This journey will take you through the High Andes of Peru, through to Machu Picchu and on to Lake Titicaca and La Paz in Bolivia.
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Overnight flight from London to Cusco, via Bogotá. This is the most direct and quickest flight from the UK to Cusco.
Alternatively there are overnight flights to Lima, via Madrid. On arrival in Lima you will connect onto a short morning flight to Cusco.
On arrival in Cusco you will be met and driven to your hotel in the beautiful surrounds of Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Note: Cusco is over 3,300m above sea-level, so rather than staying here on arrival, we suggest our clients stay and acclimatise in the Sacred Valley which is slightly lower at 2,800m.
Over the next few days you will have chance to explore the Sacred Valley, a region rich in both beautiful landscapes and ancient Inca ruins.
You can explore the colourful markets of Pisac; wander around the imposing fortress and canals of Ollantaytambo – the oldest continuously occupied village in the Americas; and visit the salt mines of Maras. Don’t miss a visit to the huge agricultural terraces near Moray which were used as a botanical lab by the Incas.
Stay: Three nights at Tambo del Inka – bed & breakfast
Perhaps the greatest Inca treasure of all now awaits you. You will ride the Vistadome train along the Urubamba Valley – a scenic journey of about two hours – to reach the town of Aguas Calientes, gateway to the mighty Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Discovered by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911, these World Heritage-listed hilltop ruins are one of the planet’s most spectacular archaeological sites. Enjoy a guided tour alongside an expert guide, along with lunch in a local restaurant.
The night is spent in a modern boutique hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Stay: One night at El Mapi – half board
On day six there is an option of returning to Machu Picchu in the morning (additional cost) before you take the Vistadome train back to Cusco, where you will be staying in a charming B&B in the historic old-town.
A privately guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage city will reveal highlights like the Plaza de Armas, Cathedral and Santo Domingo convent – the latter of which was built over the Koricancha temple, one of the most important temples in whole of the Inca Empire and dedicated to the Sun God.
You will then be driven outside of Cusco and into the countryside to visit several of the incredible Inca ruins scattered about the area. These include the temple and amphitheatre of Kenko, the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara, the water fountains of Tambomachay and the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman. If you climb to the top you’ll access a great view of the city sprawled out below.
Stay: Two nights at Quinta San Blas – bed & breakfast
On day eight you will embark on a long but incredibly scenic train journey to Puno.
Crossing the valleys of the altiplano and the mighty Andean mountains, this is a superb way to see the country. Once there, you will be taken to your hotel which has a privileged position on the shores of Lake Titicaca, just minutes from downtown Puno.
Note: The Titicaca train between Cusco and Lake Titicaca takes around ten hours and only operates on certain days of the week.
Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, the legendary Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake and sits in an area of supreme natural beauty. Here you will discover the rich cultural heritage and archaeological wonders left by the Aymara and Quechua Indians who pre-date the Incas some 1,000 years. Boat excursions to the floating Uros reed islands, the islands of Taquile and Amanatani, and the Isla Del Sol – believed to be the birthplace of the first Inca – are all on offer.
Stay: Two nights at the Casa Andina Premium Collection – bed & breakfast
Your journey now takes you into Bolivia. A private transfer will take you to Copacabana, where you will embark on a hydrofoil cruise to Sun Island. Here you’ll visit the Inca ‘Grand Stairs’ and the Sacred Fountain – believed to grant eternal youth and happiness to those who drink from it.
After lunch, there’s time to visit the Sun Virgins Temple on Moon Island before boarding the cruise to Cocotoni, after which you will be taken to your hotel in La Paz.
Stay: One night at La Casona Hotel – bed & breakfast
Your adventure in Bolivia now brings you to the incredible Salar de Uyuni, which holds the title for the world’s largest salt flat at a staggering 11,000 square kilometres.
You’ll board a short flight from La Paz to Uyuni, the entry point for Bolivia’s salt flats.
This surreal, vast expanse with its blue skies, 12-metre-high cacti and deep lagoons is sure to capture your imagination. Your hotel – built almost entirely from salt – is nearly as impressive.
Over the next two days you will have plenty of opportunity to explore this unique wilderness. You’ll first visit the fascinating Isla Pescado. Situated in the centre of the salt pan, this rocky outcrop is studded with giant cacti and offers a fabulous view of the surrounding salt flats. The following day you will visit the small village of Tahua, situated at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano, and hike to the cave of the Coquesa Mummies.
Stay: Two nights at the Luna Salada Salt Hotel – full-board
Transfer back to Uyuni airport where you will fly back to La Paz, your final stop in Bolivia.
Circled by the impressive Cordillera Real mountain range, La Paz is a melting pot of cultures and home to the largest indigenous population in South America. You’ll explore the colonial heart of the city with visits to the San Francisco Church, Gold Museum and Murillo Square. You can browse the Witch Doctor’s Market with its interesting handicrafts and artefacts, and jump on the recently installed cable car to admire the beauty of the city from up high.
Stay: One night at La Casona Hotel – bed & breakfast
On day fourteen you will return to La Paz airport for your flight to Lima, the last stop of your South American adventure.
You will be met on arrival in Lima and taken to your hotel, an original colonial-style building, at the heart of Lima’s most happening district – so you’ll be able to throw yourself into the city’s energetic nightlife as well as its cultural and artistic scene.
Known as the City of Kings, you’ll embark on guided tour of the Peruvian capital. Discover its splendid collection of baroque churches, impressive colonial architecture and internationally renowned museums. Your tour includes the Church of San Francisco as well as Casa Aliaga – an exquisitely preserved colonial mansion occupied by the same family for six centuries.
Lima also has some of the best restaurants in all of the World, so it’s a memorable place to end and enjoy some world class cuisine before flying home.
Stay: Two nights at Villa Barranco – bed & breakfast
After a final day to relax and enjoy the Peruvian capital, you will board an overnight flight back to the UK.