Best of Peru and Bolivia in 2 Weeks Itinerary

A 14 day trip to Bolivia & Peru 
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Gain altitude alongside history, mystery, scenery, and culture on a personalized tour of Peru and Bolivia that will bring you from sea level up to 12,000 feet in the air. Follow in the footsteps of the Inca, touching the smooth stones preserved at Machu Picchu, witness the sculpted faces on the ancient walls at Tiahuanaco and cross the waters of Lake Titicaca, the region from which the Inca Empire emerged. Spanish colonial architecture decorates the main squares as the condors soar above the second deepest canyon in the world. Discover lively markets, savor the delectable cuisine, and enjoy the best of Peru and Bolivia as you would like to. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Maras, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Moon Island, Sun Island, Tiahuanaco Ruins, La Paz

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Lima – Arrive in Lima for an Introductory Tour of Peru’s Capital City

Peru’s capital city stretches from ocean to hillsides as a cosmopolitan metropolis encompasses the variety of cultures from around the country and the world. The city feels like a far cry from the images of Andean villagers and llamas with snow-capped peaks and flowing grasslands. Spanish colonial architecture decorates the city center at the Plaza de Armas, and the coastal neighborhood of Miraflores looks over the Pacific Ocean from atop stunning cliffs. Your flight will land at Jorge Chavez International Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon arrival.

Your gorgeous hotel in Miraflores provides a fashionable introduction to a city straddling contemporary life in Peru and preserving the historical architecture and culture of the surrounding country. Your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby eager to introduce you to the marvels of Lima. The refreshing breeze carries the aroma of the sea as you wander to take it all in. The National Archeology, Anthropology, and History Museum display a variety of ceramics, figural stone carvings, mummies, and gold work that offers a timeline to better understand the stunning past of Peru from pre history leading to the colonial era.

In the heart of the city at Plaza de Armas, you will find the bright yellow façade of the San Francisco Monastery. The unique tapestry of the façade leads into the labyrinth of narrow halls in the catacombs. An artistic arrangement of bones represents the nearly 10,000 people interred in Lima’s first cemetery begun in the late 17th century and utilized until the early 19th century. The cool, damp surroundings contrast with the warmth of the coastal city. On the main floor, the marvelous portals and archways support the celebrated library that maintains 25,000 antique texts, including editions predating Spanish conquest that will mesmerize you.  Don’t take just our word for it - consider reading some of our travelers’ reviews of South America.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, dinner

Day 2: Cusco – Fly to Cusco, the Capital of the Incan Empire

In the morning, the aroma of fresh pineapple and watermelon will accompany the scent of fresh coffee in the dining room. The sunlight washes over the coastal walkway as hang gliders circle the cliffs with their bright orange flapping in the breeze. The statue of El Beso glints with gray stone against the backdrop of the Pacific in the serene setting of El Parque del Amor. Your private transfer will greet you in the lobby and escort you to the airport for your brief flight into the Andes Mountains. Cusco remains a stronghold of preserved Incan grandeur as the former capital of the empire. Today, the city continues to represent the images of its past, balancing pre-Columbian culture and the Spanish architecture with the customs that attempted to overtake what came before.

The mountainous peaks roll along the edges of the city and encircle the greenery of the dip in the Watanay River Valley. The plateau reaches a height of more than 11,150 feet above sea level, and the city represented the center of the Inca world, whose empire spread from Northern Chile into Colombia. Many of the remaining Spanish colonial buildings were erected directly atop Incan foundations. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is yours to wander the cobbled streets of Cusco at your leisure.

Due to the thinner air, it can take you some time to catch your breath amidst the stairways and undulating slopes peppering the city. You can take your time to gain insight into the culture of the city where a mix of locals wears jeans or suits, pitted against the traditional Andean women wearing colorful skirts, at monteras, the Quechua word for a custom hat. You will make your way to the Center of Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a non-profit organization helping to keep alive the traditions of pre-Columbian culture in Peru through community support in weaving.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Sacred Valley – Journey into the Stunning Sacred Valley to Find Incan Ruins

In the morning, the aromas of roasted chicken, soup, and popcorn emanate from the vibrant Central Market de San Pedro. The scent of raw spices overtakes alongside the mouth watering fragrance of sautéed meat and vegetables. Local merchants provide visitors with delicious juices, such as chicha morada, a purple drink made from native corn. Your guide will greet you in the morning after breakfast and escort you into the magnificent landscape of the Sacred Valley. The inhabitants of the land treasured the sweeping vistas that give way to bountiful agriculture.

You will reach the town of Ollantaytambo for a dramatic meeting with the remains of the Inca Empire. Stones pave the streets and created marvelous stairways that climb the mountain ridges. The town was built on a grid in the 12th century, framed by adobe walls and a series of canals that carry water down from the mountains. The remaining architecture embodies the brilliant engineering and architectural skills, and you can hear the babbling irrigation channels still working during the quiet afternoon.

Preserved homes feature the thick stone trapezoidal archway that helped keep the interior cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter cold. The sensational terraces texture the hillside that leads to the temple fortress that crowns the ridge. You can follow in the footsteps of the Inca who managed to push back the Spanish, forcing the incoming army to withdraw from the flooded plains. The six monoliths create an inspiring image as the walls of the unfinished Sun Temple.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Venture to Machu Picchu for a Full Day Exploration

You will board the train bound for Aguas Calientes, and your luxury car will offer sensational views to the greenery of the Sacred Valley. The short grasses along the ridges give way to the whitewater of the Urubamba River, and the train rides along the zigzag, which travels more than 1,300 feet in less than three miles. The vibrant trees give way to thick stone cliffs as the large windows allow you great views over the Sacred Valley and the passing forest until reaching Aguas Calientes.

You will then take a local tram that connects the train station to the entrance of Machu Picchu Archeological Park, located at an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet above sea level and far below that of Cusco. You will stop first at the Visitor Center to get a fabulous Machu Picchu stamp in your passport, and then follow your guide and climb the stairs that lead to the plateau atop the terraced mountain. The grass shines emerald and remains manicured from the llamas that graze on the open landscape. The stones of the Incan city shimmer in the sunlight and occasional passing clouds.

Below you can see traces of the Urubamba River winding against the valley floor Explorer Hiram Bingham discovered the complex in July of 1911, believing it to be a lost Incan capital city, untouched since the mid-15th century. As you survey it all, the warm wind will brush against your cheeks and leave a faint scent of the grass. Your guide will lead you through the preserved temples to the Intihuatana, and the rock pillar on Intihuatana Hill allowed astrologers to predict the winter and summer solstices as the sunlight stands directly over the stone.  

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, dinner

Day 5: Cusco – Return to Machu Picchu before Traveling to Cusco for a City Tour

You will wake early in the morning to reach the plateau upon the park’s opening. Your guide leads you on the path beneath the Temple of the Three Windows to arrive at the guard gate located at the base of Huayna Picchu, the famous peak overlooking the Incan complex. The area of the park is accessible to only 200 people per day and contains two diverging paths to explore. One path leads to the Temple of the Moon, hidden inside a cave within the mountain. You can also follow the second path that winds along the edges of the steep slopes. The peak stands at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level and offers pristine views over the rolling mountain peaks and the terraced complex below.

The distinctive view will remain a favorite memory during your time in Peru. You will then take the train back to Cusco and relax before meeting your guide in the afternoon to discover the marvels of the Incan capital city.  The highlights tour brings you to Sacsayhuaman, the fortress positioned atop the city. The thick boulders creating the wall were cut to fit perfectly together like puzzle pieces, without mortar, and will keep your attention engaged for the whole of your tour.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 6: Arequipa – Transfer to Arequipa to Discover the Spanish Colonial City

You can venture into the High Plains in the morning to reach the city of Arequipa. The friendly ambiance and fantastic scenery accompany the meaning of the Quechua name, which stands for “you may stay.” The sunlight spreads across the Spanish colonial architecture and brings a white flicker to the sillar facades, a white volcanic rock quarried from the three volcanoes encircling the city. The cobblestone streets wind along the historical buildings in view of Misti Volcano. The scent of roasting chicken emanates from the San Camilo Market, the oldest marketplace in the city.

While touring the city, your guide will lead you to Santa Catalina Monastery, which was founded in the late 16th century. The complex encompasses nearly 215,300 square feet north of Plaza de Armas. The bold blue pillars contrast with the white vaulted archways that form the arcades. The colors blend into the sky and can be seen from the gorgeous courtyards. The fountains trickle around the complex adding an extra tranquil layer to the beautiful architecture. You will wander through the maze of narrow cloisters and cozy living quarters for a vision of the past in the preserved contemporary city. 

For a unique experience in Arequipa, you can visit Mundo Alpaca, an open-air museum dedicated to the process of weaving and dying alpaca wool. Andean women happily show their work to you on the patio. They are dressed in traditional red sweaters and wearing the Monteras you have noticed around Peru. They weave the fresh wool through the loom in the customary fashion. On another floor, you can find contemporary machines doing the same work to show contrast and the evolution of the process. Alpacas graze in the courtyard and enjoy the passing sunlight. The aromas of fresh coffee and fresh alfajores, dulce de leche sandwiched between two butter cookies, drift out of the café.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Arequipa – Relish a Full Day Tour in the Natural Marvels of Colca Canyon

In the morning, you recall the unique site of the Ice Maiden inside the Andean Sanctuary Museum, and the stunning story of Juanita is another reason to view the surrounding landscape. The 12-year old girl was sacrificed to the mountain gods more than 600 years ago and was discovered in the freezing temperatures along Nevado Ampato peak at over 19,600 feet above sea level. Your guide will then lead you into the second deepest canyon in the world, at Colca Canyon. The valley slices through the Andes for more than 50 miles and at its deepest plunges to over 11,150 feet, almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States.

Llamas graze on the landscape in the valley and packs of wild vicuna roam along the barren landscape of the highlands. You will stop at one of the unspoiled Andean Villages where Cabanas and Collaguas cultures remain strongly practiced. The different peoples distinguish their historical connections by the way they dress, utilizing a variety of colorful clothes crowned by distinctive hats. Women in intricately embroidered skirts stand with their pet llamas and pose for photos. The children dress in equally brilliant colors and detailed geometric designs.

The sunlight pours over the canyon at the Cruz del Condor, a marvelous vista from which to view the circling birds. The breeze bites at your cheeks. The Andean condor glides on the thermal pockets overhead, with a wingspan reaching nearly 11 feet wide. It is the largest flying bird in the world as measured by weight and wingspan. Viewing the elegant way the birds soar above brings you a deeper appreciation to seeing wildlife in their natural environment. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Puno – Visit Peru’s “Sistine Chapel” and pre-Incan sites en route to Puno

At breakfast, you find the minty and herbaceous aroma of coca tea filling the dining room. The leaves have a slightly bitter flavor and have helped locals and visitors in the high altitudes for millennia. After the meal, you venture to Puno, located on the shores of the famous Lake Titicaca. En route, your guide stops in Andahuaylillas, an Andean village famous for its lavish Church of San Pedro. The Baroque elements contrast with the sleepy nature of the streets and date back to the 17th century. Intricate carvings accentuate the paintings that decorate the walls inside. Villagers guard the gold and silver adornments that are rumored to be hidden inside the church.

The edifice was erected atop a pre-Columbian ceremonial space in an attempt to connect the previous culture’s religious symbols with the new religion of Christianity. The church is often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of the Andes,” due to the beauty of the murals and the polychrome ceiling crafted with Mudejar architectural style. The church nave carries the aroma of frankincense as the sunlight washes through the windows bringing a shine to the golden altarpiece. The European-style frescoes blend images of pre-Columbian Andean culture and the spiritual stories traditional in Spanish religious artwork. You will arrive to Puno in time to watch the sunlight fade over the largest high-altitude lake in the world, where the first Inca emerged from the cold, clear waters.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Puno – Traverse the Famous Reed Islands on the Waters of Lake Titicaca

The morning light washes over Puno and shimmers against the azure waters of Lake Titicaca. The lake spans more than 3,200 square miles at an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level. The cobbled streets wind along the water’s edge and lead into the surrounding hillsides. Sidewalks create narrow slivers on the streets alongside passing three-wheeled bikes and moto taxis, making for a lively atmosphere as you wander.  The city remains the folklore capital of Peru due to the pristine waters of the lake, and the religious festivals held throughout the year, including the Our Lady of Mercy festival in September.

You will board a small boat after breakfast and set sail away from the pier, ready to explore the marvelous fresh waters of the captivating lake. The cool breeze blows against your cheeks as the water mists from the hull of the boat, and you can sip your refreshing coffee as the shoreline fades from view. Stop first alongside a large island known as one of Lake Titicaca’s Island of the Uros. You step onto the landmass and notice it is made of totora reeds.

The Uros fled from the conquering Incas more than half a millennium ago, finding ways to weave together the reeds, finding a unique existence floating on the islands. Their customs and crafts remain unchanged over the centuries, differing from mainland Peruvians. Your guide explains that the Uros hunt birds, fish, and harvest lake plants for sustenance, along with cultivating the totora reeds to keep their islands afloat.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Copacabana – Cross the Border into Bolivia and to Find Copacabana

The impressive 17th-century façade of Basilica San Carlos Borromeo decorates the Plaza de Armas. The shops along the pedestrian street of Lima open their doors to contemporary fashion displays and the aroma of local soup dish known as chairo. After breakfast, you will make your way by private transfer over the border into Bolivia. The town of Copacabana offers your first glimpse of Bolivia, a neighbor in geography yet set apart in culture and tradition. The lakefront remains quiet and feels residential, contrasting with the bustling movement of Puno. In the summer, you can dip your fingers into the water and enjoy the refreshing cool temperature against the sun’s shining in the high altitude ridges.

The pristine white walls of the Basilica represent Portuguese architectural style with blue tiles and rounded domes. The structure resembles a Moorish fortress as opposed to a Catholic church. The interior features a 15th-century statue rumored to have performed countless miracles on behalf of the people living around the lake. For a spectacular view of the surrounding area, you can venture to the nearby peak of El Calvario. The summit reaches heights over 13,100 feet above sea level, offering a panorama of the glistening waters and colorful homes of around Lake Titicaca and Copacabana along the northern end of the shoreline.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Copacabana – Discover Historical Splendor on Moon and Sun Islands

The town wakes to a quiet morning spent along the shores of Lake Titicaca nestled between the mound-like peaks of two hills. You will board a boat after breakfast bound for the waters of Lake Titicaca, this time venturing to the stunning shores of Isla de la Luna. Moon Island has a significant connection to the Incas and remains home to the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. The tranquil ambiance emanates from the marvelous scenery and the fact the island is free of electricity.

The boat docks on the eastern edges of the island as shrubs and grass blanket the northern slopes and llamas and sheep graze. The village rises out of the western edges of the island as fishers tend to their trout cages and the breeze carries the gentle aroma of fresh water. An isolated pebbled beach runs along the southern edges of the island. You can visit one of the traps with local fishers to learn how they catch fish daily to ensure life away from the mainland.

Near the dock, you can view the incredible snow-capped peaks looming over the Bolivian plateau, along with the remains of the Temple of the Virgins of a Sun. The stonework resembles an amphitheater in its design. The stone walls frame the unique doorways and support the terraces. The door frames look out to the glistening water. The unique properties of the architecture contain similarities and vast differences to the Inca structures you had seen while in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 12: La Paz – Travel to La Paz for a Full Day Exploration of the Capital City

At breakfast, enjoy the ample produce of Bolivia the represents the remarkable ecosystems that span the country and range from high altitude plains to the lowlands of the Amazon basin. The sweet aroma of acai overtakes the subtle scent of plantains and locals enjoy soups along with the traditional dish of rice and beans. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you along the paved road to the world’s highest capital city, located at nearly 12,00 feet above sea level. The bus crosses over the lip of the narrow canyon and overlooks the hunched city that spreads across the hillsides along the Altiplano.

Church spires rise and fall in view of the icy peak of Mount Illimani. The streets have a cosmopolitan ambiance felt against the backdrop of the unique landscape. Vendors in La Paz’s famous Witches’ Market lines the street between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz. Vendors sell leather goods, such as rucksacks, along with traditional herbs and medicines associated with witchcraft. The cable car carries visitors across the heights of the city into the depths of the southern streets as the peaceful plazas shine.

Cobblestone streets lead you down Calle Jaén, home to some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in the city. The colorful facades on the pedestrian thoroughfare carry you into the past, away from the bustling movement at the heart of La Paz. The gas lamps that dangle beneath the clay-tile rooftops guide your eye to the bright suburbs of the city and wind along the encircling mountains. A host of restaurants and bars give way to the aromas of quinoa, potatoes, and delicious grilled sausage. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 13: La Paz – Delight in La Paz and the Remarkable Ruins of Tiahuanaco

The aroma of coffee drifts through the streets and emanate from a favorite cafe at the heart of the city. The vibrant ambiance derives from the travel photos that decorate the walls and the friendly service amidst the rich flavors of the home-brewed coffee. Your guide will escort you out of the city early to avoid the daily bustle in the streets of downtown, and you will reach the storied borders of Tiahuanaco, a pre-Columbian archeological site first noted by the Spanish in the mid-16th century. The complex dates back to 1,500 BC and grew as the center of the Tiwanaku Empire between 300 BC and 300 AD. Myths and legends abound, adding to the allure of the sandy landscape along the high-altitude plain.

The landscape offers the source of creation myths and social order, which led to the focus on astronomy for the Andean people over the course of millennia. You can venture to the Standing Pillars, also referred to as the Kalasasaya, a raised rectangular enclosure measuring 450 feet by 400 feet. The supporting columns reach 12 feet tall and were crafted to hold human-like features. One such Stela is the Pachamama monolith, which stands over 56 feet tall. The lower half of its body was covered in fish scales. The Semi-Subterranean Temple contains stones cut with human faces protruding from the wall. The unique features of the archeological site add more mystery and fascination to the ancient peoples of Bolivia, as opposed to answering the intriguing questions.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14: La Paz – Depart for Home

In the morning, both locals and visitors alike to La Paz will venture to the neighborhood of San Miguel to enjoy the creamy and rich cappuccino in Roaster Boutique. The cable car carries locals from the outskirts along the upper ridges into the lowlands of the downtown area. The 18th-century pink granite façade of the National Art Museum opens its doors to visitors with a mixture of elegant European and Andean baroque styles. Three-storied pillars encircle the tranquil courtyard and the trickling waters of the alabaster fountain. The artwork features religious themes with each level dedicated to a different era of Bolivian works. After breakfast, your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby and escort you to El Alto International Airport for your flight home, bringing an end to your 2-week tour of Peru and Bolivia’s best sites.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,075
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.