train to machu picchu

During the last few years, Peru has become a popular attraction. Especially because most people want to see the Inca ruins of  Machu Picchu, which was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in recent years, and with good reason. Even many South American travel packages have, as a final destination, the Lost Inca city. And to get there, you can’t forget an important transportation service in your Machu Picchu itinerary, the service of the train to Machu Picchu. The train to Machu Picchu is offered by two rail companies, Inca Rail and Peru Rail, both companies have train stations in Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Aguas Calientes Town and have different classes of services, which depart in many schedules during the day.

So, how do you get the train tickets to Machu Picchu? To answer this, we have prepared an article where we delve into the subject. Together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to make your vacations much easier. Learn how to enjoy a magical and comfortable train to Machu Picchu.

2022 Update: Everything you need to know about the train to Machu Picchu

Two train Companies, a single destiny

inca rail train to machu picchu

The service of the train to Machu Picchu, among other forms to visit Machu Picchu (do trekking and by car are the other ones), was always the principal and safest. Through the years, the train trip to Machu Picchu was improved and now, we can say that Peru has two of the best train companies in all South America (according to satisfaction surveys of quality, services and prices make by these train companies)

PERU RAILINCA RAIL
Train company founded in 1999 (As a result of concession of government trains, formerly called ENAFER). All its services are destined for tourism, except the “Local train” offered to local people and Peruvians. It has 4 different levels of trains, the Expedition, the Vistadome, the Sacred Valley, and the Hiram Bingham train. All of them with comfortable and padded seats, dining tables, air conditioning, large windows, toilets, food onboard among other services.Train company founded in 2009 by a Peruvian investment group with a large experience in the tourism sector. In this case, its 4 levels of trains, the Executive, the 360º, the First Class, and the Private are destined for tourists. In the same way, all its train cars are equipped with large windows, toilets, dining tables, air conditioning, comfortable and padded seats, food onboard inter alia.

Where to take the train?

station train to machu picchu

Both Inca Rail and Peru Rail usually use 3 main train stations. Depending on your train tickets to Machu Picchu, you will board at one station or another. But it does not matter from which station you start any of the Machu Picchu tours, since the trip will be memorable.

TRAIN STATIONLOCATIONTRIP DURATION TO MACHU PICCHUADVANTAGECOMPANY USING IT
Poroy Station1 hour from Cusco

(Roldan Street, Poroy District, Cusco)
3 hours approx.Landscapes of surrounding Cusco and colonial towns (Huarocondo, Zurite), Sacred Valley towns, geographic limits between Andean and Peruvian jungle.Peru Rail 
Inca Rail
Urubamba Station1 hour and 45 min
from Cusco

(Av. Ferrocarril, Urubamba, Sacred Valley)
2 hours with 20 min.Landscapes of Sacred Valley, quaint Urubamba village, geographic limits between Andean and Peruvian jungle, the Vilcanota River.Peru Rail
Ollantaytambo Station2 hours from Cusco

(Av. Ferrocarril, Ollantaytambo, Valle Sagrado)
2 hours approx.Landscapes of Sacred Valley, geographic limits between Andean and Peruvian jungle, the Vilcanota River.Peru Rail
Inca Rail

In addition, there is a train station, in the same Cusco city. Its name is San Pedro (take the name from the traditional market located in front of it) Unfortunately, for most of the year, this one is not operational, with few exceptions. Peru Rail is responsible for its administration and sometimes uses it for its “Local train” (An exclusive train for local and Peruvian people)

Arrival station

aguas calientes train to machu picchu

If you are asking how to get to Machu Picchu. Well, Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu local town will always appear in your searches. Aguas Calientes train station is the closest from Machu Picchu. (Address: Machu Picchu Pueblo, Las Orquídeas Neighborhood –  Next to the Artisan Market) All train services of both companies arrive there and depart to return. It is located inside Aguas Calientes, the local town of Machu Picchu.

Types of the trains

PERU RAILINCA RAIL
ExpeditionVoyager
Train wagons with wide and padded seats. It has large windows at the sides. Diner tables, snacks, services, and Peruvian food onboard.These trains have comfortable seats, folding tables, large windows at the sides, Andean music during the trip, services, and a variety of Peruvian herb drinks onboard.
Vistadome360º
Similar to Expedition with large windows that covered the sides and roof of carriages, having a 180º grade of view. Usually offer a fashion catwalk in the middle aisle during the route.Similar to Voyager service with the difference of panoramic windows, an offer of hot and cold Peruvian drinks of native herbs, and the possibility of buying Andean handicraft on board.
Hiram BinghamFirst Class
The glamorous train is cataloged as the best luxury train in South America by the Condé Nast Travel Magazine. 4 carriages (Observatory, dinner, bar, and kitchen). Open bar, brunch, and dinner (If you take the round trip), landscape’s observatory carriage, tour guide, and services onboard. Also, this train ticket includes Machu Picchu entrance and bus transportation (once arrived in Aguas Calientes) to get there.Well-adorned carriages with natural and native flowers, tables covered by luxury tablecloths. Gourmet dinner & lunch (If you take the round trip) or one of them is the only way. The train personnel will welcome you with an alcoholic drink and Andean ambient music. This service only operates in the tourism high season (From March to November) and on special dates.
Private train
Charter train with a capacity of only 8 passengers. This train receives another name, ”La Princesa Inca” (The Inca princess). Personnel of train and chefs for the exclusive attention of the passengers. The train has many decoration details inside, à la carte foods, and an open bar on board. This train is operated on request and reservation.

Train schedules and prices

back cusco train to machu picchu

Once we know the different train levels of both companies, choosing the right schedule of the train will be important. Why? Because of the arrival time of each train service. One will have to fit with the entrance hour of your Machu Picchu tickets.

For example, if you arrive at Aguas Calientes train station at 10:00 am, you will have to count 1 hour to get to the same entrance of Machu Picchu Archeological park (Bus trip from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will take this hour) Therefore, your hour of the entrance to Machu Picchu will be 11:00 am.

PeruRail

perurail train to machu picchu

1. Expedition train

This is the most comfortable and economic option of all. This expedition has soft and large seats. In addition to huge windows with which to observe the landscape. Onboard you will be offered different free drinks such as coffee, tea, and other juices. You can find the departure station in Poroy and this train only has one daily departure.

Price per person: $140 – S./ 459 approx (Round Trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
Exp 7105:05 am06:35 am
Exp 8106:10 am07:40 am
Exp 8307:45 am09:15 am
Exp 3306:40 am08:29 am09:54 am
Exp 20307:30 am08:25 am10:32 am12:11 pm
Exp 8307:45 am09:15 am
Exp 7312:55 pm14:25 pm
Exp 60315:37 pm17:02 pm
Exp 7519:04 pm20:45 pm
Exp 5121:00 pm22:45 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
Exp 3415:20 pm17:08 pm19:05 pm
Exp 3216:43 pm18:31 pm20:23 pm21:23 pm
Exp 50416:22 pm18:10 pm
Exp 5005:35 am07:44 am
Exp 7208:53 am10:52 am
Exp 7414:55 pm16:31 pm
Exp 8418:20 pm20:05 pm
Exp 7621:50 pm23:35 pm

2. Vistadome train

This wonderful train is very similar to the IncaRail train. It has panoramic windows through which you can contemplate the rolling landscape. All while drinking one of our classic infusions. Food services vary depending on the train you choose to board. The departure station is also in Poroy, but this train has about two daily departures.

Price per person: $190 – S./623 approx (Round Trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
Vtd 3306:40 am08:29 am09:54 am
Vtd 20307:30 am08:25 am10:32 am12:11 pm
Vtd 8307:45 am09:15 am
Vtd 7312:55 pm14:25 pm
Vtd 30313:27 pm14:50 pm
Vtd 60315:37 pm17:02 pm
Vtd 75 19:04 pm20:45 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
Vtd 3415:20 pm17:08 pm19:05 pm
Vtd 32 16:43 pm18:31 pm20:23 pm21:23 pm
Vtd 504 16:22 pm18:10 pm
Vtd 30210:55 am12:32 pm
Vtd 7414:55 pm16:31 pm
Vtd 8418:20 pm20:05 pm
Vtd 7621:50 pm23:35 pm

3. Hiram Bingham train

This is the most popular and excellent luxury train to get to Machu Picchu in style. This train features plush seats and polished wood accents. You will enjoy a wonderful gourmet meal in an elegant dining car. In the bar car, you will also find a large selection of wines, cocktails, and other non-alcoholic beverages. In addition, the train has a separate observation car with panoramic windows. The Hiram Bingham train offers a unique experience within the train services to Machu Picchu. The service includes both shuttle bus tickets and a guided tour of the citadel.

Price per person: $950 – S./3115 approx (Round trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
HB 1109:05 AM12:24 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
HB 1217:50 pm21:16 pm

IncaRail

incarail train to machu picchu

1. Voyager train

Among the different train options to Machu Picchu, this is a classic. This incredible train has some wonderful features. From about 480 reclining leather seats, panoramic windows, and skylights. One of the greatest budget options. This astounding train offers its service between the destinations of Ollantaytambo and the Inca citadel itself. This train has about five daily departures a day, its first shift being early in the morning (6:00 am – 6:40 am) and its last shift during the afternoon (9:30 pm). Onboard, you can enjoy numerous traditional gourmet dishes and beverage services.

Price per person: $140 – S./ 459 approx (Round Trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
Vyg08:28 am11:15 am12:41 pm
Vyg06:40 am08:01 am
Vyg19:27 pm21:09 pm
Vyg16:36 pm 18:09 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
Vyg08:30 am10:10 am
Vyg14:30 pm15:56 pm18:30 pm
Vyg19:00 pm20:41 pm23:35 pm
Vyg21:30 pm22:54 pm01:15 am
Vyg20:20 pm21:59 pm

2. 360º train

This is another of the Machu Picchu trains where you can admire the wonderful landscapes of the Sacred Valley. The train has about 312 seats to experience a comfortable journey. Through its large panoramic windows, you can listen to an audio guide narration as well as experience the different landscapes. You can enjoy the warm weather where you can get to know the great Machu Picchu. This train is a great possibility to get to know the surrounding valley like other places.

Price per person: $ 150 – S./ 491 approx (Round Trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
360º05:00 am07:22 am08:48 am
360º11:30 am13:06 pm
360º12:36 pm14:00 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
360º10:32 am12:12 pm14:32 pm
360º16:12 pm17:50 pm20:35 pm

3. First Class train

This journey is both exciting and wonderful. The destination of the train has about 60 seats where the different passengers are received with a welcome cocktail. In addition, the train has a live music show that will let you know a little about our culture. You can also enjoy traditional dishes prepared by the chef on board. The train tickets also include the transfer by private bus to the entrance.

Price per person: $ 398 –  S./ 1305 approx (Round Trip)

Go:

Cusco St.(Departure)Poroy St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Departure)Aguas Calientes St.(Final destiny)
FC08:28 am11:15 am12:41 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes St.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Final destiny)Poroy St.(Final destiny)Cusco St.(Final destiny)
FC19:00 pm20:41 pm23:32 pm

4. Private train

This train has about eight seats and is the only private charter to Machu Picchu. This service could be considered as a party onboard where you will be welcomed with a glass of champagne. Then you will continue enjoying an open bar and an exquisite menu to taste our cuisine. The menu includes about three dishes using local ingredients. Get ready to know Machu Picchu luxuriously and privately. All accompanied by delicious cocktails, local musicians, even a Machu Picchu guided tour, and much more.

Price per person: It depends on passenger quantity, services, and details included in the order.

Schedule: At the same form, it will depend on the date of operation requested in the order. In general, the train is available every day of the year.

Bimodal services (Bus + Train)

bimodal train to machu picchu

Take note that both companies offer the Bimodal services in their routes and frequencies. But,  What does it mean? Well, the bimodal service of trains to Machu Picchu consists of dividing the route to Machu Picchu into two parts; one of them in the bus and the other one in train (In case of a return, it will be the opposite, first train and after bus). In both cases, the Ollantaytambo train station will be the transshipment zone.

This system comes about the necessity of getting fast to Machu Picchu citadel. Because, the train carriages are usually delayed between the Cusco – Ollantaytambo railways part (these go slower). Therefore, before buying a ticket for the train to Machu Picchu, check if the train type offers the bimodal service. In the end, you decide if you want to take this option to get to Machu Picchu faster or enjoy more time onboard the train.

Discount for a child, the underage person

kids train to machu picchu

In the case of Peru Rail, the tickets of a train to Machu Picchu have some deals and promotions to underage persons. Below you will find the most important.

  • Perurail considered infants to be someone from 0 to 3 years old. In this case, they will not pay anything (Free). As long as they occupy the same seat as their parents.
  • In case infants occupy a seat, they will pay only 50% of the adult price.
  • From 04 to 11 years old, Peru Rail considered them as children and had a 50% discount over the adult price.
  • If the child travels with the parent in the same seat, he will not pay anything (A maximum of one child traveling in the same seat of a parent is allowed). Please, take it in mind when you calculate your Machu Picchu Trip Cost.
  • If you have more information, you can enter this link.

In the case of Inca Rail, it has its own discount policies.

  • Inca Rail considers infants to be someone from 0 to 03 years old. They will not pay for passage as long as they travel in the same seats as their parents.
  • In case, the infant needs his own seat. They will pay 50% of the adult ticket.
  • Inca Rail is considered infant from 04 to 12 years old, they pay 50% of the adult ticket and always occupy a seat.
  • If you have more information, you can enter this link.

Buying the tickets

tickets train to machu picchu

Nowadays, you have three ways to get train tickets to Machu Picchu; through the websites, travel agencies, or personally (once you arrive in Cusco). Our recommendation is always the same, the earlier you buy your train tickets, the better. Because Machu Picchu is a demanded destiny, not only in Peru but all of South America and train spaces usually run out one or two months before a trip. Therefore, buying these through websites or travel agencies will be your best option.

  1. On the original website

Both, Peru Rail and Inca Rail are the main companies in charge of providing train tickets to Machu Picchu and have friendly, intuitive web pages developed for online purchase and payment. On their websites, you can buy your tickets with your credit card, and best of all, they accept different types of credit card providers like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club inter alia. In this way, you will have your seat guaranteed and you will receive your ticket from the company. This is one of the safest ways to experience the train to Machu Picchu.

  1. Buy tickets from a trusted travel agency

This is the preferred way to get tickets for the train to Machu Picchu, and what most people do. In this way, they will be sure to get a seat on the train to Machu Picchu. Despite it will cost more but in the long run, you will get what you want and arrive in Peru with peace of mind. The agency can also provide you with a qualified guide to learn about the history of the Inca Citadel and some amazing Machu Picchu facts (Remember that entrance to Machu Picchu without a tour guide is forbidden)

Even better, a complete tourism package in which you can be picked up from your hotel in Cusco and transferred to the train station to go to Machu Picchu, with all services included, without worries, will be the best. Also, it will be perfect to plan a honeymoon in Machu Picchu, celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, but always in advance!

Happily, the most recognized travel agencies have developed websites where you can keep in contact with them, even pay your services in advance there, they accept all credit card types, too!

  1. Personally

Another option to buy your train tickets to Machu Picchu is to wait until you arrive in Cusco. Among different ways to get tickets for trains to Machu Picchu, this is the least recommended. Why? Because the demand is high, and usually they buy train tickets in advance and, if you don’t do the same, you can run out of space. Therefore, buying your tickets train to Machu Picchu once you arrive in Cusco is risky. We don’t recommend it.

Things to know before boarding your train

enjoy train to machu picchu
  • Carry with you always your train tickets to Machu Picchu and your passport. Why? Because these documents will be requested to board the trains and to enter Machu Picchu.
  • Using a double facial mask (COVID policies) is obligatory for someone who wants to travel in trains to Machu Picchu.
  • Peru Rail allows hand luggage of a maximum weight of 11 pounds. Otherwise, Inca Rail allows hand luggage of a maximum weight of 17 pounds.
  • Note that the train winds slowly along the Urubamba River. So if you are prone to dizziness, we recommend you go to the bathroom before the trip begins. The ride can also be a bit bumpy.
  • Another great tip is to have your camera ready, the trip is packed with wonderful views and landscapes of mountains, snowy peaks, and much more.
  • During the trip, you will be accompanied by a guide who will point out various Inca sites of interest. Remember, enter to Machu Picchu without a certificate tour guide is forbidden.

Back to Cusco

back cusco train to machu picchu

Once you’ve finished touring the site, a bus ride back to the pretty town of Aguas Calientes awaits. Aguas Calientes is a city below where is Machu Picchu located. The city has many small markets and some beautiful hot springs. The springs are ideal to visit after having hiked in Machu Picchu. From here, you will take the train back to Cusco. In general, when you buy your train tickets to Machu Picchu, you also buy the return tickets. A tour of Peru, Machu Picchu, will live in your memory forever. Be sure to do your research and decide how you want to buy your train tickets. Whether through company websites or a licensed travel agent, the experience will be memorable.

“THE TRAIN ALWAYS ARRIVES AT YOUR STATION. THE QUESTION IS WHICH ONE TO TAKE?”

We hope together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru to have been of help for your next vacation. Getting train tickets is not something that takes too much time or effort. But if you are only looking to enjoy this wonderful country, it is advisable to leave this task to us. We will be happy to help you fulfill your dream trip to Machu Picchu. If you want to know more about our different travel programs, you can consult with our team of qualified advisers. We will be waiting for your soon visit Peru!

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!