South America Tour: Kingdoms & Carnivals (15 Weeks) Quito to Rio

Company : Oasis Overland
Activities: Machu Picchu Tours / Tours / Patagonia Tours
Countries: Argentina / Bolivia / Brazil / Chile / Ecuador / Peru / Uruguay
Duration: 3 months to 1 year
Approx Costs: 2000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

A true expedition awaits on this overland tour of South America where you will visit Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil

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.

Itinerary

Days 1 to 6 - Ecuador
Starting our South America tour in Quito, we first visit the town of Otavalo famous for its colourful craft market. Heading east on narrow, tortuous roads to the steamy edge of the Amazon basin the town of Tena is our gateway into the Amazon jungle. Here accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot this exotic environment.

Days 7 to 12
Further south, perched high in the mountains of Ecuador, lies the outdoors mecca of Banos. This spa town, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths is ideal to hike or mountain bike the various trails to one of the surrounding waterfalls or the impressive nearby rocky canyon, is a favourite amongst those who have undertaken South America travel. We hit the road again and drive south along the spine of the Andes towards Peru.

Days 13 to 18
A days drive on the Pan-American highway brings us to the border with Peru. You will notice an amazing transition in one day, from the good farming country of highland Ecuador, through sub-tropical forest and immense banana plantations, to dry barren desert in Peru. We are rewarded with a couple of days camping on the beach. Our next stops on our South America travel experience are the Chan Chan ruins, imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu kings which the Incas later conquered. It claims to be the largest mud brick city in the world. Continuing with the Andes close to our left and the sea on our right, the capital city of Lima will be our next stop on the Andes & Amazon South America tour.Here 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 19 to 25
Departing Lima our next stop is the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve. By boat we visit the rare and exotic sea birds and mammals that inhabit these islands. We now make our way to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the desert floor are best viewed from the air - South America travel is not complete until you have seen these unbelievable ancient mysteries. Still heading south we visit Puerto Inca, at this ancient Inca harbour we camp at the beach and enjoy our last night at sea level before beginning our climb back into the towering Andes. The next two nights are spent in Arequipa at 2325m, giving us time to acclimatise, and enjoy this beautiful colonial city with its impressive El Misti Volcano in the background. Arequipa is also the gateway to one of the deepest canyons in the world. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome sight. Here, if you get up early, Condors can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.

Days 26 to 32
We now have to face one of the most arduous and punishing dirt roads on the tour, although we soon arrive at Cuzco. Widely considered to be the most interesting city for South America travel, Cuzco is surrounded by the Sacred Valley of the Incas and offers a wide range of activities to explore the region. We will base ourselves here for 6 days giving us enough time for the Inca Trail trip, which is regarded by many to be the highlight of their South America tour. There are several treks which take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative treks such as the Salkantay or Lares 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.

Days 33 to 37
Bordering Peru and Bolivia at 3800m lies Lake Titicaca, the 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 tourist and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time during South America travel in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs. From here it is a days drive to the capital of Bolivia - La Paz. This is a great place to visit a 'pena' club, dedicated to Andean folk music, and perhaps buy some souvenirs in one of the authentic markets such as the witches market.

Days 38 to 43
Leaving La Paz we enter real Bolivia, where the Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a living from their small plots of land in the harsh climate and paved roads are virtually non-existent. A days drive brings us to Potosi. 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 in years gone by. The adventurous who have undertaken South American travel will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines where mining techniques have remained unchanged for centuries. Visiting the ancient mint or having a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) also provides a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. Leaving the bleak Altiplano we arrive at the shimmering white Salt Flats of Uyuni.

Days 44 to 47
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 experience. Our descent through the Andean passes is spectacular as we cross into Argentina towards the colonial city of Salta where we have a couple of free days.

Days 48 to 53 APRIL TO OCTOBER
We cross the mighty Andes again towards the Atacama Desert in Chile. The oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama is our next destination. Surrounded by the Valley of the Moon, salt lakes, volcanoes, geysers as well as stoneage dwellings, its a great place to explore. Continuing south we rejoin the Pacific Ocean and the Pan American Highway. We camp on deserted beaches for a couple of days before our drive to Chiles capital, Santiago, which is a very modern, well-run city and quite a change to what we have been used to.

Day 54
We have a free day to explore Santiago, with famous Chilean Steak houses, Cassilero del Diablo winery, Skiing available in the winter, you will find it easy to pass the days away.

Days 55 to 60
Leaving Santiago we pass small villages and deep blue lakes with mountains towering above us as we wind through Chile's Lake District. Pucon, an outdoors centre in its own right, will be our base for the next few days from where it is possible to organise whitewater rafting, skiing, water sports, horse riding and one day hikes up nearby Villarrica Volcano. Ascending the Andes via some spectacular mountain passes we arrive in Bariloche, Argentina. This very popular holiday destination for Argentineans is the top ski resort on the continent and also has several hiking trails and a great nightlife.

Days 61 to 68
Heading further down through Argentina into the deep south on a good dirt road we enter the vast wilderness of Patagonia. The perpetual wind makes it difficult for trees and plants to grow, so for a while we are faced with endless grassland. However our long drive will soon be rewarded with the stupendous views that Los Glaciares NP provides - it also has the largest glacier in the world and here we have the option to take a boat ride up close to Moreno Glacier, almost 200 ft high. Torres del Paine NP is another area of outstanding beauty where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape. A good way to explore the area is either hiking or by horseback.

Days 69 to 78
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 snow clad peaks beyond. We now cross to the Atlantic coast of Patagonia and visit one of the marine sanctuaries. Penguins, Sea Lions, Sea Elephants, Sea Birds and sometimes Whales can be seen. Following the excellent paved roads north along the coast we pass through some quite affluent towns. One, Puerto Madryn, was the landing place over a century ago for the first group of Welsh settlers that subsequently colonised and now farm the surrounding area. We traverse the vast Pampas grasslands, South America's cowboy country, where gun-toting gauchos on horseback look after vast herds of cattle.

Days 79 to 86
Travel to Argentina is not complete without a visit to the countries capital, and so we follow the coast to Buenos Aires. A few days in this smart cosmopolitan city and 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 the best steak in the world, and many plazas with cafes to sit and observe Argentinean life go by. From here you will also have the opportunity to travel across the Rio Plata by ferry to Montevideo & Colonia de Sacramento to visit Uruguay.

Days 87 to 92
Continuing through Argentina we visit the region between Argentina and Paraguay that is home to many Jesuit Missions built in the 16th century to convert the Guarany Indians. We visit the ruins of San Ignacio before crossing the border into Brazil, where we also cross from Spanish to Portuguese, and it is time to get our tongues around a new linguistic challenge! The Iguazu Falls 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 before we continue on with travel to Brazil. 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 rafting, helicopter flights and mountain bike riding.

Days 93 to 100
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 and anaconda. We begin our travel to Brazil in earnest as we journey on to the Pantanal region where we organise treks 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 and animals.

Days 101 to 105 - Brazil
We now head 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. Our final drive takes us to the hedonistic playground of Rio de Janeiro, where the folk are raring to party out of their minds and live purely for the moment. The Carnival and New Years Eve celebrations are always chaotic, crowded and fun and a must during any stint of travel to Brazil! If you want to spend some time in Rio we can arrange accommodation for you.

Travel

  • Internal Travel

Accomodation

  • Accomodation Included
  • Camping

Meals

  • Meals Included

Tour Price

£2975.00 + Local Payment $1975

Start Dates

Start: 17-09-2017 Finish: 30-12-2017
Start: 26-10-2017 Finish:08-02-2018

Booking / Enquiry

Booking Enquiry

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