Golden Condor Experience
This journey follows that of the earliest European settlers up and over the Andes mountains to the spiritual heart of the Americas. It is ideal for those who want to make the most of the time they have available in Peru and Bolivia, providing a unique opportunity to experience the continent’s two most spectacular cultural and natural wonders: Macchu Picchu and Bolivia’s Salt Flats region.
Price: From £3200 per person
Begin in Lima, Peru’s bustling capital city, before journeying to the highlands of the Andes and the city of Cusco, the capital of the Incan empire.
Continue onwards further along Peru’s Sacred Valley to the hidden hilltop Incan fortress and sanctuary of Macchu Picchu, rediscovered early last century after lying forgotten and overgrown for hundreds of years.
Journey deeper onto the Andean high plains to the majestic Lake Titicaca and into Bolivia, once known as Upper Peru in colonial times, and to the breathtaking mountain capital La Paz, whose streets bustle with the traditions of indigenous Andean people.
Travel onwards and upwards, to Bolivia’s remote and wind swept lunar-like Salt Lakes region of bleach-white plains, volcanoes, lagoons, and desert.
You can extend your trip and finish your journey by visiting the desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.
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- Day 1: Lima
Upon arrival in Lima, assistance is provided at the airport with transfers to your hotel.
- Day 2: Lima
Breakfast at the hotel. Free day or optional city tour.
- Day 3: Lima-Arequipa
Enjoy breakfast before your transfer to the airport for a flight to Arequipa. Upon arrival you will be escorted to your hotel. Stroll among the city’s glorious architecture and see why Arequipa is known as “the White City". Visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, where the first-born daughters of the local elite were cloistered for life, from the mid-1500s until 1970.
- Day 4: Arequipa – Colca Canyon
Early departure for an overland trip to the Colca Valley.
Drive across Pampa Cañahuas within the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, the habitat of herds of vicuñas. Admire beautiful pre-Columbian terraces still being used by people of Collagua. Upon arrival tothe Colca Valley you will be transferred to your chosen hotel.
- Day 5: Colca Canyon
Visit the "Condors' Cross" observation point from where you can observe these great Andean birds and the impressive Colca Canyon which, at 3,000 metres, is one of the deepest in the world. After exploring the area return to Arequipa.
- Day 6: Arequipa - Cusco
Flight to Cusco
- Day 7: Cusco
A tour of the city, starting out at the Santo Domingo convent monastery, previously the Koricancha temple, one of the most important temples devoted to worship of the sun. After touring the most interesting sites of the old Inca capital, you will be driven to the countryside outside Cusco to visit some of the remarkable Inca ruins in the area. Included are the Sacsayhuaman centre, the temple and amphitheatre of Kenko and the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara.
- Day 8: Cusco
Exploring the area.
- Day 9: Cusco - Sacred Valley
Today we take a trip to the Urubamba, the sacred valley of the Incas, to visit the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. Continue to Pisac for an opportunity to haggle with vendors at its handicraft market.
- Day 10: Macchu Picchu
Transfer to the train station in Ollanta for the ride to Machu Picchu.
Upon arrival at the station you will take a 25-minute coach ride to "The Lost City of the Incas” with a guided tour of the marvelous citadel, a unique awe-inspiring experience.
- Day 11: Machu Picchu – Ollanta Station – Cusco
Morning at leisure. We strongly recommend an early start to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu. For hiking enthusiasts a walk up to the peak of Huayna Picchu above the main site will be well rewarded.
In the afternoon, return by train to Ollanta station to be met and transferred to your hotel in Cusco.
- Day 12: Cusco - Puno
Transfer to train station to take the Andean Explorer train, a wonderful experience visiting little communities and historical places with unforgettable views of Lake Tititcaca.
Transfer to hotel upon arrival in Puno.
- Day 13: Kasani - Copacabana
Private transfer across the Peru-Bolivian border, passing through the small town of Kasani, before arriving at Copacabana where we will visit the church and explore the town.
- Day 14: Lake Titicaca: Sun Island – La Paz
Early start to explore the Sun Island, considered to be the origin of the Inca empire; the Palace of Pilcocaina and the Fountain of Eternal Youth in Yumani. Return to Copacabana and private transfer to La Paz city. On your way to La Paz, cross the Strait of Tiquina, which divides Lake Titicaca.
The journey continues by road enjoying the surrounding landscape of the Bolivian highlands until La Paz city. Overnight in La Paz.
- Day 15: La Paz
Free day at leisure.
Suggested itinerary: after breakfast take a private guided tour of sites such as San Francisco church, witches’ market, Uruguay market, and visit some of the museums in the colonial areas of the city. Following the tour continue to Plaza Murillo, home of the legislative and governmental palaces.
Other recommended sites include a replica of the subterranean temple of Tiwanaku and the unique landscape of the Valley of the Moon, an area of striking natural geological formations just south of the city.
- Day 16: Flight to Uyuni
Early departure to Uyuni to arrive at the Salt Palace hotel, located at the edge of the great salt plain. After a short break, continue on to visit the train cemetery and across the salt plain itself to look-but-don’t-touch the giant cacti of Fish Island, which provides a wonderful view of Tunupa volcano.
Return to the Salt Palace Hotel (which is made from the salt nearby and guests are politely asked not to lick the walls!)
- Day 17: Uyuni - La Paz
- Day 18: Return to UK
Day 16: Visit the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve to then end your trip in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.
Day 18: 4-Day trip to the Bolivian Amazon - Madidi Reserve.