It has become popular to visit the best places in the world traveling on your own, forgetting about agencies and organized tours, and if this is the way you chose to make your trip to Peru, it will be very important to know how to get to Machu Picchu. There are 3 ways to get to Machu Picchu from the city of Cusco: Through the Inca Trail and alternative treks such as the Inka Jungle Trek that are unique experiences if you are looking for an adventure while living with the beautiful landscapes of Cusco, second with the long route by car through the town of Hidroelectrica and the third and most recommended if you do not have much time and prefer the comforts is by train.
If you are not one of those people who enjoy outdoor trekking, you should choose the train trip, this is a beautiful journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village), at the foot of the Wonder of the World.
Machu Picchu is the most famous Inca citadel and attracts millions of tourists every year. It is probably the destination par excellence of any trip to Peru.
Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
How to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu, but if you have few days to visit this beautiful city and its tourist destinations, we recommend taking the best train from Cusco to Machu Picchu! Packed with breathtaking views, fine Peruvian cuisine and traditional music performed by local artists. Imagine a trip to Machu Picchu arriving on a luxury train such as the Hiram Bingham Luxury Train or Vistadome Train Machu Picchu and 360 Train Incarail, these last two trains mentioned are trains with panoramic views that are at much cheaper prices.
There are two companies that operate this route to Machu Picchu “IncaRail and Perurail” and you can choose the service that best suits your needs for your trip to the lost city of the Incas. These two companies offer different train services from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The trip is an incredible experience, the tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas is considered one of the most amazing short train journeys in the world, but if you want to do it on your own, the first thing you should do is to get the tickets to enter the citadel of Machu Picchu.
What is the best season to visit Machu Picchu?
To travel to Peru the recommendation is to do it during the dry season, which covers the months of April to the end of September. In October rainfall increases significantly and you may find Machu Picchu covered by clouds and impair your visibility and experience. If you travel in the month of June, we recommend you book your trip well in advance because during this month is celebrated what is known as Inti Raymi or Fiesta del Sol which is a festival that has lasted since Inca times where the sun is worshiped through dances, festivities and colorful streets. During this time is the best time to visit the length and breadth of the Cusco region, including the citadel of Machu Picchu so the number of visitors increases significantly during this time.
Book train tickets
If you have already purchased your Machu Picchu tickets and there is little time left before the day of your visit, book your train tickets a couple of weeks in advance. Moreover, we recommend you book them immediately after you know the day you will enter Machu Picchu, many of the services are usually sold out weeks in advance and even more so during the high tourist season (April to October).
Peru Rail or Inca Rail – Which one to choose to travel by train to Machu Picchu?
There are two companies authorized to travel by train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, and vice versa. Both train companies have adequate services for tourists. Below we detail what is included in each of them.
Peru Rail is the oldest company, authorized to operate the Machu Picchu route, it has different services. Its website is www.perurail.com
- Vistadome: It is a train with wide cars, with panoramic windows on the roof and sides that will allow you to take pictures of the entire pleasant journey through the valley.
- Expedition: The Expedition has cars fully covered by panoramic windows and on-board service, snacks and Peruvian food.
- Sacred Valley: This train links Urubamba with Machu Picchu on a luxurious journey through the beautiful scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Includes lunch (or dinner) in the observatory car or restaurant car.
- Belmond Hiram Bingham: It is one of the most luxurious trains in the world, very exclusive and with on-board service. It has 4 cars, dining car, bar car, gourmet dinner, transportation and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
Inca Rail is a Peruvian company that offers rail transportation services from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. Their website is www.incarail.com
- The Voyager: The cars have comfortable seats, folding tables and panoramic windows. They are decorated with Latin American music. They offer on-board service and a selection of drinks made with Andean fruits and herbs.
- The 360º: They have large panoramic windows, Latin American music, on-board service, with a selection of hot and cold drinks, as well as the sale of handmade products on board.
- The First Class: It has ambient music, natural flowers and covered tables. You will be served a welcome cocktail, lunch and/or gourmet dinner. It only offers its services during the high tourist season (from April to October) and on special dates.
- El Privado: With capacity for 8 people. The car, known as “Princess Inca” is of presidential class. The car has many unique details in its decoration, food on board, free bar. This train operates only on request.
Train Tickets from Cusco to Machu Picchu
You can choose the best train from Cusco to Machu Picchu for your trip. You can view the schedules and costs of the respective trains offered by Peru Rail and Inca Rail companies on the route to Machu Picchu on their respective websites.
- Peru Rail: www.perurail.com
- Inca Rail: www.incarail.com
Where to board the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
There are 3 boarding stations for the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
- Ollantaytambo Station: Av. Ferrocarril s/n, Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley (Cusco).
- Poroy Station: Roldan Street s/n, District of Poroy, Cusco.
- Urubamba Station: Av. Ferrocarril s/n, Urubamba, Sacred Valley (Cusco).
How long does it take to travel by train from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
The duration of the train trip (one way) depends on the boarding station:
- From Poroy station (Cusco): The trip takes 3 hours and 15 minutes approximately.
- From Urubamba station: The trip takes 2 hours and 30 minutes, approximately.
- From Ollantaytambo station: The trip takes a little less than 2 hours.
How is the train trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu?
The distance from Poroy station (Cusco) to Aguas Calientes is approximately 65.8 kilometers. The route goes through the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.
The distance from Urubamba to Aguas Calientes is 47.6 kilometers. The route is parallel to the Vilcanota River and the mountains. The trip takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The distance from Ollantaytambo station to Aguas Calientes is approximately 30.5 kilometers. The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu runs through the beautiful green Sacred Valley of the Incas along the banks of the Urubamba River. The trip takes just under 2 hours.
Conditions for boarding the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
You must follow the following instructions to board the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu smoothly:
- When boarding the train, you must show your travel ticket and your ID or passport.
- The railway company will check your ticket before and during the trip.
- If you cannot prove that you have the ticket, you will be prevented from boarding the train, without the option to make a claim.
- You will also not be allowed to board the train if you are in poor health. Also women in a state of pregnancy greater than or equal to seven months.
- You will be prevented from boarding the train if you are obviously intoxicated or under the influence of other substances.
- Young children must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.