The Great South American Journey: Quito to Rio Adventure

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Quito to Rio de Janeiro

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Sometimes the slow road is the way to go. Hit the road from Quito to Rio with other young travellers and experience pretty much everything you can imagine in between. Hike the Inca Trail and discover the thriving Inca culture, cross the Salt Flats of Bolivia, dance the tango in Buenos Aires, and hit the beach in Brazil. This trip offers up lively cities, stunning scenery, and tons of adventure. 65 days, seven countries, three nights in the Amazon, and one adventure you’ll remember forever.

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Community Lodge, Shandia Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Biking & Community Experience, Shandia Your G for Good Moment: Ccaccaccollo Community and Women's Weaving Co-op visit, Ccaccaccollo Your G for Good Moment: Handmade Biodegradable Soap Products Your G for Good Moment: Jukil Community Experience & Lodge, Santiago de Agencha Your G for Good Moment: Favela Experience, Rio de Janeiro Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Local Living Moment: Amazon Jungle Experience, Tena Your Discover Moment: Baños Your Discover Moment: Lima Your Foodie Moment: Huacachina Winery Visit, Huacachina Your Discover Moment: Cusco Your Foodie Moment: Sacred Valley Brewery, Ollantaytambo Your Big Night Out Moment: Cusco Your Local Living Moment: Lake Titicaca Homestay, Lake Titicaca Your Discover Moment: Sucre Your Discover Moment: Salta Your Discover Moment: Buenos Aires Your Local Living Moment: Estancia Stay, Colonia La Concordia Your Discover Moment: Paraty Your Discover Moment: Ilha Grande Your Discover Moment: Rio de Janeiro
  • Amazon Jungle excursion to a local community
  • Beach time in Mancora
  • Sunset sandboarding & dune buggies (Huacachina)
  • Pachamanca-style dinner (Nazca)
  • Colca Canyon excursion
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Inca Trail hike with a local guide and cook (4 days)
  • Lake Titicaca excursion
  • Salar de Uyuni excursion
  • Entrance and visit to the Argentine side of the Iguassu Falls
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Mingle with the locals of a small community in the amazon
  • Go sandboarding at the dunes in huacachina
  • Spot condors at colca canyon
  • Conquer the inca trail on the way to machu picchu
  • Experience traditional life on lake titicaca
  • Cross the salar de uyuni
  • The world's largest salt flat
  • On a 4x4 excursion
  • Experience rural life at a working ranch in uruguay
  • Stand in awe at iguassu falls
  • Explore bustling rio de janeiro on your own time
  • See a tango show or take part in buenos aires' bustling nightlife.

Itinerary

Quito Arrive at any time. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers over a few drinks at a downtown bar. Say cheers with a local craft beer and get excited for the adventure of a lifetime.
Quito/Tena Travel overland to the jungle city of Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer by truck to the local community of Pimpilala. Stay in rustic wooden huts in the community of a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.
Tena Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle.
Tena In the morning, cycle to the nearby community of Shandia and discover the beauty of the Amazon with a member of the community as your guide. Learn about traditional uses of cacao by watching a chocolate-making demonstration, eat meals made of fresh local ingredients, and stay at the G Adventures-supported community lodge.
Tena/Baños Travel to Baños, the perfect setting to get your adrenaline pumping, try out horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting in the surrounding mountains.
Baños Enjoy a free day in Baños, opt to check out the swing at the end of the world or soak in nearby hot springs.
Baños/Cuenca Enjoy the scenery on the way to the charming town of Cuenca.
Cuenca Enjoy a free day in beautiful Cuenca. Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums or opt to visit nearby Cajas National Park or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. Later, catch an overnight bus to Mancora.
Máncora Arrive early into the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Chill out and breathe in the salty air.
Máncora Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.
Máncora/Trujillo Enjoy free time in Mancora before an overnight bus to Trujillo.
Trujillo Arrive into Trujillo, opt to visit the impressive Chan Chan sandstone archaeological site, get a photo at the yellow colonial church, or head to Huanchaco for more beach time.
Trujillo/Lima Full day in Trujillo before boarding a night bus to Lima.
Lima Explore lively Lima, visit Barranco with your CEO to get a taste of bohemian-cool, try ceviche or sip pisco sours after exploring the colourful mansions and palm-studded streets.
Lima Enjoy the day exploring the city. Opt to pre-book the Lima Cooking Class and learn how to cook some classic Peruvian dishes using ingredients from the local market.
Lima/Huacachina Travel along the coast of Peru to the oasis of Huacachina, sandboard on the desert dunes while watching the sun go down.
Huacachina/Nazca Wake up and enjoy some time in Huacachina before heading to Nazca. Stop along the way at a Pisco winery and taste the country's national spirit. Later, try a Pachamanca-style dinner in Nazca.
Nazca/Arequipa Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines before an overnight bus to Arequipa.
Arequipa Opt to explore the Arequipa on a city tour or soak in a local hot spring.
Arequipa/Colca Canyon Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley, and opt for a soak in hot springs.
Colca Canyon/Arequipa Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening.
Arequipa/Cusco Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco.
Cusco Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the optional Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Cusco Enjoy another free day in Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class.
Cusco/Ollantaytambo Head into the Sacred Valley, visit the G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op in the Ccaccaccollo community. Learn about weaving, meet the resident llamas, and opt to purchase a knitted item if it catches your eye. Stop to sample craft beer on the way to Ollantaytambo for free time to explore.
Inca Trail Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the hike begins.
Inca Trail Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.
Inca Trail Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).
Machu Picchu/Cusco The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.
Cusco Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.
Cusco/Puno Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
Puno/Lake Titicaca Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a local village.
Lake Titicaca/Puno Visit the floating islands of Uros. Optional visit to the Sillustani burial site.
Puno/La Paz Cross over into Bolivia for a night out in the highest city of the trip. Oxygen bar anyone?
La Paz Free day in La Paz. Opt to visit Iglesia de San Francisco, the Valley of the Moon, the Witches' Market, or the nearby Tiahuanaco Ruins.
La Paz/Sucre Enjoy a free day to explore the vibrant markets and winding streets of the city before boarding a night bus to Sucre.
Sucre Free time to explore the beautiful colonial city of Sucre. For more active options opt to go hiking in the surrounding area or mountain biking.
Sucre Enjoy another free day to explore Sucre and surroundings.
Sucre/Potosí Travel south to the one of the world's highest cities.
Potosí Get out and explore Potosí, learn about the history of the city while wandering the streets. Stop at the market and interact with the locals.
Potosí/Uyuni Travel to Uyuni and get ready for an excursion to the Salar de Uyuni.
Uyuni/Salt Flats and Desert Crossing Enjoy a three-day 4x4 excursion to the Salar de Uyuni and surrounding desert altiplano with spectacular scenery. Today you will be heading into the Salar de Uyuni. Our groups like to get creative with photography, as the endless white of the salt flats creates some great depth illusions that are fun to play with in photos. Last stop for the evening is a G Adventures-supported community lodge in a traditional agricultural village in the heart of a desert oasis.
Salt Flats and Desert Crossing Explore the desert altiplano on a 4x4 excursion. Admire the spectacular scenery while passing red and blue lagoons and interesting rock formations along the route. Spot wild llamas, alpacas and even flamingos deep within the desert.
Salt Flats and Desert Crossing /San Pedro de Atacama Rise early to cover more ground of the unique landscape of the Salar de Uyuni. Continue to see incredible scenery, including volcanoes, and salt lakes. Travel to the border and descend by bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. It's a long but scenic drive.
San Pedro de Atacama Opt to go sandboarding or mountain biking, or visit the Valley of the Moon.
San Pedro de Atacama/Salta Cross the border into Argentina.
Salta Explore the city and enjoy the local cuisine. Opt to take a trip through the scenic Quebrada de las Conchas to Cafayate, or visit the High Mountain Archaeological Museum.
Salta/Buenos Aires Skip a long bus journey with a quick flight to Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Enjoy a free day to explore beautiful Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Explore the "Paris of the Americas," from the hidden patios of trendy Palermo to bohemian vibes in San Telmo this city has something for everyone.
Buenos Aires/Colonia Cross the Río de la Plata by ferry to Colonia, Uruguay. Explore on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to explore the area and relax at a streetside café.
Colonia/Montevideo Travel from Colonia to Montevideo in the morning. Explore Montevideo in the afternoon; opt to grab a snack at the Port Market, wander around the colourful old town, or visit Estadio Centenario where the first World Cup was played.
Montevideo Enjoy another day to get to know Montevideo. Opt to take a day trip to glamorous Punta del Este or chill in the park like a local.
Montevideo/Estancia Stay Travel by day through picturesque settlements and pastures finishing in the last Uruguayan stop—a local ranch, known in the region as an estancia.
Estancia Stay Spend a day in the life on an Uruguayan ranch, go for a walk in the countryside, learn how to make empanadas, and experience a local barbecue.
Estancia Stay/Iguassu Falls In the morning cross the border into Gualeguaychu in Argentina, then begin the long overnight journey to Iguassu Falls.
Iguassu Falls In the afternoon opt to visit the Brazilian side of the falls and get an incredible panoramic view. Opt to take a helicopter ride over the falls, visit a bird park or see the Itaipu Dam.
Iguassu Falls Today enjoy a full day excursion to the Argentine side of the falls. Wander along the walk paths that connect different viewpoints of the falls. Opt to take a boat tour to see the cascading falls from below.
Iguaçu Falls/Paraty Skip an overnight bus ride and fly to São Paulo, heading straight to the coast. Explore colonial Paraty, then hit the beach.
Paraty Free time to explore Paraty's beaches, a national park and surroundings. Opt to visit a cachaça distillery or take a boat tour to nearby islands.
Paraty/Ilha Grande Continue by van up the coast, and take a ferry to Ilha Grande.
Ilha Grande Free time to explore the beaches of Ilha Grande. Opt to hike the remote trails, take a boat trip around the island, play in the waves or go snorkelling.
Ilha Grande/Rio de Janeiro Travel to Rio de Janeiro. Take a city tour to experience sights like Rio's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, or take a leisurely stroll along Copacabana beach as the waves lap at your feet.
Rio de Janeiro In the morning, explore the favela with a local resident on a G Adventures-supported tour to watch a drumming demonstration, get a Capoeira lesson, and sample craft beers with a new perspective of the city. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover all that Rio has to offer.
Rio de Janeiro Depart at any time.
Advertisement