Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Inca city, high in the Andes of Peru. Located at 2430m, the site is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”. It’s one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, Machu Picchu receives over one million visitors per year and is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World since 2007.

Cusco is the main access point for Machu Picchu. From Cusco, you need to reach Aguas Calientes and its can be reached ONLY via train, trek, or else a combination of bus and walking. Once you get to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu lies at the top of the mountain above the small town called Aguas Calientes.

Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

There are 3 options for you to choose from

  • Trekking from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, via Inca Trail, Lares Hike or The Salkantay Trek
  • Taking the Train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, this can be done by yourself or any reliable tour operator, The train can be taken from Ollantaytambo (Recommended)
  • Taking the Bus from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (Not recommended because its long driving through dangerouse road)

Getting From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

  • Walk steep uphill to Machu Picchu, takes around 1.5 hours, its a little difficult, especially the up stairs
  • Take a bus (quite expensive for 25 minutes ride – It cost US$12 per way, so US$24 round trip)

    **** We do highly recommend taking the bus up to Machu Picchu and then you can hike dawn stairs back to Aguas Calientes. of course, its depends on you.

We recommend the following formal companies who have years of experience and good feedback from our 250,000 customers:

Visit our guide to Tour Operator for more information about how to choose the right Operator for Machu Picchu.

Multi-Day Treks

  • You are hiking the actual trail that the Ancient Incas hiked more than 600 year ago.
  • 2, 3 to 4 days of walking required and mostly in the high altitude over 3800mt
  • All treks start in Cusco and end at Machu Picchu so there is no other planning needed
  • It is a very beautiful scenic hike though exotic side by side mountains, primitive lush tropical vegetation and fauna.
  • Most treks are all-inclusive (transport, food, accommodation, etc) but make sure to check your itinerary
  • MAKE SURE to book with reputable companies. AVOID “too cheap to be true” prices.

The Classic Inca Trail

  • TOP trek to Machu Picchu
  • Must book 6 months in advance due to number of permits (ONLY 500 are avaiilable)
  • Considered to be a difficult trek
  • Sleeping in tents every night with great views
  • Closed every year in February
  • Prices range from $600-$1500
  • 4 Days of trekking, stopping at famous Inca sites along the way

Check tour operators, compare prices and book your trek here!

The Inka Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

  • Combination of trekking and adventure sports
  • Medium level difficulty (3 days is easier than 4 days)
  • Treks available all year round
  • Booking 2-3 weeks in advance is usually fine
  • Prices range from $350-$750
  • 4 day option includes trekking on a part of the official Inca Trail

Check out tour operators, compare prices and book the trek here!

The Salkantay Trek

  • 4-5 full days of trekking
  • Incredible scenery as the trek passes through the Cordillera Vilcabamba
  • Difficult trek- some say harder than the Inca Trail
  • One of the best treks in the world according to National Geographic
  • Booking 1 month advance is usually fine
  • Prices range from $480 to $850

Check out tour operators, compare prices and book the trek here!

The Lares Trek

  • Visit native Andean communities with tons of Llamas & Alpacas
  • See stunning mountains, Enjoy amazing glacial lagoons, hot springs and cloud forest valleys
  • Prices range from $450 to $800
  • Experience authentic Andean culture. These communities, in fact, have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Interact with local weavers and farmers wearing traditional Andean clothing

Check out tour operators, compare prices and book the trek here!

Day Hikes Inside Machu Picchu

Once inside the citadel, you have the option to climb either Huayna Picchu (the famous peak seen in pictures of the citadel) or Machu Picchu Mountain. The hike to the Sun Gate & Inca bridge are always available but these hikes mast be done before the guiding tour of the Citadel, all this because its only ONE-way tour and there will not be any opportunity to get back to the Sun Gate and Inca Bridge (No tickets need it)

Huayna Picchu

  • The highest peaked mountain of Machu Picchu
  • There are Inca structures on the top
  • Reaches an altitude of 2,720m.
  • 50-minute hike to the top of the mountain.
  • Difficult hike- a good level of fitness is required

Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu)

  • Located at the southwest end of Machu Picchu.
  • A longer trek than Huayna Picchu- around 1 hour 30 to the summit
  • Less steep and less crowded than alternatives
  • Offers great views over Machu Picchu and surrounding area

2 Day Inca Trail (Hiking)

  • You are hiking the last 1/3 of the famous Classic Inca Trail that everyone worldwide desires to hike (12km in total)
  • You are hiking the actual trail that the Ancient Incas hiked more than 600 year ago.
  • It is a very beautiful scenic hike though exotic side by side mountains, primitive lush tropical vegetation and fauna.
  • You get to hike through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) all the way to famous Machu Picchu Citadel.
  • You get to visit Machu Picchu Citadel twice, the 1st and 2nd day of the trek.
  • MAKE SURE to book with reputable companies. AVOID “too cheap to be true” prices.

Check the detailed itinerary and price here!

1 Day Tour by Train

  • Enjoy a Panoramic train ride to Machu Picchu with amazing views along the way.
  • All-inclusive tours except for food, with expert English speaking guide.
  • Considered to be super easy
  • You are transported by train through panoramic mountains, rivers and valleys as you pass by ancient cites
  • Hiking up to the Sun Gateand Inca bridge
  • Prices range from $350-$600
  • Take your time exploring the majestic Machu Picchu

Check the detailed itinerary and price here!

2 Day Bus/Walk

  • Take the bus from Cusco to Hidroelectrica (the last stop) via Santa Maria
  • 3 hour trek alongside the train tracks to Aguas Calientes
  • Spend the night in Aguas Calientes and either trek or get the bus up to the citadel early the next morning
  • Walk back to Hidroelectrica and drive back to Cusco
  • Can be dangerous because of the quality of the roads and driving
  • Prices range from $200 to $300
  • In Quechua, the language of the Incas, Machu Picchu means old mountain. Huayna Picchu, on the other hand, means young mountain.
  • You can get your passport stamped for S/.1 at the entrance of Machu Picchu for an original souvenir.
  • The building technique that the Incas are so famous for is called ashlar. Stones are cut in such a way that they fit perfectly together without even having to put mortar between them.
  • Machu Picchu also served as an astronomical observatory. The sacred Intihuatana stone indicates the two equinoxes and twice per year, the sun sits directly over the stone creating no shadow.
  • Because of erosion, only 500 people are allowed on the Inca Trail each day and in February, the trail gets closed for maintenance (ONLY Inca Trail).
  • Your passport! You cannot enter without it!
  • Your ticket to Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu / Huayna Picchu Mountain.
  • Some money for a passport stamp (s/1), bathroom (S/1) and for souvenirs you may want to buy as well as dinner or lunch at the restaurant (expensive).
  • A camera (and maybe a selfie-stick).
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Water.
  • A lunchbox and some snacks.
  • Sunscreen and/or small foldable umbrella depending on the weather.
  • Tripods are not allowed at the historical site. You can leave yours in the lockers outside.
  • Professional cameras are not allowed. Permits for professional cameras are over $300 so avoid bringing a professional-looking camera in to save some money.
  • You cannot come to Machu Picchu with your travel backpack. Only smaller models are allowed so leave your backpack in Aguas Calientes if you’re stuck with it. You can pay a hotel a small amount of money to take care of it.
  • Walking sticks are not allowed unless the person needs them.
  • Only small foldable umbrellas are allowed so avoid bringing a big umbrella with spikes.
  • If travelling to Machu Picchu on your own, you will probably go by minibus or taxi (at least part of the way). They often drive dangerously on narrow roads on steep cliffs with hairpin turns. Accidents happen all the time so try to avoid travelling like this or at least make sure not to drive after sun down or during rainy season.
  • Tour operators need two certificates, one from the city and one from the tourist board. Make sure they have one of each hanging in their office.
  • Like all touristic sites, keep an eye on your valuable items.

Where is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located 80 km from the City of Cusco, Peru in South America. The nearest town is Aguas Calientes which you can get to by train or by walking.

What is Machu Picchu?

It’s the most impressive archaeological Inca ruin in South America, named a World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the World. Machu Picchu is a city of stone, built in the middle of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba, without the use or help of wheels or iron tools. Most of the citadel’s structures remain intact today, which is why many consider it the perfect example of the Incas’ brilliant engineering.

How to get to Machu Picchu?

You can get to Machu Picchu by bus, train or walking. Traveling from Lima to Cusco by bus is the best way to discover Peru and avoid altitude sickness.
Once in Cusco, you would have to make your way by train or bus to Aguas Calientes Town, where you finally can take a public bus to the Citadel.
You can also make your way on the Classic Inca Trail trek, the Inca Jungle Trek or other famous treks.

How high is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. Cusco, on the other hand, has an elevation of 3,400 meters. If you are coming from Lima we recommended making your way with Peru Hop buses to progressively acclimatize to the height.

How to get Machu Picchu Tickets?

You should buy your Machu Picchu Tickets at least 6 months before your trip. Tickets are sold on the official government website, can be paid with credit or debit cards and are NOT sold at the entrance gate.

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Consider visiting Machu Picchu from April through May and from September through October. The high-tourist season months are June, July and August when it doesn’t rain.

When was Machu Picchu discovered?

Machu Picchu wasn’t exactly ‘discovered’ because local people have always known about its existence. In 1911, the American explorer Hiram Bingham made public his findings and -wrongly- called it ‘The Lost City of the Incas’.
Nine years before Bingham had arrived, the Peruvian Agustin Lizárraga had found the ruins and left his signature on one of the walls of the Three Windows Temple in the Citadel.

Our hotel in ollantaytambo

Veronica View Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in the Sacred Valley. The hotel is in Ollantaytambo, you will be in the perfect location to explore all of the well-known destinations. Locations such as CuscoMachu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley. You can even access places such as isolated villages, Moray, Chinchero, and Pisac.