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  • Amazing reflections on Lake Titicaca, Peru
  • Looking down over Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Flamingos at Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
  • Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
  • Jumping for joy at the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
Route:
Lima to Santiago
Days:
15
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: HPC
From:

US$3,139

Jumping from one country to the next, this short tour takes in three countries in just two action-packed weeks. From Cuzco’s historic centre to the Salt Flats of Uyuni and the modern metropolis of Santiago, you will get a good taste of the continent and whet your appetite for another visit.

About this tour

  • Type of Travel: Public Transport
  • Group Size: Average 10-14. Maximum 16.
  • Recommended Age: 18-65
  • Physical Rating: South America3
  • Country: Peru, Bolivia, Chile

What you need to know

  • We will try to run your tour as close to the itinerary as conditions will allow. On very rare occasions, local events may affect the way your itinerary operates. We ask for your flexibility and understanding in these situations.
  • Make sure to pack a thick jumper as it can get really cold crossing the salt flats of Bolivia, especially between May and September! Temperatures will often be below zero.
  • On this tour you can either take the train to Machu Picchu or conquer the one day hike. Please speak to your Adventure Specialist for more details
  • We travel on multiple domestic flights on this tour to ensure you can see as much of these beautiful countries in a short time.
  • The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. You will meet your Tour Leader at 18.00 for the pre-departure meeting. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Lima

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.

Please note: On arrival at your Lima hotel, a hotel representative will be on hand to welcome you and assist with your flight the following day. You will meet your tour leader the next day in Cusco

Optional Excursions

Museum Inquisition – free • Monastery and Catacombs – US$3 guided tour • Plaza San Martin, one of the largest and most impressive squares

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Santa Cruz or similar

Day 2 to 2 - Sacred Valley of the Incas

You will wake early on day two and head to the airport where you will catch a short flight to Cusco. This afternoon we will take a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will visit the Pisac ruins, perched on a hilltop with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. You will also visit the temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo with its enormous Inca terracing constructed on the side of a steep mountain. Tonight you will stay in Ollantaytambo in preparation for your journey to Machu Picchu tomorrow.

Optional Excursions

Boleto Completo, valid for 10 days and includes entrance to most Inca ruin sites in Sacred Valley and Cusco.– US$40 or 130 soles • Boleto Partial, includes just sites around Cusco – 70 soles • Massages – US$25/hr • City tour – US$30 + 70 soles entry if Completo has not been purchased • Chocolate making course – US$22

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Tika Wasi or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 3 to 3 - Machu Picchu

The Peruvian Culture Directorate announced that from the 1st July 2017, entry to Machu Picchu will be split into a morning and afternoon shift in order to ease the flow of tourists to the site and aid conservation and preservation of the citadel. As a result, if you are scheduled to take the train to Machu Picchu after this date, your guided tour will take place in the afternoon shift.

Taking the train: Waking early in Ollantaytambo you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, arriving at 10am. You will have time to get some food before entering Machu Picchu at approximately midday. Enjoy a guided tour around the site before getting the train back to Ollantaytambo and arriving back in Cusco at approximately 10pm.

One day hike:Waking early in Ollantaytambo you will take the train to to Km104 (2100m) where you will start the trek heading towards the ruins of Chachabamba. From here you will follow the Inca Trail to the foot of the Wiñay-Wayna ruins (2700m), hiking until you reach Sun Gate and Machu Picchu in the late afternoon. Enjoy a guided tour around the site before getting the train back to Ollantaytambo and arriving back in Cusco at approximately 10pm.

The lost city of Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) 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.

Please note: The one day hike needs to be booked at least three months in advance with your Adventure Specialist. It is a long day and can be quite challenging. Read more about it here

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Cahuide or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 4 to 4 - Cusco

Today you have a full free day to enjoy the city of Cusco.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Cahuide or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 5 to 6 - Puno & Lake Titicaca

Leaving Cusco, we'll drive along roads abundant with herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas before reaching the Altiplano (high plain) where our journey takes us past hot mineral pools, snow capped mountains and through villages where the locals sell food, fur hats and alpaca sweaters. At the highest point, the La Raya pass at 4,321 metres, you can see the research station for high altitude animals.

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. We'll arrive in time so you can visit the colourful local market.

The next morning we depart Puno for our full day excursion on Lake Titicaca. We visit the floating Uros islands in the Bay of Puno, which are constructed by the islanders using reeds that grow in the shallow waters of the bay. You will get to meet the families who live on these islands, learning about their way of life and visiting their homes. You will also have the option to ride in a traditional reed boat before continuing our journey to the island of Taquile, a small island 45km offshore from Puno. It is well known for its tradition of intricate textiles and clothing knitted by the male locals. These textiles are regarded among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru, and you will learn about this important tradition by meeting and interacting with the islanders. You will then have the option to have a lunch made of local produce before returning to Puno.

Included Excursions

Full day excursion on Lake Titicaca

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Munay Tambo or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 7 to 8 - La Paz

Built in a steep valley that protects the city from the harsh elements of the Altiplano, just about every building in La Paz is built on some sort of hill, so sightseeing will literally take your breath away! You will have two days to explore La Paz and it's bustling atmosphere. Our hotel is very centrally located and is just around the corner from the city's colourful indigenous street markets including the fascinating and suitably named "Witches Market'' where local women in traditional 'Cholita' dress sell such items as dead cats and llamas foetuses 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 to local bands playing time-honoured instruments such as zampoñas (pipes) and charangos (the ukulele).

Please note: On arrival in Bolivia you will be required to pay an entry fee of US$10.

Optional Excursions

Red Caps walking tours – Bs.20 • Death Road Mountain Biking – US$124

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Sagarnaga or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Basic Breakfast(s)

Day 9 to 9 - Uyuni

We fly from La Paz to Uyuni, in the South West corner of Bolivia. If it is a clear day, you will be able to see the huge expanse of the Altiplano as you fly over the landlocked country, perhaps seeing the Andes slowly flattening out to become the Amazonian basin, which spreads to the far East of the country, to the border with Brazil.

Please note: During the winter months of May-August temperatures of the Altiplano can be extremely cold, so please be prepared and pack warm clothes

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Toñito Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Basic Breakfast(s)

Day 10 to 10 - Uyuni (Salt Flats)

The next morning we embark on an exhilarating three day 4WD tour to explore the Salar de Uyuni and the striking landscapes that surround it. First on the agenda is a visit to the Train Cemetery, where you can see the remains of 19th and early 20th century steam locomotives - a good place for artistic photographs. We will then come to Colchani, the main plant for the iodisation of salt and the best place to observe the methods of salt extraction from the salar. Here ovens are used to dry the salt, which is then formed into cakes. From here we drive onto the Salt Flats themselves. Claimed to be the largest salt flat in the world, the brilliant white vast Salar de Uyuní, which covers some 10,500 square kilometres and is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, looks like something from a surrealist painting and its seemingly infinite horizons will amaze you. You will then visit either Fish Island or Incahuasi Island (seasonal dependent). Located in the centre of the Salar, 100 kilometres from Uyuní, this hilly outpost is covered in giant cacti amid a flat, white sea of hexagonal salt tiles.The otherworldly views from the islands will take your breath away, with the brilliant blue sky (weather permitting of course) contrasting with the pure white of the salt flats.

Please Note: Occasionally in the rainy season the salt flats become overly flooded and we may have to alter the itinerary if the salt flats are not safe to traverse. Your tour leader will advise as early as possible if this is likely to happen on your tour.

Included Excursions

Drive on the Salar de Uyuní salt flats

Accommodation

1 night(s) in basic, multi-share hostels with limited facilities at Cashi Wasi or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es), 1 Dinner(s)

Day 11 to 11 - Laguna Colorada

We continue south on our epic 4WD expedition, into some of the most remote areas of the Bolivian Altiplano. You will see a variety of dramatic landscapes including smoking volcanoes, barren deserts and gravity-defying rock formations carved by the wind. In this incredibly empty landscape you'll most likely feel the furthest from civilisation you've ever been. You will visit a number of lagoons including Cañapa, Chairkota and Laguna Honda. You will also get to see the Laguna Colorada, which offers some truly breathtaking scenery, with several varieties of flamingos gathering in the shallow waters of the beautiful crimson lagoon. Before arriving at Laguna Colorada you will pass Arbol de Piedra, the famous Stone Tree.

Included Excursions

Entry to Laguna Colorada National Park

Accommodation

1 night(s) in basic, multi-share hostels with limited facilities

Meals

1 Basic Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es), 1 Dinner(s)

Day 12 to 13 - San Pedro de Atacama

We visit the volcanic zone ‘Sol de Mañana' (Morning Sun) at 4,850 metres above sea level. Here you'll discover a geyser basin with bubbling mud pots, hellish fumaroles and a thick aroma of sulphur fumes. Inside a small crater we will observe mud bubbling away and we will also stop at hot springs where you can bathe. We will pass the Desert of Salvador Dali before crossing a 5,000 metre pass. We then come to the beautiful Laguna Verde, which is shadowed by the cone of the Licancabur Volcano. Next to Laguna Verde is Laguna Blanca, known as the White Lake. Continuing on we will cross into Chile. On the way we get the chance to see both the Bolivian and Chilean sides of the 5960m Licancabur Volcano. We then come to San Pedro de Atacama in the world's driest desert. The area is famous for the salt-covered lunar landscapes, geysers, salt flats and hot springs of the Valley of the Moon, which we will explore by van.

San Pedro de Atacama is a picturesque small town that looks like it has come straight from the scene of a Western with its single-storey buildings, white-washed walls and dusty roads. Due to its remote location and dry climate, the Atacama desert offers some of the clearest skies in the world and as such is used by international space agencies to monitor the skies. If you are lucky enough to have clear nights during your stay in San Pedro de Atacama, the starscape will most likely be the best you'll ever see.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of the Valley of the Moon

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Don Raul or similar

Meals

1 Basic Breakfast(s), 1 Breakfast(s)

Day 14 to 14 - Santiago

We fly to the sprawling metropolis of Santiago. If it is a clear day, you will have astounding views of the capital and the surrounding mountains as you come in to land. You are free to explore this cosmopolitan city at your own pace.

For the best views of the city, take a funicular railway to the top of San Cristobal where the Statue of the Virgin overlooks the capital and the distant Andes. Here you can taste some of Chile's best wines and find some beautifully situated swimming pools. Santiago is a very clean, modern city with many fountains and parks, and is well-renowned for its markets such as the famous Mercado Central, one of the best seafood markets in the world. In the Plaza Constitución at the Palacio de la Moneda you can see the changing of the guard on most days.

Optional Excursions

Tours 4 Tips Walking Tours – Free (tip how much you think the tour is worth) • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - US$1 • Museo Histórico Nacional – US$1 • Teatro Municipal, with daily shows ranging from opera, ballet, orchestras and concerts – from US$3-12 • Maipo region winery tours – US$18-50

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Libertador or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 15 to 15 - Depart Santiago

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.

Meals

1 Buffet Breakfast(s)

What's Included

Excursions & Activities

  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Guided tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • Full day excursion on Lake Titicaca
  • Drive on the Salar de Uyuní salt flats
  • Entry to Laguna Colorada National Park
  • Guided tour of the Valley of the Moon

Accommodation

12 night(s) in hotels, 2 night(s) in basic, multi-share hostels with limited facilities

Transportation

Travel by 3 flight(s), Train, Private Vehicle, Public Bus, Boat, 4WD

Meals

9 Breakfast(s), 4 Basic Breakfast(s), 2 Lunch(es), 2 Dinner(s), 1 Buffet Breakfast(s)

Other

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Visas and travel insurance
  • 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 - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

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2017

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Extra ServicesExtra Services

1 day Inca Trail add on US$
Train to Machu Picchu US$
Santiago Departure Transfer US$74.00
Lima Arrival Transfer US$36.00
Single Room (pre tour) US$87.00
Twin Room (pre tour) US$44.00
Double Room (pre tour) US$44.00
Single Room (post tour) US$59.00
Twin Room (post tour) US$33.00
Double Room (post tour) US$33.00

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