El Camino Grand

Andean town of Banos
Choose your adventure in Bonito
Christ the Redeemer
Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca
Cotopaxi - the highest active snow-capped volcano in the world
La Paz - the world's highest 'unofficial' capital city
The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu
The Amazon Basin
The floating reed islands of the Uros people on the highest navigable lake in the world - Lake Titicaca
UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco
Puno - a town four kilometres above sea-level
Rio de Janeiro
Spot jaguars in the Pantanal
Surf's up in Huanchaco
Honey Island's ecological paradise
UNESCO World Heritage-listed colonial city of Sucre
Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail
The panorama from Basilica del Voto Naciona
The perfect pisco sour?
The potions of 'Witches’ Market'
The Serra Verde Express
Drink like a local in Peru
Devil’s Nose Railway
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cuenca
UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Iguaçu Falls
Guinea pig - a Peruvian delicacy
Eat llama in La Paz
  • Unlucky in love? Out for revenge? Need a cure for hayfever? Get your cocoa leaves read, buy a spell or pick up a dried llama fetus (ideal for sacrificing) at the witches market in La Paz.

    (Was Gran Aventura)

    Itinerary

    Day 1-4 - Quito - Amazon Jungle

    Keep an eye out for sloths, monkeys, jaguars, toucans, armadillos and caimans. That's when you're not busy checking under your bed for anacondas.

    Day 1

    • Tour briefing in the evening
    • If arriving early, spend some time getting to know the city

    Day 2

    • Take a walking tour through the ‘Centro Historico’
    • View the city and surrounding volvanoes from ‘El Panecillo’ (The Little Bread Loaf) 
    • Visit ‘La Mitad del Mundo’ (The Middle of the World)
    • Enjoy a free evening and perhaps grab some dinner from a local restaurant

    Day 3

    • Travel into the jungle, heading to your rustic jungle lodge on the banks of the Napo River

    Day 4

    • Explore the jungle on river canoes with a guide
    • Opportunity to visit a wildlife rehabilitation centre
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5-9 - Banos - Riobamba - Cuenca

    While all your mates are sitting at their desks, you'll be riding horses, trekking, rafting, climbing and mountain biking. Take the train to Cuenca (try saying that three times quickly).

    Days 5-6

    • Leave the jungle and return to the mountains
    • Discover Ecuadorian country life in Banos
    • Explore the town or surrounding environment
    • Perhaps go mountain bike riding, white-water rafting, hiking and horse riding, or simply relax in thermal baths

    Day 7

    • Catch a local bus bound for Riobamba
    • Perhaps visit the markets and explore the town

    Day 8

    • Ride the Devil’s Nose Railway through the mountains
    • Stop by the Museum Condor Pununa
    • Grab some lunch in Alausi

    Day 9

    • Get acquainted with, Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site
    • Enjoy free time to relax or visit as many of the local sights as you can
    Breakfast

    Day 10-14 - Zorritos Beach - Chiclayo - Trujillo - Lima

    Three different places, three different experiences: sun and sand in Zorritos, witch doctors and seafood in Chiclayo, ruins and leather shoes in Trujillo.

    Days 10-12

    • Journey into Peru and through the Sechura Desert
    • Spend the night in the fishing village of Zorritos
    • Head further down the coast to Chiclayo
    • Reach Trujillo, gateway to the Chan Chan ruins

    Days 13-14

    • Visit the magnificent ruins of Chan Chan - the imperial city of the Chimu Kingdom
    • Perhaps take a short taxi ride to the surf village of Huanchaco
    • Catch a bus to Lima, the Peruvian capital
    Breakfast

    Day 15-18 - Lima - Cusco

    Your only job here is to acclimatise, and the best way to do that is by sitting still. Get a massage, gorge yourself on ceviche or just people-watch in the cafes. It's not often you're told to undertake forced relaxation, so make the most of it.

    Days 15-16

    • Enjoy one-and-a-half free days to explore the capital of Peru
    • View the architecture, visit museums, drop some coins in the shops and markets, or grab a refreshment in a bar, restaurant or cafe

    Day 17-18

    • Acclimatise in Cusco in preparation for the Inca trek
    • Take a walking tour of central Cusco
    • Explore Cusco and see the local sights - including Sacsayhuaman, Quenca and Tambo Machay - during free time
    Breakfast

    Day 19-23 - Inca Trek

    Our top tip: use the loo as soon as you get into camp (wait too long and you might be left gagging).

    Day 19

    • Gaze upon massive Inca fortifications in Ollantaytambo 
    • Begin the Inca trek
    • Hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the archaeological site of Llactapata
    • Stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak
    • Camp near the village of Wayllabamba

    Day 20

    • The most difficult part of the trek - Dead Woman’s Pass
    • Panoramas of the Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges, and ruins in the valley below
    • Camp with a view over the cloud forest

    Day 21

    • Climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay
    • Continue up the Inca staircase 
    • Spectacular views of Pumasillo and the entire Vilcabamba range
    • Enter the beautiful cloud forest

    Day 22

    • The final, and most spectacular, leg of the trek to Machu Picchu 
    • Arrive at Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun
    • Experience a panoramic view of Machu Picchu at sunrise
    • Explore Machu Picchu on a guided tour
    • Return to Cusco by train

    Day 23

    • Relax and unwind or spend free time exploring Cusco's many markets, museums, eateries and local sights
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 24-29 - Lake Titicaca - La Paz

    Three pics you should have on your memory card: your host family on Lake Titicaca, you dancing with the local kids, the view as you drive down to La Paz with Mt. Illimani in the background. 

    Day 24

    • Catch a bus to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca
    • Enjoy the drive through magnificent mountains and local scenery

    Day 25

    • Take a boat across Lake Titicaca to the Uros' floating reed islands
    • Enjoy a homestay on Amantani Island

    Day 26

    • Indulge in a breakfast with your host family
    • Board an afternoon boat back to Puno

    Day 27

    • Journey from Puno to La Paz, stopping off at Copacabana en route

    Days 28-29

    • Enjoy free time in La Paz to wander around the cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways that are features of this Andean city
    • Perhaps explore the colourful markets, including the famous 'Witches Market', or simply relax in one of the many cafes
    • Catch an overnight bus to Potosi
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 30-34 - Potosi - Sucre - Santa Cruz

    Enjoy a bit of a history lesson at Potosi's Jesuit tower, main square and cathedral, and the ancient mint. Stop by Sucre then fly to Santa Cruz and board our overnight train to Brazil.

    Day 30

    • Enjoy a guided tour of many of Potosi's highlights
    • Spend time making your own discoveries during a free afternoon
    • Why not visit the cooperative mines indulge in a thermal bath

    Days 31-32

    • Journey through the temperate valleys of Chuquisacra to Sucre
    • Take a guided tour of the old part of town, and see the Recoleta Church and Monastery, the chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the cathedral and museum of La Casa de la Libertad
    • Spend an entire free day exploring Sucre under your own steam

    Days 33-34

    • Explore Santa Cruz' main plaza, huge cathedral and colonial buildings
    • Board the overnight train to Puerto Suarez, located on the border with Brazil
    Breakfast

    Day 35-38 - The Pantanal - Bonitos - Dourados

    Pantanal is on Lonely Planet's top 10 places for twitchers. In other words, there are lots of birds. In fact, there are more bird species here than the whole of North America. Start counting.

    Days 35-36

    • Head to a lodge located in the heart of the vast wetlands of the Pantanal
    • Take a trip by boat along the Miranda and Red Rivers
    • Perhaps encounter wildlife including caiman, capybara, jabiru stork, giant otter, toucan, blue macaw and marsh deer
    • Enjoy optional activities such as a horse ride through the wetlands, a forest walk and even piranha fishing

    Days 37-38

    • Head to Bonito in the Serre da Bodoquena, a nature lover's paradise
    • Relax and soak up the atmosphere of the area
    • Take advantage of some of optional activities such as rappelling, snorkelling, cave exploring, and trekking to waterfalls
    Breakfast

    Day 39-41 - Iguazu Falls - Atlantic Rainforest

    Iguazu means 'Great Waters' in the local Topi-Guarani tribe language. 'Great' is a bit of an understatement; these falls are bloody awesome.

    Days 39-40

    • Visit the thundering Iguaza Falls
    • Take in panoramic views of the falls from the Argentine and Brazilian sides
    • Set off on an overnight bus ride to Curitiba

    Day 41

    • Board the Serra Verde Express for an incredible ride through the Atlantic Rainforest
    • Trek along the Itupava Colonial Rainforest Trail to Rochedinho Peak and Marumbinistas Waterfall
    • Stay overnight in a jungle lodge
    • Spend time relaxing, swimming or perhaps embark on further exploration of the rainforest
    Breakfast

    Day 42-43 - Paranagua - Honey Island

    1998 was a big year for the locals on Honey Island. It's the year they first got electricity. Once you know this, the fact that cars aren't allowed on the island won't come as a surprise.

    • Board a boat in Paranagua to explore some of the island that make up the Superagui National Park
    • Keep eyes peeled for local wildlife
    • Stop at Pescas Island for a lunch prepared by local villagers
    • Take a walking tour around the village with a local site guide and visit Dolphin Bay
    • Perhaps relax with a spot of fishing
    • Spend two nights on the idyllic Honey Island
    • Visit the historical fortress and the Enchanted Grotto
    Breakfast

    Day 44-47 - Rio de Janeiro

    There's a note at the bottom of Escardia Selaron (Lapa steps) from artist Jorge Selaron that says that if you send him a tile he promises to use it. Not a bad way to leave your mark on Rio.

    Day 44

    • Make the most of the last morning on Honey Island
    • Board an overnight bus bound for Rio de Janeiro

    Days 45-47

    • Ascend Corcovado Mountain and visit Christ The Redeemer
    • Enjoy plenty of free time to hit the beach, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and get to grips to local life
    • Perhaps visit the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches or take in Sugarloaf Mountain
    Breakfast
  • What's Included

    • An experienced tour guide in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and in Brazil, and there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transportation, sightseeing, accommodation and meals as indicated.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

    Safety Information

    Active Volcanoes
    This tour passes through volcanic areas.  In the instance a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Geckos will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Geckos.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    El Camino Grand

    Teresa - New Zealand, 29 Apr, 2012
    4
    Overall Rating

    El Camino Grand

    Lea and Gabriel - Australia, 4 Mar, 2012
    4
    Overall Rating

    For the question three from the bottom, no we wouldn't travel with Gecko again, this is our answer as we would probably prefer a company that offered more options within the tour eg a flight instead of a horrid over night bus.

 
47 days
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Nuts+Bolts

#GSGA
- 16
Boat, Bus, Canoe, Plane, Private van, Taxi
3 nights Full service camping, 2 nights Amazon jungle lodge, 1 night Overnight train, 4 nights Overnight bus, 1 night Island homestay, 5 nights Multi-share accommodation, 30 nights Hotel
Quito
Rio de Janeiro

What to know

 

A good level of fitness and pre-trip training is essential for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 4200 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.

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