In case you didn’t know, taking the train to Machu Picchu is the only way to get to the Inca ruins other than trekking for days. If walking around carrying your stuff doesn’t sound all too fun, we are here to tell you that you can visit Machu Picchu by train! After taking the train across Canada, we have fallen in love with train travel and were excited to see what Peruvian train travel was like! Whether you are ready to take a luxury train ride to Machu Picchu or simply want to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu by train in comfort, you have come to the right place!
First off, it is important to understand that Perurail is the main train operator between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Belmond Hiram Bingham is the luxury train to Machu Picchu and Vistadome is a wonderful medium-priced option for those of you who are looking to be more budget conscious. We sent two of our writers to check out Vistadome and they had a fantastic time!
When taking the Vistadome train, each traveler has a big comfy seat with panoramic windows so you can take in the Sacred Valley. Our team loved it and the picture windows are perfect for photography and bird watching all the way to Machu Picchu. Vistadome also served light snacks and treated guests to a fashion show [which we didn’t even get!!!] on the way back to Cusco. If luxury is more your thing, choosing Belmond Hiram Bingham may be right for you!
5 Things To Know Before Taking The Luxury Train To Machu Picchu
#1: The train ride to Machu Picchu takes a little under four hours but the time flies
A four-hour train ride seems like a long time, but we promise you won’t ever want the trip to end! While on board the Belmond Hiram Bingham, Perurail staff keep you entertained by live music, explanations about what is going on outside, and interactive experiences. The large picture windows allow you an unencumbered view of the Sacred Valley as you whiz by and friendly locals will wave to you as you pass. During your time on the Belmond Hiram Bingham, you will be greeted, your order will be taken, you will be served drinks and snacks and will enjoy live music, you will get to watch the world go by, and finally, your day will be capped off with a lunch or dinner service. Four hours seems like a long time, but it will be much too short and you won’t want the day to end!
#2: Come hungry for gourmet dining and thirsty for unlimited Peruvian cocktails
The Belmond Hiram Bingham takes luxury fine dining to the next level by providing it on their train to Machu Picchu. When you arrive in the dining car, you will think you stepped into a mini 5-star restaurant. The beautifully decorated car, white table cloths, leather-clad menu, and smiling staff all allude to the luxury you are about the experience.
The staff was happy to provide a vegetarian entree, although it is not included on the menu. Entrees for vegetarians consisted of the most fantastic quinoa mushroom risotto in the world and a hearty vegetable pasta for lunch. The desserts were inspired by local Peruvian ingredients and were to die for. While your meal is being prepared, you are invited to hang out in the bar car and sip unlimited Peruvian cocktails. Be careful, though, just one Pisco sour can have you feeling a little tipsy!
#3: The outdoor balcony provides epic views of the passing landscape
We were thrilled to find out that just past the bar car was a car with a balcony off the back of the train. A literal balcony, open to the fresh air! Imagine sipping cocktails and munching on local snacks while standing on a train balcony in the Sacred Valley of Peru! That is literally what happens on the Belmond Hiram Bingham train ride to Machu Picchu! This car is also where the music was played so you are free to enjoy mingling with fellow passengers, taking in the view, trying not to drink too many Pisco Sours, and enjoying traditional and fusion musical styles. When booking your Machu Picchu train tickets on board the Belmond Hiram Bingham, make sure you choose the round trip option because this balcony is closed during the return train trip from Machu Picchu to Cusco as it is dark out.
#4: A private tour of Machu Picchu and high tea at the Belmond Lodge is included in the price of your Belmond Hiram Bingham Perurail tickets
In case you didn’t know, getting to Machu Picchu is expensive! Once you arrive in Machu Picchu Pueblo, the town below the citadel, you must pay $55 USD for your Machu Picchu ticket and about $25 USD for the bus to the top. That is, if you don’t take the Belmond Hiram Bingham! If you book with Belmond Hiram Bingham, all of this and more is included in your Machu Picchu train tickets!
Once you arrive at the Machu Picchu Station, you will take a private bus to the top of the mountain and will embark on a private tour by professional guides that you met aboard the luxury train. Once your tour is complete, you are ushered to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge Hotel for high tea and refreshments. The lodge is located on top of the mountain and right next to the entrance to Machu Picchu so you don’t have far to go! The benefit of the luxury train to Machu Picchu is so much greater than enjoying a wonderful train ride! You will get to make memories that last a lifetime and you won’t have to worry about planning a thing!
#5: Come prepared to be treated like royalty from the moment you enter the train station
From the moment you enter the train station, the Belmond Hiram Bingham staff will treat you like the royalty you are [heehee!]. In Cusco, you are provided with bubbly served on Peruvian woven fabric and are ushered off by traditional music and dancing. At the train station in Machu Picchu, Belmond Hiram Bingham guests have their very own waiting area which is reminiscent of a luxury explorer’s lodge. Om board the train to Machu Picchu, staff are kind and attentive to your every need. Have a question or problem? Simply ask a staff member! Enjoy passed appetizers and your fill of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks before your fine dining experience in the dining car.
Taking the luxury train to Machu Picchu is truly the experience of a lifetime and perfect for luxury travelers, couples, honeymooners, or as a special treat for yourself!
Disclaimer: Perurail provided us with two tickets aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
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