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How To Get To Machu Picchu Via Hidroelectrica (Updated 2019)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Louisette Turnage



Are you dreaming of visiting the iconic ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru? While there are several popular routes to reach this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site, one lesser-known and adventurous option is to journey via Hidroelectrica. Situated in the lush valleys of the Sacred Valley, Hidroelectrica offers a unique and thrilling way to access Machu Picchu.


But what exactly is Hidroelectrica? Formerly known as the Hidroeléctrica del Cañón del Vilcanota, Hidroelectrica is a hydroelectric power station located about 6 hours away from Cusco. It serves as an important source of electricity for the region and is the gateway for many hikers and travelers looking to reach Machu Picchu.


Wondering why you should choose Hidroelectrica as your starting point to Machu Picchu? Well, there are several compelling reasons. Firstly, traveling via Hidroelectrica is a more budget-friendly option compared to the traditional Inca Trail or the expensive train ride from Cusco. It offers a sense of adventure and allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.


Moreover, trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu provides a thrilling and fulfilling experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. The trek takes you through picturesque valleys, lush forests, and mesmerizing waterfalls, offering breathtaking views along the way. This alternative route allows you to embrace the spirit of adventure and truly appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty that Machu Picchu and its surroundings have to offer.


In this article, we will guide you on how to get to Hidroelectrica and the various transportation options available to reach Machu Picchu from there. We’ll also provide you with some essential tips to make your visit to Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica a memorable and successful one. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey to one of the wonders of the world!


What is Hidroelectrica?

Hidroelectrica, formerly known as Hidroeléctrica del Cañón del Vilcanota, is a hydroelectric power station located in Peru’s Sacred Valley. It is situated about 6 hours away from the city of Cusco, making it a convenient starting point for those looking to visit Machu Picchu.


This power station plays a crucial role in the region as it generates electricity by harnessing the power of the Vilcanota River. The hydroelectric complex consists of a dam and various turbines that convert the force of the flowing water into electrical energy. The electricity produced by Hidroelectrica is essential for providing power to the nearby communities, including the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo.


Aside from its role in generating electricity, Hidroelectrica is also a popular hub for hikers and travelers who wish to reach Machu Picchu. The power station serves as the starting point for trekking and hiking adventures that lead visitors through stunning landscapes and eventually to the awe-inspiring Inca citadel.


Because of its strategic location, Hidroelectrica has become an alternative access point for those seeking a more adventurous and budget-friendly route to Machu Picchu. By choosing this route, travelers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Sacred Valley, witness breathtaking waterfalls, and experience the joy of trekking through picturesque terrain.


When reaching Hidroelectrica, visitors are greeted by a small town and a campsite where they can rest and prepare for the journey ahead. They can enjoy the amenities available, including restaurants, small shops, and basic accommodations, before embarking on their hike to Machu Picchu.


Overall, Hidroelectrica is not only a hydroelectric power station, but also a gateway to adventure and exploration leading to the ancient wonders of Machu Picchu. It offers visitors a chance to embark on a memorable journey and create unforgettable memories amidst the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Peru.


Why choose Hidroelectrica to get to Machu Picchu?

When planning a trip to Machu Picchu, there are several routes to choose from, including the famous Inca Trail and the luxurious train ride from Cusco. However, opting to reach Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica offers a unique and fulfilling experience that sets it apart from other routes. Here are some reasons why you should consider choosing Hidroelectrica:

  1. Cost-effective: One of the major advantages of choosing Hidroelectrica as your starting point is that it is a more budget-friendly option compared to the Inca Trail or the train ride. You can save a significant amount of money by trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu, making it ideal for budget-conscious travelers.
  2. Adventure and nature: The journey from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is an adventure in itself. As you trek through the scenic landscapes of the Sacred Valley, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of nature, passing by rushing rivers, verdant valleys, and cascading waterfalls. The trail offers a unique opportunity to connect with the natural environment and appreciate the diversity of Peru’s flora and fauna.
  3. Pristine and less crowded: Unlike the popular Inca Trail, the route from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is less crowded, allowing you to enjoy a more serene and intimate experience. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu without being surrounded by throngs of tourists, making it easier to appreciate the grandeur and mystique of this historic site.
  4. Flexibility: Choosing Hidroelectrica as your starting point offers flexibility in terms of timing and itinerary. You can choose to spend more time exploring the surrounding areas, such as the beautiful town of Aguas Calientes, before making your way to Machu Picchu. This flexibility allows you to customize your trip according to your preferences.
  5. Physical challenge: If you’re up for a physical challenge, trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is a great option. The trail involves moderate to strenuous hiking, allowing you to push yourself and enjoy a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the ancient citadel. It’s a rewarding experience that combines adventure, fitness, and the satisfaction of conquering challenging terrain.

By choosing Hidroelectrica as your starting point, you’ll not only save money but also embark on an exciting and fulfilling adventure. The route offers a unique perspective of the stunning landscapes, provides a more intimate experience at Machu Picchu, and allows you to create unforgettable memories along the way. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an extraordinary journey to one of the world’s most remarkable archaeological sites!


How to get to Hidroelectrica

Reaching Hidroelectrica, the starting point for your trek to Machu Picchu, involves a multi-step journey. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to Hidroelectrica:

  1. Step 1: Travel to Cusco: The first step is to make your way to the city of Cusco, which is the gateway to Machu Picchu. You can reach Cusco by air through Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport or by bus from major cities in Peru.
  2. Step 2: Travel to Ollantaytambo: From Cusco, take a bus or taxi to the town of Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley. This journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Ollantaytambo is a charming town with Inca ruins and serves as an excellent base for exploring the Sacred Valley.
  3. Step 3: Take a shared taxi or minivan to Hidroelectrica: In Ollantaytambo, head to the local transportation terminal where you’ll find shared taxis or minivans waiting to transport passengers to Hidroelectrica. These vehicles depart frequently throughout the day. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Hidroelectrica usually takes around 6 hours. The road winds through picturesque landscapes, offering glimpses of the stunning Andean scenery.
  4. Step 4: Arrive at Hidroelectrica: After a long but scenic journey, you’ll finally arrive at Hidroelectrica. The power station is located in a small town where you can find basic amenities such as restaurants, shops, and accommodations. This is where your trek to Machu Picchu begins!

It’s important to note that the road conditions can be rough and the journey to Hidroelectrica can be long. However, the stunning scenery along the way makes the trip worthwhile. It’s recommended that you plan your trip in advance and make any necessary reservations for transportation and accommodations to ensure a smooth journey.


Once you’ve arrived at Hidroelectrica, you’ll be ready to embark on your trek to Machu Picchu. From here, you have multiple transportation options available, including hiking, taking a train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo), or even hiring a local guide for a more immersive experience. The choice is yours!


Transportation options from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu

Once you’ve reached Hidroelectrica, you have several transportation options to choose from to reach the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu. Here are the most popular options:

  1. Trekking: One of the most adventurous and budget-friendly ways to reach Machu Picchu from Hidroelectrica is by trekking. The trek takes approximately 2-3 hours and follows a scenic trail through lush landscapes and along the roaring Vilcanota River. This option allows you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings and experience the thrill of hiking to the ancient citadel.
  2. Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes train: Another transportation option is to take a train from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes. This train ride offers a comfortable and convenient way to reach the base of Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes and provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. From Aguas Calientes, you can either take a bus or hike up to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
  3. Hiring a local guide: If you prefer a more immersive experience and want to learn about the history and significance of Machu Picchu, you have the option to hire a local guide. A guide can accompany you from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu, providing insights and stories about the ancient ruins along the way. This option allows for a deeper understanding of the site’s cultural and historical significance.
  4. Hiking and cycling: For the adventurous souls, there are options to hike or cycle from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu. This allows you to combine the excitement of hiking or cycling with the joy of exploring the breathtaking landscapes. Some tour operators offer guided hiking or cycling tours that cater to different fitness levels and interests.
  5. Helicopter ride: If you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, you can opt for a helicopter ride from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu. This option provides aerial views of the majestic ruins and the surrounding mountains. It offers a different perspective of Machu Picchu and allows you to appreciate its grandeur from above.

It’s important to consider your preferences, fitness level, and budget when choosing the transportation option from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu. Each option offers a different experience and allows you to customize your journey to suit your needs. Whatever method you choose, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty and mystery of Machu Picchu.


Trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu

If you’re up for an adventurous and immersive experience, trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is a great option. This route allows you to connect with nature, soak in the breathtaking landscapes, and approach the ancient citadel on foot. Here’s what you can expect when trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu:


The trek from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu takes approximately 2-3 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. The trail winds through lush forests, follows the course of the Vilcanota River, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. As you traverse the well-marked path, you’ll encounter beautiful waterfalls, encounter diverse flora and fauna, and enjoy the serenity of the natural environment.


One of the highlights of this trek is reaching the iconic Sun Gate (Inti Punku). Located above Machu Picchu, this viewpoint offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the ancient ruins. As you hike towards the Sun Gate, anticipation builds, and the first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the distance is an unforgettable moment.


Reaching Machu Picchu on foot provides a sense of accomplishment and a deeper connection with the site. Walking in the footsteps of the ancient Incas who once traversed these trails adds a layer of historical significance to the journey. The route from Hidroelectrica allows you to appreciate the engineering marvel of the Inca civilization, with beautifully crafted stone pathways and terraces lining the trail.


As you arrive at Machu Picchu, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the ancient citadel at your own pace. You can marvel at the intricate stonework, wander through the terraces, and appreciate the awe-inspiring architectural feat of the Incas. Take your time to soak in the mystical atmosphere and capture breathtaking photos of the scenic vistas.


It’s important to be prepared when embarking on this trek. Make sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes, dress in layers, and carry essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and a rain jacket. It’s also advisable to acclimate to the altitude in Cusco before starting the trek to ensure you are physically ready for the journey.


While the trek from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is not as challenging as the famous Inca Trail, it still requires a moderate level of fitness and stamina. However, the reward is well worth the effort as you experience the thrill of arriving at Machu Picchu on foot and embracing the incredible beauty of this ancient wonder.


So, if you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure and a closer connection to the history and natural wonders of Peru, trekking from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu is the perfect choice.


Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica

Visiting Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica offers a unique and adventurous experience. To ensure a successful and enjoyable trip, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan ahead: Make sure to plan your trip in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak tourist seasons. Check the availability of transportation, book accommodations, and purchase your Machu Picchu entrance tickets beforehand. This will help you avoid any last-minute hassles.
  2. Pack appropriately: Pack essentials such as comfortable hiking shoes, lightweight clothing, rain gear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle. Layer your clothing to adjust to changing weather conditions, and don’t forget to include a hat and sunglasses.
  3. Stay hydrated: The trek from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu can be physically demanding, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Carry enough water with you and drink regularly to prevent dehydration. Refill your water bottle at Hidroelectrica before starting your trek.
  4. Acclimate to the altitude: Cusco is located at a high altitude, so it’s advisable to spend a few days acclimating before starting your trek. This will help prevent altitude sickness and ensure a more comfortable experience.
  5. Take it slow: Pace yourself during the trek and listen to your body. Take breaks when needed and rest if you start feeling exhausted. It’s not a race, and the journey is as important as reaching the destination.
  6. Bring snacks: Pack some energy-boosting snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits to keep your energy levels up during the trek. These snacks can provide a quick and convenient source of nutrition along the way.
  7. Respect the environment: Machu Picchu is a sacred site, so it’s crucial to respect its cultural and natural heritage. Follow the designated paths, refrain from touching or damaging the ruins, and dispose of your waste responsibly. Leave only footprints and memories behind.
  8. Capture the moment: Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the stunning landscapes and incredible moments along the way. Take your time to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and capture memories that will last a lifetime.
  9. Engage with the locals: Interact with the locals during your journey. Learn about their culture, traditions, and stories. Engaging with the local community can enhance your understanding of the region and create meaningful connections.
  10. Be flexible and open-minded: Remember that travel plans can sometimes change due to unforeseen circumstances. Stay flexible and open-minded to adapt to any situations that may arise. Embrace the unexpected and make the most of your adventure.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to explore Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica and create unforgettable memories of this ancient wonder. Enjoy the journey, embrace the beauty of the surroundings, and savor every moment on this remarkable adventure.



Visiting Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica offers a unique and adventurous experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Peru’s Sacred Valley. From the hydroelectric power station at Hidroelectrica, you can embark on a trek through stunning landscapes, picturesque valleys, and cascading waterfalls to reach the enchanting ruins of Machu Picchu.


By choosing this alternative route, you not only save on costs but also have the opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself physically, and appreciate the historical significance of the Inca civilization. Whether you choose to trek, take a train, hire a guide, or explore by helicopter, each transportation option provides its own unique experience and allows you to create memories that will last a lifetime.


It’s important to plan your trip in advance, pack appropriately, and stay hydrated throughout the journey. Taking the time to acclimate to the altitude in Cusco and respecting the environment and cultural heritage of Machu Picchu are also essential aspects of a successful trip. By following these tips and staying open-minded, you can ensure a smooth and rewarding adventure to this iconic UNESCO World Heritage site.


So, embrace the spirit of adventure, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on a journey that will take you through ancient history and breathtaking vistas. Whether you choose to trek, take the train, or explore by other means, Machu Picchu via Hidroelectrica promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the grandeur and mystery of this remarkable wonder of the world. Start planning your trip today and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.