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Machu Picchu in One Day

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 05-05-2023

Most people who want to visit Machu Picchu, on their trip to Peru and will plan their trip to the famous archaeological site to arrive early in the morning. To do this option, usually, people will spend the previous night in Aguas Calientes in a hotel, then take the first shuttle bus up to Machu Picchu. The other option, especially if you are short on time, is to organize the train departure from the station of Poroy or Ollantaytambo in the first available hours (around 6 am) and do the visit in one day. This one-day Machu Picchu trip ensures that you see all the iconic temples, terraces, and Inca pathways of Machu Picchu in just one day! Read on for more information.


Llama at Machu Picchu

The Train trip

More than 75,000 people travel the 40 kilometers of the Inca Trail to the Inca city of Machu Picchu every year. The landscapes are really impressive, but it is not for the faint of heart; altitude, steep climbs, extreme weather, and camping, deter many people from doing the Inca Trail. Only 6% of the people who enter Machu Picchu each day do it by the Inca Trail, this means that 85% of daily visitors to Machu Picchu choose to arrive by train. 


Train to Machu Picchu


Advantages of a train trip

You will arrive at Machu Picchu in less time! The main station to board trains to Machu Picchu is located in the city of Ollantaytambo; It will take you two hours to get to Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu. You can also make your visit to Cusco – Machu Picchu – Cusco in just one day. This will leave you time to see the main places in Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This makes it the perfect option if you are short on time but want to visit Machu Picchu.


Enjoying Machu Picchu


You will have the comfort level you want. The train ride will not only allow you to sit comfortably, but you can also choose the train, depending on the service you want on board. Put the list of music you chose to relax while touring the natural Andean landscape of the Sacred Valley. There are many train services, all of a high level, choose one and read that book under the warm rays of the sun, make new friends from around the world or just close your eyes and enjoy, you are about to reach the Inca city of Machu Picchu.


Inside The Train


You don´t have to carry loads of Luggage. You will not need to carry a heavy 30-liter backpack on your back during your trip, nor could you board the train with it; but we mean that you will not need tents, rain ponchos, portable kitchens, energy bars, etc. Suffice with your headphones, a book, your camera, sun protection, water, and a couple of other things. The train trip to Machu Picchu allows you not to worry more than just enjoying the trip, so create unforgettable memories.


Sharing Machu Picchu with the Llamas

Luxury Travel Options. The Hiram Bingham train is the most luxurious train to Machu Picchu and one of the most luxurious in the world. It will take you on a trip where you can enjoy the elegance and those details inspired by the old “Orient Express”; It will take you on a trip as comfortable as it is charming. You can enjoy a gourmet lunch, a live Peruvian music show, and its varied drinks menu, and the observatory car, with a panoramic view of all the amazing places and stunning Anden vistas of The Sacred Valley.

Hiram Bingham



Significantly cheaper than the full Inca/Salkantay trek

Good for a limited time/rushed schedule 

Plenty of time to see the ruins and explore

No fitness level is required and suitable for all mobility levels

Experience winding through lush green forests and narrow gorges on the Peru Rail train to Aguas Calientes. 

An all-weather-friendly option - no one wants to trek in the Peruvian rainy season. 

A handier option for last-minute booking


Enjoying the Site


You won’t be doing the Inca Trail Trek

It will be a LONG day (4 am-9 pm potentially) 

If you want to explore more than the Inca city itself (i.e. Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain at an additional cost) it might feel rushed

You are a little more restricted as to what time you arrive at Machu Picchu.


Huayna Picchu Backdrop

What to Expect

Very early in the morning, we will transfer you from your hotel to the train station in Ollantaytambo, providing you with personalized service all along the way. This is where we will board the train that passes through the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas, which lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes by train. During this route, you will enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the rolling Andean countryside until you reach the town of Aguas Calientes, found at the base of  Machu Picchu.


Aguas Calientes


Once in Aguas Calientes, we will take the shuttle bus up to the Archaeological Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 25 minutes, which is when you will finally arrive at Machu Picchu, where you will be stunned and in awe of this Inca archaeological site, considered one of the 7 wonders of the Modern World. Immediately, you will begin the guided tour with your expert guide so that you can better understand the history and architecture of the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu. Visit the important temples and marvel at the magnificent surrounding mountains and the awe-inspiring valley below, as you wonder how the Incas built this city in such a remote location.


The View from The Guards House


After the tour, you will board the return bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, where you will have free time to have lunch and then we will go to the train station at the appropriate time. From there, you will return to the Ollantaytambo station, where you will then take the private transport for your return to Cusco, and directly to your hotel.


All Aboard!

Booking a tour package to Machu Picchu saves you the hassle of making sure everything is printed off and confirmed (a hard task when you decide to book last minute and in the middle of your backpacking journey!), leaving you to take in everything the Incan citadel has to offer! Please remember that when you choose to visit Machu Picchu in one day, there are still certain things you will need to book in advance - your tickets for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu for example.  Contact us here and we can organize the best possible Machu Picchu trip in one, specially catered to your needs!

Temple of The Three Windows