Home - Machu Picchu - Trips to Machu Picchu
Trips to Machu Picchu, PeruMany tour companies offer trips that are fully customizable, and that leave 365 days a year. Some companies have offices in the USA and other countries, making the planning of trips to Machu Picchu, Peru, easier (its always easier talking one on one with a travel agent familiar with the packages).
On the other hand, booking your own trip to Machu Picchu on the internet is generally easy and painless.
You can also do your own planning, of course, and get there on your own. But although we personally prefer to travel on our own and rarely have felt the need for a planned tour, in this case we STRONGLY recommend at least a hired guide. You will miss many totally fascinating places and background by just going on your own.
Options for Trips to Machu Picchu, Peru
The Machu Picchu Train - Take the train all or part of the way from Cusco (Cuzco) to Aquas Calientes This is by far the most common way to travel to Machu Picchu. From Aguas Calientes, in the Urubamba valley below Machu Picchu, you take a bus up to the citadel itself, approximately 3,000 feet above the valley floor.
The train to Machu Picchu is usually taken all the way from Cusco (Cuzco), Peru. However, the first part of the train ride is a steep switchback climb up out of the Cusco valley. It takes a long, long, time, like a hour, basically just getting out of Cusco due to this slow ascent required by a train.
To avoid that part, a bus can be taken to meet the train at an outlying town, Ollanta, higher up the mountains, saving a lot of time.
However, beyond a certain point, the train is the only transportation to get to the Machu Picchu area. You cannot get there by bus.
The train to Machu Picchu is operated by PeruRail in a 50/50 arrangement with Orient Express Hotels and Peruvian partners.
There are two train services offered to tourists- a more expensive and nicer train, and a cheaper "backpacker's special" - both of which options provide decent services.
There exists a train for locals that is way cheaper but you cannot take it. The same works the other way around. The locals cannot take the tourist trains even if they are willing to pay the higher price. Figure that one out.
One of the most well-known hikes for spectacular scenery and fascinating histor is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. However, permits to hike the Trail are very limited. You must book well in advance; we recommend at least six months ahead of your planned dates.
The Inca Trail - This famed hike is really worth a whole trip to Peru in itself. However, admittance is restricted to a certain number of trekkers each year, so go with a licensed tour guide/company - Gap Adventures - and apply well beforehand.
Although the 4-day hike is rated moderate and any reasonably-fit person should be able to cover the route, you might consider that it is almost entirely up (many times so steep that steps are cut into the ascent) and then down (steps), then up, then down, then....
However, the beautiful scenery and remoteness of the region will of course reward you for the effort. And although you will be camping out in tents, you can opt for as much luxury as you have seen in those movies of African safaris...well, maybe not quite that much. But quite comfortable and excellent food cooked ahead on the trail and ready for your appetite to arrive!
This third option, the Salkantay Trail, is named among the 25 best Treks in the World by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. An alternative to the classic Inca Trail hike, this takes you through an entirely different scenic route.
The Salkantay Trek offers options depending on what you prefer - comfort or adventure or something in between.
Even if you have done the Inca Trail, this is an entirely different trek that also ends up with Machu Picchu.
Alternate Machu Picchu - The Lares Route
8 Days - Inca Discovery - Lares - Perfect for those looking to experience the region's archeological and cultural treasures in a short amount of time.
Along with a visit to the cloud forest citadel of Machu Picchu, this trip will reward you with an intriguing combination of mountainscapes and a four-day Lares trek - a less-travelled but equally rewarding and challenging alternative to the classic Inca Trail. Because we run our own treks, we can ensure the fair treatment of our porters and the quality of food and equipment so that youre free to enjoy a glimpse into the rural communities of the highlands around Cuzco." ~ Gap Adventure $1,149.00 USD*
7 Days - Independent Lares Trek - Avoid the crowds and head off the beaten track!
The challenging Lares trek features everything the Inca Trail is famous for, incredible Andean vistas, clean mountain air, indigenous culture and ancient ruins, without all the people. Sandwich it between fascinating, colonial Cuzco and magical Machu Picchu and you couldn't ask for a more complete Incan experience." ~ Gap Adventure $989.00 USD*
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"El Chueco" Schneider!