This journey is a concentrated by the major archeological sites and the most wonderful landscapes of Peru and Bolivia, in a record time : in a 13 days, you will discover the region of Cusco and Machu Picchu, the bolivian capital and the Salar of Uyuni with its incredible colors, while meeting the local population. An intense journey makes for short holidays !
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This itinerary is an example of a trip; you can change as you desire the steps and activities. If you wish to do so, please refer to the tab “Personalized trip”.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
Upon your arrival in the airport of Lima, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. You will have the evening free in the dynamic neighborhoods of the Peruvian capital.
DAY 2: LIMA – CUSCO (3350 m): CITY TOUR and 4 RUINS
You will be transferred to the airport to take your flight to Cusco. When you will arrive, you will first check in to your hotel. In the beginning of 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 center in order 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. End of the day is free.
DAY 3: PISAQ (3350m) – MARAS (3330m)
You will leave for 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 (about 10000 persons are buried here). 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 itinerary towards Maras. You will be welcomed by your hosts who will show you your room for the night. Then, you will go to a house to see how chicha, a fermented drink of corn, is produced. After this, you will visit a pankas workshop where corn leaves are weaved together. At the end of the day, after the dinner you will go to the “Musical tales” evening at the village church.
DAY 4: MARAS (3300 m) – MORAY (3500 m) - OLLANTAYTAMBO (2800 m) – AGUAS CALIENTES (2040 m)
You will first go visit the archeological site of Moray, real agricultural laboratory which was used more than 500 years ago to test the resistance of certain botanical species at the altitude. Then, you will go down to the Maras saline. These saline date of the pre-Inca period and continue to be used like old times by the inhabitants of the village. The water coming from a salted source is canalized to a series of ponds where it evaporates gradually. A fine layer of salt is deposited and can be collected. After this visit, you will go back up to the village to have lunch and say goodbye to your hosts before heading to Ollantaytambo where you will visit the archeological site. Following this, you will take the train for Aguas Calientes, little town located at the foot of the famous Machu Picchu. Arrival and check in to hotel. Free evening.
DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES (2050 m) - MACHUPICCHU (2450 m) – CUSCO (3350 m)
Very early in the morning, you will take the bus to go up to the most famous Inca site of the country: Machu Picchu, “old summit” in Quechua. You will there discover the architectural complex, still enveloped 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 streets 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 discover by yourselves, if you wish, the Huayna Picchu (entry at 10AM*), the Sun Gate (“Intu Punku”) situated at 2700m, or even the Inca bridge. For the less sporty, you can 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 10 o’clock trip 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.
DAY 6: CUSCO (3350m) – LA PAZ (3650m)
In the morning, depending on the time of your flight, you will be transferred to the airport of Cusco where you will take a flight to La Paz, administrative capital of Bolivia. Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by our personnel and taken to your hotel. Free time to discover the city at your rhythm.
DAY 7: LA PAZ (3650 m) – ORURO (3735 m) – UYUNI (3660 m)
At the time of departure of the train, you will be transferred to the Oruro train station located at 4h from La Paz. You will take the train for Uyuni, where you will be welcomed by our local team. Check in to hotel.
Note: the Expreso del Sur train carries out this service (trip Oruro – Uyuni) on Tuesdays and Fridays (departure: 3:30 PM / arrival: 10:20 PM); the Wara Wara train on Sundays and Wednesdays (departure: 7:00 PM / arrival: 02:20 AM). The transfers on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays will be done in a night bus.
DAY 8: UYUNI (3660 m) – SALAR – PUERTO CHUVICA (4000 m)
When you will arrive, you will have at your disposition a hotel room before leaving for your excursion. Departure in a private 4x4 to visit the “train cemetery” (ancient railway junction) located in the borders of the town before heading towards the salar. The sensation is unique: the horizon has no more limits, the immensity invites silence… You will cross the salar until to reach the Incahuasi Island, of volcanic origin, covered in stromatolites and giant cactuses (stromatolites are bacterial fossilized colonies, first traces of life on Earth). In the afternoon, you will continue to Puerto Chuvica where you will spend the night.
DAY 9: PUERTO CHUVICA (4000 m) – JEWELRY ROAD – LAGUNA COLORADA (4330 m)
You will first drive to the south. You will cross the little Chiguana salar, at the foot of the Tomasamil volcano (5900m), followed by the Ollague volcano (5865m), still active, which houses one of the highest mines of sulfurs of the world. Then, you will drive by the Chilean border using the “Jewelry road”: Lagunas Ramaditas, Honda, Ch’arkota, Hediona and Capaña, sanctuary for three different species of flamingos. After this, you will head north through the splendid scenery of the Siloli desert, known in particular for its famous “stone tree” where viscahas sometimes come. Finally, you will arrive at the surprising Laguna Colorada, whose red-orange color can be explained by the presence of millions of microscopic shellfishes of Artemia, actively studied by scientists for their incredible adaptability in a salted environment.
DAY 10: LAGUNA COLORADA (4330 m) – LAGUNA VERDE (4300 m) – UYUNI (3680 m) – LA PAZ (3660 m)
The landscape here is beautiful! Volcanoes covered with a layer of snow punctuate the horizon in an intense blue sky, and around you there are as many particular geological formations. On this morning, you will discover the Sol de Mañana geysers (4850m), volcanic craters with effusions of sulfur vapor and heavy water. Stop at the hot springs of Polques. 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 Uyuni, where you will arrive in late afternoon. In the evening, you will take the bus to La Paz.
DAY 11: LA PAZ (3660m)
When you arrive, you will be transferred to your hotel. After some time to rest, you will go to the Moon Valley, located at the south of the city, for a stroll through curious rocky formations. Then, visit of the city: the gold museum, the Murillo square dominated by the presidential palace and the witch market, where are sold the offerings burnt during pagan ceremonies in sacred locations (huacas) located around the town.
DAY 12: LA PAZ (3660 m) – CUSCO (3350 m) – LIMA –INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
Depending on the time of your flight, you will be transferred to the airport of La Paz to take your flight to Cusco, and connection to Lima and to your international flight.
END OF OUR SERVICES
THE PRICE INCLUDES:
- Accommodation in 3*** hotels (local standards), in homestay accommodation and in refuges in the south of Lipez
- The meals mentioned as “included”
- Private and group ground transports, as mentioned in the program
- Assistance at airports
- Local English speaking guide
- Private guided excursions
- The entrances to the visited sites
- The domestic flights Lima – Cusco – La Paz and La Paz – Cusco – Lima
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- International flights
- Lunches and dinners not mentioned in the program (expect 5 to 10 USD per meal)
- Tips (2 USD/day/person for the guide and 1 USD/day/person for the carriers, mule-drivers, chefs)
- The La Paz airport tax (25 USD)
- The single supplement (depending on the number of nights and the hotel quality)
- Individual pharmacy
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.
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.
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!
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. …).
- 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.