then stops at Poroy before descending into the Sacred Valley, passing
by lush, green fields and colourful villages in the foothills of the
Andes. After departing Poroy and going through Cachimayo, the train
descends to the plateau of Anta, a patchwork landscape of typical Andean
crops and passes lush fields and colourful villages in the foothills
of the Andes.
Far to the left, just below the horizon, the massive agricultural terraces
of Jaquijahuana can be seen, close to the village of Zurite. Sadly,
these great terraces are all that remain today of what was once a major
Inca city, lost forever during the first years after the Spanish conquest.
Beyond the town of Huarocondo the great plain narrows dramatically as
the track enters a deep gorge carved by the rushing Pomatales River
down which the railway, too, is funnelled until it meets the Urubamba
River, which runs through the beautiful Sacred Valley.
The train passes through extensive areas of terracing dotted with the
ruins of Inca fortresses. Bisecting this are still-visible sections
of an ancient, long-abandoned highway adopted by the muleteers of the
late 19th century, who used it to travel between Cusco and the rubber
plantations of the Amazon lowlands.
Five kilometres beyond Pachar, is the village of Ollantaytambo where
farmers work with the same patience and skill that their ancestors must
have employed to shape and then move the huge blocks of stone with which
they built both their homes and the temples in which they worshipped.
As the train leaves Ollantaytambo to begin the last part of its journey
to Machu Picchu, the temple complex known as The Fortress, dedicated
sometime in the 15th century to the many deities of the Inca pantheon,
can be seen to the right above the earthwork ramp once used to drag
its monolithic blocks up from the valley floor.
The railway follows the river into the Urubamba Gorge. At Coriwaynachina,
known simply to the generations of hikers who have begun the Inca Trail
there as Km 88, a fine staircase carved into the rock leads to a series
of ruined buildings where once, it is said, Inca artisans took advantage
of the constant wind that rises from the valley floor to smelt gold.
Emerging from a short tunnel, a series of beautiful agricultural terraces
marks the ruins of Qente, which in Quechua means hummingbird. In this
fertile microclimate fed by a nearby waterfall, giant hummingbirds are
indeed a common sight in the early morning and bright flowers bloom
all year round.
Surrounded by tall ceibos and rocky outcrops hung with orchids and bromeliads,
the train passes Km 104 at Chachabamba, from where the one-day trek
to Machu Picchu via the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna begins.
At just two km from the Inca Remains, the train arrives at Machu Picchu
Town. Surrounded by the high, green mountains that cradle the famous
lost city, as well as myriad other Inca remains, this small town, which
is well known for its thermal baths, has blossomed into a popular overnight
destination for travellers to Machu Picchu.
Guests disembark at Machu Picchu Town to start a unique experience at
Machu Picchu Inca Citadel.