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Machu Picchu totally exceeded my expectations! This 15th century Inca City sits up high on a ridge of a 7,970 ft mountain in Peru near Cusco. At its base is Aguas Calientes a small town in the Urubamba River Valley famous for its hot springs. We loved this little village, its very much a pedestrian town (no vehicles) so its super easy and safe to wander and explore. There is a large choice of restaurants and accommodation in the town however book in advance as during peak season it fills to the brim.
The only way to get to Aquas Calientes is by foot or by train. The majority of people arrive by train which can be arranged in Cusco. For the more adventurous there are several trekking options. The three most popular are the Classic Inca Trail which follows the route of the Incas. This trail books out months in advance so get in early. The Lares trail and the Salkantay Trek are very popular options too.
We choose to go up and over the stunning mountains and did the Salkantay Trek. Five amazing days of hiking and camping in the mountains with the most spectacular of views. The trek is challenging with the highest mountain pass being 4660m. You are rewarded with glaciers, lakes, snow covered mountains, pastures, local villages and more. In most sections of the trail you can opt to ride horses so if you have young children that might tire from hiking this is a good option. Horses are used to carry some of your luggage and your camping gear so you only hike with a day pack.
Once you reach Aguas Calientes you can take a bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu or hike the cruelling 60 minute uphill to the ancient site. Many people do as we did and take the bus up but hike down at the end of the day. Allow at least 2 or 3 hours, more if you can to explore the ancient city. Guides are available for hire at the entrance gate be sure to check they are an official guide with identification. Tickets for entry to Machu Picchu must be purchased in advance and there is a daily limit so book early anytime of the year but particularly if you are travelling in peak season June, July and August. Tickets can be purchased online or from travel agents in Cusco. Do some research when booking your tickets as there are a couple of additional hikes you can do inside the ancient city. The permits to do these hikes can not be purchased on the day so be sure to get the right entry ticket.
One thing to know is that there are no toilets once you pass through the entry gate to Machu Picchu. Make sure the kids, big and little go before entering as there are no pass outs either, so if you have to exit, you wont be allowed back in.
If you would like to take your family to Machu Picchu talk to us now. We can arrange your flights, treks, permits, accommodation and tours. Call BYOkids now on 1300 296 543 or message us via Facebook If you'd like an all inclusive option, an excellent 10 day family tour is available in Peru that includes the Amazon Jungle, Machu Picchu by train, Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and more. Children 5 and over can join this tour and its priced from $3500 per person. Monthly departures are available through to mid 2020. Talk to us now for the full itinerary and to book your spot.
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