Adventure holidays: the alternative way to Machu Picchu

Adventure holidays in Peru? Why not! If you want to experience the journey of your life, Machu Picchu is a must-see. Our guide explains how to get to the famous citadel and do not spend a fortune – in other words; we will introduce an alternative way to Machu Picchu. 🙂 

The Inca Trails, which consists of three trails, is probably the most popular way to get to Machu Picchu, however, to use those routes you have to buy a special permit. There is a limit of 500 permits per day what means that it is possible to miss the opportunity to make a reservation for a term that best suits you. Many travel agencies recommend making a purchase even six months in advance. Also, although the Inca Trails are undeniably challenging and beautiful, just in the case that you missed the occasion to book the tickets, we will introduce the alternative way to get to Machu Picchu. Our option is also very cheap as it costs around 100 soles which equal approximately 25 pounds (this price was valid in spring 2016).

Adventure holidays: alternative way to Machu Picchu - a definitely cheaper way than a train
The alternative way to Machu Picchu: a bit long but so scenic way towards Machu Picchu


So what is the alternative way to Machu Picchu?

Our way: Cusco – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu

Step 1. Take a bus from Cusco to Hidroelectrica

Firstly, get to the bus terminal in Cusco. You will find there many representatives from the small transportation companies. Ask them about minibuses that go to Hydroelectrica as direct buses to Machu Picchu are not available. You should be able to find an offer for about 100 soles for a return ticket. You pay the whole amount in advance or just a half the total cost. Also, ask whether the lunch is included in your ticket. The bus will pick you up from your hotel/hostel next day in the early morning. The journey takes around 7-8 hours, and you will have an opportunity to admire picturesque landscapes. One part of the trip takes around 4 hours and leads you towards Santa Maria town where the “usual” road ends. Then, for another 3 hours, the bus will go by a route off-the-beaten track. The road during this stage is narrow and bumpy passes through a mountain chain.

Step 2. Trek to Aguas Calientes

Once you arrive at Hidroelectrica, there are no more roads. Just be prepared for walking for about 2-3 hours. The route is quite straightforward – it goes next to the thick forest area alongside the river and rail tracks up to Aguas Calientes. Trekking for such a long time after a quite exhaustive bus ride may be quite challenging. Don’t use our alternative way to Machu Picchu if you are not physically prepared. Although the route is mostly flat, there are many rocks on the path.

Adventure holidays: alternative way to Machu Picchu - on the way to Machu Picchu
The alternative way to Machu Picchu: such a pleasant walk along the river

Step 3. Hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes is a small town in the doorstep of Machu Picchu. We recommend finding there an accommodation in a hostel or hotel. The next day, enjoy breathtaking Incan ruins. 🙂 Aguas Calientes can be treated as a “starting point” to reach Machu Picchu. The cheapest way costs you £0 because you can trek there by taking a route which is quite physically challenging as it consists of numerous stairs up to the hill (this trek takes about 2 hours).

Adventure holidays: alternative way to Machu Picchu - Tauri Travel - Aguas Calientes on the door steps of Machu Picchu.
The alternative way to Machu Picchu – at last, welcome to Aguas Calientes!

 Save the way on Pinterest for later and be ready for adventure holidays! 🙂

alternative way to Machu Picchu

Do you know any other alternative way to Machu Picchu? If yes, let us know! As always, we are happy to hear your travel stories & comments. Also, we encourage you to subscribe us. 🙂

Want to read more about Machu Picchu? Check out the post “How to Visit Machu Picchu” by the Wandering Walker.

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Tauri Travel Co-founder. The kind-hearted traveller who has a passion for writing.