Most people arrive into Lima from their home countries and want to do a Machu Picchu tour from Cusco as part of their Peru travel itinerary, Machu Picchu is on most people’s bucket list, there is something about the ruins and its history that seems to draw people from all over to Inca citadel. Some people want to visit the mysterious site and feel the legendary spirits that are said to live there, it is a spiritual place, one of beauty built on the side of a mountain and hidden from the world from centuries, there are many stories as to why it was built, what it was used for and why it was deserted, abandoned after what is said to be only one hundred years of inhabitance, nobody really knows the truth and we may never know. Whatever you believe Machu Picchu was used for, today it is one of the most visited sites in South America and one of the seven wonders of the world.
If you want to travel to Machu Picchu you will need to arrive into Lima city, the Capital of Peru, known as the City of the Kings, Lima is the starting point for any Peruvian adventure and all travel to Machu Picchu. There are many ways to get from Lima to Cusco and Machu Picchu and in this story, we will take you on a journey from Lima to travel to Machu Picchu.
Depending on your time in Peru a road trip can be an excellent way to see the sights and get a great idea of the three regions of Peru, the coast, the highlands and the jungle. Starting a tour in Lima Peru you could do a city tour and see the best of the capital, two days will be plenty of time to see the best of Lima, from there head south to the coastal village of Paracas where boats leave every morning to the Ballestas Islands, famous for their bird life and the sea lion populations. After a day spent in Paracas travel further south and inland to the desert town of Nazca, for those of you who haven’t heard of Nazca, the town is located on the edge of the mysterious Nazca Lines, these lines are etched into the desert floor and feature drawings of monkeys, lizards, spiders and many other figures including a space man which you can only see from the air, so a flight is necessary, there are many different companies in Nazca who offer flights at different prices.
Around ten hours by bus from Nazca is Peru’s second city, Arequipa, a beautiful city built mainly from white volcanic rock, hence the name the White city. Arequipa has some sites worth visiting, most famously is Santa Catalina convent, a lovely building with fascinating history, well worth a tour. Tours to the Colca Canyon leave from Arequipa daily, normally the tours are for two days, but tours of one day are also available. The canyon is said to be the deepest in the world, deeper than the Grand Canyon in the United States. If you are really lucky while you are at the canyon you will see the majestic Condors that soar above the canyon in the morning breezes. While you are in the area visit the small town of Chivay and its beautiful hot springs just outside of town.
From Arequipa travel around six hours to the lake side town of Puno, in the southernmost part of Peru. Puno is famous for Lake Titicaca and the floating Uros Islands, there are forty-eight islands in total all made completely out of tortilla reeds, only five are available for tourists to visit. The local people formed these islands many centuries ago to escape warring tribes on the mainland. An interesting day can be spent exploring and experiencing the way of life of these fascinating people, living mainly on fish and potatoes, the people mostly make their living from tourism. The islands have their own primary school to which the children travel every day on handmade reed boats. One of the islands has accommodation available if you are keen to spend the night, very basic conditions not for the luxury traveler.
Travelling north from Puno either by bus or by train you will reach the Imperial Inca city of Cusco, the heartland of the Inca Empire. Cusco is a beautiful city, with cobblestone streets, plazas, churches, markets and museums, all of which are a delight to visit. Cusco has a large expat community with many visiting and never leaving. Cusco is the starting point for Machu Picchu tours. Depending on your budget there are different trains to choose from. Firstly, the Expedition tourist train, then the Vistadome train with its glass roof, or if you don’t have a budget the Hiram Bingham is the train for you. All the trains arrive into Aguas Calientes station, Aguas Calientes is the town located below Machu Picchu and is a quaint little town filled with restaurants, bars and markets to buy gifts for your family at home.
Many visitors who travel to Machu Picchu also visit the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s before they travel to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley is a beautiful area located in a tranquil valley in the Andes mountain range featuring many ruins, terracing and a great market with fabulous scenery that you will not see anywhere else in the world.
The other way to travel to Machu Picchu is the to do the four-day Inca Trail Peru, extremely popular with trekkers from all over the world. The trek starts with a fairly easy day one, then on the second day the work really starts. You will need to climb to four thousand meters above sea level before descending back down to two thousand five hundred meters. The third day is a mixed bag of climbing and descending. On the fourth and final day, you will awake early to trek to the Sun gate where you will have your first view of Machu Picchu.
Whatever way you arrive at Machu Picchu the journey will be worth the time taken to reach, this magnificent site will take your breath away, leave a lasting impression that will stay with you for a life time.
We hope you have enjoyed a roadmap from Lima to Machu Picchu and maybe one day you will take this road trip.