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How to go to Machu Picchu
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How to go to Machu Picchu? By train or with the Inca Trail?

Machu Picchu is one of the main tourist destinations in the world. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World as well as one of the most amazing places on the planet. There are 2 ways to get there: a) with the Inca Trail (4-day walk to Machu Picchu) or b) with a train trip (2-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes) and then make a definitive bus trip.

There are 4 train stations available: Cusco, Poroy, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. The trip from this last station takes almost 2 hours to Machu Picchu station. The trip is considered one of the most amazing short train routes that exist.

1-day train trip to Machu Picchu

  • Most tourists prefer to visit Machu Picchu for 1 day. This means that the traveler will depart and return to the city of Cusco on the same day.
  • The 1-day train journey begins early with the boarding of buses to Ollantaytambo. In that town you must board your train to Machu Picchu town (known as Aguas Calientes). Finally you must take one of the buses that leave every 10 minutes towards the entrance door to Machu Picchu. The return is the same day in the afternoon, after knowing the Inca City.
  • During the train trip you will tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with incredible views of the mountains of the Andes, until you reach the cloud forest where Machu Picchu is built.

2-day train trip to Machu Picchu

  • The 2-day, 1-night train trip to Machu Picchu is the quietest way to get to know the Inca City. This alternative begins with the trip from Cusco to Aguas Calientes by bus and train. There the visitor will spend the night staying in one of the many hotels that are available.
  • Choosing this option will allow you to visit Machu Picchu very early. Thus, you can book tickets that include the mountains Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu. Also, this trip will allow you to make your visit without haste and with enough time to enjoy everything in the Inca City.
  • Another option is to take the alternative train trip through the ‘Hydroelectric station’. This long route (it takes almost 8 hours to get to Aguas Calientes) can only be done with a 2-day train trip.

4-day Classic Inca Trail

  • The Classic Inca Trail is considered one of the best walks on the planet. Start at kilometer 88 of the train tracks to Machu Picchu. Each tourist will travel approximately 44 kilometers until arriving at the Puerta del Sol (Intipunku) of Machu Picchu, after 4 days.
  • During the Inca Trail you will visit Inca constructions such as: Llactapata, Runkuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñaywayna. The trip is also full of exuberant flora and fauna such as: birds, butterflies, orchids and some animals that you will not be able to see anywhere else in the world.
  • To obtain permits to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu it is necessary to reserve them many months before. It is recommended to do it 6 months before, especially between the months of May and August (high tourist season).
4-day Classic Inca Trail
4-day Classic Inca Trail

Short Inca Trail of 2 days

  • The Short Inca Trail is a cropped version of the classic 4-day route. This version only lasts 2 days and travels approximately 10 kilometers until arriving at Machu Picchu through the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol). Then you spend 1 night in the town of Aguas Calientes to visit the Inca City, the next day.
  • The walk starts at kilometer 104 of the railway that leads to Machu Picchu. Then visit the archaeological site of Chachabamba before starting the 10-kilometer walk uphill. On the way you can also visit the archaeological site of Wiñaywayna. Finally, you arrive at Machu Picchu but only to move directly to the town of Aguas Calientes. On the second day, tourists visit Machu Picchu.
  • Getting availability for the Short Inca Trail is not as difficult as the 4-day Classic version. It is recommended to do so just days in advance. This adventure is ideal for people with little available vacation time.

How to go to Machu Picchu? By train or with the Inca Trail?

Both the train trip and the Inca Trail hike are good experiences to get to Machu Picchu. However, consider the following when choosing how to get to the Inca City:

  • The Inca Trail is expensive. The tour costs approximately 400 US dollars. Train travel, on the other hand, is more accessible.
  • To do the Classic Inca Trail, you must buy a tour online 6 months in advance. The train ticket is purchased only weeks in advance.
  • The Classic Inca Trail has a moderate difficulty. Tourists must be in good physical condition to perform the adventure. The train journey, on the other hand, does not need any previous physical preparation.
  • Most tourists choose to get to Machu Picchu by train. However, the few visitors who did it on the Inca Trail testify that it was the best experience of their lives.

More information about the trip to Machu Picchu

  • Currently, the only two ways to get to Machu Picchu are with a train trip or the Inca Trail. The fastest and safest way is the train. The most adventurous way is the Inca Trail.
  • Machu Picchu is located in Cusco, Peru. It has beautiful landscapes as well as mysterious constructions, such as: the Intipunku, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Temple of the Condor, the Huayna Picchu and more.
  • The Inca Trail remains closed all the febreros because of the constant rains.
  • The train service from Cusco and Poroy stations is closed from January to April. During those rainy months you can use the Urubamba and Ollantaytambo stations.
  • The purchase of the Inca Trail tours as well as the train tickets are made online. If it is done once in Cusco, you run the risk of not getting availability.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, December 17, 2019