There are thousands of different ways for every type of traveller to get to Machu Picchu.
There are cheaper or safer or shorter ways and I am happy to share all of them but we actually ended up using the agency, which according to our calculations we could make $5 cheaper independently.
If you’re in Cusco and you want to go to Machu Picchu yourself you would need:
A bus journey from Cusco to Santa Teresa (25 Soles)
A taxi ride to Hidroelectrica (15 soles, but not proven)
And a 9km walk to Aguas Calientes or $25 per person for 9km train ride
A night at Aguas Calientes (as little as 10 Soles pppn)
4am wake up if you want to climb 2000 steps or 5am wake up if you want to pay $12 for a bus
Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Adult about $40 or Student with ISEC card $20
+Food, drinks and other extras
And repeat your way back to Cusco.
Overall, with food, adult ticket and travel you can probably make your way up to the most impressive ruins of your life for as little as $75, we paid $80 for all the expenses and there are thousands of agencies around Cusco that do offers like that.
I wasn’t really that happy to go with the agency until we actually started our journey. I’ve read a few blogs where travellers shared their experience of going solo, but no one ever mentioned that the way to Santa Teresa goes along a stupidly cliffy road where 20 cm of bad manoeuvring can really cost you a life. And as the least picky when it comes to transportation person I can say that I am glad that at least our driver slept enough, he was sober and he only had to do that one trip a day.
Local Hitcher UrubambaSomewhere high up
On our way to Santa Teresa
As to suggested taxi rides from Santa Teresa to Hidroelectrica now sound to me like a suicide mission, because worrying serpentine roads to Santa Teresa seemed silly in comparing to the rest of the journey. All I’m really trying to say now: for your own sake, make sure you are in a decent car.
Beautiful Peruvian Landscape
As to the rest,
Do go for a walk along the railways, it is rewarding and you can actually see the terraces of Maccu Picchu from below. It’s fun, it’s easy and it’s beautiful.
Don’t expect this bridge to be safe on the way to Aguas Calientes
The famous most expensive for the length of the journey train
The railway to Aguas Calientes
Climb those bloody almost 2000 steps next morning, watching the way sun rises from the mountains is priceless and you actually feel like you’ve deserved visiting that incredible place.
Exceptional views all around
Machu Picchu, the typical
Yes your legs would kill you, indeed you might feel shit walking 9km back to Hidroelectrica, but feel ashamed of yourself knowing that Incas did not know a wheel when they built their cities on the tops of the mountains. Incas didn’t have horses when they discovered their way through the mountains from Cusco to Machu Picchu. And we can’t handle some steps that were built for us by someone.
Don’t waste your time too much and explore every little point of it and try to imagine what Bickham thought the moment local farmers showed him the ruins for the first time.