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The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure

The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure
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65 Days

Highlights

Mingle with the locals of a small community in the Amazon, Go sandboarding at the dunes in Huacachina, spot condors at Colca Canyon, conquer the Inca Trail on the way to Machu Picchu, experience traditional life on Lake Titicaca, cross the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, on a 4x4 excursion, Experience rural life at a working ranch in Uruguay, stand in awe at Iguassu Falls, Explore bustling Rio de Janeiro on your own time, See a tango show or take part in Buenos Aires' bustling nightlife.

What's included

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Accommodation
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Breakfast
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Lunch
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Dinner
Sometimes the slow road is the way to go. Hit the road from Quito to Rio with other young travellers and experience pretty much everything you can imagine in between. Hike the Inca Trail and discover the thriving Inca culture, cross the Salt Flats of Bolivia, dance the tango in Buenos Aires, and hit the beach in Brazil. This trip offers up lively cities, stunning scenery, and tons of adventure. 65 days, seven countries, three nights in the Amazon, and one adventure you’ll remember forever.
The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure
Starts
Quito
Atoms/Icons/Backpacker
65 Days
Ends
Rio de Janeiro

Itinerary

  • Arrive at any time. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over a few drinks at a downtown bar. Say cheers with a local craft beer and get excited for the adventure of a lifetime.
  • Travel overland to the jungle city of Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer by truck to the local community of Pimpilala. Stay in rustic wooden huts in the community of a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • In the morning, cycle to the nearby community of Shandia and discover the beauty of the Amazon with a member of the community as your guide. Learn about traditional uses of cacao by watching a chocolate-making demonstration, eat meals made of fresh local ingredients, and stay at the G Adventures-supported community lodge.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Travel to Baños, the perfect setting to get your adrenaline pumping, try out horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting in the surrounding mountains.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Enjoy a free day in Baños, opt to check out the swing at the end of the world or soak in nearby hot springs.
  • Enjoy the scenery on the way to the charming town of Cuenca.
  • Enjoy a free day in beautiful Cuenca. Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums or opt to visit nearby Cajas National Park or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. Later, catch an overnight bus to Mancora.
  • Arrive early into the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Chill out and breathe in the salty air.
  • Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.
  • Enjoy free time in Mancora before an overnight bus to Trujillo.
  • Arrive into Trujillo, opt to visit the impressive Chan Chan sandstone archaeological site, get a photo at the yellow colonial church, or head to Huanchaco for more beach time.
  • Full day in Trujillo before boarding a night bus to Lima.
  • Explore lively Lima, visit Barranco with your CEO to get a taste of bohemian-cool, try ceviche or sip pisco sours after exploring the colourful mansions and palm-studded streets.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Enjoy the day exploring the city. Opt to pre-book the Lima Cooking Class and learn how to cook some classic Peruvian dishes using ingredients from the local market.
  • Travel along the coast of Peru to the oasis of Huacachina, sandboard on the desert dunes while watching the sun go down.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up and enjoy some time in Huacachina before heading to Nazca. Stop along the way at a Pisco winery and taste the country's national spirit. Later, try a Pachamanca-style dinner in Nazca.
    Meals: DINNER
  • Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines before an overnight bus to Arequipa.
  • Opt to explore the Arequipa on a city tour or soak in a local hot spring.
  • Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley, and opt for a soak in hot springs.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the optional Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
  • Enjoy another free day in Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Head into the Sacred Valley, visit the G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op in the Ccaccaccollo community. Learn about weaving, meet the resident llamas, and opt to purchase a knitted item if it catches your eye. Stop to sample craft beer on the way to Ollantaytambo for free time to explore.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the hike begins.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a local village.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER
  • Visit the floating islands of Uros. Optional visit to the Sillustani burial site.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH
  • Cross over into Bolivia for a night out in the highest city of the trip. Oxygen bar anyone?
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Free day in La Paz. Opt to visit Iglesia de San Francisco, the Valley of the Moon, the Witches' Market, or the nearby Tiahuanaco Ruins.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Get to know La Paz with a free day to wander through the city's winding streets and vibrant markets before boarding a night bus to Sucre.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Discover the beauty of Sucre, known as Bolivia's "White City" at your own pace with a free day to explore. Set in a valley surrounded by mountains, you can choose to go hiking or mountain biking to admire this city from a different point of view.
  • One day in Sucre isn't enough, so take another free day to explore! Try optional activities such as hiking, mountain biking, a visit to the Textile Cooperative, or get up close and personal with real dinosaur tracks.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Venture south to Potosí, the highest city of its size in the world.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up, get out, and explore Potosí. Meander the streets, stop at the market and meet some locals!
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • It's off to Uyuni today. Breathe in the beautiful scenery while relaxing in a private vehicle. Take it easy today because your next adventure is right around the corner!
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Embark on a three-day 4x4 excursion to the Salar de Uyuni. Get your camera ready because the endless white of the salt flats creates the perfect backdrop for mindbending photo ops. Take a guided walking tour to the top of the sacred Jukil mountaintop for sweeping valley views and a dinner prepared with local ingredients by local ladies. Settle in to your G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow — complete with salt floors and salt furniture.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER
  • Continue crossing the desert today, admiring the scenery while passing red and blue lagoons and intriguing rock formations along the route. Keep an eye out and you might spot wild llamas, alpacas, and even flamingos deep within the desert.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Get a head start on your day by rising early to cover more ground on your journey through the unique landscape of the Salar de Uyuni. Soak in the views of unimaginable scenery including volcanoes and salt lakes. Travel to the border then kick back and relax on your descent by bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH
  • Today is full of possibilities. Explore San Pedro de Atacama on a mountain bike, cruise down the dunes on a sandboard, or chill out in the hot springs. Or visit the Valley of the Moon, an area on Earth that resembles the moon's surface. (How cool is that?)
  • Say "Adios!" to Chile because you're heading to Argentina today. Relax on the bus en route to Salta, home to empanadas salteñas—and no visit to the town is complete without trying them! Unwind at the hotel or liven it up with a visit to a Peña Folklore show to dance the night away and sip delicious Argentine red wine.
  • Tantalize your tastebuds with the local cuisine today as you explore freely. Choose to saddle up and admire the scenery on horseback. Or, if you'd prefer, take a visit to the town of Cafayate to roam vineyards and sample some of the white wine produced at insanely high altitudes.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Skip the long bus journey with a quick flight to Buenos Aires. Spend the afternoon exploring the city. Cruise around on a bike with a local or dine on a traditional Argentine meal while experiencing the art of the tango.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Enjoy a free day to explore beautiful Buenos Aires.
  • Discover why this city is known as the "Paris of the Americas." From the hidden patios of trendy Palermo to bohemian vibes in San Telmo, it is impossible not to fall in love with Buenos Aires. Don’t miss out! Today is your last chance to experience a guided tour of the city and to immerse yourself in the passion of the tango.
  • Hop aboard a ferry and cruise across the Río de la Plata to Colonia, Uruguay. Wander through the colourful streets of this quaint seaside retreat on an orientation walk before free time to explore (and relax!) at your own speed.
  • Your journey continues in the morning as you travel from Colonia to Montevideo. The afternoon is yours for the taking — so explore as you wish! You can wander through the vibrant streets of old town searching for street art or visit an iconic soccer stadium that was host to the first World Cup. Hungry? Bring your appetite to Port Market where you will find an endless bounty of delicious meats. (And fruits and veggies, too.)
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up ready to take on another day in Montevideo. Hop on a bike and cruise down the Rambla, soaking up sun and gorgeous views from this coastline avenue. Take a day trip to glamorous Punta del Este to admire the upscale neighbourhoods and gardens. Or if you prefer to relax today, kick back and chill in the park like a local.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Today, let the scenery of picturesque settlements and pastures guide you to Mercedes, your last Uruguayan stop at a local ranch, known in this region as an estancia.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Live like a local today as you experience life on an Uruguayan ranch. Walk through the serene countryside, learn how to make empanadas, and fish in the nearby river. End your estancia stay in the best way possible — with a local barbecue.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Cross the border into Gualeguaychu in Argentina today. Unwind, relax and reflect on your travels as you begin your overnight journey to Iguassu Falls.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Welcome to Iguassu Falls where your next adventure awaits. Choose to visit the Brazilian side of the falls and experience unforgettable panoramic views. Reach new heights with the option to take a helicopter ride over the falls, or check out a bird park.
  • Enjoy a full day excursion to the breathtaking Argentine side of the falls. Don't forget to take pictures as you wander along paths to experience the falls from each exhilarating vantage point. You can also take a boat tour to see the cascading falls from below.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wheels up! Take a quick flight to São Paulo today then head straight to the coast. Take some time to explore the colonial town of Paraty, then hit the beach.
  • Do as much or as little as you want today. Go swimming, snorkelling, or explore the islands on a boat tour. Or, simply recharge your batteries by immersing yourself in the laidback vibes of Paraty.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Continue up the coast today and hop aboard a ferry to where your island paradise awaits.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • The day is yours to explore Ilha Grande. Break a sweat hiking remote trails to experience jaw dropping views, or choose to relax on a boat tour through turquoise waters to some of the island's most beautiful beaches to swim and snorkel.
  • Say goodbye to island life and head north along a dramatic coastal road with sweeping views. Round the cliffs at Vidigal to catch a first glimpse of your next destination and one of the most memorable cities in the world — Rio de Janeiro. Take a city tour to experience the sights of Rio, like the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, or take a stroll along Copacabana beach.
  • In the morning, explore the favela with a local resident on a G Adventures-supported tour to watch a drumming demonstration, get a Capoeira lesson, and sample craft beers with a new perspective of the city. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover all that Rio has to offer.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Depart at any time.
    Meals: BREAKFAST