Andes Overland Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Friday: Arrive in Lima
You will be met and transferred to our hotel
Day 2 Saturday: Lima - City of Kings & Capital of Peru (B)
This was the principal city of Spanish South America from its founding in 1535 until the independence of the South American republics in early 19th century. It never rains in Lima, except for January and February when the skies are blue.
You have the morning to explore Lima. A city tour of the Greater Colonial Lima this morning allows you to appreciate the wonderful colonial buildings downtown such as the Santo Domingo Convent and the Casa Aliaga - one of South America’s oldest Spanish homes. Drive by the elegant tree-lined avenues of San Isidro and Miraflores.
The afternoon is yours at leisure or we suggest a visit to the Gold Museum or Larco Museum.
Day 3 Sunday: Lima - Paracas (B)
This morning we travel south by bus along the Panamericano Highway through desert countryside alongside the Pacific Ocean.
Day 4 Monday: Paracas - Nazca (B)
This morning visit Ballestas Islands - known as Peru’s mini Galapagos. This is an opportunity to watch resident and migratory birds including flamingos, red-legged cormorants, Inca terns and bobbies, as well as playful sea lions, amusing Humboldt penguins and, if we are lucky, marine otters.
This afternoon travel by bus to Nazca. This small oasis town is famous for the mysterious lines etched in the desert pampas. Are they messages to travellers from outer space that landed here thousands of years ago or the works of an ancient culture depicting a planting calendar? Cut into the stony desert, like a giant sketching pad - these many lines include geometrical figures, giant animals and birds.
Day 5 Tuesday: Flight over Nazca Lines – then to Arequipa (B)
This morning it is your turn to become airborne and theorise on these mysterious lines etched in the desert. Up you'll go to witness this gigantic sketching pad in the desert pampa. Who drew them? Why? Draw your own conclusions or come away with as many questions as answers!
This afternoon travel by our super comfy bus down to Arequipa. Arrive late evening and transfer to our hotel.
Day 6 Wednesday: Explore Arequipa (B)
The beautiful city of Arequipa sits at 2,880 metres above sea level and is the gateway to the Colca Canyon - home of one of the world's deepest canyons, the condors.
Arequipa, situated at the foot of El Misti Volcano (5882m), is the ‘Ciudad Blanca’ – the white city, boasting a delightful climate and plenty of fascinating colonial buildings.
Must sees here are a visit to the peaceful Santa Catalina Convent - one of the most fascinating religious colonial buildings in Peru. The convent, opened to visitors in 1970, is surrounded by imposing walls and the 450 nuns who lived here led a completely secluded life. Also here is “Juanita” - the mummy of a young girl found in 1995 by an American mountain climber on Mt Ambato. She is encased in a freezing chamber inside the Museum and is on display.
Day 7 Thurs Arequipa - Colca Canyon Adventure (B,D)
Drive through the awesome Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons which is only accessible by a dirt road over the Altiplano before dropping to the village of Chivay at 3600 metres above sea level. The landscape is remarkable for its Inca and pre-Inca terracing which goes on for many kilometres and is the most extensive in Peru. Life here has changed very little through the centuries where the campesinos still farm the remarkable Inca terracing as their ancestors did before them. Continue deep into the Canyon to the Cruz de las Condors. This is a remarkable highlight – you can watch the impressive condors rising with the thermals – your chance to get great photos of these wonderful birds.
Stay overnight in the small village of Chivay where you can relax in the hot thermal springs and delight in the haunting melodies of the panpipes. Dinner will be at a local restaurant
Day 8 Fri Colca Canyon - Cusco (B,L)
After breakfast we then continue our journey of discovery and exploration in the hinterland of the Andes travelling overland to Cusco arriving early evening
Day 9 Sat Cusco (B)
Cusco, heart of the Inca Empire, known by the local Quechua Indians as 'Navel of the Universe'.
Cusco is an amazing experience. Lying in an exceptionally beautiful countryside 3300 metres above sea level, here you will encounter a fine blend of Spanish and Inca cultures, colourful Quechua Indian markets, Inca temples and massive stone walls which form the foundations of Colonial Cusco, originally part of the impressive monument of Sacsayhuaman, situated above the town. Morning at leisure.
This afternoon enjoy a comprehensive walking tour of this delightful city, including the Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Temple of the Sun.
Day 10 Sun Cusco (B)
Visit Sacsayhuaman -this magnificent Inca fortress, which overlooks the city of Cusco. Sacsayhuaman can be variously translated as 'speckled falcon' or 'speckled head'. The last interpretation refers to the belief that the city of Cusco was set out in the form of a puma whose head was the hill of Sacsayhuaman. The origins are uncertain but the fortress is generally attributed to the period of Inca Pachacuti, the man who essentially founded the Inca empire.
We also visit the ruins of Qenko, an area of well - preserved archaeological ruins and the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara.
Drive through stunning scenery to Chinchero, the most colourful and authentic market
in Peru. Continue on to Maras Salt Pans. Another fabulous walk today. Discover these
amazing salt pans still mined as they were hundreds of years ago.Also
visit Moray –these unusual Inca ruins consist of several enormous terraced
circular depressions, the largest of which is about 30m. deep. Continue through the Sacred Valley to our hotel an old monastery (completely restored of course!).
Day 11 Mon Sacred Valley Trekkers in group depart for Inca Trail Day 1 (B)
Next is Pisaq where you will enjoy a panoramic walk along the original Inca pathways and terracing to the ancient town below. Visit the markets then continue through this lush valley where the towering fortress of Ollantaytambo dominates the surrounding area.
Day 12 Tues Sacred Valley -Agua Calientes (B) Day 2 – Inca Trail
After breakfast you have an early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, a small railroad town with tons of character – enjoy a soak in the hot pools under the Andean sky or explore the town
Day 13 Wed Machu Picchu- Cuzco(B) or Day 3 – Inca Trail
It’s an early start today. This is the best time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity not to mention the magic of Machu Picchu is before the trainload’s of visitors arrive. Machu Picchu, known also as ‘Lost City of the Incas’. It is undoubtedly the best known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent and is considered a must for all visitors to Peru. You will travel by bus up the zig-zag, the Hiram Bingham highway, to the ruins where your first views will take your breath away. Enjoy a fully guided tour of the ruins, some time to explore on your own, before returning down the mountainside. Time for a snack and then board the train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to our hotel in Cusco.
Day 14 Thurs Cusco (B) or Day 4 Inca Trail
Free day to explore this delightful city – everyone’s favourite. The day is yours to enjoy, all the convents, churches, museums, alpaca and jewellery bargains.
Day 15 Fri Cusco -Puno (B,L)
Bus ride to Puno through the dramatic landscapes of the highland plateau,with occasional views of tiny Andean villages and herds of llamas and vicunas. We will stop at Andahuaylillas, where there is a beautiful baroque church built at the beginning of the XVIIth century. It is very well known thanks to its beautiful mural paintings. We will make a second stop at Raqchi,
where there is an Inca temple built to worship Wiracocha, one of the most important Inca gods. Finally, we will stop at the archaeological museum of Pukara (200BC-AD300) then we will lunch at a restaurant en route.Arrive in Puno late afternoon.
Day 16 Sat Uros Island - Copacabana (B,L)
What an experience! By boat visit the curious floating reed islands and the Uros Indians who live there. Everything is made of these reeds, houses, schools, boats, churches etc. Once you reach the reed islands, you can experience gliding across Lake Titicaca in an authentic reed boat - you can't beat it! Return to Puno.
This afternoon continue through lovely scenery, which follows this mighty lake to
the Bolivian border.After border formalities continue to the sleepy town of Copacabana.
Day 17 Sun Isla del Sol – La Paz (B)
Morning at leisure to explore Copacabana .
Optional boat trip out on the lake to tranquil Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) where legend has it that the first Inca King rose out of the lake.
On this legendary island, visit the Pilkokaina Inca Palace and enjoy a short walk to the Gardens, Sacred Stairs and Fountain of the Inca. As we ascend to Yumani village, we have a magnificent view of the lake set to the backdrop of Mount Illampu.
This afternoon continue through even more stunning scenery, with snow-capped peaks and the blue lake, to La Paz, capital of Bolivia and highest capital in the world.
Known as City of Contrasts, here ancient traditions meet the new millennium of chaotic traffic and towering buildings.
Day 18 Mon City tour and shopping (B)
A morning tour takes you down to where the air is thicker and the elite live. Visit the witches markets, Calle Jaen with its museums, San Francisco Church, Plaza Murillo, National Congress, Cathedral, Presidential Palace, continuing to the very unusual eroded formations of the Moon Valley.
The afternoon is free to enjoy the uniqueness of this colourful bustling city and shop for bargains and gifts.
Day 19 Tues Explore La Paz (B)
Optional tour to Tiwanaku (Pre-Columbian) ruins outside the city or a Mountain Bike down the world’s most spectacular road or spend the day with a little more shopping and people watching. A great city to do that!
Or its possible to take an overnight optional tour to the Bolivian Salt Flats
Day 20 Wed La Paz – Rio de Janeiro (B)
An early start as we say ‘adios’ to the Andes and transfer to the airport for your flight to Sao Paulo with a connection to Rio.You will be transferred to our hotel located in Copacabana.
Day 21 Thurs Rio de Janeiro (B)
This morning travel to the Cosme Velho Train Cog Station at the bottom of the Corcovado Mountain, you will stop by Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Once at the mountain, you will take the ride up to the top, through the dense Tijuca rain forest to the 38m tall Christ the Redeemer Statue. From the top, you will enjoy the spectacular views of Rio and the surrounding countryside.
This afternoon starts with a panoramic tour of downtown Rio where you'll pass by the infamous Sambadrome, the exhibition area for the renowned Samba schools in Rio. A brief stop is made at the Metropolitan Cathedral, made famous for its unusual pyramid shape. Admire its beauty and rareness from both the outside and the inside! Your panoramic city tour continues with a visit to the traditional Cinelandia Square where you'll tour the various historic buildings such as the Municipal Theatre, the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Head towards the Urca neighborhood, where one of Rio's most iconic symbols is located, Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Travelling up Sugar Loaf mountain in a cable car, you will make a brief stop at a vantage point approximately 700 feet (215 meters) above sea level. Capture unparalleled panoramic views of the city, Guanabara Bay, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. You'll then ascend to the peak of Sugar Loaf for breathtaking views of Copacabana Beach, the Santa Cruz Fortress and the beaches of Niteroi.
Day 22 Fri Rio de Janeiro (B)
Day at leisure
Day 23 Sat Rio-Iguazu (B)
Transfer to the airport for morning flight to Iguacu. On arrival commence a tour to the Brazil side of the falls . View the falls from the myriad of walkways . then transfer to your hotel
Day 24 Sun Iguazu -Buenos Aires (B)
Travel to the Argentine side of the falls, these falls defy description! Enjoy the majesty of the world's most spectacular waterfalls. Set in pristine rainforest with countless birds and butterflies, situated on the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, they plunge in a series of gigantic waterfalls over 3kms long and more than 80 metres high. The thunderous roar of crashing water and the multicoloured mist is natural beauty at its best. It is undoubtedly one of the world's most impressive sights. Later see the mighty Devils Throat Cataract. We then transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel
Day 25 Mon Buenos Aires (B)
This morning our tour will allow us to discover the city of Buenos Aires. We will visit its Civic Centre, the impressive National Congress and May Square (Plaza de Mayo) surrounded by Government House (Casa Rosada), the Metropolitan Cathedral and City Hall from colonial days (Cabildo). We will visit the Colon Theatre (Teatro Colón), one of the world’s best known opera houses and the cultural pride of the “Porteños” (Buenos Aires natives). Next, we will tour the traditional barrio of San Telmo where the magical atmosphere of the district will take you back in time. We will then stop at La Boca, home of the first Italian immigrants and you will observe its picturesque and colourful architecture. We will then continue to the residential neighborhood of Palermo and many parks. Finally, we will go to Recoleta, the city’s most exclusive district, with its famous cemetery where Evita Peron is buried, elegant boutiques, gourmet restaurants and side walk cafés under ficus trees (gomeros).Tonight get into the Argentine mood with a juicy steak and Tango show.
Day 26 Tues Buenos Aires (B,D)
Day at leisure. There is still time to explore the city further or perhaps enjoy an optional trip across to Colonia in Uruguay.Tonight get into the Argentine mood with a juicy steak and Tango show
Day 27 Wed Depart Buenos Aires (B)
You will be transferred to the airport
* Separate Itinerary available on request for Inca Trail *
Dates & Prices NZ$
3 May 9 Aug, 6 Sep NZ$10350
14 Jun NZ$10650
single room supplement : NZ$2570
4 Day Inca Trail Option: additional NZ$750
Bolivia Salt Flats Option:additional NZ$1195 per person
Galapagos Islands Pre Extension:
Depart to Quito on Thurs, 1 week earlier for 3 nights in Quito,Otavalo Tour, 4 night Galapagos Islands Cruise & 1 night in Guayaquil
Additional Cost: NZ$6300 (twin/double share, includes additional airfares)
Amazon Pre Extension: Arrive Lima on Sunday for 1night, then 4nights in Tambopata Reserve - itinerary on request
Additional cost: NZ$3025 (twin/double share, includes airfares & taxes from Lima)
(Itineraries for Galapagos & Amazon Extensions available on request)
ALL flights within South America 2 dinners, 3 lunches
ALL transport (boats, buses, taxis, trains etc) ALL accommodation with breakfasts
ALL entrance fees as per itinerary ALL camping fees, tents, sleeping mats on trek
ALL national park entrance fees ALL food during Inca Trail
ALL sightseeing as per itinerary ALL transfers as per itinerary
Services of experienced local guides Inca Trail Farewell dinner & Tango show in Buenos Aires
Services of porters to carry gear on Inca Trail NB: 4.5kg limit on trek, rest of gear left at hotel
Services of experienced Tour Leader Services of English speaking local guides
Does not include:
Tips allow US$200 per person
Insurance - Laundry - Personal Spending - Medical Expenses
Our experienced bi – lingual Tour Leaders travel with the group departures (subject to a minimum of 6 people travelling)
We use comfortable 3 star hotels throughout . All rooms have your own private bathroom . Hotels are chosen for their location and service and most would have free WIFI
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. At the start of the tour your Tour Manager will explain the tipping system and will coordinate all tipping on behalf of the group to cover the local guides, drivers and porters
We suggest allow for US$30-40 per day to cover incidentals, laundry, meals not included
Groups are limited to a maximum of 15 people