Getting to Machu Picchu really is half the fun. Although the site isn’t nearly as difficult to reach as it was in 1911 when historian Hiram Bingham (pictured above in a historical photograph) brought the ruins to the attention of the world, it’s still no walk in the park to get there. For starters, no roads lead directly from main points of entry – Lima and Cusco – to Machu Picchu. Some choose to walk a four-day trek (or portion of it) on the Inca Trail, while others reach the base by chugging along on trains. But did you know it’s possible to get to Machu Picchu in style in a wood-paneled train car with its own private balcony? Well, it is.
The “Presidential Service” by Inca Rail is by far the most luxurious way to get to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. If you order the service, the train operator actually attaches a private carriage to the train that includes its own bar, bathroom, panoramic windows, seating area and a balcony. As you’ll see in the images below, there are also plenty of window shades so that rock stars, dignitaries and others who can afford the ride can do so without any interference. The $10,000 price tag comes with an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and tea service, plus huge bragging rights and lots of stares from passersby. Its maximum capacity is eight people, and it must be booked at least 30 days in advance.
Do you think the train ride is worth the price? And in your opinion, do you think it would add to or take away from the Machu Picchu experience?
[Image of Hiram Bingham from a historical display at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. Train car images courtesy Inca Rail]