How to do a luxury train journey – for less

Then there’s all the delicious iconography. Look beyond the dashing blue of the train’s gleaming exterior and you will clock the chakana cross, a three-stepped symbol of the Inca times that represents the heavens, the earth and the deathly underworld.

It is emblazoned, quite literally, everywhere you look on this train: the stewards’ uniforms, the pretty napkins, the tables and even the plush robes in your marble-clad bathrooms. Elsewhere, muted chic rules the palette. The dining cars – Llama and Muña – are bright and elegant; the lounge car is a joyful mix of old and new, with a quaint little bar and a grand piano made for pisco-fuelled midnight singalongs. There is even an onboard spa.

You wouldn’t think it, but taking in all that scenery from the plush observation car works up quite an appetite – happily, as executive chef Diego Muñoz makes sure passengers are soon well versed in Peru’s gastronomic delights. When dinner rolls around, expect everything from freshwater prawns to hearty tenderloins on a menu crafted to the tunes of ancient Incan feasts.

But Belmond saves the very best for last. On the edge of lake Saracocha, passengers are treated to a magnificent sunrise, then whisked away to the Sumbay Cave, filled with incredible Palaeolithic paintings. Afterwards, the train begins to twist and turn back through the desert and grasslands of the lowlands, and on to Arequipa. It’s a journey you won’t forget.

The Andean Explorer, a Belmond Train (0845 077 2222; offers sleeper cabins from £1,100 per person. The price includes 24-hour steward service, all onboard meals, canapés and beverages, onboard entertainment and excursions.

Four more ways to do it

The Rocky Mountaineer


After a day or two being unapologetically pampered as you thunder from the deep blue shorelines of Vancouver to Banff, you will find there is really only one way to sum up a ride on the Rocky Mountaineer: total luxury. Interiors are slick and minimalist, seats roomy, windows enormous – and the views from the huge viewing platforms are nothing short of epic.
It is all very upmarket but not at all stuffy, with an ethos of relaxed North American comfort trumping all the millennial modcons (no Wi-Fi here).

Where Mother Nature is concerned, you are in for a real treat. Expect mammoth grassy plains branching out into the ice-capped mountains of avalanche country, snaking turquoise rivers which in a heartbeat transform into wild cascading rapids, and if you look really hard, the occasional grizzly bear – the train stops if the driver or your host spots one – and moose along the way. Meals feature an array of local classics, from prime cuts of Alberta beef to seared snapper sourced along the route. You won’t actually sleep onboard, but rather spend the night in Kamloops, Banff and Jasper, where accommodation comes in the form of rustic alpine chic or cozy ski-centric retreats.

The Rocky Mountaineer (0800 195 01950; offers two-night journeys from £1,050 per person, based on two sharing, including meals, drinks, snacks, service and sightseeing tours.


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