The language on the trip to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is located in Peru, a country in South America where there are 47 native languages, among which Aymara and Quechua stand out. The latter was the language used by the Incas and is still very much in force today. On the trip to Machu Picchu, this language is widely used by local people whose ancestors were part of the Inca culture.

Niños en Cusco
Inhabitants who speak the Quechua language

The language of the Peruvians

According to official figures in Peru there are approximately 32 million inhabitants. The most widely spoken languages ​​are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. These last two are two of the 47 registered original languages. Of all the native languages, only four are spoken in the Andes Mountains region. The other 43 belong to specific areas of the Peruvian Amazon. It is estimated that in the past there were more than 150 native languages. With the arrival of the Spanish, many were lost, most of them in the Amazon region.

The Peruvian law that the official languages ​​of the country are Spanish and the native languages ​​in the places where they are predominant. Indeed, Spanish is present in almost the entire Peruvian territory. Quechua also predominates in the Andean region. In the highland region, Aymara is predominant.

The most spoken language in Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco region where Quechua is spoken by 95% of its population (although only 15% can write in the language of the Incas). However, the vast majority of its population is bilingual. That is, they dominate Quechua but also Spanish.

In Machu Picchu as well as in the city of Cusco, the population speaks both Quechua and Spanish. Even so, it is worth mentioning that tourist services (tours to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, restaurants, hotels, etc.) have workers who, for the most part, speak English.

Quechua, the language of the Incas

Quechua was the official language of the Inca empire. Due to the Inca conquest in various regions of the current South American map, this language expanded and is currently spoken in many Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. In total, it is estimated that there are 12 million Quechua speakers in South America. Therefore, research indicates that this language is far from disappearing.

The Incas are not originally from the Cusco region but rather immigrated from the highland region bordering Lake Titicaca where the Aymara language is currently spoken by most of its inhabitants. Research suggests that the Incas spoke another language called ‘Puquina’. However, upon arrival in Cusco they had to adapt to the language of the majority of the local population, the Quechua language.

That is why Quechua, also called ‘Runa simi’, was spoken by the vast majority of the common Inca population. It is believed that the Inca elite preserved the ‘Puquina’ language as a private language, reserved only for the ruling class.

The truth is that from the 15th century, the Inca empire expanded throughout much of the South American territory. The Incas established Quechua in the newly conquered territories. Due to this, this language is currently spoken in various regions of the continent. In many cases, some aboriginal languages ​​(such as Cañari or Mochica) disappeared to be replaced by Quechua.

English in the trip to Machu Picchu

English is a language that is not spoken by the majority of the Cusco population. However, in tourism services there are many workers who do speak this language (hotel receptionists, tour guides, sales team in tourism agencies, etc.).

That is why tourists have no problem communicating during the trip to Machu Picchu. However, if you are looking for a conversation with a Cusco resident, it is difficult for them to master English. Even so, the people of Cusco are very kind people who will try to understand you or help you in your concerns.

Other languages on the trip to Machu Picchu Picchu

In tourism agencies, hotels or restaurants, most people speak English. In the case of other languages ​​such as French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian or a different one; the thing changes. On the trip to Machu Picchu, most people are fluent in English, Spanish, and perhaps Portuguese. That is not the case for other different languages.

Tips to improve communication on your trip to Machu Picchu Picchu

Cusqueños are very friendly people used to tourists so don’t be afraid to ask them something in English. Even if they do not speak the language, they will find a way to communicate and solve their problem or concern.

Dare to learn some words in Quechua in order to surprise the people of Cusco on the trip to Machu Picchu. For example: ‘allichu’ (please), ‘yusulpayki’ (thank you), ‘dispinsayuway’ (sorry), ‘arí’ (yes), ‘manan’ (no), ‘ima?’ (What?), ‘Maypin?’ (Where?) And ‘hayk’an?’ (How much does it cost?).

Online you can get tours to Machu Picchu in various languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, French, German and even Russian and Japanese.

Enjoy the trip to Machu Picchu with the best services

Choose one of the 4 types of tickets

The entrance to Machu Picchu offers discounts for university students, those under 18 years of age and citizens of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. Children under 3 years enter free! Get your entry to 'mapi' here.

We take you wherever you want in Cusco

The private transportation service takes you to any tourist destination in Cusco. Travel with total security in a private service for you, your partner, your friends or family. Includes pick up service from the airport or transfer to Machu Picchu train station, book here!

An unforgettable train trip to Machu Picchu

In total there are four tourist train services to Machu Picchu: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and the Hiram Bingham luxury train. They all belong to the prestigious Peru Rail company. Buy the tickets here! Take advantage of the discounts!

Get on the final bus to Machu Picchu

The train trip will leave you in the town of Aguas Calientes, 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu. For this last section you must get the bus to Machu Picchu, a comfortable service that takes care of the environment of the wonder of the world. Buy your bus ticket here!

Tour Machu Picchu with a professional guide

In Machu Picchu the tour guide service is not mandatory. However, most tourists decide to go accompanied by a guide. This way they will be able to fully understand the history and importance of the wonder of the Incas.

Machupicchu all inclusive 1 day

If you do not want to buy each ticket to Machu Picchu separately, it is best to hire an all-inclusive tour. Includes: transfer to the station, train ticket, tour guide, entrance fee and lunch option at the best ‘mapi’ restaurant. Book the tour here!