lima to machu picchu distance

Lima is usually the beginning of an incredible adventure for many travelers. The capital of the Inca country is a great place to understand some cultural aspects of the country. You can enjoy a particular architecture and exquisite cuisine. But every adventure has to continue to new places. Therefore, it is ideal to know how much it’s the Lima to Machu Picchu distance. That is why together with Machu Travel Peru we want to explain what you need to know for your trip to the long-awaited Inca citadel.

The distance from Lima to Machu Picchu is 503 km in a straight line, but the route has a distance of 1205 km. Within numerous tour packages or trips already scheduled, you can find that a large majority have Lima as the beginning of the adventure. Almost all international flights can land in the capital. Therefore, travelers take advantage of this short time here and experiment with the essence of this awesome and beautiful city.

All you need to know about the Lima to Machu Picchu distance

Ways to get from Lima to Machu Picchu

lima to machu picchu distance peruvian capital

First, we have to say that there is not a direct way to get from Lima to Machu Picchu. You have to go first to Cusco and after, get Machu Picchu, always.

Having said that, there are several ways to get to the expected wonder of the world from the City of Kings. You can go by car, bus, or train. Within these variants, you can arrive more or less quickly, everything will depend on your budget and how much you want to enjoy the landscapes that await you. First, the best thing you can do before starting your trip is to enjoy at least a little of your stay in the capital. There are many things to do in Lima, among which you can enjoy various beautiful beaches, award-winning gastronomy and various sports of different kinds. It is recommended to take a day or two to enjoy the different museums, typical food, and particular architecture.

Getting from Lima to Machu Picchu in one day

from lima to machu picchu flight
  • Of course, getting from Lima to Machu Picchu in one day is possible. However, the risk is very high. The visitor would have to take a flight from Lima to Cusco very early (Flights that depart 05 or 06 am). If you want to locate the International Airport of Lima, we suggest checking a Lima travel guide.
  • Once in Cusco around 07 or 08 am approx. the visitor would have to go to Poroy Train Station (Located 1 hour from Cusco) or to Ollantaytambo (Located 2 hours from Cusco) to take a train until Machu Picchu town.
  • Arriving at Machu Picchu town at 1 or 2 pm.
  • After that, the visitor would have to take a bus from the town to the same Inca citadel. In this sense, the tour of Machu Picchu would begin at 3 or 4 pm (Take a note that Machu Picchu archaeological park closes at 5 pm)
  • Therefore, necessarily, the tourist would have to spend a night in Machu Picchu town to return to Cusco or Lima the next day.

But, Why this travel option is a risk? The body’s acclimatization is the principal factor. Let that your body acclimatize, at least, one day in Sacred Valley before reaching Machu Picchu, is recommendable. The other factor, and more common, is the schedule, the visitor has to prevent possible delays in flights or train. If one of them suffers a lag, the day will be lost.

Lima to Cusco

from lima to machu picchu options

If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, you will have several options to enjoy your journey. When you arrive in Peru, the safest thing is that you will land in Lima, the capital of the Andean country. Most international trips tend to land in the capital. And before stepping on the Inca citadel, you will have to travel to the beautiful Imperial City of Cusco. After enjoying the capital of Peru for a few days, you can travel to Cusco. There are a few ways. Either by car, plane or on a bus.

Going by bus

bus fro lima to machu picchu

If you are looking for the cheapest option, then going by bus would be the ideal thing. The bus trip from Lima to Cusco can take approximately 22 to 27 hours. In addition to having the opportunity to acclimatize properly, you will have the chance to explore the different scenarios of Peru. The reason why this trip can be so long is that you will be bordering the Andes mountain range, passing from coast to Andean. Many travelers recommend the route that passes through Arequipa (the other journey passes through Ayacucho, and it is not recommendable to take it by the excessive altitude of some points located during its route). Although the route is longer, it is also kind of a  safer option. Depending on the company you choose, the bus will have different amenities.

Going by plane

flight from lima to machu picchu

Now, if your priority is time, it is best to go by plane. It lasts for about an hour and twenty minutes. The Lima to Machu Picchu distance seems nothing when you move by airplane. You will meet in the Imperial City in a matter of minutes. Similarly, as the trip is so fast, it is best to take some precautionary measures against altitude sickness. When arriving, you can go directly to the Sacred Valley since it is at a lower altitude than Cusco, and you’ll acclimatize more efficiently.

In case Cusco is the definitive stop, you can drink a coca tea or even resort to pills like Sorojchi. Even, you can book a travel ticket in advance to be more secure regarding your Machu Picchu tours. You can do it through your tour operator or any travel agency, which will help you throughout the itinerary of your trip. Or you can also do it on the airline page, the different airline companies, or at the airport with a personal agent. The biggest disadvantage of traveling by plane is that you will miss the most important landscapes throughout the trip, from the Peruvian coast to Mountain Range.

Going by car

car from lima to machu picchu

There is also the possibility of going through a private car. This measure is quite similar to the bus, with the difference of taking maybe a few hours less, depending on your pace and whether you decide to rest or not. The Lima to Machu Picchu distance seems shorter when going by car, but it is not too different from the bus option because you have the control. Fortunately, the little towns located throughout the route have hostels and hotels for these kinds of travelers.

Cusco To Machu Picchu

cusco and lima from machu picchu

Once in the Imperial City, it is a good idea that you enjoy the many things to do in Cusco. This charming city is home to numerous activities and archaeological ruins that are worth your visit. Also, the nearby Sacred Valley offers other incredible towns and archaeological sites to enjoy. Both places are perfect to acclimatize to the altitude. It is advisable to spend a few days and enjoy everything available.

Going by train

train from lima to machu picchu

Among the best feelings, you’ll have on this trip, one of them is traveling by train. This experience can be a luxurious one if you wish to. The train to Machu Picchu without a doubt adds magic and novelty to the entire trip. Depending on your desired service, you can enjoy different comforts and wonderful views. In Cusco are two renowned train companies that offer the route Cusco – Machu Picchu, Peru Rail, and Inca Rail and both have three kinds of tourist services in their railway carriages. The advantage is that you will have a variety of prices to choose from, and it is the most comfortable option to get to Machu Picchu. We can reserve strength and energy when touring the archaeological complex. There is nothing better on your Peru vacation than enjoying a comfortable and luxurious train ride to the Inca citadel.

  • Poroy Train Station: Some kinds of trains depart from Poroy Train Station (a town located 1-hour from Cusco) to Machu Picchu, this trip lasts 3 hours approx, and you will have the possibility of enjoying landscapes of Mountain Range and jungle brow.
  • Ollantaytambo Train Station: Other trains depart from Ollantaytambo train station (a town located 2-hours from Cusco). From this point to Machu Picchu, the trip lasts another 2 hours. The advantage to taking this option is the beautiful landscapes of Sacred Valley that the visitors will pass getting Ollantaytambo train station.
  • San Pedro Train Station: Fewer train routes depart from the same Cusco city (San Pedro train station) to Machu Picchu. This has a last of 4 hours until the jungle sanctuary. Unfortunately, these trains are reserved for local people and sometimes can ve available for foreign visitors. If you can take one of them, the amazing views of the surrounding areas of Cusco will be your reward.

Going by bus

van from lima to machu picchu

Another cheap way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking a bus. However, always, check out previously the best time to visit Machu Picchu. Our recommendation? We recommend choosing this option only in the dry season. Why? Because the route from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa town is a dirt road that can get muddy in the rainy season, having the possibility of landslides on the route.

Usually, the Vans or minibusses depart from the same Cusco and go until Santa Maria town (place located 181 km from Cusco, in the middle of route to Quillabamba). From this point, the bus makes a turn to the left, passes over the Santa Maria bridge to the other Vilcanota riverside, and continues its journey until Santa Teresa town located on Cusco jungle eyebrow, to 203 kilometers.

In this part of the journey, you will have to make a transshipment to another minibus that will take you until Hidroelectrica place (hydroelectric), located 10 kilometers from Santa Teresa. Until there, you have two options, the first one is to do a trek until Aguas Calientes (a town located on the slopes of Machu Picchu mountain), this trekking lasts 03 hours. The second option is to buy a train ticket in the Train station close there and arrive at Aguas Calientes in 30 minutes approx.

Hiking to Machu Picchu

trek from lima to machu picchu

In case you are looking for something more challenging for your adventure, there is an option well known to adventurers. The Inca Trail is a challenging hike with the promise of beautiful landscapes and unforgettable memories. You can have the classic 3-day tour or the shorter variant of just two days, just take note, the first part of the route is by train (Cusco – 82 km) From this point in the middle of the way to Machu Picchu, the trekking will begin. It is also important to know when is the best time to go to Machu Picchu via Inca Trail, but keep in mind that during February, the Trail is closed for maintenance reasons.

Trekking to Machu Picchu

hiking from lima to machu picchu

Hiking to Machu Picchu is the most exciting way to get to the renowned Inca citadel. Especially if you have an adventurous soul. From just a few days to a full week of hiking, you can choose several routes that lead from one way to another to Machu Picchu. Regardless of which hiking route you decide, you can guarantee some incredible views and an unforgettable adventure. Being able to visit Machu Picchu on a hiking route is an unparalleled experience. Among the most popular treks to Machu Picchu, you can find:

  • The Inca Trail: 4 days of trekking. The visitor has to take a train from Poroy or Ollantaytambo train station (Very early) until 82 km. From this point will begin the trek. The trek pass through beautiful landscapes of the mountain range to 4224 m.a.s.l.
  • Salkantay Trek: 5 days of trekking. The trek begins from Mollepata town (located to 3 hours from Cusco). The route pass through amazing zones of Jungle eyebrow and Andean.
  • Inca Jungle Trek: 4 days of trekking. This route is for true adventurers because the experience includes, biking, trekking, rafting, and zip-line before getting to Machu Picchu, and it passes through Sacred Valley and Jungle eyebrow. The trek begins by taking a bus from Cusco to Abra Malaga (4230 m.a.s.l). From this point, the adventure will begin.
  • Lares Trek: 4 days of trekking. The tour begins by taking a bus from Cusco to Lares Hot Spring (the bus trip lasts 2 hours). After taking a relaxing bath, the trek will begin until Ollantaytambo train station. From this point, the visitor will have to take a train to Machu Picchu, performing the normal tour to the Inca citadel.

Choose your best transportation option regarding price

train to Cusco

Flying is the fastest, most comfortable, and most convenient alternative (of course, if you don’t mind spending some dollars more). Many flights leave from Lima to Cusco from the morning (05:00 am) until the evening (11:00 pm). The trip by flight lasts approx 1 hour and 20 minutes. There are many airlines like Latam, Sky Airlines, Viva Air, inter alia. The flight tickets from Lima airport – Cusco cost around $50.00 approx. Include the transportation from Cusco to Train Station (around $15.00) and train tickets (around $70.00 more). The final cost will be $135.00 approx, one way, per person.

As for the bus alternative, there are daily departures that connect Lima and Cusco. Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, Ormeno, Movil Tours, and Civa are renowned bus companies that offer comfortable services for long trips. It’s a 22-hour road trip connecting these two destinations. Usually, the buses depart from Lima around 3 or 4 pm and arrive at Cusco at 1 or 2 pm the next day. Therefore, the bus option is longer, less comfortable, and not very convenient compared to flights; but it is much cheaper. A bus from Lima to Cusco costs $25.00, including the transportation from Cusco to the train station ($15.00) and the trains services ($70.00 more). The final cost will be $110.00 approx, one way, per person.

Of course, these prices will suffer variants if the visitor includes options of trekking to get to Machu Picchu.

Therefore, depending on your tastes and available time, you can choose one or the other. But we highly recommend flying and thus making the most of the time on the different tours in Peru.


As you will see, the Lima to Machu Picchu distance should not be an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to take advantage of. With all the available travel modalities, you will be able to enjoy a complete experience within the Andean country. Among all the available trips, visiting Machu Picchu is a milestone for anyone. We hope that the distance does not stop you from undertaking all your most desired trips. For this reason, Machu Travel Peru hopes that whatever your decision, you will enjoy your entire experience in this beautiful country.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!