Train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome
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Train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome

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Journey by train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome was my top priority while in Peru. However, I can safely say that it was one of the best ideas for traveling in Peru. After arriving in Peru, I decided to have a short stay in the capital. I spent a few days in Lima before finally moving on to Cusco.

My destination was Machu Picchu and some other absorbing places in the Andes. I was curious about the places I had mostly seen on the Internet and in pictures. Also, upon arrival in Cusco, it is worth spending 3-4 days to adapt to avoid altitude sickness.

Once you have adapted to the new conditions, you can book a train to Machu Picchu. Cusco’s altitude is 3,400 meters (11,200 ft) and many tourists experience altitude sickness during their first few days. What are the causes of altitude sickness? The disease affects people who travel to high altitudes too quickly.

It is ideal to stay at places at lower altitudes first. After that, you can slowly move to higher altitudes. Importantly, following this rule, you should first visit Machu Picchu, located lower than Cusco. After that, travel to Machu Picchu by train will not be inconvenient.
Train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome

Cusco to Machu Picchu train

Of course, Machu Picchu tours by train are an unforgettable adventure and a lifetime memory.  I write this from experience, as a passenger on the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Peru Rail and Inca Rail operate trains from Cusco to Machu Picchu. You’re probably wondering which is the best train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. There is no clear answer to this question.

When I was looking for a train ride myself, I wondered which carrier would offer me the best ride and travel experience. I wanted to spend my money in the best way possible. Certainly, choosing this train route is one of the best decisions you can make and give yourself over to the stunning atmosphere aboard one of the trains. Outside of the train, amazing views straight from the Andes await you. I guarantee that you will not regret it!

Machu Picchu train

Also, I was very impressed by the vistadome train, for which Peru Rail offers tickets. I visited the train company’s website several times, read the opinions of travelers’ and watched videos of rides on youtube. Felt convinced to buy tickets. I chose the vistadome observatory train, Peru Rail.

When I booked my ticket on the Machu Picchu train I was hugely happy.  Without a doubt, the vistadome train in Peru is one of the most adventurous tourist trains in the world. There was an observation car at the end of the vistadome 33 train set. I planned to take many photos during the ride. The area was remarkable, with picturesque landscapes and a neighborhood shaped by the Urubamba River.

I felt extremely motivated and my creativity jumped to a higher level. I was searching in my head for ideas for new frames. On the vistadome train popped into my head the idea of writing an ebook ”How to travel, cheaper, smarter and safer”. For me, the Machu Picchu train tour is a combination of travel and history lessons at the same time. 

Meaning of vistadome

In addition, you’re probably wondering what the word “vistadome” means and what kind of train it means. It’s a keyword that is irreplaceable when it comes to the train to Machu Picchu. Therefore, the railroads have introduced vistadome coaches to promote rail tourism. These coaches provide passengers with breathtaking and scenic views. Vistadome car travel is tremendously popular in countries like Peru and India. 

Train and bus to Machu Picchu

A vistadome Peru Rail train ride undoubtedly requires advance reservations. Because, tickets for all of the tourist trains sell out very quickly. Getting to Machu Picchu by train requires planning before the trip. I assure you that it is nothing complicated. Importantly, tourists ask important questions about the train ride. How long does it take to get to Machu Picchu by train, and where to buy train tickets?

It took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the journey. Peru Rail offers a bimodal service from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo station. This means that the ride to Ollantaytambo is by bus. Then, tourists transfer to the train at Ollantaytambo train station.

Machu Picchu tours

Finally, the time to go to Peru is approaching, and you wonder which train to take. You will find plenty of tour operators on the internet that offer Machu Picchu tours. They organize tours at different prices and lengths of time. Tours from Cusco to Machu Picchu are the easiest and most popular way to get to the Inca ruins and discover the Andean culture.

Which best Machu Picchu tours by train are the best? You can book a train to Machu Picchu offered by two carriers, Peru Rail and Inca Rail. Peru Rail vistadome, which I chose, provides a panoramic train car ride and amazing views outside the windows. In the observation car, you will experience music shows and cultural performances combined with dance.

You will remember the spectacular views for a long time. On the return trip, there were fashion shows in the train cars. They featured the baby alpaca collection. 

Peru covid restrictions 

It’s a good idea to be aware of the COVID restrictions in Peru before taking the train to Machu Picchu. The COVID rules in Peru are strict and sometimes strange to foreign tourists. Before boarding the PeruRail Vistadome Observatory train, each traveler must wear two regular protective masks or one FFP2 mask, and one face shield. The train staff is very attentive to this.

However, none of the crew members paid attention to whether the COVID rules on the way back. Some travelers were without protective masks; no one put on the face shield. COVID restrictions in Peru are very inconvenient if you plan to take pictures of this train. You can’t even take the face shield off your face. This aspect of the trip and the attitude of the train crew, with their selective treatment of COVID rules, I did not like very much. It interferes with the quality and perception of the trip. Is Peru closed due to COVID? No, Peru is open. You will fly into Peru based on vaccination or a negative test against COVID-19. Be sure to fill out the Declaración Jurada Peru before you travel. That’s a health declaration form that confirms your health status.

Everything you should know about Peru Rail Expedition train

If you want to live the adventure of your journey to Machu Picchu at a lower cost, the Expedition train is a perfect choice. The decoration of the train cars breathes Inca culture and is the brilliant prelude to what will be your visit to the citadel of Machu Picchu.

You will enjoy the magnificent landscapes and take the best panoramic photos of a unique route. In addition, you will have a highly trained staff that will be in charge of assisting you during the tour. Expedition trains include large windows. The trains feature Inca designs on all cars. Because of the large windows, you can appreciate the beautiful scenery. Comfortable tables and seats: all seats (arranged for two people) are comfortable and have large tables. What is the difference between perurail expedition vs vistadome? 

Train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome

Expedition train vs vistadome

The main distinction between Vistadome and Expedition services is the level of service provided onboard and comfort on each train. The Vistadome train offers more amenities than the Expedition train. It gives more space, complimentary snacks, a live dance performance, and a fashion show featuring alpaca garments.

Peru rail vs inca rail 

Can’t decide which train to take? Here are the main differences between Peru rail vs Inca rail. What’s the cost of the train to Machu Picchu? However, the price of the expedition train (approximately $ 64 per person on the outbound journey) is lower compared to vistadome trains ($ 86 for the same journey). 

Inca Rail

Inca Rail offers four classes of service. From the lowest level Voyager to private coaches. Inca rail offers a first-class train to Machu Picchu. That’s the most luxurious train to Machu Picchu. Enjoy the 360° Machu Picchu train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes through its bimodal service. That includes a 2-hour bus ride from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and later a train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. That can be a good option if you are staying in the center of Cusco because the Poroy station is a bit out of town and we had to take a cab.

The 360° Machu Picchu train is the second cheapest option available on Inca Rail and includes a light lunch, drinks, panoramic windows, and an open-air observation car. The Voyager train has smaller windows and only offers snacks. I think the price difference is worth it for the view alone.

Although you can book Inca Rail tickets online, you must pick them up in person. They have offices at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, the Cusco airport, the Ollantaytambo train station, and the Machu Picchu train station. Bring your confirmation and the credit card used to purchase the tickets. You will also want to check the opening hours of each location. The Cusco location doesn’t open until after the first departure of the day. However, if you forget to pick them up the day before, you may run into problems.


PeruRail offers three classes of service on the route between Cusco and Machu Picchu ranging from Expedition to Belmond Hiram Bingham luxury train class. We are not the first-class budget type, so we ruled out the two most expensive options. If you’re looking to spend a little more cash, the Belmond Hiram Bingham train welcomes you with live music and a pisco cocktail, a free travel bag, gourmet food, beer, wine, and pisco sours, and includes onboard music and an observation car. Your train ticket also comprises an entrance to Machu Picchu, a bus ride to the ruins, and a guided tour at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge Hotel. Another option in the Cusco region is the Sacred Valley train, which departs from Urubamba. If you decide between the PeruRail Expedition and Vistadome train options, you will see a price difference of $25-30.

Are you planning Machu Picchu by train? Where to buy train tickets?

Train tickets we can purchase at authorized offices in Cusco, Peru. However, most tourists buy tickets online through the websites of Peru Rail or Inca Rail. You can do it everywhere in the world! 

How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco by train?

The fastest way to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco is by train from Poroy station in Cusco, located 30 minutes away by cab (7 euros) or shared van (3 euros). The companies Peru Rail and Inca Rail make the journey from Cusco to Aguas Calientes by train or depending on the season (January-April) with a combination of a bus to Ollantaytambo and from there by train to Aguas Calientes. I used Peru rail bimodal service with a change in Ollantaytambo. In this case, the buses leave from Wanchaq station in Cusco. The train station is located a few minutes from the city center, and access is easy. 

Train to Machu Picchu with Peru Rail vistadome

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