Rio to Quito via Ushuaia Trip Notes

    • 112
    • GDOEC
    • 4.00 out of 5
    • Trip Price tool tip
      USD $7,175
      CAD $7,330
      AUD $6,735
      EUR €5,465
      GBP £4,475
      NZD $8,870
      ZAR R68,070
      CHF FR6,415
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $3,900
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $11,075*
      CAD $11,555*
      AUD $11,046*
      EUR €8,315*
      GBP £7,058*
      NZD $13,484*
      ZAR R109,541*
      CHF FR9,866*
      *
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    • Overland
    • Basix
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‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
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Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014
Rio to Quito via Ushuaia
Trip code: GDOEC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Get set for the ultimate South American odyssey. Covering six countries over 112 amazing days, this epic adventure incorporates all the highlights of this mighty continent: spectacular scenery, magnificent ruins, fascinating culture and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Head south from sun-kissed Rio to amazing Argentina. Sip world-class wines in Chile and marvel at Bolivia's vast salt flats. Follow in the footsteps of the Incas in Peru and discovering the irresistible charm of Ecuador. 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.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationSafety
Culture shock rating Meals introductionTravel insurance
Physical ratingMealsResponsible Travel
Physical preparationTransportA couple of rules
Included activitiesGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
KittyJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland
Map
Rio to Quito via Ushuaia
Itinerary
Day 1 Rio de Janeiro
Bem-Vindos! Welcome to Brazil.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 6pm.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
The locals like to say that 'God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio'. In this heaving metropolis, set against the luminescent green of Guanabara Bay and surrounded by the slopes of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado, it's hard not to be caught up in the Cariocas' (residents) passion.
The French were the first to settle here as they logged wood along the Brazilian coast, but they were soon driven out by the Portuguese, who built a fortified town, naming it Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and quickly amassed wealth in the gold rush of Minas Gerais. In the 19th century, the Portuguese monarchy fled from the threat of Napoleon in Europe to Rio where they built grand buildings, still in existence today. These days Rio is known best for its contrasting images of favelas (shanty towns) and the glitz and glamour of Carnaval.
Rio is deservedly famous for its live music scene, which encompasses myriad styles such as samba, jazz, bossa nova, hip hop, reggae, rock and many other fusions of regional styles. The neighbourhood of Lapa offers great dance halls where you can join locals in doing some serious dancing - or just soak up the vibe.
For some seriously eye-popping people watching, head down to the white sand beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema - skimpy bathing suits optional.
As there is a great deal to do in Rio we recommend extending your time here to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist in booking extra nights accommodation.
Optional Activities
  • Sugar Loaf cable car - BRL53
  • Christ the Redeemer cable car - BRL48
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Paraty
This morning we will visit a favela and a project we support in Rio, project Morrinho.
Morrinho is a 300m2 model favela created by children living in the local Pereira da Silva community, from recycled materials such as bricks, scrap metal and wood. The model was started in 1998 by Nelcirlan Souza de Oliveira and, when his friends became involved, the ‘play set’ gained considerable size. The reproduction of favela life in their model is so accurate that it has gained a world wide reputation appearing on Brazilian TV and has been the subject of a documentary which is now on sale. Morrinho has even been recognised by many art critics as an expression of contemporary art. The model is now being used to generate money by NGO Morrinho, a charity that provides professional qualifications to the residents of the Pereirão Community through workshops, including audiovisual production; art-education; Brazilian culture; and youth and citizenship. The charity is also involved in utilising the project as a film set, which has raised awareness of how harsh life is for shanty town dwellers.
Phttp://elements.intrepidtravel.com/Images/Form/reorderListDragHandler.pnglease note that for trips starting in Rio straight after Carnaval will not visit the Morrinho Project.
After lunch we'll drive 235 km along the Emerald Coast to Paraty where we spend 3 nights at a beachside campsite with facilities. There is plenty of free time to explore. Perhaps take a boat trip out to a small island to go snorkelling or diving.
Sitting between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Paraty is one of the world's best preserved Portuguese colonial towns. This World Heritage-listed town was originally settled in 1531 on the opposite side of the river but in the 17th century the Indians who lived on the current site were driven away and the town moved. Paraty later became a booming port town, famous for its sugar cane liquor but after the abolition of slavery it was slowly forgotten. With the opening of new roads, the town was 'rediscovered' and declared a national monument.
The patron saint of Paraty is Our Lady of the Medicines. Three hundred years ago a wealthy benefactor donated land for a church in her honour. In return, she asked only for an annual mass. Each year a wooden effigy of the virgin, adorned with silver is carried in a procession through the town during the Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios.
At high tide, some of Paraty's cobblestone streets are partly covered in sea water, adding to the rustic, colonial charm. The water of the bay is always right for swimming and the surrounding national parks are filled with trails, wildlife and waterfalls.
Included Activities
  • Boat trip
Optional Activities
  • Scuba Diving, Parati - USD95
  • Buggy hire ful day (Parati) - BRL85
  • Mountain Bike hire full day, Parati - BRL13
  • Morrinho Project Tour - USD96
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 5-6 Brotas
Today we drive 560 km to the remote town of Brotas in south east Brazil. The afternoon is free for adventure activities and we stay in a campsite with facilities
Located in southeast Brazil, in the state of Sao Paulo, the remoteness of Brotas has meant that the forests surrounding this isolated town are teeming with species crucial to the maintenance of global biodiversity. The perfect location in which to experience untouched natural environments, Brotas has subsequently become an important destination in Brazilian eco-tourism. Alongside those visiting to enjoy the remarkable fauna that inhabit this area, Brotas is gradually acquiring a reputation for the quality of the adventure activities that are on offer such as horse riding and canyoning, rafting and kayaking.
The following day is free for adventure activities such as white water rafting.
Optional Activities
  • Half Day Canyoning, Brotas - BRL45
  • Half Day White Water Rafting, Brotas - BRL60
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 7 Campo Grande
We overland 650 km towards Bonito, our base for the Pantanal trip. We find somewhere to bush camp for the night along the way.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 8-10 Pantanal
We spend the next 3 days in Brazil's amazing southern Pantanal. From our ranch base we explore the surrounding area on horseback, from boats and canoes, from farm trucks, and on foot, staying in shared accommodation. The last night is spent at a campsite in Bonito.
About the size of France, the Pantanal is the world's largest wetland area and one of the best wildlife spotting places on the continent. Sixty-five million years ago, the Pantanal was an inland sea that gradually dried out. These days the vast alluvial plain is seasonally flooded by the Paraguay River, giving a home to a wonderfully diverse wildlife. Jabirus and macaws are frequently spotted and with any luck we'll see howler monkeys, giant otters, anteaters, macaws and caiman (although hopefully not too close).
Unfortunately, the area's fantastic wildlife has brought some unwanted attention. Although a portion of the wetlands has been designated as a national park, poachers still kill up to two million animals here annually.
Included Activities
  • Two night Pantanal adventure
Accommodation
Hacienda (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Bonito
These are non-driving days where you have free time to enjoy the range of activities available in Bonito such as snorkelling, rafting or a jungle trek.
The area around the small town of Bonito really is unique. Its main attractions are its crystal clear rivers, springs and caves, not to mention the abundant wildlife, which includes monkeys, alligators, anaconda, over 30 varieties of fish and tremendous birdlife. Unsurprisingly, the town is often described as the "ecotourism capital of Brazil". There are endless activities on offer, from spectacular walks through the surrounding hills and forest, to caving, horse-riding, abseiling, and snorkelling. Many of the best attractions are on private land and the area is being very carefully managed in order as to protect the wildlife and habitats found here.
Optional Activities
  • Prata River Snorkelling, Bonito - BRL125
  • Rafting - USD15
  • Sucuri River - Snorkelling - BRL90
  • Horminio Waterfall - USD1
  • Guided trip to Blue Lake Cave - BRL56
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-15 Iguazu Falls
Full day 800 km drive to Foz de Iguazu where we stay at an excellent campsite with facilities and a pool.
Close to the borders with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguazu is Brazil's gateway to the Iguazu Falls.
As well as the magnificent waterfalls, there's also a great bird park in Foz, where you can see many of Brazil's native species, including toucans and macaws. You can also visit the incredible Itaipu Dam, a vast concrete edifice that spans the Rio Parana and has been described as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
The following day is a non-driving day. There is free time to enjoy the famous Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, with a range of activities available.
At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in all, and with some reaching up to 80m in height, they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara. Legend has it that a serpent god intended to marry a beautiful girl called Naipi. She escaped in a canoe with her mortal lover Caroba and in a jealous rage the god chased them, collapsing the river before them so that Naipi plunged over the falls to become a rock, while Caroba became a tree, forever unable to touch his love. A more scientific explanation is that the Rio Iguazu flows over a riverbed of basalt that ends where the lava cooled, leaving the water to fall. The falls were 'discovered' in the modern day by the Spaniard Juan Alvar Nunez who named them Saltos de Santa Maria. The name we know them by today means 'Great Waters' in the Tupi-Guarani tongue.
Bordering Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, these spectacular falls are a great sight to see.
The Brazilian park features a number of cleverly constructed walkways that allow you to get right out over the water up close to the falls themselves - and you will often be able to see fantastic rainbows forming as the sun catches the spray. If you want the ultimate waterfall experience, you can also organise helicopter flights here, where you'll be taken out right over the horseshoe of the falls, giving you a spectacular view of this natural wonder from a totally different perspective.
The next day we drive 60 km across the border to see Iguazu Falls from the Argentinean side. We stay outside Puerto Iguazu in hostel accommodation (mixed dorms) with good facilities and a pool.
Included Activities
  • Visit Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)
  • Visit Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)
Optional Activities
  • Bird Park - BRL28
  • Helicopter Ride, Iguazu Falls - USD110
  • Helicopter Ride - USD110
  • Boat and 4WD adventure, Iquazu Falls - ARS300
  • Boat Trip, Iguazu Falls - ARS180
  • Itaipu Dam tour, Iguazu Falls - BRL25
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 16 San Ignacio Mini
We drive 270 km drive to the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio de Mini. We spend the night in a campsite with good facilities.
The small town of San Ignacio Mini was once the centre of a Jesuit mission and its ruins can still be seen today. The buildings are very well preserved and include a church, cemetery and monastery and provide an interesting insight to the history of this area.
Included Activities
  • Jesuit Mission ruins and museum, San Ignacio de Mini
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 17-20 Bush Camp/Buenos Aires
Today we have a full day, 560 km drive towards Buenos Aires. En route we find somewhere to bush camp for the night.
We set off early the next morning, driving 415 km into the capital, Buenos Aires, arriving late in the afternoon. Here we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. There are many optional activities to enjoy here.
Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style all of its own, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of BA, which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own style.
If you're in Buenos Aires for a weekend, visit San Telmo for its antiques market and artists displays. La Boca, settled by waves of immigrants who built brightly painted buildings, is home to the world-class Boca Juniors football team. Recoleta is the place to browse museums with Buenos Aires' well-to-do. There are many sights in the heart of the city with churches, cathedrals and historic buildings aplenty.
When you've finished exploring, settle down at one of the many streetside cafes and prepare yourself for a night of tango at one of the many milongas.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
Optional Activities
  • Recoleta - Free
  • Gran Cafe Tortoni Show - ARS150
  • Football Ticket - USD150
  • Tango Show - ARS230
  • Visit Montevideo (Uruguay), Buenos Aires - USD140
  • Visit Colonia (Uruguay), Buenos Aires - USD80
  • Teatro Colon - ARS110
  • City Tour, Buenos Aires - USD10
  • Tango show - ARS1050
  • City tour (half day) - USD10
  • BA Colonia Hydrofoil - USD75
  • BA Montevideo - USD106
  • City tour (full day) - USD20
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 21 Bush Camp
We head of BA and drive almost 700 km across the pampas. Tonight we will bush camp along the coast somewhere near Monte Hermoso.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 22-23 Puerto Madryn
Full day, 750 km drive to Puerto Madryn where we stay at a campsite with facilities.
Puerto Madryn is a port town on the Atlantic coast of Argentina, gateway to the Valdez Peninsula, known for its wildlife. The town is also popular with locals as a beach destination and it can become quite busy in summer months with Argentinian holiday-makers. The original settlers here were Welsh, founding the port and colonising the Chubut River valley. Some of the smaller communities are still fiercely Welsh, retaining many of the original immigrants traditions and customs, and in places like Gaiman you can even go for a Welsh afternoon tea in one of the local tea houses. Whilst the Welsh language was kept alive for over four generations, it is now gradually dying out, although the area still offers an interesting insight into the lives of the people who landed here during the latter part ofthe last century.
The following day we have a guided day trip to the Valdez Peninsula to see its abundant marine life. There is also the option of a boat trip to see whales and dolphins, if time allows.
The Valdez Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic close to the Argentinian town of Puerto Madryn, at the northern edges of Patagonia. The area is protected as a wildlife sanctuary as it provides an important habitat for whales, penguins, seals and sea lions as well as a lot of land animals such as Patagonian foxes, guanacos and hairy armadillos. Exploring the peninsula there are various spots where the various different animals can be seen. You can also take a boat trip that will get you even closer to some of these magnificent aquatic mammals, often the dolphins and whales you will see will only be a few feet away.
Optional Activities
  • Whale Boat Trip - USD20
  • Valdez Peninsula - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 24 Camarones
It is a 370 km drive to Camarones with a visit to one of Patagonia's Welsh villages en route. We will stay at a campsite with facilities.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 25 Atlantic Bush Camp
Today we overland through spectacular scenery as we follow the Atlantic coast, bushcamping tonight on our way to El Chalten. There is plenty to see and do as we go, such as a visit to Cabo dos Bahias Magellan penguin colony.
Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías are both important nesting sites for large colonies of Magellanic penguins; Camarones alone is home to around 25,000. Between September and April, the penguins come to these sites to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration. Each couple stand in front of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food.
Included Activities
  • Penguin Colony
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 26-27 Perito Moreno Glacier/El Calafate
Today we drive through incredible scenery to El Calafate. We stay in dorm accommodation in a comfortable hostel.
El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling small town atmosphere thanks to a growing tourist trade. Most people base themselves here whilst visiting the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia.
The following day we have a guided visit to view the stunning Moreno Glacier.
If Patagonia is synonymous with jaw-droppingly beautiful mountain scenery, then the Perito Moreno Glacier certainly doesn't disappoint. This incredible glacier is the highlight of the southern region of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, a spectacular wall of ice over 60 m tall above the water and 5 km wide. One of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating, you can stand on one of the many catwalks and marvel at the glacier, listening to it creak and watching as enormous chunks crash into the water. It's also possible to take a short boat trip out onto the lake in order to get up even closer to the face of the glacier itself.
Optional Activities
  • Boat Trip Moreno Glacier - USD15
  • Moreno Glacier - Free
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 28-32 Torres del Paine National Park
Today's drive takes us 400 km into Chile and to Torres del Paine National Park. Here we stay at a campsite with facilities.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it's also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.
The best way to explore is definitely to get out there on foot or perhaps on horse-back. The park is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes, or by doing a circular hike like the W-walk, taking a few days and stopping off at the parks refugios or camping along the way. Horse-riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoe in season.
Four days to to explore Torres del Paine National Park. Lots of opportunity for short day walks, or take on the challenging 'W' walk. This is a beautiful part of Patagonia and a highlight for many travellers. We camp at the lake unless you decide to undertake the ‘W’ Walk. If you do decide to do the 'W' walk then tonight will be the first night you will need to book a refugio.
THE W WALK:
The W Walk is an optional activity which we can pre-book for you. Ask your agent for the price.The W involves 4 full days trekking and 3 overnight stays away from the truck. When you are considering whether or not this trek is for you, it is important to bear in mind that you will have to carry your own personal effects for the duration of the trek, e.g. sleeping mat, sleeping bag, clothes for 4 days, toiletries, snacks, water, etc.
If you do choose to hike the W Walk you spend your first night in the park with your group and the truck at the campsite by the lake. The next day the whole group will take a ferry across Lake Pehoe, walk to Glacier Grey, and then head to the Paine Grande campsite for the night. The following day the trekking group will split from the group and head off on the trek for two nights hiking the French Valley, Los Cuernos, and towards Las Torres campsite, rejoining the group on the last day in the park, where we will all walk up the Torres together.
Included Activities
  • Torres del Paine National Park
Optional Activities
  • Zodiac Boat Trip along Rio Serrano - CLP20000
  • Lago Pehoe Ferry (essential to get to some trailheads) - USD25
  • Minibus transfers to trailheads within Torres del Paine National Park - USD10
  • Refugio (Hostel) overnight stay - USD30
  • Zodiac Boat Trip Natales to Serrano - CLP65000
  • Grey Glacier Boat Trip - USD68
  • Horse Riding - USD47
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (5 nts)
Day 33 Magellan Straits
Today we have a 500 km drive, including ferry crossing of the infamous Magellan Straits, and into Argentina where we bush camp.
Separating Tierra del Fuego from mainland Argentina are the infamous Magellan Straits. This treacherous stretch of water is about 500 km long and takes its name from the explorer Magellan who first navigated these waters in 1520. It was the only ship out of a total of 17 attempting the passage that successfully managed to reach the Pacific. Before the Panama Canal was built, the Straits provided a useful route between Chile, Peru and Europe, and though they are less important as a major shipping route today, they still see a fair amount of traffic.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 34-36 Ushuaia
A 230 km drive takes us to a two night stay in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world. We stay at a campsite with facilities.
Ushuaia, affectionately known as 'fin del mundo' (end of the world) due to being the southern most city of the world, has a lot to offer. A relatively small city of 42,000 people, it is easy to find your way around. Av. San Martin and the surrounding streets is where you will find most hotels and tourist services. Here you can stroll along and visit the shops, museums and restaurants. From Av. San Martin the streets start to run uphill. From the top of these streets you will have a good view of the Beagle Channel.
The following day we enjoy a half day excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Tierra del Fuego ('Land of Fire') is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town, Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote,with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. Originally the home of theYamana and Ona Indians, sadly there are not any indigenous communities left here. The people who inhabit Tierra del Fuego today are the descendants of the colonial settlers who came here from Europe in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mostly from Britain, Spain and Yugoslavia.
Included Activities
  • Tierra del Fuego National Park
Optional Activities
  • Boat Trip on Beagle Channel - ARS230
  • Light plane flight - USD65
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 37 Magellan Straits
We cross the Magellan Straits by ferry and then continue driving up towards El Chalten, stopping to bush camp overnight.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 38-40 El Chalten/Los Glaciares National Park
Reaching El Chalten we spend the night at a campsite with facilities.
The clouds that form around the summit of the surrounding mountains were mistaken for smoke, which gave the name "Chalten" which means volcano. The picturesque landscape is a perfect place for hiking, as there is so much to explore and the rewards of constant beautiful sights gives a perfect reason to hike.
The next two days are free to explore the Fitzroy Range in Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten. A range of activities are available, from hiking and glacier trekking to horse riding.
Los Glaciares National Park is probably home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Argentina, if not South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot. There are plenty of well established trails through the park and maps can be picked up locally, so you can plan a short walk that will just take you a couple of hours, or the more adventurous might choose to hike out for a whole day or even overnight. Los Glaciares covers a massive area and there are two main gateways to the park; to the south, El Calafate provides access to Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding area, then in the North, the small town of El Chalten can be used as a base to explore the Fitzroy Mountains and Lake Viedma and its glacier.
Included Activities
  • Los Glaciares National Park
Optional Activities
  • Horse Riding (2 hours), El Chaton - ARS120
  • Boat Trip Lake Viedma - USD55
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 41 Bush Camp
We continue our overland journey across the Patagonian steppe, spending the night bushcamping.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 42 Rio Pinturas
A morning drive takes us to Rio Pinturas. In the afternoon we visit the Unesco site Cueva de las Manos.
The world heritage site of Cueva de las Manos lies in an isolated spot in the valley of Rio Pinturas. The cave takes its name from the hundreds of paintings of hands made by it's indigenous inhabitants some 9000 years ago - possibly the forefathers of the Tehuelche people. As well as the hand impressions, there are also depictions of of human beings, guanaco, rhea and other animals, as well as representations of the sun, moon and hunting scenes.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 43 Esquel
Today we travel a full day (650 km) through the Argentinean lake district to Esquel, where we stay at a campsite with facilities. If time allows we will go and visit a Welsh tea house in the nearby village of Trevellin.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 44-46 Bariloche
Drive 320 km to the mountain resort town of Bariloche, where we stay in dorm rooms in a comfortable hostel.
A year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, Bariloche sits on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Outdoor activities range from skiing on the peaks of Cerro Catedral (in season), to hiking or biking around its base.
One of Bariloche's renowned pastimes is dining: find a comfortable café and try the fresh salmon or lake trout, or even a hearty beef parrillada. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops.
The next two days are free in Bariloche to get involved in a range of optional activities from mountain biking to horse riding.
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Island boat trip - ARS75
  • Bariloche, Horse Riding - ARS160
  • Mountain Bike hire, Bariloche - ARS45
Accommodation
Hostel (3 nts)
Days 47-49 Pucon
We have a 410 km drive across the border and into Chile's Lake District. Tonight we stay in Pucon at a campsite with facilities.
In the heart of the Lake District and set on the foot of the active Volcan Villarrica, Pucon is every outdoors fanatic's dreamland. Mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding - you name it, you can do it in Pucon. There's even a casino, inside the luxurious Hotel del Lago, and a busy nightlife.
The next two days are free to explore Pucon and the surrounding area. There are a range of optional activities available, from hiking to hot springs.
Optional Activities
  • Hiking PN Huerquehue (full day) - CLP22000
  • Pozones Thermal Springs trip - CLP10000
  • Rafting on Tancura River - USD40
  • Villarica Volcano climb - CLP45000
  • Horse riding - CLP21000
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 50 Salto del Laja
After a 320 km drive we reach the wine growing region of Salto de Laja, where we stay at a campsite with facilities.
Salto de Laja is a small resort town named after the four impressive arch-like waterfalls formed here by the cascading Laja river. It is easy to see the waterfalls by crossing a bridge from the main road through town, or if you have time you may be able to experience the spray from below on a river-boat trip during Chilean holiday season. Salto de Laja town is a small place, popular with Chilean tourists during the summer months, so there are lots of campsites, hotels and cabanas here. It's a pleasant place to break the journey between Santiago and Pucon, gateway to the Chilean lake district and Patagonia.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 51-52 Santiago
Full day 520 km drive to the capital, Santiago, arriving late in the afternoon. En route we will visit a vineyard for optional wine tasting. We stay the night in a good centrally located hotel allowing for optional activities the following day.
Although Santiago covers a large area, the city centre is quite compact and easy to get around. The city's centre is roughly triangular in shape with the Plaza de Armas, the main plaza and home to the Cathedral, sitting in the centre. Panning out from here are wall-to-wall shops, restaurants and parks. For a more serene look at Chilean life, head out to Barrio Bella Vista, Santiago's 'Paris Quarter'.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Cerro San Cristobal cable car - CLP1800
  • Miguel Torres Winery Tour and Tasting - CLP5000
  • Condor Trip (half day), Santiago - CLP19000
  • Wine tour - CLP6000
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 53-54 Mendoza
Today we head out of Santiago and cross the Argentine border to Mendoza, famous for its vineyards. Indulge in a little wine-tasting or perhaps try rafting or mountain biking. We stay here in a centrally located hostel.
Mendoza is Argentina's most important grape growing region, producing 70% of the country's wine. Malbec is the region's signature variety.
The city centre is beautifully landscaped and full of trees, squares and parks. During the day Peatonal Sarmiento (Sarmiento pedestrian street) is the place to be. This coffee shop-lined street joins the busy San Martin St with Plaza Independencia making it a must destination for all mendocinos coming to the city. Near Plaza Independencia is Mercado Central (Central Market) a great destination to try the regional specialities such as empanadas (meat pastries), cheese, ham, marinated olives and local wines. Most commercial activity in Mendoza breaks from 1pm to 4pm to allow for the traditional siesta.
At night, attentions shifts to Av. Aristides Villanueva. The many restaurants, bars and pubs make this area the epicentre of Mendoza's night life. If you're feeling adventurous, try one of the most popular drinks in town: Fernet with Coke - a bitter alcoholic cocktail.
Optional Activities
  • Rafting, Mendoza - ARS145
  • Cultural Tour, Mendoza - USD15
  • Mountain Biking, Mendoza - USD20
  • Winery tour - ARS105
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 55-58 Estancia Stay
Leaving Mendoza we head east towards Rio Ceballos. We spend the first night bush camping along the way.
The following day we make the 300 km journey to an Anglo-Argentinian estancia. We camp within the grounds of the estancia and spend time with the gauchos learning their skills, hiking and enjoying a traditional asado, an Argentinian barbecue.
The estancia has been in the same family for four generations, and is a working cattle ranch, farming the prized Argentinian Aberdeen Angus cattle. Here we will sample traditional hospitality, with great food straight from the farm. An asado or Argentinian barbecue with local wines will also be enjoyed on one of our nights here.
The visit to the estancia is based on horse riding excursions and daily expeditions will be arranged to ride through the hills to neighbouring estancias. The horses are fabulous and even the most horse-fearing will feel like gauchos in a short time. For those who do not wish to ride, alternative hikes or perhaps cycling trips can be arranged.
Please note that the estancia impose a weight restriction of 95kg for the horse riding activities. If you weigh more than this you may not be able to participate in this activity.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 59 Quilmes
Today we drive 335 km to a campsite via the National Jesuit Museum. We also visit the Quilmes ruins en route.
The ruins of Quilmes are located in Tucaman province in north west Argentina. The people of Quilmes were an indigenous tribe who inhabited this area as far back as AD 1000, resisting Inca invasions in the 15th and 16th centuries, and even holding out against the Spanish for over one hundred years before finally succumbing to a siege in 1667. After the siege the Spanish took the area over, deporting the few surviving indigenous people to a reservation near Buenos Aires. The 2000 remaining Quilmes people were forced to make this 1500 km journey on foot, which meant that many died along the way. At its height, the city we see the ruins of here would have housed nearly 5000 people. Today there are only a handful of Quilmes descendants left in Tucaman. It is interesting to wander among the ruins here today and imagine the city that once would have been.
Included Activities
  • Quilmes Ruins
Optional Activities
  • National Jesuit Museum - ARS5
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 60 Cafayate
We head 370 km to Cafayate, lying at the centre of Argentina's principal wine producing region. Here we will visit a vineyard, before spending the night at a campsite with good facilities.
Cafayate is a small town in north west Argentina, and an important wine growing area. The surrounding vineyards produce some of the best quality wine in South America, and you should look out for the torrontes in particular - a distinctive white wine that is typically Argentinian and similar in style to a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. Cafayate itself is small with a sleep laidback feel, although it can become busy during Argentinian holiday periods. Many of the local bodegas offer tastings and tours of their wine cellars and this is easily organised while you are here. Also worth seeking out is the local ice cream parlour which, together with the more usual flavours, offers red and white wine ice cream. If wine is not your thing, the area's gently undulating terrain makes for pleasant hiking and cycling.
Included Activities
  • Vineyard Tour
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 61-62 Salta
Driving 175 km we head to the fine Spanish colonial city of Salta, where we stay in a simple hotel in the centre of town.
Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, surrounding natural attractions and friendly locals make this town of half a million people one of Argentina's main attractions. The central square, Plaza 9 de Julio, has been called the nicest plaza in all of Argentina, with its lush gardens, fountains, statues and beautiful white buildings including the Cabildo, Cathedral and Casa del Gobierno (Government House).
The next two days are free for you to explore Salta. There are plenty of optional activities available.
Optional Activities
  • Rafting - ARS275
  • Tren de las Nubes - USD70
  • Abseiling, Salta - ARS45
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 63-64 San Pedro de Atacama
A full day's drive of 550 km takes us across the Chilean border to the town of San Pedro de Atacama where we will spend the night at a campsite. We will visit the extraordinary Moon Valley, hopeful of a stunning sunset. In the evening there is also the chance to go stargazing (not possible when there is a full moon).
San Pedro is a small oasis town in the Atacama desert. It is a quirky little place with low-lying adobe buildings lining narrow streets which lead to a sleepy tree-lined plaza that is home of a pretty white-washed church and a fascinating small museum, home to some interesting mummies and various other Indian artefacts.
Pleasant though the town is, the real attraction here is the surrounding landscape. This part of the Atacama has become well-known as a tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery. Perhaps most well known is the unusual desert landscape of Moon Valley, just a short distance outside San Pedro, where other-worldly rock formations, unusual layer-cake landscapes and huge dunes combine to create some incredible views.
Included Activities
  • Valle de la Luna Excursion
Optional Activities
  • Observatory - USD35
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 65 Bolivian Altiplano
Today's drive takes us 150 km towards Uyuni, seeing Laguna Colorado and Verde along the way. We spend the night in a basic hostel on the 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 are 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 trucks, or local jeeps. The crossing is an adventurous one, with no roads to speak of. It is rough travelling and the trip from Uyuni to the border normally takes a couple of days, but it is without a doubt one of the most unforgettable journeys you'll ever make.
The altitude here is considerable and it can be very cold and windy. When travelling here you should be prepared for very cold temperatures and it is worth making sure you have a really good quality sleeping bag.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 66-68 Uyuni/Salar de Uyuni
We drive 320 km to Uyuni, the gateway to the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. We spend the night in a friendly hotel serving the highest pizzas in the world.
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 has a bit of a wild west feel about it. Uyuni is best known for its proximity to the Bolivian salt flats known locally as the Salar de Uyuni.
The following day is spent out on a jeep tour on the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni.
The Bolivian salt flats are a truly unforgettable sight. This is a landscape unlike anything you're likely to have ever seen before. The Salar de Uyuni is a dry lake of over 12,000 sq km, made of blinding white interlocking salt crystals. It is Bolviia's largest salt pan and when there's a little water on the flats, it reflects the bright blue sky of the altiplano perfectly, acting like a mirror and making the horizon disappear. When dry, the Salar becomes a blinding white expanse that stretches for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. Great for all those perspective-bending photographs.
Included Activities
  • Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 69-70 Potosi
An early morning drive of some 190 km brings us to the colonial mining town of Potosi, where we stay in a local friendly hotel.
While in Potosi you can arrange to visit a mine that is still being worked, which offers a challenging and 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 has become a custom to take the miners gifts of dynamite, fuses and coca leaves in exchange for their stories. Life is harsh for all who work here but the mines have now all been organised into a cooperative so at least today the men have a say in their own future. You should be aware 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.
If you would rather stay above ground, Potosi has a wealth of colonial art and architecture to explore. You can also visit the Casa de la Moneda (the mint) which is a great place to learn more about Potosi's history and the mines.
Optional Activities
  • Cerro Rico Mine Tour - BOB100
  • Casa de la Moneda - BOB40
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 71-72 La Paz
We leave the Livichuco community after breakfast and drive through the Andes and wild altiplano to the fascinating city of La Paz, arriving late afternoon. We stay in a good quality hotel in central La Paz.
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.
The old town is full of markets and winding cobbled streets full of people selling anything and everything you could ever think of. Different areas of the city have established markets selling things you'd expect like food and flowers, and also things you've probably never seen before - check out the dried llama foetuses on sale in the Witches' Market!
There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, from playing a round of golf at the highest golf course in the Americas or trekking through the Yungas. You can also arrange excursions to Mount Chacaltaya and Moon Valley to take in the superlative mountain views. Another option is to visit the Tihuanacu ruins which are a short journey away. The city is also full of impressive churches and museums, including one dedicated to the history of the coca plant.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Round of golf - USD100
  • Chacaltaya & Moon Valley Tour - USD16
  • Mountain Biking on La Paz to Coroico Road, La Paz - USD55
  • Tiawanaku tour - USD26
  • Witches' Market - Free
  • Coca Museum - BOB8
  • City Tour and Moon Valley - USD16
  • Coca Museum - BOB10
  • City Tour - USD16
  • Downhill Mountain Biking, La Paz - USD55
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 73-74 Copacabana
This morning there is a chance to explore La Paz before a 200 km drive brings us to the town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We spend the night in a hotel near the lake.
A picturesque town on the shores of Lake Titicaca with an amazing Moorish-style cathedral, Copacabana is a great place to people watch especially if you're there over a weekend or on one of the many festivals. On Sundays the town fills with the faithful believers who walk up Cerro Calvario (the hill guarding the town) to make their dreams come true. At the top of the hill numerous stalls sell all manner of miniature material goods from cars and buses through to houses and graduation certificates. The selected items are taken to a small alter where they are blessed, decorated with flowers and petals, incense is burnt and finally beer is sprayed over the whole ensemble. A fascinating insight into local beliefs, as is the blessing of the vehicles in front of the cathedral.
Today is a non-driving day with an all day visit to Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca. We return in the evening to Copacabana to overnight in the same hotel.
Take a local boat to Isla del Sol and spend a day exploring this historic island, famous for being the birthplace of the whole Inca civilisation. The modern day Aymara and Quechua peoples of Bolivia and Peru still accept the legend of the sun being born on this island as their creation story even today. There are a host of ancient ruins to discover, tiny traditional villages and beautiful walking routes. You can wander through the stone ruins, exploring the islands dry slopes covered with sweet smelling incense brush, or hike over the ancient pampas which are still cultivated by the island families.
Included Activities
  • Isla del Sol boat trip
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 75 Lake Titicaca/Puno
A 200 km drive takes us across the Peruvian border to the lakeside town of Puno.
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.
In the afternoon we enjoy a boat trip out to the floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca. We spend the night in a hotel in Puno.
Included Activities
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
Optional Activities
  • Yavari Steam Ship, Puno - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 76-77 Cuzco
In the morning we visit the Sillustani ruins and museum
Tucked away in between the many small villages around Puno are the ruins of Sillustani . These ruined towers are set on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umayo, built by a pre-Inca civilisation hundreds of years ago. The Sillustani Indians built several "Chullpas", funeral towers whose construction is far more complex than anything the Inca ever built. Each tower would have contained the remains of noble men, buried together with offerings to secure their comfortable passage into the next life.
Following this we drive 440 km to Cuzco, where we stay in a colonial hotel.
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 following day we have a trekking briefing in the morning, followed by free time to explore Cuzco.
Included Activities
  • Cuzco Visitor Ticket
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral - PEN27
  • Museo Inka - PEN10
  • Coricancha - PEN12
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 78-81 Inca Trail/Quecha Community Trek
The next 4 days are spent trekking in the Andes. We will begin with a tour of the Sacred Valley before beginning either the Community Trek or the Classic Inca Trail to the world heritage site of Machu Picchu. Please see below for the itineraries of each of these options.
We will typically leave Cuzco first thing in the morning and drive to Sacsayhuaman ruins which are just 15 minutess from our hotel. These ruins are best known for the gigantic blocks that make up the zigzag frontal of this fort like construction. There are many theories as to why Sacsayhuaman was originally built and what it was used for but the most likely is that it was a temple complex where offerings were made to appease the gods. Sacsayhuaman is an amazing place and the early morning light makes the great view of the Cuzco rooftops that we get here even more beautiful. We then head further on into the Sacred Valley proper, stopping high on the mountainside to explore the ruins of Pisac. We will walk downhill along small pathways, through ancient arches, storage buildings and houses, learning about the history of the site from our local guide. When we have finished exploring we head down to Pisac town where we have time for lunch and can do a bit of shopping in the extensive handicrafts market that the town is famous for.
Here our groups split, and those doing the Community Inca Trek drive up into the highlands of the Cordillera Urubamba. The drive itself is amazing with stunning views as we wind up towards the trailhead. On this trek you return to the Sacred Valley, arriving in Ollantaytambo at the end of your trek, where you are joined by any of your group who prefer not to trek at all for a guided tour of this Inca site, before leaving next morning on the early train for Machu Picchu. Those who choose to trek the Classic Inca Trail will head straight to Ollantaytambo from Pisac, exploring the ruins here that afternoon and camping overnight, heading to the Classic Inca Trail start point early the next morning.
PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU WISH TO BOOK THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL THIS MUST BE ADVISED AT TIME OF BOOKING, OTHERWISE YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE BOOKED ON THE COMMUNITY TREK. Full details of the trekking options are below.
INCA TRAIL:
When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually referring to a particular trekking route that follows a ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. What many people don't realise is that there are a actually a huge number of Inca Trails that criss cross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote, rarely used by western tourists, offering a chance to experience the real unspoilt Andes. On all Dragoman overland tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the "Classic" Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Community Inca Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman (and by the way, it's not the Lares trail that many other operators use!)
THE COMMUNITY INCA TREK:
Dragoman's Community Inca Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt Andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and staying as guests of the local communities as part of our pioneering community-based tourism project, Tarpuy Yachay. 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 4800m 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.
The itinerary:
Day 1: Cuzco - Zurite
We leave Cuzco first thing in the morning by bus and proceed to Sacsayhuaman for a tour of the ruins. These ruins are best remembered for the gigantic blocks that make up the zigzag frontal of this fort-like construction. There are many theories as to why Sacsayhuaman was originally built and what it was used for, but the most likely is as a temple complex for offerings to appease the gods. It is an amazing place and the early morning light makes the view of Cuzco rooftops even more beautiful as it helps to define the stonework detail.
From here we head to Chinchero, a small village in the Sacred Pampa where the locals speak mostly Quechua, the language of the Incas. We will observe a traditional weaving demonstration and tour the archaeological ruins. From here we drive to Waypu Lake where we have an energising picnic lunch. We will then drive to Quillarumpiqoc, the Moon Temple, from which we will hike to Zurite. Here we stay in a homestay with a local family, enjoying a traditional home-cooked meal and gaining an insight into the lifestyle of the locals.
Approximate walking time: 5 hours (8 km)
Day 2: Zurite to Amaruwatana
After breakfast we leave Zurite and head towards Amaruwatana camp. The walk will take us through
Qenteqentiyoc (the hummingbird temple), where we can visit and admire this archaeological Inca site. Following the
ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,500 metres, where we will have a dramatic view of both
mountain ranges, Vilcabamba and Vilcanota. From here we start walking down on the way to our first camp in the
Sambor valley where we will spend the night.
Approximate walking time: 8 hours (13 km)
Day 3: Amaruwatana to Ancascocha
Early in the morning after breakfast we trek for 2 hours to get to our second pass at 4,700 metres; from there we have
fantastic views of the rock formations below us. Sometimes it is possible to see Andean ibis, herons, torrent ducks,
caracaras, eagles and foxes. After another 2 hours we arrive to a nice highland valley, a place named Kenqo Mayu, or
zig-zag river, where glacier water flows through the valley. Our lunch will be at the end of the river, and after lunch we
will continue downhill and follow the ancient trail, which goes on a little uphill section which leads us to our campsite
in a community called Ancascocha. We will arrive to our campsite in the late afternoon near to a large glacier mountain
and glacier stream. If we arrive on time there is an optional hike to the lake, a one hour round trip.
Approximate walking time: 6.5 hours (10 km)
Day 4: Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo
After eating breakfast and breaking camp we start hiking down the Silque Canyon. We will descend by way of the
narrow canyon, following a stream that will gradually get bigger. We can observe tall granite walls on the sides of the
canyon, populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when
they bloom. We continue on the trail making zig-zags. After crossing many little bridges we will reach the community
of Camicancha, where we stop in a nice volcanic rock area, with magnificent views of mount Veronica, a snow capped
mountain. From here we are very close to the Chilca community where we finish our trek. A vehicle will transfer us
to Ollantaytambo and our hotel. After showers and a little rest, we get ready for the cultural tour of this incredible
archaeological site, which is very well known as the Temple of the Sun.
Approximate walking time: 5 hours (12 km)
Day 5: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu
After a great nights sleep in our beds we have another early start but this time to catch the train to Aguas Calientes. The early train allows us to get to Machu Picchu before the trains from Cusco arrive. At Aguas Calientes we jump straight on the bus and up to the citadel itself, where we meet the rest of the group.
THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL
The "Classic" Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cusco –Machu Picchu railtrack, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4200m) 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. It's also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the other Inca sites it passes along the way.
Unfortunately, in recent years the classic trail has almost become a bit of a victim of it's own popularity. It is important to realise that the trail is now very busy, with 500 people starting the trek every day. There are only a certain number of places where it is feasible to camp, so your group will be camped alongside others, and you will meet a lot of other trekkers along the through way. Nevertheless, it is still an awesome trek, passing some stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forest, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of the Lost City of the Incas is something you'll never forget.
The itinerary:
Day 1
We join the community trekkers for a tour of the sacred valley and enjoy lunch at Pisac. We then head to Ollantaytambo to view more Inca ruins and camp the night. Meals provided:Lunch, Dinner, Snacks
Day 2
The following morning after breakfast at the campsite, we catch a bus to the 82 km marker and are joined by a crew of local porters, cook, etc. As we hike from high plateau to dense forest, you will see some remains of ancient villages and temples, the first of which is Llactapata. The starting point of the trek (the 82 km marker) is located at 2,850m above sea level. The trek includes some uphill trekking to the campsite (over 3,000m above sea level). Take advantage during the 4 days of the trek to get to know your porters. You will realise they work the hardest on the team and are gentle people willing to share with you their culture, language and trek experiences.
Day 3
This is the most challenging of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approx 4 hrs) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3650m above sea level. This is 2 hrs downhill). Depending upon on local conditions, you might camp here today, or may need to continue further up and down. We might cross the first and second passes on this day. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980m above sea level - 90min uphill) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (2 hours downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620m above sea level).
Day 4
On day 3 of the trek, we continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds' (3,850m above sea level/90min uphill). Start descending real Inca Steps (2 hrs) to reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna, or 'Forever Young' ruins (2,750m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below.
Day 5
Machu Picchu – Cuzco. Today is only a short final hike (90 min) to Machu Picchu and we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below. As with the community trek our guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or you can just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. Late afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.
NON-TREKKING PACKAGE:
There is also a non trekking option. If you do not want to trek at all but want to take part in the Sacred Valley Tour and guided tour of Machu Picchu, this can be organised however you MUST inform us at time of booking.
You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers and your tour leader who will be trekking the Community or Classic Inca Trail. 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. Continuing along the valley, you will pass through the village of Urubamba where you will have lunch with your fellow passengers before heading back to Cuzco. In Cuzco you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights and this will be booked for you by your tour leader. There are no activities booked or organised for you during your time in Cuzco. You will re join some of your fellow travellers and your tour leader on the fourth day in Ollantaytambo, and stay in a hotel in Ollantaytambo overnight.
On the fifth day, after an early breakfast we walk to the train station for the 2-hour journey to Aguas Calientes, from where we take a local bus up to Machu Picchu. After a guided tour of the site, there is free time to explore before returning by bus to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon we catch the train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy, and then a private transfer takes us back to Cuzco.
Please also note that there is a possibility that you may be the only person booked on to the non trekking package, however this package will offer you plenty of time in Cuzco to explore the town and surrounding sites (in total 4 or 5 nights depending on your trip).
WHICH TREK TO CHOOSE?
The Community trek goes through unspoilt mountain scenery and you are unlikely to see any other tourists. Along the way we camp as guests of the villages and get to meet local families and get involved in local community chores and activities. The staff and pack animals that we use on this trek are also all from the local villages so the communities directly benefit from your trekking. In addition, a financial donation is made from the kitty, and matched by Dragoman, for every person who does this trek.
It is important however to realise that whilst both treks finish at Machu Picchu on their final day, the Community Trek does not trek right through to the Sun Gate as you do on the Classic Inca Trail. You still arrive before the crowds however, and it is possible to walk up from Machu Picchu to the Sun Gate to take in the famous view. The Classic Inca Trail route is also much better preserved than the trails on the Community Trek. The Classic Inca Trail also sees more ruins along the way than the Community Trek.
The Community Trek option is automatically included as part of your trip unless you advise us otherwise. So if you want to take the Community Inca Trek, no further action is required. If you would prefer to trek the Classic Inca Trail, or choose not to trek at all, you must inform us at time of booking.
In order to secure Inca Trail permits, it is vital that you provide the correct and most up to date passport information at the time of booking (DOB, passport number, expiry date and name spelling exactly as it appears in the passport that you will be travel with) Any inconsistency between the information provided and the passport you travel with may result in you not being granted access to the Inca Trail.
Please note that permits for the Classic Inca Trail are limited and cannot be guaranteed. If they are unavailable you will be booked onto the Community Inca Trek instead.
Included Activities
  • Cuzco Visitor Ticket
  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 82 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Today the trekkers and non-trekkers will all meet up for a guided tour of Machu Picchu with a local expert. Following the tour there will be free time to explore the site before catching the train back to Cuzco.
Machu Picchu is one of those genuinely magical places, and catching your first glimpse of the lost city of the Incas through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.
The ruins of this forgotten city are stunningly located, perched high in the Andes surrounded by verdant cloud forest, with the river Urambamba running through the gorge far below. Hidden away on a ridge between the mountains, Machu Picchu is invisible from below, so it's no surprise it's ruins remained a secret for so many years. Historians believe the city was probably completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed all it's inhabitants and watered by natural springs. It's thought that the city was the location of a royal palace and estate, home to the Inca emperors, or possibly a sacred religious and ceremonial sight.
Discovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham, although the ruins were heavily covered by dense jungle foliage, many of the buildings were well preserved and in excellent condition. 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.
WAYNA PICCHU: Please note, due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 83 Cuzco
Today is a free day to recover from trekking with optional activities available in Cuzco such as white water rafting.
Optional Activities
  • Horse Riding - USD40
  • Whitewater rafting - USD25
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 84 Raqchi
We drive to Raqchi and visit the ruins and local artisan centre. We stay overnight in local homestay. Our accommodation is in traditional family houses with clean but basic facilities. Whilst we are there we enjoy some of the ceremonial aspects of village life as well as much singing and dancing. This is a great local experience.
A small village situated a short distance outside of Cuzco, Raqchi is well known for its talented craftspeople and the beautiful handmade and intricately decorated pottery that is made here.
We stay in Raqchi 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. If we are lucky there may be 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.
Included Activities
  • Raqchi Artisan Centre and ruins
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 85-86 Chivay/Colca Canyon
Today we drive the 440 km to Chivay, with an optional visit to the thermal springs. We spend the night in a hotel.
Chivay is home to some natural hot springs that provide a welcome relief from the cold night air high up here in the Andes. The springs are known as "La Calera" and are located just a short distance outside the town.
The following day is a short driving day as we visit the spectacular Colca Canyon to view condors and also visit local communities. We return to Chivay for the night.
The River Colca runs from high in the Andes right down to the Pacific, and between Chivay and Cabanaconde it flows through the bottom of a deep gorge, often claimed to be the deepest in the world. It is certainly spectacularly beautiful, the vast Andean terraces tower up over the canyon, dotted by tiny villages that haven't changed in centuries. The canyon is also renowned as a haven for condors and they can often be seen here at quite close range as they float on the rising thermals and scan for carrion far below. Catching a glimpse of these magnificent birds as they rise from their nests, gliding high above you is a truly magical experience and one you will never forget.
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon entrance
Optional Activities
  • Thermal Spring - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 87-88 Arequipa
A short drive of 160 km takes us to the 'white city' of Arequipa, where we stay in a good quality hotel.
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.
The following day is free to explore Arequipa.
No trip to Arequipa would be complete without paying a visit to Juanita, the "Ice Maiden." This mummy of a young Inca girl has been described as one of the 10 most important historical discoveries of recent times by Time Magazine. Because the body was frozen at such low temperatures and high altitude, a really extensive study into the physical health of ancient Peruvian civilisations has been possible, with fascinating results. You should also try to visit 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.
Optional Activities
  • Juanita Museum - PEN20
  • Santa Catalina Convent - PEN30
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 89 Puerto Inca
A 380 km driving day takes us to Puerto Inca, where we stay at a beach side campsite.
Situated in a beautiful bay on the Peruvian coast, Puerto Inca was once the Inca port that supplied the city of Cusco with fish. There are a number of Inca ruins here - including a cemetery and a temple of reincarnation - and part of the road that set out from the coast to Cusco is still clearly visible.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 90 Nazca
A 270 km morning drive takes us to Nazca where we can see the Nazca Lines, and also visit Chauchilla cemetery. We spend the night at a campsite with a pool.
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.
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.
Close to Nazca is the Chauchilla Indian Cemetery, where you can see the tombs of people of the ancient Nazca civilisation, dating from 100AD to 700AD. 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.
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.
A safety note. A number of local operators offer flights over the Nazca lines. It should be noted that there have been numerous safety issues over Nazca in the past – as such Intrepid has used its best endeavors to assess the safety of the operation of some of these companies. While it is impossible to guarantee the safety of air operations, your leader can only assist you to book this activity through companies Intrepid assesses are safer to fly with. Your leader is specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting booking this activity through any other operators.
Included Activities
  • Chauchilla cemetery
Optional Activities
  • Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
  • Nazca Lines viewing tower - PEN3
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 91 Paracas National Reserve
Our first stop today is Huacachina, where there are the options to go sandboarding and sand buggying.
In the afternoon we press on to Paracas National Park where we bush camp overnight.
Spanning 335,000 hectares of land and sea, 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. Providing a vital habitat for sea lions and dolphins, Paracas is without doubt one of the most biologically diverse coastal areas in the Americas.
Included Activities
  • Paracas National Park
Optional Activities
  • Sand Dune Buggies and Sandboarding Rental - PEN64
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 92-93 Ballestas Islands/Lima
In the morning we take a boat trip around the Ballestas Islands to view wildlife.
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.
We then head 270 km to Lima, arriving late in the afternoon. We stay in a good quality hotel in central Lima.
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.
While you are here there are many museums you can visit such as the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum, which showcase the finest artefacts from the country's many ancient civilisations. You can also visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco, and take in a bit of local culture at an evening folklore show.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
Included Activities
  • Ballestas Islands boat trip
Optional Activities
  • Tambo Colorado - USD3
  • City Tour Lima - USD25
  • Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Catacumbas - PEN10
  • Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Brisas del Titicaca Peruvian folklore show - PEN25
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 94-95 Huanchaco
Today we have a long drive to Huanchaco, visiting Lambayeque for the Lord of Sipan Museum visit en route. We stay at a campsite with good facilities.
The resort town of Huanchaco is home to the surfing fishermen. Balancing on canoes constructed of buoyant reeds, the fishermen cruise through the surf with their catch.
Huanchaco is an ideal location from which to explore the numerous archaeological ruins the surround nearby Trujillo, such as the enormous pre-Columbian complex of Chan Chan, a vast adobe city constructed by the emperor of the Chimu people, as well as the world famous Moche pyramids the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.
The following day we visit some of the ruins in and around Huanchaco including Chan Chan, and the pyramids Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.
The vast mud city of Chan Chan 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.
Included Activities
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Site
  • Pyramids of Sun and Moon
  • Lord of Sipan Museum
Optional Activities
  • Sechin Ruins - PEN6
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 96-97 Punta Sal
Today we drive 510 km to Punta Sal, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. We camp the night in the grounds of a hostel.
Situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in a long, curvy bay, Punta Sal is a haven for sun and sand. The warm and tranquil waters are a pleasure to swim in, and there is also the opportunity to set out on fishing trips and boat trips along the coast. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, horse riding along the beach, or salsa lessons can be arranged. Alternatively, just kick back in a hammock and laze the day away, enjoying the peace and quiet of this beautiful spot.
The next day is free to enjoy the beach and activities at Punta Sal.
Optional Activities
  • Salsa lesson - USD5
  • Horse Riding, Punta Sal - PEN35
  • Fishing Trip, Punta Sal - PEN285
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 98-99 Cuenca
Today's drive of 285 km takes us across the border into Ecuador and to the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca, Ecuador's third-largest city. We stay in a local guesthouse.
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.
The next day we have free time to explore Cuenca and visit the famous Panama Hat factory.
Included Activities
  • Hat Factory Tour
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 100 Riobamba
Today we drive 250 km to Riobamba where we stay in a local hotel.
Ecuador's mountain-climbing and trekking capital, Riobamba is a lovely city at the starting point of the Nariz del Diablo (Devil's Nose) train ride.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 101-102 Chugchilan/Quilotoa Loop
An early start this morning before a 350 km drive along the northern section of the spectacular Quilotoa Loop to the town of Chugchilan. We stay the night in a hostel.
Quilotoa Loop is a name 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 after a 2 night stay head out on the southern section of the loop allowing you to see some of the more remote people and culture of the central Andes of Ecuador.
An hour's drive the following day brings us to the town of Quilotoa to see the stunning Crater Lake and begin one of Ecuador's best day hikes back to Chugchilan.
We will trek with a local guide, and the mostly downhill trek takes 4-6 hours. A moderate level of fitness is required as the trek is at altitude, but the walking itself is not too strenuous.
Included Activities
  • Trek from Quilotoa to Chugchilan
Optional Activities
  • Mountain Biking, Chugchilan - USD20
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 103-105 Rio Verde
In the morning we drive the southern section of the Quilotoa loop before heading to the beautiful town of Rio Verde, where we stay at a campsite with great facilities.
Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, the region around Rio Verde has year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere and heaps of activities that can get you out and exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors.
Whilst staying here, you will have the opportunity to take part in optional adventure activities such as canyoning, mountain biking and rafting. We will also make the short trip into Banos where you can visit the thermal springs.
Optional Activities
  • White Water Rafting, Rio Verde - USD70
  • Visit to Banos - USD2
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 106 Coca
Today is a driving day to Coca.
Coca is the more commonly known name for Puerto Francisco de Orellana. The city is located at the confluence of the Napo River and the Coca River, which gives the city its nickname. The city is named after Francisco de Orellana, the famous explorer. History says he set off from the current location of the city and made his way deep into the Amazon Jungle, eventually making it to the Atlantic. He later died on a second attempt to cross the jungle, not being able to find his way through.
We'll spend the night in a comfortable hotel and get ready for our 3 days in the wilderness.
Days 107-110 Amazon Jungle
From Coca we board a boat for a 2 hour journey along the Rio Napo, and deep into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest for a 3 night stay camping by a lodge run by the local Kichwa community.
The next 3 days will be spent sampling life in the jungle. We'll take trips out into the rainforest on foot and by boat to explore for wildlife as well as getting involved with the local community in this truly magical place.
On our last day here we have a half day sail back up the river, spotting wildlife on the way, as we return to Coca for the night.
Included Activities
  • 3 night/3 day Amazon Adventure
Accommodation
Lodge (3 nts)
Days 111-112 Quito
Today we head 120 km to Quito.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Museo de la Ciudad - USD2
  • Equator Monument Entrance fee - USD80
  • Lookout - USD4
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
      Culture shock rating

      The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      Physical preparation
      On Day 2 of the Inca Trail or Community Trek you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4500 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While on day 3 of the Community Trek you will reach an altitude of 4700m. This demanding walk is the main challenge our passengers face on this trip, however it's also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it.
      We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.
      In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
      Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Kitty
      On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.
      Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.
      You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.
      If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.
      Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.
      Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.
      KITTY CHANGES:
      We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.
      As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
      Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
      THE W WALK:
      If you wish to hike the W Walk in Torres del Paine National Park, you can pre-book the package with us. The package includes your accommodation (bunk beds in the refugios), food for the duration of the trek, and the services of an expert English-speaking guide. The refugios do tend to book out well in advance, so if you wish to take this option, please contact us as soon as possible. As your agent for the price.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of Brazil is the Real (BRL).
      The official currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS).
      The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).
      The official currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).
      The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN).
      Peruvian banks are allowed to reject dollar bills which are old, torn (more than one centimetre) and which have too many stamps on them. Please make sure you don't accept bills in such conditions as you may not be able to use them.
      The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).
      Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.
      With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
      Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
      It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
      VERY IMPORTANT:
      US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      PRICES IN CHILE & BRAZIL:
      Chile and Brazil are amongst the most expensive countries in South America. While in other countries you can expect to have a main meal for US$5-10 and take part of an optional activity for US$15-20, Brazil and Chile's prices are closer to what you would expect to pay in Western countries. You'll need to budget accordingly.
      Tipping
      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
      The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest S/5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest S/10 per passenger per day.
      Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest S./3 to S/6 per day for drivers.
      Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
      Departure tax
      Please allow US$44.30 for international airport departure tax in Quito.
      Important notes
      LOCAL PARTNER:
      Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.
      MINIMUM AGE:
      The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
      DEMONSTRATIONS AND PROTESTS:
      Demonstrations and protests, often in response to local labour or social issues, occur regularly throughout Peru. National strikes can be called at short notice and can cause disruption to road networks leading to inevitable itinerary changes. Intrepid does everything possible for these changes to be at little or no extra cost; however in such circumstances we find that travellers need to access part of, or the entire, emergency fund. Please read below for more information on this trip's emergency fund.
      INCA TREK DETAILS
      You need to choose whether you wish to hike the Classic Inca Trail or the Quechua Community Hike at the time of booking. If you do not indicate a preference, the Quechua Community Hike will be confirmed automatically.
      1. Quechua Community Inca Trail
      This is automatically included in Overland style trips. This trek is run in conjunction with local communities in a remote mountain region above the Sacred Valley. Please note this trail is not the Lares Trail used by Intrepid on Original, Active and Basix style trips.
      Also, as the Classic Inca Trail is closed during the month of February for its cleaning and maintenance, the Quechua Community Inca Trail will be hiked on all trips in which the hiking starts on or after the 01st of February to and including the 28th of February.
      2. Classic Inca Trail
      If you prefer to trek the Classic Inca Trail, you must book it well in advance of travelling. As currently no more than 500 people (including support staff) per day are allowed on the Inca Trail obtaining Classic Inca Trail permits can be very hard. As soon as you decide that you want to do the Classic Inca Trail please contact Intrepid.
      In order to confirm a Classic Inca Trail permit, we require a deposit and the following passport information of the passport you will travel on:
      - Full name (exactly as it appears on the passport)
      - Date of birth
      - Passport number
      - Nationality
      - Date of passport expiry & place of issue
      Inconsistencies and/or changes between passport details provided at the time of booking and the passport you travel with will most likely result in you not being granted access to the Inca Trail. If for reasons outside your control you must change your passport (your passport gets stolen) after your Inca Trail permit has been purchased, please contact your booking agent immediately to attempt arrange an alternative permit (fees may apply)
      Upon receiving a request for a booking including the Classic Inca Trail, Intrepid will attempt to purchase the respective permit. If permits are not available then we will automatically put you on the Quechua Community Inca Trail. Please note that as Classic Inca Trail permits are non refundable and non transferable, any date change of a confirmed trip which includes the Classic Inca Trail will incur cancellation penalties. The rules and regulations controlling the Classic Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are continually changing and it is important to be aware of the issues detailed in this document before bookings and embarking on your adventure to Peru.
      3. Non-hike option
      If you do not want to trek at all but want to take part in the Sacred Valley tour and guided tour of Machu Picchu, this can be organised. You will receive a refund from kitty for the unused part of the excursion. However if this is your preferred option, in order to obtain a refund you MUST inform Intrepid at the time of booking.
      RIO CARNIVAL DEPARTURES:
      Trips coinciding with Carnival may also have more than one truck operating this route at the same time. Groups will be separated as much as possible to allow for the small group experience, however there may be times where more than one group will be in an area or at an activity at one time.
      Group size
      Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (49 nts), Hotel (37 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (9 nts), Hostel (7 nts), Lodge (3 nts), Hacienda (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt)
      The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hostels or hotels. Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hostel or hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hostel and hotel stops depends on the route and area.
      Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, which allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
      Please note that camping is participatory, which means you will be expected to set-up and pack down your own tent.
      Meals introduction
      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
      On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!
      If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
      Meals
      All meals when camping
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      USD 570.00
      All meals while camping are included.
      Transport
      Overland vehicle, Boat, Ferry, Jeep, Train
      Group leader
      On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.
      While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. 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 the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.
      We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders
      On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
      Joining point
      Argentina Hotel
      Rua Cruz Lima, No 30.
      Flamengo
      Rio de Janeiro
      BRAZIL
      Phone: +55 21 2558 7233
      Joining point instructions
      Airport Santos Dumont is located 15 km north of Rio. The easiest way to your hotel is by taxi. You will find the most common yellow and blue taxis seating outside the international arrival area. While these taxis are metered, make sure you negotiate an estimated rate which should be around US$60.
      Alternatively, you can catch the Real Auto Bus from outside the arrival floor of terminal 1 or the ground floor of terminal 2. This bus costs around US$3 and it can take up to an hour to reach Copacabana. As it runs along Copacabana beach, ask the driver to drop you off at the nearest stop to your hotel.
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
      Finish point
      Alston Inn Hotel
      Juan Leon Mera N23-41 y Veintimilla
      Quito
      ECUADOR
      Emergency contact
      We have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event
      of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that
      real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
      If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in
      these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked
      and the crew informed if necessary.
      Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      BRAZIL TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Yes - in advance
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Yes - in advance
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Yes - in advance
      ARGENTINA TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Not required
      ARGENTINA RECIPROCITY TAX:
      The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
      Australians - US$100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from date of issue)
      Canadians - US$75 (single entry) or US$ 150 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
      Americans - US$140 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)
      This fee can only be paid on line through the following website:
      https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/
      For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
      http://cnyor.mrecic.gov.ar/userfiles/Online_payment_instructions_0.pdf
      A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.
      CHILE TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Not required
      CHILE RECIPROCITY TAX:
      All passengers with passports from Australia, Canada, United States and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering Interpol control. The amounts are as follows:
      Australia - US$61
      Canada - US$132
      United States - US$131
      México - US$23
      This tax applies only to travellers entering Chile via its international airport in Santiago. This tax doesn't apply to those entering Chile by another form of transport.
      BOLIVIA TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Yes - in advance
      Please note: if you are required to apply for a visa to enter Bolivia, you will need the following to support it:
      - a copy of the Intrepid voucher that you receive after purchasing your trip
      - a copy of the Itinerary which you can obtain from the Trip Notes for your specific trip on our website.
      PERU TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Not required
      ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Not required
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
      Night time temperatures can be low in the height of the winter months and at altitude so bring a set of warmer clothes. Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful.
      A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
      CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
      Sleeping Bag - Check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months. One that zips down all one side is useful for warm nights and a sleeping bag liner for cold nights.
      Mattress or compressed foam - Compressed foams are the lightest, most convenient but probably the least comfortable. Self inflating mattresses are convenient, comfortable, light and small when rolled up; they are more expensive and do puncture so bring a suitable repair kit.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
      In countries like Argentina, Uruguay and the Patagonia region of Chile, tap water is treated and safe to drink so please avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
      Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
      Before your trip.
      Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor
      We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
      During your trip.
      While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
      Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
      http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
      WHO REPORTS:
      The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
      DENGUE FEVER:
      Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
      YELLOW FEVER:
      A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
      It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.
      In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.
      A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
      In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
      TRAVEL ADVISORY:
      Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Responsible Travel projects
      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Peru include:
      * Living Heart focuses on improving the education, nutrition and health of disadvantaged Andean women and children near Cusco. Currently they provide free breakfasts, assist local schools with educational supplies and organise visits by doctors and nurses. They are also raising funds to build homes for orphaned children and abused women and children.
      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Ecuador include:
      * The Charles Darwin Foundation protects species in the Galapagos that are on the borderline of extinction. Focusing on the island of Floreana, they hope to re-introduce several locally extinct and critically endangered keystone species that are integral to the ongoing balance and sustainability of the marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 3260.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
      Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.