Cuzco (Poroy) - Machu Picchu,
aboard the Hiram Bingham Train
The Hiram Bingham carries passengers on a spectacular journey through changing landscapes, passing lush fields,
colorful villages and the wonderful vistas of the beautiful Andes.
Departing from Poroy Station (20 minutes from Cuzco
centre) at 9 AM, the Hiram Bingham gives a more leisurely start to the day than traditional departures. Brunch is served on board and guides are present to explain points of interest en route, as well as in the Ruins at Machu Picchu.
Afternoon Tea is served at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, located just steps from the ancient citadel. Once back on board for the 6:00 PM departure, pre-dinner cocktails are served, accompanied by live entertainment and a 4-course gastronomic menu.
Monday to Saturday all year round.
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 colourful 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 Spanish conquest.
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 funnelled 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 kilometres 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 they worshipped.
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.
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 travellers 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.
Bingham Train: 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, pre-dinner cocktails.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Machu Picchu Sanctuary
- Sumaq Machu Picchu