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Hike to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes
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Hike to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes

Although most tourists go by bus, there are a few visitors who are encouraged to walk from the town of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. This short walk is safe but exhausting. Not recommended if you visit the Huayna Picchu mountain. The tour takes approximately 2 hours. The descent is shorter and more relaxing.

Aguas Calientes is divided from Machu Picchu by 10 kilometers. Most visitors travel that distance by bus. However, you can also walk. The route is characterized by hundreds of stone steps as well as the typical flora and fauna of the place.

Beginning of access on foot to Machu Picchu

Beginning of access on foot to Machu Picchu

Where to start the walk?

  • The walk begins in the famous town of Aguas Calientes. All train services to Machu Picchu end in this magical place full of hotels, restaurants and bars.
  • The road that leads to Machu Picchu is called ‘Hiram Bingham’, in honor of the American explorer who arrived at the Inca city in 1911.
  • The buses that take tourists to the archaeological site follow the road. The tourist who seeks to arrive on foot must follow the same route.
  • After a walk of approximately 2 kilometers, you will find the path that leads to Machu Picchu on foot. In the place there is a wooden sign.
  • During this first journey, the visitor will appreciate the Machu Picchu Site Museum as well as the butterfly garden of the place.

How is the road from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

  • After finding the beginning of the trail, hundreds of stone steps must be covered.
  • As you ascend, the path will cross up to 3 times with the right end of the road.
  • At the intersections of the road, the visitor must follow the path until he finds a new path of stone steps.
  • The path is clearly signposted. In some sections it is possible to meet locals who sell snacks and drinks.
  • After approximately 1 hour of ascent, we arrive at the entrance gate of Machu Picchu. The time varies according to the physical condition of the visitor and their rate of ascent.

Is it difficult to do this hike?

  • Moderate – Difficult: This is a walk recommended especially for young people in good physical condition used to walking. On the way there, hundreds of stairs are ascended, so strength is required in the knees. The way back is downhill so it is much easier.

How to prepare for the trek to Machu Picchu?

  • The climate in Machu Picchu is very varied. Therefore, to carry out the walk it is necessary to wear clothing for both rain and sun.
  • The most difficult section of the walk is the first steps. These are steep and require a good physical condition to overcome them.
  • Machu Picchu is located at the top of a mountain. To reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness, visitors should acclimatize to the city of Cusco one or two days before the trek.

What do I need to do the walk?

  • There is no cost to do the walk. However, you need to carry your printed ticket to Machu Picchu to be allowed to follow the route.
  • At the height of the Ruins Bridge there is a checkpoint where the Machu Picchu ticket must be presented. Once at the archaeological site, the tourist must present the ticket again to be allowed entry.
  • If the tourist does not carry their Machu Picchu ticket when doing the walk, they will not be allowed to continue and they will have to buy their ticket again.

What to take on the trek to Machu Picchu?

  • Water (minimum 1 bottle).
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Rubber tipped cane.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Rain poncho.
  • Snacks.
  • Passport or identity document.
  • Photographic camera.
  • Small backpack.
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu printed.

When is the best time to do the walk?

  • Machu Picchu’s dry season (from April to October) is the best time to do the trek. During those months there is little rain and the sun shines in the sky.
  • On the other hand, during the rainy season (from November to March), the steps become more slippery. During those months, visitors are required to wear a rain poncho and hiking shoes.
  • Most visitors decide to do the walk in the early hours of the day. At those times the heat is less intense allowing a cooler walk.

Useful information about the trek to Machu Picchu

  • Time required: 2 hours (only climb).
  • Summit altitude: Machu Picchu (2,430 meters / 7,972 ft).
  • Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 390 meters / 1279 ft).
  • Land: Dirt and stone path with small road sections.
  • Recommended footwear: Comfortable hiking shoes.
  • Check in times: You can enter at any time.
  • Ticket type: The route is free.

Is it dangerous to walk up to Machu Picchu?

  • El ascenso de Aguas Calientes a Machu Picchu es exigente pero no peligroso. Los senderos están bien señalizados y no se ubican cercanos a precipicios.
  • El único peligro latente son los buses que recorren la carretera Hiram Bingham hacia Machu Picchu. Se recomienda no llevar audífonos y prestar atención a los buses que recorren la carretera.
  • Hasta el momento no existen casos de turistas que se hayan accidentado realizando esta ruta.
trekking aguas calientes to machu picchu
Ascent route to the Sacred City of Machu Picchu

When to take the bus to Machu Picchu?

Frequently asked questions about the trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

  • 1) How long does it take to walk up to Machu Picchu?

    The walking route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu takes 2 hours for an average tourist.

  • 2) Do I need a ticket to walk up to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, it is necessary to show the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu in the Puente Ruinas sector. Only then will the tourist be allowed to continue with his walk.

  • 3) How many kilometers is the route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

    The route on foot from these two points is 8 kilometers.

  • 4) Is it better to walk or take the bus to Machu Picchu?

    It is best to take the bus. The route on foot is tiring. It is recommended for young tourists with good physical condition.

  • 5) Is it advisable to walk up to Machu Picchu with children?

    If you make the walk with very young children (under 8 years old) you will have to wait for them or carry them at some point on the route. For this reason, it is recommended to go up with children who like walks.

  • 6) What to take on the trek to Machu Picchu?

    During the trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu it is recommended to bring: resistant shoes, comfortable sports pants, long-sleeved polo shirt, poncho in case of rain, snacks, rehydrating drinks and everything in a comfortable backpack.

  • 7) Can I return from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes walking?

    Yes, this route is 8 kilometers in descending sections for most of the route. It takes an average tourist 1 hour 30 minutes to complete this walk.

  • 8) Is the route on foot from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu dangerous?

    No, the route is through well-defined sections and stone steps. It is only recommended not to do the route if you have heart problems since the altitude can accelerate the walker’s heart rate.

  • 9) Where do you take the final buses to Machu Picchu?

    The buses of the final route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu are taken in the same town of Aguas Calientes (on Hermanos Ayar avenue). The return section is taken at the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.

  • 10) How much does it cost to get on the bus to Machu Picchu? How much does it cost to go up on foot?

    The bus ticket to Machu Picchu costs 24 dollars for adult foreign tourists (round trip) and 35 soles for adult Peruvian tourists (round trip).


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, June 14, 2023