Lima to La Paz
Encounter a truly magical Peru with a small bit of Bolivia and absorb an array of culture, history, mystery and tradition. Colourful markets, fascinating ruins, spectacular mountain scenery and flourishing Amazon ecosystems provide the perfect insight into this alluring destination. This tour finishes in La Paz, Bolivia.
This tour includes the Inca Trail Trek
- Two nights in the Amazon Jungle in Peru
- Guided tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Inca Trail Trek
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Day trip to Lake Titicaca
9 night(s) in hotels, 2 night(s) in a jungle lodge, 3 night(s) in campsites on the Inca Trek
Travel by 2 flight(s), Public Bus
13 breakfast, 5 lunch, 5 dinner
Staff & Experts
Tucan Travel tour leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on included excursions
What's Not Included
- Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
- International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
- Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
- Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
- Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Maximum 16. Average 8-12
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Lima
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
Lima was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 after he eradicated the Incas and made the city his capital. Lima has many fine colonial buildings and some of the best museums in South America including the Gold Museum, Museum of the Inquisition and the Catacombs below the San Francisco Church. Peru's capital has much to offer and many of the sights, including the city's two main squares the Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, boast some fantastic sightseeing opportunities. The Plaza de Armas houses the Cathedral, Municipal Palace and Presidential Palace where the changing of the guard can be seen every day at 12 noon. There are also many markets in Lima, possibly the best being in the central district.
Day 2 to 3 - Amazon Jungle
Our Tucan Travel rep will transfer you to the airport for your flight to the jungle community of Puerto Maldonado, the starting point for our visit to the Amazon rainforest.
In Puerto Maldonado you can pick up any last minute drinks or snacks in the busy markets and shops. The first leg of our journey is by bus followed by canoe, a 35 kilometre journey along the river (approx two hours total). The canoes are very safe.
Arriving at the lodge located on the river’s edge, you will be allocated a bungalow all of which are built from local indigenous materials. Each room is sealed by meshed netting to keep out mosquitoes and other insects. All rooms have basic private bathroom facilities. Due to the remoteness of the lodge there is no hot water and drinking water should be purchased. There is also limited electricity so please charge any electrical equipment prior to your arrival. In the evening the lodge and walkways are lit by oil lamps. Other facilities include a welcoming reception area, dining room and bar facilities. All excursions are led by English speaking local guides providing plenty of opportunity to enjoy marvelous jungle landscapes and rich diversity of flora and fauna.
After lunch we will set off on a trek through the rainforest along wooden walk ways. On the way our guide will stop to show you various species of bird and explain the medicinal plants and delicate ecological systems of the Amazon Jungle. The scenery is extremely varied incorporating dense jungle as well as marsh areas. You will see incredibly big trees, several metres in diameter and around 450 years old. We walk to Cochita Caiman (Caiman Pond) where we see wildlife along the way. We then return to the lodge for dinner.
After an early breakfast we hike deeper in to the jungle, enjoying the surroundings and exploring the delights and hidden wonders of the Amazon Rainforest. We may also catch a glimpse of the rare giant otter. Afterwards we will enjoy the view of the lake from our viewing point/observation platform, where you can experience the canopy wildlife such as parrots, guacamayos, toucans, camungos, shanshos, herons, turtles and caiman. We will return to the lodge for a well deserved lunch.
After lunch, we take a short boat trip across the Madre de Dios River to Monkey Island. On the way over you may spot caiman from the boat. Once on the island it is possible to see a great variety of monkeys such as the ‘maquisapa’, black and white ‘Martins’, ‘Leoncito de la Selva’ (Little Lions), ‘Frailes’ (Friars), ‘Achuñis’, ‘Ronsocos’ as well as an array of birdlife. In the evenings it is often possible to enjoy the wonderful sunset, one of the most impressive sights of the forest (weather permitting).
Please note: On all of our tours that have overnight excursions, we recommend bringing a small bag to carry only necessary overnight belongings
Day 4 to 4 - Cuzco
On the final day we awake to the sounds of the jungle before departing this jungle haven and returning to Puerto Maldonado for our flight on to Cuzco, where you have the rest of the day free to explore this fascinating ancient capital.
Before embarking on the Inca Trail Trek we will have a briefing to prepare for the next few days and an early departure the following morning.
Day 5 to 5 - Ollantaytambo
A full day is spent visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At an altitude of 3800m we take slow walks that take up to an hour, around each of the ruins in order to manage any effects the high altitude may have. Firstly we visit the Pisac ruins, perched on a hilltop with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. We then go down to the famous traditional market of the same name, which is full of colour and atmosphere. A great place for souvenirs! After lunch, we continue along the valley to the temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo with its enormous Inca terracing constructed on the side of a steep mountain.
If you are doing the Inca Trek to Machu Picchu, tonight you will stay in Ollantaytambo. If you are doing the Lares Trek or have opted to take the train to Machu Picchu, this afternoon, you will return to Cuzco where you will spend the night.
Day 6 to 8 - Inca Trail Trek
The Inca were a highly organised civilisation and created many Inca paths throughout the Andes in a network they called Qhapaq Ñan. The most famous of all the paths is known simply as Camino Inca or The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the royal route to the remnants of the breathtaking mountaintop city of Machu Picchu. Spread over four days, the spectacular 44-kilometre Inca Trail Trek crosses three stunning high passes and encounters many ancient archaeological sites, culminating at the citadel of Machu Picchu. There are few treks in the world that combine natural beauty, history and mystery with such an awe-inspiring final destination.
The Inca Trail Trek can be demanding but can be completed by anyone who leads a reasonably active life - you certainly don’t need to be an athlete. Everyone is able to walk at their own pace and there is no rush to finish. The trekking group is led by an expert local guide and supported by a team of porters and cooks, leaving you with only a small day pack to carry. If you are in any doubt or if you have any condition that may affect your ability to trek, we advise that you consult your doctor. Before embarking on the Inca Trail Trek we will have a briefing to prepare for the next few days and an early departure the following morning.
Day 1 The trek begins after a short bus journey and the first day is a relatively easy 4½ hour 13 kilometre walk
Day 2 Today will be your biggest challenge as you reach the highest pass at Warmiwañusca (4,200 metres) which translates to “Dead Woman's Pass”! You will cover approximately nine kilometres in about 5-7 hours and after the high pass it's all down hill as the trail winds its way along old Inca stairs to our campsite.
Day 3 On Day three we pass the ruins of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca, walking approximately 15 kilometres in seven hours.
Due to a limited number of people being allowed on the trail a day, permits are limited and can sell out far in advance. If you wish to book the Inca Trail, please provide your Reservations Agent with your passport details by email as soon as possible so that we can secure your permit. Without your passport details, we are unable to arrange your Inca Trail Trek. Please click here for more information. For information on the Lares Trek including what meals are included click here. If you are not participating in either trek then you will visit Machu Picchu by train and have plenty of free time to enjoy the activities available in and around Cuzco.
While the cost of the Inca Trail Trek is included in the price of your tour, tipping is not. The porters, cooks and guides work incredibly hard on the Inca Trail Trek route, carrying food needed for the four days, cooking equipment, tents and your personal items. While it is an optional payment, we recommend a tip of 100 Soles per person to be split between your Inca Trail Trek guides, porters and chefs at the end of the route.
Please note: Meals are included for those doing the Inca Trail Trek. If you are choosing not to do the Inca Trail Trek, then meals are at your own expense.
Day 9 to 9 - Machu Picchu
On the last morning of the Inca Trail Trek, after an overnight stop at Wiñay-Wayna, you will rise early for the final walk to Machu Picchu and greet daybreak over the famous “Sun Gate”. There will then be time to explore on your own or simply take in the magnificence of the place after your guided tour.
The Lost City of Machu Picchu was originally completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs. Located high above the fast flowing Urubamba River, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation that will simply take your breath away.
The ruins were only discovered by the outside world in 1911, when American explorer Hiram Bingham found them while looking for another “lost city” called Vilcabamba. Due to their isolation many of the buildings are still quite intact and you can't help but admire Huayna Picchu (“Young Mountain”), which towers above the ruins. After spending most of the day at Machu Picchu you have the chance to meander through the markets of Aguas Calientes before enjoying a scenic train ride back to the Sacred Valley where our transfer to Cuzco will be waiting.
Day 10 to 11 - Cuzco
Cuzco, which means ‘navel of the earth' in the Inca language of Quechua, has a mostly indigenous population of around 300,000 and is centred around the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the Cathedral and La Compañia de Jesus Church. Its cloistered arcades house many fine restaurants, bars and shops. Make the most of your free days in Cuzco to explore its amazing churches, colonial buildings and picturesque streets, many of which have Inca walls, arches and doorways. On a hill overlooking the city stands the ceremonial fortress of Sacsayhuaman, where some of the most spectacular Inca walls can be found, including a massive 130 ton stone.
Day 12 to 12 - Puno
The beautiful scenery is continual all the way to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which at 3,855 metres above sea level, is the highest navigable lake in the world. After a full day of travel from Cuzco, we'll arrive in time so you can visit the colourful local market.
Day 13 to 13 - Lake Titicaca
The next morning from Puno we take a day trip to Lake Titicaca itself. We visit the floating reed islands in the Bay of Puno to see the Uros islanders way of life and we will have the option to ride in a traditional reed boat.
Next stop is Taquile Island, an island on Lake Titicaca still holding up many of the traditions values and customs it was built on. Learn about the way of life, from the reasons for why they do their hair the way they do and how they dress. Famous for their textiles and clothing, you will be able to pick up a homemade gift or two from the main square.
Day 14 to 14 - La Paz
We travel around Lake Titicaca as we make our way towards Bolivia. After crossing the border, we continue to travel across the scenic Altiplano (high plateau) following the shores of Lake Titicaca. As we continue our journey we have breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains as the road winds its way into La Paz, 3,636 metres above sea level. We arrive in La Paz in the late afternoon.
Nestled in a steep valley that protects its inhabitants from the harsh elements of the Altiplano, La Paz makes for a striking cityscape, with bare-brick houses and tall skyscrapers seemingly built on top of each other in front of a dramatic mountainous landscape in the background. Our hotel is very centrally located, close to the city's colourful indigenous street markets including the fascinating and suitably named "witches market,'' where women wearing bowler hats and flared skirts sell strange paraphernalia said to ward off evil spirits. The main square, Plaza Murillo, is also within walking distance. The square still retains its colonial buildings including the Presidential Palace. La Paz is possibly the best place to experience a traditional peña show of Andean music and dance, where local bands play time-honoured instruments such as zampoñas (pipes) and charangos (similar t to a ukulele).
Please note: On arrival in Bolivia you will be required to pay an entry fee of US$10.
Day 15 to 15 - Depart La Paz
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Services end today. However, if you lengthen your stay, you will have time to fully explore La Paz, or partake in some optional excursions that depart from the city. You might like to visit the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather. Another fantastic excursion is to the emerald green area of Coroico, the gateway to the Bolivian jungle region and a great place to see sub -tropical vegetation and plants. En route you will cross a 5,000 metre high pass before descending to 1,300 metres on narrow mountain roads bordered by sheer drops. The excursion to Coroico can also be done by mountain bike, as it is downhill nearly all the way and very exhilarating, but not for the faint-hearted!
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