For almost 400 years, Machu Picchu was hidden from the eyes of the world due mainly to its difficult access. Is that the Inca Citadel is located on top of a steep mountain in the eastern part of the Peruvian Andes. In 1911, the American explorer Hiram Bingham made known to the world the importance of the Inca site. Since then, its popularity has increased as has the number of visitors from all over the world. However, the place remains difficult to access. How to get to the Wonder of the World? Through an incredible train journey through the most beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley. Learn more about this unforgettable route to the Inca llaqta.
Where is Machu Picchu?
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu was built at the end of the 15th century by order of the Inca Pachacutec. It is located in an esplanade of a chain of several mountains in which they stand out: the mountain Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and Putucusi. Due to its location in the eastern part of the Andes Mountains of Peru and 2,490 meters above sea level (masl), it is surrounded by abundant vegetation, which covered the site for almost 400 years when it was abandoned. In 1911, the American explorer Hiram Bingham announced the importance of the site to the world. In 2007, she was chosen among the 7 Wonder of the Modern World. Since then his popularity grew. Today it receives about 1 million visitors a year. However, the archaeological site remains difficult for tourists to access.
How to get?
Formerly, the way to reach Machu Picchu was on foot, through some ancient trails of several kilometers to the Sun Gate or Intipunku, in the upper part of the enclosure. This hiking route is now known as the Inca Trail and is one of the ways to reach the Wonder of the World. Nevertheless, is not the only one. Nowadays, the most extended way to arrive is through a train trip that ends at the foot of the mountain where the Inca archaeological site is located. There a village was erected, called Aguas Calientes. It is estimated that around 2,000 people choose to reach the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ in this way. The third option is known as the alternative hydroelectric route. It consists of a bus journey followed by a walk or train trip.
Currently, there are 3 ways to get to Machu Picchu: through the Inca Trail, through the alternative hydroelectric route or with the classic train trip. The latter is the most widespread way among tourists.
Trip to Machu Picchu by train
The train trip goes through the most beautiful places of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, parallel to the Vilcanota River until reaching the town of Aguas Calientes, at the foot of the mountain where the Inca Citadel is located. From there you can go on foot (2 hours) or by bus (30 minutes) to the entrance gate of Machu Picchu. The duration of the train trip depends on the starting point. The habitual whereabouts to take the railroad is in the station Ollantaytambo, traditional town to 77 kilometers of the city of the Cusco. From there, the train trip takes 2 hours maximum. However, there are special services that depart from the Poroy station, a village 11 kilometers from Cuzco. From that point the trip takes 3 hours and 30 minutes approximately. Whatever the starting point, the train ride to the Wonder of the World is considered among the most amazing in the world.
There are two starting points for traveling by train: from Poroy station (11 kilometers from Cusco) and from Ollantaytambo station (77 kilometers from Cusco). The first takes 3 hours and 30 minutes while the second takes approximately 2 hours. The latter is the form is the most usual starting point.
Train tickets must be booked ahead of time, especially during the peak tourist season (April to October). Otherwise, there is a risk of not finding availability. There are different services that vary in the experiences on board. The companies that operate the train tickets are two: Peru Rail and Inca Rail.
Inca Rail – The vast majority of trains depart from the Ollantaytambo station. The services that depart from the Poroy station operate mainly during the high season of tourism (from April to November). There are 4 types of trains that are detailed below:
- Traveling class: The wagons have panoramic windows that allow us to appreciate in the best way the beauty of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It has comfortable seats, tables to enjoy snacks and drinks. On average, 5 trains leave for Aguas Calientes on average.
- Executive class: The wagons have wider panoramic windows to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. The seats also have a table to the front where you can enjoy traditional gourmet delights of the region. In addition, there is an outdoor bar platform. Only 3 trains depart per day on average.
- First class: The wagons have comfortable seats next to tables and windows to appreciate the landscape. The service offers a gourmet menu typical of the region, a selection of hot and cold drinks and a complimentary cocktail. There is an elegant lounge with comfortable seats. Only one train departs a day.
- Presidential service: The wagon is finely decorated with comfortable armchairs next to large windows and a bar service on board. The bar is free and has a welcome bottle of champagne. The menu has typical ingredients of the region. This service only operates at the special request of the visitor.
Peru Rail – The vast majority of trains depart from the Ollantaytambo station. Only the most exclusive services do it from the Poroy station. There is a train that stops at the Belmond Río Sagrado hotel in Urubamba for some guests to board. There are 4 types of trains that are detailed below:
- Vistadone: The wagons have wide windows to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. The seats are leather. There is entertainment on board with typical dances and a fashion show.
- Expedition: The wagons are modern with large windows and snacks to taste as well as a non-alcoholic drink.
- Sacred Valley: The wagons are modern with wide windows. It has complimentary drinks as well as typical gourmet lunch or dinner. This service makes a stop in Urubamba for the onboard guests of a hotel.
- Belmond Hiram Bingham: The most luxurious service. The wagons are of first quality. It has a live music and dance show, lunch or gourmet dinner, free bar. In addition, this service includes the ticket to Machu Picchu.
To take into account
The trip to Machu Picchu by train is considered among the most amazing in the world. There is also a service called ‘local train’, which, however, is only allowed to Peruvian citizens and residents who live in nearby towns. To enjoy this railway experience to the fullest, we recommend you take into account the following:
- The train ticket must be booked in advance especially if the trip is planned during the high tourist season (from April to November).
- In all the train services, there are personnel on board who will very kindly help to solve the doubts of the passengers about the trip to the Wonder of the World.
- Visitors who chose to reach Machu Picchu through the alternative route of Hydroelectric, have the option of boarding a train from there to the town of Aguas Calientes. The section takes 30 minutes approximately. The other option is to do it on foot (2 hours).
- All train services arrive at the Aguas Calientes station. From there you take a bus to the entrance gate to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). The other option is to do it on foot (2 hours approximately).
- Poroy station is only 28 minutes from the city of Cusco by road. The Ollantaytambo station, about 2 hours. There are several services that make the trip to these villages.
- Check the prices of each service on the Peru Rail or Inca Rail website.
Book the Machu Picchu Ticket and travel by train to the Wonder of the World in advance. The vacations of your life are within reach of a single click. Do it now!