Traveling as a family to the lost city of the Incas of Machu Picchu is a truly enriching experience and it is completely possible to do so without exposing children to unnecessary dangers.
The citadel of Machu Picchu was built by the Inca empire approximately six hundred and fifty years ago, during the reign of the Inca Pachaquteq who was also the creator of the so-called Tahuantinsuyo empire, which in its glory time spanned from northern Colombia to the southern Argentina, and it is estimated that it covered an area of more than two million square kilometers of territory. With the arrival of the first Spaniards to Cusco, around 1530 the once invincible Inca army was defeated, their populations were conquered and their natural resources were gradually sent to the old continent. It is in this context that the city of Machu Picchu, which, in the language of the Incas, Quechua, means ‘Old Mountain’ was hidden from view of the western world for more than three hundred and eighty years. In 1911 the American explorer Hiram Bingham commanding an expedition along the Willcamayu river (also called Urubamba) rediscovered this wonder of the ancient world and according to the stories, he was guided by a small child who was his advisor for most of his odyssey
Machu Picchu's altitude and weather
The lost city of the Incas is located at a height of 2 430 meters above sea level, being almost 800 meters below the city of Cusco (3300 masl), so the altitude sickness also called 'Soroche' should not be a problem to consider.
The climate in Machu Picchu is humid due to the usual presence of rains, but at the same time temperate, being in a sub-tropical environment, with temperatures that fluctuate between 9 °C and 23 °C degrees. Both Machu Picchu and the surrounding area are covered all year round by a dense green layer of vegetation and also characterized by the incessant roar of the mighty Urubamba River that moves downstream.
The entrance to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu for minors is previous presentation of your Passport or National Identity Document (DNI) if you are Peruvian. All minors must enter Machu Picchu in the company of their parents or legal guardians.
Children under 8 years old DO NOT pay entrance ticket, but they must also present their Passport or ID and be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
How to get to Machu Picchu with children
The trip to Machu Picchu consists of several short sections that must be completed to reach the lost city of the Incas.
To access the Inca citadel there are several alternatives, which vary depending on the budget of the traveler, their physical condition and their desire to walk.
The first alternative that is the most common among travelers to Machu Picchu is to make the first section of the trip by bus, from the city of Cusco to the town of Ollantaytambo, a journey that has an average duration of one hour and a half to two hours, with an average cost of S/. 20.00 (USD 6.00). In the second section of this option, the railway must be approached from the town of Ollantaytambo, after approximately two hours, one reaches the town of Aguas Calientes. Train tickets for children, in the two companies that offer the service (PeruRail and IncaRail) have an approximate discount of 40% to 50%. The final section in this option is to choose between climbing from the town of Aguas Calientes to the citadel, located on top of a mountain, using the bus of the company Conssetur (average discount of 50% for children's tickets) , or walk up, at no cost.
The second alternative to get to Machu Picchu is to take a bus at the 'Almudena bus station' in the city of Cusco, with an average cost of S/. 50.00, to reach the town of Santa Teresa after approximately 6 hours of travel, Once there, another vehicle must be boarded to the so-called 'Hydroelectric Power Plant', this section has a regular cost of S/. 6.00 (USD 2.00) and a duration of 30 minutes. On the next section of this option you must choose between taking the tourist train (USD 31.00) to the town of Aguas Calientes or taking a walk (6 hours of walking along the train tracks in the middle of the sub-tropical jungle) and Finally choose between the Conssetur bus or the walk to the Inca citadel.
There is also the famous hike or trekking called ‘Inca Trail’ as an alternative to reach Machu Picchu, but this option is not viable with children, due to the high physical requirement that this route requires.
Entrance tickets cost to Machu Picchu
|Price Table||Foreign Adult||Foreign Student||Foreign School Student||Peruvian Adult||Peruvian Student|
|Machu picchu + Machu picchu mountain||S/.200.00||S/.125.00||S/.118.00||S/.112.00||S/.80.00|
|Machu picchu + Hayna picchu mountain||S/.200.00||S/.125.00||S/.118.00||S/.112.00||S/.80.00|
Cost of bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Foreign Adult, round ticket USD 24.00
- Foreign Adult, one way ticket USD 12.00
- Peruvian Adult, round ticket USD 15.00
- Peruvian Adult, one way ticket USD 8.00
- Foreign Children, round ticket USD 12.00
- Foreign Children, one way ticket USD 7.00
- Peruvian Children, round ticket USD 8.00
- Peruvian Children, one way ticket USD 5.00
- Peruvian Student, round ticket USD 10.00
- Peruvian Student, one way ticket USD 6.00
What clothes to wear to go to Machu Picchu with Children
The weather in the Inca citadel is unpredictable, so it is recommended to dress the children with different layers to change them according to the weather and the situation, since you must have for example a hood or rain poncho, but you must also wear light clothes to feel comfortable in the sub-tropical heat.
Alternatives in Machu Picchu when traveling with children
Apart from the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, also known with the Quechua word ‘llaqta’ which means land, there are also other mountains to explore that are close to this wonder of the ancient world.
The Machu Picchu mountain It is the most appropriate alternative when traveling with children, as the ascent to this viewpoint located near 3000 meters above sea level is through a relatively flat and accessible path, away from the abysses, which can be traveled by a child without taking great risks .
The other alternative is the Huayna Picchu mountain, which is located right next to the Inca citadel and is the one that appears in most of the photos; access to this mountain is restricted to children under 12, due to the narrow steps during the ascent and the dangerous abyss of almost 400 meters next to it.
- Always make sure before leaving the hotel that you carry: wide-brimmed hats, insect repellent, rain protection and high-grade sunscreen.
- It is not advisable to hire a tour guide in case of traveling with children, as they usually get bored and lose the rhythm of the guide.
- Enter the hygienic services with your children before entering the Sanctuary (once inside Machu Picchu you will not find services).
- Buy water and candy in Aguas Calientes since there are no shops in the citadel.
- The entry of food is prohibited.
- In the town of Aguas Calientes there are thermal baths (hot pools with hot underground water), where you can spend a really pleasant time in the company of your little ones. These pools are located outdoors and the entrance fee is S/. 8.00 (USD 2.50). There are also small pools for children.
- It is not allowed to enter Machu Picchu with cars for babies so a backpack or hanger to transport your baby would be a good alternative.
- Do not forget to visit the butterfly garden 'Wasi Pillpi' (house of butterflies in Quechua) of the town of Aguas Calientes, where you can see some of the more than 400 species of butterflies registered in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
- Preferably carry only one backpack with everything valuable inside, because carrying several backpacks or carry-on luggage can be a headache, especially when traveling with children.
- Children between 8 and 17 years of age are considered children, for the purpose of buying tickets and others.