Navigating the journey: How to get to Machu Picchu From Lima

Reading : 4 min January 18 2024

bEmbarking on the enchanting pilgrimage to Machu Picchu from Lima is a thrilling adventure, where each step unfolds the rich tapestry of Peruvian landscapes. As you plan your expedition, we delve into detailed insights on the various transportation options, distances, and circuits that will lead you to the ancient citadel. From the bustling streets of Lima to the serene beauty of Machu Picchu, this comprehensive guide ensures you're well-equipped with the knowledge needed for a seamless and unforgettable journey.

What will you find here?

  1. What You need to know
  2. How to get to Machu Picchu from Lima
  3. Distance from Lima to Machu Picchu
  4. From Lima to Cusco
  5. From Cusco To Aguas Calientes
  6. From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  7. FAQs

What You need to know

Before setting foot on the path to Machu Picchu, there are essential details to be aware of. This section covers crucial information, including Machu Picchu circuits and schedules, ensuring that your visit aligns with the best experiences and times.

How to get to Machu Picchu from Lima

Embarking on the captivating journey from Lima to Machu Picchu offers various transportation options tailored to diverse preferences. Travelers can opt for direct buses, connecting Lima to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, either through a non-stop route or with scales via Nazca and Arequipa. Alternatively, swift flights are available for those seeking efficiency.

Private car journeys provide flexibility, allowing for personalized stops along the scenic route. Once in Cusco, the adventure continues with choices ranging from picturesque train rides to immersive trekking experiences, such as the renowned Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, and Lares Trek. A combination of bus and train is also available, ensuring a seamless transition from Aguas Calientes to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu.



Distance from Lima to Machu Picchu

Understanding the distance from Lima to Machu Picchu is crucial for planning a seamless journey. The straight-line distance between Lima and Machu Picchu is approximately 340 miles (550 kilometers). However, the actual travel distance varies based on the chosen mode of transportation and the specific route taken.

Whether opting for a direct bus, a flight, or a private car, travelers can anticipate varying travel times and experiences, with the enchanting landscapes of Peru unfolding along the way. This knowledge aids in selecting the most suitable and convenient transportation option for a memorable pilgrimage to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.


From Lima to Cusco

The journey unfolds as you make your way from Lima to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. This section explores diverse routes, including direct bus routes and those with scales through Nazca and Arequipa.

By bus

Traveling from Lima to Cusco by bus offers a scenic and cost-effective journey through the diverse landscapes of Peru. Direct buses provide a straightforward route, taking approximately 20 hours to cover the distance. For those desiring a more immersive experience, there are buses with scales, stopping in Nazca and Arequipa along the way. This option allows travelers to explore these historical cities before reaching Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. While the journey requires some endurance, it provides an opportunity to witness the country's changing terrains and soak in the rich cultural tapestry.

By plane

For a swifter journey, flying from Lima to Cusco is a convenient option. The flight takes approximately 1.5 hours, offering a quick transition from the coastal capital to the highlands. Several airlines operate daily flights, providing flexibility in choosing departure times. Upon landing in Cusco, travelers are greeted by the breathtaking Andean scenery, preparing them for the cultural wonders that await in this historical city and the mystical journey to Machu Picchu.

By private car

Opting for a private car journey from Lima to Cusco provides flexibility and the opportunity to customize the travel experience. This option allows for stops along the way, enabling travelers to explore noteworthy sites such as Nazca Lines or enjoy scenic viewpoints. While the journey takes approximately 20 hours, the personalized nature of a private car expedition transforms the travel time into an enriching part of the overall adventure. It's a choice suited for those seeking a tailored and leisurely exploration of the diverse landscapes leading to the heart of the Inca Empire.




From Cusco To Aguas Calientes

As the journey progresses, reaching Aguas Calientes becomes the next step. This section outlines travel options from Cusco, including by train, trekking (such as the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, and Lares Trek), and a combination of bus plus train.

By train

Embarking on the scenic train journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes provides a comfortable and picturesque experience. The train ride takes approximately 3 to 4 hours, winding through the captivating landscapes of the Andean highlands. Travelers can choose from various train services, each offering its unique amenities, from panoramic windows to onboard entertainment. The journey is not just a means of transportation but a prelude to the awe-inspiring encounter with Machu Picchu, unfolding the beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

By trekking

For adventurers seeking a more immersive experience, trekking from Cusco to Aguas Calientes offers an unforgettable journey. The iconic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, and Lares Trek are among the trekking options, each presenting a distinct adventure. These trails vary in duration and difficulty, catering to different preferences and fitness levels. Trekking not only connects travelers with the breathtaking landscapes but also allows for a deeper appreciation of the historical significance of the region, echoing the footsteps of ancient Inca civilizations.

By Bus plus train

A combination of bus and train offers an alternative route from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, providing flexibility for diverse travel preferences. The journey begins with a scenic bus ride, navigating the picturesque terrain from Cusco to the train station. From there, travelers transition to a comfortable train, enjoying the final leg of the expedition to the gateway of Machu Picchu. This option caters to those who prefer a seamless and varied travel experience, incorporating both road and rail for a well-rounded adventure.

aguas calientes


From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Navigating the final stretch of the journey, the route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu unveils options that complement the anticipation of reaching the ancient citadel. A brief, picturesque bus ride effortlessly ascends the mountain, winding through lush landscapes to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Alternatively, for those seeking an active approach, a scenic walk is available, allowing travelers to savor the enchanting surroundings before arriving at the historic site. Whichever option is chosen, the transition from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is a seamless continuation of the adventure, promising a grand reveal of the iconic Inca citadel nestled amidst the Andean peaks.

machu picchu


As you prepare to traverse from Lima to the mystical Machu Picchu, armed with this comprehensive guide, your journey is poised to be an unforgettable odyssey through the heart of Peru. From bustling cityscapes to ancient wonders, let the adventure unfold.


  1. Can I travel directly from Lima to Machu Picchu?
    While direct transportation is not available, you can choose between buses, flights, or private cars to reach Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
  2. What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
    The optimal time is during the dry season, from late April to early October, when weather conditions are favorable and the trails are more accessible.
  3. How long does it take to travel from Lima to Machu Picchu by train?
    The train journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes takes approximately 3 to 4 hours, offering stunning views of the Andean landscapes along the way.



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