If you’re one of the many people planning a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru, you’re probably wondering how to get to the ancient Inca city and how much it costs to get there. In general, there are several options for visiting this world wonder. However, the safest and most comfortable way to do it is taking a train to Aguas Calientes and catching a bus from there directly to Machu Picchu. In this article, I would like to share my experience on how to plan a trip to Machu Picchu and most importantly, give you my opinion on the question:
Once I was about to organize the trip to Machu Picchu and had my friend helping me to do so, I started having some serious doubts if I should do it. I simply have to be honest here: I was very much astonished by the prices. I couldn’t believe one single attraction could cost thaaat much money. I quickly realized I’ve never been to a county with such expensive attractions. It was out of this world.
Is Machu Picchu worth the money you pay?
Let me tell you my story. My friend I was staying with lives in Cusco. She offered to ask some of her friends to help us organize the trip, as she knows many people who work for the tourist agencies. She made it to get us 2 offers and as I was super shocked by the prices, I decided there was no way I would pay that money. I was determined I would look it up online and plan the trip myself. I was sure it would be cheaper that way. I tried. And failed. Never mind how I tried to plan the trip, I couldn’t make it cheaper. No way.
The next thought was: OK, I think I’ll just skip it. Maybe it´s not even worth the money. However, there was no way my husband would miss it and I somehow thought…well, I always wanted to see it really…and I knew I would deeply regret it if I miss it. We decided to do it.
We took the cheaper offer from a small agency for a two-day trip. Our starting point was Cusco. From there, the agency organized a private car to drive us to Ollantaytambo, where the train departures. By car, it took us about 1,5 hours to get there and the train ride to Aguas Calientes was about 2 hours. There, we’ve spent one night in a hostel (private room). The next day, around 5am in the morning, we were already waiting in the line to take the bus to Machu Picchu. The ride was approx. 30 Minutes.
Once we’ve arrived at the entrance, my excitement really started growing. The weather was incredible. We could see clouds running by directly above our heads and the atmosphere was somehow magical. Morning glory in front of Machu Picchu. I had to pinch myself. I was really there. 🙂
After a while, we met our guide and joined a group of 20 other people to start the tour. We had a ticket which enabled us to enter twice, as you are not allowed to go back once you came to the end (very important to know). This is why we could enjoy the tour without having to take all the pictures on the first go. JWhen I think about it now, I could go on and on and on about the way I felt being inside the ruins. It would take me hours to describe it and still, I couldn’t find the right words. Machu Picchu is such a magical place and I don’t regret a second for taking the trip and paying the money. It was so much worth it and a place that left me speechless in so many ways. Please don’t miss it!!
How much does a trip to Machu Picchu cost?
As I already mentioned, we booked the whole trip thorough a small agency and were satisfied with the overall experience. The total price for the two of us of 530 EUR included the following:
- A private taxi from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
- A train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes with Peru Rail and back (during the ride, we were served a drink and some cookies)
- A hostel (private room) in Aguas Calientes
- A breakfast box for the next day
- The bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
- The entrance fee (two entries)
- A tour guide
- A bus from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco
Things we should have done differently:
- Insist on having a private taxi on the way back to Cusco, as we were in a really small bus and could barely breath.
- Climb Huayna Picchu and/or the Machu Picchu mountain for a better view
- Give up on the idea of missing the bus and walking the way down back to our hostel. It´s 2 hours walking down (stairs only) and we could barely move for the next few days.
If I ever go to Peru again, I would….
…walk the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. 5 days of walking and we actually did the hike at the end of our trip. We skipped Machu Picchu as we had seen it already, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever done for my mind and my body.