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. Lagunas Altiplánicas – Salar de Atacama
The tour starts from San Pedro de Atacama and the first stop is the village Toconao. We then continue to Socaire which is a small village situated in 3500m and is considered the viewpoint of the Salar de Atacama. From here we continue to the lakes Miscanti and Meñiques which are part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve. We continue to the smaller salt flats Capur, Talar and Tuyaito before returning to San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 7. Puritama Hot Springs – Astronomical Tour
In the morning we start with a visit to the Puritama Hot Springs where we can enjoy the hot water in natural swimming pools. The hot water sources are located in 3475m and officially opened for tourism a few years ago - they still maintain their natural and wild side. We return to San Pedro de Atacama around 13h00 and the afternoon is free to relax before the tour in the evening. You can maybe visit the Pukará de Quitor which is located just a few kilometers out of town. SPACE has the largest park of telescopes of any public observatory in South America and they offer you the best possible view of the southern skies. Please note that this tour is not available during the few days of full moon.
Day 8. San Pedro de Atacama – Calama – Pozo al Monte
In the morning we drive cap North to reach the city of Pozo Almonte. Pozo Almonte is a city located in the Tamarugal Province, in the Region of Tarapacá. The city is near to Iquique. On our way just before arrive at Pozo Almonte we will drive to the quebrada of Chacarilla to observe the geoglyphe of Pintado. If we got enough time and if your are not to tired by the long road trip, we might go to visit Iquique.
Day 9. Pozo al Monte – Humberstone – Pisiga
After breakfast we will leave the village of Pozo Almonte to go to the abandoned village – of Humberstone. Which has become a Museum along the Panamerican Highway in one of the driest deserts on the planet. This museum shows the office that managed the saltpetre inaugurate in 1862 and built as a camp in 1933 until 1960. This camp has hosted thousands of Chileans for half a century for the exploitation of saltpetre for the extraction of nitrate sodium, an important element for European agriculture in the 19th century. After this historic visit we will go to the Chilean Altiplano to the border village of Pisiga where the rest of the day will be free.
Day 10. Pisiga – National Park Isluga and Vicuña – Putre
After breakfast we will drive to the National Park Isluga where we can see the volcano of the same name. We take a narrow track that goes north, amid the bofedales populated llamas Isluga Park. We cross the colonial villages of Enquelga (3850 m alt.) And Isluga (3980 m alt.). Then we continue north to reach Salar Surire (4245 m alt.), Which takes its name from the presence of ostriches (suri in Aymara). We can observe 3 varieties of flamingos, as well as many llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Lunch break near the hot springs. We will continue through the park of Las Vicuñas and cross the Rio Lauca before arriving in Putre in the late afternoon.
Day 11. Putre – National park Lauca – Arica
After breakfast we leave the small hamlet of Putre to make a steep descent to sea level with some 3500m of altitude to reach the city of Arica, 145kms from Putre. In the course we will visit the National park of Lauca and the fort or Pukará of Copaquilla between the road and the cliffs and the Tambo (accommodation of travelers) of Zapahuira which date from the Incas. Further on, we will see cactuses with candlestick shapes, curiously called Cactus Chandelier! and 13-19kms before arriving to Arica we will be able to see in the mountains to the left of our way of geoglyphs. In Arica we will be accomodated to the accommodation and the rest of the day will be free.
Day 12. Arica – Arequipa
At 10h30 we will drive toward the border of Peru. After the administrative control and custom we will stop to Tacna for lunch. Then we will drive along the coast to reach Arequipa where we will spend the night. The rest of the day is free.
Day 13. Arequipa – Chivay
At 08h00 we start our tour to the majestic Colca Valley, also called the “Inca’s lost valley”. We visit Pampa Cañahuas and the Salinas National Reserve and at Aguadas Blanca we can observe Vicuñas, Lamas and Alpacas. We pause at Tojrapampa where we can observe the Bofedales (wetlands) and see different species of migration birds as well as flamingos. Later we stop at Patapampa at the Viewpoint of the Andes where we can admire the surrounding volcanoes. This will be our highest point on our tour at 4900m/16.080ft. From here we walk down into the Colca Valley to 3600m/11.810ft where we get installed in the hotel. After lunch we go for a trek (3-4 hours) to discover the archaeological site Uyo Uyo and we enjoy the landscape and the thermal baths of Yanque. Early evening we return to the hotel and the evening is free.
Day 14. Chivay – Puno
After a very early breakfast we head towards the Cruz del Condor from where we can observe the depths of the canyon and the flight of the Condors. From the Cruz del Condor we walk to the Cruz del Cura and we visit the small traditional villages Pinchollo Yanque and Maca where we can see amphitheatre, church and terraces. We return to Chivay and after lunch we continue to Puno where the evening is free.
Day 15. Puno – Uros – Taquile – Puno
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 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 16. 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 17. 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 18. Cuzco – Valle Sagrado – 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 19. 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 20. Cuzco – Lima
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 21. 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 conditions and some sights are not accessible at all times – 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