Train tickets to Machu Picchu
The train ride to Machu Picchu is a wonderful experience, as it meanders down alongside the Urubamba river about 40 kilometers over an hour and a half. It is true that relative to distance, the train is expensive which is why many people only take it one way from Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo. To get to Aguas Calientes, you can hike the Inca Trail, or take the Back Door trip via either taxi or bicycle. (See our Trips to Machu Picchu section for more details.
There are two train companies serving Aguas Calientes, Peru Rail and Inca Rail. Peru Rail has been around a long time and is often accused of having a bit of a monopoly on the market. They have by far the most departures, nearl a dozen a day in each direction with a wide a variety of pricing. Differences in price are primarily influenced by the time of day, as early morning and late afternoon trains are the most desirable and thus more expensive.
Very few trains go the whole way from Aguas Caleintes to Cusco, most stop at Ollantaytambo as from there it is quicker and cheaper to go to Cusco by taxi or bus than by train.
Inca Rail has their station in Urubamba (closer to Cusco) and information can be found on their website at www.IncaRail.com
Peru Rail”s website address is www.PeruRail.com. Note that in the dropdown list, they list Ollantaytambo as ‘Sacred Valley’). Tickets should be purchased as far in advance as possible, though you should wait until all the rest of your plans are firm including flights, so that you don’t have to try to change the train ticket later.