The decade-long monopoly enjoyed by Orient-Express–owned PeruRail (www.perurail.com) is finally breaking up. New entrants into the market to provide train service from Cusco to Machu Picchu include Machu Picchu Train, owned by Andean Railways (www.machupicchutrain.com) and Inca Rail (www.incarail.com). Check the websites for expected competitive fares, fancier coaches, and better service.
During high season, it is best to reserve tickets online ahead of time to travel to Machu Picchu. Buying tickets once you arrive in Cusco is a hassle, but many of Cusco’s nicer hotels will purchase them for their guests. PeruRail and Inca Rail have online ticket purchase. There are several classes of services to Machu Picchu with a tremendous variance in price; Ina Rail is a bit cheaper.
The world’s second-highest railway runs from Lima to Huancayo through the Central Andes at a high elevation point of 4,751 meters. The service is managed by Ferrocarril Central Andino (www.fcca.com.pe) with two different types of service. Tickets can be bought online. Departures are about once or twice per month for this 12-hour ride with stunning views.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition