Explore South America on a tour from Quito to Rio de Janeiro.

Travel to South America and get ready for the ultimate adventure on this journey from the Andean heights of Ecuador, through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and ending in the vibrancy of Brazil. Explore the Amazon Jungle, trek the Inca Trail, take a 4x4 through Salar de Uyuni, enjoy a hacienda homestay and visit Foz do Iguazu, the gateway to the mighty Iguazu Falls. Discover the beats 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 discover South America.

Quito, Ecuador
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 12
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
1 646kg pp per trip


  • Travel to the heart of the Amazon
  • Join surfers and fisherman on the beaches of Mancora
  • Enjoy Peru's fresh seafood in Lima
  • Unwrap the enigma of the Nazca Lines
  • Reach dizzying heights on the Inca Trail
  • Navigate Peru and Bolivia's high waters across Lake Titicaca
  • Visit Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni
  • Unwind in Argentina's Lake District
  • Visit Argentina and tango in Buenos Aires
  • Be awed by the mighty Iguazu Falls
  • Party in Brazil's vibrant Rio de Janeiro


Visit Ecuador's capital Quito and wander through the atmospheric Old Town.
Accompanied by a local guide, travel into the Amazon's green heart, one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Retire to a rustic lodge and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.
Visit Banos and soak in steaming therapeutic thermal springs - or, better yet, take a dip just in time for sunrise.
Visit the colourful flower markets and peruse the colonial architecture of Cuenca.
Travel to Peru and enjoy free time to get to know the culture in Mancora. Why not follow Hemingway's route along the beach.
Travel through the Sechura Desert, see the surfing fishermen of Huanchaco and explore the historical city of Trujillo.
Visit Lima and try ceviche, Peru's seafood specialty. Perhaps also sample Pisco, the local tipple of choice.
Travel to Pisco and spot flamingos on an optional boat tour to the Paracas National Reserve.
Have an eerie desert adventure with visits to an ancient cemetery and the Nazca Lines.
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.
Trek through Inca ruins, cloud forests and up ancient staircases on the way to Machu Picchu.
Visit Cuzco and relax in a cafe or hit the mountain tracks on a daring bike ride.
Enjoy an island homestay on the turquoise waters of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake.
Enjoy free time in enchanting Copacabana. See the mudejar (Moorish-style) cathedral houses and the saintly La Virgen Morena Del Lago (the Dark Virgin of the Lake), a statue carved by a direct descendant of the last Inca Emperor. Reputed to have worked many miracles, this spiritual relic is the essence of the town's Inca and Spanish heritage.
Visit La Paz and shop for trinkets at the Witches' Market or pick up some handmade alpaca wool socks at the Artesania Sorata.
Visit Bolivia's whitewashed capital to admire the spectacular interior of the Iglesia de la Merced.
The adventurous might choose to take a mine tour in Potosi.
Visit Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni and discover a surreal landscape filled with volcanoes and multicoloured lakes.
Cross the border into Argentina. Spend time in Salta's shady plaza and don't miss visiting its ornate central cathedral.
Visit Mendoza and try some Malbec wine against a backdrop of mountains.
Get a breathtaking view of Santiago from Cerro San Cristobal and sample world famous wines from this region.
Enjoy adventure sports galore at Pucon, beneath the gaze of the snow-capped Villarrica Volcano.
Stroll along the lake or head further afield to the forests of Bariloche.
Between its Latin passion, European elegance and superb cuisine, Buenos Aires is a joy to explore. 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 head out in the evenings to tango with the locals. There are so many awesome things to do in Buenos Aires, it's simply a matter of trying to fit them all in!
Stroll through the picturesque narrow streets of Colonia.
Visit Uruguay's capital Montevideo and explore the Old City to glimpse its colonial past.
Experience country living at an estancia. Lend a hand around the ranch and feast on hearty home-cooked meals.
Take an optional visit to Iguazu Falls and be blown away by its 270 waterfalls!
Swim in Brazil's Bay of Paraty or watch the tide rise among the cobblestone streets of this charming colonial town.
It's pure relaxation on this tropical island getaway, home to arguably Brazil's best beach.
Dance to a samba beat in Lapa or sip a caipirinha on one of Rio de Janeiro's sun-drenched beaches. Celebrate the end of the adventure overlooking this beautiful city from atop Corcovado.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


25 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
4x4, Boat, Bus, Canoe, Ferry, Overnight bus, Van
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Hacienda (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hostel (11 nights), Hotel (52 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Overnight bus (7 nights)
Included activities
  • 4-day Inca Trail trek and Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Buenos Aires - Leader led walking 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)


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For information about altitude sickness click here

Important 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.

29 May 2012. Based on previous travellers and leaders feedback, the itinerary of this trip has changed from what it is advertised in the Intrepid Latin America 2012 brochure. We trust this amended itinerary will only enhance travellers experience of this region.

New Itinerary:

Days 1-52 As per original itinerary
Days 53-56 Santiago
Days 57-59 Pucon
Days 60-61 San Martin de los Andes (Arg)
Days 62-64 Bariloche
Days 65-67 Buenos Aires
Days 68 onwards, as original itinerary

Previous Itinerary:

Days 53-56 Santiago
Days 57-58 Pucon
Days 59-61 Ancud
Days 62-64 Bariloche
Days 65-67 Buenos Aires

Trip notes

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

View trip notes


Our South American Explorer trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

South American Explorer , June 2015

South American Explorer , January 2015