How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco

how to get to Machu Picchu from cusco- tour by train

Embarking on a journey to the mystical Machu Picchu is a dream for many, but navigating the intricate paths from Cusco to this cloud-kissed fortress can be bewildering. Fear not, for we are here to unravel the complexities and guide you seamlessly through the enchanting route.

Understanding the Route

Before delving into the transport options, it’s crucial to grasp that there are no direct roads to Machu Picchu. The gateway is Aguas Calientes, and reaching this point is the initial leg of your adventure. From Aguas Calientes, a short bus ride or a steep hike awaits to transport you to the fabled Machu Picchu.

Cusco to Machu Picchu Independently

To reach Machu Picchu independently, your journey unfolds in two key steps:

Step 1: Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Option 1: Direct Train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

  • Ticket Cost: $125 to $1,000 USD round trip per person
  • Total Time: Approximately 4 hours
  • Booking: PeruRail or IncaRail

The direct train is the epitome of convenience, with options ranging from basic economy to opulent private cabins. Secure your tickets well in advance through us, Andean Soul Adventure, please contact us.

Option 2: Bimodal Service

  • Ticket Cost: $110 to $350 round trip per person
  • Total Time: 6 – 8 hours (depends on layover duration)
  • Booking: PeruRail or IncaRail

The bimodal service combines a private bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo with a train to Aguas Calientes. While it offers a chance to explore Ollantaytambo, it might not be the ideal choice if extensive exploration is your priority.

Option 3: Taxi to Ollantaytambo, Train to Aguas Calientes

  • Ticket Cost: $30 – $50 USD per taxi and $110 – $350 USD per train ticket
  • Total Time: 4 – 8 hours (depending on stops)
  • Booking: PeruRail or IncaRail

This option provides flexibility, allowing you to explore Ollantaytambo and even visit the ancient ruins at Moray and the Incan salt mines at Maras. However, it may incur slightly higher costs compared to a direct ticket.

Pro Tip: If you choose option 3, consider stopping by the ancient ruins at Moray and the Incan salt mines at Maras for a richer experience.

Step 2: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Option 1: By Bus

  • Ticket Cost: $12 one way, $24 round-trip
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Booking: Consettur

The bus departs from Avenida Hermanos Ayar across from the train station, starting at 5:30 am, departing every 5 to 10 minutes. Online booking is recommended.

Option 2: By Foot

  • Ticket Cost: Free
  • Total Time: 2 hours (one way)

For the adventurous souls, a steep 2-mile hike awaits. It’s a challenging journey with a 1,700 feet elevation gain, taking approximately 2 hours. Hiking one way and taking the bus is also an option.

Pro Tip: Consider taking the bus up and hiking down or vice versa to balance adventure and convenience.

Cusco to Machu Picchu Map

Visualize your expedition with our interactive map displaying key locations, train stations, and bus stops.

Pro Tip: Familiarize yourself with the map to enhance your understanding of the journey.

Tickets for Machu Picchu

Don’t forget to secure your entrance to Machu Picchu. The cost is 152 soles (approximately $40 USD). Book your tickets here and choose your preferred circuit and entrance time. During peak seasons, book well in advance to secure optimal entrance times.

Pro Tip: Opt for the upper circuit for the classic view or the lower circuit for a more direct route to the Huayna Picchu trailhead.

Exploring Alternatives

Guided Tours

If the logistics seem overwhelming, consider a guided tour for a hassle-free experience. Priced at $310 per person, this option includes transportation from your Cusco hotel and a guided tour of Machu Picchu.

Pro Tip: Enjoy the convenience and context a guided tour provides, but be prepared for a slightly higher cost.

Multi-day Treks

For the ultimate Machu Picchu adventure, explore multi-day treks:

  • Inca Trail: 4-5 days, 38km from Ollantaytambo
  • Salkantay Trek: 5 days, showcasing alpine scenery
  • Choquequirao Trek: 7-9 days, the longest and most challenging
  • Lares Trek: 3 days, passing through small villages

Pro Tip: Choose a trek based on your fitness level and desire for adventure.

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