South America Travel Pass Rio to Lima
53 days from £2,849
- Tour the secluded beaches and bays of beautiful Paraty and go snorkelling on our Schooner Boat Trip
- Take an Argentine tango lesson in Buenos Aires before watching an incredible tango show
- Discover the weird and wonderful terrain responsible for Chile’s Moon Valley’s name
- Explore the world’s largest salt flats in Bolivia and get to stay in a hotel made entirely of salt!
- Stay with a Peruvian family on the island of Amantani and party with the locals in traditional dress
- Trek through Colca Canyon and try out sand boarding on the giant dunes surrounding a desert oasis
If you’ve ever wanted to travel through South America and fancy trying out a whole bunch of once-in-a-lifetime activities, but prefer to discover places at your own leisure than be tied to a schedule, a flexible travel pass could be the answer to your prayers. Tying up all your transport from a whopping list of 27 destinations between Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, you can choose to travel from east to west or west to east depending on your travel preferences. You’ll have the opportunity to go on some incredible adventures with our included excursions, from tango lessons and boat trips, to homestays within traditional communities, city tours, canyon treks, and dune buggying – it’s totally up to you how you experience this amazing continent. Worried you won’t have time to fit everything in? Don’t be – your travel pass is totally tailored for fuss-free flexible travel and is completely catered to your travel needs, so you can spend anything from two months to a year discovering South America your way.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
If you’re after the flexibility of independent travel across South America, but want the assurance of having all your transport wrapped up in one easy package (and avoid the headache of having to plan and arrange your travel route in-country), with the bonus of having an English-speaking guide to take you to some of the most unmissable sights along the way, then a travel pass is exactly what you’re looking for. Flexible, convenient, and really easy to use, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps to make the most of your pass.
Your travel pass is completely flexible so you can move at your own pace, the recommended minimum travel time is 53 days to complete this journey from Rio De Janerio to Lima but of course you can spend longer if you wish.
Rio de Janeiro
Inclusions: Favela Experience (day tour)
The second largest city in Brazil, Rio is best known for its vibrant party atmosphere, laidback beach culture, and mass of colourful favelas. Included as part of your travel pass, you’ll get a taste for real Brazilian life as you take a unique tour of the compacted, Jenga-style hillside favela architecture and meet some of the warm and friendly residents. Your guide will tell you all about the local people, the history behind these communities, and the growing economics of the area. You’ll get to visit a local school and discover how education is having a direct impact on eliminating poverty for future generations; be prepared to have your heart-melted here.
An extraordinarily beautiful island just off the coast of Rio, Ilha Grande is a tiny slice of calm amid an otherwise lively region. Crowned with lush vegetation that spills onto dreamy golden shoreline surrounded by striking blue waters, you’ll no doubt feel as though you’ve stepped off the paradise wagon and walked straight into heaven. Picking which forest waterfall to bathe in, how long to spend lazing on the beach, or deciding what cocktail to enjoy whilst watching the sunset should be your main concerns here.
Inclusions: Schooner Boat Trip (day tour)
With quaint cobbled streets and 17th century buildings, quiet coastline and mountainous backdrop, Paraty is a picturesque town indeed. From Paraty Bay, hop on our Schooner Boat for a magical day touring the secluded beaches and crystalline waters around the old colonial harbour and nearby islands. You’ll have the chance to sun yourself on deck as well as on gorgeous sandy beaches, and jump overboard to swim and snorkel among colourful tropical fish.
A huge expanse of a city, Sao Paulo is a million miles from (not literally) the restful coastal vibes of Paraty and Ilha Grande, but is well worth a visit if only to stare at the impressive mix of architecture and to treat yourself to a slap-up meal in one of the many gourmet restaurants.
The thriving cultural centre otherwise known as Curitiba is an organised and efficient grid of public transport, innovative arts centres, and beautiful open parks with hidden gems to discover including the Botanical Garden’s greenhouse (which mimics the design of London’s Crystal Palace), the rather special ambience of Quarry Park’s Wire Opera House, and the ‘just a bit special’ Basilica Cathederal.
An intriguing island in the Santa Catarina state, Florianopolis is connected to the mainland by a 340m long bridge. Industrial on the west coast, sweeping sandy beaches on the east coast, and with a sizeable lagoon in the middle, this little isle is an unusual clash of environments, which is what makes it so interesting.
Porto Alegre is a large city that sits on the banks of Lagoa dos Patos – South America’s biggest barrier-lagoon. Thought of as southern Brazil’s most important port city, plenty of investment has been ploughed into the area’s development, and so you’ll find a curious array of both grand, neoclassical as well as innovative, modern design and architecture throughout the city centre.
Punta del Este
A fun resort city found on Uruguay’s southeast coast, Punta del Este is a pretty easygoing place with a nice bohemian vibe. Artisanal shops dominate the centre, while the city’s beaches draw crowds of surfers and keep tourists entertained with photo opportunities next to ‘The Hand’ – a giant sculpture of four fingers and a thumb reaching out through the sand.
Inclusions: Montevideo Highlights Tour (day tour)
Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is a vibrant city with plenty going for it and lots to keep visitors busy. During your travels, you’ll get to go on a guided tour of the city’s highlights, walking around iconic landmarks and areas of interest that include: Plaza Independencia, Executive Tower, Palacio Salvo, the Solis Theatre, Port Market, Agricultural Market, the Legislative Palace, the Constituency Obelisk, the Estadio Centenario, the United Nation’s Promenade, Punta Gordo, and Plaza Virgilio, rounding off the tour with spectacular panoramic views of the coast.
A pretty little town speckled with cobbled streets and colonial Portuguese buildings, Colonia is a refreshing place where a slower pace should be adopted in order to appreciate your surroundings. The historic quarter and riverfront offer the best vistas, but generally pleasant throughout, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is worth spending some time in.
Inclusions: Tango Night Experience (day tour)
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is a huge, heavily populated, colourful city with plenty of heart and charisma. During your trip, you’ll get to shake your thang on the dance floor with an Argentine tango lesson where an instructor will help you pull off some seriously sensual moves. Afterwards you’ll sit down to a deliciously traditional Argentinean meal whilst watching an incredible interactive tango show in an intimate setting.
Inclusions: Iguazú Falls Day Trip (Puerto-Puerto day tour)
A border city that sits on the cusp of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, Puerto Iguazú is known predominantly for its national park and the incredible Iguazú Falls. Your travel pass includes an awe-inspiring day trip to see the falls, which at over 80m high and more than 3km wide, makes it higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls – which is quite an impressive sight! If you’ve got a head for heights, try standing over the highest point, Garganta del Diablo (or Devil’s Throat) and watch the cascading waters plunge 90 metres below you. Make sure you bring a camera to capture the indescribable beauty of this amazing place, but be careful not to get soaked by the spray! You’ll also have the opportunity to go on an optional boat trip, hike, or rafting session.
Inclusions: Cafayate & Villages Day Trip (day tour)
A provincial city carved into the beautiful mountain setting of Lerma Valley, Salta is known for its spectacular scenery of colourful rock formations, and elegant, sophisticated city centre. We’ll be taking a tour of the region to witness farmers cultivating crops, visit the incredible Yesera, Parrot’s House, Castles, Medanos, Fraile, Obelisk, and Windows rock formations, before heading to Cafayate to visit two wineries to learn the secrets of the region’s wine and have a wander through the town. On our way back to Salta, we’ll make time to take in the gorgeous sun set over the mountains.
San Pedro de Atacama
Inclusions: Moon Valley Day Trip (day tour)
Set high in the Andes and covered in fascinating otherworldly landscape, San Pedro de Atacama is a sight to behold with its vast desert, mammoth volcanoes, huge sand dunes, and pink-streaked mountains. On our day trip to Moon Valley, we’ll see weird and wonderful naturally created salt and clay formations in the Atacama Desert, take an exciting excursion through salt caves, visit Tres Marias and Gran Duna, and watch the sun setting over the desert sands with the Licancabur Volcano in the distance as the landscape turns from brilliant shades of red, to pink and blue – it’s an experience unlike any other.
Inclusions: Salt Flats & Desert Adventure (Laguna Colorada & Salt Hotel in San Juan), 3D/2N
Set in Bolivia’s southwest, Uyuni is known as home to the world’s largest salt flats. During an epic three-day tour of the region, we’ll visit the tiny villages hidden in the desert, multicoloured lakes filled with flamingos, the Sol de Manana geyser at 5,000m, and take a dip in the thermal hot springs. We’ll drive through the landscape that inspired artist Salvador Dali with an incredible backdrop of active volcanoes and desert mountains.
On day one it’s an early departure from San Pedro de Atacama at 7:30am to cross the border from Chile into Bolivia. We’ll climb aboard a Jeep to take us to the high plains, visiting the Green Lagoon and Laguna Blanca at the foot of Licancabur Volcano. From there we’ll make our way to the Dali Desert to admire the surreal landscape, thermal pools, and Sol de Mañana geysers – intermittent springs that rise from the ground at a steamy 100?C. We’ll walk through fumaroles and craters filled with boiling pots of mud, ending our day at Laguna Colorada – an intensely red coloured lake where you’ll see flocks of elegant flamingos. We’ll spend the night in a nearby hostel in six-bed dorms.
On day two we’ll head out after breakfast at around 8am to make our way through the Siloli Desert to visit the high plain lagoons, Laguna Honda, Chiarcota, and Cañapa before arriving at Chiguana Salt Flat – a massive expanse of blindingly white, dry terrain framed by volcanoes – you’ll want to take plenty of photos here. We’ll spend the night at the amazing Salt Hotel, which is made entirely from salt!
We’ll spend day three visiting Inca Wasy (Fish Island) in the middle of the salt flats to see the beautiful cactus and rock formations made of petrified coral, going to the small village of Colchani, and taking a look at the salt miners workshops next to the salt flats.
Potosi, best known for its silver mines and wealthy past, is an intriguing place to visit. Dominated by its looming mountain, which is still actively mined, the city is lined with ornate colonial buildings and has an abundance of appealing cafes, restaurants, and shops. Make time to visit the city’s former mint, now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history, and go on a tour of the mines.
Inclusions: Walking Tour with Local Guide
The capital of Bolivia, Sucre is a beautiful city with low-level terracotta roofed buildings with no high-rises or ugly office blocks in sight. Enjoy a walking tour with our local guide as you’re given a rundown of the city’s history from the Plaza, through the markets, to the Obelisk, and Bolivar Park – once the private garden of Sucre’s richest family, but now a public space considered the most beautiful place in Sucre. We’ll then visit Kinder Park – a must for avid dinophiles, before heading to La Recoleta for fantastic views over the city, and the local cemetery – unlike any other cemetery you will have ever seen before.
Inclusions: Local City Encounter (day tour)
Reaching for the skies, La Paz is a spectacular sight set high on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau – more than 3,500m above sea level. You’ll get to experience this densely-packed collection of colourful buildings and busy streets with an insightful tour of the city’s highlights with an experienced local guide, who will walk you round the churches, markets and plazas in the centre, the quaint, rickety cobbled streets of the old quarter, and the fascinating museums and rather bizarre bohemian pubs. You’ll get to visit Murillo Square to see the Presidential Palace and House of Parliament, hop on a microbus to the city’s best scenic overlook with a 360 degree view, take a stroll through Central Park and the main boulevard, and visit the San Pedro Prison for some chilling stories.
Later on we’ll take a cable car to reach the El Alto slums, where you’ll get a glimpse of real life for a large portion of Bolivian residents before we pay a visit to a real witch market to learn a bit about the weird and wonderful rituals of local witchcraft – why not get a coca-leaf reading from a shaman while you’re there?
A pretty town on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana is a laidback place pleasantly set between the greenery of two gently rolling hillsides. Known for its religious festivals and as a place of pilgrimage, if you’re not fortunate enough to be visiting during one of the colourful celebrations, you should at least go and see the rather beautiful Basilica. The town also has several picturesque walking routes and various boat trips out to Isla del Sol and Isla del Luna – the sun and moon islands.
A mish-mash of both modern and traditional structures, Puno city centre can seem a little offbeat and thrown together, but situated on picturesque Lake Titicaca means it does have a more scenic side, and the residents of this unusual place offer a warm welcome and reason enough to visit. Try coinciding your visit with one of the vibrant folkloric festivals for a kaleidoscopic celebration of old traditions (and an excuse for a party of mammoth proportions!).
Inclusions: Homestay Experience, 2D/1N & Taquile Island
A short boat ride from Puno shores across the lake is the friendly island of Amantani. Our two-day excursion will start with a 7/8am pick up where we’ll travel to Puno Port where you’ll meet your guide and board the motorboat. We’ll stop off at two of the miniature Uros Floating Islands where you’ll have the chance to walk around and visit the little reed huts and take some pictures before making the rest of the journey to Amantani Island where you’ll be met by your host family to go and get settled in and enjoy some delicious traditional food. In the afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to join our optional mountain hike to the highest point on the island to take in exceptional views over the town and lake while the sun sets. After dinner, you’ll get to experience true hospitality Amantani-style at a party organised by your homestay family who will provide you with traditional dress for a night of dance and laughter.
The next day we’ll say goodbye to our lovely host families and make our way to neighbouring Taquile Island to meet some of the best weavers in Peru and enjoy a hike around the island to take in views of the lake and town before visiting the local artisan craft shops and sampling some of the local food.
Inclusions: Andean Explorer Bus (Puno to Cuzco) & Milhouse Hostel Cuzco
Cuzco was once the capital of the Inca Empire – and deemed the belly button of the world by the Incas. Peppered with beautiful Spanish colonial architecture as well as impressive and fascinating Incan archaeological remains, it’s worth spending a bit of time in this magical city to take in everything it has to offer. On our way we’ll stop to have lunch in Sicuani before heading to sites of interest, Raqchi and Pukara, set high in the mountains to take a look at the incredible Inca ruins and find out about the region’s rich history from our local tour guide.
Later we’ll head to the heart of Cuzco to our beautiful hostel in an old converted villa where we’ll learn a little more about our surroundings, meet new people, and go and enjoy the nightlife.
Make sure you spend a decent amount of time in Cuzco to explore the town as well as taking a tour to the mighty and unmissable Machu Picchu.
Inclusions: Colca Canyon Trekking, 3D/2N
Easily one of the most picturesque cities in the world, Arequipa’s centre is filled with gorgeous baroque buildings constructed from local sillar – white volcanic rock, which splay out to brilliant, lush green landscape between the three gigantic volcanoes that sit proudly in the distance. During your visit to Arequipa, you’ll get to experience an incredible three-day trek through the Colca Canyon, starting off at 3am, yes 3am, on day one to make the journey from Arequipa to Colca Canyon in time for breakfast. We’ll go to Cruz del Condor viewpoint to see the condors take flight, then make our way to Pampa de San Miguel to start our trek. We’ll walk the four to five hour route to San Juan de Chucchu Village, where we’ll be staying with local families, and enjoy a restful afternoon taking in the sights before having a traditional dinner and catching up on some sleep.
On day two we’ll continue our trek along the other side of the canyon, passing through the villages of Coshñirgua and Malata before reaching Sangalle, located at the lowest altitude point of the canyon, which should take around three to four hours. Arriving around midday, we’ll kick off our walking boots and relax with some lunch and enjoy a bit of time in the pool.
On day three, we’ll start off early again at around 5am and begin trekking up to Cabanaconde town where we’ll have breakfast (roughly three to four hours walk). From Cabanaconde, we’ll take a bus to Chivay Village making a few short stops along the way in Maca, Achoma and Yanque towns. After some lunch you’ll have the opportunity to visit the hot springs; the perfect remedy for tired muscles, before heading back to Arequipa. On route we’ll stop at Patapampa for views of the volcanoes and the Llama & Vicuña Reserve.
Famed for its mysterious ancient geoglyphs carved into the vast Peruvian desert plains, Nazca is a site of historical interest and highly debated origin worth at least one visit in your lifetime. Rightfully a UNESCO World Heritage site, the huge carved depictions of animals are thought to be around 2,000 years old and have caused plenty of head scratching over the past century.
Ica – Huacachina
Inclusions: Sand Buggy & Sand Boarding (day tour)
Huacachina is a tiny desert oasis set around a bright green-blue lagoon and surrounded by huge sand dunes. Be prepared to get covered head to toe in sand with our brilliant sand buggy and boarding excursion, where you’ll rocket down the slopes of 500m high dunes, turning this way then that in a rollercoaster-style buggy ride before trying your hand at a spot of sand boarding. We’ll round off this energetic trip with a sunset viewing over the desert before heading back to the village by twilight.
Inclusions: Ballestas Islands & Paracas National Reserve Day Trip (day tour)
A small port town marked by its 150m high candelabra geoglyph, Paracas is the gateway town to Islas Ballestas and Paracas National Reserve, and we’ll be visiting both during our day tour of the region. Heading out early on, we’ll board a boat to cruise around the uninhabited islands of Ballestas to see scores of sea lions chilling out on the rocks, spot cormorants, pelicans, and penguins, and watch the waters for dolphins diving through the waves. Later on we’ll make our way back to dry land for a guided tour of beautiful Paracas National Reserve for a good look at the rugged shoreline and deep red sandy beaches, stopping at the Mirador de Flamencos o Parihuanas to see La Catedral on the way before finishing up at Playa Lagunillas for some lunch and time on the beach.
Inclusions: Lima Urban Discovery Walking Tour (day tour)
Peru’s capital and largest city sits atop the dramatic cliff edges looking out over the Pacific, and is a maze of bustling streets steeped in history. You’ll have a fantastic tour with a local guide to give you the lowdown on the city’s rich past as you walk along Jiron de la Union, visit San Pedro de Lima Church, and navigate your way through the numerous stalls in the loud market square. Afterwards, learn more of Lima’s history as you walk through Plaza Bolivar and visit the striking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monasterio San Francisco, a building dripping in history and home to huge underground catacombs. In the afternoon you’ll be able to kick back with a Pisco Sour before exploring the rest of the city at your own pace.
Please note: The start dates advertised on our website are approximate only, start dates may vary depending on bus timetables.
Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change
- All transport between scheduled destinations
- Full 12-month flexibility of travel dates/unlimited schedule changes
- Favela experience
- Schooner boat trip
- Montevideo highlights tour
- Tango night experience
- Iguazu Falls (Puerto-Puerto)
- Cafayate & villages day trip
- Moon Valley day trip
- Uyuni salt flats
- Salt Hotel stay
- Sucre walking tour with local guide
- La Paz local city encounter
- Amantani homestay
- Andean explorer bus (to Cuzco)
- Milhouse hostel Cuzco
- Colca Canyon trekking
- Homestay in San Juan de Chucchu
- Lodge accommodation in Sangalle
- Sand buggy & sand boarding trip
- Ballestas & Paracas day trip
- Lima urban discovery tour
- Some meals and snacks
- 24/7 emergency support
- Flights to and from South America
- Travel insurance (we can help arrange this if you like)
- Most accommodation
- Meals not specified on the itinerary
- Optional activities
- Airport transfers
- Border fees/taxes
Some accommodation and meals are included with your travel pass, including a three-course meal and drinks at the tango show in Buenos Aires, one night in a hostel in Uyuni, and one night in the Salt Hotel in San Juan, a night’s homestay in Amantani, which will include a delicious traditional meal for lunch and dinner, one night at the Milhouse Hostel in Cuzco, one night at a family home in San Juan de Chucchu, and one night’s lodgings in Sangalle, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
All hostel accommodation is basic, and on a shared-dorm basis, but will be clean, safe and comfortable.
The Salt Hotel in San Juan is a special building made entirely from salt, but notably can get quite cold at night, so do pack extra clothing to keep warm.
Homestay accommodation will vary from home to home, but you will have a private room (although this will be quite basic). You’ll have access to a shared bathroom, but do be aware not all homes in Amantani or San Juan de Chucchu have electricity. It’s worth bringing water and snacks with you for your Amantani visit, as the island can be quite expensive.
Your accommodation in Cuzco will be in a beautiful old converted villa where you’ll share a six-person, single sex dorm with en suite bathroom. If you’re travelling with a friend or partner, let us know when you book so we can make sure you’re in a room together.
With the exception of the accommodation detailed above, you will need to pay for your own accommodation. The costs vary from country to country but as an approximate guide you should budget an average of US$15-20 per person per night in a dorm room. Accommodation in Brazil tends to be a little higher and can cost around US$30 per night for a dorm.
For meals not included in your trip, budget approximately US$15 per person per day for local food.
You should arrange your flights into Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport (GIG) any time up to 24 hours prior to your first scheduled trip sector. At the end of your trip your should arrange your flights to depart from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima (LIM).
Minimum age for this trip is 18.
British nationals can normally enter Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru without a visa.
British nationals don’t normally need a visa to visit Bolivia for stays of up to 30 days. Although Bolivian authorities require all visitors to Bolivia to provide a Yellow Fever Certificate of Vaccination on arrival. You should keep your Yellow Fever Certificate with your travel documents when entering Bolivia.
British passport holders do not need a visa to enter Chile for stays of up to 90 days. On arrival in Chile you will receive a Tourist Card, which you must keep safely and present to immigration when you leave.
All visa requirements are subject to change. Please check all up-to-date requirements for visas with the relevant embassies.
What Do I Do If I Need To Change My Travel Plans?
You might decide you want to stay in a certain location for longer than planned, and so your schedule could change at any moment, which is absolutely fine! You’ll have an online account and contact with our team to let us know of any changes as and when they occur – keep us updated and we’ll work around you.
How Far In Advance Do I Need To Book Travel And Excursions?
Because the travel pass is completely flexible, you only need to give us one to two day’s notice ahead of booking your transport and excursions.
Do I Need To Pay Extra For Activities Included On The Excursions?
All of the activities listed on the inclusions list are included in the cost of your travel pass. There may be occasional entrance fees or snacks not included, which you will need to budget for.
Should I Get A Gift For My Homestay Family?
Yes, gifts are a great way of showing your appreciation and respect to local families that put a roof over your head for the night, but don’t get anything extravagant or expensive – a token from your hometown, useful kitchen utensils, or gifts for the children, like books and stationery are always gratefully received.
Do I Have To Do All Of The Stops And Activities On The Route?
Not if you don’t want to! This trip is all about flexibility, so if there’s anywhere you don’t really fancy going to or an activity you’d rather skip, that’s fine – just book onto the bits you do want to do.
What Happens Once I Have Booked My Travel Pass?
Once you’ve booked your travel pass, you’ll be set up with an online trip manager where you’ll have instant access to the trip itinerary and each destination’s transport timetables – so you’ll be able to plan your own travel schedule with all the information you need for getting to and from each place. And if you’re going for a flexible pass, you’ll be able to book your transport and excursions 1-2 days in advance. Once availability has been confirmed, we’ll send confirmation and trip details to your online trip manager, or by email.
How Much Will Accommodation And Meals Cost Along The Way?
Accommodation prices vary from country to country, but on average USD$15-20 per person per night in a dorm room. For meals on your travels, you should budget approximately USD$15 per person per day for 3 meals with local food, if you wish to choose to eat international food you will normally find this to be more expensive.