The train journey to Machu Picchu - by the luxury Hiram Bingham train
The ultimate in train travel to and from Machu Picchu is on board the Hiram Bingham luxury train, operated by Belmond Hotels and ranked 7th on the list of the best trains in the world (Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, 2010). Enjoy a welcome drink, followed by brunch with an excellent wine selection on the outward journey, and a gourmet dinner on the return to Cusco. At Machu Picchu you will have an exclusive bus up to the ruins, with a top guide assigned to every 14 passengers. Afternoon tea is included at Belmond's luxury Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge right next to the site. There is a dining car and a bar observatory car, as well as musical entertainment throughout the journey
You can travel to Machu Picchu either from Poroy (near Cusco) - 3 hours 10 minutes, or from the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo) - 1 hour 30 minutes.
The village of Poroy is located at 3,673 metres and is the highest point of the journey. This is the starting point if you are travelling from nearby Cusco. The train passes through the village of Cachimayo, continues through farming land to the town of Huarocondo, and then heads through the narrow Pomatales Gorge. A zigzag section follows as the train descends into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, reaching (Kilometre 68) the station of Ollantaytambo (2,792 metres).
About 15 minutes out of Ollantaytambo you should see (on the right hand side) the impressive snow-capped peak of Veronica (5,682 metres).
The next section of the journey is the most spectacular, taking you along beside the often raging Urubamba River (on the left hand side - pictured), gradually descending into the sub-tropical jungle where Machu Picchu is located. You will notice a dramatic change in the vegetation as you leave the High Andes behind.
The journey ends in the town of Aguas Calientes in the valley below Machu Picchu (a bus will take you from the station up the steep zigzag road to the ruins).