Great South American Train Tour Ecuador & Peru

Peru offers some of the most remarkable rail journeys.

Total price for this tour as described in this itinerary is £3,450.00 per person based on two people sharing double rooms.

Our unique rail tour can be taken either in just Peru or as you will see can be extended into Ecuador for another of the world’s great rail journeys. This tour offers the Vistadome service to Machu Picchu and the luxury of the return Hiram Bingham train before taking the Titicaca train to Puno. This service can be upgraded to the Belmond sleeper train which has several options from one night to two-night itineraries. A little known service that only runs a few times a month offers passengers the opportunity to take one of the highest train journeys of the world. This incredible journey of bridges and tunnels is followed by a unique rail journey through stunning scenery to one of the rarely visited towns in the Andes. This tour can be carried out for just a couple but by forming a small group we can help keep the cost down. To express an interest contact us now and we will start forming a travel date.

Tour Itinerary

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Day 1: International Arrival

On your arrival at Lima Airport, you will be met by your Peruvian Secrets Tour Controller. They will transfer you in private to your comfortable Hotel Faraona Miraflores, which is ideally situated in the pleasant district of Miraflores. You will be able to settle in and have a short briefing from your guide before you take a group dinner in the hotel. Meals; Dinner

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Day 2: Flight to Cusco

Today you will have time to enjoy breakfast and relax before you are met by your guide and driver for the transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco. You will arrive in Cusco and will be met and transferred to the comfortable Midori Hotel.  Your guide will give you a local briefing on your time in this area before you have the evening free to explore and take in a restaurant of your choice.  Meals; Breakfast

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Day 3: Morning Walking City Tour Cusco Colonial

This morning after breakfast your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel for your city tour, to explore the Navel of the World, beginning at the Santo Domingo convent monastery. This former colonial monastery was previously the Koricancha temple, one of the most important temples devoted to the worship of the sun. According to its chronicles, the temple was covered in gold leaf and filled with golden representations of nature. Stops at the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral bring the city portion of your tour to a close. Afterwards, you will visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, which will help you to understand our present reality through our history. Next you will walk up to the bohemian neighbourhood of San Blas. This charming part of the city is known as the gathering point for our artistic community. You will also visit the neighbourhood church of San Blas. The highlight here is an incredibly intricate pulpit carved from a block of cedar wood. It was sculpted by the Quechua carver, Juan Tomas Tuyro Tupaq, more than four centuries ago. Afterwards you will walk down and pass the narrow alley of Hatun Rumiyoq, the most famous Inca passageway of all. Within its impressive walls lies the famous 12 angled Inca Stone. From here you continue to Koricancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, which is the main religious centre of the Incas dedicated to the Sun cult. Koricancha has some of the best Inca stonework in the city. Built on top of it by the Spanish Conquistadors, is the Santo Domingo Convent, with its elaborate carvings, paintings and other colonial-style works of art. Afterward you will return to your hotel where you will prepare for your lunch (not included). Evening free to explore and enjoy this beautiful city. Meals; Breakfast

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Day 4: Private Sacred Valley tour

Today you start your relaxed tour of the Sacred Valley, taken wholly in private, in the comfort of your guide’s own car. On the way you will visit Sacsayhuaman, one of the best existing examples of Inca stonework, with spectacular views of Cuzco below and far-away snowy peaks. From here we will travel to a variety of sites on the way into the valley, including Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay, before arriving at the small, picturesque village of Pisac. This is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and home of the famous daily Pisac craft market; here you have an opportunity to view the many artisans’ wares on display including; textiles, jewellery and ceramics. Because your tour is in private, there will be ample opportunity to stop to take photographs along the way and to enjoy a leisurely lunch in a local eatery (lunch not included), as recommended by your guide. Arriving into Ollantaytambo, you will take in the spectacular ruins of the fortress before you transfer back to Cuzco and the Midori Hotel.   The evening is free to explore and enjoy the city. Meals; Breakfast

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Day 5: Train from Poroy to Aguas Calientes – Tour to Machu Picchu

Today having an early breakfast, you will be transferred in private to Poroy station where you will board the train to Aguas Calientes departing at 08:25 am in the wonderful Vistadome 203 class of PERU RAIL which offers great panoramic views as your route takes you through the changing microclimates into the higher reaches of the Amazon, to the small yet lively town of Aguas Calientes. On arrival you will be transferred to the comfortable La Cabana Machu Picchu where you can check-in and have the rest of the day free to relax and explore this little town. In the evening you will take a group dinner in a fine restaurant offering the best in local cuisine. Meals; Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 6: Machu Picchu + Return to Cusco on the Hiram Bingham Train

This is an ideal opportunity to be the first visitors to enter the ruined city of Machu Picchu, thus giving you the chance to witness the spectacular sight of it appearing like magic, through the early morning cloud rising from the valley. You will also have relative peace, as only people who stayed in Aguas Calientes have this option.  Later in the day it gets very crowded, as the trains arrive. In order to maximise your enjoyment from your visit, Peruvian Secrets provides the services of Edwin your professional local guide, who will reveal some of the mysteries that surround this fascinating place. After your visit, you return to Aguas Calientes, where you will board the luxurious Hiram Bingham Train to enjoy a 4 course dinner while you travel back to Cusco, the train also boasts a glass walled viewing car and on board entertainment from traditional Peruvian musicians. Arriving at the station at Poroy you will be met and transferred back to the comfortable Midori Hotel for check in leaving the rest of the evening free. Meals; Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 7: Train from Cusco to Puno Titicaca Explorer

This morning you will be met and transferred to the train station to take the remarkable train journey to Puno across the high Altiplano. The comfortable ‘Orient Express’-style carriage of the Andean Explorer offers restaurant service (lunch included) and a carriage attendant providing beverages and light snacks during your journey. To the rear of the train is a glass observation carriage that offers spectacular views out over the remote Andean wilderness. Arriving into Puno you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection on the banks of the Great Lake Titicaca.  The remainder of your evening is then free to relax in the hotel or explore the vibrant atmosphere of Puno town. Meals; Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 8: Half day tour Titicaca Lake - PUNO/UROS afternoon Yavari steam ship

After breakfast you will be met once again by your guide as she will be accompanying you throughout your half day’s tour of Great Lake Titicaca.  First you will transfer to the harbour in Puno where you will board our group vessel and head out on to the lake where you will visit the incredible floating islands of the Uros Indians; here you will see the way these people live on these most unusual islands.   After exploring the island, you will rejoin the boat for the return journey back to Puno. On arrival you will be transferred to a traditional restaurant for your group lunch buffet. After lunch you will visit the Yavari steam ship and see if possible, for her to be fired up.  Your evening is free again at leisure. (Breakfast, Buffet Lunch)

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Day 9: Tour to Sillustani with afternoon transfer to airport for flight to Lima

Today you will take a remarkable and unique tour to the very different archaeological site of Sillustani, located outside of Puno on Lake Umayo.  On route you will stop at places of interest and learn more of the culture and history of the more demanding environment where farmers make a make a living still using traditional methods.  We provide a picnic lunch set up overlooking the lake where you can enjoy a good home prepared meal.  After your tour you will be transferred to the airport in Juliaca for your flight back to Lima.  On arrival into Lima you will again be met by you guide and transfer back to the Hotel Faraona where you will have a group dinner in the hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10: Train to Aguas Calientes

You will enjoy a relaxed start to the day as you first take breakfast at your hotel. Later in the morning you will be transferred to the train station to meet your 11:15 departure to Aguas Calientes arriving at 12:35. The train will take you out of the Sacred Valley and into the mountains offering spectacular views of the countryside. On arrival into Aguas Calientes at you will be met by a representative of your hotel who will escort you to the very comfortable La Cabana Machu Picchu for check in, once you have checked in you will have the rest of the day free to relax and explore the interesting town of Aguas Calientes. Meals: Breakfast

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Day 10: Lima explored

Today is a chance to rest from travel and explore the capital city of Lima including its many places of rail history with its stations and some rolling stock to be seen.  As part of the “Train Experience” we have arranged for you to take lunch in an old dinning carriage which has been converted to a restaurant with limited dining spaces available.  After your tour you will return to your hotel and have the evening free to relax and enjoy the local area.           Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 12: Flight to Chiclayo via Lima LC Peru 2138 16:10 – 17:50 & LC Peru 2125 19:10 – 20:40

Today you will have a relaxed start as you enjoy breakfast at your hotel, in the afternoon you will be collected for your private transfer to the airport to meet your flight back to Lima. On arrival into Lima you will transfer to your next flight to the northern city of Chiclayo.  On arrival you will be met by your hotel driver (Please look for the sign with your name held up) and transfer to the comfortable Casa Andina Select hotel. Here you can relax from your day of travel and explore the plaza de Armas by evening. Meals: Breakfast

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Day 11: Train to Huancayo

Today is an early start as your amazing train journey to the Mantaro Valley in Huancayo departs Lima from the Desamparados station at 07.00am.  You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the station to board the first-class passenger carriages complete with bar and observation carriage (please note the drinking of alcohol is not recommended due to the altitude).  As you relax you will take in breathtaking scenery passing through 69 tunnels, crossing 58 bridges, 6 switch backs and passing through the Galera Tunnel, the second highest railway point of the world at 4782 m.a.s.l. This 12-hour journey will make stops at two main points of interest, the first one in San Bartolome and the second on the Galera station. Arriving into Huancayo at 19:00 you will be met by our guide and transferred to the Hotel Presidente Huancayo where you will enjoy a group dinner. This journey is like no other as it turns into a party spirit leaving everlasting memories of a wonderful country.                    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 12: Local train from Huancayo to Huancavelica

Today having an early breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the railway station where you will visit the switchyard of the train and you will see the maintenance workshops. You will board the traditional train which is very basic but offers a truly natural feel with locals joining you on the remarkable journey. Passing through stunning countryside as you cross the Andes running alongside the Mantaro River and through some of the best mountain scenery, this journey will take about six and a half hours approximately. Arriving at Huancavelica at 18:00, you will be transferred to the comfortable Hotel Presidente Huancavelica. Meals: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch

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Day 13: Bus to Ayacucho

Today at the appropriate time you will board your private vehicle where you will travel for 5 hours approx. to the old city of Ayacucho. During your trip to Ayacucho you will have few stops for refreshment (box lunch on bus). On arrival into Ayacucho you will be transferred to the Hotel Plaza. You will be escorted by your local guide to explore the city by night and discover one of the most untouched cities in all Peru. Meals: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch

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Day 14: Flight to Lima connecting to Quito, Ecuador

There is only one flight a day which has a very early departure so you will miss breakfast, however, coffee and fruit will be provided before you depart for the airport.  Arriving into Lima you will have some time to wait for your connecting flight, but the airport has modern dining facilities and shops to relax in while you await your international flight to Quito in Ecuador. Arriving at Mariscal International Airport, located 18km out of Quito, this newly built airport now services the Capital City. Once you have passed through security you will be met by your local guide who will assist you to his vehicle. From the airport he will transport you into the city itself; arriving at the Casona de la Ronda, you will check in and have time to settle before you are given a short briefing on your time in the capital. Once the briefing is complete your guide will be able to answer any questions you may have at this point before leaving you to relax after your long day of travel. Meals: Breakfast

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Day 15: Start of Tren Crucero rail tour Quito – Lasso

Today after you have had breakfast your guide will come to your hotel to collect you for your transfer to Chimbacalle Station. Here you will board the luxurious and elegant steam powered train that will be your transportation for the tour. We depart from the Chimbacalle train station in Quito at 8:00 am on board the Tren Crucero. We start our trip travelling on board the train to our next train station El Boliche located in the surroundings of Cotopaxi National Park. Once there, our journey continues on board modern coach buses to explore Cotopaxi National Park. Incredible landscapes will dominate our visit while hiking near Limpiopungo glacial lake. Cotopaxi is an important shelter for a variety of Andean fauna as caracaras, Andean gulls, Andean dear, wolves, the unique bear of South America, the spectacle bear and one of the last places to see occasionally the magnificent Andean Condor. Moorlands are also a highlight of the park as well as the impressive snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano rising almost 6.000 meters above sea level. Our journey continues to San Agustin del Callo Hacienda for a delicious typical lunch. The hacienda features incredible Inca walls and constitutes the further place from Cuzco in the north where you can admire an imperial style palace. After exploring the hacienda, we will be part of a local festivity in Lasso Train station. The local community will display an impressive exhibition of syncretism with local dancers playing a typical ballet. Overnight and dinner at La Cienega Hacienda. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 16: Lasso – Riobamba

After breakfast, we depart by bus to Latacunga train station. Once in Latacunga, we will board the train to continue our journey to the south. On the way we will explore a rose plantation to learn more about the world-renowned Ecuadorian roses and how this flower is grown. Next, we will continue on board the train to Ambato to enjoy the city. Lunch will be served at Roka Plaza hotel, an ancient colonial house. If weather conditions permit, we will have – from a safe distance – an impressive view of Tungurahua volcano, which is still active and occasionally offers nature´s most impressive scenery, an eruption. After lunch we will continue on board the train to Urbina station located at 11,840 feet above sea level (3,609 msnm.). Urbina, the highest train station in the country, will reserve a special moment for us when we meet the last ice-trader who will kindly share with us his daily craft to the slopes of Chimborazo Volcano to dig ice from the very same glacier. If weather permits, we will enjoy a breath-taking view of Chimborazo volcano. After this visit we will continue by bus to Abraspungo Inn for dinner and overnight. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 17: Riobamba – Bucay

We will depart early in the morning to Riobamba train station. Riobamba is located nearby of the Chimborazo volcano and once it was Ecuador´s capital. We will depart on board the train with an impressive restored steam locomotive across fascinating Andean landscapes to Colta community. Short stop at Balbanera church. Almost 500 Years ago the location where the actual church is located was the first landmark Christianity made upon arrival to these lands. Back on the train, we will depart to Guamote where its impressive indigenous market awaits you to discover it. This market is one of the last authentic markets in the Andes where traders still exchange products as they did 4 thousand years ago. Lunch will be served at our train station. Afternoon depart by train to Alausi train station across impressive geological formations. Once in Alausi, we will start our descent by train to the emblematic Devil´s Nose. The train will perform a zigzag manoeuvre in order to descent 535 meters of altitude by travelling 12 kilometres. We will make a short stop at a viewpoint to appreciate this major engineering achievement that led engineers to call this train as the most difficult in the world. We continue by train to Huigra train station. Huigra is a small village located between the Andes and the coast lands. We will dine and overnight in Eterna Primavera lodge. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 18: Bucay – Duran & transfer to Guayaquil

After breakfast, our bus will take us to Huigra train station. We will travel along with the Chanchan riverbed to Bucay. As we travel, we will witness of the impressive transition from the Andes to coast. Once in Bucay we will explore a Shuar community, which migrated many years ago from the Amazon basin to the Coast. The community will share their ancestral customs and traditions. Continue by bus to ranch San Rafael for lunch. Afterwards, we will board the train to continue our journey to Durán train station. With a restored steam locomotive, we will pass through typical coast plantations such as bananas, sugarcane and rice. Upon arrival to Duran, you will be transferred by bus to the Mansion del Rio hotel in Guayaquil. Once you have checked into your suite you can relax and reflect on the tour as you enjoy a final group dinner in a local restaurant. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 19: International flight home

Today you are free to explore further this diverse city, do some last-minute shopping or just relax in the many parks to be found. At the appropriate time your guide will pick you up and transfer you in private to the airport. Your guide will see you through to departure and will ensure that you make your homeward flight. Meals: Breakfast

Your Package Includes

What’s included?

  • All transfers as stated in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • Train tickets & entrance fees for all journeys
  • Domestic flights
  • International flight Lima – Quito
  • All services as stated in the itinerary
  • Personal guide services
  • Services of your Peruvian Secrets Tour Controller
  • All meals as stated in the itinerary
  • ‘Safe Seat’ Travel Fidelity Policy issued in association with the Travel Trust Association (this is for your financial protection only and is not a certificate of personal travel insurance, www.traveltrust.co.uk)

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