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Peru and Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats - Cusco Stay

Peru and Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats - Cusco Stay


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Overview

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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Bolivia and Peru. Learn about Peru's storied past in the former Inca capital of Cusco, and venture into the heart of the Amazon jungle. Catch the scenic train—to the endlessly fascinating Machu Picchu; then travel to Bolivia to see the striking Salar de Uyuni and colonial cities surrounded by soaring Andean peaks.

Day 1: Lima
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you're back in time to meet the group. Check for the meeting time on the welcome note at the hotel. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.
Accommodation: Hotel Antigua Miraflores (or similar)

Day 2: Lima/Tambopata
Fly to Puerto Maldonado and continue by motorized canoe to the comfortable, intimate, and exclusive G Lodge Amazon located in the lush Tambopata Rainforest.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Transport: Head by private vehicle to the lodge's office in Puerto Maldonado to store large luggage. From there, travel about 1 hr to reach the boat landing.
Activity: Get the lowdown on local flora and fauna, and grab a flashlight to discover what's living around lodge grounds. Receive help from the talented, expert naturalist guide to locate heaps of hidden creatures! Keep an eye out for snakes, tarantulas, owls, and poison dart frogs, just to name a few.
Accommodation: Tambopata G Lodge (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch (Depending on flight arrival times, enjoy either a boxed lunch aboard the boat or lunch upon arrival at the lodge. ) Dinner (Meals at the lodge are typically buffet-style and a mix of local and international dishes. As much food as possible is locally sourced – and it's absolutely delicious.)

Day 3: Tambopata
Enjoy guided jungle excursions led by expert naturalists to spot wildlife at nearby oxbow lakes, rivers, and clay licks. Take advantage of free time to relax or swim, and go on a caiman-spotting cruise after dinner.
Activity: Enjoy visits to oxbow lakes to learn about the jungle and its inhabitants. Be introduced to the area's rich flora and fauna by expert naturalist guides, who can teach extensive uses for medicinal and other forest plant resources through traditional techniques. Be prepared to go early morning or evening to avoid the heat of midday. Enjoy a leisurely pace - the trip requires some walking, but nothing too strenuous.
Free Time: Spend time around the lodge or go further afield. Free time is yours to explore any way you want!
Activity: Head out after dark by motorized canoe to search for caimans on the river banks. Enjoy a lesson on caimans from the expert guide. Take advantage of the keen eyes of the expert naturalist guides - they are truly spectacular at spotting these elusive smaller cousins of alligators hiding on the muddy banks.
Accommodation: Tambopata G Lodge (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 4: Tambopata/Cusco
Travel by boat out of the jungle to Puerto Maldonado for a flight over the Andes and into the heart of Inca territory, Cusco. This evening, look to the night sky for a different view at the Cusco Planetarium. Enjoy a presentation on the southern sky, contemporary astronomy, and the ancient Incas' relationship with the cosmos. Visit the on-site museum and use the telescopes to admire the stars.
Transport: Climb in and move swiftly through the water to the next stop.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Free Time: Take it easy this afternoon and acclimatize to the higher altitude.
Activity: Look to the night sky for a different view of the city. Explore the Cusco Planetarium surrounded by the serene nature of the Llaullipata Ecological Reserve. Enjoy a presentation on the southern sky, contemporary astronomy, and the ancient Incas' relationship with the cosmos. Check out the on-site museum and use the telescopes to admire the stars (weather-permitting).
Accommodation: Taypikala Hotel Cusco (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 5: Cusco/Urubamba
Enjoy a full day exploring the Sacred Valley with a local guide. Tour the G Adventures-supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a network of rural agricultural communities working to preserve more than 700 species of potatoes. Learn about potato cultivation and traditional weaving, and the importance of each to Andean culture. Next, explore the Pisac ruins and visit the G Adventures-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in the village of Huchuy Qosqo.
Transport: Times includes all stops and visits enroute through the Sacred Valley.
Activity: In Peru's Sacred Valley of the Inca, six communities of approximately 6000 indigenous people are working together to preserve over 700 species of potato - a cornerstone of life here. As part of an experience exclusive to National Geographic Journeys travellers - and part of our G Adventures for Good program - visit this area, named "Parque de la Papa" ("Potato Park"), to learn about life in an Andean agricultural community. Walk through the park here with a local guide, dropping by the seed bank (which has direct ties to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway) and then head out to the fields to watch the planting or harvesting process, depending on the season. After, enjoy some of the delicious varieties of potato and visit the small stone hut where traditional weaving takes place. Learn about the natural dyeing process and witness alpaca wool strands being transformed into beautiful textiles through a centuries-old backstrap weaving style. Your visit to this special community means this local enterprise can continue earning an income that supports their development and conservation goals.
Activity: Parque de la Papa (meaning "Potato Park") serves two important purposes for the community of Pampallacta: the preservation of agricultural biodiversity and economic opportunity. National Geographic Journeys travellers visit the park to learn about life in a rural agricultural Andean community and take a tour of the seed conservation program, which is preserving heritage potato species. They also learn about traditional planting, harvesting and indigenous weaving practices. With G Adventures' support, the community is able to create jobs in the area and invest in local businesses, which helps the community preserve their culture.
Activity: Contribute to sustainable tourism in Huchuy Qosqo, a small village of 65 families in the Sacred Valley, by eating at the Parwa Community Restaurant. Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund, to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off microenterprises.
Activity: Tour the fascinating hilltop citadel of Pisac, an Incan ruin with plunging gorges, a ceremonial centre, and winding agriculture terracing that's still in use today. Be captivated by this truly amazing site sitting amid sweeping green valleys and mountain peaks. Explore the back of the site to see a pocketed cliff across Kitamayo Gorge, which once contained hundreds of Inca tombs.
Activity: Tour the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo with a local guide. Take a step back in time at this Inca archaeological site; it still shows signs of its former glory, including agricultural terraces, a Temple Hill, and storehouses. Learn how the area, overlooking the Urubamba River Valley, was an important stronghold during warfare between the Spanish and Incas.
Accommodation: Villa Urubamba (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch

Day 6: Ollantaytambo/Cusco
Return to the Sacred Valley with your G representative to explore the sites of the Maras Salt Mines and the ancient Incan agricultural terraces of Moray. Continue on a scenic drive through small villages and stunning views of the Andean countryside. Stop at Piuray Lagoon and opt to explore by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Return to Cusco for the evening.
Activity: Drive a little more than an hour to get to the Moray archaeological site. Tour these unique Inca ruins, consisting of circular terraces and a sophisticated irrigation system located at 3500m (11483 ft). Learn about the history and study of this fascinating site - speculation has it that it was an Inca agriculture experiment station. Visit the impressive Maras Salt Mines, after Moray. See thousands of individual ancient salt pools spilling over a hillside. Learn about the different varieties of salt, and try the renowned pink salt, famous worldwide.
Activity: Set out on a scenic drive above the Sacred Valley of the Incas, stop along the way to lookout over small farms carved into the hills and small villages dotted along the landscape. Enjoy the views at picturesque Piuray Lagoon, opt to relax, explore the lagoon by kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Taypikala Hotel Cusco (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch

Day 7: Cusco
Enjoy a free day to explore the city or take advantage of the many optional activities available.
Free Time: Spend more time getting to know this fascinating city and surrounding area. Free time is yours to explore any way you want.
Accommodation: Taypikala Hotel Cusco (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 8: Cusco/Aguas Calientes
Travel by van to Ollantaytambo to catch the scenic train to Aguas Calientes.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Accommodation: Hotel Taypikala Machupicchu (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 9: Machu Picchu/Cusco
Enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge before returning to Cusco in the evening.
Transport: Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Activity: Rise and shine - the best time to see the Lost City of the Incas is in the early morning light. Follow the local guide to Machu Picchu to learn about its history at a leisurely pace. Gain local insight into the Inti Mach'ay cave, Inti Watana, the Temple of the Water, the Temple of the Condor, and the Room of the Three Windows. Take time to sit and feel the energy of this 15th-century site, now both a UNESCO World Heritage site and voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World (in a worldwide Internet poll).
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Taypikala Hotel Cusco (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 10: Cusco/La Paz
Catch a flight to one of the loftiest cities in the world, La Paz, Bolivia. In the afternoon, take an immersive city tour on foot, van, and by cable car exploring the "highest" capital in the world, surrounded by the stunning snow-capped Andes. Explore vibrant squares, historical sites, and lively local markets, learning more about the balance of old and new of this fascinating city. This evening, enjoy an interactive culinary experience at a popular local restaurant with demonstrations of how traditional foods such as quinoa are integrated into modern fusion dishes. With our local chef, we sample a variety of dishes and discuss the growing popularity of La Paz as a foodie destination.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Activity: Explore the city on a guided tour. Check out stunning cathedrals, impressive museums, and lively markets, learning more about the history of this fascinating city. Look for majestic Mt Illimani in the background.
Activity: Embark on an interactive culinary experience at a popular local restaurant. Enjoy demonstrations on how traditional foods such as quinoa are integrated into modern fusion dishes. With a local chef, we sample a variety of modern dishes based on traditional foods and learn about the growing popularity of La Paz as a foodie destination.
Accommodation: Attix Boutique Hotel (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 11: La Paz/Sucre
Catch a flight to charming Sucre, then enjoy an orientation walk around the main square with your CEO. This afternoon, relax at a local café, explore on your own, or opt to take an immersive city tour with a local expert that focuses on the stunning colonial architecture and historic sites, best viewed from the city's ubiquitous rooftop terraces.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Free Time: Enjoy free time to explore, relax at a cafe or take a specialized walking tour.
Activity: Enjoy a walk with your CEO around Sucres's centre and main square. For more in-depth information, a specialized guided tour is offered on option this afternoon..
Accommodation: Hotel Parador Santa Maria (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 12: Potosi Countryside
Enjoy free time this morning before travelling into the southern highlands to our historic hacienda. Surrounded by lush farmlands and rolling hills, this working farm offers unique opportunities for cultural exchanges with the resident family. Get a glimpse into daily life here while taking part in demonstrations at the dairy and in the fields, and step back in time during visits to the property's private rooms, chapel, and museum. Cap off your experience with an authentic farm-to-table dinner featuring specialities local to the area.
Free Time: Make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Down a winding dirt road, snaking though the stunning Southern Highlands we find our remote Hacienda. Surrounded by lush farmlands, rivers and rolling hills, this historic "working" farm offers a unique cultural interaction with a welcoming local family. Dating back to the 1500s, we step back in time with visits to private museum rooms, the chapel and library. Also, immerse ourselves into the hacienda's daily life including demonstrations at the dairy and a visit to the fields, Finish with an authentic farm-to-table dinner featuring local specialities from the area.
Accommodation: Hotel Museo Cayara (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner

Day 13: Potosí/Uyuni
Make the short drive to the centre of Potosi and enjoy a guided tour of the Casa Nacional de la Moneda, the old silver mint and now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history. Take a scenic drive to Uyuni, gateway to the world's largest salt flat. Learn about the industrialization of salt and the geographical history of the region while driving across this mirror-like landscape. Enjoy a sunset picnic atop the flats before returning to our hotel.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Learn about the first global currency at this renowned National Mint museum.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Transport: Roads? Where this rough-and-ready vehicle's going, we don't need roads.
Activity: Enjoy a picnic amidst this spectacular landscape, while the local expert guide describes the cultural and geographical history of the area, watch the sky come alive as the sun sets over the expansive salt flats.
Accommodation: Luna Salada Hotel (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 14: Uyuni
Journey deeper into the salt pans to explore their varied geographical features. Along the way, stop at the remote town of Agencha, a small Quechua community sponsored by G Adventures for Good. Here we enjoy a guided walk to learn about quinoa production and the cultural history of the area. Savour lunch prepared with local ingredients before continuing our exploration of the desert and its pans.
Transport: Roads? Where this rough-and-ready vehicle's going, we don't need roads.
Activity: Accompanied by a local expert guide explore the stunning landscape of the Bolivian Salt Flats by 4x4. Enter a landscape unlike anything you've ever seen as we drive across (or around) the world's largest salt flat; the piercing blue sky contrasts against the blinding white of the flat salt beds.
Activity: Visit the Santiago de Agencha community, located two hours across the salt flats from Uyuni, a rural village surrounded by towering cacti and part of a small desert oasis. The community-owned salt lodge was renovated and expanded through a major project in 2016 funded by G Adventures' foundation, Planeterra. With many of the village's younger residences fleeing for economic opportunities, this lodge is seen by the community as a way to rescue their indigenous culture and provide opportunities for the future. Learn about their traditional agricultural practices, including their specialization in quinoa production, and take in beautiful views of salt flats that surround it. Enjoy lunch made from local ingredients grown in the village are prepared by ladies who were provided culinary training through the project. Leave Jukil Community Lodge knowing your visit is creating opportunities for a whole new generation of people in this community to improve their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren.
Accommodation: Luna Salada Hotel (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 15: Uyuni/La Paz
Catch a flight to La Paz and enjoy free time to explore before joining our CEO for an optional farewell dinner.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Accommodation: La Casona Hotel Boutique (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 16: La Paz
Depart at any time.
Meal(s): Breakfast

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Inclusions

Meals Included
15 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport
Private van, plane, train, boat, canoe, hiking, 4 x 4 vehicle, walking.

Inclusions
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Cusco Planetarium, Cusco Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Traditional Andean Experience, Urubamba Your Journeys Highlight Moment: La Paz Culinary Experience, La Paz Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Bolivian Hacienda Experience, Potosí Your G for Good Moment: Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), Urubamba Your G for Good Moment: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Lamay Your G for Good Moment: Jukil Community Experience & Lunch, Santiago de Agencha. Arrival transfer. Three-day (2 nts) excursion to the G Adventures exclusive rainforest lodge. Sacred Valley tour. Choice of four-day Inca Trail hike with local guide, cook, and porters or Cusco/Aguas Calientes stay with scenic train. Guided tour of Machu Picchu. Excursion to the Salar de Uyuni. Sucre city tour. La Paz city tour. Moon Valley excursion. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

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Accommodations

Hotels (10 nts), G Lodge Amazon (2 nts), Inca Trail camping or Cusco-stay hotel (3 nts).

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

National Geographic Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.2
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.4
Professional Staff
4.8
Repeat with Operator
4.2
Value for Money
3.9

Ratings based off 42 reviews about National Geographic Tours - currently showing 2 reviews with comments only

Outstanding trip and tours with plenty of opportunities for planned and unplanned adventures. Knowledgeable, friendly, and capable guides who kept us moving while allowing adequate free time for exploring on one's own.

Affordable Tours was helpful, answered all questions, booked tour and all flights for us. Great experience! We will definitely book through AT again.


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