A train to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Pueblo can be reached by train or on foot, those are the only options. Here we provide information on all the train services to this fabulous spot, so you can choose the best option for you.
Listen up, travelers! To visit the Seventh Wonder of the World you’ll need to get yourself to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo first, the little town located below the archaeological site. There are two ways to get to the town: on foot or by train.
Trains for everyone!
First, you’ll need to know where to find the train stations.
- Poroy is the closest station to Cusco, 30 minutes from the city by taxi. There is no train station in Cusco.
- Urubamba has a small, little-used station.
- Ollantaytambo is an Inca village located 90 minutes from Cusco; these days it is the most frequently used station.
And then there are the different train companies and their services.
- Inca Rail (incarail.com) is the smallest company, it offers:
The Executive with comfortable seats and big windows but a basic service.
The First Class offers lunch or dinner onboard, depending on the time, and a personalized service.
Most trains leave from Ollantaytambo. One train a day leaves from and returns to Poroy, 30 minutes from Cusco.
- Peru Rail (perurail.com) is the company with the broadest range of services and the most departures:
– The Expedition is the most basic service, with big windows and a simple onboard snack.
– The Vistadome has panoramic windows, the upper parts of which can be opened. It also offers a folkloric show and a simple snack.
– The PeruRail Sacred Valley is a new train, more elegant, with just 33 seats, a panoramic car and a restaurant car. They serve lunch or dinner onboard, depending on the time. They also offer a folkloric show. As its name indicates, the Sacred Valley service departs from Urubamba or Ollantaytambo and returns there, right in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
– The Hiram Bingham is a legendary train which bears the name of the discoverer of the Inca fortress of Machu Picchu. This is the most elegant and refined service. The train departs from Poroy station and passes through Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Lunch is served onboard. The fare includes a group visit to Machu Picchu, with entrance fees included and afterwards a brunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel actually at the ruins. An evening meal is served during the return trip, and there is a fashion show and folkloric show onboard. This is a very expensive service, but it should be seen as a-once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Both companies sell tickets online and have offices on Cusco’s Plaza de Armas or in Ollantaytambo.
The cheapest ticket right now costs around US$55, or US110 return.
Until August 31st this year, for the launch of the PeruRail Sacred Valley services, there is a special offer of US$160 on the Sacred Valley train departing at 10:30 a.m. from Urubamba and arriving at 13:30 p.m., with lunch onboard. The return is by Vistadome, departing at 18:10 p.m. and arriving in Ollantaytambo at 19:50 p.m. This makes it perfect for visiting Machu Picchu in the afternoon, when fewer visitors are expected at the ruins, as we have already mentioned (Machu Picchu: AM or PM?).
If you opt to walk…
- Many travelers opt to hike the famous Inca Trail. There is a 4-day and 3-night option from Km 82, and a full day option from Km 104. You can find more information on these options at “ALL ABOUT THE INCA TRAIL“.
- Another option is the Inca Jungle Trail from Cusco, passing through Santa María and Santa Teresa before finally arriving at the Hydro-electric station. This takes a full day or can be enjoyed by stopping over along the way. The last few kilometers can be completed on a PeruRail train from the Hydro-electric station as far as Machu Picchu Pueblo, several times a day, for US$31. Most people choose to walk along the edge of the train tracks. This is the cheapest way to arrive. You can find more information on this alternative route at “Machu Picchu: An alternative route“