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How to Get to Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu.

Here you will find how you are going to get to Machu Picchu

Peru’s most famous attraction, Machu Picchu, attracts visitors from all over the world. The site is located on an isolated ridge where the Andes meet the Amazon rainforest. This enchanting place restricts access to Machu Picchu. Especially if your time is limited, coordinate all stages of your trip and book your tickets before you arrive.


How long does it take to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco?

The mountainous geography and narrow cloud forested river valleys  around Machu Picchu limit access to this area. There is no road connecting the isolated Inca ruins to Cusco and the towns of the Sacred Valley. So the journey is not as easy as taking a direct bus, taxi or car.


But Making the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu can be done in several ways. For adventurous travelers, you can make a trip that can be as short as 2 days or as long as 6 days. Another option is to take the train to Machu Picchu. There are different train stations and sightseeing options, but first  take a car from Cusco to the train station and then take the train to Aguas Calientes. This route takes about four hours one way, and when you reach Aguas Calientes, it’s a 30-minute bus ride  to Machu Picchu.


The three stages of transportation on How to get to Machu Picchu.

Magical Peru Expeditions arranges every step of your trip to Machu Picchu as part of any personalized Machu Picchu vacation package.


Steps to Get to Machu Picchu

These are the three steps required to get to Machu Picchu. The exact route you take depends on your preferences, trip length and budget.


Arriving at Cusco

Cusco is the starting point in the Andes for planning transportation to Machu Picchu. Most travelers fly into Cusco and land at Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport (CUZ). Others come by bus. In general, it is not recommended to rent a car in Peru to travel to Cusco due to the winding and long mountain roads, isolated conditions.


From Lima to Cusco:

Lima is the coastal capital of Peru. Foreign tourists check in at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, and then take a domestic flight to Cusco. Flying from Lima to Cusco is a one and a half hour nonstop.


Buses from Lima to Cusco take 21 hours and more. Long-distance buses are very appealing to budget travelers who have tight schedules. However, visitors to Peru for a week or two often want to save time between destinations and pay extra for a flight from Lima to Cusco.



From Arequipa to Cusco:

There are regular connecting flights between Arequipa and Cusco’s Manuel Ballon International Airport. It takes an hour to fly between destinations. The bus takes nine hours.


Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Options to continue to Machu Picchu from Cusco. Most travelers enjoy the comfort and ease of the reliable rail system. However, many adventurous people choose to hike Machu Picchu.


Puno and Lake Titicaca – Cusco:

Puno is a city on the coast of Lake Titicaca in Peru. It takes about an hour to fly without stopping from Puno to Cusco.  Inca Manco Capac International Airport is the closest choice for Puno, but always driving from the city. With the cost of transferring from the airport in the process of considering the advantages and disadvantages of flying between destinations.


Normally, our travel advisers recommend an eighth tourist bus travel moving from Cusco to Lake Titicaca.  PeruRail Titicaca is a luxury train that makes day trips between Cusco and Puno, but weekly departures are limited.


From Puerto Maldonado to Cusco:

Destination Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon region is a 50-minute non-stop flight to Cusco. Taking the bus is a grueling ten-hour journey.


Train to Machu Picchu

The train service does not take you directly to Machu Picchu but to the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of the ruins at the top of the mountain. PeruRail and Inca Trail operate trains for tourists. Both companies offer a comfortable ride in modern vehicles, flexible hours and a level of service to suit first-class preferences and budgets.



Tourists usually board the train in Cusco at Poroy station. This train station is a 30-minute drive from the historic center of the city and our team can arrange a private transfer to pick you up from your hotel in Cusco. Others depart from  Sacred Valley stations, reducing travel time to  Machu Picchu station in Aguas Calientes.


Machu Picchu Trekking Packages

Instead of taking a train, outdoor enthusiasts can take a multi-day hike to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is Machu Picchu’s most iconic ride and the only option that allows you to hike into the famous ruins  through the Gate of the Sun. All other trails are known as the Inca Trail  or the Machu Picchu Alternative Path and end near (not on) the ruins.



Our Inca Trail tours include an experienced English-speaking guide and outdoor crew, daily meal preparation and camping gear. Routes to Machu Picchu vary in length and feature a variety of Andean landscapes.


Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Whether you arrive at Aguas Calientes by train or via Salkantay, Lares, or Choquequirao trips, the final leg of your journey to Machu Picchu is up the main visitor entrance. The city is restricted to motorized traffic. Walking is the only way to get to local restaurants, hotels and shops, and the only way you can catch up to Machu Picchu’s main entrance  is by bus. There are no taxis or independent drivers to provide alternative transportation.


From Cusco, here’s a breakdown of the average one-way travel time  to Machu Picchu’s main entrance in 5 hours:


Hiking to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.

When you reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you can walk to Machu Picchu. Some visitors skip the bus and walk about two hours to the main visitor entrance. This route is mostly stairs and follows a winding path up the mountain. The hike is strenuous but rewarding.



Do you need tickets for Machu Picchu?

Yes, a ticket is required to enter Machu Picchu. There are two entrance times to Machu Picchu, the first  in the morning and the second  in the afternoon. Each entry has its own ticket. During peak tourist season, tickets to Machu Picchu can sell out weeks in advance. For hikers on the Inca Trail, a national park hiking permit is required, which will also allow you to enter Machu Picchu within the first hour of entry. Inca Trail permits usually sell out much quicker and it is best to book 3 to 5 months in advance, depending on when you want to do this hike.


What are the hiking and sightseeing options for Machu Picchu?

Many tour options are available to visit Machu Picchu, depending on your travel preferences and available time. For travelers  short on time,  a day trip can be started and ended in Cusco. However, this is a very long excursion as there are many trips to Machu Picchu and back to Cusco in  one day. If you have more time, we recommend doing the 2 day package which includes  Sacred Valley. In addition, there is a wide range of rides including Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail hikes allow you to reach Machu Picchu through the national park, but these hikes have a limited number of permits. Other alternative hikes do not require a permit, so they are readily available.