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Highlights
  • Visit Ecuador and admire the ornate buildings of Quito's Old Town
  • Explore South America's lush Amazon jungle
  • Cruise around Peru's Ballestas Islands
  • Experience a Peruvian homestay near the Colca Canyon
  • Reach dizzying heights on the Inca Trail
  • Travel to Bolivia and marvel at Uyuni's vast salt flats
  • Sip on some of Chile's fine wines
  • Go trekking in the Torres del Paine National Park
  • Be awed by the might of the Iguazu Falls
  • Venture through the world's largest wetlands in Brazil
  • Soak up the energy of magnificent Rio de Janeiro

Get set for the ultimate South American odyssey. Covering six countries over 112 amazing days, travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil on an epic adventure. Experience spectacular scenery, magnificent ruins, fascinating culture and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Start among Ecuador's glorious colonial buildings in Quito, then penetrate deep into the Amazon Jungle before heading south to Peru to follow the footsteps of the Incas. Marvel at the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu, visit the fascinating floating islands on Lake Titicaca, gaze in awe at the cascading waters of Iguazu Falls and survey vast Bolivian salt flats. If it's unspoilt nature you're after then this trip has it covered: majestic glaciers, verdant forests, crystal lakes, soaring mountains and more. This unforgettable trip will leave you enchanted by the breathtaking scenery and friendly people of this remarkable continent.

2,889
Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
98% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 2,633 Great 709 Average 134 Disappointing 53 Terrible 50
Value
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals
4.6
Quito to Rio via Ushuaia

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Intrepid Travel.

J

Recommends

The trip exceeded my expectations in every October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The trip exceeded my expectations in every way. Having never traveled to Ecuador before, I felt that I received a thorough introduction to the culture, geography, and people of this fascinating country, which I did not expect to receive in just a short amount of time. Our leader was extremely knowledgeable about every place we visited and patiently answered all of our questions. She was also very receptive to any special requests we had, whether it was to spend more time in a particular location or to make an unplanned stop along the way. She also did an excellent job encouraging group cohesion and maintaining an upbeat and energetic attitude throughout the trip.
Read more

Operator Intrepid Travel

S

Recommends

everything is scheduled well October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
everything is scheduled well

Operator Intrepid Travel

M

Recommends

Well organised, enjoyable. Excellent leader: was helpful October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Well organised, enjoyable. Excellent leader: was helpful, approachable, helped to organise very enjoyable activities.

Operator Intrepid Travel

M

Recommends

Depends who I was talking to, some October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Depends who I was talking to, some people prefer more 'luxury' (hence me giving 9 not 10)

Operator Intrepid Travel

M

Recommends

The highlights were great (salt planes dessert October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The highlights were great (salt planes dessert, cactus island, geezer, hot spring etc) and the guide 'G' was fantastic, made it a very fun, friendly, safe trip for me.

Operator Intrepid Travel

Itinerary

Day 1 Quito

Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'. Hotel for the night: Fuente de Piedra II Hotel Fuente de Piedra II Juan Leon Mera N23-21 y Baquedano Mariscal Sucre Quito Ecuador Tel - +593 2290 0323 About Quito: Quito is the capital of Ecuador, nestled in a hollow in the mountains in between the volcanos Cayambe, Pichincha and Cotopaxi - at 2,850m above sea level, it is the world's highest official capital city. Founded in 1534 by a group of settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar, the town slowly grew throughout the Spanish colonial era and after the region's independence from Spain in 1822. The colonial old town is a maze of steep, cobbled streets with intricately carved, overhanging balconies, and some of the best examples of Spanish  colonial art and churches anywhere in the Americas - along with Kraków, Quito was the first ever World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. The modern area of the town is lively and has some fantastic restaurants and bars. Quito's mix of European and Indian cultures make this a really fascinating city, and you will come across stalls displaying Indian textiles, colourful wall hangings, jewellery, pottery and woodcarvings. Quito has some incredible museums, galleries and parks in the city, and some excellent adventure activities and mountain treks nearby for those with extra time in the area.

Day 2 Ecuadorian Amazon

Today our journey begins with a drive to the edge of the Amazon basin near the town of Tena, where we head to our jungle lodge for an incredible 3-night stay. In the Amazon Jungle we will stay in a comfortable rainforest lodge with meals included. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours About Ecuadorian Amazon: The eastern part of Ecuador consists largely of tropical moist broadleaf forests that cover the lower slopes of the Andes and spill down into the Amazon Basin. The upland rainforest is strikingly different to that which is found in the lower basin, and features steep, rugged ridges and cascading streams and waterfalls. From our lodge near the city of Tena, we will explore these upland forests on foot and by boat - we'll aim to find various waterfalls, caves and creeks in the forest, all the while keeping an eye out for the area's elusive wildlife. We'll also visit a local Quichua community during our stay in the forest lodge.

Day 3 Ecuadorian Amazon

( Day 3 to 4 ) Over the next two days we will head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rain forest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community. 

Day 4 Ecuadorian Amazon

( Day 3 to 4 )   Over the next two days we will head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rain forest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community. 

Day 5 Rio Verde

Today we will drive back into the highlands of Ecuador, arriving in Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano. In Rio Verde we will stay at a well-equipped campsite with great facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours About Rio Verde: A few kilometres from the town of Baños is the small village of Rio Verde, named after the clear green water of the river that flows through the town. A number of waterfalls are found along its course, the most spectacular being The Devil’s Cauldron (‘El Pailon del Diablo’), a 20 minute walk from our excellent campsite. Whilst staying here, we will have the opportunity to take part in optional adventure activities like as horse-riding, canyoning, mountain biking and rafting, as well as making the short trip into Baños to visit the thermal springs

Day 6 Rio Verde, Baños

( Day 6 to 7 ) Today we will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the 'Quilotoa Loop'. In Chugchilán we will stay in a fantastic local hostel where breakfast and dinner are included, giving you a chance to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian food. Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours. About Chugchilán: Set on the slopes of the Rio Toachi Canyon, the peaceful village of Chugchilán is our base to explore the stunning green landscapes of central Ecuador. Several day hikes are available in the area, the most famous being one from the volcanic Lake Quilotoa back to Chugchilán - this is without doubt one of the most beautiful day-treks to be found in South America, and takes you through the canyon and the lush fields of the area.

Day 7 Rio Verde, Baños

( Day 6 to 7 )   We will have two full days of free time for a range of activities in Rio Verde, such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. We will also have the opportuinty to visit the nearby town of Banos and its popular volcanic thermal springs. About Baños: Nestled in the shadow of the fiery Tungurahua volcano is the exquisite town of Baños. Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's largest active volcanoes, and provides an incredible backdrop to treks and explorations in the area. There are some beautiful waterfalls, excellent trekking and mountain biking opportunities, and some famous volcanic hot springs which give the town its name!

Day 8 Chugchilan

Today we will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the 'Quilotoa Loop'. In Chugchilán we will stay in a fantastic local hostel where breakfast and dinner are included, giving you a chance to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian food. Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours. About Chugchilán: Set on the slopes of the Rio Toachi Canyon, the peaceful village of Chugchilán is our base to explore the stunning green landscapes of central Ecuador. Several day hikes are available in the area, the most famous being one from the volcanic Lake Quilotoa back to Chugchilán - this is without doubt one of the most beautiful day-treks to be found in South America, and takes you through the canyon and the lush fields of the area.

Day 9 Lake Quilotoa, Chugchilán

Today we will transfer to the village of Quilotoa to see its stunning crater lake, and take an included day trek back to Chugchilán through the local villages, canyons, and beautiful scenery. This walk is widely considered one of the best day treks in Ecuador! The mostly-downhill usually takes between 4-6 hours, but please be aware that there is a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be physically fit for - although we thoroughly recommend the trek, it can be skipped by anyone if they prefer. About Lake Quilotoa: Lake Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater lake located at 3,600m above sea level in the hills between the towns of Zumbahua and Chugchilán. Its emerald water spans a circle with a diameter of 2kms - Quilotoa is an active volcano, but the last major eruption was over 850 years ago. It is possible to hike down from the crater rim to the lakeside. The descent takes 30 minutes and climbing back up takes about an hour. The lake also lends its name to the Quilotoa Loop, given to the winding circuit of spectacular dirt roads that connect Lake Quilotoa to Latacunga and the Pan-American Highway. The roads that lead away from Latacunga are unpaved, winding and have spectacular views of the mountains, rivers and verdant landscape. We will head to the town of Chugchilán on the northern section of the loop and head out on the southern section of the loop allowing you to see some of the more remote areas of the central Andes of Ecuador.

Day 10 Cuenca

Today we will drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and then head south to the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca. We will pass through the stunning landscape of the Cajas National Park en route. In Cuenca we will stay in a centrally-located hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours. About Cuenca: Cuenca is Ecuador's third-largest city and its small centre is home to some beautiful architecture. The city was founded in 1557 and named after the city of Cuenca in Spain, the birthplace of the Viceroy of Peru at the time. This small university town is a pleasure to explore, and you'll discover impressive churches that date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries, attractive colonial buildings, tranquil plazas and lively markets. The Ecuadorians consider it the finest city in the country, and many of its buildings are constructed from marble and decorated with stunning woodwork and ironwork. Cuenca is also the home of the Panama hat, and you can visit one of the famous hat factories and watch the skills of the craftsman on your travels here.

Day 11 Cuenca

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Cuenca. The town is the birthplace of the famous Panama Hat, and we will have the opportunity today to visit one of the factories to learn about the manufacturing process.

Day 12 Punta Sal

Border information: Exit Ecuador at Huaquillas, enter Peru at Tumbes. Today we will have a long drive day south, crossing the border into northern Peru. We will stay at a friendly local campsite just outside of Punta Sal, on a beautiful and serene beach on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours. About Punta Sal: Situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in a long, curved bay, Punta Sal is a haven of sun and sand. The warm and tranquil waters are a pleasure to swim in and there's also the opportunity to set out on boat trips along the coast line. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, horse riding along the beach and salsa lessons can be arranged, or just kick-back in a hammock and laze the day away, enjoying the peace and quiet of this beautiful spot.

Day 13 Punta Sal

Today we have a full day to relax on the beach and enjoy some activities in and around the stunning coastal area of Punta Sal.

Day 14 Huanchaco, Lambayeque

Today we will have a full day's drive to Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo. We will have an included visit to the phenomenal Lord of Sipan museum in Lambayeque, home of an incredible collection of Chimu-era treasures (please note that this museum is closed on Mondays, so we will be unable to visit if your trip passes through on a Monday). In Huanchaco we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (including approximately 1 hour 30 minutes at the Lord of Sipan museum). About Huanchaco: Huanchaco is a small town on the Peruvian coast that is rapidly acquiring a reputation for the quality of the surfing off its relaxed beaches. Wandering along the sea front you will come across the local fishermen's "caballitos de tortora" - curved reed boats left propped up in groups together on the sand. Huanchaco is an ideal location from which to explore the numerous archaeological ruins that surround the nearby city of Trujillo. One of the most impressive sites is that of the enormous Pre-Colombian complex of Chan Chan, a vast adobe city constructed as the capital of the Chimú civilisation which thrived in the area between 900-1470 CE, when they were finally invaded by the Incas. Another incredible site is the pyramid-shaped Huaca de la Luna, the impressive remains of the capital of the Moche civilsation that flourished between 100-800 CE - this site contains some phenomenal abode structures and well-preserved painted murals of the Moche deity Ai Apaec. About Lambayeque: The small Peruvian town of Lambayeque is home to the impressive Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, a world-class museum that showcases the finest artefacts from the archaeological finds at nearby Sipán. The ancient city of Sipán was a settlement of the Moche civilisation that thrived in the area between 50-700 CE. The ruins were discovered in 1987, and when excavated revealed a set of fantastic and well-preserved royal tombs. Although some tombs had been plundered, many were found intact and full of some of the most extraordinary historical treasures ever discovered in the world! Amongst the most impressive discoveries made here is the tomb of the famous ‘Lord of the Sipán’, a Moche priest found buried amidst an array of gold, jewels and fabrics - some phenomenal gold and silver ornamental and ceremonial artifacts were recovered, which demonstrate the outstanding craftsmanship of the Moche metalworkers.

Day 15 Huanchaco

Today we will have an included guided trip to explore the enormous adobe ruins of Chan Chan and the world-famous Moche archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).

Day 16 Huaraz

Today we will have a spectacular drive up the winding roads of the 'Casma Route' into the Cordillera Blanca section of the high Andes, reaching the mountain town of Huaraz. In Huaraz we will stay in a local hostel in either dorm accommodation or private rooms depending on availability. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. About Huaraz: Huaraz is situated high up in the Andes, dominated by the highest tropical mountain range in the world - the Cordillera Blanca. Looming over the town is Peru's highest peak, the 6,768m mountain of Huascarán. Huaraz offers great opportunities for trekking, mountain biking, horse riding and rafting in the spectacular mountains, or even head out ice-climbing on the Pastoruri Glacier. There are some wonderful nearby historical sites, such as the ancient ceremonial centre of Chavín de Huántar which dates from 1200-500 BCE, and the Wilcahuaín ruins, once an outpost of the Wari civilisation between 600-900 CE.

Day 17 Huaraz

( Day 17 to 18 ) We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.

Day 18 Huaraz

( Day 17 to 18 )   We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.

Day 19 Lima

Today we will have another full day's drive back to the coast via the 'Paramonga Route' and then on to the enormous Peruvian capital of Lima. In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours. About Lima: Lima is Peru's buzzing and busy capital city, and the second-largest city in the Americas behind São Paulo! Despite its colossal size and chaotic areas, if you explore the capital's streets, parks and plazas you'll discover a real gem of a city. Lima was founded by the infamous Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and was originally the administrative centre for Spain’s Viceroyalty in South America, making it the continent’s most important city for nearly three centuries. It became a city of great wealth financed by the massive quantities of gold and silver that were mined in the area, and became the capital of independent Peru after its liberation from the Spanish in 1821. There are many museums in Lima showcasing the finest artefacts from the country's many ancient civlisations, and you can visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco. There are many excellent restaurants in the city and a thriving nightlife in the lively district of Miraflores.

Day 20 Lima

Border information: if joining in Lima, you will most likely enter Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre. Hotel for the night: Hotel Kamana Hotel Kamana Jr. Camaná 547 Lima (Downtown) Peru Tel - +51 1426 7204

Day 21 Huacachina, Ballestas Islands, Paracas

Today we will have a very early start to leave Lima before the rush hour, and drive 270kms south to Paracas. There we will board one of the local boats for an included trip to the Ballestas Islands to view its incredible array of resident wildlife and birds. After lunch, we will continue south to arrive at the stunning desert oasis town of Huacachina, where we have the option to head out for an evening of sand boarding and dune buggying and the further option to camp out under the stars in the deserts. For those that do not wish to participate in the optional camping in the desert, in Huacachina we will stay in dorm accommodation in the village itself. Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours, not including the time taken for the trip to the Ballestas Islands (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). About Huacachina: Huacachina is a sparkling oasis nestled in the deserts near Ica in northern Peru - an area that is more reminiscent of the Sahara than South America! The picturesque lagoon is surrounded by palm trees and towering sand dunes and creates a tranquil oasis in the dusty coastal desert. The small town here has become a popular destination for travellers due to its incredible sand boarding and dune buggying opportunities. About Ballestas Islands: The Ballestas Islands are a series of rock formations in the turbulent waters of the Pacific just off the coast of Paracas. Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's Galapagos", the islands have an abundance of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, Blackish oystercatchers, cormorants and Peruvian boobies living alongside vast colonies of sealions, all noisily crowding the Ballestas coastline and jostling for space. The wildlife is fantastic to see on a boat trip around the islands. The startling biodiversity around the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Park is the result of two merging currents in the Pacific - the warm northern waters of El Niño and the cooler waters of the Humboldt. The climatic conditions produced by the combination of these two currents create the perfect environment for a proliferation in the number of plankton and phytoplankton, the core constituents in the diet of fish. About Paracas: Paracas National Park is widely regarded as one of the most important marine reserves in the world. This coastal and marine national park is located on a peninsula in the Pacific Ocean and is home to one of the highest concentration of marine birds in the world as well as providing a vital habitat for sealions and dolphins. Historically the peninsula was the home to the Paracas people from 1200 BCE through to around 200 CE and some remains of their culture can be found in the area, the most spectacular of which is the enormous candelabra - a giant etching depicting a cactus inscribed onto a coastal hill overlooking the ocean.

Day 22 Nazca, Huacachina

Today we continue south to the world-famous village of Nazca, the location of the mysterious Nazca Lines. On the drive, we will stop at a viewing platform to get a glimpse of some of these lines. The Nazca Lines are a series of figures, lines, and geometric shapes that were etched into the ground of the desert plateau over a thousand years ago by the ancient Nazca culture, and their purpose is still unknown to this day. In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to take an optional 30-minute flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft - this is by far the best way of seeing the figures, and we use a local operator with an excellent safety record. In Nazca we will camp at a well-equipped campsite. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours. About Nazca: Nazca is home to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines, enormous geometric designs and petroglyphs inscribed on the ground of the desert on the arid high plateau between Nazca and Palpa - some of the figures are over 200m across in size. Many of the lines form stylised depictions of animals, such as monkeys, spiders and hummingbirds, as well as trees and other designs. Archaeologists believe the Nazca Lines were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by the Nazca culture - although scholars are unsure as to their exact purpose, but they almost certainly has religious significance to the Nazca. The designs are simply shallow lines made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the grey ground beneath. The Nazca Lines were discovered in 1927 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, and later famously studied by the German archaeologist Maria Reiche. You can view the lines from a viewing tower or take a flight in a small plane to see them from above. Close to the town are the sites of the ancient Nazca city of Cahuachi and the Chauchilla Cemetery, where you can see the tombs of people of the ancient Nazca civilisation. It is something of an eerie sight to see the skulls, bones and even hair of the dead, preserved in a remarkable state thanks to the dry desert air.

Day 23 Puerto Inca, Nazca

This morning we head south of Nazca, and have an included visit to the nearby ancient sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the Cahuachi Pyramid, thought to have once been the religious centre of the Nazca civilisation. In the afternoon we will continue our drive to the coastal resort of Puerto Inca, where we camp at a well-equiped campsite on the beach. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours. About Puerto Inca: Puerto Inca is situated on the Peruvian Pacific coast, nd was once the Inca port that supplied the city of Cuzco with supplies of fish. It is a great place to relax on the beach, enjoying scenic views of the ocean and a dip in the swimming pool!

Day 24 Arequipa

Today we will start our drive inland, and head uphill to the beautiful ‘White City’ of Arequipa. In Arequipa we will stay in a good local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours. About Arequipa: Situated on the Peruvian Altiplano, Arequipa sits at almost 3,500m above sea level and is the second largest city in the country. Set against the stunning backdrop of the snow-covered volcano El Misti, salt lakes, thermal springs and high-altitude deserts, the landscape of the area around Arequipa truly unique. It's possible to arrange mountain-biking and rafting trips in the area as day tours from the city. The city itself is very beautiful, full of stunning colonial buildings built out of the soft white volcanic rock that is found in the area. As a university town, there is always a lively buzz about the place and there are plenty of good bars and restaurants to discover. No trip to Arequipa would be complete without paying a visit to Juanita in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. Sometimes known as the "Ice Maiden", Juanita is the mummy of a young Inca girl aged about 11-14 at the time of her death in approximately 1450 CE - she was discovered near to the summit of Mount Ampato in 1995 by two climbers, her body frozen and well-preserved in the low temperatures and high altitude. Arequipa is also famous for the Santa Catalina Convent, which is almost a city within a city in the centre of the town. Not only are the buildings of the convent stunningly beautiful, with brightly painted walls and shady courtyards, it also has a fascinating history which you can learn about on a guided tour.

Day 25 Arequipa

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.

Day 26 Chivay

We will have some more free time to explore Arequipa this morning, before continuing our drive to the highland town of Chivay after lunch. In Chivay we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours. About Chivay: The rural town of Chivay is the gateway to the magnificent Colca Canyon - one of the largest canyons in the Americas, which at a maximum depth of 3,270m is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. As well as boasting some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Peru, the Colca Canyon is famous as being one of the best places in the world to spot the mighty Andean Condor - this stunning bird is one of the largest in the world with a wingspan of around 2.5m, and the Colca Canyon provides a perfect natural habitat for them so it is very common to see them as they swoop around the canyon walls.

Day 27 Chivay

This morning we will head out on a short drive to some of the best viewpoints along the spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world! The canyon is famous for its resident condors, and we will spend a good amount of time at the viewpoints to give ourselves the best chance of spotting them. We will also visit a couple of local communities on the way back to Chivay. We will have a free afternoon to explore Chivay, and possibly take an optional trip to the nearby hot springs and zip-lining course.

Day 28 Raqchi

Today we will drive through the stunning landscapes of the Peruvian highlands to the small village of Raqchi. Here we will stay at a homestay as guests of the local villagers in their traditional family homes. The houses are very clean and have basic facilities. This evening the villagers will invite us to take part in a traditional Quechua religious ceremony, and we'll have some lively music from some of the village's musicians. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. About Raqchi: Raqchi is a small village situated 100kms southeast of Cuzco, famous as being the site of the only surviving temple of the ancient Inca creator deity Wiracocha. It is a special place for us as it is where we have one of the best local homestay experiences to be found in the world - on our Dragoman trips we stay here as guests of the local families in their traditional houses, a fantastic way to get a real insight into how people live here and to learn about their culture and customs. There is often the chance to participate in some of the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of village life, and there is always plenty of singing and dancing as we get to know our new Peruvian families. The village is also well known for its talented craftsmen and women, and there will be the chance to buy some of the beautiful hand-made and intricately decorated pottery that is made here.

Day 29 Cuzco

This morning we will visit the Inca ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi, and then see a pottery demonstration at a local artisan centre. In the afternoon we will drive to the incredible historical city of Cuzco, the former Inca capital. In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours. About Cuzco: The Inca Empire was the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas - the civilisation arose in the early 13th Century CE under the leadership of the first Inca ruler Manco Capác, founding the city of Cuzco as their capital. The civilisation thrived in the area until 1438, when the new leader Pachacuti embarked on a massive campaign of expansion and used military conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate a massive portion of western South America under his control - at its largest, the Inca Empire stretched all the way from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwest Argentina, all the way down to central Chile. In 1526, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro first entered Inca territory from his expedition through Colombia. After quickly determining that it was evidently a civilisation of great wealth and power, he quickly received royal permission to conquer the empire - he decisively kidnapped and later executed the Inca ruler Ayahualpa in 1533 and installed their own puppet ruler, Manco Inca Yupanqui. The new leader quickly turned on the invaders and briefly took control of Cuzco for the Incas again, until the Spanish finally pushed them back permanently from the city. The remnants of the civilisation formed a Neo-Inca state centred around Vilcabamba in the mountains above Lima until the Spanish invaded them completely in 1572, ending the last major resistance to their rule in Peru. Any adventure tour to Peru naturally centres around the stunning city of Cuzco - it is world-famous as the gateway to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu and the various Inca trails through the Peruvian highlands. However, the city is a fantastic destination in its own right, and many of its buildings still retain some of the original Inca stonework as part of their structure. This unique and intricate stonework was an ingenious construction method that prevented damage from earthquakes - examples of their amazing building techniques can still be seen in and around Cuzco, including the famous 'twelve-sided stone', now part of the logo of Cuzco's native Cusqueña beer! A good place to start your explorations is the majestic main plaza, surrounded by cobbled streets lined with attractive colonial buildings. Head up the hill into the neighbourhood of San Blas and you will discover another hidden square with a quiet laid-back feel. All the streets are lined with shops, bars and restaurants, from small local cafes to five star dining experiences. There are also some fantastic museums and historical sites in and around the city, showcasing the wonderful history and culture of the Incas.

Day 30 Cuzco

A Note on Altitude: If you are joining in Cuzco, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise. A Note on our Community Trek: From July 2016, we have renamed our flagship Community Trek, The Wild Andes Trek, we feel this sums it up pretty well - trekking in the remote, pristine mountains of Peru. The only thing thats changing is the name - Dragoman's commitment to genuine, responsible tourism remains at the heart of the trek and the route remains the same, so rest assured by opting for this trek you are supporting communities and protecting the environment. Border information: if you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ). There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. There will be a further meeting this evening for our Wild Andes and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days! The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cuzco before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cuzco. In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel. Hotel for the night: Hotel Cahuide Hotel Cahuide Calle Saphi No. 845 Cuzco Peru Tel - + 51 8422 2771

Day 31-34 Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package. Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon). We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle. Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have lunch. We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel. There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights. Meals included: Lunch Activity Approximate Cost Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour Included in Kitty Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo Included in Kitty Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details): Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists, on our exclusive Wild Andes Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty. Option 2 - Classic Trek Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options. Included in Kitty Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option) Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a refund of the cost difference from kitty. Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the Train Package (non-trekking option), otherwise you will automatically be booked onto our Wild Andes Trek. About Sacred Valley: The valley of the Urubamba river is more often referred to as "The Sacred Valley". In the Peruvian highlands close to the Inca capital of Cuzco, the valley extends from the small market town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, nestling at the foot of the Andean mountain ranges that are home to the magical lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Together with Machu Picchu itself, the Sacred Valley was a cradle of the Inca Empire and the area is littered with archaeological sites including the magnificent ruins of Pisac with its famous terraced fields, the old temple complex of Sacsayhuaman and the remarkably well-preserved Inca city of Ollantaytambo. Together with the temperate climate, lively markets, sleepy Andean villages and stunning surrounding landsccape, the rich history of the area makes it a truly bewitching place. About Inca Trail : When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually referring to a particular trekking route that follows an ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. However there are a huge number of Andean Trails that criss-cross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote and rarely used by western tourists. On our Dragoman tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the Classic Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Wild Andes Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman. The Classic Inca Trail The Classic Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cuzco-Aguas Calientes railway, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200m) and the ruins of Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna en route, eventually arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu early in the morning after 3 days of trekking. This route is still extremely popular as it is seen by many as the original Inca Trail, and it is also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the smaller Inca sites it passes along the way. Unfortunately, due to its own popularity, the Classic Trail is always very busy, with around 500 people starting the trek every day - due to there being restrictions on camping areas, the campsites are often very busy with other trekkers as well. Nevertheless it is still an awesome trek, passing through some stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forests, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of Machu Picchu is something you'll never forget. Please note that the Classic Trail is always closed for maintainance during the entire month of February each year. The Wild Andes Trek Dragoman's Wild Andes Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt Andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and passing by local communities. This trek is all about getting away from the overcrowded thoroughfares of the Classic Inca Trail and getting out into the real Andes - not to mention being part of a project with provides a genuine, direct benefit to the host communities we travel through, by supporting education, income generation and environmental sustainability projects. The trek itself is about the same as the Classic Inca Trail in terms of length and difficulty, taking three to three and a half days and ascending to about 4,700m when you cross the highest pass. The scenery out here is truly magnificent, spectacular mountain peaks, verdant hillsides dotted by isolated villages and the odd llama and alpaca, you are unlikely to see another tourist here. Although you won't trek into Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate as on the Classic Trail, you will arrive to Machu Picchu well rested after a night in a comfortable hotel and ready to get the most out of the tour of this magnificent site.

Day 35-36 Machu Picchu, Cuzco

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and there will be plenty of free time to explore this magical place. In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day! Meals provided: Breakfast Option 2 - Classic Trek Wiñay Wayna to Machupicchu Leaving Wiñay Wayna, we descend gradually further through the highland jungle to our destination - Intupunku (the "Sun Gate") leading into Machu Picchu. Arriving at daybreak, we catch our first breathtaking view of this historical wonder. As with the Wild Andes Trek, our local guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is also some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest. Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package After an early breakfast and walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (5,750m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco. Meals provided: Breakfast Activity Approximate Cost Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of free time to explore before returning to Cuzco Included in Kitty About Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu is a world-famous 15th-Century Inca citadel perched 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. One of the historical highlights of the world and a phenomenal icon of Peru, the ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 and was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Machu Picchu was most likely built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and is thought to have been built in around 1450 but abandoned after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Although the city remained known about by the local Quechua people, it was undiscovered by the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham discovered it and brought it to international attention in 1911. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style with intricately-designed drystone walls built without mortar - it has three primary structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed and restored, and the iconic steep mountain of Huayana Picchu looms over the site. The city consists of more than 200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. A visit to Machu Picchu is a major highlight of any adventure tour to Peru. A genuinely magical place, catching your first glimpse of the Inca city through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.

Day 37 Puno, Cuzco

Take part in a Peruvian cooking class in Cuzco, learning how to make a variety of local dishes USD 79 Take a Spanish class in the beautiful city of Cuzco (suitable for all levels) PEN 20 Today we will leave Cuzco and head through the highlands of Peru to the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We will have an included visit to the Inca site of Tipón en route. In Puno we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). Activity Approximate Cost Visit the incredible Inca site of Tipón, once an agricultural centre and a park for the Inca elite Included in Kitty About Puno: Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the south eastern region of Peru is the small town of Puno. The town is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, and a mythical expanse of deep blue waters dotted with islands, some of which are still home to communities who have been living in the same way for hundreds of years.

Day 38 Copacabana, Isla Del Sol

Border information: Exit Peru at Yunguyo, enter Bolivia at Kasani. This morning we will cross into Bolivia and head to the lakeside town of Copacabana, before boarding a boat to the stunning island of Isla del Sol. In Isla del Sol we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. About Copacabana: Copacabana, Bolivia, is quite different from the famous Brazilian beach that shares its name, but both are wonderful destinations to visit! It is a picturesque small town on the shores of Lake Titicaca, centred around its small whitewashed square which is home to a pleasant Moorish-style cathedral. At sunset there is no better place to be than sat at one of the many simple local fish restaurants on the shoreline, watching the sun slip down behind the horizon. About Isla Del Sol: Isla del Sol is a serene and peaceful island set in the glittering Lake Titicaca off the shore of the Bolivian village of Copacabana. The island was famous in Inca mythology as the supposed birthplace of the sun-god Inti - a legend that is still told by many of the modern-day Aymara and Quechua peoples of the area. There small ancient ruins dotted on the island, as well as tiny traditional villages and beautiful walking routes. You can take a boat trip to the island and wander through its atmospheric landscape, exploring the island's dry slopes covered with sweet smelling incense brush, or hike over the ancient pampas which are still cultivated by the island families.

Day 39 Isla Del Sol, Copacabana

Today we will take an included day trip across Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, one of the holiest sites in ancient Inca mythology and supposedly the birthplace of the Sun God Inti. We will take a 14km walk across the length of the island, taking in the incredible and serene scenery and soaking up the calm atmosphere of the island (this walk can be skipped by anybody who does not want to do it). We will return to Copacabana for the evening. In Copacabana we will stay in a basic local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost Take a boat trip to Lake Titicaca's Isla del Sol, and head on a guided walk across the length of the stunning island Included in Kitty

Day 40 La Paz

Today we will drive to the famous city of La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! On arrival we will have free time to explore the city. In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. About La Paz: Bolivia's largest city of La Paz is spectacularly located lying huddled in a canyon basin, hiding from the harsh conditions of the surrounding altiplano. It is a fascinating city - the old town and more expensive neighbourhoods at the bottom of the canyon in the centre, surrounded by sprawling shanty-towns which extend up the slopes of the bowl, merging into the huge Aymara district of "El Alto" back on the plains, a suburb of La Paz that has grown to be a city in its own right. The city skyline is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani, a staggeringly beautiful backdrop that leaves many visitors stunned when then catch their first glimpse of the city as they descend into the canyon. The old town is full of markets and winding cobbled streets full of people in traditional Aymara clothing selling anything and everything you could ever think of, including dried llama foetuses on sale in the witch's market! There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, including the famous downhill bike ride through the Yungas on the 'world's most dangerous road'!

Day 41 La Paz

( Day 41 to 42 ) Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB). Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. On the following day we will have a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in La Paz before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring La Paz. In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre. Hotel for the night: Estrella Andina Estrella Andina Avenida Illampu 716 Zona El Rosario La Paz Bolivia Tel - +591 2245 6421 Activity Approximate Cost Take the spectacular downhill mountain-bike trip down the infamous 'World's Most Dangerous Road', a 3,500m descent from the high mountain plateau near La Paz to the steaming jungles of Corioco via the dramatic road cut into the cliff USD 110 Take a guided tour to explore the amazing preInca ruins of Tiwanaku, once the centre of one of the most important cultures in South America BOB 180 Take a trip out to the mountain resort of Chacaltaya and the other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley near La Paz BOB 120

Day 42 La Paz

( Day 41 to 42 )   Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB). Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. On the following day we will have a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in La Paz before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring La Paz. In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre. Hotel for the night: Estrella Andina Estrella Andina Avenida Illampu 716 Zona El Rosario La Paz Bolivia Tel - +591 2245 6421 Activity Approximate Cost Take the spectacular downhill mountain-bike trip down the infamous 'World's Most Dangerous Road', a 3,500m descent from the high mountain plateau near La Paz to the steaming jungles of Corioco via the dramatic road cut into the cliff USD 110 Take a guided tour to explore the amazing preInca ruins of Tiwanaku, once the centre of one of the most important cultures in South America BOB 180 Take a trip out to the mountain resort of Chacaltaya and the other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley near La Paz BOB 120

Day 43 Ojo del Inca

Take a guided tour of the main sights and viewpoints around La Paz BOB 60 Discover Bolivia's history, art, and culture in some of La Paz's many museums such as the San Francisco Museum and the Museum of Ethnography BOB 20 Today we will leave La Paz and head to Ojo del Inca, the eye of an extinct volcano and a natural hot spring. In Ojo del Inca we will camp by the hot springs. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). About Ojo del Inca: Ojo del Inca (meaning "Eye of the Inca") is an almost perfectly-circular volcanic lake in the Tarapaya Canyon, which is becoming popular for visitors to the Potosí region.

Day 44 Potosi

Today we will head to the colonial mining town of Potosí, the highest town in the world, and once famous for the area's abundance of silver! We will have free time to explore Potosí, and there will be a chance to visit the infamous silver mines of Cerro Rico near to the town. In Potosí we will stay in a friendly local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 30 minutes-1 hour. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the claustrophobic tunnels of the Cerro Rico silver mines, an infamous mine orignally built by the Spanish BOB 110 Visit the the Casa de la Moneda museum in Potosí, to learn all about its colonial past and the silver that once flowed from the area BOB 60 About Potosí: Potosí is a colonial mining town, founded in the 16th Century after the Spanish discovered huge silver deposits in the nearby Cerro Rico mountain. Situated at over 4,000m altitude, high up on the Bolivian altiplano, the city can claim to be one of the highest in the world. Whilst in Potosí you can arrange to visit a mine that is still being worked, which offers a challenging and yet fascinating insight into how mining has shaped the history and culture of this town. Entering a dark maze of tunnels you will descend to four levels below, down to the work face where miners use hammers, chisels and dynamite, more reminiscent of the 1800s than the 21st Century, to dig out the remaining metal. Most of the silver here is long gone - it's tin the miners are looking for now. If you do choose to head down into the mines it's become a custom to take the miners gifts of dynamite, fuses and coca leaves in exchange for their stories of how their working conditions have not changed in centuries. Life is harsh for all who work here, but the mines have now all been organised into co-operatives and so at least today the men have a say in their own future. You should note that visiting these primitive mines is not for everybody as it is pretty tiring, you will be in enclosed spaces and it can be dangerous. Back in the city of Potosí itself, the winding streets are worth a wander. The town has a bit of an air of fading grandeur, many of it's beautiful colonial buildings and plazas having seen better days, but it's a fascinating place to explore nevertheless. You can also visit the "Casa de la Moneda", the old mint, which is a great place to learn more about Potosí's history and the story of the mines.

Day 45 Uyuni

Today we will drive south to Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. In Uyuni we will stay in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world! Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. About Uyuni: Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano, a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile - so it's hardly surprising that the town can have a bit of a wild-west feel about it. Uyuni is of course best known for being the gateway to the Bolivian salt flats known as the "Salar de Uyuni". Also nearby is the Train Cemetery, a graveyard for the carcasses of old steam engines that have been left here to rust - an other-worldly and eerie sight set in the bright altiplano sunshine against the background of the distant Salar.

Day 46 Salar De Uyuni

Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs! Activity Approximate Cost Take a full day tour out in jeeps to the dazzling Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats - the spectacular, perfectly-flat salt plains that are one of South America's most incredible sights Included in Kitty About Salar De Uyuni: The Salar de Uyuni is a truly unforgettable sight, and a landscape quite unlike anything you'll have seen anywhere else in the world! The Salar de Uyuni is a dazzling dry lake of over 12,000 sq. kms, made of blinding white interlocking salt crystals. It is the world's largest salt pan, and is bright white expanse that stretches as far as the eye can see - when there's a little bit of water on the flats, it reflects the bright blue sky of the altiplano perfectly, acting like a mirror and making the horizon disappear!

Day 47 Bolivian Altiplano

Today we will head off across the wilds of the Bolivian altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way to the Chilean border. We will visit the spectacular coloured lakes of Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde en route. In the Bolivian Altiplano we will stay in a basic mountain refuge. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Take the epic journey across the southern Bolivian altiplano - an incredible high-altitude, off-road adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations, hot springs, and the phenomenal coloured lakes of Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde Included in Kitty About Bolivian Altiplano: The high Bolivian altiplano stretches hundreds of kilometres from the small town of Uyuni out across to the borders with Argentina and Chile. This is real wilderness - there are no roads up here, just a few tracks to follow, and you're more likely to see a flamingo or llama than another human being! The only way to cross the altiplano is by travelling in a specialist expedition vehicle like one of our overland trucks. The crossing is an adventurous one - travelling across the high-altitude dirt tracks can be challenging and rough, and the trip from Uyuni to the border normally takes a couple of days - but it's without a doubt one of the most unforgettable journeys you'll ever make, as the landscape here is out of this world. Wild and remote, the high altiplano is made up of barren semi-desert open plains dotted by streams and lakes, many of which appear vividly coloured due to the mineral deposits in the water. The lakes are flanked by the impressive volcanic peaks of the high Bolivian Andes, which are awe-inspiringly beautiful and undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you'll ever see. You'll also pass a few remote villages, inhabited by Quechua farmers who try their best to eke out a living up here from the rough pasture, grazing a few llamas and alpacas. The altitude here is considerable and it can be very cold and windy. When travelling here you should be prepared for the cold temperatures. and it is worth making sure you have a really good quality sleeping bag.

Day 48 San Pedro De Atacama

( Day 8 to 9 ) Border information: Exit Bolivia at Uyuni, enter Chile at San Pedro de Atacama. Today we set off early from our altiplano refuge, cross the remainder of the Bolivian Altiplano, and then descend all the way into the Atacama desert. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon). In San Pedro de Atacama we will stay in a centrally located hostel. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the dramatic, other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley, and take in an incredible sunset from one of its high viewpoints Included in Kitty Observe the night skies through the powerful telescopes of the observatory in the Atacama Desert near San Pedro, and learn all about the heavens on a fascinating talk from one of the astronomers (not available during the week of a full moon) CLP 20000 Visit the incredible salt plains of the Salar de Atacama, and take a swim in the salty pools of Laguna Cejar CLP 2000 Take a tour of the stunning Lagunas Altiplánicas, backdropped by the incredible deserts and volcanic scenery of the region CLP 30000 Relax in the blissful natural volcanic hot s

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 12,935

Price Per Day:

$ 115 per day
 
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture Guaranteed 
Nov-10-2018Mar-01-2019$ 12,935Yes Reserve
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel
Details
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 22
Accomodations
Bush camping (7 nights),Camping (36 Nights),Homestay (1),Hostel (37 nights),Hotel (27 nights),Lodge (3 nights)
Start City
Quito
End City
Rio de Janeiro
Guides OUR DRAGOMAN CREW & GUIDES Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 8 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to 6 months on the road as a trainee. Our crew are trained to manage and operate the trip safely and efficiently and their duties include: planning the trip according to the itinerary, driving and maintaining the truck, securing services of local guides, general logistics, health and safety, liaising with bureaucracy, dealing with issues where needed and offering advice and support to our customers. In addition they have a basic knowledge of the places visited and will be able to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your tour leader is new to a particular region or training other crew, new to the area. On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. However on our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. On trips south of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes. In most other areas of Africa, the Americas, India and Turkey, in addition to our crew we will employ local guides in specific locations of interest (for just a few hours up to a few days). On the majority of our trips in Ethiopia, Sudan, Central Asia, China and South East Asia, in addition to our crew we will have a local guide on board who will travel with us for the entire duration of our time within one country. In these cases, the local guide becomes a third crew member and is able to offer their local knowledge as well as an insight into their country and the lives of the local people. Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.
Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Argentina Hotel
  • Rua Cruz Lima, No 30.
  • Flamengo
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • BRAZIL
  • Phone: +55 21 2558 7233

Trip ID#: intrepid-GDODC

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