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14 days/12 nights:

Peru, including La Paz, Bolivia

Highlights of this tour:

Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, the Inca ruins at Moray, the salt mines of Maras, the indigenous market in Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, a visit to the Uros people, an overnight stay with a local family on the island of Amantani, the island of Taquile and a visit to the Quechua Indians, the Moon Valley, La Paz.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Flights from the UK to Lima (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Flights from La Paz to the UK
  • 1 domestic flight in Peru: Lima – Cusco
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Cusco – The Sacred Valley & Cusco – Puno – La Paz, Bolivia
  • Train travel: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 1 night’s accommodation with a local family on the island of Amantani incl. breakfast
  • 3 x lunch (days 5, 8, 9)
  • 1 x dinner (day 9)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departure is an option

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the Lima Museum of Art
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Visit to small villages in the Andes
  • Day trip to the Sacred Valley:  Chincheros, Pisac, Moray, Maras and Ollantaytambo
  • Two-day tour to Machu Picchu, including train travel and guided tour
  • Two-day tour to Lake Titicaca and the Uros, Amantani and Taquile islands
  • Tour of La Paz, including Moon Valley
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned
Single room supplement: £430
Choose this tour because…

Peru and Bolivia are both fascinating countries with long, interesting histories. This tour will take you to Lima, the capital of Peru, with its beautiful, historical buildings, and to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where you can admire sights including the intricate work of the Inca stone masons. Other attractions include The Sacred Valley with its impressive terrace systems, visits to small Indian communities, colourful markets, the salt mine area of Maras, and the open museum town of Ollantaytambo. One of the absolute highlights is a visit to the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu with its spectacular Inca ruins. The view of the mountains and the cloud forest is almost impossible to describe. It is so beautiful that it can actually give you goose bumps. Around the high-altitude Lake Titicaca, you have the chance to spend time with the Uros people and the Quechua Indians, to learn something about their culture and their way of life. The trip finishes with a stay in La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, which is famous for its wonderful colonial buildings. While you are here, you can also go on an excursion to see the magnificent ‘lunar’ rock formations in the Valle de Luna.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Lima
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Lima

Departure day, where you will fly to Peru, with connecting flights along the way. You will land at Lima Airport, where you will be met by a representative of our partner in Peru, who will accompany you to your hotel. The journey from the airport to the hotel takes around 40 minutes, and en route your guide will answer any questions you may have regarding your trip. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay Virreynal Hotel

Day 2: Tour of Lima
Day 2: Tour of Lima

The day starts with a half-day tour of the Peruvian capital city, which was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. The itinerary will take you to the magnificent, bustling central square called Plaza Mayor, which is decorated with rose gardens, tall palm trees and a famous fountain capped with a representation of the city’s guardian angel. The square is lined with beautiful buildings in colonial style, including the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the city’s impressive cathedral which dates back to 1555 and contains the earthly remains of Pizarro himself. You will then have the chance to visit the San Francisco Monastery and its church from 1674 – which happens to be the most attractive Baroque church in the city. The monastery is decorated with delightful mosaic tiles from Seville and fresco paintings that were rediscovered when an earthquake destroyed parts of the outer wall. Particularly worthy of note are the monastery’s museum of religious art, the library of more than 25,000 books, and the catacombs beneath the church.

Next stop on the itinerary is the San Isidro district, with its attractive parks, and the modern Miraflores quarter, with its fine beaches, gardens and squares, as well as charming cafés and restaurants. Before the tour draws to a close, there will be time to visit the Lima Museum of Art, which is famous for its comprehensive collections of pre-Colombian jewellery and applied art.

The late afternoon and evening are yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay Virreynal Hotel

Day 3: Flight from Lima to Cusco
Day 3: Flight from Lima to Cusco

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to Cusco, which was once the ‘official’ capital of the Inca Empire, and stands proud as a thriving, elegant and multicultural city today. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish; for example, you can explore the city and its wonderful restaurants for yourself.

Overnight stay Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 4: Cusco
Day 4: Cusco

There is nothing scheduled for today until the afternoon, when a guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings has been arranged. You start at the city’s central square – the Plaza de Armas, which was known as Hucaypata or ‘The Warriors’ Square’ during the age of the Incas. It was here that many of the most important events in the history of Cusco took place. One of the finest sights here is Santo Domingo Cathedral, which was built between 1560 and 1654 on the site of Viracocha’s Palace, the former Inca edifice. The ‘modern’ building features a fine mix of Spanish Renaissance architecture and exquisite Inca stone carving. The street that runs alongside the church leads to what was once the most important cultural location in the Inca Empire: the formerly magnificent Sun Temple of Koricancha, which was built without using mortar, with every stone carved perfectly for its given position.

Next on the itinerary is Kenko, another sacred Inca site marked with a 5-metre-high stone block which is said to resemble a puma. This site is dedicated to the worship of Mother Earth, and features water channels carved in solid rock and a subterranean room. Farther along the road stands a small fortress called Puka Pukara, which is believed to have been used to guard the road and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you will see terraces carved into the side of the mountain, as well as steps, tunnels and towers. Continuing north, you will come to Tambomachay, a sacred bathing site for the Inca conquerors and women of the royal household The system is a masterpiece of construction, and is still able to deliver water to this day.

The last stop on the tour is the military complex of Sacsayhuaman, which enjoys a magnificent location with a wonderful view out over Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is a fascinating example of the architectural skill of the Incas. It is an impressive construction, with double walls of carved granite, where the heaviest block weighs more than 125 tonnes. After the tour, you will return to Cusco where the evening is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 5: The Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo
Day 5: The Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo

You are picked up from your hotel and driven to the Sacred Valley, where you will stay the night.

The first stop on the tour is the Andes village of Chincheros, which offers great views of the mountains. You visit the local market, the white church and the ancient agricultural terraces carved into the mountainside.
The tour continues to Moray, where you take a closer look at the Incas’ impressive agricultural terraces shaped like enormous, deep depressions, the deepest of which is 150 metres. This depth creates a temperature difference of 15 degrees, which was used by the Incas to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops.
From here, you drive to Maras, an impressive salt mine area dating back to the Incas.

You also visit the town of Pisac, which is especially well-known for its indigenous market selling everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and musical instruments to paintings, weaving and jewellery.

The last highlight of the day is a visit to the impressive Inca complex in Ollantaytambo. You will be given a guided tour and gain a fascinating insight into the history. You will also be rewarded with stunning views of the village.

Overnight stay Hotel Sol Ollantay

Day 6: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Day 6: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

Ollantaytambo is a pleasant village where the inhabitants still adhere to the ancient traditions and laws of their ancestors. You have the morning to yourself to explore.

In the afternoon, you take the train to Aguas Calientes. You make your own way down to the train station, which is approx. 1 km from the centre of the village. You can also take a taxi (at your own expense).

Overnight stay Flower’s House

Day 7: Machu Picchu – Cusco
Day 7: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to one of the absolute highlights of your trip: the fantastic ruins of Machu Picchu, which have been designated one of the wonders of the modern world. The ruins stand enchantingly on a steep and verdant ridge of hills in the Urubamba Valley, surrounded by cloud forest and green hilltops, with snow-capped mountains far off in the distance. Here, you will be given a guided tour of the area and can experience the narrow terraces on the steep mountain sides, as well as areas containing burial sites, prisons, small residences and temples.

It is said that Machu Picchu was rediscovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham on 24 July 1911. This is not strictly true, but he is certainly responsible for spreading the news of this truly remarkable place to all corners of the globe. The Inca city was built in around 1462 – i.e. during the Golden Age of the Inca Empire – but was abandoned less than a century later, probably on account of a smallpox epidemic. As Machu Picchu was never discovered and plundered by the Spanish invaders, it retains major cultural significance and is considered a sacred site. Machu Picchu was home to priests, highly ranked civil servants, craftsmen, servants and virgins selected to devote their lives to the Sun God. It was a city with streets, aqueducts – which still carry water to this day – fountains and walkways, and it fulfilled a variety of religious functions.

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.

Overnight stay Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 8: Cusco – Puno
Day 8: Cusco – Puno

Get ready for a long but eventful day! In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where a coach is waiting to take you to Puno.

The route takes you across the spectacular Altiplano region – a dry, barren landscape of wide open vistas – and features a number of stops at small villages.

Puno enjoys a delightful location on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world at an altitude of 4,000 masl. Puno was of historical significance to the Incas, because it was here that the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of Lake Titicaca, founded the Inca Empire and became the first king in Cusco. Today, Puno is an agricultural town that focuses primarily on raising lamas and alpacas. This makes it a great place to buy woollen items.

Overnight stay Hotel Sol Plaza

Day 9: Lake Titicaca – Uros – Amantani
Day 9: Lake Titicaca – Uros – Amantani

Today is devoted to full-day excursion to Lake Titicaca, which is shared harmoniously by Bolivia and Peru. Indigenous peoples speaking Quechua and Aymara dialects currently live on separate stretches of land along the shores of the lake.

You will first visit the Uros people, who have survived through a combination of hunting and fishing, and who live on undulating reed islands in Puno Bay, where both their houses and their boats are built of reeds harvested from the islands. You will have the opportunity to learn a little about their culture and gain some insight into their everyday lives.

Next on the itinerary is a sailing trip to the island of Amantani, where you will be met by the local families who will be providing your overnight accommodation. This is an excellent, fascinating way to learn more about the local people, their culture and their everyday lives.

After you have had time to settle in with your host family, your guide will accompany you on a hike to the highest point on the island, where you can enjoy a truly enchanting view out over the giant Lake Titicaca, which is 174 km long and 64 km wide.

Overnight stay Homestay Amantaní

Day 10: Amantani – Taquile
Day 10: Amantani – Taquile

In the morning, it is time to say goodbye to your host family and board the boat that will sail you to the peaceful island of Taquile, whose dominant feature is a host of ancient Inca terraces. Here, you will meet the local population – the Quechua Indians – in their traditional costumes, and have the opportunity to find out more about their everyday lives and culture. The island is known for its weaving, and you will have the chance to watch a demonstration of traditional weaving techniques.

It is then time for lunch, which will likely consist of freshly caught trout from the lake and locally grown fruit and vegetables.

The boat will sail you back to Puno later in the afternoon.

Overnight stay Hotel Sol Plaza

Day 11: Puno – La Paz
Day 11: Puno – La Paz

To start the day, you will be collected from your hotel and driven to the bus station to catch a coach to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia and one of the most unusual and fascinating cities in the world. The city is located at an altitude of 4,000 masl, making it the administrative capital with the highest elevation in the world. At the border, you will be met by border guards who will stamp your passports before allowing you to continue on your way to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay Hotel Rosario

Day 12: La Paz
Day 12: La Paz

The day is given over to a tour of the city of La Paz and the surrounding area. The snow-capped mountain of Illimani, which towers up to a height of 6,000 metres, dominates the view from most parts of the city. Your tour starts in Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), which is named for its truly extraordinary rock formations. After visiting this almost other-worldly area, it is time to return to the city of La Paz itself, where you will visit the central square – Plaza Murillo –with its beautiful presidential palace built in Italian style in 1850. It is known locally as Palacio Quemado (The Burned Palace), as the local population has set fire to it twice. Close to the palace stands the city’s modern cathedral. The streets in this area form the most charming quarter of the city, distinguished by cobbled streets free from motorised traffic and lined with finely preserved buildings from the colonial age. The narrow streets of the city wind their way up the side of the mountain to another delightful area behind the Plaza San Francisco with its large stone church that is home to a statue of Jesus with a luminous blue halo. This area is usually packed with Bolivian ‘campeninas’ dressed in traditional and colourful costumes, selling rugs, woollen sweaters, nuts and herbs.

The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish, so you can explore the city for yourselves. Behind the Plaza San Francisco stands the famous Mercado de Hechiceria (Witch Market), where elderly women sell magical amulets and bottles filled with pieces of coloured wood and oil, which, depending on their contents, are said to have a beneficial effect on your love life, finances or health. You will soon discover that the local cuisine is one of the absolute highlights of La Paz, and there are all kinds of specialities to try. Sit down by one of the stalls, enjoy a cup of tea and admire Bolivian street life at first hand. Later in the day, we recommend a strong chicha (fermented corn drink), or a cool glass of the tasty local beer. You could also try a chuflay, a cocktail containing singani, the local spirit. Make sure to take the time to visit some of the museums in the city that present items from the Pacific War, paintings and furniture from the colonial age, as well as exhibitions about the culture of the Ayoreo and Chipaya people.

Overnight stay Hotel Rosario

Day 13: Return flight
Day 13: Return flight

The time has come for you to bid farewell to Peru and Bolivia. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to the UK, which will feature connecting flights along the way.

Day 14: Return trip
Day 14: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

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