train to machu picchu

During the last few years, Peru has become a popular attraction. Mainly because most people want to see the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Not in vain, UNESCO named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in recent years. Even many South American travel packages have, as a final destination, the Lost Inca city.

And to get there, you can’t forget a vital transportation service, the service of the train to the Inca citadel. Inca Rail and PeruRail offer trains to Machu Picchu. Both companies have train stations in Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Aguas Calientes Town. These companies have different classes of services, which depart in many schedules during the day.

Together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to make your vacations much easier. Learn how to use the train heading to Inca world wonder, its schedules, types, routes, and more!

2024 Update: Everything you need to know about the train to Machu Picchu

Two train Companies, a single destiny

incarail train to aguas calientes

The train is the primary and safest way to visit Machu Picchu, along with trekking and driving. Through the years, the Machu Picchu train companies improved their services. Now, we can say that Peru has two of the best train companies in all South America.

Of course, this affirmation is the result of customer satisfaction surveys of these train companies. Therefore, if you ask us which way is the best way to get to Machu Picchu, the train is worth it. And, it is the best way to get to the Inca citadel.

perurail train to machu picchu
Peru Rail
incarail train to machu picchu
Inca Rail

1. PeruRail

In 1999, private capital created PeruRail. This is a result of the concession of government trains, formerly called ENAFER. All its services are at a tourism level except for the “Local train,” which has more basic services. Local people and Peruvians are its exclusive users.

It has three different levels of trains: the Expedition, the Vistadome, and the Hiram Bingham train. All trains have comfy seats, tables, AC, big windows, bathrooms, and food. They also offer other services.

2. Inca Rail

A Peruvian investment group with extensive experience in the tourism industry established this Train company in 2009. Its four types of trains, the Executive, the 360º, the First Class, and the Private, have tourist-level services. All train cars have large windows, toilets, dining tables, air conditioning, comfy seats, and food onboard.

Where to take the train?

station train to machu picchu

Both Inca Rail and PeruRail 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
San Pedro StationIn the same Cusco city

(Cascaparo 154, Cusco center)
4 hours approxBeautiful Cusco streets, colonial church domes, amazing surrounding landscapes of the cityPeruRail
Wanchaq StationIn the same Cusco city

(Alameda Pachacutec, S/N, Wanchaq distric)
4:30 hours approxAmazing surrounding landscapes of the modern part of the CityPeruRail
Poroy Station1 hour from Cusco

(Roldan Street, Poroy District, Cusco)
3 hours approxLandscapes of surrounding Cusco and colonial towns (Huarocondo, Zurite), Sacred Valley towns, and geographic limits between Andean and Peruvian junglePeruRail
Urubamba Station1 hour and 45 min. from Cusco

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

Av. Ferrocarril, Ollantaytambo, Valle Sagrado)
2 hours approxLandscapes of Sacred Valley, geographic limits between Andean and Peruvian jungle, the Vilcanota RiverPeruRail
Inca Rail

Unfortunately, for most of the year, the Urubamba train station is not operational, with few exceptions. The Sacred Valley 5-star hotel Tambo del Inka Luxury Collection manages it. However, PeruRail owns the station. And, sometimes, PeruRail uses it for boarding its guests on the frequencies of Vistadome or Expedition trains.

1. Aguas Calientes 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. Although there are many starting stations, there is only one arrival station, the Aguas Calientes train station.

Aguas Calientes station is the closest to Machu Picchu. The address is Machu Picchu Pueblo, Las Orquídeas Neighborhood – Next to the Artisan Market. All train services of both companies arrive there and return from it. The station is inside Aguas Calientes, the local and modern town of Machu Picchu.

Types of the trains

train to machu picchu types
PERURAILINCA RAIL
ExpeditionVoyager
Train wagons with wide and padded seats. It has large windows on the sides. Diner tables, snacks, services, and Peruvian food onboard.These trains have comfortable seats, folding tables, large windows at the sides. It has also 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.The 360 is similar to Voyager service with the difference of panoramic windows. And, It offers hot and cold Peruvian drinks of native herbs. Besides the possibility of buying Andean handicrafts on board.
Hiram BinghamFirst Class
The Condé Nast Travel Magazine cataloged it as the best luxury train in South America. 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 to get to the same Machu Picchu.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 trains have a capacity of only 8 passengers. This train receives another name, ”La Princesa Inca” (The Inca Princess). The service has personnel and chefs to give 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 will operate under request and reservation.

Train schedules and prices

tickets counter 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.

If you get to Aguas Calientes station at 10:00 a.m., you’ll wait 1 hour to enter Machu Picchu. A 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 carriage train to machu picchu

1. Expedition train

This is the most comfortable and economic option of all. These trains have soft and large seats in addition to huge windows with which to observe the landscape. Onboard, the train personnel will offer you different free drinks such as coffee, tea, and other juices.

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

Go:

San Pedro Stn.(Departure)Poroy Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Departure)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
Exp 3106:40 am07:35 am09:15 am10:52 am
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 9111:52 am 13:34 pm
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 Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Final destiny)Poroy Stn.(Final destiny)Cusco Stn.(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 60417:23 pm19:02 pm20:52 pm21:52 pm
Exp 8418:20 pm20:05 pm
Exp 8620:50 pm22:20 pm
Exp 7621:50 pm23:37 pm

2. Vistadome train

This incredible train has large windows on all sides. You can see the stunning Andes mountains and Peruvian jungle as you ride. All while drinking one of the classic infusions offered there (of payment).

The train offers food service and a fashion show with fine Alpaca fabrics and clothes. Without mentioning a representation of a Cusco traditional dance, the Saqra (The Devil). All of them are performance onboard.

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

Go:

San Pedro Stn.(Departure)Poroy Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Departure)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
Vtd 3106:40 am07:35 am09:15 am10:52 am
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 60108:00 am09:25 am
Vtd 50108:53 am10:29 am
Vtd 7312:55 pm14:25 pm
Vtd 30107:05 am08:27 am
Vtd 30313:27 pm14:50 pm
Vtd 60315:37 pm17:02 pm
Vtd 75 19:04 pm20:45 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Final destiny)Poroy Stn.(Final destiny)Cusco Stn.(Final destiny)
Vtd 3415:20 pm17:08 pm19:05 pm
Vtd 3216:43 pm18:31 pm20:23 pm21:23 pm
Vtd 50416:22 pm18:10 pm
Vtd 30210:55 am12:32 pm
Vtd 60212:46 pm14:19 pm
Vtd 20413:37 pm15:04 pm
Vtd 7414:55 pm16:31 pm
Vtd 30415:48 pm17:29 pm
Vtd 60417:23 pm19:02 pm20:52 pm21:52 pm
Vtd 60618:10 pm19:51 pm
Vtd 8418:20 pm20:05 pm
Vtd 7621:50 pm23:37 pm

3. Belmond Hiram Bingham train

This is the most recognized and excellent luxury train to get to Machu Picchu in style. The carriages resemble the luxurious British Pullman trains of the 1920s. These also feature plush seats and polished wood accents.

You’ll enjoy a fancy brunch on the way there and a tasty dinner on the way back. In the bar car, you will also find a large selection of wines, cocktails, and other non-alcoholic beverages. All these are available with the benefit of the open bar on the route.

The train has a special car with large windows for passengers to see the pretty views of southern Peru. Moreover, live Andean music and tour guides will accompany you on all journeys, even in the same Inca citadel. The Belmond 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:

Wanchaq Stn.(Departure in Bus)Poroy Stn.(Transfer to train)Ollanta. Stn.(Departure)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
HB 1107:20 am09:05 am10:53 am12:24 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Final destiny)Poroy Stn.(Final destiny – Transfer to bus)Wanchaq Stn.(Final destiny)
HB 1217:50 pm19:25 pm21:16 pm22:10 pm

IncaRail

incarail carriage 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 to panoramic windows and skylights. Also, it offers one of the greatest budget options.

This amazing train runs between Ollantaytambo and the Inca citadel with five daily departures. Its first shift is early in the morning (6:00 am – 6:40 am), and its last shift is during the night (9:30 pm). On board, you can enjoy numerous traditional gourmet dishes and beverage services (of payment)

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

Go:

Inca Rail Cusco office Stn.(Departure – Bus + Train)Ollanta. Stn.(Transfer)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
Vyg04:20 am06:40 am08:01 am
Vyg13:30 pm16:36 pm18:09 pm
Vyg16:15 pm19:27 pm21:09 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. St.(Transfer)Inca Rail Cusco office Stn.(Final destiny)
Vyg08:30 am10:10 am
Vyg14:30 pm16:04 pm18:30 pm
Vyg19:00 pm20:41 pm23:00 pm
Vyg20:20 pm21:59 pm
Vyg21:30 pm22:54 pm01:15 am

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 and its roof with skylights, you can listen to an audio guide narration.

As well as experience the different landscapes that offer the Andes and Peruvian jungle. Besides, enjoy the warm weather where you can get to know the great Machu Picchu. This train is a great opportunity to get to know Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley, like other places.

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

Go:

Inca Rail Cusco office Stn.(Departure – Bus + Train)Ollanta. Stn.(Transfer)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
360º04:55 am07:22 am08:48 am
360º09:55 am12:36 pm14:00 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes Stn.(Departure – Train + Bus)Ollanta. Stn.(Transfer)Cusco Stn.(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 Destiny train has about 60 seats, and the different passengers received a cocktail as a welcome. 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. This service oper only in the high season of tourism (April – November)

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

Go:

Inca Rail Cusco office Stn.(Departure – Bus + Train)Ollanta. Stn.(Departure)Aguas Calientes Stn.(Final destiny)
FC08:30 am11:15 am12:41 pm

Return:

Aguas Calientes Stn.(Departure)Ollanta. Stn.(Final destiny)Cusco Stn.(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 is a party onboard where the train personnel will welcome you with a glass of champagne. Then, you will continue enjoying an open bar and an exquisite menu to taste Peruvian gastronomy.

The menu includes about three gourmet dishes using local ingredients. Get ready to know Machu Picchu luxuriously and privately. Delicious cocktails, local musicians, even a Machu Picchu guide tour, and much more accompany the service.

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

Schedule: On 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 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 by bus and the other one by 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. Therefore, before buying a ticket of the train, check if the train type offers 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 PeruRail, the tickets of the train to Machu Picchu have some deals and promotions for 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, PeruRail 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. By the way, the companies allow a maximum only one child traveling in the same seat as his parents. Please, take it in mind when you calculate your Machu Picchu Trip Cost.
  • If you need more information, you can enter it using 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 considers infants to children from 04 to 12 years old. They pay 50% of the adult ticket and always occupy a seat.
  • If you need more information, you can enter it using this link.

Buying the tickets

tickets train to machu picchu

Nowadays, you have three ways to get train tickets to Machu Picchu. Through 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.

Train spaces usually run out one or two months before a trip. This is because Machu Picchu is a demanded destiny, not only in Peru but in South America, too. Therefore, buying these through websites or travel agencies will be your best option.

  1. On the original website

Both PeruRail and Inca Rail offer their train tickets through their social networks. These have friendly web pages with intuitive online purchase and payment. On their websites, you can buy your tickets with your credit card.

The best of all, they accept different types of credit card providers like Visa and MasterCard, among others. In this way, you will have your seat guaranteed, and you will receive your ticket from the company through e-mail. 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, the travel agencies will be sure to get you an ideal seat on the train. Although it will cost more because they add administrative costs, in the long run, you will get what you want.

Thus, you’ll 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. In this form, they can bring you some amazing Machu Picchu facts. Remember that the Park administration forbids entrance to Machu Picchu without a tour guide.

Even better, the Travel Agency could book you a complete tour package. A transport can pick you up from your Cusco hotel. Then, it could transfer you directly to a station to take a train heading to Machu Picchu.

With all services included, you would not have to worry about anything. Also, it will be perfect to plan a honeymoon in Machu Picchu. Or celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, but always in advance!

Happily, the most recognized travel agencies have intuitive websites where you can keep in contact with them. Even pay for 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 the different ways to get tickets for trains to Machu Picchu, this is the least recommended. Why? Because the demand is high, they usually buy train tickets in advance.

Of course, 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
  • Always carry your train tickets to Machu Picchu and your passport with you. The checkpoint park ranger will request these documents to board the trains and enter Machu Picchu. 
  • PeruRail allows hand luggage with a maximum weight of 11 pounds. On the other hand, Inca Rail allows hand luggage with a maximum weight of 17 pounds.
  • Note that the train winds slowly on one side of 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. Beautiful views, mountains, and snowy peaks and mountains make up the trip.
  • During the train trip, a guide will accompany you. This benefit is available on the Belmond Hiram Bingham train of PeruRail and the First Class of the Inca Rail. This guide will emphasize various Inca sites of interest throughout the route.  Remember, the administration office forbids entry to Machu Picchu without a certificate tour guide.

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 located on the slopes of the mountain 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 return tickets. A tour of 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. To learn more about our travel programs, talk to our team of expert advisors. We will be waiting for your visit to Peru soon!

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!