So you’re wondering how to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu? Then you’ve come to the right place! There are many ways to from Cusco to Machu Picchu and I’ve clearly laid out the pro’s and con’s of all the options that are available to you.
Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders World and most important monuments in South America. The citadel was built during the 15th century by the Inca during Pre-Columbian times, which denotes the era in that precedes European interference in the Americas, which began in 1492.
The Inca estate was abandoned only a century after it had been built due to the on-going conquest of South America by the Spanish. It is however important to note that the Spanish never reached Machu Picchu making it one of only Inca estates that were not pillaged during the conquest.
You have two options when if you you are in Cusco and would like to get to the Macchu Picchu. Many some people will choose to leave Cusco the night before they are planning to go to the Machu Picchu. Typically, travelers will head to Agua Caliente, also known as Machu Picchu City, which is situated near the Machu Picchu.
Visiting the 500 year citadel is a whole day expedition, travelers who wish to see the whole of the estate should arrive as early as possible. Furthermore, the estate is oftentimes surrounded by fog only early in the morning, allowing travelers to take for beautiful and unique photographs of the estate.
Taking the Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
Choosing to take the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu is by far the fastest way there. However, the train no longer leaves directly from Cusco city. T0 reach the train station, you have two options, either to depart from Poroy or Ollaytambo.
Departing from Poroy
Your first is Poroy, which is situated about 25 minutes away from the Cusco’s main city square, Plaza de Armas, which should cost you between 25 and 35 sols. However, note that this route is the most expensive.
If you want to save some money, I suggest you read the paragraph below. Also, if you do decide to leave from Poroy, make sure to book your ticket in advance especially in high season. If there are no tickets available, read below.
Bus to Ollaytambo (cheaper!)
If you want to save money you can take a bus from Cusco to Ollaytambo. Many companies, called colectivos leave very early in the morning from Cusco and make their way to Ollaytambo. A colectivos is usually a van that can transport 15-20 people or a big tour bus.
When you arrive in Cusco, you’ll see many tourist shops where you can book a spot on one of these rides. You should expect to spend somewhere around 15-25 sols. The bus ride will take around 1 hour and a half.
Pro tip: if you decide to visit Cusco during the winter months of Peru, make sure to dress warm. I’ve taken many of these early morning buses during my time in Peru, and none of them had heating and it was freezing in there.
The IncaTrail is a trek that goes from Cusco to Machu Picchu and usually lasts 4 days. The trek is of a whopping 85km long and passes by the most important Inca estates in Cusco. Trekkers to the Machu Picchu atop the Sun Gate.
Aguas Caliente to Machu Picchu
The city of Aguaes Caliente is situated 400 meters above the Machu Picchu. There are buses that leave very often that will bring you to Machu Picchu. The bus leaves every 10-15 minutes throughout the day.