Hundreds of thousands of tourists arrive in Cusco each year. Some of them find themselves encouraged to venture by their own. Also there are the ones who already come determined to go backpacking and no matter what, they will go for it. Certainly when you travel to Machu Picchu on your own it is cheaper, besides you won´t depend on any itinerary or something, it is more flexible and most importantly it is possible. The only thing to be highlighted at this point is that you can go by yourself through all the existing routes except the Inca trail. Read below the following guide on how to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu with or without a travel agency.


This is the cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu but at the same time it can be a risky decision as there are reports about accidents occured before, and added to the long time travels of about ten hours. It’s a tight schedule. This is only one more alternative route and is fitted mostly  for backpackers, adventure lovers and not much for family trips.

Machu Picchu by car.– If you want, you can take the 2 days Machu picchu tour or just take the car service from Cusco – Hidroelectrica – Cusco with a tour agent. Some travel companies offer both services at the same time. The car fare is around 90 Soles round trip.

Once in Hidroelectrica, you have two different choices to get to Aguas calientes. Whether you take a 30 minute train or hike along the Vilcanota river´s one side, parallel the train rail. It is about 03 hours hike covering 10 KM. what comes next is overnight at Aguas caliente before the great day. The next day you will go up to Machu picchu, also you get two choices to choose. Either you are going by bus or by walking, it will depend on your entry hour. You have to check it out on your Machu picchu ticket. Finally the world´s wonder will be in front of you.

How do I get back?

After the entire morning exploration in Machu Picchu, as everyone else you have to get back to Aguas calientes first for lunch, and start walking towards Hidroelectrica. If you feel exhausted, you can board the last train leaving at 13:15 hrs which arrives in Hidroelectrica at 13:45. And surely your arranged van will be there ready to depart to Cusco. It’s about a seven hours drive. 

As we mentioned, it as a risky route and not quite recommended to travel through, since our perspective. Also there are less people reporting this journey was worth it after having done this. There are only a few people. However if it is your second or even the third time going to Machu Picchu, you may try this route as well.


All train tickets from/to Hidroelectrica – Aguas calientes have to be purchased at the Hidroelectrica station or Wanchaq station in the city of Cusco.

cusco to machu picchu by car


The Machu Picchu journey by train is with no doubts a lifetime experience, fantastic and incredible as an epic trip as you can just imagine. At the beginning, from Poroy station for example, there will appear the incredible landscapes of the andean sierra, snow capped peaks to delight the views and as the train runs. The landscape will be changing into valleys, dwarf forests and the mighty Urubamba river snaking further ahead. All the beauty of nature, daily life of people  and so forth can be appreciated from the panoramic windows of the train. The main way to get to Machu Picchu is by train though.

There are only two train companies operating, with different daily departures from different railway stations.

Train service in the pandemic

As a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic, the train companies stopped all activity. We are still waiting for the restart of tourism that has been hit strongly. Only a third of their services are operating with 50% of the train´s capacity. Know that back in the years you could find the two companies making about 40 frequencies running across the sacred valley. So far the Covid 19 situation is expected to get better to once again travel to the world’s wonder.

All the Trains
  •         Peru rail: Local train, Expedition, Vistadome, Peru rail Sacred Valley and the exclusive Belmond Hiram Bingham.
  •         Inca rail: The Voyager, The 360, The First class, The Private Train.

There are four railway stations from which you can take your Machu Picchu journey:

  • Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes, (most recommended option).
  • Urubamba – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes, (only two frequencies per day) mainly used by Tambo del Inka y del Belmond Río Sagrado guests.
  • Poroy – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes, it only runs between 01 May and 01 January. During the rainy season, it is closed.
  • Cusco – Poroy – Ollantaytambo y Aguas Calientes, it only opens from 01 May to 01 January, each year. It closes in the rainy season.
Trains in the rainy season

In the rainy season running (January  – May), all trains depart from Ollantaytambo station and return to the same station, except the Luxury Hiram Bingham that gets back until Rio Sagrado hotel. Moreover in this season train companies operate the bimodal service, meaning they patrol tourists by bus to the stations and from the stations to hotels in Cusco.

There is a way of traveling Machu Picchu in one single day, but it is a bit tiring and long. What you may have to see also is that there are tours such as Sacred valley or Maras Moray – salineras, from which you can easily hook up on your journey to Machu Picchu by train..


Cusco to Machu Pcchu by train


Getting Machu Picchu by bike is fitted more for young adventure lovers, those who are looking for pure adrenaline experiences. When you go to Machu Picchu by bike, it is a combination of bus, bike, hike. Also there you have a  choice of some extreme sports like white water river rafting and ziplining managed by the local companies, both in Santa Maria and Santa Teresa.

Don’t misunderstand this, there is no way to go to Machu Picchu directly by bike, which does not exist. What most people do is to take a tour with a travel agency and go by bike part of it in a route known as the Inca jungle. Of course, the company carries all biking equipment and all the stuff.

The minimum number of days needed for this journey is four, including Machu Picchu. On the other hand, there are tour companies offering multiple activities for the same travel route. It all depends on you and how much time you have. The tour begins as usual in Cusco, going through Ollantaytambo up to Abra de Malaga, a 14, 100 ft./ 4300 masl mountain pass. Once there or a little further down the real Inca jungle starts with tourists biking all the way down to Santa Maria. In the following days, you will get Santa Teresa, Hidroelectrica and at last, you will get to Aguas Calientes.


This is the best, most rewarding way of getting to Machu Picchu. It is not just a multiple-day hikes instead it gives you a whole set of possibilities to see the most enchanting landscapes in this part of the Vilcabamba mountain range. The two frequented trekking paths are the famous Inca trail and the Salkantay trek.

The hiking groups are led by travel companies that provide all the logistics, including tour guides, food, and what more. At this level of organization your experience will be memorable and unique. You won’t even walk with all the weight of your backpack because the crews carry the loads.

If you are thinking about doing the Inca trail hike, know that it is mandatory to take a tour with a travel agency. The laws and policies of the Inca trial and Machu Picchu say so. In order to book your ticket, you have to search for the best company and contact them at least 6 months before your trip. Unlike the Inca trail, on the Salkantay trek, you can hike on your own or with a travel agency. After all, the landscapes are great too.

Now, we come up with the best hiking tours to get to the world´s wonder, Machu picchu from Cusco.

cusco to machu picchu by trekking

Nowadays there is a great deal of travel companies, oriented to all tourism niches and activities. These companies are always in constant improvement as they want to be the first, they do their best to encourage tourists from all around to travel with them. The vast majority of tourists used travel agencies for visiting Machu Picchu, and they reported “well we had a delightful holiday, it was great” of course there are many other reports, so the tour operators did their work. It is true that pricing is higher but it has its own benefits too.

In the end who makes the accurate choice or not is only you. We recommend you to think a while and choose a travel agent wisely. It may allow you to make a combination of traveling on your own part of it and the rest with a tour company which is good too. Whatever your choice is, wishes of good luck for you and have a lot of fun on your next destination!!

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