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Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 15-05-2023


There are numerous options for exploring Peru by rail, and they offer an excellent, perhaps preferable means to see more of such a beautiful country. You can backpack, and you can fly, but seeing Peru by train offers a deeper glimpse into the culture, a means for those who wish to savor the experience. If you are planning to visit Peru, I would encourage you to spend a few days exploring Peru by rail. If it will be your first trip to South America, you may be a little concerned about getting around, or about going beyond the major tourist areas. 


Peru Rail Trains

Train to Machu Picchu

The most popular train line runs to the town of Aguas Calientes, directly. Travel in Peru by rail to the destination on everybody’s bucket list item in Peru, Machu Picchu. Of all Peru train journeys, this is the most popular. Some trains leave from Cusco, from The Poroy station but most travelers take the train from Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley. Tickets are available from Peru Rail or Inka Rail. These are owned by the same company and only give the impression that there is competition in the market. The company is in fact a monopoly and fixes prices extraordinarily high. However, unless you want to walk to Machu Picchu, the train is the only way to get there, as there are no roads. The train to Machu Picchu comes in 4 different classes. 


The route to Machu Picchu

The Local Train

The Local Train can only be taken by Peruvian citizens. This is a subsidized service for local people as the general tourist class train is out of the price range for local people.  Tourists are not allowed to use this service.


Local Train


The Expedition Train

The Expedition train is the tourist class train. This service Onboard comforts, with Inca-culture flare and panoramic views at an unbeatable price, is how Peru Rail describes this option. With food and beverages optional, for a fee. Frequent departures daily.


Expedition Train


The Vistadome Train 

The Vistadome service offers unparalleled vistas through panoramic windows, so you not only see but experience the view from your own seat. Return Vistadome trips include “an on-board alpaca show, featuring baby alpaca wool collections…all available for purchase. Snacks and a non-alcoholic beverage are also included.




The Hiram Bingham 

Hiram Bingham's luxury train cars are painted in blue and gold and furnished in 1920s Pullman style. Each carriage has been decorated with polished wooden panels and brass finishing, with large chairs and plenty of space to stretch out. This service is the most exclusive option to arrive at Machu Picchu on a luxurious train. Considered by several travel magazines as the most refined travel by train, this is a real top-end experience.
The service is accompanied by:
-    Brunch and dining car on board.
-    Exclusive shuttle and round trip to the Machu Picchu citadel.
-    Entrance to Machu Picchu citadel.
-    Guided tour of the citadel.
-    Afternoon tea in the hotel Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge *****


Hiram Bingham

Whichever service you choose to arrive at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, one thing is guaranteed and that is a glimpse of snow-capped mountains surrounding you as you glide through the Sacred Valley along the banks of the Urubamba River. Make sure you ook a train time when it’s still light, to appreciate the magnificent views of The Andes all around you.

Train to Machu Picchu


Train from Cusco to Puno- Andean Explorer

The most comfortable way to see the Altiplano is the train from Cusco to Puno. Imagine a trip on the Orient Express with all the glamour and luxury of train travel from years gone by. Like most of the trains, the train to Machu Picchu is a service designed for foreign travelers, with comparably high prices. Puno is one of the two towns from which you can visit the Titicaca islands on Lake Titicaca and offers the best access to the floating islands of Uros. An over-nighter, Peru Rail claims this service is “South America’s first luxury train that combines genuine daytime getaways with sleeping accommodations.” A southbound journey from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, and then on to Arequipa, this train rolls across the Andean Mountain range and bills itself as “one of the highest train routes in the world,” crossing breathtaking landscape on its way from Cusco to Puno and Lake Titicaca and to Arequipa.


Titicaca Explorer


Titicaca Train

A luxury train, with 1920s-style Pullman carriages, dining cars, and an open-air observation deck. Approximately 10:30-hour day trip, meaning, you get to see the majestic mountains of Peru in all their daylight glory. This is a favorite option for photographers and those travelers looking for a stress-free exploration option. As you traverse the unforgettable route from Cusco to Puno, you will get to embrace the endless panoramic views of the Altiplano, snow-capped Andes, and other spectacular onboard experiences. Included in your ticket is a three-course lunch with wine, afternoon tea, and a welcome cocktail. The meal is prepared with local produce and is served in a comfortable dining carriage. The freshly mixed Pisco sours prepared by the Titicaca barman are a definite ‘not to be missed’. You’ll also get to experience some incredible local treats along the way such as dancing and local live music.


Titicaca Train

Train to Huancayo

it is likely that you have not heard about the second-highest railway in the world, which is a train from Lima to Huancayo that runs through the heart of the Andes. The train passes through breathtaking Andean landscapes during a 12-hour journey that ends in the city of Huancayo in the central Andes, the capital of a region known for its fertile land and traditional handicrafts. If you want to go inland from Lima, there’s a train to Huancayo on Ferrocarril Central Andino, which takes 14 hours. Due to the geology of the Andes, the train goes through 69 tunnels and over 58 bridges. There’s a stop in San Bartolomé where passengers can buy food and souvenirs before the second half of the trip. From Huancayo, another train goes south to Huancavelica.


Huancayo Train

If you enjoy train travel and a slower pace to experience the incredible country of Peru, then contact us here to find out all about train travel in Peru and how you can experience this incredible country in comfort and class, by train!