7 Ways to Get to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

When visiting Cusco and the Sacred Valley, there are multiple ways to travel to Machu Picchu. Below is list of our top 7 ways to arrive to the awe-inspiring citadel — from trains to less-traveled treks to the traditional Inca Trail Trek, we will get you there in your style!

#1) 5-Day Traditional Inca Trail

The legendary Inca Trail takes you through the diverse wilderness of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, passing numerous Inca ruins on the magnificent stone highway before descending to the famed citadel of Machu Picchu. It starts in Cusco or Ollantaytambo and returns to Cusco with an overnight at a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

  • Set departures are on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Minimum two people.
  • Groups are limited to 12 people, but most groups are smaller than that.

Season: All year, except February, when the Inca Trail is closed; best season for trekking is April through October. Note that you may start your trek on any day of the week for a private trek. Check with us for availability! Now is the time to book your trek for 2018!

  • Starting at $1235 per person

Exploring the Machu Picchu Citadel

#2) 5-Day Salkantay Trek

From Cusco, we drive north across Antapampa into the Apurimac watershed. Mollepata is the starting point of our five day trek across the Cordillera Vilcabamba, past Mt. Humantay and Salkantay into the headwaters of the Santa Teresa valley. Hiking down this cloudforest area we ascend to the Pass of Paltallacta in whose vicinity we camp. Great views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Hike into the Aobamba Valley and arrive near the hydroelectric works, downriver from the citadel, board the train at the hydroelectric station, ride to Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night. Next morning we will visit Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco.

  • Group departures are on Sundays

This trek is a good alternative to the Inca Trail when permits are sold out!

  • Starting at $1135 USD per person
Machu Picchu

The mist lifted as we arrived in Machu Picchu!

#3) 2-Day Inca Trail Express

This is an outstanding mini-trip for those wanting “a taste” of the Inca Trail, but either lack the time or energy for the full 4- or 5-day Inca Trail. There is one day of hiking; second day is at Machu Picchu.

NEW FOR 2018! We are offering a set departure on Thursdays for the 2-day Inca Trail Express, with a special group price. Minimum for group is 2 people.

You will need Inca Trail permits for this trek. NOW is the time to book for 2018!

This private trek is available for any day of the week. Set departure groups start on Thursdays.

  • Starting at $625 per person
Sacred Valley

Wind your way through the glorious Sacred Valley on your train to Machu Picchu

#4) 2-Day Vistadome Train

This is the ideal and least rushed way to see Machu Picchu! You will enjoy the train ride to Aguas Calientes. Check in to your hotel and wander around the village and its outdoor market, hot springs baths and local museum. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes. On the second day, be ready to meet your guide early in the morning, for the shuttle, entrance and guided tour of Machu Picchu (before the crowds arrive). Option to climb Huayna Picchu at 7 or 10 a.m. After lunch, you have the afternoon to explore the ruins further, or hike to Inti Punku. Return to Aguas Calientes and catch the late afternoon train back to Cusco/Poroy.

  • Starting at $450 per person

Views from the Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trail

#5) 7-Day Luxury Lodge to Lodge Salkantay Trek

A physical challenge worth every ounce of effort! Like Inca royalty, experience the Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu in style. Each day’s impressive trek ends with a hot shower in a cozy lodge, complemented by a massage or a dip in an outdoor jacuzzi, followed by a gourmet Peruvian meal with select wines and all provided with highly personalized service by local staff.

Accompanied by expert Peruvian mountain guides and horse packing crew, this 7-day trekking adventure traverses 15 separate ecosystems along a spectacular ancient Inca Trail route in the heart of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. Pass towering snow-capped peaks dominated by Mt. Salkantay, explore villages where locals still maintain age-old traditions and re-discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire.

This route is an even more spectacular high Andean trek than the popular Inca Trail Trek and the last day passes over a protected remnant of another Inca Trail and ancient Inca city hidden in the cloud forest near Machu Picchu. Small groups of no more than twelve trekkers ensure an intimate experience amidst stunning mountain scenery.

PLEASE NOTE: This trek is with a group of 12 people maximum. Private departures or a private guide may be available upon request.

  • Starting at $3885 per person

Incredible vistas from the lodge to lodge Lares Trek

#6) 5-Day Luxury Lodge to Lodge Lares Trek

Choose your own adventure on the Luxury Lodge to Lodge Lares Adventure! This 5 or 7 day hiking and cultural experience is excellent for groups of diverse interests and abilities. Your incredbile journey will lead you through the rich history, living culture and magnificent landscape of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and end at Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire. At each day’s sunset, settle into deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities, to prepare for a new day of multi-activity adventure and exploration.

Majestic archaeological sites lead to remote and uncrowded trails taking travelers through mountains and valleys, abounding in natural beauty and dotted with Andean communities, where the locals are master weavers and their traditions are still firmly rooted in ancient Incan culture. Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of a la carte daily activities (easy to challenging hiking or mountain biking) and cultural encounters. Decide on whim, what you feel like doing each day and make this trek your own!

PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is with a group of 32 people maximum. Private departures or private guides may be available upon request. Closed in January and February.

  • Starting at: $2935 per person

Discover less-known Incan Ruins site along this trek to Machu Picchu

#7) 5-Day Sacred Valley Trek and Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu

This trek in the mountains above the Sacred Valley provides beautiful mountain views and insights into the traditional way of life for the local Inca-ancestral people. Three days of trekking in the Sacred Valley are capped by the 2-day Inca Trail Express.

On the slopes of Antapampa, north of Cusco lies the intriguing terracing complexes of Zurite, located near the village of Huarocondo. From here the trail winds slowly onto the high plateau with fantastic views of Mt. Salkantay and Veronica, to Ancascocha and down the Silgue Valley, ending at Camicancha. The fourth day includes taking the train to km 104 and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving through the sun gate. Shuttle to Aguas Calientes and overnight in a hotel. The fifth day includes shuttle, entrance and a guided tour of Machu Picchu. You will return to Cusco on the train at the end of the day.

We can offer this now as a set departure trek, starting on Mondays.

  • Starting at: $1135 per person


Want to book your next adventure to Machu Picchu? Contact us!

Your friendly Peru experts,

Gretchen and Barb

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One Response to 7 Ways to Get to Machu Picchu

  1. henry says:

    I placed this Machu Picchu in my list to explore. Thanks to your beautiful pic and interest.

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