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From Machu Picchu to the salar de Uyuni

  • The trip
  • Itinerary
  • Price
  • Organization

The trip

In Summary

This trip contains the main archeological sites and the most breathtaking landscapes of Peru and Bolivia, off the beaten track. You will discover at first the region of Cusco with exchanges with local people. Then, you will go to Titicaca lake, where will begin your Bolivian adventure. You will continue to La Paz and then the south of the country with the salar of Uyuni, one of the biggest deserts of salt of the world and the wonderfull lakes of height of the South Lipez which their magic colors. Finish your travel with the visit of Potosí, renowned for its silver mine which made the wealth of Europe and the city of Sucre.

The strong points of the trip  « From Machu Picchu to the salar de Uyuni »

  • Two countries within the same journey, with the most interests of each of them
  • Perfect combination between a cultural journey and a "natural" journey
  • Most of transports are private to allow you to travel to your rhythm

Map


Afficher Pérou - Bolive en combiné sur une carte plus grande

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA

Upon your arrival in the airport of Lima, you will be welcomed and brought to your hotel. You will have the evening free in the dynamic neighborhoods of the Peruvian capital.

Personnel: English speaking assistance

Transport: Private vehicle

Night in hotel

Free meals

 

DAY 2: LIMA – CUSCO (3350m)

You will be taken to the airport to take your flight to Cusco. Upon your arrival, you will check in your hotel. In the afternoon, you will begin the visit of the Inca capital, starting with the Cathedral, impressive building that holds many paintings of the Cusquenian School as well as true goldsmithery treasures. You will continue your discovery with the Santo Domingo monastery, ancient temple of the Sun, also known as Qorikancha. Then, you will leave the city center to visit the four principal archeological sites in the periphery of Cusco:  Q’enqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara and finally Saqsayhuamán, stunning fortress built on a hill dominating the city of Cusco. This site is characterized by its gigantic blocks of stone, accurately interlocked, with some standing over 9 meters tall and weighing more than 550 tons.

Personnel: English speaking assistance, English speaking guide for the tour

Transport: flight Lima – Cusco (unescorted), private vehicle for the transfers and for the visit of the 4 ruins

Night in hotel

Breakfast included

 

DAY 3: CUSCO (3350 M) – PISAQ (3400 M) – OLLANTAYTAMBO (2750 M) – AGUAS CALIENTES (2040 M)

This day you will go to the sacred valley and start your discovery of famous sites with the visit of the Pisaq archeological complex, composed of terraces, fountains, observatories and even a necropolis, the largest of the region (where about 10000 persons are buried). It is from here that the Incas controlled and dominated the Sacred Valley. On your way back down, you will stop at the traditional artisanal market of Pisaq before continuing your journey towards Ollantaytambo, driving by the sacred Urubamba River. After a walk through the paved alleys of this singular village almost unchanged since the XVth century, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes. Free evening at the foot of Machu Picchu Mountain.

Personnel: Local private English speaking guide

Transport: private vehicle until Ollantaytambo, train to Aguas Calientes (unescorted)

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 4: AGUAS CALIENTES (2040 M) - MACHU PICCHU (2450 M) - OLLANTAYTAMBO (2750 M) – CUSCO (3350 M)

Very early in the morning, you will take the shuttle to go up to the most famous Inca site of the country: the Machu Picchu, “old summit” in Quechua. You will discover the architectural complex, still in the morning mist, built on top of a ridge and surrounded by precipices: a stunning view that evolves with the progression of the sun. You will roam through the alleys of the citadel, its areas, squares, royal houses, agricultural zones, paths and observatories. After a 3h guided tour, you will dispose of free time to go discover by yourself, if you wish, the Huayna Picchu (entrance at 10AM*), the Sun Gate (“Intu Punku”) situated at 2700m, or even the Inca bridge. For the less sporty, you can go for a wander peacefully in the city. Return to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon to take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where a bus will drive you back to Cusco.

*We have chosen the 1AM entrance in order to give you time to visit Machu Picchu with your guide and enjoy a clearer view of the citadel. However, the number of entries to Huayna Picchu being limited, we cannot guarantee the access to this part of the site.

Personnel: Local private English speaking guide

Transport: shuttle bus to go/back to the citadel; train Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo (not escorted) and private vehicle to Cusco

Night in hotel

Breakfast included

 

DAY 5: CUSCO (3359m) – PUNO (3820m)

Early morning departure to take a touristic bus to the Titicaca Lake. On the way, you will discover the fertile valley of Cusco with its landscapes of different contrasted colors and lights. You will stop at the village of Andahuaylillas in order to visit the colonial church, known as the “Sistine chapel of South America”, famous for its lavishly painted ceiling. Then you will continue the trip to Raqchi, where you will visit the spectacular Inca sanctuary built by Pachacutec in honor of the Inca God Wiracocha. It holds a large wall whose the base, carved in stone, is a witness of the fineness of Inca architecture, whilst another part of the fortification has been built with adobe blocks. In addition, the architecture has two circular lateral columns. Around the temple, you can find various buildings that formerly had the function of habitations and depots. Following this, you will cross the pass of “la Raya” (4338m), considered as the entrance to the Altiplano and continue until Puno. Arrival late in the afternoon. A member of our local team will welcome you at the bus stop. Check in to hotel.

Personnel: English/Spanish speaking guide in the bus, English speaking assistance in Puno

Transport: Private vehicle for the transfers and touristic bus Cusco – Puno

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 6: PUNO (3820 M) – UROS – TAQUILE (3950 M) – PUNO

Departure by boat from the port of Puno towards the Taquile Island, located on the Titicaca Lake. On the way, you will stop on the Uros floating islands, where the Aymaras inhabitants build their homes on gigantic reed barks (totoras) moored with pegs to avoid drifting away. They live from fishing, crafts and hunting. You will continue sailing on the Titicaca Lake (which mean “puma of stone”) until Taquile, an island that is cropped all over thanks to the terrace farming system. The lifestyle of the inhabitants has conserved the community organization inherited from the Inca period. Although property is private, labor is collective; the 300 inhabitants of the island work one day for themselves, one day for the community. Taquile lives in relative self-sufficiency with the Inca principles: “do not steal, do not lie, do not weaken”, unchanged from centuries. From the heights of the village, your efforts will be rewarded by a superb view on the lake, the Puno bay and Bolivia (the Royal mountain chain). After some free time to explore the local artisanal market, you will take the boat and return to Puno.

Personnel: English speaking guide

Transport: Group excursion by boat on the Titicaca lake

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 7: PUNO (3820 M) – LA PAZ (3650 M) – UYUNI (3660 M)

You will be taken to the border at Desaguadero, (about 3h from Puno) where you will fulfill the migratory formalities necessary to enter in Bolivia. From there, you will go to Tiahuanaco, the most important and most ancient archeological complex of Bolivia; you will discover the remains of a pre-Inca civilization that is largely unknown but whose the influence extended over all the Andres and up to the Peruvian border for hundreds of years. After this visit, you will take the road to La Paz, administrative capital of Bolivia. Free time before taking a bus to Uyuni, located in the south of the country.

Personnel: Private English speaking guide in Bolivia

Transport: private vehicle until La Paz, bus line La Paz –Uyuni (not escorted)

Night on the bus

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 8: UYUNI (3660 M) - SAN CRISTOBAL – VILLAMAR

Arrival in Uyuni and check in to the hotel where you will take your breakfast. Departure in a private 4x4 to visit the “train cemetery” (ancient railway junction) located in the borders of the town. On the way, you will visit several villages including the “model” village of Culpina with houses made of 100% natural materials. You will then cross the Rio Grande, where many rheas (cousins of the ostrich) and vicunas (wild camels) can be found, before arriving in Villamar.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private 4x4 Land Cruiser vehicle (for 5 people – 6 or 7 hours of ride per day)

Night in refuge

Breakfast, lunch (cold meal) and dinner included

 

 

DAY 9: VILLAMAR – LAGUNA VERDE (4300 M) – LAGUNA COLORADA (4270 M)

The landscape here is beautiful! Volcanoes covered with a layer of snow punctuate the horizon in an intense blue sky. This morning, you will head south to see the surprising Laguna Colorada, whose the red-orange color can be explained by the presence of millions of microscopic shellfishes Artemia, actively studied by scientists for their incredible adaptability in a salted environment. You will continue your trip to the south, until the spectacular Sol de Mañana geysers (4850m), located in the heart of volcanic craters that are shaken by effusions of sulfur vapor. You will make a stop in the thermal baths of Polques, where you will have the possibility to swim in the hot springs while admiring the breathtaking landscape. You will then drive by the Laguna Salada (Salt lake) before crossing the Dali desert ( so named because of the phantasmagorical landscapes which remind one of the paintings of the artist) and arrive in Laguna Blanca at mid-day and later in Laguna Verde, at the foot of the impressive volcanoes of Juriques and Licancabur (5960m). Then you will have the opportunity to assist to a strange phenomenon: when the wind rises, Laguna Verde takes a spectacular emerald tint. Return to Laguna Colorada at the end of the day.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private 4x4 Land Cruiser vehicle (for 5 people – 6 or 7 hours of ride per day)

Night in refuge

Breakfast, lunch (cold meal) and dinner included

 

DAY 10: LAGUNA COLORADA (4270 M) – JEWELRY ROAD – AGUAQUIZA (4000 M)

You will take the direction to the North through the splendid landscapes of the Siloli desert, known in particular for its famous “stone tree” where viscahas sometimes come. Then, you will drive by the Chili border using the “Jewelry road”: Lagunas Ramaditas, Honda, Ch’arkota, Hediona and Capaña, sanctuary of three different species of flamingos. Then you will pass by the foot of the Ollague volcano (5865m), still active, which shelter one of the highest mines of sulfurs of the world. Following the road, you will go down from 4200m to 3600m of height and cross the little Chiguana salar at the foot of the Tomasamil volcano (5900m) before going to the village of Aguaquiza with its chullpas (tombs) from the Llipi Llipi culture (1200 B.C.)

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private 4x4 Land Cruiser vehicle (for 5 people – 6 or 7 hours of ride per day)

Night in refuge

Breakfast, lunch (cold meal) and dinner included

 

DAY 11: AGUAQUIZA (3680 M) –SALAR DE UYUNI (3660 M) - UYUNI (3660 M)

From Aguaquiza, you will drive about one hour before reaching the “banks” of the salar de Uyuni (3650m), the highest salt desert of the world! The sensation is unique: the horizon has no more limits; the immensity invites silence… Stop at the Incahuasi island of volcanic origin  and covered with stromatolites and giant cactus (stromatolites are bacterial fossilized colonies, first traces of life on Earth). In the afternoon, you will head east toward the city of Uyuni. On the way (if the weather allows), you will visit the Colchani salt mine and the “salt hotel” (closed since 2001). When you arrive in Uyuni, you will be able to take a shower and rest at the hotel before to take the bus to La Paz.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private 4x4 Land Cruiser vehicle (for 5 people – 6 or 7 hours of ride per day), bus line Uyuni – La Paz

Night in the bus line

Breakfast, lunch (cold meal) and dinner included

 

DAY 12: UYUNI (3660 M) – POTOSI (4100 M)

In the morning, you will take a bus to Potosi, city classified on the UNESCO world heritage list. Formerly, Potosi was one of the most important cities of the Americas because it is here that the crown of Spain extractedlots of quantities of silver ore. This one was then transported via Argentina and the Rio de la Plata (hence the name) to Spain. End of the day free in this colonial town, dominated the impressive Cerro Rico. We recommend you the visit of the Santa Teresa convent.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: Bus line

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 13: POTOSI (4100 M) – SUCRE (2750 M)

Day dedicated to the visit of the mines. In the morning, around 9am, you will go to the Cerro Rico mines and enter in the galleries, still exploited, with a former miner. Return to the hotel and, in the afternoon, transfer to the terminal where you will take your vehicle to Sucre. Arrival and check in to hotel.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private vehicle

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 14: SUCRE (2750 m): CITY TOUR

The day will be dedicated to the visit of Sucre, constitutional capital of Bolivia, more well-known as the “white city” due to the color of its buildings of Andalusian style. You will discover the Liberty House, Jesuit building of the XVII century, where was written the first constitution of Bolivia in 1825; the museum of indigenous Art, showing pieces of textile of an incredible finesse; the Glorieta castle, edifice of the XIX century built thanks to the mining of silver; as well as the most important places of the charming town.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private vehicle

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 15: SUCRE (2750 M) – TARABUCO (3200 M) – SUCRE

In the beginning of the day, you will go to the little town of Tarabuco, located at 1.5 hours of Sucre. Tarabuco is the center of the Quechua Yampara culture, known for its textile art of an exceptional finesse. Every Sunday, the fruit and vegetable market takes place. The inhabitants of the surroundings villages come to this market, most of them dressed with their traditional clothes. An artisanal market has been developed around this local market. Early in the afternoon, you will come back to Sucre.

Personnel: Private local English speaking guide

Transport: private vehicle

Night in hotel

Breakfast and lunch included

 

DAY 16: SUCRE - LA PAZ – PUNO (3820 M)

In the morning, transfer to the airport of Sucre to take your flight to La Paz. From there, you will be transfered to the border, where you will change vehicle before heading back to Puno.

Personnel: Private English speaking guide

Transport: Flight Sucre – La Paz (not escorted), private vehicle to Puno

Night in hotel

Breakfast included

 

DAY 17: PUNO (3820 M) – JULIACA – LIMA –INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

At the schedule time, you will be taken to the airport of Juliaca to take your flight to Lima, where you will then take your international flight.

Personnel: English speaking assistance for the transfer

Transport: private vehicle for the transfer, flight Julica – Lima (not escorted)

Breakfast included

 

END OF OUR SERVICES 

Price

THE PRICE INCLUDES:

-      Accommodation in 3*** hotels (according to local standards) and refuges in the South Lipez

-      The meals mentioned as “included”

-      Private and group ground transportation, as mentioned in the program

-      Assistance at airports

-      Local English speaking guide, as mentioned in the program

-      Private guided excursions

-      The entries to the visited sites

-      The internal flights Lima – Cusco, Sucre – La Paz and Juliaca – Lima

 

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

-          International flights

-          Travel insurance

-          Lunches and dinners not mentioned in the program (expect 5 to 10 USD per meal)

-          Drinks

-          Tips (2 USD/day/person for the guide and 1 USD/day/person for the carriers, mule-drivers, cooks)

-          The single supplement (ask us)

-          Individual pharmacy

Organization

PERSONNEL

You will be accompanied by a local private English speaking guide at every leg of the journey. This means you will have a different guide for each region you will visit, depending on their specialization. The level of English of the guides varies from one region to another.

A few exceptions:

- For the Puno – Cusco trip, you will travel in a group touristic bus with an English / Spanish guide

- The trips in public transports (buses, shuttles, trains and internal flights) are not escorted.

 

ACCOMMODATION

In Peru, the hotel standards are different to what you may be accustomed to. Here are a few useful details on every type of accommodation:

- Camp: thanks to the perfect organization of our cook(s) and muleteer(s), you could really rest after a good day of walking. We have a tent for the kitchen, another one for to take the meals, another one for the bathrooms. For two persons, you will have a 3 places tent for more comfort. We also supply you a comfortable mattress and a basin of hot water at the beginning and at the end of the day for your toilet; and of course we prepare you warm and complete meals.

- Homestay accommodation: Basic comfort, communal toilets, no hot water and sometimes no running water, simple but clean rooms, sometimes no electricity  and the doors do not lock (however, there are no security problems).

- 2** and 3*** hotels (local standards): comfortable rooms, simple and clean, private bathroom with hot water; some hotels offer rooms equipped with a safe, heating system, mini bar, …

As far as our possibilities, we choose hotels whose geographical location will allow you to fully enjoy the town and its attractions.

 

MEALS

In order to allow you more freedom during your trip, only a few meals are included in our programs: these are the meals during the treks (cold at noon and hot in the evening) and during certain excursions when the conditions make it necessary (on the Puno-Cusco road, in the Sacred Valley, etc).

For the non-included meals, expect 5 to 10 USD per person. This allows you to choose the time, place and menu according to your desires!

 

TRANSPORTS

Most of the time of your trip, your travels will take place in private vehicles: you will have at your service a private vehicle with a Spanish speaking driver who will adapt to your rhythm (photo stop, shopping, etc. …).

Exceptions:

- For the Puno – Cusco / Chivay – Puno and Arequipa – Puno trips, you will travel in a group touristic bus that will make several stops and visits on the way.