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Machu Picchu by Helicopter
A helicopter service from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is now available for those who like to pay extra money to get maximum comfort. This service was provided by a 12 passenger helicopter by Heli- Cusco.
Flying From Lima to Cusco
If you want to know how you can fly directly from Lima to Machu Picchu check here.
When Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, in 1911 it was not easily accessible. Over the years certainly situations changed, but still you need to spend considerable amount of time just to reach there. First you have to reach Lima (capital of Peru), then Cusco (another important city of Peru), then a three hour train journey to Aguas Calientes (a small town next to Machu Picchu ruins), and finally another 20 minutes by bus and you are at the gate of stunning, awesome Machu Picchu.
If you are already in Peru, may be in another city other than Lima or Cusco, still you have to be in Cusco first since Machu Picchu is connected to only Cusco.
Distance of Machu Picchu from other Cities
Distance up to Cusco
in KM (mile in bracket)
Cusco- Machu Picchu
KM (mile in bracket)
| Lima || 1165 (725) || 112 (70) || 1277(795) |
| Arequipa || 625 (388) || 112 (70) || 637 (458) |
| Puno || 389 (241) || 112 (70) || 459 (311) |
Machu Picchu from Lima
If you are coming from outside Peru, certainly you are going to land at Lima, which is the only International Airport at Peru. It is located in Callao, 10 km (6 miles) from Downtown Lima.
Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima
As I mentioned above to reach Machu Picchu you have to be Cusco first. So how you can reach Cusco from Lima!
Cusco by air
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport at Cusco becomes very busy specially during high season. Dozens of flights from Lima , Arequipa and Juliaca ( a city next to Puno) land here everyday. So if you are in Lima, Arequipa and Puno, you may fly to Cusco. There is no airport in Puno, but there is an airport at Juliaca which is only 45 minutes away from Puno by road,There are mainly 4 companies operating domestic flights between Lima and Cuzco as you see in the table below. They have multiple flights in the same day, so you can enjoy flexibility in choosing flights. LanPeru provides better service, more reliable, specially with timetable. But LanPeru is little more expensive than the other operators ($300- $400.00 return tickets from Lima to Cusco). You can choose Aero Condor, this one is cheapest in this line (around $150.00 return tickets (Lima-Cusco)). Airfare varies with time. Please check there website to get updated information.
Information on Airway travel to Cusco
| Cities || FLIGHT Time (hr) || Operating airlines |
| Lima- Cusco || 1.05 || LanPeru, AeroCondor, TACA, Star Peru |
| Arequipa - Cusco || 0.55 || LanPeru, Star Peru |
| Cusco - Juliaca || 0.55 || LanPeru, AeroCondor |
Airliners and their websites
| Companies || Website || Comments |
| Lan Peru || www.lan.com/index-en-us.html || You can buy tickets online. |
| TACA || http://www.taca.com || Better website |
| Star Peru || http://www.starperu.com/ || You can buy tickets |
| Aero Condor || aerocondor.com.pe/new/z_default.asp || You can buy ticket online |
Cusco by bus
You can reach Cusco by Bus too. It is cheaper than planes. But it will take you around 18 hours(!). There are few companies like - Cruz del Sur and Ormeno which operate buses between Lima and Cusco. Recently they started premium service, known as Imperial Service, which are more expensive than the regular buses but still very cheaper than airway. Premium services are really good, they even have toilets in the bus. Seats are really comfortable here. English speaking guide, video, sandwich and a lot more are provided in imperial or royal service.
Right now you can buy a Imperial Service ticket between Lima and Cusco for $57.00. Fare for regular service is $ 46.00. With paying extra $ 11.00 you can enjoy real comfort. I will strongly recommend imperial service, if you have to travel by bus.
Website of Bus Companies
| Companies || Website || Comments |
| Ormeno || grupo-ormeno.com.pe || Only in Spanish language |
| Cruz Del Sur || www.cruzdelsur.com.pe || You can buy ticket online |
Distance of Cusco from other Cities
| Cities || Distance (KM) || Distance (Mile) |
| Lima- Cusco || 1165 || 725 |
| Arequipa - Cusco || 625 || 388 |
| Puno-Cusco || 388 || 241 |
Don't spend your time looking for train from Lima to Cusco. There is no train service between Lima and Cusco.
Once you reach Cusco, you need to take train to reach Machu Picchu. Distance between Cusco and Machu Picchu is 112 Kilometers. You can reach Machu Picchu by train, bus or even by helicopter. Usually travelers reach Machu Picchu by trains. There is no direct road service between Cusco and Machu Picchu. But you can reach Ollantaytambo by bus or taxi, which is in between Cusco and Machu Picchu. From Ollantaytambo you will get plenty of trains to reach Machu Picchu. Helicopter service is not common in this route. And certainly it is more expensive. This service had been suspended in near past. Recently Peruvian government approved this service again. Heli-Cusco is now operating a 16 passenger helicopter service from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Read my Cusco to Machu Picchu page to get detail information on Cusco-Machu Picchu route.
Cusco to Machu Picchu by Train
You can reach Machu Picchu by train in around three and a half hours. Train leaves at every day morning from Cusco and comes back at evening the same day. Peru rail is the only company who operates the trains in Peru. They provide three different types of trains to Machu Picchu. You can choose Backpackers, Vistadome or Hiram Bingham express. Price of the trains depend on the service they provide. Check my page on the timetable and ticket fare of the trains.
Hiram Bingham luxury train
Once you reach destination by one of the train mentioned above, you need a bus ride. Yes, the trains will not take you directly to Machu Picchu. Actually train will take you Aguas Calientes town only. From this city Machu Picchu ruins is only two kilometer. It takes around twenty minutes to reach Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. But this short journey is really enjoyable as the buses pass through zigzag and winding way through the mountain. On the way the scenic beauty is great to enjoy.
Cusco to Machu Picchu by Road
Actually there is no direct road from Cusco to Machu Picchu. But still there is an alternative way to reach Machu Picchu, which is a combination of train and bus. You can go to Ollantaytambo by local bus or by taxi, if you want you may stay there a night. There is a famous ruin in Ollantaytambo, you can enjoy your time there. Ollantaytambo is directly connected to Machu Picchu by train. Usually it takes around 5 hours to reach Machu Picchu from Cusco, if you choose this route. Also you can save some money if you use this route. Read my Cusco to Machu Picchu page for detail.