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Cartagena to Lima
SAVE UP TO $673 on this tour

Overlanding is the best way to see South America by far! Dragoman have been leading the way in South American overland expeditions since 1990, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading to some unique hidden gems, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting at the incredible colonial town of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, we explore some of Colombia's best highlights, such as the beautiful beaches of Tayrona National Park, the adventure capital of San Gil and the stunning historic town of Villa de Leyva, before crossing into Ecuador and arriving at its buzzing capital of Quito. From Quito we explore the stunning jungles, hills and towns of Ecuador and then head down to the coast and the idyllic beaches of Punta Sal in northern Peru. We then head south through Peru's deserts to the ruined Moche city of Chan Chan, then climb up to the spectacular Andean town of Huaraz, before heading to the chaotic capital of Lima. Join Dragoman for this wonderful and unforgettable trip!

Latin America
  • Duration: 38 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: JTL1/158106
  • Starts: Cartagena, Colombia
  • Finishes: Lima, Peru
You will Visit
  • Cartagena
  • Tayrona National Park
  • Mompós
  • Aguachica
  • San Gil
  • Villa de Leyva
  • Honda
  • Manizales
  • Salento
  • Popayán
  • Ipiales
  • Otavalo
  • Quito
  • Ecuadorian Amazon
  • Rio Verde
  • Baños
  • Chugchilan
  • Lake Quilotoa
  • Cuenca
  • Punta Sal
  • Huanchaco
  • Lambayeque
  • Huaraz
  • Lima

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Cartagena

Border Information: if joining in Cartagena, you will most likely enter Colombia at Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport (IATA code: CTG).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cartagena before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cartagena.

In Cartagena we stay in a comfortable hotel just outside the historical centre.

If you are continuing on from Panama, then your leader will have assisted you with airport transfers for your included flight to arrive in time for the joining meeting.

02

Day 2: Cartagena

Today we will have a full day in the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.

In the morning we will have an included walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.

03

Day 3-4: Tayrona National Park

Today we have a short drive to Tayrona, one of the most popular national parks in Colombia. Leaving our main luggage stored on the truck, we take a day-pack/night-bag and go on a moderate walk in to the park to where we will stay. Mules to carry your luggage can be hired at an extra cost.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

The following day is a free day to explore this stunning coastal park. We have the opportunity to trek to El Pueblito, a pre-Hispanic settlement of the Tayrona people, do some snorkelling, or just relax on the beautiful beaches.  

In Tayrona National Park we will stay in rented hammocks. The hammocks are equipped with mosquito nets but please note that the nets are not treated with Permethrin or similar pesticides.

There is also an option to bring tents if you prefer to stay in a tent rather than a hammock, but please note that mules will have to ber hired to carry your tent, at an extra cost.

Please note that no meals are included in Tayrona National Park, but there are local restaurants to choose from.

04

Day 5-6: Mompós

Today we will have an early morning walk back to the National Park entrance, rejoin our truck, and drive to the peaceful and rarely-visited colonial town of Mompós, where we will stay 2 nights. 

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

The following day we will go on an included short boat trip down Rio Magdalena to observe the riverside life and do some wildlife spotting. There will also be plenty of free time to explore this historical colonial town, the first town in Colombia to declare independence from Spain, wander the beautiful streets and soak up the atmosphere of the architecture.

In Mompós we stay in a lovely local hotel.

05

Day 7-9: San Gil

Today we will drive south to San Gil, the outdoor capital of Colombia and a mecca for extreme-sports enthusiasts! Tonight we will enjoy a vegetarian Indian buffet from the campsite's in-house restaurant.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

The following two days will be free to enjoy some of the myriad of adrenaline activities on offer in the area, or to spend some time relaxing on the farm.

In San Gil we camp in a coffee and cattle farm outside town.

06

Day 10-12: Medellín

Today we will have a full day's drive to the vibrant city of Medellín, where we will spend 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

On our first full day in Medellín we will have a guided walking tour of the city, and our second day will be free time to independently explore the town, its parks, churches, and museums.

In Medellín we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

07

Day 13-14: Salento

Today we will continue our journey south to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On the following day we will head out in the morning for an included visit to a coffee plantation to learn all about the cultivation and producing of Colombian coffee! After a local lunch, we will take an included guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia.

In Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

08

Day 15-16: Popayán

Today we will drive to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore Popayán or take part in some excellent treks or other optional activities in the surrounding area.

In Popayán we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

09

Day 17: Ipiales

Today we will have a full day drive to the border town of Ipiales.

In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

10

Day 18: Ipiales

Border information: Exit Colombia at Ipiales, enter Ecuador at Ipiales.

Today we will have an early start to visit the famous Santuario de las Lajas church outside of Ipiales. We will then head south and cross the border into Ecuador and drive to the bustling captial, Quito. En route into the city we will have an included visit to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

11

Day 19: Quito

Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA code: UIO).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Quito before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Quito.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in Quito, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

12

Day 20: Ecuadorian Amazon

Today our journey begins with a drive to a village on the edge of the Amazon basin, near the town of Tena, where we head to our lodge for an incredible 3-night stay.

Our lodge is a great example of eco-tourism, built and run by the local community and volunteers, who work to re-forest the reserve land at the lodge with native trees and medicinal plants. The lodge is set in secondary and primary rainsforest, an area at risk of deforestation. 

We will stay in a comfortable ecolodge with meals included.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

13

Day 21-22: Ecuadorian Amazon

Over the next two days we will head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rainforest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community.

14

Day 23: Rio Verde

Today we will drive through the highlands of Ecuador, arriving in Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano.

In Rio Verde we will stay at a well-equipped campsite with great facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

15

Day 24-25: Baños

We will have two full days of free time to take part in a range of optional activities in Rio Verde, such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. We will also have the opportunity to visit the nearby town of Baños and its popular volcanic thermal springs.

16

Day 26: Chugchilán

Today we will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the 'Quilotoa Loop'.

In Chugchilán we will stay in a fantastic local hostel where breakfast and dinner are included, giving you a chance to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian food.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

17

Day 27: Chugchilán

Today we will transfer to the village of Quilotoa to see its stunning crater lake, and take an included day trek back to Chugchilán through the local villages, canyons, and beautiful scenery. This walk is widely considered one of the best day treks in Ecuador! 

The mostly-downhill trek usually takes between 4-6 hours, but please be aware that there is a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be quite physically fit for - although we thoroughly recommend the trek, it can be skipped by anyone if they prefer.

18

Day 28: Cuenca

Today we will drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and then head south to the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca. We will pass through the stunning landscape of the Cajas National Park en route.

In Cuenca we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

19

Day 29: Cuenca

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Cuenca. The town is the birthplace of the famous Panama Hat, and we will have the opportunity today to visit one of the factories to learn about the manufacturing process.

20

Day 30: Punta Sal

Border information: Exit Ecuador at Huaquillas, enter Peru at Tumbes.

Today we will have a long drive day south, crossing the border into northern Peru.

We will stay at a friendly local campsite just outside of Punta Sal, on a beautiful and serene beach on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

21

Day 31: Punta Sal

Today we have a full day to relax on the beach and enjoy some activities in and around the stunning coastal area of Punta Sal.

22

Day 32: Lambayeque

Today we will have a full day's drive to Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo. We will have an included visit to the phenomenal Lord of Sipán museum in Lambayeque, home of an incredible collection of Chimu-era treasures (please note that this museum is closed on Mondays, so we will be unable to visit if your trip passes through on a Monday).

In Huanchaco we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

23

Day 33: Huanchaco

Today we will have an included guided trip to explore the enormous adobe ruins of Chan Chan and the world-famous Moche archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).

24

Day 34: Huaraz

Today we will have a spectacular drive up the winding roads of the 'Casma Route' into the Cordillera Blanca section of the high Andes, reaching the mountain town of Huaraz.

In Huaraz we will stay in a local hostel in either dorm accommodation or private rooms, depending on availability.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

25

Day 35-36: Huaraz

We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.

26

Day 37: Lima

Today we will have another full day's drive back to the coast via the 'Paramonga Route' and then on to the enormous Peruvian capital of Lima.

In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

27

Day 38: Lima

Border information: if you are finishing in Lima, you will most likely exit Peru at Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport (IATA code: LIM).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Lima. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Explore Cartagena on a guided walking tour
    • Explore the area of Mompós by boat, on a beautiful short trip out on the Magdelena River
    • Head out on a fascinating walking tour of Medellín and learn all about it's tumultuous past
    • Head out on a half-day guided trek through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and see the incredible 50m-tall Quindio wax palms, the tallest plam trees in the world!
    • Explore a working Colombian coffee plantation near Salento and learn all about its cultivation and production
    • Visit the jaw dropping Santuario La Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales
    • Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo
    • Spend 3 nights at our fantastic Ecuadorian ecolodge, taking in many activities such as boat trips on the Napo River, visits to local communities and treks through the jungle to some spectacular waterfalls and bat caves!
    • Trek from Quilotoa to Chugchilan
    • Visit to the Lord of Sipan Museum (not available on Mondays)
    • Guided tour of Moche Pyramids and the Chimu city of Chan Chan
    Tour Staff
    • 2 crew, local guides as necessary
    Accomodation
    • 40% Camping - 60% Hotels
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