Days
47
Price from
$8,630NZD

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
GSTEC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Roam the Amazon jungle at night while pretending you're David Attenborough (it has a calming influence). Float down the river, keeping an out for the glaring eyes of jaguars and caimans

  • The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca seem like the sort of thing Pixar would come up with. Spend the night under the stars in a traditional island village

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, trust us, this is going to be one of the highlights of your awesome lives

  • Don't worry, we won't hog all of your time. You'll have plenty of opportunity to bounce around Cuzco, digging deep into the pockets of Incan history

  • The Wicked Witch of the West had her flying monkeys and red shoes. The witches of La Paz have dried llama foetuses and alpaca blankets. While both sound imaginary, the Witches' Market in La Paz is a true Bolivian experience

  • 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

  • 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 starts with an orientation walk around Peru's capital. You'll be lead around locations such as Miraflores and head from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to the entertainment complex of LarcoMar. At around 2 pm there will be a pre-departure meeting. 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 the accommodation as soon as possible. Afterwards, get to know your group with a few pisco sours and a plate of Lima's famous ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice, chilli, onions and tomato).


If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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).


Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Fitness' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Guided tour of Catacombs - PEN10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. Upon your arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Here you can leave most of your luggage in safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. There will be time to unpack and unwind once you get there. The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.
For your night-time excursion, you will venture out in the dark in search of caimans on the Tambopata River. The naturalist guide will use a spotlight in order to locate them on the banks of the river, so you can observe them from a respectable distance.

Notes: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.
Accommodation
  • Amazon Lodge (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities at the lodge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Say farewell to the jungle today and fly to Cuzco, which takes just under an hour. Spend the next two days trying to acclimatise to the high altitude of this location (i.e. no strenuous activity). After dropping your luggage off and having some lunch, your tour leader will take you on an orientation walk around downtown Cuzco, the local San Pedro market, the main square and past the 12 Angled Stone.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit - PEN25
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today takes you a little closer to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Unwind on a private bus for around two hours through the Sacred Valley, which is on the fringes of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Head to a community in the valley to learn about the local lifestyle and activities, and hopefully your visit will coincide with market day (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). Comb the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos, and master the local Quechuan language (a few words will be deemed a success). Continuing on, drive 20 minutes to Ollantaytambo. Later in the afternoon, perhaps head out to visit to Ollantaytambo’s awesome Incan ruins. You’ll spend the night at a hotel in Ollantaytambo, ready for your early morning start on the Inca Trail.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Depending on your pre-arranged travel arrangements, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or head back to Cuzco for another two nights before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum).

Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items for the next few days.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:
For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus back through Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night.


Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Camping on trek or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:
Today, perhaps your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops. All optional activities are at your own cost.


Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Camping on trek or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2-3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the beginning of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.


Accommodation
  • Camping on trek or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists).

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning at 5.30 am, take a bus up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco.

For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop for souvenirs or see more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or if you're a thrill-seeker, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco. In the evening, you might want to chew the fat with the group over dinner.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning travel by local bus for six hours through the Altiplano plateau to Puno. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians. Once you're settled, head out in town and shake your tailfeather.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today you'll take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a homestay in a local community on Amantani Island. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or maybe play a game of soccer in the village.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy a home-cooked breakfast by your host family this morning, taking the time to explore the rest of the island afterwards. In the afternoon, take the boat back to Puno where the rest of your day is free to explore.

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero (just over seven hours) and cross the border into Bolivia. You'll be asked to leave the bus to proceed through Peruvian migration. The group will then walk across a bridge, submit passports at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus for La Paz. Approximately 30 minutes after crossing the border, there's another stop where the army will check your documents again. The journey to La Paz takes around eight hours in total. In the evening, perhaps head out for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your leader will point out the main points of interest in town and help get your bearings, then the rest of the day is free for you to explore La Paz
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market'
  • La Paz - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Guided City Tour - USD18
  • La Paz - Chacaltaya & Moon Valley Tour - USD16
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku tour - USD25
  • La Paz - City Tour & Moon Valley - USD18
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB12
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.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sucre - Orientation walk
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.
Today is a free day in Sucre.
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Another free day in Sucre; ask your leader about the optional activities offered in this city.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Potosi - Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa - BOB30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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.
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Uyuni - Orientation walk
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island'
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
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.
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.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
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.
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salta - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Salta - Cerro San Bernardo Chairlift - ARS110
  • Salta - Archaeological Museum - ARS80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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).
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day in Salta. 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.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mendoza - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Mendoza - Winery tour - ARS105
  • Mendoza - Canopy - ARS152
  • Mendoza - City Tour - ARS63
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day in Mendoza. 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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the afternoon, take a 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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day in Buenos Aires. 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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD77
  • Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventure - USD50
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
A full day in Buenos Aires is free to discover more of the city.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Another free day to explore Buenos Aires. Head out tonight and be swept away by the dance of love at an optional tango show.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Guided walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show - ARS1200
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.
Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) for the day 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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colonia - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Lighthouse visit - UYU16
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Buenos Aires, explore the antique markets of San Telmo or browse the museums in the well-to-do neighbourhood of Recoleta. If you’re a foodie or a wine connoisseur, take part in the Malbec Trail of Palermo or Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure day tour. In the evening you'll be taking an overnight bus to Foz do Iguazu.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventure - USD50
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD100
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD77
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Great Adventure - BRL158
  • Iguazu Falls - Acquamania Water Park - BRL42
  • Iguazu Falls Brazil - Helicopter ride - USD116
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park - USD26
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
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.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Paraty - Orientation walk
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ilha Grande - Orientation walk
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy more free time in Ilha Grande
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
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.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a full free day in Rio de Janerio
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Maracana soccer game - BRL150
  • Sugar loaf cable car - BRL65
  • Botanical Gardens - BRL6
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour - Full Day Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD67
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

35 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Bus, Overnight bus, Plane, Private minibus, 4x4, Taxi

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (34 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Overnight bus (4 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities at the lodge
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market'
  • La Paz - Orientation walk
  • Sucre - Orientation walk
  • Uyuni - Orientation walk
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island'
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Salta - Orientation walk
  • Mendoza - Orientation walk
  • Buenos Aires - Guided walking tour
  • Colonia - Orientation walk
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Paraty - Orientation walk
  • Ilha Grande - Orientation walk

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

DURING YOUR TREK
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

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:
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SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
Please note that the Single Supplement does not include nights 2 & 3 (Amazon lodge), 12 (Homestay), 22 & 23 (Salt flats), and 16, 28, 36 & 39 (Overnight bus).

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 15 & 34.

TRIP CODE:
In 2016 this trip had the code GSTC

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.