When you see those shiny ads promising a trip to Machu Picchu, you can’t imagine how hard it is to actually get there. At least I couldn’t.
Personally speaking I first took the plane to Lima. There I spent 2 days and then moved onward to Cusco. Again by plane. Cusco is so much different than Lima and waaay higher. In fact I really had troubles those 2 days because of high altitude. I drank a lot of coca tea and my hotel did have extra oxygen, but it sure was hard.
In hindsight I might have stayed somewhere lower before, but time was an issue as well. From Cusco i took the Vistadome Train straight to Aguas Calientes, where I booked a night at a beautiful small hotel. The Vistadome train operated by Peru Rail was beyond impressive. Oh the amazing views I saw on my way to Aguas Calientes. It’s not exactly cheap but so worth it. Some food was served on board as well and a little fashion show in between (dunno what that was for!).
After a refreshing night in Aguas Calientes (which is more than 1.000 meters below Cusco, can you believe that!), I took one of the first buses to Machu Picchu in the morning. My, I was very glad it was still more or less dark at that time. The road upwards is steep, to say the least.
I booked my tickets online before, so getting inside the actual ruins was easy. I just presented my ID and a copy of the tickets and in I was – right in time for the sunset.
But getting to Machu Picchu was not very easy, no! But well worth it