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Machu Picchu Day Trips from Cusco

Are you going to Cuzco, Peru and would like to visit Machu Picchu? If this is your plan, I tell you everything you need to know to undertake an excursion to this renowned archaeological site.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

Machu Picchu Day Trips from Cusco

Machu Pichu, Perú|© Gabriel Rojas

Machu Picchu is an Inca city recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was built during the mid-fifteenth century in the valley of the Urubamba River, located in the Peruvian Andes.

This sacred site where the Incas worshiped the gods, is one of the best things to do in Cusco, due to its historical and cultural value and privileged panoramic views. Therefore, you should include in your itinerary the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu to enjoy its mountains, temples, agricultural area, archaeological reserve, among others.

The best option

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cuzco

Buy your ticket to Machu Picchu

You can select from four circuits to explore Machu Picchu at your own pace. You can visit the Waynapicchu or Huchuypicchu mountain, see the Temple of the Sun, the archaeological reserve, among other areas of interest.

Machu Picchu is a place that will surprise you from the first moment. You will feel a unique connection with nature and the legacy of the Inca civilization. You will walk through the streets of this ancient city, dotted with forts, llamas and great architectural treasures.

The visit to Machu Picchu does not include the company of a guide, allowing you to undertake the selected circuit on your own. Of course, following the respective signs. However, you can visit the city through a guided excursion or hire a guide at the door.

Recommended if... you want to know the architectural ingenuity of the Inca civilization, captured in stone.

How much do tickets cost to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco?

person with money in hand|©Christian Dubovan
person with money in hand|©Christian Dubovan

The price of the tickets to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco varies between approximately 37 ¤ and 48 ¤. This will depend on the tour you wish to take within this archaeological site.

For example:

  • Circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4 by Llaqta of Machu Picchu, has an approximate cost of 37€ per adult, about 18€ for students and from 17€ for children from 3 to 17 years old.
  • Circuit 3 combined with Machu Picchu Mountain or circuit 4 combined with Waynapicchu Mountain, costs about 48€ per adult, about 30€ for students and from 28€ for children from 3 to 17 years old.
  • Circuit 4 combined with Huchuypicchu Mountain, starts from 37€ for adults, about 18€ for students and from 17€ for children from 3 to 17 years old.

Book an excursion to Machu Picchu from Cuzco

What types of tickets are there? Are there tickets to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco without queues?

Machu Picchu|©Rachael Lewis
Machu Picchu|©Rachael Lewis

In Machu Picchu you will find several types of tickets, which will allow you to explore the park through five circuits. In addition, you should know that none of the tickets will save you from queuing, as the direct access mode is not available.

Among the tickets available to visit Machu Picchu are the following:

  • The entrance to circuit 1: with which you will have access to the Llaqta, also known as nuclear area.
  • The entrance to circuit 2: with this ticket you will have access to Intiwana, the Sacred Rock and other areas of interest.
  • The entrance to circuit 3: enjoy a long route through the Temple of the Sun, the Water Mirrors, the House of the Inka, the area of the terraces or agricultural zone and the so-called Archaeological Reserve.
  • The entrance to circuit 4: this ticket gives access to the tour of the urban area of the site. You will have to choose between climbing the Waynapicchu or Huchuypicchu mountains.

Book tickets for Machu Picchu

Are the entrance tickets to visit Machu Picchu in Cusco included in any tourist pass of the city?

Machu Picchu at Spring Equinox|©Peaksurfer
Machu Picchu at Spring Equinox|©Peaksurfer

No. Unfortunately, tickets to visit Machu Picchu are not included in the city's tourist pass administered by the Committee of Integrated Cultural Tourist Services of Cusco.

However, the Cusco Tourist Ticket (BTC) offers entrance to other archaeological sites of interest, which you can incorporate into your itinerary. Such is the case of the Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park in Cusco, or the Pikillacta Archaeological Park, among others.

Book tickets for Machu Picchu

Are there tickets that include the guided tour to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco, and is it worth it?

Extensive green mountains|©rubypulman
Extensive green mountains|©rubypulman

None of the tickets to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco usually do not include a guided tour. Therefore, you will have to discover on your own all the attractions that the Inca city offers.

However, at the main gate to access Machu Picchu you will find some professional guides, who offer their service if you wish. You will only have to pay an additional cost of approximately 10€ per person and around 24€ for groups of up to four people.

This option is certainly worth it, since the guide will tell you the history of each area visited. But, if you don't want this service, you don't have to worry about it. You can also take one of the best day trips from Cuzco following the signs of each circuit.

Book an excursion to Machu Picchu from Cuzco

Are there discounted tickets to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco?

people in Machu Picchu|©Carlos Javier Sepúlveda
people in Machu Picchu|©Carlos Javier Sepúlveda

Yes, Machu Picchu has discounted tickets, specifically aimed at children from 3 to 17 years old and undergraduate students.

For example, if you are a student (up to 25 years old) you will get a reduction of approximately 50% off the total price of the ticket corresponding to the selected circuit. Meanwhile, children enjoy a discount of around 48%.

Meanwhile, adults over 65 years of age (nationals or foreigners) can enter Machu Picchu free of charge. And, nationals belonging to the Andean Community, i.e. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, can apply for a discount.

Whatever your status is (child, student, over 65, national of the Andean Community), you must check at the ticket office. You can also contact [email protected] or call +51 84 582030 for more information about discounts.

Book tickets for Machu Picchu

Are there special tickets for children?

people going up the trail to Machu Picchu|© Beatriz Ramos
people going up the trail to Machu Picchu|© Beatriz Ramos

Yes, all tickets to visit Machu Picchu offer an option for children. The objective is that the little ones enjoy a special price at the time you make the purchase at the ticket office or via web.

This modality of special tickets applies to all national or foreign children, whose age is between 3 and 17 years old. You only have to check the age of the little ones and, thus, you will pay for their tickets around 17€ or 28€, depending on the chosen circuit.

In addition, children under 3 years old can enter completely free, except for the visit to the Waynapicchu mountain. And this route only accepts children from 12 years of age.

Undoubtedly, Machu Picchu is an archaeological park where children will have fun learning and will keep memories for a lifetime. Therefore, it is a destination that should not be missing among the top 10 activities to do on your visit to Cusco.

Book tickets for Machu Picchu

Why is it worth buying tickets online instead of at the ticket office?

Girls in front of the computer|© KOBU Agency
Girls in front of the computer|© KOBU Agency

Buying tickets online for Machu Picchu is worth it, because it allows you to guarantee your visit on a specific day and at a specific time. This way, you will not have any kind of inconvenience to enjoy the desired circuit.

Remember that the tickets at the box office are usually sold out quickly every day. Therefore, if you do not book several days or even months in advance, you run the risk of arriving and not getting even one ticket available.

Because of this, the best option is to access the Helloticktes website to purchase tickets safely and quickly. In addition, you can connect with one of the day tours to Machu Picchu from Cusco, since, in this case, the company is in charge of managing the tickets.

Book an excursion to Machu Picchu from Cuzco

Machu Picchu opening hours

Machu Picchu Ruins|©Tomas Sobek
Machu Picchu Ruins|©Tomas Sobek

The sacred city of Machu Picchu opens its doors every day from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last access is usually at 16:00 hours, that is, one hour before closing time.

However, each of the circuits has different access schedules and shifts. For example:

  • Machu Picchu Solo: you will be able to access every hour from 6:00 until 2:00 in the afternoon.
  • Machu Picchu + Waynapicchu mountain: the schedule for this circuit is organized in four groups. You will be able to enter Machu Picchu every hour from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and the mountain from 7:00 am to 11:00 am.
  • Machu Picchu + Mountain: the first group accesses from 6:00 am and the mountain between 7:00 and 8:00 am. Meanwhile, the second group can enter Machu Picchu at 7:00 am and the mountain between 8:00 and 9:00 am.
  • Machu Picchu + Huchuypicchu mountain: the entrance to Machu Picchu is every hour from 6:00 to 13:00 hours, while to Huchuypicchu mountain you can access one or two hours after the turn to Machu Picchu, that is, from 7:00 to 15:00 hours.

Likewise, at the time of booking or buying the ticket online or at the ticket office, you will get all the necessary information about the schedules.

How much time do you need to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco?

View of Machu Picchu|©agaelebe
View of Machu Picchu|©agaelebe

The time to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco can vary from two to four hours, depending on the selected experience. You will be able to leisurely walk the paths of the Inca city, take pictures, contemplate different panoramic views and places of interest, etc.

For example, if you plan to tour only the Llaqta or citadel, thus omitting to climb the mountains, then about two hours will be enough. But, if instead, you wish to follow the Machu Picchu route and incorporate the climb up to the Huchuypicchu mountain, you will need about four hours.

Whether these or any other Machu Picchu tour, at the end of your visit and return to Cuzco, you can continue with other itinerary activities: join one of the best cooking classes in Cusco, buy souvenirs, discover some of the things to do in Cusco at night on a route of bars, pubs, among others.

Book an excursion to Machu Picchu from Cuzco

Best time to visit Machu Picchu in Cuzco

Rainy day in Machu Picchu|©Eddie Curtis
Rainy day in Machu Picchu|©Eddie Curtis

Any time of the year is the best time to go to Cusco and visit Machu Picchu. Whether you decide to do this activity during the dry, rainy or dry season, you can live a unique experience through the circuits of the Inca city.

Dry season

The dry season in Machu Picchu runs from May to September. Rainfall is scarce, the sky is clear and the heat is of medium intensity, compared to other regions of Peru. Therefore, these months are of great tourist affluence. In addition, from June to September, you might find snow on top of the mountains.

Rainy season

If what you want is a low tourist influx and landscapes dominated by clouds, in order to give a unique touch to your photographs, then you should go to Machu Picchu from December to March. In this period the rains intensify, so you should be attentive to the weather forecast.

Camping season

The months of April to May are the best in Machu Picchu if you want to enjoy an intermediate climate, that is, not too sunny, not too rainy or cold. Also, from September to November, the weather remains cool, with little rain and the landscape is greener.

How to get to Machu Picchu in Cuzco?

Train to Machu Picchu|©Txaro Franco
Train to Machu Picchu|©Txaro Franco

If you are wondering how to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco, you should know that there are several options: by train, bus and through a guided excursion. In any case, you will have to travel about 80 kilometers to Aguas Calientes; this is the closest town to the Inca city (approximately 10 kilometers).

By train

You will have to go from Cusco to the Ollantaytambo train station for about 90 minutes by car.

Afterwards, you will travel by train to Aguas Calientes (about two hours), enjoying an amazing scenic route. When you get off the train you will have to take a bus to Machu Picchu, which takes about 15 minutes.

By bus

Another option to get to Machu Picchu is to take a bus from the center of Cusco to the Hydroelectric Power Plant, a route that takes about six hours. Then, you will walk a maximum of three hours to Aguas Calientes, to take another bus, a last bus of about 15 minutes, which will take you to Machu Picchu.

Through a guided excursion

You can also join one of the excursions to Machu Picchu from Cusco and leave all the planning of the transfer in the hands of an expert. You can select a classic one-day train adventure to visit the Inca city.

And, if you plan to spend 5 days in Cusco or more, you can enhance the experience with a two-day, one-night or four-day, three-night excursion. This way, you will not only discover Machu Picchu, but also the Inca Trail.

Book an excursion to Machu Picchu from Cuzco

What you can't miss in Machu Picchu

Intihuatana, Peru|©David Stanley
Intihuatana, Peru|©David Stanley

Machu Picchu is a true archaeological jewel, where you will be able to connect with nature and the past of a civilization. Therefore, you should enjoy the magic of this place, full of history, majestic landscapes and amazing samples of the Incas' ingenuity.

Among the places you should not miss during your visit to Machu Picchu, the following stand out:

  • The Intihuatana: a carved piece, used to identify the change of seasons according to the shadow generated in them.
  • The Sacred Plaza: this is another space of religious worship that is accompanied by an extra chamber (House of the Priest).
  • The Huayna Picchu Mountain, from where you will get a complete panoramic view of the Inca city.
  • The Temple of the Sun: where there are a couple of windows from where the priests performed rites in worship of the sun god.

Likewise, you should not miss a walk through the prison, the Royal Residence, the Temple of the Dead, the water mirrors, the Temple of the Condor, among other places.

Tips for visiting Machu Picchu in Cuzco

man walking in the jungle|©Kieran Taylor
man walking in the jungle|©Kieran Taylor

When visiting a place like Machu Picchu it is important to put into practice some tips, which will allow you to improve the experience.

Some of them are:

  • Carry only the basics in your bag, especially if you plan to climb the mountains.
  • Don't forget your water bottle, as hydrating drinks inside the Inca city are usually expensive.
  • Be punctual with the schedule because, otherwise, they will not let you in.
  • Wear closed and comfortable shoes to avoid hurting your feet during the circuit.
  • Bring repellent and sunscreen. Keep in mind that mosquitoes abound in these mountains. Also, although the weather is very changeable, the sun usually persists.

Book tickets for Machu Picchu