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Machu Picchu is a bucket-list trip. I absolutely recommend it for everyone. Keep reading to see how to avoid the most frequent mistakes people make when going.

Mistake 1

Don’t go straight to Machu Picchu. In general I recommend we slow down. This definitely applies to trips to Machu Picchu. Go slow, do a 4 day 3 night trek (or longer!) You don’t have be an athlete. During my trek we had 4 British students doing a “gap year” (Side Note: I wish more people would do this!), an Argentinian family, Mom, Dad, and 2 college age sons, and my 30-something friends. The students were carried their own gear to save some money and hiked faster than the rest of us. The Mom needed more time. So each day, the family would leave after breakfast a bit earlier than the rest of the group, we’d catch up and pass them. They took more frequent breaks and “Mom” absolutely made it all the way.
It’s not a race. There is an unofficial Inca Trail “Marathon” the record is 6 hours 13 minutes and 6 seconds, you won’t beat it, and shouldn’t try. But most people are not used to the elevation two high passes (13,000′ & 13,800 or over 10,000′ of elevation gain and it’s better to slow down. The guides will share tons of knowledge on smaller settlements, flora, and fauna along the way. We had a great trip with Orquidea Tours. Did you know there are over 5,000 varieties of potatoes and they originated in Peru?

Mistake 2

Don’t spend just the final trek day in Machu Picchu. You will have started hiking in the middle of the night to make it to the Sun Gate at sunrise. I strongly encourage you to spend at least one extra night in Aguas Calientes. Take advantage of the natural hot springs to relax after your days of hiking and nights of sleeping in a tent! Take a real shower and then explore Machu Picchu at your leisure. Again take your time and go slow.

Mistake 3

Rush from Lima to the beginning of your trek. Cuzco (also Cusco) is a great town and worthy of 2-4 days both to explore and to acclimate to the elevation. There are many day trips your can do from the center of town. Plus the main square has lots of balconies to enjoy a caipirinha or pisco sour!
Ok so after all that basically there’s only one mistake to avoid, don’t rush.

TL;DR Go Slower.


I have visited 7 continents and 80 countries. I have lived in 9 different countries. I speak English, Spanish, French, and Russian. I like to hike, ski, dive, eat, drink, and wander the wonders of the world.

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