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My plane lands in Cusco at 6:00am. The available trains to Machu Picchu on Peru Rail leave at 640a, 735a, and 825a from Poroy. I would like to get to Machu Picchu as quickly as possible.

Here are my questions:

  1. How long does it normally take to get from the airport to the train station?
  2. What happens if I book a 735a ticket and miss the train? Can I pay the difference and get on the 825a train?
  3. Should I buy a ticket now or wait to buy the ticket when I get to the train station and avoid worrying about which train to take?
  4. What are the chances that I could get on the 735a train if I buy a ticket for the 825a train but arrive at the train station early?

I'll be landing on November 26th so it won't be the high tourist season.

  • Update on what happened- Our plane landed early, around 5:30am, and we were able to make the 6:40am train. There were some indications that you couldn't purchase tickets for the train at the train station. This is not the case. As soon as you land, head straight to the train station. We arrived less than 15 minutes before the train and were still able to purchase a ticket. The cab ride was 90 sol but we could have gotten it for cheaper. It must have been too early in the morning too bargain (though it was a long ride). – jonstieg Dec 8 '16 at 1:50
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Even if your plane lands on time, it usually takes at least 20 mins to get off the plane. Then you have to exit the airport, collect your luggage and find a taxi. Assume another 20 mins minimum for the exit, a few mins for the luggage and a few more for the taxi and you are sure to miss the 6:40 train. Hopefully you are coming from Lima or another airport in Peru such that you have cleared immigration already.

Cusco Airport is also notorious for delays since fog often makes landing difficult so that counting on an on-time arrival is risky. It takes 30 mins to get to the train station, assuming no traffic which is likely for such an early arrival. However, should there be a delay landing, you would hit the start of the morning traffic.

Your safest and most likely time to take the train would be 8:25A. The best thing is to order online and pick up your tickets ahead of time in Lima, assuming you are connecting there. Otherwise, Peru Rail, asks for people who do not have a ticket to arrive one hour ahead of time, so that's 7:25A which you should be able to make unless there is a major delay. You can also pickup the tickets starting at 7 AM at Cusco Airport.

Not sure what happens if you book and miss a train but I assume they should have no trouble putting you on the later train unless it is full which is very unlikely in November.

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    @pnuts - It's 8:25A actually which I should have known since that's was my departure too this week. Poster said 8:40 and I blindly copied it, oops. – Itai Oct 30 '16 at 1:19
  • OK, let's assume to follow speed limits :) Felt like 20 mins but I didn't time it, so adjusted to Google Maps time. – Itai Oct 30 '16 at 2:20
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    That's why the last train is the safest. I don't think he can count on catching any other one. It is doable though. One just needs to arrive 15 mins or so ahead at the train station even though they recommend 30 mins. – Itai Oct 30 '16 at 3:39
  • Hope not. Ollantantambo is at least 2 hours away IIRC. It's been a while but that is how I got to Machu Picchu the first time since Poroy was not operating at the time. – Itai Oct 30 '16 at 3:58
  • What's a normal cost for a taxi from the Airport to Poroy? – jonstieg Nov 23 '16 at 21:15

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