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  #1  
Old 11 Apr 2007
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Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

Hi All,

I know there are many posts on the famous machu picchu, however i have been hearing rumours that you need to book a place on the trail in advance etc. Does anyone know what the story is? can you show up in cusco and buy a ticket on the day? or is there a bit more planning involved?
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  #2  
Old 11 Apr 2007
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Just did Machu Picchu the end of January and first of February.
I have to assume you are refering to the "train" and not "trail".
We did buy or tickets (12) two days in advance. we did not take the train from Cusco but took the last train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes leaves around 8:00pm. This train was full as well as the return.
I would not hold to a strict plan of purchasing the ticket the same day as going to Machu Picchu.
It would make from a long day to take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes then take in Machu Picchu and return to Cusco that evening.

Have fun!
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Old 11 Apr 2007
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Hi Blaze , thanks for the reply. Not so much the train , i had it in the back of my head somewhere that one needed a permit or something of the like to go to Machu Picchu? Is this correct?
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Old 12 Apr 2007
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My understanding is that it is quite seasonal. I was there in early November and had no troulble getting a ticket, but they do only allow so many people per day to enter the grounds. I was told by several people that a couple weks earlier everything was booked solid. It rained a lot while I was in Cusco, which may be why I had my pick of days. Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu, is not easy to get to as the only practical way is by train, and you really need to spend at least one night, preferably two, there to have a chance to spend a whole day at the ruins. I found it easier and cheaper to get a package deal, train, grounds admission and hotel, from one of the agencies in Cusco. Well worth going, it was one of the highlights of my South America trip.
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Old 12 Apr 2007
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I did the Inca Trail a few years back just after they tightened regulations. The porters are limited to something like 25kg (to ensure they are not exploited) and there are limits on numbers on the trail.

You may be able to find a space in a group at short notice, however beware of heading off without a week of acclimitisation at high altitudes. Cusco is at something like 3800m, from there you drop quite a bit to the start of the trail at km88?, but then you climb to 4200m over Dead Woman's Pass.

It's a great feeling looking round Machu Piccu knowing you walked there, as opposed to the 'day trippers' who came by train and coach.

Tim
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Old 12 Apr 2007
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Inca Trail

I did the Inca Trail in Sept 2004. By the time I booked in July it was almost all fully booked. They allowed only 500 people at any time on the trail I think, so booking in advance is certainly recommended.

I very much recommend the company called Qu'ente. Prices were ok (considering) and plenty oif very good quality food.

Enjoy the trail!
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  #7  
Old 13 Apr 2007
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Train or Trail?

If you´re not hiking the trail and are on a motorcycle (which I assume), here´s an interesting option. Aparently it´s possible to drive to Ollantaytambo (the closest town to Machu Picchu) rather than taking the train from Aguas Calientes (expensive). Some have driven to the hydro-eclectric plant from Aguas Calientes, but you still have a couple kilometers of railroad from there to Ollantaytambo, and the railroad people said they wouldn´t allow a motorcycle on the tracks. However, there´s another road that goes through Santa Teresa, and supposedly takes about 3 hours by motorcycle. I wish I could say I have done it myself, but I made the mistake of buying my train ticket in advance and couldn´t get it refunded. Just ask around in Aguas Calientes for more details (one of the young guys that works at Wendy/Joaquim Weeks B&B told me about the back road to Ollantaytambo). I would recommend buying your ticket to Machu Picchu in advance, maybe while in Cusco. It costs around 120 soles ($65 US). Safe travels-
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Old 13 Apr 2007
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Talking 65 U$ !?!?!

Hi,

I am not sure if that ticket included a luxery train-ride, but a few years ago the evening-train from Olyantantambo was 12 U$. You can park your bike at a farm next to the railway-station there.

You can walk the track from Olyantantambo to Aquas Calliete (where you stay to visit Muchu Pichu) but it is a 6 hour walk

You can take the day-train which is just as expensive as a helicopter (which is option 3 by the way)

You can ride your bike to the Santa teresa hydro-plant and walk from there (a lot less then the 6 hours (maybe 1 hour).

Or if you are very very adventurous you go from Santa teresa hydro powerstation and take the old "escape route" but you have to cross a (non existing) drawbridge.

I just showed up at the Machu pichu entry-gate and got myself a 10 U$ ticket (with a fake-student-card).. but usually they like to see a passport to.
I never heard of having to make reservations.

When you go by train from Olyantantambo, get a return-ticket. It's hard to get a return-ticket in Aqua-calliaente since you can NOT reserve there and the Inca-trail-people flood the train.

The Inca-trail required a three week advance reservation and is (in my humble opinion) very over-rated. (due to 300 to 500 walkers per day!). If you are into Jungle-treks to hidden cities try "Ciudad perdida" in Colombia (Siera nevada). A 6 day hike where there is only 10 people per day alowed and only one porter per group. It is a hard walk, but a GOOD one.

Well... hopes this helps a bit,

Maarten
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Old 13 Apr 2007
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Thanks guys, looks like there are a number of options, looks like i maybe there september ish so i got to get planning!
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Old 13 Apr 2007
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Kev, if you plan to do the 4 days Inca trail, in September, make sure to book with an agency at least 2 months beforehand. Also , you must go via an agency, you cannot get on the trail on your own. So don't count on that.
Just book and enjoy! It's a great trail.

Cheers,
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Old 13 Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaarten View Post
Or if you are very very adventurous you go from Santa teresa hydro powerstation and take the old "escape route" but you have to cross a (non existing) drawbridge.

The Inca-trail required a three week advance reservation and is (in my humble opinion) very over-rated. (due to 300 to 500 walkers per day!).
If that's the same drawbridge site as the one I've seen, that's a route you DO NOT want to take. Some visitors died crossing it.

When I was on the trail in April 2002 it was practically deserted. We saw another small group one night but they were gone early the next morning. Absolute bliss. Very quiet apart from the sound of my panting. Sleeping at altitude is 'interesting' when you constantly wake up with oxygen debt.

Tim
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  #12  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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sorry for reviving an old post

I know this is an old post but since the rules have changed a bit i though it would be interesting for someone:

Just to be clear, they are 2 ways of visiting the Machu Pichu.

1) Get a train to Agua Calientes (usually from Cusco)
2) Do the Inca trail (can be 1,4,7 or even 15 days long)


I went on the 4 days trail with the gf in December 2011. Ithink this is the most comon one and I would recommend it.

They have now reduced the amounts of permit per day from 500 down to 250 only.
It means that if you plan to go in the high season (Dec to April I think) places get booked up VERY quickly.
It also means that prices have increased.
We paid for 2 of us just under £1000 for the 4 days treck, and entry to Machu Pichu for 2 days and 1 night in a hotel.

So it is indeed overpriced, but the trail was for me the most spectacular thing. Much more memorable than the Machu Pichu alone.
I do not regret spending £500 at all.
Our guide was friendly, had good English and great knowledge.
Our porters (5 porters + 1 guide for only 4 people in our group) were very cool.
It was a shame that everything is done so that the porters do not mix/interact with the tourists. I had to force the communication on the first 2 days (my guide didn;t like me talking with the porters) and then eventually the last 2 days we were having laughs and really enjoying each other's company. Language barrier was high but we always found ways to understand each other and have fun.

Do not worry about your bike and luggage whilst you are doing the treck, most hotels in Cusco have a room dedicated to tourist's luggages doing the trails. We actually had our 2 bikes inside the hotel room. Crazy!

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Old 20 Jun 2012
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Huayna Picchu

FWIW, I did a 5-day trek in 2000. No need to book in those days and not too crowded on the route.
But on their final day, all the trekkers wanted to be at the Sun Gate for sunrise, so it was pretty crowded there.

But what I would say is, if at all possible, don't miss out on climbing Huayna Picchu, the mountain that features in most photos of Machu Picchu.
Reaching the summit is a terrific reward, worthwhile and really completes a Machu Picchu visit. But bear in mind only about 4 or 5 people can sit on the summit at a time so be prepared to wait your turn on the slopes just below.

Also, great care is needed. There are tricky sections, and steep narrow stone stairs with nothing but air on one side, where any slip or trip would be serious.
A lot of renovation work on the climb to the summit was being done in 2000 so it may be better now.

If you don't fancy the climb, go round to the north side of Huayna Picchu where you'll find massive stone works and caves, (Temple of the Moon) all overgrown and partly hidden (in 2000), that is very atmospheric and straight out of Indiana Jones.

When I was there, there was a small manned gate that lead to Huayna Picchu with a signing-in/signing-out arrangement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Sleeping at altitude is 'interesting' when you constantly wake up with oxygen debt.

Tim
Yes, exactly. I think it mainly affected us 'older' trekkers. One night the nausea was so bad I made sure I could get my head right out of the tent, to leeward, at a microsecond's notice! (But it was never needed thankfully).
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