I had always dreamed of exploring Machu Picchu, yet had no idea how luxurious and enjoyable the train journey would be to get there! As part of our Silversea Expedition Pre-Cruise package called the Machu Picchu Grande Explorer, we were able to indulge in a three hour train ride on the stunning Belmond Hiram Bingham Train. The train is named after the explorer, Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered the largely forgotten Inca city of Machu Picchu in 1911. A visit to a once-in-a-lifetime place calls for a once-in-a-lifetime journey, and that’s exactly what this was!
The Belmond Hiram Bingham departed from the Rio Sagrado station in Cusco. Five-star service begins from the moment you step into the train carriage. I was treated to a glass of sparkling wine as I stepped on board. I loved the blue and gold uniforms worn by the staff. They really stood out against the backdrop of Peru’s very green landscapes.
The train itself is a visual feast. I felt as if I was transported back in time to the 1920s with its glamorous interiors. The first thing I noticed was how beautifully the polished wood and brass catches the light. Each carriage is impeccably designed and absolutely enchanting. The entire train consists of a bar car, two dining cars, and an observation car with an open deck. They clearly want you to indulge as much as possible while on board, whether that be with fine dining or magnificent views.
Speaking of fine dining, you’re in for an absolute treat on board the Belmond Hiram Bingham! Their goal is to create a unique South American dining experience. Its unique because you get to experience the magic of the mountains as you glide through the Andes while sampling a variety of artisanal delights along the way.
Since we boarded in the morning, we started off toasting to the journey with a glass of sparkling wine and freshly squeezed orange juice. Later on, we indulged in a decadent three course meal which included wonderful Peruvian ingredients. First up was a traditional appetizer, smoked trout and a Peruvian corn tamale which was the perfect opening for this decadent meal. This was followed by a hearty main course of prime Peruvian beef, a succulent cut of beef paired with an exceptional Peruvian wine. For dessert, I loved the corn cheesecake and Cloud-Forest coffee. Non-premium beverages and wine are included in your ticket price, along with the meal. All of the dishes really combined traditional ingredients with modern finesse and everything was to die for.
Everywhere you look on board, you’ll see old-fashioned charm thanks to the gleaming woods, fine fabrics, and antique fittings. If you’re feeling up for it after your sumptuous meal, you can enjoy some live music and dance to the beat of the Peruvian cajón (box-shaped percussion instrument) and tambourines! Having traditional live music on board was such a treat and made the journey even more memorable.
I absolutely loved spending the remainder of my train journey in the Observation Car. This great open space is truly the best spot to appreciate the stunning Peruvian landscape. For most of the train ride, we pass through the Urubamba Valley which is also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The greenery is just amazing to see and made me even more excited for what was to come at Machu Picchu.
For the entire three hours, we were looked after in style and enjoyed Peruvian food, wine, music, and scenery. My voyage to the heart of the Inca Empire on board the Belmond Hiram Bingham was easily one of the highlights of my entire trip to South America!