Peru and Bolivia in 3 Weeks
I bought my tickets!!!! I will have 22 days to explore Peru and Bolivia (total, not each, since I do have to go back to work)!
I’ve been daydreaming about Machu Picchu since I was in high school and after being in South America for 2.5 years I will finally go see this iconic place! Since reading about Bolivia in Uni I have also wanted to see more of that country, and this will be my chance.
I have written up an itinerary, but so far I only have my first and last flights booked. I would love to hear from anyone who has done a trip similar to this for any tips or advice. Stuff is already starting to book up now so I want to get started booking hostels and whatnot.
December is rainy season in South America. Sigh. I play with the cards I’m dealt. Since it is the rainy season, Machu Pichu might not be at it’s most beautiful, but hopefully I will be able to see it without any problems. I originally planned on seeing Rurrenbaque and exploring the Amazon Forest and River Basin, but I read in several places that roads become impassible and flights are frequently canceled in December.
Day 1- Saturday, December 20th
Arrive in Lima at 10:20PM. 45 min taxi to hostel $25US (I have read that it is best reserve a taxi when arriving late at night http://taxidatum.com/)
Spend the night at Pariwana Backpacker Hostel $14/night ($40 total)
Day 2 – Sunday, December 21- Lima
See the Mercado de Brujas (Witches Market).
Salsa dancing at Markanos Latin Salsa Jr. Andahuaylas 487, San Martín de Porres, Altura cuadra 32 Av. Perú. Phone: 568-7353 Sundays 9.00 p.m. OR Son de Cuba Calle de las Pizzas, San Ramón 277, Miraflores. Phone: 4451444 Tuesday through Sunday
Day 3- Monday, December 22 Explore Lima center.
Day 4 Tuesday, December 23 6:50AM flight from Lima to Cusco ($93- 1 hr). Explore Cusco.
Day 5 Wednesday, December 24 Cusco to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) 2 Day Machu Picchu Tour $215. Has anyone else done Machu Picchu by car that I saw mentioned over at Matador? If I had a group of people (or even one other person) I would try to do what this guy did and book everything himself and save half the cost!
Visit hot springs?
Day 6 Thursday, December 25 Machu Picchu- Christmas Day 9PM train back to Cusco with tour.
Catch first bus at 5:30AM OR if it isn’t raining consider hiking up the stairs at 5AM and beating the bus. Don’t pay extra to hike Hauyna Picchu in the rainy season because it is way more dangerous and takes much longer.
Spend night in Cusco at Pariwana Backpacker Cusco $14
Day 7 Friday, December 26 Cusco Sacred Valley Tour?
10PM overnight bus to Puno $27 for VIP seat
Day 8 – Saturday, December 27 arrive in Puno at 4:30 AM.
Arrive at Kantaya Hostel $9. Take a nap.
Leave for a half day trip to the Uros Islands at 9AM.
Day 9- Sunday, December 28 7AM Bus from Puno to La Paz $25 8.5 hours.
Arrive in La Paz at 4pm.
Stay at Adventure Brew Hostel ($12/N, $49 total)
Day 10 Monday, December 29 La Paz
Death Road Bicycle ride with Gravity. Ride for 4-5 hours but tour takes all day. Cost? Is it safe in the rainy season?
Day 11 Tuesday, December 30 Wander around La Paz
Cuban Salsa Band at Mongo’s Calle Hermanos Manchego #2444, Sopocachi Telephone: 2440714
Day 12 Wednesday, December 31 La Paz- New Year’s Eve!!
Day 13 Thursday, January 1 Fly early morning from La Paz to Sucre (70US)
Dance at Joy Ride Cafe
Stay at the Beehive Sucre $10.50/n $21 total
Day 14 Friday, January 2 Explore Sucre.
Salsa dancing at Locot’s 465 Calle Bolivar
Day 15 Saturday, January 3 Early morning bus or taxi from Sucre to Potosi (2-4 hrs $2.50 for bus or $16 for shared taxi)
Stay at La Casona ($7.90/n $15.83 total)
Day 16 Sunday, January 4 Potosi Silver Mine Tour (4-5 hours)
Day 17 Monday, January 5 Early morning bus from Potosi to Uyuni (6-7 hours $4)
My plan is to only stay one night in Uyuni itself and the rest of the time doing a Jeep 4X4 tour. Any advice on a hotel/hostel and/or tour company in Uyuni because I’m not finding much online!?
Days 17/18/19/20- Monday, Jan 5 through Thursday, Jan 8 Explore Uyuni. The Salt Flats aka Salar de Uyuni is the main reason I want to go to Uyuni so I want to budget plenty of time to see it. On the Salar de Uyuni tour I want to see the train cemetery, flamingos, arbol de piedra, some lagoons, and maybe some thermal waters.
Day 21 Thursday, Jan 8- Breakfast and Lunch in Uyuni. Fly from Uyuni to La Paz (45 min- $213) Flight leaves at 4:45PM. Spend the night in La Paz at Adventure Brew Hostel $12.30/N
Day 22 Friday, Jan 9 Fly from La Paz to Lima 8AM (2 hrs $421)
Relax in the Pay Purix Hostel $12.27/N
Day 23- Saturday, January 10th Arrive at midnight to airport and leave at 2:40AM 23 Fly to La Paz to Lima to Valencia.
Airfare from VLN to LIM and back: $570
Current estimated cost: $1762 + Uyuni & Potosi Tours + food and other transportation
Estimated Budget for Trip: $3000USD
Please comment! Has anyone visited Machu Pichu in late December? Did it go well? Any specific tour agencies you can recommend? I’m worried mostly about the MP and Salt Flat tours and lodging at this point, but other activity suggestions are welcome too! Have you visited the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) in December? How much should I book ahead of time? Any advice on my trip? Suggested hostels/hotels/restaurants?
Sorry, we’ve never been, would love to though. Great itinerary. Only advice I could give: go, do it all. You’ll regret the thought of not seeing it. Even if the weather doesn’t comply, it should be an epic journey. Be safe.
Thanks for the advice! I heard that there can be problems with road blocks in Bolivia, so hopefully the buses are running smoothly while I’m there and I will be able to do everything as planned.
I have yes and been to most places you mentioned
And will be back in Peru when you are there – where you coming from? Have you flights already , may have missed that if answer is yes Happy to chat on Skype or phone am in UK myself mum from Peru Degs
Hi Degs! I’ve only booked my first and last flight and am about to get started booking the stuff in between. Where will you be at in Peru?
prob 20 Dec arrival plus or minus 3 days. Reason I asked re flights is that it may have been a good idea to get an open jaw ticket i.e. into Lima and out of La Paz
Oh man! I didn’t even think of that!
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Hey I’m going to be in Peru and Bolivia arond the same time as you. I start in Bolivia and move on to Peru, and will be starting my Machu Picchu Inca trail on Christmas day.. I’ve been wondering about the booking of the buses in advance – is it something that needs to be done, or would we be safe booking on arrival. I wonder which way works cheaper..
Your itinerary looks great, we should chat more on skype or something. Since we both are going at the exact same time, we can bounce our questions off each other!
People say that in Bolivia you should be flexible with your planning if possible (not possible for me since I’ve booked flights), so I can see where it might be useful to book buses on the ground. I’m just hoping for the best!
Since you are actually walking the Inca Trail, while I’m just taking the train and bus up, we probably wont meet up. Maybe we would see each other in Cusco when you are done hiking the trail?
Looks like you’re pretty set. Nice itinerary! Have you seen these sites? http://www.peru.travel/plan-your-trip.aspx
I haven’t checked out either of these sites specifically, but while I was still in the planning process I checked out many travel guides and tour companies. I am going to poke around a bit more on the peru.travel one. Thanks for sharing, Christi!
We look forward to seeing you in the New Year Amanda! Looks like you have a great trip planned. Please note, we have moved into a beautiful new building at Calle Avaroa 607, between Calle Azurduy y Calle La Paz.
Thanks for the heads up. I look forward to my visit!
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Any feedback from this trip ? Super interested to read what you did well or what you would change etc 🙂
Bertrand from Belgium
Hey Bertrand, thanks for visiting! I am so happy that I went on this trip! I have been slowly processing all of the pictures and handwritten journal entries I did while I was traveling. So far I have written posts about Lima ( https://teachingwanderlust.com/2015/01/16/lovely-lima/), Cusco (https://teachingwanderlust.com/2015/01/23/cusco/) and I will post about Machu Picchu this Friday. I’m trying to do one city from my trip per week.
Basically the highlights for me were Lima, Machu Picchu, Sucre, and Uyuni. I definitely wish that I had spent less time in La Paz and more in Sucre, but other than that, I loved my trip!
Many thanks for the additional infos. Will follows the next posts closely 🙂 We are planning similar trips this year. Only your final budget was more than expected than me but we’ll sort this out 🙂
According to Mint.com I spent almost exactly what I projected to spend! I also ate out a lot, took a lot of flights, and didn’t always stay at the cheapest hostels. Someone could do this trip for a lot cheaper if they cooked all of their own meals, took more buses (which requires more travel time) and were willing to sacrifice quality and location for a cheap bed (or couch if you wanted to try couchsurfing.com).
Oups. Same person but a different account. It’s still Bertrand :p
Hi, I have 30 days to do Peru and Bolivia from 30 Nov 15 this year, over the Christmas period. Have you got any tips/any advice? I am also flying in and out of Lima.
I have written quite a few posts about my experience backpacking through Peru and Bolivia. A quick note is that a lot of people I met really loved Cusco, Peru and Sucre, Bolivia the most. I personally liked Lima better than Cusco because it had Salsa dancing and other activities I enjoy. I adore Sucre!
Check out this link to posts tagged for Peru and this one for Bolivia.
Here is a post from today about the Salar de Uyuni which you MUST NOT MISS if you go to Bolivia.
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Hi!! My best friend and I are planning almost this exact trip for next May for 3 weeks. How was it fitting all these places into 3 weeks? We are worried about the time frame and would love to know your perspective. How was it getting from place to place, the transportation looks pretty tight with time frames and options? Would you have done anything different? Were you able to stick pretty close to your budget because we are looking to spend about that much as well? Your itinerary has been super helpful btw, thank you! We would love any advice or reflections about your trip!
– Sasha 😀
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Hi Sasha. Thanks for visiting my blog. If you click on the tag Peru or Bolivia you can see all the posts related to those countries. I blogged about each city I visited. The toughest part transportation wise is getting a bus across the border (I wrote a post just about that because it was so complicated). I wish I had skipped Potosi and spent more time in Sucre. Also, be careful with your flight out of Uyuni because your tour should get back around 5pm if you do the three night thing. My budget was nearly spot on because I didn’t do a lot of souvenir shopping and cooked at the hostel most of the time. Let me know how your trip goes!