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June 10, 2016

Getting to Machu Picchu - How to Travel to Machu Picchu

Trip: Lima-Cuzco-Machu Picchu

Leg 1: Lima to Cuzco

There are two ways to get to Cuzco from Lima, with flying being much more recommended than taking a bus. The flight will only take you about an hour, while the bus will take about 20-22 hours due to the mountainous terrain. The prices found below will vary depending on when you make your reservation. Also, if you hold a Peruvian national identification card (DNI) then you will be able to obtain considerably cheaper flight prices than those listed. Finally, if you are converting to dollars the official exchange rate as of 6/9/2016 was $1 to S/. 3.30.

If you decide to take a bus, here is the One Way info

Cruz del Sur S/. 150
You can purchase tickets or ask questions on their website

Oltursa S./ 99.00-185.00
If you go this route, I recommend paying extra for the “160°” seats. Read here for more information.

Tepsa S/. 201.30
Information on Lima-Cuzco tickets can be found here

*Note: There are many bus companies in Peru, but these are recognized as being safe and comfortable, especially for tourist travel. Of the listed companies I have taken Cruz del Sur various times and have never had any problems with their service.

If you decide to go by plane, I recommend using a search website such as skyscanner.com or kayak.com to find good prices. A few notable companies that have good reputations in South America and have regular flights from Lima to Cuzco are listed below: Company Listed Price on Website (round-trip) Website

Avianca $185 www.avianca.com

LATAM $150 www.latam.com

StarPeru $216 www.starperu.com

Leg 2: Cuzco to Machu Picchu

The two ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cuzco are by train or hiking the Inca Trail. The train takes a little over three hours, while the hike’s duration will depend on what version of the Inca Trail you take.

Only two train companies run from the train station in Cuzco to Machu Picchu. They are Peru Rail and Inca Rail. In my experience, Inca Rail tends to run a little cheaper. Both have multiple trains running daily. A roundtrip ticket may cost anywhere from about $150 to over $300, depending on the level of comfort or luxury you wish to experience. It is best to read each company’s website to determine which train type fits your preferences. Please know that the train station in Cuzco is named Poroy; there are other train stations in the Sacred Valley that you should not buy tickets for (and which will be cheaper since they are closer to Machu Picchu) if you plan to do a direct Cuzco-Machu Picchu route.

I recommend using a licensed tour guide company if you take the Inca Trail. Tourists are not
permitted unaccompanied on the Inca Trail. The traditional trail takes 4 days, but alternatives include a 2-day trek (which cuts out much of the beautiful scenery of the 4-day trek) and the 5-day Salkantay Trek. The Salkantay Trek is gaining in popularity because it is less used and has stunning scenery. If you want to try the Inca Trail or an alternate, a list of licensed tour guide companies can be found here. Prices will vary wildly, and generally you get what you paid for. Make sure anything you are not providing (food, backpacks, etc.) are provided by the company you choose.

I did the Inca Jungle trek which I recommend, the trek included mountain Biking  in the Andes mountain, and I payed Extra for whitewater rafting Zip lining and the Huyna Picchu climb.

One final tip: Be sure to buy your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu in advance. The website for purchasing tickets can be found at www.ticketmachupicchu.com

Climb to Huyna Picchu is an extra ticket and I highly recommend it.

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