How to get to Machu Picchu?
Once in Cusco there are some options to get to Machu Picchu. But it doesn’t matter which option you choose you will necessarily make it in 3 stages, the first part of the trail by car, the second part by train and finally a short stretch by bus. Now let’s explain each one.
If you don’t have a tour operator you can still get to Machu Picchu by your own. Here we give you some useful information.
In the past the only connection between Cusco and Machu Picchu was a railroad, but now the train station in Cusco doesn’t operate anymore, today the railway line starts in Poroy (25 minutes from Cusco city center) passing through Ollantaytambo and getting to Machu Picchu.
So the first part is by car, going either to the train station at Poroy or to the train station at Ollantaytambo. That will depend on the kind of train service you previously reserved (it is recommendable to have a round trip train service reservation), if you are going toward the station in Poroy it’s possible to get a taxi, from the Cusco’s main plaza it takes 25 minutes, but if you choose the station at Ollantaytambo you must take a minivan and the trip lasts one hour and a half.
The second part is by train, as it was said before, the trains depart from the stations of Poroy and Ollantaytambo, the difference between both trips are besides the distance and the price, the departure frequencies, the station in Poroy has in average 20 departures per day while the station in Poroy offers 5 per day in average, this is because Ollantaytambo is most of the times the final place of the well-known tour to “The Sacred Valley”, at the end of that tour visitors use to spend some time at Ollantaytambo town before they take the train to Machu Picchu.
About the trip by train: How long does it take? How much does it cost?
- From Poroy to Machu Picchu: It takes 3 hours and a half (avg). USD 180.00 round trip.
- From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu: It takes 1 hour and a half (avg). USD 160.00 round trip.
At the end of the train trip you will arrive to Machu Picchu Town also known as Aguas Calientes, this is a small, crowded and touristic village where is possible to find restaurants, hotels, stores, every essential thing visitors could need during their stay.
In summary, the trip from Cusco to Aguas Calientes takes 3 and a half hour in average considering the time you wait at the train station (it’s important to be earlier at the train station).
The third part is mandatorily by bus, the bus station is close to the train station (7 minutes walk). The buses start at 5:30 a.m. and depart once they get full what is generally every 10 minutes. You can get the bus ticket at the same place for USD24.00 round trip, during the bus ride that takes 20 minutes, it is possible to observe parts of the terraces of Machu Picchu.
Now you are so close to Machu Picchu, there’s a sort of forecourt where visitors get ready to enter, it is recommendable to use the restroom before you enter and have your tickets and passport at hand you’ll be asked for them at the entrance. Finally prepare your camera and enjoy the wonder.