“Tren de la Sierra” Lima – Huancayo
Until the Chinese built the line to Lhasa in Tibet, the railway between Peru’s capital Lima and Huancayo was once the highest track in the world. The air-conditioned Tren de Sierra links Lima and Huancayo once a month in each direction between April and October. The train has two classes: “Touristico” is the 1st class & “Clasico” is the 2nd class. The bar and observation car is only accessible in “Touristico” Class. The train spends one or two days in Huancayo before returning to Lima, which gives visitors time to explore the Mantaro Valley.
The journey through the central Peruvian Andes starts at Lima’s Desamparados railway station, the departure point for a scenic, breathtaking 12-hour train journey. The 332 km route passes through 69 tunnels, crosses 58 bridges and viaducts and reverses six times on zigzags to gain altitude.
En route, the train makes three stops of about 30 minutes each, allowing travelers to descend and take photographs or shoot video. The first stop is San Bartolome, where the locomotive is switched to the opposite end of the train. The second stop, Galera, is 4782m above sea level – the world’s second-highest train station. The third stop is La Oroya, at the end of the mountain section. From there, the train follows the Mantaro River to Huancayo.
As you approach the highest elevations, a nurse on board will offer medication and oxygen to anyone who needs it. She walks along the aisle in each car and checks on people who are getting drowsy, an early sign of altitude sickness.
The modest lunch is similar to airline food. We recommend that you pack water, sandwich, fruit and biscuits. The journey often takes longer than 12 hours, so many restaurants will be closed after you arrive in Huancayo.