The essentials of Peru and Bolivia
Our suggestion of tailor-made tour to discover Peru and Bolivia
Travel through the heart of the Andes: the centre of the ancient Inca empire. You will discover its fascinating Cusco and Sacred Valley abounding with archaeological sites and typical villages and the legendary Lake Titicaca considered as the highest navigable lake on earth. Furthermore, this trip will show you the marvellous Bolivia and the places you absolutely have to visit such as southern Lipez, La Paz or the Salar de Uyuni.
Length of stay: 15 days
Countries visited: Peru, Bolivia
Your customized trip
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Day 1 : Lima
Reception at the arrival of your international flight at Jorge Chavez airport in Lima and transfer to the hotel. An English representative will greet you at the airport and hand you over your travel documents. Night at the hotel Barranco’s Bed & Breakfast
Day 2 : Lima
Transfer from your hotel to the Lima airport. Flight to Cusco. Reception at Cusco airport and transfer to the hotel. English speaking assistance from airport to hotel. Departure for an half-day dedicated to the discovery of Cuzco’s historical downtown.
In the morning, visits of the Koricancha (Temple of the Sun), and of the Cathedral, exhibiting some paintings from the School of Cuzco and many goldsmith’s art, silver and precious stones treasures.
Then we walk down to the San Blas quarter (the artists’ place).
Note: The Qoricancha is closed on Sunday mornings. Night at the hotel El Andariego.
Day 3 : Cusco
Departure at 7am in a private vehicle on a day-trip exploring the Sacred Valley.
The first stop will be at the ruins of Pisac, one of the main Inca sites, where the different areas (administrative, religious, military) are scattered on the mountainside. Also observable are the large terraces that were used for agriculture but also protected from the effects of erosion.
Then we will take a walk around the colorful handicraft market before taking to the road again, this time in the direction of the salt flats of Maras that, since Inca times, have collected salt water from a local source. This is then transformed into salt through the evaporative effect of the sun.
We then walk down to the Urumbamba River where the vehicle awaits to take us on to Ollantaytambo, the last Inca architecture village to still be inhabited. Visit of the monumental stone fortress.
Transfer and check-in to the hotel at the end of the afternoon. Tourist partial ticket or student (valid 48 hours) Train to Aguas Calientes, starting point for visiting Machu Picchu.
Note: The train company allows passengers to carry a cabin bag of up to 8 kg per person. It will be necessary to leave your checked luggage at the deposit of the hotel in the Sacred Valley and Cusco. Possibility of transferring luggage from one hotel to another).
Afternoon train. Night at the hotel La Cabaña.
Day 4 : Aguas Calientes
Direct connection to the shuttle service that will drive you to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
Departures, for the ascent and as well as the descent, run every 5 minutes.
Note: 1st shuttle to the citadel: 05:30am / Duration: 30 minutes
Last Shuttle to the citadel: 3:30pm / Last Shuttle to Aguas Calientes: 4:45pm Arrival on the site of Machu Picchu, wonder of the world.
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city of the fifteenth century in Peru. Abandoned during the collapse of the Inca empire, the sacred city of the Incas, was forgotten for centuries. It is considered as a masterpiece of the architecture of this civilization. It was unveiled by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.
In1983, Machu Picchu was declared UNESCO World Heritage List. On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by the NewOpenWorld Foundation, an unofficial and commercial organization. Finally the site is part of a whole cultural and natural complex known as the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu .
Note 1: 1st access to the site 6h, last access: 14h.
Entrance to Machu Picchu is regulated by a 3-hour slot on the site. We will communicate the entry schedule to the site that we recommend according to your program. After this confirmation, the schedule for entering the site cannot be changed.
Note 2 : Possibility to include the ascent of Huayna Picchu or Montaña Machu Picchu (these two climbs are subject to quotas and require early booking) Together with your english speaking guide, you will start to discover the archaeological complex (around 2:30 hour of visit). Train to Ollantaytambo.
Note: The train company allows passengers to carry a cabin bag of up to 8kg max . per person. It will be necessary to leave your checked luggage at the deposit of the hotel in the Sacred Valley and Cusco. Afternoon train. Reception at Ollantaytambo’s train station and transfer to the hotel in Cusco. Night at the hotel El Andariego.
Day 5 : Cusco
Transfer to Cusco’s bus terminal. At 6:50 am: Departure by tourist bus to Puno, a city located on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
This route allows you to enjoy superb landscapes all along the route, via the Col de la Raya, at an altitude of 4,320 meters.
We will stop first at Andahuaylillas to visit its church, nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of the Andes for its interior richness (murals superimposed over 3 centuries, paintings, carved and gilded altar with gold leaf, organ).
Lunch included (buffet restaurant in Marangani).
Second stop at Raqchi to visit the temple of Wiracocha.
Last stop in the village of Pukara, here we will visit the archaeological museum of Pukara before continuing on to Puno.
An English-speaking guide, exclusive to the bus company, participates to the journey and gives information along the way. Reception at Puno bus station and transfer to the hotel. Night at the hotel Casa Andina Standard Puno
Day 6 : Taquile
You will have your own English speaking guide during the excursion. Early morning departure from your hotel by private transport to reach the pier. From there you will start your kayak tour in direction of the Uros Islands.
Depending on your level, several routes options will be offered to you: between 45 minutes to 1:30 hours of kayak.
On the lake, you will observe many species of birds, fishermen and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the banks and islands of the Lake.
After arriving in Uros you will join the rest of the group for the visit. The floating islands are not natural but were built by the Uros tribe, whose main activity is fishing.
We then head to Taquile (around 2 hourd cruise), an island with great cultural interest, whose inhabitants have remained without contact with the outside world for four centuries and have thus preserved their ancestral traditions. Men knit, women weave, you will discover the meaning of the different hats ports.
Visit and lunch in a typical restaurant, not included.
Back to Puno in mid-afternoon.
Transfer to the hotel. Night at the hotel Casa Andina Standard Puno
Day 7 : Puno
Transfer from the hotel to Puno bus station. 07h30 Departure by bus to La Paz wiht stop in the border and connexion in Copacabana.
17h00 Arrival to La Paz.
Note 1 : change of bus in Copacabana.
Note 2 : Land terminal embarkation taxes to be paid directly on site (around 5 soles)
Day 8 : La Paz
Our private driver will pick us up in the hotel lobby at 9:00 am for a full-day tour around the best points of view over the city and into the Moon Valley. La Paz, world’s highest capital elected in 2014 as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities , is surrounded by the high picks of the Andes.
From many parts of the city we can admire the white summits of the Cordillera Real and the imposing Illimani, protector of the city. From the K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park we will enjoy a panoramic view over the capital.
The Montículo , in the bohemian Sopocachi is the classical meeting point of lovers and newlyweds for romantic pictures.
Since 2014 La Paz is proud of its new cable cars. From the sky the panorama over the city and the mountains is unique and we can have a feel of the social gaps while flying over different neighborhoods.
We will then drive to the south, across the rich Zona Sur and get out of the city to enter the Moon Valley . Here we can enjoy the quietness and walk amongst the lunar rock formations during an hour.
In the afternoon we will go back to the historical center and wander around its colorful markets.
NOTE: The K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park are closed on Mondays. Your driver will take you to the bus station. Departure of the night bus around 9 p.m. This bus is comfortable and direct to Uyuni.
Arrival the next morning around 7:30 a.m., where your 4WD driver will welcome you.
Free lunch and dinner. Snack on the bus. Night in the bus.
Day 9 : Uyuni
A private driver will pick you up at the bus station. Breakfast included. Today we will discover the world’s largest salt desert! At 9 a.m. we leave the hotel with our jeeps to the Salar de Uyuni (el. 3650 m.a.s.l.). After an half an hour ride, we stop in the village of Colchani to visit its salt exploitation and salt hotel (closed since 2001).
We will then ride 73 km on the salt desert (around an hour and a half) to reach the Island of Incahuasi. This surprising island lost in the middle of the salar, offers an incredible view over the salt desert and the several volcanoes that surround it. Of volcanic origin, it is covered with stromatolites and giant cacti (stromatolites are fossilized bacterial colonies, first traces of life on earth).
In the afternoon, we will keep riding 46 km on the white desert (around half an hour) to reach its northern extremity. Here, on the feet of the Tunupa volcano (5432 m.a.s.l.) we will spend the night in the small village of Jirira. Before arriving, we will stop in the neighbor village of Coquesa, famous for its “chullpas”: mummies of the Chipaya culture. Salar Sector Room.
Day 10 : Uyuni
We are spending the night at the Tambo Aymara hotel. Partial ascent – no technical difficulties – good physical condition required
We start the day early to climb up the volcano Tunupa, a colorful mountain located only few kilometers from the salar. Tunupa is the name of the pre-Inca god of volcanoes and thunderstorms.
Our jeep drops us off at the end of the track above the village, at an elevation of 4300 m.a.s.l. We will then trek 3 to 4 hours to the mirador (el. 4700 m.a.s.l.). What an exceptional panorama! It almost seems like we are above the clouds or the sea, but it’s the world’s largest salt flat we are looking at! The summit (el. 5432 m.a.s.l.) can not be attempted since the path is too dangerous.
We will walk back to Jirira in the afternoon and from there drive to Uyuni, where we will arrive at the end of the afternoon after a 2.5 h ride (140 km). We will stop on the road to visit a salt hotel and a salt exploitation.
Trekking time: 4h – Elevation gain: +850m/-850m
Day 11 : Uyuni
Departure from the hotel at 8:30 a.m. for a journey to Potosí (3 to 4 hours on a road). We will traverse all the Cordillera Frailes before reaching the Imperial city in the afternoon.
Stop on the way in Pulacayo, which was the second most important silver mine in South America in the 19th century. It is now an almost abandoned village, where we can visit a museum keeping traces of its past glory. In Pulacayo, you can see several vintage locomotives, including one that was attacked by (hang on!) Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid! Welcome to the Bolivian far west! Our guide will pick us up at 2:00 pm to visit the Casa de la Moneda , one of the most important historical buildings of the city – one of those which owed the city to be listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. La Casa de la Moneda is also a testimony to the prosperous past of the Imperial City where the most important deposits of silver in the New World were found. Following this discovery, Potosi became the main supplier of silver to Spain.
Until the 19th century the coins of the Spanish crown were minted here. This beautiful colonial house is now an important historical museum.
NOTE: The Casa de la Moneda is closed on Sunday afternoon and Mondays. We are staying at the Colonial hotel.
Day 12 : Potosi
This morning we will get to know the mines of the “Rich Hill” . Our guide will pick us up at 9 am at the hotel lobby and we will go to the Cerro Rico to visit the mine and see the miners at work. The mines were discovered centuries ago and are still active today, it is the main economic activity of the Potosi region.
This encounter can be overwhelming since the miners (of all ages) work in very hard conditions.
A rewarding visit for children, which can be hard. It is possible to stay out of the mines and see the work of the stones.
NOTE: It is possible to visit the mine everyday but the miners do not work on Sundays and the activity is greatly reduced on Saturdays and Mondays. We will leave Potosí in a private car to reach the nice small colonial city of Sucre (el. 2810 m.a.s.l.) at the end of the afternoon. We will leave behind the Altiplano and descend to the Chuquisaca Valley .
Here we will cross the Pilcomayo River on the Sucre Bridge; an interesting structure that looks like a medieval construction, even if built in the 19th century.
We will arrive in Sucre, constitutional capital, after around 3 hours on the road (160 km).
You will be with a Spanish speaking driver. Night at the Su Merced hotel*.
Day 13 : Sucre
Today we spend the day in the beautiful “white city” of Sucre . Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO , the constitutional capital of Bolivia is famous for its flair of quietness, its beautiful colonial architecture and its numerous churches .
Our guide will pick us up at 9 am in the lobby of the hotel to guide us through the most famous buildings and museums of the city. We will start with the Convento de la Recoleta , monastery of the Franciscan order built in 1601. We will then learn more about the culture of the region and the country in the Museum of Indigenous Art (ASUR) and about the Bolivian history in The Casa de la Libertad , where the Independence Act was signed in 1825.
We will end the day visiting the Monastery of San Felipe Nery , enjoying a beautiful view over the city from its terrace.
NOTE: Museums are closed as following: Convento de la Recoleta, ASUR and Monastery of San Felipe Nery on Sundays, Casa de la Libertad on Mondays. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the bus station. Night bus Sucre – La Paz.
Day 14 : La Paz
Your driver will pick you up at the bus station. Breakfast included. This morning you will have some free time to enjoy the world’s highest capital. Maybe you can have a nice walk in the historical center, go handicraft shopping in the numerous stands of the Sagárnaga street, discover which artifacts are used for the offering ceremonies to Mother Earth ( Pachamama ) in the Witches Market or even visit one of the various museums of the city…
Or maybe you will prefer see the city from the air taking one of the cable car of the capital? Night at the Naira hotel*.