The very best of Bolivia and Peru all in one trip, we will start our trip discovering the city of La Paz. With a short flight down to Uyuni salt planes we will discover the most thrilling views of Bolivia. Then to the mysterious Tiahuanaco, the wonders of Machu Picchu, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, then Sun Island and Amantani. On the route to Cusco we are going to hike Rainbow Mountain, we will explore the heart of the Inca civilization: the holy city of Cusco, we'll go on fascinating hikes along the Sacred valley, and finally we'll hike into Machu Picchu along unique and sacred geography.
Note: You can add 3 extra camping nights on the classic Inka Trail to the overall itinerary.
A day to acclimatize to the altitude and explore the Valley of the moon.Lunch and dinner on your expense
We will take a cable car to downtown and considering that the city buildings are literally built on the canyon walls and the city itself spans 600 m/2,000 ft., this is the best way to move around. A guided tour of the downtown will start with the ethnographic museum, the Murillo Square, and the colorful markets. La Paz is considered to be the highest capital in the world at 3,660 m/12,000 ft. Throughout the narrow and congested streets, the Aymara, in their captivating traditional dress can be seen working hard at the bustling markets, selling beautiful handmade products, fresh local products, as well as a variety of potions, medicinal plants, spells, and spiritual advice. In contrast to this traditional lifestyle is a cosmopolitan vibe, with modern cafes, clubs, bars, and restaurants lining the city.Lunch and dinner on your expense
On this day we fly down to Uyuni. After our scenic flight we will explore Uyuni itself located on a high intermontane plateau, at 3,665 m/12,024 ft. It was a very prosperous center back in 1890 due to mining, when it was founded as rail road junction. Uyuni lost its importance when mineral prices dropped, but it regained growth through tourism. We will stop to see a train graveyard full of railcars which lies just outside the town. After lunch we will drive to the shores of the salt planes to check in to a hotel made entirely out of salt bricks. Before dinner we will drive into the salt planes to enjoy the sunset which will take your breath away. The salt planes turn into a mirror before dusk and are often called the border between heaven and earth.Lunch on your expense.
We will board our 4-wheeled vehicles to spend the day on the salt flats. With the blinding white endless scenery, it will be a day to remember and a photo spot to play with proportions and perspectives. These are the biggest salt flats in the world, covering more than 10,000 square kilometers. There is no place like it in the world. The level surface is used to calibrate the altimeters onboard satellites. On a still day the thin layer of water covering the salt forms a great mirror reflecting the sky and beneath the shiny expanse is a brine rich in lithium salts that have huge commercial potential. According to the latest report by the US Geological Survey, Salar of Uyuni contains 9 million tons of lithium, more than a quarter of the world's known resources.
When weather and water let us visit we will drive as far as the Island of Inka Wasi, a natural island entirely composed of petrified coral. Millions of years ago it used to be one of the largest coral reefs before the tectonic plates pushed them up to where they are located now.
A picnic lunch in the middle of the salt planes will feel like eating in another world.
On the way back we will visit Colchani were local famers extract salt and commercialize their product. It's a great place to get souvenirs made of salt.
Tiahuanaco it was one of the mightiest ancient civilizations in the Americas, and as the airport is on the route to Tiahuanaco after our morning flight back to el Alto la Paz we will drive straight from the airport to admire of what is left of the megalithic city. At its largest extent, the empire dominated the Altiplano plains and stretched from the Peruvian coast to northern Bolivia and even included parts of northern Chile. Today is is one of the most controversial societies for our archeologist and historians due to their incomprehensible style of construction, such as Puma Punku. The easy answer is to blame the aliens. We'll have a chance to see for ourselves at a museum with a very poor infrastructure but a unique display of pieces. In the late afternoon we return to to la Paz.Included Lunch
Today we'll drive across the high plateaus parallel to the majestic and imposing Royal Range towards Lake Titicaca. Here you'll see the Cordillera Real de los Andes, which includes mountains with heights that fluctuate between 5,500 m/18,400 ft. and 6,400 m/20,999 ft. We'll hike into the strait of Tikina to travel across the strait on a ferry boat. Once on the peninsula of Copacabana we'll arrive at what is considered to be a pilgrimage place by the Pazeños and which looks a lot like Italy's Amalfi Coast. After lunch we will visit the Sanctuary. It is said that the Virgin of Copacabana extends the life of machines and humans alike. Any time you buy any car, your first road trip must be here to Copacabana to have it blessed for safe journeys going forward. Then we will make a short drive to the border to cross into Peru. After we meet with our Peruvian team we will drive to Puno city.Lunch and dinner on your own expense.
After breakfast we will explore the unique Amatani Island, full of terraces built by Tihuanacu and the Incan civilization. You'll meet Quechua people who preserve their unique lifestyle. We'll explore as we hike up to Pachatata, the top of the island. After lunch with our hostess, we'll take a boat ride and our first stop will be the floating islands of the Uros. The community that lives on these artificial, floating islands made of reeds (totora) is both surreal and incredible. Despite outside influences, they have maintained their traditional culture, and you will not be disappointed by your experience if you accept the fact that visiting the Uros Islands is a commercial venture focused entirely on supporting tourism, as this is the reason that we still have the art of making these islands out of reeds. Without tourist dollars, we would only be able to see pictures of how people used to live on these reed islands. You'll have the evening to enjoy Puno City.Included: Lunch and dinner.
You'll have the morning to hike along the shores of the island and after lunch we will return by boat to the mainland to Capachica Peninsula. Once again we'll drive on the Altiplano all the way to La Raya Pass at 14,200 ft. and finally to the eastern side of the Andes where we'll travel along the Vilcanota River, the beginning of the Sacred Valley.Included: Lunch & dinner at the hotel.
A scenic drive along a narrow valley covered with hundreds of terraces on which potatoes and beans are grown and hillsides where llamas and alpacas graze will take us to Pampachiri where our trek begins. The trek starts as a gentle climb at 14,300 ft./4,360 m. As we get closer to the viewpoint the trek will become strenuous until we the top of Rainbow Mountain at 16,564 ft./5,050 m. The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. The surrounding views from our mountaintop reach as high as 20,940 ft./6,385 m. On our way back to Phulawasi we will witness beautiful mountain slopes covered in red.Included lunch.
A cosmopolitan city with over 300 thousand inhabitants, located on the eastern side of the Andes at almost 11,000 ft. above sea level and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities, it has a complex history, woven with significant events and legends. It's an urban center created by the Incas, then added onto by the conquering Spaniards, who built Baroque churches and palaces throughout the ancient city, leaving its foundation intact. Much of its highly crafted early stone architecture is preserved in the ground floors of colonial and modern structures.
Known as the home and residence of gods and the spiritual and political capital of the Incan Empire, it is a city built in the shape of a puma that can only be seen from the air. You will walk through Incan streets that are illuminated by the sun every winter solstice, and experience some of the most important Incan and Spanish religious sites, such as Qorikancha, also known as the Golden Enclosure, which displays a sophisticated stone construction technology, and Cusco Cathedral, which is still in use today and contains an art gallery consisting of 17th-century canvasses in the Cusco School of painting, with a special highlight consisting of "The Last Supper" featuring a guinea pig. You will have the rest of the day to support the local economy at the unique galleries or at the handicraft markets. We will also explore Sacsayhuaman, an Inca fortress 400 ft./120 m above the city of Cusco. The site was built with massive boulders, some of which weigh more than 100 tons. The Spaniards did not believe that such monolithic stones could be moved by human beings and they attributed Sacsayhuaman's construction to the mythical Cyclops. Thus, this type of architecture is known as the "Cyclopean Inka style".
On this day you will climb up to ruins through a rocky gorge surrounded by vertical walls that house Incan burial sites on its sheer face. Here you will observe lots of Andean flora, along with well-preserved Incan farming terraces, while farther up on the crest of the mountain you'll witness Incan "condos" and the Sun Temple surrounded by awesome views. You'll also have a good chance of seeing giant Andean hummingbirds, 21 cm or 8 in in length. Next we venture to Ollantaytambo in Urubamba to witness an exquisite example of Incan stonework: the unique Sun Temple made out of pink granite boulders each weighing 50 tons. We will walk through the marvels of a superbly preserved Incan town named in honor of an Incan warrior called Ollantay, who was deeply in love with Kusi Qoyllur, the forbidden and "high maintenance" daughter of King Inka Pachacutec.Included Lunch.
The train we will take on this day follows the dramatic Urubamba River with its striking scenery of white granite cliffs cloaked by a cloud forest full of thousands of orchids, ferns and bromeliads. We will hike a classic Incan trail in the cloud forest, passing through the exceptional ruins of Wiñay Huayna and through the Sun Gate Pass at 2,750 m/9,000 ft. This is truly one of the world's most thrilling viewpoints and the only way to see Machu Picchu in its full glory. You will have a chance to stay to enjoy the sunset until the park rangers close the park to visitors.Included Lunch & Dinner.
Machu Picchu is the only major Incan site to escape 400 years of looting and destruction by the Spanish conquistadors. To be sure, it is not an ordinary Incan settlement; it sits on a nearly inaccessible location high above the Urubamba gorge and contains exquisite engineering and architecture. Was it a spiritual destination and pilgrimage center located within a sacred geography? Or perhaps a royal retreat for the king, Inka Pachacutec? Or maybe the biggest or the first agricultural research center built by the Incans? Whatever its purpose may have been, you will have a chance to explore every corner of the majestic Machu Picchu.Lunch & Dinner on your own expense.
Transfer out to the airport or you can extend your stay in Peru.
The hotels are located near a range of restaurants, museums, shopping places and bars. You can easily navigate and explore more of every place.