South America rewards those willing to explore. Consider this epic adventure: beginning in Buenos Aires and ending in Lima, it's 35 full days of fun. You'll hike the Inca Trail, cross the Salt Flats of Bolivia by 4x4, and feel like a sophisticate sipping wine in Argentina. Along the way, you'll engage with local cultures with a small group of other young travellers to back you up. For those willing to invest their time, this trip offers big returns—in adventure.
Arrive at any time.
Skip a long bus ride with an included flight to Salta.
Salta, situated in the Lerma Valley of northern Argentina, is home to empanadas salteñas - a delicious local specialty. 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.
Enjoy free time to explore the area. The scenic Quebrada de las Conchas and Cafayate, famed for its wine and vineyards, are recommended stops. The multi-coloured valleys in the foothills region of the Andes are sure to be a highlight.
Travel over the border and into Chile.
In the morning, take a bus further north to the dry desert regions of Argentina and Chile. Stop in the little town of San Pedro de Atacama, on the edge of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.
Opt to try out sandboarding, go mountain biking, or visit the Valley of the Moon.
Ascend by bus into the mountains and cross into Bolivia for a three-day 4x4 excursion to the Salar de Uyuni and surrounding desert altiplano with spectacular scenery. Today you will be crossing the varied landscape of the desert, stopping off at colourful lagoons along the way.
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.
Continue exploring the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, on a 4x4 excursion. Admire the spectacular scenery while passing red and blue lagoons along the route. Spot wild llamas, alpacas and even flamingos deep within the desert. Last stop for the evening is a G Adventures-supported community lodge in a traditional agricultural village in the heart of a desert oasis.
Settle in to your G Adventures-supported 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.
Rise early to cover more of the unique landscape of the Salar de Uyuni. Continue to see incredible scenery, including volcanoes, and salt lakes.
Travel north to visit one of the highest cities in the world. On arrival spot the looming mountain of Cerro Rico, a working silver mine.
Get out and explore Potosí and wander through the streets of the city.
Travel north to the beautiful colonial city of Sucre.
Travel north to Sucre. Tackle the city as there is a lot to offer during our two days here. Optional activities include a visit to an old tin baron's mansion and a textile cooperative, mountain biking, and hiking.
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.
Enjoy a free day in Sucre before an overnight bus to La Paz.
Enjoy free time to explore the markets and winding streets of this high altitude city.
Wake up from the overnight bus ride, get settled, and have the day to check out the city of La Paz.
Optional activities in La Paz include a pre booked Death Road biking adventure, museum visits, a tour of the Valley of the Moon, or a visit to the world's highest ski resort, Chacaltaya (5600m/18,368 ft).
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.
Travel by bus through the Altiplano, crossing the border to the Peruvian city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
The drive around Lake Titicaca and through the Altiplano from La Paz to Peru is impressive.
Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a small village.
In the morning, board a boat on Lake Titicaca. Head to Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant and the chance for some shopping in the local weaving cooperatives.
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.
Travel through the high Altiplano region to Cusco.
Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour, or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
En route to Ollantaytambo, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour and visit a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and your 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 not only Ollantaytambo and the ruin site of Pisac, but also 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 Cusco or relax after the trek. If you are ready for more adventure, opt to go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
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.
Enjoy a final free day in Cusco before an overnight bus to Arequipa.
Travel from Cusco to Arequipa. Opt to visit the Santa Catalina Convent or soak in local hot springs.
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, spot Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that may be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama, and vicuña.
Continue exploring Colca Canyon with opportunities to view condors, visit local villages, and see the old terraces. Travel back to Arequipa for the evening.
Get an early start to be on the look out for the condors flying. 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 Nazca.
Nazca is famous for one of the world's greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. Opt to take flight in a light aircraft for the best view or climb the viewing tower to get a glimpse if that's more your style. Enjoy a Pachamanca-style dinner in the evening.
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.
Transfer to Paracas with a stop at a winery and at the Oasis of Huacachina.
Leave Nazca and stop at the Huacachina Oasis for some optional sandboarding. Continue to visit an artisanal winery to sample some local pisco and wine. Paracas is located one hour further.
Opt to visit the Ballestas Islands in the morning before travelling to Lima for a final night. Be sure to try some ceviche and a Pisco Sour.
Opt to pre-book the Ballestas Islands Wildlife Tour by selecting it on your checkout page or ask your GCO or travel agent for assistance.
Depart at any time.
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Trip Name: Buenos Aires to Lima: Sacred Valley & Salt Flats
Duration: 35 Days
From Price: $5,499
Supplier Tour ID: SABM.G/225555
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