We splurged. We blew our travel budget for the month. We couldn’t help it! The thought of an 11 hour bus ride through the Andes left us shaking in our boots. We couldn’t handle another bus-door-open-so-the-driver-could-see-if-there-is-any-more-road episode. We had to do it. We took Peru Rail’s Andean Explorer from Cusco to Puno, a city on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Taking a train wasn’t so much a big deal, we’ve done that before. The difference was that this one was FIRST CLASS. All the way. It set us back $220…each. A bus would have been closer to $20. This wasn’t just transportation, however, this was an adventure! We’re not used to First Class status, except that one time, so we savored it to the end.
Our seats were arm chairs secured to the floor, facing each other with a table complete with tablecloth and lamp. Upon leaving the station we were served coffee and then invited to roam around the bar car and viewing car. A couple of hours later we were entertained with a fashion show, Andean music and pico sours, Peru’s national drink. Next came our gourmet, three course lunch. Should we have been disturbed by the fact that my appetizer was seared alpaca while we cruised by herds of them just outside the train? No, it was delicious!
Later in the day we made a stop at a small market where we were given 15 minutes to buy up all the alpaca gear we could handle. I chose some fancy gloves while Dusty spent the time snapping shots of our ride.
A few hours later we were offered afternoon tea which was accompanied by finger sandwiches and cookies. All the time in between was spent capturing photos and video of everything we passed.
Two hundred bucks may not be that much for travel at home, but for those traveling South America from top to bottom, it’s a huge amount. Especially, when the alternative options are so much cheaper. We didn’t mind handing over the dough, though. We had so much fun and it was a great experience. We would do it again in a minute!
Cusco to Puno Route
Departs: 8 a.m.
Arrives: 6 p.m.
April to October: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
November to March: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
Cost: $220 per person