There are two ways of getting to Machu Picchu.
The first one is the traditional train trip which lasts between
3h 40min and 4 hours depending on the type of train, and the second
is the Inca Trail, ideal for those who love trekking. The latter
requires a major effort and takes 2, 4 or 5 days.
If you love adventure sports and enjoy long walks, contact with
nature and beautiful landscapes, an alternative for you to get to
the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu will definitely
be walking along the old Inca trail which leads to Machu Picchu.
Although there are longer and shorter options, the average trip takes four days and three nights. Most of the trip is done 2,000 m above sea level, but you will have to cross three clearings at over 4,000 m above sea level. Therefore, it will be necessary for you to spend a whole day in a high place in order to become acclimatized.
The Inca trail to Machu Picchu
is known as the
most famous trekking route in South America due to the different
things it offers visitors. It begins at Km. 88 of the railway to
Valle de la Convencion (Convention Valley), in a place called Q'oriwayrachina,
39.6 Km from the sanctuary.
ROUTE IN TRAIN
CUSCO - AGUAS CALIENTES - CUSCO
The most usual way to get to Machu Picchu
train. Puente Ruinas station in Aguas Calientes is 112 km away from
There are three daily trains, which depart from San Pedro station in Cusco (close to Huánchac market) to Machu Picchu in an incredible. Please take care of your belongings on this trip. Services start at 6:00 a.m. If you buy your tickets through your travel agency, you will be picked up at the hotel to be taken to the station and, after the visit, you will be taken back to your lodging in the evening.
One of the peculiarities of this trip is that during the first half-hour, the train goes up Picchu mountain, taking the zigzag way up to the highest point called "El Arco" (The Arch) in the northeastern part of the city.
Then the train will go down through the villages of Poroy, Cachimatyo and Izcuchaca, towards Pampa de Anta, which is a large cattle-raising area. After crossing the narrow Pomatales pass, the train will roll over the Valle Sagrado de los Incas (Inca Sacred Valley), up to Pachar station. It will cross the Urubamba river on the right to arrive at Ollantaytambo station, whence it will leave for Puente Ruinas, its final destination.
There are three types of train services: tourism or backpacker train, auto-wagon or Vista Dome and Hiram Bingham service, all of them departing early in the morning and returning in the evening.
Cusco - Aguas Calientes - Cusco Trains
- Social train:
only for Peruvians submitting their
identification cards. International tourists are not allowed to
use this train.
exclusively designed for adventurous
travelers who look for comfort as well as safety. The backpacker
service has new seats with Inca motifs, giving them a local and
indigenous touch as well as offering ample room for your backpacks.
this is the fastest and most comfortable
way to visit Machu Picchu. While travelling, you will enjoy delicious
snacks and hot/cold drinks. There are refurbished wagons with panoramic
windows, enabling you to enjoy a spectacular view and take wonderful
- Hiram Bingham:
it has 2 wagons with 42 passenger
seats and a bar carriage. It has an additional dining car for hot
meals. Among the beautiful designs of the carriages, there are wide,
comfortable seats and extra-large tables. These carriages are 3
m longer and 30 cm wider than others on the same line and are among
the most comfortable in the world.
ROUTE IN TRAIN
SACRED VALLEY - MACHU PICCHU
Those who wish to stay longer in the heart of the Sacred Valley, have the option of taking the train and enjoying the same wonders, but on a shorter trip, departing either from Ollantaytambo or from Urubamba.
Sacred Valley Railway:
This is a good alternative for those who wish to spend more time
in Machu Picchu
without having to sleep there.
It departs from Urubamba and arrives in Machu Picchu
before any other train and returns after all the others. It is an
auto-wagon with a glass roof to allow a better view of the valley
landscape. It is a joint venture of the Incaland Hotel in Urubamba
and Peru Rail.
ROUTE IN BUS
AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHU PICCHU
After arriving by train to Puente Ruinas Station in Aguas Calientes, at the food of Machu Picchu mountain, visitors have to be driven to the remains through a bus service which has departs from Puente Ruinas station every 10 minutes, traveling
along the winding Hiram Bingham route up to Machu Picchu
The first bus departs at 5:30 a.m., and the last one returns at
5:00 p.m. You are recommended to queue up as soon as you arrive
at the station.
If you wish to walk to the ruins, you can climb up in almost an hour. From Puentes Ruinas it is necessary to go up 700 m along a winding 6 km-road to the citadel.