Machu Picchu can be reached by foot or rail, though there’s no doubt that taking one of the classic trains through the lush countryside is a more relaxing way to experience the journey. Sit back and enjoy panoramic views of the stunning Sacred alley of the Incas, aboard a selection of trains with varying levels of service from economy to absolute luxury. Here we provide a comprehensive guide to taking the train to Machu Picchu, the routes available, the train companies and the trains themselves.
All of Peru Rail’s trains to Machu Picchu begin in Poroy Station (18km from Cusco City), which is most convenient for travelers going directly to Machu Picchu from Cusco. There are three different train options available, with stops in Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, making it easy for travelers who are staying in the Sacred Valley.
Formerly known as the “backpacker” train, this is Peru Rail’s most affordable offering, getting travelers from Cusco to Machu Picchu at a fair price without the extra perks that come on the other trains (although it does have a snack and beverage service with one of each included with your ticket). It’s basic, comfortable, and perfect for those on a budget. This Machu Picchu train service departs from Poroy station and Ollantaytambo station.
This train, equipped with giant sunroofs and panoramic windows, is a great option for travelers for whom it’s all about the journey. You’ll enjoy impressive views of the mountains and greenery as the train snakes its way from Cusco to Machu Picchu, with an extensive snack service included. Even better, the return trip includes a traditional Saqra dance performance and fashion show on board! This Machu Picchu train service departs from Poroy Station, Urubamba Station and Ollantaytambo Station.
A class of its own, the Hiram Bingham car is the most luxurious train traveling between Cusco and Machu Picchu, offering nothing less than the finest in service, décor, entertainment, and refreshments. On the Hiram Bingham guests will be greeted with live music and dances, accompanied by a constant offering of appetizers and cocktails. Each ticket includes admission to Machu Picchu, the bus from the train to the entrance of Machu Picchu, and a tour with a professional guide on the site. Those traveling on the Hiram Bingham car will find it an experience in and of itself. This Machu Picchu train service departs from Poroy station and Ollantaytambo station.
Trains operated by Inca Rail leave from the town of Ollantaytambo, which is 1.5 hours outside of the city of Cusco. This is a generally more affordable option than taking the Peru Rail from Cusco, and is also convenient for those planning to visit Machu Picchu from the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo is the train stop within the Sacred Valley, right in front of many of the region’s most popular hotels. Guests coming from Cusco will need to arrange a taxi, bus, or car service to drop them off and pick them up in Ollantaytambo, which is usually possible at the time of booking your ticket (and oftentimes included in the price when booking with hotels or travel agents).
This train is a strong upgrade from the old “backpacker” train, with premium economy cars that will get you to Machu Picchu comfortably at a fair price. This is the cheapest of all the trains. Snack and beverage service is included.
This mid-range option offers two different levels of service, based on your budget and travel style. The executive class offers standard cars with large panoramic windows for viewing the passing scenery, and a beverage and snack service.
The second option of first class is for travelers looking for a bit more luxury: the cars are a step up from executive class, with larger seats, more room, and a more elaborate interior design. First class guests will be greeted with a welcome cocktail, gourmet meal, and snack and beverage service.
Inca Rail’s luxury offering, the Inca Princess (also known as the Presidential Class), is the only chartered service to Machu Picchu. Guests can hire this entire carriage for a private group, and ride to Machu Picchu in the finest of style. Services include welcome champagne, a tasting menu of the region’s finest wines, and an open bar fully stocked for the journey. The décor is much more spacious and comfortable than the other trains, offering comfortable armchairs and sofas in this decadently decorated parlor. Large windows offer pristine views of the landscape, and tailored service will tend to guests’ every need.
A ride on the Private Machu Picchu Train may well be the most luxurious journey you ever make. The capacity of the carriage is just 8 people, giving every single passenger a huge amount of space and comfort. The décor of the carriage is sleek and modern but with an unmistakable touch of traditional Andean design. This gorgeous vehicle will be your home for the next few hours.
The journey starts with a bottle of champagne and continues with a carefully crafted tasting menu paired with sumptuous regional wines. If that’s not enough to keep you satisfied, there is a fully stocked bar on board that passengers can help themselves to.
Huge windows that give travelers exquisite views of the Sacred Valley outside break up the walls of the carriage. These vistas, combined with the gourmet food and copious drinks make this journey quite the experience. You won’t ever want to get off the train!
As you step onto the First-Class Machu Picchu Train you are greeted with a cocktail and the hypnotic sound of Andean music performed live by a troupe of talented local musicians. You will then take your seat in a lavish reclining seat and begin your journey to Machu Picchu.
While you whizz through the lush landscape of the Sacred Valley, you will be treated to a delicious three-course tasting menu. Once fed and watered, passengers will have the chance to hang out in the opulent on-board lounge, complete with a well-equipped bar.
Affording passengers outstanding views of the Sacred Valley, the 360° Machu Picchu Train is the most scenic way of traveling to Machu Picchu. The train has six carriages including a fabulous observation deck and a bar. There is even an outdoor viewing platform.
Everyone in the carriage is served a mouth-watering meal, concocted with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. What’s more, each passenger is equipped with an audio guide, activated by GPS. This wonderful device gives detailed insight into the history of the Sacred Valley and its various ruins.
Still offering an excellent level of comfort but with a much smaller price tag, the Voyager Machu Picchu Train is a great way to get to the famous ruins. Just hop on the train, sink into the plush seats and get your camera ready to snap some shots as you ply through the green slopes of the Sacred Valley.
Hot and cold drinks are available in this carriage, all of which can be sipped comfortably to the sound of gentle background music.
With a different type of train for every budget and taste, getting to Machu Picchu has never been easier! Contact one of our travel specialists for information on how to reserve your spot on the train to Machu Picchu.
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