An epic South America trip ought to be on everyone’s bucket list – so why not tick this one off well ahead of time? Across 53 days and four countries, you’ll see jungles, cities, and all things between, all with a like-minded group of young adventurers eager to see and do everything. And “everything” is definitely an understatement – you’ll hike the Lost City in Colombia, take on the Inca Trail in Peru, partake in a homestay in the Amazon Rainforest, see the highlights of Ecuador, and much more. Plus, at this price point, you’ll be able to do it all and still have cash to spend at the famous markets in Otavalo.
Arrive at any time.
Free day to explore this coastal colonial city. Wander the historic old town, check out the San Felipe fortress, or get dirty with a mud bath and massage at Totumo Volcano.
Travel by public bus to this coastal port town. Free time to visit the Gold Museum with its collection of Lost City artifacts, chill out on the beach and pick up any last minute necessities for the upcoming trek.
Transfer to Machete Pelao, where the trek to the Lost City of Teyuna begins. Trek through farmland, steamy jungle, and rural Kogi communities. Get a glimpse into the local way of life in the remote river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Head further into the vivid green jungle past small villages en route to the camp for the evening. After a long day of trekking, enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the natural swimming pools.
Continue trekking along the route to the Ciudad Perdida. Today is a tough portion of the trek with a lot of steep inclines, make sure to rest and take in the beautiful views.
Get started early to climb the 1,200 steps up to the Lost City. The view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains makes it well worth the hike. Explore the Lost City and learn what is known of its origins from the indigenous guide, before making the descent back to Wiwa Camp for the night.
After a final morning trek back to Machete Pelao, transfer to the fishing village of Taganga for an afternoon of rest and relaxation.
Enjoy an overnight excursion to beautiful Tayrona NP. Explore the park's lush greenery, extended beaches and turquoise Caribbean waters.
Enjoy a half-day in the park, then return to Taganga for one more night on the Caribbean.
Fly inland to infamous Medellín, now one of Latin America's safest cities. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival and an optional night out with the group.
Opt to go paragliding over the city or catch a ride on the cable car. Board a night bus to Bogotá.
Orientation walk around the vibrant La Candelaria area. Free time to explore Colombia's capital city; check out the riches at the Gold Museum, take a funicular car up Monserrate Hill for sweeping views of the city, or catch a fútbol (soccer) match if it's game day.
Enjoy a second day to explore Colombia's capital.
Fly to Quito and transfer to Otavalo and spend one night at an indigenous community. Interact with the locals and learn about their traditional ways during a homestay. Opt to enjoy a cultural evening and show with typical food.
Visit the famous Otavalo artisan market for a morning perusing colourful textiles, art, carvings and jewelry made by people from nearby communities. Afternoon bus to Cotopaxi to enjoy a couple of nights in Andean beauty.
Opt to visit a lagoon at elevation, hike national park trails or go down Cotopaxi Volcano by mountain bike.
Enjoy the morning in Cotopaxi before travelling back to Quito for an orientation walk and optional night out.
Enjoy a free day to explore Ecuador's capital. Stay in the city, take a day trip to the equator, or the nearby hot springs.
Travel to the jungle city of Tena and continue by truck to a jungle community.
Travel overland to Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer for 45 minutes by truck to the local community of Pimpilala that will be our home for three nights. Stay with a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.
Head out on nature walks and learn about local traditions at an overnight homestay.
Head out on nature walks and learn about local traditions at an overnight homestay.
Travel to Baños, an adrenaline junkie's paradise.
Baños is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate.
Opt to soak in the nearby hot springs or get active by hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking.
Travel to historic Cuenca.
Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca, retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit national parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside, and see Ecuador's only Inca ruin site.
Explore the city's sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums.
Enjoy a free day to visit Cajas NP or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca.
Cross the border into Peru and head to the beach.
The adventure continues as we travel from Cuenca through the busy border town of Huaquillas and across the Peruvian border into Mancora. We follow the Pan-American Highway south to the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Enjoy the relaxing beach atmosphere.
Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.
Free time in Mancora. Overnight bus to Huanchaco.
Enjoy more beach time or opt to visit pre-Inca sites or the city of Trujillo.
We continue heading south along the coast to Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. It is known for its beautiful colonial structures and nearby attractions of Chan-Chan ruins and the resort town of Huanchaco, where we spend the night.
Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima.
Explore Peru's capital on an optional city tour, try paragliding, or simply relax. Be sure to try the tasty ceviche and pisco sours.
To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.
Enjoy the day exploring the city.
Free morning in Lima before travelling by bus to Paracas.
Savour a pisco sour while staying in Pisco's neighbouring town of Paracas.
Optional visit to Ballestas Islands before travelling to Nazca. En route, stop at a winery and at the oasis of Huacachina.
There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the popular Ballestas Islands, which provide an excellent chance to view a lively sea lion colony, pelicans, penguins, and other varieties of birdlife.
Back on land, catch a bus south to Nazca. On the way, pass by the pleasant colonial town of Ica.
Ica enjoys a dry, sunny climate year-round and is known for its huge sand dunes. Located around the nearby oasis of Huacachina, the dunes are perfect as subjects for photographs and for a favourite local past time: sandboarding. Apart from the dunes, Ica is famous for its wines and there are several wineries and distilleries in the area.
Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines. Overnight bus to Arequipa.
Opt to visit the Santa Catalina Convent or a local hot spring.
Those with an interest in history and architecture may opt to visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, which offers a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Other optional excursions include rafting and mountaineering.
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, visitors can see Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that can be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama and vicuña.
Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening.
Get an early start to go on the lookout for flying condors. 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 Cusco.
Free time to explore Cusco. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Enjoy another free day in Cusco.
Learn about the Sacred Valley en route to Ollantaytambo. Opt to take a Sacred Valley tour with a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and a 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 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 more of Cusco or just relax.
Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a local village.
Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on Taquile Island and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views.
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.
Cross over into Bolivia for a night out in the highest city of the trip. Oxygen bar anyone?
Enjoy a full-day drive around the lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Bolivia is filled with spectacular views of the countryside. La Paz sits nearly 4,000m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.
Depart at any time.
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Trip Name: Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz
Duration: 53 Days
From Price: $5,471
Supplier Tour ID: SMCL.A/201863
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