This wonder of the world happens to be the most expensive to get to once you arrive at the airport. So if you are looking to save your PESOS, (soles in this case) read on.
A. Bus from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo It leaves several times daily from the bus terminal, and if you get it early enough you’ll be able to get all the way to the ruins in one day. This trip takes around 1-2 hours, give or take.
Price: $10 (27 soles)
B. Bus from Ollantaytambo to Santa Maria It picks up on the North side of the plaza, and only comes twice per day when there’s not a transport strike happening. Ask within one of the shops on the plaza what it looks like and when it will come. It should be around 10:00AM. Tell the driver to let you know when you’re at Santa Maria to avoid missing the stop. The trip takes around 4 hours.
Price: $10 (27 soles)
C. Collectivo van from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa As soon as you get off of the bus, you’ll see a couple of vans waiting for enough passengers to make the trip to Santa Teresa. No advanced planning needed, just walk over to a van. The trip takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
Price: $5 (14 soles)
D. Taxi from Santa Teresa to the hydroelectric dam (la hydroelectrica). As soon as the “collectivo” drops you off in Santa Teresa, there will be taxis waiting to bring people to the hydroelectrica. Just get in one, say a prayer, and hold on tight. The trip takes about 45 minutes.
Price: $2 (5 soles)
E. Walk to Aguas Calientes When you’re dropped off you’ll see some train tracks leading into the trees. Start walking. Pretty soon these tracks will end, and you’ll have to walk up the embankment on your right into the jungle, where soon you’ll find another set of tracks. Turn left and keep walking. After 2 hours you’ll end up in Aguas Calientes.
F. Hotel, the cheap way Ask where the Super Tramp is. That was the best deal in town.
G. You can find dinner for about 20 soles You just need to do some walking around.
H. Walk to the ruins The normal way to get from A.C. to Machu Picchu is to take the bus. However, if you’re hardcore like us, you can walk. Just head out the dirt road leading back the way you came when you arrived, and when you get to the bridge over the river just after the campground, cross it. From here the trail takes off, which goes straight up the ridge to the ruins. The hike takes 1 hour for the super fit or 1.5 hours for the normally fit. The ruins open their gates at 5AM, so get up early. The first tourist train arrives at 9AM, so there’s time to enjoy it before the hordes arrive.
I. Entry to the ruins This one, again, is unavoidable. This may be a bit out of order, but BE SURE TO BUY YOUR ENTRY TICKET in Aguas Calientes immediately when you arrive in town. The ticket office is near the plaza and closes at 8PM. If you miss it, you won’t be able to get up to the ruins bright and early in the morning.
Price: $58 (162 soles)