Train to Machu Picchu
The only way to get to Machu Pichu, apart from hiking, is via train to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. There are no roads or flights to the site and helicopters at the site are now prohibited to prevent damage to the ruins.There are three classes of trains; backpacker class, Vistadome, and the ultra luxurious Hiram Bingham train. Backpacker class is basic but comfortable. The Vistadome has large windows that run up the walls and part of the ceiling, allowing passengers to see the mountain peaks in the narrow valleys. The Hiram Bingham is the top of the line train with white linen, and all meals and drinks included.Most people take the train from Cusco which is about a four hour journey to Aguas Calientes. All classes of trains leave from Cusco.There is also train service to Aguas Calientes from two towns in the Sacred Valley.Ollantaytambo offers backpacker and Vistadome train service to which takes approximately one hour and forty minutes. From Urubamba there is an early morning Vistadome only train which takes approximately two hours. The train station is located on the grounds of the posh Libertador Hotel. This is a small train so it's necessary to book at least a day or two in advance if not more. This train has an advantage over the others because it arrives at Aguas Calientes approximately 1 ½ hours before all the other trains. This allows travelers to get to Machu Picchu before the crowds and enjoy the site at its best.The best option for travelers wanting to enjoy the scenery is to take a Vistadome train at least one way. Preferably take the Vistadome on the way to Aguas Calientes when the journey is during daylight hours. Much of the return trip is after sunset.