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Complete guide to travel without a tour
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Machu Picchu: complete guide to travel without a tour

Machu Picchu is one of the most visited tourist destinations on the planet. It is famous for its formidable Andean landscape, as well as for its historic stone buildings. Many tourists wonder how to visit the wonder of the Incas. And, more specifically, how to go on my own without purchasing an all-inclusive tour package. In this complete guide you will know how to travel to Machupicchu on your own, step by step and without complications.



Machu Picchu without tour
Machu Picchu without tour

How much does it cost to visit Machu Picchu without a tour?
An all-inclusive 1-day tour to Machu Picchu (except lunch) costs approximately $280. Traveling on your own costs approximately $210 (includes everything, including lunch). Peruvians, having the option of traveling by local train (much cheaper) reduce expenses. For them the 1 day trip on their own with all inclusive costs approximately 62 USD.


Machu Picchu, why visit it?

There are many reasons to visit Machu Picchu. Here some:

  • Machu Picchu is considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, according to a worldwide vote made on July 7, 2007.
  • Machu Picchu is one of the most photographed places on the planet. According to Instagram, the Eiffel Tower was photographed by 4.5 million people. The Inca citadel ranks twelfth with 745,716 people.
  • Machu Picchu is a place with a lot of history. It was ordered to be built by the Emperor Pachacútec in 1450 to be a citadel, religious site and strategic point in the eastern limits.

Machu Picchu: all its constructions

During your visit to Machu Picchu you will be able to observe Inca constructions. Among the most famous are the following:

  • The temple of the Sun – The sun was the tutelary god of the Incas. In Machu Picchu the most important temple was dedicated to the sun, also called ‘Inti’. It is the only one with a semicircular shape. It has thin walls, windows and niches.
  • the main temple – In the main square, there is an enclosure with three large walls where the most important public ceremonies of Machu Picchu were held. This temple looks damaged by the passage of time.
  • The intihuatana – The Intihuatana (sundial) helped to calculate the time of planting and harvesting in the Inca citadel. It has a carving on three levels. They say that by bringing your hands closer, one is filled with the energy of the sun.
  • The sacred rock – To the north of Machupicchu, this stone carved in the shape of a mountain stands out. The Incas worshiped the mountains or ‘apus’ (great lord). The rock is 3 meters high by 7 meters wide.
  • The temple of the 3 windows – Next to the main temple, this construction made with large stones carved to perfection forming three windows stands out. The Incas believed that the world was divided into three: the upper world (Hanan pacha), the earthly world (Kay pacha) and the underworld (Ukhu pacha).
  • The temple of the condor – The condor (kuntur) was worshiped by the Incas because it communicated the earthly world with the heavenly world. In Machupicchu, the Incas carved two stones that, seen from afar, formed the figure of this Andean bird.
  • The mirrors of the water – In one room, the Incas built two cylindrical formations on the ground that, when filled with water, reflected the sky, the sun and the stars, sacred entities. This room is called ‘the mirrors of water’.
  • The house of the inca – This enclosure functioned as a rest home for the Inca emperor or his family when they visited Machu Picchu. It has several rooms, its own bathrooms, windows and everything made with high quality carved stone.
  • The guardian’s house – This rustic construction served as a surveillance lookout for the Inca citadel. In this area you can get the classic postal photos of Machu Picchu. There they also tend to graze the llamas.


Map of Machu Picchu in Cusco

Map routes to Machu Picchu

The most important! : the entrance to Machu Picchu

To travel to Machu Picchu without a tour, the most important thing, without a doubt, is to buy the entrance to Machu Picchu online one or more months in advance. This is because Machu Picchu, being a historical place of great importance , is protected by the Peruvian State and Unesco. Thus, the number of visitors each day is restricted. Tickets have limited availability. In conclusion, these must be purchased one or more months in advance.

To buy the entrance to Machu Picchu you must access the official sales page: www.machupicchu.gob.pe. There are different types of tickets. Most must be purchased a month or two in advance.The ‘Machupicchu + Huaynapicchu’ ticket must be purchased 3 or 4 months before. Learn more about the tickets below!


Type of tickets to Machu Picchu and their schedules

There are up to five types of tickets to Machu Picchu:

  1. The ticket Machupicchu Solo – It allows you to visit the Inca citadel with the most complete circuit.
  2. The ticket Machupicchu + Huayna Picchu – Allows you to visit the Inca citadel (with partial circuit 4) as well as the Huayna Picchu mountain.
  3. The ticket Machupicchu + Mountain – It allows you to visit the Inca citadel (with partial circuit 3) as well as the Machu Picchu mountain.
  4. The ticket Machupicchu + Huchuypicchu – It allows you to visit the Inca citadel (with partial circuit 4) as well as the Huchuy Picchu mountain.
  5. The ticket Machupicchu + Inca Bridge – It allows you to visit the Inca citadel (with the most complete circuit) as well as the Inca bridge of Machupicchu.

These are the schedules for each of the five types of tickets:

  1. Machupicchu Entrance Only:
    • Schedule 1 – Entry from 6 to 7 am.
    • Schedule 2 – Entry from 7 to 8 am.
    • Schedule 3 – Entry from 8 to 9 am.
    • Schedule 4 – Entry from 9 to 10 am.
    • Schedule 5 – Entry from 10 to 11 am.
    • Schedule 6 – Entry from 11 to 12 pm.
    • Schedule 7 – Entry from 12 to 1 pm.
    • Schedule 8 – Entry from 1 to 2 pm.
    • Schedule 9 – Entry from 2 to 3 pm.
    • Schedule 9 – Entry from 4 to 4 pm.
  2. Entrance Machupicchu + Huaynapicchu:
    • Schedule 1 – Entrance from 7 to 8 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Huaynapicchu).
    • Schedule 2 – Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Huaynapicchu).
    • Schedule 3 – Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Huaynapicchu).
    • Schedule 4 – Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 11 to 12 pm. (to Huaynapicchu).
  3. Entrance Machupicchu + Mountain:
    • Schedule 1 – Entrance from 7 to 8 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Machu Picchu mountain).
    • Schedule 2 – Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Machu Picchu mountain).
  4. Entrance Machupicchu + Huchuypicchu:
    • Schedule 1 – Entrance from 7 to 8 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Huchuy Picchu).
    • Schedule 2 – Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Huchuy Picchu).
    • Schedule 3 – Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Huchuy Picchu).
    • Schedule 4 – Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 11 to 12 pm. (to Huchuy Picchu).
    • Schedule 5 – Entrance from 11 to 12 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 12 to 1 pm. (to Huchuy Picchu).
  5. Entrance Machupicchu + Inca Bridge:
    • Schedule 1 – Entrance from 7 to 8 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 2 – Entrance from 8 to 9 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 3 – Entrance from 9 to 10 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 4 – Entrance from 10 to 11 am. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 11 to 12 pm. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 5 – Entrance from 11 to 12 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 12 to 1 pm. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 6 – Entrance from 12 to 1 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 1 to 2 pm. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 7 – Entrance from 1 to 2 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 2 to 3 pm. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 8 – Entrance from 2 to 3 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 3 to 4 pm. (to Puente Inca).
    • Schedule 9 – Entrance from 3 to 4 pm. (to Machupicchu) / Entrance from 4 to 5 pm. (to Puente Inca).


Start traveling from abroad to the city of Cusco

In principle, the vast majority of countries do not require a Visa to enter Peru. All the countries of South America, the European Union and almost all of North America, can travel to Peru without problems.
From anywhere abroad, you must take an international flight to the Jorge Chávez airport in Lima, capital of Peru.

From there you take the flight that in just 1 hour will take you to the city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,399 meters above sea level.


Flights from Lima to Cusco: buy tickets

From the city of Lima there are 1,108 kilometers by road to the city of Cusco, in the heart of the Andes Mountains.

From the Lima airport there are daily departures to the city of Cusco, the preferred destination for visitors in Peru.

You can purchase your plane tickets at the airport itself. However, to get a better price it is recommended to do it online in advance.

Some of the airlines that fly from Lima to Cusco and vice versa are: jetsmart, sky and latam.


Lodgings and tourist hotels in the city of Cusco

The city of Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire, also called Tahuantinsuyo. Today it is the epicenter of tourism in Peru. For so much demand, dozens of hotels and tourist accommodations were created, from simple hostels to 5-star hotels.

Hostels recomendados en la ciudad del Cusco:

  • Kurumi Hostel Cusco.
  • Inka Wild Cusco.
  • Loki Hostel Cusco.
  • Kokopelli Hostel Cusco.

Recommended 3-star hotels in the city of Cusco:

  • Royal Inn Cusco Hotel.
  • Hotel El Balcón.
  • Amaru Inca Hotel.
  • El Mariscal Cusco Hotel.

Recommended 4-star hotels in the city of Cusco:

  • Sonesta Hotel Cusco.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Cusco.
  • Hotel Novotel Cusco.
  • Hotel San Agustín El Dorado.

Recommended 5-star hotels in the city of Cusco.

  • JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
  • Hotel Palacio del Inka.
  • Monasterio Belmond Hotel.
  • Palacio Nazarenas Belmond Hotel.

The trip from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
The first route to travel to Machu Picchu without a tour is the Cusco – Ollantaytambo route. The trip can be made by public transport and takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes (61 kilometers by road). The cars or minivans leave from Pavitos street, in the center of Cusco. The ticket costs 12 soles. The trip covers the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas: the town of Chinchero and the town of Urubamba.


The trip to Machu Picchu: the train ticket to Machu Picchu

In the city of Cusco begins the trip to Machu Picchu.

Cusco is approximately 100 kilometers by road and rail to the Inca citadel of Machupicchu.

The route that most tourists choose is:

  • a) From Cusco to Ollantaytambo by bus
  • b) From Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes by train and
  • c) From Aguas Calientes to Machupicchu by bus.

Bus trips can be obtained without problems in the city of Cusco itself. However, the train trip must be purchased online at least three weeks in advance.

Peru Rail services are: local train (only for Peruvians), Expedition tourist train, Vistadome tourist train and Hiram Bingham tourist train (luxury service).

Inca Rail services are: The Voyager tourist train, 360 tourist train, First Class tourist train and The Private tourist train (luxury service).

You can buy the train ticket on the Peru Rail (www.perurail.com) or Inca Rail (www.incarail.com) website. At the time of booking you must choose a time. Choose the one that best suits your time of visit to Machu Picchu.

Train to Machu Picchu
Train to Machu Picchu


Other options to travel to Machu Picchu

In addition to the train trip to Machu Picchu (route through Ollantaytambo) these are the other two options to visit the Inca citadel:

  • Alternative route to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric.- This route is also known as ‘Machupicchu by bus’. It begins with a 6-hour bus trip from the city of Cusco to the Hydroelectric station in the jungle of Cusco (town of Santa Teresa in the province of La Convención). There, a famous 10-kilometer walk is carried out on flat roads (by the train track) surrounded by incredible nature. After almost 2 hours of walking, you arrive at Aguas Calientes where you must spend the night so that, the next day, you can visit Machu Picchu.
  • Adventure route to Machu Picchu by the Inca Trail 4 days.- The Inca Trail is a tourist route that can only be done accompanied by an authorized tourism agency. Walk original Inca trails for 4 days (approximately 39 kilometers). Every night you camp near Inca archaeological sites and an amazing Andean and tropical landscape. The fourth day you arrive at Machupicchu in the same way as the Incas did, that is, through the mountains. When crossing the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol) you have a first panoramic view of the citadel. The tours are hired 4 or 5 months in advance.

The option of walking up to Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes is also called Machupicchu town due to its proximity to the Inca citadel: it is only 10 kilometers away.

The vast majority of tourists travel those 10 kilometers on a tourist bus trip. The reason is that the path is uphill on the slopes of high mountains. In this way, tourists arrive with all the energy to continue the tour of the archaeological site.

The bus trip is a comfortable and safe tourist service. All tourists travel in their respective seats. The bus is ecological because it does not harm the environment.

The buses leave from 5.30 am in the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu opens its doors at 6 am and the bus trip takes 30 minutes). Tickets can be purchased without problems the same day at the town ticket offices or on the outskirts of Machu Picchu (both for round-trip sections).

However, they can also be purchased online through the official website (www.comprar.consettur.com) or through a tourism agency. The estimated price is 24 dollars per foreign tourist (round trip).


The option of walking up to Machu Picchu

The 10 kilometers that separate Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu can also be covered on foot. This route is free for everyone.

This option is preferred by young tourists, who usually leave at 4 or 5 am (before sunrise). The walk is arduous as it is uphill for hundreds of steps.

On average, a young tourist can ascend from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu in 1 hour 30 minutes. An average tourist, in 2 hours.

When returning to Aguas Calientes you can also do the route on foot. The descent is obviously less tiring than the uphill section (it takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes).

Where to buy bus tickets?
Bus tickets can be purchased online. However, without any problem, they can also be purchased in person in the city of Cusco (Avenida Infancia 433 – Cusco) or in the town of Aguas Calientes (on Mayta Cápac street s/n). If you decide to walk up to Machupicchu from Aguas Calientes, at the Puente Ruinas they will ask you for your ticket and identity document (or passport).


The tour guide service

At the entrance gate of Machu Picchu you can hire the service of a tour guide to tour the archaeological site.

Another option is to hire a tour guide online through a tourism agency. The guides offer two types of services: shared or private. The first is shared with a maximum of 10 tourists. The second is private for a tourist, their partner, family or group of friends.

Prices range from $8 for shared service to $30 for private service.

It should be noted that the tour of Machu Picchu with a tour guide is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended.

The guides are professionals specialized in Machu Picchu. They offer their services mainly in Spanish, English and Portuguese. Some are also fluent in other languages.

The classic tour of Machu Picchu with a tour guide takes 2 hours. Optionally, for a higher payment, the tourist can request to accompany him on the route through the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains.

Guided in Machu Picchu
Guided in Machu Picchu

The tour of Machu Picchu: which circuit to choose?

When visiting Machu Picchu the tourist can choose between four different circuits:

  • Circuit 1.- It goes through the upper and lower part of Machu Picchu, but cutting the path to make it lighter. It includes the visit of famous buildings such as the Main Temple, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Temple of the Condor and the Water Fountains. It lasts approximately 2 hours. It is recommended for everyone. Allows you to get the classic photo from the Guardian’s House
  • Circuit 2.- It is considered the most complete and recommended circuit in Machu Picchu. Tour the upper and lower part of the citadel including buildings such as: the Main Temple, the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor and the Water Fountains. It lasts 2 hours 30 minutes on average. It is recommended for everyone. Allows you to get the classic photo from the Guardian’s House
Machu Picchu Circuits Tour Map
Map – Route Circuits 1 and 2 of Machu Picchu
  • Circuit 3.- Tour the nuclear lower part of Machu Picchu. Allows you to visit the Casa del Inka (not included in circuits 1 and 2). In addition, the Temple of the Sun, the Water Mirrors and the agricultural area. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. It does not allow to get the classic photo from the House of the Guardian. It is recommended for older adults.
  • Circuit 4.- Tour the lower part of Machu Picchu. Allows you to visit the Casa del Inka (not included in circuits 1 and 2). In addition, the Temple of the Sun, the Water Mirrors, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor and the agricultural area. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. It does not allow you to get the classic photo from the House of the Guardian. It is recommended for everyone.
Machu Picchu Circuits Tour Map
Map – Route Circuits 3 and 4 of Machu Picchu

The mountains of Machu Picchu: optional routes

In Machu Picchu, optionally (purchasing the corresponding tickets) you can take the short hiking trails to the tops of the following mountains:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain.-The most famous mountain of Machu Picchu. Its summit is at 2,693 meters above sea level. To get there you must hike uphill for 2 kilometers with slopes of 30 to 60 degrees. On average it takes 2 hours. From the top there are panoramic views of the Inca citadel and the nature that surrounds it. It is included in the ticket ‘Machupicchu + Huaynapicchu’.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain.- The most difficult route in the Inca citadel. Its summit is at 3,082 meters above sea level. To get there, you must hike uphill for 2.4 kilometers with slopes of 30 degrees on average. Reaching the top takes between 2 to 3 hours. From there you can see the entire landscape of the Inca citadel and the great mountainous geography that surrounds it. It is included in the ticket ‘Machupicchu + Mountain’.
  • Huchuy Picchu Mountain.- The easiest route in Machu Picchu. The top of Huchuy Picchu (small mountain in Quechua) is 2,497 meters above sea level. To get there you must take a short walk through stone steps that takes approximately 30 minutes. From the top there are panoramic views of the Inca citadel and its buildings. It is included in the ticket ‘Machupicchu + Huchuypicchu’.

Lunch and dinner options in Machu Picchu

In Machu Picchu there is only one cafeteria and one restaurant (the latter belonging to the 5-star Sanctuary Lodge hotel). All other restaurants are located in the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).

These are some of the most recommended restaurants in Aguas Calientes:

  • El indio feliz restaurant (fusion food).
  • Chef House Peruvian Food (Peruvian food).
  • Julian restaurant (Peruvian food).
  • El Mapy Restaurant (buffet lunch).
  • Cala Tratoria (pizza).
  • Full House (pizzas and hamburgers).
  • Mapacho (pizzas and hamburgers).
  • Ylla Fusion (fusion food).
  • Inti House (fusion food).
  • Toto’s House (buffet lunch).
  • Café la Boulangerie de Paris (coffee).
  • Cafe de Paris (coffee).


Lodging options and tourist hotels in Machu Picchu

In Machu Picchu there is only one hotel. It is 5 star Sanctuary Lodge service. All other hotels are in the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).

These are some of the most recommended hotels in Aguas Calientes:

  • Sumaq Machupicchu Hotel (5 stars).
  • Inkaterra Machupicchu town hotel (4 stars).
  • Tierra Viva Machupicchu Hotel (4 stars).
  • Taypikala Hotel Boutique Machu Picchu (4 stars).
  • Casa del Sol Machu Picchu hotel (4 stars).
  • Waman Hotel Machupicchu (3 stars).
  • Casa Andina Hotel Standard Machu Picchu (3 stars).
  • Hotel Ferre Machu Picchu (3 stars).
  • Hotel Panorama B&B (3 stars).
  • Gringo Bill’s Hotel Machu Picchu (3 stars).
  • Supertramp Hostel (stars).
  • Illary Inn Machupicchu (stars).
  • Casa Machupicchu Hostel (stars).
  • Machupicchu Packer Hotel (stars).

Price (approximate) of the trip to Machu Picchu on your own

This is the price (approximate) of the 1-day trip to Machu Picchu without tour:

ServicePrice for PeruviansPrice for foreigners
Bus trip Cusco to Ollantaytambo 12 S/.12 S/.
Travel by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes 24 S/. (local train only Peruvians round trip)420 S/. (Expedition train round trip)
Bus trip from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu35 S/. (round trip).85 S/. (round trip).
Ticket ‘Machupicchu Only’64 S/.152 S/.
Shared tour guide service 28 S/.28 S/.
Lunch in a tourist restaurant in Aguas Calientes 60 S/.60 S/.
Total cost223 S/. (62 USD)757 S/. (210 USD)

Other activities in Machu Picchu town

In Aguas Calientes there are various tourist attractions in addition to Machu Picchu. Get to know some places and activities that you can do:

  • The thermal baths of Aguas Calientes.- In the upper part of the town of Aguas Calientes are the thermal baths that give the town its name. The place is small but cosy. Admission costs 20 soles for foreigners and 10 soles for Peruvians. It is open every day from 5 am to 8 pm.
  • The Machu Picchu site museum.- The Machu Picchu site museum has ceramics and tools found in the first excavations of the archaeological site at the beginning of the 20th century. Admission is free with the entrance to Machupicchu. It is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm.
  • Mandorpampa Falls.- About 5 kilometers from the town of Aguas Calientes (following the train tracks) you will reach the Mandorpampa waterfalls, a natural environment with a variety of trees, birds and even mammals. At the end are the falls whose water fall is approximately 20 meters. The entrance costs 10 soles per tourist.
  • Putucusi Mountain.- Putucusi is one of the mountains that surrounds Machu Picchu. Getting there is free, but it involves a lot of effort. Starting from Aguas Calientes, a 3-hour walk is made, including a section of rope stairs whose slope is 90 degrees. From its top, in the distance, part of Machu Picchu can be seen.
Mandorpampa Waterfall
Mandorpampa Waterfall


Other activities (and tours) in Cusco

In Cusco there are also many tourist options in addition to Machu Picchu. Get to know some places and activities that you can do in Cusco:

  • The Sacred Valley of the Incas.- The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a geographical area that was of great importance in Inca times due to its fertile lands and Andean landscapes. The citadels of Pisac, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo were built there. Today it is one of the most visited places in Cusco. It can be visited within a Sacred Valley of the Incas Full Day tour.
  • The mountain 7 colors.- The Vinicunca is the second most visited destination in Cusco, only after Machupicchu. It is more than 5 meters above sea level, in a high Andean geography whose slopes have various colors due to the presence of minerals formed thousands of years ago. It can be visited with the Montaña 7 Colores Full Day tour. It involves a 2-hour hike that is a challenge for many visitors.
  • The Humantay lagoon.- The Humantay is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Cusco. The reason is its scenic beauty whose turquoise waters are crowned by the snow-capped Salkantay. It is at 4,200 meters above sea level. To get there you have to do a 2-hour walk that is a challenge for tourists. The visit can be made with the Laguna Humantay Full Day tour.
  • Sacsayhuaman and Coricancha.- Sacsayhuamán is one of the most famous places in Cusco for its immense walls made with stones weighing up to 120 tons and carved to perfection. Coricancha, for its part, was the temple of gold and dedicated to the sun, the most important in the entire Inca empire. Both places can be visited within the Cusco City Tour. Both are also very close to the city of Cusco.
sacred Valley
Sacred Valley

How many days should you spend in Machu Picchu?
Most tourists choose 1 day to visit Machu Picchu (trip Cusco – Machupicchu – Cusco). However, an excellent option is to choose a 2-day trip with an overnight stay in the town of Aguas Calientes. This way you will be able to enter the Inca citadel very early and even go on hikes to its mountains. Other visitors decide to do a multi-day trek, such as: the Inca Trail 4 days, the Salkantay trek 5 days or the Inca Jungle 4 days. Choose the option you like best!


Difference between a tour and a trip to Machu Picchu on your own

These are the differences between what a tour to Machu Picchu includes and a trip on your own:

*1 day tour to Machu Picchu1 day trip on your own
Price 280 USD210 USD
Discounts For Peruvians, CAN*, university students and those under 18 years of ageFor Peruvians, CAN*, university students and those under 18 years of age
IncludePick up from hotel, complete transportation (tourist train), guide and tickets.Complete transportation (tourist train), guide, entrance fees and lunch.
not includedbreakfast or lunchBreakfast
BenefitsThe tourist does not need to queue or pay for each service separatelyPrices are reduced. The Peruvian tourist can use the local train that is very cheap.
Recommendations Book the tour approximately 1 month in advanceBuy the ticket and the train approximately 1 month in advance.
Places to visit Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.

*CAN: Perú, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.


More information about the trip to Machu Picchu without a tour

There are some train services that depart directly from the Cusco station (San Pedro station and Wanchaq station). In addition, there are ‘Bimodal’ services (bus + train) that depart from the Wanchaq station, located in the center of Cusco. In other words, if the tourist buys one of these services, they will no longer have to take public transportation from Pavitos street to Ollantaytambo.

The tourist restaurants of Machupicchu town offer the best of Peruvian cuisine, as well as fusion dishes, pizzas and more. A very cheap option is to have lunch at the Aguas Calientes food market. There you can also try Peruvian dishes, but at a cheap cost. The menu costs 10 soles (approximately 3 dollars).

In Machupicchu town there are many hotels of different categories: from 2 to 5 stars.Tourists ‘backpackers’ or ‘backpackers’ usually choose the option of camping in the municipal campsite of the town of Aguas Calientes. This is located on the outskirts of the town, in a space with awnings that protect the rain, toilets and showers (with cold water). The cost per night is 15 soles (approximately 4 dollars). Does not include tent or sleeping bag.


Questions and answers about the trip to Machu Picchu

These are some frequently asked questions that tourists ask about how to travel to Machu Picchu without a tour.

  • How much does it cost to travel to Machupicchu without a tour?

    It is estimated that a 1-day tour to Machu Picchu for foreign tourists costs 280 US dollars. On the other hand, traveling to Machu Picchu on your own in 1 day (also for foreigners) costs 210 US dollars.

  • Can I buy the local train ticket to Machupicchu?

    The local train to Machu Picchu is only for Peruvians, especially for local people who require daily transportation between Cusco and Aguas Calientes. This train can only be purchased in person at the Peru Rail offices in Cusco. It costs 12 soles per section (24 soles round trip).

  • Which train to choose? Expedition or Vistadome?

    The most requested Peru Rail tourist trains are the Expedition and Vistadome services. The first is cheaper and includes comfortable seats, large windows, service on board, sale of snacks and drinks, music and more. The second is a little more expensive, but includes all the comfort of the Expedition, as well as a dance show, snacks, and complimentary drinks.

  • Is it mandatory to visit Machu Picchu accompanied by a tour guide?

    No. The visit to Machu Picchu is not mandatory with a professional tour guide. However, since the constructions of the archaeological site do not have explanatory panels, the company of a guide is highly recommended. So you can better understand the historical importance of Machu Picchu.

  • Is there a discount to Machu Picchu if I am a university student?

    Yes, university students from all countries have access to a discount on the purchase of the entrance to Machu Picchu. However, they must meet the following requirements: be under 25 years of age, have current undergraduate studies and have a current university card.

  • When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?

    Machu Picchu can be visited all year round. However, most tourists prefer the dry season, when the rains are not frequent. This season occurs from April to October. From November to March is the rainy season.

  • What is the circuit that I should choose in Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 2 is the most recommended in Machu Picchu as it offers a more complete tour of 2 hours 30 minutes on average and includes a visit to: the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Intihuatana, the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor , the Water Fountains, as well as the House of the Guardian (there you can get the famous photo of Machupicchu).

  • Where can I buy tickets to Machu Picchu in Cusco?

    Although it is not recommended because availability is limited, tickets to Machu Picchu can be purchased in the city of Cusco itself. The place is the offices of the Decentralized Directorate of Culture Cusco: Calle Maruri 340.

  • What to do if there is no availability of tickets to Machupicchu?

    Unfortunately the tickets to Machu Picchu have limited availability and must be purchased 1 or more months in advance. In case you do not find tickets available, it is best to look for another type of ticket, another date of visit or another time where you do find availability.

  • What are the visiting hours to Machu Picchu?

    Machu Picchu is open to tourists every day of the year from 6 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. The Inca citadel can close its doors only in exceptional cases of protests in Peru or natural disasters that endanger the integrity of its visitors.

Advice from people who have been there

MachuPicchu

Brayan M.By: Brayan M.

“Truly a Wonder“

“Thanks to this guide you can make my trip with very low prices, it is recommended to do the tour with a guide in Machupicchu. It was a dream trip!“


 

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