When it comes to train travel, South America has some of the best train rides in the world. Although there aren't cross-country train services in the continent - with the exception of Argentina and Chile - there is a number of local passenger and sightseeing train trips you can enjoy.
In many cases, they are an attraction in themselves, and they could either be booked as a viable way of travel or just for the fun of it.
In fact, whether you like to try a steam engine ride or a more modern/comfortable service, we'll review the most famous train tours in South America.
Furthermore, you can book any of them down below, without the need of leaving the page to start searching for options. In most cases, they combine a thrilling railway journey with a visit to some of the biggest tourist attractions in South America.
That is the case of the Hiram Binham Orient Express to Machu Picchu, the Andean Explorer that links Cuzco to Puno, in Peru, or the Tren Crucero Raiload (Train Cruise) that goes from Quito to Guayaquil crossing the Avenue of the Volcanoes, in Ecuador, among others.
So here we go with the list of TOP train travel rides to choose from...
- Train to the Clouds:
The legendary Tren de las Nubes covers 434 kilometers in 15 hours, departing from Belgrano Station, Salta (1,187 meters), Argentina, to a height of 4,200 meters above sea level in La Polvorilla. The tour includes thirteen viaducts, two zigzags, two curls and nine tunnels, unique works of their kind.
- Old Pagonian Express La Trochita:
La Trochita is Argentina's famous narrow-gauge steam train, it averages less than 30km/h, if it runs at speed. The longest route joins Esquel and El Maitén (about 9 hours), while the Tren Turístico travels from Roca station, in Esquel, to Nahuel Pan - 45 minutes ride.
- Jurney by Train to Machu Picchu: There currently are four services departing from the station in Poroy, a small village about a 20 minute bus/taxi ride from downtown Cuzco to Aguas Calientes, 2 km away from Machu Picchu. You can also reach it from Ollantaytambo station (in the Sacred Valley). In any case, please book in advance!
- Orient-Express' luxury Hiram Bingham train:
This very-expensive train journey owes its name to Hiram Bingham III, an academic, explorer and politician who made public the existence of the citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911. It runs from Poroy to Aguas Calientes - a 3 1/2 hours ride.
- Tren Crucero "The Devil's Nose":
A four-day, 280-mile journey from Quito in the northern central highlands at 9,350 feet, all the way down to Guayaquil in the lowlands on the Pacific coast at sea level. Devil's Nose it's been called the most difficult train in the world.
- Andean Explorer:
This spectacular rail journey begins at historic Cuzo and travel south to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. A 281 km ride where travelers can book first-class or Backpackers carriages.
- Curitiba-Paranaguá Serra Verde ExpressTrain:
Currently, the train only goes as far as Paranaguá on Sundays. On the other days of the week, the last stop is Morretes, an 18th-century town. It's one of the most exciting and scenic travel routes in Brazil through the largest preserved area of Atlantic forest remaining in the country.
- Wine Route Train Tour:
Santiago de Chile. The 1913 steam engine leaves from the nearby town of San Fernando and chugs through the scenic Colchagua Valley, home to more than a dozen wineries. Make sure to include the Colchagua Museum. Some stops were suspended after the 2010 earthquake.
- Tren de la Costa: A short trip along the Rio de la Plata, from Olivos to the Tigre River Delta, in Buenos Aires. You can shop and dine int the waterfront restaurants, tale a boat ride to the islands (even to Carmelo, Uruguay), or amuse yourself in an amusement park or the casino.