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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  • 1 Post By cpaulson

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  #1  
Old 3 Oct 2013
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Biking to Machu Picchu

Hey,

just wanted to share the newest info on the unofficial Peruvian version of the Death Road of La Paz - the road from Cuzco to Santa Maria/Hidroelectrica and eventually, Machu Picchu.

First off, the road from Cuzco to Santa Maria (the closest village to Machu Picchu accesible by bike) is tricky all year round: because of landslides, waterfalls, springs and streams from the snow-capped mountains and good old negligence, sometimes the road is blocked. Because Peru is, well, Peru, the police sometimes don´t bother to stop you and inform you there´s a roadblock or a bit of a road that´s actually been destroyd completely; there have been numerous bikers having to turn around mid - way simply because the police officers told them to go back in the middle of the road instead of the very beginning of it due to mis-communication or simple laziness. So once you reach Ollantaytambo, it´s a good idea to check with the local police and make them tell you whether the road is accessible.

If however you still get stuck, there are quite a few villages that have hostels with garages for bikes (especially Santa Teresa) as well as gas stations or locals selling gas.

And finally, as you get to Hidroelectrica (the hydro-electric plant), that´s where the road ends. Literally. The only way to get to Machu Picchu is either taking the ridiculously expensive train (USD 50 one way for a 15 minute ride), or hiking (around 7km, but the views are totally worth it). As you reach the Hidroelectrica, there is a tourist check-point sort of post. Ask for the security guards; they will happily watch your bike for 15-20 soles (around USD 9) a night while you make your Machu Picchu hike.

The other thing is, most people stay the night in Aguas Calientes, or the Pueblo Machu Picchu. This is however a horrible, overpriced, stifling, tourist-packed sort of place. I highly recommend staying the night at Jardines de Mandor - a lovely quiet hostel on km 114 along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. It´s cheap, comfy, quiet, has great food, great trekking if you want to stay a bit longer, the manager speaks good English, and is incredibly helpful. It´s only 2 km from the actual Machu Picchu and around 2,3 km from Aguas Calientes (where you will inevitably have to go just to purchase your Machu Picchu tickets).

cheers
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Old 31 Oct 2013
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I recently did this exact trip and no offense but the previous post almost sounds like it was written buy whoever sells the train tickets from Cusco directly and is basically making it sound horrible. To be honest, riding from Alaska to Chile, taking the "back door route" to Machu Pichu was in fact one of our most favorite roads of all. And we did it two up on a KLR. The other couple we were with were on a KTM 990 and a BMW f600. The ride itself was spectacular. There are MANY places to stay along the way that are beautiful little villages along the river and there was gas a plenty. In fact had we known now what we didn't know then we would have stayed a few nights along the river and not so many nights in Cusco deciding wether to take the train or not. The death road was absolutely stunning, granted I can see how it could be dangerous in heavy rains but other than that it was AMAZING. And the drive through all the villages between Cusco and Agua Caliente were stunning themselves. As well as the roads and huge windy beautifully paved mountain passes between them all. There is even a town where if the rain is to bad and you can't ride on where you can jump in the train from there and continue on. But if you can make it ti Aguas Calientes, there you will find one of the most stunning hot springs in the entire South America. We rhode our bikes down into the canyon and put our tents up and stayed for I believe 5 usd if not free. Then there is a hostal where you can park your bikes indoors for again I believe 5-10 usd a day while heading to Machu Pichu. Cheers and have fun...
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Old 4 Nov 2013
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Nth Oz
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The Train ride from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Caliente is 50 Soles or about $18 US each way. Not $50!
The train ride is 11 kilometers apparently... I am not sure I didn't measure it... anyway it was easy to walk next to the tracks in 2 hours and quite a lot of people do it.
The last train from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Caliente leaves at 4.30pm.

Aguas Caliente is indeed expensive and full of tourists, which Mirrors the situation for its tourist attraction of Machu Pichu. Tickets were booked out 4 days ahead when I went there, and the online payment system was crap and never worked for me.

There is parking available at Hydroelectrica with some guys that live there. They do this for anyone that needs it - motorbikes, bicycles, 4wds, trucks or whatever you have. I have no affiliation with them but enjoyed their friendly and convenient service. They gave me a flyer they had just made up to let people know where they are

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  #4  
Old 28 Nov 2013
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Cpaulson,

as for my post, I simply wanted to point out a few things that I think are worth knowing.

I absolutely agree that the road is stunning and the views are amazing, but I´m new to motorcycling and had I known the condition of that road and how mental all the collectivo drivers were out there, I probably would have thought twice before doing it.

Now that I´m more confident after my 11 000+ kms on a bike in South America I´d definitely do it again (actually, probably will once im back from Argentina); all I was saying was that it´s worth taking precautions. Especially checking if there are no roadbloacks, having to turn back when you´re halfway there is no fun at all.

Safe travels

Ellie
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