There is a wide variety of trains around the world. From historic to nostalgic and romantic to techno enabled bullet trains. This can truly add an extra dimension to your travel enjoyment be it The Silk Road via Samarkand & Tashkent, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Southern Africa’s Rovos and Blue Train, Argentina.
Rocky Mountaineer Tours
Jo Meintjes Travel is a preferred agent for these varied train and rail and drive trips crossing the Rockies. The train slows at scenic views. Some escorted tours are included.
Jo travelled on one of the Canadian trains from Vancouver to Winnipeg in 2008.
There is only one train for sightseeing on the outskirts of Buenos Aires as well as one in Ushuaia to take you into the world’s southern most National Park. One of these engines originated in Port Shepstone on the KZN South Coast!
While strictly not a train the “Safari to the Clouds” is a heavy duty vehicle following the spectacular train track (which only operates at night!) from Salta through the surrounding valleys to zigzag into the mountains to reach a height of 4220 m and a boutique hotel.
The train no longer runs from Quito to Guayaquil on the coast via Cuenca, where the Panama Hats originated, which is a pity as Jo did this route in 1982 after flying into Guayaquil from the Galapagos islands; boarding a train which rattled at great speed to Quito (2800 m). Her operator recommends a bus tour from Quito through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cuenca. In Cuenca you can stay 1- 2 nights and then continue to Guayaquil. It is a fascinating trip to see the difference in fauna and flora as you descend to the coast. There are also Inca ruins near Cuenca to visit. Maybe the Chiva Express will ride the rails again before long?
Peru you will travel by train on the famous switchback railway when you visit Machu Picchu from Cuzco. It departs at 6 a.m. and must be pre-booked. Jo highly recommends boarding around 7.30 at Ollantaytambo after a day tour through the Sacred Valley with its fascinating market towns the previous day. If someone has taken your seat make sure you claim it! You take minimal luggage as there’s nowhere to store it except on overhead racks. This is taken to your hotel on arrival while you join the guided tour.
Spend a night or two at your destination to see both Aguas Calientes and the Inca ruins at your leisure once you have taken the guided tour. This will avoid any disappointments with the weather. You are descending towards the Amazon jungle and therefore rain can be expected. Reduced entrance fee to the ruins for subsequent visits. Return to Cusco on the afternoon train the following day. If you are arriving by walking the Inca Trail you see the ruins at dawn, then spend a night in Aguas Calientes and also return by train to Cusco the next day. This village is fascinating for shopping, the hot baths and possibly even spotting the National Bird of Peru, Coq of the Rock.
Try the train from the station near Lake Titicaca up to Cusco – sometimes deemed unsafe for tourists.
If not travelling to these destinations and you are keen on train travel, please enquire. As with all travel products new routes as well as trains are always being launched.