How Most People Get to Machu Picchu

About 70% of all people travelling to Machu Picchu will take the train from Ollantaytambo Train Station to Aguas Calientes (1h50m), and then a 40 minutes shuttle bus ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu. From Ollantaytambo Train station, Peru Rail and Inca Rail train operators offer about 15 – 19 daily outbound services (depending on the season) from 6am – 7pm. To get to Ollantaytambo Train Station, you can either travel directly from your hotel in the Sacred Valley (easiest option), or from the city of Cusco. A taxi is the best option for most travellers, but for the budget-minded traveller, a shared colectivo or even local bus costs just a few Soles. See below for more information on journey times, prices for taxis and shared colectivos.

Get From Cusco to Machu Picchu

Option 1) Use a Train Departing Poroy Station

On the outskirts of Cusco in a small village called Poroy is a principal train station with services to Machu Picchu. Poroy is about 25 minutes by road from historical Cusco, and can be reached by local taxi or colectivo. The journey time by train is 3 hours and 20 minutes, and the train stops just once at Ollantaytambo Station before terminating at Aguas Calientes Once in Aguas Calientes you can take the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu. Note: There are only 3 early morning train services from Poroy to Aguas Calientes, operated only by Peru Rail. Take time to understand wet season timetables approximately from mid-December until the end of May (see topic below).

Option 2) Use a Train Departing Ollantaytambo Station

From Cusco you will need to first travel by road to Ollantaytambo Train Station (Sacred Valley), a journey which takes about 2 hours. From Ollantaytambo you can take either Peru Rail or Inka Rail train service to Aguas Calientes. The journey time by train from Ollantaytambo is 1 hour and 50 minutes, and trains operate from 6am to 7pm. There is a ticket office in Ollantaytambo station, but it is better to purchase your tickets well in advance. On arrival in Aguas Calientes, a 40 minutes shuttle bus ride will take you to Machu Picchu.

To book a tour to Machu Picchu we recommend you use a search and comparison website for tours and treks across South America.

Get From the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu

Option 1) Urubamba Hotels – Machu Picchu

From Urubamba you will first need to travel by road to the far western end of the Sacred Valley to the village of Ollantaytambo. The journey takes about 45 – 60 minutes and is easily done by taxi or shared colectivo. Note: Shared colectivos may only take you to the main plaza in Ollantaytambo, from where you can take a taxi (3-4 mins) or walk (15-20mins) to the train station. Peru Rail and Inca Rail trains operate daily services from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, with a journey time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. From Aguas Calientes a 40 minutes ride aboard a shuttle bus will take you to Machu Picchu.

Option 2) Ollantaytambo Hotels – Machu Picchu

This is the best option with the least amount of travel time needed. Essentially the same as above, but you simply need to walk to the train station in Ollantaytambo, which is just a short 15 minutes’ walk from most hotels in the village.

Option 3) Tambo del Inka Hotel – Machu Picchu

For guests staying at the Tambo del Inka Hotel in Urubamba, there is the option to take the train directly from the hotel’s onsite train station to Aguas Calientes. The journey time is 2 hours and 24 minutes, including a stop at Ollantaytambo Station. Note: there is just one service in each direction per day, on the Peru Rail Vistadome Train. This train is affected by limited availability.

Tambo del Inka (Urubamba) – Aguas Calientes, Vistadome 601, 06.50 – 09.24 hrs*
Aguas Calientes – Tambo del Inka (Urubamba), Vistadome 304, 15.48 – 18.43 hrs*
*Correct at the time of publication!

Useful Train Information / Timetables

More information about the trains to Machu Picchu can be found by clicking here. Includes information on train types, prices, wet season time tables, luxury train services and weight restrictions.

Click here for the latest Peru Rail Timetables and to purchase tickets.
Click here for the latest Inca Rail Timetables and to purchase tickets.

Important Note About Wet Season Timetables (Peru Rail Only)

From approximately mid-December through until the end of May, Peru Rail operates a wet season time table. Due to the increased rain fall and risk of landslides, trains do not depart from Poroy Train Station (near Cusco), but instead from Pachar station in the Sacred Valley. Peru Rail operates what they call a “bio-modal” service, meaning that you first travel by bus to Pachar station (2 hours), where you then take the train to Aguas Calientes (1h50m). We recommend that during the wet season timetable, it is best NOT to book trains departing from Poroy, but plan your trip to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo station.

Taxi / Combi Prices to Get to the Various Train Stations

  • Cusco – Poroy in taxi, 30 – 40 minutes, 35 Soles (US$ 13).
  • Cusco – Poroy in colectivo, 40 – 50 minutes, 3-5 Soles (US$ 1.50 – 2). Informal colectivos depart Avenida del Ejército between Belen and Santiago Bridges. This part of Cusco is not the prettiest, so be aware of your surroundings.
  • Cusco – Ollantaytambo in taxi, 2 hours, 100 Soles (US$ 35).
  • Cusco – Ollantaytambo in colectivo, 2+ hours, 10 Soles (US$ 35), informal colectivos depart daily from Calle Belen every 20 – 30 mins, click here for a detailed article on this route.
  • Urubamba – Ollantaytambo in taxi, 45 – 50 minutes, 50 Soles (US$ 18)
  • Urubamba – Ollantaytambo in colectivo, 45 – 50 minutes, 5-7 Soles (US$ 2 – 3), Colectivos leave approx. every 30 minutes from Urubamba bus terminal, or on the road just outside.

Shuttle Buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

To access Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes it is necessary to take a short shuttle bus ride. There is just one road in Aguas Calientes, which leads from the village to Machu Picchu. The journey takes approximately 40 minutes in each direction. The shuttle buses are operated by a local company called Consettur, and are all modern and air-conditioned. Shuttle Buses to Machu Picchu operate throughout the day, and depart ether Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu when they are full. There are no set times for departures, but you will probably never wait more than 15 minutes for a bus. Buses going up to Machu Picchu operate from 05.30 – 15.30 hrs, and buses departing Machu Picchu operate from 06.00 – 15.30 hrs.

Click here for more detailed information on shuttle buses and pricing.

Peru Guide
Machu Picchu

Getting to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is located 80 km’s (50 miles) northwest of Cusco, and is situated on a mountain range above the beautiful Urubamba Valley. Access to Machu Picchu is limited as there are no roads, and helicopter or light aircraft flight is only allowed for emergency access only. Therefore, the two most popular options to get to Machu Picchu are to travel by train, or to hike the famous Inca Trail.

Currently, an old access road which runs from Santa Maria northwest of Machu Picchu is currently being re-constructed, and could possibly be opened up for tourist access. The construction was commissioned by the Peruvian Government in March 2010, and includes two tunnels, and paved roads. Currently this is not an access route to Machu Picchu, but we shall keep you updated to the status of this new road.

Train Services

Train to Machu Picchu depart principally from two train stations; Poroy train station located 20 minutes by car from Cusco, and Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley 1h 30m from Cusco.

There are two main two main train operators offering services to Machu Picchu; the long established company Peru Rail and the relatively new company Inka Rail. Offices for both operators can be found in several locations throughout Peru, locations and opening times are listed in the links below.

The journey time from Poroy to Machu Picchu is about 3h 30m, and the journey time from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu is significantly less at around 2 hours.

Hiking to Machu Picchu

Another popular way to arrive into Machu Picchu is to hike. There is actually only one trek which arrives into Machu Picchu itself, and that is the famous Inca Trail hike. There are also several other great hikes that are available which either end in the village of Aguas Calientes below Machu Picchu, or in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley where you would need to take the train the final part of the way.

Typically treks in Peru are 4 or 5 days in duration, but there are some specialist trekking companies that offer longer treks for the hiking enthusiasts out there. Most trekking companies will supply all the equipment and food that you will require for the trek, prepare any permits that you will require and supply professional qualified English or Spanish speaking guides.

For those that are considering hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu it is important to read our section on the trail and understand some of the restrictions imposed on this trek.

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