Machu Picchu was as expected– mystical, magical. A “holy f*ck” kind of moment.
I didn’t do the Inca Trail (not enough time) but how can I possibly go to Peru and miss a chance to see MACHU PICCHU? You don’t. So how much does Machu Picchu cost?
Price Breakdown: Machu Picchu Cost
Machu Picchu Itinerary
Cusco & Aguas Calientes
Spend a few days in Cusco to adjust to the altitude. We spent a day and a half here before heading to Machu Picchu. The altitude is higher in Cusco, so it helps you get used to the atmosphere.
From here we took a private taxi to Ollyantambo, which is about 1.5 hours.
Money Saving Tip #1: Take the bus. If you have time and it’s cost effective for you, do it.
PeruRail offers three different types of trains. We took Expedition (cheapest) and Vistodome. Not much of a difference.
PeruRail offered a temporary bimodal service. We booked Expedition one way and the train + bus package they offered to head back to Cusco.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes, it’s not hard to navigate. It’s the closest town to Machu Picchu, making it more expensive. We booked an Airbnb for the night, located right by the train station.
Money Saving Tip #2: Pack a lunch before you head to Machu Picchu. There’s only one restaurant there and it’s expensive.
Aguas Calientes & Machu Picchu
Our Airbnb offered breakfast and a safe place to leave our bags. It’s another 30-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Yes, you can pay with a MasterCard or American Express! The buses start at 5:30 AM and run every ten minutes or so.
Get a tour guide for about 2 hours. It’s helpful to know more about the history of the site and what people know about it.
You don’t need to pre-book a tour guide, there will be a ton of guides vying for your attention & money outside the gates.
Money Saving Tip #3: Barter with the tour guides to get the best rate. Join forces with others to save even more money.
Since it was so early, all we could see was fog and a hint of the mountains surrounding the Incan city. We spent seven hours there, hoping it would clear up.
Money Saving Tip #4: We didn’t pay extra to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. The views from the Sungate were STILL amazing, not as steep, and we saved some $$$.
After a long day stalking llamas and absorbing Incan magic, we started our journey back to Cusco.
Final money saving tip: PETTING THE LLAMAS… PRICELESS.
It’s a ton of information, so let me know what other questions you have!