Top Travel Tips in Two Minutes
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WATCH the PBS NOVA special on Machu Picchu: “A Marvel of Inca Engineering”
In Lima, Mark stayed at the Antigua Miraflores Hotel. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) link to support our journalism
In Cusco, Mark stayed at the charming Niños Hotel Meloc, whose profits support the Niños Unidos Peruanos Foundation, an organization providing meals to hundreds of underprivileged children. There is also a companion hotel, the Fierro. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) links to support our journalism.
Many transportation services are available in Peru’s major cities, including international airports, trains, trams, buses, rental cars, tour groups, and drivers for hire.
Most international visitors traveling to Peru by air fly through Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima. Travelers to Cusco, a jumping off point for Machu Picchu, can transit through Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ).
Peru’s main port for cruise ships is El Callo , near Lima’s international airport.
Most tourists from Western countries do not need a visa to visit Peru for up to 90 days.
The ride-hailing service, Uber, has steadily expanded in the major cities of Peru, and was widely available in Lima as of 2016. Depending on your destination and fluency in Spanish, this can be a cheaper and easier ride from Lima’s airport into the city than a taxi ride.
Miraflores, Barranco, San Isidro, and Chorrillos are some recommended neighborhoods for hotel accommodations and general safety.
Many people choose to book hiking packages that take several days to reach Machu Picchu. These must be booked far in advance. If you’re pressed for time, however, there are day trips available, although they will make for a very long day. Mark used a day trip booked through Llama Path in Cusco. It cost $347 and includes a two hour car drive, a two-hour train ride, a 20-minute bus ride, a guide in Machu Picchu for a two-hour tour, three hours to climb Huayna Picchu, and then the entire process in reverse. All of the admission tickets are included. The day starts with a 3:40am pick up from your Cusco hotel and ends around 8pm with a drop off at your hotel.
Bring lots of snacks for your journey. Once you leave Aguas Calientes, the village where the busses pick you up for the final ride to Machu Picchu, you’ll have the cafe at the top but no food or toilets inside the ruins themselves.
July 24, 2021, will mark the centennial of Machu Picchu’s discovery by American explorer Hiram Bingham. Read more about Bingham, who would later become a US senator from Connecticut, in this History Today article
If you have the time and want to save money, you can skip the tour groups for Machu Picchu. You can book every step of the way yourself and you’ll save 25%-35%. But it is a bit of work and it may be worth it to you to book with a tour company such as Llama Path to save yourself time and hassle.
Visitors who think they’ll save money by hiking the Inca Trail without a guide or group will be mistaken. Only 500 people are allowed on the trail each day and must be accompanied by a guide.
What did you do on your visit to PERU?
Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comment section below!
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