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Machu Picchu end of the Inca trail

At the end of the tour of Machu Picchu, unfortunately, it is time to return to Cusco. Then, continue with other activities or simply start with the return trip to the places of origin. Nowadays you can find different travel options to make the return trip to Cusco. Many times travel agencies only offer trips on conventional trains. But, there are several alternatives and options for trains. In this blog, we want to talk about some of these and the main services they have. Also about an option that is a bit complicated, but that can save you a few coins. Probably, these options will also help you to make a return trip to Cusco if you travel on your own to Machu Picchu. Let’s get started.

What do you do at the end of the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail, in any of its variations, whether 4-day Inca Trail or 2-day Inca Trail, will culminate with the tour of the Llaqta of Machu Picchu. Some travel agencies offer in their tour packages, alternatives and services to make the trip to Cusco. Some others, probably, do not offer anything and the tourist will have to look for his options to return to Cusco. Although it is hard to accept, some agencies are not involved in achieving activities and good experiences for tourists. Therefore, it is recommended to make a good choice and take into account everything that will be included in the tourist package for this route so requested.

In case you have no idea of the return trip options or you think you can postpone your standard return trip, here are some options to return to Cusco. The normal will be to make the trip by train, but several services are left aside. These train options include even luxury services. It is for that reason that we want to leave some options and the main features of their services. All for you to have a better amount of options. This information will also be important for people who make their return trip on their own or for those who want to request these services from their travel agencies. We will show some train options. So these options could also be useful for the outbound trip. We will also have another travel option in which you can save some money.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu end of the Inca trail

Expedition Train and The Voyager Train

The Expedition train and The Voyager train are the main tourist train options. Surely the outbound trips are made on these trains, so they are also usually booked for the return route. Of course, this is an excellent option because the trips are comfortable and also numbered. The train cannot exceed its passenger capacity for any reason. This, together with the comfortable prices, makes it one of the main options.

The Expedition train belongs to PeruRail, while The Voyager train belongs to Inca Rail. These two companies have similar services. Probably, the only difference between them is the number of trips and the schedules. The latter tend to vary, but they do not have abysmal differences. So both are excellent travel options to start the adventures as well as the return trip. These trains usually offer:

  • Numbered, comfortable and limited capacity seats.
  • Space to store backpacks. In the case of Inca Rail, power sources to charge cell phones.
  • The windows are wide and even offer beautiful views of the entire landscape.
  • Sale of drinks and snacks along with customer service.
  • In the case of PeruRail, direct trips can be made.
  • The Inca Rail trips are under the bimodal service, so you can return to Cusco by bus from Ollantaytambo.
The Voyager train of Inca Rail
Outside view of The Voyager train of Inca Rail

Vistadome Train and 360 Train

These trains are a little more exclusive than those mentioned above. The main difference is that they offer better cars and larger seats. In each of the carriages, the number of passengers is smaller, allowing for a more comfortable and pleasant trip. On the other hand, the cars have larger windows, which can be seen on both trains, so the views of the landscapes are spectacular.

However, some services are offered on board. In both trains and companies, you can find an excellent service on board. All workers are very attentive and help to create order and safety during the trip. If you wish to travel on one of these trains you can enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks. In the case of beverages, you can choose between hot and cold options. Normally the snacks offered are made from ingredients native to Cusco, such as quinoa and amaranth.

On the other hand, we are obliged to talk about the Vistadome Observatory and The Voyager Premium trains. These options are very similar to those mentioned in this section but have social cars ideal for the contemplation of the landscapes and places where we go on the trip. These cars offer drinks and an experience very similar to luxury travel. It is usually offered on the trains mentioned above.

  • Comfortable seats and spacious cars.
  • Large windows in all carriages.
  • All Inca Rail train services feature a short performance of the Ollantay drama.
  • Social and balcony car on the Vistadome Observatory and The Voyager Premium trains.
  • It has an ideal space for backpacks and some luggage or similar.
  • The schedules on these trains allow for a more comfortable ride, especially during the return trip where you can appreciate the sunset.
  • Complimentary snacks and drinks.
  • Live music on the Vistadome Observatory and The Voyager Premium trains.
The 360 train of inca rail
Interior of the Inca Rail 360 train

Luxury trains to return to Cusco from Machu Picchu

Luxury trains are special services offered by both train companies. They are characterized precisely because they offer premium services, first quality, and indispensable services to guarantee a new experience. This new experience will be developed from the moment the train is boarded and the trip is completed. It is for this reason that many people do not want the trip to end. The name of the trains that offer these services is Hiram Bingham by PeruRail. At the same time, the luxury train of Inca Rail is the first-class train.

Complimentary beverages and snacks are offered on both the outbound and return deluxe trains. This is on both trains. In addition, it will be possible to taste the exquisite gourmet menus offered. Although it is not possible to choose the menu, that is to say, to request a specific dish. You will be able to taste delicious dishes in three courses. That is to say, the gourmet menu will include a starter, a main course, and a dessert. In addition, beverages such as water and the choice of wine are also available. On the other hand, these trains have excellent decorations. We must say that in this aspect the Hiram Bingham train has the classic decorations of the trains of the XIX century.

It may seem far-fetched to make the return trip on these trains. But if you can do it, we highly recommend it. The trip in these trains has high costs, but they are an experience apart. Starting with the decoration of the cars, the exclusivity of these services will be seen in the attention and the extra services that are offered during the trip. Live music, the opportunity to have a small party and even meet more people may be enough to make you choose this option. Returning in the luxury trains, after doing the trekking routes, you will have another perspective of the whole route, the visit to Peru and a new experience in reality.

  • Exclusive decoration of the cars.
  • Super wide seats and folding tables.
  • Better layout in the cars.
  • Social cars will also be the place where you can listen to live music.
  • Space inside the car to carry luggage or backpacks.
  • Exclusive travel schedule. Both on the outbound and return route.
  • Three-course gourmet menu, both on the outbound and return route.
  • Toilets inside the train.
  • Complimentary snacks and beverages.
  • Live show upon arrival at the train stations.
Belmond Hiram Bingham train of PeruRail
Belmond Hiram Bingham the luxurious train of PeruRail

Unorthodox return: Hydroelectric

Another type of return and probably the least known and a little strange because few people would dare to do it. As we mentioned these return routes can work for some people looking for new experiences, but also for those who want to save money. Any train trip has a cost that will exceed 60 USD. With this in mind, one way to save quite a bit of money is to make the return trip by Hydroelectric which can have a total cost of 60 to 80 PEN.

This return option will not be exclusively a recommendation to return to those who have done the Inca Trail, in any of its variations. As mentioned above, it is quite normal for agencies to generate services with everything necessary. This should include the return train tickets. If for some reason or case, it was not included and you are looking to save money, this route will be the right one. For this, you will have to start the return walk at 11:00 in the morning. This is to arrive at Hydroelectric before 14:00 hours, have time for lunch, and then start the return trip to Cusco. The return transport will be in Sprinter minivans. These vehicles can be found right in the parking area. The characteristics of the trip are as follows:

  • The return route is as follows: Hydroelectric – Santa Teresa – Santa Maria – Cusco.
  • The travel capacity is between 16 to 19 passengers.
  • It is very important to make reservations with a transportation agency that covers this route.
  • Free vehicles are not very likely to be found, especially on the route from Hydroelectric to Santa Teresa.
  • From Santa Teresa, you will be able to make the trip normally. One option is to stay one night there and visit Cocalmayo.
  • The total trip to Cusco can take between 5 and 6 hours.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 26-03-2024

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