My boyfriend and I are going to Peru August 21st. We are doing the backpacking and shoestring type travel and we need to know if we have to reserve a trip to Macchu Picchu in advance? We don\'t have time to do the Inka trail, we were wanting just two separate day trips. Can we just show up in Cusco or Aguas Calientes and book a guide or bus or train for a day trip or two to MP? Has anyone been there recently? How expensive?
everywhere online says you have to book a year in advance but isn\'t that just for the long Inka trail hikes? I\'m afraid of booking with some guide company from the states and it not working out, esp. since my spanish is rough. I\'d rather just show up to cusco or aguas calientes and book a bus or train but not sure if that is possible anymore.
The entrance tickets for Machu Picchu can be bought in Aguas Caliente and there are shuttle buses to take you up to the site from there. If you want an actual trip with guide you would probably have to book that in Cusco (or before you leave). If you don't book from home you'll have to buy train tickets once in Cusco to get to Aguas Caliente and the trains can fill up quickly. Being in Cusco a couple of days before you want to go to Machu Picchu would probably give you enough time to buy tickets, acclimatise to the altitude and see a bit of Cusco as well. The year in advance is for the Inca Trail which obviously fills up very quickly as they've limited the number of people who can do it. If you just want site entrance tickets you just buy them once you're in Aguas Caliente (note you buy them in the village, not at the main entrance to Machu Picchu!)
I was in Peru in April and went to see MP. If you are traveling on a budget like we were, I would suggest taking a bus from Lima to Cusco. There are many bus companies that go there with an average cost of 35 to 45 dollars. It is a 21 hour bus ride and I found that the best seats on the bus are the seats located directly above the driver. You get a full view window and there is a lot more leg room. Once you arrive in Cusco you can look for a travel agency to book a trip to MP. There are many travel agencies, choose one that has a store (not some random guy on the street that you many never see after you hand over your money) The trip is about 350 dollars for the day for two people, if you choose to do it on your own, the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is about 50 dollars each way per person and the bus ticket up to MP from Aguas Calientes is 15 dollars and the MP entrance ticket is about 50 dollars. I hope this helps. I have more tips if you need more information. Thanks Roger
Help!!!! I feel stupid asking this, but while trying to book (still in the states) w/Perurail, I noticed that they only take me from Poroy to Machu Picchu and back w/the Backpackers rate! I know people who have traveled backpackers rate w/a streight passage from Cuzco to MP. What am I overlooking? If any advice could be shared, I would be greatly appreciative.
I would wait to get to Cusco to book your ticket. While traveling in Peru you can incounter all kinds of travel delays like roads that are closed due to mud slides, repairs, strikes any other number of factors. We arranged our MP trip the night before at one of the many travel agencies. The travel agency will pick you up in a van at your hotel and drive you to Ollantaytambo which is about an hour and a half away. From there you will board the train to Aguas Calientes where you will take another short bus ride up to MP. After touring MP for several hours you will make the trip in reverse and the travel agency will be waiting at the train station in Ollantayambo to pick you up and take you back to Cusco in their van. It is the same cost if you do it youself by buying the train tickets and leave from Cusco. The travel agency makes their money in buying the train tickets in Ollantaytambo as they are cheaper as it is a shorter train ride. I hope this helps, if you have any other questions just ask. I have many helpful tips.
Hi Roger, thanks for your expedient response. It's encouraging to hear that you were able to make you travel arrangement to MP the day before. However, does going in a van/bus dimenish the experience/senery that one would have otherwise taking the train? I've only heard how beautiful the journey from Cuzco to MP via the train?
You can take the train from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo. I had to go from Ollantaytambo as, due to strikes, the train from Cusco was full. If you want to cut down on cost you can buy your own train tickets and easily sort it out yourself from Cusco. If necessary there are local buses to Ollantaytambo and you can take the train from there (you will need to buy train tickets while in Cusco.)
If, once inside Machu Picchu, you wanted to climb Huayna Picchu you will need to be at the site early (best to stay overnight in Aguas Caliente and get up for dawn when the site opens one day) as they limit the number of people who can climb it and the day trippers from Cusco tend to miss out.
If you take the train from Cusco it is about a three hour train ride. Going by van/train it kind of breaks the trip up into two half's, and the van follows the same route as the train, which follows a river. As the previous post mentioned that the trains fill up quickly in Cusco, this is due to the fact that the grade leaving Cusco is so steep that the trains have to switch tracks several times, so they don't use too many cars and they add cars in Ollantayambo. Going through a travel agency was nice because they picked us up at our hotel and returned us too. Also remember to bring your passport to MP as for some reason they check passports, and if you want to could get a MP stamp on it. Also remember to bring money with you as I dont think there are ATM's in Aguas Caliente. I hope this helps.
I'm humbled by the amount of advice and guidance you've all offered. Thank you! I feel much better now about leaving the details to be sorted upon my arrival in Cuzco. I have two days there, so I'll meet up w/a travel agent after my arrival to make necessary arrangements. One additional addendum, are credit cards accepted most places? Would you recommend carrying travelers checks to changing local currency?
Al my best, Jill
I found that is more convenient to carry a visa or master debit card and access ATM's as you get the best exchange rate of the day. For example I would go to the ATM and take out 300 soles which is about 90 US dollars. The ATM charges a percentage so it cost me less then 2 dollars for each transaction. I don't like using it as a credit card as you never know who will write down your credit card information and cash is accepted everywhere. I also try to exchange larger bills as most retailers or vendor can make change for large bills. Also, I see that you are planning to bring a laptop, my advice is to leave it at home and access the internet at the local internet cafes, and there are many and they charge 1 sole per hour, so 30 cents an hour. One last tip is to scan your passport into a DPF file and email it to yourself so if you lose your passport you can access the pertinent information from any computer. Hope this helps in your travels. Maybe I will see you in Peru as I am going back September 17 and we are going to Mancora in Northern Peru.
Thanks again Roger.... you've been an immence help. No, I'm not planning to take my lab top, not that brave😊 However I do appreciate the info. on cost p/hr for usage of internet, muy barato! Thanks for the exchange advise as well.
Unfortunately I'll arriving on the 25th and leaving on the 3rd of Sept, would have been fun to meet up w/you and your travelers. Nevertheless, I wish you safe travels and lots of wonderful memories.
When we were in Peru in July the backpacker train to Aguas Caliente started from Porroy not Cuzco. I don't remember exactly how far outside Cuzco it is, but I think about 45 minutes by road ? Getting a ticket was very difficult, we would have had to wait in Cuzco for about 3 days for the 1st available outbound train, so in the end we took a tour which included road transport to AC - it's a great journey including one breathtaking alpine style hairpin bend road and an even better mountain track so it's no great loss to not take the train. We then took the train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by bus to Cuzco.
Wayna Picchu is worth getting up early for, we hiked up from AC to the entrance gate at 4am, it's tough but worth it. Wayna Picchu is a very tough climb - steep and slippery in places, but again well worth it.
I'm travelling with my laptop and have had no issues, many places have wifi and it's much more convenient than using internet cafe's.
Getting cash from ATMs in Peru is no issue, either with a normal bank card (as long as it has Cirrus, Maestro or Plus) or a credit card.
I´m actually in Lima right now and leaving in the a.m. via Taca Air for Cuzco, I´ll heed your advice. Sounds like a good plan.. Yeah, want me some of those hair pin turns, don´t wanna leave w-out it.
Thanks again to all.