Learning to go from Lima to Machu Picchu can take anywhere from one full day of carefully planned travel to three to four days of leisurely touring through the Peruvian coast and Andean landscape. Below, we’ll go over the most common Peru package travelers choose to get to the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, from Lima’s metropolitan city.
Lima To Cusco
Travelers will tend to spend at least a few days in Lima before heading to the country’s highlands. It is generally a good idea to spend at least a couple of days to take a city tour, including the main square, the colonial-era cathedrals, buildings, and views of the pacific ocean from various districts like Miraflores or Barranco.
Tourists can spend the following day in Lima walking around the Miraflores district and visiting the many parks that face the ocean. while enjoying local street food. Lima is also the gastronomic capital of the continent, so there will be no shortage of delicious dishes to try and world-renowned restaurants. The most notable dishes to try are Lomo Saltado, Ceviche, Aji de Gallina, and Seco a La Nortena.
Once we finish the Lima portion of the tour package, travelers should take a flight from the capital city to Cusco. The short flight to Cusco is around an hour and a half long, and several airlines make this route, so it is relatively easy to book a flight. Travelers will arrive at the Velasco Astete Airport in Cusco, get their luggage, and travel to the city center, where all the hotels and Airbnb are located.
Cusco to Machu Picchu
Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu is generally straightforward. There are two popular ways to go to the Inca city. The first is taking a multi-day Machu Picchu hike like the Salkantay or the Inca Trail. The second option is to go to Machu Picchu by train, which is a much more leisurely route.
To go by train, travelers should go towards the Poroy station near the center of Cusco or take a cab to the Ollantaytambo station located in the Urubamba Valley, just an hour and a half away. Some guides prefer to take their tourist groups directly to the Ollantaytambo station to take the train. The trip to the Ollantaytambo station has to go through the Sacred Valley, so it is like a mini tour of the region. The local geography is quite impressive. Ollantaytambo also has its own set of ruins that travelers can explore during their visit to the small town. This makes it a great way to spend the morning before heading to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes Overnight to Machu Picchu
The train will arrive in the small village called Aguas Calientes, and the travel groups will have two options that should have been planned out before the trip’s start. They can either stay in Aguas Calientes for the night, which gives them a chance to explore the town, and go to the hot springs for the evening. Most groups prefer this first option since it makes the trip go more leisurely. Aguas Calientes could be more attractive in itself, but the added trip to the hot springs to relax during the overnight stay makes more sense. The landscape is also fascinating. Imagine sitting in thermal waters surrounded by the cloud forest’s lush green backdrop, the point where the Andes mountains meet the Amazon rainforest.
The other option is to go directly to the Inca citadel on a one day trip to Machu Picchu. If travelers prefer the second, shorter option, they will head to the bus station immediately after getting off the train. The bus station is only a few minutes away. The shuttle service up to Machu Picchu is called CONSETTUR. After travelers purchase a ticket, they can board the bus for the 20-minute ride up the mountain to the main entrance to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu Guided Tour
Once groups enter Machu Picchu for the guided tour, they instantly walk toward the bottom section of the Incan complex. The tour begins by going over some of the most important landmarks of the Incas. The temple of the sun, the Temple of the Condor, and the Temple of the Three windows are just a few landmarks the tour guide will go over in detail at the beginning of the guided experience.
The guide will then move on to landmarks like the Inca jail and the condor temple, where sacrifices were said to occur. There is also a section called the Machu Picchu mirrors, which are circular fountains used to locate the positions of the stars.
After the 2-hour guided tour, travelers will have an additional two hours to explore Machu Picchu independently. Afterward, all groups will return to Aguas Calientes, where they can enjoy lunch before finally boarding the train back to Cusco.
Going from Lima to Cusco can be a short trip, as discussed in this article. The journey can include more activities and destinations like the rainbow mountain hike near Cusco, or even head to Lake Titicaca for another set of tours and guided experiences.