Overview

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Howling Winds: Taquile's Enchanting Sikuris Melody

High Andean LifePeru

Experience one of travel’s holy grails: the ancient, living culture of the Altiplano, an austere landscape where the people bring the color and movement with costume, dance, and shy, stunning smiles.

Swirling flutes and skirts, bowler hats and ponchos, crazy carnivals and counterfeiters, skulls and smugglers… the road from Cusco to La Paz offers the best cultural encounter in South America and is our absolute favorite place to share with our guests.

This whole trip takes place over 10,000 feet (3,300m); you need to acclimatize for at least two days before starting it.

Start:

Cusco, Peru

End:

La Paz, Bolivia

Maximum group size:

12 Guests

Duration:

3 8 days

Price:

US$ 2,590

Includes:

oCulture & Food pFamily

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Say Cheese: A Dairy Delight in Tamboqueque

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Marvels of Faith: Andahuaylillas Church

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Uros Island Wonder: Smiles Amidst Totora Reeds

Timeless Mysteries: Tiahuanaco's Ancient Legacy

Timeless Mysteries: Tiahuanaco's Ancient Legacy

Sky-High La Paz: A Journey on Cable Cars

Sky-High La Paz: A Journey on Cable Cars

Threaded Tales: Weaving Wonders in Taquile

Threaded Tales: Weaving Wonders in Taquile

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The trip in detail

Cusco’s Valle Sur is the perfect transition from the well-trodden Gringo Trail into a less-traveled world. It’s the weekend gastronomic getaway destination for local Peruvians. Come hungry, because we’ll sample guinea pig, chicharrones, pan chuta, and fried cheese ( just to name Steve’s favorite local treats - there are many more!). Along the way we’ll check out pre-Inca ruins and an incredibly elaborate church - reminders of the past that will be all around us as we traverse the Altiplano, one of the world’s least hospitable, yet longest inhabited places.

We’ll spend the night in village homes in Raqchi, where we’ll join our hosts at a fogata bailable: dancing around the bonfire is the perfect way to bond with new friends (and keep warm!)

Meals: Lunch and dinner included (come hungry - this is a very foodie day!)

Accommodation: Homestay in Raqchi

Day 2

If you’re well acclimatized, you might want to hike up Rainbow Mountain (locally known as Vinicunca) today.

While the colors are not as bright as Instagram filters would have you believe, there is no denying they’re spectacular, and the views of glacier-capped Ausangate (Cusco’s largest mountain) are worth the three- to four-hour trek in themselves.

Our guide, horse and oxygen tank will be with you to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time reaching this world-famous landmark.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Homestay in Raqchi

Just an hour out of Raqchi we pass Abra la Raya and officially enter the altiplano, a place whose bare, severe appearance belies the diversity of experiences it offers. We’ll have lunch and visit the production plant at a dairy farm that’s been producing some of Peru’s best-loved cheese for more than a century.

This afternoon we’ll visit Katy’s favorite church in the world, the 350 year old cathedral in the sleepy, near-forgotten town of Lampa. Here, secret tunnels, a miraculous virgin who refused to leave Lampa, a lifesize model of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, and a full-scale reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pieta are all just the buildup for the creepiest sight in Peru: an internal tower decorated with skulls and skeletons. This is crazy, dark, Catholic South America at its finest.

We’ll spend the night in Puno, a bustling port town on Lake Titicaca.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Four-star hotel in Puno

Our first stop on Lake Titicaca is the well-known oddity of the Uros Islands: better known as the Floating Islands, the islands are man made, woven of totora reeds.

We’ll learn about the soggy, reed-based life of the Uros people and bounce up and down on the intriguingly spongy ‘ground’, before heading further across the lake to Amantani Island, where we'll meet our hosts, members of the indigenous Quechua community, and challenge them to a game of soccer (which we will almost certainly lose). Then we'll hike up to the island’s summit, in time to watch the world’s best sunset over the rippling water, mountainous islands, and crinkly shoreline of Lake Titicaca.

After dark we'll return to our family homes. There are no cars or roads on Amantani, and even dogs are forbidden, so the silence after nightfall is complete. This must be one of the most peaceful places in the world.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Homestay on Amantani Island

After breakfast a short cruise across Lake Titicaca brings us to scenic Taquile Island. Here we’ll explore winding island paths across rolling green hills and through idyllic villages, and enjoy stunning views across the lake to the snow-capped peaks of Bolivia to the east. Taquile is the most famous textile center in the Andes and we’ll learn about colourful, storytelling weavings, before enjoying a lunch of fresh-caught trout in the island’s co-operative restaurant.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Four-star hotel in Puno

A five-hour drive takes us to La Paz today, with stops at Tiwanaku, a pre-Inca ceremonial center of pilgrimage and human sacrifice, and Aramu Muru, a stone portal which was said to be a teleporter for Inca priests, where locals and esoteric groups from all over the world now conduct rituals, and many visitors, our guests among them, have felt a deep peace and release, or seen mysterious lights, stars, and columns of fire!

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Four-star hotel in La Paz

Even by South American standards of chaos, La Paz is a crazy cool city!

First up, we’ll jump aboard a cable car (the city has a whole big network of them) and head up to El Alto, where Bolivia’s most famous architect has transformed the city with his garish, larger-than-life buildings, called cholets. If Wes Anderson designed housing for Oompa Loompas, it might look something like this.

Back down in the old town, we’ll get oriented and check out some of La Paz’s sights, including dancing zebras, a clock that runs backwards, and a jail that used to have its own cocaine factory.

With the wave of a wand and a puff of smoke, we’ll find ourselves at the witches’ market, where you can stock up on pills, potions, and powders for whatever ails you. Get your puma amulets, your desiccated frogs and your sun-dried llama fetus here!

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Four-star hotel in La Paz

Your time with us ends after breakfast at the hotel today - or if you’re keen to delve deeper into Bolivia, we’re here to help!

Meals: Breakfast included

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How much does this trip cost?

US $

2,590

pp.


in a group of four to 12 people


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WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • All accommodation (based on twin-share. Single supplement available for US$550)
  • All transportation, including airport transfers at start and end of trip
  • All attractions and activities specified in itinerary
  • Dedicated Aspiring Adventures guides
  • All meals, as specified in the itinerary
  • Clean, safe drinking water throughout the trip

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry and room service
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Accommodations

In Puno and La Paz we stay in our favorite four-star hotels. In Raqchi and on Amantani Island we stay in humble family homes. Here, conditions are basic, and hygiene may not be what you are used to at home, but any slight discomfort you experience will be well compensated for by this incredible insight into a very different way of life.


Aspiring Adventures guide Orlando says

The way from Cusco to La Paz is the super-strong version of all that is Peru and Bolivia. The people live the life the way their ancestors did, and the buildings of those ancestors are still all around them. You can feel the magic of the past here in the beating of your heart.

Check out all our adventure tour itineraries and find groups of like-minded people to share them with. Have us create your own private and/or custom tour. Whatever you’re looking for, we’re here to make it happen!

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