Named after the famous American explorer that brought Machu Picchu to the world’s attention in 1911, the Hiram Bingham Train is considered one of South America’s greatest train rides. Operated by Peru Rail and backed by the British Collection Orient Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises, the luxury Hiram Bingham Train is the finest way to travel to the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu.
Composing of 2 dining cars, a bar/observation car and kitchen car, the Hiram Bingham has a capacity to transport 84 people in the up-most comfort. Styled like the Pullman carriages of the early 1920s, the Hiram Bingham Train has sophisticated cars that were manufactured to the highest standards in Singapore. Appointed with fine beige fabric seats, tables draped with bright white linen and finished in dark wood veneer with polished brass fittings, the Hiram Bingham exudes elegance from every angle.
The excusive journey begins at Poroy Train Station (20 minutes from Cusco) where passengers are greeted with a colourful show of traditional Andean dancing, welcome drinks and a selection of freshly made canapés. Once aboard, the train departs Poroy for a 3h20m journey destined for the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Navigating its way through some of the Andes most breath-taking scenery, passengers are served a 3-course brunch.
On-board guides, exclusive to the Hiram Bingham Train are on-hand throughout the journey to offer an insight into the train, the countryside and of course Peru’s top tourist attraction – Machu Picchu.
After taking a leisurely 2 hour guided tour through the mountain top ruins of Machu Picchu, the luxury experience continues with afternoon-tea at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel (the only hotel located at the ruins). Freshly prepared muffins, cakes, scones and sandwiches await your arrival, and offer a convenient respite before commencing the second leg of the journey back to Cusco.
From the Hiram Bingham VIP lounge at Aguas Calientes Train Station, passengers once again board the train for the return journey. En-route as night falls, a gourmet 4-course dinner is served along with a selection of regional and South American wines. In the bar and observation car, the live on-board band which comprises of just 2 talented musicians pick up the tempo with some classic rock tunes. Popular tunes include songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and even Maná the contemporary Mexican rock band.
Local beers, sparkling Peruvian wine and Pisco sours are free-flowing at the bar (included), but guests should ask the talented barman for his speciality known as “recibido con el Corazon” translated as “received with the heart.” The Hiram Bingham experience finishes as the train rolls into Poroy Train Station just after 9pm.
Prices for a full day ticket start at around US$ 750 per person and include meals, drinks, a guided tour of Machu Picchu and afternoon tea at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel.
Paul Jones is Managing Director of Totally Latin America.