The Wanchaq station: connection from the south of Cusco with Machu Picchu

The Wanchaq station is similar in age to the San Pedro station. Although the main destination of the Wanchaq station was to connect Cusco with southern Peru until reaching the Peruvian coast. The first railway lines connected Cusco with Sicuani, and after a while, it managed to connect with Puno and Arequipa. In this way, the population of Cusco or Lima could make trips between both destinations. The construction of these railways managed to revive life in Cusco but seemed to fade after a time of splendor. Let’s learn more about the history and the services that can be done in reality.

Wanchaq Train Station in Cusco

History of the Wanchaq Station

Buses ready to start the bimodal service to Machu Picchu

It will be important to start this article by talking about the past of Cusco. Cusco, for the Tawantinsuyo, in the time of the Incas, represented the capital of all this culture. However, after the arrival of the Spanish, the political domain changed and the time of the colony began. During the first years of this period, Cusco continued to be a space of power thanks to the indigenous population that still lived there. At this point, it is important to highlight that many families of the Tawantinsuyo elite disappeared due to civil conflicts before the arrival of the Spaniards and later due to marriages between Spaniards and natives. Of these marriages, a large number traveled to Spain. The indigenous population that remained in Peruvian territory was abandoned by the elites and was disorganized, which facilitated a process of slavery in the mines.

Something that ended up sealing the presence and the end of Cusco as a point of power was the uprising of Túpac Amaru II, a chieftain of Tinta y Canas. As cacique, he paid respect to him and paid the corresponding tributes to the Spanish Crown. However, in the year 1780, precisely on November 4, he decided to capture and hang the corregidor Antonio de Arriaga, thus starting a revolution nine years before the French Revolution. After being betrayed and captured, he was dismembered in the current Plaza de Armas in Cusco with his relatives. After these battles, they endangered the dominance of the Spanish colony. Several laws and death sentences were decreed for those who decided to honor or adore the Sun. In this way, the decline of Cusco began after the death of several caciques who supported the revolution of Túpac Amaru II, which diminished the economy and political axis of Cusco.

After the probable economic loss that the entire revolution represented and the exponential growth of Lima, Cusco was overshadowed even 50 years after Peruvian independence. In the year 1908, after 87 years, the Peruvian State sees the need to unify the Peruvian coast with the Andes. That is why a new train station in Cusco is built to connect with trains from Arequipa, Juliaca, Puno, and Sicuani. In this way, the Wanchaq station was built, while the existing San Pedro station would connect with the east, the Cusco jungle, and the arrival at Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo. Thanks to the creation of these Ferra’s lines, greater mobilization and economic flow were created that began to glimpse Cusco as a tourist reference in Cusco.

Services at the Wanchaq Station in Cusco

Wagons of train Andean Explorer

The first services that were carried out from the Wanchaq station included trips from Cusco to Sicuani, later from Cusco to Juliaca, until finally reaching Arequipa. Currently, these services continue to be provided, but with greater exclusivity and luxury trips that most Peruvians cannot access. It also has a service connection with exits to Machu Picchu. The Wanchaq train station is located near the Historic Center of Cusco. This place offers different services that, as we already mentioned, include routes to Machu Picchu and departures to the south of Cusco. The organization, upkeep, and maintenance of the railways in both the southern and eastern sections are in charge of the company Ferrocarril Trasandino S.A.

The southern section covers the route from the port of Matarani in the Islay province of Arequipa. From this port, a large quantity of ore extracted from the southern areas of Peru was transported to Lima. Although at present roads were open for transport from Cusco to Arequipa or Cusco Lima. The railways continue to be used since the year in which this entire section was completed, 1908. Currently, luxury trips are made that highlight the best destinations in each of the mentioned regions. As for the trips that are made to Machu Picchu, you can find the bimodal service and the direct transport service. At this station, it is possible to find train tickets to Machu Picchu from the transport companies Inca Rail and PeruRail.

Luxury services
Luxury services can be found at all destinations. The most recognized luxury trips worldwide are carried out by the Andean Explorer, a service that travels through southern Peru. If we start from Cusco, we will pass through the Tinta, Sicuani, La Raya, Juliaca, and Puno stations. These trains have very comfortable rooms, food during the trip, and more exclusive services. You will also find luxury services on your trip to Machu Picchu, both on Inca Rail and Peru Rail.

What is the address of Wanchaq Station?

The Wanchaq train station is located near Avenida el Sol and the Pachacútec Oval. Exactly you have to get to Av. Pachacútec and enter through one of the gates. If you want to do the section walking from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, it is possible to do it by descending the mentioned avenues. The walking time will be 15 minutes at a brisk pace. In case you have many belongings you can arrive by taking a taxi. The travel time from the square will be only 5 or 7 minutes. This may vary depending on traffic.

In case you already have your train ticket reservations, remember not to forget your identity documents or passport. These documents will help you validate your identity to use the tickets. Also, it is important to be 30 minutes before the indicated departure time. That is, if the departure time indicates 4:22 p.m., the passenger must be in the waiting room at 3:52 p.m. with their belongings ready to access the trains or buses, as indicated in the reservation previously made.

If your hotel is far from the Wanchaq train station, it is best to take a taxi. Remember that if you do not know the route you can waste more time searching for the correct path or asking questions about the correct direction. Within the facilities of the Wanchaq train station, you will find a waiting room, bathrooms, and some establishments that offer sandwiches, drinks, snacks, fruits, coffee, and other food for sale.

What tickets can be purchased and how?

Route of the railways on the way to Puno south of Cusco

As we mentioned throughout the article, from the Wanchaq station you can make different departures, therefore you can buy these tickets from the physical facilities, both for PeruRail and Inca Rail. However, in many cases, there have been long queues to get a train ticket, especially the trips that include the route from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, because it is the route to get to Machu Picchu. While the exclusive tickets that include the routes to Arequipa or Puno are normally made via the Internet or virtually. This does not mean that you cannot make reservations or purchases of train tickets for Machu Picchu virtually. You can make the reservation for train tickets on the website of Inca Rail and Peru Rail.

To save yourself from making reservations one by one or consulting entrance tickets to Machu Picchu, it is taking the all-inclusive tour from our web pages. Next, we leave you the steps you must follow to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco:

  • 1. Search dates of availability to enter Machu Picchu.
  • 2. Remember that there are 5 types of tickets to Machu Picchu.
  • 3. You can check availability here:
  • 4. Once you have selected and purchased your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu, you must make the reservation for the train ticket.
  • 5. Train services vary in terms of quality and prices.
  • 6. Train reservations and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu can be done on our website.
  • 7. Once we have the tickets we will issue them to you by email.
  • 8. If you have doubts, a travel advisor will advise you to plan your trip to Peru or Cusco.
  • 9. Remember that you will have to look for a hotel and make a room reservation. This is also possible via virtual.
  • 10. Plan the activities you will carry out or otherwise contact our advisors.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, May 23, 2023

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