Andes Mountains North

Andes Mountains North

From AUD 2,690.00 + LTP: US$ 900.00
Trip Length 35 Trip Code SA - OO - 1
Tour Group 10 - 24 Age Range 18 - 55+

Andes Mountains North: Tour Information

This tour encompasses the most intriguing part of the Andes Mountain Range as we experience a combination of the best South America has to offer adventure travellers: from Peru, travel to Bolivia and Argentina as well as Chile. Travel on "The Cordilleras" and you'll be brought closer to the mysterious ancient culture of the Incas. You'll wonder what life is like on the moon, while visiting the vast Salt Flats of Bolivia. A fascinating and off the beaten track experience!

Days 1 - 4 (or days 31 - 35) As our tour begins in Chile, travel starts from the modern city of Santiago. On the first day we head for the Pacific coastline and relax at a beach campsite near La Serena for a couple of days. Rejoining the Pan American Highway we enter the Atacama Desert. On our way north we stop off at a number of settlements and we also camp overnight in this barren but beautiful wilderness. Leaving the Pacific Ocean coastline we head towards the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama.

Days 5 - 10 (25 - 30) We spend a few days here, exploring the fantastic surrounding landscapes of the Valley of the Moon, salt lakes, as well as stone age dwellings. From the desert our ascent through the Andean passes is spectacular, with dozens of volcanic peaks all over 5000m, leading us to the attractive colonial city of Salta, in Argentina. From here we begin true "off the beaten track" adventure travel in Bolivia. You will notice the difference in countries immediately as paved roads become non-existent and locals still follow tradition, wearing bright woollen clothes and bowler hats. Quite a contrast are the shimmering white Uyuni Salt Lakes. Driving on the largest salt flats in the world with no road, and only vague tracks to follow makes for an unforgettable experience and just part and parcel of adventure travel in Bolivia.

Day 11 - 15 (20 - 24) Continuing north we arrive in Potosi. At over 4000m it is the highest city of its size in the world and 400 years ago it was the largest city in all the Americas. Vast amounts of silver were extracted from Potosi and shipped to Spain. There are tours to the mines and it is still clear to see that unfortunately, working conditions here have hardly improved over the centuries. The adventurous among us will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines with a local guide. Visiting the ancient mint or having a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) also provides a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. Its history and past colonial splendour make Potosi a fascinating place to visit. A tortuous drive across the Altiplano, where the Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a living from their small plots of land in the harsh climate, brings us to La Paz.
The highest capital city in the world, it is built on a steep slope that falls away from the Altiplano. The top of the city is about 2000ft above the bottom part. Unusually, all the rich suburbs are in the lower city area. This is because the air is thicker with oxygen lower down. La Paz is a great place to visit a 'pena' club, where live bands entertain us with Andean folk music.

Day 16 - 18 (17 - 19) Leaving La Paz we head to Puno for the start of our Peru travel leg. Nestling on the shores of Lake Titicaca it is a friendly, well-kept place and much calmer than the hustle and bustle of La Paz. Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake at 3800m, it is also the original place of the Uros Indians who have made their homes on floating reed islands.
By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average and overnight with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile.
Spending some time in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs.

Days 19 - 25 (10 - 16) From Lake Titicaca we now have to face some fairly arduous roads as we make our way to Cuzco, Peru's travel adventure and outdoors capital , as well as our base for the next 6 days.
This gives us enough time to hike the 2 or 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. This trail is highly recommended as a highlight of Peru and of this South America tour. Many believe that Machu Picchu itself cannot be understood without following the steps of the Incas on the Inca Trail. Or if you wish you can try a different trek to Machu Picchu such as the Salkantay, Multi Sport or Vilcabamba
.

Days 26 - 30 (5 - 9) From Cuzco we head west, passing herds of llama, alpacas and unspoilt Andean villages as we head towards one of the worlds deepest canyons. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome spectacle. Here you have the option, accompanied by a local guide, of a one day
excursion to view Condors circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor. From here we begin dropping down out of the Andes as we head to Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city set at the foot of the impressive El Misti Volcano.

Days 31 - 35 (1 - 4) Puerto Inca, the ancient Inca port for Cuzco is our next destination and an interesting place to camp on the beach and relax for a couple of days. We now travel to one of the world's great archeological mysteries - The Nazca Lines.
These huge figures and shapes, carved into the stony desert are best viewed from the air. Thought to have been made by three different groups of people going back more than 2000 years, there are many different theories and books about what they signify and why they are there. Following the Coastal Highway the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve is our next stop.
Here we take a boat trip to view one of the most important marine reserves in the world with one of the highest concentrations of rare and exotic sea birds and sea mammals.

Our final days drive takes us to our destination of Lima the vibrant capital city of Peru. Theres is loads to do and see here from old colonial churches and buildings, amazing restaurants selling great food (especially seafood) at very reasonable prices and it is well worth while spending a day or two relaxing in these pleasant surroundings before flying out.

Andes Mountains North - South America

Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Day 1 - 4 APRIL TO OCTOBER TRIPS ONLY - Leaving Santiago we head for the Pacific coastline and relax at a beach campsite near to La Serena for a day.  Rejoining the Pan American highway we enter the Atacama Desert.  On our way north we stop off at a number of settlements and we also camp overnight in this barren but beautiful wilderness.  Leaving the Pacific Ocean coastline we head towards the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. We explore the fantastic surrounding landscapes of the Valley of the Moon, salt lakes, geysers as well as stone age dwellings.  From the desert our ascent through the Andean passes is spectacular, with dozens of volcanic peaks all over 5000m, leading us to the attractive colonial city of Salta in Argentina.
OCTOBER TO APRIL ONLY - Leaving Santiago we head for Argentina. We cross the Andes past the Inca Bridge and San Martin’s pass into Mendoza, the biggest wine region in Argentina. Here you can indulge in more wine and good steak, paraglide or try a host of other outdoor sports. Continuing north we join the last stretch of Route 40, to Cafayate, famous for its white wines. You can explore some of the wineries on foot or by bicycle. Winding around lakes & weaving through baked cliffs until we reach Salta.

Day 5 - 10 Founded over 400 years ago Salta is a good place for live folk music venues and is also a great area for horse riding, mountain biking, mountain trekking and river rafting. From here we venture into Bolivia where you will notice the difference as paved roads become non-existent and locals still follow tradition, wearing bright woollen clothes and bowler hats. Our first stop in Bolivia is Tupiza, claimed to be the place where Butch & Sundance met their end. Quite a contrast is the shimmering white Uyuni Salt Lake.  Taking a 1 day trip out onto the largest salt flats in the world with no road and only vague tracks to follow makes for an unforgettable experience.

Day 11 - 15 Continuing north we arrive in Potosi. At over 4000m it is the highest city of its size in the world and 400 years ago it was the largest city in all the Americas. Vast amounts of silver were extracted from Potosi and shipped to Spain. There are tours to the mines and it is still clear to see that unfortunately, working conditions here have hardly improved over the centuries. The adventurous among us will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines with a local guide. Visiting the ancient mint or having a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) also provides a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. Its history and past colonial splendour make Potosi a fascinating place to visit. A tortuous drive across the Altiplano, where the Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a living from their small plots of land in the harsh climate, brings us to La Paz. The highest capital city in the world, it is built on a steep slope that falls away from the Altiplano. The top of the city is about 2000ft above the bottom part. Unusually, all the rich suburbs are in the lower city area. This is because the air is thicker with oxygen lower down. La Paz is a great place to visit a 'pena' club, where live bands entertain us with Andean folk music.

Day 16 - 18 Leaving La Paz we head to Puno. Nestling on the shores of Lake Titicaca it is a friendly, well-kept place and much calmer than the hustle and bustle of La Paz. Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake at 3800m, it is also the original place of the Uros Indians who have made their homes on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average and overnight with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs.

Day 19 - 25 From Lake Titicaca we now have to face some fairly arduous roads as we make our way to Cusco, Peru's adventure and outdoors capital, as well as our base for the next 6 days. This gives us enough time to hike the 2 or 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. Many believe that Machu Picchu itself cannot be understood without following the steps of the Incas on an Inca Trail. If you wish you can try a different trek to Machu Picchu such as the Salkantay, Lares or Vilcabamba for those who like to get off the tourist highway.

Day 26 - 30 From Cuzco we head west, passing herds of llama, alpacas and unspoilt Andean villages as we head towards Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city set at the foot of the impressive El Misti Volcano. Here you have the option, accompanied by a local guide, of a overnight excursion to visit Colca Canyon which is an awesome spectacle. You can also view the Condors circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.  From here we begin dropping down out of the Andes as we head towards the coast, where we camp on the beach, before travelling on to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries - The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the stony desert are best viewed from the air.  Thought to have been made by three different groups of people going back more than 2000 years, there are many different theories and books about what they signify and why they are there.

Day 31 - 35 From culture to fun, we head into the Ica Dessert to the oasis of Huacachina, from where you can sandboard, ride dune buggies and camp in the desert. Following the Coastal Highway the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve is our next stop. Here we take a boat trip to view one of the most important marine reserves in the world with one of the highest concentrations of rare and exotic sea birds and sea mammals.

Our final days drive takes us to our destination of Lima the vibrant capital city of Peru.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Local Tour Payments (LTP) or a Kitty payment, if stated is paid direct to your tour leader / crew on day 1.

DATES, PRICES & AVAILABILITY:

Availability Trip Date Price Local Payment Click to book
Availability Feb 25, 2018 - Mar 31, 2018 AUD 2,690.00 US$ 900.00 Book
Availability Apr 08, 2018 - May 12, 2018 AUD 2,690.00 US$ 900.00 Book
Prices: All prices Charged in Australian Dollars
Key: Availability Guaranteed Availability Available Availability Limited Availability Closed
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