Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a 2,430-metre mountain ridge.
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Machu Picchu is an Inca citadel high in the Andes mountains of Peru, high above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it is famous for its dry-stone walls, whose sophisticated design combines huge blocks without mortar to form fascinating buildings that take advantage of astronomical alignments and offer panoramic views. The precise reason for its creation remains a mystery.
The site is located in the eastern Andes, at the edge of the Amazonian forest in Peru (province of Urubamba), one hundred and thirty kilometres from Cuzco.
At an altitude of 2,438 metres, the ruins straddle the ridge between two peaks: Huayna Picchu, meaning "young mountain" and Machu Picchu, meaning "old mountain". It is Huayna Picchu that overlooks the site and can be seen in most photographs of the city. From certain angles, it is possible to imagine the profile of a human face looking towards the sky, with Huayna Picchu as its nose.
To go from Lima to Machu Picchu
To go from Lima to Machu Picchu you must first go to Cusco.
There are two ways to get there directly: by bus or by plane
Lima to Cusco by bus takes about 22h
This is the cheapest option (between 100 and 220 soles)
It is very important to take a serious and recognized company like Cruz del Sur, Moviltours, Tessa, Ormeño, and Civa
The road is quite winding because of the mountains so it is possible to feel nausea
The plane from Lima to Cusco takes 1h15. There are departures every 30 minutes from the airport
It is the less touristic option, also the less expensive and the longest.
Here is a summary of the route that combines bus and walks, from Cusco to Aguas Calientes via Hydroelectric.
Cusco to Santa Maria: 5h by Colectivo from the terminal Santiago (15 soles or by bus 30 soles)
Santa Maria to Santa Teresa: 2h by Colectivo (6 soles or 10 soles for shared cab)
Cab Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric: 20 min (6 soles)
Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes (10 km): by train 40 min (31$usd) or by foot (about 2h30) following the railway tracks. Walking is worth it as the landscape is really pretty and the path is easy, with a simple climb at the beginning. It's not like trekking at all.
The total journey is long (about 9-10 hours) from Cusco, so if you see the night coming, don't hesitate to spend the night in Santa Teresa to take the path the next day.
Hydroelectrica - Aguas Calientes (10 km): train 40 min or on foot 2h30
The Hydroelectric train to Aguas Calientes: departures are at 14:17, 14:50, and 17:10. The ticket can only be bought at Hydroelectric
Inca Trail Trek
The Inca Trail is the only trek that allows you to reach Machu Picchu directly!
In addition to being the most touristic trek, it is subject to limited quotas: it is therefore very important to book it several months in advance to have a place!
We find it in a version of 4 days and 3 nights with camping, or a short version of 2 days and 1 night with 1 night in Aguas Calientes.
To know: every year, it closes for the whole month of February.