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Train Travel in Peru

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 11-10-2022

Train travel is rare in Peru, with rail networks limited to a handful of lines in only a few sections of the country. The train lines that do exist, however, offer travelers an exciting and generally spectacular journey spectacular. The most used and famous is the train to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, which is the only way to reach the site besides walking there. Here is a short guide to train travel in Peru.

 

Altiplano Train Tracks

 

Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu

 

Machu Picchu, located in the high Peruvian Amazon on a rocky outcrop between The Amazon and The Andes, is not accessible by road. The only quick way to join Aguas-Calientes town to Cusco is by train. There are other ways to reach this small town at the base of Machu Picchu, but you have to take local buses, which will take you as far as the hydroelectric plant, and then take a 3-hour walk along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes.

 

Train on the Lima Huancayo Route

 

PERU RAIL 


PERU RAIL belongs to the Orient Express group and offers several levels of services to arrive at Machu Picchu.

 

Peru Rail Trains on The Machu Picchu Route

 

Expedition 


This is the essential tourist service and the least expensive to get to Machu Picchu. It offers fewer viewing opportunities than the other services, and the schedules are often later at night. It is often used by those who are trekking in the region.

 

Vistadome


The wagons of this train are equipped with panoramic windows for an impressive view of the Andean scenery along the way.  Surrounded by glass, even on the roof, passengers will have the impression of being part of this beautiful Peruvian landscape. Hot drinks and refreshments are offered on board. This train departure is from Ollantaytambo, which is 1:30hrs from Cusco city.

 

Hiram Bingham 


This service is the exclusive option to head to Machu Picchu by train. Several travel magazines consider this the most refined train trip in the world; this is a unique experience to arrive at Machu Picchu in the lap of luxury. This superb service offers brunch and dinner on board, a private shuttle up to the Machu Picchu citadel, entrance to Machu Picchu, with a guided tour and afternoon tea in the hotel Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. 

 

Hiram Bingham

 

 

INCA RAIL 


The alternative railway company operates between the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. It also offers various schedules and services ranging from standard to tourist class to Luxury class.

 

Machu Picchu Train

 

Servicio Turista


The wagons seat 48 passengers and have comfortable seats, which have been specially created to assure the comfort of passengers.

 

Servicio Ejecutivo


For those who appreciate good comfort and relaxation, this service offers padded seats and large panoramic windows, and the enthusiastic personnel will assure you of a beautiful journey. A selection of biscuits, dried fruit and nuts of the region, delicious chocolates, and a variety of hot and cold drinks are also included.

 

Servicio primera clase


This unique service is made for the sophisticated traveler who appreciates comfort. On the arrival of your train, you will be welcome with a delicious welcome drink and a thin towel perfumed with natural essences to refresh yourself. During the journey to Machu Picchu, gastronomic cuisine is served with relaxing background music.

 

Servicio presidencial


This exceptional service, with only eight seats per wagon, is a luxurious service to enjoy all the gastronomic enchantment of Peru and impressive top-end services.

 

 

Inca Rail First Class

 

Cusco to Puno

 

Peru Rail’s Andean Explorer departs from Cusco’s Wanchaq station and then journeys south to Puno and Lake Titicaca. The train passes through spectacularly rugged scenery on its lengthy 10-hour journey to Puno, climbing as it leaves Cusco. The first part of the journey allows you to see the phenomenal Andean Mountains that overhang the deep valley with the winding river of Huatanay. Then, it crosses the Andes rolling plains, where it is possible to see vicuñas and alpacas before eventually reaching the expansive high plateaus of the Peruvian altiplano. The Andean Explorer boasts a panoramic wagon, and its glass walls will allow you to fully admire the beautiful landscapes on this journey. A stop is made in La Raya, the highest point on the journey, and the trip includes delicious food on board.

 

Titicaca Explorer

 

 

Lima to Huancayo 


The Ferrocarril Central Andino runs from the port of Callao through Lima and onto La Oroya in the central Andes. At this point, it splits into two branches: north to Cerro de Pasco and south to Huancayo. The Lima to Huancayo route is arguably Peru's most spectacular train journey. The train passes through 69 tunnels, crosses 58 bridges, and negotiates six zigzag switchbacks on its way to Huancayo. As it climbs through the Andes, the train reaches a maximum height of 15,689 feet (4,782 m) above sea level, making it the second-highest train route in the world. Passenger services are minimal, with only one or two departures each month. Upcoming departures are announced on the Ferrocarril Central Andino website; advanced bookings are necessary. The tourist train departs from Desamparados station in Lima, with the trip to Huancayo taking about 12 hours.

 

Lima  to Huancayo Route

 

Tacna to Arica 


Located in the far south of Peru and cut off from other lines, the isolated Tacna to Arica rail service runs passengers across the Peru-Chile border. The 37-mile (60 km) route from Tacna to Arica takes a little over one hour to traverse, making it a slow but exciting alternative to the standard road crossing. There are typically two departures daily from Monday to Saturday, one leaving early in the morning and the other in the late afternoon. Train buffs should set aside time to visit the Museo del Ferrocarril (Rail Museum) located at the Tacna train station.

 

Tacna to Arica

 
 

Contact us here at Valencia Travel if you are interested in train travel through Peru!


 

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