If you are looking to go to Machu Picchu, then Cusco, Peru is your touchdown point. Besides hiking Machu Picchu there is a lot of history in this town to see at the bottom of the mountains. Most people will come to Cusco for several days to adjust to the altitude at 11,000 ft. I took pills to help with this and was actually fine the whole time I was there. The commute from Cusco to Machu Picchu is quite long. Once you land in Cusco, Peru, you will need to take a small bus to the train station which is two hours away. Then you need to catch a train to Machu Picchu which is another two hours.
Places to Go
- Transportation: Taxi from airport to Cusco city center is about $5 USD. The Pisac Market is about a 45 minute drive from Cusco. There are local buses that leave every 15 minutes and the cost is $2 USD each way. A 3km taxi ride in Cusco is around $2 USD.
- Food: I would recommend that if you try street food to make sure it is cooked. You can get street food items for around 3 Soles. The average price of dinner is around $5 USD.
- Lodging: It is pretty cheap to stay in Cusco. Hostels are around $30-40 USD/night. You can stay in a 4 star hotel for around $80 USD per night. Since I am a Starwood Platinum member, I ended up staying in the Palacio del Inka, which is a 5 star hotel. It only cost $125/night.
- Buy your tickets for Machu Picchu before you arrive to ensure you can get in. This goes for train tickets as well. They only allow a certain amount of visitors per day.
- Book with a tour company if possible in Cusco, Peru. It was so convenient to have your shuttle tickets to the train, train tickets to Machu Picchu, and bus tickets already in hand.
- Go to the Pisac market on Sunday if possible. That is when it is most lively.
- You will notice the term Cuy in restaurants. It is Guinea Pig.
- For the best meal in Cusco, Peru, check out Chicha. You will not be disappointed.