Company : Oasis Overland
Duration: 3 months to 4 months
Approx Costs: 2500 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)
A true expedition by nature of its long duration and some of the remote places we visit.
A true expedition by nature of its long duration and some of the remote places we visit.
You must expect a degree of hardship, some long drives on rough roads, camping and cooking in extremes of climate...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 5
Our trip begins in Rio after the chaotic, crowded, crazy celebrations of Carnival or New Year's Eve. On the first day we drive south along the coast to the coastal village of Parati. This unspoilt and picturesque town has remained fundamentally unaltered for three centuries. Cars have been banned from its cobbled streets that run down to the seashore, instead mountain bikes are used and are a good way to get around. Another great way to explore the secluded islands of this pristine coastline is taking a sailing trip in one of the traditional schooners.
Days 6 to 13
We then journey onto the Pantanal region where we organise treks and horserides out into the vast wetlands which is home to over 600 species of birds and 350 kinds of fish, piranha being common, as well as an abundance of reptiles (such as caiman) and capyibaras, the world's largest rodent. Chance to catch and eat some piranha too! Next stop is Bonito where we can swim and snorkel in some of the clearest rivers and lakes in the world. Spectacular walks in the mountainous forests may reveal wildlife that includes monkeys, alligators & anaconda.
Days 14 to 19
We travel to the incredible Iguazu Falls which form the natural border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls, they are an awe-inspiring place to spend the next three days. The lush tropical forest surrounding the falls has many walking trails leading to smaller hidden falls, ideal to refresh from the steaming heat and abounding with parrots, toucans, woodpeckers and colourful plants. Here you can also undertake a number of optional activities such as whitewater rafting, helicopter flights and mountain bike riding. Leaving Brazil we cross into Argentina. This area, close to the border with Paraguay, was home to many Jesuit Missions built in the 16th century to convert the Guarany Indians.
Days 20 to 27
Continuing south we arrive in Buenos Aires. A few days in this smart cosmopolitan city & you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in Europe. There is plenty to do, museums, horse racing, football matches, shopping, tango dancing for the confident, restaurants that serve some of the best steak in the world, & many plazas with cafes to sit & observe Argentinean life go by. You also have the opportunity to travel across the Rio Plata by ferry to Montevideo & Colonia de Sacramento to visit Uruguay.
Days 28 to 37
From Buenos Aires we traverse the vast Pampas grasslands, South America's cowboy country, where gun-toting gauchos on horseback look after vast herds of cattle. Following the Atlantic coast of Patagonia, we stop in Puerto Madryn which was the landing place over a century ago for the first group of Welsh settlers that subsequently colonised and now farm the surrounding area. You have the option to visit Valdez Peninsula one of the marine sanctuaries in this region where we might see Penguins, Sea Lions, Sea Elephants, Sea Birds and maybe even Whales. We continue south towards the wild and hauntingly beautiful land at worlds end, the island of Tierra del Fuego. We cross by ferry and visit the most southerly town in the world Ushuaia, from where we can view the green waters of the Beagle Channel and the surrounding snow clad peaks.
Days 38 to 45
Heading north we return to the mainland and enter Chile. Torres del Paine Nat. Park is an area of outstanding beauty where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape. A good way to explore the area is either hiking or by horseback. Back over the border in Argentina we go to the stupendous El Chalten in Los Glaciares Nat. Park has the most spectacular views of Mt. Fitzroy. You can explore this area on foot or on horseback. Near El Calafate is the largest glacier in the world and here we have the option to take a boat ride close up to Moreno Glacier almost 200ft high alternatively you can choose to get closer by trekking on one of the glaciers. For trips that depart Rio in January we are usually able to join the Camino Austral in Chile. Large parts of this road are only open in January and February. It is a breath taking spectacle as we pass tree lined fjords and penetrate deep in to a land of spiralling volcanoes and glaciers and camp next to rushing rivers and rainforest. For tours departing over the rest of the year we continue through the vast wilderness of Patagonia on Route 40, famous as the longest road in Argentina.
Days 46 to 51
Our long drive is soon rewarded as we arrive in Bariloche. This very popular holiday destination for Argentines is the top ski resort on the continent and also has several hiking trails and a great nightlife and Swiss influenced cuisine. Ascending the Andes via some spectacular mountain passes we cross the border again and arrive in Pucon, an outdoors centre in Chile's beautiful Lake District. This will be our base for the next few days from where we can organise whitewater rafting, skiing, water sports, horse riding and one day hikes up nearby Villarrica Volcano. As our trip draws to a close we pass small villages and leave behind the deep blue lakes and towering mountains and arrive in Chile's modern capital, Santiago.
We have a free day to explore Santiago, with famous Chilean Steak houses, Casillero del Diablo winery, Skiing available in the winter, you will find it easy to pass the days away.
Days 53 to 56
Leaving Chile's capital, Santiago, we begin our Argentina overland travel towards the Andes - past the Inca Bridge and San Martin's pass. Continuing north, we join Route 40, the longest route in Argentina, to Mendoza. This is the biggest wine region in Argentina, and an overland stop of note, where you can indulge in wine and good steak! We then continue north winding around lakes and weaving through baked cliffs until we reach Cafayate, another renowned wine region of Argentina. You can explore some of the wineries on foot or by bicycle. Our Argentinean overland journey then takes us to the attractive colonial city of Salta where we have a couple of days to go horse riding, mountain biking, mountain trekking or river rafting.
Days 57 to 62
Heading overland from Argentina, we venture into Bolivia where you will notice the difference as paved roads become non-existent and locals still follow tradition, wearing bright woollen clothes and bowler hats. Quite a contrast is the shimmering white Uyuni Salt Lake. It is possible to venture out into the salt lakes for a 1 day excursion. With no roads and only vague tracks to follow it makes for an unforgettable overland experience.
Days 63 to 68
Continuing north we arrive in Potosi which at over 4000m, it is the highest city of its size in the world and 400 years ago it was the largest city in all the Americas. Vast amounts of silver were extracted from Potosi and shipped to Spain. There are tours to the mines and it is still clear to see that, unfortunately, working conditions here have hardly improved over the centuries. The adventurous among us will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines with a local guide. The less adventurous can visit the ancient mint or take a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) which will provide a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. The history and past colonial splendour make Potosi a fascinating place to visit on an overland trip to the Andes & Amazon. A tortuous drive across the Altiplano, where Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a sparse living from their small plots of land in this harsh climate, brings us to La Paz. It's the highest capital city in the world and is built on a steep slope that falls away from the Altiplano. La Paz is a great place to visit on an overland trip to the Amazon, be sure to stop in at a 'pena' club, where live bands entertain us with Andean folk music.
Days 69 to 71
Leaving La Paz we head to a Peru tour highlight - Puno. Nestling on the shores of Lake Titicaca it is a friendly, well-kept place and much calmer than the hustle and bustle of La Paz. A must visit attraction on any Peru tour, Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake at 3800m, it is also the original home of the Uros Indians who have made their dwellings on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time in these local communities on a Peru tour will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs.
Days 72 to 78
Continuing on our Peru tour, from Lake Titicaca we drive on very good sealed roads through some spectacular scenery as we make our way to Cuzco, the outdoors capital of Peru and our base for the next 6 days. This gives us enough time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. There are several treks which you can take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative Inca Trail treks can be arranged when the Classic is not available or by your choice (must be pre-arranged at time of booking). Tours to Machu Picchu are absolutely unbelievable; a trip to this City in the Clouds is an ancient and awe-inspiring part of our South America travel tour. Besides seeing Machu Picchu, you're able to enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. Please note that for all those vistsing Machu Picchu there is now the option to buy a ticket to go up the summit next to Machu Picchu, Huanapichu. Tickets for this must be requested at the time of your booking with us, and payment made in advance in the UK. Please see the section 'Volunteer Projects and trip Add-Ons' from the 'Overland Trips' tab on our homepage for more details. You will have the option to add the tickets to go up Huanapicchu when you make your booking online, be sure to add them if you would like them.
Days 79 to 83
From here, we continue west on our Peru tour, passing herds of llama, alpacas and unspoilt Andean villages as we head towards the world's deepest canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome spectacle. Here you have the option, accompanied by a local guide, of a one day excursion to view Condors circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor. On your trip into the canyon you can overnight in the town of Chivay. Because it was isolated for so many years, customs and dress have changed relatively little, which gives a rare glimpse of what life in the Andes would have been like during colonial times. From here we begin dropping down out of the Andes as we head to Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city set at the foot of the impressive El Misti Volcano.
Days 84 to 87
We then camp on the beach on our way to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries and a Peru tour highlight - The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the stony desert are best viewed from the air, we also visit Chauchilla Cemetery with its well-preserved mummies. Following the Coastal Highway, the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve is our next stop. Here we take a boat trip to view one of the most important marine reserves in the world with one of the highest concentrations of rare and exotic sea birds and sea mammals. Further up the coast is Peru's capital city, Lima. On this stop on your overland trip to the Amazon you'll encounter both abundant wealth and grinding poverty, modern skyscrapers next to some of the finest museums and historical monuments in Latin America.
Days 88 to 92
Continuing north along the coast we reach the Chan Chan ruins & the Temple of Sun and Moon, the imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu Kings which the Incas later conquered - claimed to be the largest mud brick city in the world. Nearing the border with Ecuador we have a couple of relaxing days chilling by the beach at Punta Sal or Mancora before our tour of Peru comes to an end.
Days 93 to 98
You will see an almost immediate change from the dry, barren desert of Peru through sub-tropical forest to the fertile farming country of highland Ecuador. We will visit Cuenca on our way to the outdoors mecca of Banos, a spa town nestled at the foot of a volcano, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths. On this stop of our overland Amazon trip you can hike, mountain bike or horse-ride to one of the surrounding waterfalls including El Pailon del Diablo. For the more adventurous there is the option to go canyoning down one of the many rivers in the area.
Days 99 to 105
On the final leg of our overland trip, we descend to the lowlands and the steamy edge of the Amazon basin to the town of Tena, gateway to the Amazon jungle. Here, accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot and by motorised canoes this exotic environment for two days. There may also be the chance to go whitewater rafting on the rapids of the Rio Napo (time permitting). Returning to higher altitudes and mountain scenery, we visit the town of Otavalo, famous for its colourful crafts market. Finally we cross the Equator, just 25km's south of Quito and discover how Ecuador got its name, before ending our journey in the capital of Ecuador, Quito.
Trip Price From: £3825.00 + Local Payment From: US$2060.00
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