There are no roads that connect Aquas Calientes to the outside world, and you have to take the train from either Poroy (just outside Cusco) or Ollantaytambo (or walk the Inca Trail) to get there... Peru Rail operates with 3 different types of trains: The expensive ‘Hiram Bingham’ train – with gourmet meals and an observation carriage, the midrange ‘Vistadome’ train – with comfortable chairs and meals served, and the ‘Backpacker’ train – with hard seats and snacks for sale...
We were travelling on the ‘Backpacker’ train to and from Aquas Calientes. First a 1½ hour journey from Ollantaytambo to Aquas Calientes, and then all the way to Poroy (3½ hours) when going back from Aquas Calientes. Before the darkness fell it was a very scenic journey with small rivers and high mountains...
We deciced to take one of the first buses from Aquas Calientes to Machu Picchu, and therefore we arrived at the bus station before 7am in the morning. There was only a short line at the ticket stand, and with the bus ticket (a two way ticket was 14 USD in November 2009) in hand, we queued up in the bus line. There are about 20 shuttle buses in service, and we only waited a few minutes before leaving for Machu Picchu. The ride takes about 20 minutes and is an experience in itself... The road is a little narrow and a few times the bus drove very close to the edge, but not that scary, and the view of the mountain sides and the valley is really great...
Same procedure when you are leaving Machu Picchu – but if you have bought a return ticket you don’t have to line up for the bus ticket…
I have been to Maachu Pichu a few times now and I believe I have figured out the easiest way to get to Maachu Pichu. Once in Lima, Peru find yourself an agency that sells tickets. It is easier and more efficient to buy your tickets on PeruRail in Lima before you fly to Cusco as the train frequently sells out their tickets. Ask your concierge at the hotel where tickets from Cusco to Machu Pichu can be bought and they will direct you to the closest place that sells these tickets. There are numerous places. I found a good place located in the center of downtown Lima near the historic San Francisco Church. I have found that it is practically impossible to purchase tickets over the web and you will experience a good load of stress and wasted time if you try. Get to Peru first, then buy your tickets.
Prices are not that cool and fluctuate depending on the season. You can expect a ticket to range anywhere from 50-100 dollars round trip. It didn't used to be so much ten years ago. It was 12 dollars each way, but Peru Rail holds a monopoly on the rail/main hotel in Maachu Pichu and can charge what they please when they please. The phrase when in Rome really applies here. Other then that it is a nice scenic ride from Cusco to Maachu Pichu. The easiest way I found to get to Cusco from Lima is to fly. It really beats the bus.
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a new first-class train:the "hiram bingham"!
runs since october 2003.
return ticket:416,50 euros.
4 coaches:2 dining cars with five stars service!
ticket price includes night dinner on the way back,meals,guides,cocktails and live music.
cusco 9am-aguas calientes (puente ruinas) 12.30
aguas calientes (puente ruinas) 6.30pm-cusco 10.15pm
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your obliged railway from cusco to machu picchu
3 sorts of trains leave from cusco,san pedro station.the first two:ticket price includes food!
1.INCA train: cusco 6.15am aguas calientes 9.40am....return:3.30pm from aguas calientes fare was 80$
2.AUTOVAGON:cusco 6am aguas 9.10am
return:3pm from aguas fare was 55$
3.TREN TURISMO ECONOMICO (also called "backpacker express") mon-sat cusco 7.45am aguas 11.45am....return 5.45pm from aguas (10.10pm in cusco) fare was 8,80$
all prices are return tickets!
all trains stop in ollantaytambo.
of course,all the infos can change!!!but,they give you an idea....
- Historical Travel
aguas calientes via diamante express
Hi, Trying to avoid the high train fares to Aguas Calientes we used the Diamante Express service to Hidroandina and walked the rest like many do. The driver of the van was as dangerous as it gets overtaking other vehicles on blind corners and just about any other stupid move you can imagine. I know that millions of Peruvians put up with that sort of nonsense on a daily basis, but I find the obvious risk hard to justify for a vacation.
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Getting to Machu Picchu from Cuzco
If you want to travel to Machu Picchu from Cuzco and you are not up for hiking the Inca Trail to get there, you can travel by train.
There are two trains that leave on a daily basis to MP from Cuzco. One is the "Backpacker" Train and the other the Vista Dome. The Backpacker Train leaves around 7am and arrives in MP around 11 am. Price is $48 USD each way plus taxes. The alternative is the VistaDome which leaves Cuzco at 6am at arrives at 10 am. Price is $71 USD each way plus taxes.
The Backpacker way is the cheapest alternative while the VistaDome has panoramic windows in the ceiling which will allow you to look around at the towering mountains and lush green scenery while you travel.
Once the train lets you off it is a short walk to the bus station where you can catch a bus up to the gates of MP.
Getting to Machi Picchu from Ollyatatambo
There are trains that leave directly from Cuzco to MP however, if you want to get there earlier and beat the crowds you can catch the train from Ollyatatambo.
Ollyatatambo, in the sacred Valley just over a hour's drive from Cuzco has multiple departures a day on both the BackPacker Trains and Vistadome trains. The earliest train departs at 5:30 am followed by a departure at 6am. These trains will put you at MP by 7:30 am which is hours before the serious crowds arrive on the 10:30am train.
This is the route which I took to MP (as I didn't opt to hike the Inca Trail). By the time we were finished at MP and ready to leave the later trains had just arrived which made it impossible to even walk on the narrow paths around MP. I was even there on the off-season which makes me wonder how busy it would be on a normal day.
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Maachu Pichu Ruines
Taking the bus up from Aguas Calientes to Maachu Pichu is really the only sensible thing to do. Tickets can be bought the day before you go up or the day of. Prepare to get to the bus station at around 6:30 in the morning for the best ride up. Sure there are later buses but Maachu Pichu really gets annoyingly packed after ten in the morning. My advice is that if you have made the journey this far, it won't be that hard to wake up early to go see one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The bus' pickup is right near where the train drops you off in Aguas Calientes.
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Train to Cuzco
After the struggle of the Inca Trail the relaxing 4 hour journey from Aguas Calientes to Cuzco via the Tourist Train is a welcome break. Backpacker class has comfortable seats and snacks and drinks can be purchased on board. Keep you camera handy for some interesting views or bring along playing cards.
Bus option rather than the train
Most people tend to take the train from Cusco to MP which costs about $60.00 one way. Another option that I found to be really fulfilling is to take the busses. For 4 soles (about $1.00) you can take a bus to Urubamba. This takes about 2 hours. It may smell a little, but the views are amazing and the locals are very friendly.
From Urubamba, take a bus to Ollantaitambo for 1 sole (about $.30). This takes about another hour. This town is beautiful. Take time to check out the ruins and talk to the locals.
Make sure when you buy your train ticket for $36.00 to Aguas Calientes, that you buy it round trip. We had to wake up the next morning at 4am to buy a ticket. The train station sells out quickly and there is no other transportation out of Aguas Calientes but the train.
More on Peru Rail
Machu Picchu has been trumpeted as one of the “must see sights before a man dies” for quite a bit of time. It is not overstated. It has all of the components of a magical place - the jungle location, the megaliths and the myth. At the same time, the modern business practices have been applied to it in order to generate wealth for whomever and in the process Machu has turned into a typical attraction of the tourist industry. Once in this realm, the site has gained almost unlimited access. The hordes of tourist visit en mass – some sources quote a number of 1000 a day! This must be a record. It is easy to believe though since most of the people visit during the two summer months and they happen to be day trippers. This is a bonanza for Peru Rail and its proud staff. There is only one way to get there and it is by rail. Respectively, the prices are raised to a “western” level. In exchange the customer gets to travel with a bunch of look-alikes proudly called backpackers. Some of them might be insulted by the term but when they get on board and see the endless row of backpacks precariously hanging on the overhead racks they are bound to admit that yes, indeed, this is the backpacking travel mode of the future.
My dream job
Coming back to Peru Rail is worth it for the sheer enjoyment of this exotic attraction. The organization of the ticket selling and people boarding is much rather like an airline as opposed to railroad process. The latest computer technology spews fancy multi-page tickets. The passengers are greeted and directed in Spanish and English. They are welcomed on board by snazzy railway stewards. And there are non-complimentary snacks too! It is quite the shock to discover that the so called “Inca Express” has ignored the Inca altogether. As if in a racist time capsule, the staff seems to be overwhelmingly “white”. Oh, yes, there are Inca here or there tapping the brake cylinders from time to time.
Train back to Cusco
The train station is prominant in Aguas Calientes and you will have no trouble finding it. People come to Machu Picchu two ways, train or trekking, but most will take the train back to Cusco once they have seen the ruins.
Prices vary depending on what class you choose as well as how far you choose to go. The more expensive train (less frequent) goes all the way to Cusco and the rest stop half way back and there will be transport waiting to take you back to your hotel/hostel in Cusco.
It takes around 3 hours by train/bus to get back to Cusco.
Bus to the ruins
Once you get to Aguas Calientes with the train from Cuzco, you have to take a bus to go up to the ruins of Machu Picchu Aabout 15 min, 12 USD for the return ticket).
If you arrive with the Inca Trail, the bus ticket to go down the ruins to the town should be included, so don't forget to ask your guide about it!
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