Day 1. Santiago de Chile Arrival – city tour
Today you arrive in Santiago. Once arrived in the International Airport of Santiago, our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing, we start the city tour. The sights today include the old district, Club Hípico, the San Francisco church, the Government Palace, Main Square, Santa Lucía Hill, the San Cristóbal Hill from where we have a panoramic view of the city and last the most modern district in the city.
Day 2. Santiago - Valparaiso and Viña del Mar – Santiago
Today we visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso was declared a world heritage site based upon its improvised urban design and unique architecture. In 1996, the World Monuments Fund declared Valparaiso’s unusual system of funicular elevators (highly-inclined cable cars) one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures and the city was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. We continue to Viña del Mar which is Chile’s main tourist attraction and also known as “La Ciudad Jardin” (The Garden City). You can have lunch in one of the many seaside restaurants and in the afternoon we visit the town: the Casino which is one the oldest gambling establishments in South America, walk along the beach, Reñaca and of course the botanic garden Quinta Vergara where the biggest musical festival in Latin American is celebrated each year. We return to Santiago where the evening is free to enjoy the last day on the South American continent.
Day 3. Santiago – Calama – San Pedro de Atacama – Valle de la Luna
After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for the flight to Calama (connecting in Santiago). After arrival to the airport of Calama you will be transferred to San Pedro de Atacama. In the afternoon we start the tour by visiting the Valle de la Luna. The Valle de la Luna was created through centuries with stone and sand formations in extraordinary colours and textures making it look similar to the surface of the moon. The valley is also considered one of the driest places on earth as some areas have not received rain in hundreds of years. We will see the salt statues “Las Tres Marias”, the salt mine and the salt caverns and from a large sand dune we can really appreciate the view of the valley.
Day 4. San Pedro de Atacama– Tatio Geyser field – Valle de la Luna – San Pedro de Atacama
We leave very early to visit the enormous geyser field “Los Géiseres del Tatio”. With over 80 active geysers it is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere. We have breakfast on the site before heading back to San Pedro de Atacama by the village Machuca. In the afternoon we visit the Valle de la Luna which was created through the centuries by floods and winds giving it an extraordinary colour and texture. The valley is also considered one of the driest places on earth, as some areas have not received a single drop of rain in hundreds of years!! We return to San Pedro de Atacama and the rest of the evening is free.*
* Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!
Day 5. San Pedro de Atacama– Salar de Tara – San Pedro de Atacama
After breakfast we leave to visit the Salar de Tara which is only accessible by 4WD. The Salar de Tara is located approx. 100 km from San Pedro de Atacama in the National Reserve Los Flamencos and is probably one of the most impressive landscapes on the Altiplano. Situated at 4300m of altitude the salar is surrounded by volcanoes and we’ll see numerous volcanic rock formations, created by centuries of erosion, which present some particular formations; Guardianes de la Pacana (the guards of the Pacana), which are enormous stone pillars that rise vertically and lonely from the deserts sand, or the Farallón de Tara (craggy stone). After this impressive visit we return to San Pedro de Atacama and the evening is free.*
* Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!
Day 6. San Pedro de Atacama – Ojo del Perdiz
At 8:00, we leave San Pedro de Atacama to join the Bolivian Border of Hito Cajón and enter the National Reserve of the Andean Fauna "Eduardo Avaroa" in Bolivia not far from the Licancahur volcano (5971m) and the Verde and Blanca lagoons. We will not be able to avoid the ritual of the administrative formalities then we will continue our journey by borrowing the tracks of South Lipez, on our way we will observe the "Ladies of the Desert" important rock of several tons cut by the winds and put in this desert landscape of South Lipez, then we will cross the desert of Dali, reverence to the Catalan artist for the unreal and natural colors of this fantastic landscape that will remind us of the colorful touch of the master. We will go from art to geology by visiting the seething geysers of Sol de Mañana, an impressive geothermal field of the region, mud wells boiling with accentuated smells of sulfur. Our visit continues towards the thermal bath of Polques, swimming pool of natural hot water in which we will be able to bathe, if one wishes it. We will visit the Laguna Colorada, which owes its name to its reddish color caused by microscopic crustaceans, the main nutrient of flamingos, which owes its pink color. Due to climate change and the strong evaporation of the Altiplánico basin, the water level of the lagoons in the region is rapidly decreasing, which year after year limits the Flemish population. We will visit the stone tree (thank you not to try to climb the tree) planted in the desert of Siloli and finally after this busy day we will reach the hotel.
Day 7. Ojo de Perdíz – ruta de las joyas andinas (Lag. Colorada – Lagunas Ramaditas, Honda, Chiar Khota, Hedionda, Cañapa) – Desierto de Siloli – Ollagüe Volcano – Salar de Chiguana – San Pedro de Quemez
Our way up North Cape continues. We will cross the famous jewel route composed of Ramaditas Lagoon, Honda, Chiar Khota, Hedionda and Cañapa before crossing the Salar de Chiguana and past the railroad Uyuni - Ollagüe owned by the FCA (Empresa Ferroviaria Andina). We will follow the railway to arrive in the middle of the afternoon to San Pedro de Quemez, the first Bolivian village burned by the Chilean army during the Pacific War, where we spend the night. The rest of the day will be free.
Day 8. San Pedro de Quemez – Cueva de las Galaxias – Salar de Uyuni – Incahuasi – Colchani – Uyuni
We will leave the small village of San Pedro de Quemez and we will have the opportunity to visit the "Cueva de las Galaxias" strange phenomenon of fossilized algae, which reminds us that the ocean was present in this area and as far as Oruro. In the cave next door we can see the Chullpas, Inca funerary remains that fills this cave size consistent. Then we will go up to the watchtower from where we will enjoy a breathtaking view of the desert and also observe the fossilized corals that once had to be part of an impressive coral reef if we bother to look around. After this amazing visit we will continue and we will enter the famous Salar of Uyuni the largest salt desert in the world with an area of 10582km². This salar has the particularity of containing a reserve of 9 million tons of Lithium 40% of world production. We will drive to Incahuasi Island which by mistake is better known as Fisherman's Island. This geological formation which is a petrified coral remains is covered with giant cactus that are up to 12m tall. From the highest point of the island we will have a breathtaking 360 ° view of the Salar of Uyuni. We will visit "los Ojos del Salar" (geological phenomena of rising water from the depths of the salar) and a few kilometers further we will also stop at the salt hotel, the first salt hotel built on the same salar. We arrive at the small village of Colchani located east of Salar Uyuni whose inhabitants live from the exploitation of salt, we will go into a salt operator in Colchani, a special meeting with these artisans from the end of the world. At Colchani we will be able to discover the manual work of the elaboration of salt and we will visit the small salt shop which acts as a museum where we can discover huge pieces carved in salt and curiosities (pottery, jewels, tools, etc.). ). We will visit the locomotive cemetery - remains of more prosperous times - before going to Uyuni in the late afternoon.
Day 9. Uyuni - Potosi – Visit of the Mines (Cerro Rico)* - Sucre
We leave for Potosi early in the morning and upon arrival we start with a visit to the miner’s market. Custom says it brings good luck to buy Coca leaves, cigarettes, alcohol or even dynamite as presents for the miners who will receive us at their workplace. Once we have finished our purchases we visit one of the mines in the Cerro Rico mountain. The mines here are quite different from western mines, some of them are very old – dug out by hand by the slaves of the Inca Empire and later by African slaves during the Spanish occupation - and very narrow and short (not for claustrophobics). Our visit of the Cerro Rico starts by the “Tio” (uncle) who is the protector of the mines and to whom the miners on many occasions make offerings in order to be protected from bad spells. We visit the 1st level of the mine and have the possibility to descend up to 3 levels below – 500 or 600 m into the depths of the Cerro Rico. After this impressive visit, we return to the hotel to pick up our bags and drive to Sucre. Once installed in the hotel in Sucre the rest of the evening is free.
*The mines are closed on Sundays so if today is a Sunday we will go for a tour of the city instead.
Day 10. Sucre City Tour – La Paz
After breakfast, we visit Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia also called the White City. This gem of Baroque art and the Renaissance is the most European city in Bolivia and probably one of the most beautiful in Latin America. Founded in 1538 by order of Pizarro, Sucre was destined to become the residence and the centre of the Spanish bourgeoisie. From an architectural point of view, Sucre has remained like a postcard of the 19th century which is of course part of its charm. Apart from its beauty and atmosphere of the 18th & 19th centuries, Sucre is also the historic capital of Bolivia. We visit the various museums, the Convento de Santa Clara as well as the Casa de la Libertad, which saw the signing of the Declaration of Independence August 6, 1825 (all visits may vary depending on the day because the museums are closed on Sundays and public holidays). In the afternoon, we are transferred to the airport in Sucre for the flight back to La Paz. Upon arrival in La Paz we are transferred to the hotel and the evening is free.
Day 11. La Paz - City Tour
The morning is free and after lunch, we go for a visit of La Paz. Our first stop is the Plaza Murillo (km 0), where we can see the Presidential Palace, the Parliament and the Cathedral. We visit the colonial street Calle Jaén and the old part of the town from where we continue to the famous church San Francisco which was built by the indigenous people. From here we visit the popular commercial zone of La Paz with its coloured markets and we walk up the Calle Sagarnaga – the main shopping street for typical clothes and handicrafts. From here we also visit the Calle de las Brujas (the Witches street) and our tour ends with a visit to the Indian market San Pedro. The rest of the evening is free to enjoy the last evening in the highest capital in the world.
Day 12. La Paz – Tiwanaku – Puno
We leave around 08h30 for our visit of the ruins of Tiwanaku, the capital of the pre-Inca empire. Tiwanaku was one of the oldest civilisations in the world and is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire. We visit the Akapana Pyramid and the semi-subterranean temple as well as the archaeological area where we can see the Temple of Kalasasaya, one of the largest and oldest ceremonial centres of the world. We also visit the famous “Puerta del Sol” (Gateway of the Sun) which is a monolithic structure that weighs about 10 tons. On the Puerta del Sol we can observe the Tiwanakota calendar which is expressed in 365,24 days distributed over 12 months. We visit the archaeological museum where we see the Monolith Bennet which measures 7,20 meters and weighs 20 tons, and we also get an insight in the 13 centuries of history which make Tiwanaku the oldest civilization in Latin America. After our visit of the site we have lunch (not included) in a typical restaurant where we can taste quinoa; the most important grain of the Andes. After lunch, we will drive to Desaguadero the Peruvian border. From there we change vehicules and drive to Puno, the rest of the day is free.
Day 13. Puno – Uros – Amantani
We leave at 07h30 to visit the floating island of the Uros. The small islands are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop and interweave form a natural layer called Khili (about one to two meters thick) that support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top constantly, about every three months. The islands last about thirty years. The islands were originally created by the Uros to prevent attacks from their neighbours the Incas. After this fantastic visit, we continue to Amantani which is a small touristic island in the lake where its people still maintains ancient customs, there, we visit the ceremonial centres of the Pacha Mama and Pacha Tata. The rest of the day is free.
Day 14. Amantani – Taquile – Puno
After breakfast we continue our island tour and after about one hour navigation we arrive at the Taquile island. This is quite a unique place at the lake where the inhabitants speak Quechua while all the other islands speak Aymara and the island is famous for its traditions and the lifestyle of the inhabitants. We return to Puno where the evening is free.
Day 15. Puno – Cuzco
In the morning we are transferred to bus station to take the touristic bus that goes to Cuzco. On our way we visit the ruins of Pukará and also the thermal springs in the region before passing the Raya mountain pass at 4321m/14.180ft. We stop at Sicuani for lunch and from here we continue to the Raqchi ruins where we can observe the remains of the central wall of the Wiracocha temple, which was one of the highest covered buildings constructed by the Inca. The tour continues through the valley of Cuzco close to the Huacarpay Lake where we make a halt at the pre-Inca site Pikillaqta from the Wari culture (XIIth century) which is partly destroyed. And finally we visit the church Andahuaylillas from the XVIIth century where we can observe some beautiful paintings. After being transferred to the hotel the evening is free to explore Cuzco.
Day 16. Cuzco City Tour
The morning is free and after lunch we start our city tour where we visit the archaeological sites of the town; Koricancha, the Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, K’enkho, Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay. The evening is free to enjoy Cuzco.
Day 17. Cuzco – Sacred Valley – Aguas Calientes
After breakfast, we visit the Sacred Valley and all the important Inca ruins in the area. We’ll see the ruins of Pisac with (depending on the day) the market, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo - a superb Inca fortress made of megalithic stones. In the evening we take the train to Aguas Calientes - a small village where all the buildings are concentrated along the railway giving it a “gold-digger” ambiance where we spend the night.
Day 18. Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu – Cuzco
We leave at 07h00 or earlier by bus to visit the famous Machu Picchu. After this impressive visit we return to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo where upon arrival we are transferred to the hotel in Cuzco and the evening is free. The Citadel of Machu Picchu is the most important attraction in Cuzco. It was discovered in 1911 by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, and is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of scenic architecture in the world. In Quechua Machu Picchu means “old mountain”. The Citadel was built on a hilltop which dominates the deep valley of the Urubamba river in the middle of tropical rainforest. Machu Picchu was both a centre of worship and astronomical observation and the private domain of the family of the Inca Pachacuteq.
Day 19. Cuzco – Lima City Tour
In the morning we are transferred to the airport for our flight back to Lima and upon arrival in Lima we are transferred to the hotel. After lunch we go for a city tour of Lima and the evening is free.
Ancestral Lima: We start our tour with a panoramic view of the “Pucllana Pyramid” a magnificent ceremonial and archaeological centre built in the 4th century a.D. and considered a “Sacred Village” by the Incas. The Viceroyalty of Perú was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima was its capital.
Colonial Lima: We visit the Historical Centre of Lima, where you will see more than fifty monuments and Colonial buildings, such as the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace. We also visit the museum of the Banco Central de Reserva where we can admire the “Treasures of Perú” collection which is a fine selection of objects made of gold, ceramics and textiles from different pre-Columbian cultures. During the tour we also visit the monumental San Francisco convent, which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. Our highlight will be the visit of the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs.
Contemporary Lima: We visit some traditional residential areas of Lima, such as El Olivar of San Isidro, Miraflores and Larcomar.
Day 20. Lima Departure*
According to your time of departure you are transferred from the hotel to the airport in Lima. For international flights it is recommended to arrive at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure. End of our services.
Important: Itinerary can change because of weather or social conditions and some sights are not always accessible – Lipiko Tours cannot be held responsible for any changes in itinerary and sights not visited as a result.
Porterage: Your luggage will be transported either by plane, car, boat, and bus. You will have to carry the personal belongings (camera, water, etc.) which you need during the day.
Service: For group above 4 people you will be accompanied by a tour leader in the chosen language. His role is to make sure that everything goes smoothly during the tour and that each individual and the group as a whole are safe. Don’t hesitate to ask him if you are unsure of anything and, very important, to follow his advice.
Included in the price:
- Water, air and land transfers as indicated in the program
- Accommodation in hotel/hostel in double rooms, Ecolodge, shelter, home stay, camping, bus and plane as indicated in the program.
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- The assistance of specialized local English speaking guides, their fees and expenses
- The assistance of our local teams; driver(s) and logistics department (24/7)
- Visits as outlined in the program
Not included in the price:
- Entrance fees to sites visited, national parks and museums as indicated in the program (allow for approx. 1500 Argentine Peso (Argentian national currency) per person – in Brazil (allow for approx. 150 Brazilian Real (Brazilian national currency) per person – this is an estimate and actual prices may vary)
- Meals not mentioned, drinks, tips, individual equipment, everything not mentioned in “included in the price” and all personal expenses
- Individual obligatory personal travel insurance (this could be included with your credit card – please check with your credit card provider)
- The supplement for a single room: 390 USD (subject to availability, must be reserved and paid upon reservation). Attention; no single room available for the nights with accommodation in shelter, home stay and camping.
- Possible visa expenses
- International flights