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Riding the rails in the Peruvian Andes

As part of our 23-day Peru adventure, Susan and I wanted to experience a part of Peru by rail and enjoy the beautiful scenery that Peruvian Andes country has to offer. The PeruRail Titicaca Train from Cusco to Puno exceeded our expectations by far.  Since we’re usually budget-to-midlevel travelers, this luxury train ride was a bit of a splurge. But we wanted to give ourselves a little reward and a bit of pampering after completing our trek on the Inca Trail.

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Boarding the train in Cusco

We took an early-morning taxi from Ollantaytambo, where we had spent three nights after the trek, to the Cusco Wanchaq PeruRail station for the 7:50 departure to Puno. The pampering begins at check-in, when the friendly porters take your luggage and escort you to your assigned train car and table. Nice touch!

The train features an open-air observatory car with a full bar, and the train cars are decorated in the 1920s Pullman style with all the glamour that goes with that era. Fresh cut flowers on each table showed the level of service that we would experience for the 10.5-hour train ride. A gourmet lunch with wine is included, together with afternoon tea, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Plenty more alcohol is available for purchase in the bar car, of course.

The train has very comfortable dining seating with fantastic views out the large windows, along with top-shelf service by the train porters and wait-staff. Live Peruvian music and dancing is featured in the bar/observation car.

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Our assigned seats for the trip, which also doubled as the dining table
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Nice view 🙂
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Live entertainment in the bar car
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Spending some time in the open-air observation car. Not too long after this, I lost my hat overboard! Hope someone else is getting some use out of it . . .
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Looking back the other way in the observation car

We made one stop at the small town at the summit of the La Raya range, at 14,150 feet. It was our highest elevation on the trip so far! We had a chance to get off and stretch our legs for a few minutes and check out the beautiful Andean handicrafts for sale.

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Yikes – that’s over 14,000 feet!
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The little church at La Raya, against its stunning Andes backdrop
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Andean ladies shake out their wares for the visiting train folk
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Since I lost my hat, how about this one?

Here’s a little video I made of the tracks rolling out behind us:

One of the best parts of the trip was just watching the world go by. Susan figured out that it’s easy to get good photos just by holding the phone right up against the glass.

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In short, the PeruRail Titicaca Train was a very scenic, relaxing way to experience the stunning Andean landscape of southern Peru. It was a big highlight of our trip, and I had to drag Susan off the train when we got to Puno!

PeruRail Titicaca Train Tips:

  • You can book online at https://www.perurail.com/
  • It was a challenge to make our credit card payment to reserve our date. We finally had to resort to emailing PeruRail to get that accomplished. Once you’re paid, they email your tickets to print out.
  • You need to book at least 3 months in advance.
  • The train leaves EXACTLY on time. Make sure you are at the station early.
  • Take a look at the seat map for each train car and request the seating arrangements you would prefer. The views are spectacular on either side. You will spend a lot of time in the observation car.
  • PeruRail is a first-class operation with several other routes. Here’s a short promotional video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Great post, as usual. Your pictures are stunning! If you use your phone camera, what brand is it that obtains this quality of photos — or is it the photographer’s technique? ;-]

  2. Andy and I had a fabulous day today. Reading your blog, JP, was a great way to wind it all down before bed tonite! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us!
    Dag

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      So glad you and Andy enjoyed it, Dag! Hugs from Susan and me.
      – John

  3. You really deserved this train journey after that challenging hike on the Inca Trail. I’ve seen photos taken from this train and each and every one of them (including yours) always makes me wish that Peru was closer to my part of the world. 🙂

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      I have the same feeling about your fantastic photos from your side of the world! I think we’ll be there someday, and I think you’ll experience Peru someday.

  4. nickymacke Reply

    I think you thoroughly deserved a little luxury after your hiking exertions! I’m not sure our budget will stretch to it when we visit Peru next year…but at least we’ll know what we’re missing! 😂
    And the trick with the phone against glass is a great one – I carry wipes in my bag so that I can clean the windows first…usually illicts a few odd looks.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Ha, that’s a good tip to clean the windows! They were pretty spotless when we got on the train but probably not after I put my hands all over them 🙂

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