Peru Rail is one of the companies that offer the trip to Machu Picchu by train. All trains are comfortable, spacious and comply with health protocols. The tourist services are: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and Hiram Bingham. There is also a unique service for Peruvians called ‘local train’. Finally, it includes special trains to other destinations such as the cities of Puno and Arequipa in Peru. Get to know every detail of these trains, their routes, included services and more.
Peru Rail trains
Peru Rail is one of the two companies that operates the train route from Cusco to Machu Picchu and other destinations in southern Peru.
From one of the four available stations (San Pedro, Poroy, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo) it departs towards Aguas Calientes, also called Machupicchu town due to its proximity to the ‘Inca city’.
It also has a station at the end of the Cusco jungle, at the hydroelectric plant. However, due to its distance from the city of Cusco, this station is rarely used by tourists.
The four tourist services of Peru Rail to Machu Picchu are: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and Hiram Bingham. It also offers a basic ‘local train’ for Peruvians.
The Expedition train is the cheapest tourist service of Peru Rail. Its cars are spacious, with a capacity for 52 seats. They have large anti-UV impact windows, wood fiber tables, semi-reclining seats and more. Of course, all the wagons include toilets, spaces for luggage, as well as decoration with Andean motifs.
The services included are background music, sale of snacks and drinks (suspended during the pandemic) as well as service staff on board. Of course, the train also includes an emergency kit.
The Expedition service departs from all stations: San Pedro, Poroy, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Prices depend on the time and date of departure. However, they vary between 35 and 60 US dollars per section.
From January 2 to April 30, the Expedition service does not depart from the San Pedro, Poroy and Urubamba stations. Instead they offer the ‘bimodal service’ that departs by bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo where the train to Aguas Calientes is boarded.
The Vistadome train is one of the most accepted tourist services among tourists. Its cars are spacious, with a capacity for 48 seats per car. As well as the Expedition service, it has comfortable seats, wooden tables and sophisticated Andean decoration. It stands out for its panoramic windows with side and top views.
The services included are background music, courtesy snack and drink (suspended during the pandemic) and service staff on board. During the return leg (from the Aguas Calientes station to Cusco) a dance show is included on board as well as a fashion show with garments made of alpaca.
The Vistadome service also departs from all available stations: San Pedro, Poroy, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. The price varies according to the date and time of departure of the train. In general, these can vary from 70 to 90 US dollars per section.
From January 2 to April 30, the Vistadome service does not depart from the San Pedro, Poroy and Urubamba stations. In those months it offers the ‘bimodal service’ that departs by bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. In this town you get off the train to board the train in the direction of Aguas Calientes.
Vistadome Observatory Service
The Vistadome Observatory train is a service that Peru Rail launched on the market in 2021. It is an improved and more exclusive version of the classic Vistadome service. Like this service, it has comfortable seats, folding wooden tables and side and top panoramic windows. It also has a beautiful decoration with Andean motifs.
Each train also offers an observatory car where tourists can enter and enjoy the beautiful Andean landscapes from the open air and a comfortable seat. In this car a live music show is offered as well as typical dances of Peru. The train also includes a courtesy snack and drink (suspended due to the pandemic) as well as background music.
The Vistadome Observatory train departs only from the Ollantaytambo station. The route begins with a private bus trip from the city of Cusco. In the return section, in the same way, it starts from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. There you take a private bus to the city of Cusco.
The price of the train varies depending on the time of year and the schedule to choose. On average, prices range from 80 to 130 US dollars per section.
Hiram Bingham Service
The Hiram Bingham train is a luxury service of Peru Rail, one of the most exclusive train journeys in the world. Their cars include all the comforts such as semi-reclining seats, folding wooden tables as well as panoramic windows. It also includes a dining car, an observatory car and a bar car. The capacity is for a maximum of 42 people.
The Hiram Bingham luxury train is decorated in the style of the Pullman wagons (in the 1920s) where blue and gold stand out. The trip includes complimentary champagne, welcome dance show, gourmet lunch (or dinner), open bar (only with some selected wines not included), musical band on board and a complimentary ‘Hiram Bingham’ backpack. It should be noted that the train ticket also includes the entrance to Machu Picchu as well as the bus and tour guide services for the Inca archaeological site.
The Hiram Bingham train was named in honor of the American explorer who arrived at Machu Picchu in 1911. The train departs only from the San Pedro or Poroy station (in the city of Cusco) at a single time of the day. Prices vary according to the time of year and range from 450 to 550 dollars per section. The only exception is from January 1 to April 30, which departs from Cusco in a ‘bimodal’ service (bus and train) to Ollantaytambo.
The local train
The local train is a Peru Rail service created to meet the needs of people who need to travel daily through the Machu Picchu region in Cusco. All Peruvian tourists can use this service, which, however, is not touristic, so it does not include tourist train services.
The local train only has comfortable seats and panoramic windows. Does not include folding wooden tables or service on board. Unfortunately, sometimes demand outstrips supply, so many travelers have to travel standing still.
The local train has a capacity for 54 seated passengers. Foreign tourists cannot access this service. The cost is 12 soles per section. The train departs from the Ollantaytambo station and, from May 1 to December 31, also from the city of Cusco. The purchase is in person at the same train station (recommended for Peruvian tourists to do it a week before). Availability is limited.
Other Peru Rail services
In addition to the classic trip to Machu Picchu, Peru Rail offers the train journey to the city of Puno and the city of Arequipa, both in southern Peru.
For these destinations there are two types of services: the Peru Rail Titicaca and the Belmond Andean Explorer. Both trains include all the amenities on board as well as lunch (and gourmet dinner), service on board and more.
The Peru Rail Titicaca train departs only on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The trip to Puno takes approximately 11 hours. The Andean Explorer train departs only on Thursdays. The trip takes 3 days (53 hours). Includes all amenities including breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, sightseeing, staterooms, and more.
Tourists looking to get to Machu Picchu via the economical ‘Hydroelectric’ route can also take a Peru Rail train at this station. The trip costs approximately $20. However, due to the short distance of only 10 kilometers (30 minutes), most tourists prefer to walk (a 2-hour route on foot).