Everything you Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Machu Picchu

  • by Ari Travels
Everything you Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Machu Picchu

How do I get to Machu Picchu? Is it expensive? Do I need to book it in advance? These are just only a few of the questions one might ask themselves when wanting to plan a tour to Machu Picchu. Peru itself is very affordable, but unfortunately, Machu Picchu itself costs a high price tag to get to. I would highly recommend you plan on budgeting for this experience because it’s 1000% well worth it. Plan on budgeting around $400 for Machu Picchu just to be safe. Don’t let that number scare you. I have plenty of budget travel tips that will help you have the extra money to turn a trip to Machu Picchu into reality in no time (insert budget travel blog section). 

Need a tour for Machu Picchu or other Peru destinations? Email me at ari@aritravels.com for discounts on tours and activities. In addition, I will hook you up with tips, tricks, guide recommendations & the best spots for views/photos. 

 everything you need to know about planning a trip to machu picchu

Things to know about Machu Picchu 

If you plan on traveling here during peak season (June, July, and August), book your tickets and transportation at least 3 months in advance regardless if you go with a company or by yourself. 

Machu Picchu only allows a certain amount of people per day, so to guarantee a spot, you must book ahead. 

If you’re traveling during the low season (December, January, February) you don’t need to plan ahead too much, but be prepared for rain and other weather affecting your trip. Sometimes they even close the entrance to Machu Picchu if there’s too much rain. 

With that being said, I recommend coming here between May-September to avoid bad weather risking your trip (if you want to save money, plan on going during shoulder season months which are late April, May & September) 

Sit on the left side of the train for the best views there and the right side of the train for the best views back! 


What to Pack for Machu Picchu

Bring layers: Machu Picchu is located in the jungle so the weather varies between warmer and cooler. Bring a rain jacket or poncho too because you never know if the tropics will cause rainfall. 


Bug Spray 

  • Machu Picchu is located in the jungle, so you’ll find plenty of creepy crawlers. 

Hiking Shoes 

  • The hike is not too treacherous, although you want comfortable shoes. It takes about 40 minutes and it’s mostly stairs. 
  • My favorite shoes are the Teva hiking sandals. They are sandals so they keep your feet cool, but they are extremely durable. I have had mine for years. They are always my go-to for any adventure in warmer climates.
  • My Timberlands are my favorite hiking shoe for cooler climates. If you’re looking for something extra durable, these are great especially for hiking in Peru’s landscapes. 

Water Bottle

How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco 

girl with long blonde hair and flowey skirt sitting on a rock at machu picchu


Option 1: Best option- Tour

Be aware that Machu Picchu is not easy nor cheap to get to. It takes a taxi, train, bus, and hike to get there. The best way hands down for Machu Picchu is to do a tour. I am normally not a tour person, but this was the best decision I could’ve made for this specific excursion. I did my tour with the company called Whatatrip and couldn’t be happier with their services. The tour was affordable compared to most, and it was worth it. Their guides are so friendly and amazing. All the transportation was covered, including pick up to and from your accommodation in Cusco. The actual entry tickets to Machu Picchu were covered and purchased in advance. All I had to do was book the tour and not have to worry about a thing. Whatatrip made sure to book our transportation so we wouldn’t miss any sort of connection between trains, buses, etc. The great thing about the tour is that it basically costs the same as going to Machu Picchu on your own which helps with budgeting for the rest of Peru. Make sure to email me at ari@aritravels.com for a discount on either Machu Picchu or other Peru tours! 

best peru machu picchu tour

After the reopening of Machu Picchu due to COVID, the country of Peru has started to regulate the mountain more and you now have to book a specific route. It gets very confusing trying to figure out which one to pick so Whatatrip did that all for me and made sure to get the best route possible so I could enjoy the mountain at its full potential. 

Their guides also know when you should visit the mountain. Sometimes fog and clouds can cover the views and the guides are able to plan it around that to ensure you will get great views. They also know the best photo spots, so if you’re a photographer or someone who just likes to capture photos, this tour will work in your favor. 

Option 2: Go Yourself

Make sure to book your entire trip to Machu Picchu at least 3 months in advance including the tickets to the actual site as spots on the train and buses will fill up. 

Whenever I am planning on going somewhere and don’t know how to get there, I use the Rome2Rio website or app. It’s a great resource for planning how to get places. 

Be aware that if you plan Machu Picchu on your own, you may risk missing transfers between trains or buses which can cause you to have to re-pay for a ticket, and tickets are not cheap. You also must book your actual entrance fee separately and prepare to time it out. The Machu Picchu entry tickets are not all-day admission. You pick a time slot and if you miss that time slot, you’ll have to hope there are more tickets available for later in the day and buy a new one. 

how to get to machu picchu from cusco

You are going to start by taking the Real Inca bus from Cusco. 

After the bus, you will get to the Oblyttanu train station. Take the Peru Rail train to Machu Picchu town which is called Aguas Calientes. 

Once arriving in the town walk straight off the train. After walking for about 5 minutes or so, you will see green buses lined up. You can get on one of the buses which will take you to the top of Machu Picchu. 

After you get to the top with the bus, you will hike for about 30 minutes. 

 girl with long blonde hair exploring machu picchu peru with whatatrip tours

So is it Worth it to Hire a Tour for Machu Picchu?  

YES! Planning it and making sure you time out the transportation properly so it all lines up and making sure you pick the right route, plus having a guide that can educate and give you a tour was well worth it in my opinion. Going to Machu Picchu yourself ends up only saving about $20. In that case, save yourself the headache and email me so I can get you a discount and connect you with an affordable tour with Whatatrip! That way, you can look forward to seeing this world wonder instead of stressing about how you will get there. Machu Picchu is expensive to get to regardless, so spend the extra bit of money and have the professionals get you there. You will thank me later! 

This new world wonder has so much to offer and I constantly think about the feeling after turning the corner and seeing it in person for the first time.

Any more questions about budgeting, planning, or just general questions about traveling to Peru and Machu Picchu, please reach out to me! Happy traveling!

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