If you’re lazy you can go to an agency in Cusco and tell them that you want to go to Machu Picchu. They will offer you tours for around €90. We are lazy but care for comfort. And comfort they didn’t offer. As we heard you would go by mini bus and the trip would take 6-8 hours, depending on the road condition of the day. We had the last bus ride in mind and decided to go by train.
In Cusco we bought tickets for the train (€104 round trip from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes). The train is expensive but you will save lots of time (the train took 1½ hour, snack is included and the best thing: no bumpy road). You will also need entrance tickets to Machu Picchu (we bought the cheapest for adults €33, if you have a student ID you get half off). As you can see our adventure became a little more expensive than it needed to be but the comfort was worth it.
We took a collective taxi from Cusco to the train station in Ollantaytambo. It took a little less than 2 hours (plus 1 hour waiting time until the car got filled up). We decided to stay in Aguas Calientes one night before entering the park in the morning. This is little off season and we found a pretty cheap hostel.
In Aguas Calientes you can get a massage pretty cheap (and it’s recommended after your adventure). There are also some restaurants. That is pretty much it. We found a restaurant with a tumbling tower game. On the train to Aguas Calientes we met two Argentinians we started chatting with. After we had visited Machu Picchu we bumped into them again. How to pass the time? Playing games with them!
(Photo by Agusta).
At last (19:00) the train returned to Ollantaytambo. We decided to stay one night there but if you want to there are a lot of collective taxis and mini-buses back to Cusco the same night.