Holidays in Peru and Chile

Altiplano Explorer

Holidays to Peru and Chile

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From Machu Picchu to Uyuni & Atacama

18-day holidays in Peru, Chile and Bolivia for £3450pp

Holidays in Peru and Chile offer a world of wonders, from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu high in the cloud forest of the Andes to the epic landscapes of the arid Atacama Desert.

But this itinerary takes things one stage further by extending your holidays to Peru and Chile off the beaten track and into Bolivia. Peru and Bolivia are a natural combination, sharing a border which includes the beautiful Lake Titicaca. So what better way to combine the best of both countries than to cross from Peru into Bolivia across the Lake itself? You'll then visit La Paz and the incredible Salar de Uyuni salt lakes, before we take you overland from Uyuni and across the arid, eerie Atacama Desert into Chile!

Outline Itinerary

  • Day One: Arrival in Lima
  • Day Two: Free Day in Lima
  • Day Three: Fly to Cusco
  • Day Four: City Tour in Cusco
  • Day Five: Free Day in Cusco
  • Day Six: Tour of the Sacred Valley
  • Day Seven: Tour of Machu Picchu
  • Day Eight: Return to Cusco
  • Day Nine: Travel to Lake Titicaca
  • Day Ten: Cruise across Lake Titicaca
  • Day Eleven: Tour of La Paz
  • Day Twelve: Fly to Uyuni
  • Day Thirteen: Tour of Salar de Uyuni
  • Day Fourteen: Cross Atacama Desert into Chile
  • Day Fifteen: Free Day in San Pedro de Atacama
  • Day Sixteen: Fly to Santiago
  • Day Seventeen: Free Day in Santiago
  • Day Eighteen: Overnight Flight to UK

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Detailed Itinerary

Day One – Arrival in Lima

Your holidays in Peru and Chile will begin today with your arrival in Lima. We will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel in the stylish Miraflores area of the city for you to check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may just want to rest, but if you’re feeling up to it then we’d highly recommend taking a walk around the lovely Parque Kennedy and perhaps to one of our recommended restaurants to sample some of Lima’s world-famous cuisine.

Day Two – Free day in Lima

A full free day today to get into the holiday mode and relax into the Peruvian pace of life. We recommend taking a taxi to the colonial centre of Old Lima or walking a short distance to the beaches and cliffs for lunch with a sea view. (Breakfast included)

  • If you would prefer us to arrange a city tour of Lima for you, then just ask us for more information. There are a range of tours from walking or cycling around the colonial city, to gastronomic tours and cooking classes!

Day Three – Travel to Cusco

After breakfast we will meet you at your hotel and take you by private transfer to the airport for your flight to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. On arrival our local representative will be waiting for you and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to spend how you wish. It’s a good idea to have a wander around the town as you get used to the altitude. The central Plaza de Armas is very close to your hotel and there’s a host of restaurants to choose from. (B)

Day Four – Walking Tour of Cusco

We’ve kept this morning free to give you chance for a leisurely breakfast and some time to introduce yourself to the city. In the afternoon, we’ll pick you up from your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Cusco. Your tour will be on foot to allow your guide to help you get your bearings and point out the more interesting quirky Inca features you pass by which you don’t get to see from the window of a coach. (B)

  • This tour is usually by car, but we can arrange walking or horseback tours if you prefer

Day Five – Free time in Cusco

We usually like to give people some time to explore on their own, so today is up to you. You could visit the bustling local market, walk up to the bohemian San Blas district with its galleries and jewellers, or perhaps just sit back with a cup of coca tea and get those postcards written... Of course, if you’d prefer something more active then we’d be delighted to make some suggestions. In the evening we will have a short briefing session before we start our trek tomorrow, and if we have arranged an extra porter for you, we will pick up the items they will carry at the same time. (B)

  • If you'd like to fit in some adventure on your holiday, how about spending today white-water rafting or mountain-biking?

Day Six - Tour of the Sacred Valley

Today will be spent away from the city as you journey into the Andes for a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba. As you wind your way along one of the beautiful valleys in the world, you will be able to visit the village of Pisac (including its famous market and temple) and the temple-fortress of Ollantaytambo. You really begin to feel the spirit of the Incas as you visit these extraordinary locations. But in many ways this is just preparation for... (B/L)

Day Seven - Tour of Machu Picchu

Today’s the one you’ve been waiting for..... We will pick you up early in the morning and take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo for your train up to Machu Picchu. We’ll give you a full guided tour of the site and then leave you to explore the nooks and crannies yourself. Although you’ll never forget your day here or your first glimpse of the breathtaking lost Inca city make sure you remember your camera as we can guarantee you’ll want to show these photos off! When you’re ready you’ll take the bus back down through the cloud forest to the foot of the mountain and head to your hotel for the night. (B)

Day Eight – Return to Cusco

You will have a free morning in Aguas Calientes today, so you can relax and enjoy the hot springs that give the town its name. Alternatively, if you purchase an extra ticket, you can head back up to Machu Picchu to experience sunrise from the sun-gate, or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site. However you choose to spend today, you will return by train to Cusco in the evening. (B)

  • If you’re not sure one day will be enough at Machu Picchu we can organise an extra ticket to Machu Picchu so you can experience sunrise from the sun-gate, or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site.

Day Nine - On to Lake Titicaca

We will head to the coach station this morning for your journey to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Your guide on your coach will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and you’ll stop at the Inca temple of Wiracocha and the stone-working museum at Pucara and La Raya. The coach also stops at Sicuani for your buffet lunch which is included. You should be well-acclimatised to the altitude by now so even though Puno is somewhat higher than Cusco, you will be able to enjoy a wander around and enjoy some fresh grilled trout by the lakeside. (B/L)

Day Ten - Crossing Lake Titicaca

We will journey overland this morning to Copacabana, where we will then board the Hydrofoil and head out onto Lake Titicaca. The first stop will be Moon Island, to visit the Sun Virgins Temple, ‘Iñak Uyu’, before continuing on to Sun Island. Here we will visit the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain, where you can taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. After lunch, and a short walk round the small handicraft market, we will head back to Copacabana and continue overland to Huatajata. On arrival, we will visit the Andean Roots Eco Village to learn about the culture and history of the region, where you can see some great replicas of the traditional mud huts which surround the area, as well as meeting some vicuñas, llamas and alpacas. Your will be dropped off this evening at your hotel in La Paz. (B/L)

  • If you would like to spend a night staying overnight on the beautiful Isla del Sol in the middle of Lake Titicaca then just let us know! There’s no better way to experience the peace and tranquility of the Lake, or to experience the richness of the colours at sunset, and the purity of the night skies here...

Day Eleven – Tour of La Paz and Moon Valley

La Paz is famous as a city of contrasts, from the modern skyscrapers of the centre, through to the faded grandeur of the colonial churches and public buildings. Today’s tour of La Paz will allow you to see the highlights of the city such as the famous Witches Market and the best of the colonial architecture, before heading out of the city to the famous Moon Valley, where centuries of erosion have created some truly other-worldly landscapes that have to be seen to be believed. (B/L)

Day Twelve - Fly to Uyuni

You will have some free time this morning to have another look around La Paz before we take you to the airport for a flight south to the town of Uyuni, right in the south-west of Bolivia. On arrival we will be waiting to take you to the amazing Salt Hotel where you will be having dinner and spending the night. (B)

Day Twelve - Salar de Uyuni

Today we will head out for a full-day tour of the incredible Uyuni salt flats. You will visit the bizarre Isla Pescado, a cactus-covered island in the middle of a salt sea, and enjoy lunch right in the middle of the Salar, with the bright white salt flats extending as far as the eye can see, ringed by snow-capped volcanoes. It really is like nowhere else on earth and is a fantastic experience. After a full day on the Salar we will head to a local hotel for an overnight stay before continuing on to Chile in the morning. (B/L)

Day Thirteen – Across the Atacama Desert

Today we will leave behind the desolation of the Salt Flats and set off on the road to Laguna Colorada, which runs through a unique landscape of deserts and mountains. The area is characterized by the red tone of its waters, inhabited by flocks of flamingos, and the scenery is exceptionally beautiful at these heights. We will enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Park, where we find wildlife which has adapted to the extreme conditions of the region. As well as the wildlife, the variation in scenery, including mineral lakes, salt pans, volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, wide open plains, thermal springs and geothermal geysers makes this area absolutely unique.

We will visit the Laguna Verde, which gets its emerald colour from the high magnesium levels in the water. The Licancabur Volcano and the ‘Sol de Mañana’ Geysers are also on today’s itinerary, with fumaroles and volcanic craters of spectacular formation at an altitude of 4,900m, spouting mixed water and superheated steam reaching up to 100m high. After a busy day we will cross the border into Chile and drop you off at your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. (B/L)

Day Fifteen – Free Day in Atacama

Today is yours to spend as you wish. If you are feeling in need of a rest after a busy few days you could head to the Puritama Hot Springs for some rest and relaxation soaking in the natural thermals pools. Alternatively you could explore the strange Moon Valley. The sand and stone landscape has been eroded until it looks like the surface of the Moon or Mars - in fact, this is where the ESA tested their Mars rover because the conditions were so similar! However you choose to spend your day we recommend watching the sunset over the desert on your last night here in Atacama. (B)

  • If you would prefer us to arrange a tour for today then just let us know. There are plenty to choose from, including a sunrise trip to the Tatio Geysers, a drive out to the Salt Flats here in Chile, or a Moon Valley tour.

Day Sixteen - Fly to Santiago

This morning you will have some free time to relax or to get some last sunrise photos here in Atacama, and then it's time to head to Calama airport for a short flight to the capital of Chile, Santiago. We will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel so you can get ready and enjoy your first night here in the Chilean capital. (B)

Day Seventeen - Free Day in Santiago

Today you will have some free time to explore the city at your own pace and get a feel for the contrast between old and new which typifies Santiago. A good place to start is the centre and the grandest of Santiago’s colonial buildings, such as the imposing Presidential Palace and Mint Building, and the neo-classical Cathedral. You could then catch the funicular train to the top of San Cristobal Hill for fantastic views. There are also some great vineyards in the nearby Maipo Valley which you may wish to visit. (B)

  • If you would prefer to spend the day away from the city then ask us about a day trip to the Pacific coast cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. These seaside resorts offer everything from charming cobbled streets to palm-lined promenades, and are a great example of the diversity of Chile.

Day Eighteen - Last day of your holiday in South America

Unfortunately today marks the end of your holidays to Peru and Chile. Most international flights leave Santiago in the afternoon so you have the morning free to wander round and buy some last minute gifts, before we take you to the airport in plenty of time for your international flight back home. (B)

Options for these holidays to Peru, Chile & Bolivia

Trek the Inca Trail

Trek the Inca Trail – from £350pp

Going to Machu Picchu by train is an unforgettable thing to do, but if you would rather take the more authentic route you can trek in the Inca’s footsteps along the world famous Inca Trail. It takes three days to walk the trail and you arrive at the Sun Gate on your fourth day to witness the sun rising over this truly wondrous view of the ancient lost city.

Amazon rainforest

Amazon Rainforest – 3 days from £595pp

Get back to nature by adding on some time in the Amazon jungle. Just a short flight away from Cusco or Lima are a range of fantastic jungle lodges where you can immerse yourself in the full rainforest experience (in comfort!) with our experienced local guides, who’ll make sure you get the most out of the incredible wildlife to be found in deepest, darkest Peru...

Mancora Beach, Peru

Beach Break in Peru – 3 days from £495pp

The best beaches in Peru are in the North and as they’re much closer to the equator the weather is warmer all year so they’re an excellent choice to soak up some sun on the sand and enjoy some downtime on your holiday. The palm fringed white sands of Mancora and Punta Sal are our favourites.

Whitewater Rafting in Cusco

Whitewater Rafting – 1 day from £85pp

If you’re keen to get your blood pumping, how about a bit of rafting action? There is a good choice of rivers with excellent white-water rafting opportunities near Cusco and we can organise a full day’s rafting for you or even a couple of days with camping overnight to go that extra mile.

Salar de Uyuni Glamping

Uyuni Glamping Upgrade - from £450pp

Any visit to the holiday including the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats is going to be incredible, but if you’d like to do it in truly fabulous style, then why not ask about our amazing Uyuni ‘Glamping’ option? Instead of staying in a hotel in Uyuni town, or even in one of the Salt Hotels, you can spend the night right on the edge of Salar in our deluxe safari-style tents. Fully-heated, with showers, an electric blanket on a 'proper' bed and even the attentions of a gourmet chef, it's a brilliant and different way to experience Uyuni.

Airstream Camper on the Salar de Uyuni

Uyuni Airstream Camper Upgrade - from £1300pp

Or for the ultimate in style and comfort on your Uyuni holiday, we can arrange for you to stay right in the middle of the Salar itself in a luxury Airstream Camper. We will take you out there in a 4x4 and then you will have the whole of the Salar to yourselves until we pick you up again in the morning. If you'd like to experience the Salar in all its splendour but without any distractions or other people around this is a simply amazing experience.

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What's Included?

Our standard price for these holidays to Peru and Chile is £3450 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.

That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and entrance fees. It also includes breakfast every day and all other indicated meals.

We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.

International flights

So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.

We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.

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