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Colourful Peru

14 November, 2022

One of the most frequent questions asked by tourists when planning a trip to Machu Picchu is: how to get there? There are 3 ways to get to the Inca City: the Inca Trail, the alternative route through Santa Teresa and the train route. The latter is the fastest, most comfortable and safest way. Keep reading in order to discover how to get to Machu Picchu!

Where is Machu Picchu located?

Machu Picchu is located in the Andes of Cusco, Peru. The shortest way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is by train. To do this you must travel approximately 120 kilometers (74 miles) of paved roads and rail tracks.

Another way to get there is through the alternative route of Santa Teresa (153 kilometers or 95 miles). This track combines a bus ride with a train (or walking) ride. Finally, the third way to get to Machu Picchu is with the Inca Trail. In Colorful Peru, we offer 2 options: the hiking trail that lasts 2 days and 1 night and the hiking trail that lasts 4 days and 3 nights.

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train?

machu picchu tren

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train, you must follow these steps:

  1. Go to Pavitos Street in the Historic Center of Cusco and choose one of the different types of public transport that will take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Length: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  2. Board one of the train services that will take you from Ollantaytambo station to Aguas Calientes station. Remember to book your train ticket online in advance. Length: 1 hour and 45 minutes. 
  3. Walk to the bus station of Aguas Calientes and take one of the transports that go up a steep mountain to finally get to Machu Picchu. Bus tickets can be purchased right there. Length: 30 minutes.
  4. You can also take the train directly from Cusco.
  5. Or, the best option, take the complete tour with us on one of our suggested journeys.

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu through the alternative route of Santa Teresa?

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu through the alternative route of Santa Teresa, you must follow these steps:

  1. Go to the bus station located on “Antonio Lorena” avenue in Cusco. There, you have to take one of the public buses that will take you to Santa Teresa town. Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  2. In Santa Teresa, wait on the road for one of the “collective taxis” that will take you to the nearby town of Santa Teresa. Length: 1 hour.
  3. In Santa Teresa town, board one of the “collective taxis” that will take you to the “Hydroelectric” train station. Length: 30 minutes.
  4. At the Hydroelectric station, walk parallel to the train rails and the Vilcanota river, until you reach Aguas Calientes town. Length: 2 hours.
  5. At Aguas Calientes, go to the bus station to board the transports that will take you to the gateway to Machu Picchu. Length: 30 minutes.

Colorful Peru does not recommend this route because it is very long and dangerous, especially in the rainy season.

You can also read: What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu and its surroundings

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu with the Inca Trail?

from cusco machu picchu inca trail

To get from Cusco to Machu Picchu with the Inca Trail, you just have to buy a tour online. Remember to do this 4 or 5 months in advance.

The itinerary of the Inca Trail is usually as follows:

  • Day 1: Your tour will take you to kilometer 88 of the Ollantaytambo route, Machu Picchu. There you will walk uphill to the Wayllabamba campsite. Walking distance: 13 kilometers.
  • Day 2: The Inca Trail continues going up the highest point: the abra Warmiwañusca (4,215 m.s.n.m./13,828 ft.). You can spend the night in the Pacaymayo campsite. Walking distance: 11 kilometers.
  • Day 3: The third day is the least demanding because you go down the mountains and forests of the upper jungle of Peru. You can visit some Inca sites and spend the night in the Wiñaywayna campsite. Walking distance: 16 kilometers.
  • Day 4: The last day you arrive at and visit Machu Picchu. Then you will return to the City of Cusco by train. Distance traveled: 3 kilometers.

These were 3 ways to get to Machu Picchu. This is a magical, mystical and very special place that is totally worth visiting. It is best to do it with a good guide, that makes you understand all the symbolism, spirituality and history of the place; you will definitely feel the energy. We hope this information has been useful!

Colourful Peru invites you to experience our country. We are committed to offer you the best options so you can live a Colourful journey. If you want to know more about our suggested journeys, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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