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.
Arrive at any time.
Spend the first day of your trip wandering Ecuador's capital city. Meet the group in the evening at the hotel.
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.
Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle.
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.
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.
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.
Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca, retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit national parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside, and see Ecuador's only Inca ruin site.
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.
Free time in Mancora. Overnight bus to Huanchaco.
Enjoy more beach time or opt to visit pre-Inca sites or the city of Trujillo.
We continue heading south along the coast to Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. It is known for its beautiful colonial structures and nearby attractions of Chan-Chan ruins and the resort town of Huanchaco, where we spend the night.
Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima.
Explore Peru's capital on an optional city tour or simply relax. Be sure to try the tasty ceviche and pisco sours.
To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.
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.
Free morning in Lima before travelling by bus to Paracas.
Savour a pisco sour while staying in Pisco's neighbouring town of Paracas.
Optional visit to Ballestas Islands before travelling to Nazca. En route, stop at a winery and at the oasis of Huacachina.
There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the popular Ballestas Islands, which provide an excellent chance to view a lively sea lion colony, pelicans, penguins, and other varieties of birdlife. Pre-book by adding the Ballestas Islands Wildlife Tour on the checkout page or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Back on land, catch a bus south to Nazca. On the way, pass by the pleasant colonial town of Ica.
Ica enjoys a dry, sunny climate year-round and is known for its huge sand dunes. Located around the nearby oasis of Huacachina, the dunes are perfect as subjects for photographs and for a favourite local past time: sandboarding. Apart from the dunes, Ica is famous for its wines and there are several wineries and distilleries in the area.
Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines before an overnight bus to Arequipa.
Opt to pre-book your Flight over Nazca Lines on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Opt to explore the Arequipa on a city tour or soak in a local hot spring.
Explore Arequipa, the 'white city'. Interested in history and architecture? Opt to visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery, offering a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Pre-book by adding the Arequipa City Tour & Santa Catalina Monastery on the checkout page or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
For spicy food lovers, checking out one of the “Picanterías” is a must. Arequipa has a variety of regional food: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.
Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley, and opt for a soak in hot springs.
Enjoy an overnight excursion to the impressive Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Stop in fascinating villages and at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where, with a little luck, visitors can see Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that can be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama and vicuña.
Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening.
Get an early start to go on the lookout for flying condors. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to admire these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop by some local villages and viewpoints to see old terraces and sections of Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.
Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco.
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.
Opt to visit and hike the famed Rainbow Mountain, pre-book on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Learn about the Sacred Valley en route to Ollantaytambo. Opt to take a Sacred Valley tour with a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and a first taste of what lies ahead. For those craving more before they head out on the Trail, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour which includes a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the hike begins.
Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.
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.
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).
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.
Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.
Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a local village.
Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on Taquile Island and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views.
After, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake (the homestay location can vary based on community availability). This experience provides an opportunity to learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and to participate in local traditions. Eat with the family, learn some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village.
Visit the floating islands of Uros. Optional visit to the Sillustani burial site.
Leave the homestay families late morning, and visit the Uros Islands on the way back to Puno. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site only a short drive away.
Opt to pre-book the Lake Titicaca Kayaking on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Cross over into Bolivia for a night out in the highest city of the trip. Oxygen bar anyone?
Enjoy a full-day drive around the lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Bolivia is filled with spectacular views of the countryside. La Paz sits nearly 4,000m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.
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.
Enjoy a free day to explore the vibrant markets and winding streets of the city before boarding a night bus to Sucre.
Free time to explore the beautiful colonial city of Sucre. For more active options opt to go hiking in the surrounding area or mountain biking.
Travel south to Sucre. Tackle the city as there is a lot to offer during the two days here. Optional activities include a visit to an old tin baron's mansion, mountain biking, and hiking.
Enjoy another free day to explore Sucre and surroundings.
Travel south to the one of the world's highest cities.
Staying in the Bolivian highlands, we travel south to the city of Potosí. The highest city of its size in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has had a tumultuous history as a silver mining centre during colonial times.
Get out and explore Potosí, learn about the history of the city while wandering the streets. Stop at the market and interact with the locals.
Travel to Uyuni and get ready for an excursion to the Salar de Uyuni.
Enjoy a three-day 4x4 excursion to the Salar de Uyuni and surrounding desert altiplano with spectacular scenery. Today you will be heading into the Salar de Uyuni. Our groups like to get creative with photography, as the endless white of the salt flats creates some great depth illusions that are fun to play with in photos. Last stop for the evening is a G Adventures-supported community lodge in a traditional agricultural village in the heart of a desert oasis.
Travel through the Bolivian landscape to the town of Uyuni. Despite its isolation and challenging climate (cold and blustery most of the year), the town of Uyuni has earned the nickname of Hija Predilecta de Bolivia (Bolivia's Favourite Daughter). It is also the starting point for our 3-night excursion through the spectacular Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats) in 4x4 vehicles.
Spend three days in the stunning landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama Desert in Chile. Our groups like to get creative with photography, as the endless white of the salt flats creates some great depth illusions that are fun to play with in photos.
The tour takes us through the impressive large red lagoon of Laguna Colorada and the striking blue-green Laguna Verde at 5,000m (16,404 ft).
Settle in to your G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow, complete with salt floors and furniture, after a guided walking tour up to the sacred Jukil mountaintop for sweeping valley views and a dinner of local ingredients prepared by ladies from the community.
Explore the desert altiplano on a 4x4 excursion. Admire the spectacular scenery while passing red and blue lagoons and interesting rock formations along the route. Spot wild llamas, alpacas and even flamingos deep within the desert.
Rise early to cover more ground of the unique landscape of the Salar de Uyuni. Continue to see incredible scenery, including volcanoes, and salt lakes. Travel to the border and descend by bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. It's a long but scenic drive.
After continuing through the Salar de Uyuni in the morning, hop on a bus further south to the dry desert regions of Argentina and Chile, where we stop in the little town of San Pedro de Atacama, on the edge of the Atacama desert—the driest place on earth.
Opt to go sandboarding or mountain biking, or visit the Valley of the Moon.
There are plenty of optional excursions here -- biking, exploring nearby ruins, horseback riding, and touring the Valley of the Moon.
Cross the border into Argentina.
We make our way to Salta, situated in the Lerma Valley of northern Argentina. Salta is home to empanadas salteñas - the delicious local specialty, and no visit to the town will be complete without giving them a try. In the evening, opt to experience a local celebration at one of the "Peña" folklore shows.
Explore the city and enjoy the local cuisine. Opt to take a trip through the scenic Quebrada de las Conchas to Cafayate, or visit the High Mountain Archaeological Museum.
Skip a long bus journey with a quick flight to Buenos Aires.
When you are done exploring, settle your weary feet and enjoy a drink in one of the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants and begin to understand the contemplative Argentine way of life. Try the succulent bife and parrilladas!
Enjoy a free day to explore beautiful Buenos Aires.
Get out and explore. Consider visiting the districts of La Boca, Recoleta, and San Telmo or catch a tango show at one of the many famous tanguerías. Pre book an optional city bike tour, and get a local's eye view of your surroundings! Wander the pedestrian walkways and see some dancing in the streets.
Explore the "Paris of the Americas," from the hidden patios of trendy Palermo to bohemian vibes in San Telmo this city has something for everyone.
Cross the Río de la Plata by ferry to Colonia, Uruguay. Explore on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to explore the area and relax at a streetside café.
Travel from Colonia to Montevideo in the morning. Explore Montevideo in the afternoon; opt to grab a snack at the Port Market, wander around the colourful old town, or visit Estadio Centenario where the first World Cup was played.
Enjoy another day to get to know Montevideo. Opt to take a day trip to glamorous Punta del Este or chill in the park like a local.
Travel by day through picturesque settlements and pastures finishing in the last Uruguayan stop—a local ranch, known in the region as an estancia.
Spend a day in the life on an Uruguayan ranch, go for a walk in the countryside, learn how to make empanadas, and experience a local barbecue.
In the morning cross the border into Gualeguaychu in Argentina, then begin the long overnight journey to Iguassu Falls.
In the afternoon opt to visit the Brazilian side of the falls and get an incredible panoramic view. Opt to take a helicopter ride over the falls, visit a bird park or see the Itaipu Dam.
Today enjoy a full day excursion to the Argentine side of the falls. Wander along the walk paths that connect different viewpoints of the falls. Opt to take a boat tour to see the cascading falls from below.
Skip an overnight bus ride and fly to São Paulo, heading straight to the coast. Explore colonial Paraty, then hit the beach.
Skipping the long bus ride, we fly to Sao Paulo and head straight to Paraty, a quaint colonial town on the coast renowned for its architecture.
Free time to explore Paraty's beaches, a national park and surroundings. Opt to visit a cachaça distillery or take a boat tour to nearby islands.
Paraty is a quaint colonial town renowned for its architecture—the pace might be slow but there's a lot to choose from. Considered one of the world's most important examples of Portuguese colonial architecture by UNESCO, the historic centre is a well-preserved national historic monument, and today has been closed to vehicles to preserve its laid-back colonial ambiance. Opt to take a boat tour of the bay, go on a kayak tour, or a jeep tour.
Continue by van up the coast, and take a ferry to Ilha Grande.
Travel to the port in Angra dos Reis and catch a boat over to Ilha Grande not far from the coast.
Free time to explore the beaches of Ilha Grande. Opt to hike the remote trails, take a boat trip around the island, play in the waves or go snorkelling.
Travel to Rio de Janeiro. Take a city tour to experience sights like Rio's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, or take a leisurely stroll along Copacabana beach as the waves lap at your feet.
Leaving the port after returning from Ilha Grande, a dramatic road then takes us north along the coast through superb scenery before rounding the cliffs at Vidigal. Get a first glimpse of one of the most memorable cities in the world, Brazil's ocean-side jewel, Río de Janeiro.
Enjoy any free time by exploring the wonders that this city has to offer from the centrally located hostel in Copacabana.
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.
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Trip Name: The Great South American Journey–Quito to Rio Adventure
Duration: 65 Days
From Price: ₤4,999
Supplier Tour ID: SEQR.G/225559
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