Traveling by train = The way to go.
Planes, trains, and automobiles. But trains are by far, the best. We decided to be tourists instead of travelers for a day. We splurged with a 10 hour train ride from Puno to Cusco, instead of the classic six hour bus, and I’m so glad we did. It finally felt like we were on vacation.
Let me first set the scene: The Peruvian landscape is absolutely stunning. The train travels through the countryside with rolling hills, jagged peaks, and cows, llamas, sheep, and horses, small high elevation villages, and even markets where the people have to jump off the tracks and leave their fruit in the middle. Kids (and adults!) all wave as the train roars by. It was quite the sight.
There was an observation car that we spent most of our time in, complete with live music and dancing, a fashion show with traditional Peruvian style clothing made of baby llama wool, and a Pisco Sour class (our favorite!)
The communities live such a simple life of farming, playing soccer, and making handicrafts. Just living. Just surviving.
One of the most humbling experience I’ve ever witnessed was when the women and children started chasing the train, literally begging at your feet to pay $5 Bolivianos for a stuffed llama. It was heartbreaking. Felt like we were their only hope for survival. Very sad. We bought two.
Overall, this experience was exceptional and the scenery was breathtaking; exactly how I pictured the countryside in Peru.
If you feel like splurging, this train ride is worth it. Otherwise, if you’re on a higher budget, don’t fret. The bus takes pretty much the same route as the train though the valley to Cusco.