Few places on earth conjure images of adventure and discovery like Machu Picchu. From stunning scenery to indigenous history, this ancient Inca ruin has it all. Whether by trek or by train, here are your options for reaching Machu Picchu from Cusco.
By Train and Bus
Because there’s no formal road to the site, the majority of visitors start their trip with a scenic 3.5–hour train journey that winds alongside the roaring Urubamba River from the town of Poroy near Cusco or Ollantaytambo. You have a number of train options ranging from the simply comfortable to the fabulously luxurious. When the train arrives in the city of Aguas Calientes, the closest access point to the ruins, you can then take a short 20-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Buses run every 15 minutes while the site is open.
A visit to Machu Picchu is truly a stunning experience, no matter how you get there. But for those looking to extend their time in and deepen their knowledge of this magical Inca site, a single- or multi-day hike on the Inca Trail is a great option. All Inca Trail hikes to Machu Picchu must be taken with a guide, and a variety of trip itineraries and hike lengths are available. Travelers planning to complete the trek should be in good physical shape and prepared for unpredictable weather conditions.
The benefit of taking a guided tour to Machu Picchu is that all your transport logistics will be arranged for you in advance. Nearly all guided tours include round-trip train and bus transport to the site, saving you from the hassle of having to confirm your own tickets and the risk of them selling out. For the more adventurous, guided tour options featuring single- or multi-day hikes to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail are also available.