Along the western coast of South America stretch the Andes, an imposing mountain chain which is regarded as the longest and probably most suggestive of its kind in the world on account of its passing through no fewer than seven countries. It is not by chance that the most exclusive train to be found running through part of it bears its name – the Belmond Andean Explorer.

The Andean Explorer, run by the Belmond hotel chain, is a highly unusual and prestigious train exploring some of Peru’s most magical locations.

The journey starts in the old Inca capital of Cusco and ends in Arequipa, known as the White City on account of the splendid facades of its colonial buildings whose stones, volcanic in origin, create a characteristic pearly colour. These are wonderful cities, rich in history, whose names appear in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

The journey takes two nights and three days and crosses the Andes plateau, at times reaching heights of 4,800 metres. It also stops in a number of the country’s most extraordinary places to allow its passengers to undertake guided tours. Amongst these, one can mention Puno, the capital of Peruvian folklore; Lake Titicaca, the world’s largest navigable lake; and the Colca Canyon, which at 3,270 metres is one of the world’s deepest and most breathtaking gorges.

The Andean Explorer has 34 two people cabins, two restaurant cars, a bar and an open-air veranda. The exclusivity of both setting and service is easily appreciated. Less obvious, perhaps, are the experience of being spoilt by the comforts of the Andean Explorer and the succession of suggestive views seen from the window. A unique and unforgettable experience indeed.

Cusco, November 2017