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Machu Picchu: Essential planning tips for South Africans (2018)

Machu Picchu by Vagabond Journals

Machu Picchu is one of the new wonders of the world and well worth a visit. We were absolutely awestruck. Considering the location of this citadel high above a valley on top of a mountain, how did they build here? And the precision of the Inca’s in building and the layout of the citadel is something to be admired.

It is one of those bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime trips you just have to do.

So here are the planning tips to get there:

When to go:

The time you visit might be influenced by seasons or not but here are a few tips.

Peak season is from June to September coinciding with the European summer holidays. This is also the dry season in the Peruvian Andes.

From October to the end of April it is apparently much less crowded, however, this is the time that most South Americans have holidays, and the Christmas holidays also fall within this period. It is also summer in the Southern Hemisphere so many people travel here during this time.

It is the rainy season, so you can expect rain.

We visited at the end of April. There were still many people visiting the site.

How to get to Cusco in Peru:

To get to Machu Picchu, you have to get to Cusco in Peru as this is the gateway city to get to Machu Picchu. Luckily South Africans don't need visas for Peru. You will need an exit ticket though.

Flights on Travelstart start from around R10 000 from Johannesburg to Lima (capital of Peru) if you book in advance. Thereafter you have to get a bus (which is the cheapest option) to Cusco, alternatively a connecting flight if you are on a tight timeline.

The bus takes around 20 hours and bus ticket prices vary depending on the company you choose and your comfort level. Cama seats, the most comfortable, reclining 160 to 180 degrees, start from S./150 (about R560/$46). You can get cheaper seats that recline about 140 degrees for S./60 (R225 or $20). Go to the bus terminal and shop around asking for prices. The most reputable bus companies are Oltursa, Civa and Ittsa. You can check availability and times, as well as book in advance on