Monday, 28 November 2016

Train to Machu Picchu

DAY 4 - There are two main rail companies offering train service to Machu Picchu:
  1. Peru Rail has trains running from Cusco to Aguas Callientes (aka Machu Picchu Pueblo). However, please note that Poroy train station in Cusco is about 20 minutes ride outside of Cusco town centre.
  2. Inca Rail has trains running from Ollantatambay to Machu Picchu.
Based on my research and travel schedule, I decided to buy return train tickets with Peru Rail with an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Pueblo). I’ve got my train tickets in Cusco as follows:
  1. Expedition train #73, leaving Ollantatambay at 12:58 PM for Machu Picchu (US$56)
  2. Vistadome train #32, leaving Machu Picchu at 15:20 PM for Poroy in Cusco (US$91)
This travel schedule would allow me sufficient time to go from Cusco to Ollantatambay to catch my train without having to get up too early on my departure day, and to arrive in Cusco on my return day so I could get ready to leave Cusco the next morning. Even though the Vistadome train was more expensive, I paid for it so I could be in Cusco, plus I got to experience both types of trains.

I was warned about luggage limits on the trains so I just took my essentials in my backpack, and left my luggage in the storage room at Hostal El Triunfo until I returned. I would have been fine taking my carry-on with me on the trains but the backpack was useful when I spent my day at Machu Picchu.

So I had breakfast at the hostal then went to Plaza de Armas. There are taxis and shared vans that go from here to Ollantatambay. The shared van (also called combi) is inexpensive, about US$3 for a two-hour drive. I got the front seat next to the driver which was great.

Here’s my pictures of my Peru Rail train and Ollantatambay train station (click to enlarge).

Peru Rail train
Ollantatambay train station

My Expedition train arrived and departed on time. Boarding was orderly and I got to my seat without any issue. The train was clean and comfortable. There was an Argentinian young woman sitting next to me. She had been to Machu Picchu once and was returning to visit the site with her mom and aunt. We enjoyed the scenery and the light snack included in the train ticket.

We arrived at Machu Picchu train station on time at around 3 PM. I followed the crowd to exit then asked for direction to walk to the hotel Pachakuteq. The path was uphill and lined with restaurants and shops. It was touristy but this is the closest town to Machu Picchu.

I found hotel Pachakuteq and checked in to my room. The room was small with a private bathroom. I stayed here only for one night so it was fine. The hotel lobby had tables and chairs for breakfast and vending machines for snacks.

Hotel Pachakuteq entrance
Street leading down to town square

I walked to the town square and wandered around town before having dinner at a local restaurant.

Machu Picchu town square

Machu Picchu tourist office

Got to go to bed early tonight for an early rise tomorrow morning!

Next post: Machu Picchu.

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