Peru and Bolivia

Wednesday 30th September to Monday 19th October 2020
20 - Days


Prices from: £4795


From day one, this tour is so full of history, culture and amazing sights it’s difficult to know how to describe its countless incredible highlights!


Departure Date: 30-Sep-2020
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  • After a city tour of Peru’s capital Lima, you travel by train on the second highest railway in the world, with stunning gorges and epic tunnels to negotiate.
  • Experience the world’s highest paved road by road coach en route to Abancay city to see the famous Sayhuite stone and Sacred Valley of the Incas.
  • Visit the ancient Incan heartlands, the Salt mines of Maras, and world-famous Machu Picchu, then tour Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas and home to the famous Temple of the Sun.
  • Cruise across Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, to Bolivia for more archaeological delights. The Uyuni Salt Flats are another highlight, as is a visit to the silver mine at Pulacayo, before a trip to the amazing archaeological site of Tiwanaku tops them all!
  • With narrow gauge delights in Lima included and the epic journey to Puno via La Raya Pass, together with visits to a Bolivian train ‘cemetery’ and rail museum certainly this trip is not to be missed.
  • For a spectacular and special holiday treat, for railway enthusiast and travel newcomer alike, there’s no better way to experience the incredible culture, scenery and cuisine of South America than on this epic tour.

Wednesday 30th September
Flight to Lima, capital of Peru
You have an indirect evening flight from London to Lima.

Thursday 1st October
Arrive Lima rest of the day free to acclimatise
You arrive in Lima in the morning and transfer to the Casa Andina Select Hotel in Lima for two nights. Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru, situated on the desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Dinner is not included this evening, so you can explore the local district with plenty of cafés, pubs and restaurants to choose from for your evening meal.

Friday 2nd October
Lima city tour; Gold Museum visit and historic tramway
You have a morning sightseeing tour in Lima, visiting the modern and colonial parts of the city. Lima boasts impressive buildings of distinctive Moorish architecture. It’s a bustling metropolis, the cultural and business centre of Peru, with a busy, historic centre, traditions, craft markets, and unique cuisine. In the afternoon, you visit the Gold Museum and the golden treasures of the Incas. You also may visit a park where a 500-mm narrow-gauge railway operates using a 1926 built 0-4-0T steam tank locomotive. Later you visit the Barranco district of the city, where a restored electric tram operates. Dinner is at your hotel tonight. (B L D)

Saturday 3rd October
Over the Andes by train to Huancayo
Your adventure begins today at Lima Desamparados Station, climbing into the mountains on the Central Railway, Ferrocarril Central del Peru, the most important standard gauge railway line in the country. It begins at the Pacific Port of Callao and climbs into the Andes Mountains, reaching its summit at 15,686 feet near Galera Station, descending to La Oroya (12,000 feet) and Huancayo (10,700 feet) traversing 69 tunnels, 58 bridges and 6 zigzag bends. You’ll need warm clothing for photo stops as there is a dramatic drop in temperature! Lunch is provided on the train. At Huancayo, you transfer to the Hotel Presidente for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Sunday 4th October
Huancayo to Huancavelica
This morning you travel from Huancayo to Huancavelica by specially chartered station wagon. Pausing at Chilca Station, you visit the repair shop and assembly plant where old steam machines are set in a living museum. Passing through outstanding Andean scenery with soaring condors, stunning gorges, epic tunnels you’ll have photo opportunities galore with a packed lunch en route. On arrival in Huancavelica you check in to the Presidente Hotel. Later, you enjoy a Scissors Dance Show, an impressive demonstration of typical Andean art, skilfully performed by dancers with scissors! You return to your hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Monday 5th October
By road to Ayacucho
Today you travel by private road coach to Ayacucho. This scenic journey takes you past old silver mines and an abandoned railway before ascending into the Andes. You’ll be on one of the highest paved roads in the world. You’ll have a packed lunch en route again today. Ayacucho was founded by the Spaniards in 1540, and its architecture reflects Spain’s influence over the centuries. It’s famous for 33 churches, one for each year of Jesus’ life. On arrival, you check in to the Hotel Plaza, with time to explore the colonial city centre before dinner. (B L D)

Tuesday 6th October
Abancay by road coach
You travel by private road coach high up into the southern Peruvian Andes, to Abancay, passing through outstanding mountain landscapes. You cross the Huamina Pass (4,390 metres) and descend to the villages of Chumbes and Ocros. After crossing the Pampas River Bridge, you reach Chinchero. It’s 88 km (54.75 miles) from Chinchero to Andahuaylas and the journey takes around 21 hours as the road winds sinuously through the mountains. There’s a continuous climb to reach Saracocha before descending through the towns of Santa María de Chicmo and Talavera. You continue from Andahuaylas, through the towns of San Jerónimo and Quishuara (3,450 metres). Crossing the mountain pass of Crusccassa (4,000 metres) to the city of Abancay. Tonight, dinner and overnight accommodation is in Hotel de Turistas. (B L D)

Wednesday 7th October
The Sayhuite stone and Sacred Valley of the Incas
You leave Abancay by private coach on a spectacular journey eastward across the rugged south western Andes Mountains, with a short detour en route to visit the archaeological site of Sayhuite. An important feature here is the Sayhuite stone, a roughly spherical shaped monolith carved with more than 200 geometric shapes and animal figures representing the Inca world. You cross the impressive valley of the Apurimac River as it flows in narrow gorges twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Travelling through the majestic Willkapampa mountain range, you pass north of Cusco, the capital city of the Incas. Corn, barley, quinoa, tea, and coffee are grown in this area. You arrive at the valley of the Urubamba River, the so-called Sacred Valley of the Incas. Travelling on to Yanahuara you check into the Casa Andina Premium Hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Thursday 8th October
Salt mines of Maras; Sacred Valley narrow gauge to Aguas Calientes
Today you visit the incredible salt mines of Maras, a spectacular complex of nearly 3000 wells in use since the days of the Incas. Saltwater bubbles to the surface from a spring called Qoripujio and is channeled towards the wells. The sun evaporates the water and the salt remains to be sold at market. Later you go to the circular terraces of Moray, an impressive archaeological site believed to have been a research station set up by the Incas to test and experiment with crops. After lunch, you transfer to Ollantaytambo Railway Station and board a PeruRail service train for the journey along the 914 mm (3 feet) narrow gauge line to Aguas Calientes. The carriages have panoramic windows that offer incomparable views of the mountainous terrain along the Urubamba Valley. There’s a short walk to your hotel before dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Friday 9th October
Machu Picchu
An early morning trip by bus to the impressive ruins of the 15th century Inca citadel Machu Picchu. You’ll have a three-hour guided tour through this famous archaeological complex, going through several plazas with many historic edifices, including the famous Temple of the Sun, the Inti Huatana, or solar clock, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Condor Sector. There’s a buffet lunch in Sanctuary Lodge before returning by bus to Aguas Calientes Station, to board a PeruRail train for the journey to Cusco. You transfer to Casa Andina Hotel for overnight accommodation and have dinner in a local restaurant. (B L D)

Saturday 10th October
Cusco city sightseeing
This morning, you enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cusco, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. See the many historical Inca and Spanish colonial monuments, including the Inca Koricancha (Temple of the Sun) which forms part of the 17th century Santo Domingo Cathedral. You’ll also visit the Piedra de los Doce Angulos to see the amazing Inca walls of huge carved stone blocks that fit perfectly together. The tour then takes you high into the mountains overlooking the town, for panoramic photos. The afternoon is free for you to explore or just relax. In the evening, you dine at a traditional local restaurant. (B L D)

Sunday 11th October
First Class to Lake Titicaca via La Raya Pass
This morning you transfer to Cusco Railway Station to join a service train to Puno in First Class comfort, with lunch on board, along this standard gauge line, listed among the 25 greatest railway journeys of the world. The train stops at La Raya Pass, the highest point on the route, with exquisite views of the snow-capped mountains. Puno is on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world and the largest lake in South America. You transfer to Posada Del Inca Hotel in Puno for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Monday 12th October
Across Lake Titicaca to Bolivia
After breakfast you return to Lake Titicaca and board a specially chartered hydrofoil for the crossing to Bolivia. Your first port of call is Copacabana, and a visit to the Cathedral which houses the statue of La Virgen de la Candelaria (the Dark Virgin), reputed to have miraculous healing powers. You continue to the Island of the Moon and visit the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun (Inak Uyu) where the most beautiful Incan women were offered in sacrifice to their gods. Then visit the Island of the Sun to see the Inca Staircase and the Inca Fountain and taste its sacred waters, reputed to bestow eternal youth and happiness. Lunch is served at the Uma Kollu archaeological restaurant followed by a visit to a handicraft market. After lunch, you continue your cruise to Huatajata and the Andean Roots Eco Village, a museum and exhibition about the culture and history of the local Aymaras and the Incas. There are replica mud houses of the Chipaya people and the tortora boats used by explorer Thor Heyerdahl for his expeditions across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. You then travel by road coach to the Ritz Apart Hotel in La Paz for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Tuesday 13th October
Road coach to Oruro; Express train to Uyuni
You travel by road coach to the city of Oruro. This former mining city was once an important railway hub but today it is famous for its UNESCO listed Carnaval de Oruro religious festival. There are very few passenger trains in Bolivia, and you join one of the twice-weekly Expreso del Sur trains to Uyuni, operated by La Empresa Ferroviaria Andina S.A. (FCA) who run the Expreso del Sur and the Wara Wara on this metre gauge route to the border with Argentina. The former is more luxurious and faster, using modern trains equipped for comfortable long-distance travel with adjustable seats. You arrive at Uyuni late and transfer to the Palacio de Sal hotel in Colchani, where dinner will be served. (B L D)

Wednesday 14th October
Salar de Uyuni, Isla Incahuasi and Colchani
After breakfast, your day is dedicated to the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat covering an area of 10,582 km2 (4,086 square miles). It’s covered by a salt crust over a pool of brine exceptionally rich in lithium. You’ll see the locals extracting salt for marketing. The Salar is a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos. You’ll also visit Incahuasi Island, characterised by the presence of giant cacti. This island provides spectacular views of the Salt Flat and photographs of the amazing surroundings. You continue to Tunupa, a dormant volcano and visit Coquesa, a village at the base of the volcano. From here it’s a short hike of about ten minutes to visit the Mummies of Chullpa’s Cemetery. Back in Colchani there are gift shops selling handicrafts made of salt. At sunset you return to your hotel in Uyuni for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Thursday 15th October
Pulacayo historic mining centre and Uyuni train cemetery
Today you visit the world’s second largest silver mine at Pulacayo. Now a virtual ghost town, the mining centre retains an amazing collection of mine infrastructure including the mansion of Aniceto Arcehe, the President of Bolivia who built the mine and Bolivia’s first railway line. Nearby is a collection of rusting steam locomotives, including Bolivia’s first steam locomotive, El Chiripa, and the train that was robbed by legendary bandits Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, including a wooden railcar that bears the bullet holes from the attack. In the afternoon, you visit the Train Cemetery to see derelict steam locomotives plus the remains of carriages, wagons and railway equipment rusting in this hostile environment. You return to Uyuni by coach and to Joya Andina Airport to board a flight to La Paz. On arrival at La Paz you transfer to the Ritz Apart Hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Friday 16th October
Guaqui and Tiwanaku
Today you travel by road coach from La Paz to the port town of Guaqui, where train ferries once operated on Lake Titicaca. You visit the former railway workshops and train museum of the Guaqui Railway. After lunch in El Barco you travel by road coach to the archaeological site of Tiwanaku, the ritual and administrative capital of a major Pre-Incan state power for approximately five hundred years and thought to be the world’s oldest city. Some have hypothesized that Tiwanaku’s modern name is related to the Aymara term taypiqala, or ‘stone in the centre’, alluding to the belief it lay at the centre of the world. These pre-Inca ruins date back to 1580 BC. After your fascinating visit, you return to your hotel in La Paz for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Saturday 17th October
Sightseeing in La Paz
You have a morning sightseeing La Paz, the highest capital city in the world. Overlooking the city is the towering triple-peaked Illimani, always snow covered and visible from several locations. The city is renowned for the Black Market and Witches Market. Calle Jaen is one of the few places with preserved colonial buildings and boasts several interesting museums. Sagarnaga Street is the main tourist area and a market with craft and souvenir shops and cafes. Just outside the city is the Moon Valley, where over the centuries the elements have created an odd landscape, like a desert filled with stalagmites. You have a free afternoon to spend in La Paz and relax. (B)

Sunday 18th October
Flight back to the UK
You depart the hotel early in the morning to check in for the early departure of our indirect flight back to London.

Monday 19th October
Arrive back to the UK
Arrive in London in the morning.


Details

Price

  • Tour price £5695
  • Single supplement £765
  • Ground only (Lima – La Paz) £4795

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • Flights from London to Lima and return from La Paz
  • Internal flight in Bolivia
  • 17 nights hotel accommodation
  • 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 15 dinners
  • Transfers
  • All rail and coach travel
  • Entrance to all attractions mentioned (Moon Temple at Machu Picchu not included)
  • Local guides
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!