South America opens its arms to you on this inimitable trip
24 April 2018 – Due to an unexpected change on the bus schedule between San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) and Salta (Argentina), from the 5th of May 2018, this trip will spend one less night in San Pedro de Atacama and one extra night in Buenos Aires.
With a continent as huge as South America, and with as many incredible spots and sights to see across so many countries, it can be slightly overwhelming to narrow down the best of the best – but that’s exactly what’s been done for you on this trip leaving you free to focus on the most important part: enjoying yourself! Take in the best of Quito, the lush green of the Amazon Jungle, hike to the Inca splendour of Machu Picchu and puzzle over the Nazca Lines. See centuries-old Inca ruins around Cuzco, tango the night away in Buenos Aires and lose yourself in Lima. Even seasoned travellers will find something new on this incredible South American journey that will tantalise and immerse you in the culture, sights and heart of this incredible place.
This trip requires Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.
Hike through the Amazon rainforest and sample fruit, chocolate and if you’re brave enough, tree worms in a local indigenous farming community
Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Inca Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are a majestic destination, no matter how you get there
Through a vast Andean valley lies the Colca Canyon, home to the mighty Andean condor. See these magnificent beasts go about their morning routines at sunrise
The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the lake and spend the night with a local family in a traditional island community
The landscapes of Salar de Uyuni are so unique they’re almost extra-terrestrial. Embark on a three-day adventure via 4WD across the rocky Atacama Desert and the largest salt lakes in the world - passing cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos
Soak up the cosmopolitan, European and Latin charms of Buenos Aires and explore the sights of its historic city centre
There are some long travel days and three overnight bus journeys on this trip. Although the buses feature comfortable reclining seats, they are not beds. There’s also usually a toilet on-board, and some of the buses make toilet stops. These trips can be tiresome, but an adventure trip around South America wouldn’t be complete without an overnight bus journey.
You’ll be staying in some very basic group accommodation with shared facilities, especially along the Inca Trail, in the Amazon and on Lake Titicaca (where there are drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature.
There will be a lot of hiking and walking on this trip (especially on the Inca Trail which can be quite challenging), so this requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.
We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers.
Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Quito a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. The sun is also unusually strong and it’s easy to get burnt, especially when out on the water in Lake Titicaca. It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water. Please see the important ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more information.
Please note that our leaders are not able to organise a trip to the ‘Death Road’ to Coroico for you, due to safety concerns. Injuries are common along the road and there have been a number of fatal accidents. Our leaders are also unable to organise tours to the Potosi Mines for safety reasons.
Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. There will be long travel days spent in 4WDs on dusty and bumpy tracks. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.
Bolivia is the least developed and most challenging country you’ll travel around during this trip. Facilities are basic and food might be simpler than what you’re used to. Transportation between different locations can be slow and isn’t as easy as it might be in developed countries. Yet this is all part of the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ charm and adventure that makes Bolivia such a great place to visit.
This trip starts with a Welcome Meeting at 2pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.
INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/inca-quarry-trail
The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.
This trip is a combination of three of our most popular departures. As such the make up of your group and your tour leader may change on day 9 & 29
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 17,26,30,35,36 & 40
BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information
PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.
INCA TRAIL OR INCA QUARRY TRAIL
While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or the 3 Day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.
On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st
The main points impacting our visits are:
1. Tickets are now only valid only for one entry, that means that passengers cannot leave the site and re-enter as we have in the past.
2. Once the passengers begin on a chosen circuit (there are 3 different ones) they cannot walk backwards and once they finish the circuit they must leave the site. They cannot explore afterwards.
3. The two allotted times to visit are 6am-12pm/ 12-4.30pm
4. It will be mandatory to have a guide (Machu Picchu guide, not our Leaders) to visit the site. However, this rule can’t be applied as there are not enough official guides to cover the large amount of people visiting so authorities are being flexible.
These new regulations are affecting how much time our passengers can spend in Machu Picchu, in the past, after a 1-2.5 hour tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site unguided, this is not possible anymore.
Our only alternative is to make passengers explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun gate and Inka Bridge) before their guided tour starts (so about 2 hours before meeting the guide). Your Tour Leader will provide more information on what the group options are at the Welcome meeting.