With curated routes designed to hit the major landmarks and hotspots, railway travel is undoubtedly an unbeatable way to experience the lively and diverse countries of Latin America
Famous for the snow-capped Andes, rugged canyons, wild jungles, exotic wildlife and ancient civilisations, Latin America also boasts renowned train trips that treat guests to stunning views and luxurious comfort. Here are some of our favourites…
Copper Canyon, Mexico
Mexico’s one and only passenger train is known as ‘El Chepe’ by locals and has been running for over 50 years. The Copper Canyon Railway takes passengers from the desert to the Pacific Coast in north-west Mexico, passing sheer canyon walls, waterfalls and plains along the way. The railway stretches over 650 kilometres from Chihuahua to Los Mochis on the coast via 36 bridges and 87 tunnels.
Panama Canal Railway, Panama
Linking the city of Colon on the Atlantic Coast to Panama City on the Pacific, the Panama Canal Railway offers spectacular views of one the world’s less-travelled tourism destinations. The glass-domed train displays one of the world’s most renowned examples of engineering. The hour-long ride offers stunning views of the famous and recently-enlarged canal, as well as the jungle abundant with wildlife.
Tren Crucero, Ecuador
This luxury vintage train has just two dining cars and two lounge cars – ensuring passengers have an intimate experience as they journey from Ecuador’s capital, Quito, through the Andes over snow-capped mountains and past volcanoes before arriving in the bustling coastal city of Guayaquil. ‘Devil’s Nose,’ the memorable-yet-steep descent through wild mountain scenery, has the track dropping 500 metres in elevation over the course of only 12 kilometres.
Tren a Las Nubes, Argentina
Regularly ranked among the world’s top rail adventures, the ‘Train to the Clouds’ reaches heights of 4200 metres and connects north-west Argentina with the Chilean border in the Andes mountain range. This peaceful journey is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions and is perhaps most known for its passing over the Viaducto la Polvorilla. The 64 metre-high, 232 metre-long viaduct is the most photographed part of the ride, as locals and tourists alike stick their bodies out the windows for a once-in-a-lifetime snapshot.
End of the World Train, Argentina
Considered the southernmost operating railway in the world, the ‘End of the World’ train ride takes travellers from Ushuaia to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The heritage railway follows the historic convict train route through some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, from Patagonian lakes to snow-capped peaks. As guests admire the breathtaking views onboard, commentary provides insight into the rich history of the railway and the region.
Machu Picchu, Peru
This famously-beautiful journey takes passengers from Cuzco to the base of the stunning Machu Picchu Incan ruins in the Peruvian Andes. The route follows the river along a narrow valley, passing small communities, farms, snow-capped mountains and lush forest. Carriages range from the Explorer — perfect for those on a budget — to the Hiram Bingham Deluxe, one of the most luxurious carriages in the world.
Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
Launched in May 2017, the Belmond Andean Explorer is a luxurious train journey filled with breathtaking views of the Andes mountain ranges. Among the highest train trips on Earth, the trip reaches heights of 4300 metres, or almost twice the height of Mount Kosciuszko. It takes pampered passengers from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, through the Andean plains to beautiful Lake Titcaca — the largest lake in South America and the highest in the world. The sights don’t stop there as it also journeys to the vast Colca Canyon and the city of Arequipa, a World Heritage site.