Travel by train to Machu Picchu: 10 Best Tips -

Train to Machu Picchu

The trip from Cuzco to Aquas Calientes is perfect for getting to Machu Picchu

The train is the way to travel Aquas Calientes in Peru. It's a nice experience before visiting world famous Machu Picchu. From Cuzco you travel in three hours to Aquas Calientes.

You have several options for traveling to Machu Picchu. Obviously, you can go by foot, hiking the Inca Trail, but you can also take the train from Cuzco. Or combine the two.

The train is a good way to travel in Peru. The ride to Aquas Calientes gives you a good idea of the rugged environment. And this town lies at the foot of the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu.

Best time for the train ride to Aquas Calientes

It is possible to make a return trip one day, but that means you’ll to visit the archaeological site in the middle of the day, the hottest and busiest time of day at Machu Picchu. It is better to visit Machu Picchu in the early morning, but you’ll have to arrive the day before and stay in Aquas Calientes. There are plenty of accommodations in all price ranges in the town.

A view of the landscape from the train.

Alternative way to get to Aqua Calientes

Officially, Aquas Calientes is only accessible from Cuzco by train as there is no road to this town. You can get close to the town by taxi bus, but then you need to walk the last miles along the rail tracks. This is a popular activity amongst backpackers as a train ticket to Aquas Calientes is relatively expensive.

Tips for travelling by train

Book your spot on the train in advance to avoid disappointment. The best view is on the left side on the route to Machu Picchu. On the way back it is best to sit on the right.

Best route

You can take a train directly to Aquas Calientes (or to Cuzco), but you can also make a stop at Ollantaytambo.
This old Inca city in The Sacred Valley is also the starting point for the Inca Trail. From the village you can do day tours to different archaeological Inca sites.

Which train to take?

There are several type of trains. Besides a standard train you can take the extremely luxurious Bingham train. This train is named after Hiram Bingham, the (re)discoverer of Machu Picchu.

The route is exactly the same for both trains. But the Bingham train is known to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world due to the combination of beautifully decorated carriages, gourmet dining and the scenery of the rugged Andes. The train also has a special observation carriage with large cushioned seats and a lot of windows to enjoy the passing landscapes.

Train ticket prices

To be honest, a train ticket to or from Machu Picchu is rather expensive. A single ticket cost over 50 dollars per person. A return ticket over 100 dollars.

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