Travel South America on an adventure from Rio de Janeiro to Quito.

Get set for the ultimate South American odyssey. Covering six countries over 112 amazing days, travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador on this epic adventure. Experience 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 discover 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 requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Quito, Ecuador
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
3 260kg pp per trip


  • Revel in Brazil's samba rhythms in Rio de Janeiro
  • Spot wildlife in the Pantanal wetlands
  • Make memories on a visit to Iguazu Falls
  • Travel to Argentina and fall in love with Buenos Aires
  • Hike through Patagonia's spectacular glacial scenery
  • Spot exotic animals in the remote 'land of fire'
  • Travel through Argentina's wine region of Mendoza
  • Haggle for a bargain in La Paz's colourful markets
  • Follow Peru's ancient Inca Trail
  • Experience a homestay near the Colca Canyon
  • Admire Ecuador's ornate buildings in Quito's Old Town


Basking in the luminous Guanabara Bay with its stunning backdrop of lush mountains, Rio is about as aesthetically pleasing as cities come. Accompanied by a 24-hour soundtrack – samba and bossa nova are just scratching the surface – this is one friend that's always up for a party.
Following a visit to Morrinho, a favela project supported by The Intrepid Foundation, travel on to idyllic Paraty for some Brazilian-style R&R. Walk the town's charming cobblestone streets, stroll the jungle trails of its national parks, or grab a mask and snorkel and delve into the underwater world.
The tiny town of Brotas is a haven for adventure sports fans. Take in the pristine natural surrounds on horseback, hit the rapids by kayak, or embark on an underground canyoning expedition.
Travel through the picturesque landscape of Campo Grande, our base for exploring the Pantanal.
Set out on a real life adventure through the wilds of the Pantanal. An area of wetland the size of France, there are few places in the world so suited to wildlife-spotting. Keep an eye out for colourful birds in the trees, reptiles soaking up the sun's rays and sleek predators skulking through the undergrowth.
Get acquainted with Brazil's burgeoning ecotourism capital, Bonito. Stroll along verdant jungle trails before plunging into the area's crystal springs for a spot of freshwater snorkeling.
Spend a day exploring Argentina's most astounding attraction, Iguazu Falls. Cross narrow walkways to witness thousands of litres of water thunder their way down the Iguazu River. For a chance to see them up close, sign up for one of the speedboat tours.
The small town of San Ignacio Mini, once a Jesuit mission, makes for a fascinating overnight stopover. Don't forgo the opportunity to explore the well-preserved churches and cemeteries for an insight into the country's missionary past.
Step out with your best foot forward in ever-stylish and always-seductive Buenos Aires. Browse the plaza stalls for boutiques, sample rich Argentine fare in classy restaurants, and fiesta the night away at a backstreet bar.
Head north along the vast plains of the Pampas - home to the gauchos, Argentina's proud cowboys - for a night of bush-camping on the coast.
Look out for magnificent aquatic wildlife while exploring the Valdes Peninsula with a local guide.
Witness the adorable Magellanic penguins that frequent Camarones, a sleepy town on Argentina's wild Atlantic Coast.
Pitch a tent amid the rugged, peaceful surrounds of the Atlantic Coast and soak up the scenery.
Gaze in awe as huge chunks of ice plunge into the water below on a Perito Moreno Glacier tour. This is truly one of the most jaw-dropping of Argentina's attractions.
Venture into Torres del Paine National Park. Spend the following few days visiting the lakes and glaciers that combine to make this Patagonia's premier wilderness frontier, or take them all in under your own steam on the famous W-walk.
Jump on a ferry and brave the infamous Magellan Strait. This 500 km stretch of water separates the Argentinean mainland from Tierra del Fuego. Keep an eye out for marine-life and sea birds, including the mighty albatross.
Cross the border to Chile and explore the striking landscapes of windswept plains, virgin forest and swamplands of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.
Look out for condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in harsh conditions on the Magellan Straits.
Enter a world of incredible natural beauty in Los Glaciares National Park. Hike past crystal lakes, imposing mountains and stunning glacial scenery.
Ferry back across the treacherous Magellan Straits. Be immersed in this amazing landscape while overlanding across the Patagonian Steppe.
Travel through the rugged, mountainous landscape of inland Patagonia to Rio Pinturas. Pay a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed 'Cave of the Hands' and marvel at the well-preserved prehistoric rock art.
Continue on through the Argentinean lake district before relaxing in easy-going Esquel, the traditional southern terminal of La Trochita. Admire the sublime scenery of the region from a basecamp nestled at the foothills of the surrounding mountains.
One of the most popular holiday destinations in Argentina, think of Bariloche as the natural playground for adventure activities. It's also a region renowned for its cuisine and chocolates, so be sure to work up an appetite.
Delight in the beautiful scenery of the Lakes District. Choose between horse riding, rafting, or hiking - or perhaps treat weary limbs to a dip in the thermal springs.
Travel through landscapes rich in agriculture to camp amid spectacular scenery en route to Santiago.
Tour through wide streets, lush parks and sample some world-renowned Chilean wine in Chile's enthralling capital, Santiago.
Kick back in the laidback epicentre of Argentina's wine country, Mendoza. Get the adrenaline pumping whitewater rafting or mountain biking, or pamper the palate with some regional malbec blends at any of the numerous parkside bars and cafes.
Experience Argentine hospitality and ranch life first-hand on a working cattle station farm-stay. Explore the Pampas on horseback before savouring the mouth-watering aromas and succulent flavours of a traditional asado barbecue.
Visit the ruins of Quilmes, the ancient city of a tribe that successively staved off both the Incas and the Spanish for centuries. Wander through the haunting crumbling structures for a glimpse of the city as it once would have stood.
Learn about local wine production on a guided tour of some of South America's premier vineyards, taking the opportunity to sample some of the region's renowned drops. Wine aficionados unconfined by convention can also try out the city's red and white wine ice creams.
Delight in the laidback atmosphere and elegant colonial architecture of Salta, one of Argentina's most attractive cities. Pick a perch at one of the plaza cafes for some people-watching, thump along to the pumping local nightlife, or prowl the numerous art galleries and exhibitions.
Cross the Argentinian border into Chile's desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. Take in the changing colours of the surreal natural landscapes on a sunset excursion to Moon Valley.
Make tracks for Uyuni, deep in the barren wilderness of the Bolivian Antiplano. It's some long and rough travel on these days, but the exquisite beauty of Laguna Colorado and Verde along the way more than compensate for it.
Head out on a jeep tour of Bolivia's famed salt plains for some unbelievable views and photo opportunities. During the dry season the flats are an endless expanse of white crystals, while come the rains a thin layer of clear water reflects the sky into one seamless horizon – either way, the whole thing looks like the background of a Dali painting.
Soak up the stark and subdued tones of the Andean landscapes en route to the winding narrow alleyways and majestic cathedrals of Potosi. For a total change of scene, enter the underworld – literally – for a sobering glimpse into the working conditions of Bolivian silver miners.
Wander through the charms, amulets and fetishes – at times wonderful, but always weird – of La Paz's Witches' Market. Perhaps take on the world's most dangerous road by mountain bike, or pop into the coca museum for insights into this proverbial plant's history.
Discover Copacabana, a picturesque town situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca with an amazing Moorish style cathedral. Hike over the car-free Island of the Sun and discover its scenic heart. Widely believed to be the birthplace of Inca culture, there are plenty of ruins to explore.
Meet the locals of the floating, man-made Uros islands on Lake Titicaca.
Spot the ancient funerary towers of Sillustani rising from the windswept antiplano. Then travel to Cuzco where there are plenty of adventure activities on offer.
Embark on an unforgettable Andean trek. Follow the steps of the ancient Incas through breathtaking scenery and past remote Quechua villages.
Explore the crumbling ruins of Machu Picchu, the 'Lost City of the Incas'. Find a quiet spot near the Sun Gate to sit back and soak up the magical atmosphere before making the return journey back to Cuzco.
Get to know a local family as guests at a homestay in Raqchi. Spend the evening together sharing a meal and discovering traditional song and dance.
Try to spot the mighty Andean condors as they silently take to the sky thousands of metres above the floor of the breathtaking Colca Canyon.
Explore the scenic city of Arequipa and perhaps stop by the Museo Santury to view Juanita, the ice princess. The body of this frozen Inca maiden is thought to be more than 500 years-old and was found at a sacrificial site on the summit of Nevado Ampato.
Visit the chilling Chauchilla Cemetery en route to Puerto Inca. The windswept graves display the eerie skeletons and mummified bodies of the Nazca people, some of which date from 1,000 AD.
Learn about Peru's mysterious Nazca Lines and perhaps take a scenic flight to fully appreciate the scale of this puzzling creation.
Pitch a tent in Paracas, which spans over 335,000 hectares and is home to one of the world's most important marine reserves. Take a walk along the coastline and spot the vibrant birdlife this region is famous for.
Spot penguins, sea lions and boobies during a boat ride through the Ballestas Islands. Get acquainted with Peru's modern capital, Lima - there's plenty to see in this vibrant metropolis.
Pitch a tent at seaside Huanchaco, home to the surfing fishermen. Walk along the shoreline and watch these skilful fishermen among the waves, balancing on their narrow reed canoes. Perhaps even give this method a try to discover how difficult it really is! Spend a full day exploring the ruins of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. Visit the Temples of the Sun and the Moon, huge crumbling pyramids built from an estimated 140 million adobe bricks.
Seaside activities abound in Punta Sal, a haven of sun, surf and sand. Perhaps set out for some deep-sea fishing, explore the scenic coastline by boat or simply kick back on the beach with a good book.
Farewell Peru and discover the production secrets of Ecuador's iconic Panama hat during a factory tour. Head out shopping for one of these hats or maybe ramble through Cuenca's scenic streets and shady plazas.
Enjoy spectacular views while driving along the winding Quilotoa Loop. Get active on a guided trek and stay overnight in an eco-lodge nestled on the slopes of the Rio Toachi Canyon.
Pitch a tent in the lush, mountainous Tungurahua Province. Explore nearby Banos, Ecuador's famous adventure playground. Maybe soak in the town's hot springs filled with therapeutic waters or choose from one of many optional activities - from horse riding to mountain biking and even whitewater rafting.
Gear yourself up for for the amazonian adventures ahead.
The lush jungle of the upper Amazon Basin is one of the world's most biologically diverse regions. Set off on treks heading deep into the heart of the Amazon jungle. Visit freshwater pools inhabited by caimans and canoe down twisting rivers to meet hospitable locals.
The trip comes to an end amid the quaint cobbled streets of Quito, Ecuador's capital. Celebrate the journey over a meal in one of the many great restaurants or explore some of the attractions dotted throughout this breathtaking city - from cathedrals and churches, to lookouts and plazas.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Boat, Ferry, Jeep, Overland vehicle, Train
Bush camp (no facilities) (9 nights), Camping (with facilities) (46 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hacienda (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hostel (11 nights), Hotel (38 nights), Lodge (3 nights)
Included activities
  • 3 night/3 day Amazon Adventure
  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Ballestas Islands boat trip
  • Boat trip
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Site
  • Chauchilla cemetery
  • Colca Canyon Tour
  • Cuzco Visitor Ticket
  • Hat Factory Tour
  • Isla del Sol boat trip
  • Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Jesuit Mission ruins and museum, San Ignacio de Mini
  • Lord of Sipan Museum
  • Paracas National Park
  • Pyramids of Sun and Moon
  • Quilmes Ruins
  • Raqchi Artisan Centre and ruins
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • Trek from Quilotoa to Chugchilan
  • Two night Pantanal adventure
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
  • Valle de la Luna Excursion
  • Vineyard Tour
  • Visit Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)
  • Visit Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls (entrance fee included)


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

For information about altitude sickness click here

Important notes

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

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

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

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

Trip notes

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

View trip notes