Tips for Getting to Machu Picchu:
1) The only way to get to Machu Picchu is via car, bus or train. So don’t bother looking into flying in.
2) Make sure you purchase the train tickets to Machu Picchu well in advance. We purchased ours 3 months ahead of our travel dates, and tickets for some of our preferred train routes / class have already sold out.
3) From Cusco, there are two primary ways to structure your tour to Machu Picchu and back via PeruRail. You can take a train directly from Cusco / Poroy, or from the Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo train station. If you choose to tour the Sacred Valley before or after Machu Picchu, make sure you budget in the planning time for this excursion as well in purchasing the PeruRail ticket. Again, train tickets do sell out months in advance!
4) While the PeruRail website allows you to pay by credit card, the site is extremely unreliable in accepting card payments. It will often reject the transaction or time out. We tried more than 13 times on one occasion and still failed. Our best advice is to keep trying, but if you speak Spanish, call the PeruRail desk directly. If you call the PeruRail desk, be prepared to provide payment information via emails. The whole process is very manual, but seeing Machu Picchu is worth it.
5) The best seats on the train from Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu/ Aguas Calientes are A1 and A2. These seats are located at the front of the train. With no seats in front of you and only the train’s glass windows, you will have a great panoramic view of the scenery.
6) Both train stations in the Sacred Valley / Ollantatambo and Machu Picchu / Aguas Calientes sell light food and drinks. Light snacks are also served aboard the train and are included in the fare. So if you are short on time, don’t worry about eating out before heading to the train station.
7) Make sure you have the exact change for the bus ticket to Machu Picchu once you arrive at Aguas Calientes. The counter does not accept credit card, and if you don’t have exact change, the agent may tell you to come back later.
8) Buy a one way bus ticket as opposed to round trip. It will cost you about $1USD more, but this way you have the option of walking back down to Aguas Calientes from Machu Picchu, if you so inclined, at the end of day. There is a bus ticket counter at Machu Picchu, at the bus boarding area, where you can purchase a one way ticket back down.
9) Both the train and bus rides are very comfortable. So enjoy the tour!
10) Quick reference for the train station names:
– Cusco: Poroy Station
Cusco is a short taxi ride away from the Poroy station. Your hotel can schedule a taxi for you
– Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo Station
– Machu Picchu: Aguas Calientes Station
Unless you want to hike up to Machu Picchu, you will need to take a bus up to the site from Aguas Calientes
To follow our journey to Machu Pacchu, check out these posts:
- Starting Our Machu Picchu Travel from Cusco
- Sacred Valley, Peru – Pisac, Moray, Salinas and Ollantaytambo
- Seeing the Milky Way in Aguas Calientes
- Machu Picchu – Lost City of the Incas
- La Marinera, the National Dance of Peru (POPULAR POST)
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