Getting to the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, set deep in the Andes, is a journey and an experience that requires advance planning and preparation. To avoid arriving at the site without the right gear, here’s a list of things you should bring.
Sun and bug protection: Situated at an altitude of more than 7,900 feet (2,400 meters), Machu Picchu is fairly exposed to the direct rays of the sun, meaning visitors are more susceptible to sunburn. Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing, and sunblock. Insect repellent is also a good idea.
Waterproof clothing: Machu Picchu can get wet. The site has a distinct rainy season from October through April, although early-morning mists rising from the surrounding river can make things wet any time of the year. While umbrellas are not allowed, rain jackets, coats, and hats are recommended.
Drinking water and snacks: After several hours walking in the hot sun at Machu Picchu, it’s easy to get a little dehydrated. Bottled water and snacks are a great idea, especially for the long train and bus trip if you’re arriving from Cusco or points further away. Bottles are also available for purchase from vendors on-site.
Sturdy shoes: This famous Inca complex is made up of more than 200 buildings arranged across a series of wide terraces. Prepare to do some walking during your visit, particularly if you have plans to scale the towering Huayna Picchu mountain just behind the main site. While you'll find some stellar views at the top, note that selfie sticks and tripods are not allowed at Machu Picchu.
Trekking gear: Although many visitors arrive at Machu Picchu by bus and rail, some choose to reach the site via a guided hike on the Inca Trail, which can involve a full-day or multi-day hiking trip through the nearby mountains. Most hiking tours include camping gear such as tents, but Inca Trail travelers should pack moisture-wicking clothing and warm outer layers for cold nights.