Peru’s vast altiplano is an adventure as much for what it offers (riverbeds filled with hot-pink Chilean flamingos, galloping gauchos, volcanoes spewing smoke) as for what it doesn’t (luxury hotels). The Belmond Andean Explorer has introduced a way to see it all in comfort—without disrupting its undeveloped appeal.
The 24-cabin sleeper train roared down the region’s storied rails for the first time last summer, taking passengers on epic one- and two-night trips from Cuzco to Arequipa and stopping along the way at ancient Incan ruins, Quechua villages, and remote mountaintop markets. As with any great adventure, however, it’s the journey—not the destinations—that makes the experience aboard the Andean Explorer so arresting. One day, the train may halt in the shadows of the Andes for an impromptu ceviche-making class; the next, it might roll apace with a herd of llamas. And on those evenings when nothing more than the limitless altiplano landscapes are left to keep you company, it’s a crisp pisco sour in the observation car that makes the voyage all the more moving.