Featured Routes

CUSCO-PUNO

No doubt if you're in Cusco (alternatively spelled Cuzco), you came to see Machu Picchu. But the route toward the Bolivian border and La Paz southeast of Cusco is well worth exploring. All located around Lake Huacarpay you'll find several impressive Inca ruins and archaeological sites with less tourists, including Pikillacta, Rumicolca, Kañaracay, and the immense Inca South Gate. There are several small towns nearby for accomodation, like Huacarpay and Oropesa, so no need to rush. Then, for a complete change in period, the next town as a definite must see is Andahuaylillas to visit what is known as the "Sistine Chapel of the Americas." The church looks rather modest from the outside, made from adobe with a single bell tower. But when you step inside, brace yourself! You'll witness one of the most dazzling examples of colonial art in Peru. Urcos is a beatiful village settled between the base of a mountain and a placid lake, worth making a destination for peace and quiet in a shangri-la setting. You'll then travel for a while through some more exquisite Andean scenery, snowy mountains, alpine lakes, before you reach Raqchi, where you will find the Temple of Wiracocha, an enormous 300 ft by 84 ft edifice flanked on each side by eleven columns. Sicuani is a hub and crossroads, where many people get on and off trains, and from here you can if you wish connect to roads and rails going to Arequipa. Don't run out of film before you reach the snow-capped Raya Pass, as it's the money shot, including all the altiplano (high plains) in the area around it, and the pastoral setting of llamas grazing in the fields. Pukara is a town representing the first civilization in southern Peru (1600 BC). They have a decent museum showcasing pottery and archaeological remains.  more...

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!  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.  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!   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!  more...