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Atacama To Machu Picchu
19 days / 18 nights

Countries visited:
Bolivia, Chile, Peru

Tour Highlights:
Moon Valley
El Tatio geysers
La Paz
Lake Titicaca
Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu


Day 1 Santiago, Chile
Arrive at Santiago Airport and have a transfer to your hotel. Accommodation and evening at leisure.

Day 2 Santiago
Start your South American journey with a city tour of Santiago, the capital of Chile. One of the most scenic destinations in South America, Santiago lies in the imposing shadow of the majestic Andes. Visit the old part of the city, around the Alameda, where you will see the impressive Presidential Palace and the monastery of San Francisco. Continue the tour with the Government Palace of La Moneda, as well as the cultural and literal heart of both the city and the country, the Plaza de Armas. In the end of the tour, go to San Cristobal hill to enjoy spectacular views out over the city. In the afternoon have free time or visit one of the many museums of the colonial and pre-Columbian past of the city.

Day 3 Santiago - Maipo Valley - Santiago
Today have a day to explore 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 and it is certainly the oldest one. Visit also 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 and some powerful earthquakes over the years, but today is a major port and its surrounding hills, a natural amphitheatre covered in colourful houses and mansions, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 3 Santiago - Calama (flight) - Moon Valley - San Pedro de Atacama
Fly to Calama early this morning and have a transfer by bus to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. Set high among the spectacular volcanoes of Los Andes Cordillera, this place is the gateway to the dramatic landscapes of the Atacama Desert. In the afternoon take a guided 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. After watching the setting sun, return by bus back to San Pedro where is your hotel for tonight.

Day 4 San Pedro - El Tatio Geysers - San Pedro
In the morning head through the desert landscapes of Atacama for a visit of the amazing El Tatio Springs, a geothermal field of spouting geysers and steaming fumaroles surrounded by volcanic mountains. Later, have free time to explore San Pedro, which once was the centre of the Atacama culture or take a visit out to the Salar de Atacama, 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. Return for overnight in San Pedro.

Day 5 San Pedro - Hito Cajon - Villamar, Bolivia
Today drive to the Bolivian border at Hito Cajon. Once in Bolivia, the journey continues to spectacular waters of the salt lake Laguna Verde, lying before the imposing slopes of the Lincancabur Volcano (5960m). This unique place must to be seen for its changing colours, from a deep azure to a vivid turquoise and the flamingos dancing in the salt. Proceed to the amazing blood-red salt lake Laguna Colorada, home to rare James flamingos who feed on the rich red algae that cover the lake. Head to Villamar, while crossing the surreal and tortured lands of the high altitude plains of the Siloli Desert.

Day 6 Villamar - Uyuni Salt Flats - Colchani
Today we travel via Ollague Volcano and San Juan into a desolate wilderness. The landscape is surreal but you can still see flamingos inhabit the shoreline and the snow-capped peak of Volcan Tunupa (5400m) in the distance. Cross the world’s largest salt flat Salar de Uyuni and head to Incahuasi Island, an isolated island in the heart of the salt flat, covered by huge cacti. Later, drive east to Colchani to visit a salt works. The small village marks the extreme edge of the salt pans. Tonight spend the night in a hotel made out of salt, a truly unique experience.

Day 7 Colchani - Potosi
Continue driving through the mineral rich highlands of southern Bolivia and admire the views on the road until you reach our next destination, the UNESCO Heritage town of Potosi. With its elevation of 4090 m above sea level, Potosi is considered the highest city of its size anywhere on earth.

Day 8 Potosi - Sucre
Enjoy a city tour of Potosi and learn about the rich history of the town and how the Spanish were attracted to these high terrains by the promise of abundant deposits of silver and zinc. Potosi itself is considered one of Bolivia’s historical highlights with a lot of monuments and glorious churches. Visit the Casa de Moneda, an 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 depart for Sucre by bus.

Day 9 Sucre
Have a guided tour of Bolivian capital, a UNESCO Heritage site with colonial charm and European influences. Unofficially known as ‘the city of four names’, Sucre now has its name in honour of the first president of the country, Antonio Jose de Sucre. See the cultural heart of the city and its 17th century cathedral, containing the stunning jewel encrusted ‘Virgen de Guadalupe’ by Bernardo Bitti. Visit the Museo de la Recoleta, once served as a Franciscan convent, a barracks and a prison, now you can find a vast collection of paintings of the last four centuries. Have the rest of the day free to continue exploring at your leisure.

Day 10 Sucre - La Paz (flight)
Leave Sucre and fly to La Paz, the world’s highest administrative capital and Bolivia’s largest city, standing at 3636m above sea level. Surrounded by the high Altiplano, is also known as 'the city that touches the sky’. It 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.
After accommodation in the hotel have the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 11 La Paz
Today have a tour of the city and visit the church of San Francisco, as well as the Museo del Oro, where you can see pre-Columbian gold and silver artefacts. Admire the fascinating exhibits in the Casa de Pedro Domingo Murillo, a famous 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. Afternoon at leisure to wander around the street markets and explore more La Paz.

Day 12 La Paz - Lake Titicaca - Copacabana - Isla del Sol (boat)
Leave La Paz and head towards the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca. At 3810m it is the largest expanse of water and the highest navigable lake in the world. Continue to Copacabana, the main bolivian town on the Titicaca’s shore and an important pilgrimage place in the country. Take a boat from Copacabana to the mystical Isla del Sol, the sacred Inca island, where you will spend the night.

Day 13 Isla del Sol - Copacabana (boat) - Puno, Peru
Have a sightseeing around the largest island Isla del Sol, which is covered with nearly 200 archaeological ruins from the ancient Incas. Afterwards take a boat north to the Chincana ruins and the Sacred Rock, a venerated place by the Aymara, where you will find ruins from 15th century. Next to visit is the neighbouring Island of the Moon with its ruins. Then take again a boat to Copacabana and continue by bus to the border of Peru, following the shores of the lake to its north western corner and the bustling town of Puno.

Day 14 Puno - Sillustani - Sacred Valley (bus) or Puno - Cusco - Sacred Valley (train)
Today follow the legendary route taken by the first Inca ruler - Manco Capac - on his way to find Cusco. Make a stop at the beautifully scenic site of Sillustani - an ancient pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. After reaching the northern limit of the Altiplano, cross La Raya pass (4335m) and descend towards Cusco. If you like the scenic train journeys, you can choose the option to take the classic train journey from Puno to Cusco, which is one of the greatest railway journeys of the world, offering some spectacular scenery over the high altiplano.

Day 15 Sacred Valley - Aguas Calientes (train)
Have a free morning or choose an optional visit of the Inca salt pans at Maras and the remote ruins of Moray, famous for its fascinating Inca terraces, a magnificent place known locally as the laboratory of the Incas. In the afternoon 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. In the evening have time to relax in the thermal baths.

Day 16 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Start the visit early in the morning so that you can watch the sunrise over the incredible complex of Machu Picchu. Have a guided visit of this magnificent city and explore the intact temples, stairways and palaces. Once you are there, you will feel the energy and ingenuity of the builders. This so well preserved centre of the Inca Empire is considered today for probably the most important attraction of South America and it is a must to see. This afternoon travel by train and bus to Cusco. Evening at leisure.

Day 17 Cusco
Have a full day to explore the old capital of the Inca Empire and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Today it has an architecture that fuses the Inca with the Spanish style. Your guided tour takes you to the Santo Domingo Monastery, previously the Koricancha Temple, one of the most important temples devoted to worship of the sun. It is said it was covered in gold leaf and filled with golden representations of nature. See the Cathedral in Plaza de Armas, before taking a short drive outside the city to visit the following Inca sites: the ruins of the impressive Sacsayhuaman fortress, Kenko ceremonial centre, considered a holy place by the Incas and the Puca Pucara military ruin.

Day 18 Cusco - Lima (flight)
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. Founded in 1535 Lima is also known as the ‘City of Kings’. Today you will find a great combination of a modern and ancient city with a lot of museums and sights to visit. In the afternoon have a tour of the city’s highlights - Lima Cathedral with the tomb of the Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro and San Francisco Monastery, Plaza San Martin and Bolivar. Walk through the old city and admire some of the city’s best surviving examples of colonial architecture.

Day 19 Lima
Have a transfer to Lima Airport for your flight back home.