From the dense biodiversity of Colombia in the north west of the continent to Ushuaia (Argentina), the southernmost city in the world, and then back up to Rio this trip takes in 7 iconic countries. You can be sure of breathtaking scenery on the way, cultural diversity, adrenaline rushes, extremes of climate and real remoteness , interspersed with full on city immersion. There will be days of long drives on rough roads, camping and cooking in extreme conditions but in the process you will discover the real South America and meet people you would never otherwise encounter. PLUS join in the largest party in the world at Rio’s Carnival or New Years Eve celebrations! Days 1 to 2 Cartagena
Isle Rosario and Playa Blanca boat trip.
Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site, wander cobbled alleys of the old city amongst churches, monasteries, plazas and bougainvillea draped balconies and also the trendy area of Bocagrande.
Days 3 to 5 Totumo Mud Volcano for a quick dip!!
Spend the night in Tangana a little beach town near to Tayrona NP (option to stay here instead of the trekking in the national park)
Tayrona National Park, on the Caribbean coast - walk trails to beaches set in deep bays, snorkel and possibly scuba dive, beach camping.
Days 6 to 12 Medellin - a good spot to get a few Salsa or Tango lessons and great nightlife. Option to travel via local bus to the sleepy colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia.
Salento - a mountainous region with a cool climate, visit one of the many coffee plantations in the area.
Parque Cocora Valley, a great place to spend a day trekking (optional).
Days 13 to 19 Bogota - trek up the Cerro de Monserrate or wander around the historic centre of La Candelaria, and take in a few cafes and picturesque buildings.
Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs, an excellent area for camping and star gazing.
San Agustin - spend a day either horse riding or exploring the archeological sites with the carved volcano stone figues. Also home to some good walking trails.
Popayan - explore the city’s white washed colonial buildings and churches
Ipiales - visit Santuario De Las Lajas, a neo-Gothic church built on a stone bridge spanning a gorge.
Days 20 to 22 Ecuador, overnight stop in Cotacahi - a great place to walk around lake Cuicatcha.
Quito, the capital, where we may have more travellers joining us.
Days 23 to 30 Ecuador
Depart Quito, the capital & cross the Equator.
Otavalo - a small market town famous for its colourful arts & crafts.
Amazon Jungle - journey to our jungle camp where we spend two or three nights to view the exotic wildlife - our guide will show us examples of medicinal, edible and hallucinogenic plants.
Days 31 to 40 Banos - a spa town where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths and hike the various mountain trails by foot or horseback plus the opportunity to go canyoning!
Cuenca - UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pacific Ocean coast - Punta Sal/Mancora, chill out by the beach and try your hand at surfing.
Chan Chan & Temple of Sun and Moon - built by the pre-Inca Chimu Kings, the largest mud brick city in the world.
Lima - the capital city with many plazas, museums and great local seafood (Ceviche).
Days 41 to 48 Peru
Ballestas Islands - a boat trip takes us close to the Islands which are bursting with exotic & rare marine wildlife.
Ica Desert & Oasis of Huacachina
Optional Dune Buggies & Sandboarding on the giant dunes out in the desert. BBQ and camp overnight under the stars.
Nazca Lines - huge figures and shapes carved into the stony desert, best viewed from the air.
Chauchilla Cemetery - ancient eerie tombs.
Ascend the Andes mountain range and drive past grazing Llama, Alpaca and Vicuna
Arequipa - a magnificent colonial city with authentic Peruvian nightlife.
Colca Canyon -€companied by a local guide, you have the opportunity to view the majestic condors, which can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.
Days 49 to 55 Traverse mountainous passes of nearly 5000m within sight of€tive volcanoes
Cuzco (our base for the next week)
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu - 4 day hike on the Lares, Classic or Salkantay trail.
Machu Picchu - finally on day 4 we reach the famous UNESCO World Heritage site - entrance and guide included.
Days 56 to 59 Puno - Lake Titicaca - the world’s highest navigable lake at 3800 metres.
Floating reed islands - home to the Uros Indians - explore Titicaca by boat & spend a night with one of the local families.
La Paz - highest capital city in the world, visit the colourful witches market!
Days 60 to 67 Altiplano - drive€ross this wild and barren landscape.
Potosi - the opportunity to enter a working silver & tin mine where techniques have remained unchanged for centuries.
Uyuni Salt Lake - take a 1 day excursion out onto the vast salt flats.
Tupiza - follow in the steps of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Humahuaca Canyon and Purmamarca
Salta - founded over 400 years ago and a great place for live music, mountain biking, mountain trekking, and horse riding.
Days 68 to 74 Argentina
Cafayate and Mendoza, - wine growing region visiting wineries by bicycle in the Andes.
Day 75 Santiago - Chile’s capital, a modern, organised city with great food and nightlife.
Day 76 Free Day to explore Santiago.
Days 77 to 83 Chile
Pucon - Chile’s Lake District, our base for the next few days, from where it is possible to organise white water rafting, skiing, horse riding and hikes.
Villarrica Volcano - there is the option to climb this€tive volcano.
Andes mountain range
Bariloche - popular holiday destination for Argentineans and a top ski resort with great hiking trails and nightlife.
Days 84 to 90 Carretera Austral - (Open Jan & Feb) - incredible drive past spiralling volcanoes, glaciers & fjords.
Los Glaciares National Park - the largest glacier in the world and an option to take a guided glacier hike on one!
Moreno Glacier - take a boat ride up close to this almost 200ft high glacier.
Torres del Paine National Park - another area of outstanding beauty where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape.
Option to complete the W-Trek - must be booked in advance
Days 91 to 98 Tierra del Fuego - an island on the southern tip of the continent - spectacular scenery and seagoing boat trips.
Ushuaia - most southerly town on earth you are ever likely to travel to.
Patagonia - vast, sparsely populated treeless plateau.
Atlantic Marine sanctuaries - spot penguins, sea lions, sea elephants, birds & whales (season dependent).
Puerto Madryn - this Welsh settlement is the gateway to Valdes Peninsula, where Penguins, Sea Lions, Birds & Whales can be seen - Orcas have been known to beach themselves here to catch Sea Lions (season dependent).
On our new exploratory departure, leaving Lima in July and Santiago in August, this section of the trip is subject to change en route. Please see detailed itinerary for further details.
Days 99 to 107 Buenos Aires - a smart cosmopolitan city with plenty to do; museums, horse racing, football matches, shopping, tango dancing & restaurants that serve the best steaks in the world.
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