Peru with Kids: How to Get from Lima to Machu Picchu
If you’re one of the many people thinking about visiting Machu Picchu and wonder how to get to the hidden Inca Citadel with your family; I will breakdown how to we got from Lima to Machu Picchu with our family. How I planned, how much I spent. I am sharing all that I learn by visiting Machu Picchu more than seven times, and once with my kids (5 and 8 yo).
Getting To Lima
Since there is not yet any direct International flight to Cusco form where I lived, we stop in Lima. Upon where you are located you will need to get a flight that stops in Lima and stay there or keeps flying to Cusco. You can either choose to spend a few days and explore Lima or keep traveling to Cusco. If you staying in Lima check this to find out what do when visiting Lima. We always have a great time there, not only visiting family also there is always something new to see.
Going from Lima To Cusco
A Beautiful view of Cusco sky before we landed to our adventure
Coca leaf after arriving at the airport. you can chew them or take it to make tea for the altitude
The Option of Flying:
This is the most common method to get to Cusco, and most people fly. you save time, but not money. If your ticket is not direct to Cusco, you will need to find a flight to get there probably from Lima.
We got tickets online before getting to Cusco and flew from Lima to Cusco. Tickets to fly to Cusco were approx. $130 per person.
Alternative Way- a Bus:
A bus ride from Lima to Cusco could take from 24 to 26 hours, besides be a less expensive way to travel, it could be an unforgettable experience because there are many amazing places to see in the way from Lima to Cusco (Nazca lines, Arequipa and other towns).
Depends on the time you have available to travel. There are two main routes: One via Abancay and the second goes from Nazca to Arequipa and then Cusco which is longer but is known as the safer.
Getting to Machu Picchu from Cusco:
Once in Cusco, you need to take the train to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes train station). The buses to go to Machu Picchu citadel only depart from the town called Aguas Calientes.
We spent some time with the family in Cusco before we head to Machu Picchu, so we could acclimate and be on our best shape avoiding sick altitude.
To get to Machu Picchu you can purchase in advance your train tickets at www.perurail.com. Where you will find different departure station. Find the station for the train you are going to take. There are different prices upon the style of trip you want to take. Read on how we did it and how much we spend here. You can read about our adventure in Machu Picchu here
You will find a variety of trains departure and return schedules according to the availability of trains on the dates you have chosen. The train has two different stations: Poroy (Cusco), and Ollantaytambo.
Poroy train station:
The route from Poroy (Cusco) to Machu Picchu the train takes approx. 3 hours and 50 minutes. Poroy is located 25 to 30 minutes in a taxi from Cusco center. The taxi is approximately s/.36 soles ($11) or a bus s/.5 or 7 ($2) per person. The train only stops once at Ollantaytambo station.
Ollantaytambo train station:
To go from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu it takes 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the train operates every day except for the last Sunday of each month. Ollantaytambo is located 2 hours in a car from Cusco Center. A bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo that cost s/. 10 soles ($4) per person or a taxi that costs around s/. 149 soles ($45).
This is another option, despite the train stops only in Ollantaytambo, we took a private tour and decided to stay in Urubamba. Urubamba is a less crowded town and I do recommend it if you want to enjoy the most “real” Peruvian town. The ride from Cusco to Urumbamba took approximately 45 minutes and it was included in our package. A private van from Cusco to Urubamba cost s/. 133 ($40). The next day our private transportation took us to Ollantaytambo train station. A private van from Urumbaba to Ollantaytambo cost s/.99 soles ($30) and a bus cost s/.5 or 7 soles ($2) per person.
Getting to Machu Picchu Citadel from Aguas Calientes Town:
Bus to Machu Picchu Citadel:
After you arrived at Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu Station (located at the town of Machu Picchu and not at the citadel), you can take a bus that takes you to Machu Picchu site. This is the only official public transport to the site. It is a 25 minutes ride and buses come every 5 minutes. The bus first comes first serve bases and bus shift start running at 5:30 a.m.
When you get there, most of the people stay in Aguas Calientes to take a bus the next morning, it’s always better to have extra time before taking the bus. Take into consideration that the line for the bus starts at 3 a.m. and you arrived at the Citadel at 6:00 a.m. When Machu Picchu site opens its doors.
You can buy your bus tickets online or get them when you arrive in Aguas Calientes. If you need more information about tickets you can find it here http://consettur.com.
- Cusco Offices: Av. Infancia 433 – Wanchaq, phone numbers are 084 – 222125, 084 – 252959, opens Lunes – sábado 08:00 a 12:45 – 15:00 an 18:00 Sundays and Holidays: 08:00 a 12:45 and email firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Aguas Calientes Office: in Avenida Hermanos Ayar S/N (where the buses depart), opens at 5:00 am until 21:30 hrs.Tel: 084 211 134.
We decided to take the first bus at 5:30 am and pay for the round trip $24 per adult and $12 per kid.
TIP: If you buy the tickets in the town they only accept MasterCard or immaculate dollars ( no marks, ticks or anything), no euro, no visa, no regular dollars.
Some most adventures people start hiking around 4 am or 5 am to get to Machu Picchu first. The hike last hour an half, and yes they hike in the dark if they want to be first in line.
Machu Picchu Citadel:
Due to a new regulation for the entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu, since July 1, 2017, there are two turns to enter to Machu Picchu:
- From 06:00 am to 12:00 pm.
- From 12:00 pm until 05:30 pm.
Also, there are specific routes you need to follow. Keep in mind that you need to get your admission tickets to enter Machu Picchu.
We as a family had a great time exploring if you want to know what to expect there check our adventure in Machu Picchu
Ticket to enter Machu Picchu:
There is a limitation of 2500 tickets/visitors per day. You can get them:
1) Online at http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe this page is in Spanish but basically says
- Entrance for Peruvian people cost s/.64 soles ($19-$20)
- Foreigner s/.152 soles ($46-$47)
- Students pay s/.77 soles ($23-$24) but can’t get tickets online they need to get it in person on any office since there are many cases of falsification.
- School students pay s/.70 soles ($21-22) up until 12
- There is a 50% discount to 60 years and older and people with discapacity on the regular ticket (152 soles) approx. $23-$24
2) In person you can get your ticket at the tourism office in the main square of Aguas Calientes located in Calle Garcilaso s/n – Museo Histórico Regional y Calle Maruri 340 from Monday to Saturday from 07:00 to 19:30 hrs (no holidays), in Aguas Calientes on the Cultural Center, every day from 05:30 a 20 hrs
3) Any tour company can get it for you.
To get into Machu Picchu Citadel we pay s/.152 soles ($46) and kids ($23)
Tips: The Citadel of Machu Picchu is located in a region bordering the jungle. In that case, we recommend the use of sunscreen, sunglasses, hats or caps and repellent both during the trip and while at the Citadel.
Getting To Huayna Picchu:
We didn’t go to Huayna Picchu this time, but If you want to do it, you need to book it weeks in advance–these tickets sell out fast because of the limitation of 200 per day. However, I don’t recommend this hike for young little kids since have very steep cliff you need to be very careful.
Entrance to Huayna Picchu cost s/48 soles ($15) for adults, kids, and students, s in general. There is a 50% discount to 60 years and older and people with discapacity on the regular ticket.
I hope this helps you. Have a blast!