From Quito to Rio, discover the best of South America

Get ready for the ultimate South American adventure on this journey from the Andean heights of Ecuador through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay until finally arriving in the vibrancy of Brazil. Explore the Amazon Jungle, trek the Inca Trail, take a 4x4 through the Salar de Uyuni, experience life on a working estancia and witness the mighty Iguazu Falls. Discover the rhythm of the samba, salsa and tango, get off the beaten track, visit diverse and amazing natural wonders and collect a lifetime of memories on this truly epic adventure. With plenty of free time and a do-it-yourself approach, this is the perfect way to explore South America.

This trip requires Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Countries
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru
Style
Basix
Code
GGBWC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Hike through the Amazon rainforest and sample fruit, chocolate and if you’re brave enough, tree worms in a local indigenous farming community

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Inca Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are a majestic destination, no matter how you get there

  • The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the lake and spend the night with a local family in a traditional island community

  • The landscapes of Salar de Uyuni are so unique they’re almost extra-terrestrial. Embark on a three-day adventure via 4WD across the rocky Atacama Desert and the largest salt lakes in the world - passing cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos

  • Harness your inner gaucho during a three-day stay at a working estancia in Uruguay. Whether it’s getting involved in daily chores around the farm, working with livestock or simply relaxing on the ranch, experience a unique way of life and Uruguayan hospitality at its best

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and you’ll be able to see it from both sides

  • The heaving, hedonistic metropolis of Rio de Janeiro is a great way to end the trip. Party down with the locals and experience a culture at the beating heart of Brazil

Is this trip right for you?

  • There are some long travel days and five overnight bus journeys on this trip. Although the buses feature comfortable reclining seats, they are not beds. There’s also usually a toilet on-board, and some of the buses make toilet stops. These trips can be tiresome, but an adventure trip around South America wouldn’t be complete without an overnight bus journey.

  • You’ll be staying in some very basic group accommodation with shared facilities, especially along the Inca Trail, in the Amazon and on Lake Titicaca (where there are drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature.

  • There will be a lot of hiking and walking on this trip (especially on the Inca Trail which can be quite challenging), so this requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Quito a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. The sun is also unusually strong and it’s easy to get burnt, especially when out on the water in Lake Titicaca. It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water. Please see the important ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Please note that our leaders are not able to organise a trip to the ‘Death Road’ to Coroico for you, due to safety concerns. Injuries are common along the road and there have been a number of fatal accidents. Our leaders are also unable to organise tours to the Potosi Mines for safety reasons.

  • Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. There will be long travel days spent in 4WDs on dusty and bumpy tracks. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.

  • Bolivia is the least developed and most challenging country you’ll travel around during this trip. Facilities are basic and food might be simpler than what you’re used to. Transportation between different locations can be slow and isn’t as easy as it might be in developed countries. Yet this is all part of the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ charm and adventure that makes Bolivia such a great place to visit.

  • While at the estancia in Uruguay, you can choose to participate in the day-to day-activities of the farm as much or as little as you like. If you do choose to get involved, prepare for some early morning starts and to get your hands dirty when working directly with animals. The accommodation is multi-share and meals are served family style. Please inform your booking agent if you have any dietary requirements.

Itinerary

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. At the end of the walk, your leader will recommend a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner.

Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quito - Leader Led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you wish to take part multiple of the optional activities mentioned below, you will need to book additional accommodation either before or after the tour as there won't be much spare time during the tour.
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena, which will take around five hours. There’s no toilet on-board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to Misahualli and then by boat to your lodge for the next two nights - arriving by approximately 1.30 pm just in time for lunch.

In the afternoon, your local hosts will introduce you to the local community and take you on a walk around the farm. Use this opportunity to try some fresh fruit and, if you’re feeling brave, tree worms. Finish the afternoon making chocolate dessert from scratch. With the help of the host, you’ll roast, grind and conch chocolate beans into your own chocolate sauce.

Notes: Accommodation at the lodge is basic and it consists of a bed and linen. Bathroom facilities are shared and showers are refreshingly cold.
Accommodation
  • Community Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Amazon Jungle: The main focus of this Amazon stay is to learn about the local indigenous people and their way of living.While you'll may be able to see a number of small animals (butterflies, spiders and some monkeys), it's unlikely you will see an array of wildlife.
In the morning after breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve in the secondary rainforest. This is also a great opportunity to spot insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history. After the walk we'll eat a packed lunch on the banks of the Arajuno River. Next you’ll have the opportunity to go tubing down the River. The water currents are not particularly strong however it’s part of our safety policy for all passengers to wear a life jacket if you wish to take part in this activity. The activity will last approximately 1 hour, we will then get back on board the Canoe and travel back to the Amazon lodge (approximately 1.5 hrs ) Once we get back to the lodge we have time to shower and freshen up for dinner. After dinner we’ll head out on a night jungle walk!




Accommodation
  • Community Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Breakfast will be served at around 7 am today in the lodge. Afterwards, travel back to Tena the same way you arrived and then catch a local bus to Banos (approximately three hours). You should arrive into the city of Banos around midday, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, perhaps use your free time soaking in the city's natural baths or go for a hike to the powerful falls of Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Banos has traditionally been known as the outdoor centre of Ecuador with a number of popular high risk activities being offered to foreign and national tourists alike. The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. As such, we at Intrepid have gone through our due processes and assessed local suppliers and their safety standards in Banos. Unfortunately, to date none of the local operators in the area have been able to pass Intrepid minimum safety standards. As a consequence, we have instructed local leaders to share with you our safety concerns, discourage travellers from taking these type of activities at this destination and strictly forbid them from helping travellers arrange these activities at this location. Fortunately, Banos has plenty more to offer than high risk activities and we are confident that you will have a great time exploring the area under the guidance of our knowledgeable local leaders
Today, you'll have a full day to explore Banos and take advantage of some of the optional activities. Perhaps rise early to watch the sunrise over the mountains near to the hot springs. After breakfast, venture to Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water) and see the intricate murals that depict numerous stories about the virgin. If you have time, stroll around the local artisan markets to pick up a memento of the city. If your trip falls on the weekend or during the holidays, be prepared for carnival-like festivities that take place all over Banos.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a local bus to Riobamba (approximately 3 hours), where you’ll swap buses and head south to Cuenca (approximately 5 hours). Is Cuenca the best-looking city in Ecuador? Probably, with UNESCO sticking it on their list of things they love. There are loads of impressive 500-year-old churches and colonial buildings, made out of marble and decorated with stunning woodwork and ironwork. It’s the country’s third largest city but still has a small town and Old World air, and it’s great for just wandering around and exploring. Think you can pull off a Panama hat? Well Cuenca is the home of the famous headwear, and if there’s time you could visit a factory and pick up one that fits perfectly. Cuenca is also a university town, so all the students give it a buzzing nightlife, and there are some good bars and restaurants to choose from. Add in an evening stroll around the Plaza and you’ve got the perfect end to your first day in Cuenca.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Meet up with your leader this morning and get to know Cuenca better with an orientation walk. Trundle along cobblestone streets and check out colonial parks, buzzing markets, and stop by the monumental cathedral at the centre. La Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción took 100 years to finish, and its blue and white domes are a real standout. The rest of the day is free to explore Cuenca and the surrounding area. If you’re feeling cultural, maybe head to the Museo Pumapungo, which features an impressive range of artistic, historical, cultural, and ethnological exhibits (including a collection of real shrunken heads from the Shuar civilisation – for the strong stomached only!). Otherwise, maybe get out of town to El Cajas National Park, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. 70,000 acres shelter everything from cloud forest to rocky lunar landscapes, but it's the lakes (more than 200 of them) scattered among jagged peaks that are its best-known image. Feel the solitude while hiking or trout fishing. Look out for the reintroduced wild llamas that roam around, as well as elusive spectacled bears, pumas and tigrillos. There are also hummingbirds, toucans and Andean condors flying about the park. El Cajas is a simple one-hour bus ride from Cuenca. Once there, pay the entrance fee, hire a native guide and start hiking around the beautiful lakes. Tonight you might want to get to bed early, in preparation for a very early start early tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuenca - Leader Led Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At approximately 3 am, begin by taking a taxi to the bus station in Cuenca, then a public bus south-east towards the coast and town of Huanquillas (approximately 5-6 hours). After crossing the border into Peru, make your way to the Umbes airport before flying to Lima, capital of Peru. Touch down and meet your new leader before heading to your hotel in Miraflores which sits conveniently by the
beach. In the afternoon, embark on an orientation walk through Miraflores, passing the arty markets, shops, restaurants and bars before enjoying an evening at your leisure. Enjoy a free evening with the group, perhaps saying farewell over a pisco sour and a delicious ceviche.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning at around 9am your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral of Lima, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Nearby is the San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. There will be time for you to go inside if you wish, however the entrance fee is not included in the tour price. The city tour will finish at around midday, you may choose to head out for lunch with the group. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own. In the evening, possibly head to one of Lima's many seafood restaurants to try one of the nation's favourite dishes, ceviche.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs - PEN12
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Banco Central de Reserva Museum - PEN5
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning at around 6am travel by taxi or minivan to Lima's bus station and take a local bus to Paracas (approximately four hours). During this journey it's unlikely the bus will make any stops, so please ensure you prepare yourself with water, snacks and anything else necessary.
The small fishing town of Paracas is the gateway to the Islas Ballestas and the Paracas National Reserve. You'll have the option of visiting Paracas National Reserve today with a local guide. The duration of the tour is around 2- 2.5 hours allowing you to enjoy the beautiful Maritime landscapes and desert. The tour also includes a visit to the Pre-Incan museum.
The area is also the birthplace of Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour. For some local food specialities head to the boulevard near the beach and try some tejas, which are small sweets made from nuts and dried fruits. In the evening, experience the nightlife of Paracas.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Paracas - National Reserve guided tour - PEN50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you can choose to visit the Islas Ballestas, which will be at an additional cost. There will be lots of opportunities to see wildlife such as penguins, sea lions and flamingos from a speedboat. The Ballestas are part of the Paracas National Reserve and sometimes known as the 'Galapagos of Peru' – so expect unspoiled coastlines, flourishing vegetation and wildlife such as pelicans and red-footed boobies.
Late morning continue onto Nazca, which takes around three hours (it's likely there won't be any stops). Arrive in the early afternoon. The Nazca Lines are enormous designs inscribed into the desert. Who drew them, how and why is unknown, but most scientists believe the Nazca people created them about 2,000 years ago. These enigmatic wonders are best seen from the air, as the area and inscriptions are so vast. For an additional cost, head up in a small four/six seat plane for a 30-minute flight over all 26 impressions. Planes turn sharply from one side to another to facilitate viewing from both sides of the plane. While plastic bags are provided on board, this flight is not recommended for those with a weak stomach. In the early evening, drive to your hotel for the night.

Notes: While it's 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour - PEN57
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early afternoon, take a transfer to the bus station. Board a local bus to Arequipa, the bus ride is long (approximately 10 hours and there wont be any stops) Lunch will be served on the bus, later on around dinner time you'll be given a small snack. Don't forget to pack plenty of water, snacks and perhaps a good book!
Arrive into Arequipa around midnight and transfer to the hotel.
Standing at the foot of El Misti volcano and exuding Spanish colonial charm, Arequipa vies with Cuzco for the title of Peru's most attractive city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning your leader will take you on an orientation walk in which you will visit the main square and Mercado San Camilo. The remainder of the day is free day to explore Arequipa. Perhaps start at Monasterio de Santa Catalina for a glimpse into a bygone way of life. The 16th-century convent has a unique history, having once only accepted women from high-class Spanish families. From here, call by the Juanita Museum and take a look at the ‘Ice Maiden’, the Incan mummy of a young girl who died in the 1440s. During your walk around Arequipa, you'll come to understand why it’s referred to as the ‘White City’. Built out of the pale volcanic rock, the old buildings shine brightly in the sunshine. While away the rest of your day in the cafes and restaurants on the main plaza.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum - PEN20
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery - PEN45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning around 8am venture out by minivan to Chivay (approximately five hours). Stop to take pictures along the way, as you're likely to see llamas, alpacas and vicunas. After around two hours of driving, you'll have the chance to try some coca tea from local tea stalls. After a third stop at Patapampa (the highest place of the trip at 4,800 metres above sea level), descend to Chivay town. In the afternoon (weather permitted) your local guide will organise a short trek through the spectacular Colca Canyon, before finishing at the local hot thermal baths. Choose to spend your evening soaking in the baths, dining on Alpaca steak or listening to live Andean music at a pena (music hall).

Notes: Accommodation in Chivay is in a very basic hostel. While there are en suite toilets, there's no heating (you can request extra blankets) and some rooms can be noisy.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early in the morning take a short drive into the canyon to witness the morning routine of the Andean condor. This is an amazing opportunity to see the world's largest flying bird in predator mode. There will be a short walk around the area (approximately 45 minutes) before you return to Chivay. In the afternoon travel back to Arequipa, which takes around five hours. Enjoy a free evening to do as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use your last day in Arequipa to get under the skin of the city. For a bit of culture, stroll down to Casa Museo Villalobos for a look at the extensive art collection that’s housed there. If you’re looking for something a bit more hands-on, there are regular cooking classes in the city. For more ideas on what to do, please speak with your trip leader. This evening at about 730pm transfer to the bus station. Soon after, board an overnight bus to Cuzco (approximately 11 hours with no stops, however please consider that there is only one road out of Arequipa so it's possible there could be delays at the beginning of the journey). The bus has comfortable reclining seats and a toilet on-board. Dinner will be served on board, however it's recommended to pack some water and snacks. 
Accommodation
  • Overnight Bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Overnight buses in South America can often get quite cold due to the Air-conditioning being left on. Another thing to consider is often the driver may put a DVD on (quite loud). We recommend packing a few layers to keep warm during the journey and a pair of earplugs if you plan to get some sleep.
The overnight bus usually arrives into Cuzco between 630 - 7am this morning.
Head to the hotel in town for breakfast. After breakfast your leader will give you the choice of heading straight out for an orientation walk, alternatively the group may decide to have some time to rest for a few hours and in that case the orientation walk will be done in the afternoon.
During the walking tour you’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. The order of visiting these locations, may vary according to hotel location and your tour leader’s preference. In your free time may want to book some of the optional activities available in Cuzco. Please speak with your leader about this. During your free time there are plenty of optional activities available. Please speak with your tour leader if you're interested in booking something. This evening we will have a briefing in preparation for the Inca Trail which begins tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Entrance Fee - PEN25
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee - PEN15
  • Cuzco - Half Tourist Ticket Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
  • Cusco - City tour - USD15
  • Cuzco - Pre-Colombian Museum - PEN20
  • Cuzco - Inca Museum - PEN10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depending on your pre-arranged travel arrangements, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or stay in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6kg maximum).

Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items for the next few days.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Inca Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:
For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) or Hotel (for Train option) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, which is only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:
Today, perhaps use your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) or Hotel (for Train option) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2-3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps, which takes you to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the start of the trip.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) or Hotel (for Train option) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 430am. One the final checkpoint opens at 5am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sungate.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning usually between 5:30 - 6:30 am we take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy some free time afterwards to wander around on your own before we head to Ollantaytambo for the night.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Venture to a community in the valley to learn about the local lifestyle, visit multiple community businesses that may include a pottery workshop, a chocolate making demonstration or a local chicha brewery where you will learn about the traditional techniques that are still used to this day. Whilst in the community you'll enjoy an included lunch, prepared and cooked by local community members themselves. 
If your visit coincides with market day (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday), spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos. In the afternoon take a bus back to Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo - Archeological site - PEN70
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the Sacred Valley. In the evening, you might like to head out for dinner with the group for your final night in Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning travel by local bus for seven hours through the Altiplano plateau to Puno. There will be one brief stop along the way at La Raya, mountain range where there will be opportunities for photos. Here you'll also have the chance to buy some snacks and or go to the toilet.
Puno is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a homestay in a local community on the Llachon Peninsula. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or perhaps play a game of soccer in the village with the local kids.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the morning board the boat for a visit to Taquile Island, which is a great place to pick up some locally knitted goods. On the island knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. An hour’s uphill trek brings you to the main area of the island. Explore the local markets before descending the 500 steps back to the boat. Return to Puno (approximately three hours) arriving around 3pm. The remainder of the day is free.

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by Intrepid. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At around 7 am travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero (approximately 3 hours ) and cross the border into Bolivia. You will say goodbye to your Peruvian leader and will be met by a Bolivian leader who will take lead of the group from that point on. You'll be asked to leave the bus to proceed through Peruvian migration. The group will then walk across a bridge, submit passports at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus for La Paz. Approximately 30 minutes after crossing the border into Bolivia, there's another stop where the army will check your documents again. The journey to La Paz takes anywhere between 6-9 hours (depending on the border crossing time). In the evening, perhaps head out for an optional group dinner.

Notes: Don't forget that Bolivia's time zone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The next two days in La Paz are free to explore. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance - most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as the Food With Altitude or To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond tours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your second day in La Paz is free to explore. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance - most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as the Food With Altitude or To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond tours.

Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Sucre (approximately 12-13 hours). There are comfortable recliner seats on the bus, but it can be cold on-board so it’s important to bring warm clothing and wear base layers. There’s usually a toilet on the bus and the driver will also make a couple of stops along the way.
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
  • La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB12
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • La Paz - City Tour & Moon Valley - USD25
  • La Paz - Chacaltaya & Moon Valley Tour - USD16
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku tour - USD39
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On arrival into Sucre, drop off your luggage at the hotel before heading out to explore in your own time. Bolivia’s World Heritage- listed capital is a hub of progressive culture and Spanish colonial architecture. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta. This 400-year-old convent provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. If you have time, head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and investigate the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sucre - Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko - BOB70
  • Sucre - Casa de la Libertad - BOB21
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day to explore Sucre. For something completely different, discover the prehistoric landscape of Cal Orko and tread in 60-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. There’s also proud food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious empanadas at a restaurant or fresh juice at the Central Market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, take a local bus to Potosi (3-4 hours). This colonial mining city sits at the base of Cerro Rico, a mountain rich in silver ore. A tour and brief history of Cerro Rico could be a highlight of your trip here, but due to safety concerns we strongly advise you not to enter the mines (please see notes below). Perhaps visit the Santa Teresa Convent Museum to observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Potosi - Santa Teresa Convent Museum - BOB33
  • Potosi - National Mint of Bolivia - BOB48
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
We strongly recommend against doing a Potosi Mine Tour, which actually enters the mine. Should you decide to go against our advice, you will do so at your own risk. Please note that our leaders are not able to organise this activity for you due to safety concerns.
Today, leave Potosi behind and travel to the city of Uyuni (approximately 5-7 hours). This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano, a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers. Tonight, stay at a hotel in Uyuni Town. The hotel is fairly basic, but it’s clean, comfortable and has hot water. As you’ll be heading out into the desert and salt flats over the next few days, make the most of the structured bathroom facilities tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Uyuni this morning and venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion. Be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be at a rusty Train Cemetery, before you continue on to Salar de Uyuni - the world’s largest salt flats. While this may be a typical stop for many travellers, it’s also often a highlight. Make the most of your time on the salt flats taking lots of photos and explore Inka Wasi Isla, which is a rocky island covered in cacti and coral-like structures.

Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island/Inca Wasi'
  • Uyuni - Colchani Salt Factory Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please be aware that from December to March, there’s a risk of the salt lake being flooded. If this is the case, the itinerary will be adapted to accommodate this.
Today will be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. During this drive you’ll reach an altitude of approximately 4,900 metres above sea level, so it’s important to revisit the notes on altitude sickness (please see the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes). Stop by the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife such llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Accommodation in the desert is basic. Shower facilities can be unreliable and cold, as the pipes often freeze in the winter months. Electricity is generated by solar panels, so there won’t be enough power to charge electronic devices. In the rainy season, the itinerary may need to be altered depending on the accessibility of roads.
This morning stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for a soak and then head to the Bolivia/Chile border, where the Bolivian part of your trip comes to an end. Pass by geysers, salt flats and snow- capped volcanoes on your way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. As a small oasis town, San Pedro is surrounded by extraordinary scenery. Use your free time to wander around, perhaps checking out the quaint Church of San Pedro de Atacama, the Museo Gustavo Le Paige (archaeological museum) or the town’s central plaza.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today will be a long day of travel (approximately 12 hours), as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and surrounding natural attractions make it one Argentina's main attractions. If you have time on arrival, spend some time getting to know the area in the vicinity of the hotel. The gardens, fountains and historic buildings in Plaza 9 de Julio are a great place to start.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The next two days are free to explore Salta and its attractions. If you’re after something active, hike up the 1,070 steps to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo; the mountain that looms over Salta. You can take a gondola (cable car) to the top if you’d prefer. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Perhaps stroll the streets, take a paddleboat on the lake or pop into one of the many museums.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Salta - Cerro San Bernardo Chairlift - ARS150
  • Salta - Archaeological Museum - ARS100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take an included flight to Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina.
Fiery Latin passion, European elegance and superb cuisine combine to make Buenos Aires one of the world's most enthralling cities. After arriving in the city, time is free for you to do what you want with it. Nibble on alfajores, wander San Telmo's cobblestone streets, talk football with Portenos in a cafe or get a history lesson at the quirky Museo Evita. The hippest spot in town is Palermo's Plaza Serrano, so why not head out in the evening for a tango with the locals. There are so many things to see and do in Buenos Aires, it's simply a matter of trying to fit them all in.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD111
  • Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventure - USD90
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your last full day in Buenos Aires is free to discover more of the city. Join the tourists and walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. There are also some great museums to check out in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors.

Perhaps take part in an Urban Adventure centred on the city’s love of food, such as the Malbec Trail of Palermo or the Gourmet Buenos Aires Food tour (contact us for more information). If you need to rest your feet, settle down at one of the many street side cafes to watch the world go by with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bienvenidos. Welcome to Argentina!

Your adventure begins with an orientation walk around Buenos Aires’ Microcentro district at 1 pm. Your leader will be waiting in the lobby of your joining point hotel. Pass by historic buildings along the Avenida de Mayo, including the Casa Rosada (Argentina's government house) and the impressive Palacio Barolo.

In the evening, attend a group welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. Head out tonight and be swept away by the dance of love at an optional tango show.

There’s a lot to see if you arrive early into the city. Explore the antique markets of San Telmo or browse the museums in the well-to-do neighbourhood of Recoleta. If you’re a foodie or a wine connoisseur, take part in the Malbec Trail of Palermo or Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure day tour.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the welcome meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Welcome Meeting
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show - ARS1200
  • Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventure - USD90
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD111
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Food Urban Adventure - USD120
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry (approximately three hours). On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this charming colonial city, known as the oldest in Uruguay. The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico is a great place to start. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and rub shoulders with locals, as they sip their yerba mate (tea). Listen to the noisy parakeets in the Plaza Mayor, or comb Colonia’s small museums. For great views over the city, climb to the top of a 19th-century lighthouse that’s still in operation.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Colonia - Lighthouse visit - UYU25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a long travel day. Take a comfortable local bus from Colonia to Montevideo (approximately 2.5 hours). From Montevideo it's a further five-hour journey to Tacuarembo by bus. The bus has reclining seats and you'll be provided with a typical Uruguayan snack, but as the bus doesn’t stop it's also recommended that you bring your own food. From Tacuarembo it takes a further hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch, where you’ll be spending the next three nights.
Accommodation
  • Estancia (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Spend a few days experiencing the real deal of a working Uruguayan farm. Although you’re welcome to laze around and explore your surroundings, you can also fully involve yourself in day-to-day jobs around the ranch. These jobs change with the day and the season, but may include herding sheep and cows, branding cattle or injecting lambs against worms.

Don't expect luxury: things are simple down on the ranch. Accommodation is dormitory-style, hot water and electricity are only available for a couple of hours a day and chores start at 7.30 am. What you will get in return is a warm Uruguayan welcome from your hosts, some of the best home-cooked food you’ve ever tasted and the chance to experience true farm life.

On the afternoon of your sixth day, travel to Concordia in Argentina. From here take a 12-hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu. The bus has reclining seats and toilets and movies will be shown to keep you entertained. A simple dinner is also provided on board.
Accommodation
  • Estancia (3 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Estancia - Horse riding - Free
  • Estancia - Horse riding - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station this morning, take a minivan across the border into Brazil and continue onto your hotel in Foz do Iguacu. Depending on traffic, this should take about an hour.
Close to the borders with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguacu is Brazil's gateway to the famous Iguazu Falls. Uppon arrival If hotel rooms are ready you will be able to check in before heading out to explore the Brazilian side of the falls. Soon after take a short transfer to the falls. From here, panoramic views can be enjoyed. For unforgettable views, take an optional helicopter flight over the falls (at your own expense).
Depending on time, you can also visit the local bird park while you’re here.
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu Falls Brazil - Helicopter ride - USD130
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park - BRL40
  • Iguazu Falls - Acquamania Water Park - BRL42
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel back into Argentina today to visit the falls. Following a series of boardwalks, it’s possible to get so enough to the thundering waters that you can almost touch them. At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in total, with some reaching up to 80 metres in height. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls and feel the water in your skin! In the afternoon return to Foz do Iguacu, where you’ll spend a second night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu - Zodiac boat ride - ARS800
  • Iguazu Falls - Zodiac Boat Ride - ARS950
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll take an included flight to Rio de Janeiro. Upon arrival and after settling in to your hotel room your tour leader leader will take you on an orientation walk.
The remainder of the day is yours to explore. People-watch on Copacabana or Ipanema beach, take a tour of a favela or, if the time of year is right, check out a soccer game at the famous Maracana Stadium. You might like to take the tramcar up to the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa or head up Corcovado Mountain, where you’ll find sweeping views over Rio from the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Taking part in one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Total Rio Tour, the Santa Teresa Discovery or the Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela tour are also great ways to see this exciting city. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before partying in the samba clubs of Lapa.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Urban Adventure - USD89
  • Sugar loaf cable car - BRL65
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour - Full Day Urban Adventure - USD149
  • Maracana soccer game - BRL150
  • Rio de Janeiro - Favela feelings Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Botanical Gardens - BRL6
  • Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL1
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Bem-Vindos! Welcome to Brazil. There's not much planned for the first day so relax and enjoy. Tonight at 6pm there will be a group meeting in the hotel foyer.

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 Sugarloaf and Corcovado, it's hard not to be caught up in the passion of the city's residents (known as Cariocas).

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 named Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and quickly amassed wealth during the gold rush of Minas Gerais. In the 19th century, the Portuguese monarchy fled from the threat of Napoleon in Europe and took up residence in Rio, where they built grand buildings that still stand today.

These days Rio is a fascinating and diverse city best known for its contrasting images of favelas (shanty towns) and the glitz and glamour of Carnaval.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a local bus from Rio to Paraty (approximately 4 hours)
The remainder of today and tomorrow are free to explore Paraty. Admire the architecture as you wander along the town’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets, which become partly covered in seawater at high tide. You might prefer to explore the rainforest trails in the surrounding national park, which is rich in wildlife and waterfalls. Perhaps take a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Paraty - Boat trip - BRL65
  • Paraty - Trindade excursion - BRL80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, travel by local bus and ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande (approximately five hours). This island paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. There are no private cars or banks on the island, so make sure you bring cash with you. Previously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals, the island has a fascinating history to uncover. The ruins of the prison can still be seen today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy two full free days to explore Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches; Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are among the most scenic. Take an optional boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon, beach hopping through Ilha Grande Bay along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood, and to swim and snorkel in the clear water. In the evening relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao, which is the island’s main town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Ilha Grande - Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon - BRL70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here take a minivan back to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about three-and-a-half hours. The rest of the day is free to explore or simply hit the beach and relax.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sugar loaf cable car - BRL65
  • Rio de Janeiro - Favela feelings Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Botanical Gardens - BRL6
  • Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL1
  • Maracana soccer game - BRL150
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Urban Adventure - USD89
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour - Full Day Urban Adventure - USD149
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today your South American adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

44 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners

Transport

4x4, Boat, Bus, Coach, Ferry, Minibus, Overnight bus, Plane, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Van

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Estancia (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (44 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Overnight bus (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Quito - Leader Led Orientation Walk
  • Cuenca - Leader Led Orientation walk
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island/Inca Wasi'
  • Uyuni - Colchani Salt Factory Visit
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Buenos Aires - Welcome Meeting
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls

Dates & availability

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Important notes

IMPORTANT NOTES:

START TIME:
This trip starts with a group meeting and an orientation walk at 2pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

FINISH TIME:
There are no activities on the final day & you are free to depart anytime.

COMBINATION TRIP:
This trip is a combination of three of our most popular departures. As such the make up of your group and your tour leader may change on day 9 & 29

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 17,26,30,35,36 & 40

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to important sites such as Machu Picchu. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/inca-quarry-trail
The 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 Inca Quarry Trail.
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.

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!
Please read further about altitude sickness on the link provided in our trip notes.

BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information.

ARGENTINA
The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian citizens. The fee must be paid online prior to travel and a receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.

BRAZILIAN VISA
Please note you may require a Brazilian Visa for this trip. Processing can take around 2-5 weeks at the discretion of the embassy or consulate. Please speak with your travel agent well in advance for further advice.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.