DAY 1 - Lima
Welcome to Lima! Steeped in Spanish colonialism yet buzzing with modern metro vibes, this place is sure to ignite your love for Peru. Spend your morning marvelling at lavishly decorated churches and an underground tunnel cemetery overflowing with bones or catacombs, then hit the Barranco district this afternoon to get a feel for its bohemian ambiance. A stroll over the Bridge of Sighs is also a must. And of course no trip to Lima is complete without devouring at least one portion of ceviche – it’s a pretty massive deal in the city. Round off the day watching the sun set over the Pacific, most likely with a pisco sour in hand…
DAY 2 - Lima to Jungle Lodge via Puerto Maldonado
We’ll catch a flight to the city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru’s southern jungle. We’ll have lunch on the river as we travel upstream by a traditional Peruvian boat to our Contiki Special Stay Rainforest Lodge in the mighty Amazon jungle, where we’ll try to spot toucans, macaws and capybaras along the way.
A quick tour of the city will reveal colourful fruit stalls, open air markets, and locals going about their day. But now we're back underway and we just want to get to the jungle.
Our lodge is a special experience in itself! Located in then luscious rainforest and made from wood and clay, its open walls leave you sleeping virtually amongst the rainforest! After you settle in, we’ll get a different take on the jungle as we take a hike to the canopy tower. After climbing the 100ft of stairs you will be provided with a birds-eye view of the rainforest! Home to monkeys, birds, bromeliads and other jungle life, this is the ultimate way to see the jungle.
After dinner you can experience something really different, heading out to look for caiman, a member of the alligator family native to the Amazon. Scan the shores with flashlights and see if you can catch the red gleam of the light as it reflects off of the caiman’s eyes.
DAY 3 - Jungle Lodge
With another day at the jungle lodge, keep your eyes peeled for a wildlife like the giant otter, monkeys, tropical birds, bromeliads and other jungle life, this is the ultimate way to see the jungle.
DAY 4 - Jungle Lodge to Cusco
Wave goodbye to your jungle home, and say hello to Cusco.
Spend today exploring the beautiful city of Cusco - wander the main plaza, visit the Tread Right support weaving centre or feed your sweet tooth with a visit to the chocolate museum. Then get into Cusco's amazing nightlife & join our Illary (Sunrise) Club!
DAY 5 - Cusco to Sacred Valley
Heading out of Cusco and bound for the Sacred Valley on our private coach, this is where our journey into the ruins and mystique of this land truly begins. But first, llamas. An iconic symbol of Peru, we’ll be stopping off at a llama farm to show some love to these furry favourites up close, and we’re talking the whole humpback family – llamas, vicuna and alpacas. #llamaselfie achieved, we’ll then stop off to witness the ancient Incan art of weaving in practise by a group of talented local artisans. Throughout the journey, play close attention to your surrounds – there’s the chance to spot the Incan farming technique of terracing, as well as the ‘salineras’ (salt mines). Want to know what the Peruvians do for fun? You’ll get the chance to play the traditional game of “Sapo”, and exactly what that entails we’ll leave to the imagination…
Our explorations of the Sacred Valley will begin with a guided tour of the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins. Our Local Guide will give you the d-l on both, visiting the circular terraced Pisac ruins first which date back to the 1400’s. Moving on to Ollantaytambo, base camp for those taking the trek tomorrow, we’ll appease dry mouths with some homemade Chica de Jora brew. This tiny town may be small in geographical terms, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attitude, with artisan shops and cafes spilling out onto streets, and the roaring Urubamba river providing the perfect natural background noise. For those embarking on the Inca trail tomorrow this is your final chance to stock up on last minute essentials (socks, socks and more socks). For all others, spend your time soaking in the vibes, hanging with other travellers and just getting a feel for this iconic little town.
DAY 6 - Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes or Inca Trail Trek
For those embarking on our epic 1 day trek, we’ll catch the train to KM104 and the start of a day to remember. With just 3.5 hours on foot and 6-kilometres to cover, the enchanting site that awaits us will make it all worthwhile. Descending into the site we’ll take in Wayana Picchu 'Little peak' – the iconic peak you’ll have seen in every picture ever – marvelling at the incredible handiwork of the ancient Incas. Satisfaction levels at an all-time high and with a big ol’ smile on your tired face, we’ll head back to Aguas Calientes and a squishy hotel bed you couldn’t be more deserving of.
For those not embarking on the Inca Trail, the morning is yours to enjoy the surrounding lush mountains of Aguas Calientes.
Can you feel the excitement mounting? Yep – those are pretty much the feels when Machu Picchu is quite literally on the horizon. This afternoon we’ll hop on the train to Aguas Calientes, a cute town in its own right complete with roaring river, quaint bridges and local haunts, but most famously known as the gateway town to Machu Picchu. We’ll meet up with those who opted for the one day trek, and basically spend the evening hyping each other up for what’s to come tomorrow.
DAY 7 - Machu Picchu to Cusco
Excitement levels at an all-time high, the day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here – it’s Machu Picchu time! Built around 1450 at the height of the Incan Empire, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of the new world. We’ll be treated to a guided tour of the site taking in such wonders as the Temple of the Three Windows and Wayana Picchu (the peak you’ll of seen in every Machu Picchu image ever), and of course you’ll have some alone time to explore the area as only you can do. This is one big old tick off the life goals list, so enjoy every single second of it.
Back on the train we’ll de-brief on our once-in-a-lifetime experience as we head back to Cusco. Last time round was all about getting acquainted with the city, so now you’ve got you’re bearings you can really get lost amongst the market stalls and cobbled streets, maybe even going truly local by trying out a serving of cuy.
DAY 8 - Cusco to La Paz
Another day, another country.
Welcome to Bolivia! If you're looking for vistas, La Paz is your gal. Sitting in the midst of a narrow canyon and dwarfed by the mighty ice capped peak of Mount Illimani to the South, this is a city of contrasts, where 19th century churches rub shoulders with towering office blocks and pretty, colourful markets. Take your time adjusting to the altitude, then make the most of your afternoon in this hustling, cosmopolitan city.
DAY 9 - La Paz to Avaroa via Uyuni
Today we're headed to Uyuni, the official gateway to the Salar de Uyuni...more commonly known as the Bolivian Salt Flats.
Excited much? You should be. To get the journey started, we'll be heading to the Great Train Graveyard, which is every bit as incredible as it sounds. Next up what you've been waiting for, the Salt Flats.Hope you've got your picture ideas ready, the possibilities are endless.
Avaroa National Reserve
We'll continue through the desert before parking up for the night. Expect some beautiful night's skies out here.
DAY 10 - Avaroa National Reserve
Avaroa National Reserve
It's time to jump back in the 4x4 and continue through the Bolivian desert.We'll be starting a crossing through the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. Hot springs, geysers, volcanoes, mountains, lakes and flocks of flamingos will have your head spinning 360 as you try to take it all on. Nature on steroids is probably the best description.
DAY 11 - Avaroa - Night Bus
Avaroa National Reserve
Today we start the journey back to Uyuni. So sit back and enjoy the views unlike anywhere else. You'll get a chance to have a look around the town and grab some dinner.
Tonight we're getting on a night bus. Falling asleep in Uyuni and waking up in La Paz? There's no easier way to get across the country.
DAY 12 - La Paz
Today's the day to soak up Bolivia one last time. See the city from above on La Paz's incredible cable car system, or use the your day to get a final taste of Bolivian delicacies - llama anyone?
This afternoon, a nap may be calling your name, getting you nice and rested before your final night with your Contiki crew.
DAY 13 - End La Paz
This morning your trip ends. Not ready to say goodbye to South America? Why not join us on another Contiki tour with your new mates?