There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu, ...
# 1 - The deluxe way.... take an expensive train, the *Hiram Bingham* at $750 us from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Then lazy way on a bus up the 8 kms zig zag road to the ruins.
# 2 - The Vista Train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes for approx $150 us ...
# 3 - The cheapest way... take a bus from Cusco to Santa Teresa ( 8 hours) then walk the train track for 12 kms to the base of Machu Picchu then climb up the trail for 1 hour.
We went the middle class way, time was getting short on our bike permits and we were also getting anxious to get to Bolivia.
The 7 hour ride with our bikes to Santa Teresa didn't appeal to us after the long journey from Huaraz, also we were told there was lots of rain that way. It would take us 3 days, one day riding, one day to visit Machu Picchu, one day riding back... too much time for what we had.
Looking at our options, we found out if we took a taxi to Ollantaytambo for 5 bucks, once there we catch a backpackers train to Aguas Calientes for $35 us one way! ( still expensive, but fast ) That way also allowed us to spend the night in Aguas and get up early to hike to Machu Picchu before the thousands of other visitors got there and get back to Cusco the same day.
We left for our trek at 4:30 am... * forgot our headlamps!* luckily other hikers were coming behind us with headlamps.
Brightness of the day soon came and we could see the steps. 1 1/2 hour later, we were in the line up to get our tickets @ ($40 us each) Rain started to come down - thinking what a waist of money!! coming up here to stand in pouring rain.
As we entered the ruins, the clouds lifted and got a view of the famous Machu Picchu. It was a spectacular site!
After 5 hours of walking around the rock pile ruins, walking an hour up Huayna Picchu (young peak), it was time to walk back down.
By that time the crowed was in the thousands.
Now we can say... been there... done that....
The view of Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna Picchu