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Getting to Machu Picchu

Getting to Machu Picchu can be done by train or hiking the Inca Trail.  Below you will find a step-by-step recommendation to plan your adventure to Peru.  To help you in the process we have also crafted several itineraries that will maximize your travel experience and exposure to the best Peru has to offer. 

International arrival time

  • Typically, most flights arrive in the evening in Lima, requiring spending one night in Peru’s capital.
  • You can fly to Cusco (about 1 hour and 20 minutes) the next day or enjoy a full day exploring Lima.  
  • If your flight arrives in the early am, it is best to connect right away for a morning flight to Cusco.

Once in Cusco

  • We strongly recommend staying at least one night in Cusco. The city is over 11,000 above sea level and it’s amazingly rich in culture and Inca history.
  • You will have time to tour the city and nearby ruins during the afternoon if your flight arrives before 11:00 am.

Getting to Machu Picchu from Cusco

  • You can get to Machu Picchu by train or hiking the Inca Trail.
  • If by train, we recommend taking an early one in order to get to the ruins before 11:00 am. The train ride is about 3.5 hours each way.
  • Once you get to Machu Picchu town, if part of a tour group, your guide will be waiting for you at the Aguas Calientes train station.
  • A minibus will take you up to the entrance to the sanctuary (about a 20 minutes ride). The ruins can only be visited as part of a tour group.
  • If you are returning to Cusco the same day (not recommended), plan on taking the mini-bus down at least 1.5 hours before your train departure.
  • If spending the night, make sure your tour package includes passes to climb Huayna Picchu the next day (strongly recommended).

Getting to Machu Picchu by Hiking the Inca Trail

  • In order to hike the Inca Trail, you MUST book a guided tour with an authorized Inca Trail trekking company (like our team).
  • Inca Trail passes sold by the government are limited to 500 people per day of which about 200 are tourists and 300 porters.
  • Passes sell out about 7 months in advance. Make sure to book your Inca Trail tour way in advance.
  • Pick-up at your hotel will be very early in the morning.
  • You will be transferred to kilometer 82 (if doing the 4-day hike) by train or car (typically by train). Note: If doing the 1 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike, you will disembark the train at kilometer 104.
  • After meeting our porters, you will begin your Inca Trail hike, getting to Machu Picchu 4 days later.
  • On the 4th day plan on arriving at Sun Gate, the Inca Trail entrance to Machu Picchu. Most groups arrive in the very early morning and tour Machu Picchu before noon.  Still, if the trail is fully booked, you might be in a group that arrives at the ruins around mid-day.
  • You can return to Cusco later that day or spend the night at Machu Picchu town and climb Huayna Picchu the next day.
  • Returning to Cusco will be by train, arriving at your hotel in the early evening.

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Ship Categories


Exquisite cruising experience, featuring top-notch amenities and personalized services. Plush accommodations, gourmet dining, and an excellent staff-to-guest ratio.

first class

High-quality cruising experience with a balance of comfort and luxury. Well-appointed cabins, a variety of dining options, numerous onboard activities, and attentive service.

mid-range class

Comfortable cruising experience with a balance between affordability and quality amenities. Ships offer cozy accommodations, a range of dining options, and a good assortment of activities. 

tourist class

Enjoyable cruising experience with basic amenities and services. They provide clean and comfortable accommodations and standard dining options.

budget class

Most affordable cruising option. While amenities and services are basic, these ships still offer clean accommodations and simple dining options.

About Your Adventure

Activity Levels

level 1 - easier

Activities: scenic drives, canoe rides, walks up to 1 hour. Trail conditions: cobblestones, pavement, gravel, or dirt paths. Some days require extended walking.


Most travelers can join level 2 adventures without prior experience. Being generally fit is important. Activities include short hikes up to 3 hours, sea kayaking in calm waters, and rafting on Class I-II rapids.


Includes 3-6 hours of daily physical activity, like rafting and wilderness camping. Hikes cover 8-10 miles, including steep ascents or descents. Rafting features Class III rapids.


Hikes up to 14 miles. Rugged terrain, exposure risk, altitudes over 10,000 ft. Rafting: Class IV-V rapids. Kayaking: 4-5 hrs daily, open water with waves and tides.

LEVEL 5 - extreme

For experienced adventurers. Trekking without vehicle support in rugged terrain above 10,000 feet. Long hikes, up to 12 hours, with significant altitude changes. Rafting in: Class IV-V rapids. Experience and doctor's certificate required.