Before we even boarded the Hiram Bingham train we knew we were in for an unforgettable experience. This is THE train all of my clients want, budget be damned. It was a thrill to be doing it myself.
This trip to Peru was one of many for me, my mothers side of the family is from Lima and I still have many cousins, aunts & uncles living there. I had also been to Machu Picchu before but this was my Travel Buddy, Arlene’s first time. And it was spectacular.
First of all, we experienced all but 1 of the Belmond properties on this gorgeous 6 day adventure as well as Explora. This of course was the highlight, no doubt. We waited for the train to arrive to the little station in Cuzco and were welcomed with a small window display of treats. After wandering around the platform we found there was actually an exclusive “VIP” section for guests of this particular train, as there are several. It even had WiFi so of course we started to immediately post pictures.
Upon boarding we were greeted by the most accommodating staff, flutes of champagne in hand. Keep in mind it was barely 9am. We were escorted to our assigned seats featuring a huge picture window, white linen table cloth, and multiple wine and water glasses. We placed our champagne flutes on the table and sat down to take it all in. Immediately I felt undressed.
We were not the only ones in casual wear, this was just the first step towards our final destination, Machu Picchu. Everyone on board was ready to hike and climb the ruins upon arrival so although the surroundings were fancy it was very comfortable and inviting.
Before the train departed we wandered through the parlour cars appreciating the wood-panelled interiors and brass finishes. Towards the back of the train we found the Bar Car and a wonderful trio playing live music. As we began to roll out of the station we waved to on lookers feeling very royal as we sipped our champagne.
The train ride is 3 hours long during which you are fed like kings. My glass was never empty and I had to be sure not to over do it because of the altitude. The views are breathtaking, every turn presented something new to Ohh and Ahh over. I believe I took over 246 photos before we made it Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
When we arrived we were led off the train to identify our luggage as the trio continued to play on the platform. Another beautifully appointed waiting room had comfortable seating and cold beverages for us to enjoy as we waited for further directions.
Some people continued to their hotel while others walked to the buses lined up to take us up the mountain to the entrance of the ruins. We had a stunningly blue sky day, white puffy clouds and an excitement you could feel.
It doesn’t matter which train you take to Aguas Calientes, the feeling upon arrival is the same: wonder of what was ahead. Machu Picchu did not disappoint by any means but starting the journey on this particular train would lead you anywhere, happily.