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  #1  
Old 1 Jul 2006
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Route to Aguas Calientes, (Machu Picchu)

Hi there,

Im an australian motorcycle traveller currently in cusco and planning to explore the surrounding areas including machu picchu

I vaigely remember seeing a post a few months ago regarding reaching Aguas Calientes by motorcycle, either by riding alongside (or along) the train tracks from Olantaytambo or via an alternative route (goat track?) from Umasbamba?

has anyone done this recently, any info would be greatly appreciated

also need some tires/service while is cusco, any reccomendations?

many thanks

phill
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  #2  
Old 3 Jul 2006
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Hi Phill

Hi Phill,

How´s the leg, and the steed?

Riding to Aquas Calientes? True, there was a post. If I remember it right you could ride somewhere close to the last stop of the Inca Trail, not Aguas Calientes. There are definetly no roads going and goat tracks are likely to involve steps as they are probably based on the two day Inca Trail running parralel to the railway (kind off)....

I would recommend riding to Ollyantaytambo and taking the train from there. The train is deadly slow (20 kph) but I guess it beats following a train on the tracks.

You might be able to stick your bike an a cargo train or in the cargo compartment if there is one.

Enjoy,

Jens and Kate
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  #3  
Old 4 Jul 2006
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I went in December to Machu Pichu, my advice is ride till Ollantaytambo, leave the bike there. Ask for Alejo, he is a Chilean ex-biker who runs a posada/restaurant (Oka-tambo or something was the name), he store my bike for 2 days.
I recomend to take the 8PM train, is cheaper and you can wake up early next day to arrive MP before the tourist coming from Cusco arrive around 9.30.
Good luck!!

pd. If you met Alejo send my regards!
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  #4  
Old 4 Jul 2006
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I walked from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes last year when the train wasn't running due to a landslide. I walked the tracks, which follow a river, and remember crossing over many tributary streams on bridges with huge gaps between the support logs... it would be really tough, not to mention dangerous, to get a bike across them.
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  #5  
Old 4 Jul 2006
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hi there jens (and kate)

the bike is fine and the leg is getting better too, thanks for asking

how was the salar, etc

im in aguas calientes at the moment, just came down from machu picchu about 5 min ago

i ended up riding from ollataytambo in a large loop to hydro electrika, which is about 10klm past aguas calientes on the train line

after a quick chat with some railway workers i wobbled off down the tracks and got about 1/3 of the way to aguas before i got nabbed by some park ranger types and sent back to hydro electrika, where i spent the night and caught a train at 4.30 am to aguas and then MP

anyway, cant stay and chat, ive got a 10klm walk home tonight!

cheers

phill
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  #6  
Old 5 Jul 2006
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Hunn
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Sounds like you found another "Australian" solution! Hope you enjoyed the walk.

The Salar was GREAT and so was the mine trip! Kate is a bit disappointed with you as she was waiting all night in your bed when we returned to Sucre - and there was no Phill!!! And I had to listen to hear complaints afterwards!!

We are back in Santiago now and arranging for Mario and Roberto to take care of the bikes. Unfortunately, it looks like Joe does not have the dosh to afford Kate's bike...

Never mind, we'll just wait for the market to improve in spring...

Jens

PS: Kate is upset for having been banished to the brackets....
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  #7  
Old 5 Jul 2006
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There is a way where you can come from the back, i think Santa Theresa is the name a couple of km from Agua Calientes. The opposite side from Ollantaytambo, when i remember right!
To get there it is about 200km from Cuszco a long ride over a couple of passes on a dirt road!
If you have a good map look for the first place behind Agua Calientes, there you have to go! From there it is a 2 to 3 hours walk to Machu Pichu! First follow the railway and than you will hit the turn of to the site!

Check it out first again, because i did not do it on that way!
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  #8  
Old 7 Jul 2006
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Sorry, but I have to say this - I'm fed up of posts from mc travellers from the world's richest countries looking to avoid the train fare - just stop being so ****ing cheap. The road to Aguas Calientes is closed to minimise regional impact and maximise tourist profit. Peru is a poor country and deserves taxes to maintain its heritage. Park up in Cusco or Ollantaytambo, take the train, pay the taxes. And keep the awesome splendour of Machu Pichu publically funded.

Chau, suerte, Dan Walsh (in Managua)
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  #9  
Old 7 Jul 2006
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Lightbulb ?????

easy tiger, looks like ive ruffled a few feathers there

the reason that i wanted to ride to machu picchu is because i enjoy riding my motorcycle, not because im too tight to pay for the train

if it makes you feel any better, i not only paid for the entry to machu picchu, but also the bus there and back, guess what?, i even had a bit of lunch and bought some souvenirs while i was there

looks like the awesome splendour of machu picchu is safe for the time being eh?

ps - the train service is owned by Orient Express, cant see too many locals sharing in the profits there
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  #10  
Old 8 Jul 2006
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Hehehe. 'awesome splendour'. I really am a pompous *****.
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  #11  
Old 17 Jul 2006
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dan, dont be too hard on yourself mate,

getting back to the original post, after walking back along the tracks back to hydro eletrika after a day at machu pichu, i had a chance to have a decent look at the tracks and the intermittant path next to it, and ive got to say that its not really worth it to try to ride along the tracks,

If the gaps between the sleepers dont get you, the the park rangers or an "unscheduled" train will

If anyone wants to do what i did, you can stay in very basic accomodaion at the house of victoria lopez (next to the train tracks, directly up the hill from hydro electrika train station, which is 15 minutes down the road from santa theresa)

cheers

phill
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  #12  
Old 26 Jul 2006
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I did it a couple months ago.

Hey matey, Juan again
I just did the route by bike to machu pichu. This post is not recent so, if you still want the details, i can give them to you, or anyone else. On the bike all the way to hidroelectrica in santa teresa, from where you walk along the railway tracks for 2 hrs to get to aguas calientes. Impossible to do the tracks on the bike, not only forbidden but technically impossible on a loaded bike, space between sleepers will ezasily accomodate a full tyre.
Cheers,

pajaro
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  #13  
Old 31 Dec 2006
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Hey , I just did the ride to Hidro Electrica and left my bike at the last police station. Dropped the police officer a few soles to let me park it inside his gates while I walked to Aguas. The road over the pass from Ollytaytambo is under construction so there are some rough parts, but once you get to the valley floor its fine. Theres also a fun little bridge you can cross before Hidro, they are building a new bridge which will probably be done in a years time. Good ride around the back side.
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  #14  
Old 6 Apr 2008
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March 2008 info update

I rode the trail last week after reading this post, and can add the following info:

The first 80km from Ollytantambo are paved, and the remaining gravel to Santa Maria is wide, flat and in good condition and pretty much the valley floor by then. It takes around 2 ½ hrs to get to Santa Maria. The single lane track along the mountainside to Santa Theresa could be a little slick if there was a lot of rain, but not enough to stop you going this way. 45-75mins Santa Maria to Santa Theresa. Santa Theresa sees a lot of foreign hikers passing through so has many hospedajes, restaurants etc where you could park your bike (and hot springs). I rode on to Hydra Elektrica and it was only because i said that i was parking my bike at Victoria Lopez`s house did the 3 different police checkpoints let me through, although after some hestitation from all of them. How Phil/Wicksy got to Victoria`s house the first time though i don`t know, as you`re not exactly inconspicous riding and crossing tracks to her house! First you have to ride along/alongside the tracks about 200m, then turn 150degrees right and cross over them to ride up the hill alongside the tracks or 100m, and then cross again and turn 150 degrees left and ride alongside or another 100m in a zig-zag fashion. Funny enough Victoria wasn`t there but her husband, Estefan, was, and he turned out to be the guy i shared a room with in Ollytantambo the night before! I came in late and he was already sleeping and so only spoke to him in the morning but couldn`t remember his name to ask or him in Hydro Elektrica.

The train goes in each direction 3 times per day and foreigners can catch it (Peru Rail) for 22.50 soles 1 way, if the hike to the mountain above Macchu Pichu has already taken the bulk of your energy. I agree on the riding part and say that you could only ride it if you had a plank to fill in the gaps of sleepers over bridges, but there are too many rail employees to stop you, and who knows when the train is coming because they don`t even keep to schedule. So if you`re happy to ride 3 ½ to 4 hrs from Ollytantambo to save some money, then do it as it isn`t difficult to ride around the back, just time consuming.

Also, i you are coming to Macchu Pichu area from the east of Peru/Huancayo you don`t have to go to Cuzco and then back NW, you could exit the east-west road in the town jsut south of Huancay (don`t recall name but locals knew shortcut) and ride directly north via Huancondo on a perfect gravel road which brings you out a few km east of Ollytantambo.
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  #15  
Old 7 Apr 2008
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Apate and Simon have given great advice here. I like how Simon mentioned that you do not have to return to Cusco and can simply drive on continuing your trip after you backtrack a few miles from Hydro Electrica.

Do not ride any of this route in the dark. I made the mistake of doing the last hour to H.E. in the dark and nearly paid the price.

Once you are arriving to Hydro Electrica and cross the final bridge you will most likely think something is wrong because the road comes to an end. You have to drive straight up the hill over the first set of tracks (there may be a gate blocking entrance up the hill but you have to go around it). You drive up to the top of the hill where there is a second set of railroad tracks (the return line). Do not cross this set of tracks. If my memory is right it it easiest to turn left right before the tracks (you have to drive through the hedges) and go around the outer side of the metal fence for the power boosters. The police station is the first building behind the fence and they have a concrete pad behind the station where you can store your bike and lock it to a pole.

BTW: Do not try and ride the railroad tracks to Agua Calientes. It is only a 2 hour walk and the scenery is great. Riding the tracks is a suicide wish because of the bridges!
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