Top Train Trips for Sightseeing in South America

Train ride to Machu Picchu
WIN-Initiative/Getty Images

Long distance and train travel between South American countries is a thing of the past, but local passenger and sightseeing train trips are still available, and in many cases, an attraction in themselves. Some are for fun only, others are a viable way to travel.

For serious, long distance travel, take a bus, or fly. Rent a car if you are experienced with South America driving and roads.

  • 01 of 09
    The Hiram Bingham train is the most luxurious way to journey between Cusco and Machu Picchu. For many visitors a trip to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience
    Jorge Láscar/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

    "The 'Hiram Bingham' is a luxury train service that runs from Poroy Station to Machu Picchu taking 3 and a half hours." Expensive, luxurious and a marvelous way to travel.

  • 02 of 09
    Tourists on the Devil's Nose Train
    Frank_am_Main/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Called the "Most Difficult Train in the World," the train trip between Riobamba and Alausí is one of Ecuador's most famous attractions. The railroad was originally built to connect the Andes with the coast, and the route goes up and down steep slopes, along river valleys and has to negotiate a wall of rock called Nariz del Diablo, the Devil's Nose. Travelers today can choose to sit inside ​or ride the roof for a better view.

  • 03 of 09
    Ferrocarril La Trochita
    Marcelo Ois Lagarde/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

    The Viejo Expreso Patagónico", or Old Patagonian Express, is represented by this ride on the old narrow-gauge tracks through Argentine Patagonia. The site is in Spanish.

  • 04 of 09
    Train ride from Curitiba to Morretes, Brazil.
    Adam Jones Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

    The train trip from Curitiba to Paranaguá in Brazil is exciting, spectacular and a favorite with visitors. The route, over 67 bridges and through 13 tunnels, descends a steep mountain to the seaport, and most travelers do a round trip in one day.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    Tren a las nubes
    Véronique Debord-Lazaro/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-SA-2.0

    The railroad in Argentina was built in the 1920's for British railways, designed by an American engineer, to provide access to the nitrate mines in Chile. It reaches 14,000 ft. The train is back in service.

  • 06 of 09

    Called the second most beautiful route in the world, the scenery from Cuzco to Puno, Peru takes you from mountains, through the high plains called Altiplano, to the shore of Lake Titicaca.

  • 07 of 09

    "To travel by train to Machu Picchu, PERURAIL, the company that operates the Southern Railways, offers a wide variety of services which cover the needs of the different types of travelers to the former Inca citadel or the nearby area." Choose between the Inca Route from Cuzco, the Ollanta Route through Ollantaytambo, or the Poroy 18 km route from Cuzco, right in the Urubamba Valley. All trains go to Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu.

  • 08 of 09

    Tren del Vino

    The train takes the Wine Route through the scenic Colchagua valley near Santiago, Chile, visiting wineries for tastings, stopping for meals and a tour of the Colchagua Museum.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    Climb aboard the train in Buenos Aires for the short trip along the Rio de la Plata shore to the Tigre Delta, where you can choose to tour the delta and Isla San Martin, amuse yourself in an amusement park or the casino, shop and dine in waterfront restaurants.