Machu Picchu
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Routes to machu picchu
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Tourist Routes to Machu Picchu

There are several tourist routes to Machu Picchu. The favorite for tourists is the train journey. However, it is also possible to go through the alternative route of Hydroelectric. Or even with the 4-day hiking trail known as the Inca Trail. Learn how to get to the Inca city through these and other tourist routes.


Actually there are currently only 3 ways to get to Machu Picchu: a) by the train route, b) by the alternate route by the Hydroelectric station and c) by the Classic Inca Trail (4-day hike). The other hiking trails, choose the route by Hydroelectric or the train journey to arrive.


Route from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train

This option takes you to Machu Picchu by rail from some of the main stations of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas (San Pedro, Poroy, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo stations) to the final station of Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the city Inca of Machupicchu.

These are the train stations you can take:

    San Pedro Station – It is located in the city of Cusco. The trip to Machu Picchu takes approximately 4 hours.

    Poroy Station – It is 30 minutes from the city of Cusco. The trip to Machupicchu takes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes.

    Urubamba Station – It is located 1 hour 20 minutes from the city of Cusco. The trip to Machupicchu takes approximately 2 hours 20 minutes.

    Ollantaytambo Station – It is located 1 hour 40 minutes from the city of Cusco. The trip to Machu Picchu takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. It is the train station preferred by tourists.

There are different types of tourist trains such as:

    Expedition Train – It is the most economical service that offers all the comforts such as: large windows, tables, comfortable seats, service on board and sale of snacks and drinks on board.

    Vistadome Train – It is one of the services preferred by visitors. Its main feature is its side and upper panoramic windows as well as snacks, complimentary drinks on board and parade show of alpaca garments.

    Sacred Valley Train – It is one of the most exclusive services as it offers a private station in the town of Urubamba, gourmet lunch (or gourmet dinner), observatory car, dining car, wine tasting and more.

    Hiram Bingham Train – It is one of the most exclusive trains in the world. Includes dining car, observatory car, bar car, open bar, gourmet lunch (or gourmet dinner), live music on board as well as bus service and tour guide to Machu Picchu.

Once in the final station of Aguas Calientes, the tourist must board a bus that will take him to the door of Machu Picchu . This trip takes approximately 30 minutes. The train route is preferred by tourists since it is the only one that can be done in just 1 day. It can also be combined with a visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas in a 2-day tour package.

Macchu Picchu
Route from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train

Route from Cusco to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric of 2 days

  • This option little used by tourists travels through the rainforest of Cusco by bus until the Hydroelectric train station arrives, from where you reach the town of Aguas Calientes on foot or by train.

Going from Cusco to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric takes 6 or 7 hours and follow the following route:

    From Cusco to Santa María – The town of Santa María is located in the jungle of Cusco. You arrive there by a bus trip from the city of Cusco that lasts approximately 4 hours. You can go by public bus or by hiring a tourist minivan.

    From Santa María to Santa Teresa – In the town of Santa María there are collective taxis that take people approximately 1 hour to the famous town of Santa Teresa, where the thermal baths of Cocalmayo are located.

    From Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric Station – In the main streets of Santa Teresa there are collective taxis that take tourists in approximately 30 minutes to the Hydroelectric train station. Some people prefer to make this route on foot (approximately 2 hours walk).

    From Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes – From the Hydroelectric Station depart only 3 trains a day to the town of Aguas Calientes (this trip takes 40 minutes). However, most visitors prefer to walk through the beautiful landscapes of this route (going on foot takes approximately 2 hours).

The route to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric is preferred by tourists ‘backpackers’ (backpackers), since it is the most economical and adventurous . The journey takes approximately 6 or 7 hours. It takes 2 days to visit Machupicchu through this route. On day 1 you must spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu and return to Cusco on day 2.

Macchu Picchu
Route from Cusco to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric

Hiking trail Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days

• The Classic Inca Trail is a 4-day hiking trail along ancestral Inca roads complemented by fascinating archaeological sites and lush landscapes. The last day you arrive at Machu Picchu through the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol), the ancient entrance used by the Incas .

This is the route of the Classic Inca Trail during the 4 days of hiking:

    Day 1 From Cusco to Wayllabamba – The Inca Trail starts kilometer 82 of the railroad to Machu Picchu (you get there with a minivan trip from the city of Cusco). The first section to Wayllabamba is on the rise through towering mountains. On the route you will visit the Inca archaeological site of Llactapata.

    Day 2 From Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo – The second day of walking is considered the most difficult of the route since the most difficult section called the ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ (open Warmiwañuska) is climbed from where the Inca archaeological site of Runkurakay That night you will arrive at the Pacaymayo camp.

    Day 3 From Pacaymayo to Wiñay Huayna – Day 3 of the Inca Trail route is considered one of the most beautiful of the trek since it descends impressive landscapes of the Cusco jungle. That day you can also appreciate the Inca archaeological site of Sayacmarca.

    Day 4 From Wiñay Huayna to Machu Picchu – On the last day there is a brief trek in descent from the Wiñay Huayna camp to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu (the entrance is through the famous Intipunku ‘Puerta del Sol’). After touring the Inca city, tourists will return to Cusco through a train trip.

During the Inca Trail, each tourist will travel on foot approximately 39 kilometers. To make the walk it is necessary to hire a tourist package online with 5 or 6 months in advance (there is an entry limit). It is one of the most famous hiking trails on the planet.

  • Maximum altitude: 4,200 masl
  • Distance: 39 kilometers.
  • Longest section: Day 2 (16 kilometers).
  • Minimum temperature 0ºC.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Macchu Picchu
Hiking trail Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hiking route Salkantay to Machu Picchu 5 days

This is the Salkantay Trek route during the 5 days of hiking:

    Day 1 From Cusco to Soraypampa – The trek starts in the town of Mollepata, where it is reached through a minivan trip from the city of Cusco. The walk is on the rise through Andean landscapes until arriving at the town of Soraypampa, after approximately 16 kilometers of route.

    Day 2 From Soraypampa to Chaullay – The trek continues to rise through landscapes of snowy peaks where ‘Abra Salkantay’ stands out. Optionally you can visit the famous Humantay lagoon. At night, camp in the community of Chaullay, after an intense walk, the most difficult of the entire route.

    Day 3 From Chaullay to Santa Teresa – The third day begins the descent through the beautiful landscapes of the Cusco forest. Each tourist will travel approximately 16 kilometers until arriving at the town of Santa Teresa where, optionally, they can relax in the thermal baths of Cocalmayo.

    Day 4 From Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes – The walk on the penultimate day is one of the favorite for tourists since it travels in a straight line to the Vilcanota River and the lush vegetation near Machu Picchu. The total route that day is 16 kilometers and ends in the famous town of Aguas Calientes.

    Day 5 From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu – The last day you get on a bus to Machu Picchu from the town of Aguas Calientes (walking is optional). Then you visit the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. The return to the city of Cusco is by train route (trip of only 4 hours approximately).

  • Maximum altitude: 4,650 masl
  • Distance: 70 kilometers per day.
  • Longest section: Day 2 (18 kilometers).
  • Minimum temperature 0ºC.
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Hiking trail from Lares to Machu Picchu 4 days

The town of Lares in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the starting point of this hiking trail that runs 34 kilometers through beautiful landscapes near Andean villages with a lot of tradition. The final section follows the Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes train route and, from there, you ascend by bus to Machu Picchu . It is an intermediate route in difficulty, ideal for family travel.

This is the route of the Lares Trek during the 4 days of hiking:

    Day 1 From Cusco to Wacahuasi – The trek starts in the town of Lares where you arrive on a minivan trip from the city of Cusco. After relaxing in the thermal baths of the town, tourists begin a hike in ascent to the town and camp of Wacahuasi, place of many customs by its inhabitants.

    Day 2 From Wacahuasi to Patacancha – The second day you visit the Ipsaycocha lagoon located near the town of Wacahuasi. The hike that day will be through mountainous landscapes of great beauty to the town of Patacancha, where residents can interact with tourists.

    Day 3 From Patacancha to Ollantaytambo – On the third day the walk resumes until it ends in the town of Ollantaytambo. On the route you will visit the towns of Willoq as well as the archaeological sites of Pumamarca and Wochapata. Finally, in the afternoon you will travel by train to the town of Aguas Calientes where you spend the night in a hotel of the place.

    Day 4 From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu – The last day is the bus tour from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. After visiting the archeological site with a tour guide, return to Aguas Calientes and travel back to Cusco by train.

The Lares Trek is a hiking route not as demanding as the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek. It is famous for the cultural experience it offers when visiting different rural communities. In addition to the route that passes through Patacancha, there is another alternative that passes through the town of Yanahuara.

  • Maximum altitude: 4,500 masl
  • Distance: 34 kilometers per day.
  • Longest section: Day 1 (14 kilometers).
  • Minimum temperature 0ºC.
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu 3 days

The archeological site of Huchuy Qosqo is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas . This Inca site is part of the 3-day route to Machu Picchu. The route is simple because it travels only 17 kilometers. The walk includes the train journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. It is a great experience to learn a little more about the history of the Incas while doing the walk considered simple for visitors.

This is the route of the Huchuy Qosqo Trek during the 3 days of hiking:

    Day 1 From Cusco to Huchuy Qosqo – After a minivan trip tourists start the trek in Tambomachay, located just outside the city of Cusco. From there they ascend for a few hours until arriving at a camp near the archeological site of Huchuy Qosqo, an Inca citadel little known to visitors.

    Day 2 From Huchuy Qosqo to Aguas Calientes – The second day the visit to the archeological site of Huchuy Qosqo will take place. Then you continue with the walk observing the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In the afternoon a transport will take the tourist to the train station of Ollantaytambo, from where the train is taken in the direction of the town of Aguas Calientes.

    Day 3 From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu – The last day is the usual visit to Machu Picchu. Start with the bus trip from Aguas Calientes to the entrance door of the archaeological site. After the visit to the Inca city the return will be made by train to Cusco.

  • Maximum altitude: 4,390 masl
  • Distance: 22km per day.
  • Longest section: Day 1 (10 kilometers).
  • Minimum temperature 0ºC.
  • Difficulty: Easy

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, February 20, 2020