Traveling to Peru to see Machu Picchu is a dream come true for most people. For the longest time, the number one place I’ve always wanted to see in the world is Machu Picchu. I learned about this amazing place back when I was in Grade 6 social studies and ever since then, I’ve been fascinated about Peru and the Inca civilization.
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it attracts tourist from all over the world to see the hidden citadel of the Incas. In this blog post, you will see from start to finish what the journey looks like to one of the world’s most magnificent man-made city ever built.
Buying train tickets to Machu Picchu
The journey starts in Cusco where you can buy both your train ticket and entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
The tickets cost are the following:
- Peru rail round trip to Aguas Calientes including bus transfers – $182 USD
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu – 152 Soles (46 USD or 65 CAD)
Peru rail ticketing office
Peru Rail and Food
The next day we went to the Peru Rail station and took a bus to Ollantaytambo Station. During peak season, the train will take you to Ollantaytambo station before transferring to another train. However, because we went during off-season (first week of April), the train line wasn’t operational for the first part of the segment and we were taken there by bus instead.
From Ollantaytambo Station, we transferred over to Peru Rail’s Vistadome train taking us to the city of Aguas Calientes. In the train, we were served a yummy piece of pastry and various beverages of your choice.
Food and beverage in Peru Rail
Peru Rail comfort
Taking the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
As soon as we arrived in Aguas Calientes, it’s time to take the final bus to reach Machu Picchu. The cost of the round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to the Machu Picchu citadel is $24.72 USD. I’ve got to say, Machu Picchu is definitely the most expensive Seven Wonders of the World to visit!
On a side note, they strangely have Scotia Bank (A Canadian bank) ATMs in Aguas Calientes and Cusco. This is handy for those who bank with this company.
Random Scotia Bank ATM
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
We made it! One of the world’s most iconic sites and truly a spectacular sight to behold: Machu Picchu! Unfortunately for us, the tickets to Huayna Picchu was sold out for the next three months so we didn’t get to hike up there. We instead settled to hike to the “Sun Gate” and explored the entire Machu Picchu citadel. I loved exploring the place; but, Karen and my sisters felt there was way too many tourist for their liking. This fact is also true and it gets annoying with the massive amounts of crowds visiting this place. And, we went during off-season! Imagine how crowded this place is during peak season.
Regardless of the sheer amount of tourist, there’s a reason so many people visit it and its because of how amazing the place truly is. Especially knowing they built such a place before things like bulldozers, vehicles and modern construction tools and equipments ever existed.
Entrance to Machu Picchu
Sun Gate hike
Exploring and taking pictures at Machu Picchu
Stranded tourist on the train back to Cusco from Machu Picchu
Our return trip back to Cusco wasn’t a pleasant one. Because we went during rainy season, many landslides are occurring in the area. From an unfortunate turn of event, a mudslide happened right on the train tracks preventing the rail service from running. We were suppose to depart from Aguas Calientes in the late afternoon but the train didn’t end up leaving until 10pm at night. The train station in Aguas Calientes looked like a refugee camp as thousands of tourist were stranded waiting for the situation to improve.
The Peru Rail did their best to appease the tourist by providing us with snacks. When the rail finally started moving again, they even performed a show in the train as it travelled to Ollantaytambo Station. We didn’t arrive back to Cusco until 3am causing us to miss our Rainbow Mountain tour. (Thankfully, they refunded us 80% of the tour price).
- If you want to save money traveling to Machu Picchu, you can hike the train tracks from Ollantaytambo. Simply get a taxi to take you to the “Hydro Plant” and hike roughly 3 hours to reach Aguas Calientes. You can also hike up from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. We were short on time so we didn’t try this method but many backpackers are doing it.
- Taxis are a lot cheaper the further you walk away from the Peru Rail station. Just avoid the initial rush of taxi drivers and you’ll find ones that are willing to take a much lower price.
- Rainy season causes many mudslides which may delay the train services.
- The tickets to Huayna Picchu is typically sold out 3-4 months ahead of time. Make sure to buy your tickets early if you plan on hiking up Huayna Picchu.
- Take lots of pictures, you probably will never see Machu Picchu ever again.
- Enjoy your trip to see what is arguably the best of the New Seven Wonders of the World.