A Classic Reinvented In Peru
The blue and white carriages of the Andean Explorer run elegantly along the rails of one of the world’s highest railways. Through the windows, the rugged landscape of Peru offers vistas filled with mountains, lakes and some of South America’s most memorable architecture. Inside, the car is spacious, luxurious, and like little else in the world. But in place of the classic carriages that one might see in Europe — in Peru, the designs are a little more contemporary. Less vintage. More modern perhaps but still exceptional. A symptom of Belmond’s wondrous attention to detail, because aboard the Andean Explorer, the interiors have been fine-tuned to enhance the enchanting, verdant landscapes of the Andes. Instead of the shiny dark-coloured woods of the Venice Simplon, wooden panels aboard the Andean Explorer are coloured minimal ivory, enhanced by linen-covered walls and colourful inserts and as a result, everything from the spa carriage to the bar feels intensely tranquil. Accommodation is lavish, with bunk bed cabins, twin cabins and stunning double suites to choose from — all with private en-suites — and finished to the highest of standards. The two dining cars are extraordinary with their large restaurant sized-tables, leather furnishings and polished macramé dividers that offer a surprising degree of intimacy, while the lounge car is finished in a calming earthy palette — with a large open deck on the back — and is brought to life by a pianist and expertly crafted cocktails in the evenings.
The Andean Explorer runs a small collection of routes through the Peruvian Altiplano, Lake Titicaca and the Sumbay Caves, but the slowly ascending route between Arequipa and Cusco (the route can be booked Cusco to Arequipa if one prefers) is the most thrilling — and at 2 nights it’s the longest route currently available. The journey begins in the enchanting city of Arequipa and winds its way through an enigmatic landscape of mountains and lakes, the highlight of which is Lake Titicaca where the train stops for an entire night for romantic dinner views and a morning tour of the lake. And it ends after ascending approximately 1004 metres high into the Andes to Cusco — the ancient capital of the Inca Empire.