machu picchu located

The Wonder of the World is one of the most anticipated destinations for the different tourists who visit Peru. We all know how incredible and surprising the views of the attraction can be, but where is Machu Picchu located? The truth is that the beautiful Machu Picchu is located within a quite particular geographical area.

Its location is precisely one of the reasons why this architectural marvel stands out even more. And Machu Picchu is located in which country? It will sound obvious, but it is in Peru, the Andean country. That is why together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we prepared an article where we explain in-depth Where is Machu Picchu located. Join us to discover the rugged region that is home to one of the modern wonders of the world.

Everything about where is Machu Picchu located and its main characteristics

Location of Machu Picchu

So, where is Machu Picchu located exactly? The ancient citadel is in South America, in a country called Peru. In a south Peruvian city named Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire. Precisely, in the province of Urubamba, in the district of Machu Picchu.

  • It is about thirteen degrees south of the equator and surrounded on its three sides by the Urubamba River.
  • And where is Machu Picchu located on the coordinate map? This site is located at 13 º 9 ’ 48 ’’ S and 72 º 32 ’ 44 ’ ’W, in the province of Urubamba (jungle sector). The closest city to the citadel is Cusco. If you are going to visit Machu Picchu, you will have to go first there, Cusco.
  • The Inca wonder is over 2,430 m.a.s.l or 7,972 feet. Just on the Vilcabamba Batholith (mass of magmatic rocks, of great dimensions, consolidated at great depth whose cuts come out on the top of a mountain).
  • Machu Picchu is located about fifty miles northwest of Cusco, the Imperial City. It is right on the side of a mountain and about a thousand meters below the city of Cusco.
  • The Inca citadel has an area of approximately 10 hectares. In comparison, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu extends over an area of 32,592 hectares (including the Incas citadel and the long areas surrounding it). That is about 80,535 acres, which translates to about 325.29 km2, 125.83 m2.

Strategic location

machu picchu located strategic

Machu Picchu was built in 1450 in the Cusco jungle eyebrow, northwest of Cusco, south of Peru. Under the orders of the Inca emperor Pachacutec, to be a residential neighborhood of its parents and relatives (Real Panaca). The site was abandoned abruptly around 1572 due to events that are still being investigated (epidemic, maybe)

From the moment that the explorer Hiram Bingham came across the wonderful Inca citadel in 1911, he could understand the importance of its strategic location. Any guide will explain to you that the environment where it is located is just as important as the ruins themselves. This is one of the lesser-known Machu Picchu facts. The entire sanctuary was designed to connect with other significant sacred sites. And a large part of recent research shows where is Machu Picchu located and the orientation of the different constructions was influenced by the Inca cosmovision and spirituality.

A large part of the sacred constructions was intended to point to the location of the nearby sacred mountains. For the Incas, the mountains or Apus were guardians and essential deities whom they worship. By way of illustration, at the top of Huayna Picchu, you can see a stone in the shape of an arrow. This seems to point south, crossing the Intihuatana sight towards Mount Salkantay. The Salkantay is one of the most revered Apus within Inca cosmology and thought. During the most important days of the Inca calendar, the sun can be seen rising or setting behind other important peaks.

A treasure lost in oblivion

machu picchu located in oblivion

The Inca citadel remained in oblivion for many years until the arrival of the explorer Hiram Bingham. There is a very good reason why the city remained a secret for so long, in fact for many centuries. One of the reasons the site is very inaccessible is that it is located almost 2200 meters above sea level and between two mountains, Huayna Picchu and a namesake mountain called Machu Picchu. The citadel is located right in the high Andes, central-south region. So it’s no wonder the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu remained a secret for hundreds of years. It was like this until an American explorer (Hiram Bingham) came across a local boy (Pablo Riccharte) who knew a hidden place in the jungle and led weary explorers to the now-famous site.

We must not fail to mention that Agustín Lizarraga, a farmer from Cusco, actually discovered Machu Picchu in 1902 (9 years before Hiram Bingham), but he did not have the financial means to publicize his discovery.

The weather in Machu Picchu

machu picchu located and weather

Its location makes the climate much milder and more tropical. Let’s remember that Machu Picchu is situated over the eyebrow of rainforest, therefore temperature ranges from 61ºF to 77ºF. This doesn’t seem to be much, but next to the elevation of the citadel (2200 m.a.s.l.), this temperature, on a sunny day, can burn the skin. On the other hand, on the nights of June and July, the temperature can go down to 36ºF. But, usually, the temperature on days is constant. warm days, with humidity and clear skies, sometimes there can be fog in the mornings.

For this reason, don’t worry about the best time to visit Machu Picchu. Whether in the dry (from April to November) or rainy season (November to April), the complex is available throughout the year. Also, within the different tours in Peru, you will have the possibility to visit other archaeological sites located in Cusco and its surroundings.

Flora and Fauna in Machu Picchu

machu picchu located and vizcacha

The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a Nature Reserve that protects numerous endangered biological species. Also, it has many species of wildlife and is well known for its flowers and plants. For this reason, Machu Picchu’s location allows for a few special areas with endemic specimens. For example, it contains more than 580 animal species, of which there are about 500 types of butterflies, including Andean Auquenids, Giant Condors, Cocks of the Rock, Pumas, Sachabacas, Spectacled Bears, and much more. Regarding local flora, there are around 2354 plant species, among 300 types of Orchids. Unbelievable!

Also, its beneficial location protects both Andean grasslands, tall forests, tall dwarf forests, and cloud forests among other places. It is for this reason that Machu Picchu tours are increasing year after year, for their great diversity of habitats that has given rise to the astonishing diversity of flora and fauna.

How to get to Machu Picchu

machu picchu located trek

If you are wondering how to get to Machu Picchu, then you are in the right place. There are numerous ways and alternatives to get to where Machu Picchu is located. First and foremost, you should get to the Lima Jorge Chavez international airport or the Callao port (In case you are coming on a cruise) and then continue your trip by plane or bus to Cusco. Most international flights arrive late in Lima, so you may need to spend the night there before continuing to Cusco the next day. This can be an excellent opportunity to get to know the many high-end restaurants and beautiful neighborhoods of the Peruvian capital.

  • By air: There are many flight routes to Cusco per day, from 05:30 am to 22:30 pm. All of them depart from Jorge Chavez international airport. The flight lasts approx 01:40 min. You can buy flight tickets online. LATAM, Sky Airlines, and Jet Smart are the most popular companies.
  • By Bus: In the same way, there are many bus companies that offer the route Lima – Cusco. The bus trip lasts 12 to 13 hours and usually departs from the exclusive bus station of each company. The most known companies are Cruz del Sur, Movil Tours, Tepsa, Civa, Palomino, and inter alia. Generally, these depart from 14:00 pm and from 21:00 pm every day.

Once you arrive in Cusco, you may want to stay for a few days to acclimatize to the altitude and see all that Cusco has to offer. You can choose to tour the city’s ruins, churches, and colonial temples. Not far from Cusco is the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where there are many ruins to see and a great market to spend a day exploring and to do those souvenir purchases, among many other interesting things to do in Sacred Valley of Incas. It is also an excellent place to stay and acclimatize in a better way. From Ollantaytambo, an Inca town located at the north end of the sacred valley, depart the trains heading to Machu Picchu.

Train or hike

machu picchu located train

From Ollantaytambo, there are no roads where a car can get to. You can only take the train to Machu Picchu or do one of the different hikes available.

  • Take a train: If you plan to take the train, you will arrive at the Aguas Calientes train station in 2 hours approx. There are many train frequencies departing from Ollantaytambo. Peru Rail and Inca Rail are the only two railway companies and you can buy train tickets online. Definitely, it is the best way to visit Machu Picchu, with tranquility, good service, and enjoying awesome landscapes during the train route.
  • Trekking: If you want to do the Inca Trail or another trail, in the same way, you’ll have to take a train from Ollantaytambo and get off in the middle of the route. Specifically, get off at KM 82 (If you want to do the Inca trail of 4 days and 3 nights) or at KM 104 (to do the short Inca trail of 2 days and one night)

Either way, you will arrive at Aguas Calientes, the modern and closest town of the Inca citadel (It is also called Machu Picchu town). From there, you’ll find yourself about a 30-minute bus ride heading to Inca wonder. Then, the rest of the day you will spend inside the Inca Ruins, where you will enjoy a guided tour on the Machu Picchu map.

machu picchu located and tours


We hope together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru has been useful. When planning a trip to Machu Picchu, you’ll need time and patience. Especially because getting to where is Machu Picchu located is an experience in itself. Being in the middle of the clouds, reaching the citadel will be part of the experience. Why not start organizing your journey right now? Our qualified consultants will be happy to help you plan the trip of your dreams. Don’t miss out on Peru and all the wonderful things it has to offer. Our team of consultants will be happy to help you fulfill your dreams.

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!