3 Unforgettable Stops Aboard the Andean Explorer Train

posted in: Train Travel, Peru, Postcard | 0

A trip on the Belmond Andean Explorer train is a journey like no other.  It’s the first luxury sleeper train in South America, traversing one of the highest train routes in the world, complete with breathtaking views and outstanding service. It’s an exclusive experience you’ll only find on our Peru program. Onboard, guests can relax and hang out in the observation car, piano bar, spa, or dining car before retreating to their private room for a good night’s rest. But one of the things that makes this trip so unique is that it offers three unforgettable daytime mini excursions as it makes its way from Cusco to Puno/Lake Titicaca.  

#1. Raqch’i Ruins

First stop is the village of Raqch’i for a guided tour of its famous ruins. Located in the district of San Pedro in the province of Canchis (Cuzco, Peru), it is considered an important Incan Empire archaeological site due to its unique building technique.  Raqch’i has many structures and buildings on its grounds, each holding a different purpose, with the Temple of Wiracocha being the most prominent. The temple is massive, standing over 300 ft and 84 ft wide. Eleven pillars stand on each side of the structure and remnants of living quarters are scattered around the rest of the site. In the small town surrounding the ruins, travelers can explore the beautiful main square, a picturesque 19th-century church, and a lively craft market, and interact with friendly locals.

Raqch'i or the Temple of Wiracocha  86
Raqch’i or the Temple of Wiracocha 86

#2. La Raya

Next up is a sunset stop at La Raya. La Raya marks the border between the regions of Cusco and Puno and is the highest point on the train’s route at over 13k feet above sea level. This chilly and remote location comes with dramatic views of the valley and the snowcapped Andes mountain range. Amid the stunning natural beauty, this stop also boasts a small woven goods artisan market, adorable picture-worthy alpacas, and a tiny old candle-lit chapel to explore. This stop, though quick, is not easily forgotten.

#3. Lake Titicaca Sunrise

After a restful night aboard the train, an early wake-up call is a must to catch the sunrise over the world’s highest navigable body of water and the birthplace of the Incas – Lake Titicaca. Guests sit comfortably around a fire at the water’s edge, wrapped in warm blankets, to watch the most beautiful sunrise unfold over the lake. Extraordinary colors of pink, blue, orange, and yellow break through the sky, creating a serene and tranquil experience. It’s a wonderful way to start the day before exploring Uros Floating Village and Taquile Island.  

Bonus: Why Travel by Train?

Although a quick flight is a common way to get from Cusco to Puno, we chose to add the Belmond Andean Explorer train to our Mystic Peru tour for a few reasons. In addition to helping our guests slowly acclimate to the higher altitude of Puno, they also experience a more relaxed traveling pace, top-notch on-train service, and breathtaking Peruvian countryside scenery things that would be missed if traveling by air. Our main goal is to provide guests with quality and unforgettable travel experiences this train journey delivers on that promise. 

The Belmond Andean Explorer Train is featured on our 10-day Mystic Peru tour.