This incredible city of ancient ruins is fascinating and breathtaking. The way you pack for this trip can make a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment, especially if you’ll be hiking or walking a lot.
I’ve put together a guide to help you decide what to wear to Machu Picchu, what NOT to bring, and other FAQs. Enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery and amazing feel of the remnants from long ago!
1) Lonely Planet Peru – Lonely Planet know that most visitors to Peru are heading to Machu Picchu so they dedicate a lot of their guidebook towards the ruins. Having a guidebook handy can help you make travel plans on the move and provide inspiration and ideas for your trip.
2) Travel Insurance – It’s a good idea to have travel insurance whenever you travel internationally. The best planned trips can go wrong and emergency medical assistance can be expensive, especially in rural Peru if medical transport is required. Give yourself peace of mind by having a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
3) Latin American Spanish Phrasebook – If you are not a Spanish speaker, it’s always handy to have a phrasebook with you. Whether it’s dealing with booking buses and hotels or just asking for help in a supermarket, a phrasebook can help you interact with the locals.
4) Altitude Sickness Tablets – A trip to Machu Picchu involves high altitude. You never know how your body will deal with the change but many people who are not used to it can find themselves feeling very poorly. Make sure you have altitude sickness tablets around before you need them as it won’t be fun trying to find medication if you are already suffering.
5) Hiking Shoes: Men’s and Women’s – Macchu Picchu involves a lot of hiking even if you do no not opt to walk the Inca Trail. As the complex is built on a mountain, loose rocks and all, you want to be wearing decent footwear. The weather in the area can also get very wet so it’s worth buying shoes that are water resistant to save an uncomfortable visit.
6) Rain Jacket: Women’s and Men’s – Packing for all weather is recommended in Peru, especially rain as it can come from nowhere. A good lightweight rain jacket will most likely come in very useful during your visit. I suggest taking a lightweight one as it can still be very warm when it’s wet.
7) Fleece: Men’s and Women’s – It can also get very cold, especially at night. Giving yourself the option to put on a fleece, with or without your rain jacket is a good idea. Peru is definitely a country where it is best to pack layers that you can put on and take off as the weather changes.
8) Insect Repellent – Mosquitoes are present at Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas. It is recommended to use bug spray especially if you are near standing water. They like to come out around the early evening as the sun goes down so it’s worth protecting yourself from itchy bites and disease.
9) Hiking Socks – For the most comfortable experience hiking in Peru’s mountains you will need a good pair of hiking socks, even if it’s just for the day up in the complex. Good socks can save your feet from blisters and keep your feet in good condition so you can concentrate on exploring. View on Amazon.com ➜
10) Day Backpack – You are going to want to be able to carry some of your stuff around with you on the day. Things like your spare clothes, camera and water are always recommended to keep nearby. A good daypack will allow you to have all these things handy and also have room for souvenirs.
11) Camera – Machu Picchu is stunningly beautiful and makes for wonderful pictures for your trip. The complex is a great site for hobby photographers to capture the amazing historic ruin and landscape around it.
12) Hat, Scarf & Gloves – Make sure to check the temperatures for when you are heading to Machu Picchu. As it’s up in the mountains it can get quite chilly, especially at night. For the summer, a hat, scarf and gloves may be overkill, but as it gets colder you will not regret packing them.
13) Water Bottle – It’s a very good idea to keep hydrated, especially when hiking. Filling up a water bottle with drinkable water, or simply taking a good amount of bottled water will keep you going. A good insulated water bottle can keep your water cold and more refreshing.
14) Kindle – Most travelling comes with a lot of time in transit or resting. Make the most of your time by taking a little electronic library with you on your travels. The kindle can hold literally thousands of books and you can download them as you go over WIFI. (or even 3G on certain models)
15) Flashlight – Rural Peru can be poorly lit at night, it’s worth having a flashlight with you not only so you can find your way around but so you will also be visible to traffic if walking near roads in the evening.
16) Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger – When traveling for long periods it’s not always easy to keep your devices fully charged. Power banks are reasonably priced nowadays and can hold an impressive amount of power. Phones these days don’t necessarily have the longest battery life so it’s always having a backup. This one is quite small and holds multiple charges, plus it uses standard USB charger cables.
17) Motion Sickness Tablets – The rural Peruvian roads can be rough. The drivers like to go at fast speeds and the roads are bendy and don’t always have the best surfaces. If you are the type to get car sick I definitely recommend having some tablets with you, you will likely need them.
18) Sunscreen – Even when it’s a little chilly in the Peruvian mountains the sun can cause significant damage to your skin. Make sure you keep exposed skin protected and hydrated with high factor sunscreen.
19) Activated Charcoal – The food and water in Peru can be disagreeable to travelers. I absolutely love and recommend trying the local cuisine, be prepared for your stomach to punish you for indulging. Activated charcoal can help with the symptoms of a bad stomach and keep you on your feet during your trip.
20) Travel First Aid Kit – Just in case you get yourself in minor scrapes, it’s always worth having the ability to patch yourself up, especially if you are off the beaten track in rural Peru. Having a supply of band aids, bandages and alcohol wipes is a good idea so you can fix yourself up.
1) Heavy Books – When packing for Machu Picchu you need to think of your mobility. There’s a lot of moving around at high altitude and you will likely regret packing anything heavy and unnecessary like books. This is where the Kindle comes in handy!
2) Unnecessary Electronics – Keep it to what you need. Not only will it be easier to carry around, there will also be less to worry about getting stolen, lost or broken. Take only what you need.
3) Expensive Jewelry – Machu Picchu is not flashy, it’s old ruins on top of a hill. As well as looking out of place with expensive jewelry you will also make yourself a target for pickpockets and scammers.
4) Lots of Cash – While it’s worth having small amount of emergency backup cash with you, don’t over do it. The ATM’s in the towns in the vicinity of Machu Picchu tend to charge a fee, so it’s worth getting a few days cash out at a time. If for any reason the ATM’s are out of service, hotels will offer cashback services on your credit or debit card for a small fee.
1) Where can I stay near Machu Picchu?
Most tourists stay in Aguas Caliente, a short bus ride from Machu Picchu up the mountain. It’s a busy tourist town with lots of hotels, restaurants and souvenir vendors.
2) Will the locals speak English?
Many of the locals working with tourists will speak English. There are also lot of English speaking guides. This does not mean everyone you will encounter speaks English, though it’s unlikely an English speaking local won’t be nearby. Basic Spanish is recommended, but not necessary.
3) Will I be able to get a pass to visit Machu Picchu?
If you are planning on travelling during peak season (July & August) it is recommended you get your pass online in advance, there will always be crowds during this time. If you are going in the quieter months you can be more flexible. You can buy the passes in Aguas Caliente, you just need to take your passport and pay the fee. If you have planned ahead and know your dates, it’s always worth buying it online in advance. There are different passes that allow you to go up to different vantage points around the complex, the more popular ones sell out quickly. Government Machu Picchu Visitor Website.