Cusco to Machu Picchu aboard the Hiram Bingham Train
Yes, the Inca Trail is the ultimate way to reach Machu Picchu. It's allegedly this wonderful, spiritual and trying journey to the top at which point you reach Machu Picchu and it's magical. Unfortunately for us, we were on a rather tight schedule and had to opt for a train in lieu of the highly-acclaimed hike. Fortunately for us, we took the Hiram Bingham train, the creme de la creme of transportation.
The Hiram Bingham is part of the Orient Express collection and the experience affirms that. The train moves at roughly 10MPH, a scenic tour rather than a get-there-quick journey. The views are beautiful and the train serves up a gourmet lunch to accompany their complimentary beer, wine, champagne and pisco sours. The observation cart at the rear of the train is the perfect place to score some pictures while listening to live music and snacking at the bar. The three hour journey takes you from Poroy station (or Rio Sagrado if you leave from the Sacred Valley) to Aguas Calientes station at the base of Machu Picchu. Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to the gates of Machu Picchu are included in the price of the train ticket as is the tour guide. The only thing to keep in mind is that space is limited so there's little room for luggage. A carry-on piece (roughly 8 pounds) is all that's allowed for the journey. If you're looking for luxe, scenic and comfortable transport, the Hiram Bingham is the way to go!