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Peru And Bolivia: Heart Of The Andes

Peru And Bolivia: Heart Of The Andes

13 days & 12 nights, Escorted Discovery Group

Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, La Paz, Salar de Uyuni & Lake Titicaca

This journey takes in the dramatic Andean scenery and traditional cultures of both Bolivia and Peru. Travel from historic Lima to the Sacred Valley and colonial Cuzco, explore ancient Incan sites and discover the breathtaking scenery of the Bolivian salt flats at Uyuni. The tour concludes with overnight stays on both shores of Lake Titicaca, legendary birthplace of the Incas.

  • Day 1
    Arrive Lima

    You will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Jose Antonio hotel
  • Day 2
    To Sacred Valley

    Visit Lima's colonial center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between its foundation in the 1500s up to the 1900s, Lima was the chief city of Spanish South America and known as the 'City of Kings'. A short stroll leads to the heart of the old city and the Plaza Mayor main square, surrounded by yellow edifices, the Government Palace and the imposing and grand cathedral. Visit Casa Aliaga, a superbly preserved colonial mansion that has been occupied by 16 generations of the same family since 1535. Don Jeronimo De Aliaga was one of the 13 commanders to arrive with Pizarro and was given land around the main square to build his house when Lima was founded. The mansion is decorated with ornate antiques and fine furnishings and it is easy to get a feel of the history of the family. Continue to the magnificent 17th-century San Francisco Monastery with its cloisters and catacombs, an architectural masterpiece. Finally, visit the modern districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, ending the tour at a clifftop park overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

    Continue to the airport after your excursion and board your flight to Cuzco.

    Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred by road to your hotel in the Sacred Valley, a journey of approximately one and a half hours.

    San Agustin Urubamba Hotel - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 3
    Sacred Valley

    Gateway to the Sacred Valley, the town of Pisac was of supreme importance in Inca times. It was the site of one of the most important fortresses built to guard the capital of the empire.

    The town of Pisac today is a sleepy hamlet of brown adobe buildings with faded red tiled roofs and narrow cobblestone streets. A mixture of Inca and colonial influences, parts of the town date from the colonial era and, in the church, Mass is still said in Quechua. Every day, the town has a market in the main square and this is renowned for its color and vibrance. People from the local villages, many of them in traditional dress, travel to the town and the many wares on offer include food items, handicrafts, ponchos and rugs.

    The tour continues to Ollantaytambo, a small town built around a superbly preserved Inca fortress. The fortress guarded the entrance to this part of the valley and protected it from possible invasion from the lower jungles. The central part of the ruins is the Intihuatana group of temples and rock outcrops, which reveal the most magnificent Inca masonry. The design and foundations of the majority of the buildings in the town also date from the Inca era, when Ollantaytambo was a strategic military, religious and agricultural center.

    San Agustin Urubamba Hotel (B)
  • Day 4
    To Machu Picchu

    You will be collected from your hotel and transferred by road to Ollanta railway station, a journey of approximately 40 minutes.

    Take a spectacular journey by narrow gauge railway, through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu.

    The Expedition service features panoramic windows, a new suspension system, air-conditioning and heating. Comfortable seats, arranged in groups of four, allow passengers to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way. A complimentary snack and drink are provided on board.

    On arrival at the station in Aguas Calientes, you will be transferred by shared bus to Machu Picchu.

    This afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Machu Picchu ruins. The Incas left legends of forgotten cities and treasures, the most incredible of which is Machu Picchu. It lay hidden from the world until its rediscovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. The site consists of more than 200 buildings of perfectly chiselled unmortared stone, as well as baths, temples, altars and houses constructed in terraces and connected by stairways carved from solid rock. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and have time to explore on your own.

    Time permitting, you may wish to hike (unguided) up to Intipunku (Sun Gate), which is located on a flank of the Machu Picchu mountain and offers great views over the site. The hike between the citadel and Intipunku takes about one hour in each direction. Please ensure you leave sufficient time to descend the trail, as the exit is through the citadel, which closes at 5:30 pm.

    Note:

    • The train operation and schedules are subject to change due to natural events, industrial action or track repairs.
    • When travelling to Machu Picchu it is mandatory to take a smaller overnight bag due to baggage restrictions on the train. Therefore you would need to leave the bulk of your luggage this morning (to be transferred straight to Cuzco) and pack an overnight bag for your stay in Aguas Calientes.
    El MaPi Hotel (B, Box Lunch, D)
  • Day 5
    To Cuzco

    Morning at leisure. Optional excursions include the chance to revisit the mysterious ruins on your own and perhaps hike up to Intipunku (Sun Gate) or additionally add a hike up Huayna Picchu or on the Machu Picchu mountain. Tickets for a second entrance to the ruins (which will allow you to hike up to Intipunku) and the additional hikes are not included and must be prebooked in advance as visitor numbers are restricted and tickets cannot be purchased locally. Tickets may sell out far in advance, particularly in peak season. Our local agents in Peru can purchase the entrance tickets no later than 15 days prior to your arrival in Machu Picchu, therefore we recommend you book any additional entrance tickets through Cox & Kings Travel as far in advance as possible and preferably before your final balance is due. Please ask your consultant for further details and prices or refer to your Peru Travel Notes. Note that the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain hikes must be booked in conjunction with a second entrance ticket.

    If you revisit the citadel, we advise you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.

    Excursions that can be booked locally include birdwatching, nature walks or a visit to the Aguas Calientes hot springs (payable locally).

    Optional Excursion:
    Further visit to Machu Picchu.
    This morning, you will have time to explore these mysterious ruins on your own (second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is included).

    You may wish to hike to Intipunku (Sun Gate), which is located on a flank of the Machu Picchu mountain and offers great views over the site. The hike between the citadel and Intipunku takes about 1 hour in each direction.

    If you revisit the citadel, we advise that you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.


    Optional Excursion:
    Further visit to Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu.
    This morning you will have time to explore these mysterious ruins on your own and hike up Huayna Picchu. The second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu is included.

    Your entrance ticket for Huayna Picchu is for the hike starting at 7am / 10am. Please arrive on time or your ticket will be automatically cancelled and is non-refundable. The hike to the summit of Huayna Picchu (2,720 metres above sea level) takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. The main trail is a steep climb up uneven pathways and Inca steps, at times exposed, and is not suitable for persons with a fear of heights. Please take particular care in wet weather as the paths and steps may be slippery.

    If you revisit the citadel or hike the surrounding mountains we advise that you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.

    This afternoon, board the Peru Rail (Expedition) from Machu Picchu to Poroy station.

    Note: The train operation and schedules may be subject to change due to natural events, industrial action or track repairs.

    You will be met at Poroy station on the outskirts of Cuzco and taken to your hotel, a journey of approximately 20 minutes.

    Los Portales Hotel - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 6
    Cuzco

    Begin your tour with a visit to Loreto Alley, an impressive part of the old town with its remarkable Inca walls. Continue to the Santo Domingo Monastery which was built in the 17th century on the foundations of the Koricancha Temple of the Sun, using original materials. Excavation is unearthing more of the five chambers of the temple, revealing some of the best Inca stonework to be seen in Cuzco.

    After this, you will visit San Blas with its beautiful colonial church, which houses an impressive pulpit. Stroll through the many handicraft shops and native art galleries in the small square where many local crafts can be found, such as earthenware, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, wood carvings and textiles. Roam the old quarter which dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

    Return to Cuzco's old town, passing through Hatunrumiyoc street with its famous 12-angle stone. The heart of Cuzco, as in Inca days, is the Plaza de Armas. On the northern side of this, a visit will be made to the magnificent cathedral, built in the early 17th century on the site of the Inca Palace of Viracocha. The high altar is made of solid silver and the altar retablo behind it is a masterpiece of native woodcarving. In the sacristy are paintings of all the bishops of Cuzco and a painting of Christ attributed to Van Dyck. Much venerated is the crucifix of El Senor de las Temblores, the object of many pilgrimages and viewed all over Peru as a guardian against earthquakes.

    Los Portales Hotel (B)
  • Day 7
    To La Paz

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport, to board the flight to La Paz.

    Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Hotel Presidente - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 8
    La Paz

    Your tour will take you through the city to see its colorful street markets such as the Witches market, the Open Air Museum of Tiwanaku, the Parliament and Government's Palace at the Plaza Murillo, and the San Francisco church.

    You will then drive out of the city to the eerie Valle de Luna or Moon Valley. Millions of years of geological evolution have created this strangely beautiful area. The rocks, rifts and mounds have weird shapes and rise in peaks into the horizon, creating an almost lunar landscape.

    Hotel Presidente (B)
  • Day 9
    To Salar de Uyuni

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport to board the flight to Uyuni.

    Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel. On the way to the hotel there will be a stop to visit the Kaka Mummies and train cemetery.

    Afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel or enjoy its surroundings.

    Luna Salada Hotel - 2 Nights (B, D)
  • Day 10
    Salar de Uyuni

    Today, take a full day tour to Salar de Uyuni, the highest Salt Lake in the world, surrounded by an impressive panorama. The tour begins with a visit to Colchani town where you can see how the salt is harvested and visit the Salt Museum. You will then be taken across the shimmering expanse of the saltpan, via the Ojos de Agua geysers, to visit the Inka Wasi island which contains huge cacti and other types of flora and fauna.

    After lunch, visit the Thunupa volcano to enjoy panoramic views over the salt flats. Visit Coquesa where, in a canyon on the flanks of the volcano, caves housing ancient mummified human remains and pottery from the Inca era can be seen.

    The roads in the salt flats are unpaved and journey times may take longer during the rainy season. The visit to the Inka Wasi island may not be possible between November and April due to rains, in which case an alternative visit to just Colchani, Ojos de Agua and the Salt Museum will be arranged.

    Luna Salada Hotel (B, L, D)
  • Day 11
    To Lake Titicaca

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to La Paz.

    You will be driven to Huatajata on Lake Titicaca, a journey of approximately 1.5 hours.

    Visit the Andean Roots Eco Village and Altiplano museums, which depict the historical development of the area and exhibit artefacts from the civilizations of the Lake Titicaca region. Meet the Limachi family, builders of Thor Heyerdhal's Ra II and Tigris.

    In the evening after dinner, visit a 'kallawaya', a Bolivian natural healer, and the Alajpacha native observatory to see the southern constellations.

    Inca Utama Hotel (B, D)
  • Day 12
    To Lima

    Transfer by hydrofoil to the floating islands of Iruitos. Lake Titicaca has many floating islands, which are inhabited by the indigenous Uros people. For hundreds of years, the livelihood of this water tribe has been based on the benefits of the totora reed, which grows densely in the shallower areas of the lake. They use these to build their homes, boats and even the floating islands they live on, compressing them into virtually rigid surfaces, which drift around on the lake currents. The Uros people live by fishing and raising domestic fowl and they travel between their islands in tiny reed boats.

    Cruise to Moon Island, where you will visit the ruins of an Inca nunnery called the Virgins of the Sun. Continue to Sun Island, where according to legend, the Inca empire was founded when a golden rod was brought to the Earth by Manco Kapac and Mama Ocllo (son and daughter of the Sun God Inti), and buried there. Visit the Inca Staircase and the Sacred Fountain and then enjoy lunch on the island, with a breathtaking view over the lake and the Royal Range mountains. Explore a local handicraft market before travelling by hydrofoil to Copacabana on the mainland. Visit the Copacabana cathedral before transferring by road, via the churches of Pomata and Juli, to the airport in Puno, Peru. Board your flight to Lima.

    On arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Note:

    • All transfers and visits today are operated on a shared basis. The hydrofoil itinerary may be subject to change due to weather conditions.
    • Please have your passport to hand so that it can be stamped for your arrival into Peru.
    Jose Antonio (B, L)
  • Day 13
    Depart Lima

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.

    (B)
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