Most people take the train. Best to go to Ollantaytambo and take the train from there. But a cheaper option (if you have 3 days) is to take the public bus from Cusco to Santa Maria and then a minibus to Santa Teresa and a minibus to Hidroelectrica. Easier and not much more expensive is to take a tourist shuttle from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Hidroelectrica (80 soles return in 2016). From Hidroelectrica you can walk to Aguas Calientes (2.5 hours).
Or if you want a longer day hike:
We took the tourist shuttle from Ollantaytambo to Santa Teresa. We stayed overnight and early the next morning we took a minivan to Lucmabamba. From there we hiked up to Llactapata (great view of Machu Picchu in the distance if not clouded), walked down to the river and Hidroelectrica and walked from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes.
Awesome, thank you!
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