Nothing beats the Belmond Hiram Bingham ride, named after the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu. The enjoyable thing about this journey is that it offers passengers a fascinating glimpse into both ancient and modern Peru; as they glide between these two very different sites.
Belmond Hiram Bingham
It epitomizes all that is romantic and charming. Yet, there is nothing old-fashioned or outmoded about the Belmond Hiram Bingham; which brings modern comforts together with style and sophistication in an environment where time stands still for those lucky enough; to travel as guests aboard this gem of a train. Belmond Hiram Bingham is a refurbished vintage train upgraded to carry guests in splendid luxury and comfort; making this trip to the heart of the Inca empire one of the best travel destinations for peace of mind.
It was modeled on the 1920’s Pullman cars. Its paneled walls are finished with polished wood, its furniture upholstered with rich cream leather; no expense has been spared here. The Belmond Hiram Bingham features skillfully crafted metal sculptures by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara throughout the cabins; which further serve to highlight its classy ambiance.
The train journey passes through verdant countryside, creeping slowly way above the Urubamba River; before it rises high into the mountains; where it hugs hairpin bends as it makes its way towards Machu Picchu. The Belmond Hiram Bingham offers three different types of a cabin for guests to choose from:
- The Cabin: This is the most basic type of cabin on offer. It is cozy and compact yet with all facilities one needs for their stay aboard; including an ensuite bathroom with a hot shower, towels, hairdryer, and toiletries.
- The Royal Cabin: The Royal Cabin is very spacious, offering a large double bed dressed in crisp cotton sheets. There are ample storage facilities, an ensuite bathroom with a hot shower, towels, a hairdryer, and toiletries.
- The Presidential Suite: The Presidential Suite boasts a king-size bed dressed in crisp cotton sheets. Ensuite bathroom with hot shower, separate bathtub, towels, hairdryer, toiletries, et cetera. There is also a seating area, bar area, and air conditioning to ensure maximum comfort for guests throughout their journey.
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Cusco to Machu Picchu
For guests wishing to extend their journey, there is also a hotel located right beside Machu Picchu-the Sanctuary Lodge; so they can wake up to views of this ancient wonder after disembarking at Aguas Calientes station. The journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu is a fascinating insight into Peru’s rich historical heritage.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas offers guests a glimpse at the culture of the ancient Inca civilization. At the same time, Puerto Maldonado, on the River Tambopata, provides an opportunity for wildlife spotting; before arriving in Aguas Calientes and a visit to the impressive citadel of Machu Picchu itself. All the adventures in this trip could be pretty much immersive that; you will hardly have enough time to work on assignments if you had any. That said, you may want to look for custom writing at least during this trip; so you can beat your deadline and enjoy your trip.
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What to See on this Trip
The train journey is a beautiful insight into Peru’s rich historical heritage. As mentioned earlier, the Sacred Valley of the Incas; offers guests a glimpse at the culture of the ancient Inca civilization. At the same time, Puerto Maldonado, on the River Tambopata; provides an opportunity for wildlife spotting before arriving in Aguas Calientes and a visit to Machu Picchu itself.
Other attractions along this route include:
- Aguas Calientes: A mountain town nestled between lush tropical forest and towering granite cliffs. It is located at the base of Machu Picchu Mountain. It’s one of Peru’s most popular tourist destinations thanks to its close proximity to the beautiful Cusco. The train will stop at Aguas Calientes station to allow guests to visit the town; and explore nearby Incan ruins such as Buena Vista and Puca Pucara.
- The Sacred Valley: A glimpse into the past with its traditional market towns, farmers’ fields, and terraced hillsides; where the indigenous people practice their farming techniques which date back hundreds of years. There is also a chance for wildlife spotting at nearby Chinchero farm and Agua Calientes; where incredible Andean deer roam freely.
- Puerto Maldonado: The gateway to Peru’s Amazon Basin. Puerto Maldonado has earned itself a reputation as ‘the capital of the Amazon’ thanks to its astounding biodiversity. Located between the Tambopata River and the Bahuaja Sonene National Park; the city is ideal for nature enthusiasts to take part in numerous jungle tours and activities.
- The Tambopata River: A tributary that feeds into the ever mighty Amazon River; home to more than 3,000 species of fish and over 100 different types of mammals. The Tambopata National Reserve offers guests a chance to see some of these fantastic creatures in their natural habitat. Many tours are available, including features that can be booked through your cabin steward onboard Belmond Hiram Bingham.
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Information about Other Services on Board
Guests wishing to extend their stay should visit Belmond Hotel Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu; located right next to Machu Picchu and very close to the train station. The hotel offers well-appointed rooms, an inviting spa with a Jacuzzi and sauna; a restaurant serving traditional gastronomy, plus incredible views of the citadel itself.
Other facts guests might find helpful to know:
- There are 105Km between Aguas Calientes & Cusco station. Here the train journeys through three nations – Peru, Bolivia & Argentina.
- The Hiram Bingham is one of only two trains in South America that are using a diesel-hydraulic locomotive; creating less noise pollution than traditional steam engines; Each cab comes with a vintage wood-burning stove and tapestry depicting Incan motifs.
- The Hiram Bingham serves drinks and snacks throughout the journey, including fine French Champagne and Argentine Malbec wine!
- Passengers can choose to stay in their cabins or visit the dining carriage where meals are served; sample poultry with bacon-wrapped asparagus or Portobello mushrooms, followed by vanilla panna cotta for dessert.
- Upon arrival at Machu Picchu station, guests will get time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site; before returning on board for lunch. Here they may wish to experience one of the special excursions – hike through The Lost City; swim in hot springs not far from Aguas Calientes & take a guided tour of Machu Picchu Mountain.
- Passengers may also like to visit the decades-old Inca Temple, enjoy a panoramic view from the sacred site’s Sun Gate or hike up Huayna Picchu; The peak which towers over Machu Picchu.
- Returning on board, guests will be served dinner and receive a private lecture on the history and culture of this mystical city and its people by an expert guide. After dinner, there is an opportunity for some stargazing before retiring to their cabins.
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Information About other Locations the Train Stops at:
The Belmond Hiram Bingham runs between Cusco & Aguas Calientes, stopping at Ollantaytambo en route. It is the only train to make this journey, making it a truly memorable experience for passengers.
Belmond Hiram Bingham serves drinks and snacks throughout the journey; implying that there will change arguably everything to tease your taste buds during the trip. Each cab comes with a vintage wood-burning stove and a tapestry depicting Incan motifs.
Guests will get time to hike at Macchu Picchu before returning on board for lunch. In the evening, there is an expert lecture about Machu Picchu culture before dinner; followed by stargazing from your cabin window under a blanket of stars! Upon arrival at Machu Picchu station, guests will be given time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site; before returning on board for dinner & a private lecture on its history.
A journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes on board the Belmond Hiram Bingham is a unique experience. Guests will be served French Champagne and Malbec wine; breathe in fresh air from their cabin windows and be given time to hike; before returning for dinner and an informative lecture on Machu Picchu culture. Each cab comes with a luxurious tapestry depicting Incan motifs plus a vintage wood-burning stove.
Author Bio: Charles Normandin is a professional in writing unique texts and also speaks three languages at the highest level. He volunteers at college-paper.org reviews and draws animals to keep him company when he’s not climbing rocks or doing other things that make his life worth living, like helping out with animal shelter work!
Images by Ayesha Parikh, Sean Thoman, and Mariana Proença