Days
56
Price from
£4,220GBP

Unlucky in love? Out for revenge? Need a cure for hayfever? Get your coca leaves read, buy a spell or pick up a dried llama fetus (ideal for sacrificing) at the Witches' Market in La Paz.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Countries
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay
Code
GSTC
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
1 review
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Were the Nazca Lines sketched by a bunch of aliens with big sticks? With this in mind, jump in an identified flying object (small plane) to form your own assumptions about the origin of these colossal inscriptions

  • The deepest words to ever leave your lips will be 'Colca Canyon' - even deeper than that shallow old canyon in Arizona. And after a day of impressive viewing, there's a hot spring bath ready for you to stew in

  • Walking the Inca Trail is a bit like peeling a really thick orange. The rewards are juicy. Fulfil you aspirations of being a star trekker and enjoy this ancient space when you arrive at the ruins of Machu Picchu

  • Lake Titicaca resembles the type of location created by the designers of Pixar. This unreal setting is your cradle for a night, and you'll spend it in the fascinating home of the Uros people

  • Get amongst the weird and wonderful in La Paz, from the strange brews of the witches’ market to the tasty treats of Mercado Lanza

  • Ever dreamt of walking on water? Now’s your chance. Kind of. The sprawling salt lakes of Bolivia serve up some seriously mind-bending photo opps

  • Wander through acres of vineyards and drink wine to your heart's delight in the famous Mendoza wine region

  • Harness your inner gaucho during a three-day stay at a working estancia in Uruguay. Whether it’s getting involved in daily chores around the farm, working with livestock or simply relaxing on the ranch, experience a unique way of life and Uruguayan hospitality at its best

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and you’ll be able to see it from both sides

  • The heaving, hedonistic metropolis of Rio de Janeiro is a great way to end the trip. Party down with the locals and experience a culture at the beating heart of Brazil

Is this trip right for you?

  • On this trip you’ll be camping along the Inca Trail and spending the night in a homestay on Lake Titicaca. Both have very basic, shared facilities (such as drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature!

  • While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or 3 Day Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by some non-Geckos travellers, who might be over the age of 29 years old.

  • The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle this. Also, don't forget tropical-strength insect repellent.

  • It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • This trip involves a lot of hiking and walking, so requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

Welcome to Lima, Peru. Your adventure begins with a group meeting this evening at around 6 pm, followed by an optional group dinner. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. For those who want to check out Lima before meeting your travel buddies, start at Plaza Mayor (the central plaza of the city) and peep into every building that looks appealing.


Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Banco Central de Reserva Museum - PEN5
  • Lima - Pachacamac Tour (30 km from downtown) - USD37
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today your leader will take you on an orientation walk of downtown Lima and the historical centre. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days. Starting in the Plaza Mayor, check out the main cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Observe the Spanish colonial influences in the city’s ornate mansions, palaces and churches. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore on your own.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by taxi or minivan to Lima's bus station and take a four-hour local bus ride to Paracas; making three or four quick stops along the way. The small fishing town of Paracas is the gateway to the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve. Once in town, head to the Plaza de Armas to hang out with the locals, try the tejas (small sweets made from nuts and dried fruit) and sip a Pisco sour, which Paracas is famous for.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you have the option to visit the Ballestas Islands. Sometimes called the 'Galapagos of Peru', keep an eye out for the island’s wildlife, including pelicans, flamingos, sea lions and penguins. From here make the three-hour trip to Nazca. This is home to the enigmatic Nazca Lines, which are enormous designs of animals, insects and birds inscribed into the desert. Some of the simpler line formations are up to 10 km (32 miles) in length. These mysterious shapes are better seen from the air. Small planes offer 30-minute flights over all 26 figures. Plastic bags are provided on board, but this flight isn’t recommended for those with a weak stomach.
Optional Activities
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour - PEN57
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early in the afternoon, travel from Nazca to Arequipa by local bus (approximately nine hours). Standing at the foot of the El Misti Volcano, much of Arequipa is built out of pale volcanic rock, giving it the nickname of the ‘White City’. With its preserved colonial architecture, it’s one of the most attractive cities in Peru and a great place to relax for a couple of days. Your time here is free to do as you wish.
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery - PEN45
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum - PEN20
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you have a free day to enjoy the sights of Arequipa. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is an ideal place to while away the day. For a glimpse into a bygone way of life, visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. Built in the 16th century, the convent only accepted women from high-class Spanish families, so expect an opulent setting. Perhaps visit the Juanita Museum, which is home to the 'Ice Maiden' - the Incan mummy of a 12-14-year-old girl who died in the 1440s.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel by minivan to Chivay (approximately five hours). Along the way, see llamas, alpacas and vicunas and stop to take pictures. You'll also have the chance to try some coca tea. After a third stop at Patapampa (the highest place on our trip at 4,800 m above sea level), the van will descend to Chivay. Enjoy breathtaking views of Colca Canyon, which is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. In the afternoon, go for a short trek through the area and finally arrive at the hot thermal baths.

 

You may choose to spend the evening soaking in the baths, dining on llama steak or listening to live Andean music at a local pena (music house).

 

Notes: Accommodation in Chivay is in a very basic hostel. There are en suite toilets but no heating (you can request extra blankets), and some rooms can be noisy.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The star of Colca Canyon is the magnificent Andean condor, the world's largest flying bird. This morning, wake up early and drive to a viewpoint where they’re often seen going about their morning routine. Following this stop, there will be a short walk of about 45 minutes before returning to Chivay. In the afternoon, make the five-hour journey back to Arequipa.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today enjoy more time to explore Arequipa. In the evening, bid farewell to Arequipa and take an overnight bus to Cuzco at 8 pm. The trip takes around 11 hours, which can be tiresome, but allows for plenty of time to rest.
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit - PEN25
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour - PEN15
  • Cuzco - Half Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The overnight bus arrives into Cusco at approximately 7 am this morning. Later in today, enjoy an orientation walk around downtown Cuzco, South America’s oldest, continuously inhabited city. Check out San Pedro Market, the famous 12 Angle Stone and the cathedral in the city’s Plaza de Armas, built on top of an Incan palace. Visit the ruins of Qorikancha, once the Inca empire's most important temple. For morning tea or lunch perhaps head to Yanapay Restaurant, which donates all its profits to social projects supporting children in Cuzco.

 

Notes: Cuzco is 3,450 metres above sea level, so it may take some time to acclimatise to the high altitude.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops stretch along the river and colourful shrines dot the surrounding mountains. Visit a community in the valley to learn about local life. If your visit coincides with market day, browse the stalls for hand-painted beads or colourful ponchos and perhaps learn a few words of the local language, Quechua. Continue on to Ollaytaytambo (about 20 minutes from the Sacred Valley), where you'll make an included visit to the Ollaytaytambo ruins. Spend the night in a hotel in Ollay in preperation for an early start and the beginning of the Inca Trail.
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo - Archeological site - PEN70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today set off along the famous Inca Trail. Hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the archaeological site of Llactapata, enjoying stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. Tonight, the group will camp near the village of Ayapata.
Included Activities
  • 4 day/3 night Inca Trail. Machu Picchu guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, conquer the most difficult part of the trek in the hike up to Dead Woman’s Pass. At 4,200 metres above sea level, this is the highest point of the trail. When you get to the top, enjoy well-deserved panoramic views of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. Continue on to the ruins of Runkuracay, once thought to be a ‘tambo’ (resting place) for couriers and animals on their way to Machu Picchu. In the evening, set up camp with a view over the cloud forest.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue on up the Inca staircase today, enjoying spectacular scenes over Pumasillo Mountain and the entire Vilcabamba range. Trek through the low-hanging fog of mystical cloud forests, keeping an eye out for orchids and rhododendrons. At the end of the day, rest your tired legs at the camping ground and enjoy your last night on the trail.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, wake up early to make the final trek to Machu Picchu. Arrive at Intipunku (Sun gate) at around 7.30 am. If the sky is clear, experience a panoramic view of Machu Picchu before it’s crawling with tourists. The ancient capital of the Incas was never reached by the Spanish, and was largely forgotten until its rediscovery in the early 20th century. Spend the morning exploring the ruins on a guided tour, marvelling at the ingenuity of Incan architecture. Later in the day, take a train and bus back to Cuzco.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Check out the many Baroque churches, ancient temples and colonial buildings dotted around the city, or watch the world go by at a cafe on the Plaza de Armas.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno (approximately six hours). There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the folklore capital of Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechua Indian culture. Traditional Andean customs still have a strong presence here and the town is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with one of Puno’s colourful, evening parades. While in Puno, you will also make an included visit to the Sillustani pre-Incan burial site.
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Optional Activities
  • Puno - Sillustani archaeological site - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. In pre-Incan times, the Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. At 3,820 metres above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. The sun can be extremely strong so ensure you wear a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Enjoy a homestay in a local community on one of the lake’s islands tonight. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. Help your host family with their daily activities and play a game of soccer in the village, which is a great way to meet the locals.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast board the boat again for a visit to Taquile Island, a great place to pick up locally knitted goods. On the island, men do the knitting and women do the spinning. The group will make a one-hour uphill trek to explore the main part of the island, before descending 500 steps back to the boat to transfer to Puno (approximately three hours). This is where you’ll spend the night.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, take a comfortable local bus to Desaguadero, where you’ll cross the border into Bolivia. At the Peruvian Migration Office you’ll be asked to leave the bus and walk across a bridge to the Bolivian side, where you’ll submit your passport and re-board the bus for La Paz. About 30 minutes later, there's another stop where the army will check your documents. The entire journey takes about five hours (don't forget that Bolivia's time-zone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru).
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
La Paz is renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market). This morning, perhaps browse the weird and wonderful stalls selling everything from aphrodisiac potions to dried frogs and llama foetuses. If that’s not for you, there are plenty of markets selling goods made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials to check out.
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB12
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
  • La Paz - Chacaltaya & Moon Valley Tour - USD16
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku tour - USD25
  • La Paz - Guided City Tour - USD18
  • La Paz - City Tour & Moon Valley - USD18
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Your second day in La Paz is free to explore. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance - most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as the Food With Altitude or To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond tours. Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Sucre (approximately 12-13 hours). There are comfortable recliner seats on the bus, but it can be cold on-board so it’s important to bring warm clothing and wear base layers. There’s usually a toilet on the bus and the driver will also make a couple of stops along the way.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On arrival into Sucre, drop off your luggage at the hotel before heading out to explore in your own time. Bolivia’s World Heritage-listed capital is a hub of progressive culture and Spanish colonial architecture. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta. This 400-year-old convent provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. If you have time, head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and investigate the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced. For something completely different, discover the prehistoric landscape of Cal Orko and tread in 60-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. There’s also proud food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious empanadas at a restaurant or fresh juice at the Central Market.
Optional Activities
  • Sucre - Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko - BOB35
  • Sucre - Casa de la Libertad - BOB21
  • Potosi - Casa de la Moneda - BOB48
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning take a local bus to Potosi, which should take around 3-4 hours. This colonial mining city sits at the base of Cerro Rico, a mountain rich in silver ore. A tour and brief history of Cerro Rico could be a highlight of your trip here, but due to safety concerns we strongly advise you not to enter the mines (please see notes below). Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls. Notes: We strongly recommend against doing a Potosi Mine Tour, which actually enters the mine. Should you decide to go against our advice, you will do so at your own risk. Please note that our leaders are not able to organise this activity for you due to safety concerns.
Optional Activities
  • Potosi - Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa - BOB30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, leave Potosi behind and travel to the city of Uyuni (approximately 5-7 hours). This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano, a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers. Tonight, stay at a hotel in Uyuni Town. The hotel is fairly basic, but it’s clean, comfortable and has hot water. As you’ll be heading out into the desert and salt flats over the next few days, make the most of the structured bathroom facilities tonight.
Included Activities
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island'
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Uyuni Salt Flats tour including San pedro de Atacama
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart Uyuni this morning and venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion. Be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be at a rusty Train Cemetery, before you continue on to Salar de Uyuni - the world’s largest salt flats. While this may be a typical stop for many travellers, it’s also often a highlight. Make the most of your time on the salt flats taking lots of photos and explore Inka Wasi Isla, which is a rocky island covered in cacti and coral-like structures. Notes: Please be aware that from December to March, there’s a risk of the salt lake being flooded. If this is the case, the itinerary will be adapted to accommodate this.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today will be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. During this drive you’ll reach an altitude of approximately 4,900 metres above sea level, so it’s important to revisit the notes on altitude sickness (please see the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes). Stop by the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife such llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters. Notes: Accommodation in the desert is basic. Shower facilities can be unreliable and cold, as the pipes often freeze in the winter months. Electricity is generated by solar panels, so there won’t be enough power to charge electronic devices. In the rainy season, the itinerary may need to be altered depending on the accessibility of roads.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for a soak and then head to the Bolivia/Chile border, where the Bolivian part of your trip comes to an end. Pass by geysers, salt flats and snow-capped volcanoes on your way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. As a small oasis town, San Pedro is surrounded by extraordinary scenery. Use your free time to wander around, perhaps checking out the quaint Church of San Pedro de Atacama, the Museo Gustavo Le Paige (archaeological museum) or the town’s central plaza.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Use today to get under the skin of this burgeoning tourist destination. San Pedro’s cafe and restaurant scene has grown considerably over the last couple of years. With a mix of Chilean, French and Italian influences, you’ll be sure to find a great spot for lunch and dinner. Perhaps head out on an optional tour to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) or join an astronomical tour once the stars come out.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today will be a long day of travel (approximately 12 hours), as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and surrounding natural attractions make it one Argentina's main attractions. If you have time on arrival, spend some time getting to know the area in the vicinity of the hotel. The gardens, fountains and historic buildings in Plaza 9 de Julio are a great place to start.
Optional Activities
  • Salta - Cerro San Bernardo Chairlift - ARS110
  • Salta - Archaeological Museum - ARS80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The next two days are free to explore Salta and its attractions. If you’re after something active, hike up the 1,070 steps to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo; the mountain that looms over Salta. You can take a gondola (cable car) to the top if you’d prefer. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent. There are plenty of other adventure activities available in Salta, such as rafting, bungee jumping and horse riding (all at your own expense). Perhaps stroll the streets, take a paddleboat on the lake or pop into one of the many museums. In the afternoon or early evening of your last day in Salta, travel by overnight bus to Mendoza (approximately 18 hours). The bus is quite comfortable, with reclining seats and a toilet on board.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arriving at around midday on Day 15, spend the next few days in the heart of Argentinian wine country, Mendoza. Use the first day to get your bearings: the Plaza Independencia is a good place to start. The city centre is precisely landscaped and filled with trees, squares and parks. Please note that most commercial activity in Mendoza takes a break from 1 pm until 4 pm to allow for the traditional siesta. As this is Argentina's most important grape growing region, you may like to head out on a winery tour. Making up 70% of the country's wine, Malbec is the region's signature variety. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can zipline high above Mendoza’s lakes along a series of canopy wires. Various city and mountain tours are also available if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground. At night, the city’s attention shifts to the many restaurants, bars and pubs along the Avenida Aristides Villanueva.
Optional Activities
  • Mendoza - Winery tour - ARS105
  • Mendoza - Canopy - ARS152
  • Mendoza - City Tour - ARS63
  • Mountain Tour - ARS210
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today take the short flight to Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. On arrival, perhaps explore the cobblestone streets of San Telmo and browse its antiques markets, then continue to the Plaza de Mayo to see the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada. In the evening, you might like to enjoy a tango show, a football match or a steak and glass of Malbec in one of the city’s fashionable restaurants.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You have two days in Buenos Aires to discover more of the city. Join the tourists and walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. There are also some great museums to check out in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors. Perhaps take part in an Urban Adventure centred on the city’s love of food, such as the Malbec Trail of Palermo or the Gourmet Buenos Aires Food tour (contact us for more information). If you need to rest your feet, settle down at one of the many street side cafes to watch the world go by with the locals.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Guided walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show - ARS1200
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD100
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD77
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry (approximately three hours). On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this charming colonial city, which is the oldest in Uruguay. The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico is a great place to start. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and rub shoulders with locals, as they sip their yerba mate (tea). Listen to the noisy parakeets in the Plaza Mayor, or comb Colonia’s small museums. For great views over the city, climb to the top of a 19th-century lighthouse that’s still in operation.
Optional Activities
  • Lighthouse visit - UYU16
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your adventure continues with a three-hour local bus ride to Montevideo. The city is Uruguay's capital and its commercial and cultural centre, but it still retains a laidback atmosphere. On arrival take part in an optional city tour (at your own expense). If you’d prefer to explore on your own, stroll around the Ciudad Vieja (Old City) and visit the Plaza Independencia - home to the eerie underground Artigas Mausoleum. Check out the Gaucho Museum, chill out on a city beach or hang out with artists and musicians at the Mercado del Puerto.
Optional Activities
  • City tour - USD25
  • Gaucho Museum - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today make the five-hour journey to Tacuarembo by bus. The bus has reclining seats and you'll be provided with a typical Uruguayan snack, but as the bus doesn’t stop it's also recommended that you bring your own food. From Tacuarembo it takes a further hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch, where you’ll be spending the next three nights.
Included Activities
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
Optional Activities
  • Horse riding - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend a few days experiencing the real deal of a working Uruguayan farm. Although you’re welcome to laze around and explore your surroundings, you can also fully involve yourself in day-to-day jobs around the ranch. These jobs change with the day and the season, but may include herding sheep and cows, branding cattle or injecting lambs against worms. Don't expect luxury: things are simple down on the ranch. Accommodation is dormitory-style, hot water and electricity are only available for a couple of hours a day and chores start at 7.30 am. What you will get in return is a warm Uruguayan welcome from your hosts, some of the best home-cooked food you’ve ever tasted and the chance to experience true farm life. On the afternoon of your seventh day, travel to Concordia in Argentina. From here take a 12-hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu. The bus has reclining seats and toilets and movies will be shown to keep you entertained. A simple dinner is also provided on board.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station this morning, take a minivan across the border into Brazil and continue onto your hotel in Foz do Iguacu. Depending on traffic, this should take about an hour. Close to the borders with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguacu is Brazil's gateway to the famous Iguazu Falls. Enjoy plenty of time over the next few days to visit the falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides.
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu Falls Brazil - Helicopter ride - USD116
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park - USD26
  • Iguazu Falls - Acquamania Water Park - BRL42
  • Great Adventure - BRL158
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel back into Argentina today to visit the falls. Following a series of boardwalks, it’s possible to get so enough to the thundering waters that you can almost touch them. At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in total, with some reaching up to 80 metres in height. For unforgettable views, take an optional helicopter flight over the falls (at your own expense). In the afternoon return to Foz do Iguacu, where you’ll spend a second night. Depending on time, you can also visit the local bird park or the AcquaMania Water Park while you’re here.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today visit Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side. From here, panoramic views of the falls can be enjoyed. After the visit, begin the 24-hour journey to Paraty. The first leg of the trip is a 16-hour overnight bus journey from Foz do Iguacu to Sao Paulo. The bus is reasonably comfortable, with seats that recline to a more relaxed position than in a plane. These buses also usually have a toilet on board.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On arrival into Sao Paulo today, you may need to wait a couple of hours at the bus station until your next bus to Paraty departs. This second bus ride takes approximately six hours. World Heritage-listed Paraty is one of the world's best-preserved Portuguese colonial towns, and the ideal place to unwind after your long journey.
Optional Activities
  • Paraty - Boat trip - BRL40
  • Paraty - Trindade excursion - BRL9
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to explore Paraty. Admire the architecture as you wander along the town’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets, which become partly covered in seawater at high tide. You might prefer to explore the rainforest trails in the surrounding national park, which is rich in wildlife and waterfalls. Perhaps take a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, travel by local bus and ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande (approximately five hours). This island paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. There are no private cars or banks on the island, so make sure you bring cash with you. Previously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals, the island has a fascinating history to uncover. The ruins of the prison can still be seen today.
Optional Activities
  • Ilha Grande - Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon - BRL70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy two full free days to explore Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches; Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are among the most scenic. Take an optional boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon, beach hopping through Ilha Grande Bay along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood, and to swim and snorkel in the clear water. In the evening relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao, which is the island’s main town.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here take a minivan to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about three-and-a-half hours. The day is yours to explore. People-watch on Copacabana or Ipanema beach, take a tour of a favela or, if the time of year is right, check out a soccer game at the famous Maracana Stadium. You might like to take the tramcar up to the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa or head up Corcovado Mountain, where you’ll find sweeping views over Rio from the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue. Taking part in one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Total Rio Tour, the Santa Teresa Discovery or the Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela tour are also great ways to see this exciting city. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before partying in the samba clubs of Lapa.
Optional Activities
  • Sugar loaf cable car - BRL65
  • Rio de Janeiro - Favela tour - BRL84
  • Botanical Gardens - BRL6
  • Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL1
  • Maracana soccer game - BRL150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today your South American adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD67
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour - Full Day Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Urban Adventure - USD99
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

19 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Plane, 4WD vehicle, Boat, Bus, Canoe, Overnight bus

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Estancia (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (41 nights), Overnight bus (4 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • 4 day/3 night Inca Trail. Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island'
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Uyuni Salt Flats tour including San pedro de Atacama
  • Buenos Aires - Guided walking tour
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls

Reviews

Our South America in Depth trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

South America in Depth, April 2016

Georgia Oman

Dates & availability

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Important notes

START TIME:
This trip starts with a Welcome Meeting at 2pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

FINISH TIME:
There are no activities on the final day & you are free to depart anytime.

INCA TRAIL PERMITS:
In order to obtain the necessary permit to trek the Inca Trail, we must be provided with accurate details of the passport to be used whilst travelling in Peru. If the name, passport number, nationality or date of birth shown on the permit are different from the passport, park authorities will refuse entry. If passport details have not been supplied, the permit cannot be issued. When we are unable to secure the "Classic Trail", our groups take the "Quarry Trek". This also applies during February each year, when the Classic Trail is closed for restoration

BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.

ARGENTINA:
The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The fee must be paid online prior to travel and a receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.

BRAZILIAN VISA:
Please note you may require a Brazilian Visa for this trip. Processing can take around 2-5 weeks at the discretion of the embassy or consulate. Please speak with your travel agent well in advance for further advice.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. Please read the following document carefully:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/527...

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
Please note that the Single Supplement does not include nights 9, 22, 34, 46 & 49 (Overnight bus), 18 (Homestay), 28 & 29 (Salt flats), and 43, 44, 45 (Estancia stay).

COMBINATION TRIP:
This trip is a combination of three of our most popular departures. As such the make up of the group and the tour leader may change on day 21 & 40.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.