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Atacama to Machu Picchu + Amazon Extension
Bolivia, Chile, Peru - Trip code AXA Discovery
Days 21
Deposit From £514
Was From £5290
Now from £5140
Flights inclusive
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Why book this trip?

Come with us on an Andean adventure as we travel from the Chilean city of Santiago to the magnificent Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. Along the way we explore Cusco, the historical capital of Peru, traverse the spectacular salt flats of Uyuni and visit the city of La Paz, 'the city that touches the sky'.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 19

      Lunch: 9

      Dinner: 7

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Boat Crew

      Driver(s)

      Local Guide(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      Flight

      Public Bus

      Train

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      Accommodation

      1 nights simple guesthouse

      12 nights standard hotel

      2 nights simple hotel

      1 nights premium hotel

      4 nights standard lodge

    • i

      Trip pace:

      Full on

    • i

      Group Size:

      12 - 18

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Join tour in Santiago de Chile

    Arriving in Santiago today, we check into our centrally located hotel. One of the most scenic destinations in South America, Santiago lies in the imposing shadow of the majestic Andes, and the old part of the city, around the Alameda, contains an array of fine buildings, statues and gardens, which we will be exploring over the next two days.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Explore Santiago; optional Valparaiso visit or wine tasting

    Our intention this morning is to take an orientation tour of the city, including the impressive Presidential Palace and the monastery of San Francisco. We aim to take in the Government Palace of La Moneda, as well as the cultural heart of both the city and the country, the Plaza de Armas. In the eclectic Bellavista district we can find the unusual house of the famous Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda (optional visit), just one of the many artists and writers who made this charming city their home. We also plan to visit San Cristobal hill to enjoy spectacular views out over the city.

    This afternoon has been left free to explore some more of the city, to wander its streets and parks and perhaps the vineyards that lie on the outskirts of the city. The Maipo Valley is considered by many to be the best winegrowing region in the country. Certainly the oldest, it is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon and a tour of the vineyards, lying in the shadow of the magnificent Andes is the perfect combination of sensory delights. Alternatively there is the option of a trip to the nearby city of Valparaiso, Chile's cultural capital. Once a colonial port linking trade with neighbouring Peru, the city suffered numerous raids at the hands of pirates, including Sir Francis Drake. Reaching the height of its prosperity during the 19th century it finally fell into decline with the onset of the steam age and the opening of the Panama Canal. The city today is a major port and its surrounding hills, a natural amphitheatre covered in colourful houses and mansions, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 3 - Fly to Calama, transfer to San Pedro de Atacama and walk in the Moon Valley

    Flying to Calama early this morning we transfer by bus to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama (2400m), set high among the spectacular volcanoes of Los Andes Cordillera and our gateway to the dramatic landscapes of the Atacama Desert. Arriving later this morning there will be time to relax, or perhaps take an optional visit to the impressive archaeological museum, containing the collection of artefacts assembled by Padre Gustave Paige, a Belgian missionary who spent some 25 years here during the later years of the last century. This afternoon we will take a walk amongst the dunes of the nearby Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), a nature reserve to the west of the town, where the surreal landscape has been formed by the erosion of the salt mountains, and where we intend to watch the setting sun cast its golden glow across the spectacular landscape before returning by bus back to San Pedro.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 4 - Visit El Tatio Geysers, optional salt flats trip

    Before the arrival of the Spanish San Pedro was the centre of the Atacama culture, and its dusty streets and evocative setting still exudes an air of times long past. An early departure by bus this morning sees us heading through the desert landscapes of the remarkable Atacama, one of the most barren and dramatic natural features in the entire country. Our destination is the remarkable El Tatio Springs, a geothermal field of spouting geysers and steaming fumaroles surrounded by a vista of volcanic mountains. Arriving in time for the sunrise affords us an opportunity to witness these active geysers in the golden light of the rising sun. Returning to San Pedro via the volcanic landscapes we then have the rest of the day free to enjoy at our leisure. One possible option for this afternoon is to take a visit out to the extensive salt flats of the Salar de Atacama, at 300,000 hectares the third largest area of salt flats on the planet. Rich in minerals, the lake is home to flocks of pink flamingos during the winter months and the air out here is so dry that the views across the Salar have to be seen to be believed.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 5 - Drive to Hito Cajon and enter Bolivia

    Driving to the Bolivian border at Hito Cajon today we will meet with our new transport and cross the expansive landscapes of the altiplano by 4WD. During our last moments in Chile, we drive over a high pass at 4650m, the highest point of our trip. Our journey takes in the windswept views and spectacular waters of Laguna Verde, lying before the imposing slopes of the Lincancabur Volcano (5960m). It is said that the winds change the lake's colour, from a deep azure to a vivid turquoise as it whips across the rippling surface. From here we continue past Challviri Lagoon, onto the amazing blood-red depths of Laguna Colorada, home to rare James flamingos who feed on the rich red algae that cover the lake. Travelling across the surreal and tortured lands of the high altitude plains of the Siloli Desert we then head for Villamar, our destination for the night.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 6 - Discover the Uyuni Salt Flats.

    Today we travel via Ollague Volcano and San Juan into a desolate wilderness of scrubby wasteland. Salt deserts add to the barrenness, but pockets of cultivation and settlements within this seemingly inhospitable land stand out like oases. The landscape is surreal in the extreme, the bright blue of the skies contrasting sharply with the blinding white salt crust. Flamingos inhabit the shoreline, whilst the snow-capped peak of Volcan Tunupa (5400m) looms far in the distance. Crossing the salt flats we then head for Incahuasi Island, where we find an expanse of huge cacti occupying an isolated island in the heart of the Salar de Uyuni. The island once lay beneath the lake that covered this area some 40,000 years ago and all around are scattered rocks that look like ancient coral beds. The cacti themselves have been here for millennia and some tower some 6 metres above the floor of the plains, no mean feat given that it is estimated that they only grow one centimetre a year! Time-permitting, we will travel to the petrified pre-Columbian mummies of Pucara de Aique, a sacred site that occupies a small canyon at the base of Tunupa. Otherwise, we move directly on to Colchani, driving across the desert pans to visit a salt works, where villagers have sent piles of salt to be ground and iodised before being sold. The small village marks the extreme edge of the salt pans.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 7 - Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Potosi

    Our adventure continues by public bus across the mineral rich highlands of southern Bolivia today as we head for the UNESCO Heritage town of Potosi. We drive in our 4WD vehicle to Uyuni bus station, where we pick up our bus towards the branches of the branches of the Andes Range. The views on the road are fantastic, a mass of different colours and weird formations caused by erosion. We'll also be travelling through remote villages, whose inhabitants are dedicated to basic agriculture in this harsh landscape. After an approximately 6 hour drive, we reach Potosi, which lies beneath the towering peak of Cerro Rico at a lofty 4090m above sea level.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 8 - Morning city tour of Potosi, continue to Sucre

    The Spanish were attracted to these high terrains by the promise of abundant deposits of silver and zinc and during the early years of the 17th century the town itself was the largest in the region, producing over half the silver found in the Americas. The pink conical slopes of the mountain are peppered with old mines and one Spanish writer once described it as 'the mouth of hell'. Conditions even today are still very basic, with all the work being done by hand and with the most primitive of tools. However, as it is a cooperative and the miners can work what hours they want and sell what they extract to the cooperative at the market price. Potosi itself is considered one of Bolivia's finest historical monuments, a city littered with ornate mansions and glorious Baroque churches. This morning we take a tour of the city, its architecture accentuated by the bright clear light that bathes the landscape, made even more intense by its high altitude. An interesting overview of the city's varied past can be found in the Casa de Moneda, the original royal mint built in the mid-1700's, which now houses a variety of displays, from wooden colonial-era minting machines and religious art, to Tiahuanaco artefacts and Bolivian war relics. It even has the country's first locomotive. This afternoon we depart for Sucre by local bus.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 9 - Explore Sucre on a guided tour; free afternoon for personal discovery

    A UNESCO Heritage site, the Bolivian capital is a spectacular surviving example of colonial grandeur, with a number of beautifully preserved churches that reflect a distinctive mix of local and European influences. Unofficially known as 'the city of four names', Sucre was originally known as La Plata, until new territorial divisions in 1776 saw it changed to Chuquisaca. In the mid-1800s its name was changed once more, this time to its present incarnation, in honour of the second president of the country, Antonio Jose de Sucre. Its final moniker has more to do with the whitewashed walls of its central buildings which, repainted every year, have earned the city the name of La Ciudad Blanca - the white city. This morning we will take a tour of its cultural heart, affording us a little taster of its colonial charm. The 17th century cathedral in the centre of town contains the stunning jewel encrusted 'Virgen do Guadalupe' by Bernardo Bitti, an artist who studied under Raphael and went on to become the first great painter of the new world. We'll also take in the Museo de la Recoleta, which once served as a Franciscan convent, a barracks and a prison and now contains a vast collection of paintings that span some four centuries. The rest of the day is free to continue exploring at your leisure. Bolivia's most attractive city presents a captivating setting to wander through at will. Its large plazas and elegant facades offer an enchanting backdrop, and a walk along its tree-lined streets unearths a rich heritage and a unique insight into its rich history. Sucre has also embraced the future of the country and is renowned as being the country's student capital, investing it with a youthful and relaxed atmosphere that makes it a true pleasure to explore.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 10 - Fly to La Paz; afternoon tour of the city

    Leaving Sucre we fly this morning to the lofty heights of La Paz. Standing at 3636m above sea level (higher even than Lhasa in Tibet), La Paz is cupped in the palm of two magnificent mountains and surrounded by the high Altiplano. Its poetic nickname of 'the city that touches the sky' is well earned. Located on the La Paz River, the city was founded by the Spanish in 1548 and its strategic location along the trade routes between the Bolivian silver mines and the ocean helped it to flourish and grow. We will take a tour of the city, enjoying the delights of its vibrant street markets and the captivating grandeur of the church of San Francisco. We'll also take in the pre-Columbian gold and silver artefacts in the Museo del Oro and the fascinating exhibits in the Casa de Pedro Domingo Murillo. Murillo was a martyr of the revolution of 1809 who was hanged in the square that today bears his name and his museum presents us with a rich collection of furniture, textile and artwork that perfectly captures the history of those colonial times. Part of the city tour will include a trip on one of the cable car lines that have rejuvenated the city, bringing in workers from the outlying areas into the 'bowl' of the city centre.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 11 - In La Paz; optional trip to Tiahuanaco archaeological site

    Today is free to explore La Paz. It's a good opportunity to explore the old centre further, with its markets and beautifully ornate churches. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the ruins of Tiahuanaco, dating back to approximately 1500 BC. It was one of the most important pre-Inca civilisations and is considered to be one of the most developed in its time. The Kalasaya temple, the Gate of the Sun, the Akapana pyramid are amongst some of the buildings to explore and this can be followed by visiting the nearby pottery and stoneware museum. Alternatively, take a full day trip to the sub-tropical area of Las Yungas, a region characterised by its lush vegetation, its many rivers and waterfalls leading to the Amazon basin, and its diverse flora and fauna. A day trip to Las Yungas is a huge contrast to the high mountains of the Andes, and this day trip includes a lunch at a local coffee company, as well as a visit to the coffee plantations, and a trip to the wildlife refuge at La Senda Verde, home to over 450 rescued animals.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 12 - Public bus to Copacabana, boat to Isla del Sol

    From La Paz we head towards the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca by public bus, at 3810m it is the highest navigable lake in the world and the second largest in South America, after Maracaibo. An immense body of water its shoreline has been the home to the Aymara and Quechua for millennia. The sacred waters of the lake have long been a site of religious ritual and devotion, from the earliest civilisations in the Americas, to the Inca conquerors who believed the lake to be the site where the Children of the Sun, the legendary founders of the Inca dynasty, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, arrived on earth. Our journey takes us to the town of Copacabana; a place of mystic reverence since the times of the Tiahuanaco and which today holds favour with thousands of Christian pilgrims. From here we take a boat out to the Isla del Sol, landing near the Pilkokaina ruins and soaking up the mystical ambience of an island steeped in the legends of the ancient Inca. From here we walk up to our lodge (approx. 200m ascent +1-1.5 hrs of walking at high altitude), where we will be spending the night.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 13 - Visit Chincana Ruins, return to Copacabana and drive to Puno (Peru)

    The Isla del Sol is the largest of the islands that lie dotted around this spectacular lake, lying just off the Copacabana Peninsula, at the southern end of the lake. The island is covered with nearly 200 archaeological sites that attest to the importance the ancient Incas attached to this site and this morning we take a boat north, towards the labyrinthine Inca ruins of Chincana. At Chincana we find a meandering network of rooms and passageways that link together around a sacred rock, overlooking the sparkling azure waters of the lake below. Then we take to the waters again, taking our boat to the neighbouring Island of the Moon to visit its ruins. We then continue by boat to Copacabana and then take a charter bus across the border into Peru, following the shores of the lake to its north western corner and the bustling town of Puno.

    As of May 2017, strikes are occurring on Sun Island which means that we are unable to visit the northern part of the Island where the ruins of La Chincana are. Local information tells us that they hope to have resolved the situation by 2018. However, if this is not the case then there will be alternative hikes on the Island of the Moon to ensure that you can make the most of this beautiful place.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 14 - Bus to the Sacred Valley via the ancient Sillustani site

    Today we follow the legendary route taken by the first Inca ruler - Manco Capac - on his way towards Cusco. Our destination is in the Sacred Valley at Ollantaytambo. During our bus journey we stop at the beautifully scenic site of Sillustani - a fitting home for the chullpas (funeral towers), which probably date from the 14th century. Driving up to the northern limit of the Altiplano we cross La Raya pass (4,335m) and descend to Cusco. Depending on time, those who wish may visit the colonial church at Andahuaylillas or the Inca temple ruins at Raqchi. The scenery is desolate but magnificent and we may spot flocks of llamas and alpacas grazing on the windswept pastures. We arrive into Cusco in the late afternoon, and from here drive to the Sacred Valley, heading towards our hotel for the evening.

    Alternatively you may wish to take the classic Titicaca train journey from Puno to Cusco (optional) - one of the great railway journeys of the world, the full day journey covers some spectacular scenery over the high altiplano. This includes a sumptuous meal aboard the train, with perhaps the chance to try some local delicacies before we arrive in Cusco in the late afternoon and head to our hotel.

    Please note that rail strikes are common in Peru and so there is the possibility that the train may not always be running. In the event that you have chosen the optional train ride and it is not operating, then we will make the journey from Puno to Cusco by bus, with the rest of the group. Refunds due to trains cancelled due to strike action is at the rail companies discretion.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Premium Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 15 - Free morning in Sacred Valley, train to Aguas Calientes

    A free morning affords an opportunity today to visit the Inca salt pans at Maras and the remote ruins of Moray, famous for its fascinating Inca terraces, known locally as the laboratory of the Incas (optional). These terraces were believed to have been carved on different levels by the Incas, in order to experiment with their crops, each being carved to different depths in order to try and ascertain the ideal conditions in which to grow them. Many still believe the site to possess magical powers and there is certainly no doubting the atmospheric feel and stunning location of the site. This afternoon we then catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to one of the greatest of all archaeological sites, the mountain complex of Machu Picchu, the fabled 'lost city' of the Incas, probably the most spectacular feat of engineering in ancient America. On arrival we walk to our guesthouse and check in, after which you might like to relax in the thermal baths.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 16 - Visit Machu Picchu, afternoon return to Cusco by train

    Catching the bus this morning we head up to the incredible complex of Machu Picchu. On arrival, it's possible to climb the steep peaks of either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to look down on the citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain is a 700m climb from the top of the citadel. There are cobbled stairs all the way up with a few eye-opening drops in some parts, and the round-trip takes about 2.5-3 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is only 350m, half the size of Machu Picchu Mountain, but much steeper. There are many more sheer drops, and it is definitely not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. For those who fancy doing the 1 hour climb, you'll be rewarded with world-beating views of Machu Picchu, and the feeling that you're standing on a precipice at the top of the world.

    These must be pre-paid at time of booking. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you.

    The rest of the morning is then spent in this magnificent city, dividing our time between a guided tour and some free time to explore the spectacular ruins privately. Temples, stairways, palaces and gabled stone dwellings are scattered everywhere, testifying to the energy and ingenuity of the builders. Not without reason this site is probably the most revered attraction in the Americas, its location alone is dramatic in the extreme, teetering on the saddle of a high mountain peak that towers above the valley below. This afternoon we then travel by train and bus to Cusco.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 17 - Free day to explore Cusco; optional trip to Pisac in the Sacred Valley

    Today we have a free day to enjoy Cusco, the old capital of the Inca Empire and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Imbued with an atmosphere of mystery and grandeur, the Spanish-style city of today, with its attractive pink tiled roofs, arcaded plazas and steep winding alleyways, stands upon tremendous Inca foundation stones. A free day here is a fantastic opportunity to explore Cusco's links with the Inca Empire, from visiting the Qoricancha, or the 'Temple of the Sun' , which is a fascinating museum dedicated to Cusco's Inca heritage, to simply wandering the ancient stone walls that line the city streets. We can recommend a visit to the fortress-citadel of Saqsayhuaman (optional), a huge fortress built high above the town, with the aim of defending the Inca empire. Another option is a trip out to nearby Pisac to visit its market and perhaps explore the magnificent ruins of its citadel. Strategically located at the head of the Urubamba Valley, Pisac once controlled the road connecting the Inca Empire with Paucartambo on its eastern borders and the magnificent Inca ruins that once so dominated this valley still occupy the mountainside above the town. On market days the square is awash with noise and colour as vendors trade local produce for medicines and tools and there are bargains to be had amongst the weavers and potters. The ruins occupy a rocky spur, its citadel strategically located at the head of the gorge, overlooking the patchwork of fields and terraces that dot the valley floor. Climbing up to the ruins you pass through a magnificent collection of temples, palaces, terraces, solstice markers and baths.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 18 - Fly to Puerto Maldonado, transfer to Amazon lodge

    Today we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Puerto Maldonado, located in the Southern Amazon area of Peru (your Tour Leader stays in Cusco). You can leave your main luggage in Puerto Maldonado and just take with you what you need for the next few days. The Amazon comprises 60% of Peru and the Peruvian Amazon is the second largest section of the Amazon Rainforest after Brazil. The Amazon basin covers two fifths of South America over many countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela and it is the most bio-diverse environment in the world. Most of the basin is covered by the rainforest, which is the largest rainforest in the world.

    We travel along the Tambopata River by motorised canoe (approximately 40 minutes) and check into our Amazon lodge. We have a short stop at the lodge for a buffet lunch before our local guide takes us on an exploration of the jungle trails surrounding the Field Station, discovering the tropical trees, medicinal plants, insects, butterflies and other animals we see en route. In the evening, we have a night float along the Madre De Dios River in search of the wildlife that surface during night time such as capybaras, white caimans and nightjars.

    The lodge is comfortable but as it is in a remote location, the electricity is provided by a generator and is only available for certain hours of the day.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 19 - In Amazon Jungle; Canopy walk and Sandoval Lake

    We spend the morning on the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, which is a 1129ft system of 2 observation towers, 8 platforms and 7 hanging bridges 100ft above the ground. The walkway is designed to perform scientific research of the ecosystems inhabiting the rainforest canopy, and gives us an unobstructed view of the wildlife and birds.

    During the afternoon, we take 30 minute boat ride, entering the territory of the Tambopata- Reserve. We will trek 5km through the dense vegetation of the tropical rainforest looking out for snakes, monkeys and birds. Our destination is Sandoval Lake. Numerous species of animals live near the lake, keep your eyes out for kingfishers, cormorants, squirrel monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. At the lake itself we may see giant river otters, black caimans and piranhas. This is also the habitat of the giant arapaima, a fish of more than 2.5m, weighing in at more than 200kg.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 20 - In Amazon Jungle; boat ride and Inkaterra experience

    This morning, we take a 20 minute boat ride to the river island near our lodge, a large sandbank at the shores of the Madre De Dios River. With our Local Guide, we will walk across the island to explore the floodplains that provides the island an ecosystem with a great diversity of birds such as the Amazonian umbrella bird, one of the Amazon's most sought after species by birdwatchers.

    We continue on to visit the Inkaterra Association's Bio Orchard, where organic native goods are cultivated such as palms, vegetables and fruit. We learn the diverse phases of sustainable horticulture, the preparation of recycled compost, sowing and harvesting vegetables, fine herbs and tropical plants, using natural fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The lodge is working as sustainably as possible, to help local communities protect their surroundings, and using the forest for good.

    During the afternoon, our Local Guide will show us the permanent plot area for rainforest restoration and conservation, and we'll learn about the survival mechanisms of the rainforest, exploring the meanings of the 19 native palm species.

    We'll take a night walk through the jungle, listening to the sounds of the birds, mammals, insects and amphibians that wander the forest at night, using the expertise of our local guide to try and spot them.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 21 - Early morning boat to Puerto Maldonado, and end trip at airport

    Our Amazon adventure comes to an end today after breakfast and we will travel by motorised canoe back to Puerto Maldonado, before transferring to the airport. If you prefer you can end your trip at the office in Puerto Maldonado and arrange a taxi transfer to the airport yourself at a time that better suits your own itinerary. The office is a short taxi ride from the town, and about 20 minutes by taxi from the airport.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    Bolivia

    Climate

    Conditions vary from region to region and with altitude. Bear in mind that at high altitude temperatures can drop dramatically, and conditions can change suddenly. Inland Bolivia is generally hot and humid from October to March (summer); temperatures are milder from April to September (winter). In the highlands there is a rainy season from December to March and it is normally dry for the rest of year which is the best time for mountain travel.

    Time difference to GMT

    -4

    Plugs

    3 Pin Flat

    Religion

    Roman Catholic

    Language

    Spanish

    Chile

    Climate

    The best time to visit is spring (Sept-Nov) and autumn (March- April). Between June and September the heat in the northern part of the country is less intense. Remember rain can fall at any time of the year and the weather is changeable in the mountains. Easter Island has a tropical climate so is likely to be quite hot and humid. It can also rain there in the evenings and become chilly.

    Time difference to GMT

    -4

    Plugs

    2 Pin Round

    Religion

    Predominantly Roman Catholic.

    Language

    Spanish, Aymara, Rapanui.

    Peru

    Climate

    There is a rainy season from Dec - Mar however on the coast it rarely rains. Jun-Oct is damp and misty, but temperatures never drop below 10°C. At high altitudes although there are sunny days temperatures can drop dramatically, and conditions can change suddenly.

    Time difference to GMT

    -5

    Plugs

    2 Pin Flat

    Religion

    Catholicism

    Language

    Spanish

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


    Santiago de Chile - Visit to Valparaiso US$ 110 (min 3 pers), Wine tour US$ 69 (min 3 pers).
    San Pedro De Atacama - Trip to the Atacama Salt Lakes US$ 115; Archaeological Museum - US$5; Astronomy tour US$30
    La Paz - Half day Tiwanaku (min 4 pers) US$ 70; Half day Chacaltaya US$57; Full day Las Yungas US$102 (min. 4 pers)
    Sacred Valley - Visit to Maras and Moray approximately US$ 58 ( min 4 pers), Whitewater rafting US$ 75 (depending on numbers).
    Puno - Titicaca Train £190 this must be pre-paid at time of booking and is non-refundable. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you to avoid being fined.
    Cusco - Visit to Sacsayhuaman US$ 53 (based on 2 pers.), trip to Pisac Market US$ 60 (based on 2 pers).
    Huayna Picchu - £30; Machu Picchu Mountain £30 - subject to availability - these must be pre-paid at time of booking and is non-refundable. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you to avoid being fined.
    Lima - City Tour approximately US$ 30, Larco Herrera Museum US$ 41 guided, US$ 11 unguided;Pucusana Fishing Village US$65 (based on 3); Pachacamac site US$45 (based on 4) inc. pottery class US$60 (time permitting)


    Clothing

    Bear in mind that several different climatic zones will be experienced. Lightweight clothing is necessary for some warm and humid daytime conditions, though evenings can be cooler, and temperatures at altitude can drop considerably, so please come prepared.

    The highlands enjoy dry sunny days but extremely cold nights so thermal underwear, a well insulated fleece/jacket and a thick sweater are essential. Bring something warm to sleep in. Lightweight raingear is essential at any time of the year. Bring a swimming costume for the thermal baths at Aguas Calientes.

    Footwear

    Comfortable lightweight trail boots, trainers and sandals.

    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    One main piece and a daypack and an extra bag for the two nights on Isla Del Sol and the overnight in Aguas Calientes. In Aguas Calientes your main bags will be left in storage in your hotel in the Sacred Valley, and will be transported to meet you when you arrive in Cusco. On Isla del Sol, your main bags will be transported on to Cusco. Your overnight bag is carried by mules so you only have to carry daypacks. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage (i.e. on and off transport etc.) so don't overload yourself. It is recommended you bring lockable bags.

    Equipment

    A sunhat and sunglasses are advisable as is high factor sunscreen and lipsalve with sun protection, due to the thinness of the atmosphere. A torch is also useful in case of power cuts or emergencies. Don't forget your camera and a towel.

    Tipping

    Explore leader
    At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
    Local crew
    In this region, tipping is a recognised part of life across the service industry. Local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided.

    To assist with this your Explore Leader may organise a group tips kitty for included activities and meals, they will then account for kitty use throughout the tour.

    For this we suggest US$70 per person

    For all non-included services and meals on your trip please tip independently at your discretion.


    Bolivia

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £5
    Dinner price
    £8
    Beer price
    £1.47
    Water price
    £0.6
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Boliviano.
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Carry all your funds in US cash NOT Sterling or Travellers Cheques which are more difficult to exchange. We recommend to take a minimum of US$400-$500 of your total spending money in cash for your tour, in mixed denominations. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange.
    Where To Exchange
    Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a 10% service charge
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers Cheques can be awkward or expensive to change

    Chile

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £13
    Dinner price
    £20
    Beer price
    £3.00 - 4.00
    Water price
    £2
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Peso.
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Carry all your funds in US cash NOT Sterling. We recommend to take a minimum of US$400-$500 of your total spending money in cash for your tour, in mixed denominations. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange.
    Where To Exchange
    Tour Leader will advise on arrival
    ATM Availability
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a service charge.
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers' Cheques can be awkward or expensive to change

    Peru

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Breakfast price
    £4.00 - 7.00
    Dinner price
    £6.00 - 8.00
    Beer price
    £2.00 - 4.00
    Water price
    £1
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Nuevo Sol
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Carry all your funds in US cash NOT Sterling or Travellers Cheques which are more difficult to exchange. We recommend to take a minimum of US$400-$500 of your total spending money in cash for your tour, in mixed denominations. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange.
    Where To Exchange
    Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    In major restaurants.In some establishments Master card is not accepted.
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers Cheques are not always easy to exchange.
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, Flight, Public Bus, Train

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information


    Chile: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, US and Canadian citizens.
    Please note for Australian passport holders will have to pay a reciprocity tax before getting into the migration area. The amount to be paid for each passport holder is as follows: US$117 (Please check as this may change)

    Bolivia: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, and Canadian citizens. However, US citizens will require a visa. As you will enter Bolivia overland please make sure your passport is stamped on both sides of the border, with an exit stamp from the country you are leaving and an entry stamp on the Bolivian side otherwise you'll have to pay a fine to leave.


    Peru: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, US and Canadian citizens.

    Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.

    USA: (including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding.

    You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.

    If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel.

    Please note for your ESTA application you will be required to supply Point of Contact information. Explore' s USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. If you are leaving for the USA before this, please call the Explore team to get this information.(Not necessary if in transit)

    For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html

    Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp
    Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    Altitude information

    We have specifically designed this itinerary to allow you to acclimatise gradually against the symptoms of altitude sickness, a common and usually harmless condition caused by reduced air pressure and a lower concentration of oxygen. At altitudes of over 3000m, minor symptoms such as headaches and shortness of breath are commonly experienced for a day or two, and there is no preparation that you can do for this. Symptoms aren't related to general fitness. The best remedy is to rest, not ascend any further and ensure that you're well hydrated. If the symptoms persevere or get worse, then the main course of action is immediate descent.

    If any symptoms do occur - whether minor or more severe - then you should let your Explore Leader know immediately.

    As this tour reaches altitudes of over 4000 metres, we strongly recommend that travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure or on the pill should seek the advice of their GP.

    Please also ensure that your insurance policy covers you to the maximum altitude of 4650m.

    Ability to swim

    An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.

    Bolivia

    Vaccinations

    A yellow fever certificate is necessary for passengers visiting the lowlands Bolivia (BA trip). We also recommend protection against typhoid, polio, infectious hepatitis and tetanus. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Chile

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Peru

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Additional Information

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Sun 7 Apr 2019 - Sat 27 Apr 2019 Guaranteed departure
    AXA_2019
    Price from £4139
    Save £50 was £4189
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 15 Sep 2019 - Sat 5 Oct 2019
    AXA_2019
    Price from £4259
    Save was
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 13 Oct 2019 - Sat 2 Nov 2019 Guaranteed departure
    AXA_2019
    Price from £4259
    Save was
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 6 Apr 2019 - Sun 28 Apr 2019 Guaranteed departure
    AXA_2019
    Price from £5140
    Save £150 was £5290
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 14 Sep 2019 - Sun 6 Oct 2019
    AXA_2019
    Price from £5179
    Save was
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 12 Oct 2019 - Sun 3 Nov 2019 Guaranteed departure
    AXA_2019
    Price from £5179
    Save was
    Single room option +£830
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Santiago de Chile
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Puerto Moldanado airport
    Time
    09:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Award Winning Explore Leaders
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    Price Guarantee Promise
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    Airport Transfers
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