In this article we are going to explain about the bus from Cusco to Machu Picchu. All travelers to Machu Picchu will take the bus at one point.
There is no route for buses to reach Aguas Calientes, but only one bus connects the town of Aguas Calientes with the ruins themselves (walking is an option).
But it is also possible to take a bus from Cusco to Machu Picchu. This is by far the cheapest option, but not exactly the most comfortable and safe.
If you have a very tight budget (and time is no problem) you can also take the bus to Machu Picchu all the way.
How to get Machu Picchu by Bus?
- From Cusco (Terminal Santiago) you can take a bus to Quillabamba. The price of busk tickets for a bus from Cusco to Machu Picchu is around 25 USD for a round trip.
- Get off at Santa Maria (after about 3 hours) and continue with another bus to Santa Teresa (another hour).
- From here you will have to take a local taxi to the hydroelectric plant near Santa Teresa for a few suns.
- Hydroelectric is the closest road to Machu Picchu. From Hidroeléctrica you have to walk, that is, follow the train tracks for about 6 kilometers.
- Hidroelectrica’s staff will be able to show you the way (they may ask you to register).
Keep in mind that this bus option will probably take you all day! So don’t leave Cusco later than 7am and have a flashlight handy for the last stretch of the walk. Reserve your stay in Aguas Calientes in advance. You can choose to stay in Santa Teresa, where you can find lovely hot springs called Cocalmayo, accommodation for these places is very cheap.
There are travel agencies that offer a tour by this route, it is called Machu Picchu By Car.
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Citadel
Whether you have arrived in Machu Picchu by train or bus, you will arrive in Aguas Calientes. Travelers who take the Inca Trail usually head to Aguas Calientes as well, to stay there overnight.
This means that you will have to choose between walking or taking the bus to Machu Picchu (located on a mountain ridge 400 meters above the village).
Buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu operate all day throughout the year and last approximately 25 minutes. The first bus to Machu Picchu leaves at 5:30 am and will take you to the entrance in time for sunset (Machu Picchu opens at 6 am). The last bus leaves at 3:30 pm from Aguas Calientes, while the last bus from the ruins leaves at 6pm. Air-conditioned buses depart when full.
The bus station is a few steps from the train station. You will have to walk through a craft market and then you will find it on the other side of the river. You have to buy tickets before getting on the bus. Therefore, it is best not to stand idly by and get to the box office quickly.
If you want to save $19 for the round trip, you can also hike. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the top. These bus tickets do not need to be booked in advance. Simply buy them at the city office or at the gates of Machu Picchu.