Private Journeys

Signature Andes: Highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Chile

16 days from £4,310pp

Peru / Bolivia / Lake Titicaca / Chile

BOL_UyuniSaltFlats_Shutterstock_470188448

Essentials

Transport

2 flights (1 and 2hrs); 4 scenic road journeys (longest 6-7hrs); 2 rail journeys (longest 4hrs). 

Accommodation

This holiday uses a mix of fairly small, good quality mid-range hotels, colonial or modern in style with well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and heating. The accommodation in the salt flats is basic, but unique: one hotel is built almost entirely from salt. 

Meals

Breakfast daily; lunch days 3, 7-9; dinner day 4,

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Summary Of Nights

16 days, 15 nights: Lima 1; Urubamba 2; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 2; Puno 2; La Paz 2; salt flats 2; San Pedro de Atacama 2; Santiago 1.

Currency

The unit of currency in Peru is the sol; in Bolivia it’s the boliviano, and in Chile the Chilean peso.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number 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 additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$35-$45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

Tipping

Tips are welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

There are some early mornings and long days of travel on this trip, punctuated with occasional stops. 
The streets in Cusco are cobbled and steep and you must be cautious taking these on, since you are at altitude. Lake Titicaca and La Paz, along with the Salar de Uyuni (salt flats), are situated at 3,500-4,000m – you may feel woozy and headachy at first and breathless before you get accustomed to the altitude. En route you’ll climb (in a vehicle!) to 5,000m. If your symptoms are severe please contact our local representatives (see Altitude paragraph below). If you have cardio-vascular problems you should consult your doctor before undertaking this trip.

Although a unique experience, please note that one night spent  near the salt flats is in basic accommodation.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Climate

The rainy season in the Andes runs between November and March when there are showers many afternoons. The dry season is from May to September, when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (from freezing to 10°C). April and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells.

Uyuni is a very remote region and is subject to harsh climatic changes: what you do and where you stay may be modified according to the weather and terrain, particularly in the wet season.

Altitude

If you have cardio-vascular problems you should consult your doctor before undertaking this trip. Your stays in the Sacred Valley (2,800m-3,000m), Cusco (3,400m), Lake Titicaca/Puno (3800m), La Paz/Uyuni (3,700m) and the Atacama Desert (2,400m) are at high altitude. The highest point you’ll reach (during a vehicle ride from Bolivia into Chile) is 5,000m. Because the trip gains altitude slowly, most people are only mildly affected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol for the first couple of days at altitude), you’ll probably be OK. Symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. 

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Health Travel website. 

Clothes 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 waterproof/breathable outer shell makes a good combination along with gloves, scarf and woolly hat. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials are appropriate. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants in the cities, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate. 

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellant, sun block and sun glasses. 

 Due to luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu, main luggage must be left in Cusco. You can take up to 10kgs per person on the train and an overnight holdall is recommended to separate your luggage for the night spent away from Cusco. 

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.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Peru?

The best time to visit the Andes is April to October, the dry season but at this time it is misty and chilly in Lima. The jungle is an all-year destination, as is Arequipa and the Colca Canyon.

What's Peru's official language?

Spanish

What's Peru's official currency?

Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollar cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).

What's the time difference between Peru and the UK?

GMT -5 hours. 

Which other countries combine well with Peru?

The Galápagos Islands, (flights from Lima connecting through Guayaquil, Ecuador).

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Peru?

Semana Santa (Easter): Many places throughout the country, Mar-Apr variable. Religious processions.
Inti Raymi, Cusco (24 Jun) Theatre and re-enactments of Inca history in the ruins of Sacsayhuamán, the temple fortress overlooking Cusco.

 

How do I adapt to the altitude in Peru?

Peru's high Andean spine is bookended by the Pacific coast and Amazon Rainforest, with Cuzco at 3,300m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude.  If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Full day excursion to Pisaq ruins and the Sacred Valley
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Guided Cusco city tour and visit to Sacsayhuamán ruins
  • Lake Titicaca crossing via visit to Uros Iruitos islands to La Paz
  • Guided La Paz city tour and trip to the Moon Valley
  • Guided visits from coach journey to Lake Titicaca
  • Guided La Paz city tour and Moon Valley
  • Excursions in the Uyuni salt flats of the Atacama Desert

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Full day excursion to Pisaq ruins and the Sacred Valley
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Guided Cusco city tour and visit to Sacsayhuamán ruins
  • Lake Titicaca crossing via visit to Uros Iruitos islands to La Paz
  • Guided La Paz city tour and trip to the Moon Valley
  • Guided visits from coach journey to Lake Titicaca
  • Guided La Paz city tour and Moon Valley
  • Excursions in the Uyuni salt flats of the Atacama Desert

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

Meet the team