How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco?
A guide to Machu Picchu from Cusco and other cities will show you the best options for the Lost City of the Incas.
Located among the Andes Mountains, this mid-16th century fortress is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and one of the must-see places in Peru. The archaeological site is located 80 km from Cusco and 500 km from Lima, both are important cities visited by most tourists, although the nearest town is Aguas Calientes, located 10 km away, and is considered the best place to visit.
Before considering this tour, especially if you are traveling alone and in high season (April to October), it is recommended to check ticket availability on the official website, as there are a limited number of day tours in Machu Picchu and it may be I was left without seeing this jewel of Peru. Based on our experience of visiting this magical city on a self-guided tour of Peru, we guide you on how to get to Machu Picchu from different cities, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Let’s get started!
HOW TO GET FROM CUSCO TO MACHU PICCHU BY TRAIN
The fastest way to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco is by train from Ollantaytambo station, which takes 30 minutes by cab.
Peruvian and Inca Railways travel from Cusco to Aguas Calientes by train or seasonally (January to April) with a group of buses to Ollantaytambo and from there by train to Aguas Calientes.
You can book this train in advance from this page for this more luxurious trip. In addition, these companies offer the possibility to depart from San Pedro station in Cusco (4 hours by car) or from Poroy (3 hours). Travel times vary according to the type of transportation you choose, as well as the price, which ranges from $ 60 to $ 500, depending on the type of wagon and train.
Another option we chose was to make a route through the Sacred Valley by car or public transportation and take this train to Ollantaytambo, which takes an hour and a half. It is recommended to travel from or to this city to Aguas Calientes during the day and on a glass train such as the Vistadome or the 360, to enjoy the wonderful views. If you are looking to relax and learn more about the fascinating history of this enigmatic castle, the best way to get to Machu Picchu is to book a full-day guided tour in Spanish or a two-day (overnight) tour of Aguas Calientes, both of which include hotel pick-up, and a panoramic glass-roofed train ticket, a bus to and from Machu Picchu, a guide and entrance fee.
HOW TO GET TO MACHU PICCHU BY BUS
If you have time and want to save on travel costs, the most economical way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to take a bus to the hydroelectric plant which takes 7 hours and from there start the route on foot to Aguas Calientes, which takes about 3 hours.
If you do not have enough time to get to Aguas Calientes during the day, you can spend the night in Santa Teresa, a half hour cab ride from the hydroelectric plant.
Tickets cost about $20 each way and can be purchased at the tourist kiosks located around the Plaza de Armas.
If you are in good shape, do not have altitude sickness and have enough days, we recommend doing the Inca Trail or Inca Trail.
This legendary 40-kilometer trail, which follows the ancient path used by the Incas to reach Machu Picchu, takes you for four days through breathtaking scenery to the Sun Gate, the main entrance to the site.
The best time to hike this trail is during the dry season which lasts from April to October, always keep in mind that in February it is closed due to rain and the rest of the months you may find the trail muddy and misty which can cover the ruins of Machu Picchu with thickness or fog.
In addition, there is also an alternative two-day trekking route for visitors with little time. To do this route you must hire an agency with professional guides because it cannot be done on your own.