If you are one of our loyal regular readers, you will probably have been closely following our beloved saga of legendary trains! J And if so, you may also think that we have no more ideas left… But you would be wrong! Following on from the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Orient Express, the Sri Lankan Podi Menike train, and the Glacier Express through Switzerland, it’s time to climb aboard the Hiram Bingham for a journey back through time.
A magical destination
We are heading to Peru, one of the most enchanting countries in South America. And more precisely we are going to a region with a rich history, home to the renowned city of Cuzco. Have you guessed the itinerary yet? The Hiram Bingham train promises its passengers an unforgettable adventure finishing in Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. The journey begins in the station of Poroy, not far from Cuzco. The railway then snakes through the mountains for around 3 hours, covering some 55 miles up to Aguas Calientes. This village is found below the impressive, colossal Incan ruin located some 1,300 feet above.
But what about Machu Picchu itself? Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 and registered among the seven new Wonders of the World since 2007, these magnificent ruins of an ancient, holy city from the 15th century and renowned the world over never fail to inspire. The site is perched up high on a rocky outcrop and considered to be a masterpiece of Incan architecture. It offers breathtaking panoramic views and is certainly worth the detour!
A colorful journey
The trip from Cuzco to Machu Picchu is quite literally spellbinding. The experience begins from the moment you board the train and doesn’t stop until you arrive. Aside from its engine, the Hiram Bingham train comprises four elegant carriages in gold and navy blue, each boasting a spacious, elegantly decorated interior. There are also two chic restaurant carriages serving brunch shortly after the departure, and a gourmet dinner made with the finest Peruvian specialties for the return journey. There is also a bar open to passengers throughout the trip, with delicious cocktails and a total immersion in the local culture with traditional musicians and dancers creating a colorful, joyful experience.
The back of the train features an “observation” carriage with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open roof that enables travelers to admire the astounding Peruvian landscape. Expect steep slopes, ancient villages, fertile fields, and deep valleys in countless shades of green illuminated by the morning sun on the way there and the last rays of the day on the way back. The railway also crosses the Sacred Valley and runs along the Andes, the world’s longest continental mountain range! Stretching for more than 4,300 miles, it runs through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina!
Did you know? This legendary train owes its name to the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Hiram Bingham, an archeologist from Hawaii, then made his discovery public a few years later.
And you will see that, after boarding the train, you feel like quite the explorer yourself