The Vistadome Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu is one three options to get to the popular sight. In this review, I’ll explain what you can expect from the journey and whether it is worth the extra charge to take the Vistadome.
If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, you got a choice of three different trains: The Belmond Bingham Express, a very expensive luxury train, the Vistadome and the Expedition.
All trains are operated by Perurail and come with different comfort standards. In this review of the Vistadome train, I’ll try to help you make the best choice on what train to take to Machu Picchu. For that, I’ll draw a comparison to my experience in the cheaper Expedition train.
The Vistadome trains come with a varying number of carriages, which all look the same, from inside and the outside. There are two seats each, either facing two other seats or behind each other.
Seat assignments are automatic, so you can’t choose a seat of your preference. However, I found all seats to be quite comfortable even though legroom is slightly limited when you are sitting opposite to someone else.
Yet, those seats come with a proper table, while the other only have a foldable one. All seats in the Vistadome trains are quite thick and offer great padding. Thus, they are very comfortable for the journey of approximately three hours.
As I’ve already taken the Expedition Train by Perurail, I can safely say that the Vistadome offers a higher comfort as the seats are more comfortable. Yet, the difference is relatively minor. The bigger difference can be found in the windows. While the Expedition just has normal windows on both sides, the Vistadome trains have windows on the roof, too.
While the coach is more airy and bright due to that, the view “of the sky” isn’t all that spectacular on that journey. Be aware that there is no difference at all during the night, as you’d expect. Additionally, both trains come with a rather basic toilet (still a WC) in each coach.
When taking the Vistadome Train, snacks and drinks are included in the fare. Sadly, there is no choice offered. Instead, you are presented with two sandwiches and a piece of cake.
First of all, it’s worth noting that the service is friendly and the whole procedure, including setting the table, is rather cute. Second, the quality of the sandwiches and the cake is decent. Yet, you shouldn’t expect high cuisine or anything -it’s a train after all.
Third, there is a choice of drinks between several soft drinks, juices water and hot drinks, including water and tea of your choice. Complimentary drinks were offered only once during my journey. Once again, I’d like to compare the food offerings to the Expedition train, which I took on the way back.
On that journey, there was a very limited selection of drinks and a chocie of two different snacks. The so-called Inka Corn tasted rather weird and the pastry was among the worst I’ve ever tried. Thus, if you want a proper snack and a more extensive drink selection, you should definitely book the Vistadome!
It’s worth noting that in both, the Vistadome and the Expedition, there is a rather annoying sales show after catering. The staff tries to sell you local stuff like blankets, scarves etc. rather aggresivelly, which I found a little odd to be honest. Additionally, on both journeys drinks were charged after the inital round of catering. Odd.
However, I found the Vistadome and the Expedition to be a decent way to get to Machu Picchu. All in all, I’d say that the premium for the Vistadome is worth it for a daytime ride (most likely the way to Macchu Picchu), while it is not worth for an evening journey (the way back).
It’s quite obvious that all trains to Machu Picchu are overpiced. The Vistadome is even a little more expensive than the Expedition train, but I found the extra services and the added comfort to be worth it for a daytime journey. While the catering was decent, some choice would be great. Additionally, the sales show is pretty annoying. Nevertheless, taking the Vistadome to Machu Picchu definitely is a good option and I’d recommend taking the train compared to other travel options to Machu Picchu.