On the journey, the train makes a gentle climb to
higher, and cooler, altitudes. The first half of the
journey is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains
which towers over the deep valleys of the meandering
Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling
Andean Plains, where vicuña and alpaca can be seen. If
travelling aboard the Andean Explorer, the glass-walled
observation car provides the perfect opportunity to view
the beautiful scenery.
The journey is broken by a scenic stop at La Raya, which
is also the highest point on the route.
Travellers can choose to travel on either the first
class carriages of the Andean Explorer or the Backpacker
Train journey between Cuzco (Cusco) and
Lake Titicaca (or
vice versa), three-course lunch. In additional to the
complimentary lunch a Breakfast Menu, along with various
snacks and a continuous Restaurant and Bar service is
available at an additional cost.
Cuzco - from Cuzco (Cusco), the train heads south-east,
following the Huatanay River through green fields dotted
with willow trees and eucalyptus groves, and passing
outlying communities gathered around colonial churches.
25 Km from Cuzco - the train passes through Oropesa, an
early-rising community whose forty-seven bakeries have
provided Cuzco (Cusco) with its daily bread for
32 Km - before reaching Lake Muina, the train turns to
the left, crossing the valley road, to join the
Vilcanota River at Huambutio as it plunges sharply into
its gorge before widening into the great Urubamba
40 Km - at Rumicolca, we are close to the great stone
gateway of the same name which, for the Incas, silently
guarded the southern approach to Cuzco (Cusco). For the
much earlier Wari culture it served as an aqueduct,
channeling water from the picturesque Laguna de Lucre to
their walled city at Pikillacta.
45 Km - the church at Andahuaylillas is one of the
jewels in Cuzco’s colonial crown and boasts a
magnificent series of murals and superb colonial-era
paintings, all on diverse religious themes.
59 Km - at Urcos lies the lake which gives the village
its name. Urcos is both a popular spot for weekenders
from Cuzco (Cusco) and as local legend suggests, the
repository of Inca gold hidden there forever by local
chieftains, anxious to prevent the Spanish from melting
down their sacred objects.
80 Km - the two villages of Cusipata and Checacupe (at
99 km) hide unexpected treasures of both pre-Columbian
and colonial origin, from fine Inca and pre-Inca
remains, to yet another ornately-decorated 17th century
120 Km - at Raqchi, just
before the San Pedro railway station, the remains of the
great temple of Viracocha, the creator god, can just be
seen to the left of the train. Raqchi has been described
by John Hemming as "probably the largest roofed building
ever built by the Incas". Seventeen km beyond San Pedro,
the train stops at Sicuani, a bustling island of
commerce amid a barren landscape. Aymara women ferry
their goods around this important market town on
nimbly-chauffeured taxi-tricycles, or sit impassively
before their wares awaiting a buyer.
186 Km - at Marangani, where an English-style manor
house built in the last century is still home to the
descendents of the wool barons who established the
regions only textile factory there more than one hundred
years ago, Cuzco’s fertile hills give way to the high
plain known as the Altiplano.
The train continues to climb for another 27 Km, past the
thermal baths at Aguas Calientes to La Raya, 210 Km from
Puno. At 4,321 meters above sea level this is the highest
point on the journey, a cold, remote place whose
surrounding snow-draped peaks are often shrouded by mist
or fine rain, and whose eerie silence is at least partly
attributable to eardrums blocked by the dizzying
altitude. Crossing this great watershed, the train
travels across a sea of seemingly-endless coarse
grassland through villages lost to time for all but the
Coca Cola company and local breweries.
281 Km - the train reaches Juliaca, a commercial
railway-junction town of around 150,000 inhabitants,
whose rampant buying and selling seems at times to
virtually spill onto the tracks and force the train to
pick its way through their stalls.
Juliaca is the last stop on this journey through Andean
highland culture before reaching Puno (3,855 meters), an
expanding, low-roofed university town spread around an
austere cathedral, which, since its foundation in 1668,
has strengthened its tenuous grip on the shores of Lake
Titicaca by gradually scaling the surrounding hills.
Lunch and afternoon tea are included on the train
ticket. Restaurant and Bar service is available at an
Gourment Lunch on board,
Tea Time in the afternoon
Luggage carriage, No
extra cost willbe charged for your luggage on this route
Entertainment on board
Stop at the hightest
point of the route: La raya
Duration of the Trip: 10
Arrival: Station Puno
November - March: Trains run Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
April - October: Trains run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Cusco Station Address: Av Pachacutec s/n Distrito de
Puno Station Address: Av. La Torre 224
Passengers have to be at the
train station 30 minutes before departure.