Ecuador-Bolivia-Chile 21 days

 

Day 1. Quito arrival
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.
Note: Rooms are available from mid-day. For those arriving on morning flights, an early check-in can be arranged for a fee.

Day 2. Quito City Tour of Quito and the Equatorial line
Today we go for a tour of Quito. 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.

Day 3. 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 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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 8. Quito - La Paz (3663m/12.020ft) Arrival
According to the time of your flight you are transferred to the airport. Upon arrival at the international airport of Lima our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel

Today you arrive in La Paz. Flying into La Paz is always an experience; if you arrive at night you can admire the lights of the city between the mountains or during the day you might get a view of the Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world. Once arrived in the International Airport of El Alto, which is also the highest commercial airport in the world, our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing, there are no more activities planned and you can take the time to acclimatize to the altitude and explore La Paz on foot.

Day 9. La Paz – Copacabana
We leave the hotel at 07h30 and after approximately 3½ hours we arrive in Copacabana, where we leave our luggage at the hotel. Before lunch we visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana which is a 16th century church that houses the image of the patron saint of Bolivia. The church attracts thousands of local tourists throughout the year and it remains one of the two principal sacred places both for indigenous people and Catholics. After lunch, we have the option to climb to the Calvario from where we have a beautiful view over the lake and the village or climb to Intiwatana or Horca del Inca which is believed to have been an astronomical observatory. If time allows it we can visit both the Calvario and the Horca del Inca and the rest of the day is free to enjoy Copacabana.

Day 10. Copacabana – Isla del Sol (Sun island)
After breakfast, we leave by boat to visit the famous Sun Island (Isla del Sol). We visit the Inca Staircase, the Inca Fountain as well as the ruins of the Palacio de Pilkokaina (“place where the birds rest”). This construction is characterised by its walls and doors that are particularly well conserved. We spend the night in an Eco Lodge in Yumani.

Day 11. Isla del Sol – Copacabana – La Paz 
In the morning, we return to the harbour of Yumani (walking down the Inca Staircase) from where we take a boat back to Copacabana. Upon arrival in Copacabana we have time for lunch before returning to La Paz where the evening is free.

Day 12. La Paz – Sucre City Tour
After breakfast we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Sucre (departure times vary depending on the day). Arrived in Sucre we are transferred to the hotel and after lunch we leave to visit Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia also called the White City. This gem of Baroque art and the Renaissance is the most European cities 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. Sucre is considered the most beautiful city in Bolivia, but apart from its beauty and atmosphere of the 18th & 19th centuries, Sucre also has the advantage of being the historic capital of Bolivia. We visit the various museums, the Convento de Santa Clara and also 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). The evening is free to enjoy Sucre.

Day 13. Sucre – Potosi - Visit of the mines (Cerro Rico)*– Uyuni
At 08h00 we leave Sucre by bus for Potosi. Potosi was once one of the largest cities in the world with a population over 200.000 people and is one of the highest cities in the  world. It lies beneath the Cerro Rico Mountain (“rich mountain”) which was the reason for the town’s historical importance because of its important silver ore. After lunch we visit the miners market. Custom says it brings good luck to buy Coca leaves, cigarettes, alcohol or even dynamite as presents for the miners that 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 head back to the bus terminal to take the bus to Uyuni. Upon arrival our team will transfer you to your hotel and the rest of the day is free.

Day 14. Uyuni – Colchani – Salar de Uyuni – Incahuasi – Cueva de las galaxias – San Pedro de Quemez
The first visit will be the locomotive cemetery, the result of an abandoned project to build a big network of trains out of Uyuni. From here we continue to Colchani which is a small village situated on the edge of the Salar and who’s inhabitants live from salt exploitation. In Colchani we discover how salt is processed manually and we visit the small salt boutique. We now enter the famous Salar de Uyuni; the biggest salt desert in the world with acreage of 10.582km²/4.086mi2. One of the particularities of the Uyuni Salt Flat is that it contains a reserve of 9 million tonnes of Lithium which represents 40% of world production. We head to the Island Incahuasi, a geological formation that is a remnant of petrified coral and is covered with giant cactus that can get up to 12m/39.37ft high. From the top of the island we have a wonderful 360° view of the Salar de Uyuni. After lunch our journey continues in the direction of San Pedro de Quemez and we have the possibility to visit the “Cueva de las Galaxias” which is a strange phenomenon of fossil algae which reminds us that the ocean was present here all the way to Oruro. In the adjacent cave, we can observe the Chullpares which are Inca funerary remains. We climb to the viewpoint from where we have a great view of the desert and if we take a closer look we can also observe the fossil coral that once were part of a coral barrier. After this impressive visit, we continue to San Pedro de Quemez situated at the doors of the Lipez desert. We arrive at San Pedro de Quemez around 16h00 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 15. San Pedro de Quemez – Salar de Chiguana – Ollagüe volcano – Siloli desert – Ruta de las joyas Alto Andinas (lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda y Ramaditas) – Stone tree – Reserva nacional de la fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa – Ojo de Perdiz
We continue our tour of south Bolivia and from San Pedro de Quemez we pass the Uyuni – Ollagüe railway before crossing the Salar de Chiguana. We observe the still active volcano Ollagüe and even from far we can see its fumarole. We follow the famous Jewel Route which is composed of the Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda and Ramadita. Today we also visit the Stone Tree (please refrain from climbing on the rock) planted in the middle of the Siloli desert and at the end of the day we enter the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa and we arrive at the Laguna Colorada (coloured lake). The name is because of the red colour that is caused by microscopic shellfish and a variety of algae which thrive in the salt water which is the principal nutriment of the rose-coloured flamingos that live in this area. Due to climate changes (lack of rain) and the high evaporation of the Altiplanic basin the water level of the regions Lagunas is reduced rapidly, which year after year unfortunately also reduces the population of the flamingos. Mid-afternoon we leave to get installed in our hotel Ojo de Perdiz 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 16. Ojo de Perdiz - Laguna Colorada – Geyser de Sol de Mañana – Polques Thermal Spring – Dali Desert – Laguna Verde – Licancahur (5971m/19.590ft) – Villamar – San Pedro de Atacama
We leave the Laguna Colorada to go even deeper into the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa. We visit the boiling geysers of Sol de Mañana which is an impressive geothermal field with pits of boiling mud and strong smells of sulphur. Our tour continues in the direction of the thermal bath of Polques, a natural source of hot water where we can go for a swim. We continue through the South Lipez and we observe the “Damas del Desierto” which are enormous rocks planted in this barren landscape and carved by wind and weather over the years. We also cross the Dali Desert, which was named in reverence to the Catalan artist because of the resemblance of the landscape with the unreal yet natural colours, to the masters’ work. We continue to the Laguna Verde and Blanca at the foot of the Licancahur, one of the most southern points in Bolivia. The Laguna Verde gets its green colour from the high concentration of lead, arsenic sulphur and calcium. From the Laguna Verde we continue south to the bolivian/Chilean border at Hito Cajon. After the border formalities we will change vehicle and continue to San Pedro de Atacama where the rest of the day is free.*

  * Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 17. 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 18. 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 19. San Pedro de Atacama – Calama - Santiago de Chile
We transfer to the airport in Calama to take the flight Calama – Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago our team will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel and the rest of the day is free.

Day 20. Santiago – Vineyard visit – Colchagua Valley – 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 alabyrinth of streets andcobblestone 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 21. Santiago 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. 

 

 

 

General information:
Highlights: Quito, Antisana Reserve, Cotopaxi, Riobamba, Cuenca, La Paz, Copacabana, Sun Island, Sucre, Potosi, Salar de Uyuni, South Lipez, Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde, San Pedro de Atacama, Tatio Geyser Field, Salar de Tara, Colchagua Valley, Santiago.

Support Team: English speaking tour leader for the entire tour for groups of 4 people or more. For smaller groups it is possible to book this tour without a tour leader. Instead you would have guided visits with a local guide in chosen language. Please contact us directly to receive a personalized quote.

Departure guaranteed: Group Tour: from 4 people. Individual Tour: from 2 people 

Accommodation: 21 nights in hotel.

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

Back to the top