You have probably seen hundreds of pictures of Machu Picchu by now. And yet, you still won’t be ready for that moment when you climb over the hill and see Machu Picchu for the first time. The mountains rise majestically into the clouds and surround this ancient man-made masterpiece. There is nothing like it in the entire world. You can spend all day walking around the grounds and feel like you still didn’t get enough. You are probably wondering right now though, how do you get to Machu Picchu? Well luckily for you, there are several options you can consider depending on your skill level or desired level of difficulty.
The Incans established many paths through the Andes mountains to Machu Picchu. However, the iconic Ïnca Trail Hike” is a well-established 40 km (25 mile) hike that takes 4 days and 3 nights. This hike will take you high up the Andean mountains and into the Peruvian countryside. You will finish your hike at sunrise crossing over the Sun Gate and into Machu Picchu. There other Inca Trail Hikes that will only take you on part of the trail if you are interested in doing a shorter hike.
If you decide to do the Inca Trail Hike, then you should be aware that you need to plan in advance. There are only 500 people allowed per day on the trail and it is required to be with an approved tour company. So, you need to be sure to purchase a permit for the Inca Trail and book with a tour guide. There are many options for tour guides, but you can do your research and look around for one that looks right for your group.
There are many tour companies in Cusco that offer this route as a one- or two-day trip using private vans to take you to the town of Hydroelectrica. From there, you will hike about three hours to Aguas Calientes. You can choose to spend the night here if you would like a night to recharge. Then, it is an hour and a half hike up to Machu Picchu. The hike is beautiful and goes throughout the Peruvian countryside.
Aguas Calientes is the little town at the base of Machu Picchu. The only way to get here is by train or walking. The hike from here up to Machu Picchu is only one hour and a half, but it is almost entirely stairs all the way up the mountain. Also, be sure you have acclimated to the elevation before attempting this or else you will get very dizzy about halfway up the mountain. This is a great option for travelers who want to see other things in Peru and do not have the time to do a multi-day hike
Back to overview