There are two ways to Machu Picchu — hiking or the train. The Road to Machu Picchu had us on a train. There are two rail companies that operate trains from Cusco to Machu Picchu Station in Aguas Calientes. They are PeruRail and Inca Rail. We were on PeruRail and did the first class Vistadome. The Vistadome offers snacks, drinks, comfortable seatings and 360° views.
From Ollantaytambo, it is an hour and a half train ride to Aguas Calientes which is also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. Aguas Calientes is a picturesque town that has no cars. The only vehicles are the buses that will take you up to Macchu Picchu.
When you arrive via the train, you exit the station into a market. Similar to a flea market in the States. The accommodations are either hostels or boutique hotels. There are no chain hotels. If I had to rate the accommodations, I would give it a 2 or 2.5 star. They are clean and comfortable.
Remember, what I said earlier, there are no cars in Aguas Calientes. So when you exit the train, you walk to your accommodations. Luckily, the town is small but it is a 10-minute walk with inclines. This is one of the reasons they recommend traveling with a backpack or lightly to Machu Picchu. By the time we got to our hotel, we were tired that we didn’t venture out for dinner. Also, we had to be up at 5 am.
Machu Picchu Logistics
There are two entrance times to Machu Picchu: 1st entrance/departure times from 05:30 AM until 12:00 noon and 2nd entrance/departure times from 12:00 noon until 5:30 PM.
We were part of the 0530 to Noon and so another early day.
Our guide arrived at our hotel promptly at 5:30 am. We then walked to the bus stop which already had a line of people waiting to board the bus. Below is the line.
Now of things I can’t stand are lines. So we occupied ourselves by taking pictures.
Before we knew it was time to get on the bus. I would say it took about 30 to 45 minutes from the time we arrived and getting on the bus.
The bus to the entrance Machu Picchu is about a 15-minute scenic and bumpy ride.
Once you arrived, it is recommended you use the restroom as there is bathroom once you enter Machu Picchu. Oh, there is cost. Make sure to have some soles.
Now it is time to go in.
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