How to Get from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Cusco to Machu Picchu Planning Details

Cusco to Machu Picchu Distance

How many Days in Machu Picchu

Can you drive to Machu Picchu

Altitude of Machu Picchu

Altitude of Machu Picchu

Best Time For Machu Picchu Travel

How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Book Machu Picchu Tickets

Bus to Machu Picchu

Day Trip to Machu Picchu From Cusco

Sunset at a beach in Miraflores, Lima. We visited here on our final day

Day 3: Cusco

Settle in!  You’re in Cusco.  After you drop your things off at accommodation (we went for Airbnb), grab a bite to eat.  Acclimate yourself with your surroundings.  Depending on what time it is, you may be able to catch a walking tour.  But I’ve learned over time to enjoy soaking in the little moments- maybe the walking tour can wait.  Especially if a treterential downpour appears and the quaint restaurant/cafe is seeming like a good way to spend the afternoon.  THAT NIGHT!  CHECK to make sure you know where the bus station is, and how you are going to get there.

Beautiful overview of Cusco from our AirBnB. Isn’t it stunning?
San Blaas neighborhood in Cusco
San Blaas Market
A favorite spot at the San Blaas Market!

Day 4: Machu Picchu

6:00am!  All aboard to the incredible Machu Picchu!  Well, almost.  First we will take a 2.5hr train ride with an incredible stop in the Andes (unforgettable) and off to the Ollantaytambo station we go.  From here, we transfer from bus to a train, and this train will polish off the final 2 hours of the trip into Aguas Calientes, the town Machu Picchu is accessible from.  PREPARE FOR RAIN!  Always prepare for the rain.  Enter Machu Picchu!

Day 5: Machu Picchu, Huayana Picchu

After a late afternoon exploration, go get some sleep before Machu Picchu sunrise trek (or so the goal may be, but sleep).  Heard of Huayana Picchu?  It’s great!  Just know it involves a lot of stairs, bring a lot of water, and take some breaks.  We were climbing stairs for just short of 2 hours at a high altitude minimally equipped with water (not stellar planning on my end).  But really, this is the incredible mountainous structure you see in the background of those classic Machu Picchu visit photos you may be familiar with.  This mountain itself is Huayana Picchu, and what an experience to make it to the top.  Once you take the bus back to the bottom at Aguas Calientes, enjoy some delicious Peruvian lunch and take a walk around the town before catching your train back to Cusco (well, Ollantaytambo, where a bus will bring you back to Cusco, same return route as the way there)!

Day 6: Sacred Valley, Chocolate

No. More. Hiking. PLEASE!  Not for now, at least.  A beautiful day of Sacred Valley awaits us.  Followed by an evening of chocolate-making- we absolutely loved our class, and our instructor was equally as spectacular.  A highly recommended evening stop!

Step 1: Cocoa Roasting
Coca Grinding
All done!

Day 7: Maras and Moray

ATVing Maras and Moray!  Almost!  Until your tour does not arrive to pick you up!  Two options: sulk that it is 2:00pm and there’s no way you’ll be able to hop on another tour and a whole incredible day of Cusco gone out the window, or run into every tour agency in a square mile radius and figure out your options… yes please, we’ll take the latter.  And so enters Freddy!  Our incredible car service mate who drove us to Maras and Moray.  He even taught us Quechua along the way- learning new languages and immersing yourself in new cultures is fun- something we would not have had the option to do on our originally-planned large-scale bus.  When life gives you lemons!

Scenic views along the drive

Day 8: Rainbow Mountain

You BETTER have gotten sleep because your 2:00am alarm is going to sound!  You read that right- no partying late into the night.  Sleep walking, gather your hiking pack from the night before, and a travel pillow or blanket, and catch your tour van by 3:00 to begin the drive to the much anticipated Rainbow Mountain.  Stop for breakfast and you are there (check out post on Rainbow Mountain for specific tips on this hike).  Make it back to your hotel, dizzy and a horrible headache as you have ever experienced, and you are suddenly in a deep sleep, knocked out for 8 hours.  It’s midnight.  YOU’RE HUNGRY BUT IT’S LATE AND DARK.  Fast forward (yeah, see link up above).

Start of hike up
Top of Rainbow Mountain
Hike back down- notice the snow is already melting!

Day 9: Lima

So early!  Grab one final delicious breakfast at one of your favorite spots, take a final walk in this incredible, incredible San Blas neighborhood surrounded by the mountains, and catch your flight into Lima.  If you’re not too sun-burnt for a walking tour, go for it!  If you’ve got just a little time and want the in and out flexibility, check out Miraflores.  There is a boardwalk, a beach, and lots of walking around.  By the time it’s late at night, off you go departing for home.  Until next time!

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As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).