Visit South America and travel through Peru and Bolivia's highlights.
Travel from Lima to La Paz and explore the best of Peru and Bolivia on this adventure through ancient ruins, breathtaking scenery and colourful market towns. From the mysterious Inca ruins of the highlands and the lush jungles and exotic wildlife of the Amazon to the vast expanses of Lake Titicaca and the Salar de Uyuni, discover the highlights of this fascinating part of South America.
This graph offers an indication as to whether Inca Trail permits are available for the day you want to hike. For example, if your trip starts on July 11, and the Inca Trail starts on day 4 of your itinerary, you will need a permit on July 14. This information must be used as a guide only as availability may change by the time we receive your request.
Inca Trail permits are available. We can request a permit for you this date.
Inca Trail permits are sold out. However, you can opt to hike the Quarry Trek - with spectacular and diverse sceneries this trek is an exceptional alternative to the very busy Inca Trail. Alternatively, travel by train through the picturesque Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. Both options include a visit to Machu Picchu! Please contact us to arrange the one that suits you best!
Inca Trail permits may still be available, please contact us so we can check the current availability and make arrangements for you.
Experience the untouched world of the Amazon rainforest. Wander along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caymans, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps
Marvel at the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and free time to explore on your own
The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake and stay with a local family there
See the many different sides to Bolivia in La Paz and let the city’s weird and wacky Witches Market cast a spell over you
Discover the heart of Bolivia in the elegant colonial architecture and immaculately landscaped gardens of historical Sucre
Empty, haunting and spectacular, the laws of earthly physics bend on the surreal Salar de Uyuni saltpan – experience it on a three-day 4WD adventure across the rocky Atacama Desert
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this
- There's a lot of walking involved, and if you do the Inca trail the hiking can be strenuous. This trip is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness; however, there are also a few different trail options to suit different interests and physical capabilities.
- Those who walk the Inca Trail will be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton, but the rewards of the trek are many!
- The Amazon jungle can be very hot and humid, so it's important to drink plenty of water and wear light cotton clothing. Be sure to bring tropical-strength insect repellant.
- You'll be spending a lot of time in a 4WD crossing some bumpy surfaces. This is the best way to see the sights in and around Uyuni, and is all part of the adventure.
- In Bolivia (especially in Uyuni), sometimes things don't go to plan. For example, an attraction may be closed for the day with no notice or reason. Although this doesn't happen very often, please be prepared for the possibility.
- Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Straight after the meeting we'll take public transport to Lima downtown to enjoy a walking tour of the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima.
If you arrive early, we recommend you take a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively go to Parque del Amor (Love's Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other great things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (around 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum. Limenos (Lima's residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood speciality.
Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Hotel (1 night)
Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD74
Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
Lima Discovery - Urban Adventures - USD34
Lima - Night Bites & Sights - Urban Adventures - USD45
Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs - PEN20
There are no meals included on this day.
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 9 days ago in Quito, Ecuador on Galapagos & Peru Adventure (GGSYC).
Optional activities & Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Optional activities or Urban Adventures listed you will need to book additional accommodation prior to the tour start date as there won't be any spare time on day one once the tour has commenced. Please contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Lima can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us
Take an early morning transfer to Lima airport for a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. The flight should take around three hours, including a 30-45 minute stop in Cusco (during this stop you will not disembark the plane). Upon your arrival at around midday, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Upon arrival at the Jungle lodge office you will be provided with a small duffle bag to pack your personal items required for the duration of your jungle stay. The remainder of your items will be stored securely in the office. From the office, you'll travel by private vehicle to the port, this drive is approximately 45 minutes. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area (approximately 2 - 2.5 hours). Lunch today is a packed lunch that you will be given during the boat ride. Once you arrive there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing.
The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.For your night-time excursion, venture out on a night jungle walk!
Jungle Lodge (2 nights)
Amazon Jungle - Jungle activities
Amazon Lodge: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.
Jungle Walk: On Day 3 there is an 11km Jungle walk. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting, but the adventure is well worth it! Along the way there will be regular stops and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat.
We depart the lodge early this morning. Fly from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco, the true heart and soul of Peru (approximately 35 minutes). Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then head out on an orientation walk with your tour leader. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Finally you’ll visit the Chocolate museum where there will be an opportunity to sample a hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. This might be a good opportunity to purchase some gifts or souvenirs. There’s a small store where you’ll find various handicrafts and a variety of artisanal chocolate products. Tonight is free, perhaps head out for dinner your fellow travellers. Your leader will be able to recommend some good places to eat!
Hop on a private bus in the morning and travel through the lush terraces of the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, one of the few places where the Inca defeated the Spanish. On the way, stop at a village and enjoy lunch and conversation in a community that still practices many Inca traditions. Why not head to the archaeological park that lies to the left side of the main square? If you're feeling energetic you can climb to the top of the squared terraces and gaze down over the valley. Just remember, if you have chosen to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu you will begin your trek tomorrow, so don't push yourself. Tonight, perhaps enjoy a quinoa and alpaca stew at one of the many local restaurants.
During the next four days, you'll do one of the following, depending on what you've arranged:
Route 1: Hike the Classic Inca Trail;
Route 2: Hike the Inca Quarry Trail;
Route 3: Take the train to Aguas Calientes, after staying in Cusco for two extra days.
While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train.
Route 1: Classic Inca Trail
Travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite (located 3,100 m above sea level). On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, and catch incredible views of the snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal.
Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of 7 hours of walking (uphill and downhill) with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.
Route 2: Inca Quarry trail
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite (3,700 m above sea level). You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.
Notes: The Inca Quarry trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping, and on the third night you'll stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.
Route 3: Train
After spending the night in Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac, which is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local Empanadas. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to the San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow.
Notes: The included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers taking the train option spend the night at a hotel in Cusco.
This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 metres above sea level, giving amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.
Route 2: Inca Quarry trail
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 m high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.
Route 3: Train
Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (1–3 hours) back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions.
Notes: The included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers on the train option spend the night at a hotel in Cusco.
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 m). Enjoy beautiful views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (approximately 2–3 hours). Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 m), also known as the 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site (approximately 2 hours).
Route 2: Inca Quarry trail
Today’s hike is all downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata Inca Quarry trail, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, your trek comes to an end. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Route 3: Train
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (approximately 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (also approximately 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day (dependent on ticket availability).
Notes: The included lunch on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers on the train option spend the night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu town)
This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn, with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. Walk to Intipunku, aka the Sun Gate (approximately 2.5 hours). Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Picchu, ‘Lost City of the Incas’
Route 2: Inca Quarry trail
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5.30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If the skies are clear, enjoy spectacular views over the ancient city from the Sun Gate before going on a guided walk around the ruins.
Route 3: Train
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cusco.
Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
For all routes: After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well-deserved shower and a Pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.
Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Hotel (1 night)
Sunrise at Machu Picchu: Inca Trail trekkers: Due to safety reasons the final checkpoint for all trekkers does not open until 5am therefore the estimated arrival time to Machu Picchu Sungate is approximately 7.30am. Quarry trekkers and Train travellers: The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30am. The estimated arrival time is between 6- 6.30am The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps rest you weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas or head to the San Pedro Market where you will find vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which you should certainly try), local chocolates, herbal medicines and many local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase some souvenirs. The market is also a place where many locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken; however, the most popular amongst the locals are usually the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contains nose to tail of various animals.For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cusco?
Hotel (1 night)
Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cusco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
Cusco - City tour - USD15
Cusco - Half Tourist Ticket Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cusco (transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
Travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 6 hours). You'll be at an altitude of 3,820 metres. There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. Take in glorious views of the seemingly endless water stretching into the horizon. This place is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs, and it wears its traditions on its sleeve. If you're lucky your trip will coincide with one of the many cultural festivals here.
Embark on a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping off to visit the Titinos floating islands. The Titinos originally built their islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. The islands are built from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. To get a closer look at daily life in the Lake Titicaca region, you'll be welcomed into local homes for an overnight stay with the community. Make the most of your visit by helping your host family with their daily activities or trying to chat in the local language, Quechua. A game of soccer is also a great way to make local friends.
Notes: Your homestay tonight is a mud brick house. Rooms have beds and many blankets, and there are shared drop-toilets but no showers.
This morning after breakfast you'll board the boat again and head to Taquile Island (approximately 1 hour). Here, the tradition of knitting is strictly a male domain, and women do the spinning. It's a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An uphill trek (approximately 1 hour) brings you to the main area of the island. After the visit, you will descend about 500 steps back to our boat. Then travel back to Puno by boat (approximately 3 hours).
Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero and cross the border into Bolivia. After border formalities at the Peruvian migration office, you'll walk across a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office, then board the bus again. Head for La Paz, and after 30 minutes or so there's another stop where your documents will be checked by authorities. The journey to La Paz takes about 5 hours (don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1–2 hours ahead of Peru!). When you arrive, you might feel like you're on top of the world at around 3,600 metres above sea level. Discover the colonial architecture and browse the markets – you'll see this town is a interesting mixture of the indigenous and modern.
Today is free for you to explore the city and its surrounds. Perhaps hop on a local bus out to the extraordinary landscape of Moon Valley. This isn’t a valley, but a maze of canyons and colossal clay spires. These rugged oddities, caused by erosion, make for staggering views. La Paz is also renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches’ Market. Take a cable car 13,000ft to the twin city of El Alto and browse through the weird and wonderful stalls that sell everything from potions to incantations made from herbs, seeds and unidentified bits and pieces to cure any ailment. If this is all too much for you, try the more conventional markets where you'll find ponchos, gloves, hats and many other products made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials. If you want to discover more about the region’s fascinating history, maybe enjoy a half-day tour to the Tiwanaku ruins outside of La Paz. Another great optional activity is a full-day tour to the coffee and coca plantations of Coroico, situated in the rainforest below the city.
Notes: This trip is part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip in Lima, 15 days ago on Peru and Bolivia Uncovered (GGSUC).
Hotel (1 night)
La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB8
La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
La Paz City Tour & Moon Valley - USD40
La Paz - Tiwanaku Archeological site (Shared service) - USD30
This morning at approximately 8am we will travel to Uyuni by private transport (approximately 9 hours), with stops along the way to stretch legs and enjoy the scenery. Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano, a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. So it's hardly surprising that the town has a bit of a wild west feel about it. Uyuni is best known for its proximity to the Bolivian salt flats known locally as the Salar de Uyuni. The town was once a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals on their way to Pacific Ocean ports. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed and many trains were abandoned. Tonight you’ll stay at a hotel in Uyuni Town. The hotel is basic, however it’s clean, comfortable and has hot water (make the most of this as you may not have a hot shower for the next couple of days).
Basic Hotel (1 night)
Uyuni - Orientation Walk
The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers.
Uyuni is the starting point of your three-day 4WD excursion into Salar de Uyuni and the Andean desert. This morning we will stop by the Train Cemetery three kilometres outside of Uyuni Town, connected to it by the old train tracks, and see where families of geriatric locomotives rust slowly in the sun. The remainder of the day is spent mostly on the salt lake itself. Spanning over 12,000 square kilometres, and heaving with around ten billion tonnes of salt, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest saltpan. Pass salt-mines and visit Inkawasi – a rocky, cactus and coral-like structure covered island erupting from the monotonous salt crust like a hallucination. Spend time walking around admiring the unusual yet beautiful landscapes. The massive salt plains of Bolivia are an incredible sight and offer plenty of opportunities for bizarre, perspective-defying photos. Endless blue skies meet endless white salt on what was once a prehistoric lake. Make the most of your time here, taking as many photos as possible in this incredible place, as the following day you’ll leave the salt flats for the Andean Desert. At the end of the day, drive to your basic accommodation on the salt plains.
We will arrive at the Salt Flats accommodation at approximately 6:30pm. After settling in to the rooms, we will enjoy an included dinner.
Dormitory (1 night)
December to March departures:
Please be aware that from December to March, there’s a risk of the salt lake being flooded. If this is the case, the itinerary will be adapted to accommodate this.
Our accommodation tonight is very basic. Toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style.
Today begins with an early wake up call in prepartion to leave at approximately 7am. It'll be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Siloli Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes, including the active Volcanoe Ollague and Laguna's Canapa, Hedionda and Honda. Along the way keep your eyes peeled whilst passing Quinoa fields and plenty of Andean fauna including Andean Vicuñas - one of two south American camelids, Llamas, Andean fox, Vizcachas - similar to Rabbits. Continuing on we will stop at Árbol de Piedra, a rock formation known as the Stone tree.
One of the highlights of today is the visit to Laguna Colorada (red lake), a rich red lake vividly coloured by algae and rich minerals. One of the strangest sights in such arid and inhospitable land is the abundant wildlife, It's truly a photographers paradise. Look out for llamas, flamingos, vicuñas, and foxes.
During this drive you’ll reach an altitude of approximately 4,800 metres above sea level, so it’s important to revisit the notes on altitude sickness (please see the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes). Tonight's accommodation in the desert is located at 4230mts above sea level.
Dormitory (1 night)
Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island/Inca Wasi'
Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
Accommodation in the desert is very basic. Shower facilities if any can be unreliable and cold, as the pipes often freeze in the winter months. Electricity is generated by solar panels and generators, so there won’t be enough power to charge electronic devices. The Desert is at high altitude and can experience extremely cold weather, particularly at night.
This morning we will be waking up nice and early in order to leave at 5am.
Apart from geysers and snow-capped volcanoes, the volcanic landscape also hosts some stunning natural hot springs. Our first stop is Sol de Mañana geysers (4926mts - our highest point in our trip).
Next we will decend to Polques and stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for an optional soak, which we highly recommend. Continuing on we will drive through the Southern desert, making stops at Salvador Dali Valley, Laguna Verde and Volcano Licancabur.
Be prepared for a long day of driving, approximately 12 hours before arriving back at Uyuni Town)
Back in town wander around the streets of this outback settlement and just chill out before heading to Potosi tomorrow.
In the morning take a local bus along a scenic road to Potosi (approximately 3-4 hours).
The highest city at 4060mts above sea level of its kind in the world, Potosi has had a turbulent past, centred mostly around its mining successes and failures. During the Spanish colonial days, the extensive mining of Potosi's silver rich Cerro Rico was said to have kept Spain running for 300 years. During this time, Potosi briefly celebrated life as one of the richest cities in the world. In the 1800s, the supply of silver declined, as did the market price, and the city started to suffer. Working conditions in the mines were appalling and huge numbers of indigenous people died. African slaves were brought in to replace them and it's said that as many as 8 million people died in the mines during the Spanish era. Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls or the National Mint Museum.
Hotel (1 night)
Potosi - Orientation Walk
Potosi - National Mint of Bolivia - BOB48
Potosi - Santa Teresa Convent Museum - BOB33
Potosi - Cerro Rico mine tour - BOB150
Potosi Mine Tours:
Visiting the mines in Potosi can be a thrilling yet a dangerous experience. We at Intrepid have partnered with a local operator to offer travellers what we have assessed to be a safer and rewarding option for this visit. This tour involves visiting the miner’s market, a minerals distillery as well as entering the first 150-200 meters into the Grito de Piedra mine. We believe this experience offers a great understanding of the socio, cultural and economic importance of the mine to Potosi and the region while avoiding the risks associated with entering deeper sections of the mine. This activity is not for the faint hearted or those that suffer claustrophobia. Your Tour Leader is strictly prohibited from recommending or assisting travellers book other mine tours.
A journey by local bus along a well-maintained road takes you to Sucre (approximately 3-4 hours). Descending more than 1,000 metres to the temperate valleys of Chuquisaca, small rivers, cactus fields, fruit and vegetable plantations dominate the valley. Sucre is a pleasant city set in a valley surrounded by low mountains and has retained the flavour of its colonial heritage in its churches, museums and ancient mansions. Bolivia's official capital, Sucre was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1991. Most of the town's colonial buildings have been whitewashed, earning it the nickname the 'White City'. On arrival, you'll have plenty of free time to explore the city and get your bearings.
The next two days are free to explore the town or partake in some of the optional activities available. Please speak to your leader for more information. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta. This 400-year-old convent on top of the hill provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. Maybe head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and investigate the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced. For something completely different, compare shoe sizes with a dinosaur at Cal Orcko, where 68 million-year-old footprints have been discovered. This is the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world, over 12,000 of them! There’s also proud food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious saltenas (Bolivia's version of empanadas) at a restaurant or fresh juice at the Central Market.
Take a flight back to La Paz from Sucre airport today, which should only take around 30-40 minutes. Check-in time at the hotel isn't until 2pm. Depending on flight availability, we may arrive prior to check-in. In this case there is luggage storage available at the hotel. The rest of your day is free to relax or explore more of the city. Maybe head to the Mirador Killi Killi Lookout, located on top of a steep hill in the neighbourhood of Villa Pabon, and one of La Paz’s most impressive viewing points. Nearby is the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, which exhibits a wide collection of stunning works that takes you through Bolivian history. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. If there’s time, you might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure tours. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, gather together you travel buddies and join the locals in seeking warmth in a bar or restaurant, and celebrate the end of your Bolivian adventure.
Hotel (1 night)
Departure Tax: Please note you will be required to pay an airport departure taxt today which is approximately BOB11.
Your exploration of Bolivia's highlights comes to an end this morning. As there are no more activities planned, you're free to book your departure flights when you like and you can leave the accommodation at any time.
La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
There are no meals included on this day.
INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead https://www.intrepidtravel.com/machu-picchu-peru/quarry-trail
The 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 Inca Quarry Trail.
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.
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 2 & 3 (Amazon Jungle), 12 (Late Titicaca, Homestay), 17 & 18 (Salar de Uyuni & The desert) where you will be in shared accommodation.
The excursion to Uyuni salt lake is on shared basis and your group size may be larger than12 travellers.
BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information."
This trip is a combination of two of our most popular departures. As such the make-up of your group and your tour leader may change on day 14.
INCA TRAIL OR INCA QUARRY TRAIL
While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or the 3 Day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.
PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.
On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st. The main points impacting our visits are:
1. There is now a time limit to visit the citadel. Morning visitors must exit the site by 12pm and afternoon visitors by 4.30pm
2. Visitors must complete a designated circuit, in one direction only. Exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted and, upon completion, visitor must exit the site. There is no allowance for personal exploration of the site any longer.
Overall we support these changes as they help preserve this invaluable archaeological site. While this somehow restricts the amount of time we are now allowed to spend in Machu Picchu, we’ll do all possible to maximise your time there and make sure you have the best possible experience.
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.
This trip was an intense adventure & immersion into Peru and Bolivia in less then 4 weeks! I enjoyed the obvious, "bucket list" activities like visiting Matchu-Pitchu as well as a casual walk in the exotic markets of Cusco or camping at 3000 meter high. Expanded my mind with learning about the ancient culture that were there before us...A once in life time and not to be missed! THANK you Intrepid for amazing new memories.
I thought the leaders for the Indochina trip for Thailand & Laos and Cambodia set a high example for leadership and I was a little disappointed with these leaders in certain areas. It could be a difference in culture or they lack commitment.
Review submitted 05 Sep 2018
Explore Peru & Bolivia trip reviews
Our Explore Peru & Bolivia trips score an average of 4.47 out of 5
based on 15 reviews in the last year.