Arrive into the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco. Situated at an altitude of 11,200 ft., Cuzco reflects both the Inca and Spanish cultures. Airport greeting and transfer by minivan to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Experience an unforgettable view as you cross over the mountain from Cuzco and drop down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The road follows the meandering Urubamba River and passes through rich agricultural lands and picturesque villages. In the evening relax, and adjust to the altitude.
(Accommodations, Sacred Valley)
Today you have a private full-day tour, visiting the colonial village of Pisac and its colorful indigenous market. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, continue on to discover Ollantaytambo, one of the largest archaeological complexes in Peru, strategically located on a mountaintop at an elevation of 9,100 feet.
(Breakfast, Lunch & Accommodations, Sacred Valley)
After breakfast, transfer to the Ollantaytambo Train Station and board the train to the village of Aguas Calientes (approximately 90 minutes), in the valley below Machu Picchu. There you will board a bus that will take you up the switchback road (approximately 20 minutes) to the legendary "Lost City of the Incas". Enjoy a guided tour of the Ruins, followed by lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge (adjacent to the site).
(Breakfast, Sacred Valley; Lunch & Accommodations, Aguas Calientes)
Morning at leisure to return to Machu Picchu for a second visit. The bus departs from Puente Ruinas station every 10 minutes, beginning at 5:30 am. Mid-afternoon (3:30 - 5:00 pm depending upon your train confirmation time) return to Ollantaytambo Train Station. Continue to Cuzco by minivan, arriving in the early evening. Transfer to your selected hotel.
(Breakfast, Aguas Calientes; Accommodations, Cuzco)
Morning at leisure. Afternoon city tour of Cuzco includes a visit to the Koricancha Temple and the Cathedral, followed by a visit to the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Puca-Pucara and the Tambomachay ruins. After the tour, explore the city on your own. Cuzco is a city of plazas and colonial buildings with red tile roofs. Walk the city's ancient cobblestone streets, lined with the massive stone walls that are an Inca legacy. Return to your hotel.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Cuzco)
Today you travel by train, bus or plane to Puno, the center for excursions to Lake Titicaca.
(Breakfast, Cuzco; Accommodations, Puno)
After breakfast, transfer by bus to Juli Harbor. Visit the Church of Juli and a local Indian market, before boarding a hydrofoil on Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, at 12,400 feet. The border between Peru and Bolivia runs through the lake. Visit Moon Island and the ruins of Inak Uyu, the Sun Virgins' Temple. Continue to Sun Island where you will visit the Sun Temple and enjoy a llama trek on Inca trails. Visit the Inca Staircase and Sacred Fountain to taste the sacred water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Enjoy lunch at "Uma Kollu" restaurant. Afternoon hydrofoil cruise to the Taquina Straits where you will see fishermen in their Titicaca reed boats. Then a stop at Quewaya Island, one of the Urus Iruitos Floating Islands. The Urus-Iruitos culture dates back to 5000 B.C.
In the evening, visit the "Mystic World of the Kallawayas." The Kallawayas are the native healers of Bolivia. They believe that you have first to heal the soul in order to heal the body. Meet "Tata Benjo" who will read your future as he casts his sacred coca leaves. After your busy day, relax and enjoy a candlelight dinner at your hotel on the Bolivian side.
(Breakfast, Puno; Lunch, Dinner & Accommodations, Utama Hotel & Spa)
Morning hydrofoil cruise to Pariti Island. A new archaeological discovery on Lake Titicaca, the Aymara Empire which governed from 850 BC to 1300 AD, selected this island for important ceremonies. Continue by motorboat through Totora Reed canals to Kalauta Island. Visit the Island's Chullpas Burial Towers and stone village. Return to Huatajata to the Inca Utama Hotel. A special attraction at the hotel is the Andean Roots Cultural Complex, a living museum set up to preserve the local traditions and culture of the Andean people. It is a unique interpretation center that includes the Altiplano Museum chapel, a botanical garden, and an artisan and fishing village where you can observe traditional techniques. Lake Titicaca is known for its reed boats, and you may be able to meet the some of the boat builders. If you feel like pampering yourself, you can arrange optional treatments at the Kallawaya Natural Spa, which offers a sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, coca cream massages, and other natural medicine treatments for stress and relaxation. After dinner, visit the Alajpacha Observatory for a memorable cosmic experience.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Accommodations, Inca Utama)
Morning visit to the pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanacu, once an important ceremonial center. After this excursion, transfer to La Paz and enjoy an afternoon tour of the City and Moon Valley, a maze of sandstone canyons and spires just outside of the city.
(Breakfast, Inca Utama; Accommodations, La Paz)
A morning pick up from your hotel in La Paz and transfer to the airport for your flight to Uyuni. Upon arrival, head to Colchani, a village where the majority of the salt consumed in Bolivia is produced, located about 12 miles from Uyuni. The Uyuni Salt Flats are the largest on earth: miles and miles of dazzling pentagons of crystalline salt and the noise of silence makes the heart beat faster. Certainly, there is no place like this on the planet. After visiting "Ojos de Agua" in the border of the Salt Flats, continue to Isla Pescado, located in the middle of the Salt Flats. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to Hotel Luna Salada on the shores of the Uyuni Salt Flats—a hotel made entirely of salt!
(Lunch, Dinner & Accommodations, Uyuni)
Today you will visit the Thunupa Mountain, an extinct volcano considered sacred by local people, and revered by the Aymara culture. It is one of the most important pre-Hispanic sanctuaries, containing some 24 identified archaeological sites. In the lagoon at the base of the mountain one can observe the pink and brown flamingos. You will also visit the Mummies Museum.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Accommodations, Uyuni)
Depart Uyuni for an overland transfer across the border into Chile. Arrive in San Pedro de Atacama at the heart of the driest desert on earth. It is a region of dramatic scenery with towering volcanoes, salt flats and unusual rock formations. The high Altiplano offers such unique natural phenomena as the Tatio Geysers, and Moon Valley. The charming town of San Pedro de Atacama is an oasis of adobe houses at the edge of a salt lake. It is also the cradle of the Atacama culture during the pre-Columbian period. This unique town, with an altitude of 10,170 feet is the gateway to exploring this spectacular region in northern Chile. Check in to your all-inclusive hotel and enjoy a relaxing dinner.
(Breakfast, Uyuni; Dinner & Accommodations, San Pedro de Atacama)
After breakfast, select your excursions for the next two days. Options include classic explorations such as Moon Valley—an unforgettable vista of sandstone formations that provide a lunar feel; active adventures such as rock climbing and mountain biking; historic encounters at archeological sites; and relaxing at the pool and spa.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Accommodations, San Pedro de Atacama)
After breakfast, transfer to the Calama airport, as you leave the desert behind and fly to your last destination, Santiago. The capital of Chile is surrounded by the Andes Mountains and valleys full of vineyards. Savor the delicious food and cosmopolitan vibe in this lively city.
(Breakfast, San Pedro de Atacama; Accommodations, Santiago)
Explore the city through the eyes and ears of a local, on bike. Take a bike tour of local life and markets. Fruit, vegetable, and seafood markets, graffiti, murals, Chile's rich culture, and religious history are the focus of this energizing tour. Begin by exploring the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood with stops at the Metropolitan Park and San Cristobal Hill. Nearby is the bustling Patronato neighborhood with stops in the Korean and Middle Eastern districts and the La Vega fruit and vegetable market. Final stops would be the center of Santiago, with District Mapocho, the Central Seafood Market, Plaza de Armas and the Museum of Fine Arts.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Santiago)
After breakfast, your South American adventure has come to an end—but the memories will last forever. Head to the airport for your flight back to New York (or other selected city).
*Flights from other U.S. departure cities also available.