Visiting Machu Picchu is for most people a once in a lifetime experience, but getting there can be a little complicated and stressful.
Flights to Peru
There are flights to Lima, the capital of Peru, from all major Australian cities. Indeed, if you can fly to Lima from Sydney, Melbourne o Perth you have a large selection of flights to choose from. Amongst the airlines that fly the various routes from Australia to Peru are Aerolineas Argentinas, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Emirates Airline, LAN Chile, South African Airways, United Airlines, US Airways and our national carrier, Qantas.
The journey usually starts with a flight from your home country to Lima, Peru. If you are flying from within Peru or indeed Bolivia, there are five airports with direct flights to Cusco. They are:
Arequipa, Peru (1h 0m)
Juliaca, Peru (55m)
Lima, Peru (1h 15m)
Nuestra Señora de La Paz, Bolivia (1h 0m)
Puerto Maldonado, Peru (50m)
The main airlines that fly from these destinations to Cusco are LAN, Avianca and Peruvian Air Line.
Getting to Machu Picchu
Once you have arrived in Peru, you may find that the easiest way to cover some of the large distances involved in see this incredible country is by plane. If you do an online search for Machu Picchu flights, you will find a number of choices to fly you into Cusco. From there, either a train or bus ride will get you the rest of the way to the ‘Lost City of the Incas’.
To get from Lima to Urubamba province in Cusco, where the amazing Inca ruins of Machu Picchu are located, you have a number of options:
Definitely one of the easiest ways to experience the wonders of Machu Picchu is to book in with a tour group. There are plenty of Machu Picchu tours to choose from including ones taking in other sites from the Inca Empire, those following the Inca Trail and ones which focus on the famous Lost City of the Incas itself. If you are really adventurous, you can even trek across the Andes, taking in the marvelous remains of the ancient civilizations that once ruled them as you go.
Most of the travel agents who run Machu Picchu tours use a combination of transport types. So typically, you will fly into Cusco, and take a train and then coach or mini bus to the Inca ruins themselves.
If you prefer to set your own itinerary, there are a number of travel options to consider. Distances are large in Peru, so getting from Department to Department (as the states are called) is best done by internal flight. Some areas of the Andes mountain range are surprisingly well-served by railway lines and certainly, getting to Machu Picchu itself is easiest by train.
Apart from planes and trains, you might want to look into a seat on a tour bus, to get that little bit closer to the mountains before you have to start climbing.
If you really want to taste the fantastic culture of Peru and get to know some of its fascinating people, catch a local bus. The ride is sure to be something you will never forget!