Explore Machu Picchu: My Experience & Travel Guide

Making it to Machu Picchu is truly one of my greatest travel accomplishments. I mean it when I say the process to get there and the amount you spend is so worth it! Most people take two days to get to Aguas Calientes, Peru, the nearest city to Machu Picchu and explore the ruines. I decided to be special. Doing Machu Picchu in one day is literally an all day process. All together my travel time and excursion took about 14 hours and I don’t regret a minute of it.

This is what my day looked like:

3:00 am

• I woke up

3:50 am

• My car to take me from my housing to the bus station arrives.

4:15 am

• I get to the bus station that will take me from Cusco, Peru to the train station in Ollantaytambo, Peru. This ride at this time of day should take possible just over an hour but plan for this ride to take an hour and a half depending on time of day and traffic.

4:50 am

• I end up getting off the bus and taking a taxi instead in order to make it to the train station in time.

6:07 am

• I arrive at the Inca Rail train station in Ollantaytambo, Peru. Perfect timing because boarding starts at 6:10 for my train.

6:40 am

• And we‘re moving! The train is very modern and comfortable. There are restrooms available on board and the staff bounces from Spanish to English effortlessly. Also, there is beverage and snack service providing coffee, tea or juice and a breakfast cookie.

8:10 am

• I have officially made it to Aguas Calientes, the city closest to Machu Picchu. Follow the signs to exit the train station if you have a tour guide, which pretty much everyone does. I got outside the gates and saw a lot of guides holding up signs, but none of them had my name on it. At this point I’m going in circles trying to find my person and a gentleman, I believe another guide, asked me who I’m looking for. I told him the name of the tour guide and his method was to just start yelling out the name (as if I couldn’t have done that if I thought it’d work.) Finally a women comes up to me ask my name and the name of who I’m looking for a points me in the right direction.