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PERU AND BOLIVIA: RETRACING THE INCA

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the ancient Inca secret city at Machu Picchu.
  • Travel across the seemingly endless Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.
  • Hike the Lares Trail through the Peruvian Andes, visiting villages and observing wildlife on the way.
  • Homestays with Quechua families high in the Andes.
  • Travel by train through the mountain valleys to Aguas Calientes.
  • Explore Bolivia's Capital city-- La Paz. 
  • Meander through an authentic local Quechua market in the Cusco region. 
  • Check out the sights, sounds, and flavors of Cusco and Lima.
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ITINERARY

DAY 1 :: FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 :: ARRIVE IN LIMA

Everyone will arrive in Lima today and we will meet at the hotel lobby at 4pm to set out on a small exploration of the city as well as enjoy an introduction dinner and trip briefing on the coast. Lima is famous for its ceviche and fresh seafood. For those who want to travel to Cusco directly, you may arrive tomorrow (Saturday) in Cusco directly and meet at the hotel.


DAY 2 :: SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2018 :: LIMA / CUSCO

We will return to Lima’s airport in the morning to catch out flight to Cusco, high in the Peruvian Andes. Cusco sits at 3,400 metres above sea level, and you’ll feel it, normally in the form of a mild headache. We will spend afternoon lightly exploring the city and adapting to the altitude by foot, visiting San Pedro Market, Sacsayhuaman, and Qoricancha-- the Inca Sun Temple that has been converted into the Santo Domingo Convent.  In the evening, we will have a traditional Peruvian dinner in Cusco.


DAY 3 :: SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2018 :: CUSCO / ISCUCHACA / MARAS / CUSCO

In the morning we will drive to the town of Iscuchaca to experience a truly authentic Sunday market in the Andes. Local people form from the surrounding Quechua villages to trade and sell chickens, pigs, ducks, guinea pigs, vegetables and knit wears, many of them dressed in their coloful traditional clothing. We will then go to Maras to see the stacked salt mines, and the ancient site at nearby Morey.  In the evening we will return to Cusco for dinner and rest.


DAYS 4-5 :: APRIL 9-10, 2018 :: LARES REGION HIKE

After breakfast we will set off on our trek, first driving from Cusco to the Urubamba River. From there, we will spend the next two days hiking a section of the Lares trail in Peru's sacred valley. The Lares trek is stunning; we will pass by small Quechua villages, alpacas, snow covered peaks and deep valleys as we take this very ancient trail towards Machu Picchu. We will spend one night living with local Quechua families in a homestays, before hiking to hot springs. On the second evening, we will take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. 


DAY 6 :: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 :: MACHU PICCHU / CUSCO

We will wake up before sunrise and catch the earliest van up the mountain to the ruins at Machu Picchu. We will spend the day exploring Machu Picchu and climbing Huayna Picchu (Wayna Picchu) before heading back down to Aguas Calientes in the late afternoon. From Aguas Calientes, we will take a train back to Cusco by way of Ollantaytambo. Overnight in Cusco.


DAYS 7 :: THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 :: CUSCO / LA PAZ

This morning we will head over to Cusco’s International Airport to catch our short flight to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Once we arrive in La Paz, we will clear Bolivian immigration and customs procedures before heading to downtown La Paz. We will spend the afternoon exploring the city, one of the highest capitals of the world, from the El Alto Thursday Market to the Witch’s Market, the city’s downtown and even a Lucha Libre wrestling show (if happening). In the evening, after dinner, we will head over to the Marka Tambo, a peña (local folk music club) to enjoy a serious performance of Andean music.


DAY 8 :: FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2018 :: LA PAZ / SALAR DE UYUNI

In the morning we will depart from La Paz Airport for the small town of Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia, a one-hour flight away. We will spend the day thoroughly exploring the massive salt flats at Salar de Uyuni. We will conduct photography lessons on the flats to help you capture the most out of this surreal experience, especially around sunset hours when the light is softer and more colourful. We will spend the evening out on the Salt Flats. 


DAY 9 :: SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2018 :: SALAR DE UYUNI / LA PAZ

We will enjoy sunrise over the salt flats in the morning (great for photography) before beginning our road trip back to La Paz through the Bolivian countryside. On the drive we will stop at small towns and gaze across vast landscapes and snow capped peaks as we rise in altitude again to reach the capital. We will spend the night in La Paz and enjoy a concluding dinner all together in the city before exploring some nightlife. 


DAY 10 :: SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2018 :: DEPART FROM LA PAZ

Participants fly home or to their onward destinations today. No scheduled activities. Check out time is 10am. 

 
 The city of Cusco, Peru.

The city of Cusco, Peru.

 The Maras Salt Mines outside of Cusco.

The Maras Salt Mines outside of Cusco.

 Hiking around the Lares area in the Andes. 

Hiking around the Lares area in the Andes. 

 A dog waits near one of Kamchatka's many natural hot springs, while children play in the water. 

A dog waits near one of Kamchatka's many natural hot springs, while children play in the water. 

 Sunset over Salar de Uyuni-- the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. 

Sunset over Salar de Uyuni-- the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. 

 A young Quechua girl in La Paz.

A young Quechua girl in La Paz.


NEXT STEPS

 

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SEE TREK PAGE

To learn more about this trip in detail, check out the trek page. It includes a description of the program, bios on the trek leaders, and the cost breakdown.