DIFFERENT WAYS ON HOW TO GET TO MACHU PICCHU: By Bus, Train, Hike, Trek, Costs

Machu Picchu Hike Facts, tours, location, budget, how to get to
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Train station near Cusco, catching an early train to Aguas Calientes

Some might say that Machu Picchu is America’s pyramid of Egypt, The 12-century ancient university of Cambodia, or Asia’s great wall of China. In another way around, Machu Picchu is the home of the Inca Empire, founded in 1438, and has been the home of the most developed Americas before the arrival of Columbus.

Archaeological evidence suggests that in 1941, the Inca ruled the most abundant and most excellent empire on the Western Hemisphere.

Today, you can still see the resemblance of colossal temples, wide interconnecting roads, and canal systems. And as you traverse into Machu Picchu, you’ll strike with awe on how they did this on harsh extreme terrain.

Travelling this UNESCO World Heritage Sites isn’t cheap, and logistics aren’t easy either. Hiking in the lost city of the Inca has to be booked in advance, and the Peruvian Government will only issue limited visitors allowed per day.

MUST READ: Things to know before travelling to Peru

ALSO READ:

UPDATED RULES FOR VISITING MACHU PICCHU

Being one of the most travelled and a recently placed under the New Wonder of the World tourist destination. The almost paradise-like citadel has more than 1 million of tourism each year and continuously growing.

With that said, it was just a matter of time where the Peruvian Government will be imposing more stricter rules and regulations to prevent tourism and altering of this unique place.

In 2019, visitors are regulated by entry tickets, visitors limit, opening and closing of the trails, dos and don’ts inside, sunrise tickets, and many more! Here are some of the guidelines, timelines to follow, and some of the rules and regulations.

  • Visitor limit: 2,500 visitors per day
  • Where to buy tickets: Cusco, Aguas Calientes, or purchase tickets via the official government site or travel agencies
  • Open hours: 6am-4pm for the citadel
  • High Season: May – October (weather is at best), June – August (most massive crowds) – when is the best time to go to Machu Picchu?
  • Low Season: expect heavy rainfalls
  • It’s a must: hire a tour guide and follow your designated tour
  • No free entrance to visit Machu Picchu

MACHU PICCHU CITADEL TICKETS

The tickets are divided into three options:

  • Machu Picchu Citadel/Ruins only: $44
  • Machu Picchu Citadel and hike to Machu Picchu Mountain: $59
  • Machu Picchu Citadel and hike to Huayna Picchu: $59
  • Get tickets here

AFFORDABLE TICKETS TO CITADEL and RECOMMENDED MACHU PICCHU TOURS

Machu Picchu Ruins (Citadel) and Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu is the easier trek to do in Machu Picchu Citadel, it also offers the closer aerial view of the ruins, therefore, the ticket for this trek sold out very fast. Machu Picchu Mountain is 3,082 meters or 10,111 feet high.

  • Entry hours: 7.00-9.00 and 14.00-16.00
  • Visitors allowed per day: 400
  • Cost: $59

Machu Picchu ruins and Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu mountain is a lot higher than Huayna Picchu and also a lot harder to hike. The trail is also not well built, so, if you have badly unfit and scared of heights, you probably want to skip this one. Waynapicchu/Huayna mountain is 2,693 metres or 8,835 ft high.

  • Entry hours: 7.00-9.00 and 14.00-16.00
  • Visitors allowed per day: 800
  • Cost: $59
Machu Picchu Hike Facts, tours, location, budget, how to get to
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Sunset in Aguas Calientes

DIFFERENT WAYS ON HOW TO GET TO MACHU PICCHU VIA INCA TRAIL

The Inca trail is the commonly traverse route that has legal access into multiple archaeological lost city sites. If you are refraining from the 4-day grandeur trip via Inca trail, you can always be accommodated by a beautiful train journey across mountaintops.

Inca Trail

Inca trail is the classic route many tourists prefer in deciding how to get to Machu Picchu. Choosing for the traditional Inca trail trek offers a four-trip pilgrimage. So, prepare to be amazed by how Inca innovated such ahead of its time terrain and handiwork. 

  • High Season: June – August
  • When is the trail closed: The Inca trail is closed for the whole month of February and reopens on March 1

One Day Inca Trail / KM 104 Trail / Short Inca

Inca trail is the classic route many tourists prefer in deciding how to get to Machu Picchu. Choosing for the traditional Inca trail trek offers a four-trip pilgrimage. So, prepare to be amazed by how Inca innovated such ahead of its time terrain and handiwork. 

  • High Season: June – August
  • When is the trail closed: The Inca trail is closed for the whole month of February and reopens on March 1
Machu Picchu Hike - Inca Trail Hike
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The Citadel of Machu Picchu or also known as The Ruins

HOW TO REACH MACHU PICCHU WITHOUT GOING THROUGH INCA TRAIL

You can either take a bus or take a train. With the bus, you will have to hike for 6-8 hours from the drop off to reach Aguas Calientes. You can take the train for about 4-5 hours and arrive right at Aguas Calientes.

ALSO READ: Where to stay in Aguas Calientes

Reaching Machu Picchu by Bus

On your bus journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the cheapest option but also very excruciating), you’ll have to hop off and trek with your feet to what they call KM 104. From there you’ll be having an intermediate hike for approximately 6-8 hours.

Although, there are a couple of stores for stopovers and recharge yourself thus you will be awe-stroked by nature itself. The bus ride can be stressful to many because of the trail which is a narrow and windy road on steep hills of a mountain.

Once you’re done admiring and taking selfies of the place along with your group, you can choose from a bus straight down to Aguas Calientes Town or take the Peru trail heading back to Cusco.

The bus fare is around $17-$23 (60-80 sol) per person.

Reaching Machu Picchu by Train

There is a transportation that can accommodate you with your Machu Picchu expedition without going through the tiresome yet worth it Inca trail.

You can ride a train from Cusco to Agua Calientes and a modernized air-conditioned bus shuttle from Agua Calientes to the peak – just like what I did, you can read more about my experience on this post.

If there are no more train tickets from Cusco, you can also take a bus to Ollantaytambo and catch the train there.

However, if you are feeling up for it, you can also hike to the peak or main gate(or hike down) instead of taking the bus from Agua Calientes. If you are doing this option, ask your tour leader if you have time to do so.

  • Price Range: $89 for train cost and $44 for entry to Machu Picchu
  • Time consumed in traversing back and forth: 1 whole day; roughly 4.00-20.00

REACH MACHU PICCHU BY TRAIN IN ONE DAY

Through Lares Trek

Hitting the course of Lares trail is a substitute route on how to get to Machu Picchu. One of the best things about Lares adventure is you will be encountering Quechua communities which will make your trek even more memorable.

Surrounded by the beauty of the lagoons, vast forests, and towers of green mountain reside the Quechua textile communities and preserving nature over more than centuries.

  • Expected Costs: $200-$400
  • How long will it take to reach Machu Picchu: three to four days (3-4 days)
Machu Picchu Hike - Inca Trail Hike
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Alpacas in Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek

You can also trek the less-travelled routes of Salkantay Trail with a rewarding experience of overlooking the sacred valley, the village of Ollantaytambo, and the most stunning view of snow peaks of the Peruvian Andes. The trail is located in the same region as the Inca trail, and arguably the best alternative route for the old-fashioned Inca Trail. 

  • Expected Costs: $250-$450
  • How long will it take to reach Machu Picchu: Four days (4 days
    )

Inca Jungle Trek

The Inca Jungle tour is the most adventurous trek when going to Machu Picchu. Pack up and get your courage spirit all hyped-up, the trek has a lot of different adrenaline-filled activities.

Tours include downhill mountain biking, white water rafting, and the chance to zipline your way in Machu Picchu from the Peruvian Jungle. And you won’t even believe it that it’s among the cheapest trek to travel.

  • Expected Costs: $150 for the entire 3-4-day trek
  • How long will it take to reach Machu Picchu: three to four days (3-4 days)

Choquequirao Trek

Choquequirao Trek is home of others says the next Machu Picchu. It is also built with high halls, steep roofs, and the ruins are well maintained. It was long abandoned 200 years before the Spanish invasion. Today, no roads are leading to ruins, and the closest a car can be is approximately 1-2 walking days.

Its trail can only be settled by foot and some of the serious hikers’ dream voyage. Along with the Choquequirao route, you can experience seeing the Apurimac Canyon. And as you descend and hike back in the sides of the mountain, you’ll notice that each turn lets you see new sights of picturesque landscapes.

The trek can be guided with tours while fearless travellers tackle the mountains in solo. You can do an 8-day Choquequirao trek to reach Machu Picchu.

  • Expected Costs: $270
  • How long it takes to reach Machu Picchu: five to eight days (5-8 days)
Machu Picchu Hike - Inca Trail Hike
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Peak of the Machu Picchu Mountain / Machu Picchu Montaña

UNPOPULAR TREKS TO MACHU PICCHU

There are many numbers of alternative less commonly known routes by foreigners having a trip to Machu Picchu. Studies have shown that the Inca Empire in the early 1940s has a population of nearly 10 million subjects in an area of more than 900,000 square kilometres.

And being Machu Picchu as their centre of government, Incas created various routes reaching the capital city.

Up until now, the Inca Empire hasn’t yet fully understood. There’s still some of the unexplored boundaries’ that lies within these dangerous mountains. If you are considering to trek these unpopular trails, here are some insights for you to know.

Vilcabamba Trail/Trek

The Vilcabamba Trail beget new adventure for travellers of Machu Picchu. The trail hasn’t yet impacted by the large overflowing quantities of tourism every year. It is distant from the classic Inca Trail, and it is a lot more peaceful hence preserved.

Hiking on the Vilcabamba Trail, local suggest to be ready since the hike has several ascents and descents and a right level of fitness will save you from the challenging trails. Cusco is situated at an 11,150ft above the ground floor.

It is best to keep yourself hydrated because you might start feeling the effects of altitude as you make your way to Machu Picchu.

  • Expected Costs: $994 for tours and it depends on your group size
  • How long will it take you to reach Machu Picchu: 5 days and 4 nights
Machu Picchu Hike - Inca Trail Hike
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Very steep train in Machu Picchu Montaña

The Lodge Trek

The Lodge Trail offers trekking in the Andes mountains before visiting Machu Picchu. It offers luxurious accommodations, tasty dish, and anything that will pamper you to your stay. This also includes the finest wine, comfortable bed, and the exemplar Andean scenery.

This trek is a perfect side-trip if your group is saving the best for the last – Machu Picchu. The unique experience is only limited to a private trek and must have include two accompany for each departure. Something worth pursuing in this trek is you’ll be bathing in a Jacuzzi when the day ends. 

  • Expected Costs: $3890 which includes accommodation and a tour to Machu Picchu
  • How long will it take you to reach Machu Picchu: eight to nine days (8-9 days) including a stay in Cusco

The Chaski (or Cachicata) Trail

The trek is one of the newest trails that the Cusco region offers. It takes you past the high mountains, waterfalls, and the Inca ruins. You’ll also be taught with some of the traditional ways of Andean life by the community out there. 

 It’s a relatively easy route compared to other trails. If your group is wanting to traverse with a lesser crowd, this trip is the one for you. Trekking the Chaski trail is also perfect for new hikers and people who wouldn’t dare the hassle of extreme terrains. 

  • Expected Costs: $615 per person
  • How long will it take you to reach Machu Picchu: four days (4 days) with a bunch of other leisure activities

Huchuy Qosqo (Small/Little Cusco) Trek

This trek is the shortest of them all. The little Cusco is an archaeological site which can be traversed on a day trip and located just north of Cusco. It is perfect for backpackers who have minimal time since it can be easily accessed. Most tours offer 2-3 days, one-night camping, and going around Aguas Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu for the third day.

  • Expected Costs $190
  • How long will it take you to reach Machu Picchu: two to three days (2-3 days) including a round trip to Aguas Calientes


By making the most out of your time in Peru, travelling Machu Picchu is a splendid place to be. There are many routes from Cusco, and from there every backpacker will decide on its preferred course on undertaking the shrouded by mist and rich vegetations of Inca Fortress.

Whatever you decide what routes, trails, tours, accommodations, and days of staying. It is always guaranteed that a trip to Machu Picchu will write you the best pages of your life.

Book the ticket today and enjoy your limited time in conquering all the God-given views and wonders of nature. 

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Don't know which Machu Picchu hike to take or how to get there? Read the other ways on how to get to Machu Picchu: Inca Trail, train, bus, tips #perutravel #machupicchu #traveltips #bucketlisttravel #travelideas #travelguide #amazingdestinations #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
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Don't know which Machu Picchu hike to take or how to get there? Read the other ways on how to get to Machu Picchu: Inca Trail, train, bus, tips #perutravel #machupicchu #traveltips #bucketlisttravel #travelideas #travelguide #amazingdestinations #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
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Kyle just like any other writer loves every bit of the years that have spent by writing. His thirst for passions makes him writes anything under the sun. A small town in the Cordillera Region had nurtured him, and now he’s on the voyage to be in different places around the Philippines. When he’s not busy writing, he’s at a beach or a mountain embracing tranquillity and solemnity somewhere on the northside of the country, cultivating and finding the strength for his passion.

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