There are different ways to get to Machu Picchu, this will depend on your time and the type of experience you want to have in the ancient sacred city of the Incas. To make things clear, the first step to organizing a trip to Machu Picchu is to book entrance tickets to Machu Picchu in advance; from this reserve will depend the reservations of train tickets, hotels (in Cusco and Aguas Calientes), guides, and other activities that you want to add to your itinerary. Remember that Cusco is the best destination in South America.
At least two PeruRail trains depart from Cusco daily to Aguas Calientes, where is Machu Picchu. All trains make an exaggerated series of five zigzag switchbacks, climbing as they leave from Cusco before descending into the lower-altitude Sacred Valley. Trains stop at Poroy, Ollantaytambo, km 88 (the start of Inca Trail tours), and km 104 (the launch point of an abbreviated 2 day Inca Trail). Arrival is in Aguas Calientes, where you catch the buses up to the ruins.
How to get to Machu Picchu by train?
To get to the inca´s citadel train, it is recommended to booking Machu Picchu tickets online in advance. Then you must book the train tickets immediately after knowing the date of visit to the Wonder of the World.
Once in the city of Cusco (Peru), the visitor should approach the chosen train station (station Poroy, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo). It is advised to be 30 minutes before the scheduled travel time.
All the train services have as final destination, the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). From there you only have to board one of the buses that take you to the Machu Picchu gate in about 30 minutes.
Peru Rail or Inca Rail - Which one to choose to travel by train to Machu Picchu?
There are two companies with authorization to travel the train to Machu Picchu.
- Peru Rail has 4 different quality services: Vistadome trains, Expedition, Sacred Valley and the Hiram Bingham luxury train.
- Inca Rail has 4 different services: The Voyager, The 360º, The First Class and The Private.
Both train companies have adequate services for tourists. Below we detail what each of them includes
PeruRail, is the oldest company that provides train services to two of the most representative destinations in Peru such as: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. The types of train service offered on the Cusco - Machu Picchu route are:
- Vistadome: Surrounded entirely by glass, with wagons with wide panoramic windows that offer scenic views without equal and timely to take spectacular photographs.
- Hiram Bingham: Considered one of the best trips in 2008 by ItalianClass magazine. The Hiram Bingham cars are distinguished by their blue and gold colors, by their warm and cozy interiors that feature an elegant upholstery. This service has four cars: two dining cars, a bar-car with an observatory and a kitchen-car.
- Expedition: The Expedition has wagons totally covered by panoramic windows so that the traveler immerses himself in the beauty of the natural landscape, in addition he will be informed about the most important points that this millenary route has.
- Autobagon: An exclusive service that leaves from the new station located in the hotel Tambo del Inca in Urubamba. It has panoramic windows to the sides that provides a complete view of the surroundings.
- Presidential Service: Designed for passengers looking for privacy, luxury and maximum comfort. With capacity for 8 people, the Inca Princess has a finely decorated lounge where beautiful images of Peruvian culture stand out. The wagon also has a beautiful bar on board. Fully wood-veneered, warm lighting, panoramic windows and luxury finishes.
Note: Reservations are made to order at least 30 days in advance. The departures of this service can be programmed from the Ollantaytambo train station.
- First class: With only 30 passengers per car, this service has spacious and comfortable seats, which have been carefully designed to ensure the total comfort of passengers. In addition, all seats have tables to the front and panoramic windows to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Unlike PeruRail, this company operates only between the stations of Ollantaytambo and Machupicchu
- Executive Service: The Executive Service operates daily every day of the year in the six Inca Rail frequencies. These cars have a capacity for 42 passengers have comfortable seats which have been carefully designed. In addition all seats have tables to the front and panoramic windows to enjoy the beautiful landscape The purchase of tickets for this service can be done up to 30 minutes before the departure of the train at the ticket offices of the station, or 24 hours in advance through the website of Inca Rail or in the offices of Lima and Cusco.
- Tourist service: For this service the cars with capacity for 48 passengers have comfortable seats which have been carefully designed to ensure maximum comfort. In addition, all seats have tables to the front and panoramic windows to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The Tourist Service operates daily every day of the year, and the purchase of tickets for this service can be done up to 30 minutes before departure at the station, or 24 hours in advance through the Inca Rail website or at offices that the company has in Lima and Cusco.
Where to board the trains to Machu Picchu?
There are 3 boarding stations for the one-way trains. There is only one station to board the return train.
One way trains:
- Ollantaytambo Peru station: Av. Ferrocarril s / n, Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley (Cusco).
- Poroy Station: Roldan Street s / n, District of Poroy, Cusco.
- Urubamba station: Av. Ferrocarril s / n, Urubamba, Sacred Valley (Cusco).
Return train stations:
- Aguas Calientes Station: Machu Picchu Pueblo, s / n, Las Orquídeas Neighborhood (next to the Artisan Market of Aguas Calientes).
In most cases, you will board your train to Machu Picchu at the Ollantaytambo station. The Poroy station is restricted for safety during the rainy season (November to March).
The place where all the trains arrive is the station of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). One block from the train station you can board the buses to Machu Picchu. They leave every 15 minutes and the box office is right in front.
How long does it take to travel by train to Machu Picchu?
The duration of the train trip (one way) depends on the station where the train is approached:
- From Poroy station (Cusco): The trip takes 3 hours and 15 minutes approximately.
- From the Urubamba station: The trip lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes, approximately.
- From the Ollantaytambo station: The trip lasts a little less than 2 hours.