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Guide for the walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
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Hike to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes

Although most tourists go by bus, there are a few visitors who dare to walk from the town of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. This short walk is safe but exhausting. Not recommended if you visit the mountain Huayna Picchu. The tour takes approximately 2 hours. The descent is shorter and relaxing.

Aguas Calientes is divided from Machu Picchu by 10 kilometers. Most visitors travel that distance by bus. However, you can also walk. The route is characterized by the hundreds of stone steps as well as the typical flora and fauna of the place.

Where to start the walk?

  • The walk begins in the famous town of Aguas Calientes . All train services to Machu Picchu end in this magical place full of hotels, restaurants and bars.
  • The road that leads to Machu Picchu is called ‘Hiram Bingham’, in honor of the American explorer who arrived in the Inca city in 1911.
  • The buses that take tourists to the archaeological site follow the road. The tourist who seeks to arrive walking must follow the same route.
  • After a walk of approximately 2 kilometers, you will find the path that leads to Machu Picchu on foot. In the place there is a wooden sign .
  • During this first trip the visitor will appreciate the Machu Picchu Site Museum as well as the butterfly garden of the place.
Hot water hiking to Machu Picchu
Ascent route to the Sacred City of Machu Picchu

How is the road from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

  • After finding the beginning of the trail, hundreds of stone steps must be traveled .
  • As you ascend, the road will cross up 3 times with the right end of the road.
  • At the intersections of the road, the visitor must follow the path until they find a new stone staircase path.
  • The road is clearly marked. In some sections it is possible to meet locals who sell snacks and drinks.
  • After approximately 1 hour of ascent, you will arrive at the entrance door of Machu Picchu. The time varies according to the physical condition of the visitor and his pace of ascent.

Is it difficult to do this hike?

  • Moderate – Difficult : This is a walk recommended especially for young people in good physical condition accustomed to hiking. Hundreds of stairs are climbed on the way there, so strength in the knees is required. The way back is downhill so it is much easier.

How to prepare for the trek to Machu Picchu?

  • The climate in Machu Picchu is very varied. Therefore, to carry out the walk it is necessary to wear clothes for both rain and sun .
  • The most difficult section of the walk is the first steps. These are steep and require a good physical condition to overcome them.
  • Machu Picchu is located on the top of a mountain. To reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness, visitors should acclimatize to the city of Cusco one or two days before the walk.

What do I need to do the walk?

  • Performing the walk has no cost. However, you need to carry your ticket to printed Machu Picchu to be allowed to follow the route.
  • At the height of the Ruins Bridge there is a checkpoint where the Machu Picchu ticket must be presented. Once at the archeological site, the tourist must present the ticket again to be allowed to enter.
  • If the tourist does not carry your Machu Picchu ticket when making the walk, they will not allow you to continue and you will have to buy your ticket again .

What to take to the trek to Machu Picchu?

  • Water (minimum 1 bottle).
  • Hat, sunglasses and sun protection.
  • Cane with rubber tip.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Poncho for the rain.
  • Snacks
  • Passport or identity document.
  • Photographic camera.
  • Small backpack.
  • Printed entrance to Machu Picchu.

When is the best time to do the walk?

  • The dry season of Machu Picchu (from April to October) is the best time to do the trek. During those months there is little rain and the sun shines in the sky.
  • On the other hand, during the rainy season (from November to March), the stairs become more slippery. During those months, visitors should wear rain poncho and hiking shoes.
  • Most visitors decide to do the walk in the early hours of the day. At that time the heat is less intense allowing a cooler walk .

Useful information about the trek to Machu Picchu

  • Time needed: 2 hours (upload only).
  • Altitude of the summit: Machu Picchu (2,430 meters / 7,972 ft).
  • Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 390 meters / 1279 ft).
  • Land: Dirt and stone road with small sections by road.
  • Recommended footwear: Comfortable hiking shoes.
  • Entry schedule: You can enter at any time.
  • Type of ticket: The route is free.

Is it dangerous to walk up to Machu Picchu?

  • The ascent from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is demanding but not dangerous. The trails are well signposted and are not located near cliffs.
  • The only latent danger is the buses that run along the Hiram Bingham road to Machu Picchu. It is recommended not to wear headphones and pay attention to buses that run along the road.
  • So far there are no cases of tourists who have been injured doing this route .

When to take the bus to Machu Picchu?

Frequently asked questions about the trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

  • 1) How long does it take to walk up to Machu Picchu?

    The route on foot from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu takes 2 hours for an average tourist.

  • 2) Do I need a ticket to walk up to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, it is necessary to show the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu in the Puente Ruinas sector. Only then will the tourist be allowed to continue their walk.

  • 3) How many kilometers is the route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

    The route on foot from these two points is 8 kilometers.

  • 4) Is it better to walk or take the bus to Machu Picchu?

    It is best to take the bus. The route on foot is tired. It is recommended for young tourists in good physical condition.

  • 5) Is it advisable to walk up to Machu Picchu with children?

    If you do the walk with very young children (under 8 years old) you will have to wait for them or carry them at some point on the route. For this reason, it is recommended to go up with children who like hiking.

  • 6) What to bring to the trek to Machu Picchu?

    During the trek from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, it is recommended to bring: resistant shoes, comfortable sports pants, long-sleeved polo shirt, poncho in case of rain, snacks, rehydrating drinks and everything in a comfortable backpack.

  • 7) Can I return from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes on foot?

    Yes, this route is 8 kilometers downhill for most of the route. An average tourist takes 1 hour 30 minutes to complete this walk.

  • 8) Is the route on foot from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu dangerous?

    No, the route is along well-defined stretches and stone steps. It is only recommended not to do the route if you have heart problems since the altitude can accelerate the heart rate of the walker.

  • 9) Where do you take the final buses to Machu Picchu?

    The buses of the final route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu are taken in the same town of Aguas Calientes (on Hermanos Ayar avenue). The return section is taken at the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.

  • 10) How much does it cost to take the bus to Machu Picchu? How much does it cost to walk up?

    The bus ticket to Machu Picchu costs 24 dollars for adult foreign tourists (round trip) and 35 soles for adult Peruvian tourists (round trip).


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, June 11, 2022