Traveling to Machu Picchu: The Basics
I have already written a detailed report about our trip to Ecuador.
This series of posts will detail our trip to Peru and ultimately one of the new seven wonders of the world – Machu Picchu.
This post (part 1) will cover things you need to know prior to your trip. Check out our other posts to learn more about our trip to Peru.
Part 1: Traveling to Machu Picchu: The Basics
Part 2: Planning Travel and Lodging
Part 3: Travel from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
Part 4: Things to do in Ollantaytambo, Peru
Part 5: Eating in Ollantaytambo, Peru
Part 6: Cycling down a mountain
Part 7: Hiking on an Inca trail
Part 8: Zip lining and hiking to Aguas Calientes
Part 9: The climb to Machu Picchu
Part 10: How much did our trip to Peru cost?
Be aware that most of Peru is at a relatively high altitude.
- Cusco – 3,399 m (11,152 feet)
- Ollantaytambo – 2,792m (9,160 feet)
- Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) – 2,040 m (6,693 feet)
- Machu Picchu Sanctuary – 2,430m (7,979 feet)
Some travelers, especially coming directly from sea level, do suffer from altitude sickness. Dehydration is a common cause. Be sure to drink liquids prior to and during your visit.
Arrival in Peru
Lima, the capital, is the most populous city in Peru and your most likely entry point into Peru, via Jorge Chaves International Airport (LIM). You can spend a little time in Lima, but eventually need to catch another flight to Cusco (CUZ). I strongly recommend you fly because a bus between the two cities will take about 18 hours.
The main form of currency in Peru is the Peruvian Nueva Sol. The exchange rate in the airport was comparable to other places. As of 2018, the exchage rate was about $1 USD equals 3 soles. Get small bills as getting change for large bills can be difficult.
Be aware that many places do not accept credit cards, so be prepared by carrying enough cash with you.
Electricity in Peru is 220 volts. Laptops and cell phones are designed to operate on 110 volts or 220 volts so those should be fine. However, if you come from a country that operates on 110 volts (like the United States), for other appliances you will need a voltage converter. The majority of sockets are 2-prong and not 3-prong.
The main language spoken in Peru is Spanish. Though in most tourist areas, many people also speak and understand English.
Often public toilets are free. However, they are not equipped with toilet paper. Bring your own toilet paper everywhere you go!
Citizens of the United States, Canada, and most South American and European nations do not require a visa if the stay is less than 90 days.
Tap water is non-potable. Buy bottled water or bring something like a life-straw.
Being near the equator, there really isn’t a winter or summer but rather a rainy season and dry season. We went in May. The rainy season runs through April. The dry season starts in June. May can be a mixed bag. We were fortunate to have a dry May trip. Daily highs were in the 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius).
Hopefully, this has given you some helpful basic tips to make your trip to Peru less stressful and more enjoyable.
If you have any questions, please ask.
Disclosure: We receive referral credit for some of the links in our blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we certainly appreciate if you do. It costs you nothing, but helps us out. Thank you.