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Cuzco to Santiago

This 32 day overland tour journeys from Santiago to Cuzco through Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru

Latin America
  • Duration: 32 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: JCS2/158046
  • Starts: Cuzco, Peru
  • Finishes: Santiago, Chile
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Cuzco
  • Inca Trail
  • Sacred Valley
  • Machu Picchu
  • Puno
  • Isla Del Sol
  • Copacabana
  • La Paz
  • Uyuni
  • Salar De Uyuni
  • Bolivian Altiplano
  • San Pedro De Atacama
  • Salta
  • Cafayate
  • Recreo
  • Quilmes Ruins
  • Estancia
  • Córdoba
  • Mendoza
  • Santiago

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Cuzco

Border information: if you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. There will be a further meeting this evening for our Wild Andes and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cuzco before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cuzco.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in Cuzco, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

02

Day 2: Inca Trail

These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package.

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon).

We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle.

Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have an included lunch. We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we have free time to explore the impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.

Please note that we have the evening to ourselves in Ollantaytambo, our Guide will meet us in the morning. No Meals are included in Ollantaytambo.

There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch,

Option 3 - Train Package

You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights.

Meals included: Lunch

03

Day 3: Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Zurite to Amaruwatana

After a hearty breakfast we leave Zurite and head towards Amaruwatana camp. The walk will take us through Qenteqentiyoc (the Hummingbird Temple), where we will visit and admire this Inca archaeological site. We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400m, where we will have a dramatic view of both the Vilcabamba and Vilcanota mountain ranges. From here we start walking down on the way to our first camp in the Sambor Valley where we will spend the night camping.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 13kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba

After breakfast, we catch a bus to Piscaycuscho and the start of the Classic Inca Trek - the railroad KM82 marker (at 2,700m altitude). Here we are joined by our crew of local porters and cooks. We will cross the bridge over the River Urubamba and following a trail along the left-hand shore of the river, enjoying stunning views of the snow-capped Mount Veronica (5,830m) and the Incan archaeological remains at Llactapata. Continuing through lush farmland and woodland, we gradually climb for approximately 5 hours to our first campsite at Wayllabamba (3,000m).

Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

Today is a free day to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops, selling textiles and handicrafts.

04

Day 4: Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Amaruwatana to Ancascocha

We have an early start this morning, trekking for approximately 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass at 4,700m. From here we have fantastic views of the rock formations below us, and if we're lucky we may spot Andean ibises, caracaras, eagles or foxes up here!

After descending for approximatley 2 hours, we arrive at a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (meaning "Zig-zag River") flowing down it - which makes an idyllic stop for lunch!

After lunch we will continue trekking downhill following the ancient trail, which leads us to our campsite in the Ancascocha area.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo

This is the most challenging day of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approximately 4 hours) through Andean cloud forest and highland puna to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwa usca (meaning "Dead Woman's Pass") at a height of 4,200m. During our ascent, we can appreciate the wide variety of plant, flower and bird species supported by this unique eco-climate. On reaching the pass, our challenge is rewarded by an astonishing panoramic view of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. From here we descend for 2 hours into the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650m altitude) and to our second campsite.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package
Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops selling textiles and handicrafts.

05

Day 5: Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo

Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe its tall granite walls which are populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when they bloom. After crossing many little bridges we will reach the Camicancha area, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking towards the snow-capped Mt. Veronica.

From here it is only a short trek to Chilca, where our trail ends. We'll be picked up by our vehicle and head to Ollantaytambo, taking a well-earned shower and rest at our hotel.

In the afternoon we will have an included guided tour around the incredible archaeological site of Ollantaytambo and its world-famous Temple of the Sun. Please note that we have the evening to ourselves in Ollantaytambo, our Guide will meet us in the morning. No Meals are included in Ollantaytambo.

Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Pacaymayo to Wi ay Wayna

Today we follow ancient stone paths and steps to ascend the well-preserved Inca remains of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca (the "Town above the Clouds") where we can appreciate the Incas complex architectural style and reverence of natural geography and beauty. Heading down the Andean slope, we reach our final night's camp by the Wi ay Wayna (meaning "Forever Young") ruins, with panoramic views of the valley below.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 16kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

After being picked up from your hotel in the morning you will be driven to the fortress city of Ollantaytambo and our hotel for the night, the Tunupa Lodge. Here you will rejoin the Wild Andes Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.

06

Day 6: Cuzco

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Ollantaytambo Machu Picchu Cuzco

Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and there will be plenty of free time to explore this magical place.

In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day!

Meals provided: Breakfast

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wi ay Wayna to Machupicchu

Leaving Wi ay Wayna, we descend gradually further through the highland jungle to our destination - Intupunku (the "Sun Gate") leading into Machu Picchu. Arriving at daybreak, we catch our first breathtaking view of this historical wonder. As with the Wild Andes Trek, our local guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is also some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.

Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

After an early breakfast and walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (5,750m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes.

In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.

Meals provided: Breakfast

07

Day 7: Cuzco

Today is a free day to relax after the treks, further explore the historical city of Cuzco, and take part in some optional activities around the city.

08

Day 8: Puno

Today we will leave Cuzco and head through the highlands of Peru to the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

In Puno we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

09

Day 9: Isla Del Sol

Border information: Exit Peru at Yunguyo, enter Bolivia at Kasani.

This morning we will cross into Bolivia and head to the lakeside town of Copacabana, before boarding a boat to the stunning island of Isla del Sol.

In Isla del Sol we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

10

Day 10: Copacabana

Today we will take an included day trip across Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, one of the holiest sites in ancient Inca mythology and supposedly the birthplace of the Sun God Inti. We will take a 14km walk across the length of the island, taking in the incredible and serene scenery and soaking up the calm atmosphere of the island (this walk can be skipped by anybody who does not want to do it).

We will return to Copacabana for the evening.

In Copacabana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

11

Day 11: La Paz

Today we will drive to the famous city of La Paz, Bolivia s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! On arrival we will have a guided tour to explore the city.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

12

Day 12: La Paz

Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB).

Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in La Paz, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

13

Day 13: La Paz

Today we will have a free day to make the most of the extrodinary city of La Paz, explore the witches market or take a mountain biking trip down the World's Most Dangerous Road.

14

Day 14: Uyuni

Today we will drive south to Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.

In Uyuni we will stay in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world!

Estimated Drive Time - 9hrs

15

Day 15: Salar De Uyuni

Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!

16

Day 16: Bolivian Altiplano

Today we will head off across the wilds of the Altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way into Chile. We will make plenty of stop for photographs on the way and at the end of the day we aim to cross the border into Chile, making camp soon afterwards.

Tonight we will bush camp in a remote spot with no facilities!

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Border information: Exit Bolivia and enter Chile at Ollague

17

Day 17-18: San Pedro De Atacama

After breakfast we will break camp, and drive through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa on the Chilean part of the Altiplano, stopping off en route for photographs and a lunch stop at the famous El Tatio Geysers, the worlds highest Geyser field at 4300m. Afterwards descending down to San Pedro de Atacama.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).

In San Pedro de Atacama we will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Please note: The weather in this region can be unpredictable and has been known to close the road to the border. On these occasions we will take an alternate route across the Altiplano, crossing into either Chile or Argentina at a different border point. Your Tour Leaders will keep you informed of any changes that may be necessary.

18

Day 19-20: Salta

Border information: Exit Chile at Paso Jama, enter Argentina at Paso Jama.

Today we will have a long drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Argentina, and reach the beautiful town of Salta.

In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

On day 12 we will have a free day to explore Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.

19

Day 21-22: Cafayate

Today we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentina's principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!

In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

20

Day 23: Recreo

Today we will drive south through spectacular mountains and arrive in the pampas that Argentina is famous for. We will visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route.

Tonight we will aim to wild camp en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

21

Day 24-26: Estancia

Today we drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 5hours.

During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding. This is a magical experience in a beautiful and many people's highlight of the trip!

Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.

In the Estancia we will camp with facilities in the grounds near the main house.

22

Day 27: Córdoba

Today we will have a leisurely start after breakfast to the city of Cordoba, where we will enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city.

23

Day 28-29: Mendoza

Today we will have a very early start for a full day's drive to the stunning town of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes. Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

The following day will be free time to explore the region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.

In Mendoza we stay in a centrally located hostel in dorm accommodation.

24

Day 30-31: Santiago

Border information: Exit Argentina at Los Libertadores, enter Chile at Paso Cristo Redentor.

Today we will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Chilean capital of Santiago.

In Santiago we will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

25

Day 32: Santiago

Border information: if you are finishing in Santiago, you will most likely exit Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Ben tez International Airport (IATA code: SCL)

Today is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan Chilean capital.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Santiago. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour
    • TREKKING OPTIONS Option 1 Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road.  Option 2 Hike unspoilt Inca Trails in remote stunning Andes scenery away from tourist treks on our exclusive Wild Andes trail.  Option 3 Take a Sacred Valley Tour, visit Ollantaytambo and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking.  PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST ADVISE AT TIME OF BOOKING IF YOU WISH TO BOOK THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL OR THE NON TREKKING OPTION, OTHERWISE YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE PUT ON OUR WILD ANDES TREK
    • Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo
    • Take a boat to Lake Titicaca's Isla del Sol
    • Take jeeps out onto the dazzling Uyuni Salt Flats
    • Take the epic journey across the Altiplano - an incredible high-altitude adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations and stunning lakes
    • Explore the dramatic landscape of the Moon Valley
    • Experience the incredible El Tatio geysers in the mountains high above the Atacama Desert
    • Visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo' en route through the primeval landscape of the Quebrada de las Conchas
    • Visit the Quilmes ruins
    • Spend 3 unique days at an Anglo-Argentinian estancia to experience the Gaucho way of life
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 30% Camping - 70% Hotels
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