Peru

Staff member: Wolf // Trip date: Sep 2007


Hiram Bingham (Cuzco - Machu Pitccu)

When you exchange your voucher you also need to present your passport at Wanchaq train station. You also receive a Hiram Bingham travel bag. The train departs from Cuzco Poroy station, which is approx 12km from Cuzco and a taxi ride is approx USD 5.00, at 9 am. Everybody must be at the station at least 30 min before departure.

Everyone receives a welcome drink (Champagne) and you are escorted to your seat.
The observation car is at the rear of the train and tradional musician play songs all the way to Machu Pitccu.

The power outlets on the train are 220v so you can charge your camera there in case you forgot to do that earlier. There is also oxygen on board just in case some passengers have trouble with the altitude.

Seating arrangements are tables of 4 on one side and tables of 2 on the other side all with white table cloths, lamp, silver cutlery, serviettes and menu for each guest. The seats are really wide, more like lounge chairs, which are not attached to the floor, with plenty of room for each passenger. The corridor is very wide in between the tables and enough room to pass each other.

The tradional Pisco Sour is served before the brunch (yummy).

Security guards are also on the train to ensure the safety of all passengers and the train trip takes approx. 3:20 min.

Once you reach Macchu Pitccu train station you get put on a bus for the rest of the way. The bus trip takes approx. 25 min on a very winding dirt road with some good views.
Passengers who have booked a night at the Sanctuary Lodge will be transferred straight to the Hotel for check in. In the meantime all other passengers have to wait in the lobby of the lodge. You are split up in different groups depending what language you speak. They have guides in English, French, German, and of course Spanish. The guided tour of Machu Pitccu takes 2 -3 hrs and is really interesting however you will not get to the top of Machu Pitccu on the tour. You can however go off by yourself and get to the top and explore the sights as long you are back at the Sanctuary Lodge by 5pm. If you decided to do that you will miss out on the afternoon tea and snacks.

Machu Pitccu looks great on postcards but it does not do it much justice. The area is massive and many buildings are in perfect condition apart from the roofs. You can venture pretty much everywhere and there are only a few sites that are closed off. Due to the altitude it's a pretty hard walk all the way to the top but the views are spectacular and you get the full view of Machu Pitccu only from up there. The tour mainly concentrates on the lower parts of Machu Pitccu and it is an easy walking pace.
The ruins are open from 6 am to 5pm every day but there are limits on how many people are allowed to visit each day. I heard several figures from 2000 to 4000 people per day. The best time to take photos is in the late afternoon as most people visit the sights in the morning and early afternoon but by 4pm hardly anyone is there. Please do take rain protection as it rains in patches quite frequently.

The return bus to the train stations leaves at 5pm outside the Lodge and upon arrival at the train station you have time approx 20 min to explore the market and do some shopping. You need to haggle as they try to charge an arm and a leg.. The train departs at 6pm and dinner is served on the train. The observation car is closed for the return trip.

All alcohol and soft drinks are included for brunch and dinner. You can purchase bottles of wine or Champagne. All prices are in USD but you can pay in Soles also.

Arrival time in Cuzco is approx 9-9.30pm and you need to hop in a taxi back to Cuzco at your own expense.

All staff wear uniforms and speak fluent English and are really helpful.

 

Andean Explorer (Cuzco - Puno, Lake Titicaca)

When you exchange your voucher you also need to present your passport at Wanchaq train station. The train departs from Cuzco Wanchaq station, which is approx 3km from Cuzco and a taxi ride is approx USD 1.00, at 8 am. Everybody must be at the station at least 30 min before departure.

Nobody walks you to your seat and passengers are not seated together but you can swap with others. You must check in your luggage at the station and only hand luggage is to be taken on board. The train departs at 8 am and breakfast is available for purchase for approx USD15 on board. Power outlets are also 220v on this train and the observation car is at the rear of the train where traditional musicians play songs for some time of the train trip. Once you leave Cuzco the train passes by the slums and you get to see the not so pretty side of Cuzco. There is also oxygen on board just in case some passengers have trouble with the altitude.

The train trip takes 10 hrs and for some reason they play classical music all the way. Security guards are also present on this train to ensure the safety of all passengers. Unfortunately no drinks or snacks are included on this train and lunch is served at approx 1pm followed by coffee or tea however you receive a complementary Pisco Sour in the afternoon. As the train trip is 10 hrs they have some entertainment organized such as how to make a Picso Sour followed by happy hour 2 for 1. You can also purchase jewellery and clothes.

Seating arrangements are tables of 4 on one side and tables of 2 on the other side all with white table cloths, lamp, silver cutlery, serviettes and only 1 menu per table.
You have 2 choices of main meals and the waiter will take your order a few hours into the trip. The seats are really wide, more like lounge chairs, which are not attached to the floor, with plenty of room for each passenger. The corridor is very wide in between the tables and enough room to pass each other

The train stops at the highest point of the journey at approx 14,700 ft for 10 min where a market is also set up. There is a good photo opportunity of a little church with some nice snow capped mountains in the background.

All prices on the menu are in USD and bottles of Champagne, wine, can be purchased in local currency also.

Backpacker class has no access to 1st class but you can purchase airline type of food for approx USD15. All staff wear uniforms and speak fluent English.

Arrival time in Puno is 6-6:30 pm and you must collect your luggage at the rear of the train. Taxis into town cost approx USD1 and there are lots of them waiting just outside the train station.

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