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This unique 15 day tour is truly an Andean adventure. Travelling from the Chilean city of Santiago, through breath-taking Bolivia, it concludes with the magnificent Machu Picchu in Peru - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Santiago in Chile.
On arrival, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy today at leisure.
Following breakfast your guide will take you on a half day city tour of Santiago, visiting the main attractions of this charming capital city. Beginning at the Government Palace, you will then continue to the main square 'Plaza de Armas', known as the heart and soul of Santiago and the centrepiece of the city's grid pattern layout. Next stroll around Santa Lucia Hill, a beautifully landscaped park where back in 1833 Charles Darwin once proclaimed that the view from here is 'certainly most striking'. Finish your tour with visits to the exclusive residential neighbourhoods of Vitacura and Las Condes, then return to your hotel for some time to rest and relax.
This morning you will be transferred to Santiago airport for your flight to Calama, a city in northern Chile's Atacama Desert. Considered to be the archaeological capital of Chile as well as the centre of Atacama culture, San Pedro's people once roamed this vast expanse of desert which is thought to be the driest place on planet Earth.
An early start takes you to the Tatio Geysers, situated on the highest geothermal field, some 4,300 metres above sea level in the Andean mountain range. Ringed by volcanoes, over 80 gurgling geysers shoot steam fumaroles reaching 50 metres in height of multiple vibrant colours; a dazzling spectacle to behold. Admire the varied fauna, such as the vicuna, the smallest of the six species of camelid which has adapted itself to survive in the extreme and inhospitable climate of the Andes. In the evening your group will travel to Valle de la Luna to watch the sun set from this exquisite viewing point.
After breakfast you will begin your journey to the Bolivian Salt Flats via 4x4 jeeps to experience a full day tour of this incredible landscape. The first stop will be at the emerald Green Lagoon in the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve whose colour is caused by the moving sediments containing copper minerals. Then continue to the hot springs of Polques where you will have the chance to bathe before carrying on to the geysers of Sol de Manana to marvel at the pools of boiling mud emitting pressurised steam.
Leaving your hotel after breakfast, your tour will continue to a chain of beautiful lagoons home to three different kinds of flamingo whose pink feet and feathers are a result of the active red algae which reacts with the sun's radiation. Lunch will be served outdoors on the shores of the lagoon before continuing your journey across the salt flats on to your unique accommodation for the night - a hotel built entirely of salt blocks!
This morning journey to Isla Incahuasi, one of the main destinations within Uyuni Salt Flats. It was once a real island before the prehistoric lakes dried up, leaving a hilly outpost covered in hundreds of tall cacti growing haphazardly out of the ragged surface. Reach the top of the island and find your camera to take a panoramic shot of the 360 degree views over this spectacular sight. From here you will continue to see pyramids of salt piled on the land by salt miners who harvest the area for its lucrative minerals.
Depart the salt flats today after breakfast and transfer to Uyuni airport for your flight to La Paz, located 3,600 metres above sea level and known as 'the city that touches the sky'. Discover this dizzying city on a half day tour, visiting the main square, Plaza Murillo, the historic centre of La Paz and home to the Cathedral and Presidential Palace. Next continue to the 16th century San Francisco church whose mestizobaroque facade features carvings of masks, dragons and tropical birds. Take the stone tunnel stairway to the roof for views across the city's skyline, then visit the charming colonial street of Calle Jaen. Finally, the tour arrives at Valle de la Luna - a dramatic change of scenery where erosion has produced stony forms resembling the moon.
Today you will be transferred to Desaguadero to cross the border between Bolivia and Peru and arrive at Lake Titicaca, thought to be the birthplace of the sun and known to be the highest navigable lake in the world. Travelling by motorboat, visit the floating Uros Islands, constructed entirely by the buoyant reeds that grow plentifully in the lake below. Meet the Uros women in their brightly coloured petticoat skirts who will be happy to sell you their charming handicrafts. Continue to Puno where you will spend the night.
Board the luxury Andean Explorer train after breakfast and begin the journey from Puno up to Cusco. Travel through rolling plains, mountainous highlands and low-lying clouds whilst enjoying the comforts of this exquisitely decorated twenties style train. Take lunch in the dining carriage and enjoy some fresh air in the outdoor observatory before arriving in the colonial city of Cusco for your overnight stay. Please note that from April 2017 onwards the Andean Explorer is not available and instead you will travel from Puno to Cusco by road and be able to appreciate the surrounding valleys' wonderful landscapes en route. The journey includes a stop at La Raya pass, 4,300 metres above sea level, from where you will be able to take in some amazing vistas of the Andean snow-capped mountains. You will also stop at the Raqchi ruins, known as the Temple of the God Wiracocha, and Andahuaylillas village where there is a beautiful church from the 17th century. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before arriving in Cusco and transferring to your hotel.
Today's morning tour of Cusco will introduce you to this amazing colonial city built on the foundation of Inca Palaces. Visit the Temple of the Sun where you can appreciate the incredible masonry of the Incas, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral with its carved woodworks, altars and paintings. Later you will drive to the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman whose peculiar huge granite stone slabs of up to six metres in length fit perfectly on top of one another. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore the rest of Cusco.
Rise early in the morning to take a train to Aguas Calientes then continue by road to reach one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu. Only re-discovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham, this 500 year old citadel is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of landscaped architecture in the world. Located on the saddle of a mountain, overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River and in an area of lush tropical forest, it served as a place of worship, a site for stargazing and a private hacienda for the family of the Inca Pachacutec.
Following breakfast your guide will transfer you from your hotel to the airport in Cusco for your flight to Lima. On arrival your local guide will commence a half day tour of the 'City of the Kings' - you will first visit the main square to see the Cathedral, Government Palace and City Hall. Next see one of the best preserved monasteries in Lima, the beautiful Santo Domingo Convent and then on to visit the residential zone of San Isidro with its attractive city parks followed by Miraflores, a bustling shopping area with stupendous views of the Pacific Ocean. Retire to your hotel for the final night of your journey across Latin America.
Transfer to Lima airport for your return flight to the UK via Sao Paulo, Brazil.
British passport holders do not need to obtain a visa prior to travel, you will be granted a tourist visa on arrival into Chile, Bolivia and Peru that will cover you for the duration of your stay on the tour. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you to check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up to date guidelines regarding passport validity.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£42||£79||£135|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
International flights are operated by TAM airlines operating via Sao Paulo. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding 56cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 1 personal item such as a handbag or laptop. Internal flights are with LAN airlines or Amaszonas airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 20kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage not exceeding 5kg. Please be aware of the difference between the weight restrictions of international and internal flights. Weight restrictions will be finalised on E-ticket receipt. Check-in for international flights should be at least three hours before departure. Flight times/numbers are for guidance only and are subject to change.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 15. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be with a local guide in each of the main destinations on the trip. In addition to the local guides, a national guide will meet you in Calama and remain with the group until Cusco. In Santiago and Lima you will be accompanied by a local guide only.
Each of the three countries visited on this tour have their own currency:
|Chile||Chilean Peso (Ch$)|
|Peru||Neuvo Sol (S/)|
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|11 Feb 2018||25 Feb 2018||£3299pp|
|11 Mar 2018||25 Mar 2018||£3299pp|
|22 Apr 2018||06 May 2018||£3299pp|
|20 May 2018||03 Jun 2018||£3299pp|
|24 Jun 2018||08 Jul 2018||£3299pp|
|26 Aug 2018||09 Sep 2018||£3299pp|
|23 Sep 2018||07 Oct 2018||£3269pp|
|21 Oct 2018||04 Nov 2018||£3149pp|
|25 Nov 2018||09 Dec 2018||£2999pp|
We have secured a few places on this tour for single travellers with no single supplements. Once these are all sold, if you are a single traveller, you will need to pay a small supplement. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner. Alternatively, please ask about our single supplement prices in order to book your own twin room.
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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