Machu Picchu Travel Tours

How high is machu picchu

Welcome to the mesmerizing world of Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan citadel nestled in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, rich history, and architectural marvels. One of the most intriguing aspects of Machu Picchu is its altitude, which adds to its mystique and allure. In this article, we will delve into the heights of Machu Picchu and explore its significance, geographical location, and the effects of high altitude on visitors.

History and Significance of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas,” was built in the 15th century and served as a sacred and administrative center for the Inca civilization. It remained hidden from the outside world until its rediscovery in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. Today, it stands as a testament to the ingenuity and advanced architectural techniques of the Incas.

Geographical Location and Altitude

Machu Picchu is situated on a mountain ridge at an altitude of approximately 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level. It is nestled between the towering peaks of the Andes, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and the Urubamba River below. The location of Machu Picchu adds to its allure, as it is surrounded by lush vegetation and dramatic landscapes.

How High is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu’s altitude of 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) makes it a high-altitude destination. While not as extreme as some other locations in the Andes, visitors should still be mindful of the effects of high altitude. The air at this elevation is thinner, which can lead to symptoms of altitude sickness for some individuals.

The Effects of High Altitude on Visitors

Visitors to Machu Picchu may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). These symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. It is important to acclimatize properly by allowing your body time to adjust to the altitude. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, and taking it easy during the first few days can help minimize the effects of altitude sickness.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this period, the weather is relatively mild, with clear skies and less rainfall. However, Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination, so it’s recommended to book your visit well in advance to secure your spot.

Getting to Machu Picchu

Reaching Machu Picchu involves a multi-step journey. The first step is to fly into Cusco, the gateway city to Machu Picchu. From Cusco, you can take a train or hike along the famous Inca Trail to the town of Aguas Calientes, which serves as the base for visiting Machu Picchu. From Aguas Calientes, a short bus ride will take you to the entrance of Machu Picchu.

Exploring Machu Picchu: Must-See Sites and Activities

Once inside Machu Picchu, you will be greeted by a plethora of remarkable sights and activities. Some of the must-see sites include the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana Stone, the Temple of the Three Windows, and the agricultural terraces. Additionally, hiking the iconic Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain offers stunning views of the citadel from above.

Accommodation and Facilities at Machu Picchu

While there are no accommodations within the Machu Picchu site itself, there are several options available in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels, there is something to suit every traveler’s needs. Additionally, there are restaurants, souvenir shops, and other facilities to make your visit comfortable.

Local Culture and Traditions

Machu Picchu is not only a historical site but also a living testament to the vibrant culture and traditions of the local Quechua people. You can witness their traditional clothing, music, and dance during your visit. Engaging with the local community and learning about their customs adds a deeper layer of understanding to your Machu Picchu experience.

Preservation and Conservation Efforts

Preserving the integrity and beauty of Machu Picchu is of utmost importance. The Peruvian government, along with various organizations, has implemented measures to protect and conserve this iconic site. Tourists are encouraged to follow responsible tourism practices, such as not littering and respecting the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.


Machu Picchu is a destination that captivates the hearts and minds of travelers from around the world. Its lofty altitude, rich history, and awe-inspiring beauty make it a truly unparalleled experience. By understanding the heights of Machu Picchu and preparing accordingly, visitors can embark on a journey of a lifetime and create memories that will last forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to visit Machu Picchu at high altitudes?

Yes, it is safe to visit Machu Picchu at high altitudes. However, it is important to take necessary precautions and acclimatize properly to minimize the effects of altitude sickness.

2. How long does it take to acclimatize to the high altitude?

The time it takes to acclimatize to high altitude varies from person to person. It is recommended to spend a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude locations before visiting Machu Picchu to allow your body to adjust.

3. Are there any health risks associated with visiting Machu Picchu?

While visiting Machu Picchu, there is a risk of experiencing altitude sickness. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and take necessary precautions. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before your trip.

4. Can I bring oxygen tanks or medication for altitude sickness?

Yes, you can bring oxygen tanks or medication for altitude sickness. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to ensure you have the necessary medications and supplies.
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