Luxury Train Puno (Lake Titicaca) to Cusco

by on 25th July, 2014

Train travel from Puno to Cusco

Pick-pockets, chicken claws and dodgy toilets – Alan experienced a very different Puno to Cusco luxury train journey to that of thirty years ago.

This classic luxury train journey can be incorporated into many of our Peru trips.


Alan writes:

“In the mid 80s, on a family holiday with my parents and brothers and sisters, we had boarded the train in Cusco to travel to Juliaca.

My father had been told it was a Pullman coach and so the most comfortable and also meals were included on board. He had however  been told “off the record” to watch out because prior to arrival, the train lights usually went out for a few minutes – it would be dark by then – to give the pick pockets and bag snatchers a chance to do their business.

My lasting memories of that train journey were my mother’s face at several points of the trip: The look when she pulled out a chicken’s claw with her spoon from her soup; her face’s shade of green on returning from the toilet; her look of horror when my father instructed me that on leaving the train I was to carry no luggage and if anyone got too close to kick them where it hurts.


In style

This time I was going to travel in-style on a train between Puno and Cusco, on board Peru Rail’s luxury Andean Explorer.

From the outside the train is unremarkable. But once you step on board you know you are on an Orient Express train.

Immaculate, comfy arm chairs, linen table cloths, flower on the table, pristine toilets, bar coach, viewing deck.

The journey time was to be 10 hours and we set off on time at 0800. I ordered a coffee from the smar,t uniformed waiter – not included in the price, although lunch and afternoon tea were.


Mobile markets

We passed through Juliaca and I must say my heart was in my mouth. There was a market on the tracks and as the train approached, the stall holders quickly packed up and got out of the way, only to return to their spots as the train went past. Health and safety concerns seem not as prevalent in Juliaca as elsewhere.

Soon we were chugging along rolling plains of the Altiplano and I headed for the viewing carriage at the rear of the train. I was enjoying the view and thinking that this relaxing style of travel was just my cup of tea.

Lunch time came and I returned to my seat for a three course silver service lunch with wine. No chicken claws here!

In the afternoon I headed to the bar, took part in a pisco sour making class and then went to the viewing car to savour it. In the meantime we reached the highest point, 4,321m La Raya, 210 km from Puno.

There was a 10-minute stop and a chance to get off the train and browse the handicraft wares on show – it’s amazing how handicrafts pop up in the most unlikely places!


Heading to Cusco

From here the scenery changed as we started to descend through valleys and mid-afternoon we were served dainty afternoon tea with petit fours.

In the bar carriage there was an alpaca fashion show (this was not my cup of tea) and then before I knew it we were pulling into Cusco.

Now I was trying to imagine my mother’s face when I told her what this train journey had been like.


peru-rail-train to puno-peru

Train to Puno, Peru.

Note: The route runs Mon, Wed, Fri and Saturdays in the peak season.

Peru Rail also offers a Cusco to Puno train on the same days, and a raft of trains to and from Cusco – Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes).

Contact us for more.


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