Tim Tense, a Belgium travel vlogger, shares how to visit Machu Picchu from Cusco city for 11 Euros (USD $11.79).
In his video, Tim shows viewers the great scenery you’ll find if you decide to take a certain low-budget alternative to getting to Machu Picchu. Typically, travelers arrive to Cusco city and hop on a train to get to Aguas Calientes. In order to cut costs however, the travel vlogger suggests arriving to the Hidroeléctrica station by bus and then walking to Aguas Calientes. He also gives a few additional tips to save money in the process.
There are many other ways to get to the Inca citadel, but Tim’s option works very well for those on a budget.
The Backpacker’s Route from Cusco to Aguas Calientes
This route will take you from Cusco to the Hidroeléctrica train station, and then to Machu Picchu Pueblo, or Aguas Calientes, with a combination of bus and walking. It’s known as the backpacker’s route because of its low-budget nature.
Bussing it from Cusco
The first leg of the trip requires that you catch a bus to Hidroeléctrica from Cusco‘s Plaza San Francisco. It costs around S/40 (11 Euros or $11 US dollars) and takes about six hours. There are stops along the way to stretch your legs, eat and use the restroom.
Tim recommends bringing your own food if you are traveling on a low budget since these stops are not usually cheap.
You will then arrive to the Hidroeléctrica train station in Santa Teresa, where there are hot springs if a short break is needed before continuing the journey.
Walking to Aguas Calientes
The second leg of the trip entails a walk alongside the train tracks for approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours until you reach your final destination. Don’t forget to bring a raincoat if you’re going during rainy season (November-April).
At the end of the walk you’ll arrive at Aguas Calientes, the perfect place to chill out and catch your breath before climbing up Machu Picchu.
It’s recommended to stay in this town for a night to recharge your batteries before heading to Machu Picchu. Go out for a light meal, shop for souvenirs, or let your muscles relax in the hot springs before the trek up to Machu Picchu.
“It’s not a difficult hike,” Tim says in the video, “and you can save a lot of money walking instead of taking the tourist train.”
Other tips for traveling in Peru
Tim recommends communicating with the locals for which some basic Spanish or Quechua is necessary. “The locals will always be happy to help you and share their experiences with you,” says Tim.
He also encourages tourists to eat as much local food as possible since according to him, “the best cuisine in the world is Peruvian.”
“Also, get off the beaten path. Peru is more than Machu Picchu. There are so many ‘undiscovered places’ that are worth visiting,” he told us. “During my first trip, I went to Iquitos, and that was a great experience. I will go back to the selva of Peru for sure!”
Cover Photo: Andrés García Avila/Flickr
This article, originally published on Jun 6, 2019, has been updated with current exchange rates.