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options to get to Machu Picchu
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What are the options to get to Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing places on the planet, and the ways to get there are just as amazing. You can choose between fabulous multi-day walks, arriving by train, or mixing multiple activities such as buses, cycling, hiking, etc. Have you already decided when you want to be in Machu Picchu? Do you know the options you have on your trip to Machu Picchu?




Machu Picchu

Romantic Trip to Machu Picchu

Can I do the Inca Trail on my own without a tour?
The Inca Trail is a route built by the Incas in the 15th century. The original route connected Cusco with Machu Picchu. Today, this route was adapted to just 39 kilometers in four days on foot and three nights of walking. Due to its historical importance, the route is only allowed to be done with the company of a guide and a tourist agency. That is, no tourist can do this walk without a tour. Tours include everything: transportation, guide, permits, entrance fees, food, camping and more.


All options for the trip to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has many ways to visit it, perhaps the most incredible is to reach it via the Inca Trail for 4 days. However, there are also two other options: the visit along the Ollantaytambo train route or the alternative route through the Hidroeléctrica station.

  • Train route through Ollantaytambo: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu.
  • Inca Trail Route 4 days: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Km. 82 – Inca Trail Route – Machu Picchu.
  • Alternative route through Hydroelectric: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Abra Málaga – Santa María – Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu.

Option 1: get to Machu Picchu by train

  • To get to Machu Picchu by train you must travel through the Sacred Valley of the Incas through the Cusco – Ollantaytambo route.
  • First by bus, to the train station, then by train, to the town of Aguas Calientes. The train tracks run through the valley next to the Urubamba River between beautiful green mountains.
  • There are two companies that offer train travel: Peru Rail and Inca Rail. Both offer different types of trains. Peru Rail offers the trains: Expedition, Vistadome and Hiram Bingham. Inca Rail offers the trains: The Voyager, The 360 and The Private.
  • We recommend booking the panoramic train (Vistadome); Its panoramic windows on the roof and walls are a great advantage when touring the Sacred Valley.
  • The train to Machu Picchu is the fastest and easiest way to get to Machu Picchu, you just have to book your train ticket in advance (several weeks in advance). The trip from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes takes 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • Once in Aguas Calientes, all that remains is to take the bus that takes tourists to Machu Picchu in 30 minutes.
  • We recommend you book the train ticket after knowing the date and time of your entry to Machu Picchu.

map cusco Machu Picchu by train

Classic Route to Machu Picchu

Option 2: get to Machu Picchu via the Inca trail

  • The Inca Trail is considered one of the best hiking routes in the world. This is due to the great history of its roads, the beautiful landscapes and Machu Picchu at the end of the 4-day, 3-night camping route.
  • To enter Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail, you must reserve permits 4 or 5 months in advance. This walk is only allowed with an authorized tourism agency. That is, the visitor cannot do it on his or her own.
  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu runs 40 kilometers. From the central Andes mountains of Cusco to the cloud forest surrounding the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
  • These trails full of exuberant fauna and flora, constitute one of the best hiking routes on the planet.
  • On the walk the visitor will be able to appreciate other Inca citadels such as: Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñayhuayna and, of course, Machu Picchu.

Option 3: get to Machu Picchu via the alternative Hydroelectric route

  • Is there an alternative route to enter Machu Picchu? Well yes, it is the alternative route through Hidroeléctrica, not very well known but cheaper.
  • On a normal day, most people enter Machu Picchu by train (around 85%). Two hundred enter through the Inca Trail (around 5%). And many others (between 8 and 10%) enter through the alternative Hydroelectric route.
  • This route is quite accessible (much cheaper) and is preferred by young people, because it is full of adventure. The classic ways to get to Machu Picchu, the train or the Inca trail, are trips with established and detailed itineraries; but this alternative route offers you many freedoms on your way to Machu Picchu.
  • It mixes buses, walks and beautiful landscapes, before reaching the town of Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu.
  • The first section will take approximately 6 hours. It is a bus trip from Cusco to the Hydroelectric station passing through towns such as Ollantaytambo, Santa María and Santa Teresa. These buses can be contracted with a tourism agency.
  • From Hidroelectrica it is a walk of approximately 2 hours. The walk is easy and surrounded by beautiful landscapes. It ends in the town of Aguas Calientes.
  • From Aguas Calientes you must take the bus that takes tourists to Machu Picchu in 30 minutes. However, because the route through Hidroeléctrica takes 8 hours on average, it is best to stay in a hotel and visit Machu Picchu the next day.

Route to Machu Picchu by Car

Route to Machu Picchu by Car

Other options to get to Machu Picchu

There are only three ways to get to Machu Picchu: a) by the train route from Ollantaytambo, b) by the Inca Trail for 4 days or c) by the alternative route through Hydroelectric. The following optional routes offer different activities and experiences but include one of these three routes:

  • Salkantay trek – This 5-day, 4-night hiking route crosses beautiful Andean landscapes and jungles. The 70-kilometer route includes a visit to the Humantay lagoon, the Cocalmayo thermal baths and Machu Picchu. The archaeological site is reached through the Hidroeléctrica walk.
  • Lares trek – This hiking route of 4 days and 3 nights crosses Andean landscapes and towns with a lot of tradition, which is why it is known as ‘The cultural route to Machu Picchu’. Travel 37 kilometers including a visit to the Lares thermal baths. Machu Picchu is reached by the train route from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.
  • Inca Jungle – This tourist route lasts 4 days and 3 nights. On these days, adventure sports such as cycling, canoeing, zipline and hiking are carried out. In addition, a visit to the Cocalmayo thermal baths is made. Machu Picchu is reached through the alternative route through Hydroelectric.
  • Inca Trail 2 days – This hiking route is a short version of the classic Inca Trail 4 days. It travels only 13 kilometers, from kilometer 104 to Machu Picchu passing through the archaeological sites of Chachabamba and Wiñayhuayna. Machu Picchu is reached through the route of the Inca roads. The visit is carried out with an authorized tourism agency.

About entrance tickets to Machu Picchu

If you want to enter Machu Picchu by train, the first step is to reserve Machu Picchu tickets. Do you already know which ticket to choose? These are the Machu Picchu ticket options.

Machupicchu Ticket Only

This ticket allows you to enter Machu Picchu for 4 hours at one of the nine entry times: from 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

  • Includes circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Machupicchu Ticket + Huaynapicchu

This ticket allows you to enter the Inca city of Machu Picchu and the Huayna Picchu mountain trails for approximately 6 hours at some of the four entry times:

  • from 6 am (entrance to the mountain from 7 to 8 am),
  • from 7 am (entrance to the mountain from 8 to 9 am),
  • from 8 am (entrance to the mountain from 9 to 10 am)
  • and from 9 am (entrance to the mountain from 10 to 11 am).
  • Includes circuit 4 through Machu Picchu.

Machupicchu Ticket + Mountain

This ticket allows you to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu and the paths of Machu Picchu mountain for approximately 7 hours of visiting. There are two income groups:

  • starting at 6 am (entrance to the mountain from 7 am to 8 am)
  • and starting at 7 am (this group enters the mountain from 8 am to 9 am).
  • Includes circuit 3 through Machu Picchu.

Machupicchu Ticket + Huchuypicchu

This ticket allows you to enter the Inca city of Machu Picchu and the Huchuy Picchu mountain trails for approximately 5 hours at some of the eight available entry times:

  • from 6 a.m. (entrance to the mountain from 7 to 8 am),
  • 7 am. (entrance to the mountain from 8 to 9 am),
  • 8 a.m. (entrance to the mountain from 9 to 10 am),
  • 9 a.m. (entrance to the mountain from 10 to 11 am),
  • 10 a.m. (entrance to the mountain from 11 to 12 am),
  • 11am. (entrance to the mountain from 12 to 1 pm),
  • and 12 m. (entrance to the mountain from 1 to 2 pm)
  • Includes circuit 4 through Machu Picchu.

Machupicchu Ticket + Inca Bridge

This ticket allows you to enter the Inca city of Machu Picchu and the Inca Bridge trails for approximately 5 hours at some of the eight available entry times:

  • from 6 a.m. (entrance to the bridge from 7 to 8 am),
  • 7 am. (entrance to the bridge from 8 to 9 am),
  • 8 a.m. (entrance to the bridge from 9 to 10 am),
  • 9 a.m. (entrance to the bridge from 10 to 11 am),
  • 10 a.m. (entrance to the bridge from 11 to 12 am),
  • 11am. (entrance to the bridge from 12 to 1 pm),
  • 12m. (entrance to the bridge from 1 to 2 pm)
  • and 1 p.m. (entrance to the bridge from 2 to 3 pm).
  • Includes circuit 1 or 2 around Machu Picchu.

Huayna Picchu map in Machu Picchu

Types of Tickets to Machu Picchu

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Adriana VBy: Adriana V

“A true wonder of the world, in Peru!!!“

“I was putting off this trip for a long time and I had to go. Standing in one of the 7 wonders of the world is a unique experience; It provokes a mix of feelings that can only be achieved in places like this, spiritual and charged with energy; emotion, joy, pride, amazement, everything comes together in this wonder of the world. It is a must for everyone, you have to book in advance to get one of the tickets.“


 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, November 10, 2023