Suffice to say, after the very long night’s sleep we had in Cusco, getting up at 5.30am to catch our train to Machu Picchu was pretty easy!
We excitedly chucked our stuff into the suitcases (which we actually left at the hotel because; a.) We would be coming back to the hotel in a couple of days; and b.) We couldn’t take any big luggage on the trains) and hopped into a taxi (fairly cheap if you get your hotel to book for you and only takes about 30 minutes) to Poroy.
Now the village that is pretty much your entry point to Machu Picchu is called Machupicchu (no space in between the words) or Aguas Calientes and it’s not recommended that you catch the train on the same day that you plan on visiting Machu Picchu.
For starters, the journey is about 3.5 hours and then there’s the fact that there’s usually a queue for the bus to Machu Picchu (or a good 1.5 – 2 hours hike, if you decide to do it by foot) so it’s likely you won’t be able to make the most of Machu Picchu even if you got to visit on the same day you arrived.
We had our visit planned for the next morning (with a hike up Huayna Picchu at 7am) so we hopped aboard our train with no time pressure whatsoever.
The train is of course the more expensive way to travel but it’s so much faster and so much more comfortable.
Then there’s the amazing scenery you get on your way through the mountains and valleys that lead you to Machupicchu.
You go past rustic, picturesque villages and farms, with locals going about their daily business (some stop and wave as you zoom past) and of course, you get to do all of this with generous helpings of Pisco sours (and a meal too)!
You also make a pit stop in the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo, to be exact) to pick up other passengers, stretch your legs and perhaps get a souvenir of two before carrying on to Aguas Calientes.
The train journey goes by so quickly (make sure you nab a window seat and set your camera on ‘sports mode’) and before long, you’re in Machupicchu!
There’s not a great deal to do here (you have some bars and restaurants) so your hotel choice here is pretty important! I’ll tell you more about that in the next post (along with some other important details you need to know before you head up to Machu Picchu itself).