3 flights (longest 2 hrs), 2 train journeys ( 2 and 3.5 hrs), 6 road journeys (longest 10 hrs including stops).
On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels / guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places but elsewhere are purely functional. All properties are well maintained and almost all will have a private bathroom with hot water (if you prefer greater comfort see the Classic Journeys or Private Journeys on their respective pages on our website).
During the crossing from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni accommodation is basic, in simple hostels with shared facilities and limited water and electricity.
Examples of hotels include:
• Buenos Aires: Hotel Kenton Palace
• Salta: Design Suites
• San Pedro de Atacama: Don Raul 2016/Hotel San Pedro 2017
• La Paz: Hotel Rosario
• Copacabana: Hotel Rosario del Lago
• Puno: Hotel Intiqa
• Cusco: Hotel Ruinas
• Sacred Valley: Tunupa Lodge
• Machu Picchu: Waman Inn
• Lima: Hotel El Tambo
These hotels are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents
Breakfast daily, lunch day 9, full board days 7 and 8.
• Buenos Aires: guided city tour
• Salta countryside excursion
• San Pedro de Atacama: Moon Valley
• Uyuni Salt Flats: Laguna Colorada and other excursions
• La Paz: walking tour
• Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca
• Cusco: guided city tour with Sacsayhuamán
• Sacred Valley of the Incas
• Guided tour of Machu Picchu
• Lima: walking tour
Summary of nights
20 days, 19 nights: Buenos Aires 2; Salta 2; San Pedro de Atacama 2; Uyuni salt flats 2; La Paz 3; Copacabana 1; Puno 1; Cusco 2; Sacred Valley 1; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 1; Lima 1.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions
There is a range of optional excursions available throughout this holiday which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $280 USD should cover participation in the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Buenos Aires: tango show
• Salta: cable-car up the Cerro San Bernardo for views over the city
• San Pedro: excursion to the El Tatio geysers
• San Pedro: star gazing or sand boarding
• La Paz: pre-Inca ruins at Tiwanaku
• La Paz: Moon Valley
• La Paz: Cerro Chacaltaya
• Copacabana: visit Sun Island
• re-entry to see the ruins of Machu Picchu
• Machu Picchu: climb Huayna Picchu (this excursion must be pre-booked due to availability issues so please let the office know before travel)
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency, in Argentina is the peso Argentino, in Chile the peso chileno, in Bolivia the boliviano and in Peru is the sol.
A budget of around $40-45 USD per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday cost, drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3 USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 USD and $6 USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found at Travel Insurance.
International departure tax from Lima is normally included in the price of your ticket. There may be small internal taxes to pay for flights but these will be no more than $10 USD each.
The pace of this trip is brisk; there are early mornings and long days spent travelling (albeit with frequent stops and fantastic scenery). The San Pedro - Uyuni crossing involves 2.5 full days' travel across often bumpy terrain. Consult your tour leader to make sure you undertake optional excursions that are best suited to you.
In Buenos Aires, October to November and March to April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine, although in Buenos Aires rain is not uncommon. January to February are hot, around 30°C.
Salta enjoys something of a micro climate, and is temperate throughout the year, the dry season lasts from April to October.
The rainy seasons in the Andes runs between November and April when there are showers most afternoons. The dry season is in June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night temperatures drop dramatically (to below freezing). May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells.
During the San Pedro to Uyuni crossing, temperatures at night can drop well below freezing.
Lima is covered in a dull grey mist for much of the year, although the sun does break through between November and March. It almost never rains in Lima, and temperatures are moderate.
Many of the excursions are spent at high altitude, over 3,500m. Symptoms of altitude sickness vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. Most people are unaffected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don't exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of suffering any symptoms. Please refer to out Briefing Dossier for further information.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials also work well. It can get very cold at altitude, particularly after sundown and so warm clothes are essential as is a good waterproof jacket.
Strong, comfortable footwear is also essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block and sunglasses. You should take swimwear for visits to thermal baths. A torch can also be useful during your time on the salt flats. Temperatures can drop well below freezing at night, so thermal underwear is advisable, as well as thick socks and gloves and a hat that will cover your ears.
If you plan to go to good restaurants or out on evening entertainment trips, you might want to bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).
Owing to luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu, most of your luggage must be left in Cusco. You can take up to 10 kg per person on the train and an overnight holdall is recommended so that you can separate your luggage for the nights spent away from Cusco.
A separate bag is also useful if you are planning an extension from Lima, usually your main luggage can be left in the hotel.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. A yellow fever certificate may be a compulsory requirement for onward travel and immigration purposes. The rules are complex and subject to change. We advise you check the most up to date information at www.iatatravelcentre.com
Please consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on malaria tablets. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.
Holders of a full British passport do not require visas, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Other nationalities should enquire or check with the relevant consulate. Even where visas are not required, there may be a reciprocity fee to pay (e.g. USA and Canada).
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.