So, if I were basing this review solely on our personal experience with the HB train, I might give it 4*s based on a few issues we encountered the day before our trip: 1) the Cusco station was closed which meant the train actually left from the Sacred Valley. Buses were provided to get people to the Sacred Valley (about an hour and a half), but a bus isn't quite the same as the train, right? 2) We discovered that we couldn't bring our luggage on the train; only carry-ons that were around 8kg or less. This caused a few headaches as the train was one piece of a much bigger Peruvian puzzle that made up our honeymoon.
Those two minor issues aside, this was a pretty awesome experience. You can take a public train to Machu Picchu for a fraction of the cost, I'm sure, but the Hiram Bingham transports you in style. It goes about 10mph, giving guests views of the scenery from Urubamba to Aguas Calientes. We had a three course lunch provided, complimentary wines, champagne, beer and pisco sours, plus live music from the observation cart.
The service was great and staff delivered all messaging in Spanish and in English. The seats are comfy and in true Orient-Express fashion, every thing is done to the nines, delivering old world charm and a cozy environment.
When we got off the train, we immediately jumped on buses that transported us up to the gates of Machu Picchu (seamless transition for which I have to give them props). In addition to transportation services, the trip included a guide for the park. Our guide, Nery, was incredible! Our trip to Machu Picchu wouldn't have been the same without her guidance and knowledge so the guide was a wonderful addition for us.
All in all, it was a wonderful addition to our Peruvian excursion. If you just want to get from Point A to Point B, this isn't the train for you. If you want an experience in and of itself with great service, great food and an all around memorable time, this is hard to beat!
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