Ways to get to Machu Picchu
With any of these options it is best to have all train tickets, hotel reservations, Machu Picchu admission and bus tickets, ground transportation arranged and money changed to soles before leaving Cusco. Bring passport and immigration card to check in to hotels, board the train and receive Machu Picchu tourist stamp.
Ways to get to Machu Picchu
1. Via Rail
By far the most popular way to get to Machu Picchu. Keep in mind no train leaves directly from the city of Cusco. That’s why before boarding your train should take a bus or car to the starting point of the train of your choice. There are two train stations. Poroy; 45 minutes from Cusco and Ollantaytambo; 2 hrs from Cusco
- Peru Rail offers services such as their Expedition, Vistadome and Hiram Bingham lines. Purchase round trip train tickets and arrange for ground transportation before.
- Inca Rail offers services Tourist Class, Executive Service, First Class Service and Presidential service. Purchase round trip train tickets and arrange for ground transportation before.
2. Via Santa Teresa
It is not advisable to go this route during the rainy season so it is recommended only between June and November. The rainy season is normally from December to April but things are changing. The bus route is a little tiring and needs at least two days of travel to do the following:
- Take a bus from Cusco to Quillabamba.
- Get off bus in Santa Maria.
- Take a bus in Santa Maria to the hydro-electric station.
- From The Hydro you can take the train to Aguas Calientes, but it is better to hike about 2 hours by the side of the rails, as you will find beautiful scenery and you can visit Mandor Waterfall. You will reach Machu Picchu Pueblo or Aguas Calientes in the afternoon and must secure accommodations.
- In the early morning visit Machu Picchu then return to the hydroelectric station at around 13:00 hours while the buses are still running (the return path is the same way).
- The total average bus time is 6 hours from Cusco to La Hydropower.
- If you want to avoid this process, you can buy your bus tickets round trip through an agency; ILE Tours Peru Travel Corporation has packages to suit you, we will tell you all the details to have an unforgettable experience. But note that the path Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes – Aguas Calientes to Hydroelectric you will have to do it on your own.
3. Inca Trail
Only by government issued permits is it permissible to hike the Inca Trail and then still only with a registered tour operator. 2 to 4 day hikes are available in group or private arrangements. Book early to get the dates you want since there is a limit to how many can start per day.
4. Lares and Salkantay Treks
As the Inca Trail has became so famous alternate hikes, that end at Machu Picchu, have been created. Lares and Salkantay hikes are more remote and offer incredible vistas rather than ruins to those who wish to be around less people. Hire a tour operator to arrange these hikes. Meals, tents and train tickets are usually included.