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Traveling to Peru involves a myriad of routes to discover the many wonders hidden in its historical sites and tourist destinations. Compared to domestic flights, train lines allow travelers to experience an unforgettable experience and witness spectacular scenery throughout Peru’s great diversity of terrains and panoramas.

Until a few years ago, train travel remained in the memory of Peruvians. Due to problems in their construction or lack of maintenance, the train tracks rusted over time and many rail routes disappeared. 

However, nowadays, the tourism boom and the discovery of new destinations have encouraged the reappearance of trains along different tourist destinations in Peru. Nowadays many wagons return to travel the mountains of the Andes and communicate with the highland towns.

While on your trip to Peru and also while being on the train you may need to keep communication or a translation app. That’s why you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to have a tourist SIM card. In order to understand and discover new full day adventures and meet new places only on a day here in PeruSIM

Let’s discover a little more about the route of these trains and everything you can see while traveling in Peru:

Lima to Huancayo

andean railway peru

From the old Desamparados station on the Rimac River, the Central Andean Railway departs, linking the cities of Lima and Huancayo, offering an unforgettable journey through the spectacular landscapes of the Peruvian highlands. 

Among them, travelers will be able to appreciate the snow-capped mountain of Ticlio, the Paca Lagoon in Jauja, Apata and its beautiful countryside adorned with the Cantuta flower, while in Concepción they can visit the statue of the Immaculate Conception Virgin in Piedra Parada.

The Central Railroad is one of the most important and extends from the port of Callao, through the department of Lima, crosses La Oroya in the center, and separates to the north by Cerro de Pasco and to the south by Huancayo. 

During its journey it crosses the fertile Rimac valley, before making a stop at San Bartolome, and then at the historic Matucana station, where travelers are welcomed with a show by the locals and can participate in a fair offering items from the area.

Over the course of a 12-hour journey, the train passes through 69 tunnels, crosses 58 bridges and negotiates six breathtaking zigzag curves. 

Passengers will have the opportunity to see amazing bridges built at the foot of deep abysses, including the Carrion, the longest of the route with 218 meters long and 80 meters high; as well as the Chaupichaca, 122 meters; and the Infiernillo, from which you can see the Rimac River. 

Considered the second highest train route in the world, the train ascends to an altitude of 4,829 meters above sea level, so passengers are advised to be prepared for altitude sickness.

Likewise, the train has two areas: the classic area, consisting of front seats for four people (with a table in the middle) and the tourist area, which has reclining seats, large windows on the sides and on the roof, as well as personalized attention in the El Infiernillo bar (both cars have heating, food and medical service).

Huancayo and Huancavelica

The Huancayo-Huancavelica Railroad or, as it is known, “El Tren Macho”, also runs the route to Huancayo, departing from Huancavelica. So named by the inhabitants of Huancayo and Huancavelica because it “left when it wanted to and arrived when it could”, this is how it is known to this day. 

Its 128-kilometer journey takes approximately five hours along a trip parallel to the Mantaro River, with stops at the stations of Chilca, Tellería, Izcuchaca, Mariscal Cáceres, Acoria, Yauli and Huancavelica, which have been recently restored, as well as the cars and rails of the railroad.

During the trip, passengers can enjoy some of the works produced by ancient settlers, such as the Colonial Bridge of Izcuchaca, the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes, among other attractions. 

Also, although the train has restaurant service on board, it is a delight for the palate that at each stop of the train formal vendors of corn with cheese, bizcochuelos, potato with cheese, local drinks and the most exquisite and crunchy pork rinds get on the wagons.

Other important trains are the Ferrocarril del Sur, the Southern Peru Railroad in Moquegua and the Tacna-Arica Railroad. According to the planning of the Ministry of Transportation, several kilometers of railroad tracks still need to be built, especially in the north of the country. 

A 650 km long Norandino Railroad is planned, another one that would go from Cerro de Pasco to Pucallpa, Iquitos to Yurimaguas Railroad, among others.

Cusco to Machu Picchu

peru train

The railroads of southern Peru have the largest network of trains in the country. They connect the main tourist destinations such as the city of Cusco, Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) and Puno. Inca Rail is one of the companies that operate in Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) station.

Inca Rail operates from Ollantaytambo and has tourist and first class service. This route to Machu Picchu is shorter and has the advantage that tourists can visit the Ollantaytambo Archaeological Complex, one of the few cities that preserve a large part of its Inca legacy. Finally, the company Andean Railways also offers this service to the majestic Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo.

Road to Titicaca

Traveling through the Altiplano on rails has a particular charm that only offers the calm rhythm of your walk that takes you back to another era and allows you to enjoy the panorama from another point of view.

The wagons of the Andean Explorer begin their journey in the city of Cusco and end the trip on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in Puno. During the trip, which lasts about ten hours, the train ascends through landscapes dominated by the snow-capped Andes Mountains, territory of the Huatanay River.

Before our eyes appear peaceful villages. In the distance the towers of the church of Oropesa, we pass through the magical Andahuaylillas and the crumbling walls of the old haciendas of Urcos are disappearing as we pass and we enter the colorful crops of its valleys.

On the way we would be able to see towns like Raqchi, which is recognized by its imposing temple of Wiracocha, appear in the distance. Leaving Cusco behind and entering the golden landscape of the puna, where the valleys are covered with ichu and the panorama becomes inhospitable. Here the mountains would be getting higher and snowier.

The first and only stop is at La Raya, the highest point of the journey, at over 4,000 m.a.s.l., a place where the grasslands are golden and the sky is an intense blue. A small church stands out in the middle of this endless ichu field. The road continues for several more hours of ascent to the heights, where the Andes Mountains dominate the panorama.

Schedules and fares

peru trains to take

Central Andean Railway: 

From Lima to Huancayo, it departs from the Desamparados station at 7:00 am. The trip in the classic cars costs from S/. 380 soles, and the trip in the tourist cars costs from S/.750, which includes food (breakfast and lunch), tourist guide and medical attention. The trip usually takes approximately 14 hours (including two tourist stops).

Huancayo-Huancavelica Railroad: 

The trip is 128 kilometers long and takes five hours. It departs every day from Chilca station (Huancayo) at 6:30 a.m., arriving in Huancavelica at noon. It returns at 2 p.m. and arrives in Huancayo at 7:30 p.m. Passengers can be accommodated in first class cars (S/.9 per ticket) and buffet cars (S/.13 per ticket), with restaurant service on board.

Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.