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Trains in South America
South America train tours are a real pleasure, there are few better ways to see the continent. Several of the best train trips in South America are in Peru. The train to Machu Picchu is probably the most famous of South American train journeys and the country has several other excellent routes including a Belmond train that runs from Arequipa to Cusco by way of Lake Titicaca over the course of a few days. South America train travel varies from luxurious to more basic. In Bolivia, the trains are simpler, offering an authentic experience and some useful routes for the traveler, including to the Uyuni Salt Flats. Train travel in South America is rarely more beautiful than the journey through the Atlantic Rainforest to Morretes in Brazil. Ecuador is another good destination for those who wish to travel by train in South America. Travel from Quito to Guayaquil through the Andes on a luxury train. More ideas on train travel in South America can be found below and every trip is customized to fit with your travel style, pace and schedule.
Covid-19 Update: South America Travel – Countries are open for travel!
South America is open for travel again. We’re operating trips in several countries right now, with more following soon.
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Top 9 South America Train Tours
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Popular Train Routes in South America
1. Tren Crucero – From Quito to Guayaquil
First on our list is Ecuador with a restored antique steam train that combines luxury and unique experiences. This train, The Tren Crucero, runs along the gorgeous landscapes between Quito (the Andean highlands) and Guayaquil (the Atlantic coast). You’ll see looming volcanos, small traditional villages, colorful markets, and spectacular rolling hills.
The train holds 50 passengers so you’ll enjoy world-class service on South America’s leading luxury train. Don’t expect to just sit around. Instead, you’ll get off the train several times a day for an excursion or to take photographs. You’ll immerse yourself in the history, cuisine, culture, and communities of Ecuador. All activities are with local guides who are passionate about their country.
And don’t fret about small sleeping cabins. You’ll stay at boutique accommodations that offer the same level of customer service as the Tren Crucero. While many will claim that the Galapagos Islands are the gem of Ecuador, any train enthusiast is sure to find that this experience gives the islands a run for their money!
2. Hiram Bingham – From Cusco to Aguas Calientes
The Hiram Bingham is arguably the most famous train in South America. It will take you from Poroy Station (just outside Cusco) and leave you in Aguas Calientes; which is a small town situated at the base of Machu Picchu. This luxury train was named after the American explorer who rediscovered the Incan citadel. It also boasts a 1920’s charm with wood-paneled interiors and brass finishes.
The Hiram Bingham winds through the Sacred Valley hills and along the Urubamba River. You’ll enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine in the dining car and live music in the bar car. This 3-hour journey is an extra special highlight for anyone visiting Machu Picchu.
3. Belmond Andean Explorer Train – From Cusco to Puno
The first of its kind in South America – a luxury sleeper train – has recently come to Peru. This train now allows you to traverse the Peruvian Andes in comfort and style. Called the Belmond Andean Explorer Train, you can choose multiple journeys between Cusco and Puno that last one or two nights.
Each day you’ll have an activity where you get off the train to explore fantastic sights that a flight or vehicle transfer will skip. Your sleeper cabin will include 1 or 2 beds, a private bathroom, and windows to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Within the train, there’s a lounge bar car complete with a piano and dining cars where you’ll enjoy locally sourced meals. Additionally, there is a spa (available from June 30th, 2019) and a comfortable observation car that has large windows and an open deck. For anyone that wants a luxurious and unique way to see the main cities of Peru – Cusco, Lima, and Arequipa, the Belmond Andean Explorer Train cannot be missed.
4. La Trochita – From Esquel to El Maitén
The Old Patagonian Express train, lovingly nicknamed “La Trochita”, is a 1922 double-headed steam train that runs in the south of Argentina. Given its name because of its narrow gauge of 75 cm, this is a must ride for any real train enthusiast. Boasting a unique historical and cultural charm, this is more of an experience than a luxury train. With simple seating, small windows, and wood-burning stoves, this train slowly chugs through the Patagonian foothills. More frequent is the journey from Esquel to Nahuel Pan.
It is a quick 45-minute journey in a vintage carriage that allows its passengers to listen to the sounds of an old steam train and enjoy the fresh air. Less frequent is the 9-hour journey between Esquel and El Maitén. These journeys are exclusive for the special locomotive enthusiast wanting to learn more about the railways and this fantastic machine.
5. Serra Verde Express – Curitiba to Morretes
Perhaps containing the most interesting in terms of landscapes is the Serra Verde Express. The diesel and electric fueled train slowly travel through the Atlantic Rainforest in Southeast Brazil. Completed in 1885, this train once transported goods to the coast but now is a thrilling 3-hour journey through the treetops of the rainforest for train enthusiasts and tourists alike.
The Serra Verde Express runs 380 miles between the cities of Curitiba and Morretes. You’ll pass through 13 tunnels and 30 bridges (one at 55 meters high) and see mountainous canyons and lush rainforest. The interior of the train is simple but comfortable with large windows that you can open. The Serra Verde Express is a definite hidden gem, we recommend this for anyone with a love for nature or trains!
Trains in South America can be a teacher of years past or a luxurious way to see the countryside and highlights. What type of locomotive enthusiast are you? We invite you to contact us today to plan your customized train trip through South America!
5 Best Trains in South America for 2023
|The Peru and Bolivia Train Tour||from $4686||18 Days||See all the highlights of Peru and Bolivia on the Peru Bolivia Train Tour! Enjoy guided city tours in Lima, Cuzco and La Paz. Explore historic UNESCO...|
|Tren Crucero Train Tour Along the Avenue of the Volcanoes||from $||7 Days||The Tren Crucero Railroad Line has 4 luxury carriages holding 54 passengers, and employs restored, century-old steam locomotives. The 453-kilometer...|
|Train to the Clouds Argentina Railway||from $572||4 Days||Ride the thrilling "Tren a las Nubes," the Train to the Clouds from Salta, Argentina high into the Andes Mountains on the border with Chile. This...|
|La Trochita Patagonia Train Tour||from $1177||6 Days||Ride the "Old Patagonia Express" narrow-gauge railways aboard the La Trochita train through two of the most beautiful national parks in Patagonia....|
|The Complete Brazil Train Tour||from $4235||18 Days||This 18-day Brazil train tour takes you from Vitoria, Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto, and Rio de Janeiro to Salvador da Bahia. This is the most complete...|
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FAQ’s about South America Train Tours
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