Get to Machu Picchu Inca Trail

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Reaching the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu has become more convenient with international flights, efficient trains, and frequent buses connecting travelers to this iconic destination. Compared to Hiram Bingham’s expedition in 1911, the journey is now much more accessible. Depending on your preferred mode of transportation, there are various options available to reach Machu Picchu.

For most visitors, the journey begins with a flight to Lima, the capital city of Peru. From Lima, you can choose to take a short connecting flight or opt for a longer but scenic bus ride to Cusco, the gateway to the Inca Trail.

While there are alternative routes, many adventurers who seek to experience the true essence of Machu Picchu choose to embark on the Inca Trail hike. This incredible trek offers a rewarding journey through breathtaking landscapes, architectural marvels, and the awe-inspiring natural surroundings that encompass this ancient city.

What is the duration of the hike to Machu Picchu?

The duration of the hike to Machu Picchu varies depending on the chosen route. The Classic Inca Trail, the most popular option, typically takes 3 to 5 days to complete. On average, it takes 4 days and 3 nights to reach Machu Picchu via this route. However, for those with limited time, there is a shorter alternative. Starting at KM 104 on the Trail, this trek can be completed in just one day to reach Machu Picchu.

In addition to the Inca Trail, there are other hiking tours available, such as the Salkantay Trek, which will be discussed later in this guide.

If you prefer not to embark on a multi-day hike but still want to visit Machu Picchu, you can take a train from near Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu. The train journey takes approximately four hours. For a truly luxurious experience, you can opt for the Hiram Bingham train, known for its exquisite interior design featuring polished woods, fine fabrics, and historical furnishings. The train offers breathtaking views of the Urubamba gorge and surrounding cloud-covered forests. Alternatively, there are two other train options operated by PeruRail: the iconic and modern Vistadome and the more affordable Expedition trains.

From Aguas Calientes, you can take a 15-minute bus ride or a 45-minute uphill walk to reach the entrance area of the Machu Picchu citadel. It is important to note that Inca Trail permits need to be booked well in advance of your trip. More information about the Machu Picchu permitting process can be found towards the end of this guide. To make the most of your journey, we will provide further details on each part of the trip in the following sections.

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