[This page is obviously under construction, but will be one of the biggest and busiest very soon because I am absolutely obsessed with Machu Picchu! Thirteen visits to the citadel in the first half of this year and nearly 40 overall plus countless other trips to explore the surrounding jungle in the past 2 years should tell you how much passion I have for the place!]
The options to get to Machu Picchu are basically wither by train or by taking a long ride in a colectivo (shared van) then hiking in about 11 km along the extension of the railroad tracks. There simply are no other options.
The easiest and most popular way to go to Machu Picchu is by train. There are two rail companies which travel to the village in the valley below Machu Picchu called Machupicchu Pueblo (also commonly called Aguas Calientes by both locals and tourists).
PeruRail is the only one I have used because I have become used to their consistent service along with the comfort, quality, and safety of their trains. (It does help that many of their employees are friends and they often call me by name while traveling or visiting an office.
I tend to buy my tickets online and because it allows me to take my time and select the route that I want depending on my desired itinerary — something that often varies. (Because I use a non-Peruvian credit card, I have to go by one of their offices with my ID and the credit card used to have my ticket officially issued. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but I don’t mind the extra layer of security.)
There are generally a variety of options available depending on what you want. Currently PeruRail has three levels of train service — the Expedition Train, The VistaDome train, and the VistaDome Observatory train.
The Expedition train is the cheapest and the one I recommend. The difference between it and the VistaDome train are the larger windows on the latter. To be honest, the difference in the size of the windows is minimal and the glare will make getting decent photos a challenge anyway. (Many of the Expedition windows can be opened at the top allowing you to photograph or film without the hindrance of glass. You can’t do that n the VistaDome cars.)