fbpx

Epic Peru, Bolivia & Argentina

Epic Peru, Bolivia & Argentina

From $ 5,670 AUD

Description

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!

Trip Name
Epic Peru, Bolivia & Argentina
Last Updated
2024-02-14
Days
26
Capacity
16
Highlights
  • Float down the Amazon River through the jungle at night, keeping an out for the glaring eyes of jaguars, anacondas and caimans. Don’t worry, you’ll be accompanied by a local expert!
  • Stay with the locals during a homestay on Lake Titicaca, on the colourful floating islands of Uros that look like they come straight out of a Pixar movie.
  • Walk on water (sort of) at the sprawling salt lakes of Bolivia – the largest salt flats in the world, Salar de Uyuni is amid the Andes and serves up some pretty epic photos ops.
  • See how spicy Latin America mixes with the best of colonial Europe in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires – maybe take a tango class and head out to bust your moves in the vibrant nightlife hotspot.
  • Whether you trek the Inca Trail, Inca Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, you'll be travelling responsibly with a company that cares about balancing profit and purpose. Intrepid is the largest B Corp certified operator on the Inca Trail and we’re committed to operating our treks for the benefit of all. 

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. HEAVY RAIN ON THE INCA TRAIL If it rains heavily for a number of consecutive days, the terrain at the third campsite (Wiñaywayna) can become unstable, increasing the danger of landslides and making it unsafe to camp. This occurs mostly during the wet season (December to March) although it can also happen at any time of the year. Your trekking guide may assess that it's safer to spend the third night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), or if available, to camp at Puente Ruinas campsite. You may need to use your contingency funds to cover any additional costs. An letter can be provided for lodging a travel insurance claim for these costs.

Day 1 - Lima
La Bienvenida! Welcome to Lima, the capital of Peru. Your adventure begins at around 2 pm with a welcome meeting. Then, your trip leader will take you on a walking tour of the Miraflores district, including Central Park (Parque Kennedy), the LarcoMar entertainment complex and Parque del Amor (Love Park) for great views over the coast of Lima. Along the way, maybe treat yourself to some Limenian desserts like mazamorra morada, rice pudding or rice zambito. Tonight, you’re free to explore or hit the city’s nightlife with your new fellow travellers. Maybe head to the famed Tanta restaurant in downtown Lima – home to the most famous chef in Peru Gaston Acurio.
Day 2-3 - Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle lodge)
This morning, you’ll fly to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. When you arrive, 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 of essentials. You’ll take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge right in the middle of the jungle, in the Madre de Dios area – this is a real pinch-me moment! The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a half-day trek – this can get muddy and tiring, but what better way to explore the Amazon than on foot? There will be regular stops on the way and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might even spot macaws, monkeys, peccaries, jabirus and otters, not to mention thousands of butterflies. The guides will also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the local plants. For your night-time excursion, you’ll 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. Travelling in the dark, on the river in the jungle can be a bit spooky, but this atmosphere just adds to the fun!
Day 4 - Cusco
Say goodbye to the jungle and fly to Cusco, where you’ll spend the day acclimatising to the high altitude. After dropping off your luggage and having some lunch, your 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, the Twelve Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Maybe try some delicious donas along the way. This afternoon is free to explore. Maybe head to the Cusco cathedral or discover the history of Saqsaywaman. As you’re acclimatising today, it’s recommended that you keep strenuous activity to a minimum.
Day 5 - Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo
This morning, unwind on a drive through the Sacred Valley, on the fringes of Cusco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas – this lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Head to a local community to learn about the valley’s lifestyle and activities – if your travel falls on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday, it’s market day! 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). Take a short drive to Ollantaytambo. Later in the afternoon, maybe head out to visit Ollantaytambo’s awesome Incan ruins. Tonight, rest up at your hotel and prepare for the Inca Trail – one of the Wonders of the World!
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. 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 (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, along with the trail's food and equipment. 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 Travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, your cook and your guide. Today you’ll trek uphill to the campsite, 3100 m 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. Tonight, 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. From here, you’ll head to the small community near Qory Song’o (Golden Heart) hill, where you’ll climb to the top for the incredible views of the Soqma Perolniyoc, Pachar and Huarocondo valleys. There are also several sacred tombs in the area, protected by the locals, which you can explore with your leader and even see some of the original structures crafted from wood and leather. These remains have never been seen by travellers before, so you can be a part of this exclusive experience. Carry on to the Perolniyoc Cascade lookout, where you can stop for some snacks and photos. Arrive at the campsite, 3700 m above sea level, around lunchtime. After, 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 Today is the most challenging day of the trek, as you’ll ascend a 5-hour long steep path to the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 m above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 m. Route 2 Quarry Trail Today is the most challenging and rewarding day of the trek. A 3-hour long walk takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 m high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, you’ll stop for lunch. Then make the 2-hour hike to Kuychicassa – the highest pass of the trek at 4450 m. 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, at 3600 m. Your trek today will take about 5 hours. 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, too.
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 m). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 m), 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 Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata Quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. If time permits, you can explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes After a drive to Ollantaytambo, catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. 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 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. Start your day before dawn with breakfast at a crisp 4 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking. Walk 2.5 hours to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) and, weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. When you arrive, all the hiking and the early morning will definitely be worth it! Route 2 and 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 you’ll enjoy free time to relax, shop for souvenirs or see more of Cusco's sights. Maybe head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or if you're a thrill-seeker, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cusco. You might also want to go for a walk through Seven Borreguitos – one of the most Instagrammable streets in Cusco! In the evening, you might want to chew the fat with your group over dinner and share photos of your Machu Picchu experience. Cusco is also a hotspot for fun nightlife, so if you’re feeling like a boogie or a cocktail (or three), grab your new mates and hit the streets.
Day 11 - Puno
This morning, travel by bus 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 Lake Titicaca's shores, the world's highest navigable lake. Today, you'll take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros peoples 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. Tonight, enjoy a homestay in a local community on Llachon – a cosy mud-brick house with shared drop-toilets (no shower is available here). It can get quite cold, but the homestay will provide plenty of blankets. It’s recommended that you 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, learning about their life and their stories. Then, explore the rest of the island. 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 local bus this morning and cross the border into Bolivia. You'll be asked to leave the bus to proceed through Peruvian immigration. The group will then walk across a bridge, submit passports at the Bolivian immigration office and reboard the bus for La Paz. Today is a long travel day, so make sure you’ve got your favourite playlists or books ready – or play some fun road trip games with your fellow travellers. Tonight, why not head out on the town for an optional group dinner to celebrate an incredible trip?
Day 15 - La Paz
Bienvenidos! Welcome to La Paz. The highest capital city in the world, this Bolivian hub rests on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau, 3500 m above sea level. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. After, why not head out to find the perfect dinner spot (your leader will have lots of recommendations) or explore the nightlife with your fellow travellers.
Day 16 - La Paz
Today, you’ll head out on a brief guided walk with your leader. La Paz is a city renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (the Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance – most people are happy to explain. Then you’ll have some free time to explore. Maybe visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. Late this afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Uyuni. 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 make a couple of stops along the way.
Day 17 - Salar de Uyuni
This morning you’ll 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. Over the next three days, you’ll explore Bolivia’s highlights and fascinating landscapes in a 4WD – an experience of a lifetime! The first stop will be an eerie Train Cemetery (a super unique Instagram spot), then, you’ll continue to Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flats. This is one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world and definitely a trip highlight, so make sure you take some amazing photos, explore on foot and take it all in. Make the most of your time on the salt flats before exploring Inka Wasi Isla – 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, sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. Stop by the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife like llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters.
Day 19 - Bolivia/Chile Border- San Pedro de Atacama
This morning, rise and shine early to embrace the cold and stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for an optional soak. Then head to the Bolivia and 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. Arriving around 3 pm, your night is free to find a delicious local dinner with your group.
Day 20-21 - San Pedro de Atacama
Over the next two days, get under the skin of San Pedro. The local cafe and restaurant scene has grown considerably over the last couple of years, with a mix of Chilean, French and Italian influences, so you’ll definitely find a great spot for lunch and dinner. Bike rental is popular here, so maybe opt to grab a set of wheels and explore on your own or with your group, seeing the city in the best way. If you’d prefer something else active, you can also go sandboarding in the dunes 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 as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and natural surroundings make it one of Argentina's main attractions. Grab a window seat or a good book and watch the scenery pass you by. Tonight, you’re free to rest or head out for a late dinner when you arrive.
Day 23 - Salta
After breakfast, today is a free day to explore Salta and its many 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. If you'd prefer, you can also take a gondola (cable car) to the top to take in the views of the mountainous city below. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent!
Day 24 - Salta - Buenos Aires
After breakfast and a free morning in Salta, you’ll take an included flight to Buenos Aires – Argentina's capital. When you arrive, you might like to head to a local tango show or a football match. Maybe grab a steak and glass of Malbec – the steak and wine combo is what Argentina is known for – in one of the city’s fashionable restaurants for dinner.
Day 25 - Buenos Aires
Today is 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 streetside cafes to watch the world go by with the locals. Tonight, why not head out to a couple of bars with your group for some classic Argentinian nightlife?
Day 26 - Buenos Aires
After breakfast, your adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned for today, so you can leave the accommodation at any time after check-out.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-04-202410-05-2024AUD $ 6,040-
13-05-202407-06-2024AUD $ 6,455-
03-06-202428-06-2024AUD $ 5,985-
24-06-202419-07-2024AUD $ 6,150-
22-07-202416-08-2024AUD $ 6,220-
02-09-202427-09-2024AUD $ 6,760-
30-09-202425-10-2024AUD $ 6,335-
14-10-202408-11-2024AUD $ 6,210-
28-10-202422-11-2024AUD $ 5,925-
25-11-202420-12-2024AUD $ 5,700-
09-12-202403-01-2025AUD $ 5,700-
03-02-202528-02-2025AUD $ 5,670-
03-03-202528-03-2025AUD $ 5,670-
07-04-202502-05-2025AUD $ 5,670-
28-04-202523-05-2025AUD $ 5,670-
02-06-202527-06-2025AUD $ 5,670-
23-06-202518-07-2025AUD $ 5,670-
21-07-202515-08-2025AUD $ 5,670-
01-09-202526-09-2025AUD $ 5,670-
15-09-202510-10-2025AUD $ 5,670-
06-10-202531-10-2025AUD $ 5,670-
13-10-202507-11-2025AUD $ 5,670-
27-10-202521-11-2025AUD $ 5,670-
03-11-202528-11-2025AUD $ 5,670-
24-11-202519-12-2025AUD $ 5,670-
08-12-202502-01-2026AUD $ 5,670-

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights),Jungle Lodge (2 nights),Dormitory (2 nights),Homestay (1 night),Hotel (16 nights),Overnight bus (1 night)

Transport

4x4,Bus,Overnight bus,Plane,Van

Map