Quito<- ->Salvador, (JQD)

Salvador Da Bahia to Quito 136 days, departing 21 Jan 2013
Climbing the Teleferico to the summit of Cruz Loma, overlooking Quito The Basilica del Voto Nacional in Quito after dark

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Salvador Da Bahia to Quito
Duration: 136 days
Transport: Overland expedition vehicle and local minibus
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%

Hostels and hotels but also 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!

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!

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

Climbing the Teleferico to the summit of Cruz Loma, overlooking Quito
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
On the road through the beautiful alpine region near Bariloche, Argentina
Taking a kayaking trip on Lake Nahuel Huapi near Bariloche
The famous Llao Llao hotel in the beautiful alpine region near Bariloche
The stunning alpine scenery near Bariloche, Argentina
A curious house in Bariloche, Argentina
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
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 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
The Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate
Walking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, southern Argentina
The colossal Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate in southern Argentina
The Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate
The Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate

Day 1: Salvador Da Bahia

( Mon 21 Jan )

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

Free time to explore Salvador with a group meeting day at 18:00hrs. We stay just by the old centre of Pelourinho in a lovely hotel.

Hotel for the night:
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 2: Salvador Da Bahia

( Tue 22 Jan )

Free time to explore Salvador.

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

Day 3 to 5: Chapada Da Diamantina National Park

( Wed 23 Jan to Fri 25 Jan )

We head 400kms 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 6 to 7:

( Sat 26 Jan to Sun 27 Jan )

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 8:

( Mon 28 Jan )

All all day drive through central Bahia and into the state of Goias brings us to the Parque Estadual Terra Ronca where we stay the night in a campsite.

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 9: Cavalcante

( Tue 29 Jan )

In the morning we visit the massive cave system at Terra Ronca for a guided visit before driving 200kms to the town of Cavalcante and visiting the local Kalunga community.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Kalunga community in Cavalcante

Included in Kitty

Day 10 to 12: Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park

( Wed 30 Jan to Fri 01 Feb )

We overland 300kms 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 13 to 14: Brasília

( Sat 02 Feb to Sun 03 Feb )

A short 150kms drive 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 15: Tres Marias

( Mon 04 Feb )

550kms drive through Brazilian countryside and towns. We will find a nice spot and bush camp for the night.

Day 16: Ouro Preto

( Tue 05 Feb )

Today is a full day 400kms drive to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto where we stay at a camp site with facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
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 17: Ouro Preto

( Wed 06 Feb )

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

Day 18: Teresopolis

( Thu 07 Feb )

We continue south through Brazil, heading 450kms to the town of Teresopolis where we stay at a good campsite.

Day 19: Rio De Janeiro

( Fri 08 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. 

There will also be an optional dinner after dinner which you would have to pre-book with Dragoman.

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:
Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for a welcome dinner with your fellow travellers in a Churrascaria, a famous Brazilian-style restaurant

Free
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 20: Rio De Janeiro

( Sat 09 Feb )

Today there is an optional visit up Corcovado mountain on a 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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a half-day tour 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

GBP 65

Day 21: Rio De Janeiro

( Sun 10 Feb )

Today is a free day to sleep and gather your energies for the Sambadrome. 

You can also join an optional tour of the Morrinho Favela Project

In the evening the main event of carnival occurs with a trip to 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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit one of Rio de Janeiro's famous favelas and the Project Morrinho, a Dragoman-supported community project and art installation run by the youth of the area

BRL 205

Visit one of Rio de Janeiro's famous favelas and the Project Morrinho, a Dragoman-supported community project and art installation run by the youth of the area

GBP 52

Day 22: Rio De Janeiro

( Mon 11 Feb )

Today is a free day after the late night last night.

You can spend the day relaxing at the beach or take part in optional activities such as visiting the majestic Sugar Loaf mountain from where there are stunning views over Rio and its surrounding beaches, going to the sambadrome for a 2nd night or actually taking part in the parade.

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 62

Day 23: Rio De Janeiro

( Tue 12 Feb )

Today you have a full free day to explore; perhaps find a 'block party' to continue the festivities.

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

Day 24: Rio De Janeiro

( Wed 13 Feb )

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

In the afternoon there will be the included sunset boat trip, to enjoy Rio de Janerio from a completely different prospective.

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn all about Brazil's history and discover the colonial gems of Rio de Janeiro on a city tour

GBP 30

Day 25: Rio De Janeiro

( Thu 14 Feb )

Today there will be a trip meeting at 18:00 hrs. There are no activities planned today and tonight we stay in a good quality hotel by the beach in Rio

Hotel for the night:
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 62

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 26 to 28: Paraty

( Fri 15 Feb to Sun 17 Feb )

We drive 235 kms along the Emerald Coast to Paraty where we spend 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

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

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

BRL 250
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 29: Brotas

( Mon 18 Feb )

Today we drive 560 kms drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeast Brazil. The afternoon is free for adventure activities and we stay in a campsite with facilities

Day 30: Brotas

( Tue 19 Feb )

Non driving day, free for adventure activities such as white water rafting.

Day 31: Campo Grande

( Wed 20 Feb )

We overland 650 kms towards Bonito, our base for the Pantanal trip where we bush camp for the night

Day 32 to 34: Southern Pantanal

( Thu 21 Feb to Sat 23 Feb )

Following a 4 hour drive from near Campo Grande 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 staying in shared accommodation. The last night is spent at a campsite in Bonito.

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 35 to 36: Bonito

( Sun 24 Feb to Mon 25 Feb )

These are non-driving days where you have free time to enjoy the range of activities available in Bonito such as snorkeling, rafting or a jungle trek. 

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
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 37: Foz do Iguaçu

( Tue 26 Feb )

Full day 800 kms drive to Foz de Iguazu where we stay at an excellent camp site with facilities and a pool

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 38: Foz do Iguaçu

( Wed 27 Feb )

Non-driving day. Free time to enjoy the famous Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, with a range of activities available. Second night at 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 39: Puerto Iguazu

( Thu 28 Feb )

60 kms drive across the border to see Iguazu Falls, from the Argentinean side. We stay at Puerto Iguassu at a campsite with good facilities

Day 40: San Ignacio de Mini

( Fri 01 Mar )

We drive 270 kms drive to the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio de Mini. Overnighting in a campsite with good 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 41: Buenos Aires

( Sat 02 Mar )

Full day 560 kms drive towards Buenos Aires. We bush camp for the night

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 42: Buenos Aires

( Sun 03 Mar )

We set off early morning to drive 415 kms into the capital, Buenos Aires arriving late in the afternoon. We stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. There are various optional activities to enjoy.

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

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

USD 140

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 45

Day 43 to 44: Buenos Aires

( Mon 04 Mar to Tue 05 Mar )

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

Free time to enjoy the wonderful city of Buenos Aires where there is lots to see and do. Today there will be a group meeting at 18:00 hrs. We will be staying in a good quality hotel in the city.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Splendid

Hotel Splendid

Avenida Rivadavia 950

Buenos Aires

Argentina

Tel - +54 11 4345 2800

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 140

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 45

Day 45: Monte Hermoso

( Wed 06 Mar )

We head of BA and drive almost 700 kms across the pampas. Tonight we will bush camp along the coast somewhere near Monte Hermoso. 

Day 46: Puerto Madryn

( Thu 07 Mar )

Full day 750kms drive to Puerto Madryn where we stay at a camp site with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Make a trip to the desolate Peninsular Valdes near Puerto Madryn, a UNESCO World Heritage site full of elephant seals and sea lions in their natural habitat

Included in Kitty
About Puerto Madryn:

Puerto Madryn is a port town on the South Atlantic coast of Argentina. The original settlers here were Welsh, founding the port and colonising the Chubut River valley - these original settlers came here in 1865 as they felt like their Welsh customs and traditions were being eroded back at home and that they should emigrate to better preserve them. Some of the smaller communities are still very proud of their Welsh heritage and retain many of the original immigrants' traditions, and some small towns such as Gaiman and Trelew you can even go for a Welsh afternoon tea in one of the local tea houses. A distinct Patagonian dialect of the Welsh language has been spoken in the region for over four generations, but although it is now quite rare and you are unlikely to hear anyone speaking it, there are three bilingual Welsh-Spanishs schools in Patagonia, and it is thought that 5,000-10,000 people speak Welsh as a first language and a further 25,000 as a second language.

Puerto Madryn is most famous as the gateway to the Valdés Peninsula, a beautiful rocky outcrop known for its incredible wildlife - if you visit here, you will be able to see guanacos, armadillos and Magellanic penguins close-up, and seals and sealions from afar. If you're lucky you may spot an orca or a Southern Right whale in the waters surrounding the peninsular.

Day 47: Valdes Peninsula

( Fri 08 Mar )

Guided day trip to Valdez Peninsula to see its abundant marine life. Optional boat trip to see whales and dolphins if time allows. Second night in campsite with facilities

About Valdes Peninsula:

The Valdes Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic close to the Argentinian town of Puerto Madryn, at the northern edges of Patagonia. The area is protected as a wildlife sanctuary as it provides an important habitat for whales, penguins, seals and sealions as well as a lot of land animals such as Patagonian foxes, guanacos and hairy armadillos. Exploring the peninsular there are various spots where the various different animals can be seen. You can also take a  boat trip that will get you even closer to some of these magnificent aquatic mammals, often the dolphins and whales you will see will only be a few feet away.

Day 48: Gaiman, Camarones

( Sat 09 Mar )

370 kms drive to Camarones with a visit to one of Patagonia’s Welsh Villages en route. We will stay at a camp site with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy tea and cakes in the Welsh village of Gaiman

USD 10

Visit the huge colony of Magellanic Penguins at the remote area of Cabo Dos Bahias near Camarones on the South Atlantic coast

Included in Kitty
About Camarones:

Situated at the northern part of the vast San Jorge Gulf on the South Atlantic coast of Patagonia, Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías are both important nesting sites for large colonies of Magellanic Penguins. 

Camarones is home to around 25,000 of the penguins that nest here on the windy, remote and rocky coast. Between September and April, the penguins come to these sites to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration - each couple stand in front of their nests protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food. There are some fantastic walkways set up near some of the colonies, so that visitors can get very close to the penguins without disturbing them.

Day 49 to 50: Strait of Magellan, El Chaltén

( Sun 10 Mar to Mon 11 Mar )

Overlanding over 1500 km through spectacular scenery following the Atlantic Coast, wildcamping along the way until we reach El Chaltén. There's lost to see and do as we go such as a visit to Cabo dos Bahias Magellan Penguin Colony.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out horse riding around the phenomenal scenery of El Chaltén

ARS 600
About El Chaltén:

El Chaltén is small remote Patagonian town nestled under the shadow of the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. The town itself has an interesting origin - the area was disputed between Argentina and Chile for a number of years, so the Argentinians thought they would settle the argument by hastily building the town of El Chaltén in 1985 to claim the territory!

The name of Chaltén comes from the Tehuelche word for 'smoky mountain', so called as the early morning clouds gathering around Fitz Roy look remarkably like volcanic smoke. However, the town has grown immensely in recent years and decades, becoming a major centre for adventure tourism in Argentina.

It is a fantastic base from which to explore the northern sections of the incredible Los Glaciares National Park, and is home to many adventure tour operators offering outdoor activities in the area.

Day 51 to 52: Los Glaciares National Park

( Tue 12 Mar to Wed 13 Mar )

2 free days to explore the Fitz Roy range in Los Glaciares NP from El Chaltén. A range of activities are available from hiking, glacier trekking to horse riding. Second and third nights in same campsite with facilities

About Los Glaciares National Park:

Los Glaciares National Park is the largest protected area in Argentina, covering a huge area of Argentinian Patagonia along the southern tail of the Andes range. The National Park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, and wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest.

By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot - there are plenty of well-established trails through the mountains and forests of the National Park that are easy to explore independently with a map, so you can plan many treks around the area from around two hours to an entire challenging day out. As well as the phenomenal needle-like Cerro Torre, the iconic mountain of Fitz Roy looms over our base of El Chaltén, an impossibly-picturesque and steep mountain (which is also the logo for the 'Patagonia' clothing brand!) which can be viewed from many angles on treks in the area.

Other activities can include boat trips and ice climbing on the incredible Videma Glacier, a visit to the serene Lago del Desierto, and horse-riding excursions through the incredible landscapes.

Day 53: El Calafate

( Thu 14 Mar )

230 kms drive through incredible scenery to El Calafate. We stay in dorm accommodation in a comfortable hostel

About El Calafate:

El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling atmosphere and an ever-growing tourist trade. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia.

Most people base themselves here to visit the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Los Glaciares National Park - the glacier is one of the most famous and spectacular glaciers to be seen anywhere in the world. The Perito Moreno Glacier is approximately 30kms long from where it spills out of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, and 5kms wide at its terminus, where it has a ice face that is on average 170m high (with about 70m of which is above the surface of the lake). Visitors can view the glacier from an incredible viewpoint only a few hundred metres away from its face, where if you're lucky you'll see some of the ice face carve off into the lake under the pressure of all the ice behind it! It is also possible to take a boat trip to get extremely close, or embark on a challenging ice-climbing expedition on the glacier itself. 

Day 54: El Calafate

( Fri 15 Mar )

Today is a non-driving day with a guided visit to view the stunning Moreno Glacier. Second night at hostel

Activity Approximate Cost

See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier from the most breathtaking and photogenic viewpoints on a guided day tour from El Calafate

Included in Kitty

Get even closer to the impressive glacier of Perito Moreno with a boat trip in front of its mighty face

ARS 200

Day 55: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Sat 16 Mar )

400 kms drive into Chile to Torres del Paine National Park via Puerto Natales. We stay at a camp site with facilities.

Border information: Exit Argentina at Rio Don Guillermo, enter Chile at Cerro Castillo.

About Torres Del Paine National Park:

Torres del Paine National Park contains what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the three impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by high plateaus and towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including guanacos, pumas, flamingos and condors.

The best way to explore the National Park is definitely to get out on foot - the region is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes or embarking on a multi-day walk such as the famous W-walk, stopping off at the park's refugios or camping along the way. Horse riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoé in season.

Day 56 to 59: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Sun 17 Mar to Wed 20 Mar )

Four days to to explore Torres del Paine National Park. Lots of opportunity for short day walks, or take on the challenging 'W' walk. This is a beautiful part of Patagonia and a highlight for many travellers. We camp at the lake unless you decide to undertake the ‘W’ Walk. If you do decide to do the 'W' walk then tonight will be the first night you will need to book a refugio.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take in the stunning views of Torres del Paine on a horse riding trip through the National Park

CLP 30000

Entrance into the phenomenal Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, an area of some of the most outstanding natural beauty, breathtaking mountain vistas, and idyllic trekking opportunities in the world

Included in Kitty

Day 60:

( Thu 21 Mar )

500 kms drive including ferry crossing of the infamous Magellan Straits and into Argentina where we bush camp.

Border information: Exit Chile at Cerro Castillo, then enter Argentina at San Sebastian.

Day 61 to 62: Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego

( Fri 22 Mar to Sat 23 Mar )

A 230kms drive takes us to a 2 night stay in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world. We enjoy a half day excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park. We stay at a camp site with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip out on the famous Beagle Channel to view the native sea lions and birds

ARS 650
About Ushuaia:

Ushuaia is a port town that lies at the south of Tierra del Fuego on the Argentinian side - it is often known as "the city at the end of the world", as it is the world's most southern city (the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is slightly further south but is much smaller than Ushuaia). Ushuaia itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel.

Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British-funded mission in the late 1800s and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a small sleepy town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here.

There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boat-trip into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with the Martial mountain range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.

About Tierra Del Fuego:

Tierra del Fuego (meaning "Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Strait. The island gets its name from the fires of the Selknam tribe that originally lived here, which Magellan and his sailors observed from their boats on their first travels through the area - unfortunately the Selknam and Yaghan tribes that originally inhabited the island are all but extinct after conflict with European settlers that arrived in the 19th Century. The island is split in half with a straight north-south line between Argentina and Chile, with the Argentinian half containing the island's largest settlement, Ushuaia. 

The island of Tierra del Fuego is Patagonia at its most remote and desolate, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. On the Chilean half of the island lies Inútil Bay, a remote bay that is home to the only colony of King Penguins that exists outside of Antarctica!

Day 63 to 65:

( Sun 24 Mar to Tue 26 Mar )

We catch the ferry crossing of the infamous Magellan Straits. Then spend a few days overlanding across the Patagonian steppe wildcamping as we go. 

Border information: On the first day we exit Argentina at San Sebastian and enter Chile at San Sebastian. The same day we then exit Chile at Monte Aymond and re-enter Argentina at Monte Aymond.

Day 66: Rio Pinturas

( Wed 27 Mar )

A morning drive takes us to Rio Pinturas. In the afternoon we visit the UNESCO site Cueva de las Manos and stay at a campsite with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the UNESCO site of Cueva de las Manos, a set of mysterious rock paintings made by hunter-gatherers over 10,000 years ago

Included in Kitty

Day 67: Esquel

( Thu 28 Mar )

Full day 650 kms drive through the Argentinean lake district to Esquel, staying at a campsite with facilities

Day 68: Bariloche

( Fri 29 Mar )

320 kms drive to the mountain resort town of Bariloche where we stay in dorm rooms in a comfortable hostel

About Bariloche:

The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture-perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding Andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a magical place to explore and take in all the amazing views.

In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island.

Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates, and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of it's popularity with Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and restaurant scene with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world-class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too!

Day 69 to 70: Bariloche

( Sat 30 Mar to Sun 31 Mar )

28-29: 2 free days in Bariloche with a range of activities available from mountain biking to horse-riding. Second and third night at hostel

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful scenery of Bariloche by horseback on a riding trip through the area

ARS 450

Day 71: Pucón

( Mon 01 Apr )

410 kms drive across the border and into the Lake District of Chile. Tonight we stay in Pucón at a camp site with facilities.

Border information: Exit Argentina at Mamuil Malal, enter Chile at Mamuil Malal.

About Pucón:

Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alps or New Zealand have to offer! Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping.

The attractive small town of Pucón is located at the heart of the Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano - a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some fantastic self-guided walks.

Alternatively Pucón offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. For those who would prefer to relax, there are also some great thermal springs nearby - the natural pools at Pozones have a beautiful setting and are a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening!

Day 72 to 73: Pucón

( Tue 02 Apr to Wed 03 Apr )

2 free days to explore Pucón and the surrounding area with a range of activities available from hiking to hot springs. Second and third nights in campsite with facilities

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek up to the summit of the snowcapped volcano Villarica to witness the incredible sunrise views over Pucón and the Chilean Lake District

CLP 50000

Discover the beautiful lakes and forests of Pucón on a horse riding trip

CLP 20000

Day 74: Salto de Laja

( Thu 04 Apr )

320 kms drive to the wine growing region of Salto de Laja. We stay at a campsite with facilities

About Salto de Laja:

Salto de Laja is a small resort town named after the four impressive arch-like waterfalls formed here by the cascading Laja river. It is easy to see the waterfalls by crossing a bridge from the main road through town, or if you have time you may be able to experience the spray from below on a river-boat trip during Chilean holiday season.

Salto de Laja town is a small place, popular with Chilean tourists during the summer months, so there are lots of campsites, hotels and cabanas here. It's a pleasant place to break the journey between Santiago and Pucón, gateway to the Chilean lake district and Patagonia.

Day 75: San Javier, Santiago

( Fri 05 Apr )

Full day 520 kms drive to the capital, Santiago, arriving late in the afternoon. En route we will visit a vineyard for optional wine tasting. We stay the night in a good centrally located hotel allowing for optioanl activities the following day.

Border information: If you are leaving in Santiago, exit Chile at Santiago Airport.

Activity Approximate Cost

Whet your palette during winetasting at a vineyard in San Javier

Free

Freely explore the streets and plazas of Santiago, visit some of its fascinating museums, and discover its incredible culture, music, and art

Included in Kitty
About Santiago:

Chile's capital, Santiago, is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city, wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks, and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline.

Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history, to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristóbal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia.

As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brasil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here.

If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valparaíso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.

Day 76: Santiago

( Sat 06 Apr )

Border information: If you are starting in Santiago, enter Chile at Santiago Airport.

There will be a group meeting at 18:00 hrs on the first day. Please note the trip will depart Santiago the morning after the meeting. If you think you will enjoy a few days in Santiago let Dragoman Sales Team know, to be able to book extra pre nights accomodation.

Hotel for the night:

Day 77 to 78: Mendoza

( Sun 07 Apr to Mon 08 Apr )

Today we head out of Santiago and cross the Argentine border to Mendoza, famous for its vineyards and indulge in a little wine-tasting or even rafting or mountain biking. We stay in a centrally located hostel.

Border information: Exit Chile at Los Libertadores, enter Argentina at Los Libertadores.

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a day out rock climbing in the stunning landscapes near Mendoza

ARS 930
About Mendoza:

Mendoza is a vibrant city full of pleasant leafy boulevards and atmospheric plazas where the locals catch up over coffee in the many street cafes and bars. A university town and an important economic centre, the city has a bustling cosmopolitan feel and has some great restaurants, lively nightlife, interesting museums and galleries, and great shopping. On summer weekends, open-air concerts and markets often take place in the beautiful plazas.

Mendoza and the adjacent town of Maipú are perhaps most famous for their wine. Whilst Mendoza is located in the dry deserts just underneath the Andes, extensive artificial irrigation has made it possible to grow grapes and olives here, both of which benefit from the long, hot, sunny summers - the region produces around two-thirds of Argentina's wine, and is especially renowned for its Malbec, Temperanillo and Sauvignon Blanc varieties. The wine made here is world class, and tours of local vineyards and wineries are easily arranged.

Mendoza is also used by many adventurers as a base from which to explore the colossal mountains in the area. The highest mountain in the Americas, Mt. Aconcagua (with a summit 6,962m above sea level), is in the high Andes just to the west of the city making the city a big draw for mountaineers, and skiing is popular in the winter months.

Day 79: Rio Ceballos

( Tue 09 Apr )

Leaving Mendoza we head east towards Rio Ceballos, we will spend the night at a wild camp, travelling around 300kms.

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 80 to 82: Rio Ceballos

( Wed 10 Apr to Fri 12 Apr )

A 300kms drive brings us to an unique 3 night stay at an Anglo Argentinian estancia. We will camp within the grounds of the estancia and spend time with the Gauchos - learning their skills, go horse riding, hiking and have a traditional asado or Argentinian BBQ.

Day 83: Quilmes Ruins

( Sat 13 Apr )

335kms drive to a campsite via the Quilmes Ruins en route.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
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 84: Cafayate

( Sun 14 Apr )

We head 370kms to Cafayate, lying at the centre of Argentina's principal wine producing region where we shall 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 85 to 86: Salta

( Mon 15 Apr to Tue 16 Apr )

175kms drive to the fine Spanish colonial city of Salta. We stay in a simple hotel in the centre of town.

On the second day you have free time to explore Salta with plenty of optional activities available.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

ARS 400
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 87 to 88: San Pedro De Atacama

( Wed 17 Apr to Thu 18 Apr )

A full 550kms drive across the Chilean border to the town of San Pedro de Atacama where we will overnight at a camp site.  We will 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 Argentina at Paso Jama, 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

Free

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 89: Bolivian Altiplano

( Fri 19 Apr )

150kms drive towards Uyuni, seeing Laguna Colorado and Verde along the way. We spend the night in a basic hostel

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

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 90: Uyuni

( Sat 20 Apr )

320kms drive to Uyuni, gateway to the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. Overnight in friendly hotel serving the highest pizzas in the world!

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 91 to 92: Salar De Uyuni

( Sun 21 Apr to Mon 22 Apr )

An amazing day out on the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. 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 93 to 94: Potosí

( Tue 23 Apr to Wed 24 Apr )

An early morning drive of some 190kms drive will bring us to the colonial mining town of Potosí where we stay in a local, friendly hotel for the 2 nights and have the chance for optional activities.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

BOB 110
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 95: La Paz

( Thu 25 Apr )

Early start and a long day drive across the dramatic windy road of the Altiplano to the highest capital in the world!. We stay in a good quality hotel in central La Paz.

Activity Approximate Cost

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
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 96: La Paz

( Fri 26 Apr )

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

Free time to explore La Paz with a group meeting at 18:00 hrs. We stay in a good quality colonial hotel in the centre.

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 97: Copacabana

( Sat 27 Apr )

In the morning there is a chance to explore La Paz before a 200kms drive brings us to the town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We overnight in a hotel near the lake

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 98: Copacabana

( Sun 28 Apr )

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 99: Puno

( Mon 29 Apr )

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

A 200kms drive takes us across the Peruvian border to the lakeside town of Puno. In the afternoon we enjoy a boat trip out to the floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca. We spend the night 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 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.

Day 100: Sillustani Ruins, Cuzco

( Tue 30 Apr )

In the morning we will visit the Sillustani ruins and museum before driving 440kms to Cuzco. We stay in a lovely colonial hotel in Cuzco

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.

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 101: Cuzco

( Wed 01 May )

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

Free day to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, the capital of the Inca kingdom. There will be a group meeting at 10:00 hrs. Staying 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 102 to 105: Inca Trail , Sacred Valley, Cuzco

( Thu 02 May to Sun 05 May )

Trekking in the Andes - either the community trek or the classic trek. This is one of the world's best treks and a highlight for most visitors to Peru.

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 106: Machu Picchu

( Mon 06 May )

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 107: Cuzco

( Tue 07 May )

Today is a free day to recover from trekking with optional activities available in Cuzco 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 45

Day 108: Raqchi

( Wed 08 May )

Drive to Raqchi and visit ruins and local artisan centre. We 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 109: Chivay

( Thu 09 May )

440kms drive day to Chivay with optional visit to thermal springs. We stay overnight in a hotel at Chivay

Activity Approximate Cost

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 110: Arequipa

( Fri 10 May )

Today we will visit the spectacular Colca Canyon to view condors and also local communities. We will then head on to the beautiful white city of Arequipa.

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 111: Arequipa

( Sat 11 May )

Free day to explore Arequipa.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

PEN 35

Day 112: Puerto Inca

( Sun 12 May )

380kms drive day to Puerto Inca where we stay at a beach side campsite.

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 113: Nazca

( Mon 13 May )

A 270kms morning drive takes us to Nazca where you will have the chance of an optional flight over the mysterious Nazca lines and visit Chauchilla cemetery. We stay at a campsite with a pool.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 130

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

Included in Kitty
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 114: Huacachina

( Tue 14 May )

We drive 220kms and visit the oasis town of Huacachina for optional sand boarding and sand buggying and an overnight trip to the dunes.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 20
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 115: Paracas National Park

( Wed 15 May )

A short drive via the town of Ica takes us to Paracas National Park where we will visit the museum in the park before bushcamping in this spectacular location.

Day 116: Ballestas Islands, Lima

( Thu 16 May )

In the morning we board a boat trip around the Ballestas Islands to view wildlife. We then head 270kms to Lima, arriving late in the afternoon. We stay in a good quality hotel in central Lima

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 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 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 117: Lima

( Fri 17 May )

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

Free time to explore Lima, with a group meeting at 18:00 hrs. We overnight in a comfortable hotel.

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 118: Huanchaco

( Sat 18 May )

We'll start with a very long drive to Huanchaco, visiting Lambayeque for the Lord of Sipan Museum visit en route. We stay at a campsite with good facilities. 

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

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 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 119: Huanchaco

( Sun 19 May )

Visit to numerous ruins in and around Huanchaco including the enormous ruins of Chan Chan and the world famous pyramids Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna. Camping with good facilities

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 120: Punta Sal

( Mon 20 May )

510kms drive to Punta Sal, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. 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 121 to 122: Punta Sal

( Tue 21 May to Wed 22 May )

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

Day 123 to 124: Cuenca

( Thu 23 May to Fri 24 May )

 

Border information: Exit Peru at Tumbes, enter Ecuador at Tumbes.

285kms drive across the border into Ecuador, to the beautiful colonial Cuenca, Ecuador's third-largest town. We stay in a stunning local guesthouse for the next 2 nights.

We'll have free time to explore Cuenca and visit the famous Panama Hat factory. 


Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the historic colonial city of Cuenca, and discover its cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals, colonial parks, and buzzing markets

Free
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 125: Riobamba

( Sat 25 May )

Today we drive 250kms to Riobamba and stay in a local hotel.

Day 126: Chugchilán

( Sun 26 May )

An early start leads to a 350kms drive on the northern section of the spectacular Quilotoa Loop to the town of Chugchilán. We stay the night in a fantastic hostel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a trek from the spectacular crater lake at Quilotoa

Included in Kitty

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

USD 5
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 127: Lake Quilotoa, Chugchilán

( Mon 27 May )

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.

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 128: Rio Verde, Chugchilán

( Tue 28 May )

In the morning we will drive the southen section of the Quilotoa Loop before heading to the beautiful town of Rio Verde, 300kms in total. 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 129 to 130: Baños, Rio Verde

( Wed 29 May to Thu 30 May )

These are non-driving days with free time for range of adrenalin activities or a possible visit to nearby Banos. The nights are spent 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 131: Coca

( Fri 31 May )

Today is a driving day to Coca (Puerto Francisco de Orellana). 

We'll spend the night in a comfortable hotel and get ready for our 3 days in the wilderness. 

About Coca:

Coca is the more commonly known name for Puerto Francisco de Orellana, which is also the capital of the province of Orellana in the 'oriente' or the Est of Ecuador deep in the jungle. The city is located at the confluence of the Napo River and the Coca River which gives the nickname to the city.

Francisco de Orellana is the famous explorer who gives the name to the city. He explored the confluence of the Napo River and the Coca river. History says he set off from the current location of the city and made his way deep into the Amazon Jungle and river crossing indigenous tribes in which even women used to fight. He sailed all the way eventually makin it to the Atlantic. Francisco de Orellana died on his second expedition along the Amazon delta not being able to find his way through. 

 

Day 132 to 134: Ecuadorian Amazon

( Sat 01 Jun to Mon 03 Jun )

We will set off in the morning on a motorised canoe and leave civilization behind. for the enxt 4 days will be all about the jungle.

During your 3 nights here you will take trips out into the rainforest on foot and by boat to explore for wildlife

Activity Approximate Cost

Spend 3 nights/4 days exploring deep into the jungles of the Ecuadorian Amazon along the river Panacocha, including jungle walks, bird-watching, piranha-fishing and experiencing all that the jungle has to offer, far away from other tourists - a truly unique experience!

Included in Kitty
About Ecuadorian Amazon:

The eastern part of Ecuador consists largely of tropical moist broadleaf forests that cover the lower slopes of the Andes and spill down into the Amazon Basin. The upland rainforest is strikingly different to that which is found in the lower basin, and features steep, rugged ridges and cascading streams and waterfalls.

From our lodge near the city of Tena, we will explore these upland forests on foot and by boat - we'll aim to find various waterfalls, caves and creeks in the forest, all the while keeping an eye out for the area's elusive wildlife. We'll also visit a local Quichua community during our stay in the forest lodge.

Day 135: Quito

( Tue 04 Jun )

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 country's capital, Quito. We stay in a local, friendly hotel in the city.

About Quito:

Quito is the capital of Ecuador, nestled in a hollow in the mountains in between the volcanos 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 Sites 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 136: Quito

( Wed 05 Jun )

Free time to explore Ecuador's capital Quito.

Border information: If you are leaving in Quito, exit Ecuador at Quito Airport.

Hotel for the night:
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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 in time 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.

Multiple departures with 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 which takes place every year 40 days before Easter.

If the trip you are on is connecting to Rio Carnival in any way then there is likely to be more than just one truck on your specific departure date. This means that each truck 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 leading to or from the greatest party on earth! 

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.

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, please complete the ‘Visa Support Form’ available at this link: http://dragoman-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support.

However, for trips that involve multiple visas, our recommendation is that you use a visa agent to assist you with your applications. While this does increase the cost, it will make the process much easier for you. Dragoman have teamed up with ‘The Visa Machine’ to create a safe, secure, hassle-free way of obtaining visas and visa advice. Our unique link within their website is designed to make the visa process as straightforward as possible. Simply go to https://dragoman.thevisamachine.com and click on your region of travel followed by your trip route and ‘The Visa Machine’ will advise you about not only the required visas but also the dates by which you should apply. ‘The Visa Machine’ can then assist you in the actual visa application, thus taking all the worry and hassle out of the process. The visa service is not always available for all nationalities or non-UK residents, depending on the requirements of each specific embassy. The Visa Machine will advise you what they can and cannot provide for your specific circumstances.

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. 

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).

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 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 visa agency such as The Visa Machine 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.

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.

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.

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.

What else you need to know

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

Dragoman has 32 years 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 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, 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 beauties of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and as well as 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 Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi, for example, will visit Zanzibar at the same time as group starting a trip in Dar es Salaam. In practical terms this means there could be up to 44 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 10 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to six months on the road as a trainee. On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. The crew are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip. On our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and for them to offer suggestions of things to do and see.

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, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or the entire journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people.

Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your crew is new to a particular region or training other crew. 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 in hotels)

• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park entrances, excursions and local guides).

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) or via our new scheme where you can pay in advance 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip (please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v1.pdf for more details - this letter will also be sent in your booking confirmation upon booking a trip). 

If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please try to pay in the specified currency on the website (US Dollars, or Euros in West Africa). 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 difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders are experiencing frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept TCs on our trips. As an alternative, in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines and use either a cash passport or a debit card.

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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, all 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 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 in 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 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, or would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring these 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 our intention but 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 33 years of experience

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advise 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 advise rather than the advise 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. Check to ensure that no travel warning is 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

Get expert advice before travelling about types of malaria pills and take them as instructed. Recommended types do change from time to time and from area to area. Consult your GP / 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 becoming a bigger problem around the world. 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 and 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 windows, tent doors or, if sleeping outside, use a mosquito net. 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 protection vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest advice on the region(s) you are planning to travel in so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel.

We also recommend you check out any specific health advice for the country you are travelling to either via your GP or the following websites: www.nathnac.org or 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.

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 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.

• 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.

• 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, 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.

• 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 tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

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

• Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents.

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

• Ensure any soil toilets are min 50m away from tents & cooking area.

• All food waste should be burnt or buried – min 100m away from the site.

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife.

• 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 We prepare many meals during the tour and our crew are hygiene trained; however, some general tips can help in order to avoid the possibility of stomach upsets;

• 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.

• Restaurant Food: This is grassroots travel and 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 part of travel in these regions. Therefore think carefully about 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. We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise you to leave any valuable jewellery, watches, etc, at home. 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.

• Be aware, stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable.

• Avoid carrying too much money.

• Use of a money belt / neck wallet or is encouraged at all times while travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items.

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

• Ensure your valuables are left secure when you go out.

• In any hostels/hotels, place all valuables in a safety deposit box, where available or with reception or locked away by the crew.

• Do not take any valuable jewellery/watches etc. away with you.

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

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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.). These 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 to its fullest.

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

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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 £5,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000. 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, I pads, phones etc. Please note that Dragoman is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss.

Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity you intend to undertake. As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding 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.

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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 the UK 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) 7985106564

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Luggage & Kit List

Although you will not have to carry your main bag 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 back locker, 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 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. 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. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats.

The 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 and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months.

• Sleeping bag liner* (or sheet folded and sewn up on 2 sides). It will help keep your sleeping bag clean, 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. 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 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 & washing line (just a length of cord)

• Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries & bulbs (only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5v batteries are widely available en route)

• Passport photos (average of 2 per country for which visas will be applied for en route)

• Good water bottle at least 1 litre

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

• Alarm clock

• Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

• Writing materials & 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 Ones" (moistened tissues) and hand gel

• Toilet paper – this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route but one roll is worth packing

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

• Extra batteries for your camera / phone etc as there are only limited opportunities to recharge. For a comprehensive kit list take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. You will receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click to see the kit lists 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 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 the 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 you trip. If you change your passport please remember to inform us.

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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 on your trip you decide that you would like to continue, 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 linked from the home page.

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 bottles, 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 or in water jerry cans in 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 equipped with a 12 volt socket, so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12 volt 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 adaptor for your specific charger.

For mobile phones, please note that most countries in the Americas operate at 850MHz 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. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes or abuse children. 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

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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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