Are you trying to figure out how to get to Machu Picchu from Lima?
There’s dramatic natural scenery and everyone talks about how beautiful the trek is.
Half a million visitors travel from lima to machu picchu here each year, but you have no idea where to start.
Planning your Peruvian adventure to Machu Picchu from Lima may seem like a daunting task.
However, there are plenty of Machu Picchu tour packages that offer planned itineraries to make this experience as simple as possible.
This comprehensive guide lets you in on the secrets to planning a perfect trip to Machu Picchu from Lima.
You’ll learn how to get there, what places to see, the best package tours to go on and lots more.
Flights from Lima to Cusco
To start your journey from Lima to Machu Picchu, you have to first fly to Cusco.
There are daily flights to Cusco from the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.
The airport is open 24/7, although most of its facilities only operate during regular office hours.
A detailed schedule of flight arrivals and departures can be found online and at the main check-in area.
Most international flights arrive late at night.
Therefore the busiest time at customs and immigration is between 8pm and 11pm.
Bus and Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
The cheapest yet least safe way to get to Machu Picchu after landing in Cusco, is by bus.
It takes 2 days to get to Machu Picchu by bus from Cusco.
At Cusco, book a bus to the town of Hidroelectrica, the last town accessible via road before Machu Picchu.
From this small town, you can either take the train or hike to Aguas Calientes town.
Then take the bus or hike up the mountain and enter the Inca Citadel.
The easiest way to reach Machu Picchu is via train.
Purchase your tickets online in advance from Peru Rail as they sell out quickly.
Take the train from Poroy Station in Cusco.
Your journey will end at Aguas Calientes, the last town before you get to Machu Picchu.
Thereafter take the bus or hike up the mountain to reach the Lost City.
Hiking from Cusco to Machu Picchu
Nothing beats the satisfaction of approaching Machu Picchu on your own two feet.
Here are 7 trails stretching throughout the Andes that provide travelers with alternate routes to get to Machu Picchu.
- Inca Trail – This classic trail is famous for the diversity of its ecosystems and topography. Spend one night on the trail so you can enjoy a dramatic entrance into the Inca Citadel at dawn via the Sun Gate. (1-2 days)
- Salkantay Trail – This impressive trail will take you on a mule-assisted hike. From here, gaze across the valley for rare panoramas of the complete Machu Picchu complex. (5-8 days)
- Lares Trail – The trail will cut through several villages where life continues much as it has for centuries. Along the way, enjoy close-up views of Mount Veronica and several lakes. (3-5 days)
- Choquequirao – The trek offers a quiet, challenging and beautiful way to get to Machu Picchu. Starting from the town of Chiquisca, you will descend further into the valley before traversing the Apurimac River. (3-4 days)
- Vilcabamba Trail – Starting from the town of Cachora, hikers will cross a mountain range, rivers and valleys. They will also cut through several of the diverse bio zones of Peru. (7-13 days)
- Chaski Trail – This route follows the paths that ancient Incan messengers used to connect the vast empire’s outposts. The trail will conclude at Ollantaytambo where trekkers can soak up one of the most famous sets of Inca ruins. (3-5 days)
- Huchuy Qosqo Trail – The trail winds over a series of undulating hills with awesome views. You will see llamas and alpacas among the fantastic scenery. (2 days)
Can you take the bus, train and hike to Machu Picchu?
Yes. The city of Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and all 3 options are available for accessing the Inca Citadel.
The train provides the quickest means and is ideal for those short on time or prefer to relax.
Hiking is the most gratifying as it provides beautiful scenery along the way.
Bus is the cheapest but also the least safe option.
It’s also possible to combine taking the train and trekking.
Simply take a train departing from Poroy Station or Ollantaytambo Station.
Both trains end their journey at the station in Aguas Calientes.
From here, you can hike to Machu Picchu.
10 Best Tours from Lima to Machu Picchu
1. 6-Day Private Tour from Lima: Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
Explore the highlights of Peru and its ancient Inca Empire on this 6-day tour.
This excursion covers Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
You will visit sites such as the Ollantaytambo ruins, the Maras Salt Terraces and the ancient Inca Citadel.
2. 7-Day Lima, Cusco and Sunrise at Machu Picchu
Discover the best highlights of Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu on this 7 day tour.
This excursion will take you to the landmarks of cosmopolitan Lima, the Inca ruins of Cusco and the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu.
3. 7-Day Peru Deep Dive: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu Tour
Dive deep into Peru on this week-long tour.
Stroll the neighborhoods of Lima and see the archaeology and architecture at Cusco.
Explore the scenic beauty of the Sacred Valley, and witness the spectacular site of Machu Picchu.
4. 8-Day Peru from Lima: Cusco, Puno, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
Explore all the highlights of Peru on this 8-day tour from Lima.
You will visit Cusco, Puno, the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu.
5. 8-Day Inca Empire from Lima
Immerse yourself into ancient Inca culture and history on this 8-day tour from Lima.
You will explore Inca sites at the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu.
6. 8-Day Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca Tour from Lima
Explore the most iconic sites of Peru on this 8-day tour from Lima.
You will discover the wealth of Incan history at Cusco, tour the iconic Machu Picchu, and the numerous Inca ruins around the Sacred Valley.
Continue to Lake Titicaca to explore the one-of-a-kind Uros Floating Island and scenic beauty of Taquile Island.
7. 10-day Tour from Lima: Amazon Jungle, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca
Experience Peru’s breathtaking archaeological and natural wonders on this 10-day tour.
Explore Cosmopolitan Lima before heading out to the Amazon Jungle.
Visit Cusco and tour Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley before concluding at Lake Titicaca.
8. 12-Night Peru from Lima: Nazca, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno
Journey into the depths of Peru on this 12-night tour from Lima.
Explore top attractions like the Nazca Lines, Cusco, the Ballestas Islands, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
Other highlights include a visit to Lake Titicaca and the floating islands of Puno.
9. 15-Day Tour from Lima: Amazon, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Nazca Lines
Experience Peru like never before on this 15-day tour.
You will visit the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Nazca Lines.
10. 16-Day Great Inca Expedition from Lima
Explore the culture and history of the ancient Inca Empire on this exciting 16-day tour.
You will visit the Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Uros Islands and Machu Picchu.
Visually stunning and filled with mystery, Machu Picchu is a must-see for everyone.
Visiting the Inca Citadel requires advanced planning.
You need to know the best time to travel and the transportation options available.
There are also other Peruvian attractions that you can check out on your way from Lima.
With proper information and the right tour package, your visit to Machu Picchu is bound to be a trip of a lifetime.
The best time to visit this Inca citadel is during the dry season from April to October.
For warmer temperatures with light to heavy rains, visit between November and March.
The best weather season is from June to August, but it’s also the busiest.
You can also enjoy the beauty of the ruins during the off-peak season months of April, May, September and October.
The weather in Machu Picchu features warm, humid days and cool nights.
Maximum temperatures here reach 27°C, while the minimum drops to 11°C.
The region is generally rainy, especially between November and March.
The dry season runs from April to November.
Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level.
If you’ll be staying at Cusco before heading to Machu Picchu, you will need to acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness.
It’s important for a memorable visit to Machu Picchu to be prepared with all the essential supplies.
You will need suitable footwear to hike on uneven terrain.
Pack light breathable clothing that will keep you cool and dry in the humid Peruvian climate.
Bring sunscreen to avoid getting burns at higher elevations.
Take a backpack to store your water, snacks and other supplies.
You will also need some bug spray to protect you from the local insect population.
Yes. But only if you don’t intend to trek the Inca Trail to reach the Lost City.
But whether you hike up or not, a trip to Machu Picchu can be a very complicated journey to make without a guide.
Moreover, there are significant security risks for those who wish to visit.
Your best bet is therefore to book a tour.
Let the tour company worry about your safety as you focus on enjoying your visit to the Incan Citadel.