ATMs at Machu Picchu
When you visit Machu Picchu, you should definitely bring plenty of cash. There are no ATMs at the ancient citadel. And, while there are two ATMs in the nearby town of Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly and sometimes still called Aguas Calientes), I discovered that you cannot always count on those ATMs to work.
The last time I visited Machu Picchu Pueblo, I had just finished a 5-day trek by horse over the Salkantay Pass. I was short of cash, but I wasn’t worried—I knew there were ATMs in town.
Within minutes of checking into my hotel, I saw a deluge of rain start. I slipped on my poncho and confidently made my way to the nearest ATM. It didn’t work for me or anyone else waiting to use it. The second ATM didn’t work either. After a while it became comical. I saw the same people going back and forth between the two ATMs hoping that one of them would start working.
“No problem,” I thought. I still have my credit card. But when my credit card didn’t work either, I started to panic. Thank goodness I had paid for my hotel room in advance.
Much to my relief, the ATMs started working the next morning right before my cash situation became desperate. This is when I learned that issues with the ATMs at Machu Picchu Pueblo are fairly common.
Heavy rain affects the phone lines. As a result, the ATMs and the credit card authorization machines do not work, although no one will tell you this directly. Also, the ATMs may not work during Peruvian holidays.
Moral of the story: bring extra cash when you visit Machu Picchu.