Before you start your amazing adventure to the famous Machu Picchu, we would like to introduce you to the different train options and what things you should consider for that trip.
Although the trains to Aguas Calientes are not the cheapest, they offer you some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature of the Sacred Valley of Cusco along the Urubamba River before reaching the sanctuary of Mach Picchu.
Apart from the beautiful scenery, you will see typically dressed locals and small colorful villages. But the big question is what train options are there to go to Machu Picchu and which one to take.
First a few important points to consider
Before we move on to this question and look at the different train options, let’s take one more look at three more important points:
- There is no train that stops “directly” at Machu Picchu. The last stop is Aguas Calientes, a small village below Machu Picchu. From here you can pay for the bus (included in our full day to Machu Picchu) which takes about 20 minutes to get to the entrance or you can walk for about 1.5 hours.
- Peru Rail and Inca Rail are the only train companies that offer train travel to Aguas Calientes. We tried both trains and preferred Peru Rail, as their train seemed newer and the service including snacks was better. Our trip on the Inca Rail train was so shaky that we thought our coffee would fly all over the train. The price differences of the two trains are usually very low and can increase slightly in the high season.
- Neither we as a tour operator nor you as a customer booking online can influence the choice of seat. However, if you are traveling as a couple, it is almost always possible to arrange the seats so that you can sit next to each other (the cabin crew will also help if the seats were not arranged next to each other in advance).
The different train options to Machu Picchu
When you head to Aguas Calientes, you will have a choice of three different train options offered by Peru Rail: Expedition, Vistadome and the luxurious Hiram Bingham train. Now we have to analyze in more detail the 3 train options to get to Machu Picchu:
- Expedition Train.- The Expedition train is the standard tourist version to get to Aguas Calientes and is equipped with a half panorama window. Onboard you will receive a small snack and a hot or cold drink. For more information see the following video about the Expedition Train.
- Vistadome Train.- The Vistadome train is a more luxurious option that has carriages with panoramic windows on the sides and roof so you can enjoy the scenery in comfortable leather seats. Onboard, you will be offered a snack made with regional Andean products. On the way back, there will be a 20-minute show on board including a typical dance offered by the staff. For more information, watch the following video of the Vistadome Train.
- Belmond Hiram Bingham Train.- The most expensive option of the three trains is the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, named after the discoverer of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham.
The exclusive Hiram Bingham train features an elegant dining car, a bar, and unique views through the open-air roof of the carriage that makes the experience even more spectacular.
The service is excellent and includes a welcome cocktail, brunch, and a delicious lunch.
In addition to that, you can choose from a wide selection of wines. The train cars were specially decorated in 1920s Pullman style and are equipped with polished wooden furniture and large, comfortable armchairs.
In case you are not sure what the different train options include, we invite you to check the detailed comparison of the three different trains to Machu Picchu.
As Peru Rail trains have their own schedules, we will give you an overview so you can see which is the best option.
We recommend that you book tickets at least 1 week in advance and in high season even earlier if possible, as the best options sell out quickly.
Expedition schedule: Ollantaytambo → Machu Picchu
Expedition Schedule: Machu Picchu → Ollantaytambo
Please note that it is not possible to travel from Poroy to Machu Picchu with the Vistadome train from early January to late April due to track maintenance. Therefore, the Vistadome train only departs from Ollantaytambo during this period. The trip from Poroy to Aguas Calientes takes about 3.5 hours.
Vistadome Poroy → Machu Picchu Schedule
Schedule Vistadome Machu Picchu → Ollantaytambo
Hiram Bingham Train
If you choose the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, please note that it does not depart on the last Sunday of every month. The train normally departs from Poroy, but there is an exception during track maintenance between January and April. During this time, you will be transferred from Peru Rail by bus to the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado in the Sacred Valley, where your train ride will begin. On the way back, you will be taken to your hotel in Cusco (as long as it is in the city center).
Hiram Bingham: Poroy → Machu Picchu
Hiram Bingham: Machu Picchu → Poroy
|HIRAM BINGHAM 11
|HIRAM BINGHAM 12
If you plan to do the Full Day to Machu Picchu, we recommend spending the night before the tour in Aguas Calientes so you can sleep a little more and start the trip in a more comfortable way.
In other words, take the train from Ollantaytambo or Poroy on the night before to Aguas Calientes. Therefore, you can avoid the crowds of tourists in the morning and enjoy the most of the first rays of sunshine in Machu Picchu.
If you are still not sure if you want to do a full day to Machu Picchu, a 2 day tour with the Sagra Valley is the best option.