Discover beaches, temples and mountains between Peru and Ecuador

Jump onboard this Overland tour between two of South America's most iconic cities - Lima and Quito. Reaching along the back of the continent, discover places of immense natural beauty and explore regions off the tourist trail. From Peru's sparse landscapes to Ecuador's jungle clad mountains, visit the ancient city of Chan Chan, watch fishermen manoeuvre narrow reed boats in Huanchaco and opt to explore the towering Andes by horseback or by foot. With plenty of flexibility to choose the adventures that best suit you, this Overland journey is the best way to discover this iconic stretch between Lima and Quito.

Lima, Peru
Quito, Ecuador
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
577kg pp per trip


  • Discover Lima's character-filled plazas
  • Marvel at the surfing fisherman of Huanchaco
  • Walk through the crumbling remains of South America's oldest pre-Columbian city
  • Stare up at the once mighty Temples of the Sun and Moon
  • Soak up the sun in Punta Sal
  • Tour a Panama hat factory
  • Relax in Banos - famous for its hot springs
  • Camp out in the heart of the Amazon Jungle
  • Wander the cobbled streets of Quito


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2014 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Border information:
if joining in Lima, you will most likely enter Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre.
Hotel for the night: Hotel Kamana
Jr. Camaná 547
Lima (Downtown)
Phone: (+ 511) 426-7204
Fax: (+511) 426-0790
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Lima's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), containing over 7000 pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from a number of Peru's different pre-Columbian cultures PEN 33
Visit the beautiful Baroque cathedral of San Francisco in Lima's historical centre, and explore the morbidly fascinating catacombs underneath PEN 7
Explore the bohemian areas of Barranco and Miraflores on a cycling tour of Lima USD 35
Explore the excellent Museum of the Nation in Lima, which has numerous exhibits highlighting many of the pre-conquest civilisations and an outstanding photo exhibit on Peru's Internal Conflict of the 1980s and 1990s PEN 9
See the incredible 'Magic Water Circuit' in Lima's Parque de la Reserva, an astounding evening display of water, PEN 4
music, light, images, and laser effects across 13 huge water fountains Explore the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Lima, containing the largest private collection of pre-Colombian art in the world PEN 30
Take a cebiche and pisco sour class at one of the top restaurants in Miraflores, a lively district of Lima
USD 40
About Lima:
Lima is a city of hidden beauty. Dive in and explore the Peruvian capital's streets, parks and plazas and you will discover a real gem of a city. Infact there's so much to see here, a city tour is a great opportunity to find out about more about the rich history of Lima itself and Peru as a whole. The city was founded by Conquistador Pizarro in 1535 and was originally the administrative centre for Spain’s Vice royalty in South America, making it the continent’s most important city for nearly three centuries. It became a city of great wealth financed by the massive quantities of gold and silver that were mined in the area. Whilst you are here there are many museums you can visit, such as the Museo
de la Nacion and the Gold Museum, which showcase the finest artefact's from the country's many ancient civlisations. You can also visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco, and take in a bit of local culture at an evening folklore show.
Today we will have a spectacular drive up the winding roads of the 'Paramonga Route' into the Cordillera Blanca section of the high Andes, reaching the mountain town of Huaraz. In Huaraz we will stay in a local hostel in either dorm accommodation or private rooms depending on availability.
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Huaraz:
Huaraz is situated high up in the Andes, dominated by the highest, tropical mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca, and Peru's highest peak, Huascaran. It offers great opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and rafting. You can even visit the Pastoruri Glacier. In addition there's the interesting Museo de Ancash exhibiting some precisely trepanned skulls and a goniometro - an early version of theodolite. There are also tours of the Chavin Ruins and Llanganuco Lake on offer, which may be of interest. From here it is also possible to visit the Willcawain Ruins, one of the outposts of the great Wari civilisations.
We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the incredible ancient ruins of Chavín de Huantar, the religious centre for the Chavín culture
which flourished in the area from 1200BCE-500BCE PEN 100
Explore the remarkably well-presevered three-story mausoleum of Wilcahuaín near to Huaraz, built by the Wari civilisation that ruled the area between 600-900CE PEN 15
Learn all about the area's incredible pre-Inca civilisations at the Museo Regional de Ancash PEN 15
Take a horse riding trip from Huaraz to the incredible viewpoints of the Cordillera Blanca USD 27
Enjoy a half-day rock climbing excursion followed by a rejuvenating dip in the nearby thermal springs USD 25
Go canyoning in the waterfalls and gorges of the Huaraz region USD 25
Go downhill mountain biking through the stunning mountains of the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz
USD 55
Trek out to the phenomenal turquoise glacier lake of Laguna 69 in the shadow of Huascaran, Peru's highest mountain USD 45
Head out for a day of beginners-level ice climbing in the vally of Llaco in the Cordillera Blanca mountains USD 50
Today we will have a full day's drive down the stunning 'Casma Route' to the Pacific coast and on to Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo. In Huanchaco we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. About Huanchaco: Once the capital of the ancient Peruvian Moche civilisation, Huanchaco is a small town on the Peruvian coast that is rapidly acquiring a reputation for the quality of the surfing off its relaxed beaches. Wandering along the sea front you will come across the local fishermen's "caballitos de tortora", curved reed boats that they leave propped up in groups together on the sand. Huanchaco is an ideal location from which to explore the numerous archaeological ruins the surround nearby Trujillo, such as the enormous pre-columbian complex of Chan Chan, a vast adobe city constructed by the emporer of the Chimu people, as well as the world famous Moche pyramids the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.
Today we will have an included guided trip to explore the enormous adobe ruins of Chan Chan and the world-famous Moche archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).

Activity Approximate Cost
Head out on a guided tour of the colourful Moche Pyramids and the colossal Chimu adobe city of Chan Chan near the Peruvian city of Trujillo Included in Kitty
Visit the fascinating Cassinelli Museum in Trujillo, a private collection of many exquisite examples of ancient pottery PEN 15
Today we will have a full day's drive along the coast of northern Peru. We will have an included visit to the phenomenal Lord of Sipan museum in Lambayeque, home of an incredible collection of Chimu-era treasures (please note that this museum is closed on Mondays, so we will be unable to
visit if your trip passes through on a Monday). We will stay at a friendly local campsite just outside of Punta Sal, on a beautiful and serene beach on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (including approximately 1 hour 30 minutes at the Lord of Sipan museum)
About Lambayeque:
The small Peruvian town of Lambayeque is home to the impressive Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan, a world-class museum that showcases the finest artefacts from the archaeological finds at nearby Sipan. This area on the northwest coast of Peru is well known for its rich historical heritage and the
name Lambayeque originates from the ancient pre-Inca civilisation of the Lambayeques. Amongst the most extraordinary discoveries made here is the famous ‘Lord of the Sipan’, a Moche Priest found buried amidst an array of gold, jewels and fabrics.

About Punta Sal: Situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in a long, curvy bay, Punta Sal is a
haven of sun and sand. The warm and tranquil waters are a pleasure to swim in and there's also the opportunity to set out on fishing trips and boat trips along the coast line. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, horse riding along the beach and salsa lessons can be arranged, or just kick-back in a hammock and laze the day away, enjoying the peace and quiet of this beautiful spot
Today we have a full day to relax on the beach and enjoy some activities in and around the stunning coastal area of Punta Sal.
Activity Approximate Cost
See a resident colony of Green Sea Turtles at El Nuri,
near to Punta Sal PEN 5

Try your hand at surfing in the ideal waters of the Pacific
Ocean near Punta Sal or Mancora USD 20

Rent a mountain bike to explore the coast of Punta Sal
and the beautiful nearby areas of Canoas and Plateritos
USD 20

Explore the coastlines of Punta Sal by foot, or head out
trekking through the nearby hills and farms of Canoas

Explore the beaches of northern Peru on quad bikes, or
ride through the nearby inland forests
USD 30

Take a beginner's belly-dancing class with our hosts at
the beaches of Punta Sal
USD 10

Take a yoga session at our beach campsite in Punta Sal
USD 10
Border information: Exit Peru at Tumbes, enter Ecuador at Huaquillas. Today we will have a long
drive day north, crossing the border into southern Ecuador and arriving at the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca. In Cuenca we will stay in a centrally-located hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

About Cuenca:
Cuenca is Ecuador's third-largest city and it's small centre is home to some beautiful architecture. This small university town is a pleasure to wander around and explore, take to the streets and you'll discover impressive churches that date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries, attractive colonial buildings,
tranquil plazas and lively markets. The Ecuadorians consider it the finest city in the country and many of its buildings are constructed from marble and decorated with stunning woodwork and ironwork. Cuenca is also the home of the Panama hat, and you can visit some of the famous hat factories, where you can watch the craftsman and marvel at their skill first-hand. Because of all the students who are based here, the town has a lively night-life and there are some good bars and restaurants to choose from. Top that off with an evening stroll around the Plaza and you'll have spent the perfect day
enjoying the city.
Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Cuenca. The town is the birthplace of the famous Panama Hat, and we will have the opportunity today to visit one of the factories to learn about the manufacturing process.
Activity Approximate Cost
Freely explore the historic colonial city of Cuenca, and discover its cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals,colonial parks, and buzzing markets USD
Visit some of the volcanic thermal baths near to the colonial town of Cuenca USD 6
Visit the Museo Pumapungo in Cuenca, featuring an impressive range of
artistic, historical, cultural, and ethnological exhibits, and most famously housing a collection of shrunken heads from the Shuar civilisation USD

Head out of Cuenca to explore the highlands and lagoons
of the nearby Cajas National Park USD 10

Take a day trip out of Cuenca to visit the site of the Ingapirca ruins, the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador USD 25

Visit one of the many factories that produce the ever- stylish Panama Hats, Cuenca's most famous export! USD
In the morning we drive the southern section of the Quilotoa loop before heading to the beautiful town of Rio Verde, where we stay at a campsite with great facilities.
Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, the region around Rio Verde has year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere and heaps of activities that can get you out and exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors.
Whilst staying here, you will have the opportunity to take part in optional adventure activities such as canyoning, mountain biking and rafting. We will also make the short trip into Banos where you can visit the thermal springs.
Today we will transfer to the village of Quilotoa to see its stunning crater lake, and take an included day trek back to Chugchilán through the local villages,canyons, and beautiful scenery. This walk is widely considered one of the best day treks in Ecuador! The mostly-downhill usually takes between 4-6 hours, but please be aware that there is a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be physically fit for - although we thoroughly recommend the trek, it can be skipped by anyone if they prefer.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a day-trek from the spectacular crater lake at Quilotoa to the Andean village of Chugchilan, through the incredible rural landscapes and canyons of the area Included in Kitty
Head out on a horse riding trip through the stunning hills of Chugchilan (possible alternative to trekking) USD 20
Hire mountain bikes to explore the area of Chugchilan and Quilotoa (possible alternative to trekking, when available) USD 20
Take kayaks out for an hour onto the crater lake of Quilotoa USD 5

About Lake Quilotoa:
Lake Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater lake located at 3800 metres (12,400 feet) between the towns of Zumbahua and Chugchilán. Its emerald water spans two kilometres. Local legend claims it is connected to the ocean and is therefore salty and sulfuric. Quilotoa is an active volcano, the last major
eruption was over 850 years ago. It is possible to hike down from the crater rim to the lakeside. The descent takes 30 minutes and climbing back up takes about an hour. It is possible to swim in the lake, but the water is very cold (5° celsius). If the climb back up from the laguna is too strenuous, you can hire a mule to ride for a few dollars. The lake also lends it’s name to the Quilotoa Loop, given to the winding circuit of spectacular dirt roads that connect Lake Quilotoa to Latacunga and the PanAmerican
Highway. The roads that lead away from Latacunga are unpaved, winding and have spectacular views of the mountains, rivers and verdant landscape. We will head to the town of Chugchilán on the northern section of the loop and after a 2 night stay head out on the southern section of the loop
allowing you to see some of the more remote people and culture of the central Andes of Ecuador.
Today we will drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and head north to the village of Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano. In Rio Verde we will stay at a well-equipped campsite with great facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours

About Rio Verde:
A few kilometres from Banos, is the small town of Rio Verde, named after the clear green water of the river that flows through the town. A number of waterfalls are found along its course, the most spectacular being The Devil’s Cauldron (‘El Pailon del Diablo’), a 20-minute walk out of town. Whilst staying here, you will have the opportunity to take part in optional adventure activities like as horse-riding, canyoning, mountain biking and rafting, as well as making the short trip into Banos to visit the thermal springs.
We will have two full days of free time for a range of activities in Rio Verde, such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. We will also have the opportuinty to visit the nearby town of Banos and its popular volcanic thermal springs.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the volcanic thermal springs in the town of Banos, a very popular spot with the locals USD 3
Explore the stunning gorges, forests, and landscapes of the Banos area by foot, possibly trekking the Machay River trail or visiting the nearby waterfalls of Pailon del Diablo and Machay USD
Take the famous zip-lining course through the Puntzan Canyon near Banos, flying through the forest canopy and past several waterfalls USD 20
Go out on a half day rock climbing trip to the walls of natural lava rock just outside Banos, which have routes suitable for people of all levels USD 30
Take out some quad bikes on a tour around the winding trails near Banos USD 36
Hire mountain bikes to freely explore the winding trails around Banos USD 7
Head out on a horse riding trip through the beautiful volcanic landscapes surrounding Banos USD 40
Head out for an exhilarating half-day canyoning trip through the gorges near Banos USD 50
Go on an adrenaline-fuelled half-day rafting expedition on the Rio Pastaza near Banos, one of the best rafting experiences in South America USD 75

About Banos:
Set in the hillside of the Tungurahua volcano is the exquisite town of Banos. Tungurahua may be the biggest volcano in Ecuador, but it is also one of the most popular to climb. This creates hiking opportunities and if you explore you will discover the thermal baths and gorgeous waterfalls. Banos is also the perfect place if you want exciting bike rides when the unknown always lies ahead. Pitch black tunnels, sheer drops - it is a place for the bold, it is a place for the daring and most importantly, it is a place that will bring out the adrenaline seeker in us all!
Today we drive to the edge of the Amazon basin near the town of Tena, where we head to our jungle lodge for an incredible 3-night stay. In the Amazon Jungle we will stay in a comfortable rainforest lodge with meals included. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours
Over the next two days we will head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rainforest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community.

Activity Approximate Cost
Spend 3 nights at our fantastic Ecuadorian rainforest lodge, taking in many activities such as boat trips on the Napo River, visits to local Quichua communities and treks through the jungle to some spectacular waterfalls and bat caves! Included in Kitty
Today we will drive back up into the highlands and arrive at the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, showcasing the country’s largest collection of Ecuadorian art and housing an impressive gold collection USD 2

About Quito: Quito has a more relaxed atmosphere than most Latin American capitals. Lying
in a hollow at the base of Volcano Pichincha, the old town is a maze of steep, cobbled streets with intricately carved, overhanging balconies. Its mixture of old colonial and modern architecture and the mix of European and Indian cultures make this a really fascinating city. Wandering around, you will come across stalls displaying Indian textiles, colourful wall hangings, jewellery, pottery and woodcarvings - and the old town has some of the best examples of Spanish colonial art and churches anywhere in the Americas.With so much to see and do, it is well worth extending your time in South merica to ensure you experience all that Quito has to offer.
Border Information: if finishing in Quito, you will most likely exit Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Quito, and a free day
to explore the city. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit one of the countless art galleries in Quito, such as the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana or the Museo Guayasamín USD 6
Visit the monument to mark the Equator at Mitad del Mundo USD 3
Take a trip on Quito's Telerifico to the top of the Cruz Loma mountain, getting breathtaking views over the city from a height of 4,270m USD 8.5
Visit the excellent Museo de la Ciudad, housed in Quito's oldest building, which explores the history of everyday life from pre-Colombian times all the way up until the present day USD 3
Take a walk around Quito's incredible Botanical Gardens, which showcases all of Ecuador's various ecosystems and their flora USD 3.5
Visit the Museo Mindalae, the extremely original project showcasing Ecuador's rich cultural diversity
Freely explore the stunning historical Old Town of Quito, and wander its ancient streets marvelling at the outstanding architecture and wonderful atmosphere USD
Visit the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, showcasing the country’s largest collection of Ecuadorian art and housing an impressive gold collection USD 2
Get away from the busy city with a stroll around one of Quito's numerous parks, all of which are very beautiful and popular with the locals USD
Enjoy the fantastic view over Quito's Old Town from the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the nearby Cerro Panecillo USD
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Overland vehicle
Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Lodge (3 nights)
Included activities
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Site
  • Pyramids of Sun and Moon
  • Lord of Sipan Museum
  • Hat Factory Tour
  • Trek from Quilotoa to Chugchilan
  • 3 night/3 day Amazon Adventure


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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

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.

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Lima to Quito , July 2015