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Complete guide to visit Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, thus being the main tourist attraction for all travelers who arrive in Peru. You cannot travel to Peru and not visit Machu Picchu.

It is an Inca citadel located on the heights of the Andes mountains in Peru, above the valley of the Urubamba river.

It was built in the 15th century and then abandoned. Its construction is a mystery because with dry stone walls that combine huge blocks without the use of a mortar, or any type of transport or machinery. The buildings are related to astronomical alignments and their panoramic views are spectacular. On July 24, 1911, Hiram Bingham, an American explorer and politician, found Machu Picchu and made it known to the world.

Preparing your visit to Machu Picchu will require a little time, since you have many alternatives and surely you will have doubts about which ticket to buy? How do I get to Machu Picchu? Do I hire a guide? Is it better to do it with a complete tour? One or more days? ...

In this post I tell you how to visit Machu Picchu, a complete guide to everything you need to know; How to get there, what are the tickets available, about their guided tours or recommended excursions.

Visitar Machu Picchu



There are several options to go from Cusco to Machu Picchu. From comfortable and easy options, although not very cheap, to options for the most adventurous or with tighter budgets.

I add a list of the 5 best options for all budgets.

1.1. Train to Machu Picchu from Cusco

There are 2 companies that offer the train to Machu Picchu from the city of Cusco: Inca Rail and Peru Rail. It is the fastest option (about 4 hours) and easiest, but it is also the most expensive option, and by far. This was not my choice, because it seemed very expensive to me! More or less it is 150-160 euros per person round trip.

If you are going to choose this option to go to Machu Picchu, you can buy the tickets online or by going to the Inca Rail or Peru Rail office. You can find different schedules and various kinds of tickets. From economy class to first class.

1.2. Combine bus and train to Machu Picchu from Cusco

Many travelers choose to go to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) making a combined train and bus journey. In this way, you take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and from here the train to Aguas Calientes. These two companies offer this combined ticket, although you can buy them separately.

Once you arrive at Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), you have two options, take the bus to Machu Picchu (10 euros approx) or walk up to the ruins (1 hour and a half – 2 hours).

1.3. Combine tour of the Sacred Valley and train to Macchu Picchu

From Cusco a full day tour (Idea and return) leaves through the Sacred Valley until reaching Ollantaytambo and back to Cusco. Don't take the shuttle back! Stay in Ollantaytambo to spend the night and get up early in the morning to catch the first train to Aguas Calientes and take the bus to Machu Picchu. You can book the train from Ollantaytambo on the same website of these companies.

This option is very complete and quite cheap (16 euros). It includes a full-day excursion through the entire Sacred Valley, making several stops, with transportation, food, and a guide included.

You can see all the information of this excursion to the Sacred Valley from this link: Excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas from Cusco

1.4. Take a full day excursion from Cusco to Machu Picchu

If your time is limited, a good option is to hire a full day tour from Cusco.

From this tour option it will include transportation from Cusco and the tour in a panoramic train. Once you arrive at Aguas Calientes you will take a bus to go to the sacred mountain of Machu Picchu. Here is also included the entrance to the enclosure and a guided tour. More details of what the package includes:

Included in the tour

Pick up at the hotel by bus and transfer back.

Return ticket on Vistadome or Expedition train.

Bus up and down to Machu Picchu.

Guide in Spanish during the visit to Machu Picchu.

Entrance to the archaeological site.

You can see more about this excursion in this link: Excursion to Machu Picchu from Cusco

1.5. Inca trail

Did you know that there is the possibility of going from Cusco to Machu Picchu on foot? It is a unique experience in which you will travel a path full of history and with beautiful landscapes. You'll end up with sores, probably sores, and exhausted, but it must be super cool! Due to lack of time we could not add it to our itinerary through Peru (well, and why am I going to lie to you, walking and walking in very hard treks is not my thing) I leave you the information so that if you want you can encourage yourself to do the tour you can book it with time.

The capital of the Inca Empire and the Lost City of the Incas are linked through the Inca Trail. Many agencies offer a 4-day trek in which the 39.6 kilometers that separate both points are covered. It is a trekking that requires a high physical demand.

DAY 1. The route begins at km 82. The first day you will visit Miskay, the archaeological complex of Llactapata and Huayllabamba.

DAY 2. It passes through the Lluncachimpa valley, Llulluchapampa, the Warmihuañusca pass, the Pacaymayu valley, the Runcuracay pass and Sayacmarca.

DAY 3. Archaeological complexes of Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna.

DAY 4. Arrival at Machu Picchu and return to Cusco by train.

As they explained to us, it is a very hard trekking and a good physical condition is required.

Visitar Machu Picchu


They can be bought once you arrive in the city of Cusco or, if you prefer to buy them in advance, you can do it online. It is advisable to buy them in advance online, especially if you are going to visit Machu Picchu in high season (from June to September) or if you are interested in the Huayna Picchu mountain ticket, since it sells out easily. They have limited places per day.

2.1. Buy the ticket in Cusco

You can do it at the reservations office of the Ministry of Culture. You will have to go to Casa Garcilaso (Heladeros 165, Cusco) with your passport and cash or with your credit/debit card. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is located near the Plaza de Armas. Although I advise you to buy tickets in advance online. Do not risk until the last moment, you can run out!

2.2. Buy the ticket online

You can do it from the official website www.machupicchu.gob, official website of the Ministry of Culture. There you can choose the type of rate: general (foreign visitors), promotional (CAN member countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) or for people from Cusco. Choose the date of your visit, the number of people and click on "availability". Choose the type of entrance to Machu Picchu and the time of visit and click on "select". Complete personal and payment information.

Have your route well detailed, to correctly specify your date, they do not admit modifications or cancellations.

23. Book a tour that includes admission

There are several tours to Machu Picchu, some include the entrance and some do not. You should always pay attention to what the activity includes, to save you unforeseen events.

The best option if you want to take a tour is the tour that includes pick up at your hotel in Cusco, transfer, train, hot water bus to Machu Picchu, entrance fee, guided tour of the citadel and the entire Machu Picchu site and back. to Cuzco. Although the price suddenly scares, if you start to add by doing it separately, depending on the transport you choose, it does not vary too much.

Machu Picchu


There are 3 types of tickets to Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu + Huayna Micchu Mountain and Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain.

3.1. Macchu Picchu

Access: citadel.

Hours: 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.

Price: 152 soles (€41) for adults, 77 soles (€21) for students and 70 soles (€19) for children under 18 years of age.

3.2. Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu mountain

Access: citadel and mountain Huayna Picchu.

Hours: citadel from 6:00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.; citadel from 7:00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.; citadel from 8:00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Price: 200 soles (€54) for adults, 125 soles (€34) for students and 118 soles (€32) for children under 18 years of age.

3.3. Machu Picchu with Machu Picchu mountain

Access: citadel and Macchu Picchu mountain.

Hours: citadel from 6:00 a.m. and Machu Picchu mountain from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.; citadel from 7:00 a.m. and Machu Picchu mountain from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.; citadel from 8:00 a.m. and Macchu Picchu mountain from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Price: 200 soles (€54) for adults, 125 soles (€34) for students and 118 soles (€32) for children under 18 years of age.


Is it mandatory to visit Machu Picchu with a guide?

It is not necessary to enter Machu Picchu with a guide, you can do the tour and visit for free. Although they want to incorporate this rule and perhaps when you travel you should hire it. If you want to take a guided tour (which I recommend), you can find a guide in Aguas Calientes or at the entrance to Machu Picchu. Although I recommend that you reserve it in advance so as not to run out.

From this link you can see all the information about the guided tours.

Why do I recommend doing it with a guide?

It is the best way to learn and know the history of the Incas. They will tell you why they made the constructions in such a way, about astronomy and how they used it in their daily life both in agriculture and in their festivities, and many more things related to their culture. In addition, they tell you many theories and you walk through the citadel from top to bottom without missing a thing. They also give you tips on how to do some "short" hiking routes to access other more isolated areas, once the guided tour is over and to be able to enjoy some less crowded areas with beautiful views.

From this link you can pre-book your guided tour of Machu Picchu.

What should you bring for your visit to Machu Picchu?

Although it seems that you should already know, during my visit to the citadel I told myself that many travelers were not adequately prepared, so here is the list:

Comfortable footwear: Mountain boots, sneakers or trekking shoes. Do not wear sandals, flip flops or uncomfortable shoes! You are going to walk a lot. Also, if it has rained or there has been a lot of fog, the ground is wet and you can slip.

Even if you travel in summer (Peruvian summer from December to March approximately) you should bring something warm, a jacket and a raincoat. There is usually fog and some clouds and it's cool :)

Don't forget to bring water! Inside the enclosure you will not be able to buy drinks, so do not forget to bring your bottle of water. If it is reusable plastic, better, and if not, do not throw your bottle in Machu Picchu. Wait until you get to Aguas Calientes to deposit it in a recycling container.

Camera, mobile, everything with a fully charged battery! And if you carry one of these materials for better wireless charging. You will get tired of taking photos!

Viewpoints, the best places to enjoy this wonder

When you get to the viewpoints, located at the top of the terraces, you will have the best views. Take your time! sit back and enjoy this wonder. I spent more than an hour sitting, looking at this cool place and doing nothing else. You stay hypnotized.

I recommend you stay all day. Apart from touring the citadel, you can go to the different viewpoints, there are half-hour trails that take you to higher points where the views are spectacular. In addition, if you spend the whole day visiting each corner, you will enjoy the morning mist that gives it a mysterious air and the midday sun. They ended up kicking us out when they closed and we arrived first thing in the morning.

Machu Picchu


If you want to stay as close as possible you can do it in Ollantaytambo or Aguas Calientes. Depending on the transportation option you use to get there, choose one option or another. We stayed in Ollantaytambo and first thing in the morning we took the train to Aguas Calientes. Up to you! Here are some recommendations for accommodation in both towns for all budgets.

Hotels in Ollantaytambo:

Hotels in Aguas Calientes:


I hope you enjoy your trip to Peru a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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