Cartagena To Ushuaia
All content by Intrepid
As far as ultimate South American adventures go, this trip from Cartagena to Ushuaia ticks all the boxes. Spanning the length of the continent's west coast, the tour starts in Cartagena, Colombia, and ventures down through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and finally ends in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city. Loaded with culture, history, architecture and bountiful nature, this incredible American adventure will leave you breathless. This exciting itinerary may be full of exploring vibrant cities, kayaking down emerald rivers, snorkelling over reefs and taking part in all manor of outdoor and cultural activities, but there is also a great balance of down time too, with beaches, forests and unspoilt nature to be enjoyed and relaxed in. So if you’re after a life-affirming, awe-inspiring and never-to-be-forgotten adventure, then this epic trip is it.
- Sip local wine and go whitewater rafting in Argentina.
Days 1-2 Cartagena
Wander around beautiful Cartagena on a guided city tour. Discover Cartagena's old town, an exceptionally well preserved area full of cobblestone laneways, charming buildings and busy cafes. Experience the therapeutic effects of a mud bath on an optional visit to a bubbling mud volcano.
Days 3-4 Covenas/San Bernardo Islands
Head to the Morrosquillo Gulf and camp on the beaches of Covenas. Tour the free beaches of San Bernado Islands and lookout for the diverse range of wildlife from bright pink flamingos to multi-coloured crabs.
Days 5-6 Medellin
Travel to Columbia’s second largest city and get involved in the vibrant nightlife of Medellin. Perhaps take a day trip to the local markets and open central courtyard of Santa Fe de Antioquia.
Days 7-9 Guatapé
Stay lakeside, surrounded by the rolling countryside of Guatapé. Browse stalls on the board walk or climb the El Penon de Guatape, a 650 foot tall granite monolith that provides magnificent views over the water.
Days 10-11 Manizales
Head to Manizales for a three-night stay at a hacienda. Tour a coffee plantation and admire scenic mountain vistas on a trip to Los Nevados National Park.
Day 12 Los Nevados National Park
Explore the savage but beautiful landscape of Los Nevados National Park, home to a unique combination of wildlife and vegetation as well as a wild, contrasting landscape.
Days 13-14 Cali
Party the night away as you bar hop through Cali or relax in the bohemian cafes of the city’s San Antonio neighbourhood. Why not step out and take an optional salsa class.
Day 15 Popayan
Discover the old town of Popayan and take a day trip to admire the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Purace National Park.
Day 16 Ipiales
Drive to the Ecuadorian border and explore the town of Ipiales. Perhaps take time to visit the area's prime attraction, Santuario de Las Lajas - believed to be the site of many miracles and apparitions. Set dramatically amid impressive mountain scenery, Las Lajas is a hidden highlight of Colombia.
Day 17 Otavalo
Farewell Colombia and travel across the border into Ecuador. Browse through the array of bright textiles and colourful crafts available at the famous markets of Otavalo.
Days 18-19 Quito
Enjoy free time in captivating Quito, Ecuador's enthralling capital. Visit ornate churches in the Old Town for a dose of architecture and history. Sample local cuisine in one of the many cafes that line the cobblestone streets.
Days 20-22 Amazon Jungle
The Amazon Rainforest, over 1.7 billion acres in size and spilling over into 8 countries, is a wondrous place with a bounty of plantlife, animals and fascinating communities.
Days 23-25 Rio Verde
Rio Verde is a beautiful little town set in a valley with great hiking and close to several lovely waterfalls, including the San Miguels falls.
Days 26-27 Chugchilan/Quilotoa Loop
Nestled in amongst the Andes, Chugchilan is a picturesque village with amazing mountain scenery, wonderful hiking trails and is a perfect base to explore the area. The Quilotoa Loop starts in Latacunga and journeys through local villages, stunning mountain vistas, cloud forests and valleys, and to the beautiful Laguna Quilotoa.
Day 28 Riobamba
Ecuador's mountain-climbing and trekking capital, Riobamba is a lovely city at the starting point of the Nariz del Diablo (Devil's Nose) train ride.
Day 29 Cuenca
With roots tracing back to 8000BC, Cuenca is a fascinating and beautiful city, and World Heritage-listed due to its wonderfully preserved heritage buildings.
Days 30-31 Punta Sal
Gorgeous secluded beaches, blue skies and a relaxed pace of life are on offer in Punta Sal, a lovely beachside town in the very north of Peru.
Days 32-33 Huanchaco
Famed for its 'surfing' fishermen, Huanchaco was once a small fishing village but is now a relaxed beach haven for travellers keen on seeing the nearby ruins.
Days 34-36 Huaraz
Set amid the dramatic Callejon de Huaylas Valley and known for its excellent trekking, Huaraz has a lovely Plaza de Armas and good markets.
Days 37-38 Lima
Lima is a large, fascinating hotchpotch of architectural styles, coastal scenes, world cuisines, impressive museums, traditional culture and modern arts and nightlife.
Day 39 Paracas/Ballestas Islands
Home to a large number of birds and wildlife species, Paracas National Reserve helps preserve Peru's marine ecosystem and the cultural heritage of the Paracas people. With birds circling ahead, a dramatic coastline with stone arches and caves, and animals galore lazing on rocks and beaches, the Ballestas Islands are a visual feast.
Day 40 Nazca
Rebuilt completely after a devastating earthquake in 1996, Nazca is home to the mysterious Nazca Lines and a city of colourful houses with a pretty main square.
Day 41 Puerto Inca
Puerto Inca is a tiny, sandy place with an abundance of ruins and beautiful coastal scenery to enjoy.
Days 42-43 Arequipa
The beautiful 'White City' of Arequipa is surrounded by volcanoes, is rich in Spanish colonial architecture and abounds with local culture and cuisine.
Days 44-45 Chivay/Colca Canyon
Known for its love of karaoke, Chivay is a small town located near the Colca Canyon with an interesting market and some relaxing hot springs close by. Over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and with Andean Condors soaring high above, the Colca Canyon commands reverie.
Day 46 Raqchi Homestay
Traditional houses, customs and handicrafts are a signature part of Raqchi, a small village just outside of Cuzco.
Days 47-48 Cuzco
Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and a city with majestic architecture, impressive ruins, a lively town centre and cultural significance around every cobblestone corner.
Days 49-52 Classic Inca Trail/Quechua Community Trek/Ollantaytambo
Winding around mountains, through valleys and up steep slopes, the iconic Inca Trail is a series of beautiful vistas and challenging hikes all the way to Machu Picchu. A relaxed and spectacular alternate to the classic Inca Trail trek, the Quecha Community Trek traverses Inca ruins, glacial lakes, lush valleys, waterfalls, soaring peaks and overnights in local villages.
Days 53-54 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Built sometime in the 15th century and rediscovered in 1911, the staggering ruins of Machu Picchu were thought to be an estate for the Incan emperor, Pachacuti. A World Heritage site set amongst red-green hills with ruins scattered close by, Cuzco is impressive in every way - be it history, culture, nightlife or architecture.
Day 55 Puno
Puno is a colourful town on the Peruvian shores of Lake Titicaca, expect to see traditionally dressed locals, chaotic markets and, if lucky enough, even dancing in the streets.
Days 56-57 Lake Titicaca/Copacabana
A lovely little town situated between two hills and looking out over Lake Titicaca, Copacabana has beautiful scenery and coastline, great eateries and a fascinating religious culture.
Days 58-60 La Paz
Built in a canyon, the unique and bewtiching city of La Paz is filled with steep, cobbled streets, fascinating markets, evident tradition and captivating sights.
Days 61-62 Potosi
The loveliness of Potosi - one of the highest and more fascinating cities in the world - is mirrored by the harshness of its mines and mining history.
Days 63-64 Salar de Uyuni
Popular due to its proximity to the Salar de Uyuni, the town of Uyuni is small and charming, and feels very remote, especially at the photogenic train cemetery. The world's largest salt flat, the Salar de Uyuni, is a spectacular sight - whether reflecting like a mirror in the wet or cracking during the dry.
Day 65 Bolivian Altiplano
A true wilderness featuring volcanoes, salt pans and colourful lakes, the Bolivian Altiplano stretches out from Lake Titicaca to the borders of Argentina and Chile.
Days 66-67 San Pedro de Atacama
Gorgeous desert landscapes, atmospheric, whitewashed adobe houses and a lively town centre has made San Pedro de Atacama one of Chile's most popular travel destinations.
Days 68-69 Salta
With its well-preserved colonial buildings, candle-lit cafes, fine museums and surrounding natural beauty, Salta is one of Argentina's most charming cities.
Day 70 Cafayate
Vineyards, wineries and artisans dominate the picturesque town of Cafayate and its surrounds, the perfect place to sample some world-class wine, food and scenery.
Day 71 Quilmes
The ruined citadel of the Quilmes - a local people displaced in the 17th century by the Spanish - is a fascinating site located in Argentina's Calchaqui Valley.
Days 72-74 Estancia stay
Set in the picturesque landscape around Rio Ceballos, this traditional Argentine estancia offers the opportunity to live like a gaucho with horse-riding, hiking and sampling an asado (barbecue).
Days 75-77 Mendoza
Famed for its wine and raft of adventure activities, Mendoza is a lovely city to get lost in with its wide streets, excellent eateries and gorgeous plazas.
Days 78-80 Santiago
Set within a circle of snow-capped mountains, Santiago is vibrant, artistic and gourmet - and the gateway to adventures in the snow, sea or desert.
Day 81 Salto del Laja
With four beautiful waterfalls cascading from the river Laja, Salto del Laja is a celebrated summer holiday destination surrounded by forests and greenery.
Days 82-83 Pucon
With the spectacular Villarrica volcano bubbling away in the background, captivating Pucon is an adventure lover's paradise with outdoor activities galore in a gorgeous natural setting.
Day 84 Puerto Montt/Overnight Ferry
A port city known for its salmon, Puerto Montt sits at the top of Chile's Lakes District and is a busy place with a Germanic heritage.
Day 85 Carretera Austral
A picturesque town with wooden houses, verdant forests and a great reputation for rug making, Puyuhuapi is a beautiful stop along the exceptional Carretera Austral.
Days 86-88 Chilean Fjord Coast
Chile's southern fjord coast is a kaleidoscope of fjords, channels, grassy plains, snow-capped mountains, charming villages, winding roads and virtually-untouched landscapes. Running through the sunburnt Pinturas River Canyon, Rio Pinturas runs through Patagonia and is home to the Cueva de las Manos, a cave filled with pictures of prehistoric hands and animals.
Days 89-91 Los Glaciares National Park/El Chalten
Los Glaciares National Park is resplendent with its 47 glaciers, soaring mountains perfect for climbing, inviting grassy plains and lakes of the deepest blue. The small village of El Chalten, nestled between picturesque mountains within Glacier National Park, is mainly a campsite for visitors, albeit a spectacular one.
Days 92-93 Perito Moreno Glacier/El Calafate
Surrounded by snowy-mountain peaks and endless grass plains, El Calafate is famed for its proximity to the Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the few advancing glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno Glacier is a glorious, electric-blue mass of ice that occasionally breaks dramatically into Lago Argentino. Originally a place for wool traders to gather, El Calafate has grown into a charming town with lots of restaurants and outdoor activities on offer.
Days 94-98 Torres del Paine National Park
Located in the wilds of Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park is one of the world's most beautiful landscapes with glaciers, lakes and dramatic mountain peaks.
Day 99 Strait of Magellan
Unpredictable currents and winds, combined with the narrowness of the passage, has made the Straits of Magellan a beautiful yet precarious route for many ships over the centuries.
Days 100-101 Ushuaia
A picturesque town at the end of the world, Ushuaia is the launching pad for many Antarctica trips and is also excellent for hiking and mountain-based activities.
Maximum of 22 travellers per group
Bush camp (no facilities), Camping (with facilities), Guesthouse, Homestay, Hostel, Hotel, Lodge, Overnight ferry
Boat, Ferry, Overland vehicle, Train
Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.