Machu Picchu, a place full of history and mystery, is one of the most iconic and popular places in South America for a good reason. Visiting this spectacular ancient Inca city is definitely a must while traveling in Peru!
There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu, most of them start from Cusco and involve booking tickets in advance. It is recommended to get to Aguas Calientes (a small town next to Machu Picchu) the day before you plan to visit Machu Picchu. That way you can stay overnight and reach the site early in the morning to get a full day exploring the ruins.
How to get to Machu Picchu:
- Overnight trip from Cusco: take a 3.5 hours train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. The next morning visit Machu Picchu and in the evening get a train back to Cusco.
- Trekking to Machu Picchu: there are few popular trails reaching Machu Picchu, the most popular one is the Inca Trail, which is quite expansive and you’ll need to book the tour long time in advance. All other tours to Machu Picchu are possible to book even just few days in advance in Cusco. Salkantay trek is the cheaper and less crowded option.
- Inca Jungle Trek: combines hiking, biking, and zip-lining all the way to Machu Picchu. We chose this option cause we wanted some adrenaline activities.
We think it’s the best way to get to Machu Picchu!
There are many tour agencies around Cusco that offer same tours in different prices and qualities. Make sure to compare few offers. We chose ‘Marcelos Travel’ and we were pleased with their service, guides, drivers and prices.
Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu:
Day 1- Cusco To Santa Teresa: We were picked up from our guesthouse in Cusco, then we drove to Abra Malaga. We stopped at 4300 meters high and from that point we started cycling our way down for 3-4 hours! It was so much fun! No effort needed, cause all the way is downhill, definitely can be a bit scary when riding fast along the curvy road, but it was a great ride in a beautiful area!
Later we had lunch and drove to our guesthouse in Santa Teresa. In the evening we went to hot springs, which was a great way to finish the day.
Day 2- Santa Teresa To Aguas Calientes: We went to the zip-lining site, operated by the company ‘Cola de Mono’. It was such a great day full of adrenaline. For us it was the first time zip-lining and we were so excited about it and also a bit scared. But after the first line the fear disappeared and it was pure fun! The landscape in this huge valley was incredible, we were flying in the air so high between mountains and above a beautiful river.
Later we drove to Hidroelectrica station, from there we stated a lovely walk along the train tracks for 3 hours, all the way to Aguas Calientes, and stayed there for the night.
Day 3-Machu Picchu: We woke up early and took the bus to Machu Picchu. We got there around 6:00 am, just in time for the beautiful sunrise. We explored the ruins on a guided tour, learning about the mysteries of this place and about how the Incas lived. We also had free time to keep exploring the different sights. The landscape was just incredible.
No picture and no description can express the epic atmosphere of Machu Picchu. Yes, it is a destination packed with tourists, but who can blame them? it’s one the highlights of all South America and definitely the most impressive archaeological landmark in Peru.
Around afternoon we started our way back to Cusco, arriving there quite late at night.
We really enjoyed our journey to Machu Picchu. We loved the adrenaline activities of the Inca Jungle tour, we were inspired by the amazing Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, and we had so much fun meeting great new friends along the way!