By: John M. (Colombia)
Looking for cheap tours to Machu Picchu, I found this two-day tour that I really liked. Of course not only because of the price but also because it included an amazing hike that I won’t forget. It is the famous 2-day tour to Machupicchu along the Hidroeléctrica route. Know my experience.
The previous days in Cusco
I spent the previous days in Cusco getting to know places like the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Maras, Moray and the city of Cusco. I loved the city, with its stone streets and beautiful shops. I did not like their food very much, especially the guinea pig that is not to my liking. But for the rest, the culture of the people of Cusco was very interesting, their typical costumes, the llamas and even the cold at night, which is not common in my city. On the fourth day we were ready to visit Machu Picchu. We chose a cheap two-day tour with a tourism agency that we got near the main square.
- More information: The two-day tour to Machu Picchu by Hidroeléctrica is cheaper because it does not include the train ticket. Instead, visitors take a 10-kilometer (2-hour) hike to the town of Aguas Calientes. There you spend the night before visiting Machu Picchu.
The long trip to Hidroeléctrica
The day of the trip a minivan transport picked us up at the door of our hotel. The journey, as we were told, was long and a bit tiring. It lasted 6 hours or so. We made a stop at Abra Málaga where we took incredible photos of Cusco. Everything there was cloudy but you could make out the mountains and the jungle plain where we were going. Then we made another stop in the town of Santa María where we bought fruit lollipops. It was hot and this was very refreshing. After a long time we arrived at the hydroelectric plant. There were already other visitors who were preparing to make the walk. It rained a little but it was not an impediment to start.
- More information: In the city of Cusco there are tourist agencies that offer transportation by minivan to the hydroelectric station. The cost is only 8 or 10 dollars or so. We did the trip with a tour that already included this transportation in round trips.
The hike to Aguas Calientes
After a long trip we were already with all the energy to start the walk and not even the light rain stopped us. The path is easy because we just followed the many tourists who were with us. You just have to follow the train track. Everything is full of trees and the murmur of the river. There were young people, adults, children and even old people and they all completed the goal. That is, anyone can do it. The only difficult section I think is a final shortcut that avoids the tunnels where the train passes. The walk is fun and you have a good time with your friends. I really recommend it if I compare it with the boring and expensive train trip.
- More information: There is a train that runs those 10 kilometers from Hidroeléctrica to the town of Aguas Calientes. These trains depart only early in the morning (7.54 am) or in the afternoon (4.35 pm). However, the vast majority of tourists prefer to walk. Train tickets cost approximately 5 soles for Peruvians and 20 dollars for foreign tourists.
The night in the town of Aguas Calientes
When we arrived at the town of Aguas Calientes it was already dark and we were somewhat exhausted. A gentleman received us and took us to our hotel for that night, a simple service but super comfortable and clean. After a well-deserved shower, we had to go out to dinner (it is included in the tour). The food was super. I served myself a grilled alpaca. The tour guide told us that we could relax in the thermal baths but due to fatigue we prefer to go to sleep. At the hotel, the guide explained everything about the next day and everything we would do in Machu Picchu. This is how our first day of the tour ended.
- More information: The tour includes full transportation, tour guide, entrance fees, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also the night in a hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes. The buses to Machu Picchu were not included but we bought it separately.
The visit to Machu Picchu
Very early in the morning, around 4, we ate the breakfast that was included in the hotel. Then we meet. One group set out on foot to Machu Picchu (approx. 2-hour walk) and another, like us, we bought the bus ticket (only 30 minutes trip). When we all met at the gate of Machu Picchu, the tour guide gave us our tickets. So we all enter together with the guide. The tour was beautiful, we learned more about the history of the Incas. Of course we also took the photo that everyone is looking for. After more than 2 hours we left life happy.
- More information: In the two-day tour to Machu Picchu by Hidroeléctrica, the visit to the Inca city must end at 11:30 in the morning at the latest. This way they will have time to return to Aguas Calientes, have lunch and finally walk back to Hidroeléctrica. The minivan waits there to take the group back to the city of Cusco.
The return to Cusco
After visiting Machu Picchu, a group returned to Aguas Calientes on foot and another, like us, on foot. In the town we had time to have lunch at a restaurant that the guide recommended. We rested and when we reunited with the rest of the group we started the walk back to the Hidroeléctrica station. You have to leave at 1 in the afternoon more or less since at 3:30 in the afternoon the minivan is already part of the return to the city of Cusco. So we did and enjoyed a quiet and happy walk in the company of the panas. When we arrived, the minivan left for a long trip of approximately 6 hours. At about 10 at night we arrived in the city of Cusco happy with a tremendous adventure. One hundred percent recommended!
- More information: The tour cost $150 in total. Some tourist agencies charge a little less, others a little more. However, 2-day tours that include the train ride are $320 or so. I recommend this Hidroeléctrica tour to young people who come with a group of friends like me. The hike is cool and super safe.