Machu Picchu & Bolivia's Salt Flats

Combine Machu Picchu with the stunning salt flats of Bolivia on this exciting 16 day trip from Lima to Santiago

Begin your trip in Lima, the gastronomic capital of South America, serving up world-class seafood and pisco sours. Fly onwards to Cusco where you will explore this colonial gem and the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas. Enjoy a full day guided tour of Machu Picchu before heading to Lake Titicaca, between Peru and Bolivia. Cross into Bolivia and visit the Sun and Moon Islands before spending a night on one of the islands. From La Paz, fly south to Bolivia's salt flats and spend a full day exploring this other worldly landscape before overnighting in a hotel made entirely of salt. Continue off-road to the Atacama Desert past colourful lagoons, volcanoes and Mars-like landscapes. Finish your trip in Santiago, Chile's modern capital before flying back to the UK.

Tour highlights

  • Discover Cusco one of the best preserved colonial towns in all of the Americas and former Inca capital
  • Visit Machu Picchu one of the seven wonders of the world
  • Spend a night on Isla del Sol in the middle of Lake Titicaca
  • Visit the world's highest capital city of La Paz
  • Marvel at Bolivia salt flat which are the worlds largest and a unique otherworldly landscape
  • Be awed by the stunning landscape of Bolivia including colourful lagoons, volcanoes and geysers
  • Direct flights possible with British Airways to Lima and back from Santiago
  • Itinerary can be tailor-made to your requirements

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival into Lima

Arrival into Peru where you are met at Lima airport and taken by private transfer to your hotel. Evening at leisure. 

Overnight at El Pardo Doubletree. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 2

Lima - Lima city tour

Explore Lima old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating historic buildings. Start with a scenic tour in the colonial downtown, which radiates from the Main Square, where you can appreciate the grandiose architecture of the Spanish Empire. Stroll over to the Cathedral, which was begun in the 16th century and took 80 years to build. Then visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted in 1535 by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains. This is the only house from that time that still belongs to the same family after all these centuries. Continue to the Larco Museum, located in the traditional Pueblo Libre district, which is housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built on a seventh-century a pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts the most complete pre-Hispanic collection of gold and silver artefacts, as well as pieces of erotic art. Finally, head to the "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire the cliffs and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. 

Overnight at El Pardo Doubletree. Standard room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 3

Lima - Cusco

Private transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco, Peru's colonial gem. On arrival you are met and taken by private transfer to your new hotel. Rest of the day at leisure to relax and to acclimatise to the altitude. 

Overnight at Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco. Superior room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 4

Cusco city tour

Morning free at leisure after breakfast at the hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of this charming city, which was the capital of the Inca Empire. The tour starts with a visit to Santo Domingo Convent, a large Renaissance-baroque complex, which was built over the Inca Qoricancha temple. It was one of the most important temples dedicated to the worship of the sun and its foundations are still prominent at the base of the convent. Continue to the Plaza de Armas to visit the cathedral. It features an elaborate Renaissance facade and, like other important monuments in the city, was built over a demolished Inca temple. Head to the hills above Cusco to visit the remains of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, whose imposing ramparts offer a stunning panoramic view of Cusco, the ruins of temple and amphitheatre of Qenqo, where it is believed the Incas practised agricultural rituals. Finally, visit Puka Pukara (‘Red fortress’ in Quechua) an Inca military complex located on a prominent hill. Return to and drop off at your hotel. 

Overnight at Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco. Superior room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 5

Sacred Valley excursion

You will start your tour at Awanakancha, a farm of South American camelids and showroom of textiles, where local families show the entire traditional process of weaving and making garments. You will then visit the Pisac market, which has scores of stands that exhibit and sell products manufactured by the residents of the area. It is possible to find textiles, carvings and replicas of old Inca pieces. After having lunch at a local restaurant, you will go to the Ollantaytambo town, a typical example of the urban planning of the Incas, whose residents still live in accordance with their old traditions. Pachacútec (1438-1471) conquered the town, destroyed it and built a new one in the Inca style, to absorb it as part of his expanding empire. Ollantaytambo shows a huge archaeological complex that, considered one of the most monumental works of the Inca Empire. Although it bears the name of fortress, it was actually a tambo, a leisure place used to accommodate the delegations that travelled long distances. 

Overnight at Sol y Luna. Casita room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu excursion

Enjoy breakfast before heading to Ollantaytambo Station to board the train to Aguas Calientes, the nearest town to Machu Picchu. Following a scenic three-and-a-half-hour journey through dramatic Andean landscapes, arrive at the station in Aguas Calientes. Here you board a coach for a 25-minute ride to Machu Picchu itself. The ‘Lost City of the Incas’ had lain abandoned in the heavens for four centuries until American explorer Hiram Bingham happened upon it in 1911. Machu Picchu is believed to have been built in the 1450s by Inca emperor Pachacuti as a holiday retreat yet within a century the city would be abandoned following the Spanish conquest. The Spaniards never found it so it was spared the destruction they wrought on other Inca sites. A guided tour explains the origins behind this awe-inspiring citadel and the most prominent landmarks among the 200 or so buildings such as the monumental Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial and the Burial Grounds. 

Overnight at El Mapi. Superior Deluxe room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Machu Picchu - Cusco

Today you can optionally return to Machu Picchu and visit any of the attractions of the citadel. Visit the Intipunku, which in Castilian means "Sun Gate" and is the last stop before entering Machu Picchu if you follow the Inca trail from Ollantaytambo. It was kind of a checkpoint control and the sun rises every day through this door if viewed from the most important buildings of the citadel. Finally you will be able to visit the Inca Bridge, an incredible stone building that served as entrance or exit of the citadel and halfway has a gap of several meters above which were two large wooden tables. Thus the Incas could isolate the city by simply withdrawing them and remain protected. In the afternoon head to the train station of Aguas Calientes and from there take the train back to the Ollanta station. A vehicle will be waiting for you at the train station of Ollantaytambo to transfer you to your hotel in Cusco. 

Overnight at Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco. Superior room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 8

Cusco - Lake Titicaca

A tourist bus will take you from Cusco to Puno making stops in various places. First you will visit the districts of Andahuaylillas and Huaro with its beautiful baroque churches. Then go to Checacupe, and once the visit is over, you will be transferred to Raqchi to enjoy a delicious Andean buffet at a local restaurant. The next stop is at La Raya, the highest point on route (4,338 meters above sea level), and the last visit before reaching Puno.

Overnight Sonesta Posada del Inca. Standard room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 9

Cross into Bolivia and onto Sun Island Lake Titicaca

Overland journey from Puno (Peru) to Copacabana (Bolivia), located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Once in Copacabana, visit the shrine and the Dark Indian Virgin. Catch the hydrofoil cruise to Moon Island, visit the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu”. Continue to Sun Island, to visit the Pilcocaina Sun Temple. Enjoy a llama trek to the hotel. Lunch upon arrival; the afternoon is at leisure to explore the pleasant surroundings. 

Overnight at Posada del Inca Eco Lodge. Standard room.

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

Lake Titicaca - La Paz

Breakfast and morning at leisure; around noon, visit the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain; taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Lunch will be served at the Uma Kollu archaeological restaurant. Hydrofoil cruise to Copacabana and overland journey to Huatajata. On arrival, visit the Andean Roots Eco Village: The Altiplano Museum; handicrafts village, the Mud Igloos and the mortuary towers of the Urus Chipayas. See our elegant vicuñas, llamas, alpacas and the mythical Suri. Enjoy the overland journey to your hotel in La Paz, by a road running parallel to the mighty snow capped peaks of the Andes. 

Overnight at La Casona. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

La Paz

Free day to explore La Paz. 

Overnight at La Casona. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 12

La Paz - Salt Flats

Transfer to the airport of La Paz for you flight to Uyuni. Arrival to Uyuni and transfer to the hotel to leave the luggage and  immediately start an excursion to the Salt Lake and Isla Pescado. Uyuni is the largest salt flat on Earth, located on the Bolivian Andean Altiplano with 12.000 square km; the Bolivian Andes offer stunning scenery which can hardly be matched. The sound of silence makes the heart beats faster and the surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, the pure sky, the colour lagoons, the cacti and the flamingos, certainly makes you feel that there is no other place like this in the whole world. Lunch at Isla Pescado, also called “Incawasi”, an oasis with formations of algae and fossils. It is covered by thousands of giant columnar cacti, which can be more than a hundred years old, growing to a height of over 12 meters. The landscape against the background of the salt pans extending to the horizon makes it an ideal place for photography hunters.

Overnight at a Salt Hotel. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13

Salt Flat excursions

We continue driving towards San Cristobal Town and the Siloli Desert where you`ll see incredible rock formations. Visit to Chiarcota Lagoon and Laguna Hedionda. Continue to Kañapa and Chiarkota Lagoons.

Overnight at Ojo de Perdiz. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14

Bolivia - San Pedro de Atacama

After breakfast private transportation to visit Laguna Colorada. With an area of 60 km2, at an altitude of 4,278 mtrs, Laguna Colorada is characterised by the red tone of its waters. It is inhabited by flocks of flamingos of which there are three different species: tokoko -with red plumage-;chururu -with whitish plumage- and jututu, with pink plumage. The scenery is exceptionally beautiful at these heights, set off by the impressive redness of the Lagoon. Also vicuñas, llamas and vizcachas can be seen. Continue to “Sol de Mañana” Geysers, with fumaroles and volcanic craters of spectacular formation. The crater bottoms has boiling lava and the fumaroles emit spouts of mixed water and super heated steam reaching 80 to 100 meters in height; this phenomena displays a landscape dating from the beginning of the earth. This geothermal field is located at an altitude of 4.900 mtrs. Continue to green lagoon, looking as a giant emerald, from where there is an impressive view of Licancabur Volcano wiith a height of 5,865 meters. The intensely green colouring is due to high magnesium content. Also visit: Chalviri Salt Flats and The Stone tree. After the visit, transfer to Hito Cajon at the Chilean-Bolivian border. Change of vehicle and be transfer to San Pedro de Atacama.

Overnight at Casa Atacama. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 15

San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago

Private transfer to Calama airport for your flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago you are met and taken by private transfer to your new hotel. 

Overnight Cumbres Lastarria. Standard room. 


INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 16

Departure for the UK

Private transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. 

If you are looking to extend your time in South America why not consider an extension to Torres del Paine national park in the south of Chile. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Hotels

Pricing

29th September 2016 - 30th November 2017

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