Lima to Santiago - 26 days
FROM USD $4,839
Experience a different adventure every day with this unique journey through Peru, Bolivia and Chile. From the high Andes to the worldâs driest desert with visits to the ancient Inca Empire, the mighty Amazon, stunning Lake Titicaca and the phenomenal salt lakes of Uyuni.
This holiday is also offered in reverse. Opt to start in Santiago and end in Lima!
Day 1: Lima
Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival at Lima Airport you'll be met and transferred to our joining hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard at noon. Walk the streets surrounding the Jiron de la Union for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city. Later this evening our group welcome meeting takes place.
Overnight - Lima
Lima - Cuzco - Amazon Jungle â Cuzco. A short flight high over the spectacular scenery of the Andes brings us to the former capital of the Incas. Cuzco, which means ânavel of the earthâ in the Inca language, is home to a mostly indigenous population and we enjoy an orientation walking tour of this fascinating city. A full day is spent visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas, including the Pisac ruins, the famous traditional Indian market of the same name and the temple fortress of Ollantaytambo. During our time in Cuzco we also take an excursion to the lost city of Machu Picchu by train and enjoy a guided tour of this legendary site.
Transferring to the airport on day 5, we begin our visit to the mighty Amazon with a flight to the jungle community of Puerto Maldonado. Once settled in our Amazon lodge, we will begin to explore the jungle, enjoying the rich landscapes and the diverse flora and fauna. We visit Monkey Island, home to a great variety of monkeys as well as an array of birdlife. Trekking through the rainforest our guide will point out the
many different species of bird and explain the use of plants in local medicine. Opt for a canoe ride later in the day to spot the caiman alligator and observe the abundant birdlife from our lakeside-viewing platform. Departing this jungle haven we make our way back to Cuzco where you have more time to discover this fascinating ancient capital. Overnight - Overnight â Cuzco (3), Amazon Jungle (2), Cuzco (1) (B:2, L:2, D:2)
Lima to Santiago - 26 days Go Guide
: :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Days 8 - 13: Puno, Lake Titicaca & La Paz
Cuzco - Puno â Lake Titicaca â Puno â La Paz. Departing Cuzco we head to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. On the way weâll pass hot mineral pools, snow capped mountains and traditional Native Indian villages where locals sell their wares. Discover the way of life and culture of the Uros people with a boat visit to the floating reed islands. On the island of AmantanĂ weâll enjoy the hospitality of native Aymara/Quechua families and stay in their homes. If you get the chance, make sure to get involved with the high altitude football games with the men of the village.
The next morning we visit Taquile Island where you can buy unique handicrafts at the local cooperative shops. Back in Puno you can practice your bartering skills at the colourful market, arguably the best place to pick up an alpaca sweater. Heading to Boliviaâs capital we travel around Lake Titicaca and across the scenic Altiplano (high plateau), experiencing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains along the way.
La Paz, the highest city in the world, is built in the basin of a canyon with the snow-capped Mount Illimani in the background. With your free time here you could explore the vibrant Indian street markets or the fascinating Witchesâ Market where you can find dead cats and llama foetuses to ward off evil spirits. Or why not set your sights further afield and visit the strange rock formations of Moon Valley or the incredible views from Mount Chacaltaya at the worldâs highest ski resort. Alternatively, spend the day in the emerald green region of Coroico, gateway to the Bolivian jungle. You can choose to undertake the excursion to Coroico by mountain bike. The downhill ride is exhilarating, but not for the fainthearted! Overnight - Puno (1), Lake Titicaca (1), Puno (1), La Paz (3) (B:1, L:1, D:1)
Days 14 - 18: Potosi, Uyuni & Laguna Colorada
La Paz - Potosi â Uyuni â Laguna Colorada. We travel by comfortable overnight bus through the beautiful landscapes of the Atliplano to the mining town of Potosi. The UNESCO-listed city of Potosi is home to one of the worldâs longest continually operated silver mines and our base for the next few days. Descend down a working mine and witness archaic mining methods that are still practiced today with an optional excursion.
We continue to the worldâs largest salt lake, Salar de Uyuni, where first on the agenda is a trip to the train cemetery. The remains of 19th and 20th century steam locomotives litter the grounds and make for particularly good artistic photographs. Witness the methods used to extract salt from the salar with a trip to Colchani, the main salt iodisation plant in the area. Located in the centre of the salar, Incahuasi Island, with its fish-like shape and colossal cacti is a highlight of our trip. The areaâs unusual landscape of mountains, active volcanoes, colossal cacti and geysers is like nowhere on earth. Piercing blue skies contrast with blinding white salt as you drive across the flat lakebed. Departing, we spend the night in San Juan before passing through the multicoloured volcanic rock formations of the Siloli Desert on our way to Laguna Colorada, or the Red Lagoon. This fascinating landscape is a rich red colour due to algae and plankton that thrive on the minerals found in the waters. The lagoon is also inhabited by numerous flamingos. Overnight - Overnight Bus (1), Potosi (1), Uyuni (1), San Juan (1), Laguna Colorada (1) (B:1, L:2, D:2)
Days 19 - 21: San Pedro de Atacama
Laguna Colorada â San Pedro de Atacama. Discover a geyser basin with bubbling mud pots in the volcanic zone of âSol de Mananaâ (Morning Sun). See boiling lava inside a small crater and bathe in hot springs before we make our way to Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon). Shadowed by the cone of the Licanabur Volcano, this lagoon is rich in minerals.
We swap colourful lagoons for the worldâs driest desert as we cross into Chile. The area of San Pedro de Atacama is famous for its lunar landscapes of geysers, hot springs and salt lakes and we include a visit to the eerie eroded salt mountains of the Valley of the Moon. There will be time for you later to encounter ancient mummies and artefacts at the excellent archaeological museum in San Pedro. Overnight - San Pedro de Atacama (3) (B:3)
Days 22 - 25: La Serena & Santiago
San Pedro de Atacama â La Serena - Santiago. An overnight bus brings us to the pleasant little coastal town of La Serena, also an important astronomical centre. With your free time here you could take a trip to the Elqui Valley, home of Chilean Pisco, a strong colourless brandy. Or simply spend the day relaxing on the long beach and when dark begins to descend, get a birdâs eye view of the night sky with a trip to one of the many observatories in town.
On the way to Santiago we enter the fertile region of the Chilean heartlands, passing farmland and vineyards before arriving in Santiago. Enjoy this city at your leisure. Visit Santa Lucia Hill for excellent views over the city or take the funicular railway to the top of San Cristobal where the Statue of the Virgin overlooks the capital and the distant Andes. Overnight - Overnight bus (1), La Serena (2), Santiago ( 1) (B:3)
Day 26: Santiago
Today marks the end of your holiday. Consider visiting Plaza Constitucion at the Palacio de la Moneda or further exploring this exciting capital city before hotel check out at 12 noon. Post tour accommodation can be arranged, should you require.