Solo Backpacking: Peru / Bolivia
Machu Pichu was the sole reason for me to pick Peru and Bolivia as my next solo travel trip. It wanted to make sure I ticked that off my bucket list nice and early, plus there’s so much to do in Peru and Bolivia, a perfect combination for a 2 week trip.
This was my route:
Lima (Peru) – Cuzco (Peru)
Cuzco (Peru) – Machu Pichu (Peru)
Machu Pichu (Peru) – La Paz (Bolivia)
La Paz (Bolivia) – Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) – La Paz (Bolivia)
La Paz (Bolivia) – Arequipa (Peru)
Arequipa (Peru) – Lima (Peru)
I spent only 2 nights in Lima before catching a flight to Cuzco (the bus would have taken 24 hours) and I didn’t want to waste a whole day, I got my flight for about $90.
Peru’s capital city, Lima, offers plenty. The Plaza Mayor is popular and you’ll want to bring a camera to snap its colonial beauty. At night, trot over to the Barranco district for the hottest nights out in peñas– Afro-Peruvian clubs which bounce to the beat of cajón drums.
You need to go to Cuzco if you’re going to Machu Pichu. However, this colonial city offers a lot more than a port to Machu Pichu, it is a major tourist destination that sits on Inca-built stone foundations. The area is popular with trail walkers, history lovers, and party-goers who come to enjoy the city’s many festivals. Cuzco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and is a must if you’re in Peru.
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of the most challenging, satisfying and awe-inspiring things you’ll ever do. It’s an incredible 4-day experience that offers you some of the most breath taking sights you’ll ever lay your eyes on. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, you can read more about my experience at Machu Pichu here.
It’s highest capital city in the world, sitting at about 13,400 feet. La Paz is a picturesque city set in a valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks with a skyline of bricks and mortar. I stayed in the Wild Rover hostel which is perfect if you like to party. You will find giant markets (even a witch market), crazy traffic, impressive architecture, ornate churches, and the Presidential Palace await you in La Paz. One thing you MUST do while you’re in La Paz, is ride a bike on Death Road, make sure you have a day free for that, it’s a great experience and you’ll meet some great people. You can read more on my Death Road experience right here.
Salar de Uyuni
I couldn’t go to Bolivia and not pay a visit to the world famous salt flats. I booked a 3 day tour of the salt flats which takes you around the Bolivian outback where you see an incredible amount of diverse landscapes – make sure you bring a good camera. There is no better place in the world to take photos than in Salar de Uyuni. You can find out more on my Salar de Uyuni adventure here.
Peru’s “white” city, Arequipa is the country’s second largest city. Nowhere near as big as Lima but it does sit much higher, situated on a plateau in Peru’s arid southwest. The reason I wanted to stop off at Arequipa was purely to see the Colca Canyons, Peru’s answer to The Grand Canyon. I took a day trip to the canyon which is easily booked in Arequipa. However, it does start at 3am. I did the day tour but many spend two or three days exploring the canyon. I was happy to see the soaring Andean condor along with the spectacular views of course. I did get in a spot of bother when the wheel came flying off our tour bus as we drove around high cliff roads. 10 seconds earlier and that would have been my exit. I had to hitch hike a ride back to make a night bus back to Lima otherwise I would have missed my flight!
April 29, 2019
July 06, 2017
April 05, 2017