Train Travel to Machu Picchu

Other Than Taking a Long Walk, It's the Only Way to Get There

Author: The Traveling Professor/Saturday, June 14, 2014/Categories: Peru & Machu Picchu

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On our small group tours to Peru, we take the train operated by Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.  Other than walking, there is no other way (bus, helicopter, car, etc.) of getting there.   Over the years of traveling to Peru and Machu Picchu, I have learned the following about travel to Machu Picchu.

Buy Tickets in Advance:  I see so many people who travel to Peru in order to visit Machu Picchu.  They make the mistake of trying to purchase train tickets near or at their time of departure.   Some trains are sold out days or at peak times, even weeks in advance.   Book tickets early.

Choose Your Departure Point:  Most trains depart from Ollantaytambo which is a 2 hour bus ride over some rugged and mountainous terrain from Cusco.  For me, it is a scary bus ride, especially in bad weather or at night.   For that reason, I like to depart Cusco from the Poroy station, about a 20 minute, easy ride outside the city.   Since fewer trains run from Poroy, early planning is necessary.

Expedition or Vistadome Train:  A typical train ride to Aguas Calientes costs between $55-$80 each way.  The Vistadome train offers leather seats and a few other minor amenities over the Expedition train.  The differences are so few, travelers on my small group tours to Peru and Machu Picchu hardly notice the difference.  All that matters is that both trains have large windows on the side and roof to catch those spectacular views.  Avoid the ultra-expensive Hiram Bingham train (about $500).  

Pack Light:  Because the trains are covered in windows, there is minimal storage space.  Only a backpack is permitted on the train.

For more information on my tours Peru see

I have photos and videos of the train to Aguas Calientes HERE

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