Backpacking the ruins of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, according to us the most amazing world’s ancient gem, towering out impressively over the Peruvian jungle and endless mountains. Machu Picchu is well deserved one of the New Wonders of the World in this unique location, descending from the rich Inca culture.

In this magical place a lot of backpackers experience the mystical Inca spirit and presence that still surrounds this wonderful place. The great ruins of Machu Picchu are well hidden in the mountains around Cusco, where you can find our award winning hostel Pariwana Cusco.

The area around Cusco and Machu Picchu is considered by many as the belly-button of the world, with the center exactly located in Machu Picchu. The ruins have attracted a lot of tourism in the last few decades, but then again, you simply can’t argue whether to visit this sight or not. This is a must for anyone backpacking in South America!

As you can see in the above posted video, there are three main ways to get from our hostel in main stop Cusco to the ruins of Machu Picchu, here a short recap. To get a taste of this juicy adventure you should choose the way of getting there depending on how much time you have at hand and how adventurous you are.

The cheapest option is the fastest and with most comfort. The two alternatives may cost a bit more, but as you can see in the video, the challenge and experience of trekking through the jungle around Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience!

#1 do it cheap and fast, take the train & bus!
If you are a bit tight on travel time or budget, you can take the train option up to the ruins. Start off by taking a bus trip from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, which will take you just under 2 hours. From here you can start the train to the sight, take the train to Aguas Calientes, which will cost you around $64 for a 2 hour round trip.

When you arrive, the ruins are only 20 minutes away by bus. With an entrance fee to Machu Picchu of $44 this option will cost you in total just over $120. This trip from Cusco can be done within a day, if you are willing to wake up at 5am and return at approximately midnight the same day.

#2 take the adventurous Inka trail through the jungle

If you haven’t spent your last money on some beers in our great Pariwana hostel Cusco and you are not too pressed for time, than definitely try to take the very famous Inca trail up to Machu Picchu.This means trekking through the former Inca occupied jungle for a few days to arrive at the astonishing sight of Machu Picchu.

For this great adventure you also start off with the almost 2hour during bus ride to Ollantaytambo. From there you will be trekking, climbing, jumping, puffing and enjoying it under guidance of an experienced guide until you hit Machu Picchu from different angles along the way.
The trekking will take you in total 3 days of heavy trekking and 3 nights of snoozing in the Peruvian jungle, before you enjoy your last day in Machu Picchu and conquering this intense experience. All by all, the total costs for this option are around $230, including entrance to the park and return.

#3 going extreme on an unforgettable bike/trek tour
The last option to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is also the most challenging backpacker journey. Going on a gorgeous bicycle tour through the jungle, before heading further by foot when the jungle becomes inaccessible for the bikes.


To kick off this adventure you first need to take a 3 hour bus trip to Abra Malaga from Cusco, to start a great 5 hour biking experience to Santa Maria and subsequently trek to Machu Picchu. On this route you will see some great views of Machu Picchu from a variety of angles as you near the ruins bit by bit. This incredible trip takes you, like option #2, 4 days and 3 nights and will cost you around $250 including entrance and return.

Once you arrive in Machu Picchu, also consider hiking up to the peak above Machu Picchu, named Huayna Picchu. This is a 2 hour amazing hike, accessed from within the park, to check out Machu Picchu from different angles.