How to get from Lima to Machu Picchu in 2023? This is a question we get asked by readers of this blog and so we thought we might as well help travelers find the best way for them to get from Lima to Machu Picchu.
Lima is a city 100% worth spending a couple of days in, something we showed in another one of our posts and if flying from Lima, it is worth doing 1 or 2 day trips around the city to Paracas and Huacachina Desert Oasis (must be seen to be believed!)
From Lima, it is necessary to stop in Cusco before heading to Machu Picchu as there are no direct flights, trains or buses to Machu Picchu.
How To Peru Expert Tip: Do NOT miss Huacachina Oasis on any trip to Peru. This place must be seen to be believed and is Peru’s fastest-growing destination outside of Machu Picchu. Companies like Peru Hop run day trips to Huacachina for those who plan to fly within Peru.!
There are really only two ways to get from Lima to Cusco which are plane and bus. Unfortunately, train is not an option because the only tourist train that leaves Lima goes to a city called Huancayo which is about one-third of the way to Machu Picchu and really not a viable option
The flight time from Lima’s airport to Cusco is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Ticket prices vary depending on the airline you choose but we recommend LATAM based on the quality of their planes and reliability. The downside of traveling by plane is that you will miss the sights and some of the different landscapes that Peru has to offer. Also, a flight over the Andes will take you from 0 to over 10,000ft above sea level. This is sudden change in altitude is the main reason why many tourists experience altitude sickness on their first days in Cusco.
Apart from having the benefit of acclimatizing yourself to the altitude, you will get a chance to explore Peru when choosing to go by bus. A direct bus trip to Cusco can take from 22 hours to 27 hours. The reason for the long trip is the mountain chain known as… you guessed right! The Andes. Most roads are winding, curvy and steep. However, we recommend taking the route that passes through Arequipa as it is the safest option and the most popular among travelers. There are a bunch of places to see along the way.
There are mainly 2 ways to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu: Trekking all the way to Machu Picchu or going by a combination of bus and train.
Treks can last 3 to 5 days and you will usually have to book in advance, especially for the Official Inca Trail. Nevertheless, almost all treks will include the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu. The most popular treks are Salkantay trek; great for the sightseeing lovers, Inca Jungle; a more action-packed option and the Official Inca trail; arrive to Machu Picchu just in time to watch the sunrise. To have a great trekking experience, avoid scammers by buying from a recommended and trusted tour agency. Make sure to check out FindLocalTrips.com, a search and comparison website for tours and treks around South America.
Recommended tour operators
Our recommendations to complete this part of the trip are:
Going to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience you surely do not want to miss. We will keep you updated if anything changes in the near future. So, keep checking our blog and take a look at our other articles too to gather all kinds of tips and information you need before embarking on journey to Peru!
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If in Cusco looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to the bars is free even for non-guests.