While planning their Peruvian itinerary many people include both a trip to Cusco and also to Puno. Cusco’s most famous nearby attraction is of course Machu Picchu and Puno is home to Lake Titicaca. The best and most comfortable way to get from one location to the other is on the old fashioned train, the Andean Explorer.
The journey takes approximately 10 hours and costs US$268. It is, of course, somewhat pricier than the equivalent journey on the bus but also somewhat more luxurious. It is also a trip of a lifetime as how many times do you get to take an old-fashioned Pullman train through the Andes?
The day starts promptly at 8am. Most of what you will consume on board is included in the price but you can order extra drinks – hot, cold and alcoholic, throughout the journey at an extra cost. Included in the price is a welcome Pisco Sour which is accompanied with some entertainment and live music around mid-morning. Next fruit and muesli is served followed by a three course lunch with a glass of wine, tea and coffee. Before arrival they also serve afternoon tea and a delicious bellini. There is no possibility of going hungry on this journey!
The passenger cars are decorated with panelled wood along with brass fittings and very comfortable armchairs. You can sit at tables either for 2, 4 or double seats. The tables are beautifully decorated with white linen tablecloths and flowers. It all feels like stepping back in time. The service is exemplary, the staff make you feel so welcome and everything is served with great care even if at times the journey is a little rocky.
There is also a car-bar outdoor observatory. This observation car is separate and has a lounge with a bar and seating for about 24 as well as the glass section where you can really appreciate the views and take excellent photographs.
The scenery is spectacular – you can go either way from Cusco to Puno or from Puno to Cusco and the landscapes change considerably over the 10 hour journey. Mountains, highlands and rolling plains are all passed by as the train ascends to higher altitudes. There is at least one stop on the journey at La Raya, which is also the highest point on the route, and where you can see local women selling their goods.
It is a once in a lifetime trip and should be included on any itinerary to Peru!
Departure: Wanchaq station (Cusco)
Duration of the Trip: 10 Hours.
Arrival: Puno Station
From April to October: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
From November to March: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
(It is also possible to do the trip from Puno to Cusco)
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