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Peru has some of the most breathtaking historical sites in South America, but Machu Picchu is the most famous one. After deciding to explore the sacred location, tourists need to decide how to get there – and this decision is crucial for the journey.

There are essential things travelers must know before going to Machu Picchu. The closest airport is located in Cusco, but travelers still need to travel 210 km more until Aguas Calientes, where they can finally reach the entrance. Due to the long distance, people often decide to spend at least one night in Aguas Calientes. The options to arrive at Machu Picchu include minivans, trekking, and trains, and the decision depends on the type of traveler and the time they can spend in the region.

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The Easist Way To Get To Machu Pichu

Reaching Machu Picchu demands a long time. The fastest and easiest way is to catch a train that leaves from Poroy (20 km away from Custo) and Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley towards Aguas Calientes. Some more exclusive companies have departures from Urubamba. After arriving there, visitors still need to catch the bus to the entrance.

The two companies operating in the region are PeruRail and Inca Rail, and it is recommended to book the tickets before arriving in Peru, as they are often sold out. The prices increase depending on the services offered. Peru Rail, for example, has four different types of trains: Vistadome trains, Expedition, Sacred Valley, and the Hiram Bingham luxury train, while the Inca Rail features The Voyager, The 360º, The First Class, and The Private.

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There Is More Than One Trail To The Inca City

The Most Traditional Trail

The Inca Trail is the most traditional way adventurous people get to the Machu Picchu. It takes four days for travelers to go through the nearly 40 kilometers and starts at Ollantaytambo. The distance must sound short, but the high altitudes – up to 4,200 meters– are the main challenge they need to overcome. Even the most experienced climbers should arrive in Cusco a few days before acclimatizing to the altitude.

The Inca Trail ends at the Intipunku, also known as Puerta del Sol, the main entrance for the Incas. The trail is also a unique opportunity to see a microcosm of Peru, with its biodiversity and landscape. Travelers should book it in advance, and it is crucial to read the reviews before choosing an agency.

There Is Another Route To Reach The Machu Picchu

Inca Trail is indeed the most famous trekking in South America, but there are other gorgeous ways to reach the Machu Picchu. The 60-kilometer Salkantay trekking is becoming increasingly popular and can be done in five days. The trail is named after one of the highest peaks in Peru, and among the highlights of the journey are the Humantay Glacier and the Llactapata ruins, which is part of the Inca culture.

Depending on the agency, travelers can also spend one night at the Sky Camp, an exclusive campsite that overlooks the Salkantay and the Humantay mountains. The rooms are exclusive glass domes that allow travelers to watch the stars.

Reaching The Machu Picchu Through The Jungle

For those who want to add more adrenaline to their travel, the Inca Jungle Trek is the most adventurous trekking in the region. Tourists can go downhill mountain biking, experience rafting, zip-lining, and trekking inside the jungle. The four-day adventure is more focused on adrenaline than in the Inca culture, and people doing it will sleep in hostels or the house of locals.

The Inca Jungle Trek is available all year, but the best time to do it is during the dry season, between May and September. The altitudes in this trekking are lower, which means there are fewer chances of travelers experiencing altitude sickness. Of course, the last day of the trakking is at Aguas Calientes, at the Machu Picchu.

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Tourists Can Also Visit Another Sacred Site

Undoubtedly, Machu Picchu is the most famous postcard in Peru, and it lives up to the hype. Yet, the region has another Inca lost city: Choquequirao, which means “Cradle of Gold” in Quechua. The place resembles the Machu Picchu, but without the tons of tourists. The good news is that it is possible to combine both sacred cities in five-day trekking.

Travelers can do this trekking between March and December and go through deep canyons and cliffs. It is the perfect chance to visit the two most important Inca ruins.

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The Cheapest Way To Get To Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu can also reach through an alternative route known as hydroelectric. A popular alternative for tourists on a budget is catching a minivan that costs approximately $19. The trip starts in Cusco and stops in Santa Teresa and at the hydroelectric. Here, tourists need to choose between catching a train for a 45-minute journey or – the most popular choice– walking for three hours by the Vilcanota until Aguas Calientes.

After arriving in Aguas Calientes, travelers can take a bus to the Machu Picchu entrance or continue walking for two hours. Going by minivan is the longest option and often takes between eight or ten hours. It is a good option for travelers on a budget or who had forgotten to book the train tickets in advance.