Peru and Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats

National Geographic Journeys, Lima to La Paz

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

South America is filled with awe-inspiring wonders, and on this journey through Bolivia and Peru, you’ll experience an introduction to some of its highlights. Learn about Peru’s storied past in the former Inca capital of Cusco before immersing yourself in the Amazon during a stay in the heart of the jungle. Hike the Inca Trail — or catch the scenic train — to the ancient and endlessly fascinating Machu Picchu; then travel to Bolivia to see striking sights like the Uyuni Salt Flats and colonial cities surrounded by soaring Andean peaks.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Cusco Planetarium, Cusco Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Traditional Andean Experience, Urubamba Your Journeys Highlight Moment: La Paz Culinary Experience, La Paz Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Bolivian Hacienda Experience, Potosí Your G for Good Moment: Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), Urubamba Your G for Good Moment: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Lamay Your G for Good Moment: Jukil Community Experience & Lunch, Santiago de Agencha
  • Arrival transfer
  • Three-day (2 nts) excursion to the G Adventures exclusive rainforest lodge
  • Sacred Valley tour
  • Choice of four-day Inca Trail hike with local guide, cook, and porters or Cusco/Aguas Calientes stay with scenic train
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • La Paz city tour
  • Sucre orientation walk
  • Excursions to the Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Explore the iconic citadel of machu picchu on foot or by train
  • Get creative with photo ops on thestunning landscapes of bolivia’s uyuni salt flats. stay at an eco-lodge deep in the amazon jungle
  • And spot wildlife with expert naturalists. experience life at a traditional bolivian hacienda high in the andes.

Itinerary

Day 1 Lima Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Additional Notes: Please note: if you booked the Lima Cooking Class it does not include extra time in Lima, and we highly recommend booking pre-trip accommodation. You will be picked up from your hotel at approx 10:00 am (10:30 from Aug-Dec) and taken to a local market and restaurant to prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. Return back to your hotel around 13:00. Also, hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control. There are some very early morning starts on this trip to make the best use of our time and see as much as we can of Peru as we can. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 Lima/Tambopata (1B, 1L, 1D) After a brief stop in town to store large luggage, drive to the pier and travel by covered motorized boat to the jungle lodge. En route, spot bird species typical of the local river and forest edge. The Tambopata Rainforest area holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Local community members make up the majority of lodge staff, including multilingual naturalist guides. Take the opportunity to learn about the area’s rich flora and fauna and locals' extensive use of medicinal plants and other forest plant resources through traditional techniques for building, fishing, and hunting. Enjoy a welcome drink and orientation. Before dinner, head out for a night walk around the lodge grounds. Additional Notes: The lodge itself combines native architectural style and materials with low-impact, eco-friendly technology. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with mosquito netting for individual beds, flush toilets, showers (with solar-heated hot water), and candles for lighting (no electricity). Included Activities: Wildlife-spotting Night Walk Transport: Plane (2.50 hour(s)) Head by private vehicle to the lodge's office in Puerto Maldonado to store large luggage. From there, travel about 1 hr to reach the boat landing. Motorized canoe (3.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Tambopata (1B, 1L, 1D) Head out early to catch the jungle at its wildest (and coolest). Walk slowly through the forest searching for wildlife before heading out on an oxbow lake by canoe. Search for anaconda, the elusive giant river otter, or black caiman. Even if you don't spot these shy creatures, there are plenty of birds, interesting plants, and other animals about. Included Activities: Jungle Excursions Caiman-Spotting Cruise
Day 4 Tambopata/Cusco (1B) Afternoon arrival into the Inca capital. Time for strolling around the plazas and markets. Admire the cobblestones streets, and visit some museums and Cathedral. Additional Notes: This adventure travels to high altitude, medically defined as anything over 8,000 ft (2,440m). Included Activities: Cusco Planetarium Transport: Motorized canoe (3.00 hour(s)) Plane (1.00-1.50 hours, 320km)
Day 5 Cusco/Urubamba (1B, 1L) Included Activities: Traditional Andean Experience Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley Pisac Ruins Guided Tour Ollantaytambo Ruins Guided Tour Transport: Times includes all stops and visits enroute through the Sacred Valley. Private Vehicle (1.75 hour(s), 94km)
Day 6 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata. Additional Notes: A crew of local porters, cooks, and guides will take care of all the details for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear so you’ll only need to carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 7 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike
Day 8 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Cross two more passes and ruins on today's trek. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through the cloud forest on a gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft). Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike
Day 9 Machu Picchu/Cusco (1B) The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore until noon as permitted by the tourist ticket. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike Machu Picchu Guided Tour Transport: Local train (1.50-2.00 hours, 118km) Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 95km)
Day 10 Cusco/La Paz (1B) Catch a flight to one of the loftiest cities in the world, La Paz, Bolivia. In the afternoon, take an immersive city tour on foot, van, and by cable car exploring the “highest” capital in the world, surrounded by the stunning snow-capped Andes. Explore vibrant squares, historical sites, and lively local markets, learning more about the balance of old and new of this fascinating city. This evening, enjoy an interactive culinary experience at a popular local restaurant with demonstrations of how traditional foods such as quinoa are integrated into modern fusion dishes. With our local chef, we sample a variety of dishes and discuss the growing popularity of La Paz as a foodie destination. Included Activities: La Paz City Tour La Paz Culinary Experience Transport: Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Day 11 La Paz/Sucre (1B) Catch a flight to charming Sucre, then enjoy an orientation walk around the main square with your CEO. This afternoon, relax at a local café, explore on your own, or opt to take an immersive city tour with a local expert that focuses on the stunning colonial architecture and historic sites, best viewed from the city’s ubiquitous rooftop terraces. Included Activities: Sucre Orientation Walk Transport: Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Day 12 Potosi Countryside (1B, 1D) Enjoy free time this morning before travelling into the southern highlands to our historic hacienda. Surrounded by lush farmlands and rolling hills, this working farm offers unique opportunities for cultural exchanges with the resident family. Get a glimpse into daily life here while taking part in demonstrations at the dairy and in the fields, and step back in time during visits to the property’s private rooms, chapel, and museum. Cap off your experience with an authentic farm-to-table dinner featuring specialities local to the area. Included Activities: Bolivian Hacienda Experience Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 13 Potosí/Uyuni (1B, 1L) Make the short drive to the centre of Potosi and enjoy a guided tour of the Casa Nacional de la Moneda, the old silver mint and now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history. Take a scenic drive to Uyuni, gateway to the world's largest salt flat. Learn about the industrialization of salt and the geographical history of the region while driving across this mirror-like landscape. Enjoy a sunset picnic atop the flats before returning to our hotel. Additional Notes: Note: During the rainy season the locations visited may change due to some routes being covered by water. Included Activities: Casa de la Moneda Excursion and sunset Picnic on the Salt Flats Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s)) 4x4
Day 14 Uyuni (1B, 1L) Journey deeper into the salt pans to explore their varied geographical features. Along the way, stop at the remote town of Agencha, a small Quechua community sponsored by G Adventures for Good. Here we enjoy a guided walk to learn about quinoa production and the cultural history of the area. Savour lunch prepared with local ingredients before continuing our exploration of the desert and its pans. Additional Notes: In rainy season (approximately January to early April), it is not possible to visit the Agencha community and a box/picnic lunch will be provided instead. Included Activities: Bolivian Salt Flats Experience Jukil Community Experience & Lunch Transport: 4x4
Day 15 Uyuni/La Paz (1B) Catch a flight to La Paz and enjoy free time to explore before joining our CEO for an optional farewell dinner. Transport: Plane (1.00-1.50 hours)
Day 16 La Paz (1B) Depart at any time.
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