Aguas Calientes and the journey to Machu Picchu

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After departing Cusco we traveled by bus to Ollantaytambo.  Ollantaytambo is the farthest point en route to Machu Picchu that is reachable by road, after which travelers to the lost city of the Incas must either hike the famous Inca trail, one of the less popular alternate treks or take the train.  Peru Rail is the only company that currently runs trains to Machu Picchu.  We opted for the cheapest ‘backpacker’ option, but at $62 RT it still seemed like a lot to pay for the two hour ride, plus they charged us another $10 to store our packs.  Peru Rail also runs a ‘local’ train that costs only a few dollars for the RT journey but foreigners aren’t allowed to ride it, only Peruvians.  When it was time to board we came to find out that the two are the exact same train, they just seperate the Peruvians and the foreigners into different cars.

Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, Aguas Calientes is the last stop before heading up the mountain to Machu Picchu.  We arrived around 9pm Saturday evening and purchased our ticket to visit Machu Picchu for the following day.  At around $41, foreigners pay double what locals pay for a ticket to the ruins, except that we were visiting on a Sunday and Sundays are free for locals.  All that remained to be purchased was our bus ticket to the site the following morning.  At around $7 the ticket for the 20 minute ride up the mountainside costs about the same as a six or seven hour bus ride anywhere else in Peru.  We had planned our visit to Machu Picchu in the most economical way possible, though it still ended up costing each of us more than $100 and we figured about 10 times what we might have paid had we been from Peru.

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1 Response to “Aguas Calientes and the journey to Machu Picchu”



  1. 1 Aguas Calientes and the Journey To Machu Picchu « Travels in Spanish « Wilson's Blog Trackback on October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm
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