From Lima to Machu Picchu: Ultimate Guide 2024

How can I get to Machu Picchu from Lima? This question is a very important part when planning your whole journey to Machu Picchu. As the first stop of most people's Peru tour, Lima is famous for its award-winning gastronomy, lush rainforest, and historical ruins. When planning your Peru tour, you won't miss Machu Picchu as it is the most significant symbol when it comes to Peru. This article will illustrate how to get from Lima to Machu Picchu step by step, including different transportation, trekking trails, and some travel tips. Let's get started.

Machu Picchu, PeruMachu Picchu, Peru

Step 1: From Lima to Cusco

Though you can find that Lima and Machu Picchu are not far away from each other on the map, there is no direct way to get from Lima to Machu Picchu because they are separated by the Andes Mountains. You should first get to Cusco when you are going to Machu Picchu from Lima. And there are three transportation options for you to get there. By air, by vehicle, or by train. However, if you are interested in getting to Cusco by train, there is only a part of the journey that you can take a train.

Andes MountainsAndes Mountains

Flight:

Usually, taking a flight from Lima to Cusco is the common way because it will save you time and energy. Flights from Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco would take 1 hour and 15 minutes. You can choose any time to depart from Lima. There are plenty of flights.

The altitude might influence you because the plane will fly from Lima, 0 meters above sea level, directly to Cusco, which is 3399 meters (over 10000 ft) over sea level in a short time. You may need one to two days to get rest after flying.

Cusco AirportCusco Airport

Vehicle:

From Lima to Cusco, it is also possible to arrange a private car to take about 20 hours to arrive. We strongly recommend you take a ride if you are worried about altitude sickness. The report of the Peru Tourism Board shows that taking a ride from Lima to Cusco is three times less likely to be affected by altitude than flying to Cusco. We can schedule the route for you to make sure that you won't miss any exciting points. Don't hesitate to contact us to design your Peru tour.

There are many bus companies in Peru that can take you from Lima to Cusco, it is also a popular way to get from Lima to Cusco. The directly arrived route takes about 22 hours, and it will only stop in Nazca. However, it is not recommended because it may be tiring for you to take a long time ride.

If you want to take a bus from Lima to Cusco, it is better to choose a route that stops at the main attractions of Peru. For example, you can choose a route that can stop in Nazca, Huacachina, Arequipa, and Puno. Spend one day in Puno experiencing the local culture, seeing the Uros floating island and visiting the local family. To learn more about the cultural diversity of Peru.

It can take you to the most essential attractions of Peru and separate your whole trip to avoid long rides. It will help you to adjust to the altitude and keep your energy for the rest of the hiking part.

Uros Floating Island, PunoUros Floating Island, Puno

Train:

You can take a vehicle to get to Arequipa or Puno, then take a train to get to Cusco. The Andean Explorer of Belmond is one of the most famous luxury trains that travel from Arequipa to Puno to Cusco. You can choose to spend one to three nights on the train, and you will not get bored!

It provides luxury accommodations, exquisite dinners, and some excursions. Moreover, it will provide considerable services, and you can have diverse onboard activities, such as drinking a cocktail under the stars on the outdoor terrace. Contact us to help you to reserve if you are interested.

Belmond Andean ExplorerBelmond Andean Explorer

Step 2: From Cusco to Machu Picchu

There are two main ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco: by train or by hiking. In these two different ways, there are diverse routes for you to choose from. We provide more details below.

By Train:

There is no direct railway departing from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Usually, you can take a train to transit to a station near Cusco. There are some train stations to choose from, but we recommend you stop in Ollantaytambo because it has more timetable choices. Then you can take a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the closest train station to Machu Picchu.

After you arrive at the station in Aguas Calientes, it is convenient to take a bus. The bus will take you to the entrance of the Inca Citadel. It takes 30 minutes to arrive, and it departs every 10 minutes.

If you need to know where to buy the train tickets, Peru Rail and Inca Rail are two renowned train companies that run the route from Cusco to Machu Picchu. They run many train routes, and they also have luxury services.

Hike From Cusco to Machu Picchu

Hiking the Andes Mountains is an extraordinary experience and many people would choose to trek from Cusco. There is still 106 kilometers away from Cusco to Machu Picchu and the trekking route can be diverse depending on your hiking ability and time. This journey can vary from 2 days to 7 days or even longer. If organized well, you can see the sunrise of Machu Picchu on the hike.

Cute Alpaca Along the Hiking TrailCute Alpaca Along the Hiking Trail

Step 1: Lima to Cusco by air.

Step 2: Cusco to Ollantaytambo by Vehicle.

Step 3: Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes by train.

Step 4: Aguas Calientes to Inca Citadel by bus.

Step 5: Start to appreciate the incredible Inca wonders.

This is the fastest way to get to Machu Picchu from Lima. However, you may more likely catch altitude sickness compared to traveling from Lima to Cusco by bus. In this way, you can travel from Lima to the Inca lost empire in one day if you feel comfortable with the altitude of Andes mountains.

On the highland tour, you need more rest and give yourself time to adjust to the different circumstances. On the journey, you can add some other attractions along the way to indulge in Peru's exotic culture and gastronomy and have a good rest to make yourself comfortable.

Step 1: Lima to Puno by bus, with stops in some cities on excursions.

Step 2: Puno to Cusco by Belmond train.

Step 3: Cusco to Aguas Calientes by train.

Step 4: Aguas Calientes to Inca Citadel by bus.

Step 5: Climb the final stairs to appreciate the Inca Empire.

This way to get from Lima to Machu Picchu provides a more gentle way for you to adjust to the altitude and is not that tiring. It is suitable for family tours with kids or elders. During the journey, you can acclimatize to the altitude and have enough rest because it separates the long journey into many short parts.

If you are not clear about the route, we are always happy to help you design a personal itinerary for you. Please feel free to contact us to get help.

Trekking to Machu PicchuTrekking to Machu Picchu

 TransportationDuration (approximately)Cost - One Way (approximately)
Lima to CuscoFlight1 hour 15 minutes45 to 75 USD on average
Bus (Direct)22 hours23 to 40 USD on average
Bus From Lima to Cusco (Stops in other cities)29 hours25 to 65 USD (Depends on stop)
Cusco to Aguas CaliantesAirport to Train Station30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes15 to 40 USD
Train1 hour 30 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes>45 to 180 USD  (not including Luxury)
Hiking2 to 7 days, depending on your choiceStart from 200 USD
Aguas Calientes to Machu PicchuBus30 minutes12 USD
Hiking2 hoursFree

Book in advance

Machu Picchu is one of the most famous attractions in the world. You should book the tickets at least one month in advance.

If you'd like to hike the Inca Trail or experience the luxury train, you need to make the reservation at least one month in advance.

Altitude Sickness

Acclimatizing to the altitude would help when traveling to Machu Picchu. You can have a cup of coca tea during the journey. You can easily find it in the street shops or the hotel you stay in.

Prepare For Hiking

There must be a part of the journey that you need to hike, and there are many steps to climb up on the way to Machu Picchu, so light clothes and comfortable shoes are a must for your Peru tour. And we recommend you bring only a few packages for a better experience. For those who want to hike, the Inca trail porters will help carry the necessary equipment and some hikers' luggage.

Plan Your Peru Tour With Odynovo

Known as one of the world's new seven wonders, Machu Picchu is a must-visit for your Peru tour. No matter how you travel from Lima to Machu Picchu, it is a long journey that you need to transit time after time. Do not feel anxious because the view along your travel is always part of your experience and memory. Contact us to customize your Peru tour with Odynovo.

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