How to get to Machu Picchu?
There are three ways to get to Machu Picchu from the city of Cusco:
1) With the train trip through Ollantaytambo.
This is the route as more visitors arrive at Machu Picchu. It begins in the city of Cusco with the bus trip to the town of Ollantaytambo (route by public transport of approximately 1 hour 40 minutes).
Then you must travel by train from Ollantaytambo to the town of Aguas Calientes (approximately 1 hour 45 minute route). Train tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Once in the town of Aguas Calientes you must buy the bus tickets that lead to Machu Picchu. This last journey is short, it lasts only 30 minutes. Bus tickets can be purchased at the same place.
In total the route takes almost 4 hours. It is the safest and fastest way to get to Machu Picchu. It allows you to make a trip of only 1 day: Cusco – Machupicchu – Cusco.
2) With the bus trip to the hydroelectric station
This route is preferred by backpackers and people looking for adventure and save some money during the trip to Machu Picchu. It begins in the city of Cusco with the bus trip to the town of Santa María in the province of La Convención (route by public transport of almost 5 hours.
Then you must take a collective taxi to the town of Santa Teresa. This second section is only 1 hour on average. Collective taxis can be found in the main square of Santa Teresa.
In the third section you must travel by collective taxi from the town of Santa Teresa to the Hydroelectric station. This trip takes less than 1 hour. Collective taxis can be found in the main square of the place.
The fourth leg of the trip is done on foot. It starts at the hydroelectric station and ends in the town of Aguas Calientes, after an average of 2 hours of walking. There is also the option of taking a train (30 minute ride) but the vast majority of visitors prefer to walk as it is free.
Finally, in Aguas Calientes, you must take the bus that will take the tourist to Machu Picchu in 30 minutes.
In total the route takes 8 hours on average. Because of this it is necessary to spend a night in Aguas Calientes. The cost of this route is very cheap (15 dollars one way). It is also an adventurous option.
3) With the 4 day Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is a hiking route that covers 39 kilometers in 4 days of hiking and 3 nights of camping. The special thing about this trek is that it crosses the original Inca trails (the famous qhapac ñan). At the end of the route, visitors will arrive at Machu Picchu from the Puerta del Sol (the Intipunku). This was the way the Incas arrived at the Inca city.
Because the Inca trails are routes protected by the Peruvian State, the route cannot be done without the necessary permits. Only tourism agencies can manage these permits. Therefore, to do the Inca Trail, you must hire a tour through a tourism agency.
The 4-day Inca Trail tour is in such high demand by visitors that it is necessary to make the purchase online 5 or 6 months in advance. Otherwise it is difficult to find availability.