There isn’t a main train station at Machu Picchu itself, the closest stop is in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes. Here is where you can hop on a smaller train to connect you the rest of the way. From Cusco you have a few options to get there:
You can enjoy the fancy train that provides food, drinks, lounge chairs, pillows, blankets and a few hundred other tourist. All just for a “ticket price”, a huge commitment and your left arm.
You can take a tour bus that has a guide, a pitstop with lunch buffet, and only 100 other tourist. All for a “small fee”, a minor commitment and a sore toosh.
…and then there’s OUR choice…
We scored with a local collectivo (a 7 person mini van that seated 9 adults and all of their luggage) for only $14 USD per person.
This spacious ride lasted 4 hours with a complimentary stop at a stand on the side of the road. It had several food options like blocks of cheese, raw chicken and an assortment of candy! They also let us use the bathrooms!
After the bus ride we hopped in a cab that picked up this woman. She climbed into the back trunk area with her blanket of corn as she politely stared at the gringos (I don’t blame her).
We then got dropped off to another taxi that only had room for 2 more so I followed the woman’s idea and got cozy in the back.
Finally we arrived to Aquas Calientes (the place where you can get on the small train to the city below Machu Picchu).
We each bought a banana and started our hike from here. A 3 hour walk along the tracks that hug the Urubamba River. The sun was out and shining… for the first 30 minutes.
At last! The place where we will rest before the day in the sacred city of Machu Picchu. I didn’t realize there was a tiny town that sits on a steep hill full of shops, restaurants, hotels, hostels, schools and homes. This adorable area has paths and bridges surrounding a stream that rushes through the center.
We’re all signed in and ready for tomorrow… 4am to Machu Picchu, here we come!
(I had a neat picture here with all of our names in “the book” but deleted it when I realized it also had everyone’s detailed identification info. So, lets just pretend it’s here.)
Instead, here’s a photo of our future sight!