Featured Routes

LA PAZ-COPACABANA

The route out from La Paz to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca is an easy day trip and frequented by many travelers. But I want to give you even more reason to go by telling you about a few other things along the way that are just as lovely. About halfway to Copacabana (and you can get here by train too) is Tiwanaku, a settlement comprised of several archaeological sites of historic Inca relics that even today are not entirely uncovered. There is an actual museum south of the little town where you can begin, and then walk among the various ruins around it, including Puma Punku, Akapana, the Temple and temple grounds of Kalasasaya, Puerta del Sol (the Sun Door) and the Puerta de la Luna (the Moon Door). I recommend you get here as early possible as it will be easy to run out of time! Back on a bus, you'll then want to backtrack toward La Paz a bit, until you get to the town of Laja, which is worth a stop because the combination of its rustic stone church, plaza, and traditinally dressed people is as quintessential a scene of Bolivia as you will find. Going north from Laja, when you get to the town of Batallas, instead of continuing north to Copacabana just yet, get off and take a short taxi ride out to idyllic lakeside village of Puerto Perez, which will treat you to a most authentic scene of how people of the lake have lived for centuries. It's beautiful and the real Lake Titicaca. Then get back to Batallas and get on another bus northward to Copacabana. You will eventually come to the end of the road where the bus will board a ferry to cross a small strait of water, Estrecho de Tiquina, that will take you over to the peninsula that is shared with Peru, and on which is your destination of this route.   more...

ARICA - S.P. de ATACAMA

Don't let the bleak-looking desert discourage you. Northern Chile will not fail to impress you with its beauty and fascinating charms. Arica is a walkable, safe, and hip city that is famous for Chilean sandwich bars, so wander around the street Patricio Lynch and try out the chacarero or the barro luco! Climb up to the top of El Morro for stunning and expansive views. A day-trip tour worth booking is to Putre and the high plains region of Parque Nacional Lauca. If you want to explore closer in to town, right on the outskirts you'll find one of the largest collection of mummies in the world, dating back 9,000 years, at the Museo Momias Chinchorro. Next head your way further south as you watch the desert go right into the sea, making your destination the calming oasis city by the sea, Iquique. Whereas Arica has the hippie vibe, Iquique satisfies the yuppie vibe.  more...

MACHALA-MACARA

Hey folks, this route is so heavenly and exotic, and still so undiscovered, you've got to get on it before the tourism machine gets here. If you're going to Peru from Ecuador, 99% of travelers will go through Huaquillas, but why follow the crowd? There are at least three other side doors, and all of them are way more cool. Go a bit east and over the border through Macará, a rice growing capital of Ecuador and also famous for Seco de Chivo, which is a delectable stewed piece of goat in a gravy over rice. But way before you get there, you can stop first in Balsas, which has a grotto of medicinal waters surrounded by cinnamon and oak trees. Heal thyself, baby! Then a little farther east down the road is the amazing Buenaventura Reserve where you'll get a guaranteed welcome of thousands of hummingbirds   more...

BOGOTA - VILLA DE LEYVA

Okay, yah yah, I know, this route is pretty short. You can get to "VdL" as they call it in just a few hours. However, there's so much in between that I'm recommending this route as one to get off the bus a lot, stay overnight even instead of going back to Bogota. First, you want to stop in Chia (no, not to get Chia pets), an idyllic town on a beautiful lake with beautiful courtyards. City folk love to go to Chia for the weekends and chill. Then continue north to Zipaquira, one of my favorite towns in the whole country. The main attraction is the Salt Cathedral, a huge underground mine that has been converted into a church. But the town itself is a charmer too! Leaving "Zip" on the way to Tunja, you should get off to visit the several important monuments at the site of the Boyaca Bridge  more...

AREQUIPA - CUSCO

This is such a well-worn route it's hardly worth mentioning, but then again I'm surprised at the number of travelers who take it direct without considering all the lifetime experiences they pass up before they get to Cusco. For hikers of any ability, the town of Chivay should be your first point of order, because from here you can head out to the unforgettable Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. You don't have to go down to appreciate its splendor. On the way there you'll skirt the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, inhabited by herds of vicuñas and alpacas. One of the best hikes is at the top of the steepest side of Colca Canyon where you come to Condor's Cross (El Mirador), where the biggest flying bird in the world can usually be seen soaring amongst the peaks.  more...