How to get machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu is a journey that combines natural beauty, historical intrigue, and a sense of adventure. Here are the main ways to get to this iconic site:

1. Train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo

The most common and convenient way to reach Machu Picchu is by train. Two main companies, PeruRail and Inca Rail, offer services with various levels of comfort and pricing.

  • From Cusco: Trains depart from the Poroy Station, located about 20 minutes outside of Cusco. The journey takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.
  • From Ollantaytambo: A more popular option due to the shorter travel time (about 1.5 to 2 hours). Travelers often take a bus or taxi to Ollantaytambo and then board the train.

Both options terminate at Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu.

2. Inca Trail

For those seeking an adventurous and immersive experience, the Inca Trail is a legendary trekking route that takes 4 days and 3 nights.

  • Permits: It’s important to book well in advance, as permits are limited and sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons.
  • Guided Tours: All trekkers must be accompanied by a licensed tour operator. These tours typically include guides, porters, and all necessary camping equipment.
  • Experience: The trail passes through diverse landscapes, including cloud forests and alpine tundra, and several smaller Inca ruins before culminating at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) with a dramatic view of Machu Picchu.

3. Alternative Treks

Several alternative trekking routes offer different experiences and perspectives.

  • Salkantay Trek: A popular alternative that takes about 5 days, passing through diverse ecosystems and offering views of the Salkantay Mountain.
  • Lares Trek: A cultural trek that provides an opportunity to visit traditional Andean villages.
  • Inca Jungle Trek: Combines biking, trekking, and optional zip-lining and rafting over 4 days.

4. Bus from Aguas Calientes

Once in Aguas Calientes, you can take a bus to the Machu Picchu entrance.

  • Frequency: Buses run every 10-15 minutes starting from early morning.
  • Duration: The ride takes about 25-30 minutes.
  • Tickets: It’s recommended to purchase bus tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons.

5. Hiking from Aguas Calientes

For those who prefer to hike, there is a trail from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.

  • Duration: The hike takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Difficulty: It’s a steep ascent and can be quite strenuous, but it offers a rewarding sense of accomplishment and beautiful views along the way.

Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu

  • Acclimatization: Spend a few days in Cusco or the Sacred Valley to acclimatize to the altitude before heading to Machu Picchu.
  • Tickets: Entry tickets to Machu Picchu must be purchased in advance, as the number of daily visitors is limited.
  • Guided Tours: Consider hiring a guide to enrich your understanding of the site’s history and significance.
  • Weather: The best time to visit is during the dry season (May to September), although it’s also the busiest. Be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Whether you choose the convenience of the train, the challenge of a trek, or a combination of both, reaching Machu Picchu is a memorable and awe-inspiring experience.