HOW TO TRAVEL TO MACHU PICCHU | PERU
This is a guide written by Maria Corpuz for her friends visiting Machu Picchu. Are you planning to visit Machu Picchu soon? This How To Travel To Machu Picchu guide will help you navigate the trip of life time.
You can follow Maria on Instagram @nomadicnursemaria
1. Fly to Lima and Cusco Airports.
2. PeruRail (best train company, there is also IncaRail) train: get the cheapest online with no frills since the fancier ones aren’t worth it, must pick up actual tickets upon arriving in Cusco Airport because the self-service ticketing kiosk in Lima Airport is usually out of service
3. Entrance to Machu Picchu and/or Huayna Picchu: get it online and tickets can be printed at home.
PAY TICKETS AND BOOK ACCOMMODATIONS ABOUT 4-5 MONTHS PRIOR TO TRIP.
Recommended 3-star hotels (great customer service):
1. Torre Dorada in Cusco. Can order restaurant food and provide room service, travel tips, cab rides to/from airport, oxygen, free tea and breakfast. Major con: 10 minute cab ride to everywhere since it is further from the town square.
2. Tierra Viva in Aguas Calientes. Has their own restaurant downstairs open very early breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night.
1 USD = 3.35 Peruvian Soles. Visas and Mastercards accepted, ATMs are easy to find. 99.99% of restaurants and hotels have wifi.
ARRIVE IN PERU.
Lima, then Lima to Cusco. Need to stop by immigration as they need to issue an immigration card (pink slip) to all travelers. You must guard this pink slip with your life as you are screwed if you lose it (cannot check in hotels or leave the country etc). Can prearrange cab pickup by Torre Dorada Hotel. Cab drivers usually speak very little English, but hotel staff themselves are fluent in English.
STOPOVER/SLEEPOVER IN CUSCO (ELEVATION 11,000 FT).
Better to buy actual bus tickets (30 min ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu entrance) in this town than in Aguas Calientes just in case. Hotel staff or cab driver can take you at the ticketing office (they accept credit cards). It gets chilly in this town. Locals show off their alpacas and may ask for 20 Soles for a photo with their pets. They also have a parade once in a while in the town square (Plaza de las Armas).
TAKE THE TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU.
Get a cab with the help of hotel staff to go to Estacion Poroy (Poroy Station), which takes about 20 mins. PeruRail only takes small luggages about 6-8 lbs. Train ride takes about 3-4 hours at most. If you’re doing the 3/4/5 day hike along the Sacred Valley, you may have to get off the train a little earlier, depending on where your tour company/guide is meeting you.
ARRIVE/STOPOVER IN AGUAS CALIENTES
(MACHU PICCHU PUEBLO, ELEVATION NOT THAT HIGH).
Most hotel staff will be waiting for travelers at the station. This city is so small you can literally walk the whole place in 1 hour. However, there is so much to see as it is packed with souvenir vendors, restaurants and hotels. There is also a ticketing office for the bus rides here. Again, wifi is everywhere and there is an ATM. A lot of nasty, aggressive flies in this town so wear long sleeves and pants or buy insect repellant at the small drug store there.
ARRIVE IN MACHU PICCHU (ELEVATION 7,600 FT).
Wake up really early like at 4am. The line for the bus can get long really fast (3-4 blocks long) by 430am. First bus ride starts at 530am and last bus ride from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes is 3pm daily. Can bring a bottle of water and maybe snacks since they may or may not check your bag upon arrival there. Tour guides available at entrance. Also bring layers of clothing as it is chilly in the early morning but gets as hot as 90F degrees starting 11am even in wintertime.
GOING BACK IS JUST THE REVERSE.
Locals recommend stopover in Lima for better food experience.
Return the immigration card at Lima Airport. They will also go through your luggage thoroughly about 2-3 times before boarding the plane back home.
You can follow Maria Corpuz on Instagram @nomadicnursemaria and twitter @nomadic_maria
That’s all from Maria, do you have any tips for #Wonderers on HOW TO TRAVEL TO MACHU PICCHU? Leave it in the comments below!