Peru/ Bolivia Itinerary:
◦ Day 1: Land in Cusco. It’s a cute town, walk around, a lot of churches and good for shopping (scarf, and other sovereigns). Spend a day here and get yourself used to high altitude. Drink coca tea.
◦ Day 2: take a Rainbow mountain tour for the day. It starts at 4 am, you will be back by 7 pm to your hostel. It’s a good hike, a bit difficult. You can always rent a horse if you’re not a hiker.
◦ Day 3: Machu Picchu (2nd slot). Take a morning train (there is a station close to Cusco). It’s a 4-hour train journey, then you take a bus to reach Machu Picchu (cash only, $25 ticket). You can hike at Machu Picchu on the sun trail. Come back and take the evening train and take a night bus for Bolivia through Bolivia hop. Comfortable bus with a spacious seat.
◦ Day 4: Lake Titicaca: as part of the bus tour, they stop at Lake Titicaca and island of sun de sol, it’s a beautiful island where you can hike and spend a few hours. You will reach La Paz in the evening.
◦ Day 5: La Paz. Do a city walk tour with a red cap company, they take around and show the witch market, city market and a lot of insight into Bolivia culture. Take a night bus to Uyuni
◦ Day 6: Uyuni Salt flat: take a 1-day tour of Uyuni salt flats. You can book a tour when you reach there, you get a better price. It was the highlight of my trip. If you have more time then I would recommend doing 3-day tour. I didn’t do it. Then take an evening bus to la Paz.
◦ Day 7: fly out of La Paz to USA.
◦ Peru: if you have a valid US visa, it’s on arrival
◦ Bolivia: you need a visa but it’s free for Indians. They have mentioned yellow vacation is a must. I had checked at the embassy, you don’t need it if you are not going to the Amazon rainforest. Your insurance won’t cover a $400 yellow vaccination.
◦ If you don’t want to see Bolivia then you can do 5 day Amazon rainforest tour in Peru. I have seen pictures through some of the friends that I made in the hostel. It’s mind-blowing, I would go back to do it. Highly recommend. Don’t go without a yellow vaccination.
◦ You can do 4 days Inca trail hike instead of Train. Most of the people say it’s a lifetime experience. There another day trip to Lake Humantay from Cusco. One of my friends did it, she loved it. Check out the pictures.
◦ Buy high altitude sickness medicine and take 24 hours before the trip.
◦ Don’t go to Lima, it’s a waste. You have to take a separate flight to reach Cusco. If you do go to Lima then there is a desert oasis tour in Lima, you can do sandboarding there.
◦ US dollar is accepted everywhere in Peru and Bolivia. A credit card works in Peru but not in Bolivia. Take cash.
◦ Buy Machu Picchu train ticket and entry ticket in advance. They usually get sold off months in advance. There is a limit of 2,500 a day.
◦ You can either take a morning slot or afternoon slot. Both are good for photography.
◦ Shop a lot in Cusco. Everything is cheap and good quality. Haggling is acceptable. Learn basic Spanish. It will come handy during bargain (at least numbers). Things to buy: good llama and alpaca scarf, shawl, blanket, and sweater. Carry an extra empty bag for shopping (I had to buy another suitcase since I ended up shopping a lot)