Getting Around Machu Picchu

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Most Viewed Transportation in Machu Picchu

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    Buses to Machu Picchu

    by starship Updated Jul 24, 2014

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    Any visit to the historic site of Machu Picchu will, no doubt, require a combination of different types of transportation to reach it. Once you reach the village of Aguas Calientes (or Machupicchu pueblo), you will only have 2 choices of how to reach the Machu Picchu citadel --- on foot: hiking up the mountain on a trail from Aguas Calientes, or by the Consettur green shuttle buses which offer quite an exciting ride up the mountain.

    If you have not pre-purchased your shuttle bus ticket in Cusco, you can do so at the Aguas Calientes Ticket Sales office on the Avenida Hermanos Ayar, a main road next to the Vilcanota River. Steps away from the ticket office is the one and only bus stop which is the pick-up point as well as the drop-off point for the shuttle buses.

    Purchasing bus tickets in advance is advised as the unprepared traveler may find a line of people waiting to buy tickets as early as 5 a.m. in the high season. The first bus of the day departs at approximately 5:20 a.m., followed by departures at 10 minute intervals (or until the bus is full) throughout the day with the last bus departing about 5:30 p.m. It is best to check the daily schedule for bus departure and return times well in advance in order not to miss your chance to spend the maximum amount of time at the citadel without missing the last return bus and having to descend the mountain on foot.

    During the 20 - 30 minute ride to the Machu Picchu citadel, the bus must navigate the uneven road known as the Hiram Bingham Highway -- a road which is mostly composed dirt and loose rock; in addition, there are also almost 20 switchbacks curves and a never-ending parade of returning buses which must be negotiated on the mountain. Rock slides have occurred on this road with probably the most recent instance being in January, 2014. These concerns aside, the views during the bus ride are one of a kind.

    The skies were overcast on the day we visited Machu Picchu, but the weather certainly didn't hold back the crowds. Buses were totally full both on the ascent and descent. When our group was gathered for the return to Aguas Calientes, the line of passengers already waiting for the bus stretched down the mountain and snaked around the flat area close to the park entrance. Our wait in line was probably close to an hour during which time it began to rain heavily. I admit the thought of rock slides did enter my mind when it began to rain, but it was soon forgotten while chatting with other group members about the day's experiences and this made the wait time pass quickly.

    This is a good time to talk a bit about practical matters.

    Photo courtesy of dangerousroads.org

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    Getting from Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu

    by VA_Dave Written Jan 10, 2009

    There are frequent buses that run from Agua Calientes down in the valley all the way up to the top of Machu Picchu. So you can expect to walk on fairly level ground around the ruins.

    We actually hiked up from AC because we were too cheap to pay for the bus. This hike goes along the railroad tracks until you come to the switchback road the buses take. There is a trail straight up that crosses the switchbacks and it is the same trail that the local kids use when they race the buses down to get tips from the amazed passengers who see the same kids appear at each switchback all the way down the mountain.

    Another way to get to the top is via helicopter. We saw some celebs get out of one when we were there. They were dressed like movie stars, but the spell was broken with they were surrounded by picture taking tourists.

    I hear that there is a very expensive hotel at the top where you can stay and have to ruins all to yourself in the evening after all the buses have left.

    Have a great trip!

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Bus from Aguas Calientes to the Machu Picchu Ruins

    by risse73 Updated Mar 17, 2008

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    The 20 minute bus ride to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes is an adventure in itself. It is a ride through a steep narrow road with scenic views of the Vilcanota valley and river down below. It gets intensely scary when your bus encounters another bus on the opposite way as only one seemingly could fit on the road!

    Bus fares to Machu Picchu cost $6 one way per person and buses depart regularly (every 15 minutes or so until it gets full) from Aguas Calientes each and every day. The ticketing office is easy to spot as it is right in the heart of AC. It may serve you best to get the R/T bus ticket in advance prior to your full day adventure in Machu Picchu.

    Happy travels!

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    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Que subida a - MACHU PICHU - What a slope!

    by elpariente Updated Feb 28, 2007

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    Para subir a Machu Pichu desde aguas Calientes , empiezan a salir los autobuses a las 5h30m y suben desde el río hasta arriba por una carretera serpenteante que tiene trece curvas muy cerradas(hay quien sube andando) y se tardan 20min.
    El precio son 12$ i/v
    To go up to machu Pichu from Aguas Calientes , the buses star at 5h30m and they go up from the river level up to the top by a winding road that has thirteen curves very closed (some people climbs) and it takes 20min
    The price is 12$ return

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    By Bus from Aguas Calientes

    by ThiagoRamos Written Feb 28, 2007

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    Buses take visitors from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The trip takes around 20 minutes and it is not expensive at all. A few visitors prefer to go walking but it is a looong way up...!!! I recommend taking the bus as you´ll walk a lot inside the ruins (not to mention the climb of Huayna Picchu)...

    From Cusco, take the train to Aguas Calientes (4 hours) and then the bus. Be careful because you have to buy tickets in advance and they are not sold by the bus driver.

    Ready to go!!!
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    • Archeology
    • Backpacking

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    Switchback bus

    by nattybabe Written Feb 5, 2007

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    In order to get to or leave Machu Picchu there is a bus that will take you to/from Aguas Calientes. This takes about half an hour down a narrow switchback that leaves you in awe at the driver's abilities not to run you off the road!!

    I can't remember how much it was, but it is one of the only ways to get back to town apart from walking.

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    Getting to the ruins

    by easterntrekker Written Oct 14, 2006

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    We went with our guide to catch a bus to travel up the steep mountain road.

    From the station at Aguas Calientes you walk five minutes through the artisan handicraft market to the station where buses are lined up waiting to board you. They take runs all morning as soon as they are full.

    The ride is a 2,000 foot serpentine road that offers spectacular views to the valley and river. It doesn't matter which side you sit on; because of the numerous switchbacks both sides are exposed multiple times to the open-view side. Going up takes about 20 to 25 minutes; going down about 20 minutes.

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    • Budget Travel

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    Getting up that hill

    by MrRandMcnally Written Jan 18, 2006

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    There are basicly two ways up to Machu Picchu from Aguascallientes, By bus or by foot. We had gone up Putakusi the day before and had no great desire to climb another mountian so we took the bus. It is quick, easy and lacking in the charm that the idea of climbing the mountian has. Nonetheless, With the choice of which mountian to climb I'll climb Putakusi and see what only a handful have seen rather than climbing Machu Picchu to see the same thins those on the buss see. The bus is $12 roundtrip.

    My wife, Me, Machu Picchu, and the bus road

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    PeruRail

    by ryuhome Written Sep 1, 2005

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    You can only make reservation for the Vistadome with PeruRail.com, they don't take Backpacker's reservation. You can save some money (and time) by taking the train from Ollantaytamboto to Machu Picchu, instead of taking it from Cusco. On returning to Cusco, you can get off at Ollantaytambo or Poroy and take a taxi or bus back to Cusco, this will save you some time.

    Station at Ollantaytambo

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    Walking

    by SirRichard Written May 19, 2005

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    Walking is the only way of transportation once you start the Inca Trail. And there is no way back, you have to keep on going. Sometimes you wish there was a helicopter to take you out of there, and when you are s tired you can't even breathe, you wonder why didn't you take the train to Machu Picchu instead of this bl**dy trail, but at the end you forget all these moments!

    Related to:
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Your "GOODBYE!!" from Machu Picchu

    by AKtravelers Updated Feb 26, 2005

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    On the bus ride down from the ruins, you will retrace the same switchbacks you climbed. However, there will be one difference. You'll get serenaded by "Good-bye!" and "Adios" all the way down by a 10-year-old boy dressed in a bright-orange Inca tunic. While you switchback down, the boy sprints down a vertical staircase, meeting the bus everywhere the paths intersect and yells "Adios" in a loud voice at the bus. This quickly becomes entertaining. Then, just as the bus has reached the bottom and prepares to cross the Urubamba River, the driver stops and opens the door for the boy, who jumps in and collects his tip. While this might seem annoying, all he's asking for is one sol (about 35 cents U.S.) and that seems to be a cheap price for the joy he's given the bus.
    There are enough of these adios kids that your bus is sure to have one if you depart in the afternoon. We had three trips down the mountain and a different kid each time.

    The
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    • National/State Park

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    Unless You Walk, You Must Take the Bus

    by AKtravelers Written Feb 25, 2005

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    Unless you're the president of Peru, there really is only one way to get to Machu Picchu. You will take a train to Aguas Caliente, which is the last stop on the line. Then, at some point (before or after checking in to your hotel), you will cross a small river running through town to board a bus. For about $12 round trip, this bus will take you along the raging brown Urubamba River then up steep switchbacks for about 20 minutes until you reach the ruins. Don't stress out about this -- it's easy to figure out.
    The busses seem to depart as soon as they are full, and you never have to wait long before boarding the next bus. The last bus down the mountain departs the ruins at 5:30.

    A view of the bus route to Machu Picchu
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    The Shuttle Bus from Aguas Calientes

    by Paul2001 Written Feb 24, 2005

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    Once you get off the train at Aguas Calientes, you will likely take the shuttle bus up to Machu Picchu. This will cost you $9.00 for a round trip. The journey takes but 15 minutes but what a 15 minutes. This is one of the wildest bustrips I have ever taken, that is because of all the switchbacks which you can see clearly in this picture. The journey is not for the weak of heart as it seems that at any moment your bus could drive off the road and plummet down the hill. If fact on my return trip down from Machu Picchu, I was have an engaging conversation with a charming young lady from St. Louis, when my bus almost ran off the road while avoiding colliding with another bus. Everyone screamed with horror.
    You can catch the buses to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes at the foot of the market. The run very frequently, especially early in the day

    The road from Aguas Caleintes to Machu Picchu
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    The Bus from Aguas Calientes to MaPi

    by cruisingbug Written Jan 19, 2005

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    If you don't feel like hiking up the steep mountain trail or back down, you can take the bus from Aguas Calientes up to the Machu Picchu entrance.

    Be aware that bus fares just went up (2 days before our arrival) and now cost $6 each way.

    You may feel the urge to pay a little extra - this picture is of one of the kids who follow the bus down by running down the trail and waving "Good-Bye" and "Adios!" at every switchback. At the end, he hops on the bus and collects tips. We thought he earned his money by having to hike back up, but no, the bus driver gives him a ride. :)

    Inca Ingenuity, Machu Picchu, Peru
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    • Archeology

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    Be careful driver.....

    by neilward Written Oct 18, 2004

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    Thers a very precarious bus journey up to Machu Picchu,only hope the drivers having a good day,because if he hasnt,it could make "The Long and Winding Road" ( sorry Lennon and Mcartney)very scarey !!!!!

    Looks very dodgy...dont you think !!!

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