The Best Way to Get to Machu Picchu: Trekking or Train

Known for being one of the most incredible places on our beautiful planet and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is definitely one of the most important destinations for all kinds of travelers.

Sunsets from Cheqta Kaka mountain, in Taray, Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru. . 📷@despertarviajando

If you plan to offer yourself the memorable experience of discovering this amazing place, find here the best way to get to Machu Picchu.

From Lima to Cusco: Best Way to Get to Machu Picchu

If your amazing journey to Machu Picchu starts in Lima, you first have to get to Cusco, and there are two ways of doing that, the fastest being by plane, and the second option, by bus.

“If a child laughs, the world will laugh” This is the sweetest child you will find in Cusco. . 📷gokhanemreakil

If you want to get to Cusco fast and easy, book a flight with LATAM airlines because they have flights daily with an average duration of 75 minutes. It is important to take into account when traveling that the single airfare (TUA) must be paid at the airport before boarding the plane. You will arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport in Cusco. Located just 15 minutes from the main square of Cusco.

Another alternative to get to Cusco is by land, it is a long and a bit heavy journey but the advantage is that you can appreciate the beautiful landscapes of the coast and mountains, in addition to being able to obtain unique photos

Best Way to Get to Machu Picchu from Cusco

By Train

The easiest way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to take the train to Aguas Calientes, the town located a few miles from the site. To take the train to Machu Picchu, you’ll go to the town of Poroy, just northwest of Cusco to the so-called Cusco train station. You can also spend the night in Ollantaytambo and take the early train to Aguas Caliente.

Traveling back in time aboard the elegant Belmond Hiram Bingham train . 📷@belmondhirambingham

The train from Poroy Station to Aguas Calientes train station is a scenic route that takes around 3.5 hours; There are two main train operators to choose from Peru Rail and Inka Rail.

Peru Rail has three services on the Cusco-Machu Picchu route. They differ in service quality, travel time and price. The most elegant, the Belmond Hiram Bingham, features welcome cocktails, gourmet meals, and live music on board. Also luxurious is the Vistadome, with huge windows allowing for incredible views during the ride. The most economically priced Expedition train has a more basic service but also has large panoramic windows through which passengers can enjoy the stunning vistas of the Sacred Valley.

Inca Rail offers similar services, notably the First Class, equipped with a lounge bar, live music, and a balcony, and the simpler Voyager.

Whichever train you choose, train tickets sell out quickly, especially in the peak months of May to September so it’s essential to book in advance.

Read more When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu

The Machu Picchu train delivers passengers to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. There are two ways to ascend to the citadel of Machu Picchu, the first one is using the buses in a 20-minute route and the second is walking. This takes approximately 1 hour and 30 min, challenging but beautiful!

Machu Picchu and its nearest town Aguas Calientes is not connected to Peru’s road network, so Going by road the whole way by bus or private transfer, is not possible.

Trekking to Machu Picchu, One of the most iconic trekking experiences in the world.

If you are an active traveler and believe that the journey matters more than the destination and you are not short on time, consider trekking to Machu Picchu. 

There are many treks to choose from, and there are always new, exciting ones popping up, and choosing one might be difficult because each one offers breathtaking scenery and unforgettable views. Choosing once, however, also depends on your fitness level.

Peace and Serenity in Machu Picchu by @travelling_kitz

The Inca Trail is the most authentic path to Machu Picchu and one of the most iconic trekking experiences in the world. Recommended for those, who want a little more adventure, has its start at KM 82 of the railway that goes from Cusco to Machu Picchu, this tour has a duration of 4 days and 3 nights, time in which one can travel the Ancient and enigmatic stone path or Inca trail.

If you want to embark on this adventure, the first thing you have to do is reserve your admission ticket, which must be done at least 5 months in advance and the best way to do it is through travel agencies, which are responsible for to carry out all the corresponding procedures so that you enjoy your stay in a better way. The access to the Inca Trail is done in groups of no less than 10 people and accompanied by qualified guides that will help you in any event that could arise.

There are the alternatives to the Inca Trail – always involving a transfer from Cusco to the adventure start point and then a mix of different hiking and biking options to arrive at Machu Picchu.

There is a shorter route to the Inca trail with a duration of 2 days and 1 night, which starts at Km 104.

If you are looking for an easy trail, for instance, go for Inca Jungle Trek, combining a bit of jungle trekking, zip-lining, cycling downhill, and river rafting. In case you are a veteran when it comes to trekking, the more challenging, Salkantay Trek, might meet your needs and desires. It is also considered by many the most beautiful trek to Machu Picchu.

Read More: Visit Machu Picchu: A Complete Guide for Planning your Perfect Trip

The Inca Trail is Closed in February for Maintenance Work

Travelers who are eager to adventure into hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which is one of the top 5 treks in the world, should start planning this memorable trip by avoiding the month of February. Though this is a great way to begin a year filled with travels and exploration, during February the trail is closed for maintenance works, but also because the heavy rain might restrict access to the Inca Trail.

If, however, you can only take a break from work in February, don’t be sad, because you can find a different tour, that involves getting to Machu Picchu by train.

As you can see, there are a few options for you to choose from. So, the best way to get to Machu Picchu depends on when you plan the trip, your fitness level, and of course, your traveling preferences.

Are you ready to start planning your Trip Machu Picchu? Check our Suggested tour Authentic Luxury South America or contact one of our travel specialists to discuss creating your own experience in South America. We are local experts in South America and can help you choose the best alternative for you!

Clara Barciela ❣️⁠ Founding Partner & Director Across Argentina & South America Follow us on Instagram or facebook for more inspiration about Argentina & South America!

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