Cap your trip to Machu Picchu with a pisco sour on the Orient-Express train ride back to Cuzco. After boarding this luxury train for dinner and the return journey, everyone meets in the bar car for a drink. Live music, the rocking of the train, and the excitement from just experiencing Machu Picchu is a buzz to remember. Soon all the passengers are dancing as they travel through the steep mountainsides under the stars. —Lauren Maggard This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Orient-Express

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Style on the Rails: The Hiram Bingham Train

I didn’t want to miss the chance to take one of the world’s greatest train journeys, named after Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. There are other ways to arrive but the sense of joy and camaraderie on board just adds to the excitement of arriving to the iconic site. Whether or not you stay at the site, or in Aguas Calientes below it, the Hiram Bingham is flawless.

Deluxe Train Ride

The Hiram Bingham Express is operated by the same company that manages the Orient Express. The train runs from Cusco, Peru to Macchu Picchu, but I boarded in Urubamba. Spent about half of the two and a half hours ride here in the last of the lounge cars which features a viewing section with rear balcony, then enjoyed an excellent five course dinner in the dining car, which included a delightful Peruvian wine. Champagne throughout the journey is also included in the fare. The ride follows the Urubamba River and provides spectacular views of the Andes Mountains as it winds its way through the river valley.

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!

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