If you are an avid traveler like the Machu Travel Peru team, this probably happened to you when you planned your holidays, your nomad instinct took you immediately to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and for a good reason. Let’s be honest, Peru is one of the most magical countries of the world full of good reasons to be visited… And mostly because there are lots of interesting things to do in Machu Picchu.
Located high in the Andean hills, the majestic and mysterious “Lost City of the Incas” allows us to travel in time to be dazzled by its archaeological heritage, mesmerizing history and spiritual mystery. Being certainly Peru’s premier tourist attraction, millions of tourists from all over the world have seen pictures of the enigmatic Inca Sanctuary and want to begin their Machu Picchu tours. However, not everyone is so familiar with the unmissable sights within the Inca complex and the impressive nearby attractions.
Machu Picchu is stretched over 13 km², this means that there are lots of fascinating locations that will allow you to take a look into the lost culture of the Incas. So, Machu Travel Peru will put together 10 things to do in Machu Picchu. You will spend hours wandering and dazzling you from marvel to marvel in this Inca city of wonders.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN MACHU PICCHU
1. Great views at The Sun Gate
The Sun Gate or Intipunku (native Quechua language) was once the main entrance to the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu. For this reason, this site is considered one of the most important features of the Sanctuary for its history. It is the favorite attraction among tourists since it follows an original “Inca Trail” that ends at Machu Picchu.
So, if you are lucky enough to purchase your permit for the Inca Trail trek and pass along this Inca trail route, you will witness the most spectacular and fascinating views of Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is a truly beautiful hike through the Andean Mountains, ancient ruins and snow-capped peaks. But the magical end of this four-day adventure is to pass through the Sun Gate for the first sublime sighting of Machu Picchu in the distance. This privileged location will allow you to take in the fantastic views of the mysterious Lost City of the Incas. You will access the Sun Gate at sunrise. Then, a beautiful descent down to an uncrowded Sanctuary. Completely magical.
At the same time, if you may not be interested in hiking the Inca Trail, it is completely possible to hike up to The Sun Gate from the Machu Picchu Citadel. We consider this is one of the best things to do in Machu Picchu and, of course, the best way to arrive at one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
2. Emblematic Temple of the Sun
The Temple of the Sun also known as The Torreón has a special and spiritual significance to the Incas. This iconic and sacred temple was built by them for ceremonies 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 Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
The Temple of the Sun is one of the finest examples of Inca masonry. Besides, it is thought that this Sacred Temple was used as an astronomical observatory where its windows may have been able to measure the solstices and stars. Without a doubt, the Temple of the Sun is one of the most interesting things to do in Machu Picchu.
3. The Sacred Rock
This sacred stone takes the shape of Putucusi Mountain which is considered the hidden gem of Machu Picchu. According to history, musical and poetry recitals took place in front of this giant and intriguing rock.
And since we mentioned Putucusi, this round-shaped Andean mountain located on the opposite side to Machu Picchu is considered a must for those seeking a mind-blowing adventure. The trail counts with a series of terrifyingly tall wooden ladders. At the top, you will witness breathtaking views of Machu Picchu but is it worth the risk?
4. Hike up to Huayna Picchu Mountain
In the classic photo of Machu Picchu, there is always a huge mountain rising in the background. This mountain is the famous Huayna Picchu. It is possible to climb to the top and get the most stunning and unparalleled views of the Inca Citadel and the surrounding mountains.
Although this trail is kind of steep and narrow, it’s not dangerous. So, if you are an all-terrain hiker and you are feeling particularly energetic during your Machu Picchu tour, just do it! It is well worthwhile.
Keep in mind that you must purchase your ticket in advance since the availability is limited. You must purchase your “Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu Entrance” (Entrance to Huayna Picchu is NOT sold independently)… The ticket to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu cost may be different if you decide to hike up to the mountain. So, take the proper precautions.
5. Climb Machu Picchu Mountain
Another great option for avid hikers is to climb Machu Picchu Mountain. But first off, you have to know that the permits to climb this mountain must be also purchased along with your entrance to the Machu Picchu Citadel.
There are more permits available daily since it’s less popular than Huayna Picchu. They don’t sell out as far in advance. So, you will find yourself looking at the majestic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in all its splendor with hardly anyone else around. Climbing to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and higher than Huayna Picchu but the views are unbeatable.
Furthermore, during the Inca period, ceremonies were held at the top of this incredible Andean mountain. As you have realized, the best things to do in Machu Picchu involve not only natural beauty but also history.
This beautifully carved rock is located on a raised platform that towers above the plaza. Intihuatana is one of the most recognizable places in Machu Picchu since it was used by the Incas as a sundial to predict solstices.
Intihuatana was used not only for astronomical purposes but also for spiritual and religious ceremonies. Some historians believe it was a rock full of energy. A focal point of the positive energy of Machu Picchu and from the surroundings. It can sound unbelievable, but if you can feel it, it is a reality, right? So, you can come, discover it by yourself and absorb the positive energy of the stone.
7. Visit the Principal Temple
One of the great things to do in Machu Picchu is to visit Principal Temple since it is another finest example of the sophistication of Inca masonry.
Situated on Machu Picchu’s Sacred Plaza, Principal Temple derives its name from its large size and 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 trapezoidal-shaped niches at Principal Temple were used for ceremonial offerings and rituals.
8. Visit the agricultural terraces
Agriculture was one of the most significant activities for the Incas. They had the great and impressive ability to adapt the mountainous terrain of the Andes for cultivation. For this reason, your Machu Picchu journey wouldn’t be complete without visiting the thousands of terraces where you can appreciate the Incan techniques for agriculture. Besides, they are a quieter and perfect spot for a nice rest from the crowds.
9. Informative Machu Picchu Museum
This interesting museum is officially called the Manuel Chavez Ballon Site Museum. In spite of its small size, this informative museum will allow you to get detailed information and more background about Machu Picchu. So, it is worth visiting.
Machu Travel Peru considers that apart from knowing how to get to Machu Picchu, you must be informed 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 Machu Picchu.
10. Colorful Mariposarium
Along the same road that leads to the Machu Picchu Museum, there is a tiny butterfly refuge, called Mariposario de Machu Picchu. It’s true it is not among the most spectacular attractions in Machu Picchu, but it offers some respite from the crowds that always throng the Inca Citadel.
Mariposario de Machu Picchu allows you to learn about the life cycle of butterflies and see them in all their stages. Come on! Everybody loves butterflies, especially kids.
This butterfly house was designed to conserve and repopulate the local butterflies’ species. But this colorful spectacle is not the only attraction, the environment is more than beautiful. It is surrounded by impressive tropical mountains and alongside the river.
The team of Machu Travel Peru hopes you may get time to enjoy all the great things to do in Machu Picchu!