A Machu Picchu tour begins with one of the great train journeys of the world.The journey between Cusco and Machu Picchu, if not undertaken on foot, is largely done by train. Passengers are transferred to one of two train stations outside of Cusco for this impressive journey. The route follows the Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River which flows through it. Mountain views, farms, Inca ruins and tropical foliage will be among the sights you will see en route.
There are now several train services to Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu which vary in a number of ways but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Services range from simple to luxury and everything in between, and are priced accordingly. Services depart from Poroy or Ollantaytambo train stations depending on the particular service and are provided by three separate companies. Only the train for local people now leaves from Cusco itself, which is a blessing for tourists as this local train take a very long time to climb out of the city.
Note: Most trains to Machu Picchu have a 5kg (11lbs) luggage limit. Therefore you should just take a daypack or small overnight bag to Machu Picchu whilst the rest of your luggage is stored at your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
Below is a summary of the different train services, starting with the most economical, and also the different train stations.
The Expedition service is the most basic train which departs from Ollantaytambo train station five times a day. The journey takes approximately 90 minutes from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. There is also one daily departure from Poroy. Seats are arranged in pairs facing each other with a table in between. There are racks above for your luggage. The train has panoramic windows, heating and air-conditioning. Snacks and drinks are available on board.
Auto Vagon train to Machu Picchu
Departs once a day from Urubamba from where it travels to Ollantaytambo before continuing to Machu Picchu. Leather seats are arranged airline style. Large windows allow you to enjoy the view whilst heating and air-conditioning and snacks ensure your comfort.
The Executive service departs three times a day from Ollantaytambo from where it is a little over a 90 minute journey to Machu Picchu. Comfortable leather seats are arranged in pairs facing each other, with a table in between. The train has panoramic windows, heating and air-conditioning. Snacks, beverages and herbal teas are included on the journey.
This service departs twice a day from Ollantaytambo from where it is a little over a 90 minute journey to Machu Picchu. This new service features modern carriages with airline seating. Snacks are available on board.
The Vistadome service departs from Ollantaytambo train station five times a day and the journey takes a little over 90 minutes to Machu Picchu. There is also one daily departure from Poroy. Comfortable leather seats are arranged in pairs facing each other, with a table in between. The train has panoramic windows, heating and air-conditioning. Snacks and hot and cold refreshments are included on the journey.
The First Class service departs three times a day from Ollantaytambo from where it is a little over a 90 minute journey to Machu Picchu. Oversize, comfortable leather seats are arranged in pairs or two individual seats facing each other, with a table in between. The train has panoramic windows, heating and air-conditioning. Snacks, chocolates, an assortment of natural beverages and herbal teas, as well as wine are included on the journey. There is also a selection of interesting books about Peru available to read during the trip.
The Special Service operates just once a day from Ollantaytambo train station. Comfortable upholstered seats face each other in pairs with a table in between in order to enjoy the included snack. The Special Service is the only service which has a luggage car where passengers can take up to 25kg of luggage free of charge. On the return journey wine and cheese are served.
The luxury Hiram Bingham train is an exclusive Orient Express service which departs from Poroy train station once a day. The journey time is about 3 ½ hours. The train has two dining cars and a bar / observation car with warm, comfortable and elegant interiors. Brunch is served on the outward journey and a gourmet dinner on the return journey. This is an expensive option but if you have the budget for it you will really enjoy the high level of service provided and leave the train quite merry!
Where to board for your Machu Picchu tour:
Poroy train station is located approximately 25 minutes from Cusco en-route to the Sacred Valley. From Poroy the journey to Machu Picchu takes a little over three hours. Poroy is essentially now the Cusco train station as the all trains, except the service for local people, stop here and do not continue down the hill into Cusco. This saves quite a lot of time as it avoids constant switchbacks.
Ollantaytambo train station is located in the middle of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, approximately a 90 minute drive from Cusco and is the closest station to Machu Picchu. From Ollantaytambo the journey to Machu Picchu takes a little over 90 minutes. Ollantaytambo is often used as an overnight stop allowing you to get up later for your Machu Picchu tour.
Urubamba train station is located in the Sacred Valley approximately an 70 minute drive from Cusco. This station only has one service per day and it leaves from the platform actually within the Tambo del Inca, Libertador hotel.
Aguas Calientes- arrival for your Machu Picchu tour
The train station in the small town Aguas Calientes is about a five minute walk from where the buses depart to take you to the site of Machu Picchu. The spectacular journey up to the site takes around 25 minutes. Apart from the buses that operate between Aguas Calientes and the site, there is no other traffic in town and everything is within walking distance.
All of our packages include transfers to and from the train station, train tickets, return bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, entrance to the Inca citadel and a guided tour of the site (unless you specify otherwise). Most services to Machu Picchu depart in the morning and return in the afternoon although there are some services at other times of day in both directions. Tickets are subject to availability at the time of booking.