Those who want to enjoy an exclusive and luxurious experience within Peru do not have to look any further. Because among all the services you can find to enjoy a beautiful train trip, the Hiram Bingham is one of the best. Some associate that going to Machu Picchu can be a unique task for adventurers, due to its incredible treks like the Inca Trail. But this is not necessarily the case. You will be able to enjoy all the comforts, facilities, and services that a 5-star hotel offers on your way to the citadel. That is why together with Machu Travel Peru we have prepared an article for you to know the most important facts about the Belmond Hiram Bingham train.
Everything you need to know about the train of Hiram Bingham
- Hiram Bingham train
- Who was Hiram Bingham?
- The train carriages
- Where to take the train?
- Hiram Bingham itinerary
- Services included
- Hiram Bingham train cost
Hiram Bingham train
First, you should know that this beautiful and all-inclusive train trip is named in honor of the well-known explorer of the same name who found the lost city of Machu Picchu. So what is the Belmond Hiram Bingham? The Belmond Hiram Bingham is a luxury train with an all-inclusive service in which to live unique and unforgettable experiences heading to Machu Picchu. Because it is not enough to know the answer to what is Machu Picchu but also to enjoy the journey toward it.
Therefore, the Hiram Bingham is the most original and magnificent way to travel to the long-awaited Inca archaeological complex. Undoubtedly, this train is one of the best luxury experiences in Peru. Inside this beautiful train to Machu Picchu, you can enjoy amenities such as gourmet food, traditional drinks, and impressive landscapes that the Valley and its surroundings offer.
Who was Hiram Bingham?
The Hiram Bingham train receives the name of a Yale University lecturer, Mr. Hiram Bingham. The American professor unveiled Machu Picchu to the world in 1911, through the National Geographic Society and Yale University (Side note, however, the famous Inca citadel had been discovered 9 years ago by a Cusco agriculture Agustin Lizarraga, a person of lacking resources who did not have any chance of showing the world his discovery). Otherwise, Mr. Bingham had been exploring Cusco since 1909, when he went through Cusco heading to Abancay, searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba.
His first trip to Peru was impromptu due to a year before, he had attended the First Pan American Scientific Congress held in Santiago de Chile; after that, he decided to visit Peru quickly way. He had thought about how to get from Lima to the Cusco jungle immediately (since there was located the legendary city of Vilcabamba, a city built of pure gold and full of riches). In this form, he took a flight to Cusco, beginning his first adventure in Peruvian lands.
On his return to the United States, he divided his time teaching History at Princeton and Harvard University and writing his memories about his Peruvian trip. After reading a draft of this book, Edward S. Harkness, an old friend, encouraged him to return to Peru and complete his objective, finding the Inca lost city Of Vilcabamba. In this way, Mr. Bingham visited Peru once again, this time going directly from Lima to Machu Picchu and finding the world wonder on July 24, 1911. Also, destiny conspired in his favor, he arrived at the best time to visit Machu Picchu, in the dry season. A great event for Cusquenean people and all Peruvians, less for him who kept waiting for any sign of the great Vilcabamba, his timeless “dreaming”.
The train carriages
In Peru, the luxury service goes over rails and receives the name of Hiram Bingham Train, which is formed by five carriages finely decorated. This train was inspired by the elegant British Pullman carriages of the 1920s. It has seats upholstered with fine material and filled with the style of wood from the same period. Of course, Peru Rail, the Peruvian company responsible for the service, wanted to bring a luxury experience on route to Machu Picchu, not only a simple operation of transportation and… What is the result? A complete luxury experience from one arrives at the train station until the return to Cusco.
A. Two Dining Cars
42 tables are reapplied through the two carriages. Tables covered by fine cream blankets, with padded seats of leather. All these lacquered wood pieces of furniture support fine glassware and cutlery.
B. A bar – observatory car
This carriage is exclusive to Peruvian drinks and beverages. Here, the barman shows the travelers how to prepare the famous Peruvian drink called Pisco Sour, a fresh beverage of Pisco (The Peruvian flag alcoholic drink), lemon juice, egg white, and Jelly Syrup. Of course, all this over a finely lacquered cedar bar counter. The bar is open and free for all passengers on the train. But, don’t worry if you want to taste other beverages, it has an extensive menu of drinks and cocktails. Also, this carriage is made up of comfortable armchairs and little coffee tables. If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, this experience can be worth it.
Also, a music band will accompany your round trip. The mix of an electric guitar, a solid bass, Andean pipes, drums and flutes, and the voice of an intoned singer will be the perfect background for your views of jungle and Andean landscapes. This live music band will stay in the bar area making dance to all who dare to show their abilities over the dance floor. Definitely, this kind of experience will make you forget how far is Machu Picchu located.
In the final part of these carriages, you can find a little open balcony with a great view of the different landscapes that the train offers through its route to Machu Picchu. An important piece of information is that the observatory is closed for the return of the train to Cusco. Why?, because the return to Inca’s capital is developed close to the night when cold and humid breezes can be strained and cause discomfort to the other passengers.
C. The carriage-cooking
An exclusive carriage destined for the preparation of gourmet food with fine and exclusive ingredients. Here, the onboard chef with his sub-chef design the menu of the day. The majority of dishes are made up of fine local ingredients from the Andes mixed with fish, some types of rice, and Peruvian Wines. All this conjunction receives a name, inside of the Gastronomy world, the Novo Andean Cuisine, and the Hiram Bingham is the unique train to Machu Picchu that offers this quality of service.
The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options for those who want them. In addition to all this, you will enjoy local craft beers, bread, coffee, and wines. Some selected wines are not within the open bar and have an extra cost.
Where to take the train?
1. Wanchaq Train Station
The bimodal (bus + train) is a recent type of service offered not only by Peru Rail (the train company that manages the Hiram Bingham) but by Inca Rail, another train company, too. This service consists in divide the journey into two, one part by bus and the another by train. In other words, If before a passenger made the trip to Machu Picchu by train, now they have the possibility of doing it partly by bus and partly by train. This service was created for those passengers who don’t support the dizziness of spending many hours traveling in not-so-new trains.
In this case, the exclusive bus of the Hiram Bigham train departs from Wanchaq train station (The station located in the same Cusco City) at 07:20 am. The bus trip to Belmond Rio Sagrado hotel, where the transfer from bus to train, will be realized, is around 2 hours. In this Sacred Valley hotel, you will have your welcome drink.
2. Poroy Train Station
To board the train it is necessary to be at the Poroy station (45 minutes from Cusco), on the outskirts of Cusco. The trip to the station is not long at all, even some transport companies or travel agency transports can take you. When you arrive there, the service begins with a welcome drink (Usually Champagne) served in an exclusive salon (only for Hiram Bingham passengers) while enjoying a traditional dance of Cusco, developed by professional dancers. All this while the train is being conditioned to receive the passenger. We recommend boarding the train from this station, besides being the most traditional form to travel in the Hiram Bingham, you will have the possibility to enjoy the complete service of the train (you will spend more hours onboard) Time of departure at 09:05 am.
3. Urubamba Train Station
However, if you want to travel during the rainy or low season (January to March), the train is boarded from the town of Urubamba. To be more exact in the Sacred Valley, at the door of the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado. So if you travel during this time, you can take advantage and book your stay at this hotel to kill two birds with one stone. In the same way, in the exclusive salon reserved for Hiram Bingham passengers inside Rio Sagrado hotel, you will enjoy a welcome drink (but, without traditional dance) while waiting for the arrival of the train from Poroy. Time of departure 09:40 am.
4. Ollantaytambo Train Station
For those passengers who stay in Sacred Valley hotels, they have the possibility of taking the train from the train station located close to Ollantaytambo ruins. The station has another exclusive salon for the Hiram Bingham passengers and offers a welcome drink there. The train departs at 10:15 am heading to Machu Picchu.
5. Aguas Calientes train station
Whatever the starting station. Aguas Calientes will be the only arrival station (the train arrives at 12:25 pm). It is located 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu, and at this point, the Hiram Bingham busses will be waiting, to take you heading to Machu Picchu. (Also included in the service). Regarding the return, the train departs at 17:50 pm.
Hiram Bingham itinerary
1. Welcome to the Hiram Bingham train
The time the train leaves is different from other trains. This train departs from Poroy district (located 20 minutes from Cusco) at 09.05 am. In case, you take the train at Urubamba Train Station (Located 01:15 hrs from Cusco), the departure time will be at 09:40 am. In Ollantaytambo (located 2 hours from Cusco city), the train will depart at 10:15 am.
*Additional note, if you have the Bimodal service (bus + train), you will take the bus from Wanchaq train station (located in the same Cusco city) at 07:20 am heading to Poroy, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo, to make the transfer to the train. Everything will depend on the train station you choose to make the transfer.
When you arrive at one of those Peru Rail VIP waiting rooms, you will be entertained by dancers and musicians performing Pèruvian typical dances while you enjoying of a delicious welcome drink (Usually Champagne or Pisco Sour) and wait for the train departure.
2. Train journey to Machu Picchu
You will begin your luxury journey in the dining car where the exclusive Hiram Bingham tour guides will explain some interesting Machu Picchu facts. Then, you will enjoy the Andean landscapes, sitting comfortably at your table. A couple of hours later, you will be offered a pre-lunch menu with gourmet food from Peru and a drink such as a Pisco Sour or Wine that is at your disposal for the 4-hour trip to Machu Picchu.
Later, around 10.30 am, you will be invited to the bar to enjoy delicious cocktails and more delicious food (open bar). Also if you prefer, you can try a Cuzqueña beer, the local premium beer, to prepare for your day of adventure.
At 12 pm professional musicians will begin to entertain the atmosphere with Andean music from the Mirador car (which is next to the bar car) They will entertain you until you reach Aguas Calientes town at 12.30 pm.
In this town, the staff from the train service will accompany you to board an exclusive bus, which will take you to the top of the mountain, where Machu Picchu is located.
3. Tour through Machu Picchu
In the citadel, previously showing your Machu Picchu tickets (including in the Hiram Bingham service) you will have a complete tour of two hours and a half with an exclusive guide of the train (divided into groups of 8 people)
After visiting Machu Picchu, the train staff will guide you to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge hotel (Which is located next to the Machu Picchu ruins) to have a Tea Party (To taste desserts, candies, jams, and savory snacks)
4. Return to Aguas Calientes
Next, you will be led to take the bus to return to Aguas Calientes Train Station, and after, board your Hiram Bingham train of return. In all moments, you will be assisted by the Hiram Bingham tour guides.
5. Train return journey
On this route, a four-course dinner is served before arriving at Ollantaytambo Train Station (Time of arrival at 08:00 pm), where some passengers will disembark. Continuing, the bar, its variety of drinks, and the live music will keep maintenance funny and colorful to the night until the arrival to Poroy. There, the passenger will take their private transportation heading to different Cusco hotels (if he booked the train services through a travel agency) or can make the transfer to any exclusive Hiram Bingham buses heading to Wanchaq Train Station. Time of arrival at 10:10 pm.
Therefore, going on this train is a unique experience. You can enjoy various luxurious services. Within them, you will find:
- Welcome pisco cocktail
- Gourmet lunch or dinner
- Open bar
- Observatory wagon to enjoy the views
- Live music band on board
- Sale of souvenirs and jewelry onboard
- Music and dance show at Poroy station
- Hiram Bingham Courtesy Briefcase
- Aguas Calientes bus ticket (round trip)
- Machu Picchu entrance only
- Tour guide in Machu Picchu
First of all, you will need your train tickets to Machu Picchu. These can be booked in advance on the same web of Peru Rail. Or, you can check trought the travel agency. The latter will make your trip much easier.
Hiram Bingham train cost
The Hiram Bingham train costs approximately US $ 500, one way. Keep in mind that the round trip costs approximately US $ 1000. (For those who want to visit Machu Picchu). All these prices are approximate and depend on the time you want to travel. As mentioned above, in the rainy season the train is boarded in Urubamba. Normally, at this time, prices tend to drop due to the low influx of tourism, although the prices of tickets remain the same throughout the year.
To buy the train tickets you can buy them individually or together with a tour operator like us. The last option is the easiest of all and you will only focus on enjoying the different Machu Picchu tours.
“GIVE ME THE LUXURIES OF LIFE AND I WILL WILLINGLY DO WITHOUT THE NECESSITIES”
We hope this little article has been helpful for your future travel plans. Remember that Peru has many beautiful destinations to offer and all with luxury options. If you have any questions related to your trip, do not hesitate to contact us. Machu Travel Peru expects you to have an incredible experience in the Inca country.