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Andes to Rio

From the dizzying heights of La Paz to the world's most famous beach city of Rio, this South American adventure will blow you away! Stand on top of the world's largest salt flats, travel through the windswept Altiplano, cross Argentina's wine country, spend 4 nights in buzzing Buenos Aires, witness the incredible Iguazu Falls from both sides of the border, and relax on some of the most beautiful Brazilian beaches. Hit all the highlights and experience Latino life every step of the way, with a wonderful array of optional activities for you to choose from. It doesn't get better than this!

Latin America
  • Duration: 28 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Walking Tour, Sightseeing
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: SAL/208499
  • Starts: La Paz, Bolivia
  • Finishes: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You will Visit
  • La Paz
  • Uyuni
  • Potosi
  • Tupiza
  • Salta
  • Cafayate
  • Catamarca
  • Cordoba
  • Buenos Aires
  • Yapeyu
  • Puerto Iguazu
  • Iguacu Falls
  • Bertioga
  • Parati
  • Rio de Janeiro

Itinerary

01

Day 1: La Paz

Tonight it's time to meet your tour leader, driver and fellow Trekkers, but why not arrive early to see the sights, or add some extra hotel nights before the start of your tour to really explore all the city has to offer. La Paz is a city like no other! Nestled in an ancient crater left by a meteorite, with the snow-capped Illimani mountain providing a dramatic backdrop. As you acclimatise to an altitude of 12,000 ft., take it easy when you walk around or you might find yourself getting a little breathless! You'll be staying near to the colourful street markets so be sure to check out the `witches market' where local women sell the weird and the wonderful, or to get a taste of the local traditions, seek out a peña show of Andean music to hear local bands play their traditional instruments such as zampoñas and charangos (pipes and ukuleles).

Meals Included: Meals paid locally

Optional Activities:

  • Coroico "Death Road" mountain biking US$124
  • Red Cap city walking tours US$3 + tip
  • Moon Valley private tour US$20-40

02

Day 2-3: Uyuni

Travel to the town of Uyuni, where you'll stay overnight before a full day included excursion to the largest salt flat in the world - the Salar de Uyuni. It's an awesome sight, stretching over an amazing 12,000 sq km. The contrast of blinding pure white salt against a brilliant blue sky is stunning (weather permitting of course!). Head out onto the vast salt flats in 4WD vehicles, stopping off at Fish Island (season dependent) where there are fantastic views of the surrounding lake. Giant cacti provide those classic photo opportunities and travellers have been known to get extremely creative with their quirky perspective shots out here, so have fun!

Meals Included: Breakfast (x1) and lunch (x1) included

Optional Activities:

  • Uyuni - Train Museum US$FREE

03

Day 4: Potosi

Head to the city of Potosi, the highest city of its size on earth, with a history closely linked to silver. Incredibly this was once the largest and wealthiest city in the Americas, and you'll see reminders of the grand colonial city it used to be in ornate churches and balconied mansions. Potosi became famous in the late 1500s as the world's richest source of silver and helped bankroll the Spanish empire for centuries. Unfortunately, behind the shiny surface of wealth there were huge amounts of tragedy. Learn about the forced labour of indigenous people and African slaves. A shocking eight million miners are estimated to have died here. It's well worth visiting one of the mines to learn first-hand about the daily lives of today's miners.

Meals Included: Meals paid locally

Optional Activities:

  • City tour US$16
  • Hot springs US$15
  • Silver mine tour US$16

04

Day 5: Tupiza

Some of the best roads in the continent are now found in Bolivia but the journey winding along dusty roads towards the Argentine border is all part of your road trip adventure! You'll pass through landscapes with brilliantly coloured rock formations and giant cacti. Legend has it that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their end at the hands of the Bolivian army near Tupiza, concluding their notorious string of bank raids.

Meals Included: Lunch included

05

Day 6-7: Salta

While some border crossings in Latin America can be easy, this is a notoriously difficult one, so sit back and relax as it might take a few hours! Cross the border into Argentina and take a drive through wine country towards the beautiful city of Salta, in the Lerma Valley at the foothills of the Andes. One thing you'll notice instantly is the cathedral and old colonial buildings, and you could simply spend your time wandering the city and people watching. If you want to ramp up the adventure, there are awesome activities available here like rafting, horse riding or mountain biking. One thing's for sure, you're going to fall in love with Salta.

Meals Included: Lunch (x1) included

Optional Activities:

  • Full day rafting trip US$65
  • Horse riding at ranch with BBQ US$70

06

Day 8-9: Cafayate

Take a memorable drive to Cafayate, past the canyons and richly coloured, twisted rock formations carved by the Rio de las Conchas. Cafayate is famous for aromatic dry and sweet white wines, so grab a glass at one of the local bodegas for a taste. If you're feeling more active, find a trail then visit the cascadas (waterfalls) to cool off from the heat.

Meals Included: Breakfast (x1), lunch (x2) and dinner (x2) included

07

Day 10: Catamarca

You've probably come to realise that South America is massive and there's a lot of ground to cover, so be thankful you have your Trek buddies to keep you company. Today is a long drive day so make sure you've got a good book, a pack of playing cards and some tunes lined up on your iPod and you'll be sweet!

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

08

Day 11-12: Cordoba

Cordoba's centre is full of charming churches, plazas, museums and colonial buildings, with traditional Jesuit heritage sites sitting side by side with a buzzing nightlife, due to a huge student population. Cordoba is another Argentinian city known for its wine so treat yourself to a glass of vino, or round up your fellow Trekkers and join a tasting at a local winery. Head out of the city if you like the sound of a full day visiting an estancia (ranch), with a traditional lunch, folk music and the chance to just relax in the grounds or enjoy a leisurely cycle ride. This is the life!

Meals Included: Breakfast (x2) and lunch (x1) included

Optional Activities:

  • Estancia 'Dia de Campo' with lunch & music US$85-120
  • Local Winery & traditional meat house tour US$38-60

09

Day 13-16: Buenos Aires

Aires is a stunning city and often a Trekker's favourite, and with four nights here there'll be loads of time to explore the different neighbourhoods. There are lots of options on offer and your hostel is right in the middle of it all, within walking distance of many of the city's highlights and transport links. There really isn't any excuse for you not to get out and explore! Across the Plaza de Mayo you'll find the Cabildo (old town hall), Palacio Municipal (City Hall) and cathedral, or stop by the balcony of the Casa Rosada (Pink Palace or presidential palace) made famous by Eva Peron and where Madonna sang `Don't Cry for me Argentina' in the film Evita. See the famous Recoleta Cemetery, almost like an enclosed city of its own, where Eva Peron and many other rich and famous Argentines are buried. Be sure to visit La Boca for its colourful buildings and culture, and the nearby bohemian area of San Telmo for the fascinating antique market held every Sunday. It's worth checking out a foot-stomping tango show when you're in town or a football game to see true Argentinian passion! You'll definitely want to visit an asado (BBQ) for one of the best steaks you're ever likely to eat! Then when the sun goes down you'll find that Buenos Aires' nightlife will keep you out until the small hours.

Meals Included: Breakfast (x4) and lunch (x1) included

Optional Activities:

  • City tour US$20
  • Tango show & dinner US$90
  • Explore artistic neighbourhoods $FREE
  • Football match with transfers & guide US$80
  • Hop on/hop off bus US$20
  • Tigre Delta day trip US$22

10

Day 17: Yapeyu

Today is a ful day to the historical town of Yapeyú. Founded on December 4, 1626 by the Jesuit Pedro Romero, the town was one of the 30 missions established at the beginning of the 17th century that were destroyed in 1817 by the Portuguese army. Later in the 18th century the town was rebuilt and General San Martín, the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru was famously born here. Tonight camp on the river separating Argentina and Uruguay. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

11

Day 18: Puerto Iguazu

To truly appreciate how epic the Iguazu Falls are, you have to witness them from both the Argentinian and Brazilian side, so naturally we've included both! Get your first view with a stroll through rainforests and along boardwalks directly above the falls, and gaze down at the famous Garganta del Diablo (`Devil's Throat'), where fourteen waterfalls drop with such force that there's always a massive cloud of spray overhead. For a totally different perspective, take a zodiac boat ride up the river and under the falls. Tonight, visit some of the town's bars and clubs close to your hostel. Eco Tourism Tax: the Argentinian government has introduced an Eco Tourism Tax of ARG20pp (approx. US$2) to be paid on arrival when visiting the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls.

Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch included

Optional Activities:

  • Jungle 4WD and boat trip US$12-60
  • Light and sound show US$17

12

Day 19-20: Iguacu Falls

Cross the border to the little Brazilian town of Foz do Iguacu (Iguazu Falls), where 275 separate waterfalls cascade over a 2.5 km wide cliff face. Visiting the falls from the Brazilian side gives you amazing panoramic views of the waterfalls on the Argentine side too. For a bird's-eye view over the entire falls, you can opt for a stunning scenic helicopter ride. For something a little different, there's an excellent bird park nearby and you can visit the world's largest hydroelectric dam at Itaipu and learn about the environmental planning behind the project.

Meals Included: Breakfast (x2), lunch (x1) and dinner (x2) included

Optional Activities:

  • Bird Park US$14
  • Helicopter ride US$120
  • Itaipu Dam US$25
  • Rafain Show US$50

13

Day 21-22: Vila Velha State Park

After a long drive day travelling east across Brazils scenic landscape, enjoy an adventurous free day in Vila Velha State Park. Explore incredible sandstone formations and impressive sinkholes. You have the option to take a short hike to nearby mariquinha waterfall or head to Buraco do Padre park and see a waterfall of different kind. Homw to the 30m cave waterfall titled “Hole of the Father” after it is believed to have been used by Jesuit priests for meditation. If you’re not up to travelling far, fear not, there is a beautiful sandy river beach within walking distance from campsite.

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

14

Day 23: Bertioga

Continue on to Brazil’s scenic southeast coast. The laid back surfers will signal your arrival into Bertigo, a relaxed beach town and popular beach destination for those looking to escape the hussle and bustle of infamous Sao Paulo.

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

15

Day 24-26: Parati

Enjoy a drive along the "Costa Verde" of Brazil on the way to Parati. Enjoy the breath-taking views of rainforest jungles and simmering aqua blue waters before we arrive in the charming historic beach town of Parati where you have three days of ultimate relaxation. Parati was once a major port for the export of gold and coffee and is a beautifully preserved Portuguese colonial town, known for its historic centre of cobblestone streets, its backdrop of steep jungled mountains and coastline of secluded beaches. Choose to relax on a sailing schooner cruise around the bays, walk the gold trail or venture into the rainforest for an awesome hike!

Meals Included: Breakfast (x3), lunch (x3) and dinner (x3) included

Optional Activities:

  • Boat cruise US$40

16

Day 27-28: Rio de Janeiro

You've arrived in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities in the world! In Portuguese colonial times Rio was the Brazilian capital and the main port for exporting gold and diamonds, and it's still sparkling today! Rio has so much to offer with famous landmarks including Sugarloaf Mountain and the famous `Cristo Redentor' (Christ the Redeemer) statue both offering great views over the city. You can't visit Rio without hitting the golden sandy beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, for the perfect end to what's been the adventure of a lifetime.Your tour finishes after breakfast on day 28 and you are free to fly out at any time today.Please note: If your tour ends in Rio in time for Rio Carnival or New Year and you wish to stay on in the city after your tour, there is a minimum 4 night stay and you can book one of our extension packages.

Meals Included: Breakfast (x2) included

Inclusions:
  • Services of a professional bilingual tour leader
  • Private overland vehicle transportation
  • All camping equipment (except sleeping bag)
  • Accommodation: Budget Lodging,Camping 12, Budget Lodging: 10, Hotel: 5
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Tour Highlights:
  • Experience three Latin American countries - Bolivia, Argentina & Brazil
  • Take an epic 4WD excursion on the world's largest salt flat
  • Witness incredible Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian and Argentinian side
  • Shop for trinkets at the `Witches Market' in La Paz
  • Drive through scenic Argentinian wine country
  • 4 nights to delve into buzzing Buenos Aires
  • Swim in the clear rivers and caves of Bonito
  • Hit Rio's golden beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema