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Southern Cross Westbound - Rio to Lima
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Inca Trail Until Dec 17 Lares Trek Until Dec 17 Cusco Stay Until Dec 17 Inca Trail From Jan 18 Lares Trek From Jan 18 Cusco Stay From Jan 18

From the sands of Copacabana to the heights of the Bolivian Andes, this incredible 39-day journey will introduce you to the diverse landscape and people of South America. Explore the wetlands of the Pantanal and the bizarre landscape of the Uyuni Salt Flats, and revel in the mists of thundering Iguassu Falls. Gain greater insight into the culture on the regions public buses and meet locals from the rural towns along the way for an immersive experience that few travellers get to know. Get off the beaten path and experience Peru, Brazil and Bolivia a vibrant cross-section of South America.

Latin America
  • Duration: 39 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID/Link Tour Code: SZRM.F/201970
  • Starts: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Finishes: Lima, Peru
You will Visit
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Ilha Grande
  • Paraty
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Bonito
  • Pantanal
  • Santa Cruz de la Sierra
  • La Paz
  • Sucre
  • Potosí
  • Uyuni
  • Salar de Uyuni
  • Puno
  • Lago Titicaca
  • Cusco
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Aguas Calientes
  • Lima

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Rio de Janeiro

Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities until the evening welcome meeting.

02

Day 2: Rio de Janeiro/Ilha Grande

Take a bus and ferry to Ilha Grande. Free time for hikes and walks around the island to explore the beaches.
From Rio, head south along the Atlantic coast to one of the most picturesque, laid-back islands on the coast, llha Grande. Relax and walk the sandy beaches, or bathe in the warm waters of this island paradise.

03

Day 3: Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande is a car-free island surrounded by beautiful nature. Opt to go for a hike, swim or sit at one of the beach bars.

04

Day 4: Ilha Grande/Paraty

Travel up the coast to Paraty and wander the cobblestoned streets of this colonial beach side town.

05

Day 5: Paraty

Enjoy a free day to explore Paraty. Optional activities include a Caipirinha boat trip, kayaking and horseback riding.
With Paraty's stone streets and colonial architecture still standing, the town has some of the best examples of Portuguese colonial architecture in the world. The town is currently on UNESCO's tentative list to gain World Heritage Centre status. To preserve the historical ambience and walkability of the historic centre, only bicycle and pedestrian traffic are allowed in the area.

06

Day 6: Paraty

Continue to enjoy the slow pace of Paraty, a colonial town with fantastic architecture, or opt to take a day trip to Trindade to surf and relax on the beach.

07

Day 7: Paraty/Foz do Iguaçu

Take a flight to the famous Iguassu Falls. Visit the Brazilian side of the falls to get the best panoramic view. Opt to visit the bird park filled with beautifully coloured local wildlife or enjoy an optional helicopter ride for a birds-eye view of the falls.
Skip the 19 hour journey by land and hop a flight to Iguassu from São Paulo, maximizing your time to enjoy the falls.

08

Day 8: Foz do Iguaçu

Experience Iguassu in Argentina by exploring trails and catwalks. Opt to take a boat tour to view the falls from below.
Explore trails that will bring you directly over the falls of the Devil's Throat—the highest and deepest of the falls. Other trails allow access to the stretch of falls across the forest on the Argentine side. Opt to take an inflatable boat to the base of the thundering falls.

09

Day 9: Foz do Iguaçu/Bonito

Leave early for a full travel day to Bonito.

10

Day 10: Bonito

Spend time in Bonito with optional activities available like snorkelling in the rivers or exploring the nearby caves and waterfalls.

11

Day 11: Bonito

Enjoy another free day to explore Bonito.

12

Day 12: Bonito/Pantanal

Journey into the Pantanal, a perfect place to experience the wildlife of Brazil. Enjoy a 2-day excursion into the wetlands with a local guide.
Experience the Pantanal, an immense wetland area famed for its profuse wildlife. A 2-day excursion allows visitors to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

13

Day 13: Pantanal

Full day of exploring the Pantanal. Try piranha fishing or horseback riding. Opportunities to spot wildlife such as monkeys, macaws, giant otters and caiman.

14

Day 14: Pantanal/Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Leave the Pantanal and head for the border. Board an overnight bus to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
From the frontier town of Corumbá, Brazil, cross into Bolivia. From here, an overnight bus heads to Santa Cruz.

15

Day 15: Santa Cruz de la Sierra/La Paz

Hop on a flight and get to the capital city of Bolivia. Wander the streets and visit the famous Witches' Market.

16

Day 16: La Paz/Sucre

Spend the morning exploring the city before boarding an afternoon flight to Sucre and explore this beautiful colonial city or opt to go hiking in the surrounding area.

17

Day 17: Sucre

Spend two days exploring all that Sucre has to offer.

18

Day 18: Sucre

Spend two days exploring all that Sucre has to offer.

19

Day 19: Sucre/Potosí

Journey from Sucre to Potosí. Spend the afternoon exploring the city.

20

Day 20: Potosí/Uyuni

Head south to Uyuni, the starting point for the salt flats excursion.

21

Day 21: Uyuni/Salar de Uyuni

Enjoy a 3-day 4x4 excursion to the Uyuni Salt Flats and surrounding desert altiplano, with spectacular scenery. Last stop for the evening is a G Adventures-supported community lodge in a traditional agricultural village in the heart of a desert oasis.
Travel through the Bolivian landscape to the town of Uyuni. Despite its isolation and challenging climate (cold and blustery most of the year), the town of Uyuni has earned the nickname of Hija Predilecta de Bolivia (Bolivia's Favourite Daughter).

It is also the starting point for our 2-night excursion through the spectacular Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats) in 4x4 vehicles.

Settle in to your G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow, complete with salt floors and furniture, after a guided walking tour up to the sacred Jukil mountaintop for sweeping valley views and a dinner of local ingredients prepared by ladies from the community.

22

Day 22: Salar de Uyuni

Continue to discover the Uyuni Salt Flats on a 4x4 excursion.

23

Day 23: Salar de Uyuni/Uyuni

Enjoy a final day of exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats before boarding an overnight bus back to La Paz .

24

Day 24: La Paz

Enjoy a free day in the capital, walk along the winding streets, shop in the markets and enjoy the nightlife. For the thrill seekers opt to bike the famous "death road".
Spend the day exploring and shopping in the many markets of the city -- it is an especially good place to buy textiles and leatherwork. Visit the Witches' Market or take one of the several optional excursions available.

25

Day 25: La Paz

Use another free day to explore La Paz. Opt to visit Iglesia de San Francisco, Chacaltaya, the Valley of the Moon, or the Witches' Market.

26

Day 26: La Paz

Visit the pre-Incan ruins of Tiahuanaco.
Little is known about the Tiahuanaco people who constructed the great ceremonial centre on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca over 1000 years ago. Spend most of the day visiting these mysterious ruins—a cradle of Incan civilization—before returning to La Paz.

27

Day 27: La Paz/Puno

Travel by bus through the altiplano, crossing the border to the Peruvian city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon, and the desert coastal area.

Enjoy spectacular views of the countryside on a full day of travel from La Paz, around Lake Titicaca, and on to Puno.

28

Day 28: Puno/Lago Titicaca

Enjoy a guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a small village.
Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on the Taquile Islands and stop at a restaurant and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views.

After, cruise to the another village (this can vary based on community availability) for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake. 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, pick up some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village.

29

Day 29: Lago Titicaca/Puno

Visit the floating islands of Uros before returning to Puno. Opt to visit the Sillustani burial site.
Leave the homestay families late in the 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.

30

Day 30: Puno/Cusco

Hop on the bus for a full day's drive to Cusco.
The bus trip from Puno to Cusco takes the better part of the day, with stark, beautiful scenery en route as you travel through the high Altiplano region. Check out a bit of Cusco, find a spot for dinner, or get prepared to head into the Sacred Valley.

31

Day 31: Cusco

Enjoy a free day to explore the city's museums and local markets. Opt for a city tour to see some of the ruins as well.
While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. It forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum, and the Religious Art Museum.

32

Day 32: Cusco/Ollantaytambo

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley. Stop at the G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op before visiting a local pottery making community. Break for lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa community restaurant in Huchuy Qosco. After lunch, head out on a hike to the Ollantaytambo storehouses and lookout over the ruins.
Travel through the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas, visiting a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op. Meet the women and learn about traditional weaving and dyeing. Opt to pick up some handmade souvenirs and textiles directly from the women who made them.

Have lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa community restaurant. Learn about the G Adventures for Good project and eat a delicious buffet-style lunch. Proceeds of this meal go directly back to the remote community.

33

Day 33: Ollantaytambo/Cusco

Return to the Sacred Valley with the CEO to explore the sites of the Maras Salt Mines and the ancient Incan agricultural terraces of Moray. Continue on a scenic drive through small villages and stunning views of the Andean countryside. Stop for a picnic lunch at Piuray Lagoon and opt to explore by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Return to Cusco for the evening.
Leave the hikers to start their trek and head out to explore Moray and Maras ancient Incan ruins. Enjoy a scenic drive through Andean farmland on the way to Piuray Lagoon.

34

Day 34: Cusco

Enjoy a free day to explore the city or take advantage of the many optional activities available.

35

Day 35: Cusco/Aguas Calientes

Travel by van to Ollantaytambo to catch the scenic train to Aguas Calientes.

36

Day 36: Machu Picchu/Cusco

Enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge before returning to Cusco in the evening.
Rise early to catch the first bus up to Machu Picchu with the guide. Enjoy a guided visit of the ruins followed by free time to explore. When ready, head back down by bus to Aguas Calientes to meet up with the rest of the group and take a train back to Cusco.

37

Day 37: Cusco

Enjoy a free day to explore Cusco or relax. Active options include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

38

Day 38: Cusco/Lima

Fly to Lima. Opt for a city tour or wander the neighbourhood of Miraflores.
Take a short flight to the coast and the capital city of Lima. This vibrant city has a fantastic main square, tons of shopping, and incredible eating. Opt to join the group for one final evening out.

39

Day 39: Lima

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Beach time on Ilha Grande
    • Iguassu Falls visit (Brazil and Argentina)
    • Bonito stay
    • Pantanal wildlife excursion (2 days)
    • 4x4 excursion to the Uyuni Salt Flats (3 days)
    • Floating islands of Uros visit
    • Lake Titicaca guided tour
    • Sacred Valley guided tour
    • Pottery making demonstration
    • Ollantaytambo storehouse ruins and hike
    • Lunch at the G Adventures-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosco, an indigenous village
    • Cusco Stay
    • Machu Picchu guided tour
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (29 nts), overnight buses (4 nts), homestay (1 nt), basic hotels on Uyuni Salt Flats excursion (2 nts, multi-share), tented room with hammocks in the Pantanal (2 nts, multi-share)
    • 34 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
    Transport
    • Public bus, plane, 4x4 vehicle, train, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Stare in awe at Iguassu Falls
  • Search for wildlife in the Brazilian Pantanal
  • Spend 3 days exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats by 4x4
  • Settle in with the locals at a homestay on Lake Titicaca
  • Conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu