Machu Picchu Books and Guides

Going to a new country is such an exciting experience, especially if it involves an adventure like trekking to Machu Picchu.

With such a long and fascinating history it is a shame that many trekkers arrive at the ‘Lost City’ knowing very little about the Incas, their empire and the extraordinary archaeological site that is Machu Picchu.

This article’s aim is to inspire you to take some reading material on your flight to Peru, and subsequent trip to Machu Picchu.

Below we have highlighted some of our favourite Machu Picchu books. From great Inca Trail guidebooks to seminal works on the history of the Inca and Machu Picchu, there is a book here for every type of reader.

But choice can sometimes be thwarting. If we were pushed to recommend one it would be Mark Adam’s super fun, yet brilliantly researched book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, which provides fascinating insights on the ‘Lost City’ and it’s incredible allure in popular culture.

For a great overview on Cusco, the Inca Trail and the alternative routes to Machu Picchu we recommend Alexander Der Stewart’s Trailblazer Guide, or if you want a truly detailed guidebook on the city itself then you cannot go wrong with The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour by Ruth Wright and Alfredo Zegarra.

Use the quicklinks to navigate to and browse the genre of book you are most interested in.

Quicklinks

Brilliant Inca Trail Guides

The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour

Ruth M. Wright and Alfredo Valencia Zegarra

Super detailed and excellently presented, this guidebook is our recommend choice for all Machu Picchu trekkers. Great pics as well!

Inca Trail: Cusco & Machu Picchu

Alexander Der Stewart

If you are trekking any of the alternative Inca Trails (i.e. Santa Teresa Trek, Choquequirao Trek, Vilcabamba Trail, Vilcabamba To Choquequirao…) – then this one is for you!

Ultimate Peru Travel Guide

Lonely Planet: Peru, 8th Edition (April 2013)

Lonely Planet

We often don’t like Lonely Planet Guides, but their most recent edition on Peru is really quite fantastic. If you are planning to do some extensive travel in Peru after or before your Machu Picchu trek, then this guide will prove invaluable

Peru: National Geographic: Adventure Map

National Geographic

If you are planning to do any backpacking, general trekking in the Andes, motorbiking or general touring in Peru then this map from National Geographic is the best available

Machu Picchu Books – History and Insights

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

Mark Adams

Our favourite book on the Inca Empire, it’s famous trail and the ruins of Machu Picchu. A fascinating, funny and intensely personal account of one man’s exploration of the Lost City

The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland

Hugh Thomson

“So entertaining and appealing is Thomson’s story of his exploration of the Inca empire that readers will wish they could take off and follow in his footsteps.” Publishers Weekly

The Last Days of the Incas

Kim MacQuarrie

In this highly acclaimed book, MacQuarrie re-creates the 16th-century Spanish and Inca struggle for what has become modern-day Peru. We have only heard great things about this book

Not our favourite book on Machu Picchu, but certainly a classic and seminal piece, is Lost City of the Incas by the discover of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham.

Amazing Machu Picchu Photographic Coffee Table Books

Stone Offerings: Machu Picchu’s Terraces of Enlightenment

Mike Torrey

Over 100 incredible pictures taken of Machu Picchu during the June and December Solstices. Truly beautiful and a great coffee table book that can used to spark conversations about your Machu Picchu trek

Tags: Machu Picchu Books, Inca Trail Guidebooks, Peru Travel Guides, Guide books Machu Picchu

References: (1) Good Reads, (2) Lonely Planet

Disclosure: All the books mentioned above (except Kim MacQuarrie’s The Last Days of the Incas) have been read and reviewed by our team at Machu Picchu Trek. We are confident that you will enjoy them and find them useful. The links we provide direct you to Amazon. If you click these links and go on to buy the book, we get a small commission from Amazon. This doesn’t effect the price you pay but does go a small way to helping us maintain this free resource for readers such as yourself.

2 thoughts on “Machu Picchu Books and Guides

  1. I want to do day hikes by myself in and around the Sacred Valley, possibly from a base at a hotel in the village of Ollaytatambo(sp.). I am an experienced hiker, and am wondering: is this a problem–are there good maps and reasonable trails? My plan is to spend 5-7 days, taking a different hike each day, and returning to my hotel each afternoon–probably in late May–what do you think–and is there a good book and/or map I can buy in advance? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi David, there are a number of relatively well marked day hikes in and around the Sacred Valley area, but as a rule of thumb I would encourage you to take a local guide for general safety reasons and wayfinding.

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