*If you missed the first part of this post you can find it Here: Cheapest way to reach Machu picchu PART I
Reached this point you will have to take a shared taxi from Santa Teresa (you can find them just in front of the market) and ask them to take you to the Hidroelectrica, it will cost you 5-10 soles per person and the taxi wont leave till is full.
Don’t worry, it sounds a weird place to go but as I said many people do it along the year so all of them know what are you talking about. Don’t try to walk till there! is about 15-20 km and won’t worth it. Remember, after that ride you will have to walk a lot, so take the taxi and make sure you are in good shape and mood to enjoy the trek.
When you arrive to the hidroelectrica you will be asked to register yourself on a visitors book, they do this for security reasons, if anything happens they will know you are there. Again please, don’t get paranoid. Some people take a guide from there, if you feel like you need it or you will enjoy the way with one do it, but it’s not necessary at all.
After the registration point you will see the train lines. Those are the train lines you have to follow, first you take the ones right in front of you and after a few meters (400-500m) you will find an up hill on your right (it has a sign on it) that will take you to another train lines. These are the ones that will guide you till the end of the way, no turns, no more signs, just staight. Don’t worry, there is enough space to walk beside the train and there is no danger, train drivers always announce the train with a loud honk and they drive slow.
The trek on the lines is about 10 km and will take you around 2-3 hours. Its extremelly easy, the landscape is beutiful and if you keep looking to the sky- after crossing the red bridge- you will see a tiny bit of Machu Picchu waiting for you.If you dont feel like you want to walk you can take also the train from the Hidroelectrica but for that 10 km the train will charge you 18 dollars and you will enjoy the half.
After a couple of hours waling you will find a “train station” on your right, leave the train lines and you will find a crossroad. On your right will be the way that brings you straight away to Machu Picchu and on your left the way to Aguascalientes. Don’t event think on keep on walking to Machupicchu without a night stop. You will have to be fresh for the next day as the way up is quite hard. As I said before, on that crossroad (little bit on the way to Aguascalientes) there is a butterfly house, they allow you to camp for a cheap nice price and you also save the 20 min walk to the town where there is actually nothing to see.
3 – The last steps
Its from here where you have to make a choice, the next part of the road is HARD walking, so to the people that don’t feel confortable with it or think is not in a good shape it would be good to take the bus from Aguascalientes. The way on the bus is about 30 min and will cost you 9 dollars. If you trust on yourself, you think you can do it and you will enjoy the walk just take the endless stairs. (thats what we did). Keep always in mind your ticket hours -if you go to the Mountain or Huayna Picchu- Ours gave us access to Huayna Picchu from 7 to 8 am, so that means being at Machu Picchu first thing in the morning.
We slept in aguascalientes and in the next morning we jumped out of the bed at 4 am and started to walk our way till the crossroads in the middle of the dark while was raining. We found some crazy people like us on the way which made us feel much better. The way up in total is about an hour (you can take longer, please dont try to run).
If you are going up walking dont take nearly anything with you but dont forget the water. The stairs are a truly nightmare, the way up is really hard and you will suffer (believe me…) if you are not used to this… But, seeing the sunrise on the way, sweating at first time on the morning and arriving to the place earlier than anyone (including the buses) so we could enjoy our small 5 minutes of glory on an empty Machupicchu just for us… Is priceless and I would do it again with no doubt.
If your ticket includes the Mountain prepare yourself to get wet, if the stairs were already painful you still have an hour more going up… But the views from there, the energy waiting till the clouds let you see the city like a bird is also priceless and I would do it again with my eyes closed… The way down is easy peasy. If you took the bus you can go down by feet, if you did it by feet then walk again, in less than 15-20 min you will be down the hill ready to leave.
4 – Budget:
15 soles bus tu Santa Maria 10 soles taxi to Santa Teresa 5 soles taxi to Hidroelectrica = 30 soles per peson = 12 dollars, 24 return. If you compare it with the 130 that the train cost you save tons of money but not just that. the train is a British and Chilenian company, if you take the alternative route you are helping to small families and local people.
5 – What to pack:
From cusco to aguascalientes
– Two shirts (or three)
– light waterproof poncho
– Socks for thousands of days –
– Tent and foam matress (if its the case)
From Aguas calientes to Machupicchu
– One shirt and if you are going up to Huayna Picchu should be a long sleeves one (you will be wet and up there is cold)
And finally if you decide to take this route, take your time, walk, but on top of everything. ENJOY. If anyone has any other question, please just comment 😉
This post is also available in: Spanish