Top three reasons to explore Machu Picchu by train
Watch the foothills of the Andes transform into lush cloud forests
Take in the unbelievable scenery before embarking on a walking tour with a guide
See a little bit of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu even if you are short on time
This Inca citadel located in the Andes Mountains of Peru is one of the world’s most well-known sacred places, most often accessed by the Inca trail—a 4-day trek through the panoramic cloud forests and valleys. However, not everyone wants to hike up to Machu Picchu and that’s ok!
Observe the scenery from a comfortable seat as the train snakes its way through the tundra to cloud forests to dramatic high mountain passes, passing by the multi-level terraces and orchid paradise above the clouds. En route, make a stop at Aguas Calientes and see how the locals live, try out traditional cuisine, and capture the moments before they’re out of sight. Once you reach the isolated magical ruins, embark on a short guided tour and learn more about the history and ingenuity of this architectural wonder. The Lost City is the most important legacy of the Inca civilization and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World protected by UNESCO.
July through September
Your tour begins in Cusco, Peru
Choose how you spend your days
Full-Day Trip to Machu Picchu by Train
Get a short, but sweet taste of the Peruvian beauty as you embark on a scenic train ride to the iconic Inca citadel. After a 4-hour ride, you’ll reach the 500-year-old archaeological site and go for a two-hour guided walk. Learn everything about the history and significance of Machu Picchu and the Inca empire before heading back to Aguas Calientes and Cusco!
Two-Day Trip to Machu Picchu by Train
Machu Picchu may be the thing to draw you in, but the breathtaking cloud forests, ancient Incan ruins, and awe-inspiring panoramas will stick with you for a lifetime. Make a short stop in Ollantaytambo and spend the night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes with a freshly prepared celebratory dinner. Get some rest and enjoy the striking sunrise above the Andes and a three-hour guided walking tour with an English-speaking guide before returning to Aguas Calientes.
Full-Day Trip to Machu Picchu by Train
Day 1: Cusco – Machu Picchu – Cusco
This full-day visit to the world-famous Inca citadel begins in Cusco. In the early morning, take a 4-hour train ride to reach Aguas Calientes. From this point on, a bus will take you up to the ruins where a guide will take you on a full-guided tour of this Inca city lasting between 2-2,5 hours. Afterward, enjoy free time to further visit this impressive archaeological site and take a bus back to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll board a train back to Cusco. You should be back around 8.30-9.00 pm.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch at a local restaurant
Two-Day Trip to Machu Picchu by Train
Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Depart Cusco at 8 am and travel to Chinchero by bus for a quick look around. From here, your private transport takes you to Ollantaytambo, the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who ruled the area in the 15th century. Your guide will give you a tour of these interesting ruins before giving you some free time to do some shopping or wander the streets of this unique village. You need to be at the Ollantaytambo train station by 1 pm or 3 pm, depending on your group, to board the Expedition Train. Grab a quick bite at the highly recommended Hearts Cafe.
After a 90-minute train ride through the magnificent Vilcanota canyon, you’ll arrive at Aguas Calientes. Check-in at your hotel and indulge in some souvenir shopping or try out the hot springs that Aguas Calientes is famous for! You will have dinner with your guide and group, before getting to bed early as you will be up before dawn.
Note: You need to buy a Boleto Turistico for $55 to visit these sites, not included in the package.
Day 2: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will be up before dawn to take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu, beating the crowds and having the opportunity to see this World Heritage site in the early morning light. Enjoy a 3-hour guided tour of the site and spend some time exploring this amazing site on your own before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and returning to Cusco via train and bus. This tour is highly recommended for those that want to experience Machu Picchu at dawn and would like to spend more time at the site.
Meals: Box lunch
Note: Permits for Huayna Picchu cost an additional $15 and need to be organized at the time of booking.
Meet your guide
We had a great day right from the start, early pickup at our homestay with a nice clean car and a calm safe ride (not like rest of Peru drivers) to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Pleasant train ride with including snacks and a morning scenery with a sunrise over the mountains. Juan Carlos was waiting for us in Aguas Calientes and took us with the bus to Machu Picchu. He’s a very informative guide with lots of personal insight in the place and it’s surroundings. Later on we climbed Huayna Picchu for a great overview of the citadel. Honestly it was tough for us but JC helped us mentally to get to the top. JC offered many photo opportunities for us and is a great photographer as well and we got some perfect memories for life! We did not book an overnight stay which I can recommend for more time in Aguas Calientes and/or Ollantaytambo. Thank you Juan Carlos, Zenon the driver and Crossover Peru for making a dream of ours come true in the best possible way!
Everything was perfect. From transfers to meeting Kevin at the train station to him getting us into MP!
The hike was perfect and he stayed with us the whole time despite us needing a few extra breaks!
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things to know
Covid measures in Peru
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Peru, please refer to the Peru Travel websites or the U.S. Embassy in Peru websites.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 3-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Transfers to/from Machu Picchu (bus and train)
- Entry fee to Machu Picchu
- Entry fee to Palcoyo for the 1-day tour
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation for one night in Aguas Calientes for the 2-day tour
- Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit
What’s not included:
- Airfare and transportation to/from Cusco
- Accommodations for the 1-day tour
- Breakfast and lunch for the 2-day tour
- Entrance to the hot springs in Aguas Caliente
- Entry fee to Huayna Picchu ($15 per person)
- Boleto Turistico ($55 per person)
How fit do I need to be?
The best thing about this tour of Machu Picchu is that it’s suitable for everyone with a normal level of fitness. No prior experience is necessary. However, the city of Cusco is located at 3,400 meters above sea level so you may feel slightly ill or dizzy due to altitude sickness, known as “soroche.” Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Hiking poles — optional
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
- Spare clothes for layering
- Waterproof rain jacket or a rain poncho
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For these group adventures, the usual group size is 16 travelers.
- It takes a minimum of 5 people for a tour to operate.
- All pricing is per person and the cost doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Cusco, most people fly into Cusco International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to your accommodation.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, usually at your accommodation in Cusco. At the end of your adventure, you will return to Cusco via bus and train.
Storage aboard Machu Picchu trains is limited. Please limit yourself to one carry-on luggage per person. Many travelers need to downsize their belongings to comply with the luggage weight restrictions of each company. Fortunately, many hotels offer complimentary luggage storage for guests. Keep your extra items at your hotel in Cusco and collect them after visiting Machu Picchu.
Each passenger can carry a bag or backpack with a maximum weight limit of 11 pounds (5 kg). The luggage cannot exceed 62 inches (157 cm) in height, length, and width.