Machu Picchu tours costs depend on whether you travel from Lima or Cusco, and the several journey options with regard to flights, trains and buses. Read our guide for more facts and information…
As AguasCalientes is the only town that is connected to Machu Picchu, visitors can either take a bus from this town or choose to hike the Inca Trail. It takes around twenty minutes to reach by bus and the to-and-fro journey costs US$12 per person. Apart from getting the tickets to enter Machu Picchu or obtaining the necessary permits to hike the famous Inca Trail, visitors must first reach Lima or Cusco. Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is the only airport that is closest to Machu Picchu, and serves Cusco.
Machu Picchu tours from Lima
There are direct flights from Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport to Cusco. The journey is about an hour and a half and air fares are cheaper if you book from the Peruvian Airlines. Booking a single fare on TACA costs US$176, whereas booking on Peruvian Airlines costs US$118.50 (as of 2012).
Alternatively, you can take a bus from Lima to Cusco. Though it is far cheaper, costing US$64.66, the duration of the journey is about 21 hours. You can purchase tickets online. If you choose to drive from Lima to Cusco, the journey may take a little more than 13 hours through a shorter route on Paramericana Sur.
Machu Picchu tours from Cusco
From Cusco, you can take the train to AguasCalientes, from where you may either take the bus, or walk the 8 km route, a tough path dominated by stairs. You can also take the Inca Trail from Cusco. The easiest and cheapest option is to reach AguasCalientes by train and then take the bus to Machu Picchu. The to-and-fro train fare is US$112. The two-and-fro bus fare from AguasCalientes to Machu Picchu will cost another US$12.
Machu Picchu tours Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is the toughest option and you must be well-prepared to take the hike. It is important to acclimatize to the altitude at least a week before the hike. You will have to join an organized group and there is a set limit on the number of hikers per day.
Getting to AguasCalientes from Cusco
Peru Rail is the only service that operates trains between Cusco and Machu Picchu. It is best to make reservations in advance, particularly during the peak months from May to September. Peru Rail offers two departures per day, one on the Vistadome service and the other on the Backpacker Service. A one-way fare on Vistadome costs US$71 and that on Backpacker costs US$48. The Vistadome has glass on all sides, allowing passengers to enjoy the scenic views throughout the journey.
There are a few train services between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo is at a distance of about 65 km from Cusco and you can travel the distance on taxi at a cost of US$25. An alternative option is to take a bus to Urubamba, from where you’ll take another bus to Ollantaytambo, at a cost of US$2 per person.
Bus journey from AguasCalientes to Machu Picchu
As mentioned earlier, the 20-minutes journey costs US$6 one way, and the ride give stunning views through a narrow winding track up the mountainside. Buses start departing at about 5:20 am and subsequently, at 10-minute gaps until 4:00 in the evening. The last bus from Machu Picchu to AguasCalientes is at 5:30 pm.
Ticket charges to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu entry tickets must be purchased at AguasCalientes’ Machu Picchu Cultural Center for a price of 122 Peruvian Soles, i.e. around US$44. At Machu Picchu, you can take small bags, but leave the larger ones at a store outside the entrance, for a cost of US$1.5 per luggage item.
If you take guided tours, it may cost about US$20 per guide for a two-hour tour or you may join a larger group at a cheaper price. There are many reasonably priced hotels at AguasCalientes, but you may opt to stay at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (for US$750 per night), the only hotel near the ruins of Machu Picchu.