Print this page | Visit Geckos

South America XXL

Trip Length

Trip Code

83 days GSXL

Countries Visited

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay

Start City

End City

Quito Rio de Janeiro
South America XXL

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)

South America XXL


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1-2: Quito

Home to the only version of the Last Supper where Christ and co. are feasting on cuy (that's roast guinea pig, to you).

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3-5: Amazon Jungle

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

We leave Quito early in the morning and travel by local bus to Misahualli (approx. 6 hours) From here we travel by boat to our local community (approx 10 minutes).

After breakfast we travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of our hike. The hike is relatively easy and takes approximately 3-4 hours (depending on the group’s pace). During the hike we visit a protected private reserve with sections of secondary and primary forest. Stay alert and try to spot the immense variety of insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Your local guide will help understand the importance of the jungle to the local community.

We dedicate our third day at the jungle to learn about what it takes to leave in this secluded part of the world. A community local leader will explain, demonstrate and encourage you to have a go at some of the skills necessary to survive here, such as fishing  in the Napo river, understanding the use of different medicinal plants, blow pipe hunting as well are more social aspects of life such traditional dances, preparing chicha and other cultural events.

Accommodation in the community is very basic and it consists of a bed and bed linen. Bathroom facilities are shared.

Day 6-8: Banos

Travel back to Tena by local bus (approx 20 mins).
From Tena we travel  to Banos by local bus (approx 5 hrs). Half way through the journey we stop in Puyo for a quick toilet stop and to grab some snacks.
Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, Banos has become a mecca for international travellers seeking year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere and a base for exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors.

Located on the northern foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility during the week, broken only by the occasional performance of a traditional Andean band, English language movie at the Hood Cinema, or drinks with friends at a local bar. On the weekends and during holidays however, Banos explodes with carnival-like festivities.
There are plenty of optional activities to get out and get active, and we have two full free days here to take advantage. Go horse riding, mountain biking, hiking or even rafting.
In Spanish 'banos' means baths and this is exactly what the town is famous for. It's worth rising early to watch dawn creep over the mountains from the cosy comfort of the hot springs - an unforgettable (and very relaxing) experience.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour visiting important places such as the Cathedral, local market, artisanal market, and the main street where people sell a typical product known as 'Melcocha'.

Day 9-10: Riobamba - Cuenca

Travel by local bus to Riobamba (approx 3 hrs), where we swap buses and head south to Cuenca (approx 8 hrs).
Possibly the most attractive city in Ecuador, Cuenca has managed to retain its Old World air, despite being the country's third largest city. The city has many 16th and 17th-century buildings, including its cathedral built in 1557, the year the city was founded by the Spanish. However, the city's history stretches back hundreds of years earlier. This was the site of a native Canari village that was later conquered by the Incas and called Tomebamba. The city was said to have rivalled Peru's Cuzco for its beauty, but the glory was short lived and the city was razed during the Inca civil war. The city's history is well preserved, earning Cuenca the honour of being listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Head out to El Cajas National Park, which features some of the most varied and spectacular scenery in the country. Its 70,000 acres shelter everything from cloud forest to rocky lunar landscapes, but it's the lakes (more than 200 of them) scattered among jagged peaks that most characterise the reserve. Despite its proximity to Cuenca, El Cajas is an easy place to find a surprising amount of solitude, whether you are there for the hiking or trout fishing. Visitors stand a good chance of seeing the wild llamas that were reintroduced to the park in the late 1990s. The park's other animal inhabitants, such as the spectacled bear, puma and tigrillo, are more elusive. Hummingbirds, toucans and Andean condors head the list of birds in the park.

You can reach El Cajas by local bus from Cuenca (approx 1 hr and 45 mins). Once there, pay the entrance fee, hire a native guide and start hiking around the beautiful lakes.

Day 11-12: Zorritos Beach

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Travel by local bus to Huaquillas, on the border of Ecuador and Peru (approx 5 hrs). After crossing the border we continue travelling to Zorritos on the Pacific coast (approx 30 mins).


Long stretches of beach and great seafood make the fishing town of Zorrito a popular destination for locals in northern Peru.

Day 13-14: Chiclayo- Trujillo

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

From Trujillo it's possible to visit the mud city of Chan Chan. This vast city has ten walled citadels, carved with intricate designs depicting birds, fish and mammals. Unlike many of Peru's archaeological sites, this was not an Inca city, but part of the Chimu and Moche civilisations, renowned for their pottery.

Famed for its 'surfing' fishermen, Huanchaco was once a small fishing village but is now a relaxed beach haven for travellers keen on seeing the nearby ruins.
Another nearby archaeological site is Huaca del Sol y la Luna. Here you can discover a royal pre-Inca society that's still impressing archaeologists with its findings. While here, see if you can spot a Peruvian hairless dog. This breed of dog is originally from this area and has existed since pre-Incan times.

 

From Trujillo it's possible to visit the mud city of Chan Chan. This vast city has ten walled citadels, carved with intricate designs depicting birds, fish and mammals. Unlike many of Peru's archaeological sites, this was not an Inca city, but part of the Chimu and Moche civilisations, renowned for their pottery.

Day 15-16: Lima

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Travel by overnight bus to Lima (approx 8-10 hrs).

 

Your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro.

While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre

Day 17-18: Paracas- Nazca

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Day 17

 

Travel by taxi or minivan to Lima's bus station and take a local bus to Pisco (approx 4 hrs). The bus will stop three or four times before reaching our destination.


This small fishing town is the gateway to the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Reserve but it's most famous as the birthplace of Peru's national drink, the pisco sour, made from a local brandy of the same name. For some local food specialities, head to the Plaza de Armas where the locals hang out and munch on tejas, small sweets made from nuts and dried fruits.

 

You will have the oportunity to take a tour to the Ballestas Islands (not included in tour price)

The Ballestas Islands are in the Paracas National Reserve. Sometimes called the 'Galapagos of Peru' the islands are a haven for wildlife and hundreds of pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins.

 

Travel on to Nazca (approx 3 hrs), stopping en route at the oasis of Huacachina.
The town of Huacachina is built around a small natural lake surrounded by dramatic sand dunes, which offer endless photography and sandboarding opportunities.
The entire desert in the Nazca area was once home to the ancient Nazca and Paracas cultures which preceded the Incas by over 500 years. Remains of their cultures are still visible - Nazca is home to the famous and enigmatic Nazca lines, enormous designs inscribed in the desert on the arid high plateau.
 

Day 18

The enormous lines have been etched into the ground by scraping away the top darker layer of gravel which then contrasts with the paler one underneath. Animals, insects and birds are depicted, and some of the simpler line formations are up to 10 km (32 miles) in length. Who drew them, how and why, can only be guessed at, but theories range from alien invaders to complex Nazca calendars.
Visit the desert cemetery of Chauchilla. The Nazca people were buried with colourful textiles and ceramics deep in the desert where the dry, arid climate has naturally mummified the bodies for over 1,500 years.
These mysterious shapes are better seen from the air. Small four/six seater planes offer 30 minute flights that allow viewing all 26 figures scattered through the desert floor.

Warning! Planes turn sharply from one side to another to facilitate viewing from both sides of the plane. Plastic bags are provided on board but needless to say, this flight is not recommended for those with a weak stomach.

Day 19-20: Arequipa

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Early in the afternoon we travel from Nazca to Arequipa by local bus (approx 9hrs)
Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and oozing the best of Spanish colonial charm, Arequipa vies with Cuzco for the title of Peru's most attractive city. Built out of a pale volcanic rock called sillar, the old buildings dazzle in the sun, giving the city its nickname - the 'White City'. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is a lovely place to while away the day.
For a glimpse into a bygone way of life, visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. When the convent was built in the 16th century it was traditional for the second son or daughter of a family to enter the religious service. The Santa Catalina accepted only women from high-class Spanish families, with each family paying a hefty dowry for her acceptance. But life inside the convent was far from modest - each nun had between one and four servants, many brought rugs, fine china and silk curtains, and they often held parties.

Visit the Juanita Museum, home to the 'Ice Maiden' - the Incan mummy of a 12-14-year-old girl who died in the 1440s, and discovered in 1995.

Day 21: Colca Canyon- Arequipa

Meals included: 1 breakfast

We travel by minivan to Chivay (approx 5 hrs). Along the way you'll see llamas, alpacas and vicunas and discover the differences between these similar creatures. There will also be the opportunity to stop for pictures. At our second stop (after approx 2 hrs) you'll have the chance to try some coca tea. After a third stop at Patapampa (the highest place on our tour at 4800 m above sea level), we descend to Chivay town.

More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon provides some breathtaking views. The Incan and pre-Incan terraces that are carved into the walls are still cultivated and traditional Indian villages are dotted throughout the canyon. In the afternoon, your local guide will organise a short trek, finishing at the local hot thermal baths. You may choose to spend your evening soaking in the baths, dining on llama steak or listening to live Andean music at a pena.

Accommodation in Chivay is in a very basic hostel. There are en suite toilets, however there's no heating (you can request extra blankets) and some rooms can be noisy.

The main star of the canyon is not the amazing scenery but the magnificent Andean condor, the world's largest flying bird. Wake up very early and drive to a viewpoint where condors can normally be seen in their morning routine. Following this stop there will be a short walk of about 45 minutes, before returning to Chivay. Travel back to Arequipa in the afternoon.

Day 22-24: Arequipa- Cusco

Meals included: 3 breakfasts

We farewell Arequipa and travel by local bus to Cuzco (10 hrs).
Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Musuem - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.

Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a silver-covered Neoclassic altar.
There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/

Day 25-29: Inca Trail

Meals included: 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

There will be a few tough days. Dead Woman's pass on Day 2 will test you, but it's worth all the sweat and tears when you watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu's Gateway of the Sun. Pretty apt name. Day 26 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 27 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 28 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 29 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 30: Cusco

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cuzco's sights. Rest weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas. For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cuzco.

Day 31-33: Puno- Lake Titicaca

Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approx 6 hrs). There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, sitting at 3,820 m above sea level. From the shoreline, the water stretches out almost as far as the eye can see, its expanses just waiting to be explored. Take a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros originally built their islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. The islands are built from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. As the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added on top. These reeds are used for making everything on the islands, including the boats which can last up to 12 months. To get a closer look at daily life in the Lake Titicaca region, we'll be welcomed into local homes for an overnight stay on a local community. Make the most of your visit by helping your host family with their daily activities or trying to chat in the local language, Quechua. A game of soccer is also a great way to make local friends. Our homestay is a mudbrick house. Rooms have beds and many blankets, there are shared drop toilets but no showers. After breakfast the next day, board the boat again for a visit to Taquile Island (approx 1 hour), where knitting is strictly a male domain and women do the spinning. This is a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An uphill trek of about an hour brings us to the main area of the island and after the visit we descend about 500 steps back to our boat. Transfer back to Puno by boat (approx 3 hrs).

Day 34-37: La Paz

Meals included: 4 breakfasts

Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero, where we cross the border into Bolivia. The first stop is the Peruvian migration office where you'll be asked to leave the bus and proceed through Peruvian migration. Then walk via a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus, which will continue to La Paz. About 30 minutes after crossing the border there's another stop where the army will again check your documents. The journey to La Paz takes about 5 hours - don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru. At around 3,600 m, La Paz feels like the top of the world. It's not far from it and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional. La Paz is renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches' Market. Browse through the weird and wonderful stalls which sell everything from potions to incantations made from herbs, seeds and unidentified bits and pieces to cure any ailment. If this is all too much for you, try the more conventional markets where you'll find ponchos, gloves, hats and many other products made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.

Day 38-39: Sucre

Leave La Paz for Sucre, known as Bolivia's most beautiful city. There are real-life dinosaur footprints at nearby Cal Orck'o too, so you should probably check them out at some point. Perhaps head to Recoleta, an old convent on top of the hill with a great view Spend some time in Plaza 25 de Mayo Maybe visit the 60 million-year-old dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko

Day 40-41: Potosi

In Potosi you can take a trip into one of Bolivia's old tin mines. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but those who squeeze through the tunnels will surely be in for an unforgettable (see: dark, dirty and scary) experience. Travel by local bus to Potosi (approx 3-4 hours) Perhaps tour the tin mines and meet the miners - this can be distressing, the conditions are poor and small Alternatively spend time exploring colonial art and architecture in the town

Day 42-44: Uyuni- Salar de Uyuni

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Everybody knows that too much salt is bad for you. The Uyuni salt flats, however, aren't bad for you. Jump into some 4WD vehicles and spend three days taking in the multicoloured lakes, wildlife and islands of Salar de Uyuni. Travel by local bus to Uyuni (between 5 and 7 hours) Day 1 Explore the salt lake (between December and March the lake can be flooded, the itinerary will be adapted accordingly) Day 2 Drive through amazing landscapes, stopping at Laguna Colorado, a rich red lake Day 3 Awake early and continue driving This trip can be tough going with long travel days in 4WDs on dusty tracks, freezing temperatures, basic toilet facilities and multishare accommodation - it is also amazing and well worth the challenge

Day 45-46: San Pedro de Atacama

Meals included: 1 breakfast

San Pedro de Atacama isn't the kind of town you'll forget in a hurry. Surrounded by the kind of scenery that makes you happy to be alive, it's a good place to have a look at some Indian artifacts. It's also renowed for being a stargazing hotspot, which is nice. The 4x4 adventure through the Salt Flat region ends in San Pedro de Atacama - Chile, a small town in the Atacama desert Explore tree lined streets, the sleepy plaza, and the fascinating museum with mummies and other Indian artefacts

Day 47-49: Salta

Take a 12-hour bus ride (yeah, we're sorry) to Salta. Showcasing some of the finest pre-Columbian and colonial history, Salta's a damn fine place to spend a couple of days. Go bungee jumping or horse riding, if you fancy it, or just spend your time wandering the streets of 'Salta the Pretty'. Drive on to Salta, Argentina (approx 12 hrs) Explore the colonial architecture and central square, Plaza 9 de Julio - home to the Cabildo, Cathedral and Casa del Gobierno (Government House) Perhaps hike to the top of Cerro San Bernardo, there are 1070 steps in total, for the less active, there's also a gondola - this is a great place to watch the sunset Choose from a number of optional adventure activities including rafting, bungee jumping and horse riding Maybe take a paddle boat on the lake, visit the museums or walk the streets On Day 14, travel by overnight bus to Mendoza (approx 18 hours)

Day 50-52: Mendoza

Tour some of Mendoza's wineries and learn about the region's wine making history. If you can remember any of the history when you wake up the following morning, there's a chance you didn't sample enough wine. Spend a day touring the wineries, especially Malbec the region's signature variety Explore Mendoza itself, there are a number of parks, squares and parks, visit San Martin St with Plaza Independencia Perhaps visit the Mercado Central (Central Market) and try local treats - empanadas (meat pastries), cheese, ham, marinated olives and local wines Av. Aristides Villanueva is the place to be at night, try Fernet with Coke - a bitter alcoholic cocktail.

Day 53-56: Santiago

Another long drive, but arriving in Santiago will make you forget about your numb bum. With more galleries, cafes and bars than you can shake a chacarero (Chile's signature sandwich) at. Travel by local bus across the Andes to Chile and its capital, Santiago (approx 7-9 hours depending on border crossing conditions) Go on a walking tour of the city with your tour leader, visit the Plaza de Armas, the Central Market and Palacio de la Moneda Perhaps take a cable car up to Cerro San Cristobal, and enjoy impressive views on a clear day You could visit the Paris Quarter for a look at local life

Day 57-59: Pucon

Pucon is a thrillseeker's dream. Hike up a volcano, go mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding, or whatever else you can think of to get your adrenaline pumping. If adrenaline isn't your thing, blow off some steam in one of the many bars of restaurants.

You have two full days (after your arrival day) in Pucon to enjoy the optional activities - mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding

Perhaps visit the casino at Hotel de Lago

Day 60-61: San Martin De Los Andes

The Lake District of  Argentina, San Martin de Los Andes plays host to heaps of lakeside pursuits. Like skiing. Or trekking. Or sleeping. 

Travel by local bus across the Andes to San Martin de los Andes, hopefully you'll arrive in San Martin de los Andes before 4pm, depending on the border crossing

On the shore of Lake Lacar, surrounded by the Lanin National Park, San Martin de los Andes is a picturesque town with great skiing and hiking depending on the season
Enjoy optional activities here

Day 62-63: Bariloche

There's lots of fine dining to be done in Bariloche, but there's probably lots of less-than-fine dining too. Be careful out there. Pick up some chocolate and oogle over the wooden architecture. If wooden architecture isn't your thing, there's some skiing, trekking or mountaineering to be done.
Ski on the peaks of Cerro Catedral (in season), hike or bike around its base
Hike or bike to Cerro Otto, the locals' favourite lookout point
Perhaps visit the revolving cafe at the peak with 360° views
 

Day 64-67: Buenos Aires

Take an overnight bus to Buenos Aires
Vegetarians, look away. Everyone else, your first order of business is to find the nearest parrilla (steak house) and order a big, plump, juicy piece of the world's best steak.   
Explore the sights - churches, cathedrals and historic buildings
Perhaps spend time in a streetside cafe, and enjoy a night of tango at a milonga
Attend optional farewell dinner

Day 68: Colonia

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Get on a ferry and head across Rio de la Plata to the Uruguayan port town of Colonia. It's got narrow streets, riverside restaurants and loads of sandstone architecture. What more could you possibly ask for? Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico, situated on a peninsula Spend free time strolling down cobblestone streets and watch locals continually sipping from their cup of mate (tea) Visit the Plaza Mayor and poke around the local museums

Day 69: Montevideo

Montevideo killed the radio star. It's true. Head to the beach and do your best impression of a beach bum, or eat loads of barbequed meat while listening to a live Jazz band at Mercado del Puerto. Yes, it's as good as it sounds. Perhaps visit Ciudad Vieja, where most of teh historical buildings are located The Plaza Independencia and eerie underground Mausolea Atigas mausoleum are worth a visit Spend free time chilling on the beach or wandering around Mercade del Puerto where artists and musicians hang out on Sundays

Day 70-72: Estancia Stay

Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

An estancia homestay is basically a nicely bottled-up gaucho experience. Help out with daily farm chores, kick back on the veranda and indulge in some mind-blowing Uruguayan home cooking. Travel to Tacuarembo by bus (approx 5 hrs) Traval another hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch The estancia is simple, accomodation is dorm style, and there's only hot water and electricty for a few hours a day Experience a working farm, perhaps involve yourself in the daily jobs Travel to Concordia, Argentina in the afternoon of Day 7, then take a 12 hour overnight bust to Puerto Iguazu

Day 73-75: Iguazu Falls

Take an overnight bus to Iguazu. Iguazu is made up of 275 individual falls. Don't try and count them, just trust us (or Google it). Wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara Falls, these are basically the best out of all the falls. Arrive in Puerto Iguazu, take a minibus to the hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil) (approx 1 hour) Perhaps take a helicopter ride over the spectacular falls

Day 76-78: Paraty

Take an overnight bus to Paraty You can basically spend the next couple of days relaxing in this Brazilian paradise or exploring some jungle trails and looking for waterfalls and wildlife. Got it? Good. Fly to Sao Paulo (approx. 1hr), transfer to Sao Paulo's bus station, catch a local bus to Paraty (approx. a 6hr) Paraty is World Heritage listed, and one of the best preserved Portuguese colonial towns

Day 79-81: Ilha Grande

Drink Caipirinha's, hike through forests or snorkel through the underwater world. You should Google a picture of Ilha Grande right now. It'll make you cry. Head by local bus and ferry to our island getaway on Ilha Grande (approx 5 hrs). Go on a boat tour of Ilha Grande Bay including the Blue lagoon, stop for fresh seafood, snorkelling and swim

Day 82-83: Rio De Janeiro

Nothing conquers the end-of-trip blues quite like finishing up in Rio. If there's one place in the world you can embrace your inner party animal, it's here. Walk it all off with a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain and let the views of the bay soothe your weary soul. You won't ever want to leave. Take a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba (approx 2 hrs), then board a minivan to Rio (approx 2 hrs) Enjoy a free day Trip ends of day 17, there are no activities planned for this day


Your Trip

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.

Nuts and Bolts

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.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

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.

Optional Extras


Important Information

Our sister company Intrepid Travel: The operator for this Geckos trip is our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Local contact numbers: PEAK South America (Peru & Bolivia) +51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823 PEAK South America (Brazil, Argentina and Colombia / Overland) + 55 21 96940-9208 Or +51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823 Peak Ecuador After Hours Emergency: 09 94014877 calling from inside Ecuador or +593 9 94014877 calling from outside Ecuador

TREKKING IN PERU:

 

Very Important - Correct Passport Details: In order to obtain your permit to trek the Inca Trail it is vital that you provide Gecko's with accurate details of the passport you will be travelling on in Peru. If you are travelling on a different passport from what is shown on your permit, you will be refused entry at the entrance to the trail.

 

Sister Companies- Please note that if there are less than four people schedules for your trek to Machu Picchu it is likely that you will be trekking with clients that have booked through one of our sister brands.

Book Early: The Peruvian Government has introduced strict quotas on the number of permits issued for hiking the ‘Classic’ Inca Trail route. These can often be sold out months in advance. To apply for your group’s permits, we will need your deposit, passport details and date of birth, so we ask that you book your holiday early. In the event that we are unable to obtain permits for the ‘Classic Trail' we will use the alternative 'Quarry Trail', an equally challenging trek culminating in a visit to Machu Picchu.

Meals during trek: Please note that we are unable to cater for those with a gluten intolerance (Coeliac) during the trek. Food labelling standards vary quite dramatically from country to country so it is not always safe to rely on ingredient labels in another country. Secondly, due to the remote nature of the trek and available cooking facilities, cross-contamination cannot always be fully avoided.

Typical meals during the trek: Breakfast (toast, fruit salad, ground corn tortillas, vegetable omelette, fried plantains), Snack (biscuits, tea, pop corn, chocolate bars, hot chocolate), Lunch (Vegetable soups, steamed trout, roast beef, quinoa grained, mashed or scalloped potatoes), Dinner (Chicken, rice, goulash, rosemary potatoes, chicken wrapped in tomato sauce)

 

SOME OTHER STUFF:

 

Public Holiday Inconveniences: Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, quite a few museums are closed on Mondays.

Hotel Breakfasts: Breakfasts in Latin America are simple affairs. They consist of tea or coffee, fruit juice, bread rolls, butter and jam. Eggs and fruit are sometimes available on request, for a small charge.

Meal requests/ allergies: Please note - any special meal requests must be noted on your booking form when making your reservation. We may not be able to cater for any late requests advised on arrival.

 

---- Alternative Itineraries for this trip - Machu Picchu ----

Quarry Trek

In the event that trekking permits for the 'Classic' Inca Trail route are unavailable, we will use the 'Quarry' route. The Quarry Trail, is an exceptional alternative to the 'Classic' trail.

This trek has all the components you expect from an Intrepid operated hike in the South American Andes: it’s safe, landscapes are breathtaking, there are opportunities to interact with local communities and to visit smaller and less known Inca archaeological sites.The overall distance hiked on this trek is approximately 26km, the maximum altitude reached is 4,450 metres above sea level. Since permits are not required for this trek, there

are no restrictions as when you book your trip.

 

INCA QUARRY TRAIL: The Inca Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. It's 26km long in total. The tail's highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level.

Throughout the trek your gear (and camping gear) will be carried by horses (as opposed to porter).

The first two nights of the trek are spent camping and the third one at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.

 

Day 1 - We leave Cusco early in the morning to drive to Ollantaytambo and onto Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from here takes us to Rafq'a, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike. After an approx. 1hr walk we reach the small community of Socma.

A further 60min walk takes to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack.

From here we continue on to our campsite, at 3700 meters above sea level. All going well, we should reach our campsite by lunch time. After lunch we set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas

 

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 2 - This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3hr walk takes us to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (approx 4370 meters). After enjoying the views of the valley below we walk down for 30min to our lunch spot.

Rested and full of energy again we take on a 2hr hike to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters).

From here we head down for 2hr to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate - this is not the Sun Gate where you enter the Machu Picchu site) with imposing views over the valley bellow and the Veronica mountain raising over the horizon.

Our campsites is a stone throw away at Choquetacarpo (3600 metres)


Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 3 - Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest.

Approximately at midday we finally arrive to the town of Kachiqata - the end of this challenging and fascinating trek.

From here we visit Ollantaytambo and in the afternoon we travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to
spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.


Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 4 - Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu we join the travellers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.

 

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Non trekking Alternative – Machu Picchu by Train

The Inca Trail is a highlight of any visit to Peru and it is highly recommended to anybody who is up to the physical demands of a Moderate trek. For those people joining a Gecko's trip who do not wish to join the four-day hike, Gecko's can make alternative arrangements that allow additional time in Cusco and return transport and accommodation to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. Should you choose these alternative arrangements, the price for your Gecko's holiday remains the same.

You must notify Gecko's at the time of booking if you wish to take this option, which replaces the 4 Day Inca Trail.

Day 1 & 2: Cusco

Your time in Cusco is your own. Accommodation will be provided for these two nights and breakfast is included. Your tour leader will not be available during this period as he or she will be trekking to Machu Picchu with the rest of the group.

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Day 3 & 4: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Your tour leader will have provided you with your return train ticket to Machu Picchu and your accommodation vouchers for your stay in Aguas Calientes. Please make your own way to the station to depart on the early morning train to Machu Picchu. The train trip will take approximately four hours to reach Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes you should check into your hotel. Please refer to your accommodation voucher for the hotel details. All of the hotels are a short walk from the railway station.

In order to visit the site of Machu Picchu, you will take a bus up the steep zig zagging road to the entrance of the ruins. The buses depart regularly. The ruins are open from 7am to 5pm daily and we will cover the cost of your return bus fare to the ruins and the entrance fee. The vouchers can be used the afternoon of Day 3, or the following morning on Day 4. If you wish to visit the ruins twice, the second visit will be at an additional cost of approximately USD $70 (paid locally).

Those in your group who have trekked the Inca Trail will arrive at the site around 7am on day 4. It is possible to arrange to meet up with the other members in your group at the ruins, to join a fully guided tour of this ancient and mystical Inca City. Before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, there is free time to explore the ruins at your own pace, soaking in the atmosphere. For the adventurous, you can climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, where you have the opportunity to see Machu Picchu from a unique vantage point. You can also make the short hike up to the Sun Gate for that classic photo of Machu Picchu.

In the afternoon of Day 4, we have time for lunch, before catching the train back to Cusco with your fellow trekkers.

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

1 April 2014


General Contact Details

Geckos AdventuresPhone: +61 3 8601 4444
E-mail: sales@geckosadventures.com
Web: Visit Geckos