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 – 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 3. 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 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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 8. 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 9. 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 10. 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 11. 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 12. 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 13. 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 14. 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 15. Lima - Quito City Tour of Quito and the Equatorial line
We will leave early for Lima airport to go to Quito. Upon your arrival our team will be waiting for you to accompany you to the hotel.After our installation at the hotel, we will go to visit Quito, this city classified world heritage of Unesco offers us the best preserved historical center of Latin America. The historic centre of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas and was one of the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. We walk through the Main Plaza, visit the Government Palace, the Cathedral and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries. The tour continues to the north of Quito where we have lunch in a local restaurant with delicious typical dishes before we visit the Equatorial line, known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), and some of the museums. Archaeological evidence indicates both pre-Incan and Inca civilizations recognized and worshiped the path of the equator as the marker of the equinox. Late in the afternoon we return to the hotel and the evening is free.
Note: Rooms are available from mid-day. For those arriving on morning flights, an early check-in can be arranged for a fee.
Day 16. The Otavalo colourful market and Cuicocha Lake
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in the hotel lobby to take you on a visit to one of the most prosperous communities the country, the Otavalo where you will find the famous Ponchos’ Market. Here you can find colourful handicrafts like rugs, clothes, Panama hats, pictures, jewellery, etc. The tour continues to the Hacienda Pinsaquí, one of the most beautiful haciendas in the country, where a delicious lunch will be served. In the afternoon you visit the Cuicocha Lake in Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve and on the way you will stop in Cotacachi town known for its famous leather handicrafts. The Cuicocha Lake lies inside the crater of an active volcano surrounded by flora and fauna. This place is considered as a sacred lake and used by the native people to celebrate traditional rituals to purify and clean their souls. Late afternoon we return to Quito where the evening is free.
Day 17. Quito – Antisana Reserve – Cotopaxi
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in order to depart to the east range of the Andes at the Antisana Ecological Reserve, where you will admire the beautiful Lake Mica and the majestic Antisana Volcano (5758m/18.886.24ft). This reserve is considered a hot spot for bird watching, and we can find the Carunculated Caracara known as Caracara Curiquingue here. This bird is famous because of its movements and characteristics and in the local festivities people will dress up in Caracaras costumes. The Antisana Ecological Reserve is also one of the best places to spot the Andean Condor in its natural habitat. After a delicious box lunch we depart to Cotopaxi Province where you overnight in one of the incredible haciendas located close to the National Park.
Day 18. Saquisili Market - Quilotoa Lake – Baños
Early in the morning after breakfast we leave to the Quilotoa Lake. On our way we stop at the Saquisilí market, this is one of the biggest indigenous markets in the Ecuadorian highlands, the colorful blend of textiles, heaping piles of produce, and local people in traditional Andean clothes is really interesting. We also stop in Tigua, a small town, where you can find amazing handicrafts made by animal skins and beautiful and colourful masks that represent some local animals. Upon arrival at the Quilotoa Lake we can walk down from the border of the crater to arrive at the lake (depending on weather conditions). You have time to visit the area and for the return you have the possibility to hire a mule. After a delicious box lunch we continue to Baños where you get installed in a new Hacienda. After dinner at the Hacienda the evening is free.
Day 19. The Waterfall Avenue – Riobamba
After breakfast we visit the town of Baños where you can see how people extract a delicious juice from the sugar cane, production of melcochas, and you can buy beautiful handicrafts made by balsa and tagua. We visit the famous waterfall route where you can see beautiful waterfalls like the Manto de la Novia waterfall, where you will cross the Pastaza river by a rustic lift, hanging more than 200m/656ft above the river, Pailon del Diablo, Agoyán and others. After this visit your guide will drive you a local restaurant where a delicious lunch will be waiting for you. In the afternoon we continue to the Chimborazo province where you will overnight.
Day 20. Riobamba – Cuenca; Devil’s Nose train – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Early in the morning, after breakfast your guide will drive you to the Alausí train station located 2 hours south of Riobamba, where you will take the train that goes to the famous Devil's nose. Work on Ecuador’s first railway, which would link the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital, Quito, in the highlands was achieved in 1908. The greatest obstacle, which prompted the line to be dubbed “the most difficult railway in the world”, was met 130km east of Guayaquil at a near-vertical wall of rock, known as El Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose). The ingenious engineering solution was to carve a series of tight zigzags out of the rock, which allowed the train to climb 800m at a gradient of 1-in-18 by going forwards then backwards up the tracks. Currently, only the 12-km stretch from Alausí to Pistishi (usually advertised as Sibambe) at the end of the Devil’s Nose descent, is open, which is the trip you will be taking. The tour offers stunning views of Chimborazo and Carihuairazo and a thrilling descent down the Devil’s Nose itself. At the end of your train adventure, your guide will be waiting for you in Alausí town from where you will continue with your trip to the Ingapirca ruins. The Ingapirca archaeological site is the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock. The building is constructed in the Inca way without mortar in most of the complex. The stones were carefully chiselled and fashioned to fit together perfectly. The temple of the sun was positioned so that on the solstices, at exactly the right time of day, sunlight would fall through the centre of the doorway of the small chamber at the top of the temple. Most of this chamber has fallen down. After our visit we continue to Cuenca where the evening is free.
Day 21. Cuenca City Tour – Quito
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in the hotel lobby ready for your visit of the town. You will walk through magnificent churches, beautiful old buildings with wrought iron balconies and carved wooden doors, flower and handicrafts markets, art galleries, workshops and all the wonders that Cuenca, with its colonial style and pleasant atmosphere, offers to its visitors. You will also ride along the Tomebamba River admiring the ancient houses perched on the riverbank above. Also you can visit some modern neighbourhoods and enjoy of a panoramic view of the city from the vantage point of Turi. After the tour your guide will drive you to a local restaurant where you will enjoy of a delicious typical lunch. Late in the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in order to catch your flight back to Quito. At Quito’s airport your driver will meet you and transfer to your hotel and the evening is free.
Day 22. Quito Departure*
According to your time of departure you are transferred from the hotel to the airport in Quito. 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