Peru, Bolivia & Chile holiday
Description of Peru, Bolivia & Chile holiday
This 18-day, Peru, Bolivia and Chile holiday is an adventure through some of the most dramatic landscapes these three countries have to offer. Using a mixture of comfortable, private and public transport, plus three internal flights to cover the mountainous heartland of the Andes, we cover a lot of ground on this trip.
Your adventure starts in Lima. After a guided tour and a night in this magnificent capital, we take a domestic flight to Cusco. Cusco was capital of the Inca Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not only for its rich Quechua culture but because it is also gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Taking the famous train journey up to Machu Picchu from Cusco is a highlight for many, but equally stunning is our journey further south to Lake Titicaca, where you can witness the very traditional local lifestyles in town of Puno.
Lake Titicaca straddles the border with Bolivia. Crossing over, we’ll take a boat trip along the famous sapphire lake. From here we drive over dramatic Altiplano landscapes to the most elevated capital city in the world at 3,800m, La Paz, surrounded by the Cordillera Real Mountains where we enjoy a few days.
Our next journey is by plane to Uyuni and its famous, eponymous Salt Flats, known as the Salar de Uyuni. From here we take on a three-day overland expedition through stunning terrain, a salt crust that stretches over thousands of square kilometres, at 3,656m above sea level and with the Andes always in sight. From here, in we head into Chile and the Atacama, the driest non polar desert in the world, staying at the adobe oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. And in contrast, because Chile likes its contrasts, we take one last internal flight to the country’s capital, Santiago where the tour finishes in style in this ancient colonial capital with Andean backdrop, bohemian vibe, vineyards, museums and café life.
PlanetOn this holiday we strive to provide good quality, comfortable accommodation but without compromising our ideals of using locally run eco-conscious properties. We use an eco-lodge on Sun Island, (Posada del Inca Eco-Lodge), Lake Titicaca, and our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama has solar panels and wooden pathways allow for the traditional flood irrigation of the surrounding farmland.
In environmentally sensitive areas such as Machu Picchu, local guides explain the importance of keeping to paths and designated routes and not interfering with or infringing upon the local habitat. The specific routes the drivers take over the salt flats are strictly adhered to. Once on the salt flats you can see the darkened tracks of the vehicles which traverse them. If the jeeps were to take a random route, this would mar the scenery considerably and disturb the beauty of the area. They also adhere to strict speed limits despite having a free open space in front of them, so as to avoid accidents and more erosion.
The hotels used on this traverse of the salt flats and high-altitude plains are constructed using salt bricks taken from the flats, stones taken from the mountains and concrete missed with the sand taken from the desert respectively. As the salt is recovered naturally this not only provides key employment in the area but also allows for buildings which are in keeping with the surrounding atmosphere and landscape.
Our hotel in Machu Picchu, El Mapi, belongs to the Peruvian owned chain Inkaterra which is a pioneer in sustainable tourism and promotes scientific research for the conservation of ecosystems and Natural Resources funded by Ecotourism, as a replicable model for local communities; offering authentic experiences, capturing, disseminating and educating about the culture and nature of Peru. They aim to define and respect authentic cultural, social and environmental values, including: using environmentally friendly products and maintaining good communication with suppliers, using energy and water efficiently, and providing adequate waste treatment, developing continuous improvement in their management and process controls by minimizing negative impacts and providing experience in the formulation of standards and creation of protected areas.
PeopleThis wilderness holiday takes you off the beaten track to visit out-of-the-way communities and landscapes where you can engage with local people and observe their way of life, as well as the best known highlights.
Our aim is to familiarise you intimately with a rich indigenous culture, introducing you to local markets bursting with produce and crafts, such as that at Pisac in the Sacred Valley and the indigenous market in La Paz. Our excursions to pre-Columbian and Spanish archaeological sites are designed to help you appreciate the value of this heritage and the need to conserve it; our local guides are recruited for their comprehensive knowledge.
One of our hotels, Pakaritampu in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, supports a local community project providing food for local people of limited income. The El Mapi hotel used in Machu Picchu is part of the Inkaterra chain who respect authentic cultural values and invest in the local community by:
•Creating professional development opportunities and encourage the recruitment and training of local staff.
•Developing an ideal work environment providing better living conditions than those covered by labor law.
•Developing activities in accordance with current legislation, such as corporate, tax, labour, and the concepts of sustainable development.
•Developing contingency plans for natural, social or financial disasters.
•Encouraging the development of local communities, taking into consideration their environment and culture.
•Being a replicable business model of low initial cost and high positive impact on local populations
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From £3349 - £3949 17 days including UK flights
Taste Peru's diverse landscapes and fascinating culture