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How to go to Machu Picchu Peru

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How to go to Machu Picchu

How to go to Machu Picchu Peru!

I am going to start this new  Peru travel guide by  answering one of the frequently asked questions about Machu Picchu: what is the cheapest way to go to Machu Picchu? Well, as usually happens with these things, the least expensive is to go on your own. This is how we did it and in this publication I will explain how. 

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Tickets to Machu Picchu

First of all, tell you that the prices in this guide have been updated in early 2018 . Having said that, the first thing you need to know is that there is an inevitable expense: entrance to the holy city . Whatever you do, you are going to have to pay for it. The list of rates, I imagine that it varies according to year and season, you have it on the official page of Machu Picchu . There are different prices depending on what that ticket includes: only the sacred city, sacred city + Huayna Picchu (exhausting but highly recommended)

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

  • If you are students , of whatever type, and you get the International Student Card or your university’s own card, you can receive a 50% discount . Of course, you have the document you have, it is essential that it includes the expiration date. It is the only way to be considered valid.
  • If you are not, you will have no choice but to pay its normal price. In 2017, 152 soles for foreigners (about 43 euros), and 64 soles for Peruvians (18 euros) and other members of the Andean community.

IMPORTANT, since July 1, 2017, there are two turns of entrance to Machu Picchu.

  • 1st shift : allows you to access from 6 in the morning to 12 noon .
  • 2nd shift : if you get a ticket for the second shift, you can enter from 12 in the morning to 17:30.

The price of both tickets is the same, and both allow you to enter and exit as many times as you want within the time stipulated for your shift. If you plan to stay all day, you will have to buy both tickets.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Nothing else is included: no guide, no food … not even the bathroom, for which you will have to pay one sun per use . The ticket can be bought on the Internet but if you are a student we recommend you do it at the official ticket sales office of Machu Picchu in Cuzco , since this way it is easier to get the discount. In case the link to Google Maps fails, this is the address of the office: Calle Garcilaso, Cusco, Peru. Apart from the compulsory entry fee, everything else is negotiable. To go to Machu Picchu you can find several options:

Train to Machu Picchu

Train travel is the simplest option, the fastest but also the most costly . The railway companies that operate there are operating as a monopoly, so prices are high. Now, if you have little time to visit Machu Picchu, hiring a day tour may be the best option.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

A group of tourists next to the train that connects the Hydroelectric Station with Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town)

Inca Trail (Inka Trail)

Taking advantage of the path that the ancient Incas made to reach Machu Picchu , it has been conditioned as a tourist route. The traditional Inca trail (new routes are constantly appearing) involves traveling the 40 kilometers that separate Piscacucho (starting point) from the sacred temple. As I say there are different versions, but generally they offer you to travel it between two and four nights. The problem: price and excess demand. To be able to do this trail you have to book well in advance. It is also mandatory to hire a guide for the road. Adding it all up is a significant financial outlay, but everyone who does it recommends it. Here is an interesting tour in this regard that you can book directly online.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Adventure trip to Machu Picchu

There are many travel agencies that offer alternative routes to Machu Picchu including adventure elements: bicycle route, zip lines, bungee jumping … Actually, they sell you the complete pack but they do not include everything. For example, bikes do, but if you also want to bungee you pay separately. They are truly very interesting tours, but most of what they offer you can manage on your own and it comes out much cheaper. If you do not want complications, it is a good option, but it also implies schedules and a lack of freedom. It is not expensive but you can still look for a more affordable option for your pocket.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Go to Machu Picchu on your own

As everyone here invents their own path, we are going to baptize ours as the path Nothing Included . As its name suggests, it involves making the entire trip on your own . And the advantage it has is that it allows you a lot of flexibility … and a lot of savings.

First of all, I am going to put a map of the area with which we orient ourselves. It is not overly sophisticated, but it is enlightening enough. To make it easier for you to understand the path, I will organize it in stages:

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1st) Cuzco – Santa María by bus

Every day, there are several buses that take you from Cuzco to Santa María , the first toll on our way. The bus trip lasts about 6 hours (less in theory) and can be quite tiring. But if you do it in a bus for Peruvians (we did it in the company Selva Sur) it is the cheapest option: between 15 and 20 soles per person (4-5 euros) you have it. It is important that you leave first thing in the morning (8:00 is fine) and thus you avoid surprises along the way. These buses are not caught at the main bus station in Cuzco, but leave from the Avenida Grau Bus Terminal . If you are going to spend the night in Cuzco, I recommend two good lodging options:

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

  • The Mallqui hostel, where we stayed. For € 9 a night you can find a bed in a shared room, with breakfast included.
  • AirBnb has a wide range of accommodation in Cuzco, at all kinds of prices. If you do not have an account on this platform.

2nd) Santa María – Santa Teresa by taxi

Second section ( 1 hour ), Santa María – Santa Teresa . As soon as you arrive in Santa María, you will count in thousands the taxi drivers, drivers and others who assault you offering you a transport to Santa Teresa or the Hydroelectric Station . We went to Santa Teresa because we wanted to visit its hot springs. The trip  to Santa Teresa cost us about 10 soles (3 euros) per person and the entrance to the hot springs, 5 soles (highly recommended). If you decide to spend a night in Santa Teresa, you delay an entire day even though you see interesting things. In Santa Teresa there are a variety of hostels , we pay 10 solesthe night per person in one that we found upon arrival. If you prefer to go to something more decent and already booked, take a look at the Yacummama hotel, with a double room for 23 euros a night.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Eating around is not too expensive either, although in our case we prepare sandwiches in Cuzco to eat during the day. That which you save. If you go to the Hydroelectric directly, that same night you could already sleep in Aguas Calientes and the next day go up to Machu Picchu. I take this point to tell you that from Cuzco it is possible to travel in your own vehicle to Santa Teresa , and leave it parked in this town (some hotels offer parking). So traveling here in your own or rental car is a good option.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

3rd) Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric on foot or by taxi

If you have decided to spend the night in Santa Teresa, now is the time to go to the Hydroelectric . You can go both on foot (from 1 to 3 hours) and by taxi ( 30 minutes, 5 soles per person ). If you do it on foot, make sure you don’t carry very heavy luggage with you or it will last forever.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

The road has its appeal, although if you get a very sunny day you can have a bad time. This stage ends at the Hydroelectric Station, from where the cheapest train leaves (but not enough) to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). There you have some stalls where you can buy some drinks and provisions to continue the adventure. It is relatively expensive, but more expensive is dehydration.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

4th) Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes on foot

The duration of this stage will depend on how tired you have gotten here, but it will easily take you between 2 and 4 hours to walk. The route consists of following the train track that goes up to Machu Picchu town . It is truly a beautiful journey because you are in a mountain jungle.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Hydroelectric-Hot-water, train track.  Road to Machu Picchu

If you are running out of time, I encourage you to do it calmly, stopping, taking photos, enjoying the surroundings.

After a long and beautiful day of hiking you will arrive in Aguas Calientes , the closest town to Machu Picchu.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Hot waters from afar.  Road to Machu Picchu

5th) Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu town

Aguas Calientes is a very steep town and, unless you stay at the entrance, you will have to climb a lot. It may seem silly but after the beating you can carry, it will be very tiresome. Aguas Calientes is a beautiful and very touristic town , dedicated entirely to Machu Picchu, so the number of lodgings and restaurants you have there is infinite. The prices are somewhat higher than in the rest of Peru, but not excessive. For 25 soles (six euros) per person we find an  accommodation with breakfast(very rare) included. If you prefer to book now and avoid last minute surprises, I recommend the Casa Machu Picchu hostel, where it is possible to stay for € 11 a night in a shared room. This property is rated 7.9 on Booking after almost 1000 reviews.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

In the town there is a market to shop and save costs, although eating in restaurants in the area is affordable. For 15 soles (4 euros) you can get a decent menu .

6th) Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu

If you have come this far, now comes the best, although you will have to get up early this day. You can go up to the lost city of the Incas by bus (30 minutes) or on foot (2 hours) . The bus is quite expensive, about 40 soles (8 euros), but going up on foot must be deadly. There is a lot of slope and getting exhausted upstairs is not a good idea. So I recommend getting on the bus and walking down. In Machu Picchu it is mandatory to go with a guide and pick it up at the door will be worse. We manage it in the same hostel for 15 soles (4 euros) per person . A good price.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

7ª) Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas

You have succeeded, you have reached Machu Picchu on your own and you have not left all the money on the way. It is recommended that you go up with provisions to the place , if you do not want to spoil your accounts in a moment. The sacred city is the only place in Peru that has the same prices as expensive Europe. Much careful to eat there, drink …. etc. The best thing is to get some supplies at the Aguas Calientes market, spend the day even with sandwiches and cookies, and you will already have a strong dinner when you return. It is also important to bring a raincoat (in case the rains are very frequent), mosquito repellent, sun cream and a cap. If the day is clear, the sun will be with you all day. Although first thing in the morning they usually send the clouds.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

8º) Machu Picchu – Cuzco, the return

In general you will return to Cuzco, and if you get up early (because that night you have to spend it in Aguas Calientes) you can arrive the same day. You will have to walk back from Aguas Calientes to Hidroeléctrica (there is no other exit if it is not by train), from Hidroeléctrica to Santa María by taxi (15 soles per person) and from Santa María to Cuzco   (25 soles per person) by van. Good luck with the landslides, it is not uncommon for the road to be blocked and you have to wait for the debris to be removed. Problems of this or another type are very common on trips, and I recommend that you take out some insurance before your trip . The IATI company is a very good option for travelers.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

Collapse Santa María - Cuzco highway

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

If we do the accounts of everything spent during these three nights and four days. ..

  • Bus Cuzco – Santa María: 20 soles.
  • Taxi Santa María – Santa Teresa: 10 soles.
  • Accommodation in Santa Teresa: 10 soles.
  • Lunch all day 1:20 soles.
  • Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric: 10 soles.
  • Aguas Calientes accommodation: 25 soles.
  • Food expenses in Aguas Calientes: 40 soles.
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu: 64 (members of the Andean community) – 152 soles (foreign adults).
  • Machu Picchu guide: 15 soles.
  • Bus to Machu Picchu: 40 soles.
  • Hydroelectric Taxi – Santa María: 15 soles
  • Taxi Santa María – Cuzco: 25 soles.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

we obtain a total cost of about 300 soles for university students and / or Peruvians and 380 soles for foreign adults. Between 85 and 110 euros in four days . Euro up, euro down, an infinitely lower price than any of the other options available. This is how we did it and although the road was exhausting, it was a full experience. In fact, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to read our passage through Machu Picchu . If after reading this publication you still have any questions, we have prepared other publications to answer some of the frequently asked questions that every traveler usually asks about this country and its prized archaeological monument.

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

(How to go to Machu Picchu Peru)

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