Machu Picchu Travel Tours

Lima Peru to Machu Picchu

Peru is a country rich in history and natural beauty, and one of its most iconic destinations is Machu Picchu. This ancient Incan city, nestled high in the Andes Mountains, attracts visitors from all over the world who come to witness its breathtaking landscapes and archaeological wonders. In this guide, we will take you on a journey from Lima to Machu Picchu, exploring the various aspects of planning your trip, getting to the destination, and making the most of your time there.

Planning Your Trip

Before embarking on your adventure to Machu Picchu, it is important to plan your trip carefully. Consider factors such as the best time of year to visit, the physical demands of the trek, and whether you want to book a tour or explore independently. Additionally, familiarize yourself with permits and regulations, as well as cultural tips and etiquette to ensure a respectful and responsible experience.

Getting to Lima

Lima, the capital city of Peru, serves as the starting point for most travelers heading to Machu Picchu. The city is well-connected with international flights, making it easily accessible from various parts of the world. Once you arrive in Lima, you can explore its vibrant culture, indulge in delicious Peruvian cuisine, and prepare for the next leg of your journey.

Exploring Lima

While in Lima, take the opportunity to explore the city’s historical sites, such as the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral of Lima. Visit the Larco Museum to learn about Peru’s ancient civilizations, and stroll through the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, known for its colorful streets and artistic vibe. Lima is also a food lover’s paradise, so be sure to try local dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado.

Choosing the Best Route

There are several routes you can take to reach Machu Picchu, each offering a unique experience. The most popular route is the Inca Trail, a four-day trek that takes you through stunning landscapes and ancient ruins. Other options include the Salkantay Trek, the Lares Trek, and the Choquequirao Trek. Research each route and choose the one that suits your fitness level, time constraints, and preferences.

Getting to Cusco

Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and is accessible from Lima by plane or bus. Many travelers opt to fly to Cusco to save time, as the journey by bus can take around 20 hours. Once in Cusco, take some time to acclimatize to the high altitude, as the city sits at an elevation of 11,152 feet (3,399 meters).

Exploring Cusco

Cusco is a fascinating city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Explore the ancient Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qorikancha, and Tambomachay. Wander through the narrow streets of the San Blas neighborhood, known for its artisan workshops and bohemian atmosphere. Don’t forget to try the local delicacy, cuy (guinea pig), and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the San Pedro Market.

The Journey to Machu Picchu

From Cusco, you will embark on the final leg of your journey to Machu Picchu. There are several options to reach the ancient city, including taking a train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, or hiking the final stretch of the Inca Trail. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, be prepared to be awestruck by the scenic beauty of the Andes Mountains as you make your way to this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arriving at Machu Picchu

Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the ancient city nestled amidst lush green mountains. Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere and marvel at the remarkable engineering and architectural prowess of the Incas. It is a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of this ancient wonder.

Exploring Machu Picchu

Once inside Machu Picchu, take your time to explore the various temples, terraces, and plazas that make up this magnificent site. Don’t miss the Intihuatana Stone, believed to be an astronomical clock, and the Temple of the Sun, known for its precision stonework. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike up to the iconic viewpoint of Huayna Picchu for a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire site.

Trekking Options

If you enjoy trekking, Machu Picchu offers a variety of options to suit different fitness levels and time constraints. In addition to the Inca Trail, mentioned earlier, you can opt for shorter treks like the Huchuy Qosqo Trek or the Vilcabamba Trek. These treks will take you through stunning landscapes and provide a more immersive experience of the region’s natural beauty.

Alternative Ways to Reach Machu Picchu

If trekking is not your preference, there are alternative ways to reach Machu Picchu. You can take a scenic train ride from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, which offers stunning views along the way. Alternatively, you can take a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, and then hike or take a bus to the entrance of the archaeological site.

Planning Your Time at Machu Picchu

It is essential to plan your time at Machu Picchu to make the most of your visit. Consider spending at least half a day exploring the site, taking in the main highlights and soaking in the atmosphere. If you have more time, you can opt for a full-day visit or even stay overnight in Aguas Calientes to catch the magical sunrise at Machu Picchu.

Permits and Regulations

To visit Machu Picchu, you need to obtain a permit in advance, especially if you plan on hiking the Inca Trail. Permits are limited, so it is advisable to book well in advance, especially during the peak season from May to September. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines set by the Peruvian government to ensure a responsible and sustainable visit to this historical site.

Cultural Tips and Etiquette

When visiting Machu Picchu, it is essential to respect the cultural significance of the site and the local customs. Dress modestly, be mindful of your actions, and do not touch or remove any artifacts. It is also important to be respectful of the local Quechua people, who consider Machu Picchu a sacred place. Engaging with the local community and learning about their traditions can enhance your experience.

Traveling Responsibly

As a responsible traveler, it is crucial to minimize your impact on the environment and the local communities. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, dispose of waste responsibly, and support local businesses and initiatives. Remember that Machu Picchu is a fragile site, and it is our responsibility to preserve its beauty and cultural heritage for generations to come.


A journey from Lima to Machu Picchu is an adventure of a lifetime. From exploring the vibrant streets of Lima to immersing yourself in the ancient wonders of Cusco and finally arriving at the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, every step of the way is filled with incredible experiences. Plan your trip carefully, be prepared for the physical demands, and approach your visit with respect and responsibility. Machu Picchu awaits, ready to amaze and inspire you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu?

The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season from May to September. The weather is generally clear, and the chance of rain is low. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you prefer fewer tourists, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April or October.

2. How physically demanding is the trek to Machu Picchu?

The physical demands of the trek to Machu Picchu vary depending on the route you choose. The Inca Trail is considered moderate to challenging, with steep ascents and descents. Other treks like the Salkantay Trek or the Lares Trek can be more physically demanding due to higher altitudes. It is essential to be in good physical condition and acclimatize properly before attempting any trek.

3. Do I need to book a tour or can I explore Machu Picchu independently?

You can explore Machu Picchu independently, but booking a tour can enhance your experience. A knowledgeable guide can provide insights into the history and significance of the site, making your visit more meaningful. Additionally, booking a tour ensures you have all the necessary permits and arrangements taken care of, saving you time and hassle.

4. Are there any altitude sickness precautions I should take?

Altitude sickness is a common concern when visiting high-altitude destinations like Machu Picchu. To minimize the risk, it is advisable to spend a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude locations to acclimatize before attempting any treks. Stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and strenuous activities, and consider taking medication such as Diamox to help with acclimatization. If you experience severe symptoms, descend to a lower elevation immediately.
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