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Day 1: Arrive in La Paz, Bolivia

Upon arrival at the airport in La Paz (11,600 ft above sea level), you’ll be met and transferred to our comfortable hotel. Here, you will have the rest of the day free to rest. It’s important to take it easy at first so that you gradually acclimatize to the altitude.


Day 2: La Paz — Murillo museum, Valley of the Moon

We begin our exploration of La Paz this morning with a visit to the Murillo Museum featuring the rich folklore of this ethnically diverse country.

We continue on to the city hall, and then leave the city to explore the Valley of the Moon outside of La Paz. We have lunch in a lovely country inn and then return to the city with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.


Day 3: To Uyuni Salt Falts

We have a morning flight to Uyuni where we have time to explore the fast and beautiful Uyuni Salt Flats. This is a unique natural wonder with an expanse of over 10,000 sq. km. While we are here we will visit the village of Colchani on the shores to see the locals produce salt. Enter this perfect natural highway to cross to “Isla Incahuasi”, a special habitat of volcanic rocks and giant cactus. We continue north to the pre-Columbian Aique Pucara fort and the nearby chullpares in the foothills of the Tunupa volcano. We return back to Colchani to enjoy a great sunset and overnight in a salt hotel.


Day 4: La Paz

Today we take a flight from Uyuni to La Paz. If time permits we will visit the ruins at Tiahuanaco. Tiahuanaco is the most important archaeological site in Bolivia and the historical ceremonial center of this pre-Inca civilization.


Day 5: Copacabana, Lake Titicaca

We begin traveling across the 12,500 ft Altiplano, with views of Illimani and its neighboring peaks in the Royal Cordillera.

In Tiquina, we board a small motor launch to cross the narrow strait to the rugged Copacabana Peninsula. The road winds through an astonishing landscape of small farms with expansive views of the lake and mountains. We drive to Copacabana, a historic pilgrimage town on the shores of the lake.

After lunch, we’ll cross the frontier into Peru and continue along Titicaca’s spectacular southern shore, to reach our hotel on the outskirts of Puno.


Day 6: Taquile Island

In the morning we’ll board a launch for a 3-1/2 hour cruise to Taquile Island. Taquile’s rocky, terraced slopes rise steeply from the waters in the center of the lake. We’ll spend the afternoon on a delightful hike on the island and this evening we’ll stay overnight in a native guesthouse.


Day 7: Taquile Island, Puno

This morning we can explore Taquile Island, only four miles long and less than a mile wide. The island has picturesque villages, hilltop shrines and a gentle and industrious population of Taquile Indian weavers who welcome us wherever we go.

We depart by boat and on our way back to the mainland, we visit the floating reed island communities of the Uros Indians. Overnight in Puno.


Day 8: To the Inca Capital of Cuzco

A full day’s drive takes us over the northern Peruvian Altiplano and down into the narrow valley of Cuzco (11,100 ft), the former capital city of the Incas. Overnight in Cuzco.


Day 9: Cuzco — Tambo Machay, Kenko, Sacsayhuaman

Today we enjoy the beauty and history of Cuzco and the surrounding area. We have the opportunity to explore many of the important Inca sites in the hills around the town, including Tambo Machay, Kenko and the massive fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Overnight in Cuzco.


Day 10: Cuzco

We have the day at our leisure to relax or shop, or to explore Cuzco’s colorful streets and many museums. Many of the streets still retain the stone Incan walls of the former palaces which made up the heart of the city. Cuzco’s night life is also full of variety, with musicians contributing traditional Andean music in most of the restaurants. Overnight in Cuzco.


Day 11: Pisaq & Ollantaytambo

Today, we explore the Sacred Valley and its outlying villages. Exploring the major Inca site of Ollantaytambo, we experience first-hand the huge, steep terraces that guarded the temple area. The village itself is considered the best surviving example of Inca city planning.

We stop at Pisaq to view the Inca fortress high above the town located on a mountain spur and walk down to the colonial town center. We’ll stop at the market, famous for traditionally dressed locals selling their handmade sweaters and weavings. Overnight in a converted 300-year-old monastery in Yucay.


Day 12: Arrive at Machu Picchu — the Lost City of the Incas (or join a trek to Machu Picchu)

We travel by train down the rugged gorge of the roaring Urubamba River. This amazing train journey is rated as one of the top 10 train trips in the world, traveling through truly spectacular scenery through the Andes to Machu Picchu. This famous “Lost City of the Incas” is one of the world’s most memorable archeological sites. Tonight, we stay in Aguas Calientes, the town below the site.


Day 13: Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley, to Ollantayatambo

A second day at Machu Picchu allows time for individual exploration of the dramatic site and a chance to contemplate its man-made wonders. Ambitious hikers may consider hiking to the top of Huayna Picchu. This strenuous hike takes between two and three hours and provides spectacular views over the site of Machu Picchu.

Another option is to follow the shorter and less demanding trail to the Sun Gate. In the late afternoon we return by train to Cuzco for overnight.


Day 14: Fly to the Amazon, Canoe up the Tambopata

Please note: For those choosing the more strenuous Inca Trail Option, Days 13–15 diverge from the following itinerary.

Departing Cuzco, we take a 30-minute flight east over the Andes to Puerto Maldonado.

We continue by van and then motorized canoe up the Tambopata River to our rainforest lodge in the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve, in the Ese’eja Native Community. Unique to this lodge is a small parrot and parakeet clay lick. Lighting is by kerosene lamps and candlelight in open air bamboo lodges where the large bright bedrooms with private baths, spacious dining, lounge areas and buffet meals combining international cuisine, make your stay comfortable and memorable. Overnight at our Amazon lodge.


Day 15: Lake Condenado — Giant River Otters, Caiman, Piranha

To begin our introduction to the diverse flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest, we hike to nearby Lago Condenado, an oxbow lake where you may see a variety of birds along the margin of the lagoon. Our knowledgeable local guides explain the natural energy and complexity of the world’s largest tropical wilderness. Overnight at our Amazon lodge.


Day 16: Tambopata River — Observation Tower, Shaman’s Medicine Garden

Today, we hike to an observation tower to watch the sunrise (or sunset) over the steamy canopy. In the heat of the afternoon, we take a siesta and later, we visit a shaman’s medicinal garden in the jungle.

In our excursions you have an opportunity to experience a variety of rain forest habitats, each with a distinctive, complex community of insects, birds and animals. Overnight at our Amazon lodge.


Day 17: To Paracas

We begin with a flight from Puerto Maldonado to Lima. Driving south along the coast road to Paracas we see wonderful vistas of huge desert sand dunes, oceanside villages and the Pacific Ocean rolling in to this spectacular coastline.


Day 18: Ballestas Islands

From the Paracas Peninsula, we board a speedboat for the cruise to a wildlife refuge on the offshore volcanic island of Ballestas. Here we can see sea lions, Inca terns, Humboldt penguins and large flocks of gannets, pelicans and other birds which live from the rich marine resources of the Humboldt current.

We continue on to the colonial oasis town of Ica, surrounded by sand dunes. We visit the Regional Museum with a wonderful collection of artifacts from the Inca, Nazca and Paracas cultures. Overnight in Ica.


Day 19: Fly over Nazca Lines

Today we will enjoy the 90-minute circuit flight over the Nazca Lines, one of the most intriguing remnants of the civilizations that prospered along the Pacific Coast for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans. During our flight you will be able to photograph the famous images, including the condor, the hummingbird and the monkey. No one knows for certain why these lines were etched into the desert over 2,000 years ago. Our flight provides a bird’s eye view of this great mystery.

After lunch, we pay a visit to a winery. The area surrounding Ica is known for producing wonderful wines and piscos. We have some free time this afternoon to explore on your own or relax by the hotel pool. Overnight within sight of the sand dunes in the desert around Ica.


Day 20: Lima city tour, Gold Museum

This morning we drive back to Lima for a city tour and a visit to the Gold Museum (Museo de Oro del Peru). This famous museum houses a collection of hundreds of gold items, as well as silver and precious stones. We have our farewell dinner in Lima tonight at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the ocean.


Day 21: Departure

After breakfast, we may have some free time before we transfer to the airport for departing flights.

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