10 Best Railroad Journeys in South America – #4 Andean Express
February 3, 2011 § 1 Comment
The second highest railway with regular scheduled service in the world – the Andean Explorer links Cusco and Lake Titicaca. This spectacular 10 hour journey through the Andes Mountains is operated by Peru Rail/Orient Express. The Andean Explorer is operated with a fleet of refurbished 1920’s Pullman cars. The bar car offers passengers the chance to stretch their legs on board and purchase snacks and drinks while the stunning glass and open air observation car provides both a local for the on board entertainment and a place to see the ride.
Leaving Puno (Lake Titicaca) the train travels to Juliaca where an open air market is located along the train tracks. The merchants quickly temporarily relocated their stalls just long enough for the train to travel through the middle of the market. As the train passes by the stalls are quickly moved back into place on the train tracks.
The train continues up to La Raya the highest point of the journey at 14,150 feet (4313 meters) it is the highest point in the journey. The train stops allowing the passengers to take photos, stretch their legs and purchase souvenirs from local vendors.
The journey continues towards Cusco through the Rio Hutanay and Urubamba River Valleys where small towns, farms and stunning mountain landscape dominate the scenery – vicuña and alpaca are often seen. There are several archaeological sites along the way as well including Racqui and the Temple of Wiracocha.