Machu Picchu is located about 120km from the city of Cusco. There are a variety of different ways you can reach Machu Picchu. Each one has its own benefits and it really depends on how much time, energy and money you have. The most common routes are

However you choose to reach Machu Picchu, here’s some info on what to do/see once you’re there:

Once you’ve entered Machu Picchu, make the hike up to Wanya Picchu, but it is really steep and takes about an hour so plan ahead and do it earlier in the day than later. There’s a limited number of people they let up a day so if you don’t get there early enough it could be closed off. Bring a backpack – small one though, if you have a big pack they will make you check it outside the entrance. In it put, WATER, sunscreen, camera, and pack a lunch. They say you can’t bring food in but they also don’t check your bags. Just be responsible and discrete about it and you’ll be fine. If not, you’ll end up having to exit MP to go to the one restaurant up there and you’ll end up paying a fortune. Head back down to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon, grab your luggage and take the train back that day.

Recommendations from a friend:

When the park opens, enter and climb the trail immediately after the entrance to your left, which leads to the “Hut of the Caretaker of the funerary Rock”, where you’ll be rewarded with the classic postcard- view of Machu Picchu. Without other tourists (at least for some minutes)! At 7AM the gate to mountain Wayna Picchu opens at the other end of the park. Entrance is limited to 400 visitors daily, so it’s a good idea to be there on time. The climb is steep but easy and lasts 30-90 minutes. From its summit you’re able to enjoy another wonderful view of Machu Picchu. (Best part of my Machu Pichu experience) From the top of Wayna Picchu leads another trail (1 hour) down to the Temple of the Moon (Templo de la Luna) and the Gran Caverna. From there you can go back to Machu Picchu in another hour.”

Have a Guide Set it up for You:

Have a tour guide set it all up for you:

Figuring out the trains and buying all the tickets can be a confusing hassle, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. You can surpass this all by having a tour guide make all your arrangements. This is what my friend had to say about her experience with a guide that many Peace Corps Volunteers have used.


I used a man who wasn’t so much a guide as someone who took care of all of the important business.  He bought the tickets and told us where to be.  I contacted him through his website.  He had moments where he seemed a little flighty, but I recommend him none-the-less because it took all the pressure off of me to do all the background work.  I just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed Cusco.”

Angel Soto



The man plans Cuzco trips, economical, friendly, efficient, but a little flighty.

Alternative trek that usually involves mountain biking:

This has become increasingly popular as a way to reach Machu Picchu. I have many friends who have gone with a tour company PiePeru on their 4 day 3 night “Inka Jungle trail and Biking to Machu Picchu”. Don’t be turned off by the idea of mountain biking in the Andes because it’s all downhill. One of the highlights of the trip is stopping off at natural hot springs for a nice relaxing afternoon. This trip is much more affordable at only $309. You will still have to book ahead but probably not so much as 3 months. It’s a good option if the other trail is booked when you’d like to go.


Price Estimates

(Note that the overall cost will likely be more – this is just a general idea) 

  Soles $$
Bus from Lima to Cusco(OW): \ 140.00 $ 46.67
Loki Backpackers Hostal: \ 20.00 $ 6.67
Backpacker Train Cusco to Aguas Calientes(RT): \ 290.00 $ 96.67
Hostal in Aguas Calientes: \ 30.00 $ 10.00
Bus from Aguas Calientes to MP(RT): \ 36.00 $ 12.00
Machu Picchu Entrance Fee: \ 120.00 $ 40.00
Loki Backpackers Hostal: \ 20.00 $ 6.67
Entrance fee to a bunch of tourist places: \ 30.00 $ 10.00
Bus from Cusco to Lima(OW): \ 140.00 $ 46.67
Total (not including food and other expenses): \ 826.00 $ 275.33