Andes and Rainforest - Peru and Bolivia | 19 days
Lima - Cusco – Machu Picchu – Manu National Park – Colca Canyon – Lake Titicaca – Tiahuanaco – La Paz –Uyuni Salt
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The most exciting places on Earth. Best of the best in this tour that begins in Lima and the visit to the city of the kings then we will go to Cusco that is not just the cradle of the ancient Inca culture; it is also the starting point for any journey to the emblematic ruins of Machu Picchu, and the gateway to the most biodiverse tropical forests in the world like the Manu National Park with habitats ranging from high Andes grasslands to cloud forest and lowland Amazon forest. From Cusco we will travel to the Colca Canyon, where the Andean condor flies over picturesque colonial-era villages and breathtaking scenery. From Colca we drive to Lake Titicaca, the cradle of the Inca creation myth. Titicaca marks the border with Bolivia, and we will follow the lakeshore, visiting the ruins of the pre-Inca Tiahuanaco culture on our way to the city of La Paz. We will also have time to explore the other side of the lake and visit the islands of the Sun and Moon, where legend has it the first two Incas were created by the sun god. Finally we will visit the spectacular Uyuni salt plan.
Day 1 Arrival Lima and transfer to selected hotel
Day 2 Morning City Tour and Gold Museum
Flight to Cusco. Free day to acclimatise (3,400 metres / 11,152 feet).
Day 3 Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 4 Machu Picchu by train.
Day 5 Manu National Park.
Day 6 Manu National Park.
Day 7 Manu National Park.
Day 8 Manu National Park - Cusco
Day 9 City Tour and Saqsayhuaman ruins
Day 10 Cusco overland to Chivay.
Day 11 Colca Canyon.
Day 12 Colca Canyon (drive to Lake Titicaca).
Day 13 Lake Titicaca (Uros reed islands and overnight on Taquile Island).
Day 14 Taquile Island and return to Puno
Day 15 Drive to La Paz, visiting Tiahuanaco en route
Day 16 City tour and Moon Valley, Bus to Uyuni, overnight en board
Day 17 Tour to Uyuni Salt, train cemetery and the fish island
Day 18 View the sunrise and visit mummies and the salt hotel. Return bus to la Paz
Day 19 Return flight from La Paz.
Day 1 Lima
Arrival, assistance and transfer to the selected hotel in Lima.
Day 2 Lima – City tour, Convent San Francisco & Gold Museum / Cusco
Lima is located on the coast at the mouth of the Rimac River (which means talking river in Quechua), Lima was once known as “the pearl of the Pacific”. In the morning City tour, visit the church, convent and catacomb of San Francisco and the Gold Museum.
Flight to Cusco, transfer to the selected hotel and rest for acclimatizing to the altitude
Cusco, the archaeological capital of the Americas and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent, lies in exceptionally beautiful Andean countryside. It is 3400 metres above sea level and its legacy as the hub of the Inca Empire is readily apparent: Most of the city streets are lined with Inca-built stone walls and crowded with Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas.
Day 3 Sacred Valley of the Incas
Today will be spent in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Apart from the valley’s breathtaking scenery – with its fertile slopes surrounded by towering peaks – the main attractions include ancient ruins, colonial villages and traditional markets. The quiet village of Pisac is home to a colourful market and high above the village stand the ruins of the Inca ceremonial and fortress site of the same name, renowned for their excellent stonework and imposing location. At the far end of the valley, Ollantaytambo is the only remaining example of Inca urban architecture, where descendants of the Incas live beneath the ruins of the temple built by their ancestors.
Day 4 Machu Picchu
From Cusco we take the train to Machu Picchu on what is widely considered one of the world’s most spectacular train rides, following the Urubamba River through the gorge it cuts down into the tropical forest. Machu Picchu is set amid forested hills, on a saddle between two peaks, where it remained undisturbed by the outside world until its discovery in 1911. We will have the rest of the day to explore Machu Picchu’s streets, temples, palaces and residential areas in the company of an expert guide, before returning to Cusco on the afternoon train, arriving early evening to be transferred to the hotel in time for a free evening in the city.
Days 5 to 8 Manu National Park
Most tourists come to Cusco in search of Peru’s Inca heritage, but the ancient capital of the Incas is also the gateway to the most pristine tropical forests in South America. In Manu the extraordinary altitudinal range between lowland rainforest, cloud forest and elfin forest has created a varied habitat like no other. The Manu National Park is widely considered the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world, with over 1000 species of birds, 13 species of monkeys, 1200 species of butterflies and 15,000 different flowering plants, as well as rare and endangered mammals such as the jaguar and the giant river otter.
Manu covers an area of 19,000 square kilometres, ranging from the twilit, mist-enshrouded cloud forest at over 3000 metres above sea level to the teeming lowland forests of the Amazon basin.
Transport from Cusco is by overland truck along a spectacular road linking the Andes with the Amazon, and you will return from the forest by visiting many cozy villages.
Meals: FB, BL
Day 9 Afternoon City Tour and Saqsayhuaman ruins
In the afternoon we will make a city tour. One of the most advanced ancient civilizations on Earth originated in the Peruvian Andes, and it has left evidence of its cultural legacy in every corner of the vast territory occupied by present-day Peru.
Cusco, as the capital of the Inca Empire, with its historical legacy, living culture and natural attractions, offers visitors a guided visit to the city and the surrounding ruins. The tour begins with a visit to the city’s cathedral, which was erected on the site of one of the most important temples of the Inca period, dedicated to the creator god Wiracocha. Construction began in 1559 and was completed in 1654. The interior houses a collection of paintings from the Cusco School of religious art. From the cathedral we will head to the Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, to see its fine stonework and learn about its history as the most important shrine in the Inca Empire. From here we will leave the city and venture into the surrounding hills. Saqsayhuaman was the ancient House of the Sun, and today we can observe beautiful stone constructions erected by the Incas on a massive scale. Our tour will continue with guided visits to the temple of Qenqo, the red fortress of Pukapukara and the Inca baths at Tambomachay.
Day 10 Colca Canyon
From Cusco we drive to Chivay, the provincial capital of the Colca Canyon. In the evening you will be free to explore the village of Chivay on foot and visit the thermal baths at Calera, just outside the town.
Day 11 The Flight of the Condor
We will leave Chivay to travel to Cruz del Condor to observe these giant Andean birds as they rise from the valley floor on the morning thermals. Later in the day, on our way back to Chivay, we will have a chance to visit the typical colonial-era villages of Tapay, Pinchillo, Maca and Yanque, arriving at our hotel in Chivay that afternoon.
Day 12 Colca - Puno
Today will give us another chance to spot condors in the valley or explore the trails around the edge of the canyon, before continuing by road on the four-hour journey from Chivay to the city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Days 13 and 14 Puno / Lake Titicaca
This austere highland city is the obligatory starting point for all those travellers drawn by the crystalline waters of Lake Titicaca.
The largest tropical lake in the world, Titicaca covers an area of 8000 square kilometres and is 170 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide. Along its seemingly endless shores and on its many green islands, its Quechua and Aymara inhabitants fish its bountiful waters or farm its fertile soils in the manner of their ancestors – the builders of Sillustani, Tiahuanaco, Chucuito and the countless other monumental sites scattered now in ruins across the region.
From Puno one reaches the floating Uros islands, built more than five hundred years ago by the Uros culture in an effort to isolate themselves from more dominant ethnic groups on the lakeshore. Beyond the Puno bay, the beautiful island of Taquile was isolated from the mainland until a National Geographic Society expedition brought the unique lifestyle of its inhabitants to the world’s attention in the 1970s. Taquile islanders still dress traditionally and govern their six kilometre-long home with laws which date from the time of the Incas. We will spend the night on the island in rustic accommodation to continue enjoying the peace of this unique place.
Meals: FB, BL
Day 15 Bolivia
Today we drive around Lake Titicaca, crossing the border into Bolivia at the town of Desaguadero and continuing to the remains of the pre-Inca city of Tiahuanaco. The Tiahuanaco culture thrived from 200 to 800 BC, expanding from their power base on the shores of Lake Titicaca and conquering much of present-day Peru. This massive administrative, residential and religious centre once included multi-storeyed buildings enclosed by high walls. Archaeologists estimate that at least 70% of Tiahuanaco remains unexcavated.
From Tiahuanaco we will continue to La Paz, along a road that takes us past the ranks of snow-covered peaks that form Bolivia’s spectacular Cordillera Real.
Day 16 City tour and Moon valley tour
Day 17, 18 Uyuni salt and fish island
Day 19 Transfer to La Paz’s El Alto, the world’s highest commercial airport, for your return flight.
- All the necessary land transportation
- Professional bilingual guide (English and Spanish), in the trek 2 guides for groups of over 8 people.
- Entrance fees for all tours, excursions, parks, museums and national parks
- Meals described in the program (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner, FB=Full board), in the trek the meals are prepared by the trek cook and also includes: daily morning snack, daily tea service except last day, vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost.
- Accommodation at hotel with private bathroom (Low budget, tourist class hotel, first class hotel or De luxe hotel, upon request)
- Accommodation at a lodge in the jungle
- Rubber boots for the jungle
- Direct assistance
- Machu Picchu entrance fee
- Round trip bus ticket (to and from Machu Picchu)
- Train ticket Ollantaytambo / Aguas Calientes / Ollantaytambo at Backpacker service ( Vistadome or Hiram Bingham service, upon request) (*)
- Transfer from the train station to the hotel in Cusco
(*) A train ticket Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley) with an additional transfer to your selected hotel will be provided.
- International and domestic flights
- Baggage excess
- Alcoholic drinks, soda or bottled mineral water
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- International or National personal telephone calls
- Travel insurance
We recommend that you take:
- Travel documents: passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, vouchers
- Health requirements arranged
- Any Vaccination Certificates required
- Money: cash, credit card and money pouch
- Waterproof rain jacket or poncho
- Backpack for carrying items for daily use such as cameras, water bottles, etc.
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Short-sleeved t-shirts
- Comfortable pants
- Walking boots , waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sports shoes or sandals for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothing, including jacket, fleeces
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat, cap and accessories
- Rehydration cream
- Towel, toilet paper
- Camera, video camera, binoculars, etc.
- Insect repellent
- Sun block
- Non-disposible canteen and water for the first morning.
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- Visa to get into Bolivia, visit: ….???????????
Before you travel we recommend that you check that you have adequate health insurance, travel insurance and personal insurance to cover the needs of your family in case of loss of baggage, accident, theft or death.
(these discounts are not cumulative)
- Students: US$ 20.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 40.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
Plus Additional discounts
(that may be added to the above-mentioned)
- 10 % off on full program price for all bookings confirmed at least 3 months in advance. This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered
Social & Environmental responsibility
Andean Skyline is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. With your participation we can help conserve the area we visit and bring positive benefits to our host communities.
What you need to know on how to be a responsible traveller:
- The natural environment is also very important. If in the bush we need to make our human waste, be sure is buried away from waterways. Burying or carrying out used toilet paper is a must. Tampons and sanitary pads must also be taken out of the area and disposed of appropriately. Minimize use of soap or shampoos in rivers and lakes - your local guide will let you know when using soap is unsuitable.
- When trekking, many travellers take an extra plastic bag to pick up any rubbish that they see to improve the area and for their own rubbish. Rubbish may have to be carried until a suitable disposal opportunity in the next town.
- Please try and minimize the waste of plastic water bottles. Consider packing a water filter, water purification tablets or iodine to purify drinking water. At some of our hotels there are large water 'bubbler' dispensers where you can refill your bottle with purified water for free or for a small fee.