There are several activities to do in Peru. On the top of everyone’s list is the Machu Picchu tour, which is only accessible by taking a train to the Inca citadel or hiking through the Andes and entering past the sun gate.
The best way to organize this trip is through a tailored Peru tour package that includes land transportation, domestic flights, guided tours, bilingual guides, permits, train tickets, meals “and all the “local know-how” necessary to make the trip a successful one. Let’s go over the fastest route from Lima to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
Going From Lima to Cusco
The first part of the trip is to go from Lima’s capital city to Cusco’s highland city. Typically, travelers will spend a day or two in Lima checking out the colonial center and the surrounding districts. The city is also known for its gastronomy and has two restaurants in the top 10 of the “50 best in the world”.
The fastest way to get to Cusco is by plane. Travelers will board a flight at the Jorge Chavez airport located in Callao. The flight only takes around an hour and a half to complete. When visitors arrive in Cusco, they will immediately notice the elevation change. Going from sea level to over 10,000 feet in a matter of 60 minutes tends to feel rather obvious.
Once in Cusco, visitors will head to their place of accommodations and check-in for the night. It is best to rest for the first day while acclimatization occurs. The last thing travelers want is to experience elevation sickness on their first day in a new city.
Going From Cusco to Aguas Calientes
Aguas Calientes is a small town at the bottom of the Machu Picchu mountain. It is the access point to enter the Inca citadel since it is where trains and hiking groups arrive. The quickest way to go from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is by train. The ride takes anywhere from 2-5 hours, depending on which station you decide to board the train. The ride through the Urubamba valley allows travelers to see some of the most picturesque Andean landscapes on the continent.
Once visitors reach the town of Aguas Calientes, they’ll instantly be greeted with a different climate than what they experienced in Cusco. Aguas Calientes is actually in the cloud forest, and this region is spaced between the Amazon rainforest and the Andes.
Going From Aguas Calientes To Machu Picchu
Travelers have two options to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The first is the most common and the quickest of the two, going by bus. The bus leaves every fifteen minutes and takes travelers up a series of winding roads up the mountain until reaching the main entrance to the sanctuary. Depending on weather and road conditions, the drive time is from twenty to thirty minutes.
The second option is to hike up the mountain to the main entrance. The hike up to Machu Picchu can take anywhere from three to four hours, depending on weather conditions and how experienced hikers are in these types of trails.
Both options have beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys below.
Arrival At Machu Picchu and Tour
Once travelers arrive at the main entrance, the Machu Picchu tour can begin. The guide will go through all sections of the sanctuary and answer any questions visitors might have regarding stone city. Some notable landmarks to look forward to being:
- The temple of the three windows
- The temple of the sun
- The temple of the condor
- The Machu Picchu water mirrors
- The Inca Sundial
The tour takes around two hours to complete, and the travelers will have an additional two hours to explore Machu Picchu on their own.