The Introvert's Guide to Exploring Machu Picchu

Recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, it's no wonder why Machu Picchu ranks so highly on people's Bucket Lists. In the introvert's quick guide to exploring Machu Picchu, I share with you how to get to site, what to pack, and how to avoid the crowds like a true introvert!

Ready to take the first step in planning your journey to Machu Picchu? Click below to fill out a Trip Inquiry and get in touch!


[Text transcript:]

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, it’s no wonder why Machu Picchu ranks so highly on most people’s Bucket Lists.

Today’s video is a quick guide to the famed Inca site in the Andes mountains of Peru.

You can arrive to Machu Picchu a few different ways, either by train or hiking.

There are several trains operated by Inca Rail and Peru Rail. My favorites to recommend to clients are the Vistadome train (by Peru Rail) - which allows for 270-degree views of the surrounding Andes mountain. It’s such a beautiful experience! Best enjoyed in the mornings and afternoons for the best views.

For a more luxe experience, look no further than the Belmond Hiram Bingham - really the cherry on top of Machu Picchu!

You’ll enjoy delicious modern Peruvian cuisine, beverages including pisco sours, afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel, the only property on-site at Machu Picchu.

Once you arrive to Aguas Calientes (casually known as “Machu Picchu Pueblo”), you’ll take a bus up the mountain to arrive at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is located at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, so definitely give yourself a couple of days in Cusco to acclimatize.

Constructed in 1450 and abandoned just 120 years later, Machu Picchu laid hidden to the world until the American historian Hiram Bingham “re-discovered” the site in 1911 and shared his findings with the world.

There are many hypotheses about how Machu Picchu was used, but most archaeologists today believe that it was an estate for the Inca emperor, Pachacuti.

The entire site is an architectural marvel, with an intricate irrigation system (for which the Inca are famous), as well as the expert-level craftsmanship of cut stones set with no mortar, that fit so perfectly a piece of paper couldn’t fit through the seams.

As you walk around, you’ll explore areas that were used for agricultural purposes, places that served as a residential areas for the inhabitants, and other sites with sacred significance and areas reserved for royalty.

With over 150 structures on-site, there is a LOT to see at Machu Picchu!

Give yourself a couple of days to explore the site.

Crowds are typically fewest in the afternoon and evening hours before closing, as well as super-early in the morning.

Some of the things that caught my attention at Machu Picchu:

Intricate irrigation system, for which the Inca are famous, which helps to evenly distribute moisture during periods of light rain and even floods.

The Inca were masters of architecture. Being prone to earthquakes, notice that the doors and windows of Inca buildings are trapezoidal, and resistant to earthquakes.

They were also brilliant astronomers! The famous Intihuatana Stone is perfectly carved so that when the sun passes directly overhead during the two equinoxes, no shadows are cast.

And just it’s physical location blew my mind, tucked in and among the Andean peaks and forest, Machu Picchu remained cleverly hidden from the outside world, allowing it to be extremely well-preserved over the centuries.

If Machu Picchu feels crowded with tourists, just know that it is a tightly controlled site.

Only 2,500 permits are issued daily (and only 500 permits issued each for the Inca Trail, and only 400 to the famed Huayna Picchu, the taller mountain so famous in photos).

Compared with many iconic sites around the globe, Machu Picchu isn’t really all that heavily-touristy afterall

If you’re a History Buff or if Machu Picchu is a lifelong dream of yours, I definitely recommend staying at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel, since you’ll be able to really maximize your time at the citadel and get there to see sunrise, sunset, and visit the grounds when it’s virtually empty.

But there are several other fantastic hotel options in Aguas Calientes, so work with a travel advisor to help you decide which property is right for you.

Your packing list for Machu Picchu should include a few essentials. You’ll want to bring:

  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Tearaway hiking pants
  • Layered shirts; depending on the season, you may need long-sleeved shirts with moisture wicking fabrics, as well as short-sleeved options.
  • A hat to protect yourself from the high-angle of the sun.
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • A rain jacket or plastic poncho

I hope you’ve found this information helpful and inspiring and if it was - please help support a small business, like IntroverTravels, by sharing this video with your family, friends, and any other introverted Travel Nerds in your life.

For more information or to check Machu Picchu off your Bucket List, please fill out the Trip Inquiry to take the first step.