Perched atop a remote Peruvian mountain ridge is the extraordinary 15th century Inca fortress of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The mysterious abandoned city, 80 miles north-west of Cusco in southeastern Peru, was only discovered by the West in 1911. Even today no-one knows why or exactly how it was built.
Many visitors take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, trekking through the Andes and following in the footsteps of those who once lived and worshiped there.
High season for visits to Machu Picchu runs from May until September, the dry season, when it is easier to hike through the mountains. The peak months for visitors are July and August when the ruins can get very crowded, although visitor numbers are limited to 2,500 a day. If you are trekking be aware that it can get cold at night between May and August, with temperatures in the 30s.
For the best weather and smaller crowds consider visiting in May or September.
Rainy season runs from October to April. January is the wettest month and the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance in February although Machu Picchu itself remains open. This is the quietest time to visit.
Machu Picchu is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, but there are lots of ways to find a cheap flight when you book with Orbitz.
Most flights from the US arrive in Lima from where you can catch a connecting flight to Cusco, but there are bargains to be had if you fly to Cusco via different routes. Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option on the search page to look at flights to and from alternative locations.
You can also filter results by the number of connections, flight price or duration by using the buttons on the left of the screen or using the ‘Show options’ drop-down.
It also pays to have leeway in your schedule. Different routes operate on different days, and the ‘My dates are flexible’ option allows you to compare the cost of cheap flights to Machu Picchu on different days.
The nearest airport to Machu Picchu is Cusco. Optimal flight times from US cities include:
The nearest airport to Machu Picchu is Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in the city of Cusco, some 80 miles from Machu Picchu. It has limited facilities and few international flights. The airport is right in the city center high in the Andes and arriving there can be spectacular.
Most visitors begin their journey to the ruins of Machu Picchu in Lima, landing at Jorge Chaves International Airport (LIM), seven miles west of the city. The airport has plenty of options for food and drink, including Starbucks, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts. There are also money-changing kiosks and ATMs. If you are staying over in Lima there are taxis and buses into the city.
Among the airlines that fly to Lima for an onward adventure to Machu Picchu are:
Getting to Machu Picchu is half the adventure. The first step is to get to Cusco. Most people fly in from Lima but it is possible to get a bus, which is much cheaper but takes around 18 hours.
Once in Cusco consider your options for getting to Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes, the nearest village to the ruins, is only accessible by train so driving is not an option. The train runs from Cusco, but many people take a bus or taxi to the town of Ollantaytambo and board it there.
From Aguas Calientes it is a six-mile walk to the ruins, or you can take a bus.
Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu last between two and five days and begin near Ollantaytambo.
Whether the magical ruins of Machu Picchu are swathed in mist and cloud or basking in glorious sunshine they remain breathtaking. Don’t miss the sacred stone Intihuatana and the Temple of the Sun. The views of the surrounding area from the Sacred Plaza are amazing.
Intipunku, or Sun Gate, is the entrance to Machu Picchu if you arrive on the Inca Trail. If you haven’t done the hike it is possible to walk here from the ruins.
The hectic craft market at Aguas Calientes rail station is a great place to explore and pick up a souvenir – but be prepared to haggle.
Early morning, from 6am to 8am, and after 2pm are the quietest times to visit Machu Picchu.
Make sure you purchase your tickets before heading to the site as visitor numbers are limited. Take a few days in Cusco or Aguas Calientes to acclimatize to the altitude before your visit.
*Savings based on all package bookings with Flight + Hotel made on Orbitz.com from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.
Fare, taxes & fees: Fares include all taxes and fees, except baggage fees. Rates shown reflect fares found by other Orbitz users over the past 7 days. Due to rapidly changing airline prices & seat availability, these fares may no longer be available.
Refunds/changes/cancellations: Itinerary changes, if permitted for the fare, will have a $30 service fee charged by Orbitz. Additional airline charges may apply.
Other conditions: Schedules, fares and rules are subject to change without notice. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights/dates or in all markets. Lower fares may be available. Fares will not be honored retroactively or in exchange for any wholly/partially unused ticket. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Fare rules are provided for the selected itinerary before booking.