A trip to Macchu Picchu is a must in any Peru itinerary, this incredible Inca site is found high in the Andes Mountains, a few hours from Cusco. I was lucky enough to make the pilgrimage with Belmond, who transport guests through the sacred valley to this world wonder on their Hiram Bingham train.
The Macchu Picchu day trip is just one of the train journeys Belmond operate in Peru, with other trips exploring larger regions and offering overnight accommodation on board. The name honours American explorer Hiram Bingham, who discovered Macchu Picchu in 1911 with the help of local indigenous farmers.
We met the train at Poroy Station, a short taxi ride from Cusco, and were greeted with glasses of champagne and music from local musicians. The luxury train encapsulates 1920s style, the elegant booths and gleaming wood panelling immediately transport you back to a glamorous bygone era.
The journey included a seasonal three course brunch with Peruvian wine. Each dish had been chosen to showcase Peruvian ingredients and cooking techniques. Highlights included a Grilled Beef Steak with mashed potatoes and an intriguing but delicious corn cheesecake with elderberry sauce.
As we travelled further through the dramatic Peruvian landscape many of the guests walked through to the final observation car, where an open air carriage serves drinks and live music is played by the resident band. We sang along to the Beatles and Radiohead as the full bar sipped on Pisco Sours.
After three hours we reached our destination, Aguas Calientes station. Our tour guide for the day was Carlos, one of the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Belmond staff. The detailed three hour tour of Machu Picchu was thorough and insightful, we learnt about its history as well as noticing small details about which Carlos offered his own brilliant theories. We were lucky to have bright sunshine and the surroundings were just as awe-inspiring as Macchu Picchu itself.
After examining every inch of the historic site, we headed for a final afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge at the foot of the Inca site. We enjoyed a luxurious array of sweet and savoury treats, along with soothing tea.
When we returned to reality in Cusco, we stayed at the atmospheric Belmond Hotel Monasterio. This beautiful hotel is found in the centre of the town, near to all the main sights and restaurants. We were in room 436, a lavish junior suite decorated in regal shades of red and gold.
If you are in need of further TLC, head to Belmond Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco where guests can have afternoon tea in the Secret Garden with sandwiches, cakes and tea tasting. The spa at this hotel is also unmissable, a tranquil retreat with very comfortable treatment rooms and experienced therapists. The detox oil used in my massage used local herbs – the munia, eucalyptus and mint flavours help ease jetlag and altitude sickness.
While in Cusco, I would recommend visiting the Cathedral and San Pedro Market, having a meal at Cicciolina and stopping for coffee at Three Monkeys.
More information about the Hiram Bingham Train and other Belmond properties here.