It is widely agreed among travel writers, from Robert Louis Stevenson to Paul Theroux, that rail journeys are among the finest ways to get to the heart of a country.
BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER brings the lofty Peruvian plains within your reach. From the comfort of our luxury sleeper train, glide through a landscape of snow-capped mountains, majestic lakes and infinite horizons. Stop and explore Incan relics and otherworldly traditional villages. Take the track less travelled.
As you embark on our three-day Peruvian Highlands journey, rest assured that the ultimate Andean escape awaits. Our route takes in all the highlights of the Altiplano from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan empire, across lofty plains to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa. Constructed entirely of white volcanic stone, it’s little wonder that this baroque city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you prefer, the itinerary can also be taken in reverse.
Each day you’ll embark on excursions that unearth the hidden gems of this fascinating land. Visit the Sumbay Caves, where over 500 paintings and etchings by the area’s first human inhabitants have been carefully preserved. Admire the glassy Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest body of water and the highest of its kind. Catch a speedboat to the Uros islands, famously constructed out of floating reeds. On Taquile Island you’ll discover textile practices passed down through generations of islanders—women spin and dye the wool, men knit. Disembark at the archaeological site of Raqch’i—the Temple of Wiracocha is unmissable.
Don’t forget your camera, too. Wildlife in the Andes is rich and varied due to its extreme climate and altitude. Look out for llamas and alpacas or gaze skywards for the Andean Condor, worshipped by the Incas as a divine messenger. Spot the hot pink trumpets of the cantuta, Peru’s vibrant national flower.
Back on board, head to the observation car’s open deck as the vermillion sun dips between the crags of the La Raya mountains. It’s the highest point enroute, over 4,300 metres above sea level, and the panoramas are nothing short of breathtaking.
Hungry for more? Extend your journey and explore the Colca Canyon, the world’s second largest gorge—twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Between its valleys and towering peaks, you’ll find stunningly preserved colonial towns. Corn and quinoa grow on terraces dating back to the Incan period.
The two-day Andean Plains and Islands of Discovery voyage provides a more succinct itinerary if you’re short on time. For an overnight escape, take either the Spirit of the Water or the Spirit of the Andes journeys. Whichever route you choose, we can guarantee a voyage to remember.Explore the Andes with Belmond