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Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Charlotte, North...
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155 posts
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Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

I am in the early, early stages of planning a trip to Peru - and in researching how to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, I cannot seem to find a train that connects the two cities. Please excuse my ignorance, as I am sure if I dig a but further, I may be able to figure it out.... just hoping an expert can help! Our plan is to stay the night in Aguas Calientes prior to visiting Machu Picchu so we can get there first thing in the morning. THANKS for any and all info!

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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1. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

The train now leaves out of Poroy, just outside of Cusco. You have to take a taxi there (about 15-20 min.).

Or leave from Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley. A longer taxi ride from Cusco, but a much shorter train ride. Also, the train from Ollantaytambo makes more frequent trips (good if the Poroy route is sold out) and is cheaper.

Many people take a taxi to Urubamba or Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, stay a few days to visit the sites in the SV, then take the train to Aguas Calientes & Machu Picchu.

This is also a better itinerary for altitude acclimatization -- go directly to the Sacred Valley after arriving at the Cusco Airport, visit there, then Machu Picchu, then visit Cusco after all that. The altitude won't hit you nearly as badly that way.

Charlotte, North...
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2. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Thanks for the response! So after arriving in Cusco, you suggest traveling first to the Sacred Valley (by cab? train? where should we stay?) and then travel to Machu Picchu from there? That may be best if we decide to do the 4-day Inca Trail Trek.

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Actually - that would not work since we must acclimate to the altitude in Cusco before beginning the hike. (I wanted to do the Hiram Bingham train to MP... now that my husband is trying to take over the planning - it's looking like we're trading in LUXURY for a LONG HIKE!).

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

We flew into Cusco, stayed there for a day and then got a taxi to Ollantaytambo, the taxi was arranged through out hotel and the driver was the nicest person in Peru. On the way to Olly we stopped in several different ruins. If we had more time I would have taken 2 days to explore the Sacred Valley. From Ollantaytambo we took the train to Agua Calientes. This worked out well for us because the train from outside of Cusco was booked. Ollantaytabo is a beautiful town and I would suggest spending a night there- the ruins are great as well.

RCE
Canada
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5. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Actually if you are doing the Inca Trail 4 day hike the transportation from Cusco to the trailhead and return transportation from MP to Cusco is part of the package and arranged by your tour operator.

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Thanks, RCE - I have been researching the 4-day trek and see that transportation is included. I am curious if it's worth it to stay one night in Aguas Calientes after the trek or will we be so tired that we wouldn't even really enjoy it?

RCE
Canada
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7. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

We were very glad we stayed the extra day in AC as it allowed us to spend the whole day at MP when we arrived there on day 4 of our treck. We were able to stay at MP almost to closing time and had the place to ourselves! Also the late afternoon sun on MP is just unbelievable if you hike up a little ways.

We had kept the extra day open in case we needed more time at MP on day 4 or in case the weather was lousy on day 4. As it trurned out the weather was beautiful and we had 8 hours or so at MP which seemed about right. We just enjoyed our 5th day in AC and shopped at the rather large market area in AC and leisurely waited for our afternoon train. Perfect for us.

The rest of our group had all left the previous afternoon after a much shorter time in MP.

MP is so amazing that to not allow the extra day seems like such a waste!

Charlotte, North...
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8. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Great advice, RCE... what started out as an 8 day trip to Peru and train to MP, has turned into a two week adventure! After researching further - it only seems RIGHT to do the trek to MP. :). Forgive my questions - after your additional night in Aguas Calientes, did you go all the way back to Cusco? Did you stay an another night in Cusco? I imagine that we'll have to store our stuff @ the hotel in Cusco during the trek? I've heard this is common? Can you suggest a place to spend our final 2 nights in Peru? Relaxing? I may be getting a little off topic here...

USA
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9. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

"...it's looking like we're trading in LUXURY for a LONG HIKE!)."

Well... Maybe trade-in your husband? I'm sure he's nice and good bread-winner and all....but the Hiram Bingham is a really nice train.

RCE
Canada
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10. Re: Getting from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

We took the train+taxi combination back to Ollantaytambo then Cusco late afternoon on day 5 and stayed for 2 more nights at our hostal (Picola Locanda) in Cusco. They had stored our bags while we were on the trail and had them all ready in our (new)room when we returned. Wonderful place to stay in Cusco. Highly recommend them. Lovely private room with bathroom. We loved Cusco! Then had 2 more nights in Lima which we did not enjoy as much.

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