Top 10 Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu Peru 2023

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Top 10 Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu Peru 2023

No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to the ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu, and there are quite a few wonderful hikes and other things to do in Machu Picchu if you have the time.

This 15th century citadel of the Inca Empire is as fascinating as it is photogenic, and it’s still hard to believe people once lived in such an amazing place.

After snapping some photos at the iconic viewpoint, it’s well worth your time to tour the ancient ruins, meet the friendly llamas, and hike some of the spectacular mountain trails surrounding the Machu Picchu citadel.

Without further ado, here’s our list of the top 10 best things to do in Machu Picchu Peru!

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Where To Stay At Machu Picchu


Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu


1. See the iconic viewpoint

When you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu, the first order of business is to see the iconic viewpoint at the Guardian’s House

This is the first and best view anywhere in the Machu Picchu complex, and it’s where all of the amazing postcard photos are taken. From the edge of the terrace, you have a perfect panoramic view of the Machu Picchu ruins and the mountains in the background.

It’s almost impossible to take a bad picture of Machu Picchu here. If there happens to be fog or rain when you arrive, just wait awhile, because this is common early in the day and it usually clears up later in the morning.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu Peru

Seeing this iconic viewpoint at the Guardian’s House is one of the first and best things to do in Machu Picchu!

Naturally this spot gets very crowded with tourists throughout the day, but there’s a lot of standing room on the terrace, so you usually won’t have to wait for photos. By afternoon, most of the tourist herds have thinned out.

The Guardian’s House is a modest little stone shack with a thatch roof, and like the name implies, it once served as a lookout post above the Inca citadel in ancient times.

To reach the Guardian’s House, make a left turn as you enter Machu Picchu and follow the signs uphill for about 15 minutes until you find the top of the terraces.

When you reach the viewpoint, you can stay awhile to take photos and enjoy the view, and then you can continue touring the rest of the ruins.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu Peru Green Terraces Guardian's House

Green terraces surrounding the Guardian’s House

2. Explore the ruins

After you’ve seen the Machu Picchu ruins from above at the famous viewpoint, it’s time to start exploring them up close!

One of the first sights you’ll pass is the main gate of the city, which happens to be another popular photo spot since it beautifully frames the peak of Huayna Picchu mountain in the distance.

This was apparently an intentional design feature by the Incas.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Machu Picchu Peru

There are many interesting things to see in the Machu Picchu ruins, and if you really want to understand them it’s highly recommended to hire a guide to show you through the ruins and explain everything for you as you go.

You can easily hire a guide at the main entrance of Machu Picchu if you’d like, and the prices seem reasonable.

Mixed in with the ruins, you’ll also find quite a few nice stone walls with perfect Incan masonry, smoothly cut and fit together without mortar.

For me personally, two of the best sights in the Machu Picchu ruins were the ‘Temple of the Sun’ and the ‘Temple of the Three Windows.’ These two spots were especially photogenic and interesting.

Citadel doorway traveler    Citadel ruins

3. Meet the llamas

Almost two dozen llamas currently live at Machu Picchu and walk the citadel grounds freely during the daytime, chomping on grass as they go.

These animals are furry, friendly, and will usually let you take pictures of them. Sometimes you’ll see little baby llamas hanging out with their parents too.

If you’re lucky, one of the llamas might even photobomb your pictures of Machu Picchu by posing in the foreground, giving you a truly epic photo opportunity!

Llamas were domesticated by the Native American people for thousands of years. Their poop made good fertilizer, and the wool was used for clothing.

Machu Picchu Llama Llamas    Machu Picchu Llama Llamas


Baby Llama Llamas

Our favorite Machu Picchu llama. There are dozens of friendly llamas wandering freely in Machu Picchu!

4. Hike Huayna Picchu

The Huayna Picchu hike is a bucket list adventure that takes you to the top of Wayna Picchu (the iconic mountain behind Machu Picchu), and at the summit you get to see original Inca buildings and epic panoramic views.

Don’t be too scared by the nickname — even though these have been dubbed the Machu Picchu Stairs of Death (for their steepness and narrowness), there have been very few accidents over the years, and overall it’s quite safe as long as you don’t goof off.

In spite of its difficulty, this trail is in high demand and it’s limited to only 400 hikers per day, so you often have to book several months in advance to get a spot.

If you only do one hike in Peru, it should be this one. The Huayna Picchu hike is undoubtedly one of the top 10 best things to do in Machu Picchu!

Read More: Huayna Picchu Hike

Huayna Picchu Hike Peru

The peak of Wayna Picchu mountain

5. Hike Machu Picchu Mountain

If you want a challenge, try climbing ‘Machu Picchu Mountain.’ This is the highest peak in the area, and it’s the toughest to climb. The summit elevation is 3,082 meters (10,111 feet).

The hike takes about 3 hours total, and there’s quite a bit of elevation gain (around 550 meters or 1,800 feet), so it’s a tough uphill slog all the way. It’s challenging, but not dangerous.

This mountain is not as sought after as Huayna Picchu, but it’s a great hike nonetheless, with stunning views of the whole Machu Picchu area from high above.

6. Hike Huchuy Picchu

The Huchuy Picchu mountain trek is a nice option for people wanting a short, easy hike in Peru that gives you great views of Machu Picchu from above.

It’s a new trail that was just opened in 2021, and it takes you along a 15th century Inca stone staircase to the top of a peak called Huchuy Picchu (which means ‘little mountain’ in the Quechua language).

This hike may not be as esteemed as the one at Huayna Picchu mountain, but it’s quite a bit easier, and the views from this mountain summit are similarly wonderful.

Entrance tickets are required for this hike, so you’ll need to grab these in advance by reserving them online.

Read More: Huchuy Picchu Hike

Huchuy Picchu Hike Mountain Climb

A stone staircase on the Huchuy Picchu hike


Huchuy Picchu Hike Mountain Climb