Cross the heart of South America on this epic tour.

On your marks, get set, go! This incredible Overland adventure from Lima to Rio will blow your mind. Enjoy the cosmopolitan cool vibe of Buenos Aires, trek along an ancient Inca trail to marvellous Machu Picchu and experience life on Lake Titicaca. Discover diverse landscapes and ever changing terrain as you travel into the heart of the Bolivian salt flats, Brazilian forests, the lush Pantanal wetlands, the lofty Andean mountains and the thunderous Iguazu Falls. Along the way, meet gregarious locals and soak up the rich history of these phenomenal South American nations.

This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

Lima, Peru
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22
Carbon offset
1 673kg pp per trip


  • Marvel at the mysterious Nazca Lines
  • Watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu
  • Be charmed by Cuzco
  • Experience traditional life on Lake Titicaca
  • Be immersed in the colour of La Paz
  • Admire the salt flats of Bolivia
  • Sample Argentinean wine
  • Stay at a working cattle ranch
  • Savour the aromas of a traditional Argentine barbecue
  • Explore the wetlands of the Pantanal
  • Soak up a relaxed vibe on a Brazilian beach


Get acquainted with Lima, Peru's modern capital. There's plenty to see in this bustling city, from colonial mansions to vibrant plazas, fine museums and ornate churches.
Leave the city behind and travel south along the coast of Peru. Pitch a tent in Paracas, which spans over 335,000 hectares and is one of the world's most important marine reserves. Take a walk along the coastline and spot the vibrant birdlife Paracas is famous for.
Spot penguins, sea lions and boobies during a boat tour through the Ballestas Islands. Learn about the mysterious sand images on a Nazca Lines tour and perhaps take an overhead flight to fully appreciate the scale of this puzzling creation.
The windswept graves at the Chauchilla Cemetery display the eerie skeletons and mummified bodies of the Nazca people, some of which date from 1,000 AD. Camp overnight near Puerto Inca.
Explore the scenic city of Arequipa and perhaps stop by the Museo Santury to view Juanita, the ice princess. The body of this frozen Inca maiden is thought to be more than 500 years old, and was found at a sacrificial site on the summit of Nevado Ampato.
Try to spot the mighty Andean condors as they silently take to the sky thousands of metres above the floor of the breathtaking Colca Canyon.
Get to know a local family as guests at a homestay in Raqchi. Spend the evening huddled around a crackling fire, sharing a meal, and discovering traditional Peruvian song and dance.
Arrive in the city set high city in the mountains of Peru, Cuzco. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with massive Inca stone walls and Spanish-colonial architecture. Perhaps enjoy a traditional dance performance or sign up for one of the many adventure activities on offer in Cuzco, including quad-biking and whitewater rafting.
Relax amid the quaint cafes and cobblestone streets of Cuzco and take time to acclimatise to the soaring 3,400m altitude.
Follow ancient footpaths through the Andes on a four-day alternative Inca trail trek that winds through traditional Quechua communities. Pass soaring mountain peaks, trek amid grazing herds of llamas and camp beside ancient forests. Meet the locals and discover lesser-known Inca pathways before descending into the Sacred Valley to explore the massive Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo.
Rise early to discover the ruins of Machu Picchu bathed in the golden morning light. Spend a memorable day in the 'lost Inca city', perhaps hiking to the Sun Gate for the breathtaking views. For those wishing to unwind post-trek, seek out bustling markets and cosmopolitan Cuzco cafes.
Spot the ancient funerary towers of Sillustani rising from the windswept antiplano. Spend the night in Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Sailing across the glassy surface of Lake Titicaca is a memorable experience. Hike around the car-free Island of the Sun and discover its scenic heart. This island is widely believed to be the birthplace of Inca culture - there are plenty of ancient ruins and traditional villages to explore here.
Arrive in La Paz and set off on foot to explore the myriad of winding streets. La Paz is a colourful, enigmatic city, packed full of markets, restaurants and cultural attractions. Why not stay a few extra days to explore it.
Come to terms with one of the world's highest cities, negotiating its myriad alleyways and lively marketplaces. Verse yourself on the complications and controversies surrounding the coca plant on a visit to the Coca Museum. When evening settles in, head for one of La Paz's busy restaurant precincts and gorge on some fine Latin American fare.
Explore the small Andean village of Livichuco, a remote Bolivian retreat that few tourists get to experience. Be welcomed into the Aymara community and get introduced to their Qaqachaqa culture and cuisine.
The mining of Potosi's mineral wealth is said to have kept Spain running for 300 years. Delve into the country's nether regions on an optional tour of the mines in action and witness the harsh conditions that workers still toil under. Above ground, the city is a charming assortment of ornate churches, airy plazas and circuitous alleyways.
Arrive in Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, and fall witness to some astonishing horizons. All sense of scale, depth and perspective are rendered into oblivion by the endless expanse of chalky white crystals or the thin surface waters that reflect the heavens.
Journey across the Bolivian altiplano, past spectacular red water lakes and steaming volcanoes. Travel here can be rough going, but you'll be travelling through the heart and soul of Bolivia.
Cross into the stark and barren plateaus of northern Chile. Head out on a sunset excursion to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) of San Pedro de Atacama to see the other-worldly rock formations shedding their daytime hues.
Skip back across the border, this time into Argentina. Wander the elegant laneways of Salta and perhaps take the cable car to the top of Cerro San Bernardo – the surrounding mountain panoramas are simply superb.
Nestled in a picturesque valley of the Andean foothills, Cafayate makes a welcoming retreat. Learn about local wine production on an optional vineyard tour through the surrounding countryside. And if you think it's too hot for drinking wine, why not try your favourite drop as an ice cream – a town specialty.
Drive through the beautiful Argentine landscape to the Tucuman province. Camp overnight near the Quilmes ruins – an ancient city whose inhabitants were able to withstand Spanish advances for more than a century.
Pitch a tent on a working cattle farm and experience traditional Argentine hospitality and ranch life first-hand. Enjoy a famous asado barbecue, best washed down with some local reds. Head out on horseback on an exploration of the vast pampas, or maybe stop by a local school to meet the kids.
Travel to Cordoba and admire what's widely regarded as the finest colonial architecture in Argentina. Enjoy getting lost amid the scenic streets, vibrant cafe scene and eclectic galleries of this intoxicating university city.
From sophisticated tango classes to raucous football games, it's impossible not to be seduced by the passion and spirit of Argentina's sultry capital. Venture out on a shopping spree in the funky Palermo Soho neighbourhood during the day and party 'til the wee hours among Argentina's hippest of hip bars.
Get cracking exploring the historical spoils, cosmopolitan culture and sumptuous cuisine of Argentina's dashing capital, Buenos Aires. Spend the day rubbing shoulders with the city's stylish residents. You'd be hard-pressed to find a local populace prouder of their city – and for good reason.
Drive towards the western shore of the Uruguayan River and settle in for a night under the stars at a bush camp on the border town of Concordia.
Journey on for another night's camping at the Jesuit mission town of San Ignacio Mini. There'll be time to explore the town's ruins and cemetery to learn something of its history.
The series of cataracts comprising the mighty Iguazu Falls, are a breathtaking spectacle to behold. To gain a full appreciation of their size and power, take in the cascades from both the Argentine and Brazilian banks. Or, for the ultimate vantage point, splash out on a helicopter ride over the top.
The ecotourism capital of Brazil awaits at Bonito, where the list of optional activities include hiking scenic forest trails and snorkelling among colourful river fish. For even more exhilarating adventures, why not try caving, horse riding, abseiling or white-water rafting.
The Panatanal wetlands are the largest in the world – and one of the most incredible places to spot some truly exotic wildlife. Keep on the lookout for macaws, giant otters, anteaters and caiman.
The tiny town of Brotas serves as Brazil's very own adventure sports hub. Why not explore the region's staggering natural wonders, canyoning, white-water rafting, or on a horseback ride.
Sitting between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Paraty is one of the world's best preserved Portuguese colonial towns. While away the hours here on a walk along its beautiful secluded beaches, island hopping by boat or scuba diving the depths of its crystal clear waters.
Be prepared for the frivolities of a city that needs very little of an introduction – rollicking Rio. Brazil's former capital is a staggering city that thumps, grooves and grinds around the clock. Get your booty shaking to samba, your body baking on its famous sands, or head up to Christ the Redeemer for a lordly view of earthy splendour.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Boat, Jeep, Overland vehicle, Train
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (23 nights), Hacienda (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hostel (3 nights), Hotel (26 nights)
Included activities
  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Ballestas Island tour
  • Boat trip
  • Chauchilla cemetery
  • Colca Canyon Tour
  • Isla del Sol boat trip
  • Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Jesuit Mission ruins and museum, San Ignacio de Mini
  • Paracas National Park
  • Quilmes Ruins
  • Raqchi Artisan Centre and ruins
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
  • Valle de la Luna Excursion
  • Vineyard Tour
  • Visit Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)
  • Visit Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)


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This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

For information about altitude sickness click here

Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
3. You need to choose whether you wish to hike the Classic Inca Trail or the Quechua Community Trek at the time of booking. If you do not indicate a preference, the Quechua Community Trek will be confirmed automatically.

Classic Inca Trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Classic Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you will be booked on the Quechua Community Trek instead.

The Classic Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Quechua Community Trek .

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes