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EXPLORING PERU'S PANORAMIC TRAIN ROUTES

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Published: 24-08-2023


In the heart of South America lies a land of captivating landscapes, rich history, and a vibrant tapestry of cultures. Peru, a country renowned for its ancient Incan ruins, breathtaking Andean peaks, and lush Amazon rainforests, offers a unique and enchanting experience through its scenic train journeys. Among these journeys, the famous "Hiram Bingham" and the lesser-known Huancayo Train stand as testaments to Peru's commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing the future.

The Andean Explorer

The Hiram Bingham: A Luxurious Path to the Past

Step into a realm of luxury and history with the Hiram Bingham train, a journey reminiscent of the legendary Orient Express. Named after the American explorer who rediscovered Machu Picchu, this train ride weaves through the rugged Andean landscape, connecting the ancient city of Cusco to the awe-inspiring Incan citadel. Passengers are treated to panoramic views of the Sacred Valley while indulging in gourmet cuisine and elegant interiors, creating an experience that bridges the gap between the past and the present.

Dining Car on Hiram Bingham

Traversing the Andes: The Spirit of the Mountains on the Andean Explorer

As the sun casts its golden glow on the rugged Andean landscape, another train journey unfolds, inviting travelers to embrace the Andean Explorer. This luxurious train winds its way through the highlands, connecting Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, to the picturesque city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake. The journey is a symphony of colors and cultures, where snow-capped peaks stand in contrast to the vibrant textiles worn by the locals.

Andean Explorer

Huancayo Train: A Voyage into the Heart of the Andes

Venture off the beaten path with the Huancayo Train, an extraordinary journey that traverses the scenic Andean landscapes between Huancayo and Huancavelica. This remarkable route offers a glimpse into the heart of rural Peru, where passengers can witness the rugged beauty of the region, interact with local communities, and immerse themselves in the traditional way of life that has withstood the test of time. The Huancayo Train showcases the profound connection between people and the land they call home.

Huancayo Train

 Portals to the Soul of Train Journeys

What better way to immerse oneself in the magic of train travel in Peru than through literature? A myriad of books and novels offer readers a chance to experience these journeys through the eyes of characters who themselves embark on transformative adventures. These pages breathe life into the landscapes, and the rhythmic clatter of the wheels resonates in the hearts of readers.

The Route to Machu Picchu

"The Last Train to Key Lock" by Percy Higuchi seamlessly blends historical fiction with the allure of train travel. Through the eyes of its characters, readers traverse the breathtaking landscapes of Peru, immersing themselves in the rich culture and history that the train journey encapsulates.

Another remarkable read, "Tracks to Titicaca" by Margaret Powell, delves into the magic of Peru's railways. This novel takes us on a voyage to Lake Titicaca, unraveling stories of love, hope, and the bonds that tie humanity together.

"The Train to Crystal City" by Jan Jarboe Russell weaves together the tales of internment and family bonds, drawing readers into the intricate web of human emotions while highlighting the significance of train travel as a symbol of connection and separation.

Take a Book

Why embark on a Panoramic Train journey through Peru?

There's an allure to train travel that transcends time, an enchanting throwback to an era when the journey itself was as significant as the destination. Peru's panoramic train routes offer a unique opportunity to experience the romance of old-style train travel, reminiscent of the iconic Orient Express. A train adventure beckons those who seek more than just transportation—a voyage that unravels the rich tapestry of Peru's landscapes and history.

Near Aguas Calientes

Why is a Panoramic Train journey through Peru worth it?

The allure of Peru's panoramic train routes lies in the unrivaled beauty that unfolds outside your window. Picture yourself winding through lush valleys, towering mountains, and ancient ruins, all from the comfort of a classic train compartment. The juxtaposition of luxury and rugged beauty makes this adventure an unparalleled experience, creating memories that linger long after the journey ends.
 What better way to arrive at an iconic site such as Machu Picchu than by luxury train?

Train Track along The Vilcanota River

Different itinerary options for a Panoramic Train journey through Peru.

Choose your own adventure with diverse itinerary options, each journey promises a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural immersion.

Machu Picchu Train:

Why Choose This Route: Immerse yourself in the ancient Incan wonders, combining history and breathtaking landscapes.
Itinerary Highlights: Depart from Ollantaytambo or Poroy (near Cusco) on the scenic ride to Aguas Calientes. From there, a short bus journey takes you to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. The return journey offers another opportunity to soak in the Andean beauty

Machu Picchu Train

Andean Explorer Route (Cusco to Puno):

Why Choose This Route: Experience luxury travel through the Andean highlands with stunning views and cultural encounters.
Itinerary Highlights: Departing from Cusco, the Andean Explorer travels to Puno on Lake Titicaca. Passengers enjoy panoramic views of the Andes, visit the archaeological site of Raqchi, and witness the beauty of the La Raya pass. The journey concludes with the charm of Puno and the expansive Lake Titicaca.

Titicaca Explorer

Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Route:

Why Choose This Route: Delve into the heart of the Sacred Valley before reaching the iconic Machu Picchu.
Itinerary Highlights: Starting in Urubamba, the train winds through the Sacred Valley, passing by sites like Chinchero and Ollantaytambo. The journey allows passengers to explore these historical sites before arriving in Machu Picchu Pueblo for the final leg to Machu Picchu itself.

Inca Rail and Peru Rail Trains

Belmond Hiram Bingham Route:

Why Choose This Route: Indulge in luxury reminiscent of the Orient Express, offering an exquisite journey to Machu Picchu.
Itinerary Highlights: Departing from Poroy, near Cusco, the train provides an opulent experience with gourmet dining, live music, and impeccable service. The journey mirrors the classic Machu Picchu route, offering an elevated travel experience through the Sacred Valley.

Hiram Bingham

How difficult is the Panoramic Train journey through Peru trip?

Fear not, as these train routes cater to all comfort levels. While some journeys offer opulent luxury akin to the Orient Express, others provide a more rustic, authentic experience. Select the itinerary that aligns with your preferences and physical abilities, ensuring a delightful and manageable expedition.

Near Aguas Calientes

Trip Advisor Comments About a Panoramic Train Journey through Peru

Rave reviews on Trip Advisor highlight the enchantment passengers feel. One user commended the impeccable service and breathtaking views, while another praised the knowledgeable guides who brought history to life. These testimonials underscore the universal appeal of Peru's panoramic train routes.

"A Journey Beyond Expectations"
Rating: ★★★★★

User: AdventureSeeker87

Date of Travel: June 2023

Review:

Peru's trains redefine travel! The Andean Explorer from Cusco to Puno was a revelation. The landscapes unfolded like a living painting—mountains, lakes, and vast plains. The onboard service was impeccable, and the cultural stops along the way added a layer of authenticity. A must for anyone seeking adventure with a touch of luxury.

Title: "Luxury on the Tracks"
Rating: ★★★★★

User: JetsetterSophie

Date of Travel: September 2023

Review:

All aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham! This train journey to Machu Picchu was nothing short of spectacular. From the moment we stepped on, it felt like stepping back in time. The attentive staff, gourmet meals, and elegant atmosphere made it a luxurious escape. The views of the Sacred Valley were the perfect backdrop for a truly enchanting experience.

Title: "A Unique Cultural Expedition"
Rating: ★★★★☆

User: CulturalNomad23

Date of Travel: April 2023

Review:

I chose the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu route for a cultural immersion. The train ride was a sensory feast—vibrant markets, ancient ruins, and stunning Andean landscapes. It's not just a journey; it's a cultural expedition. If you're a history and culture enthusiast, this route provides a perfect blend.

Title: "Adventurous Spirit Rejoices!"
Rating: ★★★★☆

User: MountainExplorer101

Date of Travel: July 2023

Review:

Embarked on the Machu Picchu Train Route it was an adventure seeker's dream! The journey was smooth, the staff was knowledgeable, and the views were absolutely mind-blowing. It's a perfect choice for those who crave a bit of adrenaline along with its scenic beauty.

Title: "Nature's Symphony Unveiled"
Rating: ★★★★★

User: EcoTraveler2023

Date of Travel: August 2023

Review:

Took the Andean Explorer to witness the diverse beauty of Peru. The train journey seamlessly transitioned from the Andean highlands to the Amazon basin. The ever-changing landscapes were like a symphony of nature. The Amazon Rainforest Express extension was the cherry on top—truly an eco-traveler's paradise.

See more reviews on Tripadvisor about  Train Travel in Peru here.

Andean Explorer

The best time to do the Panoramic Train journey through Peru trip

Timing is crucial for an optimal experience. Aim for the dry season (May to September) to avoid rain and revel in clear skies. This ensures unobstructed views from the train and comfortable conditions for exploration. There will also be fewer disruptions in the dry season and fewer train delays or landslides due to heavy rainfall.  

Inka Rail

Can you do a Panoramic Train journey through Peru Trip on your own?

Absolutely! While guided tours are available, independent travelers can plan their Peru adventure! Train tickets, accommodations, and permits can be booked in advance, granting flexibility and control over the itinerary.

Hydro Electrica

What to consider when choosing a Panoramic Train journey through Peru trip

Consider your preferences, fitness level, and the type of experience you desire. Whether you prioritize luxury, cultural immersion, or a blend of both, Peru's panoramic train routes offer tailored options to suit every traveler.

Train Tracks over a River

How to get to the departure point for a Panoramic Train journey through Peru trip

Start your journey by flying into major cities like Lima or Cusco, with convenient transportation options to the departure points of these scenic train routes. Companies such as Peru Rail and Inca Rail offer all services to Machu Picchuby train from Cusco.

Train Tracks Near Aguas calientes

Essential packing list for a Panoramic Train journey through Peru

Pack layers, comfortable footwear, a good camera, and don't forget a sense of adventure. The climate can vary, so be prepared for both warm days and cool nights.

Clothing:

  • Comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing for daytime excursions.

  • Warm layers for cool evenings and high altitudes.

  • Rain jacket or poncho, especially during the rainy season.

  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection at higher altitudes.

  • Comfortable walking shoes suitable for both urban exploration and nature walks.

  • Swimsuit (for hot springs or relaxation at accommodations).

Travel Essentials:

  • Valid passport and necessary travel documents.

  • Train tickets and reservation confirmations.

  • Money in local currency (Peruvian Soles) for on-the-go expenses.

  • Credit/debit cards and a secure money belt.

  • Travel-sized first aid kit with essentials (pain relievers, bandaids, etc.).

  • Personal identification, emergency contacts, and any necessary medical information.

Electronics:

  • Camera or smartphone for capturing the stunning scenery.

  • Portable charger and charging cables.

  • Travel adapter for electrical outlets in Peru.

Travel Comfort:

  • Neck pillow or travel pillow for added comfort during the journey.

  • Lightweight blanket or scarf for cooler temperatures on the train.

  • Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones for a peaceful ride.

Daypack/Backpack Items:

  • Small backpack for day trips and excursions.

  • Water bottle to stay hydrated.

  • Snacks for in-between meals.

  • Guidebook or maps for reference.

  • Travel journal and pen for documenting your journey.

Personal Care:

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.).

  • Wet wipes or hand sanitizer for quick clean-ups.

  • Personal medications and a basic first aid kit.

  • Insect repellent, especially if venturing into jungle areas.

Miscellaneous:

  • Small umbrella or travel-sized rain gear.

  • Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife for practical use.

  • Travel locks for securing your luggage.

  • Books, e-reader, or travel games for leisure during the journey.

  • Lightweight and foldable daypack for added storage during excursions.

Documents and Safety:

  • Photocopies of important documents (passport, travel insurance, etc.).

  • Emergency contact information and any relevant medical details.

  • Travel insurance details and contact numbers.

Sacred Valley Train Tracks

How to prepare for a Panoramic Train journey through Peru

  • Familiarize yourself with the route, weather conditions, and local customs. 

  • Preparing in advance ensures a smooth and enjoyable journey.

View from The Titicaca Explorer

Tips on altitude sickness in Peru

  • Given the elevated terrain, acclimatization is crucial. 

  • Stay hydrated, take it easy on arrival

  • Consult with a healthcare professional for altitude sickness prevention.

  • Drink Coca Tea

  • Avoid heavy meals the first few days

  • Rest 

Route To Machu Picchu

Pro tips for a Panoramic Train journey through Peru

  • Opt for a window seat to maximize your viewing pleasure

  • Engage with fellow passengers to share in the collective wonder of the journey.

  • Switch off your cell phone!

Storm Over The Train Tracks

How much does a Panoramic Train journey through Peru cost?

Costs vary based on the selected route and level of luxury. Budget-conscious travelers can find options that offer an authentic experience without breaking the bank, while those seeking opulence can indulge in premium packages.

Inca Rail:

Inca Rail offers various train options, including the Inca Princess and Voyager classes.
Prices can range from approximately $100 to $200 or more, depending on factors such as class, time of booking, and departure point (e.g., Ollantaytambo or Poroy).
The higher-end classes may include added amenities such as larger seats, meals, and entertainment.

PeruRail:

PeruRail operates several train services, including the Expedition, Vistadome, and Belmond Hiram Bingham.

Expedition class tickets may start around $70

Vistadome is around $120

Luxury options like the Belmond Hiram Bingham can range from approximately $500 to $800 (one way) or more.

The Belmond Hiram Bingham is a luxury service, providing an upscale experience with gourmet meals and entertainment.

Aguas Calientes

FAQs

Why should I choose a panoramic train journey in Peru?

Peru's panoramic train journeys offer a unique blend of luxury and breathtaking scenery. You'll traverse diverse landscapes, witness historical sites, and experience the beauty of the Andean region in a comfortable and scenic way.

What are the different panoramic train routes available in Peru?

There are several routes, including the classic Machu Picchu route, the Andean Explorer from Cusco to Puno, the Sacred Valley Expedition, and specialty routes like the Belmond Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu. Each route offers distinct experiences and scenery.

Is the journey suitable for all ages and fitness levels?

Yes, most panoramic train journeys are designed to accommodate a wide range of passengers. However, it's advisable to check the specific itinerary and choose one that aligns with your fitness level and preferences.

When is the best time to embark on a panoramic train journey in Peru?

The dry season from May to September is generally considered the best time. Clear skies and mild temperatures enhance the scenic experience. However, some routes can be enjoyed year-round.

Can I explore attractions along the way during the train journey?

No, many train journeys do not include stops or opportunities to explore attractions, especially on the way to Machu Picchu. Keep your eyes peeled for ancient ruins, local markets, or cultural sites, along the way as well as spectacular mountain vistas.

Can I book tickets for the panoramic train journey online?

Yes, most train companies offer online booking options. It's recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred class and departure time.

What should I pack for a panoramic train journey in Peru?

Pack comfortable clothing, layers for varying temperatures, a hat, sunscreen, a camera, and any specific items mentioned in the provided packing list. Consider the nature of the journey and the destinations.

Are meals provided during the train journey?

Many train services provide meals, especially in higher-class categories. The Expedition trail does not include meals, whereas the Hiram Bingham train includes luxury dining. Check with the specific train service for details on inclusions.

How do I deal with altitude sickness during the journey?

Stay hydrated, acclimatize gradually, and consider consulting a healthcare professional before traveling to high-altitude destinations. Some train journeys, like the Andean Explorer, offer oxygen supplementation if needed.

What are the cancellation and refund policies for train tickets?

Check the specific terms and conditions of the train service provider. Policies can vary, so it's crucial to be aware of cancellation deadlines and refund processes.

Inca Rail

Embracing the Future, Honoring the Past

Peru's commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while embracing modernity is evident in the way it has nurtured its train travel experiences. The Hiram Bingham, the Andean Explorer, and the Huancayo Train aren't just trains; they're vessels that carry the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of a nation forward. They serve as bridges between the past and the future, where the echoes of history resonate with the promises of tomorrow.

Hiram Bingham

As travelers embark on these panoramic routes, they're not just passengers; they become part of a narrative that spans centuries. They're storytellers in their own right, capturing the essence of Peru's landscapes, cultures, and stories, and carrying them to the world beyond.

Train in The Cloud Forest

So, let the rhythmic cadence of the wheels propel you into the heart of Peru. Let the train's whistle serenade you with tales of old and new. Let the landscapes that unfold before your eyes etch themselves into your soul. For on these train journeys, you're not merely an observer; you're an active participant in the dance of time and history. Find out more about train travel in Peru here and transcend the boundaries of different historical periods as you travel through Peru by train.

 

Enter the Tunnel

 

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