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Our experience with the Belmond Andean Explorer

Amy Kruger
 - 
August 8, 2023
 - 
12 min. read
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Titicaca Lake · Peru
#MindfulMatters
#Lifestyle

Belmond launched the Andean Explorer, South America's pioneering Luxury Sleeper Train, with the goal of providing a distinctive and refined journey for those traversing from Puno to Cusco or from Arequipa to Puno.

Undoubtedly, this initiative by Belmond is commendable as it prioritizes sustainability, aiming for a reduced environmental impact. However, as a premium product, many of our prospective customers inquire about its value for the price. To address these concerns, we have compiled a comprehensive analysis based on our CEO's personal experience traveling aboard the Andean Explorer from Puno to Cusco.

Timetable

JourneyDeparture CityDeparture DayDeparture TimeArrival CityArrival DayArrival Time
Spirit of the WaterCuscoTuesday11:00PunoTuesday*22:14
Spirit of the AndesPunoWednesday12:00CuscoThursday07:36
Peruvian HighlandsCuscoThursday11:00ArequipaSaturday15:30
Andean Plains & Islands of DiscoveryArequipaSaturday20:00CuscoMonday12:58
* Overnight stay in Lake Titicaca station, passengers will disembark on Wednesday

* The stated departure days serve as a reference. The train does not run every week. If you have a specific request, please contact us.

What makes this train so special

Traditional dishes prepared with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients are served in the elegant dining carriages. The carefully thought-out menu is designed by the chefs of the Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco. After dinner, you can enjoy a pisco sour from the bar while breathing in the fresh Andean air from the open deck in the observation carriage.

The Routes

Take your pick from a 1-night trip from Cusco to Puno (or reverse), or a 2-night experience from Cusco to Puno and Arequipa (or reverse).

Peruvian Highlands (3 Days / 2 Nights)

This route departs from Cusco and crosses the Altiplano towards Puno and the majestic Titicaca Lake. En route, you will visit the La Raya pass. After spending the night on the train parked at the Lake Titicaca station, you will visit the Uros Islands. In the afternoon you will start your journey to Arequipa and spend the night on board the train parked at Saracoche. The next morning you will visit the Sumbay Caves before arriving at Arequipa city in the afternoon.

Day 1 Cusco - Puno
10:00 Check-in at Wanchaq Station in Cusco
11:00 Train departure from Cusco
13:00 Lunch on board
16:30 Arrival at the La Raya pass
16:45 Tea time at the bar carriage
19:00 Cocktails and canapes at the Piano bar
19:30 Dinner on board
22:00 Arrival at the Titicaca Lake Station in Puno
* Overnight at Titicaca Lake Station

Day 2 Puno - Saracocha
06:00 - 08:30 Breakfast on board
09:30 Visit to the Uros islands
12:30 Lunch on board
16:50 Departure to Saracoche
19:00 Cocktails and canapes at the Piano bar
19:30 Dinner on board
21:30 Arrival at Saracoche
* Overnight at Saracoche

Day 3 Saracocha - Arequipa
06:00 - 08:30 Breakfast on board
09:50 Sumbay Caves Tour
11:30 Stop at Km 93: Disembark of guests going independently to Colca Canyon (not included in train ticket)
12:30 Lunch on board
15:30 Arrival in Arequipa

La Raya church
Sumbay caves

Andean Plains & Islands of Discovery (3 Days / 2 Nights)

Departing from Arequipa, this route heads to Cusco. After spending the night on the train while it travels towards Puno, you will visit the fascinating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca. In the evening you will head to the La Raya Pass where you will spend the night on board the train. The next morning you will continue on to Cusco city.

Day 1 Arequipa en route to Puno
19:00 Check-in at Arequipa Station
20:00 Departure from Arequipa
20:45 Dinner on board

Day 2 Puno - La Raya Pass
06:00 - 08:30 Breakfast on board
09:30 Visit to the Uros Islands
12:30 Lunch on board
16:50 Departure to the La Raya pass
19:00 Cocktails and canapes at the Piano bar
19:30 Dinner on board
22:40 Arrival at the La Raya pass
* Overnight at the La Raya pass

Day 3 La Raya Pass - Cusco
06:00 - 08:30 Breakfast on board
08:30 Departure to Cusco
11:30 Brunch at the bar carriage
12:58 Arrival at Wanchaq Station in Cusco

Uros islands
The La Raya pass

Spirit of the Water (2 Days / 1 Night)

On this journey, you will depart from Cusco and travel towards Puno, home of the stunning Titicaca Lake. Before arriving at Puno, you will visit the La Raya Pass en route. After spending the night on board at the Lake Titicaca station you will disembark the train in the morning.

Day 1 Cusco - Puno
10:00 Check-in at Wanchaq Station in Cusco
11:00 Departure from Cusco
13:00 Lunch on board
16:30 Arrival at the La Raya pass
16:45 Tea time at the bar carriage
19:00 Cocktails and canapes at the Piano bar
19:30 Dinner on board
22:14 Arrival at Titicaca Lake Station in Puno
* Overnight at Titicaca Lake Station

Day 2 Puno
06:00 - 08:30 Breakfast on board
08:30 Check out at Titicaca Lake Station in Puno

The La Raya pass
View of the snowcapped Andes from the Andean Explorer

Spirit of the Andes (2 Days / 1 Night)

This route departs from Puno and travels through the pristine landscape of the Altiplano towards Cusco. En route, you will visit the La Raya pass. After spending the night on board at Cuisipata you will arrive at Cusco city in the morning.

Day 1 Puno - Cusipata
11:00 Check-in at Puno Dock Hangar
12:00 Departure from Titicaca Lake Station in Puno
13:30 Lunch on board
16:30 Bar and cooking classes
18:00 Arrival at the La Raya pass
19:00 Cocktails on board
19:30 Dinner on board
21:15 Arrival at Cusipata
* Overnight at Cusipata

Day 2 Cusipata - Cusco
05:30 Departure from Cusipata
05:30 - 07:00 Breakfast on board
07:36 Arrival at Wanchaq Station in Cusco

The La Raya pass

Accommodation

Suite cabins

The suites are the most expensive and largest cabins on the train and feature:

Layout of suite cabin within the luxurious train Andean Explorer, Peru
Suite cabin layout
Suite cabin double bed
andean explorer suite cabin bathroom and seating area
Suite cabin double bed - bathroom and sitting area

Twin Bed Cabins

The twin bed cabins are the midrange cabins and feature:

Twin bed cabin layout
Twin bed cabin in nighttime configuration

Bunk Bed Cabins

The bunk bed cabins are the smallest of the three types of cabins and feature:

Bunk beds cabin in nighttime configuration
Bunk bed cabin layout

What to keep in mind

Blue Andean Explorer train passing by a sign displaying the maximum speed of 40 kilometer per hour

While the Andean Explorer may have a higher price tag, it delivers a unique blend of luxury, unspoiled natural beauty, and culinary excellence, all while providing an intimate experience away from crowds. It is particularly appealing to those who value slow travel and are willing to compromise on cabin space in exchange for an exclusive train journey.

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