The Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Since its discovery in the early 20th century, Machu Picchu has taken off as a world destination, being named year after year as a best travel destination and one of...
Visiting Machu Picchu is an adventure that you can never erase from your memory. But in order for everything to go well, you need to know all the options to get to this Wonder of the World. If you are planning to visit it soon, and you want to know all the details to get to the great Inca citadel, continue reading this post!
Travel to Lima
One of the main starting points for tourists who come to Peru and want to go to Cusco (where Machu Picchu is located) is Lima, the capital of the country. This is a big plus for many, since Lima is also considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America, so if you have time, you can enjoy the most delicious dishes that this great country has to offer. Any recommendation? It’s hard to choose, but you can not leave without trying ceviche, rice with seafood, ají de gallina, and lomo saltado. Once in Lima, it’s time to think about the next destination: Cusco.
From Lima to Cusco
To get to the imperial city from Lima, you have two options: bus or plane. Arriving by bus is cheaper but the journey is much longer; Due to the complex Peruvian geography, you can take up to 24 hours to get from Lima to Cusco. The good thing? The buses in Peru are incredibly comfortable, with very wide seats that lean up to 180º.
If you choose the option of the plane, we recommend that you take the first flights in the morning (5am – 7am), that way you can take advantage of being the whole day in Cusco and will not suffer any setbacks to reach your destination. The duration of the flight is one hour and fifteen minutes.
If you have three or more days in Cusco, you can go sightseeing the most emblematic places around the city and its surroundings, such as the Sacred Valley, where you will begin to soak up the genius of the Inca culture. This is ideal to do before visiting Machu Picchu, without a doubt the most majestic ruin of the region.
In addition, a few days in the city and the Valley will suit you well to adapt to the altitude. As you know Cusco is 3339 meters above sea level and some tourists can experience the so-called soroche or altitude sickness.
We also recommend that you arrive with daylight to Ollantaytambo, an incredible Inca fortress and where is our main train station, where you will depart to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo, the last stop before reaching Machu Picchu ruins.
From Cusco to Aguas Calientes
The town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is the gateway to the Inca citadel. To get to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo you have the option of taking a train that leaves from 2 different points.
If you don’t have much time (between one or two days), we recommend that you take the train at Poroy station, located only half an hour from Cusco, and from which it takes around three and a half hours to get to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Town.
If, on the other hand, you have more days, we recommend that you get to Ollantaytambo and board your train there. It is best to make a route around the Sacred Valley and visit interesting archaeological sites such as Pisac, before getting to Ollantaytambo. The journey from Cusco to Ollantaytambo is one hour and a half if you do not make any stops and the train to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo takes almost two hours to reach its final destination.
The trains have different schedules throughout the day to adapt to the needs of each of the passengers. In addition, you have to bear in mind that the Poroy station remains closed during the rainy season (from January to April), a period in which we offer our Bimodal service (link to post).
Now, once you get to Aguas Calientes, you are one step away from fulfilling the dream of visiting one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
The first thing you have to keep in mind at this point is the time you decide to arrive to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo. If you take the train in the afternoon or in the evening, you will have to sleep in this town, where there are plenty of hostels or hotels, and go up to Machu Picchu the next day. If you take the train in the morning, that same day you can go up to the citadel.
To reach your final destination there is a bus service that leaves constantly between 5:30. to 16:00 (way up) and from 6:00 to 18:00 (way down), and takes about half hour. The price ranges between 15 and 24 dollars (round trip) depending on whether you are national or foreign.
Once here, you only have to enjoy. With the new access schedules you must choose whether to visit the citadel in the morning or in the afternoon and you have up to six hours to cover it. If you also want to visit Machu Picchu mountain or Huayna Picchu, you must go on the morning shift, since the access to these points can only be done in the early hours of the day. For this, we recommend hiring a guide to take you and tell you all about the history of Machu Picchu. We assure you that it will be an unforgettable experience!