Antigua<- ->Salvador, (CGD)

Antigua to Salvador Da Bahia 148 days, departing 27 Oct 2013
The Santa Catalina arch in the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, Guatemala The quiet cobbled streets of Antigua, with the 'Agua' volcano dominating over the town

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Antigua to Salvador Da Bahia
Duration: 148 days
Transport: Dragoman overland vehicle, boats, local bus, plane
Physical Rating:

EASY HARD


These are physical tours; you may well be travelling at high altitudes, across deserts or through cold and windy or hot and steamy areas.
Accommodation:

25%70%

A mix of small hotels, hostels, homestays, campsites and wildcamps.

Route Map

Countries Visited

Argentina

Idyllic scenery on the lower stretches of the Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Argentina is a vast country which has a staggering diversity of climates and landscapes. With vibrant cities, the pampas, the jungles and the wind-swept wilds of Patagonia, it is a country with a very special character all of its own and a rich cultural heritage.

Buenos Aires is the vibrant capital of Argentina. Full of life and brimming with culture, music and art, with great local restaurants, local street markets and dances, Buenos Aires is the heart and soul of Argentina and swings to the rhythm of the tango. Also home to some exquisite wine bars and an amazing nightlife, Buenos Aires is a must-see city while in South America!

On the vast green pampas, the gauchos (Argentina's famous cowboys) spend their days riding their horses and protecting their cattle. Argentina is world-famous for the incredible quality of its beef and steaks, largely due to the huge pastures that the cattle have to roam on.

The north west of the country has some beautiful deserts full of multi-coloured rock formations and some magnificent wines are produced here around Salta and Cafayate. Also famous for its incredible wines is the region of Mendoza, a serene town surrounded by the Andes, including Aconcagua, which at 6,962 metres is the tallest mountain in South America.

Further south is Argentina's peaceful and beautiful lake district, and further still are the haunting moorlands of Patagonia. This beautiful area is known for its breathtaking and desolate landscapes, towering rugged mountains, magnificent lakes and beautiful glacial scenery. It is a great place for outdoor activities, such as trekking, horse riding, kayaking and mountain biking! At the far south is the remote island of Tierra del Fuego and the most southerly town in the world, Ushuaia.

Argentina is the home to some beautiful wildlife. The Penínsular Valdés near Puerto Madryn is a protected area for whales, penguins and seals, and Patagonia is full of fascinating birdlife and wild guanacos.

One of the great highlights of Argentina is the mighty Iguazu Falls, on the border with Brazil. This incredible set of waterfalls is one of the world's largest, and one of the most spectacular sights in the world!

Argentina is a magnificent country full of buzzing culture, amazing landscapes and a wide variety of activities, and should be high on every traveller's wish list!

Bolivia

Bolivia's major attraction is its wild natural beauty, with much of the country being very remote and off the beaten track! The country is divided into two distinct regions, the Amazon and the Altiplano, with the Yungas cloud forest regions in between the two.

Bolivia is a fantastic country for the outdoor enthusiast, with horse riding, trekking, mountain biking and jeep trips available in many of the areas we travel through. Its landscapes are truly remarkable, with its salt pans, high lakes, mountains and beautiful jungle making it a great destination for any traveller.

The dizzying heights of the city of La Paz are enough to take your breath away! With buildings that hug the side of the canyon, and the spectacular views of Mount Illimani, the city is over 3,650 metres above sea level and is one of the fastest growing in Latin America.

There are many areas of natural beauty in Bolivia, with one of the most unbelievable and overlooked areas being the surreal and phenomenal coloured lakes and landscapes of the high Altiplano near Laguna Colorada. More famous and equally as stunning, the perspective-bending salt flats of Salar de Uyuni are an awe-inspiring natural wonder. At opposite ends of the country are the steamy jungles of Bolivia's Amazon region - teeming with wildlife and explored by boat, the area receives very few visitors despite its fantastic highlights.

Bolivia has some interesting towns to explore, such as the serene city of Sucre, the buzzing city of La Paz and the mining town of Potosí. There are some excellent activities to get involved with, such as trekking across the tranquil Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca, exploring the silver mines of Cerro Rico, and of course mountain biking down the famous 'World's Most Dangerous Road' near La Paz!

Bolivia is truly one of South America's most beautiful spots and a highlight of many people's travels through the continent!

Brazil

An incredible view over Rio de Janeiro from a scenic flight around the city

Brazil has a totally different feel to it than the other Latin American countries. The only Portuguese-speaking country in South America, it positively vibrates with a unique and dynamic energy of its own.

Most visitors start in the dazzling city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's most famous city and home to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and some of the world's most fantastic and atmospheric urban beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

Brazil's wildlife is legendary, and there is no greater place to spot animals and birds in South America than the wetlands of the Pantanal. Here, it's possible to go spotting for ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, jabiru storks, caiman, and many types of birds! The optional activities available in the region and the nearby eco-tourism capital of Bonito are as amazing as they are numerous, with boat trips, rafting, snorkelling through crystal-clear rivers, and caving being just a few of the many possibilities here.

Further to the south is one of the greatest natural highlights in the world, the majestic Iguazu Falls! These colossal waterfalls are amongst the most impressive on the planet and a phenomenal sight on anyone's travels through South America!

Near to Rio de Janeiro you'll find the idyllic colonial towns of Paraty and Ouro Preto, once hugely important for gold trading back in colonial times, and each with their own serene atmosphere today. In the interior, we will explore the bizarre futuristic capital city of Brasilia, a fascinating and somewhat unusual highlight of the country.

Further inland we find the incredible landscapes of the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, dotted with stunning caves and waterfalls and providing some fantastic walking opportunities.

Brazil is an incredible country with a very lively culture, and is packed full of excellent highlights which make it a wonderful place to explore!

Chile

The spectacular Three Towers of Torres del Paine, Chile

With some of the most diverse landscapes in the world, Chile is stunningly beautiful in so many different ways! From the driest deserts in the world in the northern Atacama region, to the lush wine regions near Santiago, to the lakes and forests of the Carretera Austral, to the huge glaciers and rugged mountains of Patagonia, this country has it all. Chile is dotted with lakes, volcanoes, rivers, and beaches, and there is always an exciting adventure to be found for the outdoor enthusiast.

A visit to Chile has to include a trip to the vibrant capital of Santiago. This city sits in the country's central valley, a place full of amazing landscapes and a gorgeous Mediterranean-like climate. The city buzzes with culture and cuisine, and has some of the best live music to be found on the continent!

In the far north, you can spend time in the rugged deserts, moon-like valleys and stunning salt pans of the Atacama. The area is world-famous for its stargazing, and there are a plethora of thermal springs, geysers and volcanoes to discover.

In the south we visit the outdoor adventurer's paradise of Pucón, a wonderland of adventure activities such as white-water rafting, canyoning, and trekking up the stunning Villarica volcano that looms over the town.

In the far south of Patagonia we find one of the world's most spectacular National Parks, Torres del Paine. Its twisted mountains, rock towers, lakes, and amazing glaciers make the area one of the most stunning locations in South America and a wonderful place for trekking and horse riding.

With so much variety and some really incredible highlights, Chile is a fantastic country to explore and a gem of South America!

Colombia

For most people Colombia is a bit of an unknown, the forgotten part of South America. This makes it a fantastic place to explore. Colombia's geography is one of the most diverse in South America; it really is a kaleidoscope of colour, life and culture. It has an undeserved reputation due to some internal instability in parts, but the warmth of its people and sheer variety of landscapes, culture and activities means that it is worth looking past this to see such a fascinating country.

Colombia is on the beautiful Caribbean coast and the home to some of the best coffee in the world. The culture of fiesta is central to Colombia's national psyche, and it plays host to some of the most fabulous carnivals in the world. Colombia has a very lively nightlife and strong traditions of music and dancing wherever you go in the country.

Colombia is also full of history, with the colourful colonial coastal city of Cartagena and its ruined fort being a big highlight. The country's landscapes are incredible, from the beautiful rugged beaches of Tayrona National Park to the cool coffee plantations of Manizales, the jungles and waterfalls of San Gil, and the mountains of Villa de Leyva.

Colombia's glorious landscapes, fabulous history and upbeat lifestyle is there to be cherished, and there is no doubt it will leave a special mark on your travels.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is every outdoor-adventurist’s dream, and is packed full of spectacular scenery, incredible wildlife, and fascinating culture.

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries on Earth, and is home to many iconic animals such as hummingbirds, quetzals, tree frogs, monkeys, sloths and sea turtles. This is evident on a trek through the atmospheric cloud forests of Monteverde, or on an exploration of the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonia National Park. 

Complimenting this is some of the most wonderful natural scenery, including incredible coastlines, forests, lakes and volcanoes. One of the most breathtaking sights is the active volcano of Arenal, which looms over the town of La Fortuna! Costa Rica is also home to some of the best outdoor activities in the world, with a plethora of opportunities for rafting, trekking, canyoning and horse riding throughout the country.

Costa Rica has gained a wonderful reputation for tourism in recent decades, and this reputation is certainly deserved!

Ecuador

The colossal Cotopaxi volcano looks over the suburbs of Quito, Ecuador's capital

Ecuador is a small country with a diverse landscape including highlands, volcanoes, numerous National Parks, stunning Pacific beaches, and of course the enthralling Galapagos Islands.

The Amazon rainforest has the greatest biodiversity on the planet. And it's possible to take trips into the rainforest to explore the trails and waterfalls, and try to spot some of the jungle's fantastic array of wildlife. Off the coast are the Galapagos Islands, arguably one of the world's most prestigious and unique wildlife destinations.

If heart-racing outdoor activities are more your thing, then Ecuador has plenty to offer! You can head out for a day of exhilarating white-water rafting on the swirling River Pastaza, trek through the stunning canyons and rolling hills of Chugchilan, or head out horse riding in the mountains surrounding the capital of Quito.

Aside from the outdoors and wildlife, there are several great colonial towns to explore, such as the market town of Otavalo and the atmospheric cobbled streets of Cuenca. Quito has a marvellous colonial old town to explore, as well as a lively modern centre full of bars and restaurants.

With so much to offer and explore, Ecuador is the place to head to if you want to try something new every day!

El Salvador

The incredible landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

El Salvador (meaning "The Saviour" in Spanish) is one of the smallest but most friendly and exciting countries in Central America.

El Salvador has some stunning scenery, from the relaxed Pacific coastlines of Los Cobanos to the coffee-growing cool hills in the interior. The Cerro Verde National Park contains some of the most breathtaking volcanic scenery on the continent, and provides excellent opportunities for trekking.

With some of the most beautiful areas in the whole of Central America, El Salvador is one of the most captivating places to visit.

Guatemala

The centre of the spectacular ruined temple complex of Tikal

With breathtaking mountains, volcanoes and the amazing Lake Atitlan setting the landscape, Guatemala is a perfect place to get out and explore some stunning natural scenery.

The country is bursting with vibrant culture, and nowhere is this more perfectly illustrated than in the old colonial capital of Antigua, not far from the modern capital of Guatemala City. A small cobblestoned city that is overflowing with historical buildings and colonial heritage, it is a stunning place to explore, full of music, galleries and restaurants, and is an excellent base to trek up some of the surrounding volcanoes.

Lake Atitlan is one of Central America's most picturesque spots - surrounded by towering volcanoes and dotted with tiny traditional village along its coast, it is a wonderful place to take a boat trip and explore. Not far is the village of Chichastenango, with its famous, colourful and evocative local markets.

Guatemala's most famous draw is the truly incredible ruined city of Tikal. The site was a major settlement of the Mayan civilisation between the 5th-9th Centuries CE, and contains some of the finest ancient ruins in the world! There are several colossal and well-preserved pyramids and temples all majestically located within the dense rainforest - it's a magical place to explore and is full of fascinating history.

A favourite of many who travel through Central America, Guatemala is a beautiful and fascinating country with an incredible density of highlights!

Honduras

The sun shines behind one of the ancient Mayan pyramids at Copan, Honduras

Honduras is on often-overlooked country in Central America, but has some of the continent's most fantastic highlights. One of these highlights is the amazing coastline spanning hundreds of kilometres along the Pacific - with some of the whitest beaches and clearest ocean in Central America, the Bay Islands is the perfect place for snorkelling, scuba diving and relaxing on the idyllic shores. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world, and submerged below the clear waters lie unspoilt coral and an array of colourful underwater life.

Another fantastic highlight is the ruined Mayan city of Copán, which was a major centre of the Classic Era between the 5th-9th Centuries CE. The site features many remarkably-preserved buildings and temples, and is especially famous for its sculpted monuments and stelae. Away from the coastline are the fantastic mountains that soar above the country.

There is some amazing scenery in Honduras which we have the privilege to overland through, making it a marvellous inclusion in our Central American trips.

Nicaragua

The spectacular Volcan Conception on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

The rugged beauty of Nicaragua makes it one of the most interesting places in Central America to visit.

The landscape is lined with stunning volcanoes which you can climb and explore, such as the scenic crater of Masaya and the challenging trek up Volcán Concepción on Ometepe Island. The country is full of many other outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, sandboarding, horse riding and discovering the beautiful beaches of the Pacific coast.

You can also explore the incredible colonial towns of Granada and León, and their churches, cathedrals and many art galleries. Some of the continent's most ornate and beautiful colonial legacy can be found in these two atmospheric towns, and they are wonderful places to spend some time.

Nicaragua is the forgotten treasure of Central America and is a perfect place to explore.  

Panama

Panama is the southernmost country of Central America, where the continent narrows to its tiny join with Colombia and South America. This piece of geography made Panama the perfect location for the world-famous and controversial Panama Canal, which was completed in 1914 and has a massive impact on world trade and history.

The capital of Panama City is a bustling metropolis full of culture and with a buzzing nightlife. It contains several fantastic museums and an atmospheric old town as well as the modern business centre and marina. The county also has some amazing mountainous and coastline scenery, a myriad of exhilarating outdoor activities, incredible wildlife and wonderful coffee plantations.

Panama is an excellent place to start or end your Central American adventure with Dragoman!

Peru

The breathtaking Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru is is a wonderland of historical treasures, home to some of South America's most glorious landmarks, and has a seemingly endless selection of optional activities to partake in all over the country.

Peru is perhaps most famous as being the ancient homeland of the Inca civilisation. Cuzco was the ancient capital of the Inca empire, and even today many of its buildings have original Inca stonework as part of their structure. The Incas had a highly organised and labour intensive society.

They managed to conquer vast tracts of land and, through strong central and regional government, retained control over an empire that spanned South America, from mid Colombia in the north, to the middle of Argentina in the south - their domination over this region of South America lasted for over four centuries, and their legacy is evident all over this area.

The most famous Inca site is undoubtedly the spectacular ancient hilltop city of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the Inca Trail through the Andes near to it. You can trek through the countryside making your way through the unspoilt land and view the breathtaking scenery that carries on to the horizon and beyond. When you reach Machu Picchu you will realise what a beautiful place it is - no photograph can really do the site justice. The long-forgotten city was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, and is simply awe-inspiring and a real must-visit place in South America.

Other incredible historical sites in Peru include the mysterious Nazca Lines which were etched into the desert floor by the pre-Inca Nazca civilisation, the colossal Chimú-era adobe city of Chan Chan near Trujillo, and the phenomenal ancient city of Chavín de Huantar in the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. Peru has some beautiful colonial towns to explore. 

The capital is the chaotic city of Lima, founded by the Conquistador Pizarro in 1535 - and the beautiful cobbled streets and buzzing atmosphere of Cuzco and Arequipa make them towns that you'll never want to leave! 

Peru is also flowing with fabulous landscapes, from the desolate northern deserts to the towering mountains of Huaraz, from the sweltering jungles of Puerto Maldonado to the serene beaches of Punta Sal, and from the breathtaking Colca Canyon to the colossal Lake Titicaca, the sheer variety of Peru's landscapes make it one of the world's most beautiful destinations.

Peru has a wide range of outdoor activities, from trekking in Cuzco to white-water rafting in Arequipa to sandboarding in the Huacachina Deserts, there are so many fun things for everyone to do. Peru also has a distinctive cuisine, including lomo saltado, maize soup, and of course the delicious ceviche on the coast.

The history and sites of Peru are outstanding, but also the friendly welcome visitors receive makes Peru one of the most enjoyable countries in the world to visit.

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Daily Itinerary

The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa, Peru
Inside the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa
The El Misti volcano looming over the city of Arequipa, Peru
White water rafting on the Pastaza River in Ecuador
The mighty volcano Tungurahua erupts at night near Baños, Ecuador
Walking in the fantastic valleys to see the waterfalls around Baños, Ecuador
Abseiling down one of the waterfalls on the Baños canyoning trip, Ecuador
One of the famous waterfalls near Baños, Ecuador
The incredible clear waters of the Rio Prata, near Bonito, Brazil
The incredible clear waters of the Rio Prata, near Bonito, Brazil
Snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters of the Rio Prata, near Bonito
Red macaws near Bonito, Brazil
The iconic Obelisk in central Buenos Aires, Argentina
Colourful houses in La Boca, Argentina
The Plaza de los dos Congresos in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires
A tango performance in the famous Café Tortoni, Buenos Aires
The Floralis Genérica sculpture in the Recoleta area of Buenos Aires
The incredible 'Anfiteatro' canyon between Salta and Cafayate
The stunning rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas between Salta and Cafayate
The sun rises under the grape vines of Cafayate, Argentina
The vineyards of Cafayate, Argentina
Some of the atmospheric vineyards of Cafayate, Argentina
The colourful historic centre of Cartagena, Colombia
A view over the beautiful modern skyline of Cartagena
Boats parked at the Rosario Islands, on a day trip from Cartagena, Colombia
The Spanish coastal fort of San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia
Colourful bougainvilleas on a row of houses in Cartagena
At one of the breathtaking viewpoints above the Colca Canyon, Peru
A condor soars over the Colca Canyon, Peru
A condor soars over the Colca Canyon, Peru
An awe-inspiring vista over the Colca Canyon
The town centre of Chivay, Peru
Getting the truck blessed in Copacabana, Bolivia
The wonderful vista over Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca
The landscape near the town of Copacabana, Bolivia
Taking the local barge from Copacabana to La Paz, Bolivia
The wonderful vista over Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca
The cathedral of Cordoba, Argentina
A church in the Argentine city of Cordoba
The Parque Calderon in the centre of the colonial town of Cuenca, Ecuador
Panama hats for sale in the Ecuadorian town of Cuenca
The central Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital
Colourful cloth for sale in the markets of Cuzco, Peru
The picturesque Plaza de Armas in Cuzco after dark
The phenomenal Inca stonework at the ruins of Saksaywaman near Cuzco
Overlooking the picturesque city of Cuzco, Peru
A toucan at the Parque das Aves in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
The incredible Iguazu Falls, on the Argentina-Brazil border
The incredible Iguazu Falls, on the Argentina-Brazil border
A path through the forests near the Iguazu Falls

Day 1: Antigua

( Sun 27 Oct )

Today is free for you to explore Antigua and there will be a group welcome meeting at 6pm. During the day the more adventurous of you may wish to try and climb up Pacaya, an active volcano. We stay the night in a lovely colonial hotel.

Hotel for the night: Posada La Merced

Posada La Merced

7a Avenida Norte 43

Antigua

Guatemala

Tel - +502 7832 3197

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a trek up to the famous active volcano of Pacaya near Antigua

USD 59
About Antigua:

Antigua is the commonly-used name for Antigua Guatemala, the old colonial capital founded in its present location in 1543 with the original name of Santiago de los Caballeros. The delightful historic city boasts a wealth of well-preserved colonial buildings in a Spanish Baroque style, so much so that the whole historical centre has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Antigua is also exquisitely located in the central highlands of Guatemala, surrounded by the towering volcanoes of Fuego, Agua and Acatenango.

Antigua is only a short distance from the modern capital of Guatemala City, and remains the cultural centre of the country - its old buildings and cobbled streets juxtapose wonderfully with its lively mix of Indian markets, indigenous marimba music and many bars and restaurants, creating a fantastic and unforgettable atmosphere. There are also countless optional adventure activities to be enjoyed here, including a possible excursion to the nearby active Pacaya Volcano.

Day 2 to 3: El Imposible National Park

( Mon 28 Oct to Tue 29 Oct )

This morning we drive roughly 300kms and across the El Salvador border to El Impossible National park. We camp for a couple of nights and explore this incredible park with it's great diversity of plant and animal life where you may be lucky enough to see pumas, tigrillos or black crested eagles.

About El Imposible National Park:

As you can guess from its name this is a remote area, a national Reserve set up to protect the flora and fauna of the rocky slopes and forests of the Cordillera de Apaneca. This area was named for the perilous gorge which used to claim the lives of farmers and pack mules transporting coffee to the Pacific port. Today the park makes a great place for a trek and maybe the chance to see pumas, tigrillos, wild boars, king hawks and black-crested eagles. Hiking can get muddy and steep but offers grand vistas of misty peaks and the gleaming Pacific Ocean.

Day 4: Cerro Verde National Park

( Wed 30 Oct )

An early start takes us some 170kms to Cerro Verde National Park which offers amazing views of the surrounding volcanoes and countryside. We camp in the park which has basic facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the spectacular volcanic landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, one of El Salvador's gems

Included in Kitty
About Cerro Verde National Park:

The centrepiece of El Salvador's Cerro Verde National Park is the towering peak of Cerro Verde, an extinct volcano which last erupted around 2,500 years ago. On the top of its crater there is one of the few cloud forests in the country, located at 2,030 meters above sea level. Cerro Verde, along with the volcanoes of Santa Ana and Izalco, form one of the most impressive landscapes in El Salvador. These volcanoes can be viewed from lookout points inside National Park, and there are some wonderful treks enabling you to see some fantastic views of northern El Salvador.

Day 5: Suchitoto

( Thu 31 Oct )

We take a short drive to the lovely town of Suchitoto, with it's cobbled streets and whitewashed houses where we stay in a local hotel for the night.

About Suchitoto:

Suchitoto is a reminder of El Salvador's past - a beautiful colonial town with painted houses and cobbled streets, it is a world away from modern El Salvador. The town overlooks the lake of Embalse Cerrón Grande, which is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks.

Day 6 to 7: Copán

( Fri 01 Nov to Sat 02 Nov )

We cross the border and enter Honduras. Once border formalities are dealt with we will continue to the spectacular ruins of Copan where we camp for two nights in the grounds of a hotel for the night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent ancient Mayan ruins of Copán

Included in Kitty
About Copán:

The ancient ruins of Copán are the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famed. The area was populated by Mayans coming from the region of Tikal, and the city flourished as a major Classic period kingdom between the 5th and 9th Centuries CE. Copán developed a distinctive sculptural style, and the site is unique due to the 21 columns that have been found there that are heavily carved with reliefs depicting the passage of time and the lives of the Royal families. There are also a number of small pyramid-shaped temples and excavated vaults to explore on our visit there.

Day 8 to 10: Roatán

( Sun 03 Nov to Tue 05 Nov )

A drive of just over 300kms brings us to the caribbean port town of La Ceiba from where we board a ferry to the stunning Bay Islands and to Roatan. Here we stay for 3 nights in a lovely posada near many of the bars and restuarants the island has to offer.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out scuba diving to the beautiful coral reefs off the coast of Roatán

USD 50

Head on an epic underwater expedition in a unique private submarine, exploring the dark depths hundreds of metres under the surface of the ocean

USD 500

Rent sea kayaks to explore the magnificent Caribbean waters surrounding Roatán island

Free
About Roatán:

Roatán is the largest of the Bay Islands, the famous islands in the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras and one of Central America's most scenic spots. This archipelago of coral islands set in the sparkling Caribbean is known for its laid-back atmosphere, and the culture of the seafaring islanders is very distinct from that of the mainland. The scuba diving and snorkelling around the reefs is said to be some of the best in the world and extremely good value, and there are a wealth of activities available here such as kayaking and simply relaxing on the superb beaches.

Day 11: Lake Yojoa

( Wed 06 Nov )

We start early today to catch a ferry back to the mainland. Upon arrival back at La Ceiba we head 230 kms to Lake Yojoa, half way between San Pedro de Sula and Tegulcigalpa where we can camp for the night by the lake.

Day 12: León

( Thu 07 Nov )

We enter Nicaragua today andafter a long drive of 400kms head to the university town of Leon, with wonderful colonial architecture ranked second best in the country behind that of Granada. We stay the night in a centrally located hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the charming colonial city of León and its incredible old buildings including the Cathedral of the Assumption, the largest cathedral in Central America

Included in Kitty
About León:

The original town of León was founded by the Spanish in 1524, but was moved to its current location in 1610 after the original site suffered from a series of earthquakes - the ruins of the original site (now known as León Viejo) can be visited and are one of Nicaragua's most incredible historical sites. The city has an abundance of old colonial buildings and an extraordinary array of old churches, including the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of León, a Baroque-era cathedral that is the largest in Central America and has a very distinctive style. As well as this fantastic heritage, the city is a lively university town, and has a bewildering choice of optional activities available in the surrounding volcanic countryside - as such it is a fantastic stop on our trips through Nicaragua 

Day 13: Masaya National Park

( Fri 08 Nov )

We drive approximately 130kms to Masaya national park, possibly stopping in Managua en route if time allows. We will visit the national park and the active volcano that lies in the middle of the park, viewing the crater and lava flows. We spend the night camping in the park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the dramatic crater rim of the active Masaya volcano between León and Granada

Included in Kitty

Visit the traditional markets in Masaya village, famous for its local handicrafts

Free
About Masaya National Park:

In the stunning volcanic landscapes between León and Granada lies the incredible sight of the Masaya caldera. Formed by an eruption around 2,500 years ago and growing larger ever since, the caldera is a massive crater with a glowing red lava fire at the bottom, with pungent sulphurous fumes being almost continuously pumped out. It is a 'sub vent' into the colossal Las Sierras shield volcano that covers a wider area, and volcanic rocks and ashes still cover the area surrounding the caldera giving the place a very haunting atmosphere!

Day 14: Granada

( Sat 09 Nov )

A short hour long drive in the morning brings us to Granada, Nicaraguas's oldest city, oozing with colonial charm where we spend the night in a hotel.

About Granada:

Granada is the oldest European-built city in the Americas, having been founded in 1524 - it was named after its counterpart in Spain, in honour of the recapture of the city from the Islamic Moors by the Catholic monarchy in 1492, which marked the end of the Moorish occupation of Spain. Being an important economic centre, the city saw many battles from English, French, Dutch and American pirates looking for supremacy over the area. Following Nicaragua's independence, the city entered into a bitterly-fought rivalry with León over which city should be the capital of the new country - in the end a compromise was agreed and the new city of Managua was constructed mid-way between the two!

Granada is a fantastic place to visit and explore, and has many exciting optional activities within reach.

Day 15 to 16: Ometepe Island

( Sun 10 Nov to Mon 11 Nov )

This morning we will hop aboard a boat and across Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake, to Isla Ometepe. On the island we will stay in a small hotel for 2 nights giving you the chance to explore all the island has to offer.

Activity Approximate Cost

Climb to the summit of the Madera volcano on Ometepe Island (please note that although this is an easier trek than up Concepción volcano, it is still a very strenuous hike and you need to have a high level of fitness to complete it - the trek usually takes between 7-9 hours)

USD 42
About Ometepe Island:

The serene island of Ometepe is beautifully located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua and is formed of the volcanoes Concepción and Madera, which rise from the lake. The name of the island literally means "two volcanoes" in the Nahuatl language, from "ome" (meaning two) and "tepetl" (meaning mountain). The island's wonderful hourglass shape is home to great beaches, deep jungles, beautiful lakes and fantastic waterfalls, which are wonderful to explore on some treks around the island. For the fit and the daring, you can even try to trek to the summit of Concepción itself!

Ometepe has some unique petrolglyphs dotted throughout the island, traces of the myseterious Niquirano civilisation that once occupied the island - the oldest of these date back to around 300 BCE, and many can be seen on your explorations of the island.

Day 17 to 18:

( Tue 12 Nov to Wed 13 Nov )

We drive 240kms to La Fortuna near the shores of Laguna de Arenal where we camp by the lake for fantastic vistas of the Arenal volcano and its lava flow glowing in the night. We stay by the lake for a couple of nights allowing you time for optional activities around the lake.

Day 19 to 20: Monteverde

( Thu 14 Nov to Fri 15 Nov )

We continue south through Costa Rica to the dense rainforest of Monteverde where we stay in a hotel for a couple of nights. This stunning area offers an incredible diversity of flora and fauna which hopefully you will be lucky enough to see during a visit to the Cloud Forest Reserve.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided trek to explore the stunning forest trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, learning all about the fascinating and beautiful ecosystem there

Included in Kitty

Explore the stunning forests and banana plantations of Monteverde on a horse riding trip

USD 25

Fly above the cloud forests and valleys of Monteverde on an exhilarating zip-lining course

USD 50
About Monteverde:

Monteverde and the cloud forests which surround it are considered one of the top destinations to visit in Costa Rica, and certainly one of the top eco-tourism destinations in the world. The bulk of Monteverde's rainforest and cloud forest can be found in the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, which attracts huge numbers of naturalists each year and the area is one of the best in Central America to try to spot the indigenous birdlife such as the Resplendant Quetzal.

The cool hills of the area is perfect for the growing of coffee, Costa Rica's most famous export - it is possible to visit several plantations around Monteverde to learn more about the process of coffee cultivation. The beautiful rich cloud forests are also perfect for trekking, canopy walks, and other activities such as zip-lining through the valleys and treetops!

Day 21:

( Sat 16 Nov )

We leave the cloud forest behind and head to Costa Rica's wonderful capital city of San Jose, some 140 kms away. We stay in a centrally located hotel allowing you the day and night to explore the city.

Day 22 to 23: Manuel Antonio National Park

( Sun 17 Nov to Mon 18 Nov )

We leave the capital behind and head towards Quepos on the Pacific coast when the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is located. We spend 2 nights in cabins in the park enjoying jungle walks with a variety of optional activities on offer.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a wonderful quad biking trip through the tropical countryside of Manuel Antonio and Quepos

USD 40

Take a guided walk through the stunning trails of Manuel Antonio National Park, finishing at the world-class tropical beaches where you can swim and relax

USD 16
About Manuel Antonio National Park:

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Central America's most spectacular spots - stunning sandy beaches between the calm ocean waters and lush rainforests, complete with lots of walking, paddle-boarding, fishing and boating opportunities. There are plenty of animals to spot in the area, such as capuchin monkeys, iguanas, coatis and sloths - the park is a vertiable paradise, and it's possible to find some beautiful secluded beaches despite it being one of Costa Rica's most visited places.

Day 24 to 25: Chiriqui

( Tue 19 Nov to Wed 20 Nov )

We travel across the Panama border today to the Chiriqui highlands and the town of Boquete where we stay in a small pension for 2 nights. The area is famous for rafting, hiking, horseriding and the nearby Volcan Baru, the highest point in Panama.

About Chiriqui:

Chiriqui claims to be Panama's wonderland and it's little surprise. The province boasts of an amazing variety of scenery from pristine beaches on the Golfo de Chiriqui to lush tropical forests where you'll find exotic flora and fauna. The area is also Panama's main coffee growing area as well as being home to the Parque Internacional La Amistad for great hiking through the forests as well as incredible white-water rafting.

Day 26: Santa Clara

( Thu 21 Nov )

We head towards the capital today and drive roughly 340 kms before arriving by the beach at Santa Clara for a chance to relax and dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean. We will camp for one final time in Panama by the beach.

Day 27: Panama City

( Fri 22 Nov )

A short 3 hour drive brings us to Panama City where we stay for the night in a centrally located hotel. We will visit the Panama Canal today and have time for you to explore the city's old and modern parts.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the world-famous Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitors' Centre, and learn all about the fascinating history of this controversial structure

Included in Kitty
About Panama City:

The bustling modern Panamanian capital has a long history - the original city was founded in 1519 by Spanish conquistadors, acting as an important stopover for the ships taking gold and silver from the Americas to Spain. It was also a base for several expeditions to explore and conquer areas of South America. This original city was burned down in 1671 by the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan, one of the most infamous and ruthless pirates operating on the Spanish Main. The city was rebuilt in 1673, just 8kms from the original settlement, around which the modern metropolis has evolved - the ruins of the original city are known as Panama Viejo, and can still be visited today.

Panama is perhaps most famous for the Panama Canal, located near to the capital. The 78km-long canal links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via a narrow section of the Isthmus of Panama, allowing ships to pass between the oceans without having to traverse around the entire continent of South America. Completed by an American-led team in 1914, the canal has had a massive and controversial effect on worldwide trade, maritime, and international politics - in fact Panama owes much of its independence from Colombia to the USA backing separatist rebels in return for an agreement that they could set up a US-administered zone along the new canal they would build, a deal which caused a lot of tension between the USA and Panama throughout the 20th Century, with Panama only gaining full control over the canal in 1999.

Day 28: Panama City

( Sat 23 Nov )

The trip ends today after breakfast and no accommodation is provided.

However if you are continuing on to Cartagena then your leader will assist you with getting to the airport for your included flight.  You will overnight tonight in a comfortable hotel in either Panama City or Cartagena (depending on the flight times and availability).

Day 29: Cartagena

( Sun 24 Nov )

Border Information: If joining in Cartagena, enter Colombia at Cartagena airport.

Free time to explore Cartagena with a group meeting day at 18:00hrs. We stay in a comfortable hotel in central Cartagena

Hotel for the night: Villa Colonial

Villa Colonial

Calle de Maravillas (C10) No. 30-60

Getsemani

Cartagena

Colombia

Tel - +57 664 4996

About Cartagena:

Cartagena is one of the most historic cities in South America - legendary for both for its history and beauty, Cartagena is often one of the favourite destinations of most travellers who visit it.

The area was inhabited by various native civilisations for thousands of years before the city was founded in 1533 CE by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia - the settlement was named after the city of Cartagena in Spain, where most of Heredia's sailors were from. Having suffered a tumultuous past full of battles, raids, invasions, destructions and reconstructions, the city became heavily fortified and huge defensive walls surround its narrow cobbled streets and colonial buildings.

The city is made up of various districts - the new town with its high rise hotels, apartments and nightspots, and the older colonial parts of the city. The old city is the main attraction for visitors, particularly the inner walled town which is packed with churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions.

Day 30: Cartagena

( Mon 25 Nov )

A full day in the beautiful city of Cartagena. In the morning we will have a walking tour of the city and then the rest of the time is free for you to enjoy the many optional activities on offer. We stay in the same centrally located hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the fascinating colonial city of Cartagena or learn all about its incredible history on a guided walking tour

Included in Kitty

Visit the mud volcano of Totumo, and take a rejuvenating mud bath in its crater

USD 25

Visit the historic coastal Spanish fortress of Castillo San Felipe

COP 17000

Day 31 to 32: Covenas, San Bernardo Islands

( Tue 26 Nov to Wed 27 Nov )

We drive 150kms to Covenas on the Morrosquillo gulf and camp in the grounds of a local hotel for 2 nights near the beach with free time to relax. On the second day we will take a guided day tour out to the idyllic San Bernardo islands.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip out to the spectacular San Bernardo Islands for the day

Included in Kitty
About San Bernardo Islands:

The islands of San Bernardo are made up of ten small islands with fine beaches and are the real travel highlight of this area. Sitting within the Golfo de Morrosquillo in the Caribbean sea the archipelago belongs to the National Natural Park Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo and consists of the islands of Boqueron, Cabruna, Ceycén, islote of Santa Cruz, Mangle, Maravillar, Múcura, Palma, Pandora and Tintipán.

The Islet of Santa Cruz which is an artificial island is supposedly the most densely populated piece of land in the world with just over a thousand people in less than a hectare of land!

Not all of the islands are accessible but contain stunning beaches, marshes, mangroves and diverse wildlife ranging from flamingos and monkeys to birds and crabs of all colours.

Day 33 to 34: Medellín

( Thu 28 Nov to Fri 29 Nov )

A 525kms drive takes us to Colombia’s second city, Medellín where stay in dorm accommodation in a centrally located hostel allowing you to enjoy the vibrant nightlife.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out of Medellín to explore the nearby charming old town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, and visit its old churches and tamarind markets

COP 3000

Visit the colossal Catedral Metropolitana in the city centre, built using over a million bricks between 1875 and 1931

Free

See Medellín's perfect blend of art, culture, and history by visiting the Plaza Botero and the nearby Museo de Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Palacio de la Cultura

COP 10000

Relax and unwind on a stroll though the Medellín's gorgeous Botanical Gardens, and discover some of its 1000 different floral species on display

COP 2500
About Medellín:

The rapid transformation that has taken place in Colombia's second largest city is one like no other. Having spent the 1980s and 90s with international reputation of one of the world's most dangerous cities, Medellín has certainly turned itself around. Once synonymous with the infamous Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel, the city suffered a seriously damaged reputation amongst international travellers and has only recently become a popular destination amongst backpackers. The Paisas (as people from Medellín are known) have strived to change the city's reputation, and almost nothing of those former days can be seen in the character of the city today - visitors can comfortably enjoy the beautiful architecture, excellent facilities and all round well-developed city!

Set amid the rolling green hills of the Aburrá valley and with a warm climate and comfortable altitude of 1538 metres, Medellín has seen more and more travellers flocking to the city in the past few years. With some of the country's finest museums, parks and most impressive architecture as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere, it’s easy to see why. Medellín is also one of Colombia's easiest cities to get around with the immaculate and convenient metro system passing all the main points of interest. If you use the metro then make sure you head up on El Teléferico, the city’s cable car, as this is included on your metro ticket and gives you a great view of the city.

Day 35 to 37: Guatapé

( Sat 30 Nov to Mon 02 Dec )

We make a short drive this morning of a couple of hours to the small town of Guatapé which is beautifully located aside a lake in rolling countryside. The town is famous for the towering El Peñón de Guatapé which will will visit before enjoying 3 days of camping by the lake for various activities in the local area.

Activity Approximate Cost
Climb the 644 steps to the top of the massive rock monolith of El Peñón de Guatapé, and take in the spectacular views from the summit Included in Kitty

Trek to some of the stunning waterfalls around the area of Guatapé

COP 12000

Head out for a morning of horse riding in the beautiful hills around Guatapé

COP 24000

Hire kayaks to explore the lakes around Guatapé

COP 12000

Hire mountain bikes to explore the incredible landscapes around Guatapé

COP 15000
About Guatapé:

Guatapé is a picturesque town surrounded by the Embalse del Penol, an artificial lake built in the early 1960s and wonderful countryside yet with a colourful and historic centre. On weekends, the waterfront malecón (boardwalk) fills up with local vendors selling beautiful Paisa art, food, and souvenirs. The area is great for activities but one of the main reasons to visit is to see El Peñón de Guatapé, a 650 foot tall granite monolith that divides the countryside and offers amazing views from the top. El Peñón is very similar to Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) in Rio de Janeiro and has 644 steps which you need to climb to get to the top, but it is well worth it.

Day 38 to 39: Manizales

( Tue 03 Dec to Wed 04 Dec )

We head 185kms to Manizales where we stay for 3 nights on a coffee plantation, camping in the grounds of a traditional finca. During the next 2 days we will enjoy a night of music and dancing, a city tour of Manizales and a coffee plantation tour

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a night of traditional live Colombian music with a delicious BBQ dinner at our coffee finca nea Manizales

Included in Kitty

Stay for 2 nights on a coffee finca near Manizales, and learn all about coffee production on an informative tour of the plantations

Included in Kitty
About Manizales:

Manizales is a friendly city right in the heart of Colombia's coffee region with a comfortable climate and plenty to see and do. Although still opening up to international tourism, Manizales has a lot to offer the visitor in the way of outdoor activities and ecological attractions. The town itself is a relaxed and friendly place centred around the magnificent cathedral with attractions such as the botanical gardens, thermal springs and eco-parks all easily access able from the centre of town.

Venturing a little further, you will find coffee haciendas and plantations in the surrounding area as well as some beautiful country landscapes perfect for trekking or just taking a relaxing break in the great outdoors. In Manizales we stay on one of these working coffee plantations covering approximately 480 acres which provides people from around the world a taste of the finest Manizales fair trade coffee. The plantation employs around 100 people all throughout the year and about 400 people during the peak picking season.

Day 40: Los Nevados National Park, Manizales

( Thu 05 Dec )

We continue to stay in the grounds of the finca but spend the day in the beautiful Los Nevados National Park.

About Los Nevados National Park:

The Los Nevados National Park is a landscape of three mountain ranges, dormant volcanoes, hot springs, and recent memories of tragic eruptions. The highest range of the three (Nevado del Ruiz, Nevado de Santa Rosa and Nevado Tolima), is del Ruiz (5231m) which erupted in 1985, completely destroy one village. The park provides some of Colombia's finest trekking scenery and park's unique combination of snow, sand, wildlife and vegetation form a landscape of unending contrasts.

Water from the peaks and high plateau feed the drainage basin of the coffee-growing region to the west and the Department of Tolima and Magdalena Plain to the east. This beautiful and prolific water source fuels more than 50% of Colombia's national coffee production, as well as production of crops such as rice, corn, sorghum, and cotton.

Our journey will take you by road out through Manizales and into the stunning scenery of the highlands of the department of Caldas. The journey by road will be approximately 2 hours before reaching the park entrance, from here its unpaved roadway to the final car park.

Your guide will explain the climates, flora and fauna, and history of this savage but beautiful landscape. There are some amazing photo opportunities at every corner of the winding road. During the first stages you will see the Frailejon plants; this is a herb endemic to the Andean Region. You will stop further up the mountain at El valley de Las Tumbas (Valley of the Tombs) and walk to the edge of the valley where sounds reverberates around the rock formation until almost returning back to where they originated. Then a steep curving climb higher up the mountain and onto the parking area. Here we leave the vehicle and hike a 1200 metre climb to Del Ruiz. The walk is slow but rewarding as you reach the edge of the glacier and, weather permitting, you will be greeted by superb views across the mountain ranges and valleys below. You will reach the height of 5100 metres so it is important to take it slowly and read the additional notes about the affects of altitude.

With its various snow covered peaks, the park can get very cold and after a full day exploring the park we will stop off at some nearby hot springs to enable you to rest your weary legs before returning to Manizales.

 

 

Day 41 to 42: Cali

( Fri 06 Dec to Sat 07 Dec )

Today we head out early overlanding to Cali, Colombia’s most lively city. In the evening there may be the chance to head out for a tour of the city in a traditional chiva bus and there is the chance for optional salsa classes. During the day time there are lots of attractions to keep you entertained.

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover Cali's excellent contemporary art at the ADN Gallery

Free

Head out into the vibrant nightlife of Colombia's 'Capital of Salsa', and see some of the city's incredibly talented dancers in action

Free

Visit the spacious and open Cali Zoo, probably the best in South America and home to many wildlife conservation and education projects

COP 16000

Head out for a fun afternoon with the locals at Cali's Water Park!

COP 12500
Visit the Museo Arqueológico la Merced, the best museum in Cali displaying may indigenous artifacts COP 4000

Visit the Museo del Oro in Cali, with its wonderful gold collection and fine exhibition of ceramics

Free
About Cali:

Cali is a big and bustling city with a warm climate and pleasant atmosphere. Although there are comparatyvely few sights of special interest, just wandering through the mix-match architecture and relaxing in the sociable parks and plazas is a nice way to spend some time.

The city has made it's reputation in traveller circles thanks to it's nightlife and social scene and as such is increasingly popular. The Salsa capital of Colombia provides great opportunities to test out those dance moves and hit the fashionable bars and restaurants with the locals. For party seekers and those who enjoy the faster paced city life, Cali shouldn't disappoint. Avenida Sexta, is Cali's party street. With rows of bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes, this is where to head for a night on the town.

For others, the old neighbourhood of San Antonio is a lovely spot with arty, Bohemian cafes, shops and restaurants lining picturesque Colonial streets.

Alternatively why not head to Las Tres Cruces which is a great point from which to catch the best views over Cali. It’s quite a hike up there but it's a peaceful spot and a nice break from the rush of the city.

Day 43: Popayán

( Sun 08 Dec )

A short 140kms drive brings us to the beautiful town of Popayan where we stay the night in dorm accommodation in a hostel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the serene old colonial capital of Popayán, and soak up the charming atmosphere amongst its white-washed houses and rolling green hills

Included in Kitty
About Popayán:

Nicknamed the White City, Popayán is a beautiful colonial town full of white-washed houses and grand churches encircled by rolling green hills. Although the capital of the Cauca region of southern Colombia, Popayán somehow retains its relaxed small-town feel. The cool and sunny climate of the lower Andes makes Popayán a very comfortable place to stay and as the main university town of the region, there's a young, sociable feel to the city. The leafy parks marked with elegant church towers provide a sociable and relaxed location where you could easily spend an afternoon, while an evenings entertainment could be chatting with the friendly locals in a classy cafe bar or salsa club.

Whilst staying in the town there are some lovely walks offering excellent views of the historic centre, several worthwhile museums and galleries and many good cafes, bars and restaurants to make the most of. There are some excellent treks in the surrounding mountains, including an option to trek to the summit of the nearby Puracé volcano.

Day 44: Ipiales

( Mon 09 Dec )

Today we drive the 315km to the border town of Ipiales. We stay the night in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the jaw-dropping church of Santuario de las Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales, built on a bridge spanning a 45m-deep river gorge

Included in Kitty
About Ipiales:

Ipiales is the border town on the Colombian side of the Colombia/Ecuador frontier. The town has some pleasant plazas and the sight of locals using a horse and cart gives it a quaint, countryside feel. The star attraction of Ipiales is the nearby Santuario de las Lajas, the site of many supposed miracles and apparitions over the years. Set amid breath-taking scenery, the Santuario is a spectacular gothic-style church straddling a dramatic gorge with rushing river below. It is one of the most impressive churches on the continent, and its fantastic setting and quirky museum make it a highlight of any visit to Colombia.

Day 45: Otavalo

( Tue 10 Dec )

Border information: Exit Colombia at Ipiales. Enter Ecuador at Ipiales

We cross the border into Ecuador and head to the Indian market town of Otavalo where we stay in a friendly hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the famous Andean handicrafts markets of Otavalo at the Plaza de los Ponchos

Free
About Otavalo:

Otavalo is a small town in northern Ecuador nestled in beautiful surroundings a short distance from Quito. Many of the local indigenous communities in this area still wear their traditional clothing made from intricately woven and decorated fabrics, and the men tend to wear their hair in long ponytails. The Otovalan weaving skills are quite renowned and they are rightly famous for their textiles - so rugs, wall hangings and knitwear are all well worth buying here!

Day 46: Quito

( Wed 11 Dec )

120kms drive to the capital, Quito arriving in the afternoon where we stay in a local friendly hotel. En route we will stop at the Equator for the must have photo ops.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the monument to mark the Equator at Mitad del Mundo

Included in Kitty

Take a trip on Quito's Telerifico to the top of the Cruz Loma mountain, getting breathtaking views over the city from a height of 4,270m

USD 8.5

Visit the excellent Museo de la Ciudad, housed in Quito's oldest building, which explores the history of everyday life from pre-Colombian times all the way up until the present day

USD 3
About Quito:

Quito is the capital of Ecuador, nestled in a hollow in the mountains in between the volcanoes Cayambe, Pichincha and Cotopaxi - at 2,850m above sea level, it is the world's highest official capital city. Founded in 1534 by a group of settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar, the town slowly grew throughout the Spanish colonial era and after the region's independence from Spain in 1822.

The colonial old town is a maze of steep, cobbled streets with intricately carved, overhanging balconies, and some of the best examples of Spanish colonial art and churches anywhere in the Americas - along with Kraków, Quito was the first ever World Cultural Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1978. The modern area of the town is lively and has some fantastic restaurants and bars. Quito's mix of European and Indian cultures make this a really fascinating city, and you will come across stalls displaying Indian textiles, colourful wall hangings, jewellery, pottery and woodcarvings. Quito has some incredible museums, galleries and parks in the city, and some excellent adventure activities and mountain treks nearby for those with extra time in the area.

Day 47: Quito

( Thu 12 Dec )

Border information: If you are starting at Quito, enter Ecuador at Quito airport.

Day to explore Quito with a group meeting at 18.00hrs.  We stay in a local, friendly hotel in the city.

Hotel for the night:
Activity Approximate Cost

Take a trip on Quito's Telerifico to the top of the Cruz Loma mountain, getting breathtaking views over the city from a height of 4,270m

USD 8.5

Visit the excellent Museo de la Ciudad, housed in Quito's oldest building, which explores the history of everyday life from pre-Colombian times all the way up until the present day

USD 3

Day 48 to 50:

( Fri 13 Dec to Sun 15 Dec )

We have a very early start today followed by a 300km drive to Coca. From Coca we board a boat for a 2 hour journey along the Rio Napo and deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest for a 3 night stay where we camp by a wonderful lodge run by the local Kichwa community.

During your 3 nights here you will take trips out into the rainforest on foot and by boat to explore for wildlife as well as getting involved with the local community at a truly magical place.

Day 51: Rio Verde

( Mon 16 Dec )

An early boat ride brings us back along the Rio Napo to Coca from where we rejoin our overland vehicle and drive 300kms to the beautiful town of Rio Verde. We stay at a campsite with great facilities

About Rio Verde:

A few kilometres from the town of Baños is the small village of Rio Verde, named after the clear green water of the river that flows through the town. A number of waterfalls are found along its course, the most spectacular being The Devil’s Cauldron (‘El Pailon del Diablo’), a 20 minute walk from our excellent campsite.

Whilst staying here, we will have the opportunity to take part in optional adventure activities like as horse-riding, canyoning, mountain biking and rafting, as well as making the short trip into Baños to visit the thermal springs.

Day 52 to 53: Baños, Rio Verde

( Tue 17 Dec to Wed 18 Dec )

These are non-driving days with free time for a range of adrenalin activities or a possible visit to nearby Banos. We stay at the same campsite

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the volcanic thermal springs in the town of Baños, a very popular spot with the locals

USD 3

Go on an adrenaline-fuelled half-day rafting expedition on the Rio Pastaza near Banos, one of the best rafting experiences in South America

USD 75

Head out for an exhilarating half-day canyoning trip through the gorges near Baños

USD 50
About Baños:

Nestled in the shadow of the fiery Tungurahua volcano is the exquisite town of Baños. Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's largest active volcanoes, and provides an incredible backdrop to treks and explorations in the area. There are some beautiful waterfalls, excellent trekking and mountain biking opportunities, and some famous volcanic hot springs which give the town its name!

Day 54: Chugchilán

( Thu 19 Dec )

An early morning starts a 300kms drive on the northern section of the spectacular Quilotoa Loop to the town of Chugchilán. We stay the night in a fantastic hostel.

About Chugchilán:

Set on the slopes of the Rio Toachi Canyon, the peaceful village of Chugchilán is our base to explore the stunning green landscapes of central Ecuador. Several day hikes are available in the area, the most famous being one from the volcanic Lake Quilotoa back to Chugchilán - this is without doubt one of the most beautiful day-treks to be found in South America, and takes you through the canyon and the lush fields of the area.

Day 55: Chugchilán, Lake Quilotoa

( Fri 20 Dec )

An hour’s drive brings us to the town of Quilotoa to see the stunning Crater Lake and begin one of Ecuador’s best day hikes back to Chugchilán. We will trek with a local guide and the mostly downhill trek takes between 4-6 hours. There is however a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be physically fit for.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take kayaks out for an hour onto the crater lake of Quilotoa

USD 5

Take a trek from the spectacular crater lake at Quilotoa

Included in Kitty
About Lake Quilotoa:

Lake Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater lake located at 3,600m above sea level in the hills between the towns of Zumbahua and Chugchilán. Its emerald water spans a circle with a diameter of 2kms - Quilotoa is an active volcano, but the last major eruption was over 850 years ago. It is possible to hike down from the crater rim to the lakeside. The descent takes 30 minutes and climbing back up takes about an hour. The lake also lends its name to the Quilotoa Loop, given to the winding circuit of spectacular dirt roads that connect Lake Quilotoa to Latacunga and the Pan-American Highway. The roads that lead away from Latacunga are unpaved, winding and have spectacular views of the mountains, rivers and verdant landscape. We will head to the town of Chugchilán on the northern section of the loop and head out on the southern section of the loop allowing you to see some of the more remote areas of the central Andes of Ecuador.

Day 56: Riobamba, Chugchilán

( Sat 21 Dec )

This morning we will drive the southern section of the Quilotoa Loop and then head to the Riobamba area where we probably will stay in a hotel for the night but may push on and find somewhere to camp. We will cover approximately 320kms today.

Day 57: Cuenca

( Sun 22 Dec )

An early morning drive takes us 250kms to Cuenca with a chance to explore the town and possibly visit it’s famous Panama Hat factory. We spend the night in a guesthouse

About Cuenca:

Cuenca is Ecuador's third-largest city and its small centre is home to some beautiful architecture. The city was founded in 1557 and named after the city of Cuenca in Spain, the birthplace of the Viceroy of Peru at the time.

This small university town is a pleasure to explore, and you'll discover impressive churches that date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries, attractive colonial buildings, tranquil plazas and lively markets. The Ecuadorians consider it the finest city in the country, and many of its buildings are constructed from marble and decorated with stunning woodwork and ironwork.

Cuenca is also the home of the Panama hat, and you can visit one of the famous hat factories and watch the skills of the craftsman on your travels here.

Day 58: Punta Sal

( Mon 23 Dec )

Border information: Exit Ecuador at Tumbes. Enter Peru at Tumbes.

A 285kms drive takes us across the Peruvian border to Punta Sal, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean where we camp at a hostel

About Punta Sal:

Situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in a long, curved bay, Punta Sal is a haven of sun and sand. The warm and tranquil waters are a pleasure to swim in and there's also the opportunity to set out on boat trips along the coast line. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, horse riding along the beach and salsa lessons can be arranged, or just kick-back in a hammock and laze the day away, enjoying the peace and quiet of this beautiful spot.

Day 59: Punta Sal

( Tue 24 Dec )

Non-driving day with free time to enjoy the beach and activities at Punta Sal. Second night camping at the same hostel.

Day 60: Lambayeque, Huanchaco

( Wed 25 Dec )

610kms drive to Huanchaco, visiting Lambayeque for the Lord of Sipan Museum visit enroute. On arrival in Huanchaco we will be camping at a site with good facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible Lord of Sipan Museum in the town of Lambayeque, displaying the contents of a royal tomb of the Chimu civilisation discovered nearby - widely regarded as one of the most phenomenal collections of ancient treasure ever found (please note that this is not available on Mondays, as the museum is closed)

Included in Kitty
About Lambayeque:

The small Peruvian town of Lambayeque is home to the impressive Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, a world-class museum that showcases the finest artefacts from the archaeological finds at nearby Sipán.

The ancient city of Sipán was a settlement of the Moche civilisation that thrived in the area between 50-700 CE. The ruins were discovered in 1987, and when excavated revealed a set of fantastic and well-preserved royal tombs. Although some tombs had been plundered, many were found intact and full of some of the most extraordinary historical treasures ever discovered in the world!

Amongst the most impressive discoveries made here is the tomb of the famous ‘Lord of the Sipán’, a Moche priest found buried amidst an array of gold, jewels and fabrics - some phenomenal gold and silver ornamental and ceremonial artifacts were recovered, which demonstrate the outstanding craftsmanship of the Moche metalworkers.

About Huanchaco:

Huanchaco is a small town on the Peruvian coast that is rapidly acquiring a reputation for the quality of the surfing off its relaxed beaches. Wandering along the sea front you will come across the local fishermen's "caballitos de tortora" - curved reed boats left propped up in groups together on the sand.

Huanchaco is an ideal location from which to explore the numerous archaeological ruins that surround the nearby city of Trujillo. One of the most impressive sites is that of the enormous Pre-Colombian complex of Chan Chan, a vast adobe city constructed as the capital of the Chimú civilisation which thrived in the area between 900-1470 CE, when they were finally invaded by the Incas.

Another incredible site is the pyramid-shaped Huaca de la Luna, the impressive remains of the capital of the Moche civilsation that flourished between 100-800 CE - this site contains some phenomenal abode structures and well-preserved painted murals of the Moche deity Ai Apaec.

Day 61: Huanchaco

( Thu 26 Dec )

Visit to numerous ruins in and around Huanchaco, the enormous ruins of Chan Chan, and the world famous pyramids of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna. We stay at the same campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a guided tour of the colourful Moche Pyramids and the colossal Chimú adobe city of Chan Chan near the Peruvian city of Trujillo

Included in Kitty

Day 62: Huaraz

( Fri 27 Dec )

450kms drive to Huaraz situated high up in the Andes where we stay in a local friendly guesthouse.

About Huaraz:

Huaraz is situated high up in the Andes, dominated by the highest tropical mountain range in the world - the Cordillera Blanca. Looming over the town is Peru's highest peak, the 6,768m mountain of Huascarán.

Huaraz offers great opportunities for trekking, mountain biking, horse riding and rafting in the spectacular mountains, or even head out ice-climbing on the Pastoruri Glacier. There are some wonderful nearby historical sites, such as the ancient ceremonial centre of Chavín de Huántar which dates from 1200-500 BCE, and the Wilcahuaín ruins, once an outpost of the Wari civilisation between 600-900 CE.

Day 63 to 64: Huaraz

( Sat 28 Dec to Sun 29 Dec )

Non-driving days with free time to enjoy the hiking/climbing activities in and around the mountains of Huaraz. We stay at the same guesthouse.

Day 65: Lima

( Mon 30 Dec )

A full drive day of 530kms brings us to the country’s capital, Lima, arriving late in the afternoon. We stay in a comfortable hotel in the city centre

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Lima's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), containing over 7000 pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from a number of Peru's different pre-Columbian cultures

PEN 33
About Lima:

Lima is Peru's buzzing and busy capital city, and the second-largest city in the Americas behind São Paulo! Despite its colossal size and chaotic areas, if you explore the capital's streets, parks and plazas you'll discover a real gem of a city. 

Lima was founded by the infamous Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and was originally the administrative centre for Spain’s Viceroyalty in South America, making it the continent’s most important city for nearly three centuries. It became a city of great wealth financed by the massive quantities of gold and silver that were mined in the area, and became the capital of independent Peru after its liberation from the Spanish in 1821.

There are many museums in Lima showcasing the finest artefacts from the country's many ancient civlisations, and you can visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco. There are many excellent restaurants in the city and a thriving nightlife in the lively district of Miraflores.

Day 66: Lima

( Tue 31 Dec )

Border information: If you are starting in Lima, enter Peru at Lima Airport.

Day free to explore Lima, with a group meeting at 18:00 hrs. We stay in a good quality hotel in the centre of the city.

Hotel for the night:
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Lima's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), containing over 7000 pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from a number of Peru's different pre-Columbian cultures

PEN 33

Day 67: Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Huacachina

( Wed 01 Jan )

We have a very early start and head south and out of Lima to begin a 270kms drive to Paracas. There we board a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands to view wildlife before returning to Paracas to explore the national park. We will bush camp either in Paracas National Park or in Huacachina for optional sand boarding and dune buggying

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, and see their colossal colony of resident seals and seabirds

Included in Kitty
About Paracas:

Paracas National Park is widely regarded as one of the most important marine reserves in the world. This coastal and marine national park is located on a peninsula in the Pacific Ocean and is home to one of the highest concentration of marine birds in the world as well as providing a vital habitat for sealions and dolphins.

Historically the peninsula was the home to the Paracas people from 1200 BCE through to around 200 CE and some remains of their culture can be found in the area, the most spectacular of which is the enormous candelabra - a giant etching depicting a cactus inscribed onto a coastal hill overlooking the ocean.

About Ballestas Islands:

The Ballestas Islands are a series of rock formations in the turbulent waters of the Pacific just off the coast of Paracas. Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's Galapagos", the islands have an abundance of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, Blackish oystercatchers, cormorants and Peruvian boobies living alongside vast colonies of sealions, all noisily crowding the Ballestas coastline and jostling for space. The wildlife is fantastic to see on a boat trip around the islands.

The startling biodiversity around the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Park is the result of two merging currents in the Pacific - the warm northern waters of El Niño and the cooler waters of the Humboldt. The climatic conditions produced by the combination of these two currents create the perfect environment for a proliferation in the number of plankton and phytoplankton, the core constituents in the diet of fish.

About Huacachina:

Huacachina is a sparkling oasis nestled in the deserts near Ica in northern Peru - an area that is more reminiscent of the Sahara than South America! The picturesque lagoon is surrounded by palm trees and towering sand dunes and creates a tranquil oasis in the dusty coastal desert. The small town here has become a popular destination for travellers due to its incredible sand boarding and dune buggying opportunities.

Day 68: Huacachina, Nazca

( Thu 02 Jan )

In the morning we will have a chance to stock up on supplies before driving approximately 200kms to Nazca where we camp. En route we have the chance to glimpse the Nazca lines from a viewing platform

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out dune buggying or boarding in the spectacular sand dunes of Peru's Huacachina Desert

USD 20
About Nazca:

Nazca is home to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines, enormous geometric designs and petroglyphs inscribed on the ground of the desert on the arid high plateau between Nazca and Palpa - some of the figures are over 200m across in size. Many of the lines form stylised depictions of animals, such as monkeys, spiders and hummingbirds, as well as trees and other designs.

Archaeologists believe the Nazca Lines were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by the Nazca culture - although scholars are unsure as to their exact purpose, but they almost certainly has religious significance to the Nazca. The designs are simply shallow lines made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the grey ground beneath.

The Nazca Lines were discovered in 1927 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, and later famously studied by the German archaeologist Maria Reiche. You can view the lines from a viewing tower or take a flight in a small plane to see them from above. Close to the town are the sites of the ancient Nazca city of Cahuachi and the Chauchilla Cemetery, where you can see the tombs of people of the ancient Nazca civilisation. It is something of an eerie sight to see the skulls, bones and even hair of the dead, preserved in a remarkable state thanks to the dry desert air.

Day 69: Nazca, Puerto Inca

( Fri 03 Jan )

In the morning there is an optional flight over the mysterious Nazca lines and an included visit to Chauchilla cemetery. In the afternoon there is a 270kms drive to Puerto Inca for an overnight stay at a beach camp site

Activity Approximate Cost

See a section of the famous Nazca Lines from the viewing tower built by the archeologist Maria Reiche

Included in Kitty

Take a scenic flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines, to get the best possible view of the world-famous figures

USD 130
About Puerto Inca:

Puerto Inca is situated on the Peruvian Pacific coast, nd was once the Inca port that supplied the city of Cuzco with supplies of fish. It is a great place to relax on the beach, enjoying scenic views of the ocean and a dip in the swimming pool!

Day 70: Arequipa

( Sat 04 Jan )

380kms drive day takes us to altitude and to the ‘white city’ of Arequipa where we overnight in a good quality hotel

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Arequipa's Museo Santuarios Andinos, home of the famous mummy of 'Juanita' mummy - the frozen remains of an Inca girl that was sacrificed on a nearby mountain over 600 years ago

Included in Kitty
About Arequipa:

Situated on the Peruvian Altiplano, Arequipa sits at almost 3,500m above sea level and is the second largest city in the country. Set against the stunning backdrop of the snow-covered volcano El Misti, salt lakes, thermal springs and high-altitude deserts, the landscape of the area around Arequipa truly unique. It's possible to arrange mountain-biking and rafting trips in the area as day tours from the city.

The city itself is very beautiful, full of stunning colonial buildings built out of the soft white volcanic rock that is found in the area. As a university town, there is always a lively buzz about the place and there are plenty of good bars and restaurants to discover.

No trip to Arequipa would be complete without paying a visit to Juanita in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. Sometimes known as the "Ice Maiden", Juanita is the mummy of a young Inca girl aged about 11-14 at the time of her death in approximately 1450 CE - she was discovered near to the summit of Mount Ampato in 1995 by two climbers, her body frozen and well-preserved in the low temperatures and high altitude.

Arequipa is also famous for the Santa Catalina Convent, which is almost a city within a city in the centre of the town. Not only are the buildings of the convent stunningly beautiful, with brightly painted walls and shady courtyards, it also has a fascinating history which you can learn about on a guided tour.

Day 71: Arequipa

( Sun 05 Jan )

Free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the beautiful monastery and convent of Santa Catalina, an incredibly photogenic 'city within a city' in Arequipa

PEN 40

Day 72: Chivay

( Mon 06 Jan )

Time in Arequipa to explore further in the morning. Then drive 150 km drive to Chivay with an optional visit to thermal springs. Overnight in a hotel at Chivay.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the phenomenal Colca Conyon and search for the native Andean Condors that fly through its spectacular scenery

Included in Kitty

Visit the La Calera thermal springs near Chivay

PEN 15
About Chivay:

The rural town of Chivay is the gateway to the magnificent Colca Canyon - one of the largest canyons in the Americas, which at a maximum depth of 3,270m is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA.

As well as boasting some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Peru, the Colca Canyon is famous as being one of the best places in the world to spot the mighty Andean Condor - this stunning bird is one of the largest in the world with a wingspan of around 2.5m, and the Colca Canyon provides a perfect natural habitat for them so it is very common to see them as they swoop around the canyon walls.

Day 73: Chivay

( Tue 07 Jan )

Short driving day to visit the spectacular Colca Canyon to view condors and also local communities. Overnight in the same hotel at Chivay.

Day 74: Raqchi

( Wed 08 Jan )

Drive day to Raqchi and stay overnight in local homestay. We stay in traditional family houses with clean but basic facilities. Whilst we are there we enjoy some of the ceremonial aspects of village life as well as much singing and dancing. This is a great local experience.

Activity Approximate Cost

Stay at an incredible Quechua homestay with local families in Raqchi, taking part in a traditional religious ceremony and visiting a community crafts project in the village

Included in Kitty

Take a guided visit to the ruins of the Inca Temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi

Included in Kitty
About Raqchi:

Raqchi is a small village situated 100kms southeast of Cuzco, famous as being the site of the only surviving temple of the ancient Inca creator deity Wiracocha.

It is a special place for us as it is where we have one of the best local homestay experiences to be found in the world - on our Dragoman trips we stay here as guests of the local families in their traditional houses, a fantastic way to get a real insight into how people live here and to learn about their culture and customs. There is often the chance to participate in some of the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of village life, and there is always plenty of singing and dancing as we get to know our new Peruvian families. The village is also well known for its talented craftsmen and women, and there will be the chance to buy some of the beautiful hand-made and intricately decorated pottery that is made here.

Day 75: Cuzco

( Thu 09 Jan )

In the morning we visit the ruins at Raqchi and also a local artisan centre. In the afternoon we drive 160kms drive to Cuzco. Overnight in a lovely colonial hotel

About Cuzco:

The Inca Empire was the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas - the civilisation arose in the early 13th Century CE under the leadership of the first Inca ruler Manco Capác, founding the city of Cuzco as their capital. The civilisation thrived in the area until 1438, when the new leader Pachacuti embarked on a massive campaign of expansion and used military conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate a massive portion of western South America under his control - at its largest, the Inca Empire stretched all the way from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwest Argentina, all the way down to central Chile.

In 1526, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro first entered Inca territory from his expedition through Colombia. After quickly determining that it was evidently a civilisation of great wealth and power, he quickly received royal permission to conquer the empire - he decisively kidnapped and later executed the Inca ruler Ayahualpa in 1533 and installed their own puppet ruler, Manco Inca Yupanqui. The new leader quickly turned on the invaders and briefly took control of Cuzco for the Incas again, until the Spanish finally pushed them back permanently from the city. The remnants of the civilisation formed a Neo-Inca state centred around Vilcabamba in the mountains above Lima until the Spanish invaded them completely in 1572, ending the last major resistance to their rule in Peru.

Any adventure tour to Peru naturally centres around the stunning city of Cuzco - it is world-famous as the gateway to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu and the various Inca trails through the Peruvian highlands. However, the city is a fantastic destination in its own right, and many of its buildings still retain some of the original Inca stonework as part of their structure. This unique and intricate stonework was an ingenious construction method that prevented damage from earthquakes - examples of their amazing building techniques can still be seen in and around Cuzco, including the famous 'twelve-sided stone', now part of the logo of Cuzco's native Cusqueña beer! 

A good place to start your explorations is the majestic main plaza, surrounded by cobbled streets lined with attractive colonial buildings. Head up the hill into the neighbourhood of San Blas and you will discover another hidden square with a quiet laid-back feel. All the streets are lined with shops, bars and restaurants, from small local cafes to five star dining experiences. There are also some fantastic museums and historical sites in and around the city, showcasing the wonderful history and culture of the Incas.

Day 76: Cuzco

( Fri 10 Jan )

Border information: If you are starting in Cuzco, enter Peru at Cuzco Airport.

Group meeting at 10:00 hrs to plan the following day's trekking with the rest of the day free to enjoy Cuzco. We stay in a good quality colonial hotel in Cuzco.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Cahuide

Hotel Cahuide

Calle Saphi No. 845

Cuzco

Peru

Tel - + 51 8422 2771

 

Day 77 to 80: Inca Trail , Sacred Valley, Cuzco

( Sat 11 Jan to Tue 14 Jan )

Trekking in the Andes. We will have a tour of the sacred valley and either begin the community trek or the classic trek to the world heritage site of Machu Picchu. The nights are spent camping.

Activity Approximate Cost

Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details):

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists, on our exclusive Wild Andes Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty.

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options.

Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option)

Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a refund of the cost difference from kitty.

Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the Train Package (non-trekking option), otherwise you will automatically be booked onto our Wild Andes Trek.

Included in Kitty
About Inca Trail :

When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually referring to a particular trekking route that follows an ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. However there are a huge number of Andean Trails that criss-cross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote and rarely used by western tourists. On our Dragoman tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the Classic Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Wild Andes Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman.

The Classic Inca Trail

The Classic Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cuzco-Aguas Calientes railway, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200m) and the ruins of Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna en route, eventually arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu early in the morning after 3 days of trekking. This route is still extremely popular as it is seen by many as the original Inca Trail, and it is also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the smaller Inca sites it passes along the way. Unfortunately, due to its own popularity, the Classic Trail is always very busy, with around 500 people starting the trek every day - due to there being restrictions on camping areas, the campsites are often very busy with other trekkers as well. Nevertheless it is still an awesome trek, passing through some stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forests, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of Machu Picchu is something you'll never forget. Please note that the Classic Trail is always closed for maintainance during the entire month of February each year.

The Wild Andes Trek

Dragoman's Wild Andes Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt Andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and passing by local communities. This trek is all about getting away from the overcrowded thoroughfares of the Classic Inca Trail and getting out into the real Andes - not to mention being part of a project with provides a genuine, direct benefit to the host communities we travel through, by supporting education, income generation and environmental sustainability projects. The trek itself is about the same as the Classic Inca Trail in terms of length and difficulty, taking three to three and a half days and ascending to about 4,700m when you cross the highest pass. The scenery out here is truly magnificent, spectacular mountain peaks, verdant hillsides dotted by isolated villages and the odd llama and alpaca, you are unlikely to see another tourist here. Although you won't trek into Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate as on the Classic Trail, you will arrive to Machu Picchu well rested after a night in a comfortable hotel and ready to get the most out of the tour of this magnificent site.

About Sacred Valley:

The valley of the Urubamba river is more often referred to as "The Sacred Valley". In the Peruvian highlands close to the Inca capital of Cuzco, the valley extends from the small market town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, nestling at the foot of the Andean mountain ranges that are home to the magical lost Inca city of Machu Picchu.

Together with Machu Picchu itself, the Sacred Valley was a cradle of the Inca Empire and the area is littered with archaeological sites including the magnificent ruins of Pisac with its famous terraced fields, the old temple complex of Sacsayhuaman and the remarkably well-preserved Inca city of Ollantaytambo. Together with the temperate climate, lively markets, sleepy Andean villages and stunning surrounding landsccape, the rich history of the area makes it a truly bewitching place.

Day 81: Machu Picchu

( Wed 15 Jan )

Visit to Machu Picchu one of the world's most iconic sights. We'll have a guided tour with a local expert and plenty of time on site before catching the train back to Cuzco.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of free time to explore before returning to Cuzco

Included in Kitty
About Machu Picchu:

Machu Picchu is a world-famous 15th-Century Inca citadel perched 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. One of the historical highlights of the world and a phenomenal icon of Peru, the ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 and was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. 

Machu Picchu was most likely built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and is thought to have been built in around 1450 but abandoned after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Although the city remained known about by the local Quechua people, it was undiscovered by the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham discovered it and brought it to international attention in 1911.

Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style with intricately-designed dry-stone walls built without mortar - it has three primary structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed and restored, and the iconic steep mountain of Huayana Picchu looms over the site. The city consists of more than 200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. 

A visit to Machu Picchu is a major highlight of any adventure tour to Peru. A genuinely magical place, catching your first glimpse of the Inca city through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.

Day 82: Cuzco

( Thu 16 Jan )

Relax after the trek with optional activities available such as white water rafting. Overnight in the same colonial hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for an exhilarating white-water rafting trip on the Urubamba River near Cuzco

USD 69

Day 83: Puno, Sillustani Ruins

( Fri 17 Jan )

In the morning we have a 440kms drive to Puno. We will visit the Sillustani ruins and museum en route and overnight in hotel

About Puno:

Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the south eastern region of Peru is the small town of Puno. The town is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, and a mythical expanse of deep blue waters dotted with islands, some of which are still home to communities who have been living in the same way for hundreds of years.

About Sillustani Ruins:

The small villages around Puno are mostly small subsistence farming communities, relying heavily on the wool from their herds of llamas and alpacas and agriculture for income. The farmers here use the same tools today as they have since time immemorial - wooden hoes, ploughs and sickles. Crops are sown and reaped by hand and maize, beans, potatoes, onions and rice predominate.

Tucked away in between the many small villages are the ruins of Sillustani. These ruined towers are set on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umayo, built by a pre-Inca civilisation hundreds of years ago. The Sillustani Indians built several "Chullpas", funeral towers whose construction is far more complex than anything the Inca ever built. Each tower would have contained the remains of noble men, buried together with offerings to secure their comfortable passage into the next life.

Day 84: Copacabana, Puno

( Sat 18 Jan )

Border information: Exit Peru at Desguadero, enter Bolivia at Copacabana.

We head out on a boat on Lake Titicaca to the floating reed islands of Uros before a 200kms drive takes us across the Bolivian border to the lakeside town of Copacabana where we overnight in a hotel

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip out on Lake Titicaca to visit the fascinating floating islands of Uros

Included in Kitty
About Copacabana:

Copacabana, Bolivia, is quite different from the famous Brazilian beach that shares its name, but both are wonderful destinations to visit!

It is a picturesque small town on the shores of Lake Titicaca, centred around its small whitewashed square which is home to a pleasant Moorish-style cathedral. At sunset there is no better place to be than sat at one of the many simple local fish restaurants on the shoreline, watching the sun slip down behind the horizon.

Day 85: Copacabana

( Sun 19 Jan )

Today is a non-driving day with an all day visit to Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca. We return in the evening to Copacabana to overnight in the same hotel

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip to Lake Titicaca's Isla del Sol, and head on a guided walk across the length of the stunning island

Included in Kitty

Day 86: La Paz

( Mon 20 Jan )

A 160kms drive brings us to La Paz, Bolivia’s capital where we have time to explore the city and do optional activities. Overnight good quality colonial hotel in central La Paz

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the vibrant city of La Paz and discover its interesting markets, shops, and colonial buildings

Included in Kitty
About La Paz:

Bolivia's largest city of La Paz is spectacularly located lying huddled in a canyon basin, hiding from the harsh conditions of the surrounding altiplano. It is a fascinating city - the old town and more expensive neighbourhoods at the bottom of the canyon in the centre, surrounded by sprawling shanty-towns which extend up the slopes of the bowl, merging into the huge Aymara district of "El Alto" back on the plains, a suburb of La Paz that has grown to be a city in its own right.

The city skyline is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani, a staggeringly beautiful backdrop that leaves many visitors stunned when then catch their first glimpse of the city as they descend into the canyon. The old town is full of markets and winding cobbled streets full of people in traditional Aymara clothing selling anything and everything you could ever think of, including dried llama foetuses on sale in the witch's market! 

There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, including the famous downhill bike ride through the Yungas on the 'world's most dangerous road'!

Day 87 to 88: La Paz

( Tue 21 Jan to Wed 22 Jan )

Border information: If you are starting in La Paz, enter Bolivia at La Paz Airport.

Free time to explore La Paz, one of the highest cities in the world. There's to see and do including the prison tour or the down hill mountain biking. We stay in a good quality colonial hotel in the centre. On the 1st day there will be a group meeting at 18:00 hrs. 

Hotel for the night: Estrella Andina

Estrella Andina

Avenida Illampu 716

Zona El Rosario

La Paz

Bolivia

Tel - +591 2245 6421

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the vibrant city of La Paz and discover its interesting markets, shops, and colonial buildings

Included in Kitty

Take the spectacular downhill mountain-bike trip down the infamous 'World's Most Dangerous Road', a 3,500m descent from the high mountain plateau near La Paz to the steaming jungles of Corioco via the dramatic road cut into the cliff

USD 110

Take a guided tour to explore the amazing pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku, once the centre of one of the most important cultures in South America

BOB 180

Day 89: Challapata

( Thu 23 Jan )

Today is a relatively short drive to the small town of Challapata where we will stay for the night in a basic hotel.

Day 90: Livichuco

( Fri 24 Jan )

This morning we will head to the small community of Livichuco for an overnight stay in this small Andean village. Accommodation will be in very basic shared accommodation but a chance to see an area of Bolivia few tourists ever will.

Activity Approximate Cost

Stay as guests of the local Andean community of Livichuco, and get an insight into the life of rural Bolivians in an area largely untouched by other tourists

Included in Kitty
About Livichuco:

The village of Livichuco lies in a remote location in central Bolivia, where visitors can stay with an Aymara community who delight in sharing their culture and traditions. There are several short walks around the community that are possible, and our hosts will prepare some traditional local food for us during our stay here.

Day 91: Potosí

( Sat 25 Jan )

Today we will leave Livichuco after breakfast and head to the colonial mining town of Potosí, the highest town in the world. We stay in a local, friendly hotel.

About Potosí:

Potosí is a colonial mining town, founded in the 16th Century after the Spanish discovered huge silver deposits in the nearby Cerro Rico mountain. Situated at over 4,000m altitude, high up on the Bolivian altiplano, the city can claim to be one of the highest in the world.

Whilst in Potosí you can arrange to visit a mine that is still being worked, which offers a challenging and yet fascinating insight into how mining has shaped the history and culture of this town. Entering a dark maze of tunnels you will descend to four levels below, down to the work face where miners use hammers, chisels and dynamite, more reminiscent of the 1800s than the 21st Century, to dig out the remaining metal. Most of the silver here is long gone - it's tin the miners are looking for now. If you do choose to head down into the mines it's become a custom to take the miners gifts of dynamite, fuses and coca leaves in exchange for their stories of how their working conditions have not changed in centuries. Life is harsh for all who work here, but the mines have now all been organised into co-operatives and so at least today the men have a say in their own future. You should note that visiting these primitive mines is not for everybody as it is pretty tiring, you will be in enclosed spaces and it can be dangerous.

Back in the city of Potosí itself, the winding streets are worth a wander. The town has a bit of an air of fading grandeur, many of it's beautiful colonial buildings and plazas having seen better days, but it's a fascinating place to explore nevertheless. You can also visit the "Casa de la Moneda", the old mint, which is a great place to learn more about Potosí's history and the story of the mines.

Day 92: Potosí, Uyuni

( Sun 26 Jan )

This morning there will be the chance for optional activities in Potosí before we journey some 190kms to Uyuni, gateway to the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. We overnight in a friendly hotel serving the highest pizzas in the world!

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the claustrophobic tunnels of the Cerro Rico silver mines, an infamous mine orignally built by the Spanish

BOB 110

Visit the the Casa de la Moneda museum in Potosí, to learn all about its colonial past and the silver that once flowed from the area

BOB 60
About Uyuni:

Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano, a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile - so it's hardly surprising that the town can have a bit of a wild-west feel about it.

Uyuni is of course best known for being the gateway to the Bolivian salt flats known as the "Salar de Uyuni". Also nearby is the Train Cemetery, a graveyard for the carcasses of old steam engines that have been left here to rust - an other-worldly and eerie sight set in the bright altiplano sunshine against the background of the distant Salar.

Day 93: Salar De Uyuni

( Mon 27 Jan )

We venture out on to the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni in jeeps spending a full day on this stunning location. Great for all those perspective bending photographs. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a full day tour out in jeeps to the dazzling Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats - the spectacular, perfectly-flat salt plains that are one of South America's most incredible sights

Included in Kitty
About Salar De Uyuni:

The Salar de Uyuni is a truly unforgettable sight, and a landscape quite unlike anything you'll have seen anywhere else in the world! The Salar de Uyuni is a dazzling dry lake of over 12,000 sq. kms, made of blinding white interlocking salt crystals. It is the world's largest salt pan, and is bright white expanse that stretches as far as the eye can see - when there's a little bit of water on the flats, it reflects the bright blue sky of the altiplano perfectly, acting like a mirror and making the horizon disappear!

Day 94: Bolivian Altiplano

( Tue 28 Jan )

Today we cross the altiplano in a spectacular 320kms drive towards the Chilean border via Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde. We stay the night in a basic hostel.

About Bolivian Altiplano:

The high Bolivian altiplano stretches hundreds of kilometres from the small town of Uyuni out across to the borders with Argentina and Chile. This is real wilderness - there are no roads up here, just a few tracks to follow, and you're more likely to see a flamingo or llama than another human being! 

The only way to cross the altiplano is by travelling in a specialist expedition vehicle like one of our overland trucks. The crossing is an adventurous one - travelling across the high-altitude dirt tracks can be challenging and rough, and the trip from Uyuni to the border normally takes a couple of days - but it's without a doubt one of the most unforgettable journeys you'll ever make, as the landscape here is out of this world. Wild and remote, the high altiplano is made up of barren semi-desert open plains dotted by streams and lakes, many of which appear vividly coloured due to the mineral deposits in the water. The lakes are flanked by the impressive volcanic peaks of the high Bolivian Andes, which are awe-inspiringly beautiful and undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you'll ever see.

You'll also pass a few remote villages, inhabited by Quechua farmers who try their best to eke out a living up here from the rough pasture, grazing a few llamas and alpacas. The altitude here is considerable and it can be very cold and windy. When travelling here you should be prepared for the cold temperatures. and it is worth making sure you have a really good quality sleeping bag.

Day 95: San Pedro De Atacama

( Wed 29 Jan )

We descend from the altiplano and a 150kms drive takes us across the border into Chile. We camp for the night in San Pedro de Atacama in a good campsite and visit the extraordinary Moon Valley, hopeful of a stunning sunset. In the evening there is also the chance to go stargazing (only possible when there is not a full moon).

Border information: Exit Bolivia at Uyuni, enter Chile at San Pedro.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the dramatic, other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley, and take in an incredible sunset from one of its high viewpoints

Included in Kitty

Observe the night skies through the powerful telescopes of the observatory in the Atacama Desert near San Pedro, and learn all about the heavens on a fascinating talk from one of the astronomers (not available during the week of a full moon)

CLP 20000
About San Pedro De Atacama:

San Pedro is a small oasis town in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. It's a quirky little place - low-lying adobe buildings line the narrow streets, leading to a sleepy tree-lined plaza that's home to a pretty white-washed church and a fascinating small museum with some interesting mummies and various other Indian artifacts.

Pleasant though the town is, the real attraction here is the phenomenal surrounding landscapes and scenery. Perhaps most well known is the unusual desert landscape of "Moon Valley", just a short distance outside San Pedro, where other-worldly rock formations, unusual layer-cake landscapes and huge dunes combine to create some incredible views. The sunsets here can be amazing, the changing light turning the stone and sand a kaleidoscope of different colours, so the end of the day is definitely the best time of day to visit.

There are a whole host of other activities on offer here, from star-gazing and visit the Atacama salt flats, to horse-riding and mountain-biking in the surrounding countryside. The town itself is also a pleasant place just to kick-back and relax, with some good bars and restaurants thanks to the developing tourist-trade.

Day 96: Salta

( Thu 30 Jan )

A full 550kms drive takes us across the border into Argentina and to the fine Spanish colonial city of Salta. We stay in a simple hotel in the centre of the city.

Border information: Exit Chile at San Pedro, enter Argentina at Paso Jama.

About Salta:

Salta is an attractive town in the north west of Argentina. Nicknamed "Salta la Linda" (or "Salta the Beautiful"), the city is well known as being a stunning town in a beautiful area. Home to some fantastic colonial architecture, the old town centres around the main plaza which is lined with cafes and restaurants, a great place to independently explore and soak up the serene Argentine atmosphere. 

To get a better view of the city and surrounding area you can take a cable-car from Parque San Martín up to the Cerro San Bernardo viewpoint overlooking the city, and the many churches and the cathedral are also worth a visit. Salta is also home to some fantastic museums, making it a good place to learn a bit more about Argentinian history and culture.

Day 97: Salta

( Fri 31 Jan )

Today is a non-driving day with free time to explore Salta staying in the same hotel 

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the incredible colonial city of Salta, and learn all about its culture and heritage with a visit to some of its fascinating museums

Included in Kitty

Day 98: Salta

( Sat 01 Feb )

We have a short morning drive to a campsite just outside Salta where you have the opportunity to go rafting or get involved in other adventure activities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for an incredible white-water rafting adventure on the beautiful Juramento river near Salta

ARS 400

Day 99: Cafayate

( Sun 02 Feb )

150kms drive to Cafayate, lying at the centre of Argentina's principal wine producing region where we will visit a vineyard. We stay at a camp site with good facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the vineyards of Cafayate and discover the area's delicious wines and bodgeas on a wine-tasting excursion

ARS 50
About Cafayate:

Cafayate is a small town in north west Argentina, and is world-famous for its wine production. The surrounding vineyards produce some of the best quality wine in South America - Cafayate is particularly renowned for its Torrontes, a distinctive and crisp white wine that is typically Argentinian and similar in style to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Cafayate itself is small and has a sleepy laid-back feel, although it can become busy during Argentinian holiday periods. Many of the local bodegas offer tastings and tours of their wine cellars which can be easily organised while you are here. Also worth seeking out is the local ice-cream parlour, which together with the more usual flavours also offers red and white wine ice-cream!

Day 100: Quilmes Ruins

( Mon 03 Feb )

We cover around 400kms as we head south through beautiful scenery, visiting the Quilmes ruins en route. We will camp tonight

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the atmospheric ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes in north west Argentina

USD 10
About Quilmes Ruins:

The ruins of the city of Quilmes are located on a remote hillside in the Tucumán province in north west Argentina. The people of Quilmes were an indigenous tribe who inhabited this area as far back as 850 CE, fiercely resisting attempted Inca invasions in the 15th and 16th Centuries and even holding out against the Spanish for over 100 years before finally succumbing to a siege led by the colonial powers in 1667. After the siege, the Spanish took the area over and deported the few surviving indigenous people to a 'reservation' close to Buenos Aires. The 2000 remaining Quilmes Indians were forced to make this 1500km journey on foot, causing many to die along the way.

The ruins of the city are the largest and most important pre-Columbian site in Argentina - at its height the city would have housed nearly 5000 people, however today there are only a handful of Quilmes' descendants left in Tucumán.

Day 101 to 103: Rio Ceballos

( Tue 04 Feb to Thu 06 Feb )

270kms drive via the National Jesuit Museum, to a unique Anglo Argentinean estancia for 3 nights. We will spend time with the Gauchos - learning their skills, go horse riding, hiking and have a traditional asado or Argentinian BBQ.  

Activity Approximate Cost

Spend 3 special days at a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, to experience the gaucho way of living and see the beautiful countryside by horseback

Included in Kitty
About Rio Ceballos:

To the east of the Andes in the centre of Argentina is the country's second major city, Córdoba. Rising just to the west of the city are the beautiful rolling hills of the Sierra de Córdoba, where we spend three nights at a unique Anglo-Argentinian estancia.

The estancia has been in the same family for four generations, and is a working cattle ranch farming the prized Argentinian Aberdeen Angus cattle. Here we will sample the traditional hospitality of the Anglo-Argentinian ranching community, with fantastic food straight from the farm. An asado (Argentinian BBQ) will be enjoyed on one of our nights here, as well as an evening of traditional music, a chance to try lassoing and fantastic wine tasting featuring some of the local produce. Daily horse riding excursions will also be arranged to ride through the hills on the fabulous horses and even completely inexperienced riders will feel like gauchos in a short time.

Please note that these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit for all riders of 15 stone (210 lbs, 95 kg) to ensure the horses' well-being. If you are heavier than this weight you will unfortunately be unable to ride.

Day 104: Córdoba

( Fri 07 Feb )

Leaving the Estancia we have a short 70kms drive to the lively university city of Cordoba. We stay in central Cordoba in a hostel

About Córdoba:

Córdoba is Argentina's second largest city, located at the heart of the Argentinian sierras. It's a lively university city and an important economic and commercial centre, which makes for a vibrant busy atmosphere and some excellent nightlife.  

Day 105: Buenos Aires

( Sat 08 Feb )

An all day drive brings us to the wonderful city of Buenos Aires, where we stay in a centrally located hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover the beautiful Teatro Colon on a tour around the theatre, or see one of its free afternoon performances (when available)

Included in Kitty
About Buenos Aires:

At the mouth of the River Plate estuary (where the Uruguay and Paraná rivers flow out into the Atlantic Ocean) lies the fabulous city of Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. It's a buzzing, energetic city that often feels more European than Latin American, so much so that it's often referred to as "the Paris of the South".

There is a huge amount to do see and do here, and it's a fantastic city to explore on foot and using the extensive metro system. Some areas to check out include San Telmo, a bohemian district full of charm, antique shops, street markets, and some excellent bars; Palermo, with its fantastic restaurants and nightlife; and Recoleta, the "Mayfair" of Buenos Aires and home to the La Recoleta cemetry, Eva "Evita" Perón's final resting place. The waterfront area known as La Boca is also worth exploring, a very photogenic district with its ramshackle buildings being painted in a rainbow of different bright colours.

Everywhere you go you'll be surrounded by some fantastic architecture. The Plaza de Mayo is perhaps the most historically interesting, as this is the site of the Cabillo (original town hall), Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace) and the cathedral where the body of General San Martín lies.

In the evenings, you are spoilt for choice - Buenos Aires has a vibrant nightlife, with a huge number of bars and night clubs to choose from. Restaurants here vary from cheap and cheerful to world class, and it's a great place to get stuck into some of Argentina's finest steak and red wine. Of course this is also the home of Tango, and there are many evening Tango shows you can buy tickets for or even take a dancing class yourself!

Day 106: Buenos Aires

( Sun 09 Feb )

Today is free for the multitude of optional activities on offer in this this. We spend a second night in the same comfortable hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the fascinating streets of La Boca, home of the La Bombonera football stadium and the colouful artists' street of Caminito

Free

Take the passenger ferry over to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo for a night (if time allows)

USD 194

Discover the beautiful back streets, antique shops, and thrift markets of the bohemian district of San Telmo

Free

Take the ferry over the river to Uruguay, and explore the serene colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento for the afternoon before returning

USD 90

Day 107 to 108: Buenos Aires

( Mon 10 Feb to Tue 11 Feb )

Border information: If you are starting in Buenos Aires, enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Airport.

Today there will be a trip meeting at 18:00 hrs. There are no activities planned however there are various optional activities for you to enjoy over the next 2 days whilst in this splendid city. We stay in a good quality hotel in central Buenos Aires. 

Hotel for the night: Hotel Splendid

Hotel Splendid

Avenida Rivadavia 950

Buenos Aires

Argentina

Tel - +54 11 4345 2800

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover the beautiful Teatro Colon on a tour around the theatre, or see one of its free afternoon performances (when available)

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the fascinating streets of La Boca, home of the La Bombonera football stadium and the colouful artists' street of Caminito

Free

Discover the beautiful back streets, antique shops, and thrift markets of the bohemian district of San Telmo

Free

Take the ferry over the river to Uruguay, and explore the serene colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento for the afternoon before returning

USD 90

Day 109: Concordia

( Wed 12 Feb )

Today we drive roughly 415 kms drive towards Concordia where we bush camp for the night

About Concordia:

Concordia lies on the western shore of the Uruguayan River and is the national capital of citrus production. The river dissects Argentina from Uruguay and many people take rail and road journeys to and from Concordia to Salto in Uruguay. Concordia is in the north eastern province of Entre Rios.

Day 110: San Ignacio de Mini

( Thu 13 Feb )

A 560 kms drive takes us to the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio de Mini. We spend the night at a camp site with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour around the fascinating ruins of the old Jesuit mission of San Ignacio de Mini

Included in Kitty
About San Ignacio de Mini:

Misiones province is so called because of the many Jesuit missionaries who arrived here in the 17th century, setting up "Reductions", or missions, throughout this area of Argentina, as well as parts of neighbouring Paraguay and Brazil. The small town of San Ignacio de Mini was once the centre of one such mission, and it's ruins  can still be seen today. The buildings are very well preserved and include a church, cemetery and monastery and provide an interesting insight to the history of this area.

 

Day 111: Puerto Iguazu

( Fri 14 Feb )

This morning we drive 230 kms drive to Puerto Iguassu. The afternoon is free for optional activities near the waterfalls. We spend the night at a camp site with good facilities

Day 112: Foz do Iguaçu

( Sat 15 Feb )

In the morning we have a visit to the famous Iguazu Falls, from the Argentinean side. In the afternoon we have a short drive across the border to see the falls from the Brazilian side. We stay at a camp site in Foz do Iguazu with excellent facilities and a pool.

Border information: Exit Argentina at Puerto Iguassu, enter Brazil at Foz do Iguacu.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the phenomenal Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side, where you can get the closest views of Garganta del Diablo and explore the web of nature trails around the area's forests and waterfalls

Included in Kitty
About Foz do Iguaçu:

Foz do Iguaçu (meaning "Mouth of the Iguazu River") is the Brazilian town nestled against the double-border with Argentina and Paraguay. The town is of course most famous as the base for exploring the incredible Iguazu Falls, and the Brazilian side of the waterfalls offers visitors a very different perspective - there are a number of cleverly constructed walkways that allow you to get right out over the water up close to some of the falls themselves, and you will often be able to see fantastic rainbows forming as the sun catches the spray.

For the ultimate waterfall viewing experience, you can also organise helicopter flights from the Brazilian side, where you'll be taken out right over the falls to give you a breathtaking view of this natural wonder from a totally different perspective. There is also a fanstatic bird park in Foz, where you can see many of Brazil's native species including toucans and macaws.

You can also visit the incredible Itaipu Dam, the world's second-largest dam (after the Three Gorges Dam in China) that stretches across the River Parana between Brazil and Paraguay, and a marvel of modern engineering.

Day 113: Foz do Iguaçu

( Sun 16 Feb )

Today is a non-driving day. We have free time to enjoy the Brazilian Iguazu Falls, with a range of activities available. We stay for a second night at the same campsite

Activity Approximate Cost

See the mighty Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, enjoying the incredble panorama of waterfalls and exploring the beauty of the area

Free

Day 114: Bonito

( Mon 17 Feb )

Today is an all day drive day as we travel 800 kms drive to Bonito where we camp at a good site with a pool

About Bonito:

The small town of Bonito in the southern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is perfectly located in a beautiful and unique area. The area's main attractions are the crystal clear rivers, springs and the stunning caves, not to mention the abundant wildlife, which includes monkeys, alligators, anacondas, over 30 varieties of fish and tremendous birdlife.

Unsurprisingly, the town is often described as the "eco-tourism capital of Brazil". There are endless activities on offer, from spectacular walks through the surrounding hills and forests, to caving, horse-riding, abseiling, and snorkeling. Many of the best attractions are on private land and the area is being very carefully managed in order to protect the wildlife and habitats found here.

Day 115 to 116: Bonito

( Tue 18 Feb to Wed 19 Feb )

These are non-driving days allowing you free time to enjoy the range of activities available in Bonito such as snorkeling, rafting or a jungle trek.. We spend our second and third nights in the same camp site.

Activity Approximate Cost

Relax and meet the locals in the beautiful outdoor municipal swimming areas of Bonito

BRL 30

Head out on an exhilarating rafting, tubing, or kayaking expedition down the Rio Formoso

Included in Kitty

Day 117 to 119: Southern Pantanal

( Thu 20 Feb to Sat 22 Feb )

We spend 3 days in Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal. From a ranch base we explore the surrounding area on horseback, from boats and canoes, from farm trucks and on foot before on the third day we drive in the afternoon roughly 250 kms to a bush camp.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take an unforgettable 2-night fully-inclusive package from our eco-lodge in the Southern Pantanal, where we will go out on jeep safaris, canoe expeditions, boat rides, horse back trails, and enjoy a BBQ night with local music and dancing

Included in Kitty
About Southern Pantanal:

The Pantanal is a vast wetland that covers much of inland central and southern Brazil - it is formed of a huge gently-sloping depression surrounded by rolling highlands, so the water from thousands of small rivers runs off from the highlands to collect in the basin before draining out into the Paraguay River. The Pantanal was a predominantly agricultural area, dotted with cattle ranches known locally as "Fazenda" - having realised the importance of their home as a unique habitat for wildlife, many of the Fazendas have opened up for eco-tourism in recent years and offer safaris and tours of the area.

The wildlife here is staggering, and there is probably nowhere else in South America where you'll be able to see as many indigenous species. There are over 250 different species of birds that have been recorded here, including parakeets, macaws, owls, kingfishers, ibis, storks, kites and hawks, hummingbirds and more, and there are prolific numbers of caiman, anacondas, iguanas, two species of anteaters, ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, giant river otters and thousands of marsh deer. One of the easier animals to spot is the capybara, a giant guinea-pig-type rodent that grows up to 60 kgs and lives in large herds in the swamps.

Day 120: Brotas

( Sun 23 Feb )

Today is a full day 650 kms drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeast Brazil. We stay at a camp site with good facilities

Day 121: Brotas

( Mon 24 Feb )

This is a non driving day free for adventure activities such as white water rafting. We stay at the same camp site 

Day 122 to 124: Paraty

( Tue 25 Feb to Thu 27 Feb )

We drive 450 kms to Paraty on the Emerald Coast where we have 3 nights at a beachside hostel. Free time to explore, including boat trip out to a small island to go snorkelling or diving

Activity Approximate Cost

Go for a scuba diving trip in the incredible oceans around Paraty

BRL 250

Take a boat trip out of Paraty, exploring the stunning islands and beaches and swimming in the idyllic warm water of the sparkling blue ocean

Included in Kitty
About Paraty:

Stretching west from the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro is the spectacular Brazilian Emerald Coast, a dazzlingly-beautiful strip of land sandwiched between the verdant green hills and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic. Tropical islands, deserted beaches and picturesque coves with excellent swimming and diving make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some optional boat trips and other activities.

The old Portuguese colonial town of Paraty, founded in 1597 CE and once a very important port during the Portuguese gold rush of the 17th and 18th Centuries, is perhaps the most attractive spot on the coast. Low white-washed buildings with colourful doors and shutters crowd around the cobbled streets and plaza, full of interesting shops, bars and restaurants.

Paraty really comes alive at night, when locals and tourists alike sit outside the many street cafes and congregate in the main square. The town also has a couple of beaches and there are plenty of others in the surrounding area - and this is also a good place for boat and snorkelling trips, which can be arranged locally.

Day 125: Rio De Janeiro

( Fri 28 Feb )

The first day of Rio Carnival is free time, as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Hotel check in is from midday and Dragoman crew will be on hand all day to give you any assistance. There will be a joining meeting in the afternoon.

If you are on an overland trip coming from Paraty or Teresopolis, today will be a short drive day, bringing you to the biggest party on the planet!

Hotel for the night:
About Rio De Janeiro:

Rio de Janeiro has to be one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. The stunning Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf) Mountain rises up out of Guanabara Bay and the sandy beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana cut beautiful curves in the shoreline, all under the watchful gaze of the iconic Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

This is a city with something for everyone - beaches, history, shopping, culture, fantastic food and amazing nightlife. For amazing views of this spectacular city, take the cable car up to the top of Pão de Açucar, ride the train to Corcovado or jump on the tram to the historic hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. If you're interested in learning more about Rio and Brazil, there are several fascinating museums in the city and you'll see some fantastic architecture by wandering around the older parts of the city.

Kick back and relax on the famous urban beaches, enjoy a beer or caipirinha at one of the many street-side cafes and then when evening comes you can party the night away - Rio has some unbelievable bars and clubs in the buzzing areas of Lapa and Ipanema. If you need a bit of quiet time to recover, take a walk in the city's wonderful botanical gardens, or escape the city for the day on an excursion to the lush forests of nearby Tijuca National Park.

Rio is particularly famous for its huge annual party - the incredible Rio Carnival. The celebration of Mardi Gras (6 weeks before Easter) is a great Brazilian tradition - the whole city goes wild for a full 7 days in a whirlwind of music and colour. Samba schools compete with ever more awe-inspiring dance displays, floats and costumes, putting on marathon perfomances in the Sambadrome, and street parties are held all over the city.

Day 126: Rio De Janeiro

( Sat 01 Mar )

Corcovado visit. Guided trip with all transport included to the Christ the Redeemer statue with great view of Rio.

This afternoon is free for you to do as you wish.

Day 127: Rio De Janeiro

( Sun 02 Mar )

A free morning to relax or explore the history of Samba and carnival with our guided Samba Tour.

Then it's the main event at the Sambadrome for the samba parade.The top samba schools parade their outrageous floats and costumes and we'll party well into the early hours.

Day 128: Rio De Janeiro

( Mon 03 Mar )

Free day with lots of options. You can spend the day relaxing at the beach, visiting the Morrinho community project, going to the sambadrome for a 2nd night or actually taking part in the parade.

Day 129: Rio De Janeiro

( Tue 04 Mar )

We will take an afternoon half day guided tour to visit the iconic Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain).

In the evening there's the option to go to the gay ball.

Day 130: Rio De Janeiro

( Wed 05 Mar )

There's free time in the morning but if you wish to explore further then join our local guide on our Colonial Tour of the city.

In the late afternoon it's the culmination of the tour with a sunset boat cruise around Guanabarra Bay.

Day 131: Rio De Janeiro

( Thu 06 Mar )

Border information: If you are starting in Rio, enter Brazil at Rio Airport.

Today there will be a group meeting day at 18:00hrs. The rest of the day is yours to explore. Tonight we stay in a good quality hotel in Rio.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Argentina

Hotel Argentina

Rua Cruz Lima No. 30

Flamengo

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

Tel - +55 21 2558 7233

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Get some of the most phenomenal views of Rio de Janeiro by taking a cable car up the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

BRL 76

Visit the amazing statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top of the Corcovado mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a world-famous icon of Brazil - taking in the breathaking views of Rio de Janeiro and the bay below

BRL 62

Day 132: Petropolis, Teresopolis

( Fri 07 Mar )

We head north and will journey 200kms to Teresopolis where we will camp for the night in a campsite with good facilities. Before arriving at our campsite we will stop off in the beautiful colonial town of Petropolis for a chance to explore.

Day 133: Ouro Preto

( Sat 08 Mar )

Today is a full day 430kms drive to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto where we stay at a camp site with facilities.

About Ouro Preto:

Ouro Preto (meaning 'Black Gold') was founded in the 17th Century by Portuguese colonialists, and became the largest and most important city of the Brazilian Gold Rush of the 18th Century when gold was found in the surrounding area. Mines were built to extract the precious metal, and the tremendous wealth that resulted attracted Europe's intelligentsia and sparked a Baroque revival in the city - a heritage still very much evident in Ouro Preto's preserved colonial buildings and churches, art and sculptures (particularly the sculptures of Aleijadinho, one of Brazil's most famous artists). 

In 1789, Ouro Preto became the birthplace of the Inconfidência Mineira, a failed attempt to gain independence from Portugal. The leading figure, Tiradentes, was hanged as a threat to any future revolutionaries. Ouro Preto is a fascinating place to explore - the surviving colonial buildings are fantastically preserved and the city is refreshingly free from modern development (any new buildings must be constructed in line with the town's historical aesthetic). There are several old mines that are open for visitors, providing a glimpse of how life was for the miners all those years ago.

Day 134: Ouro Preto

( Sun 09 Mar )

Today is a free day with time to visit the mine, museum or many of the baroque churches here. We spend a second night at the same camp site.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the fascinating old gold mines of Ouro Preto, and learn all about the area's history as the centre of Brazil's gold rush

BRL 45

Freely explore the unique colonial town of Ouro Preto, its architectural heritage, and wonderful Baroque churches

Included in Kitty

Day 135: Tres Marias

( Mon 10 Mar )

400kms drive through Brazilian countryside and towns. We will find a nice spot and bush camp for the night

Day 136 to 137: Brasília

( Tue 11 Mar to Wed 12 Mar )

A full day’s drive of some 500kms brings us to the futuristic capital of Brasilia. We stay in a basic campsite and enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating yet labyrinth like city.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a guided tour of the bizarre capital of Brasilia, a realisation of a 1950s vision of the future - includes a visit to the cathedral, the central plazas, and the memorial to the former president Juscelino Kubitschek

Included in Kitty
About Brasília:

Brasília is the capital city of Brazil, founded in 1960 by the President Juscelino Kubitschek in order to move the capital from Rio de Janeiro to a more geographically-central location in the country. The city is one of the major examples of the 20th Century's modern movement in architecture and urban planning - with Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa as was the chief architects, the construction of Brasília was incredible feat that turned unpopulated swampland into a purpose-built city in just 41 months between 1956 and 1960. The city's unique style and history have earned it UNESCO World Heritage status, and exploring the city really does envelop you in the feeling of being time-warped into a 1960s vision of the future! 

To really appreciate the plan of the city with its aeroplane-like shape, try a trip up the television tower for a panoramic view of the city. The Metropolitan Cathedral, shaped like a crown of thorns with angel statues suspended from the ceiling, should not be missed, neither should the incredible blue stained glass of Dom Bosco Cathedral. Other fascinating buildings include the National Congress and Senate, the Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial and the incredible JK Bridge.

Day 138 to 140: Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park

( Thu 13 Mar to Sat 15 Mar )

A short 150kms drive brings us to Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park followed by two full days to explore the landscape and wildlife. We stay in an eco-tourism campsite

About Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park:

Located in the State of Goiás, about 250 km from Brasília, the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is, according to NASA, the most luminous point seen from the Earth's orbit. This is due to the quantity of quartz crystals present in the soil, besides several other metals and minerals. 

The main river that flows in Veadeiros National Park is Rio Preto. Along its course, there are many spectacular waterfalls, including Rio Preto Falls (120 metres high, 80 metres at the base) and the Cariocas. The canyons are just as beautiful, with walls of up to 40 metres high and valleys of up to 300 metres.  Forests are also present in the region, and are well worth exploring primarily because of the rich variety of flora, more than 25 species of orchids can be found for example. The rich fauna of the region includes species threatened with extinction such as the Pantanal deer, the Jaguar, the Maned Wolf.  More common are the Rhea (Brazilian ostrich), Seriema, Tapeti, Armadillo (Tatu Canastra), Anteater, Capybara (Capivara), Tapir (Anta), Green-Beek Toucan, Black Vulture, King Vulture. While the forests are home to this amazing wildlife it can be quite difficult to see, nonetheless this is a great place for us to explore for the amazing flora and landscape alone.

Day 141: Cavalcante

( Sun 16 Mar )

We overland 150kms along a beautiful stretch of road to the small town of Cavalcante. Here we stay for the night taking in the amazing scenery and visiting the Kalunga community. We stay the night in a campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Kalunga community in Cavalcante

Included in Kitty

Day 142:

( Mon 17 Mar )

A 200km drive in the morning brings us to Terra Ronca, the largest cave system in South America. We will enjoy a guided visit of the cave system before heading on and crossing into the state of Bahia where we will find somewhere to wildcamp for the night.

Please note that in the rainy season the road to Terra Ronca may be impassable in which case we will spend an extra night elsewhere.

Day 143 to 144:

( Tue 18 Mar to Wed 19 Mar )

We drive north today to the wonderfully named town of Xique-Xique where we stay for a couple of nights on an Anglo-Brazilian working farm. We camp on the farm and enjoy a variety of activities and a great Brazilian barbeque.

Day 145 to 147: Chapada Da Diamantina National Park, Lencois

( Thu 20 Mar to Sat 22 Mar )

We head 250kms to the town of Lencois, the gateway to Chapada da Diamantina National Park. We camp in Lencois giving you the opportunity to enjoy a variety of treks into the stunning scenery of the national park.

About Chapada Da Diamantina National Park:

In the hinterland of Salvador, just outside of the town of Lençóis, lies the Chapada Diamantina, or Diamond Highlands. Valleys of lush green dotted with bright tropical flowers surround a mountain range of twisted red-rock formations reminiscent of the American Southwest. Numerous small rivers carve their way through the highlands, splashing over waterfalls and natural slides. There are also numerous caves, some many kilometers long. Many are quite popular, some just being discovered, some restricted yet to geologists who are trying to figure out just how they and the rock formations they contain were formed.

The gateway community of Lençóis is an old colonial town of stone streets and little churches, with little signs of the modern world. The attractions here are entirely natural. We have the chance to walk the highlands, explore caves, mountain bike old miners' tracks, and swim in natural pools and waterfalls. This is the Brazil that so many travellers miss.  It is the other Brazil, away from the crowds of Rio and from the beaches or famous sites. This is the sort of place that you can visit so easily on an overland trip but that is so often inaccessible to the normal tourist or traveller.

Here you will have the opportunity to trek to many of the locations within the park, depending on your fitness and sense of adventure but either way is a wonderful place to spend a few days.

Day 148: Salvador Da Bahia

( Sun 23 Mar )

Today we drive 400kms to the beautiful town of Salvador da Bahia. We stay just by the old centre of Pelourinho in a lovely hotel.

About Salvador Da Bahia:

Situated on a peninsular jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, Salvador da Bahia was the capital of Brazil when it was first colonised, but now it can only claim to be the capital of the state of Bahia. Bahia is strongly influenced by its links with Africa, both in its language, religion, food, dance and music, and this certainly dominates the atmosphere in Salvador. If time allows we will take in a night at the Bale Folclorico da Bahia or the Oludum drummers for a taste of local traditions.

Apart from the historic interest of the town, there are some excellent beaches to visit nearby, but you should definitely try to get to a 'Candomble' evening while you are here. Candomble is a popular religious cult in the region, and the ceremonies offer a fascinating insight into the culture of this area.

Salvador is also well known for its spectacular Carnival and other festivities, but the nightlife is good here at any time of the year.

Day 149: Salvador Da Bahia

( Mon 24 Mar )

Free day to explore Salvador.

Border information: If you are leaving in Salvador, exit Brazil at Salvador Airport.

Activity Approximate Cost

Watch a candomblé ceremony in Salvador

USD 40

Visit the Forte Santo Antonioa da Barra, Brazil's oldest lighthouse, for panoramic views of the city.

USD 10

Visit a Capoeira school and watch the artistic fighting!

Free
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Important Notes

The routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only.

These trip notes have been compiled to help you prepare for your journey once you have booked. They include the full itinerary and dates, and information about kit lists, meeting hotels, insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other information that will help you get ready for your trip.

We update these notes regularly, so please ensure you have an up-to-date version of these trip notes.

We intend to follow the planned route but exact night stops and inclusions cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature, overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, which often have poor infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to 'Western' safety standards.

Altitude Warning

Warning - this trip goes above 2800m.

Please note that this trip spends time above 2800 metres/9200 feet where it is possible for travellers to experience some adverse effects on your health due to the altitude, potentially including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).

Because of this it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude and monitor your health during this trip. 

For further information please click here to download our AMS information sheet or refer to the following website: www.high-altitude-medicine.com

Your leader will also hand you a copy of the AMS information sheet during your trip as well as holding a short meeting prior to travelling to altitudes above 2800m/9200ft for the first time.

If you are starting your trip in a destination above 2800m/9200ft we strongly advise reading this information prior to arrival.

Rio Carnival detailed notes

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world, nestling beneath the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) that rises out of Guanabara Bay, and flanked by the sandy beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. The Carnival at Rio is one of the best spectacles in the world and lasts for about 5 days on the run up to Shrove Tuesday. The whole city comes alive with music, singing and dancing and the streets are never empty. Be prepared for sleepless days and nights, as the partying is non-stop, be it in the streets, or at one of the many balls, or in the famous Sambadrome watching the parading carnival groups with their extravagant costumes and floats. The various samba 'schools' all compete for a prize and the honour of being the champion carnival group of the year. Around the time of the Carnival, our trips are timed to fit in with the event, so you can be sure of enjoying Carnival with a group of like-minded people and there are likely to be over 100 fellow travellers enjoying the carnival experience. We will however aim to keep you in smaller groups of 20-25 for planned activities.

There is just so much to see and do in Rio and at Carnival it is even busier than usual, but there is still something for everyone. As part of the Carnival package we include a guided Sambadrome visit to sector 13, an introductory walk, a visit to a street parade plus your accommodation; however we offer the opportunity to do a lot more. We offer a number of optional activities that you can book in advance - detailed notes of these activities and how to book can be found here. We strongly recommend pre booking, as this way we can make all the necessary arrangements ready for your visit - other options may be available and could be cheaper but availability cannot be guaranteed. 

Day 1: Friday

The first day is free time, as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Hotel check-in is from midday and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you any assistance. There will be a joining meeting in the Argentina Hotel in the afternoon. Please check the noticeboard in the hotel reception for further details on arrival. After the meeting we have a table booked at a nearby buffet restaurant if you would like to join your leader and group for a meal.

Day 2: Saturday

This morning you have an introductory walking tour to get to know the local area. Your guide will then bring you to a street parade for a quintessential Rio Carnival experience. In the afternoon you may wish to join us to a guided tour of a favela and a community project that we support.

Optional Morrinho Project - £52

Morrinho is the name used by the youth of the Pereira da Silva favela for their scale model of a favela made basically with bricks. The Morrinho began in 1998, when Nelcirlan (14 years old at that time) starting building the Morrinho, together with his brother Maycon. Today, the Morrinho model occupies an area of 300 square metres in the community Pereira da Silva and has a wealth of details such as funk clubs, police, drugs sales points, alleys, staircases, small bars etc. The model is now being used to generate money by the NGO Morrinho, a charity that provides professional qualifications to the residents of the Pereirão Community through workshops including audiovisual production, art-education, Brazilian culture, and youth and citizenship. The charity is also involved in utilising the project as a film set, which has raised awareness of how harsh life is for shanty town dwellers. The trip includes a donation of 50 BRL to the charity.

Day 3: Sunday

Early this morning you have the opportunity to go for a guided tour of Corcovado and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Late afternoon it may be wise to have a disco nap before the big highlight of Rio Carnival - a visit to the Sambadrome! Included in your trip is a visit to sector 13, or you may chose to upgrade to sector 11 for a closer view of the parade. Please click here to view a map of the Sambadrome.

The Sambadrome

The Sambadrome was designed by Brazil's world-famous architect, the modernist Oscar Niemeyer. It was purpose-built for the Samba Parade and inaugurated in 1984. Being made of concrete, it seems a bit dated for the post-modern eyes of today and has a derelict feeling during the year, serving only little cultural events. However, it comes to life and is magnificent being lit up with special effects on Samba Parade nights, filled with thousands of cheering spectators and surrounded by other thousands of people who could not get in. It can seat around 70,000 people, which is already far too few for the ever growing Rio Carnival Parade. However, since it is under protection, it cannot be rebuilt or even extended. The Samba schools have prepared all year for their hour of glory on carnival night. The top 12 Samba schools parade on Sunday and Monday, six each night. The two nights are similar in terms of set-up, the only difference being the schools parading. The best school is chosen by a hand-picked set of judges on the basis of many components including percussion, the theme song, harmony between percussion, song and dance, choreography, costume, storyline, floats and decorations. The championship is hotly contested, with the winner becoming the pride of both Rio and Brazil. The parade is a glitzy, lavish, vegas-style affair with beautiful, topless mulatas who make samba look easy in their feathered head-dresses, long flowing capes sparkling with sequins and rhinestone studded G-strings. The floats are extremely lavish and some of them are technically quite amazing. The Brazilians harness sweat, noise and confusion and turn it into art, with the parades beginning in moderate mayhem then working themselves up to a higher plane of frenzy. The samba is driven by the drummers with between 200 and 400 per school. The parades head down the runway of the Sambadrome flanked by the tiers of spectators, singing, dancing and applauding their favourite schools. The parade continues on through the night and into the morning. Some of the best schools are always kept until last to make sure that the party continues until the very end. 

Sambadrome Visit (sector 13) - included

We will be situated in sector 13 which allows an overview of the whole event and a good chance to party with the locals. Sector 13 is at the end of the sambadrome runway and has the best atmosphere of all the stands. It is full of local Cariocas who really support their samba school with lots of singing and dancing. It is a wonderful local experience but can get very busy, reminiscent of a noisy football crowd. There are no fixed seats but concrete bleachers and people stand up as the samba schools pass by. We will travel to the Sambadrome in the early evening by metro and on foot with the Dragoman crew. It is up to you how long you stay but every year there are a few who make it through to the last parades and get back to the hotel for breakfast at 7am! Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade. If you should wish there's an option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade - this is highly recommended if you're interested in photopraphy and would like good pictures of the costumes and floats.

Optional Sambadrome Upgrade to sector 11 - £130

Sitting in sector 13 is not for everyone and for those of you who want a closer view of the parade we offer you the chance to upgrade to sector 11. This sector neighbours sector 13 but is much closer to the action. The seating however is identical, being on concrete bleachers and can be equally busy but not quite so boisterous.

Optional Corcovado visit - £65

We head to one of the most iconic sights in Brazil - the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of Corcovado mountain. Accompanied by our local guide we will travel in a private bus to the foot of the mountain and onwards along the scenic route to the top. From the base of the statue there is an incredible vista of southern Rio and its beaches, as well as the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) and Guanabara Bay. The clouds can sometimes decide to hide all of this from us at a moment's notice, so take your photos as soon as you have the opportunity! You are free to wander around as you wish or you may like to listen to our guide who can tell you more about the history of the statue and the area. There is also a restaurant and shop for drinks, snacks and gifts as well as toilet facilities. At a prearranged time we will all meet to return back to our hotel.

Day 4: Monday

Today is a free morning to relax after a late night in the Sambadrome. In the afternoon you there is the option to go on a guided visit to the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). In the evening you have the chance to return for some more of the lavish spectacle in the Sambadrome - either as a spectator in sector 5 or why not don a fabulous costume and join in the parade!

Optional Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) visit - £63 

We will take an afternoon half day tour to visit the iconic Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). We leave from the hotel on our coach, accompanied by our local guide and all entrances are included. Pão de Açúcar gets its name from its shape, as the huge rounded incline looks like traditional cones of sugar. These sugar cones were made from raw sugar to make transportation easier. On arrival at the base of the mountain, we will board the cable car and head up to the mid way point and then up to the top station. The ride in itself is a fantastic experience skimming above the forested mountain peak with the sea and city spreading out below. At both stations there are incredible views of the city below and across to Corcovado. There will be plenty of time to wander around and take in the spectacular views, learn more about the construction of the cable car and enjoy a drink or snack at one of the restaurants. Just make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card for all your photos. Once we have taken our fill of the panoramic views we return to the bottom by cable car and back to the hotel on our waiting coach.

Optional Return to the Sambadrome (sector 5) - £230

During Rio Carnival the top 12 Samba schools parade in the Sambadrome with 6 parading on the Sunday night and then 6 on the Monday night. For Monday night we have tickets in sector 5, which is nearer the entrance to the Sambadrome than sector 13 where you will be on Sunday night. There are some unique benefits to sitting in sectors located toward the beginning of the parade route. You will experience less lag time between the conclusion of one samba school’s procession and the beginning of the next school’s performance, and more importantly, you will have the full excitement and exhilaration of watching the opening performance of a school’s parade. The crowd goes wild, and the locals normally find the beginning moments of the parade to be the most exciting as a whole year has passed since the school’s last performance. 

This second visit will give you the opportunity to see all 12 of the schools so you can choose your own winner! You will be exhausted after a second visit but it’s a fantastic experience. Included is your Sambadrome ticket, Metro tickets and a guide to accompany you to and from the Sambadrome (not staying with you).

Optional Join the Parade - £525

Watching the parade is one thing but actually taking part in the parade is a real thrill and an unparalleled experience. You will be a part of one of the ground wings or alas, parading between the massive floats that make up the parade. Each school has between 65 and 80 minutes to parade and each ala/wing passes through the Sambadrome in about 30-40 minutes - it is exhausting but unforgettable! The alas provide a massive display of colour and movement - each school has about 25 alas and each one tells a part of the overall story/ theme of the Samba school. The alas get judged for their stamina throughout their parade and the singing. Being able to samba is not necessary – there is a kind of jumping, bouncing way that people parade to overall create the whole feeling of strength and happiness. You will be one of the approx 4,000 paraders in a school and each and every person must put their utmost energy into their performance for the school. This is the most important event of the year for Cariocas (the people from Rio) and you will be playing a part on the biggest stage in the world! It is an amazing once in a lifetime experience you will never forget.

Your costume will be delivered to the hotel ready for the parade, and is yours to keep! You will be joining the Vila Isabel samba school who is the first to parade on Monday. The meeting time will be around 19:00 hrs and the starting time is 21:00 hrs. The actual parade lasts about 1 hour. You will be accompanied by a guide to the starting point. Please note that Metro tickets are included but entry into the Sambadrome is not included. If you should wish to enter the Sambadrome as a spectator then you will need to buy a separate ticket.

Please note that Brazilian shoe size and clothing sizes are needed at the time of booking - click here to view a conversion table and guide for sizing. For shoe sizes it is advisable to order one size larger than usual as the shoes are often very tight. 

Day 5: Tuesday

Today is free day for you to explore the city and an opportunity to have a walk along the beaches, maybe a swim or maybe just a long lie in! The famous sweep of Copacabana Beach is probably the most talked about length of sand on the planet. It is a fantastic location with Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) at one end whilst far in the distance you see further peaks covered in Atlantic rainforest. There are plenty of small cafes serving drinks and snacks along the beachside pavement, when you are ready for a break from the sand. In this stunning location even the pavements are beautiful, with white and black tiles forming waves and patterns. Late evening there's the option to attend the famous gay ball!

Optional Gay Ball - 80 GBP

The balls at Carnival are part of the whole experience and this has been the most popular ball from previous years. If you are going to visit just one ball then this is the one we recommend! Put aside any inhibitions you may have, get your costume sorted - plenty of glitter absolutely necessary - and get dancing with all the other partygoers. It is a fantastic experience and people are generally very friendly with loads of photo opportunities and some incredible sights! Music is a variety of samba and more modern music so there's something for everyone, and if dancing is really not your thing there is plenty of people watching to do. The venue itself is like a night club rather than a lavish ballroom as the name might suggest, so the glitter and glam is created by the ballgoers rather than by the locality. The ball can startle some people but it really is a memorable event and one which you will talk about long after carnival has been and gone. Make sure you save a bit of energy for this climax to carnival. The ball goes from midnight on Tuesday until the early hours of Wednesday morning and the ticket includes an open bar for water/soft drinks/beer/caipirinha as well as assorted finger foods.

Please note that transport is not included but it is easy to share a taxi there and back with fellow revellers. Please also note that you may be able to find cheaper tickets once you are in Rio. However, previous years tickets have been known to sell out and as a result have changed hands at more than double face value during the days leading up to the ball.

Day 6: Wednesday

This marks the end of the Carnival package. If you're joining an overland trip there will be a pre-departure meeting tonight.

 

Additional Carnival notes

Optional activies – All the optional activities listed above need to be booked prior to arrival at Carnival and by 15 December 2016 at the latest. This can be done by contacting Dragoman's sales team or your agent. More details can be found here.

Accommodation – This is on a shared basis (twin, triple or quad share) with breakfast included daily but no other meals. All rooms are en-suite with air-conditioning, TV, fridge and safe. There is a single supplement available at an additional cost of £390; please enquire with your sales agent at the time of booking if you should wish to purchase the single supplement. 

Money changing – Banks will be closed over most of Carnival but some money changers stay open although exchange rates are not always that good. Cash will give you the best exchange rates - usually USD, GBP and EUR are easily exchanged. Travellers Cheques whilst being the safest option will give you a poorer exchange rate - American Express Office is open through Carnival for exchange. Cash machines are located nearby to the hotel but can run out of money, so plan in advance and be very aware of theft and fraud.

Crew – Although there are likely to be over 100 people attending carnival you will be split into groups of no more than 25 for the included activities, each group being allocated a Dragoman leader.

There is no kitty. Accommodation is on a B&B basis, in shared rooms and is covered by the tour cost.

You may wish to consider bringing the following items with you to Rio Carnival:

The Wild Andes Trek, Classic Inca Trek and train package – more information

The Wild Andes Trek

Dragoman first developed and launched their pioneering Community Trek, the Tarpuy Yachay project, in 2006 - a fantastic, award-winning alternative to the Classic Inca Trek, the project also helped several educational and sustainable development initiatives in the Andean villages of Quishuarani and Cuncani.

After almost a decade of this successful venture, we decided that our support could be better used in a new area. In 2013, Dragoman developed an exclusive, brand new Community Trek to take our passengers really off the beaten track, to enjoy pure, unspoilt Andean trails, explore remote Inca ruins, whilst at the same time finding new ways to 'give back' to the people of the area. We have done this by funding the release of alpaca herds, offering training to local people in animal husbandry and weaving to provide a source of income. Another aspect of this project has been reforestation, which is crucial for preventing landslides to protect the local area.

In 2016, we decided to rename our Community Trek "the Wild Andes Trek", because we feel it better represents the trek we run. However, nothing has changed but the name - Dragoman's firm commitment to genuine, responsible tourism continues as it always has, so rest assured that whilst you take to the mountains your money is supporting local people. The Wild Andes Trek follows the same route that we have been following since 2013, which boasts some of Peru's most spectacular and remote mountain scenery.

The Classic Trek

Of course if you prefer, there is also the option to complete the Classic Inca Trek, so called, because the trek follows the old royal route to Machu Picchu.  Over the course of four days you will trek over 40km through farmland, cloud forest and mountain scenery, the trek culminates on the final morning where you will rise early to trek to Intipunku, better known as the Sun Gate, where you will catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.  Here we can take our time to watch the mist clear over the Citadel, and walk down to the site and have some time to enjoy it before we have our guided tour.

The Train Package

For those of you who would prefer to take Machu Picchu at a gentler pace, we offer our non-trekking, Train Package.  As part of this package you will enjoy a guided tour of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley, followed by 2 days to relax or explore Cuzco at your own pace. Finally you will transfer to Ollantaytambo where you will spend the night in a lovely hotel and have time to explore the fascinating and impressive fortress here. Our your final morning you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, and then onwards to Machu Picchu for your tour and free time to explore.

General

Whichever option you choose, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience at one of the most impressive and iconic World Heritage Sites.

The kitty has been budgeted to include the cost of the Classic Inca Trek as this is the most expensive option. This means that you will receive a small kitty refund if you do the Wild Andes Trek, and a substantial kitty refund if you do the Train Package.

PLEASE NOTE: You must tell us at the time of booking if you want to book the Classic Inca Trek or the Train Package. If you do not tell us this you will automatically be booked onto the Wild Andes Trek.

In order to book the relevant permits and tickets, it is vital that you provide the following information at the time of booking:

Please be sure that all the details are correct and are for the same passport on which you will travel to Peru - any changes made after your application is submitted may not be granted and will involve fees being charged to you. Changes to name and nationality after your application is submitted are absolutely not allowed, so please ensure no changes of this sort will be needed. 

There is an overlap for the Inca treks. This means a group starting a trip in Lima or La Paz will do the Inca trek at the same time as a group starting their trip in Cuzco. This means there could be several groups on the Inca trek at the same time.

Inclusions
Wild Andes Trek
Classic Inca Trek
Train Package
Professional bi-lingual Guides Professional bi-lingual Guides Professional bi-lingual Guides
Guided tour of Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Guided tour of Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Guided tour of Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
All transport between Cuzco and Machu Picchu All transport between Cuzco and Machu Picchu All transport between Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Return Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes Train from Aguas Callientes to Ollantaytambo Return Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
One night accommodation in Ollantaytambo One night accommodation in Ollantaytambo Three nights accommodation in Cuzco and one night accommodation in Ollantaytambo
Entrance to Machu Picchu Entrance to Machu Picchu Entrance to Machu Picchu
High quality double-occupancy tents, sleeping mat and camping equipment High quality double-occupancy tents, sleeping mat and camping equipment  
Hot water in the morning for washing

Hot water in the morning for washing

 

 
Drinking water throughout the trek Drinking water throughout the trek  
Dining tent, kitchen tent, latrine tent Dining tent, kitchen tent, latrine tent  
First Aid Kit and Oxygen First Aid Kit and Oxygen  
Team of Camp staff, Porters and Cooks Team of Camp staff, Porters and Cooks  
All camping meals (vegetarian and gluten free meals can be catered for) All camping meals (vegetarian and gluten free meals can be catered for)  
Pack animals and emergency horse in case of injury    


 

Benefits of the Wild Andes Trek 
Benefits of the Classic Inca Trek
Trekking Fitness 

Trekking at altitude should not be undertaken lightly. Regardless of which trek you choose, you need to be in good health with good physical fitness to enjoy the experience. It is not about speed; trekking slowly is far better at altitude but you do need to have the stamina to keep going and altitude can have a negative impact on your general condition and physical performance. For your own safety you must accept that it is at the complete discretion of the professional trekking guides to decide if you are not fit enough to trek, whether it be before or during the trek. The Wild Andes Trek reaches 4,700 m in altitude when we cross one of the passes. The trail can be steep and rocky but has few steps. The Classic Inca Trek has lots of steps and the highest pass is Dead Woman's Pass at 4,200 m. If you are in any doubt about your suitability to trek please consult your local doctor.  We recommend arriving in Cuzco at least 24 hours prior to your trip starting (if you are joining in Cuzco). It is also important that you inform your trekking guides and Tour Leaders of any pre-existing medical issues, as well as any medications you may be taking, especially medication for altitude sickness.

Trekking - what to bring

Tents, sleeping mats and all food and drinking water during the trek are provided, as well as duffle bags for your personal gear that you don't need to access during the trekking hours (such as sleeping bags and extra clothes). On the Wild Andes Trek your duffle bag will be carried by pack animals and on the Classic Trek your duffle bag will be carried by porters. Please note that there is therefore a strict weight limit of 6 kgs per bag. You will have to carry your own daypack with any items you need during the day.

You will need to be prepared for 4 seasons' weather in one day. Basically it will be cold after dark and in the mornings. During the night you will need to layer up with thermals and warm socks. In the morning when you've walked for a little while you will warm up and gradually strip off. Think layers! Wild Andes trekkers, you should also bring a set of clean clothes for the night you will spend in Ollantaytambo where you have hot showers and the evening meal out in a restaurant.

Some very useful things to bring:


We recommend a tip of US$20 for your guide and perhaps US$30 for all the rest of the staff. 

Responsible Trekking

Frostbite, altitude sickness and even death can be the cost for the guides and trekking staff. Tourism Concern has a campaign aimed to put a stop to the abuse of trekking staff's human rights. Equally pack animals suffer abuse and mistreatment. Mountain trekking is exhilarating and challenging, but how could many of us do it without the assistance of trekking staff? Once they have started a trek, trekkers are often horrified by the reality of the working conditions for the staff.

The prices that tour operators charge for trekking does vary enormously, mainly due to the rates of pay and conditions that the trekking crew receive. It is easy to book a trip based purely on price, but in the case of trips involving Inca trails, this will probably be because the tour operator is using local suppliers without regard to the treatment of porters and guides.

In keeping with our Responsible Tourism Policies, Dragoman has a strict Suppliers' Policy, which also covers our trekking partners. We follow Tourism Concern's policies on trekking companies and the way that guides, porters or animals are looked after. We therefore use a local Cuzco-based trekking company called Andina Travel to run all our Inca trails trekking trips. They have an excellent trekking record and good, knowledgeable guides. They have been at the cutting edge of developing codes of responsible tourism practice and involving the local Quechuan communities in the development of their various treks. They supply us with evidence of their code of practice concerning their guides, staff and pack animals.

Please bear this in mind when deciding which travel company you will travel with. Remember many of the trekking organisations, as well as many overseas tour operators who use these suppliers, are happy to promote low cost trips, even if it is at the expense of the welfare of the guides and porters that they use.

Communities Supported

The communities that we support are remote Andean farming communities with traditions dating back to the Incas. They are primarily Quechua speaking, with some Spanish, and little contact with the general population. Their daily lives consist of potato cultivation, weaving, and the herding of llamas, alpacas, and sheep. Considered by the Peruvian government to be living in extreme poverty, they often face malnutrition, severely cold weather, poor hygienic conditions, and little medical or health assistance. Villagers live in thatched-roof stone huts and cook with firewood. Because of the disproportionate supply and demand of native trees and bush, there is a great need for an effective reforestation project in the area. Since 2006, Dragoman has worked with Ecoam (who helps us with our reforestation project) and thanks to the support from Dragoman and our passengers, the area we used to visit around Quishuarani, Cuncani and part of the mountain range of Lares has been declared a Private Landscape Reserve.

The fairly recent introduction of tourism to the region has brought some needed assistance and economic development to the communities, but there is still much more to do. Our local trekking operator working within the guidelines of sustainable tourism has met with the communities and discussed the pros and cons of tourism in the area. Together they have established still un-official guidelines for trekking and tourism through the Cordillera such as: established campsites to avoid contamination of community areas, use of community animals and personnel on treks, training of community members through workshops on camp maintenance, hygiene, client service to enhance their economic viability, maintenance of camp trails, camp sites, and environmental conservation. Many agencies respect these guidelines, but because making things official often brings on unwanted government intervention, they are an informal agreement between the communities, agencies, and tourists.

Multiple departures and amended itineraries

South America is very busy for travel at certain times of the year, particularly in connection with the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro but also at other times of the year. Please note that there may be more than just one truck on your specific departure date, and these trucks will travel in parallel with each other.

Trucks on multiple departures will operate on slightly different itineraries and your day to day itinerary may vary from your trip notes. You will of course still visit all the highlights listed, and the presence of other trucks can make for a great atmosphere. If you should have any concerns then please contact your sales agent.

Even on the majority of our trips where there is only the one truck, you may from time to time meet up with other groups at points on the road, and may partake in activities jointly with other groups on these occasions.

This may also occur occasionally in Africa, but is very unlikely in Asia or North and Central America.

Physical Preparation

South America Physical Preparation

South America is diverse continent, from high altitudes in the dry Andes, the steamy and humid Amazon, the cold moorlands of Patagonia, to the lush green pampas of northern Argentina. You should therefore be prepared for the full gambit of climates. There will be time for hiking and many other activities such as horse riding and white water rafting, and you will need to be reasonably fit to be able to participate in everything on offer.

Overland travel can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You will need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts.

The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. By and large the South America trips have a good range of hotel accommodation mixed up with camping so that life is not too rough.

We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.

Physical preparation for Central America Itineraries

Central America is diverse continent so you should therefore be prepared for the adventure. There will be time for hiking and other activities such as horse riding, and you will need to be reasonably fit to participate in everything on offer.

Overland travel can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You will need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts.

The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. The Central America trips have a good range of hotel accommodation mixed up with camping so that life is not too rough.

We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.

Visa Information

Many countries that we visit on our travels will require visas to enter. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.

The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible. Please read the information very carefully to make sure everything is clear and you aware of what you need to do. Please also be aware that rules surrounding visas do change, often suddenly, and without prior warning. This is why it is important that you also double-check the information we provide for yourself.

For visas that are needed in advance, you may wish to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. If you require any supporting documentation for your visa applications, Dragoman will obtain this on your behalf as part of your trip price - we will contact you to request additional information in order to make this application for you.

However, for trips that involve multiple visas, you may find it beneficial to use a specialist visa agency to assist you with your applications. While this does sometimes increase the cost, it usually makes the process much easier for you. We have a long-running partnership with The Visa Machine, a specialist visa agent who we recommend to help you apply for your visas (especially if you are applying for several countries at the same time).

As you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure.

Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry into the country.

For trips that are not yet guaranteed, you may find yourself in the position whereby you will need to start the visa application process prior to your trip being guaranteed - in this situation we still advise you not to purchase flights until your trip is guaranteed. However, you can start your visa application process, ensuring that when applying for your visas or letters of invitation that you allow several days before and after your entry into the country to allow for delays, availability of flights, etc. 

Colombia 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Colombia as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Please note that citizens of Canada will need to pay a reciprocity fee of COP160,000 (approximately USD70 - 2015 price) upon entry to Colombia.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

Guatemala

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Guatemala as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Ecuador 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Ecuador as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance. Only a very small number of nationalities will require a visa.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Peru 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Peru as a tourist for up to 183 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance. Only a very small number of nationalities will require a visa.

Bolivia 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most EU countries will not need a visa to visit Bolivia as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of South Africa and certain Eastern European countries will need a visa, and this can be obtained on arrival at all land borders and airports into Bolivia. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa on arrival is USD65. Please make sure you check which documentation you need to bring to obtain a visa on arrival. Dragoman can help with hotel lists if required.

Citizens of the USA will need a visa, and this will have to obtained in advance. We recommend that you obtain this at the Bolivian Consulate in Washington or one of the other five consulates in the USA - please apply through the website at http://www.boliviawdc.org and follow all instructions for a tourist visa. If this is not possible before you travel, and you are travelling overland into Bolivia, it is possible to obtain a visa at the Bolivian Consulate in Salta, Argentina or Cuzco, Peru (please be careful that you aren't due to be there on a weekend or national holiday). At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD160 for USA passport holders. Please make sure you check which documentation you need to bring to obtain a visa on arrival. Dragoman can help with hotel lists if required.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required, and whether it will be necessary to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

El Salvador

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit El Salvador as a tourist for up to 90 days. Certain nationalities will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD10.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Chile

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not need a visa to visit Chile as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Please note that citizens of Australia will need to pay a reciprocity fee of USD117 (2015 price) upon entry to Chile. This will be valid for mulitple entries to Chile over 90 days, and can be paid in cash or by card upon arrival.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

Brazil

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Brazil as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and the USA will need a visa to visit Brazil. You will need to obtain the visa in advance. You can arrange this in advance of your travel by applying directly yourself with your nearest Brazilian Consulate, or by hiring a specialist visa agency to make the application on your behalf. Please note that most Brazilian consulates do not accept postal applications, so require either you or a visa agent to make an appointment in person – there are also strict rules regarding where you can apply for your visa, and the application will be rejected if it is not made at the consulate nearest to where you are ‘resident’, so please check the consulate’s jurisdiction before your application.

Another option to obtain the visa is by applying at the Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is possible for most foreign tourists, but you will need to allow at least 3 working days for the visa to be processed, and you must make an appointment and fill out a visa request form online prior to your arrival at the embassy, and there are strict requirements for what supporting documents you will need – please visit the embassy’s website here for more information and to set up your appointment: http://www.conbrasil.org.ar/CONSBRASIL/visas_otros01engl.asp

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

Honduras

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Honduras as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Argentina

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Argentina as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Please note that citizens of Australia and Canada will need to pay a reciprocity fee in order to enter Argentina. This fee must be paid online and in advance – please go to https://reciprocidad.provincianet.com.ar/ , sign up for an account, and pay the appropriate fee for your nationality; then they will send a receipt to your email address which you must print out to present at the border. Please note that it must be done this way, and you cannot just pay this fee at the border in any circumstance.

At the time of writing (2015), the amounts are as follows:

Australians - USD100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from the date of issue)
Canadians - USD75 (single entry) or USD150 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

Nicaragua

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Nicaragua as a tourist for up to 90 days. All visitors will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD10.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required, and whether it will be necessary to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Costa Rica

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Costa Rica as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Panama

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Panama as a tourist for up to 180 days. Certain nationalities will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD5.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance.

Flying to Central or South America via the USA or Canada

If your flight to Central or South America goes via the USA, then you must obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before travel (except for citizens of Canada, who will not require this). Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and most EU countries are part of the USA’s Visa Waiver Scheme and are eligible to obtain an ESTA.

An ESTA must be obtained online and in advance via the following link and paying the appropriate fee - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ - please note that you will be denied boarding your flight if you do not have this arranged.

If you are not eligible for an ESTA, then you will have to obtain a B-1/B-2 visa for temporary visitors, and you will need to obtain it in advance. In this case it would be advisable to book flights that do not go via the USA.

Please note that if you have travelled to Iran, Sudan, Iraq or Syria since March 2011, or hold dual-nationality with one of these countries, then you will not be eligible for an ESTA and must instead apply for a visa. There are some exceptions to this, please see the following link for more details - http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/01/251577.htm.

Similarly, if your flight to Central or South America goes via Canada, then you must obtain a Canadian Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before travel (except for citizens of the USA, who will not require this). Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, most EU countries, South Korea and Japan are part of Canada's Visa Waiver Scheme and are eligible to obtain an eTA.

An eTA must be arranged online and in advance – please go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/ , apply and pay the appropriate fee.

If you are not eligible for an eTA, then you will have to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa, and you will need to obtain it in advance. In this case it would be advisable to book flights that do not go via Canada. Please note that several Eastern European nationalities will need a visa.

Personal Spending

South America Currencies and Cash

It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!

For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, a sensible mix of cash and ATM cards is best. Most of our past passengers have said they wished they had been told to bring more cash. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash.

More and more people are choosing to travel with cash passports such as TravelEx cards (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM within each country.

Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change in South America with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips and do not recommend that you bring them for your personal spending money.

You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are no more than 8 years old. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Brazil can be difficult for changing money, so it’s handy to have a cash card as backup. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over USD50.

Please note that due to a recent counterfeit scam central banks in several South American countries (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile) have temporarily banned the circulation of USD100 notes bearing a series 2001 production date and a serial number starting with the letters CB or CF and ending in B2. The serial number is printed in green on the emblem.

Cash machines are readily available in most areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges. Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities.

Personal Spending - North and Central America

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on trips in North and Central America, we recommend you allow between USD20 and USD40 per day.

This will cover individual expenses such as drinks, meals whilst out and also when staying in hotels, souvenirs, tips, and personal permits.

What else you need to know

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

Dragoman was founded in 1981, and has had many years of experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose-built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up-close. Your journey will be overland, sometimes across vast distances, so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey, you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip, you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores, etc.

Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out!

We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our overland journeys, but before we do there are a few things we would like to draw to your attention.

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Who Travels with Dragoman?

Our groups are made up of people from around the world, and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split between males to females, and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible, and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18 (or 7 on our Family Trips), as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the wonderful aspects of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and the variety of people that you will meet.

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Group Size

The maximum group size we take on our overland journeys ranges from 19 to 22 depending on the geographical location; however the average number of passengers is more likely to be around 16.

Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips in Cuzco and during the Inca Treks. This means a group starting a trip in Cuzco will embark on the Inca Trail at the same time as a group finishing in or travelling through Cuzco. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Cuzco and on the Inca Trail at the same time.

Please note that there is also an overlap of 2 trips in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi, for example, will visit Zanzibar at the same time as a group starting their trip there. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

Please also note that on some departures there may be more than one truck doing the same route. This means that you will be in the same hotel or campsite as another Dragoman group on some days. To ensure that you are not always at the same place at the same time as another group, your itinerary will most likely be slightly altered from the itinerary advertised in these trip notes.

Our Crew and Guides

Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 8 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to 6 months on the road as a trainee. Our crew are trained to manage and operate the trip safely and efficiently and their duties include: planning the trip according to the itinerary, driving and maintaining the truck, securing services of local guides, general logistics, health and safety, liaising with bureaucracy, dealing with issues where needed and offering advice and support to our customers. In addition they have a basic knowledge of the places visited and will be able to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your tour leader is new to a particular region or training other crew, new to the area.

On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. However on our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. On trips south of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes.

In the rest of Africa, the Americas, India and Turkey, in addition to our crew we will employ local guides in specific locations of interest (for just a few hours up to a few days).

On the majority of our trips in Central Asia, China and South East Asia, in addition to our crew we will have a local guide on board who will travel with us for the entire duration of our time within one country. In these cases, the local guide becomes a third crew member and is able to offer their local knowledge as well as an insight into their country and the lives of the local people.

Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.

Accommodation on Tour

Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels or hostels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip and whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation from time to time.

The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary greatly depending on what options are available at the time; hotels can vary from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to high standard hotels with good facilities! Generally in hotels most rooms will be twin-share, but in South America many rooms are triple-share. Hostels, gers and yurts are nearly always multi-share.

The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we wild camp away from the tourist crowds. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays allowing us to get close to the indigenous population and ensuring that our money stays within the local community.

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The Kitty

In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip (please note that there is no kitty on our Family Trips). The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.

The kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not whilst staying in hotels)

• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park or historical site entrances, excursions, etc.).

The kitty system is very unique to overlanding and we believe it allows us to have flexibility and transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive and save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties, as they are the group's fund. We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice, and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip, then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund.

Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount.

The kitty is payable in full at the start of your trip (in installments at the start of each individual trip on combination trips). Alternatively you can pay in advance via a bank transfer 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip - please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v6.pdf for more details - this letter will also be sent in your booking confirmation upon booking a trip. Please also note that this option is not available for our trips to West Africa or Iran.

If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please try to pay in the specified currency on the website (usually in US Dollars). Your tour leader will be able to accept some of the kitty in local currency if needed, and they will let you know the exchange rate locally - in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines, using either a cash passport or a credit/debit card. Please bear in mind that most cards have a maximum withdrawal amount per day, local ATMs may run out of cash, and your bank could block the card despite you warning them of your travel plans, so it could be impractical to try to get the entire kitty out from an ATM.

Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly impossible to change around the world, with passengers and our leaders having experienced frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change them. For this reason we cannot accept traveller's cheques on our trips.

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Meals and Group Participation

On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journeys, the meals are included in the kitty. This means that you will have to work together to cook for everyone in your group. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your group's turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people using a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple! (On trips south of Nairobi we have a cook on board the truck; however you will still be required to help them to prepare meals).

An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.

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Dietary Requirements

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. Our crew will try to cater for any particular dietary requirement or food intolerance whenever possible. However, it must be remembered that it may not always be possible and the variety of dishes may be severely limited in comparison to those available to others. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet, that you would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring this with you. Depending on your particular requirements, you may need to allow yourself some extra spending money to allow you to purchase extra food items.

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Itineraries

Our itineraries are developed and published with the best of intentions, however travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip, but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This being said, the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a priority for Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

• Local contacts we have built up over many years of experience.

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advice when deciding where and where we are unable to travel. We will base our decisions on itineraries and alterations to published routes based on their advice rather than the advice of other governments.

However, we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. If there are any travel warnings present for the region you will travel to, as well as considering whether you are happy to travel despite the warning you must also check to ensure that it is not invalidating your travel insurance. Here are a few useful addresses:

UK -  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

New Zealand - http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

United States - http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

Canada - http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp

Dragoman has also teamed up with the UK Foreign and commonwealth office (FCO) in their 'Know before you go campaign' www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo. This website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up-to-date country information to help you plan a safe trip. We recommend you check this out before you travel. We will advise you of any significant changes in advice before travel or whilst you are overseas.

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Health

You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assessed your ability to cope with our style of travel. To help you assess if this trip is suitable, please refer to the physical rating. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases you should be prepared for some long driving days and possibly limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, you are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to yourself and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude you from all or part of the trip without a refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information prior to travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. We also advise you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurers upon purchase.

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Altitude

Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. For trips that travel to areas of high altitude, the tour leader will issue you with a self-assessment altitude questionnaire which allows you to monitor how you are coping with the altitude and informs you of danger signals so that you can reports these as soon as possible, either to the tour leader or a medical professional.

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Yellow Fever

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

Some areas that we travel to have a risk of contracting malaria. If you will travel through these areas, it's always best to get expert advice before travelling about the types of malaria pills available, whether they are recommended, and take any that are prescribed as instructed. Consult your GP or travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements.

Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika are continuing to spread and are becoming a bigger problem around the world. Mosquito bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases, as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available. Health professionals have issued warnings for pregnant women travelling to areas affected by the Zika virus - please see more information here.

The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn, so covering up by wearing long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light-coloured and buttoned at the wrists, can help. Do not sleep without closing your windows, tent door, etc. and use a mosquito net in hotels or if sleeping outside where there are mosquitos present. Use mosquito repellent applied directly to your skin or soaked into your clothing.

Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights and in hotel rooms, but cannot be used inside the tents.

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Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations and other health protections vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest specific health advice on the regions and countries you are planning to travel in, so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel. The following websites are also a helpful resource: www.nathnac.org and www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

In the UK, we have been working with Nomad Travel for many years and their website has comprehensive, up-to-date vaccination and health information. You will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.

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Safety & Security

At Dragoman your safety is of paramount importance and we will do our best to ensure that your travel with us is safe and trouble-free, but we do ask that you take that little bit of extra care whilst you are away and to understand about the nature of this style of travel.

Of course we want you to have an enjoyable time, but you must also remember that part of the enjoyment of travel is experiencing a different way of life and cultures. This may also mean experiencing different safety and hygiene standards than those you are normally used to.

Therefore, please take note of the following safety tips and follow any local safety advice or briefings delivered by our crew or any third-party suppliers we use during your trip.

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Transport Safety

• Our own vehicles have fully-fitted seat belts; make sure you always belt up.

• If you find a safety belt inoperable or missing on one of our vehicles, please inform the crew immediately.

• Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that other vehicles we may use or recommend in some countries will be fitted with seat belts on every seat as it is not a legal requirement in much of the world.

• Please remain seated on board vehicles at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells.

• Ensure you know where your nearest Emergency exit is; this may be a designated emergency exit, a window, a door, or a roof hatch.

• Check the location of the fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver.

• Our vehicles are fitted with roof seats which can be used in certain conditions, such as when driving at low speeds, off main tarmac roads, etc. They can only be used with the express permission of the crew and you must never sit in them without seat belts.

Road Safety

• Traffic in some countries travels on the opposite side of the road to what you may be used to, so ensure you look both ways before crossing the road.

• In many countries vehicles do not automatically stop at crossings and driving styles may be very unpredictable, so please remain very vigilant when near roads and vehicles.

• Crash helmets are often not provided with mopeds and motorbikes overseas – we do not recommend you hire these vehicles.

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

• Ensure you know where your nearest fire exit is and check to ensure that it is operative.

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.

• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.

• Proceed to an assembly point well away from the building.

• Electrics in hotels in many of the places that we visit will not be up to the same standards as at home. Please ensure that you check rooms, especially bathrooms and are aware of any issues that look unsafe. If in doubt inform the crew who will endeavour to sort the situation out if possible.

• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, have dangerous gaps between the stairs and the wall, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care.

• We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes, they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or homestays.

Fire Safety – Campsites

• Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is.

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

• Observe any regulations regarding fires and bushfires in dry conditions.

• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.

• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.

• Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite.

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group the tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

• No open flames, smoking or flammable liquids in or near the tents.

• Ensure the cooking area is well away from the tents.

• Ensure all water for cooking and drinking is purified first.

• Ensure any soil toilets are a minimum of 50m away from the tents and the cooking area.

• All food waste should be burned or buried a minimum of 100m away from the site.

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife in the area.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

• Be aware of any local security issues that might be important.

• Do not set out tents close to perimeter fences which may be a security risk.

• Be aware of the security arrangements and local guards for campsite and if in doubt ask them where and where not to pitch tents.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with campsite.

• When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp, ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group.

Food Safety

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

• Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold.

• Avoid any uncooked food, except fruit and vegetables (notably those you can peel or shell yourself).

• In many countries you should only drink bottled water or purified water and ensure any seal is intact when purchasing bottles.

• On the Dragoman vehicles we have a tank of drinking water that is kept purified by the crew.

• Avoid ice in drinks as this can cause upset stomachs in hot climates.

• Make sure you wash your hands in antibacterial product when preparing and/or eating food.

• Many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the western world. Unfortunately this is a reality of life in these regions. Therefore please think carefully about where you eat, what food you order and be aware of the risks.

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Personal Safety
 

One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly-equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on-hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow:

• Follow the crew’s specific safety advice in each destination.

• Always remain aware and vigilant, and stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable.

• Avoid carrying too much money.

• Always avoid carrying your passport, driving licence, air tickets, and other valuable items around with you unless this is essential. Instead, keep valuables such as this locked away in the truck's safe, or the safety deposit box in the room or reception of the hotel/hostel.

• If you are carrying cash, cards or valuables, use a money belt or neck wallet which are more easily concealed and more difficult to pickpocket.

• Do not take any valuable jewellery, watches, etc. away with you in the first place.

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

• If possible avoid walking around on your own; it is always safer to explore with others.

• Always try to walk with confidence and purpose, which will help you avoid looking like a lost tourist!

• Take special care when walking to avoid spraining or twisting your ankle on potholes, cobbles and uneven ground. 

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included (e.g. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas, visiting the Taj Mahal, etc.), whilst others are optional (e.g. white water rafting in Uganda, zip-lining in Costa Rica, etc.). Some of these activities require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip and its activities to their fullest.

Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish, or have the physical ability, to take part.

Optional activities mentioned by Dragoman are not included in the trip price or kitty, and do not form part of your contract with Dragoman. As such you accept that any assistance given by Dragoman crew members or local representatives in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The Dragoman crew are assisting you in arranging these activities for your added enjoyment whilst on your trip. The operators of these services and optional extras are local suppliers who contract directly with the client ‘on the road’, subject to and in accordance with their own terms and conditions. Dragoman accepts no liability for any action or activity undertaken by the client which is arranged independently of Dragoman while on tour. Crew may take part in an optional activity but do so as private individuals and not as company representatives.

Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.

Ensure that you use the appropriate equipment on optional activities, including life jackets, helmets, etc. This is especially important on activities such as horse riding, white-water rafting, etc.

Always ensure that your travel medical insurance covers you for all included and optional activities that you wish to participate in.

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Included Activities

Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not necessarily be refunded; this is something you will need to check with your leader.

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Optional Activities

A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This list is designed to be a helpful guide as to what is commonly available in each location, and is neither an exhaustive list, a guarantee that the activity is available, or an endorsement or recommendation. Please note that certain activities may not be available on your particular visit if they are overbooked, underbooked, out of season, or for any other reason - the list of activities is made according to our latest information and in the best faith, but please be aware that things may change between our last visit and your arrival. Please also note that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, and it is recommended to give yourself extra time in your joining or ending city if you would like to participate in some optional activities there. 

Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated - again, these prices are displayed according to our latest information and in the best faith, but prices do fluctuate due to exchange rates, season, numbers of participants, and simple increases from the operator - any prices listed are a guide only and certainly cannot be guaranteed. 

Optional activities are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Dragoman nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Dragoman. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or optional activity form for some optional activities.

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Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.

We recommend that any policy has a minimum medical (including repatriation) cover of £5,000,000. We recommend that any policy also has a minimum level of cover for Personal Liability of £2,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000 (or the full cost of your trip). Cover for loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice although please bear in mind that personal effects are more likely to go missing whilst travelling and you should ensure that your policy is adequate to cover the value of your personal effects e.g. cameras, tablets, phones, ipods, etc. Please note that Dragoman is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss. Please note that you should be insured for trip postponment or cancellation purposes immediately upon paying a deposit.

Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity that you intend to undertake (whether included or optional). As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding, etc., and that the 24-hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries - for example, that they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. On activities or side trips that are not recommended by us, please ensure you are happy with the safety of the activity before participating.

Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas. Many credit card medical insurance policies are not valid for travelling outside your country of residence or outside the EU.

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Our Liability Insurance

Dragoman has comprehensive passenger vehicle liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £5,000,000 and £10,000,000 per incident respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.

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Emergency Contact

We have a dedicated 24-hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left your home country to start the trip and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985 106564

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Luggage & Kit List

Although you will not have to carry your main bag for long distances, you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the truck's back locker which will be inaccessible during a drive day, so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use. Please be aware that due to the constant dust and vibrations your luggage bag will be subject to extreme wear and tear.

The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than a large rucksack with a capacity of about 80 litres (approximately 70cm high, 40cm wide, and 40cm deep). The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats, so you'll need to bring those with you*.

Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to - there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember that even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.

For a general idea of what you need, this list provides a guide:

• Sleeping bag* - check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert, mountain and high-altitude regions and Patagonia can be very cold, especially in winter months.

• Sleeping bag liner* (or sheet folded and sewn up on 2 sides) - this will help keep your sleeping bag clean, provide extra insulation on cold nights, and can be used on its own on warm nights.

• Ground mat or compressed foam*.

• A day pack is useful for short hikes in the countryside, wandering around cities, etc., and also for keeping inside the vehicle for items used during the day.

• 2 sets of comfortable travelling clothes (light, easily washable cotton clothes are best).

• 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Men should bring a pair of trousers that covers al their legs and women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship.

• 2 pairs of shorts.

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking.

• 1 pair of sunglasses.

• Warm sweater/fleeces.

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood.

• 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes/boots (or ankle height canvas jungle boots).

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops.

• Underwear and socks  - thermals are also a good idea if you are travelling to altitude, Patagonia or to the desert, as it can get very cold at night.

• Swimwear.

• 2 small towels.

• Washing kit, including a small mirror.

• Clothes washing detergent, small scrubbing brush and washing line (just a length of cord).

• Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs - only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5V batteries are widely available en route.

• Passport photos - at least 4, and more if you are applying for visas en route.

• Good water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity.

• A pouch or money belt to be worn inside your clothing, or an unobtrusive pocket sewn into the inside of a pair of loose fitting trousers.

• Alarm clock.

• Pocket calculator - useful when exchanging money.

• Writing materials and notebook/diary.

• Multi purpose knife.

• Mosquito net - the tents supplied by us have mosquito netting and you will only need a net if you think you will sleep out under the stars a lot of the time.

• "Wet Wipes" (moistened tissues) and hand gel.

• Toilet paper - this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route, but one roll may be worth packing.

• Assorted sized plastic bags - protects clothing and equipment from dust and damp.

• Extra batteries for your camera, etc., as there may are only limited opportunities to recharge them en route.

For a comprehensive kit list, take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. Dragoman customers can receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click here to see the kit list - http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/c/381/Overland

*For trips with camping nights.

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Personal Medical Kit

All of our trucks have a standard motorist's first aid kit on board for use in emergency situations only. The first aid kit is in compliance with UK standards for first aid provision within motor vehicles, and contain supplies to treat road side injuries. We do not carry prescription medications, therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit.

In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce travel medical kits. They have been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contain everything you would need for any minor incidents and health issues. For more details please visit their website:

Overlander kit (including painkillers) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2910/Overlander-Medical-Kit-(P)

Independent kit (including painkillers and antibiotics) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2909/Independent-Medical-Kit-(POM)

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Passports

Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of your trip - this is important as some countries WILL refuse entry to anyone whose passport is due to expire. A temporary or 'visitor's' passport is not valid on our trips. You will need to provide us with your passport details prior to departing for your trip. If you change your passport, please remember to inform us as soon as possible - however, please be aware that changing your passport can cause big problems if you need to apply for visas or permits (such as the Inca Trail or Gorilla Trekking) in advance.

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Pre and Post Trip Accommodation and Connecting Flights

At Dragoman we believe you should make the most of the places you visit, so if you would like to see more of the joining or finishing point cities, why not book additional accommodation to extend your stay? Dragoman can take away the hassle of time zones and language barriers by making the booking for you. This accommodation is only available at the joining or finishing city of your trip, immediately before or after the trip you are travelling on.

While Dragoman is happy to assist with booking your pre and post trip accommodation, it is important that you understand that you may be able to book your own room at a cheaper rate directly through the hotel or on the internet. Our additional accommodation prices are based on the hotel’s rate plus an administration fee. Please note our rates do not reflect last minute walk-in rates or internet specials.

We can also book arrival airport transfers for you as long as we have your flight arrival details. These are normally payable in cash upon arrival; however we do have pre-paid transfers in a few destinations.

Please contact our reservations team for details of the accommodation and transfers that we can offer, as not all hotels offer this service.

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Continuing Your Trip

Having an amazing trip and met a great group of people? Having too much fun to go home yet? If you're on one of our trips and decide that you would like to continue with us, then why not speak to your trip leader who can advise you of the cost and availability of continuing your journey.

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Contingency Emergency Fund

Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you will be required to contribute the additional costs involved and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.

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Responsible Tourism

Dragoman is committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on local communities and that we implement policies to minimise any negative impact on the local environment. We are dedicated to making sure that we adopt a responsible attitude to the areas through which we travel and believe that our trips should benefit the local people and their environment. Dragoman recognises that we are guests of local communities and strive to make these communities our partners, so that they benefit directly from our visit. You can find full details of Dragoman’s Responsible Tourism policy from the link below:

www.dragoman.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/our-commitment

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Water

The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in the bottle, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilised water stored in the purpose-built storage tank on your overland vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like. You are helping the environment and your pocket!

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Electrical Equipment

Your vehicle will be usually equipped with a 12-Volt socket, so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12V adapter - the type that can be used from a cigarette lighter in your car. Please be aware that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets and the majority of the campsites we stay at have electricity points, so please bring along your normal charging adapters as well. You will need to ensure that you have the correct country adapter for your specific charger.

For mobile phones, please note that most countries in the Americas operate at 850 MHz and 1900 MHz which is not the same frequencies used in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Most modern tri-band and quad-band mobile phones will be able to operate on these frequencies but please check your mobile phone specifications before travelling to ensure that you'll be able to use your phone in the Americas.

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A Few Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups.

It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special. The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy.

Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession, if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence, without a refund of the trip price.

We expect you to obey all the laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs (as above), firearms, antiquities and ivory. Any customer found contravening such laws or customs will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.

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Issues on the Trip

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case please contact our customer relations department on

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

You may also choose to provide details in your feedback questionnaire which we ask you to complete at the end of your trip, but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

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Tipping

Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it.

On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD 1 to USD 4 per person per day, but check with your crew for an appropriate amount.

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Our Community

At any time before or after you book, you can join our community - Dragoland. This is a great place to ask questions before you travel and to catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories and you can also download a selection of free travel apps. See the home page to sign in - it's free and easy. We also have a Facebook page where travellers regularly swap info with each other, as well as other presence on other social media platforms.

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Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us to understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better, and it allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Country Specific Notes

Bolivia Note

Because of its nature, this itinerary may vary - occasionally the road conditions are too adverse during the rainy season (January-February) to make the crossing from Uyuni to Argentina, and we may have to change the route. During the winter months in Argentina and Bolivia, we will spend a higher proportion of nights in hotels and less time camping.

Kitty may be higher than expected and you should allow extra funds for this and personal funds for more meals out. There may well be snow and you should be aware that it can get very cold at night. Please ensure that you bring a decent sleeping bag and adequate clothes, including thermals.

We will also be travelling to very high altitudes (over 5000m if you take the crossing from Uyuni to Argentina or vice versa), so please be aware of the effects of altitude sickness.

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