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Build your trip to the magical city of Cusco

Discover the majesty of Machu Picchu, the incredible Inca architecture and breathtaking landscapes.

Portada » Useful information for travel to Peru » Data for traveler » Build your trip to the magical city of Cusco

Visiting Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas and one of the seven wonders of the modern world is the dream of many travelers. This extraordinary construction of more than 500 years old lies in the middle of the jungle and apparently has not suffered the passage of time, as its original design is still preserved.

Since the late nineties the number of visitors coming to this part of the world has increased considerably, especially to Machu Picchu, which means that some tickets and tickets have to be booked in advance. The following is a summary of the most important points to consider.


The first step for a successful trip to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is to buy the Machu Picchu ticket. The Ministry of Culture is in charge of the care and preservation of this Inca wonder, as well as the sale of the Machu Picchu ticket. Due to the massive influx of visitors, there are some dates when getting tickets available from one day to another is difficult or very expensive.

The Ministry of Culture has determined the following ticket availability per day:

  • Ticket Machu Picchu (citadel) 2500 tickets.
  • Boleto Machu Picchu y Montaña Huayna Picchu 400 tickets.
  • Boleto Machu Picchu y Montaña Machu Picchu 800 tickets.

To avoid inconveniences, we advise you to purchase your Machu Picchu ticket at least one month before your travel date.

It is important to mention that the Machu Picchu ticket does not include access to the famous Huayna Picchu mountain and this ticket has to be booked much further in advance, as we will expand on later.


After purchasing the Machu Picchu ticket, the next step is to buy the train tickets from the town of Ollantaytambo to the town of Aguas Calientes. There are different types of services and train schedules but in general, if you want to make reservations from one day to another, especially in high season, prices can vary considerably. It is recommended to buy these tickets well in advance.

The railway companies on the Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes route are the following:

  • Peru Rail has been operating since 1999 and offers the following services:
  • The Expedition Train, a regular train service that does not offer a meal reception, extra costs are not included.
  • Vistadome Train, an exclusive service that includes food and non-alcoholic beverages, the long trip at no additional cost and a performance of typical dances on the train during the trip.
  • The Hiram Bingham Train, a VIP service that includes a welcome ceremony, meals and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included, with the exception of some select wines and dances on board. The cost of the ticket also includes accommodation in Aguas Calientes and the bus up and down.
  • Inca Rail obtained permission to start operations on this route in 2009. It currently provides the following services:
  • The Voyager service, which includes travel in a train car with panoramic windows, snacks, hot and cold beverages and music on board.
  • The 360° service, which includes panoramic windows, box lunch, hot and cold beverages, onboard music and entertainment system.
  • The First Class service, which includes panoramic windows, car with observatory on board, gourmet menu, open bar, live music and the bus up and down to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
  • The service called The Private, this service gives you the possibility to rent an entire train car for you and your companions, the car includes an open-air balcony, gourmet menu, open bar, live music and the bus up and down to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.


To visit Machu Picchu you must first arrive in the city of Cusco, either by air or by land. Here is a brief summary.

  • There are daily flights from Lima, the Peruvian capital, to the city of Cusco. Travel time is approximately one hour.

The companies currently providing services are LAN, Peruvian Airlines, Avianca, Viva Air and Amazonas. The average cost of a ticket ranges between USD100 and USD 150 if you want to buy it overnight.

  • The trip from Lima to Cusco by land has an approximate duration of 20 hours, this can vary if you travel during the rainy season, which in some cases makes this time lengthen to 22 or 24 hours. While it is true that the route goes through beautiful valleys and Andean landscapes, the travel time added to the countless number of curves, ups and downs makes this trip is not recommended for everyone.

Book a hotel in Cusco

The city of Cusco has developed an extensive hotel offer, which means that you will most likely have no problem finding an available location. However, room rates have a surcharge of approximately 20% in high season (June - July - August).

Cusco and its countless charms.

The city of Cusco is characterized by an urban architecture in which the Inca influence, with its stone walls, stairways and other stone constructions, on the one hand, and the Spanish influence, with its balconies, houses with large entrance gates and double pitched roofs, on the other, are intermingled.


The city of Cusco has at least 12 churches in its urban area, many of them have been built more than 400 years ago. Among the most representative are:

  • The cathedral, located in the main square. The cathedral represents the greatness of God over humanity or at least that is what its architects wanted to capture in its design. With its 30 meters high, the cathedral is an impressive construction built over an ancient Inca palace.
  • The church of the Compañía de Jesús, also located in the main square, this church impresses both for its design and for the invaluable amount of history and art contained in its walls.
  • The church of San Cristobal, located on top of a hill, this church was also built over an ancient Inca palace and offers a privileged view of Cusco's main square.
  • The church of San Blas, this church is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, that exists in the city of Cusco. It is believed that it was inaugurated in 1544 and is located in the neighborhood of the same name.


Many of the museums that can be found in the city of Cusco were once owned by the most important Spanish authorities living at that time or were once Inca palaces. Among the most representative museums are:

  • Casa Cabrera, located in the small square Nazarenes, was formerly an Amaru Cata or 'House of Knowledge' Inca, on which this building was built. Today, the museum of Pre-Columbian Art is located here.
  • The Garcilazo House, which once belonged to the Concha Iberico family and was acquired in 1967 by the Peruvian government, due to the valuable art collection it housed.

Inca Temples or Palaces

In spite of having been partially destroyed by the Spaniards, today you can still appreciate part of the original structure of some Inca palaces. The best known are:

  • The Qoricancha, located in the center of Cusco on Sun Avenue, is an ancient Inca palace dedicated to the cult of the virgins. The Qoricancha, a Quechua word meaning 'esplanade of gold or field of gold' was covered with gold before it was sacked by the Spanish, according to some historians.
  • Tambomachay, a lithic complex located 20 minutes by bus from the city of Cusco. This palace was dedicated to the cult of water and served as a natural spa.
  • Qenqo, this Inca temple dedicated to the cult of the moon is located in the area of the Sacsayhuaman archaeological park, and stands out for its peculiar shape, which resembles a labyrinth.

Inca Construction

Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and it is for this reason that the remains of the ancient city are buried and scattered throughout the city.

  • Sacsayhuaman, which in Quechua means 'satisfied falcon', is a fortress located on top of a hill, next to the city of Cusco. It stands out for the huge blocks of stone with which it is built, some of these blocks reach more than 5 meters high.
  • Inquilltambo, these Inca remains recently discovered in the riverbed of the Salineras, southeast of Cusco, are composed of terraces and mostly agricultural constructions. These ruins are accessed through the Sacsayhuaman archaeological park route.


The Sacred Valley of the Incas is located an hour's drive from Cusco and has countless attractions, both natural and archaeological.

The town of Pisac

The town of Pisac is located in the Sacred Valley and has a handicrafts fair that is very popular in the area. In the upper part of the town there are Inca terraces that offer an impressive view of the entire valley. 

The town of Ollantaytambo

This town was in Inca times a fortress and observation center, as it is strategically located at the crossroads of three valleys. In its streets you can find Inca walls, aqueducts as well as terraces and cultivation terraces.

The Moray laboratories

The Incas probably built Moray with the intention of experimenting with their crops, because in this construction that resembles a coliseum, important temperature differences have been recorded between one step and another, so it is believed that here they tested and developed new types of seeds.

The town of Urubamba

Evidence of the experimentation with seeds during the time of the Incas can be seen in the town of Urubamba, where you can find the giant corn of Cusco, unique in the world for the size of its kernels and its pleasant flavor.

The town of Chinchero

This town is famous for its weaving and textile industry, in its typical fair there is an innumerable variety of fabrics, wool and factory designs. 


The famous Inca city is located 2,400 meters above sea level, almost 1,000 meters below the city of Cusco, which is located at 3,300 meters above sea level.

Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu mountain

This mountain is the one that appears in the background of almost every photograph of Machu Picchu and is famous for the danger of climbing to the top. The ascent to the top of the mountain takes about an hour and a half, up stone stairs and over the edge of a four hundred meter chasm to the Urubamba River at its base. Because it is considered one of the five best short hikes in the world, tickets for the Huayna Picchu mountain should be purchased at least six months in advance.

Machu Picchu Mountain

The Machu Picchu mountain is also located next to the Inca citadel but offers a better view of the entire surrounding area. The climb up this mountain is easier than the climb up Huayna Picchu mountain and takes about two hours.

As you have been able to know, Cusco has these and many other charms to discover, do not waste time and book at once your experience in Cusco. We are waiting for you.

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