Discover the Inca Empire travelling in South America.

This is an epic journey that takes in the sights and delights of the Inca Empire as you experience adventure travelling in South America. Visit five countries with distinct cultures, customs and landscapes: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, travelling overland from Quito to Santiago. Enjoy highlights such as an Amazon Jungle adventure and the challenging Inca Trail trek. Visit the outdoor sports mecca of Ecuador, rural villages in Peru, an underground mine in Bolivia and the wine capital of Argentina to really get off the beaten track. Cap it all off with stops in vibrant cities and several chances to relax by idyllic beaches - this cross-continent adventure through the Inca Empire really does have it all.

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

Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Santiago, Chile
Countries
Argentina,
Bolivia,
Chile,
Ecuador,
Peru
Themes
Explorer
Code
GGRGC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
1 072kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Stroll through Quito's quaint streets
  • Experience the wilds of the Amazon Jungle
  • Try the range of adventure sports in Banos
  • Discover the colonial charm of Lima
  • Camp out on the challenging Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Go wild in the markets of La Paz
  • Travel through the scenic Salar de Uyuni
  • Quaff Malbec in a Mendoza vineyard

Itinerary

Arrive in Quito, Ecuador's multifaceted capital. Kick off the Latin American adventure exploring cobblestone streets in the Old Town or head to a funky bar in Quito's modern area.
Learn the secrets of the Amazon rainforest and the medicinal uses of plants on a local-guided tour of the jungle.
With two free days in Banos, you might want to watch sunrise from the thermal springs or experience an adrenaline rush high in the Ecuadorian Andes - whitewater rafting, anyone? Banos has long been a favourite place to travel in Ecuador and it's not hard to see why.
Wander cobblestone streets and admire the red-tiled roofs, flower markets and plazas of Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Cross the border from Ecuador to Peru and spend a free day relaxing on Mancora beach, surfing or taking an optional boat tour through the mangrove swamps to search out local birdlife.
Travel through the Sechura Desert to see the 'surfing' fishermen of Huanchaco. Explore the historical city of Trujillo.
Wander the well-preserved historical centre of Peru's capital, Lima.
Head to the Plaza de Armas for some tasty local cuisine or a Pisco sour - Peru's national drink made from a type of brandy.
Opt to visit the Ballestas Islands, a famed wildlife haven, before heading to the Nazca lines to discover ancient mummies and mysterious colossal etchings.
Journey to Arequipa and see why it's nicknamed the 'White City'.
Head deep into the Andes to witness the Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons.
Get acquainted with the intriguing blend of Inca and Spanish cultures and discover some of Cuzco's lesser-known sights on a guided walking tour.
Explore the terraced Sacred Valley filled with Inca ruins, colourful markets and scenic villages.
Walk through dense cloud forests and past ancient ruins on an awe-inspiring Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
Relax in a cafe back in Cuzco or hit the mountain tracks on a daring bike ride.
Stop in at Puno, the folklore capital of Peru. Take a boat tour of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, and experience local life at a homestay.
Cross the border from Peru to Copacabana in Bolivia where you have the option to hire a pedal boat, visit the Island of the Sun or hike to the top of Cerro Calvario and watch the sunset over town.
Travel to Bolivia's eclectic capital La Paz. Browse the Witches' Market for everything from woolly hats and alpaca gloves to potions and incantations to cure any ailment. Celebrate the end of the Peru and Ecuador Adventure with a night on the tiles.
Travel from La Paz to Sucre and peruse a bejewelled painting at the Museo de la Catedral, compare footprints with those of a dinosaur at Cal Orck'o or head to Recoleta, an old convent at the top of a hill from where you will be able to see why Sucre is known as Bolivia's most beautiful city.
In the city of Potosi, journey deep underground on an optional trip into one of Bolivia's tin mines - a confrontational but unforgettable experience.
Discover the gleaming salt flats, cactus-studded islands, multicoloured lakes and abundant wildlife of the surreal Salar de Uyuni.
Cross the border between Bolivia and Argentina and delve into the pre-Columbian and colonial history of one of Argentina's most splendid towns, Salta. Need a thrill? Optional bungee jumping and horseriding can be easily arranged. After a few days here, you'll have no doubt why the Argentineans affectionately call this city 'Salta the Pretty'.
Visit bountiful, sun-kissed vineyards and lock lips with some Malbec - Mendoza's premier wine. Winter travellers will delight in the nearby ski resorts, though Mendoza is a treat all year round. To give a little back, choose to visit Brazos Abiertos, a community project that supports local underprivileged children and mothers.
Travel across the spectacular Andes and arrive in the bustling capital of Chile, Santiago. At the centre is the Plaza de Armas, home to the cathedral. For a serene look at Chilean life, visit Barrio Bella Vista - a cluster of cafes and galleries affectionately referred to as the 'Paris Quarter'. It is here that the Bolivia and Argentina exploration comes to an end.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
17 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners
Transport
4x4, Boat, Bus, Canoe, Ferry, Overnight bus, Van
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hostel (7 nights), Hotel (36 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Overnight bus (3 nights)
Included activites
  • 4-day Inca Trail trek and Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Colca Canyon
  • Lake Titicaca boat tour & homestay
  • Leader-led walking tour
  • Sacred Valley and local community visit
  • Uyuni Salt Flats 3d/2n (shared tour)

Dates

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

For information about altitude sickness click here


Notes

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.

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.

Important information regarding new regulations and booking procedures for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Important 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