The Andes Mountainsloom large along the vast Peruvian Altiplano, their jagged peaks rising from shimmering lakes and sweeping flatlands like a massive scribble across the sky. Such an expanse—interrupted only occasionally by a wandering gaucho or wayward alpaca—could easily overwhelm. For passengers aboard the new Belmond Andean Explorer, however, the view is an intimate one, enjoyed at a leisurely pace with a pisco sour in hand and an alpaca blanket around the shoulders.
Debuted in May, the 24-cabin train is the first luxury sleeper locomotive to ride the rails of one of South America’s most beguiling destinations. The Andean Explorer takes travelers on 2- and 3-day journeys to the White City of Arequipa, the shores of Lake Titicaca, and the ancient capital of Cusco. Activities along the way might include visits to mountaintop markets and Incan sites, a ceviche-making class with chef Diego Muñoz near Lake Lagunillas, and dining on a cliff over Colca Canyon’s Condor Pass. Most days conclude in the train’s textile-lined observation car, where the breathtaking landscape unfolds one rail at a time.