Machu Pichu Day Trip from Cusco

While getting to the summit of Machu Pichu is possible as a day trip, it does take away from the authenticity of the adventure of hiking and camping to the top. Unfortunately I got caught for time thanks to my indecisiveness of whether to Machu Pichu or not to Machu Pichu. This was down to the cost of the trek. I was already in South America 4 weeks at this stage and I was getting through my budget quicker than anticipated. In the end I did the one day trip to Machu Pichu and I am forever grateful I decided to go. Here is my advice from that experience;

  • Make the booking with Peru Rail at the Plaza de Armas
  • Purchase your tourist card (150 PEN) for Machu Pichu at the BGT ticket office in Cusco or online. Remember, there is a limit of 2,500 people allowed into the grounds per day so spaces sell fast
  • Booking online will cause you headaches
  • During the rainy season you have to get a bus to Ollantaytambo/Urubamba and then get the train to Aguas Calientes (Approx. 450 – 650 PEN)
  • When you get to Aguas Calientes the bus to Machu Pichu costs 40 PEN return. Or you can make a two-hour grueling hike to the top (which is what I done)
  • Bring your passport, bank card and tourist to check in at Peru Rail
  • Private tours can cost 160 SOL
  • Accommodation in a hostel in Aguas Calientes costs 80 SOL/night
  • When you get to the entrance to Machu Pichu, you can store your baggage for 3 SOL
  • If your return trip does not get you all the way to Cusco, get a ‘colectivo’ (shared shuttle bus) from Ollantaytambo/Urubamba. They only costs 10 SOL
  • Walk up to the ‘Sun Gates’ viewpoint (45 minutes one way) to escape the hordes of tourists. even better if you can afford enough time to stay at the summit until around 2pm a lot of the tourists leave



All in all, a day trip for Machu Pichu is going to set you back around 650 PEN/$200 USD. An incredibly expensive day trip. If you do have the time to climb it, there are some free routes up, that would save you serious amounts of cash if you had yours own camping equipment.

Regardless of the expense, could you actually visit Peru without seeing Mahu Pichu? I couldn’t.



May – September: Dry, most popular time to trek (Busiest months June, July and August)

October – December: Wet, but quieter than the busy season and worth considering as months to trek

January – February: Wettest months, Inca Trail closed in February. Too wet to trek

March – April: Wet, but quieter than the busy season and worth considering as months to trek

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