Many people think that knowing the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is very expensive. Actually, this depends on the budget of the visitor. For those who do not have a significant sum of money, here we give you the best tips to save some money and this incredible experience is not so expensive.
- Buy a discounted ticket
- Take the alternative route through Hidroeléctrica
- Eat in the Aguas Calientes food market
- Stay in a budget hotel
- Walk up from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Buy utensils and snacks in Cusco
- Hire a shared tour guide service
- Are you Peruvian? Take the local train
- Photo gallery
Follow these tips to save money during your visit to Machu Picchu
Buy a discounted ticket
- All types of tickets to Machu Picchu offer the following discounts:
- Discount for undergraduate college students under the age of 25.
- Discount for people under 18 years old.
- Discount for citizens of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
- Children under 3 years of age enter for free showing the identity document that verifies their age.
- How much does the Machu Picchu 2024 ticket cost? Check the updated prices and discounts.
Take the alternative route through Hidroeléctrica
- Most tourists arrive at Machu Picchu by train from Ollantaytambo station.
- However, few visitors know that there is a much cheaper alternative route. This is the route by Hydroelectric whose route lasts 8 hours to Aguas Calientes and is as follows:
- From the city of Cusco to the town of Santa María in the province of La Convención (route by public bus costs 15 or 20 soles).
- From Santa María to the town of Santa Teresa (route by collective taxi costs 10 soles).
- From Santa Teresa to the hydroelectric station (route by collective taxi costs 5 soles).
- From the hydroelectric station to the town of Aguas Calientes (free route on foot takes approximately 2 hours).
- The classic train route for foreign tourists costs approximately 160 dollars (round trip). The alternative route by Hydroelectric costs approximately 30 dollars (round trip).
- Just keep in mind that the train route can be done in 1 day. The Hydroelectric route requires one night in the town of Aguas Calientes (one night in a hotel).
Tourists following the route from Santa Teresa to Machu Picchu
Eat in the Aguas Calientes food market
- The town of Aguas Calientes, just 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu, is the meeting point for restaurants aimed at tourists.
- In this town there are dozens of tourist restaurants whose costs range between 10 and 30 dollars per plate.
- Definitely the cheapest option for breakfast or lunch is the town food market. The menus there cost between 8 to 10 soles. Of course, do not expect a gourmet service or quality care .
- The same in all the restaurants in Aguas Calientes you can enjoy the delicious Peruvian gastronomy with dishes such as ceviche, lomo saltado, stuffed cause, fried trout and more.
In the town of Aguas Calientes you can find all the necessary services for your stay
Stay in a budget hotel
- In Aguas Calientes there are hotels of all categories, from 5-star luxury services to shared hostels for ‘backpackers’.
- There are two 5-star hotels: the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (the only one located next to Machu Picchu) and the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. The price of the room per night is between 470 and 1,200 dollars.
- The most famous backpacker hotels in Aguas Calientes are: the Supertramp Hostel, the Illary Inn, the Machu Picchu Packer Hotel, the Machu Picchu Guest House, the Hotel Machu Picchu Land B&B and the Casa Machu Picchu Hostel. The prices of the room per night are between 10 and 30 dollars.
Walk up from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Aguas Calientes is only 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu.
- Most tourists decide to take the bus that takes them to the entrance gate of Machu Picchu in 30 minutes. The cost of the bus trip for foreign tourists is 24 dollars (round trip). For Peruvians it costs 15 dollars (round trip).
- Going up on foot from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is free. The route is physically demanding as hundreds of stone steps are crossed. It takes 2 hours or more, depending on the physical state of the visitor.
- Young tourists in good physical condition are the ones to walk up to Machu Picchu. An excellent idea to save money on the trip is to descend from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes. This hike, as it is downhill, is easier. It takes 2 hours or less depending on the physical condition of the visitor.
Buy utensils and snacks in Cusco
- Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, because they are located in a place where the only access is by train, have higher prices in basic utensils for the trip such as: snacks, drinks, rain poncho, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, etc
- That is why it is best to buy the basic utensils for the trip to Machu Picchu in the city of Cusco. In this city the prices are lower compared to the town of Aguas Calientes.
- For example, a bottle of water in the city of Cusco costs approximately 1 sol. In the town of Aguas Calientes it costs 2 soles. A rain poncho in Cusco costs 2 soles. At the entrance gate of Machu Picchu 5 soles.
Hire a shared tour guide service
- The tour guide service in Machu Picchu is not mandatory. However, to have a complete experience in the Inca city, it is recommended to hire a guide.
- The tour guides can be hired online or at the door of Machu Picchu. There are two types of services: shared and private.
- The private service is exclusively for a group of friends, family, couple, etc. The cost can reach 100 soles per group.
- Shared service, on the other hand, brings together people from different groups who share the guiding service. The cost is approximately 15 soles per person.
- The shared service is usually in Spanish or English. The duration is 2 hours or more. The guide will help the tourist to take the correct route, without setbacks. It definitely comes highly recommended.
Are you Peruvian? Take the local train
- Peruvian tourists have several benefits on their trip to Machu Picchu, such as: discounts on the entrance to Machu Picchu or discounts on the bus ticket.
- However, the greatest benefit for Peruvians on the trip to Machu Picchu is the possibility of taking the local Peru Rail train.
- The local train is a non-tourist service that departs from Ollantaytambo and ends in Aguas Calientes in a trip of approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. The cost of this service is only 12 soles (24 soles for round trips).
- The local train is a service offered for people who move daily through the towns near Machu Picchu. Peruvians can also buy this ticket. The purchase is in person with the national identity document. Availability is limited so purchase must be made approximately 1 week in advance.
- Tourist train tickets cost between 120 and 900 dollars (round trip) depending on the type of service you choose.
Advice from people who have been there
“The Incas !“
“First of all, say that the tickets run out quickly so you should buy the tickets well in advance. I liked the view of Huayna Picchu. Highly recommended!“
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, December 30, 2023