Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu


01 February 2020

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Planning on going to Machu Picchu?  It will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see.  The feeling you get when you see Machu Picchu is amazing…just thinking about smart the Inca Empire was in all of their infrastructure and instruments is so fascinating.  Most people who are looking to get to Machu Picchu will have to get to Cusco first, and we will outline the few modes of transportation you can use to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

One thing we would recommend is that you don’t just go straight from Lima (or other lower altitude city) to Machu Picchu…stop for a few days in Cusco if you can, this will allow you to get acclimated to the altitude.

You really only have two methods of transportation from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the town closest to Machu Picchu) and that is to either take one of many trains or to hike.  In this post, we’re going to go over your train options 😊.  If you are traveling to Machu Picchu between January to April, no train will go direct from Poroy (the actual town where the Cusco train station is) to Aguas Calientes (the town closest to Machu Picchu).  If you want to travel by train direct from Poroy to Aguas Calientes, then you need to travel between May and December.  We will be reviewing the options for travel between May and December as that is when we traveled there.

Inca Rail

Inca Rail also has a cool train called the 360, which also gives you some great views through the panoramic windows.  The cost is about $85-$96USD one way and takes about four hours one way.  Round trip is about $150USD per person.  They also have a few different classes, so you can upgrade as well.  One thing to note, between January and April, their trains do not depart from Cusco (Poroy) – you will take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and from there you will take their train to Aguas Calientes.  However, if you are traveling from May – December, you can take their train directly from Cusco (Poroy).

Peru Rail

Peru Rail has a very cool train called the VistaDome.  It’s a train that is basically all windows, so it really allows you to see the gorgeous scenery all around on your journey.   A one-way ticket from Cusco to Machu Picchu is $75USD per adult, and a round trip ticket is $136USD per adult.  It takes about 3.5 hours one way.