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, most of your luggage will be taken direct from the Sacred Valley hotel to your hotel 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 at Machu Picchu.
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.
4 flights (longest 2hrs); 6 scenic road journeys (longest 6-7hrs); 2 rail journeys (longest 4hrs).
On this holiday, location and local character are more importants factors in our choice of accommodation than a consistent type or standard. Tne explora resorts are self -contained, all-inclusive properites with a focus on daily explorations in the surrounding countryside returning to good quality food and accommodation in the evening. In the cities, we have chosen smart, customer-focussed, fairly small and good quality 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.
Breakfast daily; dinner day 2; lunch day 5; full board days 3,4; 11,12; 13,14.
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.
• Panoramic tour of Lima.
• Choice of activities in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
• Visit to the ruined temple fortress at Ollantaytambo.
• Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
• Guided walking Cusco city tour.
• Guided La Paz city tour and cable car.
• Excursions in the Uyuni salt flats.
• Choice of activities in the Atacama desert.
• Walking tour of old Santiago.
Summary of nights
16 days, 15 nights: Lima 1; Sacred Valley 3; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 2; La Paz 2; salt flats 2; San Pedro de Atacama 3; Santiago 1.
Included in the journey 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.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified
• International flights to latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.
The unit of currency in Peru is the sol; in Bolivia it’s the boliviano, and in Chile the Chilean peso.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40-50 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.
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. Dollar bills should be in good condition, ($100 bills should be the new format), soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling or euros, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
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
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
There are some early mornings and a few long days of travel on this trip which are punctuated with frequent stops.
Cusco, La Paz, along with the Salar de Uyuni (salt flats), and the Atacama desert are situated at 3,500-4,000m - you may feel woozy and headachy at first and breathless before you get accustomed to the altitude. 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.
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.
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), 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.
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.
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.
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
This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.
Passports must also be digital e-passports with an in-built chip. 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.