 7-8.

If your Machu Picchu entrance is from 8-9 am you can start climbing WaynaPicchu from 10-11 am. Again, you do not have to finish the hike by the end of this alotted interval; the time slot is only to begin the trek. So please don’t rush.

Ticket Prices — 

Adults – PEN 200/USD 62/INR 4,300 

Students – PEN 125/USD 38/INR 2,600

School child – PEN 118/USD 36/INR 2,450

General availability of tickets — Wanna Picchu has only 400 permits per day. Tickets are sold out early so book as soon as you can.

Roundtrip hiking time — Wayna Picchu mountain is steep and takes at least 2 hours to hike up and down.

The difficulty of the Wayna Picchu mountain hike — This climb is challenging. Wayna Picchu mountain is pretty steep, as you must have seen in the photos, and you would have to sometimes get down on your knees and hands to pull yourself over and make way up the treacherous terrain.

When to buy — Buy as soon as you can. Sold out pretty quickly. 


Please also note that May to October is high season and also summers around most of the world when people travel. So you should book your ticket beforehand if you are going to Machu Picchu during summers.

One more clarification.

What is the difference between Huayna Picchu, Waynapicchu or Wayna Picchu?

These are three variations of the name of the same mountain which I have called throughout the article as Wayna Picchu.

All three are correct as they are pronounced the same for the Quechua language doesn’t have a written script. So if you see any of these three names, just think of the mountain standing behind the Machu Picchu ruins.


mountain Huayna Picchu visible behind Machu Picchu ruins. Shown to the readers of this guide to how to visit Machu Picchu on your own.

How to buy Machu Picchu tickets?

You can buy Machu Picchu tickets online at the Machu Picchu official website here. To complete this guide I was almost about to pay the PEN 152 which is the price of the ticket for one adult.

Once I entered the details of the visitors, the website showed me the reservations on hold and also sent me an email. The ticket said that I had to make the payment in 3 hours else my reservation would be automatically canceled. The payment could be done via MasterCard and Visa.

But if you have a problem booking or paying for the tickets online and you are in Cusco, you can also make the payment or purchase the entrance ticket at the Ministerio de Cultura or the Cultural Center in Cuzco in the Garcilaso street. You can buy the ticket at all Banco de Nacion throughout Peru (the first option in the below image), too.

Do carry your passport and Peruvian soles or a credit or debit card when you go to buy a ticket.

Here are the various options where you can purchase and pay for the entrance tickets.

an image showing where tourists visiting Machu Picchu can pay for the Machu picchu entrance tickets
Image Courtesy the official Website of Machu Picchu.

You can purchase the ticket to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes(a village you will have to go on the way to Machu Picchu) itself from the office Centro Cultural Machu Picchu which is located a few steps from the Main Square (Plaza de Aguas Calientes). Though buying Machu Picchu tickets in Aguas Calientes is possible, I wouldn’t recommend buying the entry ticket at the last minute. As I said above – a million people visit Machu Picchu every year and that would make an average of 2,500 people present at the site daily.

You can also check the availability of PiscaCucho KM 82 or the Inca trail on the website. The Inca trail gets booked months in advance so you really need to plan ahead if this 4 days 3 nights trek is on your mind.

Now you know what you need to know about buying the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu, what all sites and mountains you can visit, and how will you buy the tickets.

Important – Carry your passport and a print out of your tickets when you go to Machu Picchu. 

How to travel to Machu Picchu yourself?

Now take a deep breath for I will tell you how to visit Machu Picchu on your own in steps.

Step 1. The two options of getting to Aguas Calientes by yourself. (And why you shouldn’t take the train).

Step 2. How to go from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

The two options of getting to Aguas Calientes by yourself:

Option Number 1: 

Cusco-Hidroeléctrica-Aguas Calientes (bus-walk).

If you are in Cusco, you can take a bus to Hidroeléctrica which is the closest town to Machu Picchu where you can arrive by road. From Hidroeléctrica you further walk 16 km along a railway track to arrive at Aguas Calientes also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. This is the place where you can stay for the night before you climb to the Machu Picchu ruins the next morning. (This is what I did).

This image will help you visualize the Urubamba valley and the places we are talking about.



The return ticket to the bus from Cusco to Hidroeléctrica cost me around 60 soles or USD 18. This is the usual price, and many locals were also traveling with us. The bus company came to pick me up in the morning, we drove on for about 6 hours to arrive at Hidroeléctrica.

The bus stopped once or twice for food and toilet. After getting down at Hidroeléctrica, we started walking to Aguas Calientes along the train track for that is the only option to reach the pueblo(if you don’t take the train about which I explain later.)

We took about four hours to walk this distance of 16 kilometers while going along casually and enjoying our journey. Lush Andes fringe the train track from both sides, and the river Urubamba gushes next to you.

You wouldn’t believe but a lot of travelers walk to Aguas Calientes every day. When I got down from the bus at the Hidroeléctrica train station, I didn’t know how I was going to reach Machu Picchu. Then the journey started unfolding itself to me. I followed Argentinian and Dutch companions who got down from the bus with me, took a few pictures, and we started walking with a song on our voice.

When we arrived at Aguas Calientes, I ravished a delicious dinner of aji de gallina and gulped down a pisco sour for I had done justice to the day.

train+track+aguas+calientes to Machu picchu andes+mountains urubamba river in peru+south+america
When views are such, fatigue feels sweet and well-earned.


Option Number 2:

Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Aguas Calientes (Bus-walk).

My guide to Cusco has all the details about Ollantaytambo. Though I didn’t take this route I read many guides on the internet and asked travelers who have done this route to understand if it was doable and safe. And I figured out that you can walk from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes with some precautions.

If you begin the journey in Cusco, take a bus or a shared collectivo which will take two hours to arrive at Ollantaytambo, spend a day there, visit the ruins, and sleep well for the night as your next day would be long and tiring my do-it-yourself budget traveler. 

When in Ollantaytambo, take a collectivo from the main plaza to the ‘kilómetro ochenta y dos’ or the Kilometer 82 which is the beginning of the Inca trail. You can get these collectives as early as 5:30 am and they will drop you at km 82 in about half an hour.

Then you walk all the 28 kilometers along the same railway track from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. 

Now when I read about this walking route on the internet I heard that the train guards at Kilometer 82 don’t let you get onto the track (that is the jobs of guards and I am glad they are doing that). But locals have figured out ways to avoid the guards and walk alongside the track to make it to Machu Picchu on their own for the other options are expensive. Ask the collectivo drivers or other travelers planning to do the same for an alternate path which runs parallel to the tracks and lets you avoid the guards for a few kilometers when you can join the railway track. 

Walk along the tracks but still away from it, and I am sure you will find your way.

But walk safely, please. The train track is active though trains aren’t as frequent as the Mumbai locals. But walk along the track and not on the railway lines. Be alert and pay attention to the oncoming trains. You will have to cross a few tunnels, and when you go inside a tunnel, use your flashlight or a torch and quickly cross or wait until you see that the tunnel is clear.

I have also heard and read that a few ferocious dogs crowd this route (they have even bit people). Maybe the biting dogs are common in Peru for some dogs had come close to bite us in Puno, too. So watch out for the dogs and be prepared.

Ollantaytambo ruins and the city in urubamba valley near cusco in peru
Ollantaytambo village and ruins as seen from the stone terraces of Ollantaytambo.

Why should you walk along the railway track when you can instead buy a train ticket to Hidroeléctrica and enjoy the time of your life? Should you take a train to Machu Picchu?

Only Peru Rail and Inca Rail run between Cusco and Machu Picchu (no, not to the top but only to Aguas Calientes). The minimum cost of the train to Machu Picchu is $65. And this is a one-way price, you guys.

Taking the train and arriving at Aguas Calientes comfortably without hiking the 16 or 28 kilometers I suggest you walk is a matter of choice. I like to walk and explore a place slowly rather than rushing to see it all. I took my time while walking through the Andean countryside, and not only did I make friends on the way, but the more I tired myself out to get close to Machu Picchu, the more ethereal the ruins seemed in my imagination.

Also, travel is not just about ticking a task list. It is about pushing yourself and making the most of the experience which could mean long tiring days when you eat on the road and sweat so hard that you wait to take a shower.

At the end of the day, it is your choice. My job is to tell you that you have ways to reduce the Machu Picchu trip cost. 

Remember we are also talking about the cheapest way to see Machu Picchu?

peru rail train starting from hidroelectria to aguas+calientes machu+pichu+peru+cuzco+south+america


Why can’t you take the bus from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes?

Because there isn’t any. Otherwise, why would anyone buy the expensive tours to Machu Picchu from Cusco or the expensive train ticket to Hidroeléctrica?

This leaves you the two options of walking to Machu Picchu that I posted above.

Where to stay in Aguas Calientes?

Though Booking and many other websites show Aguas Calientes hotels as Machu Picchu, don’t get confused. You cannot stay at Machu Picchu.

So let us get real and look at the various options on Booking to get a night’s stay in Aguas Calientes. The stays in this little town were average, and I just walked into a hotel that looked okay and got out early morning.

Or if you decide to walk through the route from Ollantaytambo to this Machu Picchu Pueblo, look at the stay options in Ollantaytambo here.

If you have to get to Machu Picchu by yourself you need to rest well so sleep tight.

How to go from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

The cost of the 30-minute bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is about USD 10 per person. Now I did a much longer journey( Cusco to Hidroeléctrica in 6 hours) for USD 9 one way so I didn’t take this bus. (plus I am also the do-it-yourself girl).

But if you wish to take a bus to the top, you can ask your hostel or hotel or just book a bus to Machu Picchu from the Aguas Calientes square or at the bus stop the night before to be sure. People start lining up for buses as early as 4 am and first bus leaves at 5:30 am to make it on time for the 6 am entry. Buses from Aguas Calientes run every 10-20 minutes. 

Also now with new rules and timings, buses board people as per their ticket timings. So if you got a 6 am entry, you get to board the bus before a 7 am ticket holder. I have also heard from travelers that there are separate bus lines as per the timings. Let me know if you observe any difference.

But if you are keen on getting to Machu Picchu yourself (like I was), just walk up the hill.

Climbing to Machu Picchu citadel involves walking up some more than 3000 staircases and will take around 1.5-2 hours but you have to keep some patience and go on. The hiking route is well marked. Try getting out of your hotel early morning, like if you have booked a ticket for 6 am, leave by 4:30 so that you arrive at the Machu Picchu gate on time.

To get onto your trail, walk out of Aguas Calientes, and follow the buses that are going to Machu Picchu until you see a bridge. (Guards checked my Machu Picchu entrance ticket at the bridge and my passport, too.) Then cross the bridge, take a right, and you will come upon a road from where the stone stairs to Machu Picchu start. (You can also ask the guards.)

Don’t worry about finding the route. Many people will walk along with you, no matter how early you start, and you can always ask others.

The hike up the stairs was tiring and took me around two hours, but I love that sort of fatigue. Remember if you have altitude sickness then it might not be the best option to climb up the stairs. (The Chilean girl who walked up to Machu Picchu with me had a headache and was finding it hard to walk in the sun.)

Carry enough water, some snacks, a hat, and sunscreen with you. Take it slow.

Related Read: My guide to hiking the Colca Canyon in Peru.


Urubamba+river+near+Machu+Picchu cusco seven+wonders+world+peru

Do you need to hire a guide at Machu Picchu ruins?

As per the new regulations in 2019, you need to hire a guide to Machu Picchu (though I will be honest that I haven’t read this rule on the Machu Picchu website but have come across it all over the other Peruvian tourism websites). As far as I have read on the internet and travel forums, this new rule has not been put to use for there aren’t enough guides to accompany all tourists.

That being said, even though you are going to Machu Picchu without a tour, you can still hire a guide at the entrance to the Machu Picchu ruins ( I would recommend this as the guide will explain to you what is what if you don’t know). I would suggest that you collaborate with people around you and hire a guide for a group as this way the per-person cost of the guide will be less. I was in a group of six people, and our guide charged us some 180 soles for the group or 30 soles each.

You will need at least 2-3 hours with the guide to do one of the many circuits or different ways to see Machu Picchu for the site is big, and the guide will explain a lot of things to you. 

You do not need to hire a guide to hike either of the mountains.

How long can you stay at Machu Picchu?

As per the 2019 rules, you can stay at Machu Picchu for 4 hours if you only see the ruins, and for 6 hours if you hike one of the mountains. But I read that this rule isn’t being followed as it is impossible for the guards to ask every tourist for the number of hours they have spent in the area.

That being said, 4-5 hours is the minimum you would need at Machu Picchu ruins. But if you are also doing any of the mountain Machu Picchu or Wayna Picchu hike then you will take longer. Also, the people who do the hike can enter Machu Picchu citadel twice on the same ticket. So do not worry about entering, leaving for the hike, and then returning to the entrance to Machu Picchu ruins, maybe using the toilet, and going again to explore them with or without a guide.

Please be considerate towards others and the heritage when you are at Machu Picchu. Even if the government isn’t following these rules, we as tourists should respect a place and the people who look after it. So after you are done exploring the royal city, leave so that others who have bought a ticket to the time slot can enjoy their trip without feeling crowded.

Related Read: If you love ruins and history, you should visit Hampi, Karnataka, India – South India’s most unfathomable ruins


How to come back from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes and Hidroeléctrica?

While coming back you can again walk down the stairs, walk along the train track back to Hidroeléctrica,
and then take a bus to Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Or you can walk back all the way to Ollantaytambo.

Make sure to book a return bus ticket in Cusco if you plan to return on the bus from Hidroeléctrica for I witnessed a lot of chaos amongst the different bus companies there. And a lot of people return to Cusco so you have very low chances of getting a bus ticket at the spot.

Though I have been discouraging you to take a train, I took a train from Aguas Calientes to Hidroeléctrica for I wanted to experience the train journey at least once in Peru and all other trains that I had come across were expensive. It was a local train that we took which the workers use to commute between Aguas Calientes and Hidroeléctrica. So this short train trip wasn’t as exorbitant as the pricey tickets for the entire route. The train ride though comfortable and scenic was very short and was over before I knew it.

I had booked the train ticket in advance from Cusco, and another friend bought the ticket on the spot in Aguas Calientes train station. I am not able to find this train online, and none of the two rails, Peru and Inca, have an option of booking the tickets between these two stations. I will update this blog when I find the train I am talking about. You can also just ask around in Cusco or at the train station in Aguas Calientes.

Had it not been for the experience of traveling on a train in Peru, for I am a train fanatic, I would have never opted to take the train. 

exploring Machu Picchu citadel near cusco+andes+mountains+peru


Why wouldn’t I recommend the Machu Picchu tours?

I totally recommend taking a guide up at the peak itself but I wouldn’t recommend you to get into a tour right at Cusco and then follow the tour agency.

Guys, we are millennials and have all the information in the world right at our hands. We just need to call Google Baba. You cannot find a shaman like him even in the deep jungles of Iquitos.

You don’t have to take a tour to Machu Picchu because everyone suggests you to do so on the internet. Though as tourists we might think that we do not know anything about the destination and we should hire a company, traveling from one place to another isn’t that tough. So what if the place is a major tourist destination?

The plethora of travel tours and agencies and guides who hover all around the Plaza del Armas in Cusco and in other areas will make you think that going to Machu Picchu is something special that’s to be done under supervision( I don’t want to hurt your feelings about seeing Machu Picchu for the site is definitely special and gorgeous). But that is not right.

I hope I have pulled you right out of the belief that you have to take a tour to Machu Picchu and spend a lot of money by telling you one of the cheapest ways to visit Machu Picchu on your own. 

That being said, if you are a family and have kids with whom you think it would be difficult to walk and hike, then please book a tour and enjoy your trip.

PS: Please hope that the Peruvian tour companies and other tourism boards never see this article or else they will never let me in.

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Peru has summers from December to March but is also the wettest during those months. Peruvian winter lasts from May to September and is considered to be the best time to visit Machu Picchu.

Your best bet would be traveling to Machu Pichu and Peru during the month of April or May when summer would be ending giving way to a light winter.

I visited Machu Picchu in March and though it wasn’t raining at that time most of the mountains of Peru were wet and unsuitable for trekking. The popular Inca trail is closed during the month of February so make sure you don’t visit Machu Picchu during that time if you are keen on doing the trail.

Recommended Read: Here is my visa guide to Peru for Indians if you are planning a trip to Peru.


What to pack for your Machu Picchu trip?

  • A day hiking backpack – You would definitely need a sturdy backpack to take for the day with you. I stuffed this day pack with a water bottle, basic medicines, rain jacket, bananas and other snacks, wallet, power bank, and other essentials.
  • Warm jackets for men and for women.
  • A rain jacket – You never know when it can rain in Peru. 
  • Yoga pants for women and for men – For hiking yoga pants would be the best.
  • Hiking socks for women and for men.
  • Good hiking shoes for women and good hiking shoes for men – A must-have.
  • A hat for the sun – Too much direct sun at those heights isn’t good while hiking.
  • Strong sunscreen – Andean mountains can be pretty sunny, and you would burn in a minute
  • Sunglasses
  • travel towel – Carry a light travel towel like this one for it will save you a lot of space.
  • Your Machu Picchu ticket
  • Your passport – Read other useful things to know why this would be a good thing to bring.

Of course, you would need other regular clothes like undergarments, t-shirts, etc. But these are the most important things you would need in Machu Picchu. For a detailed list of things to bring to Peru, please see my guide to backpacking Peru.

Other useful things to know.

  1. Do not carry food inside Machu Picchu. Food is not allowed, and your bags might be checked. Though I have read and heard that this rule is not getting followed strictly, we should never litter. I carried some chocolates and bananas which I ate on the hike and not in the ruins and made sure that I didn’t leave any garbage behind. Have a heavy breakfast and eat when you are back.
  2. Toilets are only outside the citadel or the ruins. Go to the toilet before you enter else you don’t have access to any toilets for a few hours.
  3. You can get a stamp of Machu Picchu on your passport from the little office outside Machu Picchu. A good souvenir to remember from one of the seven wonders of the world and a memory of your hard work to arrive there.
  4. Read the rules while booking the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu. Many things such as a drone or selfie sticks or many other things aren’t allowed.


Hope you enjoyed this guide to visiting Machu Picchu on your own. Because I loved writing it! Have fun at the ruins and don’t get overwhelmed.

Guys – If you visit Machu Picchu and find anything in contradiction or according to the guide please leave a comment on the post. Your information would really help out the readers and me in keeping the guide up to date. I really appreciate your help.


Have any questions about Machu Picchu? Please leave a comment for I always reply. Let me know how it goes.


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  1. Domenico August 18, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Hello Dear,
    i read that u took a train from aguas caliente to hydroeletrica. this was a local train that usually take worker people.
    where i can find timetable and price of this train? can i book it in advance or only when i will be there?

    1. Priyanka Gupta August 27, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Hey Domenico.

      I had booked the train ticket in advance from Cusco, and another friend bought the ticket on the spot in Aguas Calientes train station. You can also just ask around in Cusco or at the train station in Aguas Calientes.
      You can’t book that train online. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Priyanka Gupta August 12, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Traveling Monk. Thank you so much. You are most welcome.

  3. Priyanka Gupta August 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Sangeet. Thank you so much. Glad to be of help.

  4. Viswateja May 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Hello Priyanka,

    many thanks for the detailed Machu pichu DIY guide. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Just love the way you summed up the DIY.

    I had 2 questions regarding Machu pichu:

    1. Planning to visit Machu Pichu later this year. Plan is to be there in the first week of November. Any thoughts on that? I already looked up the internet and found that it is still ok as the rains won’t fully commence yet.

    2. Though would love to repeat your DIY, I’m more inclined to do the classic Inca trail as I’ll be there with my GF who’s not so much into the adventurous part of the DIY. Any thoughts on Tour/expedition Operators for the INCA trail!?


    1. Priyanka Gupta August 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Viswateja. Sorry for replying so late. Thank you for your kind comments. November should be okay. Inca trail is also good. I heard many nice things about the trail so go ahead. I am sure you will enjoy it. For tour companies, you can ask around in Cusco when you go. Or I just looked around on the internet and saw many reputable companies focusing on the Inca trail. Average price seems to be 600 USD. Hope this helps. I am planning to include a get your guide link in the article for those who want to go with a tour. Please check and see how you like that option. Get your guide tours are mostly good. Let me know how it goes.

  5. Sangeet April 28, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Extremely exhaustive article. This should cover almost everything one needs to know! 🙂
    Thanks for this!

  6. The Traveling Monk April 27, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    This is the best article I have ever read on Machu Picchu. Very detailed and impressive. Thanks for writing and publishing this.


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