The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is located in Peru’s Andes Mountains. One of the most exciting and fascinating sites on the planet, the complex was first built by the Incas in the 15th century before being abandoned. It has since been named a World Heritage Site and become of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Like any tourist hotspot, Machu Picchu attracts travelers from all over the world that tend to act in strange and sometimes obnoxious ways. Keep reading to find out what 20 things people always do at Machu Picchu that you should avoid because locals can’t stand them!
20 Bringing Food And Drink To Machu Picchu
Although you’re obviously allowed to bring food on the trek to Machu Picchu, you aren’t allowed to bring food or drink within the actual site of Machu Picchu. It really annoys locals when tourists do this because it’s prohibited in order to protect the site and the wildlife that lives close to it, according to Kandoo Adventures.
19 Criticizing Machu Picchu In Front Of Locals
Most people would be offended if tourists came to their country and started listing all the things that are wrong with it. The same goes for Machu Picchu and the local people. If you don’t like some aspect of your experience, keep it to yourself or only share it with your fellow travelers.
18 Completely Forgetting Your Manners
It’s never cool to forget your manners when traveling. At locations like Machu Picchu, some people get overwhelmed and forget to treat the locals with respect and politeness. According to Lonely Planet, you should always greet locals with buenos días or buenas tardes as this is polite.
17 Taking Intrusive Photos
In western cultures, we take pictures of everyone and everything. But among the rural areas of Peru, you might meet people who don’t want to have their picture taken. Taking intrusive photos of locals near Machu Picchu can definitely be offensive and annoying.
16 Failing To Stay On The Marked Trails
When you arrive at Machu Picchu, you’ll notice that the trails have been marked out for you. This has been done for a reason, and it can really annoy locals when tourists wander off the trails and then complain when they get lost.
15 Touching The Ruins
Just being able to see Machu Picchu is an amazing experience. There is no need to touch the ruins. Although being able to touch them would be pretty cool, it would cause a lot of damage over time if millions of people touched them.
14 Being Grumpy And Unpleasant
This doesn’t strictly apply to Machu Picchu, but being one of the world’s most popular sites, the locals experience a lot of this. Being in a bad mood or unpleasant around local people can be annoying and gives tourists a bad reputation. Try and be friendly!
13 Disrespecting Religious Buildings
Around Machu Picchu, you’ll probably pass some religious buildings. It’s important to always remain respectful, as the country has strong Christian traditions. If you do come across a church, don’t take any photos unless you’ve been given specific permission to, and try not to be loud or disruptive.
12 Failing To Follow Local Religious Customs
Just as you should respect religious buildings, you should also respect the religious customs of the local people where it applies. For example, Trip Savvy points out that this might mean taking off your hat when you enter a Christian church.
11 Failing To Respect The Llamas
One of the things that people love about Machu Picchu is the llama presence. But it’s a grave mistake not to respect these cuddly creatures, who have been known to bite and charge. Always respect the llamas to guarantee your own safety.
10 Whining About The Trek
Nothing annoys the locals around Machu Picchu like hearing people complaining as they walk along the Inca Trail. Be aware before you go that it’s harder to do than it sounds, and many people spend months preparing for it. If you train in advance, you’ll be less likely to struggle and complain.
9 Assuming Locals Speak English
This is a blunder that tourists make all over the world, including Peru. Don’t assume that the locals speak English. Although they might speak English, that is as obnoxious as a foreigner arriving in the US and demanding that you speak their native language.
8 Not Knowing How To Haggle
You’ll get the chance to buy some goods along the way to Machu Picchu, and Trip Savvy advises knowing how to haggle. Haggling is the norm in Peru, and if you don’t know how to do it properly, you might have frustrated vendors on your hands.
7 Absolutely No Stripping
This sounds like a given, but a recent craze means we have to put this in here. One of the latest fads has seen travelers removing their clothes at Machu Picchu. It might be funny to some people, but this is super disrespectful and can even land you in trouble.
6 Failing To Be Respectful During Local Festivals
You should always be respectful when you’re in Cusco, but in particular, it’s a good idea to always be extra respectful during festivals and religious celebrations. Remember to observe any moments of silence that are asked of you and to allow the locals to celebrate the way they always do.
5 Trying To Sleep At Machu Picchu
This sounds like a joke, but people really have tried to sleep at Machu Picchu in the past. For obvious reasons, this is a terrible idea. As Journey to Machu Picchu points out, this will seriously annoy the caretakers of the complex.
4 Any Kind Of Vandalism
One of the worst things you could do at Machu Picchu is vandalizing the ruins in any way. Even if you think you’re causing no harm by signing your initials somewhere in tiny handwriting, but even this could land you in jail for a few days.
3 Not Tipping Appropriately
Most people will visit Machu Picchu with a guide in tow, which will no doubt make the experience all the more enriching. Just remember to tip the guide appropriately afterward for their effort. Nothing annoys locals more than being shortchanged after their hard work.
2 Leaving Behind Litter
Leaving any litter at all behind at Machu Picchu is a huge no-no. This is a sacred, iconic, historic site, don’t forget. There are no garbage cans around the place, which means you have to stuff any rubbish in your bags until you leave.
1 Never Seeing Anything Else In Peru
Locals get seriously annoyed when people come to Peru and only see Machu Picchu. While the landmark is amazing and definitely worth seeing, there is so much more of the country that really deserves your attention. Trip Savvy recommends Lima as a great destination to visit in Peru.