Discovering Peru and Bolivia

Historic Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and the Salar de Uyuni with Andrea Heckman

Overview

Enigmatic pre-Inca tombs, soaring condors, the spellbinding beauty of Lake Titicaca, and the surreal moonscapes of the Salar de Uyuni are among the marvels of this grand cultural and hiking adventure in Peru and Bolivia. With our beloved Trip Leader Andrea Heckman, a true expert on Andean cultures, we weave a path from elegant Arequipa in southern Peru to lofty La Paz, the Bolivian capital known for its “witches’ market” and Aymara culture. We’ll see herds of alpacas and vicuñas grazing below snow-capped volcanoes at the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, hike above the breathtaking gorge of Colca Canyon to watch soaring condors, and explore pre-Inca tombs and fortresses in the ancient Colca Valley. In Bolivia, we have two overnights on Lake Titicaca’s serene Island of the Sun, legendary birthplace of the Inca gods. Our stay on this mystical island gives us a wonderful day of hiking and time to savor the sapphire majesty of the lake. In the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world (even visible from space!), we explore by 4WD vehicle and on foot across landscapes where sky and horizon merge—and the stargazing is superb. For our Farewell Dinner in La Paz, we gather to celebrate at Gustu, the acclaimed restaurant and cooking school that focuses on menus using entirely Bolivian products. Join us to experience the treasures of two of South America’s most intriguing lands.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2, Sep 30-Oct 1, 2020
Arequipa, Peru

In Arequipa, graced by its beautifully preserved colonial architecture, we explore the vast Monasterio de Santa Catalina and view a 500-year-old Inca mummy at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries. In the traditional countryside, we’ll walk through villages and past pre-Columbian terraces to a 300-year-old water-powered mill still in use.

Days 3-5, Oct 2- 4, 2020
Colca Canyon / Cruz del Condor / Pre-Inca Fortress

Condors soar above us as we hike along the rim of Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest. We descend to the valley to visit villages and walk past pre-Inca cave tombs.  Our lodge has rustic charm, mountain views, private thermal springs, and free-roaming alpacas on the grounds.

Days 6-7, Oct 5- 6, 2020
Puno / Copacabana, Bolivia / Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca

Crossing into Bolivia, we ferry across deep blue Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun for hikes to Inca sites and walks through villages. A memorable hike brings us along the island’s shores, with extraordinary vistas of the sapphire majesty of Lake Titicaca backed by the snow-capped Cordillera Real. Our ecolodge has simple adobe cottages with cozy beds and sweeping views.

Days 8-10, Oct 7- 9, 2020
La Paz / Uyuni / Explore the Salar de Uyuni

We fly to Uyuni on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni (11,800'), the largest salt flat in the world. In this shimmering lunar desert, we head out on foot and by 4WD vehicle to discover otherwordly landscapes where the sky and horizon merge. We'll visit the stunning rock outcrops of Fish Island and Inca Huasi Island, beautiful Tunapo Volcano, and the cave where the Coquesa mummies date back 1,200 years. Our charming hotel has walls built out of salt blocks!

Days 11-13, Oct 10-12, 2020
La Paz / Urban Hike / Gustu

In La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, we ride the cable car to the top of the city for an urban hike down to the Old Town, with its traditional Aymara culture, “witches’ market,” colonial churches, and lively street life. Our Farewell Dinner is at Gustu, one of Latin America’s top restaurants, known for its menus using all-Bolivian ingredients. Depart on Day 13.

Highlights

Highlights

Discover elegant Arequipa, a World Heritage City of striking colonial architecture
Watch Andean condors soar above breathtaking Colca Canyon
Enjoy two overnights on Lake Titicaca’s Island of the Sun, with hikes and village visits
Explore on foot and by 4WD in the spellbinding Salar de Uyuni, with incredible stargazing
Dine at Gustu, one of Latin America’s top restaurants
La Paz and its cable cars, a magnificent way to see the city

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $6795  
Arrive: Arequipa, Peru
Depart: La Paz, Bolivia
Lodging: 12 nights hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 3 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations, walking tours, some long drives on rugged terrain with altitudes averaging between 10,500 and 13,000 feet, with one drive over a pass at 17,076 feet, and an optional hike up to 17,388 feet.