Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Expensive Train Ride: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu

The train tickets of Machu Picchu is the most expensive set of train tickets that I bought. So this train ride deserves its own entry. And I have a load of photos to share.

I got the tickets by booking them in the Peru Rail website, pretty much the same as booking a plane ticket. Got them four months before the trip. Cost: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, $64. Machu Picchu to Cuzco, $117, in the Vistadome section. I bought the ticket based on the train schedule. That, is a pricey ticket. It is equivalent to a roundtrip flight to a country in Southeast Asia from Manila. And I'm just travelling from one town to another town in Peru.

Screenshot of my ticket.

Over the course of my adventures, I've realized that I am not a climber. Mountain climbing is not really my forte. I've done Batad and Mount Pulag and I am fine if I don't climb any other mountain forever (though that is unlikely, I know). Blame it on the lack of proper toilet facilities. If you want to reach Machu Picchu by hiking, there are trails that take 2 days and 10 days if you are that of a hard-core. Just book that months earlier, I've read that they run out of permits.

Anyway, may dangal pa rin naman kahit mag-train di ba? :D

Ollantaytambo train station was 10 to 15 minutes away on foot from Hostal Iskay. It helps that the path is downhill. I didn’t see any sign indicating the distance of the train station so I had to ask the kind resident if I was headed the right way.  He grinned when I told him I was from the Philippines “Wow! Philippine!” with a wide grin.

So here's the train station. I showed my ticket upon entering the premises.

Ollantaytambo train station

The ticket indicates a luggage limit of 5kg – even lighter than a handcarry in the plane! This was not implemented. For the luggages, they were all lined up then carried by the train staff into the train compartment. They did not weigh them at all. They bring down the luggage after the trip. No need to worry about lifting heavy luggage.

The Inca Rail train. Cheaper, I think.

I was  bit early. I hung out at the waiting area. They sell coffee, drinks and snacks, at a premium of course.

Heyah dog.


Luggages laid out.

I have a hunch that I was the first one to book the train ticket as I got seat A1 – right at the front. Score! The downside: It was very hot at that time of the day. I had to leave my seat for a while because I the sun scorched.

Front seat!

Vistadome have glass windows at the ceiling

The ticket comes with meals, which is nice, given the priceyness of it. I had Inca Cola (the yellow liquid there, I try not to associate it with urine), a banana and two cookies with queso and pasas flavors. 
Inca Cola, banana, queso and pasas cookies

The train stopped a few times while if waited for the tracks to be set.

Changing tracks. See the train on the other end?

Once the train gained momentum, they played a recorded track which narrates the stuff that we could see during the journey. Honestly, I can’t remember a lot of the history and fun facts narrated. But I do remember how I felt: EXCITED.

I felt safe throughout the entire journey.

The train was moving fast but not at full-throttle speed. I could capture clear enough photos, some of the lot were blurred though.

The train ride just took around 2 hours. Not sure if there was a toilet in there. The ride wasn’t long enough.

Finally, Aguas Calientes. 

My standard feet shot, with mismatching socks.
I saw went out of the train station and navigated outside. I found a town map, and I easily found the ticket booth of the buses going to Machu Pichu. I bought a round trip ticket for the next day (I paid in Peruvian Soles because I still had a lot). Just a few meters away is my hostel in Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu town).

Tomorrow, Machu Picchu.

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