South America’s first luxury sleeper train the Belmond Andean Explorer offers sumptuous one or two night train journeys between the main destination highlights of southern Peru. The luxury train rides through sweeping highland scenery from Cusco to Puno, (by Lake Titicaca), with the option to continue on to the White City’ of  Arequipa as a three day, two night journey. One of the highest train routes in the world, the routes are available in either direction, to start or end in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire. Gourmet fine dining, a spa car and open-air observation deck allow you to rest and relax in style and comfort. You can experience the Belmond Andean Explorer as part of any tailormade trip to Peru with Aracari – view our itinerary Luxury Peru by Rail.

The Luxury Sleeper Train

The Belmond Andean Explorer accommodates a total of 70 guests in refined, double or twin en-suite cabins. A hand-painted ivory exterior hints at the craftsmanship inside: fabulous timber finishes, linen-covered walls, leather seating and bathrooms fashioned from local stone.  The classically stylish cabins are decorated with Peruvian accents like hand-woven and soft alpaca-style textiles. The en-sute bathrooms have a shower, washbasin and WC. In-built oxygen gives added comfort when traveling at high altitude.

The lack of on-board Wi-Fi, and very limited cell phone coverage due to the remoteness of the region, means you can simply sit back or while away your time admiring the dramatic views from the observation car, which has an open-air deck, drink in hand. There is also a stylish lounge car to relax.

Cabin Accommodation

There are 35 cabins, 9 suite cabins, 17 twin bed cabins and 9 bunk bed cabins. You cain will welcome you with a floral bouquet and chilled bottle of champagne. The suite cabins are 13.1m2, featuring a plush double-bed and cozy seating area. The twin bed cabins are 7.5m2 with comfy seating in the day, which stweards convert into two ground-level single beds come night. The bunk bed cabins are 5.5m2, featuring a long seating area which transforms into a comfortable upper and lower-level single bed.

Fine Dining

Menus have been created by the chefs at Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco using fresh, seasonal ingredients, served in the dining cars. All meals and beverages, including alcohol, are included.

Picaflor Spa Car

Indulge on Peru’s luxury train service in the hands of expert therapists in the dedicated spa car.

The Belmond Andean Explorer Itinerary

The train route offers a choice of one or two-night journeys, operating in both directions. Starting in Cusco, you traverse the Andes to reach Puno at Lake Titicaca with a one night stay (or in reverse). Continue on from Lake Titicaca by train to the city of Arequipa, optionally disembarking early to drive to the nearby Colca Canyon to spend an extra night or two. Staying in the charming Colca Canyon affords the chance spot majestic condors soar over the Canyon, take a dip in natural hot springs, discover quaint Spanish colonial churches, visit traditional rural villages and enjoy a range of adventure activities – like hiking and horse-riding – to soak up the sublime scenery.

belmond andean explorer route map


The itinerary schedules

  • Peruvian Highlands: Cusco – Puno – Arequipa, 3 days / 2 nights, departs Thursday
  • Andean Plains & Islands of Discovery: Arequipa – Puno – Cusco, 3 days / 2 nights, departs Saturday
  • Spirit of the Water: Cusco – Puno, 2 days / 1 night, departs Tuesday
  • Spirit of the Andes: Puno – Cusco, 2 days / 1 night, departs Wednesday

The train does not operate duirng the month of February due to maintenance.

The Experience

If boarding from Cusco, you’ll visit the Incan archaelogical ruins of Raqchi – once an important checkpoint – en route to Puno. Watch the sunset over La Raya Mountain range before an elegant dinner on board. The following day, wake early to watch the sunrise on Lake Titicaca before breakfast. You can end your train experience here with the two day, one night itinerary ‘Spirit of the Water’. Otherwise, head out by boat to islands on Lake Titicaca for a glimpse into the traditional, local ways of life at Uros floating reed islands and Taquile Island. A private lunch on Collata Beach is accompanied by demonstrations from traditional dancers and artisans. In the evening the train continues on towards Arequipa. In the morning of your third day’s adventure, have breakfast before an early excursion to the rugged scenery of Lae Lagunillas. Afterwards, visit Sumbay Caves. Return to the train for lunch. You can then either disembark before reaching Arequipa, to drive to the Colca Canyon, or pull into the city of Arequipa to round of your journey ‘Peruvian Highlands’ by rail.

Aracari’s Review

Aracari tested out and reviewed the luxury train when it first launched. The service is stand-out – some of the most attentive and accommodating in Peru. We highly recommend the three day, two night itinerary ‘Peruvian Highlands’ starting in Cusco, above all other itinerary options, as the train moves least at night on this itinerary. This makes it easier to sleep, and also means you see more of the views.

Alternative Luxury Trains in Peru

An alternative option for travelling by train from Cusco to Puno (or vice versa) is the PeruRail Titicaca Train. Unlike the Belmond Andean Explorer, this is a day-service taking around 10 hours, with meals included on-board. You arrive into Puno where you can then spend a night or two in the best hotels in Lake Titicaca to visit the floating and traditional villages on islands on the lake.