How to get there?
Machu Picchu is located about 40km away from the historic former Inca city of Cusco. This is a fantastic place to base yourself before you head there and is a great way to soak up some culture and get used to the high altitude that can plague even the fittest of people. There are a number of interesting Inca sites that are also in the area (that are generally not reached on the way to Machu Picchu), therefore Cusco is the perfect place to make some day trips and get the full experience of the Inca culture.
When is the right time to go?
For a tourist attraction in the mountains the weather is always going to be an important factor, therefore you need to decide what will suit you best in terms of weather. No matter the time of year it is difficult to avoid damp conditions, especially at such a high altitude. You may experience dampness and fog at any time of the year.
January and February are without a doubt the wettest months of the year and the drier months occur during July and August. This also coincides with the peak tourist season, which is between the end of May and August. A great time to visit may be before the tourist season starts during mid May or during late August or the beginning of September. This will provide the right balance between the weather and the number of other tourists.
The Inca Trail?
Walking the Inca Trail is highly recommended, but it is not necessary as you can take a train that ends close to the city. If you are physically able the 4 day Inca Trail is something that you will never forget and gives a good view of the mountain terrain and nature that the Incas would have encountered on a daily basis. If you are a little intimidated by this you can always do it with the assistance of porters, that will help you to carry your baggage. This will give you more time to enjoy your surroundings!
Before you do attempt any trip to the mountains it is a good idea to build up some physical fitness, whether you want to walk the Inca Trail or not. This will allow you to get the most out of your trip and will help you to deal with the high altitude of the area.