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Everybody’s traveling style is different, but if you are looking to see Machu Picchu in one day by doing the planning and exploring on your own, here is one of the most basic ways that you can use as a reference to get started on a DIY trip to see one of the world wonders – Machu Picchu.
As you go through this guide, you can tweak things to fit your needs, and I hope you find this helpful.
Try to stay in Cusco for one or two days before making your way to Machu Picchu. Cusco, to me, is basically just a congested airport town because it is currently the only airport that serves as a gateway to Machu Picchu. By staying in Cusco, you can also get acclimated to high altitude.
Step 2 – Tour the Sacred Valley or Make Your Way to Ollantaytambo Town
After Cusco, you can schedule a full-day tour from Cusco to check out the Sacred Valley with Taxidatum company. The full-day tour includes seeing 4 ruins and a beautiful salt flat. I am not affiliated with the Taxidatum, but this tour company is reputable and reliable, and I feel comfortable recommending it.
If you do not wish to do the Sacred Valley tour, you can also use Taxidatum to schedule a pick-up from Cusco and drop-off in Ollantaytambo. Or you can make your own arrangement to make your way to stay in Ollantaytambo before Machu Picchu.
Step 3 – Take the Train From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Station
While staying in Ollantaytambo, you can take the train to Machu Picchu station. The journey takes approximately an hour and a half. You can find the train schedules and prices on the Peru Rail website.
You must purchase the Machu Picchu entrance ticket and the train ticket well in advance once you know your traveling dates before arriving in Peru, as those tickets can be sold out due to the popularity of Machu Picchu.
Train From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Station
Step 4 – Take Bus To the Machu Picchu Site
As not to cause confusion:
The train will take you from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu station, located in Aguas Calientes town.
From Aguas Calientes, you must take the bus to the Machu Picchu site.
Bus to Machu Picchu
Do not worry; the bus frequently runs (10-15 minutes), and you do not need to buy the bus ticket in advance. You can buy the bus ticket on the day of going to the Machu Picchu site. There are also workers to help you out, and the process is simple and organized.
Bus Ticket Price:
Round-trip: USD 24. You can pay with Peru currency too, but that’s subject to the exchange rate at the bus ticket office.
Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu 5.30 am – 3:00 pm
Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes 6.30am – 5:45pm
Please double-check the bus schedule and ticket price for the latest up-to-date information.
Do you need to book Machu Picchu in advance?
It’s very important that you buy the Machu Picchu ticket in advance once you know what date(s) you will visit. You do not want to wait until the last minute or when you get to Peru to decide!
Where to buy Machu Picchu tickets?
Once you know the dates and types of hiking activities you want to do at Machu Picchu, the best place to purchase Mach Picchu tickets are through the official website, and you can use Google Translate to translate the page.
You may find other websites on the Internet selling Machu Picchu entrance tickets; however, please note that you may be paying more to those websites than the Macchu Picchu official website.
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