The "Belmond Andean Explorer" in Peru is the most luxurious train of South America. As of May 2017 it not only crosses the highlands of the Peruvian Andes, but it travels to an altitude of 4,300 metres as a rolling hotel.
You have already seen the name of the British luxury cruise operator in the magazine of the past years. The "Andean Explorer" is so to speak the small brother of well known luxury trains such as the "Venice Simplon-Orient-Express" and the "Eastern & Oriental Express" we already introduced in earlier issues. Now, railway fans from all around the world get to know the beautiful landscape of the South American high mountain region and can even sleep in the train for the first time on this trip.
Normally, the train consists of 16 wagons. Not one but two restaurant wagons await the travellers with fancy specialties of the Peruvian cuisine. Inside the saloon car featuring a bar, a library and a boutique people gather after dinner. The passengers enjoy live music, read a good book and exchange their experiences with other travellers here. Another integral part of the train is the panorama wagon at the end of the "Andean Explorer". Like on a balcony, the passengers enjoy the airstream and the fabulous view of the landscape. The other wagons accommodate the four different compartment categories. From the small cabin with bunk beds to the large suite with a double bed. All compartments feature own bathrooms with shower and toilet. Since so much comfort needs much space, a maximum of 48 passengers can travel on board the train.
The "Andean Explorer" travels on four route options across the impressive landscape of the Altiplano, the barren Peruvian high plain. The longest of the four routes of the "Andean Explorer" is called "Peruvian highlands". The three-day trip starts in the provincial capital of Cusco. The city is located at an altitude of about 3,400 metres, it has approx. 350,000 inhabitants and is the former capital of the Inca empire. At first, the train crosses the 4,319-metres high La Raya Pass and travels towards Puno. The city is located at an altitude of 3,800 metres directly at the shore of Lake Titicaca. On the second day, the guests can enjoy different excursions towards tourist attractions. On the third day, the "Andean Explorer" arrives at the major city of Arequipa in the southern region of Peru.
Lake Titicaca is the second biggest lake in South America and approximately as large as the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. It is more than 178 kilometres long, 67 kilometres wide and features a maximum depth of 281 metres. A special tourist attraction of Lake Titicaca are the 49 floating islands of the Urus, the natives of the region. Initially, the Urus started to build floating islands to protect themselves for example against the hostile Incas. The islands are made from crosswise applied layers of Totora. They have been living on the floating island until today and strictly refuse to move to the mainland. However, guests are always welcome on the unsteady islands.