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Get to Machu Picchu
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Ways to get to Machu Picchu: Budget

Machu Picchu is the first tourist destination in Peru. Every year the Inca citadel receives about 1.5 million people. To get there you must first arrive in Peru, usually the city of Lima where the international airport is located. Then you must make a trip to Cusco in the Andes Mountains. Finally, you must choose one of the three ways to get there: with the classic train trip through Ollantaytambo, by the alternative route through Hidroeléctrica or with the famous 4-day Inca Trail trekking route. Learn about their differences and how much each of these routes costs.



Machu Picchu with clouds
Machu Picchu with clouds

The trekking routes to Machu Picchu
There are several multi-day trekking routes to Machu Picchu. The most famous and special is the Inca Trail which, either in its four or two-day version, allows you to enter the Inca city through the Intipunku (Sun Gate), just as the Incas did more than five hundred years ago. There are also other popular and famous trekking routes such as the 5-day Salkantay trek, which visits famous tourist attractions such as the Humantay lagoon or the Cocalmayo thermal baths, before accessing Machu Picchu through the popular Hydroelectric route. The 4-day Lares trek includes a visit to the baths in the village of Lares before reaching the Inca citadel via the train ride through Ollantaytambo. Or the Inca Jungle which includes cycling, canoeing and zip-lining before accessing the Inca llaqta through Hidroeléctrica. All of them allow you to enjoy unforgettable days in Cusco, Peru.


The trip to Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire

The city of Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire, also called Tahuantinsuyo (empire of the four suyos or regions). It is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, about 1,095 kilometers by land from the city of Lima, capital of the country.

To get to Peru, most visitors take a flight to Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport. From there, the same day or on a different day, they take a flight of only 1 hour to the Velasco Astete airport in the city of Cusco, at 3,399 meters above sea level.

However, there are other alternative routes to reach the city of Cusco. An adventurous option is to take an interprovincial bus from the city of Lima to the city of Cusco, which takes approximately 20 hours. The trip is heavy since you travel on roads through the mountains that make up the Andes Mountains. However, the cost is lower compared to air travel. The bus ticket from Lima to Cusco costs 100 Peruvian soles approximately (28 dollars on average).

Another option is to take an interprovincial bus from other tourist regions of Peru or Bolivia. For example, from the city of Arequipa (famous for the Colca Canyon) it is a bus trip of 513 kilometers or 9 hours. From the region of Puno (famous for Lake Titicaca) it is a bus trip of 386 kilometers or 7 hours. From the city of La Paz, capital of Bolivia, you can travel to Cusco by bus. The route is 651 kilometers or 12 hours of travel approximately.

However, most people choose to arrive in Cusco on a flight from Lima. The cost of this trip varies depending on the airline you choose and how far in advance you make the purchase. It usually costs between 100 to 200 US dollars per person.

Once in the city of Cusco, due to the altitude of more than 3,300 meters above sea level, the visitor will feel some symptoms of altitude sickness or mountain, such as: headache, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath when doing physical activity. These symptoms are natural and everyone suffers from them the first day. However, from the second or third day of adaptation to the Andean geography, the symptoms usually diminish considerably.

Sunset in the city of Cusco
Sunset in the city of Cusco

The three routes to Machu Picchu from Cusco

There are three routes to reach Machu Picchu from the city of Cusco or the Sacred Valley of the Incas:

  • Classic train route through Ollantaytambo

    This way to get to Machu Picchu is the one that most people use because it is the fastest, most comfortable and safest. For this it is necessary to buy a train ticket, either in one of the two companies available: Peru Rail or Inca Rail. In Cusco, the route begins with a trip by tourist bus (included in the train or hired privately or even by public transport) to the train station in the town of Ollantaytambo, located 61 kilometers from Cusco. There you board one of the trains, depending on your choice of ticket. Trains depart at fixed times and frequencies. Each train offers different tourist services that make it special. The trip from Ollantaytambo to the final station in the town of Aguas Calientes takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. Once there, it is only a 30 minute bus ride (or a 2 hour hike) to the gate of Machu Picchu.

  • Economical alternative route through Hydroelectric

    This way to get to Machu Picchu is preferred by adventurers and people looking to save a little money on their trip to Cusco. It is an alternative route that runs through the lush jungle landscapes of Cusco. To do this you must hire a tourist minivan in one of the many agencies in Cusco or online through a tourist agency. The trip begins in Cusco by boarding this bus along with other tourists. The trip is by road through 179 kilometers in which beautiful mountain and high jungle landscapes of the region are appreciated. On the way we pass through the towns of Chinchero, Ollantaytambo, the Malaga pass, the town of Santa Maria and Santa Teresa. The trip lasts approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes. In Hydroelectric it is recommended to have lunch in a tourist restaurant and then start a 10 kilometer hike through beautiful landscapes full of vegetation where you can see: the Vilcanota River, the train tracks and even platforms belonging to Machu Picchu. This hike takes an average of 2 hours. Finally, you must make the 30-minute bus ride (or the 2-hour uphill hike) to the entrance gate of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.

  • Inca Trail Route

    The Inca Trail is definitely the most special and exhausting but memorable way to reach Machu Picchu. It is a 4 day and 3 night hike camping under the stars, through the historic qhapac ñan or royal roads built by the Incas hundreds of years ago. The hike is approximately 39 kilometers, during which you will also appreciate other Inca citadels similar to Machu Picchu, such as: Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñayhuayna. Finally, on the morning of the fourth day, we arrive at Machu Picchu through the Intipunku (Sun Gate), the same one used by the Incas. From there you have an unbeatable panoramic view of the Inca city. The return to Cusco is with the tourist train that passes through the town of Ollantaytambo. The Inca Trail also has an alternative of only two days that includes 13 kilometers through the final part of the original tourist route. In both cases, because the route is protected by the Peruvian State, it can only be done through a tour organized by a tourist agency. The agencies manage the permits to enter the network of Inca trails. This is one of the best hikes in the world.

Mapa como llegar de Cusco a Machu Picchu

The budget for each way to Machu Picchu

The trip to Machu Picchu from CuscoClassic train routeAlternative route through HidroeléctricaInca Trail 4 days
RecommendedFor all personsFor adventurous visitors who want to save a little moneyFor adventurers who like long hikes
Time to Machu PicchuApproximately 4 hours from CuscoApproximately 9 hours to Machu Picchu4 days of walking (39 kilometers) approximately
Maximum altitudeOllantaytambo (2,792 masl)Abra Málaga (4,200 masl)Abra Warmiwañusca (4,215 masl)
Minimum altitudeTown of Aguas Calientes (2,040 masl)Town of Aguas Calientes (2,040 masl)Town of Aguas Calientes (2,040 masl)
Return tripWith the same outbound route (4 hour trip to Cusco)With the same outbound route (9-hour bus ride to Cusco)With the classic train trip (4 hour trip to Cusco)
Entrance to Machu PicchuMachu Picchu entrance fee is only 152 soles for foreign adultsMachu Picchu entrance fee is only 152 soles for foreign adultsEntrance fee to Machu Picchu included in the tour
Cost of travel120 dollars per train ticket one way and return30 dollars per round trip bus ticketA 4-day Inca Trail tour costs approximately 600 dollars
More informationThis route allows a 1-day trip from Cusco and backThis route requires an overnight stay in the town of Aguas CalientesThe Inca Trail can only be done with an authorized tourism agency

Budget for the entrance to Machu Picchu

Any route to Machu Picchu requires first the purchase of the entrance ticket, either in person or online (recommended). These are the prices:

Entrance Machupicchu Only
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general152 Peruvian soles64 Peruvian soles
University students77 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age70 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Mountain
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Huchuy Picchu
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general200 Peruvian soles112 Peruvian soles
University students125 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age118 Peruvian soles80 Peruvian soles
Entrance Machu Picchu with Inca Bridge
Entrance to Machu PicchuForeignersPeru, Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia
Adults in general152 Peruvian soles64 Peruvian soles
University students77 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles
Under 18 years of age70 Peruvian soles32 Peruvian soles


Questions and answers about the budget to get to Machu Picchu

  • 1) How much does the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu cost?

    The trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu varies according to the three ways to get there: on the train trip, on the Hydroelectric route or with the Inca Trail. In addition, there are optional trekking routes.

  • 2) How much does the train ticket to Machu Picchu cost?

    The train ticket costs between US$60 to US$500 for foreign visitors, depending on the type of train you choose.

  • 3) How much does the trip to Machu Picchu by Hydroelectric cost?

    The bus ticket from Cusco to Hydroelectric costs approximately 15 dollars. Then you have to walk to Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu town.

  • 4) How much does the 4 day Inca Trail trip to Machu Picchu cost?

    The 4-day Inca Trail tour costs approximately $600, depending on the travel agency you choose.

  • 5) How much does the 2-day Inca Trail trip to Machu Picchu cost?

    The Inca Trail 2 days tour costs approximately 400 dollars, depending on the travel agency you choose.

  • 6) How much does it cost the trip to Machu Picchu for the Salkantay trek 5 days?

    The Salkantay trek 5 days tour costs between 300 to 500 dollars, depending on the travel agency you choose. This route can also be done on your own, saving a few dollars.

  • 7) How much does the 4 day Inca Jungle tour to Machu Picchu cost?

    The Inca Jungle 4 days tour to Machu Picchu costs between 300 to 500 dollars, depending on the tour agency you choose.

  • 8) How much does the trip to Machu Picchu with the Lares trek cost?

    The Lares trek 4 days tour costs between 400 to 600 dollars, depending on the travel agency you choose. However, this route can also be done on your own saving a few dollars.

  • 9) Can I walk to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, the final stretch from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is 10 kilometers and anyone can do it freely. However, the route is ascending and takes 2 hours by stone steps. The bus ticket that completes this route costs 12 dollars for foreign adults.

  • 10) How much does the trip to Machu Picchu cost for a Peruvian?

    The Peruvian has some benefits in the trip to Machu Picchu, such as the local train ticket that costs only 12 soles (non-tourist service). The entrance to Machu Picchu for Peruvian adults costs 64 soles.

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Guido B.By: Guido B.

“Amazing route“

“I love to hike and Machu Picchu offers the chance to walk through beautiful mountains. The truth is that I would come back one and a thousand times without hesitation. A hug to my brothers in Peru. Everyone should come.“

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, May 20, 2024