Passrider Bucket List: Machu Picchu, Peru – How To Get There

by Passrider

Machu Picchu, Peru – How To Get There

LAN's Airbus A319Its quite the journey to get to Machu Picchu, Peru; it involves a plane or two or three depending on how far you are traveling; then a train or an automobile if you are tardy and then another automobile for the final stage of the journey or you can just start hiking when you arrive in Aguas Calientes, the last town before Machu Picchu.

Here are the step by step instructions for your journey:

  1. Fly into Lima, Peru (LIM) on your own airline or the carrier with which you have an agreement.  See the Routings section (scroll down) for the possible routings
  2. Fly into Cuzco, Peru (CUZ) from Lima on a domestic carrier (LAN Peru (LA) or TACA Peru (TA)); if you are passriding, take an early flight as usually your chances are better due to noshows.  Also, as the day progresses, there are weight restrictions due to the altitude of Cuzco, so this affect the flight loads.  If you can, purchase a round trip revenue ticket to guarantee your making the journey.  Even with a purchased ticket, you may be subject to weight restrictions, but the chances are not as high to be bumped.  You can call the local numbers for either airline as they may have special fares if bought inside Peru.  You can find phone numbers here.
  3. Spend the night in Cuzco to get acclimatized to the altitude.  Also, Cuzco is a very beautiful city and worth visiting.
  4. Take the train to Aguas Calientes, Peru.  From Cuzco, you take PeruRail for the four-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes via Ollantaytambo.  If you will be traveling during the northern hemisphere summer months, try to book train tickets in advance.  Check out an animation of the train route.  On the PeruRail site,
    1. Click on “Where do you want to go” and choose “Machu Picchu”
    2. Under “Routes” click “Cusco > M. Picchu”
    3. Select your Departure and Return Dates
    4. Select the number of Adults and Children
    5. Under Search By, choose “Lowest price” or whatever you like
    6. Check the Terms and Conditions
    7. Then click on the SEARCH NOW button
      Note: If you miss the train in Cuzco, you can take a taxi to the city of Ollantaytambo, which is the first stop on the train.  From there, you can catch the train to Aguas Calientes.  The taxi ride is very inexpensive and the route is quite scenic so it will be an enjoyable ride.  Ensure that your taxi driver puts gas in the car as the journey is long and winding and there are not may gas stations along the way.
  5. Once in Aguas Calientes, you can take the 25-30 minutes bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu; these buses leave when full, but usually every ten minutes or so. The cost is 8 USD each way. The bus stop is located within walking distance from the train station.  Ensure that you get there early if you ant to be on the first bus at 5:15a.  If you choose to, you may also hike up to Machu Picchu.  You may also hoose to spend some time in Aguas Calientes before heading up to the mountain; its up to you.  There are many hotels in this tiny town and its very quaint.

Alternatively, you can skip the train for the helicopter ride from Cuzco, but you still have to hike up the mountain or take a bus the rest of the way.

Plan on visiting in April, May, September or October as these are the times the site is less visited.  As Peru is below the equator, the seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere, so their Summer will be your Fall (Autumn) if you are not from the southern hemisphere.  Don’t forget to check the weather before you go and dress and pack accordingly.

Tickets for Machu Picchu

This information is always changing and I will endeavor to update this information as much as possible.  Also, if you have additional information, please let us know. At present, the number of visitors are limited to 2,500 per day.  The cost 128 Sols for non-Peruvian citizens and 65 Sols for Peruvians. Additional information can be found at

If you’d like to also climb Huayna Picchu (the mountain you see in the background of the Macchu Picchu pictures), you can buy tickets for an additional 24 Sols for non-Peruvians and  26 for Peruvians.

Children under 8 years are admitted free of charge.  Ages 9 to 17 years will pay a discounted student rate.

You can get your tickets in the following ways:

  1. Online
    •; the site tells you how many tickets are available for the day that you are traveling.  Click on the “Queries” tab to see the dates available by month.  You amy also
  2. In Cuzco
    • Go to the NIC (Instituto Nacional de Cultura). Its close to Plaza de’Armas on at Cal San Bernado
  3. At your Hotel in Cuzco; ask at the front desk, they may charge a small fee to get the tickets though
  4. In Aguas Calientes
    • At the Central Plaza
    • The ticket office is open from 5:15a until 7:00p
    • Take the exact change (128 Sols for adults and 65 Sols for children)
  5. At Machu Picchu
    • Buy from the ticket office at the entrance to the park if tickets are still available.

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