Taking the train to Machu Picchu:

From Cusco you take a train up in the morning to the town of Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu Town). The trains leave at about 6am and get in around noon/1pm. From there, most people take a bus (20 min) or you can walk up a massive hill (1hr) to the top where you enter Machu Picchu. Before heading up, you’ll need to buy your ticket to enter MP. I’d recommend to do this at the Tourist Ticket Office in Cusco. If you forget to, you can get it in Aguas Calientes but it’s a 10 minute walk out of your way.

If you take the early train, its possible to see MP on the same day as the train but I’d recommend taking the the backpacker train up and stay in Aguas Calientes for the night. You can go all the way up and down in one day but it’s a little rushed. One full day in MP is more than enough time to see everything but to do that you need to go to Aguas Calientes the day before. In Aguas Calientes, you can buy your bus ticket right at the line for the busses.

Buy tickets for your train to Machu Picchu ahead of time at www.perurail.com. If not, you can buy them at the Huanchac train station when you get to Cusco. Waiting until you get there you, risk not getting to go up the day you want, or having to take the more expensive train. There are two train stations in Cusco, the one you actually leave from to go to MP is the San Pedro train station. The cheapest train is called “The Backpacker” train.

Expect to pay something like $120 round-trip.