Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and one of the 7 new wonders of the world. There is definitely a reason why this magical place has made the list. I have written this post on how to travel to Machu Picchu the easy way for the lazy, the non-athletic, non-hikers, elderly, those on a limited time crunch and anyone else you think will find this post helpful. There are a lot of people who are hesitant to visit Machu Picchu with the ideas of having to do a 4-day intensive hike in high altitudes to get a chance to visit this beautiful Incan city. However, there is more than one way to visit Machu Picchu and that is why I am writing this post today.
If you aren’t interested in traveling to Machu Picchu the easy way, then be sure to read this complete guide to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Travel to Machu Picchu The Easy Way
When to Travel to Machu Picchu
The best time to travel to Machu Picchu is during the months of April – October. The trail is closed in February. June through August, of course, are the busiest time of the year to travel to Machu Picchu. If you want to visit with fewer tourists and better prices, I suggest you visit during the off-shoulder season which includes April, May, September, and October. During the off-season you may get chances of rain as we did on our trip, however, it cleared up by 9:00 am. Although, rain is possible any time of the year your chances of clearer skies will be June – August. The choice is ultimately up to you on what works best for you. Are you planning to spend more time in Peru? Read more about how to spend 2 weeks in Peru.
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Tickets to Machu Picchu
So, this is a very important step before you even decide to go. You are not able to go unless you have tickets to get into Machu Picchu. They are very limited to how many people they let in, although I have heard that they are lenient, however, I wouldn’t risk it if you only have the one opportunity to visit.
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There are pretty many 3 ticket options for your trip Machu Picchu (option for 1 turn or 2 turns inside), Machu Picchu and the Mountain, Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu. These options are highly dependent on what you want to see.
Types of Tickets for Machu Picchu
The Machu Picchu Ticket. You can still get the classic and beautiful tourist shot. For the Machu Picchu shots, you still need to climb a few stairs to get to the top and get those good photos. I am placing this disclaimer in there because there are no areas that are handicap accessible and it still requires a small amount of hiking. Additionally, I suggest if you only decide to purchase Machu Picchu tickets to get the 2nd turn. Once you are in Machu Picchu, there are some areas that you are required to only go in one direction and you may be forced to exit. You will want to get that second turn in case of this incident or if you need to go to the bathrooms since the bathrooms are outside near the main entrance. Side note: You need to pay to use the bathrooms.
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Machu Picchu and the Mountain. The mountain option is if you want higher viewpoints. There are only certain time frames you can access these areas, I suggest you choose the earlier option so that you can get a great view with fewer crowds. This was the ticket we purchased, and we were included the second turn.
Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu.
How to Purchase Tickets to Machu Picchu
To purchase tickets to Machu Picchu, you need to buy them online at http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/. All prices are in Peruvian Soles. Although, most tickets are around $60 USD. On the website, you will see how many tickets are available at the counter on the top left. Like I have stated before, it’s important to purchase your tickets in advance. When you purchase your tickets, you must select a date that you plan to visit Machu Picchu.
If you want to know how to purchase your tickets online, I highly suggest you check out How to Buy Machu Picchu Tickets Online. Don’t make the same mistake I did! When I first did my reservation online, I was not required to make a payment. It stated it was reserved and that I needed to pay in person. Here I thought I had everything taken care of, but there was an additional step that I needed to do online to pay online.
How to Get to Machu Picchu
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu as I have stated before. During our trip, we chose to travel to Machu Picchu the easy way. We were limited on time during our trip.
Flying to Cusco
When flying in, the best place to stay would be in Cusco, Peru. Flights to Lima, however, are cheaper, but you could always stay in Lima, Peru before flying into Cusco. I suggest you arrive in Cusco at least 2-3 days before you venture out to Machu Picchu. You will need plenty of time to adjust to the altitude. You may feel dizzy, dehydrated, sick or even nauseous.
READ: Things to do in Cusco
Bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
To get to Ollantaytambo from Cusco, take a bus (these also look like large vans) for about 10 /soles each way.
It is 2 hours from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Keep that in mind when reserving your train tickets as you want sufficient amount of time to get there. For the van, you don’t need to reserve since there are many vans that continuously go there throughout the day. To find the van in Cusco, see the starred location in the map below. To find a van in Ollantaytambo, you will find most of them at the train station to take you back to Cusco.
NOTE: If you get car sick or any kind of motion sickness, bring Dramamine with you on the trip. Take it before the first bus ride since the ride can be a bit bumpy with a lot of turns.
Train from Ollantaytambo to Agua Calientes
To get to Machu Picchu from Cusco, you need to reserve your train tickets in advance. You can either purchase your tickets from 2 train companies, Inca Rail or Peru Rail. There are different options to have more of a skylight view when traveling, which is more expensive. Or the basic train experience. Purchase the tickets in advance as these sell out quickly.
The route you will need to take for the train is to travel from Ollantaytambo to Agua Calientes. One option is to go a day earlier and sleep in Agua Calientes the night before. The second option would be to travel early in the morning.
Bus from Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu
After you arrive in Agua Calientes you will need to book your 20 min bus ride up to Machu Picchu. The bus ride can be booked the day of. Have one person purchase all of the tickets. Have another person stand in line to wait for the buses since this line can get ridiculously long. The round trip bus cost about $24USD round trip. You will need everyone’s passports to purchase the bus tickets. In the map below, you can see where you can purchase your bus tickets from Agua Caliente to Machu Picchu.
You have finally finished the daunting task of getting to Machu Picchu. Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, I highly suggest you use the bathroom before entering the gates. Like I stated before, in and out privileges are limited.
There you have it my easy way to get to Machu Picchu! It’s not as hard as hiking up with the Inca Trail and you still get to see one of the most popular 7 wonders of the world. Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below.
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