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Peruvian Highlands

Overview

Departing from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, the Belmond Andean Explorer sets off across the Altiplano towards Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. As the luxury train weaves its way towards Arequipa, there is time to explore Sumbay Caves with their fascinating rock paintings, and the option to visit the Colca Canyon, home to the soaring Andean condor. The train journey ends in the beautiful volcanic ‘White City’ of Arequipa.

 

Belmond Andean Explorer from Chimu Adventures on Vimeo.

Trip Code: PETSPH

Location: Peru

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

The Andean Explorer departs from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, at 11:00 am. Settle into the Observation Car to gaze out across the Altiplano, the highest plains of the Andes, or maybe breathe in the crisp Andean air from the open deck as you travel through the ever-changing landscapes towards Puno. Lunch is taken in the elegant dining carriages where fresh seasonal dishes are served, made using locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes.

In the afternoon we visit the archaeological site of Raqchi, situated 110 kilometres from Cusco, and one of the largest Inca sites in Peru. It is thought that the site was built as a primary control point on the main road system that originated in Cusco and expanded with the growth of the Inca Empire. Raqchi is home to the impressive Temple of Wiracocha and also features living quarters attached to the Temple, ceremonial baths, storehouses and an artificial lake.

Afternoon tea is taken on board as the train continues its journey through La Raya mountain range, the colours of the mountains changing with the setting sun. La Raya marks the border between the Cusco and Puno regions and is the highest point on the route at just over 4,300 metres, with spectacular views of the Andes.

Dinner is served on board before the train pulls into Lake Titicaca Station.

Cusco to Puno

This morning we watch the sunrise over Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world before a late breakfast on board the train. We then set off by boat to the floating reed islands of Uros situated a few kilometres from Puno. Here the locals continue to practice their traditional way of life, living by fishing. The original inhabitants of these floating islands are said to descend from one of the oldest cultures of the Americas. The Uros Islands, as well as the houses on them and the boats used by their inhabitants, are all made from the totora reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca.

We then continue on to picturesque Taquile Island, home to 2,200 Quechua-speaking inhabitants known as Taquileños who are famous for their textiles and weaving. In 2005, "Taquile and its Textile Art" were proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. After lunch at a private location on Collata Beach, we have a demonstration of the island’s artisan work and traditional dance.

We return to Puno by boat, arriving at the train station later in the afternoon in time for tea and departure towards Arequipa. Dinner is served on board the train.

Lake Titicaca, Puno

We have an early breakfast at Lake Lagunillas, set at over 4,100 metres above sea level. We visit Sumbay Caves, located within the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca. The caves are home to more than 500 cave paintings, thought to have been made by the first settlers in the area, and dating back 6,000 to 8,000 years.

At Station Km 99 you have the option to disembark for an excursion to explore the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world surrounded by spectacular cultivated pre-Inca terracing and home to the majestic Andean condor.

Please note that this excursion is not included and if you make an excursion to the Colca Canyon, you will then have to make your own way to Arequipa.

For those staying on the train, lunch is served on board before our arrival into the “White City” of Arequipa, with its stunning setting framed by the volcanoes Misti, Pikchu and Chachani.

Arrival in Arequipa
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Pricing & date

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Important Information

  • 1 Night on board the Andean Explorer (bunk bead cabin - twin and suite also available on request)
    Activities as per the itinerary 
    1 Dinner on board
    1 Breakfast on board
    1 Lunch on board 
    Visit to Raqchi
    Sunrise at Titicaca Lake
    Typical dance and demonstration of artisan work

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Contact us for more details

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.