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HomeTours to Central and South AmericaBoliviaMagical Bolivia & Machu Picchu
18 days

Magical Bolivia & Machu Picchu

Combine wonderful experiences in Bolivia such as the Salar de Uyuni salt flat, the capital La Paz and Lake Titicaca with the ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco, and the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Magical Bolivia & Machu Picchu Magical Bolivia & Machu Picchu
18 days

Magical Bolivia & Machu Picchu

Combine wonderful experiences in Bolivia such as the Salar de Uyuni salt flat, the capital La Paz and Lake Titicaca with the ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco, and the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Choose this tour because…

Bolivia and Peru have a complete range of attractions to delight nature lovers looking for a trip spiced with culture and adventure as well. This journey will take you to Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia, as well as to Sucre, the official capital, the silver mine town of Potosí and the country’s administrative capital, La Paz. Traits shared by all these cities include magnificent architecture, well-preserved colonial buildings, and the proud local people dressed in their traditional costumes. Just outside La Paz, you will also have the chance to visit the ‘lunar landscape’ of Valle de Luna and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tiwanaku. You are sure to develop a special relationship with the country’s magnificent landscapes when you visit the seemingly endless, almost surrealistic salt flats of Uyuni, and when you gaze in awe at the colourful lakes by the red-brown mountains outlined strongly against the deep blue of the sky. Before leaving Bolivia, you will spend a night on the magical island of Isla del Sol, from where you can enjoy a remarkably fine view out over Lake Titicaca. Your journey finishes in Peru, where you can experience Cuzco, the old capital of the Inca Empire, and the magnificent countryside that surrounds it. One of the absolute highlights is reserved for the end of your journey: a visit to the Inca city of Machu Picchu, famed for its spectacular ruins in a setting of mountains and cloud forest.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Santa Cruz
  • Flights from Lima to the UK
  • 2 domectic flights in Bolivia: Santa Cruz – Sucre // Uyuni – La Paz
  • 1 domestic flight in Peru: Cusco – Lima
  • Private transfers from and to airports
  • Guided bus trip from Puno to Cusco, with several stops en route
  • Train travel: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
  • Boat trip: Copacabana – Sun Island – Copacabana
  • 15 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 6 x lunch (days 6, 8, 10,11, 13 and 15)
  • 1 x dinner (day 11)
  • Individual tour with private transport and Spanish-speaking driver in Bolivia and local English-speaking guides on all excursions
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Half-day tour of Santa Cruz
  • Half-day tour of Sucre
  • Half-day visit to Tarabuco market / Jatun Yampara
  • Half-day tour of Potosi
  • Full-day excursion to the Uyuni salt flats
  • Tour of La Paz, including Moon Valley
  • Visit to the Tiwanaku ruins
  • Walking tour of Sun Island
  • Half-day tour of Cuzco and the surrounding area
  • Visit to the Holy Valley, including Pisac and Ollantaytambo
  • Guided tour at Machu Picchu
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned except Incahuasi Island at Uyuni (to be paid on site)
See all pictures
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Flight to Bolivia

Departure day, where you will fly to  Santa Cruz with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Santa Cruz

You arrive in Santa Cruz – the largest city in Bolivia – in the morning, where you will be met in the arrivals hall by a guide who will drive you to your hotel.

Santa Cruz was founded in 1560 by the Spanish explorer Ñuflo de Chávez. The city is now the growth centre of Bolivia and home to an interesting ethnic mix on account of the huge numbers of people who have flocked here to share in the economic development. Santa Cruz is one of the most important cities in the country and the largest industrial area in Bolivia. Attractions include excellent entertainment, tempting restaurants, fascinating museums and exciting culture centres. The city is especially well-known for its numerous buildings dating back to the Spanish colonial era.

Day 3: Tour of Santa Cruz

The day is given over to a tour of the centre of Santa Cruz, which will take you to the famous Plaza 24 de Septiembre square where you will see many significant buildings from the colonial age, including the cathedral, city hall and culture centre. The tour ends on Monseno Rivero Boulevard, where you will have time to enjoy some refreshments.

Day 4: By plane from Santa Cruz to Sucre

You will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport for your flight to Sucre, capital of Bolivia. A guide will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel.

Sucre was founded in 1538 and remains the official capital of Bolivia, even though the parliament and government buildings are located in La Paz, the administrative capital. The city is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. Sucre is also known as ‘The White City’ on account of the numerous whitewashed houses with their red tiled roofs. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Bolivia – and, indeed, in South America – thanks to its magnificently preserved centre, which is liberally dotted with attractive buildings from the colonial era.

Day 5: Guided tour of Sucre, ‘The White City’

The half-day tour of the city will introduce you to the friendly population and take you along streets lined with neoclassical façades and splendid colonial buildings. You will also visit historical places and buildings, of which the most notable include the central square – Plaza 25 de Mayo – which is ringed with significant buildings including the cathedral and the Casa de la Libertad. The latter is one of the most important historical monuments in the country, as it was here that the events leading to the country’s independence took place.

The city is also home to a host of interesting religious buildings including the beautiful San Francisco Church. In addition, the tour includes a visit to La Recoleta, the Franciscan monastery from where there is an amazing view out over the city.

Day 6: Tarabuco market/Jatun Yampara – Potosi

Sunday is market day in the village of Tarabuco, where farmers and weavers from the local countryside join together in a festive atmosphere to trade foodstuffs, fine weavings and socialise.

Arriving on another day, you could instead visit the traditional village Jatun Yampara, known for its handicrafts, textiles and ceramics. A walk through the city will show the sharp focus on preserving its ancient art forms and help you understand how agriculture is part of the villagers everyday lives. There are also visits to the city’s local museum available.

From here, the trip continues on to Potosi.

Day 7: Half-day tour of the mining town of Potosi, followed by a visit to the Uyuni salt flats

Located at an altitude of 4,090 metres above sea level, Potosi is the highest city in the world. It is actually an old mining town that grew up around the Cerro de Potosi Mountain – also known more prosaically as ‘Rich Mountain’. The Incas knew that the mountain contained silver, but did nothing to exploit it. The Spanish, however, were quick to establish mining operations and soon discovered that the mountain contained the biggest deposits of silver ever seen. They forced the local population to work in the mines, and thousands died there under terrible conditions. The riches of the town thus proved to be a curse on the locals – and they labour under their misfortune to this day. The town that helped finance the economic development of Europe for centuries is now a forgotten Third World backwater.

Potosi is known for its Baroque architecture and buildings from colonial times. What you can see today, however, is only a shadow of the colonial city from the 1600s, when Potosi was around the same size as London at that time, and much more resplendent. It is one of the few colonial towns in South America to have preserved most of its original nature. During your visit here, you will have the chance to explore the town’s surroundings, visit the historical Plaza 6 de Agosto and Plaza 10 de Noviembre squares, admire the beautiful churches, call in at the famous House of Currency Museum, and drop by the local market. From here, the tour heads off to Uyuni.

Day 8: Uyuni salt flats

The day starts with a visit to the ‘Train Graveyard’, where you can see locomotives and carriages dating back to the nineteenth century. It is then time to move on to the town of Colcachi to watch the local salt production process. You can also buy local arts and crafts and distinctive salt crystals here. The tour continues on to ‘Salar de Uyuni’, the biggest salt flats in the world, which extend over an area of 10,500 km2. The lake is located close to the border with Chile at an altitude of 3,653 metres above sea level. It can be quite cold here, so make sure to bring some warm clothes with you.

The surrounding landscape is dominated by red-brown mountains and volcanoes, which make a neat contrast against the deep blue sky. The view is truly breath-taking, and seems to stem from another world. There are lakes of different colours on account of the minerals and algae they contain. You will then make your way to the old Hotel de Sal to admire the salt architecture before continuing on to Isla Incahuasi, to drink in the magnificent view out over the salt lake.

Day 9: Uyuni – La Paz

After breakfast, you will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport for your flight to La Paz. When you land, you will be met in the arrivals hall by a guide who will drive you to your hotel.

Day 10: Tour of La Paz – including Moon Valley

The day is given over to a tour of the city of La Paz. You will start in the centre of the city at Plaza Murillo, a square rich in tradition and the site of the presidential palace, which is heavily inspired by Italian architecture. The narrow streets stretch up the mountainside behind Plaza San Francisco with the large stone church that is the site of a statue of Jesus with a luminous blue halo. A stone staircase leads up to the roof of the church, from where there is a magnificent view of the city. The area around the church is usually packed with Bolivian ‘campeninas’ (country women) in colourful clothes selling items such as blankets, nuts, herbs and woolly jumpers decorated with pictures of lamas.

It is then time to visit one of the most charming parts of the town around Calle Jaén, a cobbled street free from motorised traffic and lined with colonial style buildings. Here you can visit the outdoor museum devoted to the Tiwanaku culture. The tour then moves on to ‘Valle de la Luna’ (Moon Valley), which is named for the strange rock formations that dominate the landscape.

Day 11: Tiwanaku – Sun Island in Lake Titicaca

The itinerary for the day starts with a trip out to the archaeological area of Tiwanaku, which is 72 km from La Paz. Tiwanaku is built of giant blocks of stone, many of which are extremely intricately carved. Make the most of the opportunity to visit the museum and view the ceramics, Aymara mummies and Inca skulls on display, before moving on to the Tiwanaku ruins, where you can see sights such as the impressive Sun and Moon Gates. You will have plenty of time to take in the Kalasasaya Temple and the Akapana Pyramid as well. The trip then continues to the small town of Copacabana, which is famous as the home of the ‘Virgin del la Candelaria’, the patron saint of Bolivia. The day ends with a boat trip to magical Sun Island, where you will spend the night.

Day 12: Sun Island – Copacabana – Puno, Peru

After breakfast, you leave the hotel for a tour of the island. The trip starts at the highest point of the majestic island, from where you can admire the magnificent view out over Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The tour then continues along a pre-Inca trail that leads to innumerable ruins and temples dating back to the age of the Inca empire. After visiting the sights and attractions of the island, it is time to take the boat back to Copacabana and then on to Puno. You will change buses and guides at the Peruvian border.

Day 13: By bus from Puno to Cusco

Get ready for a long but eventful day! You start out by crossing the Altiplano area to Cusco, which was once the ‘official’ capital of the Inca Empire, and stands proud today as an elegant, thriving and multicultural city. En route, the bus will stop at some of the beautiful monuments you encounter. The first stop will be at the Pukara Pyramid, approx. 105 km north of Puno. The bus then passes La Raya, the highest point on the route (4,319 metres above sea level) before descending into a beautiful valley used to cultivate a variety of crops including corn and potatoes.

One of the last stops on the itinerary is at the famous colonial church of Andahuaylilas, more commonly known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas’ on account of its beautifully painted ceilings and other artworks. You will also stop at Raqchi to view the ruined temple of Viracocha, revered by the Incas as one of their holiest sites. On arrival in Cusco, you will check into your hotel and the evening is then your own to explore the city and its excellent restaurants for yourselves.

Day 14: Half-day tour of Cusco

In the morning, you have time to relax and explore Cusco at your own pace. In the afternoon, a local guide will arrive at the hotel to take you on a guided tour of Cusco and the surrounding area. You will visit Santo Domingo cathedral in the central square, and take in Koricancha – the magnificent Sun Temple that was built without using mortar. Every stone fits perfectly into its respective position.

You then continue on to Sacsayhuaman, which is set in a beautiful location overlooking Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is truly impressive. Its walls are built of carved stones, the heaviest of which weighs in at more than 125 tonnes. After leaving Sacsayhuaman, the tour takes you to the well-preserved Inca sites of Quenco, Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay. It is then time to return to your hotel. The evening is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 15: By bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and then by train to Aguas Calientes

The day is devoted to a visit to The Holy Valley. En route, you will call in at the town of Pisac, which is famous for its Indian markets, where traders sell everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and musical instruments to paintings, tapestries and jewellery. The Pisac ruins are some of the finest and biggest in the whole valley, and may have actually been the royal residence of the Inca Emperor Pachacutec. After lunch, the journey continues to Ollantaytambo, another charming village in the heart of the valley. The village is actually considered an open museum, as the residents still live by the old traditions and laws that have been handed down from one generation to the next. It is then time to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, a small town located in the rainforest close to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, the famous Inca city.

Day 16: Machu Picchu and return to Cusco

The day starts early, with transport by bus from Aguas Calientes to the absolute highlight of the trip: magnificent Machu Picchu, which was named one of the seven new wonders of the world. Machu Picchu consists of small terraces carved into the steep sides of the mountain. The city itself is divided into areas with burial grounds, prisons, small residences and temples.

After a guided tour, you will have time to explore the area on your own. Your admission ticket to the ruin complex is valid until 12.00 noon.

Next to Machu Picchu stands the 2,693-metre-high mountain, Huayna Picchu. It is 260 metres higher than Machu Picchu, and from the top of the mountain you can enjoy a fantastic view of the ruin complex and the Urubamba river. However, it is a demanding climb to the top up small, steep and, at times, slippery steps – so not for everyone. There are limits to the number of people allowed to climb Huayna Picchu, so if you wish to do this, you should book in advance when booking your tour. A small surcharge applies.

You spend the afternoon on your own in Aguas Calientes, where you can enjoy your lunch and possibly a visit to the thermal baths, also called hot springs, and relax in the naturally heated water. Remember to bring a bathing suit. These hot springs lend their name to the town Aguas Calientes, which means hot water.

Your train back to Cusco leaves late in the afternoon. Your guide will let you know the exact time after the Machu Picchu tour.

On your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven back to your hotel.

Day 17: Return flight

The time has now come to leave Cuzco. You will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport for your flight to Lima, from where you start your journey back to Europe. You will fly to the UK with connecting flights along the way.

Day 18: Return trip

Arrival back in the UK.

Single supplement (when two or more travelers) £550
Single supplement (when single traveler) £1825
Discounts are available for groups of 3 or more people
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Contact travel consultant Neil Smith

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