Dont feel like spending 60 dollars or more to get to aguas calientes and machu pichu from cusco here is the alternative:
To get to machu pichu cheaply is about a 2 day trip.
First you will need to take a bus to Santa Maria wich is about 6 hours from Cusco on the other side of the sacred valley. the bus leaves in the morning and afternoon from the terminal terestere in cusco. The bus will also pass trough ollantaytambo but you wont be able to get a seat any more and will be standing in the middle 4 hours. from cusco to santa maria will cost about 15 soles
Once in santa maria you will need to take a collectivo (private minibus) to santa terresa. Mostly there will be one awaiting the arrival of the busses but if not you could be waiting a couple of hours for one to come by.
The drive to Santa terresa is about 2 hours and costs 6 to 10 soles depending on how many people take te collectivo and your negotiating skills.
Santa terresa is a good place to spend the night. If you have a tent with you you can camp pretty much for free or tke a room for 5 soles.
The next day get up early and head down to the river. there is a hand propelled cable car over the river there (the only means to cross it). On the other side walk to where the drink and food stalls are. you can either start walking from here (about 6 hours to machu pichu) or take a truck wich will bring you to hydroelectico. the truck costs 3 soles and takes 45 min packed with people. From hydrolectrico you follow the train tracks for 2-3 hours till you reach puentes ruinas and you can either camp (15 soles for a tent for a night) below machu pichu or continue for 20 min till you reach aquas calientes and take a room in a hotel. Alternatively there is one train a day between hydrolectrico and aguas calientes costing 8 dollars and leaving aquas calientes around noon.
Please note that this isnt a luxury trip and takes quite some endurance and requires basic spanish skills. As well it will give a lot more adventure than taking the train.
Nice one, Erwin. I plan to be in the area again sometime next year, I'll make sure to check this one out.
Wow, now that is a how backpackers used to do it. Good information, I'll look into it.
This sounds awesome, just what I want, off the beaten path stuff, just checking though does this enable you to see the ruins or do you then still have to book with a tour guide as I heard you couldn't do the inca trail without a guide? Might be a stupid question but I want to get this clear in my head as it sounds like great advice which I want to follow.
You do not need to book a guide to visit Machu Picchu, the guide is required if you are going to hike the 2 or 4 day Inca Trail. You can also hike the 1st bit of the Inca Trail to Winay Wayna from the ruins without a guide.
Question: Is 3 days enough to see Machu Pichu? I'm planning to go there just for a long weekend as I don't have a lot of vacation days. I'm flying from New York.
makulit I was in Peru for 10 days in August and for a short visit it seemed to work. But as in most trips more days are better. Its a long flight but worth it. If you are debating about whether or not to go. GO!! You will enjoy it and it may entice you to go back for another trip.
Thanks for the advice boreal2673!
I really want to go, but wasn't sure if I'll get to see the ruins in 3 short days. I was thinking of flying out Friday night and coming back Monday afternoon. Now that I'm looking at flight schedules it seems I'd be just flying in and out airports. I guess I could call in sick. *embarass laugh*
I will only be in Peru next month for 6 days + 2 days traveling to and from.
When booking the connecting flight from Lima to Cusco, which I recently did, they require a 3 hour check in time!! I land at 4:30 am and wanted to take the 6:10am flight to Cusco but it wasn't enough time.
Just an FYI to help your planning so you don't run into any delays.
3 hour check in time....in Peru? I never follow this kind of advice. If you are lucky you can check in a hour before, if they don't have another lazy day