Before I went on my trip, I booked flights and the train beforehand. Flew from Lima to Cuzco with Star Peru and then took the Backpacker train to MP. I would recommend doing an overnight stay at the hotel in Aguas Calientes to enjoy the experience and the hikes over the 2 days. Just a note: La Pequena Casita hotel is shady and gave us a smaller room (think closet) than what we booked and they charged us $10 for a heater on top of that. Its the customer service and the price gouging of tourists that pissed me off.
Anyhow, back to what I was saying.. On the first day we arrived on train, checked into the hotel, and then took the bus up to MP. I would recommend you pay for the bus ride since you should save your energy for hiking around MP.
We took an exploration hike around the base of the ruins and took pictures with the llamas. On the 2nd day we hiked up Huayna Picchu which is very steep and narrow. If you’re not in good physical shape, I wouldn’t recommend this since this involves steep steps and tight tunnel climbing at the very top. Well worth the efforts. I sat at the edge of the rocks and soaked in the beauty of overlooking MP from a gorgeous arial view.
We didn’t have a tour guide since we are more independent. At the top we did meet a tour guide that was with a few Brazilians and he helped me down the mountain. He made it super easy to come down as he allowed me to brace his arm. We made new friends and I would have to say it was one of the best experiences in my life.
Have a wonderful trip and enjoy! Peru offers the most amazing places to visit.