around noon, on July 23, 1911, an explorer named Hiram Bingham climbed up a steep hill and stumbled onto
Machu Picchu, uncovering what had been up until that moment, the
Incas best kept secret. The World was stunned by his discovery. PeruRail's luxury train service between
and Machu Picchu, is named after the American
explorer who discovered the stunning ruins of the ancient citadel.
The train leaves from Cuzco in the morning taking a
spectacular journey through a changing landscape while guests enjoy breakfast. After the steep climb out of
Cuzco, the train descends into the
Sacred Valley ,
passing lush fields and colorful villages in the foothills of the Andes.
From there, the journey is highlighted by wonderful
vistas of the mountains and the beautiful Urubamba River which runs through the Sacred Valley. On arrival in the
town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu, guests are taken by bus to
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
for lunch, which overlooks the ancient citadel. A private guided tour of the citadel follows before the
return transfer to the station in the early evening. A
sumptuous dinner is served on the train during the 3½
hour journey back to Cuzco.
For many visitors, the journey to Machu Picchu is a
once-in-a-lifetime experience. Taking the Hiram Bingham
means passengers can focus their attention and energy on
what matters most, content in the knowledge that the
logistical details of the day's trip have been taken
care of by PeruRail.
Life on Board
The distinctive blue and gold carriages of the Hiram
Bingham are warm and inviting with elegant interior
upholstery. The train, consisting of 2 dining cars, a
bar car and a kitchen car, can carry up to 84
passengers. The general style of the carriages is in
line with those on PeruRail's
Andean Explorer train,
which operates between Cuzco and
Lake Titicaca in
Southern Peru, and reflect the luxury of the 1920s
The Hiram Bingham departs Cuzco at 9 am which gives a
more leisurely start to the day than the traditional 6 am
departures of other services. Brunch is served on board
the train whilst travelers enjoy the spectacular
scenery unfolding before them from the large windows.
The arrival at Machu Picchu at 12.30pm gives passengers
the advantage of entering the Sanctuary at an hour when
the majority of the visitors are already beginning to
leave for their journey back to Cuzco. This not only
gives the opportunity to experience the ancient citadel
at Machu Picchu in relative solitude, but also with a
longer period of time there, and passengers only return
to the train as the sun goes down.
Once back on board for a 6.30pm departure, pre-dinner
cocktails are served in the bar accompanied by live
entertainment before passengers enjoy a 4-course, à la
carte dinner, in the dining cars. The train pulls into
Poroy station in Cuzco at 10pm.
The train leaves from Poroy in the morning, taking a
spectacular journey through a changing landscape while
guests enjoy breakfast. After departing Poroy and going
through Cachimayo, the train descends to the plateau of
Anta, a patchwork landscape of typical Andean crops and
passes lush fields and colorful villages in the
foothills of the Andes.
Far to the left, just below the horizon, the massive
agricultural terraces of Jaquijahuana can be seen, close
to the village of Zurite. Sadly, these great terraces
are all that remain today of what was once a major Inca
city, lost forever during the first years after the
Beyond the town of Huarocondo the great plain narrows
dramatically as the track enters a deep gorge carved by
the rushing Pomatales River down which the railway, too,
is funneled until it meets the Urubamba River, which
runs through the beautiful Sacred Valley.
The train passes through extensive areas of terracing
dotted with the ruins of Inca fortresses. Bisecting this
are still-visible sections of an ancient, long-abandoned
highway adopted by the muleteers of the late 19th
century, who used it to travel between Cuzco and the
rubber plantations of the Amazon lowlands.
Five kilometers beyond Pachar, is the village of
Ollantaytambo where farmers work with the same patience
and skill that their ancestors must have employed to
shape and then move the huge blocks of stone with which
they built both their homes and the temples in which
As the train leaves Ollantaytambo to begin the last part
of its journey to Machu Picchu, the temple complex known
as The Fortress, dedicated sometime in the 15th century
to the many deities of the Inca pantheon, can be seen to
the right above the earthwork ramp once used to drag its
monolithic blocks up from the valley floor.
The railway follows the river into the Urubamba Gorge.
At Coriwaynachina, known simply to the generations of
hikers who have begun the Inca Trail there as Km 88, a
fine staircase carved into the rock leads to a series of
ruined buildings where once, it is said, Inca artisans
took advantage of the constant wind that rises from the
valley floor to smelt gold.
Emerging from a short tunnel, a series of beautiful
agricultural terraces marks the ruins of Qente, which in
Quechua means hummingbird. In this fertile microclimate
fed by a nearby waterfall, giant hummingbirds are indeed
a common sight in the early morning and bright flowers
bloom all year round.
Surrounded by tall ceibos and rocky outcrops hung with
orchids and bromeliads, the train passes Km 104 at
Chachabamba, from where the one-day trek to Machu Picchu
via the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna begins.
At just two km from Machu Picchu, the train arrives at
Aguas Calientes. Surrounded by the high, green mountains
that cradle the famous lost city, as well as myriad
other Inca remains, this small town, which is well known
for its thermal baths, has blossomed into a popular
overnight destination for travelers to Machu Picchu.
Guests disembark at Aguas Calientes and are taken by bus
to Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, overlooking the ancient
citadel, for lunch. A private guided tour of the
sanctuary follows before the return transfer to the
station in the early evening. A sumptuous dinner is
served on the 3 ½ hour journey back to Cuzco.
On-board meals with Peruvian wine, cusqueña Beer, soft
drinks and hot drinks (brunch on outward journey, dinner
on return), on-board entertainment, guides, bus
transfers, entrance to the Machu Picchu sanctuary and
afternoon tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge,
The Hiram Bingham does not run on Sundays.
Passengers have to be at the
train station 30 minutes before departure.