Buses leave every 15 minutes from the town of Aguas Calientes headed for Machu Picchu. A round trip ticket costs US$ 9 per person. From Puente Ruinas it is a 700-meter climb up a winding 6 km road to the citadel. The first bus to the citadel leaves the station at 06:30, while the last bus leaves at 17:30. Passengers should start queuing as soon as they arrive at the station. One can also walk up to Machu Picchu, a hike that takes approximately 90 minutes.
Costs and recommendations
The ticket into the Sanctuary costs US$20 per person for the first visit and US$ 10 a day on the following days. The citadel is open to the public from 07:00-17:00, with the quietest periods before 08:30 and after 15:30 (for those wishing to avoid the crowds). One may not spend the night at the site; those wishing to do so must apply for permission from the National Culture Institute (INC), which has an office at Machu Picchu. Remember visitors may not bring food, audio equipment or pets into the citadel. Bathrooms and public telephones are located at the entrance to the citadel. There is also a luggage check, which costs aprox- imately US$ 0.50. Guides, who can be hired at the entrance to the citadel, charge around US$ 15 for a two to three- hour tour.
Access to the Huayna Picchu hilltop is located at Sector N of the citadel. The hike up takes from 30 minutes to an hour-and- a-half, depending on the visitor’s physical condition and weather conditions (the trail is slippery during the rainy season). Those walking to the top need to register at the start of the trail. Entrance is only permitted up to 13:00. This climb is not recommended for those in poor physical condition, children or the elderly. Visitors are recommended to use good hiking shoes and take along water
To make the train trip, there are two kinds of tourist tickets:
- The first includes the round trip train ride via the Vistadome service (formerly called Autovagon), entrance to the citadel and to the archaeological park and a guide. The cost is approximately US$ 135 per person.
- The second service includes a return trip in Inca class on the Tourist Train, entrance to the citadel and to the archaeological park and a guide. The cost is approximately US$ 95 per person.
Either ticket purchase comes with a numbered seat and can be bought at any tour acency in Cuzco. If visitors buy the ticket at a travel agency, the ticket ought to include the busride to the station.
Many of the tourists who buy the all-included service in travel agencies arrive at Machu Picchu by Vistadome (Autovagon). The return trip often combines the train trip to Ollantaytambo, and from there, the fast bus to Cuzco (with several vacant seats).