Top South America Travel Tips: Train Trips

Top South America travel tips: Train trips

There is something special about traveling by train. And we’re not talking about crowded local trains or high-speed commuter routes, we mean the famous railway excursions that gracefully wind their way through breathtaking landscapes, perhaps traversing impossible mountain terrain, small local towns or alongside lush river valleys.

Time seems to slow down a bit as the breathtaking panorama gradually passes through your window as you sit back and relax in luxury enjoying sumptuous surroundings, exquisite service and delicious cuisine. Below is our guide to some of the most beautiful railway trips in Latin America that you should definitely look into when booking as part of your customized vacation.

Hiram Bingham, Peru: Traveling by train in Peru is one of the best ways to travel through the Andes. A great excursion is a relaxing cruise through the highlands aboard the Andean Explorer between Cusco and Lake Titicaca, stopping at the highest point of the La Raya Trail. Head to Machu Picchu either from Cusco or from the lower elevations of the Sacred Valley by the Urubamba River and if you’re arranging a private celebration with family or friends, we recommend the exhilarating Presidential Service with Inca Train, where you can book your own luxury carriage and enjoy exquisite food and service.

If you crave the elegance of that bygone era of rail travel, take one of the opulent Pullman carriages of the Hiram Bingham-owned train (formerly the Orient Express) along the same route. Enjoy fine dining on board as you journey towards the most impressive and astonishing Inca site, Machu Picchu.

Chip, Mexico: Ferrocaril Chihuahua al Pacifico, known as ‘Chepe’ for short, passes through some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico, taking you to the edge of stunning canyons and to the edge of the largest canyon in the Americas. Although its entire length stretches from Los Mochis, almost on the Pacific coast, to Chihuahua in the heart of the northern desert, its most scenic routes stretch from the pretty colonial town of El Fuerte to Creel as it crosses the Tarahumara Sierra.

What makes it really special is that there are many stops along its way that enable you to design your own itinerary in the Copper Canyon area. Travel by train through dramatic bridges and valleys, then set out to explore this stunning valley and its deep valleys with great local guides either by 4WD or on foot, visiting the local communities of Raramuri where the Tarahumara Indians like to be known.

Tren Crucero, Ecuador: In June 2013, a multi-million dollar restoration project was completed on Ecuador’s main rail line, finally connecting the entire length of that track back together. The journey from Quito to Guayaquil was first created in the late 1800s, and its reopening brings much-needed economic prosperity to isolated rural communities as well as offering one of the most exciting excursions from the country’s stunning Andean highlands all the way to the tropics. Pacific coast in Guayaquil. Trek through the ‘Street of Volcanoes’, taking in truly magnificent panoramic views of Ecuador’s highest peaks, stopping in local villages to visit indigenous markets, and admiring the incredible engineering feat of switchbacks on the Devil’s Nose Trail.

Step aboard your luxury carriage, each of the four coaches furnished in a different style to reflect their Ecuadorian heritage, and stay in hand-picked beautiful historic homes and comfortable inns each night. Arrive in Guayaquil and maybe trek through cocoa plantations to beautiful Machalilla Park to see whales in season or travel straight to the Galapagos Islands, one of the most amazing wildlife destinations in the world.