things to do in machu picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the world’s new seven wonders, and this title has made it so popular. Nowadays, The Inca Citadel receives one and a half million visitors, which is on an upward trend! Let’s be honest: Peru is one of the most magical countries in the world, full of good reasons to visit it. Mostly because there are many exciting things to do in Machu Picchu.

The “Lost City of the Incas” allows us to travel in time to discover its archaeological heritage. The selfie or the perfect photo carries away many visitors on their Machu Picchu tour. By avoiding visiting the important places in the citadel.

But what activities can we do in the Inca citadel? The Inca marvel is 13 km², which means that there are lots of fascinating locations where you can explore the lost culture of the Incas. So, Machu Travel Peru will assemble 17 activities that you can realize in the citadel and surroundings. You will spend hours wandering and being amazed from marvel to marvel in this Inca city of wonders.

17 things to do in Machu Picchu

1. Great views at the Sun Gate

things to do in machu picchu sun gate

The Sun Gate or Intipunku (native Quechua language) was once the main entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu. The Tawantinsuyo people entered and exited through it. Thus, this structure served as a checkpoint for visitors to the world marvel.

For this reason, the visitors consider it one of the most important features of the Sanctuary for its history. But Why did it receive the name Sun Gate? Well, on the summer solstice, the sun’s rays illuminate its walls. This experience shows an amazing spectacle every December 21 to the visitors.

Moreover, everybody who trek the Inca Trail will enter the Citadel through this gate. So, if you’re at the end of the Inca trail map, you’ll see amazing views of “The Lost City of the Incas” from the Sun Gate!

Of course, if you are in the same citadel, you must take the “Intihuatana” path. The walk lasts 2 hours, and it is a round trip. So, what are you waiting for?

2. Enjoy sunrise from Machu Picchu

things to do in machu picchu sunrise

The Inca marvel is in a strategic location, on the jungle eye, over 2430 m.a.s.l. Therefore, the sunrise from its location, especially during the dry season, is simply unforgettable. By the way, the dry season goes from April to November.

Moreover, if you are in the Sun Gate from 06:00 am to 06:30 am, the sunrise there will amaze you. Believe us! Furthermore, this range of time is perfect for visiting the citadel without many people. For this reason, take the first scheduled train to Machu Pícchu and enjoy of this experience.

In this form, you’ll enjoy the sunrise in the Peruvian jungle eye, and you’ll have the citadel all to yourself!

Please note that the Archaeological Park is open every day from 06:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m. In addition, the first CONSETTUR bus climbed up to the citadel at 05:30 a.m. These buses depart every 5 minutes and return from the citadel to Aguas Calientes in the same periodicity. Now you know, if you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, take consideration of these data!

3. Appreciate the Temple Of The Sun

things to do in machu picchu sun temple

The Temple of the Sun, also known as The Torreón, has a special and spiritual significance to the Incas. The Incas built this iconic and sacred temple to pay tribute and give offerings to the sun. The Incas considered the Sun as the creator of all things. That’s why the Temple of the Sun is one of the most iconic and important buildings in “The Lost City of the Incas”.

The Temple of the Sun is also one of the finest examples of Inca masonry. Fine granite blocks well-carved make its oval walls. The temple is over the religious sector. Without mentioning the niches and their 3 windows arranged in the direction of the three cardinal points of the earth.

Therefore, scholars think that the Incas used this Sacred Temple as an astronomical observatory. Where its windows may have been able to measure the solstices and stars. Without a doubt, visiting the Temple of the Sun is one of the most interesting things to do in Machu Picchu.

4. Get to know the Sacred Rock

things to do in machu picchu sacred rock

This sacred stone takes the shape of Putucusi Mountain, which lies behind it. The Incas considered to Putucusi the hidden gem of the Inca marvel. Today, the scholars are not clear about the functionality of this rock. But, according to local tradition, Inca people performed music and poetry in front of the interesting rock.

Regarding Putucusi, this round-shaped Andean mountain is on the opposite side of the citadel. Connoisseurs consider it a must for those seeking a mind-blowing adventure. It is even a great alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The trail counts with a series of terrifyingly tall wooden ladders.

At the top, you will witness breathtaking views of the Inca citadel, but it is worth the risk.

5. Tour to Huchuy Picchu

things to do in machu picchu huchuy picchu

Huchuy Picchu is a little mountain on one side of Huayna Picchu. The administration enabled the route for your visit a couple of years ago. Its trek is the most recent among the other journeys, such as the Huayna Picchu mountain.

Huchuy Picchu is over 2497 m.a.s.l. This means only 50 meters higher than the same Inca citadel. That is why Huchuy Picchu means small mountain. For this reason, its trek is the easiest to do, without much effort.

The entrance fee for your visit is not so in demand. So, you can buy it one month before the date of your visit. For all this, Huchuy Picchu is an unmissable visit.

6. Hike up to Huayna Picchu Mountain

things to do in machu picchu huayna picchu

In the classic photo of “The Lost City of the Incas”, there is always a huge mountain rising in the background. This mountain is the famous Huayna Picchu. You can climb Huayna Picchu to see amazing views of the Inca Citadel and mountains. It’s a challenging but rewarding hike.

Although the Huayna Picchu trek is kind of steep and narrow, it’s not dangerous. If you love hiking and have lots of energy during your Inca citadel tour, go for it and explore all terrains! Huayna Picchu is well worthwhile.

Keep in mind that you must purchase your ticket in advance since the availability is limited. You must purchase your “Circuit 4 + Wayna Picchu”. The Park administration DOES NOT sell the Huayna Picchu entrance independently. Besides, the ticket of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu cost may be different if you decide to hike up to the mountain.

So, take the proper precautions.

7. Visit the Temple of the Moon

things to do in machu picchu moon temple

The temple of the moon is on the slopes of Huayna Picchu mountain. It is true that to get there, you will have to opt for the Huayna Picchu longest descent way, but the reward is worth it. The Moon Temple are several niches and trapezoidal windows of well-carved stones in the deep of a cave.

Its purpose is a mystery. But, a stone seat is even in its center, and the Incas may have used it as a sacrifice center.

The Incas considered the caves as dimensional portals to the Uku Pacha, or the world of the dead. And the temple of the moon could have had this function. Keep in mind that to enjoy this walk, you will have to reserve the Huayna Picchu + Machu Picchu tickets for the mountain in advance. In addition, you can visit the temple without crowds since mountain hiking has a limit of visitors per day.

8. Climb Machu Picchu mountain

things to do in machu picchu mountain

Another great option for avid hikers is to climb this Mountain. But first, you have to know that the entrance to climb this mountain goes along the Inca citadel entrance. As we mentioned, the administration doesn’t sell any entrances to mountains separately.

However, there are more entrances available daily since it’s less popular than Huayna Picchu. They don’t sell out as far in advance. You will see “The Lost City of the Incas” from another angle from its top. There will be few people around.

This will allow you to fully appreciate its beauty and grandeur.

This mountain is higher than Huayna Picchu. However, its path is wider, horizontal, and not as steep as that of Huayna Picchu. Therefore, its experience is more adaptable for families and children. Furthermore, the Incas celebrated ceremonies at the top of this incredible Andean mountain.

As you can see, the best things to do in Machu Picchu involve not only natural beauty but also history.

9. Admire the Intihuatana

things to do in machu picchu intihuatana

This beautifully carved rock is on a raised platform that towers above the main plaza. Intihuatana is one of the most popular places in Peru. Without mentioning that it is a recognizable place in the citadel. Since the Incas used it as a sundial to predict solstices.

As well as an astronomical calendar. For all this reason, Intihuatana means “Place where the sun is tied” in English. The Incas used the Intihuatana not only for astronomical purposes but also for spiritual and religious ceremonies.

Some historians believe it was a rock full of energy. In the nineties and two thousand, many visitors used to touch its surface to receive energy. Unfortunately, this fact caused the quick erosion of the rock. Today, A rope ring surrounds Intihuatana, preventing people from approaching.

However, it is enough to get close enough to receive their positive energy and good vibes. So, you can come, absorb the positive energy of the stone and recharge yourself discover it by yourself! Being able to explore the different constructions of the citadel is one of the best things to do in Machu Picchu.

10. Visit the Principal Temple

things to do in machu picchu principal temple

One of the great things to do in Machu Picchu is to visit Principal Temple. This temple is another finest example of the sophistication of Inca masonry. On the different tours in Peru, you will be able to appreciate this beauty.

It is on Sacred Plaza. The Principal Temple derives its name from its large size and the perfection of its construction. This impressive three-sided building consists of 2 lateral walls and 1 real wall, all of them beautifully cut stone. The Incas used its trapezoidal-shaped niches for ceremonial offerings and rituals.

11. A perfect photo from the Caretaker’s Hut

things to do in machu picchu caretaker hut

If you’ve ever wondered where to take the perfect picture with “The Lost City of the Incas” in the background, then the Caretaker’s Hut is the answer. This hut is in the agricultural sector, on the high part of the citadel. From its altitude, you’ll have a great 306° view of the entire citadel.

Precisely, it was the idea. The guardian had to have a panoramic view of the citadel and the entrance path. To give timely warning to his superior if any threat lurked in the vicinity. Today the caretaker’s hut is the only structure refurbished 100%.

That is why you will see a thatched roof over the structure. This way, you can imagine what all the constructions in the Inca citadel looked like. Of course, you’ll get the perfect photo from there during the dry season (March to November). Otherwise, during the rainy season, you can shelter from the rain inside the hut and feel how a watchman felt in Inca times.

By the way, the rainy season goes from November to March.

12. Explore the Inca Drawbridge

things to do in machu picchu inca drawbridge

Since the Caretaker’s Hut, you can continue to walk through a narrow path to see the amazing Inca Drawbridge. The Incas built this bridge as a kind of secret entrance to the citadel. Exclusivity the Inca army used it and is into a cliff on the western route of the Inca citadel.

Receive the name of the drawbridge because the narrow path from Caretaker’s Hut continues to a cliff. Precisely, a hole of 6 meters in length cut the narrow path in the middle of the cliff. This hole has a 20-foot drop and scares away any unwanted visitors. Therefore, the Incas put long logs over the hole, like a kind of handmade bridge.

So when these logs were not there, it was impossible to cross. Today, it is impossible to cross this bridge or approach him. It is because a tourist died when he tried to cross it and fell through the cliff. But it is one of the not-so-well-known Machu Picchu facts.

And not seeing it from the tower would be a serious mistake.

13. Discover the Temple of Condor

things to do in machu picchu condor temple

This temple is famous in the Inca citadel. The Condor Temple has detailed stone walls and a design that looks like a flying condor. Definitely, it takes you back to a time of spirituality and devotion.

The Incas built it over a huge stone that belonged to the same Vilcabamba batholith. The batholith is a place where the Incas extracted the stones to build the entire citadel.

Marvel at how the Inca architects adapted their construction to the shape of the rock. Studies affirm that the temple served as a religious center and Inca rituals. The Temple of Condor is in the urban sector of the Inca citadel. This is in the Hurin neighborhood, accessed through a passage near the main Plaza.

14. Visit the 3 Windows Temple

things to do in machu picchu 3 windows temple

The Temple of the Three Windows was the name given to a collection of structures encircling a square courtyard. Because it has three trapezoidal windows set into a polygonal wall. These windows are perfectly and harmoniously blended into the rocks that comprise the wall. In addition, these are devoid of any kind of decoration.

Specialists believe that a roof covered the place at some point. Of course, the evidence indicates that the wall originally had five windows. The Temple of the Three Windows is in the “Hanan,” or high area. This area is the most significant portion of the Inca citadel.

It is because of its location as the religious sector northeast of the Inca city. This solid is facing southward, toward Putucusi and Huayna Picchu mountains.

The Scholars associate its architecture with the history of “Tamputoq’o.” This legend recounts the Ayar brothers’ founding of the Inca state. Each window symbolizes one of the three tribes that, according to mythology, gave rise to the Incas.

However, the archaeologists haven’t corroborated this historical fact yet. During excavations, Bingham discovered a large number of vessels and liturgical objects, such as cups, jars, and decorated fountains.  The American explorer found them at the height of the windows and up to three feet deep in the back.

This suggests that the Incas celebrated religious ceremonies in the Temple of the Three Windows.

15. Hike to Machu Picchu

hike to machu picchu

Everybody knows that once you arrive at Aguas Calientes, you must take a CONSETTUR bus heading to the Inca marvel. This bus transfers train passengers who arrived previously at Aguas Calientes station to the top of the mountain. There is the famous Inca citadel. The bus trip lasts 35 minutes, and buses depart every 5 minutes; round trip.

However, if you want an exclusive experience, we have a great option for you! You can skip the bus and walk from Aguas Calientes to the top of the mountain. This is a trek in a zigzag that goes climbing up the mountain to the same entrance of Archaeological Park. The hike takes 1 hour climb up and another one to descend.

During the hike, you’ll be able to see the endemic flora and fauna of the Inca Citadel Park. Not to mention the effort and reward you will get when reaching the summit of the mountain. In addition to saving you a few dollars on the cost of transportation on a CONSETTUR bus.

As you can see, the activities that you can do in the Inca citadel are trekking, and bird watching.

16. Informative Machu Picchu Museum

site museum Manuel Chavez ballon

Manuel Chavez Ballon Site Museum is officially the name of this museum. Even though it’s small, this museum provides detailed information and background on the Inca marvel. So, it is worth visiting.

We consider that apart from knowing how to get to Machu Picchu, you can inform yourself and learn about the place you will visit. It is well worth it if you don’t want to feel overwhelmed when you are at the Inca marvel. An excellent place to answer questions like: What is the main idea of the Inca marvel? And much more!

Its name is in honor of its first founder, and it offers its visitors five permanent exhibition halls. The exhibits in these halls teach about the history and culture of the National Archaeological Park of Machupicchu.

Eight sequences develop the exhibition.  Each one has infographics, panels, maps, and videos. These also have special samples of the collection funds, such as ceramics, lithics, metals, and others. Without mentioning its samples of the collection funds such as ceramics, lithics, metals, and others.

17. Colorful Mariposarium

things to do in machu picchu mariposario

Along the same road that leads to the Manuel Chavez Ballon Museum, there is a tiny butterfly refuge. This receives the name of Mariposario de Machu Picchu. Indeed, it is not among the most spectacular attractions in Machu Picchu. However, it offers some respite from the crowds that always throng the Inca Citadel.

Mariposario teaches about butterfly life cycles and lets you see them at different stages of development. Come on! Everybody loves butterflies, especially kids.

The responsible designed This butterfly house to conserve and repopulate the local butterflies’ species. But this colorful spectacle is not the only attraction, the environment is more than beautiful. Impressive tropical mountains surround it alongside the river. If you are looking for the best time to visit Machu Picchu, think no more, since the citadel is available throughout the year.


The experts at Machu Travel Peru hope they have been of great help for your next visit to the Inca citadel. With all these activities, it is worth visiting the Inca citadel once in your life.

And if you are wondering how many days you need in Machu Picchu. Well, about four days with an overnight stay in the town of Aguas Calientes would be enough.

You can enjoy this wonder on a full-day tour. This way you will not have any kind of surprises and inconveniences. Machu Picchu is a popular destination, and the visitors have to prepare themselves to explore it.

If you want, you can consult with our different advisers about our scheduled trips to the citadel. Don’t miss out on this architectural wonder!

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!