Machu Picchu: how to for biketravellers

Below are some discussions from the Panam-riders list on Google groups about whether to go to Machu Picchu when passing through Peru and if so, how?

We visited Machu Picchu a few years ago and loved it, though it was raining all day 🙂

Below are some questions and answers from the Panam -riders about the subject:


On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 8:45 PM, Roland and Belinda Hinmueller wrote:

Ok all you cycling buddies,

Who’s got the low-down for Machu Pichu and getting there? We want to know the different options and how other people have done it. We are keen to do it as cheaply as possible without totally destroying our enjoyment of visiting this epic tourist destination.

We probably won’t hike the Inca Trail but are interested in the bus/train/walking options etc.

Cheers in advance, Belinda, Roland, Seth and Parker.
Roland and Belinda Hinmueller


On Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 11:39 AM, greg mccausland wrote:

hi guys – i went to manchu pichu a few years ago – we did a hiking loop (not the inca royal road) that crossed the inca trail and dropped to a small town beside the tracks out side of aguas calientes – we then jumped the train (literally – word of warning) when it slowed for us and it cost $20 (i think) but then we had to pay for the return fare which was i think $90 for the two of us.Manchu Pichu is gonna cost you no matter what but we did it for about the cheapest i know of.  You can get info on hiking routes thru the mtns at the south american explorers club in cusco (or lima) or pick up the brandt guide (the best). you will need a guide and or maps anyhow to hike on your own thru the mtns though route finding is not impossible there are plenty of wrong turns to take.  some people have mentioned simply hiking the train tracks but i know of no one who has done it . . .  good luck and enjoy it is pricey but incredible. cheers greg


2010/8/18 nancy sathre-vogel wrote:

My honest opinion is that you skip Macchu Pichu and spend a whole week exploring the Sacred VAlley instead.  MP is spectacular, but equally so as the valley, and the valley is much, much cheaper and more accessible.  Take that for what it’s worth!


From: Ramiro Aramburu
Sent: zondag 22 augustus 2010 10:31
Subject: Re: [panam-riders] Machu Pichu

Hello guys!

How are you doing? We just came back from Machu Pichu! My opinion: don’t miss that incredible Inca City!

There is a way to do it for less than the half of the price that every ‘Gringo’ tourist pay. of course takes more time and is less confortabñle than the train but is cheaper.

So: from cusco start very early in the morning, take a local bus to Santa Maria (6 to 8 hours and 15 to 20 Soles). From Santa Maria take another local bus to Santa Teresa (1 hour and 5 soles). From there take a local taxi or van to Hidroelectrica (30 minutes, very bad road, and 5 soles aprox.) From Hidroelectrica walk at the side od trhe rialway 2 and half hours to Aguas Calientes. Very long day and sleep there (we paid 10 soles each). Wake up 3:30 am and start to walk up to Machu Pichu 1 and half hour, try to be at the entrance of MAchu Pichu before 6 am. The first 400  persons on the line will be admited to trekk the Wayna Pichu. (Mountain at the side of Machu Pichu where you will have and increidible view of all Mchu Pichu) We did it and it really worth it! Amaizing view!

Back to Cusco the same thing on the oposite way! 😉 The most expensive thing is the Machu Pichu entrance (126 soles, better to buy in advance in Cusco). Salinas Maras is another place close to Cusco we really liked a lot!

We planned to start tomorrow from Cusco to the Bolivian border but we the laundry hotel lost almost all our clothes! Nice ah! 🙁

ENjoy guys!



From: Roland and Belinda Hinmueller
Sent: dinsdag 14 september 2010 14:40
Subject: [panam-riders] Machu Picchu!

This is our trip to Machu Picchu for anyone interested.  We had a host to stay with in Urubamba so that is where we left our bikes.  We were travelling with Seth and Parker Berling too.

  • From Urubamba to Ollantaytambo we caught a Collectivo that took 30 minutes and cost 1.20 sol each.  Our return was at 2am so meant we only had a taxi option and we paid 15 soles for all four of us.
  • Book your train tickets with Peru Rail online in advance to get the best choice of ‘backpacker’ times.  We booked it the day before and meant we had to catch the 10.30pm train back to Ollantaytambo which was a very drawn out wait.  The tickets were roughly $30 US one way per person for the ‘backpacker’ class.
  • Number One Hostal which is on the same lane as Number Two Hostal (on the otherside of the bridge to the train station, near the Mercado Central) gave us a room with four beds and a bathroom for 12.50 soles each.
  • The boys Left Agua Callientes at 4am to walk up the mountain and get their tickets stamped to allow entry into Wayna Picchu which was perfect.  The boys chose the second group to go in which gave them time to look around other parts of Machu Picchu before it got busy and they didn’t have to step aside for people on the descent.
  • Be prepared to pay for the toilet at Machu Picchu even though you paid 126 soles to enter the ruins.
  • Take your water purification device so you don’t have to pay for water.  I.e. A 500ml bottle of water in Machu Picchu is 8 soles and in Agua Callientes the Phura Peruvian 2L bottle of water is between 3 to 3.50 soles (you can pay 5 to 6 soles for other brands).
  • Take food with you.  The cheapest ‘menu’ you’ll find is in the upper floor of the Mercado Central for 7 soles but they do sell a great fruit salad for 6 soles that is well worth it right in the centre of the upper floor.

Why didn’t we go the DYI Santa Teresa way?

  • Time (at least 10 hours of travel from Urubamba to Agua Calientes, not including wait times and possibility needing to stay in Santa Teresa if we missed connections)
  • Alot of transfers (collectivos, walking/train, taxi etc)
  • Potentially only works out to be able $10 cheaper after all is said and done.
  • We know this way is very scenic  and has hot baths in Santa Teresa but we were not feeling it!

We also met Sandra (a cyclists going north bound) that cycled the entire Sacred Valley to Santa Teresa and she said it was beautiful.  But they didn’t allow her bike on the train track, even if she walked it.  She was forced to put her bike on the train and then she was allowed to walk along the tracks to Agua Callientes.  Strange but true!

Why didn’t we take our bikes or walk the railway from Ollantaytambo?

  • No guarantee we would be allowed on the tracks.
  • After going in the train, it didn’t look like there was much space to the side of the tracks, going through the tunnels would be hairy and pretty bumpy terrain too.
  • Didn’t fancy a five to seven hour walk.

cheers guys,
from cusco in hostal estrellita

Roland and Belinda Hinmueller

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