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How to get to Machu Picchu
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How to get to Machu Picchu? Complete guide

One of the most frequent questions asked by tourists visiting Machu Picchu for the first time is: how to get there? There are 3 ways to get to the Inca City: the Inca Trail, the alternative route through Santa Maria, and the train route. The latter is the fastest, most comfortable, and safest way.



Panoramic view - Machu Picchu
Panoramic view – Machu Picchu

Where is Machu Picchu located?

  • Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains of Cusco – Peru.
  • The shortest way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is by train. To do this you must travel approximately 120 kilometers (74 miles) of paved roads and railroad tracks.
  • The other way to get there is through the alternative route via Santa Maria (153 kilometers / 95 miles. This route combines the bus trip with the train journey (or on foot).
  • Finally, the third way to get to Machu Picchu is with the Inca Trail. This trekking route takes 4 days and 3 nights. Tourists have to walk 40 kilometers (24 miles) to reach the Inca City.

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train?

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train you must follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Approach Pavitos Street in the Historic Center of Cusco and board one of the public transports that will take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo.
    • Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 2: Board one of the train services that will take you from Ollantaytambo station to Aguas Calientes station. Remember that the train ticket is booked online in advance.
    • Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 3: Walk to the Aguas Calientes bus station and take one of the transports that ascend a steep mountain to finally reach Machu Picchu. Bus tickets can be purchased there.
    • Duration 30 minutes.

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by the alternative route of Santa Maria?

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu through the alternative route via Santa Maria you must follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the bus station on ‘Antonio Lorena’ avenue in Cusco. There, board one of the public buses that will take you to the town of Santa Maria.
    • Duration: 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: In Santa Maria wait on the road for one of the ‘collectives cabs’ that will take you to the neighboring town of Santa Teresa.
    • Duration: 1 hour.
  • Step 3:In the town of Santa Teresa board one of the ‘collectives cabs’ that will take you to the ‘Hidroeléctrica’ train station.
    • Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Step 4: At the Hydroelectric station walk parallel to the train rails and the Vilcanota River until you reach the town of Aguas Calientes.
    • Duration: 2 hours.
  • Step 5: In the town of Aguas Calientes, we will go to the bus station to board the buses that will take us to the entrance to Machu Picchu.
    • Duration: 30 minutes.

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by the Inca Trail?

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu with the Inca Trail, the tourist only has to buy an online tour. Remember to do it 4 or 5 months in advance.

The itinerary of the Inca Trail is as follows:

  • Day 1: The tour will take you by tourist transport to kilometer 88 of the Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu road. There you will start the hike up to the Wayllabamba camp.
    • Walking distance: 13 kilometers.
  • Day 2: The Inca Trail continues ascending to the highest point: the Warmiwañusca pass (4,215 m.a.s.l. / 13,828 ft.). Overnight at Pacaymayo camp.
    • Walking distance: 11 kilometers.
  • Day 3: The third day is the least demanding because it descends through mountains of forests typical of the high jungle of Peru. You will visit some Inca sites and spend the night at the Wiñaywayna camp.
    • Walking distance: 16 kilometers.
  • Day 4: On the last day, you will arrive and visit Machu Picchu. Then you will return to the city of Cusco by train. Transportation, camping equipment, food, entrance fees, and a tour guide are included throughout the Inca Trail tour.
    • Distance covered: 3 kilometers.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Chachabamba
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Chachabamba

How to get to Machu Picchu in a 1-day trip?

If you are traveling on your own to Machu Picchu and wish to make a 1-day visit, you must follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Get up very early (5 a.m. approximately) and go to the ‘Pavitos’ station in the historic center of Cusco. Take the bus to Ollantaytambo at 5.30 a.m. approximately.
    • Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 2: In Ollantaytambo, board the ‘Expedition’ train that leaves at 7.45 a.m. bound for Aguas Calientes station. Arrival time is at 9.15 a.m. Remember that the train ticket must be purchased weeks in advance.
    • Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 3: In Aguas Calientes, you must go to the bus station that goes to the entrance to Machu Picchu. Bus tickets can be purchased at the same place.
    • Duration of the trip: 30 minutes.
  • Step 4: Once in Machu Picchu you only need to present your entrance ticket. Remember that there are different entrance times. In this case, you should buy the ticket “Machu Picchu Solo – entrance from 10 a.m.”.
    • Duration of the visit to Machu Picchu: 4 hours.
  • Step 5: After visiting Machu Picchu you must return to Cusco the same way you arrived. To do this you must board one of the following trains: Expedition 4.22 p.m., Vistadome 5.23 p.m. or Expedition 6.20 p.m.
    • Return trip duration: 3 hours 30 minutes.

How to get to Machu Picchu in a 2-day trip?

If you are traveling to Machu Picchu without a tour and wish to make a 2-day visit (with an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes), you must follow the following steps:

Day 1:

  • Step 1: Go to ‘Pavitos’ street and take one of the public transports that leave from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. It is recommended to leave before 10 a.m.
    • Duration of the trip: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 2: At Ollantaytambo station, you must board one of the trains that depart to Aguas Calientes station. We recommend taking one of the following trains: Expedition 11.52 a.m., Expedition 12.55 p.m. or Vistadome 1.27 p.m.
    • Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Step 3: Once in the town of Aguas Calientes, you should settle into one of the many hotels and lodges that are offered there. It is recommended to book the hotel of your choice online a few days in advance.
    • Fact: In Aguas Calientes there are no cabs. You can get anywhere on foot because the town is small.
  • Step 4: The rest of the time in Aguas Calientes can be spent touring this famous town: you can have lunch, shop at the artisan market, walk through its streets, and bars, or even bathe in its hot springs.
    • Fact: In Aguas Calientes, there are many tourist services: bars, restaurants, cafés, etc. Its main attraction is undoubtedly its thermal-medicinal baths.

Day 2:

  • Step 5: Wake up early, have breakfast at the hotel, and board one of the buses that will take you to Machu Picchu. Remember that bus tickets can be purchased there. It is advisable to take the bus before 10 a.m. (according to the entrance time on your Machu Picchu ticket).
    • Duration of the trip: 30 minutes.
  • Step 6:Once at the entrance gate to the Inca City, you must show your entrance ticket along with an identity document. It is recommended to enter in the morning: Machu Picchu entrance from 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
    • Data: Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu have strict entrance times. For example: 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., etc.
  • Step 7: In Machu Picchu get a tour guide (if you did not book it before) and enjoy the Wonder of the World.
    • Maximum time allowed in Machu Picchu: 4 hours.
  • Step 8: Return to the city of Cusco the same way you arrived at Machu Picchu. It is recommended to take one of the trains that depart in the afternoon: Expedition 4.22 p.m., Vistadome 5.23 p.m., or Expedition 6.20 p.m.
    • Return trip duration: 3 hours 30 minutes.

How to get to the Huayna Picchu mountain?

Huayna Picchu is a mountain located inside Machu Picchu, which offers one of the best trekking routes on the planet. To visit this summit you must first arrive at the entrance gate of the Inca City and then follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Enter the Inca City showing your ‘Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu’ ticket at the time that suits you best.
    • Data: The Huayna Picchu ticket allows the entrance to Machu Picchu at 4 different times: from 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10 a.m.
  • Step 2: Go directly to the sector of the ‘Sacred Rock’. There you will find the entrance control to the Huayna Picchu mountain.
    • Data: Going from the entrance gate of Machu Picchu to the control booth to Huayna Picchu takes about 20 minutes.
  • Step 3: Show your ‘Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu’ ticket again. Remember that you must enter at the time indicated on your ticket.
    • Data: The Huayna Picchu ticket offers 4 entrance times to the mountain: from 8 to 9 am, from 9 to 10 am, from 10 to 11 am, and from 11 to 12 pm.
  • Step 4: Ascend Huayna Picchu Mountain and return to the Inca City and then tour Machu Picchu.
    • Data: Going up and down Huayna Picchu mountain takes 2 to 3 hours.

How to get to Machu Picchu mountain?

The Machu Picchu mountain is an adventure tourist attraction located inside the Inca City. To visit it, you must first arrive at the entrance gate of the Inca site and then follow the following steps:

  • Step 1:Enter the Inca City showing your ‘Machu Picchu + Mountain’ ticket at the time that suits you best.
    • Data: The Machu Picchu + Mountain ticket offers 2 different entrance times to the Inca City: from 7 to 8 am and from 9 to 10 am.
  • Step 2: Go directly to the entrance checkpoint to ‘Machu Picchu Mountain’. To do this you must follow the route to the ‘Casa del Guardián’ and continue up some stone steps.
    • Data: Going from the entrance gate to Machu Picchu to the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance checkpoint can take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Step 3: At the mountain entrance control, you must show your ticket along with an identity document. Remember that you must enter at the entrance time indicated on the ticket.
    • Data: This ticket offers 2 different times to enter the mountain: from 8 to 9 am and from 10 to 11 am.
  • Step 4: Tour the Machu Picchu mountain. Then you can tour the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
    • Data: Going up and down the Machu Picchu mountain can take you from 3 to 4 hours, depending on your physical condition.

How to get to Huchuy Picchu mountain?

The Huchuy Picchu mountain is an adventure tourist attraction that, in turn, belongs to the Huayna Picchu mountain. To visit it, you must first arrive at the entrance gate of the Inca enclosure and then follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Enter the Inca City showing your ‘Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu’ ticket at the time that suits you best.
    • Data: The Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu ticket offers 5 different entrance times to the Inca City: from 7 to 8 am, from 8 to 9 am, from 9 to 10 am, from 10 to 11 am, and from 11 to 12 am.
  • Step 2: Go directly to the entrance checkpoint to ‘Huchuy Picchu Mountain’. To do this you must follow the route to the Sacred Rock sector (the same checkpoint to Huayna Picchu Mountain).
    • Data: Before arriving at the Huchuy Picchu checkpoint, you should take advantage of your time to do circuit 4 of Machu Picchu, which includes the Inca House, the Temple of the Sun, the Sacred Rock, etc.
  • Step 3: At the mountain entrance control, you must show your ticket along with an identity document. Remember that you must enter at the entrance time indicated on the ticket.
    • Data: This ticket offers 5 different entrance times to Huchuy Picchu: from 8 to 9 am, from 9 to 10 am, from 10 to 11 am, from 11 to 12 am, and from 12 to 1 pm.
  • Step 4: Tour the Huchuy Picchu mountain. Then you can complete the tour of Machu Picchu (circuit 4).
    • Data: Going up and down the Huchuy Picchu mountain can take you from 1 to 2 hours, depending on your physical condition.

How to get to the Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu?

The Inca Bridge of Machu Picchu is located on the eastern boundary of the Inca city. To visit it, you must first arrive at the control gate a few steps from the sector of the Guardian’s House. Then you must follow the next steps:

  • Step 1: Enter the Inca City showing your ‘Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge’ ticket at the time that suits you best.
    • Data: The Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge ticket offers 9 different entrance times to the Inca City: 7 to 8 am, 8 to 9 am, 9 to 10 am, 10 to 11 am, 11 to 11 am, 11 to 12 am, 12 to 1 pm, 1 to 2 pm, 2 to 3 pm and 3 to 4 pm.
  • Step 2: Go directly to the entrance checkpoint to the Inca Bridge. To do this you must follow the route to the ‘Casa del Guardián’ and continue up some small steps that lead to the Inca Bridge (Inca Bridge).
    • Data: Going from the entrance gate to Machu Picchu to the Inca Bridge entrance checkpoint takes approximately 40 minutes.
  • Step 3: At the mountain entrance control, you must show your ticket along with an identity document. Remember that you must enter at the entrance time indicated on the ticket.
    • Data: This ticket offers 9 different entrance times to the Inca Bridge: from 8 to 9 am, from 9 to 10 am, from 10 to 11 am, from 11 to 12 am, from 12 to 1 pm, from 1 to 2 pm, from 2 to 3 pm, from 3 to 4 pm and from 4 to 5 pm.
  • Step 4: Walk the Inca Bridge to and from Machu Picchu. Then you can visit the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
    • Data: Circuit 1 through Machu Picchu takes 2 hours. Circuit 2, 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.

Important information to get to Machu Picchu on time

Machu Picchu Entrance Hours

Ticket Machu Picchu Only:

  • Schedule 1: starting at 6 a.m.
  • Schedule 2: starting at 7 a.m.
  • Schedule 3: starting at 8 a.m.
  • Schedule 4: starting at 9 a.m.
  • Schedule 5: starting at 10 a.m.
  • Schedule 6: starting at 11 a.m.
  • Schedule 7: starting at noon.
  • Schedule 8: starting at 1 p.m.
  • Schedule 9: starting at 2 p.m.
  • Schedule 10: starting at 3 p.m.

Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu:

  • Schedule 1:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huayna Picchu from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Schedule 2:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huayna Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Schedule 3:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huayna Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Schedule 4:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huayna Picchu from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Ticket Machu Picchu + Mountain:

  • Schedule 1:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
    • Entrance to the mountain from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Schedule 2:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • Entrance to the mountain from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Ticket Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu:

  • Schedule 1:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huchuy Picchu from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Schedule 2:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huchuy Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Schedule 3:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huchuy Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Schedule 4:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huchuy Picchu from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Schedule 5:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
    • Entrance to Huchuy Picchu from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Ticket Machu Picchu + Inca Bridge:

  • Schedule 1:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
    • Entrance to the Inca Bridge from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Schedule 2:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Schedule 3:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Schedule 4:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Schedule 5:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Schedule 6:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 12 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Schedule 7:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Schedule 8:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Entrance to Inca Bridge from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Schedule 9:
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Entrance to the Inca Bridge from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Train schedules in Machu Picchu

One way train schedule route: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Type of train Peru RailDeparture timeArrival time
Expedition5.05 a.m.6.35 a.m.
Expedition6:10 a.m.7.40 a.m.
Expedition7.45 a.m.9.15 a.m.
Expedition8.29 a.m.9.54 a.m.
Expedition11.52 a.m.1.34 p.m.
Expedition12.55 p.m.2.25 p.m.
Expedition7.04 p.m.8.45 p.m.
Expedition9 p.m.10.45 p.m.
Vistadome7.05 a.m.8.27 a.m.
Vistadome8.53 a.m.10.29 a.m.
Vistadome9.15 a.m.10.52 a.m.
Vistadome10.32 a.m.12.11 p.m.
Vistadome1.27 p.m.2.50 p.m.
Vistadome3.37 p.m.5.02 p.m.

*Sacred Valley’ and ‘Hiram Bingham’ train services are not included.

Return train schedule route: Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo
Type of train Peru RailDeparture timeArrival time
Expedition5.35 a.m.7.44 a.m.
Expedition8.53 a.m.10.52 a.m.
Expedition2.55 p.m.4.31 p.m.
Expedition3.20 p.m.5.08 p.m.
Expedition4.22 p.m.6.10 p.m.
Expedition6.20 p.m.8.05 p.m.
Expedition8.50 p.m.10.20 p.m.
Expedition9.50 p.m.11.35 p.m.
Vistadome10.55 a.m.12.32 p.m.
Vistadome1.37 p.m.3.04 p.m.
Vistadome4.22 p.m.6.10 p.m.
Vistadome4.43 p.m.6.31 p.m.
Vistadome5.23 p.m.7.02 p.m.
Vistadome6.10 p.m.7.51 p.m.

*Sacred Valley’ and ‘Hiram Bingham’ train services are not included.

3) Horarios de buses de Aguas Calientes a Machu PicchuBus schedules from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Picchu

  • Buses covering the Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu route leave every day from 5.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
  • Buses leave every 10 minutes in the mornings and every 15 minutes in the afternoons.
  • Buses returning from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes leave from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (every 15 minutes).

Questions and answers

  • How to get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo?

    • It is reached by public transportation through the Sacred Valley. Buses are taken on Pavitos Street in the Historic Center of Cusco. The trip lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • How to get from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes?

    • It is reached by a train ride through beautiful landscapes of high jungle. Trains depart at set times (tickets can be purchased online). The trip lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • How to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

    • It is reached by a bus ride up a mountain. The trip takes 30 minutes and ends at the entrance gate to Machu Picchu.
    • The other option is to walk up. However, this option is exhausting so it is recommended to do it by bus. The journey on foot takes almost 2 hours.
  • How to get to the Hydroelectric station?

    • The alternative route to Machu Picchu via Santa Maria goes through the ‘estación Hidroeléctrica’. It is reached by: 1) a bus ride to Santa Maria. 2) a collective cab ride to Santa Teresa. 3) a collective cab ride to Hidroeléctrica. The whole trip takes approximately 6 hours.
  • How to get from Hydroelectric station to Machu Picchu?

  • How to return from Machu Picchu to Cusco?

    • You can return to Cusco from Machu Picchu following the train route (3 hours and 30 minutes) or the alternative route through Santa Maria (8 hours).
  • How long does it take to get to the train stations?

    • It is recommended to arrive at the train stations (Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes, Hidroeléctrica, etc.) up to 30 minutes before the train departure time.
  • How long are the queues for the Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu bus?

    • During the mornings there are long lines to board the buses that take you to Machu Picchu. This occurs especially during May, June, July and August. It is estimated that the queues can take a maximum of 30 minutes.

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Santy G.By: Santy G.

“Sacred Place“

“A magical, mystical, very special place, totally worth it. It is best to do it with a good guide, who will make you understand all the symbolism, spirituality, and history of the place, and you will feel the energy for yourself.“


 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, April 20, 2024