Company : Oasis Overland
Countries: Bolivia / Peru
Duration: 3 weeks to 4 weeks
Approx Costs: 1750 to 2000 £ Pound (UK)
Places visited include Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Potosi, Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada and Sucre.
Places visited include Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Potosi, Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada and Sucre.
An intoxicating amalgam of Peru & Bolivia; hike the imperious Inca Trail, visit an old silver mine, the vibrant City of La Paz and the giant Uyuni Salt Flats. Look for the dinosaur footprints in Sucre and overnight on floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca. Finish it all off with a visit to the Amazon Jungle.
Our local guide will meet you at Cuzco airport and transfer you to the joining Hotel in the serene area of San Blas. Our guide will arrange a suitable time to take you on an orientation walk of the City, so you can get your bearings and make the most of your time in Cuzco.
Cuzco, the outdoors capital of Peru and our base for the next 7 days. A mecca for adventure travel, Peru's famous Inca Trail begins near this city. Although Cuzco is today a colonial city, most of its churches and museums are built on top of original Inca stonewalls which are clearly visible. You have the option of doing a day tour of the beautiful Urubamba or Sacred Valley of the Incas where you'll find temples, terraces, local communities and markets before returning to Cuzco for a good night's sleep before your Inca Trail!
Days 3 to 6
We head out early from Cuzco to the Urubamba Valley from where we begin our 4 day hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This moderate to strenuous hike is a once in a lifetime experience and anyone with a good level of fitness will enjoy it. A stunning combination of awesome views, Inca ruins, magnificent mountains and exotic adventure. There are also alternatives to this trek available, for when the Classic Trail is unavailable, or by your choice. Please see the section on Inca Trails for details, and ensure that you contact Oasis at the time of booking to arrange any alternatives. Please also note that tickets are now being sold seperately to climb Huanapichu, the summit next to Machu Picchu, and it is imperative that those wishing to do this select this as an add-on at the time of booking to avoid disappointment. See the add-ons section of our website for more details. Our route back to Cuzco for all options is by train.
Days 7 to 8
We have 2 free days in Cuzco to relax and recover as well as explore more of the city and its museums and churches or look for local crafts from Alpaca woollen jumpers to Andean musical instruments and local jewellery. The adventurous can go white water rafting on the Urubamba or Apurimac River.
Days 9 to 11
Bordering Peru and Bolivia at 3800m lies Lake Titicaca which will be one of the most memorable stops on your tour. Lake Titicaca is the original place of the Uros Indians who have made their homes on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time in these local communities is a definite highlight of travel to Peru and is almost like stepping back in time. This experience will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs as well as supporting these families with some extra income. On return from the Islands, you have the rest of the day to relax in Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and experience the rich Andean culture.
Days 12 to 13
Our tour of Peru draws to a close this morning, as we leave for Bolivia. Just after crossing the border, is the picturesque lakeside village of Copacabana. From here we continue onto the impressive city of La Paz, where the rest of the day is yours to explore. Bolivia is considered the most indigenous of all South American countries and this is clearly visible in La Paz. The capital is a hilly city full of markets and traditionally dressed people. Breakfast x 2
We take a tour of the city (approx. 4 hours). La Paz is like no other city you will have visited, with its stunning setting in a valley, surrounded by 6000mtr peaks! The streets are narrow and winding, full of brightly dressed Andeans selling their wares! Our tour takes in the atmosphere and we'll learn a lot about Andean Culture, passing through interesting neighborhoods we visit the main sights such as Murillo Square & Cathedral, Congress and Government Palace (built in 1800's), The Incan Gold Museum, Valley of the Moon and the famous Witches Market. Finally we drive to Killi Killi lookout point to enjoy a 360 degree view of the city! We have the rest of the day at leisure to wander or find a Huari (local beer). In June it's possible to be in La Paz for 'El Gran Poder' (the Parade of the Great Power). The streets are filled with a Carnival atmosphere (some say it has a vibe equal to Rio!) as locals dress up and party the day away! (Check our website for dates when our tour is in La Paz for El Gran Poder).
Depending on the departure time of our train (these do vary!) we should have a free morning to browse the local markets, find a café and watch street life go by or visit one of the museums. We take a bus (3 hours) to the mining town of Oruro, followed by a high altitude train ride (7 hours) to our final destination of Uyuni - home to the vast Salar (Salt flats). As our arrival in to Uyuni is likely to be quite late in the evening, we will transfer straight to our hotel.
Today marks the start of our 3 day expedition to explore the Salt Flats and stunning lakes, deserts and volcanoes. After breakfast we board our 4x4 Land Cruisers and drive to the eerie but evocative Train Cemetery. Here lie old steam locomotives, pristinely preserved in the dry climate, dating back to Bolivia's booming gold and tin mining days. Next we visit Colchani village and look at the traditional Salt bagging process - you can even buy yourself a small ornament made of salt gathered from the Salar! Once we get out on to the Salar, you realise quite how vast the area is, and our guide will explain some of the weird and wonderful geological facts as we head out in to the heart of the flats to visit Inca Huasi Island. We have time to walk to the top of the island, passing giant cactus, and enjoy the spectacular view of the beautiful Tunupa Volcano (5300 mtrs) and the 10,000 square kms of Salt Flats that now surround you! After lunch we head for San Juan Village, where we visit a Pre Inca Cemetery, a small museum and we stay overnight in basic accommodation.
We continue driving south on our way to the little Chiguana Salt Flat. Huge volcanoes (Ollague 5850mtrs) surround us as we take our time, stopping for photos at a lookout point and finally reaching Canapa Lagoon at a height of 4130mtrs! From here we can see pink Flamingoes and many other species of bird. Hedionda (Stinky!) Lagoon is our next stop, although we may make it a quick one as it certainly lives up to its name, due to the high sulphur content! Passing scenic lagoons, we drive up towards the amazing Siloli Desert, crossing altitudes of almost 4600mtrs, to see the incredible natural rock formations eroded by the powerful winds. We end our day at the Red Lagoon, a breathtaking 40 square kilometer area which has been declared a Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to 3 endemic species of Andean Flamingo. We stay close to the shores of the lagoon in Wayllajara Village in basic accommodation.
Today we need an early start to catch the first rays of sun on the Sol de Manana Volcano Crater. The route takes us to almost 5000mtrs at one point! Beautiful steam geysers and colourful boiling volcanic mud pools await us at the top and you'll be staggered by the extraordinary power of the earth which has been partially harnessed to generate electricity! We breakfast on the banks of Challviri Lagoon where those of us that want to can enjoy a hot spring! Passing through the barren volcanic environment of Dali's Desert, we are presented with fantastic photo opportunities as we approach the southwest tip of Bolivia and at the foot of Licancabur Volcano (5900mtrs), we see the breathtaking Green Lagoon. From here we head back to Red Lagoon and take another route back to Uyuni via Rock Valley, stopping off in some small villages along the way. We complete our day by visiting the highest pizza restaurant in the world! (Optional).
We leave behind Uyuni and its spectacular Salt Flats, and take the road to Potosi, enjoying the beautiful mountain views and bouncy gravel roads along the way! After checking in to our hotel, there is the option to visit the once famous Silver Mines in Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) and step back in time to experience life as a miner in these harsh conditions. The tour is not for the faint hearted, and at times in the mine you can get extremely hot, dirty and feel very claustrophobic! For those not visiting the mines, there are several other attractions worth visiting in Potosi, such as the ancient Mint, which tells the history of the silver mined here and shipped to Spain in Colonial times. There is almost a church on every block, some with very impressive interiors, but one to check out is San Francisco where you can view the city from the roof! If you are lucky enough to be in Potosi in August, the Chutillos Festival with its evocative costumes and crazy masks, is definitely worth a look! (Check website for dates when our tour is in Potosi for the Festival).
We have a morning of leisure to do some last minute exploring of Potosi, before we head to one of Bolivia's most beautiful cities, Sucre, via bus. Sucre is known as 'The 4 Names City' because of its long and varied history - Charkas (its Indian name), La plata (The Silver), Ciudad Blanca (White City) and Sucre (Sugar in French). The afternoon is free to wander the charming streets and possibly visit Liberty's House where Bolivia was created a new free Republic in 1825.
After breakfast we visit The Cretaceous Park, where we can see thousands of dinosaur footprints, including the world's biggest! There is more free time to explore in the afternoon, and if colour and culture are your thing, why not visit Asur, Bolivia's best Textile Museum, where some of the most precious and colourful pre Incan textiles are kept (some are at least 1500 years old!) In the late afternoon we transfer to the bus station and join our Bus Cama (bed bus) which will be our ride and accommodation to La Paz! Breakfast There is an option to fly from Sucre to La Paz, subject to availability.
On arrival in La Paz we transfer to our hotel and the rest of the day is yours to recuperate from your Bolivian travels and maybe pick up some souvenirs, such as Andean blankets, ponchos and jewellery from the hilly market streets.
We depart early from La Paz for our flight to Rurrenabaque City in the Amazon basin. Once we arrive, we head to the shores of the Beni River to board a boat to Madidi National Park. On the way we'll see the impressive Estrecho del Bala, which is a pass where the Beni River becomes narrow and deep. We navigate Beni and Tuichi rivers for approximately 3 hours to arrive at our lodge where we'll take our lunch and we'll rest a little preparing ourselves for our adventure in the Bolivian Amazon. In the afternoon, we follow jungle paths to learn about the rich flora of the region, medicinal plants, toxic plants, mushrooms, etc. Later we return to the lodge for our dinner, before venturing out on a night walk to feel and hear the sounds of the Amazon and to observe nocturnal animals.
In the morning we continue exploring the beautiful jungle learning about the trees, leaves, flowers and plants as well as visiting a clay lick to observe several species of macaws, parrots and parakeets licking salty clay to help with their digestion. Next we travel by river and then switch to 4WD vehicles to drive towards Yacuma River. On the way we'll pass by the picturesque towns of Reyes and Santa Rosa. On the river you will enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the region and its rich wildlife. On the way to the lodge we hope to see on the river banks, alligators, turtles, capybaras, Bolivian squirrel monkeys, and much more.
After breakfast we go for a walk to learn about, and experience, another Amazonian Ecosystem well known as Pampas. Here we are going to search for more fauna, such as birds, alligators, and the famous Amazonian Anaconda. In the afternoon we get back to the river and we look for a good spot for fishing piranhas and swimming with the extraordinary Pink Dolphins known as Bufeo. After dinner, we'll need our torches as we explore the river in search of alligators!
Today our aim is specially to find monkeys such as the Squirrel Monkey called by locals the "Mono Chichilo", the Howler Monkey called locally "Maneche", the Spider Monkey "Mono Negro", and others. We return to the lodge for our lunch, and prepare our drive back to Rurrenabaque City where we'll take our late afternoon flight back to La Paz. Arrival to La Paz city and transfer to the hotel.
Tour ends in La Paz after breakfast. For the adventurous it may be worth extending your stay for some gravity Assisted Mountain Biking down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road, or visit the worlds highest ski resort at over 5000mtrs!
From: £2450.00 + Local Payment From: US$445.00
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