Everyone that makes the journey to Peru will one way or another end up at Machu Picchu and getting to Machu Picchu the Inca citadel is often what most people think about, there are a few ways but nothing more popular than the train from Cusco city to Machu Picchu.
There are three points at which you may catch the train, the closest to Cusco is Poroy, which is around eight miles from the center of Cusco, the next is Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas which is around fifty- six miles from Cusco and lastly Urubamba in the Sacred Valley which has one train a day. Before 2009 you could catch the train from Cusco City itself but sadly that has now stopped, which is a great shame as you will not be able to experience the zigzag train return to Cusco.
There are two main companies operating the train service to Machu Picchu, one is PeruRail which operates from all stations, Poroy, Ollantaytambo and Urubamba and is the larger of the two companies and Inca Rail which only operates from Ollantaytambo, both have similar services, but only PeruRail offers the Hiram Bingham service, we will go into more detail about this service later.
There are a few different PeruRail services for your train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, the one you choose depends mostly on prices and the quality of service you require and also on time schedules, the first we will talk about is the PeruRail Expedition train, formally known as the Backpacker train, this is the most economical of the PeruRail trains and is for tourists to travel to Machu Picchu from both Poroy near Cusco and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, the train carriages feature designs of the Inca Culture, making this a great way to start your Machu Picchu tours. You will be taken care of by trained staff during the trip serving hot or cold beverages and snacks made from local ingredients.
The next step up on the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu with PeruRail is the Vistadome train which will cost you a bit more money than the Expedition, the luxury and features of this train will be worth the extra money spent as you will get to enjoy the panoramic windows located beside and above your seat that will let you get close to nature while passing beautiful mountains, villages and the raging Urubamba river. This train leaves from both Poroy and Ollantaytambo and returns also to the same stations.
The one train a day PeruRail Sacred Valley train leaves from Urubamba to Machu Picchu and features all the luxury of the other trains and mostly caters for guest of the hotel Belmond Rio Valley Sagrado.
The most expensive PeruRail train is the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, travel on the exclusive and luxurious Hiram Bingham and you will enjoy an elegant dining car, bar and the observatory, in which you will see unmatched scenery in the open-air carriage, while enjoying a cocktail and listening to music. When you board the Hiram Bingham you will receive a welcome cocktail, brunch and a delicious lunch all served with an excellent selection of wine. The train cars are decorated in the 1920’s Pullman style, furnished with polished wood furniture and large comfortable chairs.
There is a local service available but this is not available to foreign citizens only Peruvians and doesn’t run all year round.
PeruRail also offers other great train journeys to other great destinations in Peru that will please even the most hardened train lover, for example the luxury Belmond Andean explorer, South America’s first luxury sleeper train, with luxury cabins featuring bathroom and private chefs on the route Cusco to Arequipa, offering one or two-night accommodation on board the train.
Another great Peruvian train journey is the PeruRail Titicaca which travels from Cusco to Puno, Peru, to the shores of Lake Titicaca from where you may take tours to the wonderful floating Uros Islands or one of the many other islands in the lake. The train also travels in reverse back to Cusco.
Inca Rail is the other company for trains from Cusco to Machu Picchu which offers daily services to the Inca site, they have three different services firstly the Executive Class train, featuring big panoramic windows and really comfy seats making the journey on this train to Machu Picchu a pleasure. The Executive Class train has several different departures daily to and from Machu Picchu.
Next available train from Inka rail is the First-Class train, with maximum comfort and space and delightful gourmet meals it also features a luxurious observatory lounge and live music, the train travels through the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s to Machu Picchu.
The last and most luxurious train that Inca Rail offers and which is the only train that you can charter to Machu Picchu is the Presidential Class train, has all the luxury inclusions, lunch and dinner, drinks and entertainment just for you and your party, The Presidential trail will not disappoint the luxury traveler.
For some of the most beautiful and luxurious train trips on the planet take a train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, one of the most unforgettable train journeys experiences not only for the train lover but also the person that wants to experience luxury and beautiful scenery.