2. From Cusco: Machu Picchu 2-day Budget Tour by Car
Journey to the iconic Machu Picchu on a 2-day tour specially designed to be an affordable alternative that takes you over scenic mountains, past indigenous villages, and through lush jungles hikes. Make your trip more comfortable by upgrading to options that include hotels in Aguas Calientes and additional bus and train add-ons.
DAY 1: Cusco - Santa Teresa - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes
Pickup at 7:00 AM from hotels and hostels in central Cusco. Head through the Sacred Valley and appreciate different villages and climatic changes in the Andes. Arrive at Santa Teresa around 1:30 PM where a typical lunch will be served.
Then, continue the tour until arriving at Hydroelectric around 3:00 PM. From here, start a walk on the train tracks through a native jungle to Aguas Calientes, about a 3 hours trek. You can choose add-on a train to Aguas Calientes at the checkout if you don't want to do the walk.
At Aguas Calientes, your guide will show you to your accommodation (if option is selected). You also have the opportunity to go relax optionally at the hot springs (this activity can only be paid on spot) or take a stroll around town before dinner.
DAY 2: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Hydroelectric - Cusco
Get up early in the morning and 4:30 AM to start the walk towards Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. The steep walk up will last approximately 1:30 hour, and the objective is to appreciate the sunrise from the Inca citadel and be the first to arrive. The walk up to Machu Picchu requires a fair physical condition — you can also choose add-on a bus to Machu Picchu at the checkout, if you don't want to do the walk.
Get a 2-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu and the surrounding sites. Enjoy free time to take photos and look around the citadel. If you chose one of the extra hikes to one of the mountains you will split ways with the group to go by yourself to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain — you can choose add-on these hikes at the checkout.
Leave Machu Picchu and return to Aguas Calientes at around 11:30 AM (walking or by bus, depending on if you choose add-on at checkout). Once in Aguas Calientes, start the walk back to Hydroelectric where your guide will be waiting to gather the group to return to the city of Cusco — again, you can choose add-on a train to Hydroelectric at the checkout, if you don't want to do the walk.
Be back in Cusco around 9:30 - 10:00 PM. The drop-off will be in San Francisco square in the historic center, near Plaza de Armas.
Distances for the whole itinerary:
• Distance traveled by car/van Cusco to Hydroelectric: approximately 4 to 5 hours
• Trekking Distance from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes: approximately 2:30 hours (1-way)
• Trekking Distance from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 1:30 hours (1-way)
• Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 25-minutes (1-way)
• Distance traveled by car/van from Hydroelectric to Cusco: approximately 5 to 6 hours