¿Planning a trip to Machu Picchu?Posted by in Uncategorized
Here’s all you need to know if you want to visit this spectacular destination in the near future.
The first common doubt that we’ll clear out is Machu Picchu’s location. Although it is in Cusco, it’s not at a walking distance from the city, you actually need to take a train to get there.
Another common mistake concerns the altitude of this astounding Inca Citadel. Many think, probably because of pictures which show Machu Picchu amidst the cloudy mountains, that the ruins are higher above sea level than the City of Cusco but the truth is they’re not! While Cusco City stands at 3,350 meters above sea level, Machu Picchu reaches 2,438 meters, which makes it almost 1,000 lower.
That being cleared out, we strongly suggest you take AT LEAST a two day trip if you’re planning to visit Machu Picchu. Here’s why:
Consider that you have to get from Lima to Cusco, which is almost and hour flight (all Lima-Cusco flights are before 3pm due to geographic matters), then from Cusco to the train station for a ride which can vary between 1 hour 30 minutes or 3 hours depending on the station you choose (see map A). Once you get to Aguascalientes train station (a small town just below the Machu Picchu Citadel) you’ll have to take a bus to the actual archaeological site. Even if you take the earlier flights and train rides, you probably couldn’t do it in one day because the Machu Picchu archeaological site closes at 5pm.
At the moment, there are two railway carriers that take you to Machu Picchu: PeruRail (which has the most departures) and IncaRail (which has 2 departures per day). Most of the trains depart from the Ollanta Station (see map A) which is right next to the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, so we recommend you choose a package where you can link your Ollantaytambo tour with your train ride to Machu Picchu.
There’s an IncaRail departure from the Ollanta station at 4:30 pm which we highly recommend if you want to enjoy the landscape at dusk arriving to Aguascalientes at approximately 6pm. But if you’re travelling on a budget you can take the 7pm PeruRail train, also from the Ollanta Station and arrive at Aguascalientes around 8:30pm.
Aguascalientes is a small town with some restaurants, bars and a handcrafts market where you’ll stay overnight at your hotel. The next morning you can choose at what time you want to visit the Machu Picchu archaeological complex which is open from 5am.
Machu Picchu being such a special destination, we offer a private guide service just for you and your travelling party who will pick you up from your hotel at any time you choose from 5am and give you a full guided tour through the breathtaking citadel. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours but if you choose to stay longer, you can!
If you want to visit the Huayna Picchu Mountain (just across the Machu Picchu citadel) you need to decide this beforehand, when you buy your ticket to Machu Picchu so they will include the fee to Huayna Picchu within your Machu Picchu ticket. Please remember you have to make this decision with due anticipation because you won’t be able to buy the Huayna Picchu ticket In Situ the same day. Also remember that both tickets aswell as your bus ticket up to the ruins are valid just for one day.
That same afternoon, alter visiting the ruins, you can take a train back to Cusco and continue your peruvian adventure at another fabulous destination or fly to Lima (which will probably have to wait until next morning due to flight schedules) and back home.
Good luck and remember that the more anticipation you take to plan your trip and book your tickets, the better!