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. Beginning in the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro on Brazil's Atlantic coast, this unique and pioneering trip from Dragoman cuts through the interior of the vast country of Brazil and continues into Peru. Our first stop is the old mining district of Minas Gerais, full of colonial history and grand churches telling of the local gold rush, slavery, and the Inconfidência Mineira, an important early attempt to break free from colonial rule. We then then head to the staggeringly-beautiful Chapada dos Guimarães National Park and explore its stunning scenery, table-top mountains, ravines, caves, streams and waterfalls - it's a paradise for walkers and nature lovers. Next we head to the northern Pantanal, one of the world's largest tropical wetland areas, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species. Even more famous than the Pantanal is of course the Amazon, and we will head overland into south-eastern Peru exploring one of the most untouched stretches of the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Finally we climb up into the high Andes and to the traveller's paradise of Cuzco, once the capital of the Inca Empire. A fantastic and pioneering itinerary along a route that very few tourists ever get to see - join us on this truly unforgettable South American journey!
Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely enter Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport (IATA code: RIO/GIG).
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 Rio de Janeiro 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 Rio de Janeiro.
In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the Flamengo region of the city.
Today we have a full day's drive inland to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto. En route we will stop at the village of Congonhas to see the famous 'Twelve Prophets' statues built by the local sculptor Aleijandinho.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 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!).
On the following day we will have free time to explore the town, and discover its cobblestone streets and stunning Baroque churches. We can also make an optional trip to one of the fascinating mines in and around town.
In Ouro Preto we will stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel.
Today we will have an early start for a full day's drive to Brasília, the country's capital.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.
On the following day, we will explore the city's fascinating architecture on a guided tour. Designed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950s, the city was a landmark in the history of city planning - it is a very bizarre and interesting place to explore, quite unlike anywhere else in South America.
Today we set off west towards Chapada dos Guimarães, a stunning overland journey of almost 1000km in total.
Tonight we will wild camp en route, probably without facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
Today we complete our drive to Chapada dos Guimarães, and meet with our local guide who will be with us for the next 10 days!
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
We will then have 2 full days of hiking around the stunning landscapes of Chapada dos Guimarães. We will follow the popular waterfall trail, visiting natural pools and incredible viewpoints along the way - the highlight is the Véu de Noivas ('Bridal Veil') waterfall, one of the postcard views of the Chapada. We will also hike around the Rio Claro valley and visit the Cidade de Pedra look-out point.
In Chapada dos Guimarães, we will camp in a well equipped campsite.
Today we will have an early start from Chapada dos Guimarães and drive to Poconé, the gateway to the northern Pantanal region. From here we will start our trip along the Transpantaneira road, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife along the way.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.
Over the next 2 days in the Pantanal, we will explore the flora and fauna of these vast wetlands on foot and horseback, as well as in boats and our overland vehicle. We will be in search of the area's incredible array of wildlife on a flexible itinerary with our expert local guides.
In the Pantanal, we will stay in lodges with all the food included.
After breakfast we will leave the Pantanal and have a full day's drive to the village of Vila Bela da Santíssima Trinidade.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
On the following day we will go a boat trip on the Guaporé River in search of wildlife and bird-life including capybara, anacondas, and most impressive of all the pink dolphins in the river. We will also explore the beautiful colonial town of Vila Bela, and learn how the local Marroon community came about from the local tribes and fugitive slaves. We then take a boat down the river visiting a number of small-hold farms to learn about the livestock, crops, fruit trees, and vegetables that they grow.
In Vila Bela da Santíssima Trinidade we will camp in a well equipped campsite.
Today we will say goodbye to our local guide, and embark on 2 days of driving the 1800kms north towards the Peruvian border.
We will wild camp en route, probably without facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours each day.
Today is our final full day in Brazil, as we drive to the far western border town of Xapuri.
In Xapuri we stay the night in a local pousada (traveller's guesthouse).
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
Border information: exit Brazil at Assis, enter Peru at Iñapari.
Today we cross from Brazil over the Rio Acre and enter Peru. Once through border formalities, we drive on to Puerto Maldonado, the base of our upcoming expedition into the Peruvian Amazon.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
The following day we will have free time to explore the interesting town of Puerto Maldonado.
In Puerto Maldonado we will stay in a small locally-run hotel.
Today we will head 20kms from Puerto Maldonado to the Tambopata River port, where we will take a 45-minute boat transfer to our jungle lodge in the Peruvian Amazon where we will stay for the next 3 nights.
During our time here, we will enjoy a full schedule of activities to explore the phenomenal Amazon region of Peru. This will include a walk to the scaffolding canopy tower where you can enjoy spectacular views of the forest and the Tambopata River, a visit to the Tres Chimbadas Lake to look for the resident family of giant river otters and other lakeside wildlife, and an ethnobotanical tour to learn about the traditional ways of using plants as medicines. At night there's also an option of going for a hike in the forest, a time when most mammals are active but rarely seen so expect to use your ears more than your eyes! One of the mornings we will visit a 'Parrot Clay Lick', where if it's a clear morning you have the chance to see dozens of parrots and parakeets descend to ingest the clay on a river bank. We will also go on a guided hike in the forest, learning about the natural history of the rainforest, and visit one of the farms in the community of Infierno and learn about the different Amazonian crops grown here.
In the Peruvian Amazon we will stay in a jungle lodge, with all meals included.
This morning we depart Posada Amazonas and drive onwards towards the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. We will break the journey in the town of Quince Mil, just before we head up into the mighty Andes.
In Quince Mil we will stay in a simple local farmstead guesthouse.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.
Today we will complete our drive to the amazing town of Cuzco, once the centre of the Inca Empire.
In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel in the historical centre.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Border information: if you are finishing in Cuzco, you will most likely exit Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cuzco. 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.
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Trip Name: Rio de Janeiro to Cuzco
Duration: 25 Days
From Price: 1955
Trip Code: 158254
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