Travel from Puno to Cusco by train

August 23rd 2003 

A day at travel by train from Puno to Cusco on one of the world's highest railway, with a brief stop at La Raya station at 4319 meters of elevation. The trip is operated by Perurail and, although it takes longer than buses, this is still the best way to travel from Cusco to Puno (or vice versa) for the beautiful landscapes that can be seen from the train, as well as for the opportunity to travel on a such elevated railway.

Train Puno - Cusco, Peru Train Puno - Cusco, Peru
The train from Puno to Cusco is ready for the ten hours journeythrough the central altiplano. The railway is currently classified as the highest in the world having scheduled passenger service (indeed there is an higher railway in Perù, but the service was discontinued some years ago) and crosses beautiful mountain landscapes on its way to destination.Update 2006. The railway Cusco to Puno is no longer the highest of the world with scheduled passengers service, because this record now belongs to railway to Lhasa (Tibet)
The first part of the railway runs close to the shore of lake Titicaca, where seaweeds and Totora reeds grow abundantly, as seen yesterday.
Train Puno - Cusco, Peru
The train's coach is comfortable enough. This is the backpacker, economy class. The Inca class has an open-air observation deck also, but the price of the ticket is five times more.
Juliaca, Peru Juliaca, Peru
Juliaca, Peru
After about one hour and an half, the train arrives in Juliaca, running in the middle of the houses and of the streets.
Soon, lake Titicaca, as well as the biggest cities, are left behind, replaced by very small towns and hubmle farms connected to the rest of the world by just a narrow and dusty track of gravel.
Sometimes the train crosses some bigger town, with asphalted roads.
Central Peru
Other farms. There are many over the altiplano, scattered here and there.
Puno - Cusco railway, Peru Puno - Cusco railway, Peru
Puno - Cusco railway, Peru

At about halfway, we stop for a while, waiting for another train traveling in the opposite direction (the railway has a single track).
Puno - Cusco railway, Peru La Raya railway station, Peru
Puno - Cusco railway, Peru

Shortly after the last stop, the train approaches La Raya station, the railway's highest point and probably one of the highest station in the world having regular passenger service.
La Raya railway station, Peru
A panorama of the mountains around La Raya.
La Raya railway station, Peru

The train stops here for about 10 minutes, the passenger can descend and take a look at the colorful marketclose to the station.
La Raya railway station, Peru
Photo of train Puno Cusco. Finally, with a pair of deafening siren's whistles, the engine-driver invites all the passengers to return in the coachesfor the imminent departure of the train.
After La Raya station, the train descends quickly in a fertile valley and, after many days spent crossing one of the planet's driest place, several big clouds finally appear in the sky, as well as some river (Huatanay and Vilcanota).
The train crosses some town and city. Often the track is surrounded by street vendors, selling everything.
The sun is about to set and before is dark, the train approaches Cusco's outermost districts. A short taxi ride will bring me from the Cusco station to the hotel.

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