The majestic Inca city built on top of a mountain is the main tourist attraction in Peru and receives thousands of tourists every year.

Since it was discovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham, the impressive Inca city of Machu Picchu, which in Quechua means “old mountain”, has become one of the main attractions in Latin America.

Surrounded by mysteries and curiosities, the gigantic Inca city houses several buildings made with rocks that were carved to the millimeter with primitive tools. The precision is so great that these stones were placed one on top of the other without the need for mortar to hold them together.

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Machu Picchu is located 112 kilometers from cusco, at 2350 meters above sea level, and was declared by UNESCO as a Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity. There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu, which can be by car, train and even on foot.

Train to Aguas Calientes

Photo: Flickr – omunene

This is undoubtedly the most traditional way to get to Machu Picchu. There are two companies that travel to the village of Aguas Calientes, the village at the foot of the mountain that gives access to the ruins: Peru Rail, which leaves from Cusco and Inca Rail, which leaves from Ollantaytambo, a village that has another very famous archaeological site in the country.

Van to Hidroeléctrica + Hike to Aguas Calientes

Photo: Felipe Gonzalez

This is an option for those who have little time and want to save a little bit with the stretch. It is possible to take a van from Cusco to the Hydroelectric, one of the entrances to Aguas Calientes. Arriving there, you will only have to cross a gate and walk on the train line. The route takes an average of 3 hours and continues through the mountains of the region.

Inca Trail

photo: Dave Blair

This is the trail that the Incas used to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. The route lasts 4 days and it is mandatory to do it with a tourist agency. This is one of the most popular paths for tourists in Cusco and spaces are limited, we recommend booking the tour at least one or two months in advance.

Salkantay Trail

Photo: Angie Oroz

This is the longest route, it takes 5 days and 4 nights following a path that cuts through several mountains to the snowy peak of Salkantay, after reaching the peak the route continues towards the Peruvian jungle passing through several isolated villages to the city of Aguas Calientes.

Jungle Trekking

Photo: Flickr – Charity Challenge

Some agencies offer this option with the way including adventure sports on the way. The first day, tourists travel by bicycle, and the rest on foot, including optional rafting and zip lines.

From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Photo: Arne Tiedemann

The small town of Aguas Calientes is also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo and is located on the edge of the mountain that gives access to the lost city. From there it is possible to pay a transfer to the entrance of the archaeological site or to walk the route.

Read too:

» The Land of the Incas: discover the main Peruvian tourist attractions
» Hotel in Peru offers transparent rooms perched on a mountain
» Nazca Lines Peru's Most Mysterious Attraction
» Huacachina, an oasis in the middle of the desert in Peru
» Must-see attractions in Bolivia

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