Machu Picchu: How to get there, how to visit and buy tickets
During a trip to Machu Picchu, you need several useful information to make your planning properly: how to arrive, what options to visit Machu Picchu, where to stay, how to buy tickets, and the price of each one. With that in mind, we made this Guide to Machu Picchu to help with your schedule.
Where to stay to visit in Machu Picchu?
You have 3 options of places to stay before leaving for Machu Picchu: Cusco, Ollantaytambo, or Aguas Calientes. The combination of these locations will depend on your planning and how many days you have scheduled to visit Machu Picchu.
For example, if you have scheduled two days to visit Machu Picchu, it is possible to stay in Cusco the first night, take the train at the Poroy station in Cusco the morning of the first day to arrive in Aguas Calientes just before lunch, visit Machu Picchu in the afternoon and stay in Aguas Calientes to visit the Inca city again the next day.
Another option for those who have scheduled two days to visit Machu Picchu is to stay in Ollantaytambo on the first night, take the train at Ollantaytambo station on the morning of the first day to arrive in Aguas Calientes in the morning, visit Machu Picchu for the rest of the day and stay in Aguas Calientes to visit the Inca city again the next day.
Even if you have scheduled two days to visit Machu Picchu, we still think it is worth arriving in Aguas Calientes on the first night and staying two nights in this village to visit the Machu Picchu park for two full days. If you have only scheduled one day, we recommend even more staying in Aguas Calientes on the first night to enjoy the whole day in Machu Picchu.
Through the links above you will find accommodation options for the 3 regions. All of these options lead to the Booking website, which is the system we use and have a partnership with on the blog. Booking through our links you will not pay anything more for that and the blog earns a booking commission. You get a nice hosting and it’s a great way to give back the information you got on the blog.
How to get to Machu Picchu?
There are currently two ways to get to Machu Picchu: train or walking. The first is the most traditional where you take a train from the Poroy station in Cusco or from the Ollantaytambo station in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Trains arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes, which is the closest village to Machu Picchu, and from there you take a van that goes for another 20 minutes until you reach the entrance to the park. The cost of the van is 19 dollars for the round trip and 10 dollars for just one way (round trip) if the visitor wanted to get up by a van and get off on foot or vice versa. The values are for July 2014.
For those looking for long walks, one option is to go walking through the Inca Trail that is known worldwide and attracts adventurers from several countries.
We went by train to Machu Picchu and you can read on this link all the information you need to buy the train ticket, where the trains leave from and the best times to get there.
How to visit Machu Picchu?
The best way to understand your visit possibilities during your trip to Machu Picchu is through the official map of the park:
The van that departs from Aguas Calientes leaves you at points 2 and 3 which is where the entrance to Machu Picchu park is. In this place you will find the various tour guides that bring visitors together to take them for a guided tour inside the park, there are bathrooms available for the price of 1 Nuevo Sole, lockers to store your belongings (take only the basics inside the park and we recommend leaving your things at the hotel in Aguas Calientes ) and also some places to eat at a hefty price. For example, a soft drink and a snack cost approximately 25 Nuevos Soles.
Through the map, you can see that there are several paths available. The red route passes through the main points of the Inca city and the blue route is a return route to the entrance of the park which also passes through other interesting points within Machu Picchu. Yellow routes can be considered additional routes, some free and others paid separately.
The traditional route (red + blue) takes about 3 hours to complete, considering some stops along the way. Our recommendation is to carry out this route with a specialized guide as this way you will be able to understand each sector of Machu Picchu and the role that each of them had within society. The yellow routes have easy, medium, and difficult trails, with different route lengths. If you want to do the traditional route and all the alternative routes, you need to book two days in Machu Picchu. If you want to take the traditional route and one or two alternative routes, a full day is sufficient. Now if you left Cusco to arrive in Machu Picchu just before lunch and you will only have this day to visit, it will be possible to just take the traditional route for the short time you will have at the place.
How much does the Ticket?
The price of admission to Machu Picchu depends on which additional routes you want to take as some of them are paid separately:
Machu Picchu: This is the basic ticket that gives you the right to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu and take additional routes that have no additional cost: Intipunku (Porta do Sol Trail on the left of the map) and Puente Inka (Trail of the Inca Bridge on the left of the map). Machu Picchu Ticket Cost: $65 (for Adult).
Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: this ticket entitles you to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu, climb the mountain of Huayna Picchu that appears in the postcard photos of the place, and also take the two additional routes above that do not have a cost (Porta do Sol Trail and Ponte Inca Trail). It is important to mention that there are only 400 tickets per day to enter Huayna Picchu (200 tickets for entry between 7 am and 8 am and another 200 tickets for entry between 10 am and 11 am) and you must buy in advance if you want to climb in Huayna Picchu. Ticket cost Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: $80 (for Adult).
Machu Picchu + Mountain: this ticket gives you the right to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu, climb the mountain of Machu Picchu and also take the two additional routes that are free of charge (Porta do Sol Trail and Inca Bridge Trail). It is important to mention that there are only 400 tickets a day to enter Machu Picchu Mountain (400 tickets for entry from 7 am-11 am) and you must buy in advance if you want to climb this mountain. Ticket cost Machu Picchu + Mountain: $80 (for Adult).
As the options of the additional routes of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain have established times for entry and these are in the morning, it is not possible to carry out these two routes on the same day. So, if you want to do Huayna Picchu and also Machu Picchu Mountain, take two full days to visit Machu Picchu.
How to Buy a Ticket?
If you are traveling with excursions, a ticket to Machu Picchu will probably already be included. If you are closing everything with an agency in Cusco it is easier to get tickets to Machu Picchu and for additional routes, but it is good to compare prices with the official website to find out if your agency is not placing a very high price. Our ticket was purchased by Fabulous Peru Tours which was the agency that closed all our tours in the region. Fabulous Peru Tours is accredited by the Ministry of Tourism of Peru, which provides greater security for tourists looking for serious agencies in the region.
It is possible to buy the ticket for Machu Picchu on your own through the park’s official website ( http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/ ). At the time of purchase, you choose the day of the visit and the type of ticket according to your choice of itinerary and receive a reservation code. Make a note of this code as it will be used to enter the “Payments or Payment” tab and make the payment. After the payment is made, enter the “Check-In” tab to confirm the date of your visit.
If you are unable to purchase through this system (you need a Visa credit card and it needs to be Verified by Visa), try to check with your travel agency the cost to buy with them. If you use the VTM (Visa Travel Money) prepaid card, it is already Verified by Visa and can be a good alternative to your credit card.
Machu Picchu Opening Hours: 6 am to 4:30 pm
Official Website: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/