Day 1 Cusco/Puno - Lake Titicaca
Rise early for the all-day Andean Explorer luxury train from Cusco to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca (8am-5:30pm, Mon, Wed, Fri, & Sat). On the journey, the train makes a gentle climb to higher, and cooler, altitudes. The first half of the journey is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains, which tower over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean Plains, where vicuña and alpaca can be seen. The glass-walled observation car provides the perfect opportunity to view the beautiful scenery.
From Cusco, the train heads southeast, following the Huatanay River through green fields dotted with willow trees and eucalyptus groves, and passing outlying communities gathered around colonial churches. At Raqchi, just before the San Pedro railway station, the remains of the great temple of Viracocha, the creator god, can just be seen to the left of the train. At Marangani, Cuzco’s fertile hills give way to the high plains. The train continues to climb to La Raya, at 4,321 meters/14,175 feet above sea level. This is the highest point on the journey, a cold, remote place whose surrounding snow-draped peaks are often shrouded by mist or fine rain. Crossing this great watershed, the train travels across a sea of seemingly endless coarse grassland through villages lost to time. Juliaca is the last stop on this journey through Andean highland culture before reaching Puno (3,855 meters/12,650 feet), an expanding, low-roofed university town spread around an austere cathedral, which, since its foundation in 1668, has strengthened its tenuous grip on the shores of Lake Titicaca by gradually scaling the surrounding hills. You will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel. Stay overnight in Puno for the next two nights.
Day 2 Uros and Taquile Islands
Enjoy a full day tour of Uros and Taquile. The Uros people live on floating islands built with totora reeds. These reeds are harvested and are used to make the islands and model boats for sale to tourists. Taquile is a real, not floating island, and is a very unique community. The men knit woolen caps, which look like floppy nightcaps, and the women weave elegant waistcoats, and their good quality hand-made traditional clothes can be purchased at the cooperative store on the main plaza. Inca terracing adorns the hillsides, and the deep blue water contrasts with the deep red color of the soil.
Day 3 Puno/Juliaca/Lima/Onward
Stop at the Sillustani Ruins on your way to the airport for the afternoon flight back to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be transferred to the airport for your late onward flight.
What to Expect
Duration 3 days
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.