Grand South American Discovery
65 days from £4,249 (was £4,999)
- Tick 7 countries off your bucket list!
- Experience the magical Iguassu Falls
- Marvel at iconic Machu Picchu
- Cross the Bolivian Salt Flats
- Enjoy beachside bliss in Brazil
- Spend three nights in the amazing Amazon
This amazing trip will have you journeying through South America, experiencing the very best of what the fascinating region has to offer. You’ll be visiting Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, exploring everything from cosmopolitan capitals to off-the-beaten-track villages. Tick 7 countries off that bucket list and get your adventure on big style!
You’ll be crossing the magical Bolivian Salt Flats, marvelling at the iconic Iguassu Falls and trekking the Inca Trail – all with a group of globetrotting mates! Spend time in the Amazon jungle, visit an authentic South American estancia, and learn about local community customs on an eye-opening homestay. There’ll be plenty of free time for you to head out and make your own South American memories, and there’s even some beachside bliss on the agenda for those of you who want to top up that tan! Whether you’re soaking in the hot springs of Colca Valley, discovering Machu Picchu, or exploring Ilha Grande’s caves and coves, you’re bound to remember this unbeatable trip for a lifetime!
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
Day 1: Welcome to Ecuador! Arrive in Quito
Today you’ll arrive into Quito! There’ll be a Welcome Meeting this evening, and you’ll be briefed on the trip and meet your fellow travellers. Why not arrive early and hit the streets before your briefing?
Day 2: Quito to Tena
Head bus to Tena today, a picturesque city in the Amazon rainforest! You’ll then transfer to Pimpilala where you’ll meet the welcoming family you’ll be staying with. It’s the perfect way to get to know the locals!
Day 3-4: Tena Homestay
Spend the next couple of days getting to know the community you’re staying with and enjoying your beautiful surroundings. You’ll learn about the customs of the community and you may choose to take a tropical trek through the rainforest or visit the invigorating waterfalls!
Day 5: Tena to Banos
For the next couple of days breathtaking Banos will be your playground! Once you’ve arrived, there’ll be plenty of free time to explore with your group! Perhaps spend your first afternoon chilling out in the steamy springs or enjoying a picturesque walk to take some snapshots of the unbelievable scenery.
Day 6: Discover Banos
Today you have a free day to make the most of this thrill seeker’s paradise! Go horseback riding, hike or bike through the mountains or go white water rafting for a dose of adrenaline!
Day 7: Banos to Cuenca
Today you’ll transfer to Riobamba and then head on to quaint, colonial Cuenca. You’ll arrive with enough time to explore the city’s cobbled streets and immerse yourself in its relaxed atmosphere before heading to your hotel.
Day 8: Free time in Cuenca
You’ll have a free day in Cuenca today! Why not head out to Cajas National Park, where you’ll be able to spot a variety of plants and wildlife! Visit Cuenca’s beautiful cathedrals or the fascinating Pumapungo Archaeological Park where you’ll see Incan ruins. Breath taking!
Day 9: Cuenca to Mancora
Today you’ll cross the border into Aguas Verdes and tick off another country as you enter Peru! We’ll be heading to coastal Mancora to check into our hotel and catch up on some sleep before our free day tomorrow!
Day 10: Explore Mancora
Get to know Mancora today! Travellers love the laidback beach vibe, so spend your day lounging on golden beaches or hit the waves for a surfing lesson! This evening head to a bar with your group to enjoy the sunset with a few drinks!
Day 11: Mancora to Trujillo
Enjoy some more free time in mellow Mancora today before taking an overnight bus to the charming colonial city of Trujillo.
Day 12: Trujillo
Wake up in Trujillo. Filled with graceful architecture and with a bohemian, artsy vibe, it’s a great place to spend a couple of days. Don’t miss the optional trip to the nearby Chan-Chan ruins – a vast network of adobe structures and Peru’s largest pre-Incan empire – wow!
Day 13: Trujillo to Lima
Travel as you sleep on day 13 with an overnight bus to Peru's lively capital.
Day 14: Lively Lima!
Welcome to Peru’s capital! You’ve got a free day today, why not head to the famed Museo Larco or take to the streets to experience Lima’s Spanish colonial architecture and take in the sights, sounds and sensations of the capital!
Day 15: Free time in Lima
Get out into the city for some free time today. You might opt to participate in a Lima city tour that’ll take you around Lima’s highlights and help you to get to know the city a bit better. Culinary connoisseurs can take a cooking class to learn how to cook traditional Peruvian dishes ready to impress friends and relatives back home!
Day 16: Lima to Huacachina
Head to the gorgeous oasis town of Huacachina. Hire a pedalo on the lake, join an optional dune buggy and sandboarding experience and watch the most incredible sunset from the top of one of the surrounding dunes.
Day 17: Huacachina to Nazca
We’re off to Nazca today, via an artisanal pisco winery – yum! On arrival in Nazca, we’ll explore the Nazca Lines – mysterious patterns and pictures etched into the desert. This evening, try a Pachamanca-style dinner in Nazca.
Day 18:Nazca to Arequipa
You’ll have free time in Nazca today. Why not fly over the mysterious Nazca lines – historical etchings that continue to stun and intrigue! You’ll board an overnight bus to Arequipa tonight.
Day 19: Arequipa
You’ll arrive in Arequipa today ready for a full day of free time! Step back in time with a visit to the Convent of Santa Catalina, or participate in mountaineering or rafting adventures to experience some action! Round the day off with dinner in an authentic ‘picanteria’ this evening!
Day 20: Arequipa to Chivay
There’s a private transfer to Chivay today, where you’ll be taken on a guided tour of the extraordinary Colca Canyon! It’s is one of Peru’s most popular attractions and one of deepest canyons in the world! You’ll have the opportunity to stop off in lovely local villages and perhaps even spot some wildlife!
Day 21: Check out Chivay!
You’ll head out early today to travel to a condor viewpoint to spot some of these incredible birds. On the way back you’ll get another chance to explore Colca Canyon and the local villages that surround it. Be sure to get any last minute pictures of the amazing landscape!
Day 22: Arequipa to Cusco
Head back to Arequipa this morning for a free day to check out any of the sights you may have missed. Check out the beautiful cathedral or visit one of the many museums. Tonight you’ll board the overnight bus to Cusco.
Day 23-24: Explore Cusco
There’s plenty to get up to in this lively city over the next couple of days, from visiting the archaeological sites of the Saksaywaman citadel and Puka Pukara to heading to the Cusco Cathedral to check out some beautiful art. If adventure is your thing, head out for a horseback riding excursion or go white water rafting!
Day 25: Cusco to Ollantaytambo
The village of Ollantaytambo is set in the Sacred Valley, and there’s an optional Sacred Valley tour lined up today where you’ll get to visit a local women’s weaving co-op and the ruins of Posac. You’ll transfer to Ollantaytambo in a private vehicle, so sit back and enjoy the scenery!
Day 26: Ollantaytamboto Wayllabamba Camp
>We’ll head to the starting point of our Inca Trail trek today*! We’ll kick the adventure off with a trek through mesmerising scenery and a small local village. Enjoy sweeping mountain views before settling into the Wayllabamba Camp to recharge.
Day 27: Wayllabamba Camp to Paqaymayo Camp
Today we’ll rise early and get a head start on climbing up to Warmiwanusca. This is the highest point of our trek, so you’ll be exposed to magical views and the authentic Andean elements! Most campers reach the Paqaymayo Camp by early afternoon, leaving plenty of time to relax.
Day 28: Paqaymayo Camp to Winaywayna
Today you’ll cross ruins and passes, the first of which will be Runquraqay. You may even be able to spot the snow peaked Cantabrian Mountains! You’ll experience ancient Incan constructions as you journey through clouds, before reaching Phuyupatamarca. Opt to camp here or at the legendary WinayWayna ruins.
Day 29: Winaywayna to Cusco
>We’ll head up to the Sun Gate before sunrise for views of Machu Picchu as it is lit up by a mesmerising sunrise. Then it’s on to bucket-list Machu Picchu for a guided tour and some exploration. We’ll then journey back to Cusco for some late night revelry with an epic group pub or club crawl!
Day 30: Cusco
Explore Cusco with some free time today! By now you’ll be familiar with this city and we’re sure there’ll be a few hotspots you want to revisit! Anything you do today is optional, and your guide will be on hand as usual to give you some tips and make sure you get the very best out of Cusco.
Day 31: Cusco to Puno
Today we’ll bus to Puno, located alongside Lake Titicaca! You’ll love this picturesque city, home to baroque architecture and vibrant South American culture! After your journey you’ll settle into your accommodation to chill after the journey.
Day 32: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Today you’ll be boating across Lake Titicaca! You’ll visit a local community on Taquile Island to enjoy a local lunch and do some souvenir shopping. Then it’s onto a village home stay for a lovely dinner with your host family and the chance to try on traditional costumes!
Day 33: Lake Titicaca to Puno
Spend a relaxed morning with your host family before visiting the Uros community, where locals live on self-made floating islands on the lake! Learn about their culture and customs before we head back to Puno for a free afternoon. Opt to visit the pre-Incan cemetery of Sillustani, or check out the beautiful cathedral.
Day 34: Puno to La Paz
Today you’ll cross the border from Peru into Bolivia – time to check another destination off the list! You’ll be travelling on local buses to La Paz, the highest destination we’ll be visiting! Enjoy sweeping views of the countryside before settling into your hotel to enjoy your first night in Bolivia.
Day 35: Explore La Paz
There’s a free day today! You’ll experience soaring view of the Andes, and seeing city skyscrapers against majestic mountains is truly awe inspiring. Why not enjoy a biking excursion or experience the city from hedonistic heights on a cable car ride! For a relaxed day, head to a local market or visit the Tiwanaku archaeological site.
Day 36: La Paz to Sucre
Head out for those last minute souvenirs or meander through the streets to get to grips with La Paz culture today before boarding the overnight bus to Sucre this evening.
Day 37-38: Discover Sucre
Sucre is set in the highlands and you’ll have free time to explore over the next couple of days. You’ll love the city’s pristine beauty, white buildings and quaint colonial architecture. Why not head to Casa de la Libertad – the place where Bolivia’s Declaration of Independence was signed!
Day 39: Sucre to Potosi
Today we’ll be travel to Potosi by bus. This unique city is one of the highest in the world, and has a long and fascinating history that makes it a unique and interesting destination. Once you’ve arrived you’ll be able to check into your hotel to freshen up and wind down.
Day 40: Discover Potosi
Today you’ll have some free time to explore Potosi, why not learn about the city’s intriguing mining history with a visit to Cerro Rico Mountain? Perhaps head to a market to grab some souvenirs, and get the group together this evening for a delicious meal!
Day 41: Potosi to Uyuni
Today you’ll be travelling to Uyuni by private vehicle. Once we’ve arrived you’ll check in to your accommodation ready to kick back and relax before our salt flats excursion tomorrow!
Day 42-44: Salt Flats of Uyuni
Your magical 3 day salt flats excursion begins on Day 42! Explore the unique landscape in 4x4 vehicles, checking out Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde and marvelling and geysers and wildlife! On Day 44 we’ll head to Chile and board a bus to the town of San Pedro de Atacama on the edge of the Atacama Desert!
Day 45: San Pedro De Atacama
You have free time in San Pedro de Atacama today! Perhaps get your adventure on with a mountain biking or horseback riding excursion, or opt to head to a valley situated between the Andes and the desert to take a look at terrain that is said to resemble the surface of the Moon!
Day 46: San Pedro De Atacama to Salta
Today we’ll cross into Argentina! We’ll head to Salta, known for its mesmerising mountain landscape. This evening, you’ll have the chance to enjoy an optional traditional Pena Folklore Show where you’ll be immersed in the music of Argentina!
Day 47: See Salta
Today you’ll get to chance to explore Salta! We suggest heading out to try some empanadas with your group, or meeting the locals at the main square! You may want to check out the Archaeological Museum and the ornate Salta Cathedral, a beautiful example of the town’s amazing architecture.
Day 48: Salta to Buenos Aires
Today we’ll fly to Buenos Aires, giving you more time to explore! Once you’ve arrived you can take a guided city tour and see La Boca and San Telmo, where you’ll soak up the sights and snap shots of the quaint colonial architecture.
Day 49-50: Breath-Taking Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is your playground for the next couple of days! Perhaps visit Recoleta, for a leisurely walk and a great hang out spot. Teatro Colon is another must visit site, it regularly hosts magnificent shows. You’ll hear music around every corner and it’s not rare to see passionate dancers swaying in the streets
Day 51: Buenos Aires to Colonia Del Sacramento
Today we’ll cross the border into Uruguay. You’ll go on an orientation walk before heading off for some free time to explore Colonia! Discover the Historic Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site framed by lush terrain, and don’t forget to bring your camera along as you explore!
Day 52: Colonia Del Sacramento to Montevideo
This morning you’ll bus to Montevideo for a free afternoon. Check out the stunning Matriz Cathedral, or take a riverside stroll or bike ride along the Rambla. Perhaps head to the market where you’ll be able to pick up an authentic bite to eat with your friends and watch local life go by!
Day 53: Mesmerising Montevideo
Today you’ll have a full free day! Football fans may want to head to the Centenario Stadium, built for the World Cup and now a major attraction for sports fans! Want some beachside bliss? Lounge on the sand and top up your tan There are also plenty of intriguing museums and relaxing local parks to check out.
Day 54-55: Montevideo to Mercedes
On Day 54 we’ll be travel to Mercedes. Our private vehicle will pass picturesque pastures before heading to the local estancia ranch. Staying at the estancia, you’ll have the opportunity to ride horses in the country side, get stuck into ranch duties and enjoy local barbecues with the group!
Day 56: Mercedes to Foz Do Iguacu
This morning you’ll be crossing the border in Gualeguaychu in Argentina, before boarding the overnight bus to Foz do Iguacu. Grab the chance to get some rest and be sure to pack a few snacks!
Day 57: Iguassu Falls
Kick things off with a visit to the Brazilian side of the Falls! The Iguassu Falls have over 275 drops and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Feel the rush as you get up close to this monumental site, and spend your free time this afternoon participating in some great optional activities such as a visit to the Iguassu Falls Bird Park!
Day 58: Iguassu Falls
Today you’ll get a totally different look at the Falls as you visit the Argentinian side. There’s an optional boat tour that you may choose to participate in – you’ll head into the jungle by motorboat and sail to the ‘Devil’s Throat’ for an awe inspiring experience. Unforgettable!
Day 59: Foz Do Iguacu to Paraty
Today we’ll fly to Sao Paulo before heading to Paraty by private vehicle! We’ll explore Paraty’s charming colonial architecture before topping up our tans on the beach! You’ll love this coastal town – complete with sweeping mountain landscapes and framed by azure waters, it’s a little slice of paradise!
Day 60: Explore Paraty
Today you have a full free day and with swimming, snorkelling, diving and hiking options, Paraty is the perfect place to explore!
Day 61: Paraty to Ilha Grande
Today we’ll bus and ferry to Ilha Grande! You’ll have some free time, prepare to be awestruck by the island’s majestic scenery. Beach tours are always popular, you’ll be able to see beautiful bays and swim and snorkel to your heart’s content!
Day 62-63: Ilha Grande
You have free time over the next couple of days. Go on a hiking trip or take to the waves for some snorkelling and scuba diving adventures! Ilha Grande is the perfect beachside playground! Please note that whatever you do during your time in Ilha Grande is optional and it’ll be up to you to cover any resultant costs.
Day 64: Ilha Grande to Rio de Janeiro
Today we’ll head to Rio. You’ll be staying in a central hotel, and can opt to take a city tour or simply check into your hotel and grab a meal with your group before departing tomorrow.
Day 65: Farewell
You’re free to depart from Rio at any time today as there are no activities planned. Your guide can help you with onward travel if you’re not quite ready to head home! Be sure to swap details with your group – this epic adventure will be on your mind for a long time to come!
Please note activites and itineraries are subject to change.
*Inca Trail permits are subject to availability. In the event that permits for the Inca Trail are unavailable, you will be offered an alternative trek.
The above itinerary is for start dates in 2020. If you are travelling in 2019 you will follow an amended itinerary. Please download the trip notes for further details.
- Some meals: 41 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
- Amazon jungle excursion
- Beach time in Ilha Grande and Mancora
- Nazca Pachamanca ceremony
- Excursion to Colca Canyon
- Machu Picchu guided tour
- Guided Inca Trail Hike
- Services of a guide and cook during Inca Trail hike
- Lake Titicaca excursion
- Uyuni Salt Flats excursion
- Entrance and visit to Iguassu Falls
- All transport between destinationsand included activities
- 24 hour emergency support
- Some meals: Allow USD1535-1995 for meals that are not included
- Personal Expenses
All accommodation is included as part of this trip, and there are a variety of accommodation styles, meaning you’ll get a great idea of South America! You’ll be staying in simple but comfortable hotels or hostels for 47 nights of your trip on a twin or multi-share basis. You’ll stay in a basic multi-share hotel/lodge for 2 nights of your trip during the epic Uyuni Salt Flats experience. You’ll also enjoy a homestay for 1 night of your trip, 3 nights of camping, 3 nights in a jungle homestay, 2 nights on the estancia and 6 nights on overnight buses. You’re bound to meet a range of exciting people and get to know the communities who call all these exciting locations home!
During this trip there will be 41 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners included. This means that when meals are not included, you’ll be able to head out and try some great South American food!
You should arrange your flights to arrive into Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito (UIO) on your programme start date in time for your welcome meeting which is held in the early evening.
Please note, we can arrange an airport transfer for you when you arrive. Please contact a Travel Advisor for more information.
You should arrange for your flights to depart from Rio De Janerio-Galeao International Airport (GIG) on your programme end date, no activities are planned for this day and you are free to depart at any time.
Please note: If you are flying via the USA you will need to obtain Travel Authorisation by registering online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) no later than 72 hours before departure. This is compulsory and will cost USD$14 to register. To register, please visit: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
The minimum age for this trip is 18 and the maximum age is 39.
Please note: Due to recent changes, the authorities in Bolivia now require all visitors to present a valid Yellow Fever 'Certificate of Vaccination' on arrival into Bolivia. You should keep your Yellow Fever Certificate with your travel documents when entering Bolivia. As we are not medically qualified we are unable to give you advice regarding vaccinations, we recommend that you make an appointment with your GP or local travel clinic before travelling to get up to date information and advice about receiving the vaccination and other health considerations.
Can I Travel Solo?
Absolutely! You won’t have to pay a supplement if you’re travelling solo, and there’s no need to worry as most of our travellers travel solo so you’ll be in great company! Our trips are social and you’re bound to meet loads of interesting people, so lots of travellers opt to participate alone. Similarly, you can participate in this trip with a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend.
Can You Tell Me Anything About My Guide?
You’ll be accompanied on your tour by a local representative who will make travelling much more fun and easy! Your guide will provide you with all the information you need about your destinations and give you informed advice about things to see in your free time and where to eat!
What Happens If I Experience Arrival Complications?
We don’t expect you to encounter any problems, but if you do you should contact your starting hotel as soon as possible in order to speak to your guide or leave a message for them. If you cannot get in touch with your guide please refer to the emergency contact details listed in your online account, which you’ll have access to once you’ve booked your trip. It’s a good idea to have these details easily accessible while you are travelling.
Can I Opt For My Own Room?
You can opt for your own room. This will incur an additional cost, and you’ll have your own room for every night apart from the nights during the estancia stay and the overnight bus. If you would like to book your own room, please contact us for further details.