Machu Picchu in 24 hours: Visit Machu Picchu in a single day

Traveling to Machu Picchu is quite an adventure since different landscapes are crossed that enhance the trip. In addition, part of a journey consists of a train trip that will depend a lot on the service you choose. However, you should know that all the trains are comfortable and suitable for a trip of approximately 2 hours. Machu Picchu in 24 hours is one of the shortest experiences you can spend in Cusco, but at the same time more enriching that will never cease to surprise you. Getting to Machu Picchu from the Guardian’s House allows you to appreciate the entire urban distribution and the harmony that this enclosure has with nature. In addition, in Cusco, you will be able to learn more about the mysterious culture of the Incas, then undertake the trip to Machu Picchu, which is at least a whole day’s activity.

Talking with the guide to enter Machu Picchu

How do you visit Machu Picchu in just one day?

Touring Machu Picchu in just one day is possible, for this, you just have to get up early and prepare for a trip of approximately 4 hours. This trip will be quite comfortable and enriching because it is possible that the entire trip is only by train or you can make a transfer in Ollantaytambo from a bus to a train, doing the classic bimodal service trip. These trips must start before 5:00 in the morning, to arrive at Machu Pichu between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning. This will allow you to have a calm tour and in good time of the entire archaeological site. During the first leg of the trip, you can rest on the bus. Both the bus and the train have comfortable seats and an adequate distribution of seats to allow a more comfortable trip.

Although this time seems short, it is the necessary and adequate time to visit the wonder of the world located in Peru. To access availability and start the reservation we leave you all the necessary services to visit Machu Picchu on the Machu Picchu Full Day Tour. On your arrival in Cusco, you will likely have free time. You can take advantage of this moment by doing the City Tour or other tours such as visiting the Sacred Valley and making the trip to Machu Pichu in the afternoon. This will depend a lot on the type of experience you want to have. Whatever the case, and as we already mentioned, visiting Machu Picchu is possible doing the tour in just one day.

Map of the trip to Machu Picchu

Leaving from Cusco it will be important to take into account the trips by bus and train before arriving at Machu Picchu. The archaeological site of Machu Picchu is located almost 100 kilometers from Cusco. Therefore, the previous trips that we mentioned are necessary, both by bus and by train and again by bus from Aguas Calientes to the archaeological site. Next, you can see what the route would be until you reach Aguas Calientes, we will see the road from Aguas Calientes to the archaeological site and finally the map of the route through the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

First Class de Inca Rail
Map’s circuit 1 and 2 to visit Machu Picchu

Start of the trip from Cusco

As we mentioned, the departure from Cusco must be done early, the time recommended by our Cusco guides is: start activities from 5:00 am. and have reserved train tickets at a time of 7:45 in the morning in Ollantaytambo, to arrive at Aguas Calientes at 9 and 15. The journey will be comfortable. We mention starting at 5:00 am, to avoid delays that can ruin the trip. Remember to be at the train station 30 minutes before the departure time. Leaving at the times we mentioned, you will be able to do the tour without problems.

Transfer in Ollantaytambo

Once you arrive in Ollantaytambo, you can briefly appreciate the small streets and the archaeological site that gives this district its name. The small streets of Ollantaytambo, for the most part, maintain the urban order proposed by the Incas, and in some places, you can see how water flows through water channels. The time in this place will be short, but it is an excellent preamble for what will be seen in Machu Picchu.

From Ollantaytambo begins the section by train to Aguas Calientes. Train services offer an exclusive trip in comfortable seats and strict compliance with schedules. The train will not wait for anyone. During the trip you will appreciate beautiful landscapes, the first hour of travel will be through landscapes very similar to that of Cusco but surrounded by farms and corn crops. In the second hour, the access to the Cusco jungle will become visible and the entire landscape will begin to turn green due to the vast vegetation of the place.

Arrival at Machu Picchu

Vista de la foto postal de Machu Picchu
View of Postal photo of Machu Picchu

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, we will be greeted with a warmer and more humid climate. After getting your belongings ready, you only have to leave the train station, cross a small bridge and we will find the bus station to Machu Picchu. This trip is only 30 minutes. Ideal to expedite the arrival of the Wonder of the world. Once in the access area, we contact our guide and start the tour. Circuit 2 is considered the most complete since it exclusively includes the tour of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, the other circuits include other visits such as the three mountains or the Inca BridgeThe tour of the Inca citadel will allow you to see different constructions, where we have dedicated blogs for each of them. However, here we also explain some of these constructions briefly, while we review Circuit 2.

Entrance through the Guardian’s House

Once we have registered our entrance at the access gate, we will begin the tour taking a short detour that will take us to the upper platforms. From this elevated área, it is possible to see the entire urban composition of Machu Picchu, this is the place where everyone can take a postcard photo with all the wonder of the world in the background. At this point, it is possible to appreciate the full magnitude of the landscape and how the platforms function as small walls that allowed the drainage of water during the rains. When descending from this upper platform that resembles an esplanade, we will take a closer look at the Guardian’s House, which was probably a control point. The descent is by steps of carved and polished stones.

After the descent, you can also see the different platforms that served as retaining walls and also as cultivation areas. As we descend, we will learn more about the details of how the constructions were made. After this brief tour, we will have to go through one of the most beautiful gates of Machu Picchu, since it is considered the real entrance to Machu Picchu.

Entrance to the wonder Machu Picchu

The entrance to Machu Picchu is a gate of polished stones. From this place, you can genuinely appreciate the entire enclosure, which has a close-up view. As you move forward you feel like the walls and the mountains themselves surround you, little by little you reach the sacred places and you can see a great difference in the finish of the walls and the use of giant stones. Among these temples, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Main Temple, and the Temple of the Sun stand out.

Sun Temple

The Temple of the Sun is one of the most unique constructions in all of Machu Picchu. It is a construction with a semicircular finish and windows. The windows work thanks to the reflection of the sun on the carved stone that lies inside the temple. It was probably a temple that served to know the location of the sun throughout the year. Like the Intihuatana, it probably served as a kind of solar calendar.

House of the Inca

The Temple of the Sun is one of the most unique constructions in all of Machu Picchu. It is a construction with a semicircular finish and windows. The windows work thanks to the reflection of the sun on the carved stone that lies inside the temple. It was probably a temple that served to know the location of the sun throughout the year. Like the Intihuatana, it probably served as a kind of solar calendar.

Main temples and Intihuatana

Later on, we will be able to reach the main temples that are connected to the Intihuatana. The Intihuatana is located on a summit that gives it the appearance of a pyramid. All these constructions have large carved stone walls that give them a singular beauty compared to the rest of the constructions. In these spaces, you can appreciate and contemplate the environment and landscapes from another perspective.

The sacred rock

It can be said that it is the halfway point of the route. In this place you can appreciate a unique space due to the presence of a large rock that simulates, through the carvings, the mountain behind it, following it under the perspective projected by the peaks carved in the stone. It is believed that this stone was considered a huaca, a deity who was asked for blessings and a good omen for some projects, whether personal or collective. It was also used to thank or pay tribute to the blessings of the day.

Other temples

After visiting the Sacred Rock, it begins with the return, but before going through a new area of temples and some houses. Within this sector, you can find the Temple of the Condor and the Temple of the Water Mirrors, which were used to contemplate and appreciate the solar movement concerning the stars and more. These temples are not made with finely finished walls, but they seem to have a close relationship with the temples that are near the Temple of the Sun.

Homes and warehouses or colcas

Before concluding the tour of the Inca citadel, it is possible to visit the Plaza Pisanay and see some houses that have barely managed to resist the passing of the years, that is why it is difficult to visit these sectors of Machu Picchu, before leaving, you can Appreciate a large number of platforms that are part of the entrance and exit of Machu Picchu. It is incredible how all these retaining walls or platforms manage to remain intact. It will also be possible to appreciate the almost destroyed houses and warehouses, typical of the Inca civilization.

El Templo del Sol en Machu Picchu
The Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu

Return to Cusco and end of the tour

Once the tour of Machu Picchu has been completed, which lasts approximately 3 hours. You can have lunch when descending again to Aguas Calientes. The return is made in the same buses that brought us. These buses have a departure frequency of 15 minutes in the worst case. In Aguas Calientes you can find the lunch you want, the options are multiple and varied, and all of them offer the best of Peruvian gastronomy. Before boarding the train, you can also visit the craft centers to buy a souvenir or something you like. The return train will depart at 4:22 p.m., passengers have to be at the train station 30 minutes before.

The train trip will culminate in Ollantaytambo and from this place, the traveler can return to Cusco in a private transport or doing the bimodal service. It is estimated to arrive in Cusco before 9 at night. The service offered by some tourist agencies ends in a central location and others at the door of the hotels from which they were picked up at the start of the tour. In this way, the visit to Machu Picchu concludes in just one day.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, June 23, 2023

Enjoy the trip to Machu Picchu with the best services

Choose one of the 5 types of tickets

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The train trip will leave you in the town of Aguas Calientes, 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu. For this last section you must get the bus to Machu Picchu, a comfortable service that takes care of the environment of the wonder of the world. Buy your bus ticket here!

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In Machu Picchu the tour guide service is not mandatory. However, most tourists decide to go accompanied by a guide. This way they will be able to fully understand the history and importance of the wonder of the Incas.

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