Ecuador - Peru - Bolivia - 23 Days - From $2190

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are often considered the three most classically "South American" countries, and our travels take in many of the features most associated with this diverse and fascinating continent.  Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the "Devil's Nose" railway line in Ecuador, the Andes and their traditional cultures: these are some of the obvious highlights - but there's also volcanoes, jungle, waterfalls, traditional markets, ghostly ruins, even buried treasure...we also have the chance for adventure and relaxation - cycling, trekking, sunbathing and basking in natural hot pools.

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Day-1: Departure from home, arrival, transfer to the preferred hotel and rest until the following morning.

Day-2: Quito Located at an altitude of 2800 metres, Quito was the second city to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1979. After a hearty breakfast, we walk around the old and colonial parts of the city, visiting sites such as the Claustros de las Americas, the church and convent of San Francisco, Santo Domingo and the National Museum Marshal Antonio Jose de Sucre. Later we visit "Half the World", a museum with a line which divides the northern and southern hemispheres. After a long day we return to the hotel and rest.

Day-3: Quito - Cotopaxi - Baños. After breakfast in the hotel, we visit the Cotopaxi National Park and the Cotopaxi volcano (5897 metres) then continue towards the south, with plenty of stops for photo opportunities. Our destination is Baños, where we stay in an attractive lodge in tropical surroundings with views towards the Tungurahua volcano.

Day-4: Baños - La Paila del Diablo We take a cycling tour of about 20 km through a beautiful area of tropical vegetation and waterfall-splashed landscapes. After a half-day’s cycling, we head back to Baños to relax in the thermal baths.

Day-5: Baños - Riobamba In the morning we travel to Riobamba, where we spend the night at the foot of Chimborazo, at 6310 metres the highest mountain in Ecuador.

Day-6: Riobamba - Guamote - Cuenca After an early breakfast we visit Guamote. In this small village we experience the atmosphere of the most colourful indigenous market in Ecuador (Thursdays only). Of particular interest is the cattle market, the Indios Feil. At Chanchan, we board the train to experience a section of the spectacular and precipitous “Devil’s Nose” railway line, with a picnic on the way in the open air. The bus meets us at the last stop in Cuenca, where we go to our hotel for the night.

Day-7: Cuenca - Ingapirca In the morning we take a walking tour through the colonial part of the city, visiting sites of historical and architectural interest. After lunch we begin a tour of archeological sites, heading to the archeological complex of Ingapirca, where the altar was used to worship the Sun god, while other areas were functional in daily Incan life. Fiestas such as Inti Raymi served as rites of thanksgiving for a good harvest, considered a generous gift from the gods. We return to the hotel to have dinner and spend the night.

Day-8: Cuenca - Mancora (This is the longest day of the tour, but with an enticing destination, so hopefully we can put up with all the travelling) We start from Cuenca in the morning, stopping along the way to appreciate the diverse and beautiful countryside. After a few hours we cross the frontier to Peru at Huaquillas. We pass through Tumbes, a Peruvian frontier town, and after half an hour more arrive in “paradise” – Mancora, the most beautiful swimming beach in Peru, where we spend the night.

Day-9: Mancora This day is for simply lying on the beach, in the sun or under the shade of the palm trees with a glass of pisco sour – ah, life is sweet….

Day-10: Chiclayo Today we travel to Chiclayo, visiting the salt plains, and the Museum of the Royal Tombs at Lambayeque.

Day-11: Hr: Sipan In the morning we go to witches market where it is possible to buy coca, medicinal herbs, ceviche, and other seafoods. The local people are also very friendly – rather than being bothered by you taking their photo, they’re offended if you don’t! In the afternoon we visit the royal tombs of Sipan, and then take a 15-minute drive to the unique colonial ruins of Zaña. Until 1576, Zaña was the flourishing capital of Northern Peru, before being swept away in a massive tidal wave, which left behind the ghostly remains of convents, churches and the cathedral façade. Legend has it that a ship full of gold destined for Spain was also overcome by the tidal wave, and the gold is still buried somewhere beneath the town Later, we travel for 2 ½ hours to get to Trujillo, where we spend the night.

Day-12: Trujillo In the morning we head to the world’s largest mud city, Chachan, and then to Huanchaco, where we see ponies woven from reeds, as well as chaquiras and espondilus (stones and shells used in necklaces and to decorate clothing) which are sold on the beach. There’s a variety of fish to sample, including ceviche, the national dish of Peru. We may also be able to go swimming here, depending on the season. We return to Trujillo and in the evening take a stroll around the beautiful plaza, before dining out and sampling the famous “cabrito” (young goat), duck with rice, or other traditional local dishes.

Day-13: Trujillo - Lima - Cusco In the morning we visit the market and, after a traditional breakfast, head to the airport to take the 10:40 plane to Lima. In Lima we have lunch and then catch the plane to Cusco, arriving at 4:00 pm and staying the night.

Day-14: Cusco There’s a morning off in Cusco, before taking a tour of the city in the afternoon, where we see the Plaza de Armas, cathedral, Coricancha (where the colonial church of Santo Domingo was constructed over a golden Incan temple), the famous 12-angled stone, and nearby ruins such as Saqsayhuaman.

Day-15: Sacred Valley We take a tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas (though people have the option of making their own way and taking their own time in taxis– 4 hours each way and lots of tourists) to take a look at the beautiful ruins of the area such as Ollantaytambo - a major Inca ruin site and the first taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail.

Day-16: Inca Trail Very early in the morning, a bus picks us up to take us to the San Pedro train station and from there to Km.104, where after preparing our backpacks we set off on the 3 ½ hour trek at the start of the two-day Inca Trail. There are many opportunities to observe a wide variety of flora and fauna before we reach our accommodation in a village called Wiñay Huayna, (also an archeological site) where we go to bed early, ready for the second day of walking.

Day-17: Machu Picchu Waking up very early to avoid contact with other tourists (4:00 am), we continue by torchlight to Macchu Picchu, where we arrive after two hours - in time to see the sunrise from the Inti Punku (Gate of the Sun). There we are met with breathtaking views of Macchu Picchu against a spectacular landscape background. In Macchu Picchu itself, there is a guided tour around the ruins for 2 hours, and then 3 hours for people to enjoy the ruins by themselves. Afterwards we head back to the town called Machu Picchu (aka Aguas Calientes) for lunch. There’s some time off to enjoy the view and then it’s back to Cusco, getting there between 7:00 and 9:00 pm. After a long day we have supper and go to sleep.

Day-18: Cusco - LLachón Today we travel to a magical place that many locals say has a special energy and where people are said to live to 120 years old. This is Llachón, a native community on the Capachica Peninsula near the shores of Lake Titicaca. We have a chance to experience life in this remote location, where we sleep in rustic houses and meet people who can foretell the future by reading coca leaves.

Day-19: Lake Titicaca We wake up later than usual, taking a traditional boat to sail in the cold waters of Titicaca and experience spectacular vistas of the “most beautiful lake in the world”. We stop at some of the floating Uros Islands not usually frequented by tourists, where the traditional way of life is still practiced.

Day-20: Puno – Tihuanaco – La Paz We take a bus which passes through Puno and arrives in Chucuito, where there’s a chance for a rest and a picnic at the Temple of Fertility (aka the “Penis Temple”) before heading on to the Bolivian border. We say goodbye to Peru, then continue to La Paz, visiting on the way the ruins of Tiahuanaco (a culture predating the Incas by 300 years, with their own Gate of the Sun). We have supper and spend the night in La Paz, in preparation for the following morning’s activity.

Day-21: La Paz – Coroico (“the Death Road”) After breakfast, there is the option of taking the Cycling Tour of Coroico, an all-day bike trip down the notorious and spectacular “death road” (in fact, much safer to travel by bike), taking a packed picnic lunch. Those who don’t go cycling can take a trip to the valley of the moon, an impressive place with rocky formations of reddish color, or perhaps just go shopping in the market.

Day-22: La Paz Today we can take the whole day off, while those who want can visit the Witches Market in central La Paz.

Day-23: Return Home Transfer to La Paz airport where flights leave to return to your countries of origin.

 
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