Trend Score: 49.8
Overrated Score: 260.9
Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views.
With 1.3 million visitors annually, Machu Picchu is no ghost town, but given the amount of search interest in this historical attraction, it’s clear that more travelers should be experiencing this ancient treasure. “Every year, millions of people visit the imposing and mysterious Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. But getting to the massive agricultural terraces, intricate stone constructions, and epic hilltop views of this UNESCO World.
Machu Picchu is open year-round. October through April is the official rainy season, but it can rain at any time. And while peak season is July and August, you should always expect crowds. Sundays can be the most crowded, because that’s when people who live in the Cusco province are allowed into the site for free, in addition to the daily quota of 5,200 paying visitors.
Wherever you’re coming from is probably much, much lower than Cusco (11,000 feet) or Machu Picchu (just shy of 8,000 feet). Unless you’ve booked a trip to Machu Picchu that requires an overnight stay in Cusco, we recommend immediately taking the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo (colloquially called Aguas Calientes), the town nearest Machu Picchu. Spend a night or two getting used to the relatively low altitude of Aguas Calientes, at about 6,700 feet, then explore Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco. This will help minimize the unpleasant or even dangerous effects of altitude, which commonly include headache, fatigue, and nausea. Avoid alcohol and physical exertion while acclimatizing and drink as much water or tea as you can stand to help your body slowly adjust to the thinner air.
The easiest way to get to from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to take the train to Aguas Calientes (the town located a few miles from the site). It’s a scenic 3.5-hour trip each way along tracks that run right along the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, with dramatic canyon walls on either side.