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The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure

Atoms/Icons/Calendar
65 Days

What's included

Food
Meals
41 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners
Transport
Transport
Local bus, boat, truck, motorized canoe, train, hiking, plane, 4x4 truck.
Accomodation
Accommodation
Simple hotels (38 nts, twin-share), hostels (9 nts, multi-share), jungle homestay (2 nts), G Adventures-supported community lodge (1 nt), overnight buses (6 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt), G Adventures-supported lodge/basic hotels on Salar de Uyuni excursion (2 nts, multi-share), estancia/ranch (2 nts, multi-share).
Staff
Staff
Chief Experience Officer (CEO), specialist Inca Trail CEO on hike, local guides.

You will visit

QuitoAtoms/Icons/Arrow DestinationCreated with Sketch.Rio de Janeiro

Trip Comfort

Basic

Age requirement

18 to 39 years old
Sometimes the slow road is the way to go. Hit the road from Quito to Rio with other young travellers and experience pretty much everything you can imagine in between. Hike the Inca Trail and discover the thriving Inca culture, cross the Salt Flats of Bolivia, dance the tango in Buenos Aires, and hit the beach in Brazil. This trip offers up lively cities, stunning scenery, and tons of adventure. 65 days, seven countries, three nights in the Amazon, and one adventure you’ll remember forever.
The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure
Starts
Quito
Atoms/Icons/Backpacker
65 Days
Ends
Rio de Janeiro

Itinerary

  • Arrive at any time. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over a few drinks at a downtown bar. Say cheers with a local craft beer and get excited for the adventure of a lifetime.
  • Travel overland to the jungle city of Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. Hop into the back of a pickup truck and head to the local community of Pimpilala where you will stay in rustic wooden huts. Enjoy the hospitality of a Quichua family and experience life in the jungle first-hand.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Venture out on nature walks and become immersed in the jungle around you. Learn about uses of traditional plants, and the cultural beliefs and local traditions in the Amazon jungle. You can also choose to go whitewater rafting, or take a tour of an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Wake up and cycle to the nearby community of Shandia and discover the beauty of the Amazon with a member of the community as your guide. Learn about traditional uses of cacao by watching a chocolate-making demonstration, eat meals made of fresh local ingredients, and stay at the G Adventures-supported community lodge.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Travel to Baños and get your adrenaline pumping. Try out horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting in the surrounding mountains.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • The day is yours to explore what Baños has to offer. Check out the swing at the end of the world or relax in nearby hot springs.
  • Soak up the scenic views en route to the town of Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest town. Explore art galleries, museums, and admire its colonial architecture. Visit national parks, take walks in the breathtaking countryside, or check out the country's only Inca ruin site.
  • Choose your own adventure today. Wander through charming cobbled streets to discover the sights and sounds of Cuenca. From colourful homes with red-tiled roofs, to flower markets and picturesque plazas, the photo ops are endless in this town. (Prepare to have your camera roll filled with Cuenca!) Later, catch some z's on an overnight bus to Mancora.
  • Wake up in the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers. Chill out and breathe in the salty air.
  • A lazy beach day is just what the doctor ordered. Unless you want to go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson. Totally up to you as you enjoy a free day in Mancora.
  • Didn't get to do everything you wanted yesterday? No worries – more time in Mancora today. Later, relax and get some sleep on an overnight bus to Trujillo.
  • Bienvenidos a Trujillo! You can visit the impressive Chan Chan sandstone archaeological site today, snap a photo at the yellow colonial church, or head to Huanchaco for some more beach time.
  • Enjoy another full day in Trujillo before boarding a night bus to Lima.
  • Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Enjoy the day exploring the city. Opt to pre-book the Lima Cooking Class and learn how to cook some classic Peruvian dishes using ingredients from the local market.
  • Travel along Peru's breathtaking coast to the oasis of Huacachina where you can sandboard on the desert dunes while watching the sun go down.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up and make the most of your time in Huacachina before your adventure continues on to Nazca. There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the Ballestas Islands, home to a lively colony of sea lions, pelicans, and other varieties of birds. Later, catch a bus to Nazca. Stop along the way at a Pisco winery and try the country's national drink!
    Meals: DINNER
  • Choose to soar over the iconic Nazca Lines today with a pre-bookable flight, or take a tour of the Nazca Desert Cemetery and Potter's Studio. Tonight, catch some z's on an overnight bus to Arequipa.
  • Welcome to Arequipa! Take the day to explore what is known as the 'white city.' If you're into history and architecture, visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, where you'll get a unique glimpse into a bygone way of life. For spicy food lovers, visiting one of the 'picanterías' is a must. Satisfy your craving with a variety of local regional foods: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.
  • Enjoy a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley and venture to the impressive Colca Canyon — one of the deepest canyons in the world — on an overnight excursion. With a little luck, you'll spot Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Keep a lookout for other unusual animals! Give your body some much needed relaxation by taking a dip in the the hot springs.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Get an early start to be on the look out for condors. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to get a glimpse of these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop in local villages, and see old terraces. Later, head out for a drink in the Calle Zela area – restaurant, bar, or club, there's something for everyone!
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Explore Arequipa – take a city tour if you want or check out a monastery or museum. Later, sit back and relax on an overnight bus to Cusco.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Explore the city on your own today or choose from a variety of activities that will help you discover the magic of Cusco. You can go horseback riding or whitewater rafting, or choose to take a half-day tour of the city. Or, pre-book the Cusco cooking class if you want to learn to prepare local specialties!
  • Today is another free day to explore all that Cusco has to offer. Go horseback riding, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting. Too wiped out from the trek? Take it easy with a visit to the Inka Museum.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Head into the Sacred Valley today to visit the G-Adventures supported women's weaving co-op in the Ccaccaccollo community. Learn about weaving, and meet the adorable resident llamas. If you see a knitted item you like, buy it — a perfect keepsake from your journey. Stop and sample some craft beer at a brewery on your way to Ollantaytambo.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where your trek begins. Hike through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons. You'll see several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Get an early start today to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, 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 some much needed R&R.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • 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, you 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).
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • 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 enjoy free time to explore. If there's enough time, you can choose to visit the Inca Bridge. 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. Tonight, dance the night away at a popular night club.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Today is another free day to explore all that Cusco has to offer. Go horseback riding, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting. Too wiped out from the trek? Take it easy with a visit to the Inka Museum.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Sit back, relax, and soak in the impressive views as you travel by bus through the Altiplano on your way to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • This morning, you will board a boat on Lake Titicaca and head to Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant. Shop in the afternoon at the local weaving cooperatives. Later, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay to live like a local on the shores of the lake. Learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and create unforgettable memories with the family and fellow travellers.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER
  • Say goodbye to your homestay family and stop at the Uros Islands on your way back to Puno. If you want, you can check out the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site. Or kayak on Lake Titicaca.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH
  • Today, enjoy a full-day drive around the picturesque lake and through thee Altiplano to La Paz. Cross over into Bolivia and catch your breath before a night out in the highest city of the trip. Check out the area of Sopocachi for cool bohemian vibes.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • If you didn't have time yesterday to do everything you wanted in La Paz — no worries! Today is another day to explore the city as you wish. If you're an adrenaline junkie, make sure to experience the Death Road Biking Adventure.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Get to know La Paz with a free day to wander through the city's winding streets and vibrant markets before boarding a night bus to Sucre.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Discover the beauty of Sucre, known as Bolivia's "White City" at your own pace with a free day to explore. Set in a valley surrounded by mountains, you can choose to go hiking or mountain biking to admire this city from a different point of view.
  • One day in Sucre isn't enough, so take another free day to explore! Try optional activities such as hiking, mountain biking, a visit to the Textile Cooperative, or get up close and personal with real dinosaur tracks.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Venture south to Potosí, the highest city of its size in the world.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up, get out, and explore Potosí. Meander the streets, stop at the market and meet some locals!
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • It's off to Uyuni today. Breathe in the beautiful scenery while relaxing in a private vehicle. Take it easy today because your next adventure is right around the corner!
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Embark on a three-day 4x4 excursion to the Salar de Uyuni. Get your camera ready because the endless white of the salt flats creates the perfect backdrop for mindbending photo ops. Take a guided walking tour to the top of the sacred Jukil mountaintop for sweeping valley views and a dinner prepared with local ingredients by local ladies. Settle in to your G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow — complete with salt floors and salt furniture.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER
  • Continue crossing the desert today, admiring the scenery while passing red and blue lagoons and intriguing rock formations along the route. Keep an eye out and you might spot wild llamas, alpacas, and even flamingos deep within the desert.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Get a head start on your day by rising early to cover more ground on your journey through the unique landscape of the Salar de Uyuni. Soak in the views of unimaginable scenery including volcanoes and salt lakes. Travel to the border then kick back and relax on your descent by bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH
  • Today is full of possibilities. Explore San Pedro de Atacama on a mountain bike, cruise down the dunes on a sandboard, or chill out in the hot springs. Or visit the Valley of the Moon, an area on Earth that resembles the moon's surface. (How cool is that?)
  • Say "Adios!" to Chile because you're heading to Argentina today. Relax on the bus en route to Salta, home to empanadas salteñas—and no visit to the town is complete without trying them! Unwind at the hotel or liven it up with a visit to a Peña Folklore show to dance the night away and sip delicious Argentine red wine.
  • Tantalize your tastebuds with the local cuisine today as you explore freely. Choose to saddle up and admire the scenery on horseback. Or, if you'd prefer, take a visit to the town of Cafayate to roam vineyards and sample some of the white wine produced at insanely high altitudes.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Skip the long bus journey with a quick flight to Buenos Aires. Spend the afternoon exploring the city. Cruise around on a bike with a local or dine on a traditional Argentine meal while experiencing the art of the tango.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Discover why this city is known as the "Paris of the Americas." From the hidden patios of trendy Palermo to bohemian vibes in San Telmo, it is impossible not to fall in love with Buenos Aires. Don’t miss out! Today is your last chance to experience a guided tour of the city and to immerse yourself in the passion of the tango.
  • Discover why this city is known as the "Paris of the Americas." From the hidden patios of trendy Palermo to bohemian vibes in San Telmo, it is impossible not to fall in love with Buenos Aires. Don’t miss out! Today is your last chance to experience a guided tour of the city and to immerse yourself in the passion of the tango.
  • Hop aboard a ferry and cruise across the Río de la Plata to Colonia, Uruguay. Wander through the colourful streets of this quaint seaside retreat on an orientation walk before free time to explore (and relax!) at your own speed.
  • Your journey continues in the morning as you travel from Colonia to Montevideo. The afternoon is yours for the taking — so explore as you wish! You can wander through the vibrant streets of old town searching for street art or visit an iconic soccer stadium that was host to the first World Cup. Hungry? Bring your appetite to Port Market where you will find an endless bounty of delicious meats. (And fruits and veggies, too.)
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wake up ready to take on another day in Montevideo. Hop on a bike and cruise down the Rambla, soaking up sun and gorgeous views from this coastline avenue. Take a day trip to glamorous Punta del Este to admire the upscale neighbourhoods and gardens. Or if you prefer to relax today, kick back and chill in the park like a local.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Today, let the scenery of picturesque settlements and pastures guide you to Mercedes, your last Uruguayan stop at a local ranch, known in this region as an estancia.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Live like a local today as you experience life on an Uruguayan ranch. Walk through the serene countryside, learn how to make empanadas, and fish in the nearby river. End your estancia stay in the best way possible — with a local barbecue.
    Meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
  • Cross the border into Gualeguaychu in Argentina today. Unwind, relax and reflect on your travels as you begin your overnight journey to Iguassu Falls.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Welcome to Iguassu Falls where your next adventure awaits. Choose to visit the Brazilian side of the falls and experience unforgettable panoramic views. Reach new heights with the option to take a helicopter ride over the falls, or check out a bird park.
  • Enjoy a full day excursion to the breathtaking Argentine side of the falls. Don't forget to take pictures as you wander along paths to experience the falls from each exhilarating vantage point. You can also take a boat tour to see the cascading falls from below.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Wheels up! Take a quick flight to São Paulo today then head straight to the coast. Take some time to explore the colonial town of Paraty, then hit the beach.
  • Do as much or as little as you want today. Go swimming, snorkelling, or explore the islands on a boat tour. Or, simply recharge your batteries by immersing yourself in the laidback vibes of Paraty.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Continue up the coast today and hop aboard a ferry to where your island paradise awaits.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • The day is yours to explore Ilha Grande. Break a sweat hiking remote trails to experience jaw dropping views, or choose to relax on a boat tour through turquoise waters to some of the island's most beautiful beaches to swim and snorkel.
  • Say goodbye to island life and head north along a dramatic coastal road with sweeping views. Round the cliffs at Vidigal to catch a first glimpse of your next destination and one of the most memorable cities in the world — Rio de Janeiro. Take a city tour to experience the sights of Rio, like the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, or take a stroll along Copacabana beach.
  • In the morning, explore the favela with a local resident on a G Adventures-supported tour to watch a drumming demonstration, get a Capoeira lesson, and sample craft beers with a new perspective of the city. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover all that Rio has to offer.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
  • Depart at any time.
    Meals: BREAKFAST
Trip ID: seqr