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Vistadome Observatory Train to Machu Picchu

It’s no secret that Peru is home to some of the most incredible landscapes and ruins in the world. The Vistadome Observatory train journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu captures both of these wonders, gaining it a reputation as one of the most beautiful train journeys on the planet.

Taking the train to Machu Picchu is the fastest and most luxurious way to travel to the famous citadel in the sky. Often, it’s said that it’s less about the destination, and more about the journey. While the same is not exactly true in the case of Machu Picchu, the train is a destination of its own.

Now, if you’re interested in a budget friendly trip, Peru Rail’s Expedition train is a fantastic option. If you’re looking to really make the most of the journey then the Vistadome is another great choice. However, if you want to truly treat yourself without splashing out for the full luxury of the Hiram Bingham service, the Vistadome Observatory may be right for you.

What Sets the Vistadome Observatory Apart?

The Vistadome Observatory takes what the Vistadome provides and elevates the experience. For just a fraction more money, you will have access to the observatory car as well as all of the benefits that come with the Vistadome train.

The Vistadome Observatory only runs between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, so unfortunately you will not be able to use the Poroy Station with this route. However, the Bimodal service is still available.

The Bimodal service picks up passengers from the train station in Cusco and drives them to Ollantaytambo, where the train to Machu Picchu leaves from. The trains that leave from Cusco city only travel to Puno and Arequipa.

What is an Observatory Car?

The Observatory car is the final carriage of the train, and is adorned with open seating in comfortable armchairs. It’s the ideal spot to watch the mountains rush by the windows, accompanied by a viewing balcony at the back of the train. This offers almost total immersion to the landscape, and a little more comfort than one might expect from both the Expedition train and the regular Vistadome train.

What Makes the Vistadome Special?

Much like the Vistadome, guests are treated to a snack on their journey. The snack consists of the following:

Includes hot infusions, coffee and/or water.

All of these treats are locally produced and make use of local ingredients, going a long way to giving you a taste of Peru while catering to both the salty and the sweet flavor palette.

There’s more to enjoy aboard than just your thoughtful Peruvian-centered snack. On the return journey you will be privy to a cultural show, with traditional costumes and dances filling the cart and enchanting travelers. This is followed up by a fashion show of baby alpaca garments, and a chance to purchase souvenirs without a doubt about their authenticity.

What About the Surroundings?

It won’t shock you to hear that the train passes through many interesting and beautiful spots on the way between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. The Vistadome Observatory train has a brief pause at many of these spots, and after a short explanation and a moment to grab some pictures, the train moves on.

While you are not listening to the informative commentaries, there is ambient music playing throughout the cart. The music compliments the surroundings beautifully without becoming


Train Departures

The Vistadome Observatory Train has 3 departures from Ollantaytambo per day, and 3 return trips from Aguas Calientes (sometimes known as Machu Picchu Pueblo or Machu Picchu town). Each of these train services has the option to include transport to and from Cusco.

This transport can only be taken just before or just after your train arrives or leaves Ollantaytambo- it is not possible to take it the day before, so if you are interested in exploring Ollantaytambo you will need to arrange your own transport there and forgo the bimodal service.

The first train of the day departs from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes at 7:45 am, arriving in Aguas Calientes at 9:15 am. This is the ideal arrival time for those with a 10am entrance. The bus for this departure leaves at 5:10 am from Wanchaq station in Cusco.

The second train of the day departs from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes at 10:32 am, arriving in Aguas Calientes at 12:11 pm- the perfect time for a 1pm entrance. The bus from Cusco leaves at 7:50 am.

The third and final train of the day departs from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes at 3:37 pm, arriving in Aguas Calientes at 5:02 pm. This is a great time for those who want to get to Machu Picchu in time for sunrise the following day. It is too late in the day for any entrances for this day. The bus from Cusco departs at 12:30 pm.

The return trains from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo also have three departures per day. These departures are at 1:37 pm, ideal for those who had an early start. This train arrives in Ollantaytambo at 3:15 pm, and the transfer arrives back in Cusco at 5:30pm.

The second departure from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is at 4:22 pm, arriving in Ollantaytambo at 6:20 pm. This is a great departure time for those with a midmorning tour, leaving enough time to grab some lunch in the town and relax without rush. The bus back to Cusco arrives at 8:30 pm.

The third and final departure of the day leaves Aguas Calientes at 5:23 pm, arriving in Ollantaytambo at 7:15 pm, and the transfer arriving in Cusco at 9:40pm. This departure works well for anyone with a midday entrance, or for those who have an earlier entrance and want a little time to explore Aguas Calientes and the things to do there.

Is the Vistadome Observatory Right for You?

The Vistadome Observatory train is a great choice for anyone who wants to really make the most of this journey without breaking the bank. It has touches of luxury without the luxury price tag, and allows travelers to immerse themselves into the landscape while maintaining certain comfortable touches.

Why choose us

These popular destinations have a lot to offer

At 69 Explorer, we are committed to providing an exceptional experience. Your safety, comfort, and enjoyment are our top priorities. We continuously strive to exceed expectations and ensure that every trip with us becomes a cherished memory.


Local Experience

Our guides are locals with extensive knowledge about the history, myths, and secrets of the region.

Small personalized groups

Our groups never exceed 10 people, giving you an unforgettable experience

Our experience

Our With seven years of experience and more than 20 packages to Machu Picchu alone, our team knows how to carry out a successful expedition.

Sustainable Travel

We believe in responsible tourism. Our tours are designed to respect the local communities and environment, ensuring a positive impact.