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Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express Train from Machu Picchu: Part 2

October 23, 2012 at 6:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Talk about bucket list locations, Machu Picchu is up there (literally). The sacred Inca city high in the Andes mountains of Peru isn't an easy place to visit, but thousands head there every day for a glimpse at the archaeological site. Having just returned ourselves, all this week we'll give you the low-down on how to get to this high place.

The Jaunted Goes to Machu Picchu Series:

1. Flying into Cusco
2. Sorting out documents
3. Riding the Vistadome train
4. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 1 - the train)
5. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 2 - the dining & extras)
6. MACHU PICCHU

So you've been hiking Incan ruins all day, likely in the sun, and you've been fed finger sandwiches and teacakes until your stomach bulged...so the last thing you'd want to do is eat again, right? Wrong. The grueling daytrip of Cusco to Machu Picchu and back made us ravenous like no other and so, when it came time for a four-course meal and drinks onboard the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express train, "si" was the answer to every question asked by our waiter.

Si, keep the agua flowing (con gas, yummy).

Si, I'm having the steak.

Si, there's no way I'm skipping dessert.

Si si si after-dinner drinks in the bar car.

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Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express Train from Machu Picchu: Part 1

October 22, 2012 at 1:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Talk about bucket list locations, Machu Picchu is up there (literally). The sacred Inca city high in the Andes mountains of Peru isn't an easy place to visit, but thousands head there every day for a glimpse at the archaeological site. Having just returned ourselves, all this week we'll give you the low-down on how to get to this high place.

The Jaunted Goes to Machu Picchu Series:

1. Flying into Cusco
2. Sorting out documents
3. Riding the Vistadome train
4. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 1 - the train)
5. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 2 - the dining & extras)
6. MACHU PICCHU

The train is blue. Unlike its European cousins, the cars are not painted with "Orient-Express" down the sides, but "Hiram Bingham" in gold lettering.

What would Hiram himself, explorer/Yale professor/politician, think of this train that makes traversing such forbidding terrain look so easy? Hiram Bingham discovered the site of Machu Picchu in 1911 and worked to uncover and preserve it for study and, yes, tourism. Even the switchback road up to the ruins from the town of Aguas Calientes and the Urubamba River is named the Hiram Bingham Highway (though it's hardly a 'highway').

But before we digress on some History Channel-ish tangents, back to the train! A one-way ticket averages $329 per person, in high contrast to the Vistadome which runs $76 and the Expedition at $62. There are a few dining cars and one bar car with a lounge and rear observation area, complete with an open-air platform. The locomotive is also blue, though a lighter shade that's the signature of its operator: PeruRail.

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Clickety-Clack Down the Track: Riding the Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

October 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Talk about bucket list locations, Machu Picchu is up there (literally). The sacred Inca city high in the Andes mountains of Peru isn't an easy place to visit, but thousands head there every day for a glimpse at the archaeological site. Having just returned ourselves, all this week we'll give you the low-down on how to get to this high place.

The Jaunted Goes to Machu Picchu Series:

1. Flying into Cusco
2. Sorting out documents
3. Riding the Vistadome train
4. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 1 - the train)
5. Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Part 2 - the dining & extras)
6. MACHU PICCHU

You've got options. What train to take to Machu Picchu? There are three choices: the Expedition (cheapest, minimal), the Vistadome (affordable, comfortable), and the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (pricey, but over-the-top luxurious). Booking a Machu Picchu trip on your own versus with a tour company means you've got the option to mix it up and try different trains. Here, we focus on the Vistadome.

It's far from a high-speed journey. The train trip takes 4 hours and averages $76 per person each way (bookable online at PeruRail), so turning Machu Picchu into a day trip from Cusco is doable (it's what we did!), but brace yourself to be utterly exhausted on the return and, well, pretty much over riding trains for a little bit.

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