South America Sojourn Trip Notes

South America Sojourn

Last Modified: 02 Mar 2015
South America Sojourn
Trip code: GGKBC
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Travel from the beauty of Quito to the rollicking city of Rio on this unforgettable South America sojourn through Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Spend 36 days touring the landscapes of Ecuador, exploring the Inca ruins and wild Amazon of Peru, cruising over Lake Titicaca in Puno, travelling to the heights of La Paz, getting your gaucho on in Argentina, embracing the sophistication of Buenos Aires and witnessing the splendour of Iguazu before living it up in unrivalled Rio. For a comfortable and in-depth look at South America, look no further.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeVisas
ThemesYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
MapSingle travellersWhat to take
ItineraryAccommodationHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionSafety
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Optional activitiesGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingEmergency contactFeedback
Important notesEmergency funds
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Explorer
Map
South America Sojourn
Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito!
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. 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. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). 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.
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.
La Compania de Jesus is considered by many the most beautiful in the Americas; it's certainly one of the most ornate. It's claimed that seven tonnes of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads and a jungle of carved leaves.
Take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place.
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 acclimatising 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
Accommodation
Cafe Cultura Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Cotopaxi
Today we travel south for approx 3 hrs along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to our local hacienda.
Along the way we may spot the Cotopaxi volcano which, at about 5897m above sea level is the highest active volcano in the world.
The rest of the time at the hacienda is free to explore the surrounding national park. Make the most of the day by going hiking or taking on some of the optional activities in the area.
Included Activities
  • Intiñan Museum visit
  • Compañia de Jesus visit
  • Equator line museum
  • Panecillo Hill
Accommodation
La Cienega Hacienda or similar (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Banos
Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, Banos has become a mecca for international travellers seeking year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere and a base for exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors.
Located on the northern foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility during the week, broken only by the occasional performance of a traditional Andean band, English language movie at the Hood Cinema, or drinks with friends at a local bar. On the weekends and during holidays however, Banos explodes with carnival-like festivities.
Green hills, warm waters, adventure activities, a chilled town atmosphere and good food are all found in Banos, a town popular with locals and travellers.
Accommodation
Sangay Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Cuenca
Today we travel by minivan to Cuenca (approx. 5 hrs) on the way we will visit Ingapirca Ruins.
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.
Included Activities
  • Ingapirca Ruins Entrance fee
Optional Activities
  • Cuenca City tour - USD20
Accommodation
Victoria Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 8-10 Tumbes/Cuenca/Fly to Lima
Today we drive down through the mountains to the Peruvian border. Here we farewell our Ecuadorian tour leader and are tranfered to the city of Tumbes, where we board a late evening flight to Lima. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport we are transferred to our hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores.
Included Activities
  • Catacombs - Lima
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral - PEN10
Accommodation
Antigua Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Days 11-12 Amazon Jungle
Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (approx 2 hrs).
Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you'll leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for our next two nights in the jungle. Then take a motorized canoe up river to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area.
Head into the jungle with our local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. We may spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach us about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants.
After exploring the wilds, it's time to jump back in the canoe and return to Puerto Maldonado.
The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
Accommodation
Posada Amazonas Lodge or similar (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Cuzco
We travel back to Puerto Maldonado before boarding a short flight to Cuzco.
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.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Musuem - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.
The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a silver-covered Neoclassic altar.
There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls.
The Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) is a good option if you to visit the many musems in Cuzco. This ticket also includes the archaeological around Cuzco such as Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Some museums in town, like Contemporary Art Meseum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed by purchasing the Boleto Turistico.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/
Included Activities
  • Coca Museum
  • Orientation Walk - Cuzco
  • Cuzco Museum Ticket (Boleto Turistico) - Cuzco
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral Visit - PEN27
  • Coricancha Archeological Site - Cuzco - PEN12
Day 15 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
Visit a local community on route to Ollantaytambo
The town of Ollantaytambo has been built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish.
Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
While in town, why not have a meal at Hearts Cafe, part of a project supported by the Intrepid Foundation.
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley and local community visit
Accommodation
Samanapaq Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 16 Aguas Calientes
Today we travel by train along the Urubamba river to Aguas Calientes.
Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, Aguas Calientes takes its name from the numerous hot springs that are dotted throughout the area.
Optional Activities
  • Hot springs - PEN10
Accommodation
Santuario Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Take a very early (5:30am) bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes) where we are joined by a guide who will take us through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty.
MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (approx 1.5-2 hrs) with plenty of free time afterwards.
After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.
WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
We return by local bus to Cuzco (90 mins approx.) The rest of today and tomorrow are free for you to continue exploring Cuzco. Your included "half boleto turistico" will give you access to archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo and Tambomachay, in the outskirts of Cuzco.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant on 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit http://yanapay.facipub.com/
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu entrance and Guided Tour
Days 19-20 Puno/Lake Titicaca
Travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approx 6 hrs). There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers.
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.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, sitting at 3,820 m above sea level. From the shoreline, the water stretches out almost as far as the eye can see, its expanses just waiting to be explored.
Accommodation
Taypikala Lago Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 21-22 La Paz
Travel by minivan to Desaguadero, where we cross the border into Bolivia. The first stop is the Peruvian migration office where you'll be asked to leave the bus and proceed through Peruvian migration. Then walk via a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus, which will continue to La Paz. About 30 minutes after crossing the border there's another stop where the army will again check your documents.
Bolivia's timezone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru.
On route to La Paz we stop at Tiwanaku for a guided visit.
Tiwanaku archaeological site was where the Incas learned about building systems and agricultural practices.
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.
Included Activities
  • Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
Accommodation
Rosario Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 23-24 Santiago
Today you will catch a flight from La Paz to Santiago de Chile. This international flight between La Paz and Santiago de Chile is not included in the price of this trip. Please ensure you book an early flight as there will be a group meeting in Santiago at 6pm.
Both a departure transfer to La Paz airport and an arrival transfer in Santiago are included.
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'.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Accommodation
Gen Suites or similar (2 nts)
Days 25-26 Mendoza
Travel across the Andes by local bus (6-7 hours). On a clear day you may be able to spot Mt. Aconcagua, the highest mountain in America at 6,962 meters above sea level.
The time spent at the border crossing can vary from 1 to 3 hours depending on local traffic. Please make sure you have snacks and water for today and note that fresh fruit and deli products (cheese, ham, etc) have to be consumed before crossing to Argentina or disposed off at the border.
From June to August the border crossing between Chile and Argentina may be closed due to snowfalls. In that event the emergency fund may be needed to purchase a flight between Santiago and Mendoza.
Once in Mendoza there is no better way to spend the afternoon than going for a gentle stroll around Mendoza's tree lined streets. Choose a cafe along Sarmiento pedestrian street and watch life pass by sipping a coffee. The city centre is beautifully landscaped and full of trees, squares and parks.
On our free day here you will take an included winery tour. Mendoza is Argentina's most important grape growing region, producing 70% of the country's wine. Its exceptional climate produces excellent grapes, the region's signature variety is the Malbec.
At night head out to Aristides Villanueva Street which has lately become on the starting point of Mendoza's night life. Tonight why not try the most popular drink in town: Fernet with Coke, a bitter (very) alcoholic cocktail.
In Mendoza we stay in a centrally located hotel.
Included Activities
  • Full day winery tour including Lunch
Meals Included
1 Lunch
Accommodation
San Suites Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 27-28 Buenos Aires Estancia Stay
Today we fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires (approx. 1.5hrs). Upon arrival we transfer to a minivan for a 2hr drive to our Estancia stay in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
During your time on the Estancia you can do as much or as little as you desire. Activities may also vary depending on the day. You could work with the cattle (including branding, vaccinating etc), participate in a cattle auction or visit the local town, visit a cheese factory, play volleyball, soccer etc. Alternatively you could laze by the pool and read or have a barbecue.
All meals at the estancia are included.
Accommodation
Traditional Estancia Stay (2 nts)
Days 29-31 Buenos Aires
Today we transfer back to Buenos Aires, perhaps South America's 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 their city which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own style.
The following day your leader will take you on an orientation walk, perhaps visiting San Telmo and its weekend antiques market and artists' displays, La Boca home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors, Recoleta or the Casa Rosada (Pink House) among other attractions.
In Buenos Aires we stay in a centrally located 3 star standard hotel.
Optional Activities
  • Tango show (ticket price depends on the location and inclusions) - USD100
  • Coastal train - USD10
  • Tigre - USD40
  • Polo day - USD175
  • Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD100
Accommodation
Patios de San Telmo or similar (3 nts)
Days 32-33 Iguazu Falls
Fly to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, our gateway to the mighty Iguazu Falls.
Over next two day we will visit both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls. We travel into Brazil to visit the falls on Day 32 before returning to spend the night at our hotel in Puerto Iguazu.
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.
At over 2 km long the falls are a series of cataracts. There are 275 falls in all, and with some reaching up to 80 m in height, they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara. For two different perspectives of the falls, we see them from the Argentinian and Brazilian sides. The Brazilian side offer grand panoramas while the Argentinian side is equipped with boardwalks that get so close to the thundering waters we are almost able to touch them. For a more adrenaline pumping falls experience, see them from below on a zodiac boat or take a helicopter ride, right over the top.
While in Iguazu our leader will take us on a visit to one of the few remaining Guarani communities - original inhabitants of this region.
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Brazil side tour
  • Iguazu Falls Argentina side
  • Guarani community visit
Optional Activities
  • Bird Park - BRL28
  • Helicopter ride (min 3 people) - USD110
Accommodation
Jasy Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 34-36 Rio de Janeiro
We cross the border into Brazil on the morning on Day 34 and take a flight from Foz do Iguacu to Rio de Janeiro.
In Rio we are joined by a local guide for a tour of this marvelous city. Kick off with a birds-eye-view of the city at the base of the Statue of Christ. This enormous white statue keeps constant watch over Rio, offering sweeping 360 degree views of the city’s natural wonders: beaches, lagoons, forests, bays and mountains that seem to rise from the ocean.
Next, it’s time to trade in this tourist icon for something less visited, and step into a favela. Accompanied by our local guide we stroll the narrow alleys, meet some of the locals, learn about local life and dispel some of the myths about these vibrant communities.
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.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Full-day city tour including Santa Teresa, Selaron Steps, Christ the Redeemer and Santa Marta favela
Optional Activities
  • Carnaval rehearsal (only available from June to Carnaval) - BRL80
  • Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD30
  • Samba show - BRL200
  • Sugar loaf cable car - BRL44
  • Favela tour - BRL84
Accommodation
Hotel Atlantis or similar (2 nts)
      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

      At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
      Physical rating

      Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
      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.
      Money Exchange
      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 USD100 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:
      USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
      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 Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).
      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.
      The official currency of Brazil is the Real (BRL).
      The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).
      The official currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS).
      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
      On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.
      This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US2-4, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, 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 isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.
      If you're happy with the service provided during your optional activities, a tip is appropriate (though not compulsory). 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: Tipping isn't expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.
      Local guides during optional tours: We suggest USD 2 per passenger per day.
      Drivers during optional tours: We suggest USD 1-2 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 USD 2-4 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 USD 3-5 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
      Important notes
      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.
      PASSPORT NUMBERS:
      Domestic airlines require passengers' passport numbers to issue their tickets. It is then very important that you provide this information at the time of booking.
      SEASONAL WEATHER CONDITIONS:
      From June to August the border crossing between Chile and Argentina may be closed due to snowfalls. In that event the emergency fund may be needed to purchase a flight between Santiago and Mendoza.
      OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
      This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
      Group size
      Maximum of 16 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
      Antigua Hotel or similar (3 nts), Patios de San Telmo or similar (3 nts), La Cienega Hacienda or similar (2 nts), Sangay Hotel or similar (2 nts), Victoria Hotel or similar (2 nts), Posada Amazonas Lodge or similar (2 nts), Taypikala Lago Hotel or similar (2 nts), Rosario Hotel or similar (2 nts), Traditional Estancia Stay (2 nts), Gen Suites or similar (2 nts), San Suites Hotel or similar (2 nts), Hotel Atlantis or similar (2 nts), Jasy Hotel or similar (2 nts), Samanapaq Hotel or similar (1 nt), Santuario Hotel or similar (1 nt), Cafe Cultura Hotel or similar (1 nt)
      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.
      Meals
      35 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners
      USD 1000.00
      Transport
      Complimentary arrival transfer, Bus, Plane, Minibus, Boat
      Group leader
      All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
      Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
      Joining point
      Hotel Cafe Cultura
      Robles & Reina Victoria Esquina, Robles 513
      Quito
      ECUADOR
      Phone: +593 22558858
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your 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 operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local Ecuador-based ground operator, Yacu Amu can be reached 24 hours on tel: +593 (09) 6804041, or during office hours on +593 (02) 246 1511 or +593 (02) 246 1512. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Peru Operations Office can be reached on:
      Outside Peru: +51 99605 5559
      From within Peru: 996 055 559
      For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action 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.
      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
      Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
      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
      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.
      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 and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering Interpol control. The amounts are as follows:
      Australia - US$117
      Canada - US$132
      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.
      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$92 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
      Americans - US$160 (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.
      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
      BRAZIL ENTRY POINT:
      Please note for visa applications, groups travelling on this itinerary will enter Brazil via the land border crossing at Puerto Iguazu-Foz do Iguacu on Days 32 and 34. Travellers cross into Brazil to visit Iguazu Falls on Day 32 but return to Argentina and spend the night at our hotel in Puerto Iguazu.
      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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
      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.
      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.
      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.
      DRINKING WATER:
      As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
      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
      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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 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:
      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.
      Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
      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 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.
      * Project Peru aims to break the circle of poverty, offering opportunities through education, independence through responsibility, and dignity through employment. Up to fifty children between the ages of 3 -18 are housed in the refuge located in Zapallal, a desert shanty town of Lima. These children come from extreme poverty or great moral risk.
      In Brazil, The Intrepid Foundation currently supports the Roupa Suja Project.
      Uniao de Mulheres Pró Melhoramento da Roupa Suja (UMPMRS) - translates roughly to the Union of Women for the Improvement of Roupa Suja. This area is part of Favela Rocinha - one of the biggest slums in Rio, with approximately 250,000 people living there. Most of the residents have poor health, hygiene, education and material conditions. Most of their houses are made of rough concrete and have no access to basic facilities. When the mums are out seeking work, children are often left home alone and are at risk.
      UMPMRS works to improve the lives of families and children in the neighborhood through:
      - Day care and preschool of children beginning from 3 months old - currently for about 45 children from 3 months to 5 years.
      - After school support classes, English classes and computer classes for more than 70 elementary school students from the neighbourhood - helping prevent them dropping out of school.
      - Social assistance for young and single mothers.
      - General family assistance (pediatrician, social worker and psychologist).
      - The women's group.
      - Job training and support (predominantly for women).
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 2115.00 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.