What's the best way to experience Peru and Bolivia? This Overland adventure!

This adventure takes you through the centre of ancient Inca heartlands on a short but sweet Overland tour. Travel through Peru and Bolivia and discover the secrets of these mystical places as you explore the streets of Cuzco, trek along ancient Inca pathways, visit the islands dotting Lake Titicaca and ramble over the impressive Machu Picchu ruins. From the once mighty Inca capital of Cuzco to the breathtaking altitude of La Paz, discover the history and beauty of these two mighty nations on this Overland adventure.

This trip requires Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Cuzco, Peru
Finish
La Paz, Bolivia
Countries
Bolivia, Peru
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
GDOL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Fall in love with magical Cuzco, high in the mountains of Peru

  • Follow in ancient footsteps on an Inca trek

  • Discover the mystery of crumbling Machu Picchu

  • Visit the ancient funerary towers of Sillustani

  • Set sail on the waters of Lake Titicaca

  • Discover the remote beauty of the Island of the Sun

  • Climb through the jumble of twisting streets in La Paz

Itinerary

A Note on Altitude: If you are joining in Cuzco, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

A Note on our Community Trek: From July 2016, we have renamed our flagship Community Trek, The Wild Andes Trek, we feel this sums it up pretty well - trekking in the remote, pristine mountains of Peru. The only thing thats changing is the name - Dragoman's commitment to genuine, responsible tourism remains at the heart of the trek and the route remains the same, so rest assured by opting for this trek you are supporting communities and protecting the environment.

Border information: if you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).

There will be an important
group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. There will be a further meeting this evening
for our Community and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cuzco before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cuzco.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Cahuide
Hotel Cahuide
Calle Saphi No. 845
Cuzco
Peru
Tel - + 51 8422 2771

About Cuzco:
The Inca Empire was the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas - the civilisation arose in the early 13th Century under the leadership of the first Inca ruler Manco Capác, founding the city of Cuzco as their capital. The civilisation thrived in the area until 1438, when the new leader Pachacuti embarked on a massive campaign of expansion and used military conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate a massive portion of western South America under his control - at its largest, the Inca Empire stretched all the way from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwest Argentina, all the way down to central Chile. In 1526, the Spanish conquistador FranciscoPizarro first entered Inca territory from his expedition through Colombia. After quickly determining that it was evidently a civilisation of great wealth and power, he quickly received royal permission to conquer the empire - he decisively kidnapped and later executed the Inca ruler Ayahualpa in 1533 and installed their own puppet ruler, Manco Inca Yupanqui. The new leader quickly turned on the invaders and briefly took control of Cuzco for the Incas again, until the Spanish finally pushed them back permanently from the city. The remnants of the civilisation formed a Neo-Inca state centred around Vilcabamba in the mountains above Lima until the Spanish invaded them completely in 1572, ending the last major resistance to their rule in Peru. Any adventure tour to Peru naturally centres around the stunning city of Cuzco - it is world-famous as the gateway to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu and the various Inca trails through the Peruvian highlands. However, the city is a fantastic destination in its own right, and many of its buildings still retain some of the original Inca stonework as part of their structure. This unique and intricate stonework was an ingenious construction method that prevented damage from earthquakes - examples of their amazing building techniques can still be seen in and around Cuzco, including the famous 'twelve-sided stone', now part of the logo of Cuzco's native Cusqueña beer! A good place to start your explorations is the majestic main plaza, surrounded by cobbled streets lined with attractive colonial buildings. Head up the hill into the neighbourhood of San Blas and you will discover another hidden square with a quiet laid-back feel. All the streets are lined with shops, bars and restaurants, from small local cafes to five star dining experiences. There are also some fantastic museums and historical sites in and around the city, showcasing the wonderful history
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek,
on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package.

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon).

We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle.

Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have lunch. We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site.

Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.

There is no trekking today.

Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights. These hotel nights will be booked for you by your Tour Leader.

Meals Included: Lunch

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour: Included in Kitty

Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo: Included in Kitty

Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details):

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists, on our exclusive Wild Andes Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty.

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options.

Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option)

Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a substantial refund from kitty.

Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the Train Package (non-trekking option), otherwise you will automatically be booked
onto our Community Trek.

About Sacred Valley:
The valley of the Urubamba river is more often referred to as "The Sacred Valley". In the Peruvian highlands close to the Inca capital of Cuzco, the valley extends from the small market town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, nestling at the foot of the Andean mountain ranges that are home to the magical lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Together with Machu Picchu itself, the Sacred Valley was a cradle of the Inca Empire and the area is littered with archaeological sites including the magnificent ruins of Pisac with
its famous terraced fields, the old temple complex of Sacsayhuaman and the remarkably well-preserved Inca city of Ollantaytambo. Together with the temperate climate, lively markets, sleepy Andean villages and stunning surrounding landsccape, the rich history of the area makes it a truly bewitching
place.

About Inca Trail :
When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually refering to a particular trekking route that follows a ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. However there are a huge number of Andean Trails that criss- cross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote and rarely used by western tourists. On our Dragoman tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the Classic Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Community Inca Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman. The Classic Inca Trail The Classic Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cuzco-Aguas Calientes railway, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200m) and the ruins of Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna en route, eventually arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu early in the morning after 3 days of trekking. This route is still extremely popular as it is seen by many as the original Inca Trail, and it is also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the smaller Inca sites it passes along the way.
Unfortunately, due to its own popularity, the Classic Trail is always very busy, with around 500 people starting the trek every day - due to there being restrictions on camping areas, the campsites are often very busy with otehr trekkers as well. Nevertheless it is still an awesome trek, passing through some
stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forests, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of Machu Picchu is something you'll never forget. Please note that the Classic Trail is always closed for maintainance during the entire month of February each year.
The Community Inca Trek Dragoman's Community Inca Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt Andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and pass through local communities as part of our pioneering community-based tourism project, Tarpuy Yachay. This trek is all about getting away from the overcrowded thoroughfares of the Classic Inca Trail and getting
out into the real Andes - not to mention being part of a project with provides a genuine, direct benefit to the host communities we travel through, by supporting education, income generation and environmental sustainability projects. The trek itself is about the same as the Classic Inca Trail in terms of length and difficulty, taking three to three and a half days and ascending toabout 4,700m when you cross the highest pass. The scenery out here is truly magnificent, spectacular mountain peaks, verdant hillsides dotted by isolated villages and the odd llama and alapaca, you are unlikely to see another tourist here. Although you won't trek into Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate as on the Classic Trail, you will arrive to Machu Picchu well rested after a night in a comfortable hotel and ready to get the most out of the tour of this magnificent site.


Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (4 nights)
Included Activities
  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco

Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and plenty of time to freely explore this magical place.

In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day!

Meals provided: Breakfast

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Winay Wayna to Machupicchu

Today we wake early for a short final hike to Machu Picchu, we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below. As with the community trek our guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or maybe if you haven't experienced enough steps and trekking, why not visit the Inca Bridge.

Or you can just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.

Approximate walking time: 2 hours, Distance: 4km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

After an early breakfast and walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (5,750m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.

Meals provided: Breakfast

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of time to freely explore before returning to Cuzco :Included in Kitty

About Machu Picchu:
Machu Picchu is a world-famous 15th-Century Inca citadel perched 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. One of the historical highlights of the world and a phenomenal icon of Peru, the ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 and was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Machu Picchu was most likely built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and is thought to have been built in around 1450 but abandoned after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Although the city remained known about by the local Quechuapeople, it was undoscovered by the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Binghamdiscovered it and brought it to international attention in 1911. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style with intricately-designed dry-stone walls built without mortar - it has three primary structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed and restored, and the iconic steep mountain of Huayana Picchu looms over the site. The city consists of more than
200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. A visit to Machu Picchu is a major highlight of any adventure tour to Peru. A genuinely magical place, catching your first glimpse of the Inca city through the early morning mist is definitely a momen you’ll never forget.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Guided tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will leave Cuzco and head through the highlands of Peru to the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We will have an included visit to the Inca site of Tipón en route.

In Puno we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity

Visit the incredible Inca site of Tipón, once an agricultural centre and a park for the Inca elite: Included in Kitty

About Puno:
Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the south eastern region of Peru is the small town of Puno. The town is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, and a mythical expanse of deep blue waters dotted with islands, some of which are still home to communities who have been living in the same way for hundreds of years.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border information: Exit Peru at Yunguyo, enter Bolivia at Kasani.

This morning we will cross into Bolivia and head to the lakeside town of Copacabana, before boarding a boat to the stunning island of Isla del Sol.

In Isla del Sol we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

About Copacabana: Copacabana, Bolivia, is quite different from the famous Brazilian beach that shares its name, but both are wonderful destinations to visit! It isa picturesque small town on the shores of Lake Titicaca, centred around its small whitewashed square which is home to a pleasant Moorish-style cathedral. At sunset there is no better place to be than sat at one of the many simple local fish restaurants on the shoreline, watching the sun slip down behind the horizon.

About Isla Del Sol:
Isla del Sol is a serene and peaceful island set in the glittering Lake Titicaca off the shore of the Bolivian village of Copacabana. The island was famous in Inca mythology as the supposed birthplace of the sun-god Inti - a legend that is still told by many of the modern-day Aymara and Quechua peoples of the area. There small ancient ruins dotted on the island, as well as tiny traditional villages and beautiful walking routes. You can take a boat trip to the island and wander through its atmospheric landscape, exploring the island's dry slopes covered with sweet smelling incense brush, or hike over the ancient pampas which are still cultivated by the island families.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will take an included day trip across Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, one of the holiest sites in ancient Inca mythology and supposedly the birthplace of the Sun God Inti. We will take a 14km walk across the length of the island, taking in the incredible and serene scenery and soaking up the calm atmosphere of the island (this walk can be skipped by anybody who does not want to do it). We will return to Copacabana for the evening. In Copacabana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY

Take a boat trip to Lake Titicaca's Isla del Sol, and head on a guided walk across the length of the stunning island: Included in Kitty

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla del Sol boat trip
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will drive to the famous city of La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! On arrival we will have free time to explore the city.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

About La Paz: Bolivia's largest city of La Paz is spectacularly located lying huddled in a canyon basin, hiding from the harsh conditions of the surrounding altiplano. It is a fascinating city - the old town and more expensive neighbourhoods at the bottom of the canyon in the centre, surrounded by sprawling shanty-towns which extend up the slopes of the bowl, merging into the huge Aymara district of "El Alto" back on the plains, a suburb of La Paz that has grown to be a city in its own right. The city skyline is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani, a staggeringly beautiful backdrop that leaves many visitors stunned when then catch their first glimpse of the city as they descend into the canyon. The old town is full of markets and winding cobbled streets full of people in traditional Aymara clothing selling anything and everything you could ever think of, including dried llama foetuses on sale in the witch's market! There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, including the famous downhill bike ride through the Yungas on the 'world's most dangerous road'!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, Private bus, Train

Accommodation

Camping ( 3 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 8 nights )

Included activities

  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • Machu Picchu - Guided tour
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
  • Isla del Sol boat trip

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
3. You need to choose whether you wish to hike the Classic Inca Trail or the Quechua Community Trek (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/community_trek_peru.pdf) at the time of booking. If you do not indicate a preference, the Quechua Community Trek (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/community_trek_peru.pdf) will be confirmed automatically.

Classic Inca Trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Classic Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you will be booked on the Quechua Community Trek (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/community_trek_peru.pdf) instead.

The Classic Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Quechua Community Trek (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/community_trek_peru.pdf).

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Cuzco to La Paz trips score an average of 4.56 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

Cuzco to La Paz, May 2017

Shirley Goulborn

Cuzco to La Paz, November 2016

Abby Kealy