As everyone who wants to go to Machu Pichu will find out, there is a lot of ways on how to get there. At least I got confused by it once I started to google on how to get to one of the most visited sites. It also very much depends on your budget and training. Because of that, I decided to make this collaboration, so not only me, but other travel bloggers will tell you, how to get to Machu Pichu and what is their experience.
How to get to Machu Pichu – train from Cuzco
by Kris from Nomad By Trade
I preferred the Inca Rail 360° Machu Picchu train (their second tier service) because there was an observation car with a standing area without windows so you could catch the views without the glare of glass in front of you. I also enjoyed the sandwich we were served on that train better. Both train services will drop you off right in Aguas Calientes, the town just outside Machu Picchu. From the station, you’re just a short walk away from the departure point for the buses to the ruins or the trailhead for the walk to the top. Click here to find out more about the difference between Inca Rail vs. PeruRail.
Using the trains, it can be done as a day trip, but the new rules at Machu Picchu have limited the length of time you’re able to visit so any delays in travel could mean that you miss your time slot or have a shorter stay than intended. I’d recommend taking an afternoon train to Aguas Calientes the day before your ticket and spending the night in town before hitting the ruins in the morning. Then you can take an afternoon train back to Cusco or Ollantaytambo.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and what to expect
by Nancy from Checking It Off the List
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of life’s events you will remember forever. The trip stretched all our comfort levels to one extreme or another.
Hiking the Inca Trail requires local permits which are easiest obtained through a local operator. It would also be highly recommended to use a guide and porters. Our guide provided historical insight along with tips on having the best hike experience. The porters broke down and set up campsites, cooked our meals, carried our extra clothing bags and made sure we had everything we needed for every day’s hike. To obtain our desired the dates, reservations were booked 9 months in advance for early September.
The first day’s hike starts just after lunch and is the easiest of the 4 days. While mostly flat, you climb to approximately 9840 feet altitude over 7.8 miles. Day two is the hardest as you hike 6.8 miles through lush to arid areas and then hot to cold air as you climb to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass at an altitude just under 14,000 feet. Be prepared for possible snow and breathless moments. The air is thin, but the views are more breathtaking with boulder lined rivers and majestic mountains. What goes up must come down as you go from 14,000 feet down to
12,500 where you camp for the night.
The longest hiking day is the third day as you go 9.5 miles. The trail takes you through impressive Inca engineering including tunnels and aqueducts dotting the trail. Eventually, the hike becomes flat and sandy between the mountain peaks. Orchids are numerous along the trail, especially as you descend into camp.
The last day’s hike is covered in mega ferns and native hydrangeas; becoming more tropical. A steep stairway on all fours is the last climb before you catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from Sun Gate.
A guided hike including all meals, entrance fee, camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags), should run you around $700-$800 depending on the operator. If you do not have a private tour, porters could cost extra of approximately $50-$100. Don’t forget you should also tip your guides and porters at the end of the trip.
Inca Trail 2-Day Hike
By Natasha Lequepeys from “And Then I Met Yoko”
Machu Picchu is famously known for the Inca Trail hike. This 4-day trek takes you through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, passing ancient Inca sights. But it’s not without its challenges. If you’re looking to push yourself physically but don’t have the time or stamina for 4 days, I recommend the 2-day option and it fits perfectly into this 2-week itinerary for Peru.
Starting at marker 104km you’ll hike the first half of the day uphill, into the mountains. It’s quite exposed to the sun, making it all the more tiring. And while there are some overgrown patches which provide a reprieve from the sun, it will still be the most challenging part of the day.
During the ascent, it’s fun to look back and see the Urubamba river getting smaller and smaller in the background. Before you know it you’ll have beautiful views of the valley.
Along the way, you’ll pass the ancient ruins of Wiñay Wayna. You’ll spend some time exploring these ruins, before heading to the half-way point. At the half-way point, you’ll have lunch. My meal was provided by my tour company, Llama Path Sustainable Tours. It was filling and healthy; consisting of quinoa, chicken, avocado, and oranges.
The second half of the hike is easier and has more shade. You’ll pass under beautiful mossy trees and make a pit stop at a small waterfall which I used to wet my clothes and cool off. Finally, in the late afternoon, you’ll reach the Sun Gate but not before a grueling last climb up some very steep steps.
The last 30 minutes of the day involves walking down to the ruins but not visiting them. That’s what the second day is for! On day 2 you’ll have a guided tour through the ruins with an option to keep exploring on your own or do one of the two famous hikes, Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. With new government regulations, you need to be aware of timing and plan the hike well in advance.
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How to get to Machu Pichu – One day trip from Cuzco
By me – Albi from Ginger around the globe
After all these amazing ideas on how to get to Machu Pichu, it seems weird to take a shortcut. But one day trip is actually a nice way on how to see Machu Pichu if you are not fit enough or don’t want to spread it over more days. Bad thing is, you cannot do it on your own. You need to get an operator and you will start your day very early.
Basically, I started my day at 4 in the morning. They picked me up from my hotel and get me to the bus that drove us to Ollantaytambo. From there we took the earliest train. Here is a good thing and a bad thing about having an operator. Great thing is that you don’t need to think about anything. Just do what they tell you and you get a trip to Machu Pichu. Great. The bad thing, however, is that in the train, you will probably want to sit at the window, cause the views are stunning. And I do believe that if you book the train by yourself, you can decide that.
I didn’t mind it that much. After you take the train, there is always someone to pick you up. They did that in our final station as well. We also received bus tickets up there and train ticket back. They also organized a guide for us. Here is important that you really make sure that the guide can actually speak English if you are not a Spanish speaker. I learned it the hard way.
But anyway, I do remember my trip in a positive light, everything was made for me before the head, and one day worked out great financially as well. It cost only about 250 dollars, which is not too bad for a trip like this.
Machu Pichu by train via Ollantaytambo