Machu Picchu is perhaps the most iconic destination in all of South America. Untouched by time and surrounded by lush mountain forests, it transports visitors to another world as they walk past staircases, temples, and gates that constitute these famous ruins. Of course, the ruins are only a fraction of the Machu Picchu experience. In fact, the site only takes most visitors a day to conquer. Getting there, however, is part of the adventure.
The four-day hike along the Inca Trail is arduous but satisfying and super popular. It attracts thousands of tourists and backpackers to the region during peak season. It’s recommended that all travellers, particularly hikers, visit during the dry season between May and September, when the chances of rain are significantly reduced. Those who hike the Inca Trail will be rewarded with amazing vantage points for summit views and an experience like no other.
Vacationers looking for something easier on their feet can take a train from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes, the town situated right outside of the ruin site. You can even chug along in style – luxury trains offer fine dining, cocktails, and live music. Though it may not be as exhilarating as the hike’s summit-top photo ops, a train ride offers many breathtaking views of Peru’s mountain landscapes.
Whatever mode of transportation you choose for your journey to Machu Picchu, your point of departure will always be the city of Cuzco, so your body can adjust to the high altitudes before they intensify. But with many places to stay and eat and a modern sensibility, Cuzco is a great place to hang out as you acclimate.
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