There are very few countries in Latin America where train travel is even possible, much less an interesting way to get from Point A to Point B. Peru has long been an exception, thanks to the joint efforts of Peru Rail and Orient-Express.
Not as many travelers head down to Puno as go to one of the 7 wonders of the world in the same country, of course, but in a way that makes the journey more special. When you ride south from Cusco, you see different scenery from a whole different set of train cars. This is also a more leisurely trip, leaving Cusco in the morning and pulling into your destination as the sun is going down.
Along the way, you a full lunch in the dining car, with Andean food specialties. In the afternoon it’s cocktails from the bar, complete with a lesson on how to make the perfect pisco sour. If you’re worried the scenery won’t be enough to hold your interest, you get music and dancing from Peruvian performers, plus a fashion show with clothing made from local textiles.
Belmond (formerly Orient-Express) knows a thing or two about running good train trips, with journeys available from Thailand to Turkey to Scotland to Peru. So you can be assured on this one that the food will be good, the place settings elegant, and the staff attention up to par. Remember, they also run some of the finest hotels in the country too, including Monasterio and the more recent Palacio Nazarenas next door—built in a converted monastery and convent, respectively.
If you’re going to visit Puno and Lake Titicaca, this is a far more civilized way to get there than on the seldom-pleasant local flights. (Avianca is the only one that even offers business class and flights are frequently canceled due to overbooking or weather.) See our full story on the Andean Express train journey to Puno or see other top hotels and tours in Peru.