Citadels & Deserts in the Sky
Are you in need of an adventure? Let us take you on a tour of some of South America’s most beautiful sights and exciting cities. You’ll hike mountains as you visit the world-famous Machu Picchu, take a 4x4 drive through unforgettable scenery in Bolivia, and marvel at the beauty of the night sky in the Atacama desert in Chile. We’ll also be stopping by exciting cities, like Cuzco, where you’ll get a fascinating insight into the Inca culture, which remains remarkably strong in this area.
Admire the night sky in the Atacama Desert
Travel through Bolivia's otherworldly landscapes
Discover indigenous culture in Cuzco
Experience the beauty of Bolivia's salt flats
Test your hiking skills as you scale Huayna Picchu
Visit the world-famous Machu Picchu
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
It’s the first day and you’re all ready to embark on your tour of some of the best that South America has to offer. You'll be greeted at the airport and whisked to your hotel in cosmopolitan Lima, the charming Lot Boutique. Nestled between the Andes and the Pacific, the Peruvian capital is a city that knows how to combine the old with the new. You’ll be introduced to Lima with a private tour that weaves through charming streets to visit both colonial and modern architecture, religious shrines and churches, and of course the dramatic coastline of cliffs jutting out into pacific blue. Peruvian cuisine has been significantly influenced by the Asian immigrant population, and Lima is an excellent place to sample some mouthwatering delicacies that blend Japanese, Chinese and European flavours in a creative fusion.
Things to do
From Lima you’ll be jetting off to Cuzco before your transfer to the Sacred Valley, where the next step of your adventure begins. Here you will stay at the wonderful Sol y Luna hotel. The Sacred Valley carves a path between impressive mountains in the Andean highlands and was the heart of the Inca empire. Step back in time as you visit the hidden gem of Ollantaytambo, an ancient town whose winding cobbled streets have been continuously inhabited since the 13th century. Here you'll be taken on a private tour of the Inca fortress whose ruins are stacked up the surrounding mountainsides and which rivals Machu Picchu for its stunning beauty and fascinating history.
Things to do
No trip to Peru would be complete without a tour of its most iconic landmark, Machu Picchu. Of course you’ll be familiar with the classic snapshot of this Inca citadel, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. The structure is known for sophisticated building techniques to fuse stone blocks without the use of mortar - a true testament to human ingenuity. Its original purpose? No one knows, but your imagination is sure to fire up with possibilities as you wander its ancient streets and peer down cloud-strewn mountainsides.
You'll spend the night at the colonial-style Inkaterra Machu Picchu.
Day 6 begins with a second entry to Machu Picchu before you put your hiking skills to the test on the Huayna Picchu trail, which winds its way up the dizzying heights of 2,693 metres above sea level - that’s about 260 metres higher than Machu Picchu! The path is dotted with architectural vestiges such as narrow staircases, altars and tunnels, and once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the craggy mountains around, making the challenging climb completely worth it.
You’ll then make your way to Cuzco for a further taste of what Peruvian cities have to offer. You’ll notice that the indigenous influence is significantly stronger in Cuzco, which is commonly considered the Inca capital of the country. On Day 7, you’ll be taken on a private tour of the city to explore Inca architecture, from the vast fortress of Sacsayhuaman to the grand houses of the nobility. In this part of town, artisans line the streets selling traditional handicrafts and giving you the perfect opportunity to pick up a souvenir of your time in Peru. Next, experience a clash of cultures as you visit the Spanish colonial cathedral that dominates the main square, Plaza de Armas, before heading to Coricancha, a temple formerly covered in gold where Incas would pay homage to the sun.
You'll be staying at the boutique Esplendor Cusco for this leg of your trip.
Things to do
General Tour/Activity & Adventure
The next leg of your journey is proof that it’s not only about the destination, but the journey itself. You’ll be travelling in style with PeruRail on a train that features an open-air observatory car that allows you to enjoy the stunning Andean landscapes as you make your way to Puno on one of the most unforgettable train journeys of your life. Here, you'll be staying at Hotel Libertador on the private island of Esteves, which has magnificent views over Lake Titicaca, the ideal spot to unwind with a glass of wine and watch sunset over the lake.
On Day 9, you’ll visit Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water and home to both natural and manmade wonders. The Uros islands float peacefully on the lake’s glassy surface, and are surprisingly entirely constructed by the Uros people from native totora reeds. Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you set out across the still waters of the lake towards Taquile Island, where you’ll learn about traditional weaving methods and enjoy lunch in the charming town square.
On Day 10, it's time to bid farewell to Peru, and say hello to Bolivia. You'll enjoy a private tour of the Sun and Moon Islands on the Bolivian side of the lake, said to be the cradle of the Inca Civilisation, where you'll tour the many fascinating Inca ruins and enjoy spectacular views of the lake. Then it's time to move on to La Paz, the highest capital city in the world at more than 3,500 metres above sea level. The city’s streets overflow with traffic and pedestrians in a kind of energetic chaos that will leave you exhilarated - this is certainly no small town. You'll overnight at the colonial-style La Casona Hotel Boutique.
General Tour/Activity & Adventure
Next you’ll head off to the highlight of your Bolivian adventure, the Salar de Uyuni, where you can choose to stay at the magnificent Hotel de Sal Luna Salada, a hotel made entirely from salt.
The Salar de Uyuni salt flats are the world’s largest at almost 11,000 square kilometres, and they're truly a sight to behold. In wet season, the ground is transformed into a mirror of epic proportions that reflects the expansive sky and its drifting clouds, whereas dry season sees a hard crust form on the surface of the lake in a uniform geometric pattern. Observe the wonders of nature as you admire pentagons of crystalline salt, venture out to the fish-shaped island ‘Isla Pescado’, which is dotted with cacti - and don’t forget to take plenty of photos in this area of stunning natural beauty!
Quite the jetsetter by this point, you’ll be entering another country later today, a country that snakes down the length of the continent, sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean: Chile. But first, you have another spectacular journey, as you take a 4x4 drive from Uyuni, passing through a landscape of snow-dusted mountains, volcanoes and geysers, the impossibly green Laguna Verde and the deep red Laguna Colorada, home to rare flamingos. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a dreamscape. That night you'll arrive at the Hotel Terrantai Lodge in San Pedro de Atacama, your base for the next couple of nights.
On Day 14, you take a private trip to discover daily life on a farm in the Atacama region and have the chance to learn about and try some authentic local products. You’ll visit Salar de Atacama, a massive salt lake covered in a thick layer of pristine white salt crystals formed by the evaporation of the lake’s water, and another great place to spot different species of flamingo. You’re in for a treat that night, as this region is famed for being one of the best places in the world to view the night sky, attracting astronomers from across the world for research. You'll visit the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Observatory, where you'll watch as the stars roll out, painting the dark canvas of the night sky with their bright light as an expert explains special features of the southern hemisphere. You’ll even have the chance to peer through a telescope at distant galaxies.
Things to do
The final leg of your journey takes place in Santiago de Chile, the capital and a buzzing cosmopolitan city set against the backdrop of soaring Andean peaks. A private tour will take you round some of the city’s most important sights, including the ornate presidential palace, bustling squares, the beautiful cathedral and several other historic buildings. Santiago has a vibrant food scene, being named the world’s next great food city by US magazine Saveur. Sit down at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants or wine bars to take stock of your South American adventure and the unforgettable memories you’ll carry home with you.
You'll spend the night at the Castillo Rojo Hotel Boutique, before catching your flight home the following day, where you'll have plenty of time to reflect on your incredible South American trip and browse through some of your photos.