The most popular way to get to Machu Picchu is by train, though you’ll have to take a few other methods of transportation as well. There are only a couple of stations to board the train, the most common being Ollantaytambo Station. Located in the last village of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo Station is the perfect spot to board after your tour of Sacred Valley and continue on to Machu Picchu.
To get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, you have a few options. The cheapest and most convenient way is by taking a shared shuttle bus from Avenida Grau. Typically this will only be $3-4 USD per person and will take about an hour and 45 minutes, but you’ll have to wait until the shuttle bus fills up with passengers, as there is no set departure schedule. For a quicker ride, you can take a taxi, but expect to pay $25-30 USD. For the cheapest ride, you may opt to take a public bus. Though it’s less than $2 USD, the bus is the longest and most complicated method and is not recommended.
Next you’ll need to catch your train at Ollantaytambo. Note that you must arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before departure, and during peak months from May through September reservations should be made in advance. Trains depart at least every hour or two, if not more frequently, so you’ll have no problem finding a train that suits your schedule.
From the moment you board the train, your adventure begins. You’ll wind past the beautiful Vilcanota River, around snow-capped mountain peaks, across expansive fields, and through lush forests. In this case, Machu Picchu isn’t your only destination; the train ride to get there is too. So kick back, relax, and enjoy the stunning scenery whizz by on your hour and a half long journey.
Once you reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you’ll just need to make your way to the top of Machu Picchu. Busses usually depart every 10 minutes and will set you back about $10 per way. Alternatively, if you’re in good physical condition, you can trek up, which takes around an hour and a half, and is a moderately challenging hike.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, enjoy the beauty and mystery of the ancient Incan citadel and its surrounding mountain scenery.