Are you planning on visiting Machu Picchu for your next vacation? The Inca citadel is one most people’s bucket list as a must-see destination. Machu Picchu is a dream of many, and the ruins are very popular with older and younger travelers alike swarming to the site every year. On a guided tour, you have the opportunity to learn about the history of the ruins and some of the legends that surround this mystical place. Marvel at the genius of the Inca builders and the beauty of the location by taking one of the many hikes available including Huayna Picchu.
Here, we are going to give you some tips on how to get to Machu Picchu from Lima, the capital of Peru. On any trip to Machu Picchu or Peru, you must first land in the Inca city of Lima, where the international airport is located. Do not discount Lima as a destination to visit, as it is said to be the food capital of South America, filled with first class cuisine, some of which is voted the best in the world, with top class chefs working in the best restaurants in Lima. Lima is definitely worth an extra day on your holiday itinerary as there are some beautiful things to see in the city that feature a great mix of the old city and the modern beachside suburbs.
Getting to Machu Picchu from Lima by land is a choice of many people and a great way to see the countryside. There are few possible routes for the journey from Lima to Cusco, which is the city closest to Machu Picchu. The first and the quickest route is from Lima to Nazca to Abancay to Cusco. This route takes you south to the desert town of Nazca and then starts the ascent through the Andes Mountains. The trip takes around 20 hours (if on time) and the route is winding ( it is recommended that this route only being taken in the dry season).
The other road option is Lima to Nazca to Arequipa to Cusco. This is the longer of the routes, taking you further south to the town of Arequipa before going into the mountains then onto Cusco. Although this is a longer option, the road is in better condition. If you wish, you can leave the journey in Arequipa and travel to the beautiful Colca Canyon or to Puno and see Lake Titicaca and the Uros Islands before traveling onto Cusco.
There are some companies that offer hop on and hop off services, you can buy a ticket and travel to the popular spots in Peru stay the time you want, then get back on the bus for the next destination and finish in Cusco. Prices depend on how many stops and activities are taken along the way.
The fastest and the most expensive form of travel to arrive into Cusco from Lima is by plane. Many different companies service this route with the most reliable being the South America Company LATAM, with many departures LATAM is costly but if you are short on time this is the option for you. The flight takes one hour and twenty minutes and will cost you around one hundred and fifty American dollars. There are several other companies that you may also use for the flight that are generally cheaper but they are not as reliable especially if it happens to be raining in Cusco, with many airlines cancelling flights to Cusco.
Once in the city of Cusco, it is recommended to spend a few days there to acclimatize to the altitude, you will be arriving at an altitude of over three thousand meters above sea level so for the first few days, you will need to take it easy. There is also much to see in the Inca city, many ruins, churches, museums and markets just to name a few. Cusco is also a nice place to spend a few days just relaxing.
From Cusco, you may start your journey to Machu Picchu, there are several different ways to reach the Inca Citadel depending on many factors including time, budget and physical ability. so let us talk about the possible ways to reach Machu Picchu.
The first and for many people the only way, is to hike the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This hike will take you four days and will cost around one thousand American dollars, but the rewards are worth the money and the effort. You will need to book well in advance as the trail permits sell out months in advance, as the government only sells five hundred permits per day. Also on offer are luxury Machu Picchu Inca Trail treks, offering five star services for the luxury clients.
You could also take the Salcantay Trek, this trek passes the Cordillera Vilcabamba this is a very scenic trek to get to Machu Picchu, and the trek passes altitudes of around four thousand six hundred meters above sea level so you will need to be reasonably fit.
Another alternative to the Inca trail is the Lares Trek, which takes you off the normal routes through Andean communities, while being surrounded by stunning lakes and valleys.
All the treks will arrive into Machu Picchu where you will receive a guide tour of the ruins; usually you will enjoy some free time to explore before returning to Cusco in the evening by train.
If you are not into hiking and prefer a quick tour to Machu Picchu, the train is the option for you. Peru rail offers three different services daily to the Inca Citadel. The first service is the Expedition train, a tourist train with all the comfort you will need to get to Machu Picchu, arriving into the station at Aguas Calientes refreshed and ready for your tour. The second service is the Vistadome, this option is a little more expensive that the Expedition, offering a glass ceiling for the best views and luxurious leather seats for the ultimate comfort experience.
The third and most expensive train for your Machu Picchu luxury travel is the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, which is the style of the 1920´s Pullman trains and happens to be the best of the best in travel to Machu Picchu, offering complimentary drinks and a delicious chef prepared lunch. This train passes through the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Inca´s to Aguas Calientes which includes a private guided tour of Machu Picchu and afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel, before returning to Cusco in the luxury of the Hiram Bingham Train.
So whatever way you choose to travel, take the time to visit the fabulous Inca Citadel for the trip of a lifetime.