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Santiago to Rio De Janeiro

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 stylish Chilean capital of Santiago, we journey south into the Chilean and Argentinian Lake District to enjoy the wealth of optional activities and beautiful scenery in Pucn and Barlioche. From there we journey to the fabled land of Patagonia, famous for its hauntingly desolate scenery, its huge glaciers near El Calafate, the phenomenal mountain scenery of El Chaltn and Torres del Paine, and the chance to get out trekking, climbing and horse riding! We will see all of Patagonia's highlights, visit the world's southernmost town of Ushuaia, before making our way up the rugged Atlantic coast to the cosmoplitan Argentinan capital of Buenos Aires. From Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina, we head north along the classic route to the iconic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro - there is so much to see through this region, such as the two iconic cities themselves including the latter's incredible Christ the Redeemer statue, the phenomenal paradise of the Emerald Coast, the wildlife-rich wetlands of the Pantanal, and of course the mighty Iguazu Falls! On arrival in Rio de Janeiro, it's time for the greatest party on Earth - the world-famous Rio Carnival! During this week the city bursts to life with music, dancing, street parties, colour, and fun - and Dragoman will get you right into the heart of the action! Join Dragoman for this wonderful and unforgettable trip!

Latin America

Duration: 57 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Hard physical challenge
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158316
Starts: Santiago, Chile Finishes: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
You will visit
  • Santiago
  • Pucón
  • Bariloche
  • Argentinian Patagonia
  • Rio Pinturas
  • Cueva De Las Manos
  • El Chaltén
  • Los Glaciares National Park
  • Tierra Del Fuego
  • Ushuaia
  • Torres Del Paine National Park
  • El Calafate
  • Argentina Wild Camp
  • Camarones
  • Puerto Madryn
  • Monte Hermoso
  • Buenos Aires
  • Yapeyú
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Bonito
  • Southern Pantanal
  • Campo Grande
  • Brotas
  • Paraty
  • Rio De Janeiro

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Santiago

Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL).

Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! 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 Santiago 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 Santiago.

In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel.

02

Day 2: Pucón

Today we leave Santiago for a full day drive south to the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucón.

In Pucón we will stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3-4: Pucón

We will have two free days in Pucón to enjoy a range of optional activities, including a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucón, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.

04

Day 5: Bariloche

Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal.

Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).

In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a friendly family-run hostel outside of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

05

Day 6-7: Bariloche

We will have two free days to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak, boat, or even a historic steam train!

06

Day 8: Argentinian Patagonia

Today we embark on a full day drive south towards the Patagonia region on the legendary Ruta 40 (Route 40).

Tonight we will wild camp in the Rio Mayo area.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

07

Day 9: Rio Pinturas

Today we continue our drive south to the Rio Pinturas area, where we have an included visit to the mysterious Neolithic cave-art site of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), some of the most well-preserved ancient art in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Tonight we will wild camp near the Cueva de las Manos.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

08

Day 10: El Chaltén

Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.

In El Chaltén we stay in dorm beds in a hostel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

09

Day 11-13: El Chaltén

We will have three free days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitz Roy. There are lots of trekking and walking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, ice climbing on the Viedma Glacier, horse riding, and many other fantastic options.

10

Day 14: Argentinian Patagonia

Today we will leave El Chaltén and head south, overlanding across the Patagonian steppe and heading towards the southern island of Tierra del Fuego.

Tonight we will wild camp at a stunning ancient crater called Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon).

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

11

Day 15: Tierra Del Fuego

Border information: Exit Argentina at Integracion Austral, enter Chile at Integracion Austral

Continuing south, we head back into Chile to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego. Here we will visit the small King Penguin colony that have recently set up home at the remote Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay).

Tonight we will wild camp near Bahia Inutil.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

12

Day 16: Ushuaia

Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian

Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world!

In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

13

Day 17-18: Tierra Del Fuego

We will have two free days in the wonderful remote town of Ushuaia, with plenty of time for optional activities such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast.

14

Day 19: Tierra Del Fuego

Border information: Exit Argentina at San Sebastian, enter Chile at San Sebastian.

Today we start heading back north on a full day drive back across the Magellan Straits and up the Chilean side of the mainland.

Tonight we will wild camp near the ruins of an abandoned estancia!

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

15

Day 20: Torres Del Paine National Park

Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park.

Tonight we will camp at a stunning lakeside campsite inside the National Park with incredible views of the main mountain range.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

16

Day 21: Torres Del Paine National Park

During the next few days our included package in Torres del Paine (referred to here as the 'base package') will get to walk part of the famous W-walk circuit with a local guide.

You can also complete the full W-walk if you have pre-booked this option - this cannot be booked on arrival, so please contact Dragoman Sales if you would like to take part in the full trek. 

Today we will all take the catamaran across a lake to the Paine Grande campsite. From here, our group will split into two - the base package group and the W-walk extension group. Each group will then walk with their respective local guides to a viewpoint over the spectacular Grey Glacier. We will then walk back down to Paine Grande, where we will spend the night camping.

Approximate walking distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs.

17

Day 22: Torres Del Paine National Park

Base package group: If you have not opted for the optional W-walk extension package, you will have free time around Paine Grande this morning to freely explore. You will then board the catamaran back across the lake, where the truck will meet you and drive you to back to our base campsite for the night.

W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, you will leave Paine Grande and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Campsite Cuernos where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.

18

Day 23: Torres Del Paine National Park

Base package group: Today is a free day for those that have not booked the optional W-walk extension package. There are many short walks and other fantastic optional activities available near our campsite, or alternatively it's a great day simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite. 

W-walk extension group: For those on the optional W-walk extension package, you will continue your trek with your local guide along the Lago Nordenskjold to Las Torres Campsite where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.

19

Day 24: Torres Del Paine National Park

Today is our last full day in this beautiful National Park.

Base package group: The Dragoman truck will take you to the base of the famous three peaks which give the National Park its name. From there you will walk up to the breathtaking viewpoint of the Torres with the base package guide, before making your way back to the truck, reuniting with the W-walkers and heading back to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.

W-walk extension group: This morning you will trek up to the incredible viewpoint of the Torres with the W-walk guide, then come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return everyone to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.

20

Day 25: El Calafate

Border information: Exit Chile at Cerro Castillo, enter Argentina at Cerro Castillo.

Today we re-enter Argentina for the final time and drive to El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

In El Calafate we stay in dorm beds in a lovely hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

21

Day 26: El Calafate

Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.

22

Day 27: Argentina Wild Camp

Today we will have a full day drive across the plains of Patagonia towards the South Atlantic coast. 

Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

23

Day 28: Camarones

Today we continue our drive north up the Atlantic coast to the small town of Camarones. If time and conditions allow we might visit the Jaramillo Petrified Forest en route.

In Camarones we will camp in a basic campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

24

Day 29: Puerto Madryn

This morning we have an included visit to the incredible remote colony of Magellanic Penguins in Cabo Dos Bahias (Cape Two Bays), close to the town of Camarones. After seeing the phenomenal sight of thousands of penguins nesting on the shore, we will continue our drive north to the coastal town of Puerto Madryn.

In Puerto Madryn we will camp in a basic campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

25

Day 30: Puerto Madryn

Today we will have a free day for optional activities in and around Puerto Madryn. There is the opportunity to take a tour to the Valdes Peninsular to see its desolate scenery and abundant marine life, head out on a boat trip in search of dolphins and whales, or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh tea house in the nearby towns of Gaiman or Trelew.

26

Day 31: Monte Hermoso

Today we have a full day's drive heading north towards Buenos Aires. We will see a definite change in the landscape today as the vegetation becomes more and more lush and green as we come out of the Patagonia region and into the pampas of Buenos Aires.

Tonight we will wild camp en route, possibly in the coastal village of Monte Hermoso.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

27

Day 32: Buenos Aires

Another full day drive will take us across the beautiful grasslands of Buenos Aires province and to the cosmoplitan Argentine capital itself.

In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 11 hours.

28

Day 33: Buenos Aires

Today is a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.

29

Day 34-36: Buenos Aires

Border information: if you are joining in Buenos Aires, you will most likely enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza Airport).

Welcome to Buenos Aires, the wonderful capital of Argentina! 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.

The following two days are free explore the incredible city, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.

In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

30

Day 37: Yapeyú

Today we have a full day drive north though the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, aiming to reach the beautiful village of Yapeyú on the banks of the River Uruguay. Yapeyú is very famous amongst Argentines for being the birthplace of their national hero General Jose de San Martin, one of the liberators of South America from Spanish colonial rule.

In Yapeyú we will stay in a municipal campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

31

Day 38: Foz do Iguacu

Border information: Exit Argentina at Tancredo Neves, enter Brazil at Tancredo Neves.

Today we cross the border into Brazil and drive to the city of Foz do Iguacu.

In Foz do Iguacu we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel out of town, with good facilities and a pool.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

32

Day 39: Iguazu Falls

Today we will visit the Brazilian side of the phenomenal Iguazu Falls, to get some incredible panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also plenty of time to visit the bird park, take a helicopter ride over the falls, see the incredible Itaipu Dam, or quickly stop into Paraguay to pick up some bargains in the nearcy Ciudad del Este.

33

Day 40: Foz do Iguacu

Today we will take a day trip back into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point). We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!

We will return to our base in Foz do Iguacu tonight.

34

Day 41: Bonito

Today we have a full drive day north to the Brazilian eco-tourism capital of Bonito.

In Bonito we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel with a pool and good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

35

Day 42-43: Bonito

We have two full days in Bonito to take part in the plethora of incredible optional activities here. You could go out on a world-class snorkelling trip, explore the nearby caves, or go abseiling down some of the largest waterfalls in the area, amongst many other possibilities!

36

Day 44-45: Southern Pantanal

Today we have a short drive to Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal region, where we have a visit a local eco-tourism ranch (or 'fazenda').

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

We will spend 2 nights here and have a comprehensive package of included activities such as exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside on horseback, trips down the wildlife-abundant rivers in boats and canoes, and safaris on the ranch's trucks and on foot where we hope to spot capybaras, caimans, and (if we are very lucky) jaguars and ocelots. Our stay here is an incredible highlight!

In the Southern Pantanal we will stay in dorm accommodation in a well equipped lodge with all the meals and activities included.

37

Day 46: Campo Grande

After our morning activities and one final lunch in our beautiful ranch, it is time to leave the Pantanal. We will start driving east towards Sao Paulo state, and wild camp towards the end of the day.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

38

Day 47: Brotas

Today we will drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeastern Brazil.

In Brotas we will stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

39

Day 48: Brotas

Today is free to take part in optional adventure activities such as white water rafting or canyoning, or to simply relax by the pool!

40

Day 49-51: Paraty

Today we have a full day drive to the colonial town of Paraty on the Emerald Coast of the Atlantic!

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On our first full day in Paraty, we will have an included boat trip around the incredible islands and beaches off the coast. 

On our second day, we will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.

In Paraty we wil camp at a well equipped hostel.

41

Day 52: Rio De Janeiro

Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely exit Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.

The first day of Rio Carnival is free time as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Our hotel check-in is from midday, and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you assistance.

There will be a joining meeting in the afternoon - please check the notice board in the lobby/reception area for the exact times for your meeting.

In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, close to the beach and the metro station.

42

Day 53: Rio De Janeiro

Today is free time for you to explore the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro.

In the morning there's the option to go for a guided visit to the Morrinho Project, a favela community project supported by Dragoman. 

In the afternoon there is the option to go and see a football game in the world-famous Maracana stadium.

43

Day 54: Rio De Janeiro

Early this morning we have the option to head to Corcovado and its world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer for a half-day guided tour. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic sights of Rio de Janeiro, and if the weather is clear there is a fantastic view over the rest of the city including Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). 

In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in sector 13, the most lively of the sectors where local Cariocas are supporting their favourite Samba schools by singing and dancing. The sector is at the very end of the runway and you have the chance of collecting parts of the costumes as some dancers will throw them up in to the stand.

Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade - if you should wish, there is the option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade, which is highly recommended if you're interested in photography and would like the best pictures of the costumes and floats.

44

Day 55: Rio De Janeiro

This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in!

In the afternoon we have the chance to go on an optional guided visit to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), rising almost 400 metres above the harbour. We will take the cable car up to the top, from where there's a chance of seeing the wonderful vistas over the city and Copacabana beach. If the weather is clear you will also be able to see Christ the Redeemer looking down at the city from the top of Corcovado mountain. 

In the evening we have the chance to re-visit the Sambadrome to see the last 6 of the elite Samba schools parading. You even have the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience!

45

Day 56: Rio De Janeiro

Today is another free day to explore Rio de Janeiro further, and perhaps to find one of the blocos (street parades) that take place during the Carnival and continue the party.

In the evening we have the chance to put on our most outrageous outfits and head to the Gay Ball!

46

Day 57: Rio De Janeiro

Border information: if you are leaving in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely exit Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.

The Carnival package finishes after breakfast today. Our hotel check-out is at 11:00am, and you can depart at any time or spend the day exploring further or relaxing.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit the UNESCO site of Cueva de las Manos, a set of mysterious rock paintings made by hunter-gatherers over 10,000 years ago
    • Head out to the remote corner of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to view the King Penguin colony at Bahia Inutil, the only colony of these type of penguins outside of Antarctica
    • Entrance into the phenomenal Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, an area of some of the most outstanding natural beauty, breathtaking mountain vistas, and idyllic trekking opportunities in the world
    • Base package Guided 'base package' to trek part of the famous W-walk - included is the trek to Grey Glacier and the trek to the towers of Torres del Paine. The package includes camping with facilities in Paine Grande, food during the trekking days and the service of an expert English-speaking local guide
    • See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier from the most breathtaking and photogenic viewpoints on a guided day tour from El Calafate
    • Visit the huge colony of Magellanic Penguins at the remote area of Cabo Dos Bahias near Camarones on the South Atlantic coast
    • Party all night to the fantastic and eclectic sounds and sights of the Samba parade at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew plus local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 45% Camping - 55% Hotels
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