Epic Peru, Bolivia & Argentina


This 26-day adventure covers all of South America's most iconic sights, with a local leader to show you the way and plenty of free time to choose your own adventure. Go wildlife-spotting in the heart of the Amazon jungle, where you’ll float and trek among anacondas and caimans, walk in the footsteps of the Inca (or alternatively, take a leisurely train ride) to Machu Picchu – one of the Seven Wonders of the World, marvel at Bolivia's mind-bending salt flats in Salar de Uyuni, stay on the floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca in a unique homestay experience and sip a glass of malbec in atmospheric Buenos Aires. With locals to show you the secret hotspots and fellow travellers your own age, this trip has all the opportunities of an epic adventure!

26 days, from

$4,113

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GGYBC
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s

Details

Countries Visited:  Argentina Bolivia Chile Peru
Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (16 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)
Transportation: 4x4 , Bus , Overnight bus , Plane , Van
Included Meals:

  • 24 breakfasts
  • 9 lunches
  • 8 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Roam the Amazon jungle at night while pretending you're David Attenborough (it has a calming influence). Float down the river, keeping an out for the glaring eyes of jaguars and caimans.

  • The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca seem like the sort of thing Pixar would come up with. Spend the night under the stars in a traditional island village.

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Inca QuarryTrail or take the scenic train route to Machu Picchu, trust us, this is going to be one of the highlights of your life.

  • Get amongst the weird and wonderful in La Paz, from the strange brews of the witches’ market to the tasty treats of Mercado Lanza.

  • Ever dreamt of walking on water? Now’s your chance. Kind of. The sprawling salt lakes of Bolivia serve up some seriously mind-bending photo ops.

  • See how spicy Latin America mixes with the best bits of Europe in the intoxicating, cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires.

  • At Intrepid we’ve always been about balancing profit and purpose and as the largest B Corp certified operator on the Inca Trail we’re committed to operating our treks for the benefit of all – join us and help make the world a better place.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Lima

Welcome to Lima, Peru.
At around 2 pm there will be a pre-departure meeting. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the accommodation as soon as possible.
Following the meeting your leader will take you on a walking tour of Miraflores, including Central Park (Parque Kennedy), the LarcoMar entertainment complex and Parque del Amor (Love Park) for great views over the coast of Lima.

Day 2-3: Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle lodge)

Take a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. Upon your arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Here you can leave most of your luggage in safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. There will be time to unpack and unwind once you get there. The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.
For your night-time excursion, you will venture out in the dark in search of caimans on the Tambopata River. The naturalist guide will use a spotlight in order to locate them on the banks of the river, so you can observe them from a respectable distance.

Notes: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.

Day 4: Cusco

Say farewell to the jungle today and fly to Cusco, which takes just under an hour. Spend the next day trying to acclimatise to the high altitude of this location (i.e. no strenuous activity).
After dropping your luggage off and having some lunch, your tour leader will take you on a walk around downtown Cusco. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square.
The order of visiting these locations, may vary according to hotel location and your tour leaders preference.
In your free time may want to book some of the optional activities available in Cusco. Please speak with your leader about this.

Day 5: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo

Today takes you a little closer to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Unwind on a private bus for around two hours through the Sacred Valley, which is on the fringes of Cusco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Head to a community in the valley to learn about the local lifestyle and activities, and hopefully your visit will coincide with market day (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). Comb the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos, and master the local Quechuan language (a few words will be deemed a success). Continuing on, drive 20 minutes to Ollantaytambo. Later in the afternoon, perhaps head out to visit to Ollantaytambo’s awesome Incan ruins. You’ll spend the night at a hotel in Ollantaytambo, ready for your early morning start on the Inca Trail.

Day 6: Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train Option

Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu.

While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. You won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes.

Route 1 Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3100m above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal prepared by your cook.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc Cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3700 metres above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Route 3 Cusco:
Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to purchase a boleto turistico, which allows entry to the city's many museums and archaeological sites. Ask your leader for their recommendations.

Day 7: Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train Option

Route 1 Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 metres above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3 hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 metres high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 metres.

Route 3 Cusco:
Today is yours to spend as you wish in Cusco. Perhaps use the day to indulge your inner foodie at Cusco's many cafes, restaurants and markets. The ChocoMuseo is a must for those with a sweet tooth - they offer tastings and chocolate-making workshops.

Day 8: Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train Option

Route 1 Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay Pass (3980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the 2 hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail to Aguas Calientes:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes:
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Day 9: Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train Option and Machu Picchu

Route 1 Inca Trail:
This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Route 2 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters.

Route 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters.

For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.

Day 10: Cusco

Today enjoy free time to relax, shop for souvenirs or see more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or if you're a thrill-seeker, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cusco. In the evening, you might want to chew the fat with the group over dinner.

Day 11: Puno

In the morning travel by local bus for six hours through the Altiplano plateau to Puno. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians. Once you're settled, head out in town and shake your tailfeather.

Day 12: Lake Titicaca (Homestay)

Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today you'll take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a homestay in a local community on Llachon. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or maybe play a game of soccer in the village.

Day 13: Puno

Enjoy a home-cooked breakfast by your host family this morning, taking the time to explore the rest of the island afterwards. In the afternoon, take the boat back to Puno where the rest of your day is free to explore.

Day 14: La Paz

Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero (just over seven hours) and cross the border into Bolivia. You'll be asked to leave the bus to proceed through Peruvian migration. The group will then walk across a bridge, submit passports at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus for La Paz. Approximately 30 minutes after crossing the border, there's another stop where the army will check your documents again. The journey to La Paz takes around eight hours in total. In the evening, perhaps head out for an optional group dinner.

Day 15: La Paz

Enjoy a free day in La Paz to get out and discover the city at your own pace. As La Paz is 3600 metres above sea level, please ensure you take the necessary measurements in regards to altitude sickness (refer to ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections for important information). The next stage of your adventure begins with a meeting at 6 pm to meet some new adventurers joining you for the next stage of your trip.

Day 16: La Paz

Your second day in La Paz is free to explore after a brief guided walk with your leader. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance – most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. 

Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Uyuni (approximately 11-12 hours). There are comfortable recliner seats on the bus, but it can be cold on-board so it’s important to bring warm clothing and wear base layers. There’s usually a toilet on the bus and the driver will also make a couple of stops along the way.

Day 17: Salar de Uyuni

Arrive in Uyuni Town. This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano, a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers. Upon arrival to Uyuni (early morning) venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion. Be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be at a rusty Train Cemetery before you continue on to Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flats. While this may be a typical stop for many travellers, it’s also often a highlight. Make the most of your time on the salt flats taking lots of photos and explore Inka Wasi Isla, which is a rocky island covered in cacti and coral-like structures.

Day 18: Bolivian Altiplano

Today will be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. Stop by the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife such llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters.

Day 19: Bolivia/Chile Border- San Pedro de Atacama

This morning get up super early, embrace the cold and stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for an optional soak. Then head to the Bolivia/Chile border, where the Bolivian part of your trip comes to an end. Pass by geysers, salt flats and snow-capped volcanoes on your way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. As a small oasis town, San Pedro is surrounded by extraordinary scenery. You'll arrive around 6pm at San Pedro.

Day 20-21: San Pedro de Atacama

Use these two days to get under the skin of this burgeoning tourist destination. San Pedro’s cafe and restaurant scene has grown considerably over the last couple of years. With a mix of Chilean, French and Italian influences, you’ll be sure to find a great spot for lunch and dinner. Perhaps head out on an optional tour to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) or join an astronomical tour once the stars come out, just chat to your leader for details.

Day 22: Chile/Argentina border - Salta

Today will be a long day of travel (approximately 12 hours), as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and surrounding natural attractions make it one of Argentina's main attractions.

Day 23: Salta

Today is a free day to explore Salta and its attractions. If you’re after something active, hike up the 1070 steps to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo; the mountain that looms over Salta. You can take a gondola (cable car) to the top if you’d prefer. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent.

Day 24: Salta - Buenos Aires

After a free morning in Salta, take an included flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. This evening, you might like to enjoy a tango show, a football match or a steak and glass of Malbec in one of the city’s fashionable restaurants.

Day 25: Buenos Aires

Today is a free to explore Buenos Aires. Join the tourists and walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. There are also some great museums to check out in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors. If you need to rest your feet, settle down at one of the many street side cafes to watch the world go by with the locals.

Day 26: Buenos Aires

After breakfast, your adventure around Bolivia and Argentina comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day so you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out.