South American Explorer

Trip code: GGRIC

  • Adventure 5 out of 5
  • Relaxation 3 out of 5
  • Culture 3 out of 5
South American ExplorerSouth American ExplorerSouth American Explorer

Trip Highlights

  • Travel to the heart of the Amazon
  • Join surfers and fisherman on the beaches of Mancora
  • Enjoy Peru's fresh seafood in Lima
  • Unwrap the enigma of the Nazca Lines
  • Reach dizzying heights on the Inca Trail
  • Navigate Peru and Bolivia's high waters across Lake Titicaca
  • Visit Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni
  • Unwind in Argentina's Lake District
  • Visit Argentina and tango in Buenos Aires
  • Be awed by the mighty Iguazu Falls
  • Party in Brazil's vibrant Rio de Janeiro

Trip Summary

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Travel to South America and get ready for the ultimate adventure on this journey from the Andean heights of Ecuador, through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and ending in the vibrancy of Brazil. Explore the Amazon Jungle, trek the Inca Trail, take a 4x4 through Salar de Uyuni, enjoy a hacienda homestay and visit Foz do Iguazu, the gateway to the mighty Iguazu Falls. Discover the beats of the samba, salsa and tango, get off the beaten track, visit diverse and amazing natural wonders and collect a lifetime of memories on this truly epic adventure. With plenty of free time and a do-it-yourself approach, this is the perfect way to discover South America.

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Dates of Departures Duration Price (Land Only) Trip Status

What will I be doing?

  • 83 Itinerary (83 days)

83 Itinerary: 83 days

Destination info

Ecuador is located in the northwest of South America between the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon jungle. Ecuador was named after its position on the Equator and is bordered by Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean. The capital of Ecuador is Quito. The ancient capital of the northern realm of the Incan Empire, Quito lies at 2,800 metres above sea level in a high valley at the base of Mount Pichincha approximately 15 miles south of the equator. Quito is surrounded by mountains with three snow-capped volcanoes visible on clear days. Quito has plenty to offer culturally; cinemas, theatres, concerts, bookstores, discos, museums, art galleries, craft stores, tourist attractions, restaurants and even western-style bars.


Peru is comprised of three distinct regions, the wide Andean mountains in the north, a narrow coastal belt running down the centre, along the Pacific Ocean, and the deep Amazon rainforest in the south. Although the coastal belt is a desert, that is where most of the population lives.Peru is renowned as the land of the Incas, but many other great pre-Columbian civilizations flourished here. Visitors can see the ancient ruins of the Inca capital of Cusco and explore the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as visit ruins from a variety of other cultures including the Nazca and the Moche. The fascinating culture existing there today reflects this diversity.


Argentina is a South-American country with a great deal to offer. It provides a truly diverse range of attractions for visitors from high culture offered by the country’s museums, architecture and rich traditional art forms, to an energetic spectrum of activities including some of the best water and snow sports to be found in the world. A land of breath-taking beauty and dramatic vistas, Argentina offers the traveller an experience like no other.


Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world stretching across over 8.5 million sq km (3.2 million sq mi). From the tropical forests of the Amazon basin to the plateaus in the Central Highlands, Brazil’s topography is quite diverse. The coast is made up of tropical beaches, lagoons, mangroves, dunes and coral reefs. At 6 million sq km (2.3 million sq mi), the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and covers over half of Brazil’s landmass. Originating in the Andes, the main channel of the Amazon River runs from west to east in the northern part of the country. There is little seismic or volcanic activity due to Brazil's position near the centre of the South American Plate.

  • Location:

Days 1-2 Quito
Quito is a cultured city with a wonderous Old Town, a dynamic nightlife and atmospheric streets showcasing Ecuadorian life in all its splendour.
Days 3-5 Amazon Jungle
The two rivers of Tena and Pano meet in Tena, a small, lively city and a gateway to the amazing Amazon Jungle.
Days 6-8 Banos
Green hills, warm waters, adventure activities, a chilled town atmosphere and good food are all found in Banos, a town popular with locals and travellers.
Days 9-10 Cuenca
With roots tracing back to 8000BC, Cuenca is a fascinating and beautiful city, and World Heritage-listed due to its wonderfully preserved heritage buildings.
Days 11-12 Zorritos
Travel to Peru's Pacific Coast and stay at the seaside town of Zorritos, where the waters are rich with sea life and the population is made up of  fishermen and surfers.

Day 13 Chiclayo

Arrive in Chiclayo early in the morning. In the afternoon why not visit Sipan, called the most important recent archaelogical discovery in Peru.
Days 14-15 Trujillo
Travel through the Sechura Desert to see the 'surfing' fishermen of Huanchaco. Explore the historical city of Trujillo.
Day 16 Lima
Lima is a large, fascinating hotchpotch of architectural styles, coastal scenes, world cuisines, impressive museums, traditional culture and modern arts and nightlife.
Day 17 Pisco
While Pisco may have lent its name to Peru's most famous drink, this seaside city is also known for being the gateway to the Ballestas Islands.
Day 18 Nazca
Rebuilt completely after a devastating earthquake in 1996, Nazca is home to the mysterious Nazca Lines and a city of colourful houses with a pretty main square.
Days 19-20 Arequipa
The beautiful 'White City' of Arequipa is surrounded by volcanoes, is rich in Spanish colonial architecture and abounds with local culture and cuisine.
Days 21-22 Colca Canyon/Arequipa
Over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and with Andean Condors soaring high above, the Colca Canyon commands reverie. Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and oozing colonial charm, Arequipa vies with Cuzco for the title of Peru's most attractive city.
Days 23-24 Cuzco
Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and a city with majestic architecture, impressive ruins, a lively town centre and cultural significance around every cobblestone corner.
Day 25 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
The Sacred Valley was once the heartland of the Inca Empire and now contains picturesque villages and impressive archeological sites. Located in the Urubamba Valley, the city of Ollantaytambo is an incredible archeological site and the starting point of the classic Inca Trail trek.
Days 26-29 Inca Trail/Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Winding around mountains, through valleys and up steep slopes, the iconic Inca Trail is a series of beautiful vistas and challenging hikes all the way to Machu Picchu. Built sometime in the 15th century and rediscovered in 1911, the staggering ruins of Machu Picchu were thought to be an estate for the Incan emperor, Pachacuti.
Day 30 Cuzco
A World Heritage site set amongst red-green hills with ruins scattered close by, Cuzco is impressive in every way - be it history, culture, nightlife or architecture.
Days 31-33 Puno/Lake Titicaca
Puno is a colourful town on the Peruvian shores of Lake Titicaca, expect to see traditionally dressed locals, chaotic markets and, if lucky enough, even dancing in the streets. Crossing the border of Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and has some fascinating islands and hefty-sized frogs living within its waters.
Days 34-37 La Paz
Built in a canyon, the unique and bewtiching city of La Paz is filled with steep, cobbled streets, fascinating markets, evident tradition and captivating sights.
Days 38-39 Sucre
The delightful city of Sucre impresses visitors with its historic charm, indigenous roots and calm atmosphere, and is the perfect place to ease into the Bolivian way of life.
Days 40-41 Potosi
The loveliness of Potosi - one of the highest and more fascinating cities in the world - is mirrored by the harshness of its mines and mining history.
Days 42-44 Uyuni/Salar de Uyuni
Popular due to its proximity to the Salar de Uyuni, the town of Uyuni is small and charming, and feels very remote, especially at the photogenic train cemetery. The world's largest salt flat, the Salar de Uyuni, is a spectacular sight - whether reflecting like a mirror in the wet or cracking during the dry.
Days 45-46 San Pedro de Atacama
Gorgeous desert landscapes, atmospheric, whitewashed adobe houses and a lively town centre has made San Pedro de Atacama one of Chile's most popular travel destinations.
Days 47-49 Salta
With its well-preserved colonial buildings, candle-lit cafes, fine museums and surrounding natural beauty, Salta is one of Argentina's most charming cities.
Days 50-52 Mendoza
Famed for its wine and raft of adventure activities, Mendoza is a lovely city to get lost in with its wide streets, excellent eateries and gorgeous plazas.
Days 53-56 Santiago
Set within a circle of snow-capped mountains, Santiago is vibrant, artistic and gourmet - and the gateway to adventures in the snow, sea or desert.
Days 57-59 Pucon
With the spectacular Villarrica volcano bubbling away in the background, captivating Pucon is an adventure lover's paradise with outdoor activities galore in a gorgeous natural setting.
Days 60-61 San Martin de los Andes
Nested on the shores of Lake Lacar and surrounded by the majestic Lanin National Park, San Martin de los Andes is one of Argentina's most picturesque towns.
Days 62-64 Bariloche
A city of immense natural beauty known for its great chocolate, Bariloche is fabulous for sports lovers and food connoisseurs in all its picturesque seasons.
Days 65-67 Buenos Aires
Cosmopolitan, cultured and chic, Buenos Aires has European sensibilities with a fiery Latin heart. Discover colonial architecture, funky neighbourhoods, exceptional cuisine and a thriving nightlife.
Day 68 Colonia
Facing Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata, Colonia del Sacramento has a beautiful Old City with cobblestone streets, charming buildings and a wonderful nightlife.
Day 69 Montevideo
Spread out along the Bay of Montevideo, Uruguay's capital has an eclectic array of architecture, good beaches and a rich cultural heritage.
Days 70-73 Estancia Stay
Experience life on a working estancia in the heart of Uruguay's farming country. Things are simple down on the ranch but you're guaranteed a warm Uruguayan welcome from our hosts.
Days 74-76 Iguaza Falls
Foz do Iguazu is a largish city famed for being at the doorstep - along with Argentina and Paraguay - of the incredible Iguazu Falls.
Days 77-78 Paraty
Step back in time in gorgeous Paraty, where Portuguese colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and horse and cart are set against a verdant backdrop of misty hills.
Days 79-81 Ilha Grande
Relax among the spoils of paradise on Ilha Grande, a gorgeous tropical island that has little development, no cars and pristine rainforest and beaches.
Days 82-83 Rio de Janeiro
Bigger than life and beautiful to boot, Rio de Janeiro sits resplendent among mountains, rainforest and sea, and emits an energy that is irresistible to everyone who visits.

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What's included?

  • All accommodation
  • Activities as stated in the itinerary
  • Meals as stated in the trip notes
  • Services of a trip leader throughout
  • 24 hour support

What's not included?

  • Flights (unless otherwise stated)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature including spending money, drinks, tips and gratuities

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

Minimum age 18 years old.



Camping (with basic facilities), Dormitory, Hacienda, Homestay, Hostel, Hotel, Overnight bus


Group Size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group

4x4, Boat, Bus, Canoe, Coach, Ferry, Overnight bus, Plane, Van


Tour Operator

This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel.


Advice & Safety


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