A jour­ney through Peru aboard the Bel­mond An­dean Ex­plorer.

Mak­ing tracks aboard South Amer­ica’s first lux­ury sleeper train.

DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS - BY NI­CHOLAS WAL­TON Prices for a one-night ex­cur­sion are from US$1,830 per deluxe cabin, in­clu­sive of meals, drinks, and sched­uled tours; see bel­mond.com.

At 4,313 me­ters above sea level, south­east­ern Peru’s La Raya Pass seems an un­likely stop for a lux­ury train. But it’s here, at the lit­eral high point of our two-night jour­ney from Cusco to Are­quipa, that the Bel­mond An­dean Ex­plorer has creaked to a halt, al­low­ing pas­sen­gers to stretch their legs and soak up the scenery—along with serv­ings of muña tea, a lo­cal rem­edy for soroche (al­ti­tude sick­ness)—as the sun dips be­hind the ice-capped moun­tains that sur­round us.

Painted in re­gal midnight blue and ivory, the months-old An­dean Ex­plorer harks back to the golden era of rail travel. The for­mer car­riages of Aus­tralia’s de­funct Great South Pa­cific Ex­press have been re­mod­eled by Lon­don-based in­te­rior de­signer Inge Moore, with 24 en-suite state­rooms whose or­nate mold­ings, vin­tage-style chan­de­liers, and gleam­ing mar­quetry floors find a sleek coun­ter­point in An­dean slate and vi­brant lo­cal tex­tiles. Each cabin fea­tures large pic­ture win­dows and even per­sonal oxy­gen bot­tles to keep soroche at bay.

Guests can choose be­tween one- and twonight itin­er­ar­ies link­ing the for­mer In­can cap­i­tal of Cusco with Lake Tit­i­caca—the world’s high­est nav­i­ga­ble lake—and Are­quipa in the coun­try’s far south. Along the route, en­thu­si­as­tic guides bring the an­cient In­can ru­ins of Raqch’i to life dur­ing a late af­ter­noon visit; and in the des­o­late beauty of the Na­tional Re­serve of Aguada Blanca and Sali­nas, spin tales be­hind the 7,000-yearold rock art of the Sum­bay Caves. Sil­ver-tongued ex­cur­sion man­ager Aly Amaut even con­vinces a few guests, wrapped in pro­vided baby al­paca shawls, to leave their cab­ins for chilly but spec­tac­u­lar sun­rises over the glacier-fed lake of Sara Cocha and Lake Tit­i­caca. The lat­ter beck­ons with a de­tour to the float­ing to­tora reed-bed vil­lages of the Uros peo­ple, fol­lowed by a lunch of lo­cal quinoa and lake trout on the UNESCO-listed is­land of Taquile.

Meals aboard the An­dean Ex­plorer are no less en­tic­ing. Star chef Diego Muñoz has de­signed a menu that cel­e­brates Peru­vian pro­duce and tra­di­tion— stand­outs in­clude giant corn with cheese and pa­prika, and corv­ina a la plan­cha (seared sea bass with An­dean mint–scented broad beans, cit­ric yo­gurt, and onion broth). Soroche aside, it all makes for an un­for­get­table ad­ven­ture.

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