Anchorage<- ->Santiago, (CAS)

Santiago to Anchorage 1 days, departing 08 Feb 2016
A mighty grizzly bear snacks on a salmon in Stewart, Alaska An incredible view over the Chilean captial of Santiago Barrels of wine at the Casillero del Diablo cellars near Santiago, Chile A friendly moose visits us in Anchorage, Alaska

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Santiago to Anchorage
Duration: 1 days
Transport: Overland expedition vehicle, US style school bus, 4x4, Private bus, Boat, Ferry, Flight, Train
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:

45%55%

Hotels, Hostels, Campsites, Wild Camps, Homestays, Chalets

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, jungles and wind swept Patagonia it is a country with a very special character all of its own. Its initial appearance is fairly western but this disguises a long history of its own cultural heritage.

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, lying at the mouth of the River Plate, it is a real viberant city. Full of life, from great local restaurants to local street markets and dances, showing the amazing local tango dance, Buenos Aires is the heart and soul of Argentina. Also home to some exquisite wine bars and an amazing nightlife, Buneos Aires is a must see city if you visit Argentina.

On the pampas the Gaucho people of Argentina spend their days working, riding their horses and protecting their cattle. This has resulted in worldwide export for beef, sunflower oil and wheat, making the Argentina Pampas famous for agriculture.

Deep in the south of the country is Patagonia. This beautiful area is known for its breathtaking landscapes, magnificent lakes and beautiful glacial scenery. It is a great place for outdoor activities, such as, trekking, horse riding, kayaking and mountain biking.

Patagonia is also full of culture, with the Welsh language kept alive for generations, and although it is starting to die out, there are many Welsh communities in Patagonia, especially around the Chebut river.

Heading further south is Tierra del Fuego. Lying across from the Magellan Straights, "The Land of Fire" is mainly in Chile, but 30% of it, including Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world, belongs to Argentina.

Argentina is also the home to some beautiful wildlife. The Valdez Peninsular, in the Atlantic ocean, is a protected area which is the habitat for whales, penguins and seals. At certain times of the year, there is a chance to see the killer whale. This is also the home for land animals such as the Patagonian fox, guanacos and hairy armadillos.

To the north of Argentina is the Esteros del Ibera reserve in an area of swampland. Near to the borders of Paraguay and Brazil, this is one of South America's most important wilderness areas and is also the place to spot the rare marsh deer, maned wolf, howler monkeys, capybara and over 350 different species of birds.

Belize

One of the deserted beaches on the northern island of Caye Caulker, Belize

Belize is a country of many cultures and there are a number of different languages spoken, despite having the lowest population density in Central America (320,000 citizens). Belize's official language is English.

There are many amazing places in Belize to visit. The Great Blue Hole near Ambergis Caye is a breathtaking sight of 300 metres of an underwater sink hole. Formed by flooded caves and a collapsed roof, this is the only known place like it in the world. In the Cayo district of Belize is the 1000ft falls.This is the largest waterfall in Central America.

Inspired by British, Mexican and Western Caribbean cuisines, rice and beans are the main base for typical Belizean cuisine. This mixed with chicken, pork, fish, vegetables or coconut milk are just a few of the meals which can create a delectable tropical taste.

Bolivia

Bolivia's major attraction is its wild natural beauty, with much of the country being off the beaten track. The country is divided into two distinct regions, the Amazonas and the Altiplano. Between the two lie the Yungas or cloud forest. Bolivia is a country for the outdoor enthusiast, with horseriding, trekking, mountain biking and jeep trips available in many of the areas we travel through. It is a country that most visitors to the Andes miss as they seldom leave Peru and yet it has as much to offer the visitor as it's more popular neighbour. Its salt pans, high lakes and mountains and its beautiful jungle make it a great destination for any traveller.

The dizzying heights of the capital, 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 (11,975 feet) above sea level and is one of the fastest growing in Latin America.

There are many area of natural beauty in Bolivia, and many that benfit from a low number of visitors such as the stunning lakes of the high altiplano. More famous are the perspective bending salt flats of Salar de Uyuni.

In the north in Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake and  home to the floating islets home to the Uros people.

Predominantly a Roman Catholic nation, the statue of Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba is a symbol of the influence of the religion in Bolivia. With nearly 60% of the population following this religion, it is a national landmark which provides inspiration to millions.

Agriculture is important in Bolivia, with soybeans being the main product sold into the Andean Community market. Many foods such as potatoes, rice and fruit and vegetables are harvested across Bolivia. National diet ranges from spicy lunches in the higher parts of Bolivia, to the less spicy dishes and mainly plantain or boiled maize in the lower parts. Made from fermented maize, the drink Chica is not an oppurtunity to pass upon. Although normally non alcoholic, it can be served as a brewed beer, and is one of Bolivias fine gastronomies. A taste of Bolivia could be the start of a wonderful adventure.

Canada

The phenomenal alpine scenery of Banff National Park, Canada

The vast country of Canada has so much to offer its visitors, including exhilrating white-water rafting and adventure sports, hiking through the stunning beauty of the National Parks, majestic mountains, and atmospheric forests, exploring the fascinating cities, and of course the warm welcome from the friendlly locals! Some of the major highlights of this wonderful country include the famed and scenic Canadian parks of Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff.

Our overland tours in North America can see you travelling on an epic 30 week trip covering 10,000 miles from Anchorage in Alaska in the far north of the continent down to the southernmost tip of South America at Ushuaia. Or vice versa. Undoubtedly the most unique element of this trip is our means of travel. Dragoman uses a specially converted traditional American school bus to travel through Central and North America. This will undoubtedly be a truly unforgettable way to explore the Americas!

Chile

The spectacular Three Towers of Torres del Paine, Chile

With some of the most diverse landscapes in the world, Chile has the beauty of it all. From  the driest deserts in the world, to the breathtaking sites of huge glaciers, this country is made for the outdoor enthusiast. Chile is a country full of volcanoes, lakes, rivers and beaches, and there is always an exciting adventure waiting to be found. If you venture off the beaten track, be prepared to make friends for life out of the welcoming locals.

A visit to Chile has to include a trip to the amazing capital of Santiago. This city sits in the country's central valley, and is a place full of amazing landscapes and a gorgeous Mediterranean climate.

With so many locations to visit, the culture of Chile can be exposed through the sound of the music. Ranging from traditional folk music, to popular and classic sounds, the tradition of Chile is seeped into every area of the country.

Seafood is Chile's main cuisine and with so many dishes to try, it is an opportunity not to be passed upon. With 2700 miles of astounding coastline, Chile is the perfect location for the variety of dishes available.

So make friends with strangers, feel the vibe of Chilean music, and let Chile get into your pores.

Colombia

For most people Colombia is an unknown, the forgotten part of South America. This makes it a fantastic place to explore. Colombia's geography is one of the most diverse in South America; it really is a kaleidoscope of colour, life and culture. It has an undeserved reputation due to some internal instability but the warmth of its people mean that it is worth the challenge to see such a fascinating country. Colombia is on the beautiful Caribbean coast and the home to some of the best coffee in the world.

The culture of fiesta is a central to the national psyche with the country, playing host to some of the most fabulous carnivals in the world. The Carnival of the Barranquilla lasts four days, celebrating the tradition of Colombian dance and music.

With many festivals and parties, the opportunity to relax might sound out the question, but along with the lively ongoing parties, cooking is an important icon of Colombia. Fritanga is a set of dishes enjoyed throughout the country. A barberque style meat full of flavours and aromas that will leave your mouth watering is accompanied by small potatoes and tortilla style bread. If meat isn't your preference, then the plantain of many vegetables and pulses is a beautiful choice of a meal.

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

Costa Rica

Welcome to the easiest going place on earth. Welcome to beauty and paradise. Welcome to Costa Rica - so reads the national tourist board literature. Although hyperbolic it's hard to disagree.

Costa Rica has some of the most scenic views in Central America. The Poás Volcano National Park is a chance to get to the heart of a crater and see the astonishing views of the green lake. Paths leading up to these can lead to the amazing wildlife that lives in the park. Mountain squirrels, clay coloured robins and hummingbirds can be seen and heard all around, and it adds to the reasons why it is one of the most visited places in Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica you can try something new every day, and Costa Rican food is just beautiful. Let your mouth water from the juices of the fresh fruit and vegetables in the country. Have breakfast the traditional way - fried plantains, egg and orange juice is the perfect way to experience yet another flavour of Costa Rica.

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 the enthralling Galapagos Islands.

The Amazon rainforest has the greatest bio diversity on the planet. And it's possible to take trips deep into the rainforest to see jaguars, monkeys, iguanas and uncountable numbers of insects. Off the coast is the Galapagos Islands, arguably one of the world's most prestigious wildlife destinations.

If  heart racing activities is more your thing then Ecuador has plenty to offer. Surf the waves, trek through the foothills or step out of the ordinary and try some mountaineering.

Aside from the outdoors and wildlife there are lots of great coloninal towns or cities. And Quito has a more relaxed atmosphere than most Latin American capitals. Lying in a hollow at the base of Volcano Pichincha, the old city is a maze of steep cobbled streets with finely carved overhanging balconies. Its mixture of colonial and new architecture together with its European and Indian cultures make this a fascinating city.

As you explore, the discovery of food will be found and the choice of a traditional meal is hard to turn down. Ecuadorian cuisine is again diverse, and different regions boast different meals. Meat, potatoes and rice are popular in the mountain regions, where as the coastal areas boast fantastic meals containing marinades of fish onions and delectable seasonings.

There are many types of music in Ecuador and the most popular is the rhythm filled, dancing type which can get you up on your feet and joining in with the sounds of panpipes, bamboo flutes,  drums and charangos.

With so much to offer and explore - Ecuador is the place to be if you want to try something new every day.

El Salvador

The incredible landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

El Salvador is one of the most fascinating and exciting countries in Central America.

El Salvador translates as "the saviour" in Spanish, and there is much culture similar to Spain. It has many notable dishes, one being a delectable chicken and shrimp paella. Many dishes can be found in restaurants around the country, and although influenced by Spanish cuisine, it has it's own distinct taste. Like the food, the music is also distinct. There are many types of music in El Salvador including folk, popular and alternative tunes. Influenced by South American music of Mexico, Colombia and Cuba, this country has managed to develop the sounds to make it their own. The capital, San Salvador is home to some fantastic gastronomy festivals, and is the place to discover typical El Salvadorian cuisine, music and art. The largest city in El Salvador is a generally Spanish speaking city, and this runs throughout the country.

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

Guatemala

The centre of the spectacular ruined temple complex of Tikal

With mountains and volcanoes setting the landscape, Guatemala is a perfect place to get out and explore.

The capital is Guatemala City, and it is a city bursting with culture. From the amazing art galleries and museums, to sporting venues and shopping centres, Guatemala City is full of life.

Quetzaltenango is the city with everything. Climb a volcano, hike through the countryside and listen to some live music by local bands. Known as Xela by the locals, it is the place in Guatemala to learn Spanish, help on extraordinary volunteer programmes and see amazing picturesque views.

In Guatemala, there is a tradition to eat certain foods on certain days. "Paches" is a potato based dish and is usually eaten on a Thursday. These traditions continue into special occasions such as Christmas. Like food, music is an important tradition in Guatemala and the national instrument is called the marimba. This type of xylophone is heard all over the country. It is not the only type of music in the country and the traditional music could be Marimba music, Garifuna and even rock music.

For a country with a difference, and many traditions, Guatemala is the place to visit.

Honduras

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

Honduras has an amazing coastline spanning hundreds of miles along the Pacific coast

With some of the whitest beaches in Central America, escaping and exploring is a must. The Bay Islands is the place to be for snorkling and scuba diving. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world, and submerged below the clear waters lie unspoilt coral and an arrary of colourful underwater life. With bright fish, manta rays, sea turtles and even white sharks split into 3 isles, it makes the Bay Islands the perfect place to explore.

Away from the coastline are the fantastic mountains that soar above the country. There is some amazing scenery in Honduras and it is the place where so many resources are found. Gold, silver, lead and zinc are only a number of these.

Another treasure to be found is the Honduran music scene. Garifuna and Reggae are two of the most popular sounds of country. Music is important to Hodurans and there is an institution in the city of Comayauga. It's a central point in Honduran meals, especially the national dish of Plato Típico. This meal is a centre of beef surrounded by drinks and music. These two Honduras' icons are brought together, and made a magnificent part of Honduran culture. The food is influenced by Spanish and African cuisine. Typical Honduran food has infused these two flavours together to create its own specific taste. 

The capital city of Honduras is Tegucigalpa, and it is also the largest city in the country. There are so many places of interest including museums and national parks. The river Choluteca runs through the capital city which runs over 200 miles into the Pacific Ocean. The city is surrounded by mountains and the heart of Honduras is ready to explore.

Mexico

The phenomenal Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza, ne of the modern Seven Wonders of the World

Mexico is a country full of culture and history.

Home to the Aztec empire that ruled through three different centuries, the architecture left behind is nothing short of magical. The best places to see Aztec ruins are Palenque, Teotihuacan or Mexico city the Aztec capital and also the modern capital. The city has a diverse feel to it and the temples and palaces are a world away from the lively nightlife. It gives the feeling of a new adventure every day. On Lake Xochimilco, the landscape of the capital can be explored on a Tarajinera boat. 

Mexico is a country rich in taste and is most famous export comes from the city of Tequila. Made from the blue algave plant, the drink has protected geographical status, so only true Tequila comes from this region. Foodwise Mexico is known for it's fire; the spicy Jalapeno pepper was originated in Mexico, and is used in many dishes. But also the sweet taste of chocolate was another treasure of ancient Mexico. Cacao beans were used as a currency in Mesoamerican times. 

There are many types of Mexican music, from traditional folk to Latin Alternative. Influence from other cultures, has created a diverse sound. Instruments used in traditional music use a range of stringed and wind instruments.

One more of Mexico's icons is the cactus, this is one of over 30,000 plants in the country. The wildlife in Mexico is amazing. There are over a thousand species of birds including the beautiful Quetzal and with mammals such as lynx, wolves, snakes and crocodiles.

Nicaragua

The spectacular Volcan Conception on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

The rugged beauty of Nicaragua makes it one of the most interesting places in Central America to visit. The landscape is lined with many volcanoes, of which you can climb and explore.

The capital, Managua is flowing with adventure. The traquil surrounding of trees and many untouched trails means exploration is a must. Discover the magic of poetry flowing through the city and enjoy one of the most relaxing capitals in Central America.
The contrasting city of Leon however, is full of culture. Churches, cathedrals and many art galleries are scattered around the city. Exploring sites and learning about the culture can be hard work, but with the wide variety of food and drink available, are a chance to relax. There are many street barbeques about, and with grilled meats and lovely pastry dishes. Nicaragua is a country that grows tropical fruits all year round. Juicy fruits such as mangoes, bananas, watermelons, plums, dragon fruits, star fruits and passion fruits are just some of the many wonderful fruits that can be found across the country. Like the fruit, the wildlife too is colourful. It is the place to find the three toed sloth. This wonderful animal can be seen swinging through the tree life, so keep your eyes peeled and there is a high chance you can see one. Other animals include anteaters, armadillos, sea turtles and spider monkeys.
 
A country brimming with culture is also home to some beautiful music. The Marimba is a xylophone styled instrument and infused with guitars and drums, the sound of Nicaragua can be heard. On the east side of the country, the music is heavily influenced from an Indian and Spanish culture, while on the west, the music is influenced by Africans.

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

Panama

Panama is the southernmost country of Central America and links Central America with South America having a land border with Colombia. Despite this travel between the two continents is diffcult due to the Darien Gap and the security situation within it. That said Panama is a safe country to travel around with a stable economy and because of its key geographic location, it is an important country in the area with a well developed service sector heavily weighted towards banking, commerce and tourism.

Democracy is now strongly emerging in the country as Panama puts behind it the political turmoil of the Noriega regime which saw American troops invading the country in the late 1980's and early 1990's in support of the Panamanian people who were being repressed.

The Panama Canal is obviously intrinsically important to the economy and has been since it was built between 1904 and 1914 and the tolls from the canal now form a considerable part of the country's gross domestic product.

Panama does not produce any banknotes of their currency, the Balboa, but use the American dollar. One dollar has the same value as one balboa, though it is difficult to find out what exactly a balboa is as the last and only time the currency was in use was back in 1941 and only for 7 days!

Peru

The breathtaking Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru is home to some of South Americas most glorious landmarks, and the opportunity to partake in an activity seem endless.

The capital is Lima and it is known of the City of the Kings, it was founded by the Conquistador Pizarro in 1535. The elegant architecture runs through the capital and the cultural effects of the museums are all tucked away in this classic city.

Any introduction to Peru wouldn't be complete without the Inca civilisation. Cuzco is the ancient capital of the Inca empire. 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 and lasted for over four centuries.

The most famous Inca legacy is undoubtedly the Inca Trail the ancient set of pathway in the Andes that include the route up to the fantastic site of Machu Picchu. 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 site was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and is simply awe inspiring and is a must visit place in South America.

Peru is flowing with fabulous landscapes and this continues at Lake Titicaca. On the border of Peru and Bolivia it is the highest navigable lake in the world. In the culture of Lake Titicaca, comes the sound of panpipes. An Andean music form, this woodwind instrument plays tranquil sounds and is a nice form of relaxation. The Charango is the national instrument of Peru. This stringed instrument was from a Spanish influence and has a distinctive sound. The taste is as distinctive as the sound and the national dish of Ceviche. This is a fish based dish where the fish is 'cooked' in lemon or lime juice.

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

USA

The stunning rock formations in Monument Valley, on the Arizona-Utah state line

Adventure travel in North America is much, much more than the usual Vegas, Grand Canyon, Rockies and Yellowstone tick list. Yes all these incredible places are worth visiting (and visit them you will with us!) but with Dragoman we also get you off the beaten track overnighting in an Alaskan wilderness camp, exploring the absolutely stunning Glacier National Park and spending time with the Navajo Indians in Monument Valley Tribal Park.

Our overland tours in North America see you travelling on an epic 30 week trip covering 10,000 miles from Anchorage in Alaska in the far north of the continent down to the southernmost tip of South America at Ushuaia.  Or vice versa. So you can combine Machu Picchu, Patagonia, jungle safaris in Costa Rica and the Mayan ruins of Mexico with the famous National Parks of America – Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, the Grand Canyon, Glacier, Monument Valley and of course Yellowstone as well as the famed Canadian parks of Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. In addition you also enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery of Alaska at Wrangell-St Elias, Denali and the Kenai Peninsula.

Undoubtedly the most unique element of this trip is our means of travel.  Dragoman uses a specially converted traditional American school bus to travel through Central and North America. This will undoubtedly be a truly unforgettable way to explore the Americas.  Join us for a month travelling between Anchorage and Banff or Banff and Mexico City or combine both sections and spend nearly eight weeks enjoying such diverse activities as river-tubing in Zion, gambling in Las Vegas, exploring the Mormon culture in Salt Lake City, visiting Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, relaxing in hot springs at Whitehorse, touring the Klondike gold mining areas around Dawson City and hiking up Exit Glacier near Seward.

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Daily Itinerary

A beatuiful from amongst the ruined buildings of Machu Picchu
A group dressed in traditional Quechua clothes at our Raqchi homestay
White water rafting on the Pastaza River in Ecuador
The view from Incahuasi Island, Salar de Uyuni
The phenomenal Santuario de las Lajas near Ipiales, Colombia
An incredible view of the Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza at night
The Arenal volcano lets of steam near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
The mighty Aialik glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
The breathtaking view over the world-famous Grand Canyon, USA
A mighty grizzly bear snacks on a salmon in Stewart, Alaska
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa, Peru
Inside the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa
Looking over Arequipa's Plaza de Armas
The Plaza Independencia in the centre of the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo
A canyoning trip in the rivers around Banos, Ecuador
Abseiling down one of the waterfalls on the Banos canyoning trip, Ecuador
Walking in the fantastic valleys to see the waterfalls around Banos, Ecuador
The mighty volcano Tungurahua erupts at night near Banos, Ecuador
Incredible carvings at Persepolis
Some of the atmospheric vineyards of Cafayate, Argentina
The sun rises under the grape vines of Cafayate, Argentina
The stunning rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas between Salta and Cafayate
The colourful historic centre of Cartagena, Colombia
A view over the beautiful modern skyline of Cartagena
Boats parked at the Rosario Islands, on a day trip from Cartagena, Colombia
The Spanish coastal fort of San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia
Colourful bougainvilleas on a row of houses in Cartagena
Boarding the boats to Caye Caulker, Belize
Nurse Sharks spotted in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Caye Caulker, Belize
A stunning sunset over the Caribbean Sea on Caye Caulker, Belize
One of the deserted beaches on the northern island of Caye Caulker, Belize
The Bridge of Peace in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
An inquisitive llama in the beautiful countryside around Chivay, Peru
Approaching sunset on the shores of Las Ca&ntilde;as, Uruguay
Getting the truck blessed in Copacabana, Bolivia
The wonderful vista over Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca
A quiet street in the colonial Uruguayan town of Colonia
The Parque Calderon in the centre of the colonial town of Cuenca, Ecuador
Panama hats for sale in the Ecuadorian town of Cuenca
More stone carvings at Persepolis
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
On the road near Sincelejo, Colombia
The ancient Moche adobe city of Chan Chan, Huanchaco, northern Peru
A 4th-centry mural of the Moche god Ai Apaec, with all its colours intact
Traditional 'Totora Horse' boats lines up on the Pacific shore in Huanchaco, Peru
The huge adobe walls at the ruined Moche city of Chan Chan, near Huanchaco
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Day 1: Santiago

( Mon 08 Feb )

Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport.

Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The following day is a free day to explore the incredible city, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.

In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel.

Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel

Happy House Hostel

Moneda 1829

Santiago

Chile

Tel - +56 2 2688 4849

About Santiago:

Bisected by the Mapocho River, Chile's capital 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 Cristobal 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 (central market) 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 Valapariso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.

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Day 2 to 3: Mendoza

( Tue 09 Feb to Wed 10 Feb )

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

Today we will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Argentine wine capital of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes. Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.

In Mendoza we we stay in a centrally located hostel in dorm accommodation.

About Mendoza:

Mendoza is a vibrant city full of pleasant leafy boulevards and leafy 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 all the amenities you would expect from great restaurants to lively nightlife, interesting museums and galleries and great shopping. On summer weekends, open air concerts and markets often take place in the beautiful plazas.

The city is perhaps most famous for it's wine. Whilst technically Mendoza is a desert town, extensive artificial irrigation have made it possible to grow grapes and olives here, both of which benefit from the long, hot, sunny summers. The wine made here is world class and tours of local vineyards and wineries are easily arranged.

Mendoza is also used by many people as a base from which to explore the mountains in this area. America's highest peak Aconcagua is nearby and skiing is popular in the winter months.

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Day 4: Rio Ceballos

( Thu 11 Feb )

Today we will leave Mendoza and start our journey through the beautiful San Juan and Cordoba provinces towards Mendoza.

We will aim to camp in one of the small rural towns en route. 

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

About Rio Ceballos:

To the east of the Andes in the centre of Argentina is the country's second major city, Cordoba. Nearby are the beautiful hills of the Sierra de Cordoba where we will 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 great food straight from the farm. An asado or 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 / 95 kg to ensure the horses' well-being. If you are heavier than this weight you will unfortunately be unable to ride.

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Day 5 to 7: Rio Ceballos

( Fri 12 Feb to Sun 14 Feb )

Today we will compete our drive to our unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding, taste the excellent wines produced by their vineyards, be entertained by a local musician, learn some of the skills of the gauchos, and enjoy a traditional asado (Argentine BBQ). This isa magical experience in a beautiful and atmospheric location, and many people's highlight of the trip!

Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.

In the Estancia we will camp with facilities in the grounds near the main house.

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Day 8: Tafí Del Valle

( Mon 15 Feb )

Today we will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains. 

Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite in the town of Tafí del Valle.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

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Day 9: Cafayate, Quilmes Ruins

( Tue 16 Feb )

Today we will have an included visit to the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route, then arrive in the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentina's principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!

In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

About Cafayate:

Cafayate is a small town in north-west Argentina and an important wine-growing area. The surrounding vineyards produce some of the best quality wine in South America, and you should look out for the Torrontes in particular, a distinctive white wine that is typically Argentinian and similar in style to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Cafayate itself is small with 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 and this is 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! If wine is not your thing, the area is also popular for walking and mountain-biking, as the gently undulating terrain makes for pleasant hiking and cycling.

About Quilmes Ruins:

The ruins of Quilmes are located in Tucaman province in north-west Argentina. The people of Quilmes were an indigenous tribe who inhabited this area as far back as 1000AD, resisting Inca invasions in the 15th and 16th centuries and even holding out against the Spanish for over one hundred years, before finally succombing to a siege led by the colonial powers in 1667. After the siege Spanish took the area over, deporting the few surviving indigenous people to a "reservation" close to Buenos Aires. The 2000 remaining Quilmes Indians were forced to make this 1500 km journey on foot, which meant that many died along the way, never reaching their final destination. At it's height, the city we see the ruins of here would have housed nearly 5000 people, today there are only a handful of Quilmes descendents left in Tucaman. It is interesting to wander among the ruins here today and imagine the city that would once have been.

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Day 10 to 11: Salta

( Wed 17 Feb to Thu 18 Feb )

Today we wil drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the beautiful colonial town of Salta.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On th following day, we will have a free day to explore the town of Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.

In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guesthouse.

About Salta:

Salta is an attractive town in the north west of Argentina. Nicknamed "Salta la Linda" (or "Salta the fair") the city is well known as a handsome 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 while away a couple of hours people-watching over a traditional morning snack of a cafe con medialunas (coffee and small croissant like pastries). It is an elegant and relaxed city, with a nice relaxed atmosphere, a perfect place to wander the streets and explore. To get a better view of the city and surrounding area you can take a cablecar from Parque San Martín up to the Cerro San Bernardo view point, 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.

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Day 12: Purmamarca

( Fri 19 Feb )

Today we will have some more free time in Salta before heading up to the small village of Purmamarca, at the base of the aptly-named 'Hill of the Seven Colours'

In Purmamarca we will camp at a local campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

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Day 13 to 14: San Pedro De Atacama

( Sat 20 Feb to Sun 21 Feb )

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

Today we will have a drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Chile, and then descend all the way into the Atacama desert.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).

In San Pedro de Atacama we will stay in a centrally located hostel.

About San Pedro De Atacama:

San Pedro is a small oasis town in the Atacama desert. 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, home to some interesting mummies and various other Indian artifacts.

Pleasant though the town is, the real attraction here is the surrounding landscape. This part of the Atacama has become well-known as a tourist destination because of the spectacular 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, unsual 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 kaleidescope of different colours, so the end of the day is definitely the best time of day to visit.

There are also a whole host of other activities on offer here, from star-gazing 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.

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Day 15: Bolivian Altiplano

( Mon 22 Feb )

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

Today we will climb back up into the deserts and cross the Bolivian border into the wilds of the Bolivian altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way to the town of Uyuni. We will visit the spectacular coloured lakes of Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde en route.

In the Bolivian Altiplano we will stay in a basic mountain refuge.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

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 trucks, or local jeeps. The crossing is an adventurous one, with no roads to speak of it's rough travelling 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, because the landscape here is out of this world.

Wild and remote, the high altiplano is barren semi desert, but impressive nonetheless. The open plains are dotted by streams and lakes, many of which appear vividly coloured, due to the mineral deposits in the water. In the background the lakes are flanked by the impressive volcanic peaks of the high Bolivian Andes, awe-inspiringly beautiful and undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you'll have ever seen. You'll also pass a few remote villages, 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 n 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.

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Day 16: Uyuni

( Tue 23 Feb )

Today we will have an early start to complete our epic crossing of the Bolivian altiplano, and reach the town of Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.

In Uyuni we will stay in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world!

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

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.

Affectionately nicknamed 'La Huja Predilecta de Bolivia', which means "Bolivia's favourite daughter",  Uyuni is perhaps best known for its proximity to the Bolivian salt flats known locally as the "Salar de Uyuni". Also in the area and definitely worth a visit is the Cementario de Trenes, a graveyard for the carcasses of old steam engines that have been left here to rust, an unwordly and eerie sight set in the bright altiplano sunshine, set against the background of the distant Salar.

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Day 17: Salar De Uyuni

( Wed 24 Feb )

Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!

About Salar De Uyuni :

The Bolivian Salt Flats are a truly unforgettable sight, this is a landscape quite unlike anything you're likely to ever have seen before. The Salar de Uyuni is a dry lake of over 12,000 sq kms made of blinding white interlocking salt crystals. It is Bolivia's largest salt pan and when there's a little water on the flats, it reflects the bright blue sky of the altiplano perfectly, acting like a mirror and making the horizon disappear. The effect is positively eerie. When dry, the Salar becomes a blinding white expanse that stretches for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see.

On the edge of the flats, local workers carve blocks of salt by hand for processing in nearby antiquated factories, covered head to toe in old rags to keep their bodies protected from the harsh conditions. Then when you head out onto the Salar proper, you'll experience this unique "nothingness" of this unusual landscape. Miles and miles of bright white salt. Bizarrely there is a hotel situated out on the flats, where everything is made completely of salt from the walls to the furniture

 

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Day 18: Potosí

( Thu 25 Feb )

Today we will leave Uyuni and head to the colonial mining town of Potosí, the highest town in the world, and once famous for the area's abundance of silver!

The afternoon will be free to explore Potosí, and there will be a chance to visit the infamous silver mines of Cerro Rico near to the town.

In Potosí we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

 

About Potosí:

Potosí is a colonial mining town, founded in the sixteenth century after the Spanish discovered huge silver deposits in the nearby Cerro Rico mountain. Situated at over 4000m 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 1800's 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 cocoa 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.

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Day 19 to 20: La Paz

( Fri 26 Feb to Sat 27 Feb )

Today we will leave Potosí and drive north to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world!

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

On the following day we have a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

Hotel for the night: Estrella Andina

Estrella Andina

Avenida Illampu 716

Zona El Rosario

La Paz

Bolivia

Tel - +591 2245 6421

About La Paz:

Bolivia's largest city, La Paz lies 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 neightbourhoods at the bottom of the canyon in the centre, surrounded by sprawling shantytowns which extend up the slopes of the bowl, merging into "El Alto" back on the plains, a suburb of La Paz that has grown to be a city in it's own right.

The city skyline is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani, a staggeringly beautiful back-drop 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 selling anything and everything you could ever think of. Different areas of the city have established markets selling things you'd expect like food and flower, and also things you've probably never seen before - check out the dried llama foetuses on sale in the witches market (Bolivian's believe that burying one of these in the foundations of your home will ensure prosperity and good fortune)

There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, from playing a round at the highest golf course in the Americas, skiing at an absurdly high height, or trekking and gravity assisted bike rides through the Yungas. You can also arrange excursuibs ti Mount Chacaltaya and Moon Valley where you can take in the superlative mountain views. Another option is to visit the Tihuanacu Ruins which are a short journey away close to the Peruvian border. The city is also full of impressive churches and museums, including one dedicated to the history of the Coca plant.

Please be aware that you may not be able to do all these activities during the time you will have in La Paz at the start or finish of your trip with Dragoman, so you may want to consider allowing some extra time here.

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Day 21: La Paz

( Sun 28 Feb )

Border information: if you are finishing in La Paz, you will most likely exit Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in La Paz, and a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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Day 22: La Paz

( Mon 29 Feb )

Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport.

Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

Please note that we advise you to arrive early if you would like to take full advantange of the range of activities available in La Paz.

Hotel for the night: Estrella Andina
Activity Approximate Cost

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

Free

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 trip out to the mountain resort of Chacaltaya and the other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley near La Paz

BOB 120

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

Take a guided tour of the main sights and viewpoints around La Paz

BOB 60

Discover Bolivia's history, art, and culture in some of La Paz's many museums such as the San Francisco Museum and the Museum of Ethnography

BOB 20
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Day 23: Copacabana, La Paz

( Tue 01 Mar )

Today we will head to the beautiful town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we will have some time to freely explore.

In Copacabana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful colonial town of Copacabana, on the serene shores of Lake Titicaca

Free
About Copacabana:

Copacabana, Bolivia, has little in common with the famous Brazilian beach, but it's a picturesque small town on the shores of Lake Titicaca nevertheless. The town centres around it's small whitewashed square which is home to an amazing 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, before heading into town for a game of table football with the locals, or a visit to one of the many bars that feature live music here - many of whom are often from Argentina.

If you have time, this is a good place to take a boat trip out onto Lake Titicaca. By taking a local boat to Isla del Sol you can spend a day exploring this historic island, famous for being the birthplace of the whole Inca civilisation. The modern day Aymara and Quechua peoples of Bolivia and Peru still accept the legend of the sun being born on this island as their creation story even today. There are a host of ancient ruins to discover, tiny traditional villages and beautiful walking routes. You can wander through the stone ruins, exploring the islands dry slopes covered with sweet smelling incense brush, or hike over the ancient pampas which are still cultivated by the island families.

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Day 24: Isla Del Sol

( Wed 02 Mar )

Today we will take an included day trip to Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, one of the holiest sites in ancient Inca mythology and supposedly the birthplace of the Sun God Inti. We will take a 14km walk across the length of the island, taking in the incredible and serene scenery and soaking up the calm atmosphere of the island (this walk can be skipped by anybody who does not want to do it).

In Isla del Sol we will stay in a basic local 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
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Day 25: Puno

( Thu 03 Mar )

Border information: exit Bolivia at Kasani, enter Peru at Yunguyo.

Today we will take a boat back to Copacabana, and then cross the border into Peru and head to the lakeside town of Puno. 

In Puno we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Puno:

Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the south eastern part of Peru is the small town of Puno. The town is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional andean customs are still strongly represented here.

Puno is known as the folkloric capital of Peru as result of the wealth of artistic and cultural expressions, particularly dance, that originate here. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.

The main attraction here though is the lake. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, 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. Perhaps the most famous islands are the Uros, often referred to as the "floating reed islands". Known as the “willow people”, the Uros have lived on these small man made islands built from compacted Totora reeds for many years.  Nowadays the young people leave the islands to live in Puno and the remaining population uses tourism as a way of providing extra income. A visit to the islands is no longer perhaps the authentic experience it once was, but the islands are still unique and make for an interesting short visit. You may also have time to visit the Yavari steam ship moored nearby, this was built in England then shipped out to Peru, traveling by train and animal to Puno before being rebuilt and launched on the lake.

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Day 26: Cuzco, Puno

( Fri 04 Mar )

Today we will leave Puno and head through the highlands of Peru to the former Inca capital of Cuzco. We will have an included visit to the Inca site of Tipon en route.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible Inca site of Tipon, once an agricultural centre and a park for the Inca elite

Included in Kitty
About Cuzco:

Cuzco is the ancient capital of the Inca empire and any adventure tour to Peru is centred around this stunning city. Even today, many of its buildings still retain some of the original Inca stonework as part of their structure. It is interesting to know that despite their advanced civilisation, the Incas did not know how to write and had not invented the wheel, yet they were skillful irrigation engineers, inventing the suspension bridge and hammock. They must have had theories on constructing buildings to avoid damage by earthquake, which may account for the way they fitted huge carved blocks of granite together in an incredibly precise jigsaw when creating new structures. Examples of their amazing building techniques can still be seen in and around Cuzco, including the infamous "twelve sided stone", now famous as part of the logo of Cuzco's native "Cusquena" beer.

The town is a fantastic place to spend a fews days. A good place to start your explorations is the majestic main plaza, heading out into the 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. If you're interested in learning more about the history and culture of Peru, there are also some fantastic museums here and the many churches are well worth a look as well. So take to the streets and wander around, haggle with the street vendors, kick-back and enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes with balconies overlooking the square and just enjoy Cuzco and it's beautiful surroundings.

Cuzco is also the gateway to Machu Picchu with most people trekking one of the many Inca Trails to reach this ancient Inca city. 

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Day 27: Cuzco

( Sat 05 Mar )

The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.

There will be a further meeting this evening for our Community and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

Activity Approximate Cost

Take an excellent free walking tour around Cuzco with a local guide, getting a fascinating insight into the history of the city and the life of the locals

Free

Explore the site of Koricancha and Santo Domingo neat the city centre, a jarring juxtaposition of a Spanish colonial cathedral built on top of the walls of an ancient Inca Sun temple

PEN 10

Take an incredible trip out on various mountain bike routes in the highlands surrounding Cuzco

USD 125

Visit some of the fascinating museums in Cuzco, including the Textiles Museum, the Chocolate Museum, the Casa Concha, and the Museo Inka

PEN 20

Explore the incredible colonial city of Cuzco, visiting the famous Plaza de Armas, cathedral, and the Plaza San Francisco

Free

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

USD 45

Take part in a Peruvian cooking class in Cuzco, learning how to make a variety of local dishes

USD 79

Take a Spanish class in the beautiful city of Cuzco (suitable for all levels)

PEN 20
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Day 28 to 31: Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

( Sun 06 Mar to Wed 09 Mar )

These four days will be spent trekking in the Andes, either on our pioneering Community Trek or on the Classic Inca Trail. We will have a tour of the Sacred Valley, embark on our various treks, and end up at the phenomenal Inca site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!

Please see the Inca Trails section at the bottom of the detailed trip notes for each departure for details of the Community Trek and the Classic Inca Trail, as well as our non-trekking MAPI alternative.

We will camp during these nights (except for the first night of the Classic Trail and the last night of the Community Trek, which are both in a local hotel in Ollantaytambo). 

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsaywaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour

Included in Kitty

Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo

Included in Kitty

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

Option 1 - Community Trek

Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists and through local communities, on our exclusive Community 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 - MAPI non-trekking option

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

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

Included in Kitty
About Sacred Valley:

The valley of the Urabamba river is more often referred to as “El Valle Sagrado de los Incas”, or the Sacred Valley. Close to Cuzco in Peru, the valley extends from the small market town of Pisac to Ollyantytambo, 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. The area is littered with archaelogical sites which include the magnificent ruins of Pisac, Sacsayhuaman and Ollyantytambo, as well as the Lost City itself. 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.

If you travel with Dragoman, whether you choose to take the Community Inca Trek, the Classic Inca Trail, or not to trek at all, everyone in the group will be able to take part in a tour of the Sacred Valley. We will typically leave Cuzco first thing in the morning and drive to Sacsayhuaman ruins which are just 15 mins from our hotel. These ruins are best known for the gigantic blocks that make up the zig zag frontal of this fort like construction. There are many theories as to why Sacsayhuaman was originally built and what it was used for but the most likely is that it was a temple complex where offerings were made to appease the gods. Sachsayhuaman is an amazing place and the early morning light makes the great view of the Cuzco rooftops that we get here even more beautiful.

We will then head further on into the Sacred Valley proper, stopping high on the mountainside to explore the ruins of Pisac. We will walk downhill along small pathways, through ancient arches, storage buildings and houses, learning about the history of the site from our local guide. 

If you are doing the Classic Inca Trail you will then head straight to Ollantaytambo from Pisac, exploring the ruins here that afternoon and camping overnight, heading to the Classic Inca Trail start point early the next morning.

If you are doing the Community Inca Trail we will drive to Chincheros, a small village in the Sacred Pampa where the locals speak mostly Quechua, the language of the Incas. There you will see a weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years and you will tour the archaeological ruins there for another hour and a half. From Chincheros we will drive an area with great views to have an energizing picnic lunch. We will then drive to Quillarumiyoc, also known as the Temple of the Moon. From there we will start our hike, returning to the Sacred Valley at the end of the trek when we arrive in Ollantaytambo. Here you are joined by any of your group who prefer not to trek at all for a guided tour of this Inca site, before leaving next morning on the early train for Machu Picchu

About Inca Trail :

When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually refering to a particular trekking route that follows a ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. What many people don't realise is that there are a actually a huge number of Inca Trails that criss cross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote, rarely used by western tourists, offering a chance to experience the real unspoilt Andes. On all Dragoman overland tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the "Classic" Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Community Inca Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman.

The Classic Inca Trail

The "Classic" Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cuzco – Machu Picchu railtrack, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4200m) 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. It's also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the other Inca sites it passes along the way.

Unfortunately, in recent years the classic trail has almost become a bit of a victim of it's own popularity. It is important to realise that the trail is now very busy, with 500 people starting the trek every day. There are only a certain number of places where it is feasible to camp, so your group will be camped alongside others, and you will meet a lot of other trekkers along the way. Nevertheless, it is still an awesome trek, passing through some stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forest, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of the Lost City of the Incas is something you'll never forget.

The Community Inca Trek

Dragoman's Community Inca Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and pass through local communities as part of our pioneering community-based tourism project, Tarpuy Yachay. 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 4700m 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 alapaca, you are unlikely to see another tourist here. If you were to ask Dragoman which one we prefer, there is no contest, as the Community Inca Trek and Tarpuy Yachay Project is a much better and far more worthwhile experience.

Why we think the Community Inca Trek is better than the Classic Inca Trail:

  • You will trek through genuinely unspoilt, spectacular mountain scenery without seeing any other western tourists
  • Llamas, mules and horses are used instead of porters to carry equipment. These animals are sourced from the communities we travel through, providing a direct source of income for local families
  • You'll be helping to give something back to the local community. On this trek the staff and pack animals are all from the local villages, so they directly benefit from your trekking
  • We also make a financial donation from the group kitty, matched by Dragoman, for every person who does this trek. These donations help support a variety of projects, e.g. paying teacher wages for local community schools
  • By having the horses and mules along with us, you also have a much needed safety net if you suffer from altitude or exhaustion.... because you can always swallow your pride and hitch a ride
  • You will arrive to Machu Picchu well rested after a night in a comfortable hotel - ready to get the most out of the tour of this magnificent site

And a few things to consider when choosing the Community Inca Trek:

  • It's important to realise that whilst both treks finish at Machu Picchu on their final day, on the Community Trek you will not trek right through to the Sun Gate as you do on the Classic Inca Trail. However, you will still arrive before the crowds and it is possible to walk up from Machu Picchu itself to the Sun Gate to take in the famous view
  • The Inca trails that form part of the Classic Inca Trail route are what would have been the King's roads - and therefore they are better preserved than the trails we use on the Community Inca Trek
  • The ruins you will see on the Classic Inca Trail are more numerous than those on the Community Trek, however you will still see the main sites of Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • The Classic Inca Trail is closed for maintenance during February each year
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Day 32: Machu Picchu, Cuzco

( Thu 10 Mar )

This morning we will arrive at Machu Picchu, one of the world's most incredible and iconic historical sites. We'll have a guided tour with a local expert, and then have plenty of time to freely explore the area 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 time to freely explore before returning to Cuzco

Included in Kitty
About Machu Picchu:

Machu Picchu is usually the highlight of any adventure tour to Peru.  It is one of those genuinely magical places, and catching your first glimpse of the lost city of the Incas through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.

The most popular way to approach the ruined city is via one of the many Inca trails that wind their way through the Andes Mountains. The Classic Inca Trail is a much-used route taking four days and culminating with an arrival at the 'Sun Gate' at sunrise on the final morning from where you descend into Machu Picchu itself. However the sheer number of trekkers following this route has resulted in erosion, deforestation, litter and overcrowding at campsites. To address this issue Dragoman has been running a 'Community Inca Trail' for the past seven years. This unspoilt route is totally unique to Dragoman clients so you will be able to enjoy the trek in peace and away from the crowds on the main trail.  It visits local communities allowing you to learn about the Quechua way of life and travels through stunning mountain scenery enabling you to fully appreciate the majesty of the Andes.

Machu Picchu itself is stunningly located, perching high in the Andes surrounded by verdant cloud forest, with the River Urambamba running through the gorge far below.  It's thought that the city was the location of a royal palace and estate, home to the Inca emperors, or possibly a sacred religious and ceremonial sight.

Discovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham, although the ruins were heavily covered by dense jungle foliage, many of the buildings were well preserved and in excellent condition. 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.

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Day 33: Cuzco

( Fri 11 Mar )

Border information: if you are finishing in Cuzco, you will most likely exit Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cuzco, and is a free day to relax after the treks, further explore the historical city, or take part in some optional activities. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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Day 34: Cuzco

( Sat 12 Mar )

Border information: if you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. There will be a further meeting this evening for our Community and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Cahuide

Hotel Cahuide

Calle Saphi No. 845

Cuzco

Peru

Tel - + 51 8422 2771

 

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Day 35 to 38: Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

( Sun 13 Mar to Wed 16 Mar )

These four days will be spent trekking in the Andes, either on our pioneering Community Trek or on the Classic Inca Trail. We will have a tour of the Sacred Valley, embark on our various treks, and end up at the phenomenal Inca site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!

Please see the Inca Trails section at the bottom of the detailed trip notes for each departure for details of the Community Trek and the Classic Inca Trail, as well as our non-trekking MAPI alternative.

We will camp during these nights (except for the first night of the Classic Trail and the last night of the Community Trek, which are both in a local hotel in Ollantaytambo). 

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Day 39: Cuzco, Machu Picchu

( Thu 17 Mar )

This morning we will arrive at Machu Picchu, one of the world's most incredible and iconic historical sites. We'll have a guided tour with a local expert, and then have plenty of time to freely explore the area before catching the train back to Cuzco.

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Day 40: Cuzco

( Fri 18 Mar )

Today is a free day to relax after the treks, further explore the historical city of Cuzco, and take part in some optional activities around the city.

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Day 41: Raqchi

( Sat 19 Mar )

Today we will drive south to the small village of Raqchi. Here we will stay at a homestay as guests of the local villagers in their traditional family homes. The houses are very clean and have basic facilities.

This afternoon we will visit the Inca ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi, and then see a pottery demonstration at a local artisan centre. This evening the villagers will invite us to take part in a traditional Quechua religious ceremony, and we'll have some lively music from some of the village's musicians.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Raqchi:

Raqchi is a small village situated a short distance outside of Cuzco. On 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. If we are lucky there may be 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 it's 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.

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Day 42: Chivay

( Sun 20 Mar )

Today we will drive through the stunning landscapes of the Peruvian highlands to the small town of Chivay, where we can have an optional trip to the nearby hot springs in the evening.

In Chivay we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

About Chivay:

Upstream from the renowned  Colca Canyon, lies the rural town of Chivay. Heated pools just outside the town are one of the main highlights and a place to relax after a morning exploring the town centre and markets. Another magnificent site is the stone Inca bridge that crosses the Colca River Ravine that is thousands of years old.

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Day 43: Arequipa, Chivay

( Mon 21 Mar )

This morning we will head out on a short drive to some of the best viewpoints along the spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world! The canyon is famous for its resident condors, and we will spend a good amount of time at the viewpoints to give ourselves the best chance of spotting them. We will also visit a couple of local communities on the way back to Chivay.

After lunch in Chivay, we will drive to the beautiful ‘White City’ of Arequipa.

In Arequipa we will stay in a good local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Arequipa:

Situated on the Peruvian Altiplano, Arequipa sits at almost 3500 meters 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. If you have time, it's possible to arrange mountain-biking and rafting trips in the area as day tours from the city - and at certain times of year you can even try for an ascent of El Misti itself, though it's not an easy trek at these altitudes, so not for the faint hearted.

The city itself is very beautiful, full of beautiful 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, the "Ice Maiden." This mummy of a young Inca girl has been described as one of the 10 most important historical discoveries of recent times by Time Magazine. Because the body was frozen at such low temperatures and high altitude, a really extensive study into the physical health of ancient Peruvian civilisations has been possible, with fascinating results. You should also try to visit 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.

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Day 44: Arequipa

( Tue 22 Mar )

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of  Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.

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Day 45: Puerto Inca

( Wed 23 Mar )

Today we will continue our drive and head all the way downhill to the Pacific coastal resort of Puerto Inca, where we camp at a well-equiped campsite on the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

About Puerto Inca:

Puerto Inca is situated on the Peruvian coast in a beautiful bay and was once the Inca port that supplied the city of Cuzco with supplies of fish. There are a number of Inca ruins here, which includes a cemetery, a temple of reincarnation and part of the road that set out from the coast to Cuzco is still clearly visible. It is a great place to relax with a nice beach, the sea and swimming pool; water sports are also sometimes available. However, swimmers should be aware that there is often a strong under-current here.

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Day 46: Nazca

( Thu 24 Mar )

This morning we head north to the world-famous village of Nazca, the location of the mysterious Nazca Lines. We will have an included visit to the nearby ancient sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the Cahuachi Pyramid, thought to have once been the religious centre of the Nazca civilisation.

In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to take an optional 30-minute flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft - this is by far the best way of seeing the figures, and we use a local operator with an excellent safety record. The Nazca Lines are a series of figures, lines, and geometric shapes that were etched into the ground of the desert plateau over a thousand years ago by the ancient Nazca culture, and their purpose is still unknown to this day.

In Nazca we will camp at a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Nazca:

Nazca is home to the famous and enigmatic Nazca lines, enormous designs inscribed in the Desert on the arid high plateau between Nazca and Palpa. Many of the lines form stylised depictions of animals, for example you can make out llamas, monkeys, sharks and spiders, as well as trees and other designs.

Archaeologists believe the lines were created between 200BC and 700AD by three successive, different civilisations. The global importance of the region is reflected in UNESCO's declaration of the Nazca lines as a World Heritage Site in 1994. You can view the lines from viewing towers or take a flight in a small plane to see them from above.

Important - Flight over the Nazca Lines - As of November 2010 some western countries' travel advisories advise against this optional activity due to concerns around proper aircraft safety and maintenance standards not being reliably adhered to. For more information please refer to your country's travel advice website. Please note that due to Dragoman's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

Close to Nazca is the Chauchilla Indian Cemetery, where you can see the tombs of people of the ancient Nazca civilisation, dating from 100AD to 700AD. 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.

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Day 47: Huacachina

( Fri 25 Mar )

Today we continue north, stopping at a viewing platform to get a glimpse of some of the Nazca Lines. 

We will arrive at the stunning desert oasis town of Huacachina, where we have the option to head out for an evening of sand boarding and dune buggying and the further option to camp out under the stars in the deserts.

For those that do not wish to participate in the optional camping in the desert, in Huacachina we will stay in dorm accommodation in the village itself.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Huacachina:

Known as the 'oasis of America', Huacachina is near Ica in northern Peru, and is perhaps 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 sand boarding and buggying, although care should be taken before going on any of these trips, as standards are not always quite up to western expectations.

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Day 48: Paracas

( Sat 26 Mar )

Today we will continue north to Paracas National Park, where we have plenty of time to fully explore the desolate beauty of the landscape here, visit the museum, and go in search of the local wildlife.

We will wild camp in the National Park tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

About Paracas:

Spanning 335,000 hectares of land and sea, Paracas National Park is widely regarded as one of the most important marine reserves in the world. This coastal and marine national park is located on a peninsula in the Pacific Ocean and is home to one of the highest concentration of marine birds in the world. Providing a vital habitat for sealions and dolphins, Paracas is without doubt one of the most biologically diverse coastal areas in the Americas.

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

 

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Day 49: Lima, Ballestas Islands

( Sun 27 Mar )

Today we will board one of the local boats for an included trip to the Ballestas Islands to view its incredible array of resident wildlife and birds.

After lunch, we will continue north to arrive at the chaotic Peruvian capital of Lima.

In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Lima:

Lima is a city of hidden beauty. Dive in and explore the Peruvian capital's streets, parks and plazas and you will discover a real gem of a city. Infact there's so much to see here, a city tour is a great opportunity to find out about more about the rich history of Lima itself and Peru as a whole. The city was founded by Conquistador Pizarro in 1535 and was originally the administrative centre for Spain’s Vice royalty 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.

Whilst you are here there are many museums you can visit, such as the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum, which showcase the finest artefact's from the country's many ancient civlisations. You can also visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco, and take in a bit of local culture at an evening folklore show.

About Ballestas Islands:

The Ballestas Islands has weird and wonderful wildlife. From the boat trip you will be able to see Humboldt Penguins, Blackish Oystercatchers, Guano Cormorants and Peruvian Boobies living alongside vast colonies of Sea Lions nosily crowding the Ballestas coastline. The startlingly biodiversity around the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Park is the result of two merging currents; the warm northern waters El Nino 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 fitophankton, the core constituents in the diet of fish. The Ballestas Islands are one of the most popular ecotourism points of view along the Peruvian coast.

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Day 50: Lima

( Mon 28 Mar )

Border information: if finishing in Lima, you will most likely exit Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Lima, and a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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Day 51: Lima

( Tue 29 Mar )

Border information: if joining in Lima, you will most likely enter Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Kamana

Hotel Kamana

Jr. Camaná 547

Lima (Downtown)

Peru

Tel - +51 1426 7204

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Day 52: Huaraz

( Wed 30 Mar )

Today we will have a spectacular drive up the winding roads of the 'Paramonga Route' into the Cordillera Blanca section of the high Andes, reaching the mountain town of Huaraz.

In Huaraz we will stay in a local hostel in either dorm accommodation or private rooms depending on availability.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Huaraz:

Huaraz is situated high up in the Andes, dominated by the highest, tropical mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca, and Peru's highest peak, Huascaran. It offers great opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and rafting. You can even visit the Pastoruri Glacier. In addition there's the interesting Museo de Ancash exhibiting some precisely trepanned skulls and a goniometro - an early version of theodolite. There are also tours of the Chavin Ruins and Llanganuco Lake on offer, which may be of interest. From here it is also possible to visit the Willcawain Ruins, one of the outposts of the great Wari civilisations.

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Day 53 to 54: Huaraz

( Thu 31 Mar to Fri 01 Apr )

We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.

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Day 55: Huanchaco

( Sat 02 Apr )

Today we will have a full day's drive down the stunning 'Casma Route' to the Pacific coast and on to Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo.

In Huanchaco we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

About Huanchaco:

Once the capital of the ancient Peruvian Moche civilisation, 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 that they leave propped up in groups together on the sand.

Huanchaco is an ideal location from which to explore the numerous archaeological ruins the surround nearby Trujillo, such as the enormous pre-columbian complex of Chan Chan, a vast adobe city constructed by the emporer of the Chimu people, as well as the world famous Moche pyramids the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.

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Day 56: Huanchaco

( Sun 03 Apr )

Today we will have an included guided trip to explore the enormous adobe ruins of Chan Chan and the world-famous Moche archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).

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Day 57: Punta Sal, Lambayeque

( Mon 04 Apr )

Today we will have a full day's drive along the coast of northern Peru. We will have an included visit to the phenomenal Lord of Sipan museum in Lambayeque, home of an incredible collection of Chimu-era treasures (please note that this museum is closed on Mondays, so we will be unable to visit if your trip passes through on a Monday).

We will stay at a friendly local campsite just outside of Punta Sal, on a beautiful and serene beach on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (including approximately 1 hour 30 minutes at the Lord of Sipan museum). 

About Punta Sal:

Situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in a long, curvy 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 fishing trips and 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.

About Lambayeque:

The small Peruvian town of Lambayeque is home to the impressive Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan, a world-class museum that showcases the finest artefacts from the archaeological finds at nearby Sipan. This area on the northwest coast of Peru is well known for its rich historical heritage and the name Lambayeque originates from the ancient pre-Inca civilisation of the Lambayeques. Amongst the most extraordinary discoveries made here is the famous ‘Lord of the Sipan’, a Moche Priest found buried amidst an array of gold, jewels and fabrics.

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Day 58: Punta Sal

( Tue 05 Apr )

Today we have a full day to relax on the beach and enjoy some activities in and around the stunning coastal area of Punta Sal.

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Day 59: Cuenca

( Wed 06 Apr )

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

Today we will have a long drive day north, crossing the border into southern Ecuador and arriving at the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca.

In Cuenca we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

About Cuenca:

Cuenca is Ecuador's third-largest city and it's small centre is home to some beautiful architecture. This small university town is a pleasure to wander around and explore, take to the streets 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 some of the famous hat factories, where you can watch the craftsman and marvel at their skill first-hand.

Because of all the students who are based here, the town has a lively night-life and there are some good bars and restaurants to choose from. Top that off with an evening stroll around the Plaza and you'll have spent the perfect day enjoying the city.

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Day 60: Cuenca

( Thu 07 Apr )

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Cuenca. The town is the birthplace of the famous Panama Hat, and we will have the opportunity today to visit one of the factories to learn about the manufacturing process.

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Day 61: Chugchilan

( Fri 08 Apr )

Today we will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the stunning landscape of the Cajas National Park en route and the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the 'Quilotoa Loop'.

In Chugchilán we will stay in a fantastic local hostel where breakfast and dinner are included, giving you a chance to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian food.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

About Chugchilan:

Set on the slopes of the Rio Toachi Canyon, Chugchilán is our base for 2 nights where we either stay in a wonderful eco-lodge or an equally fantastic hostel. From the front door of the lodge, several day hikes are available, the most famous being one from Lake Quilotoa which is considered to be one of the best hikes in Ecuador.

We will drive from Chugchilán to Quilotoa where you will be able to climb down the crater to the waters edge before we begin a 4-6 hour guided trek, mainly downhill, back to our eco-lodge base. A moderate level of fitness is required as the trek is at altitude but the walking itself is not too strenous.

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Day 62: Lake Quilotoa, Chugchilan

( Sat 09 Apr )

Today we will transfer to the village of Quilotoa to see its stunning crater lake, and take an included day trek back to Chugchilán through the local villages, canyons, and beautiful scenery. This walk is widely considered one of the best day treks in Ecuador! 

The mostly-downhill usually takes between 4-6 hours, but please be aware that there is a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be physically fit for - although we thoroughly recommend the trek, it can be skipped by anyone if they prefer.

About Lake Quilotoa:

Lake Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater lake located at 3800 metres (12,400 feet) between the towns of Zumbahua and Chugchilán.  Its emerald water spans two kilometres.  Local legend claims it is connected to the ocean and is therefore salty and sulfuric.  Quilotoa is an active volcano, 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.  It is possible to swim in the lake, but the water is very cold (5° celsius).  If the climb back up from the laguna is too strenuous, you can hire a mule to ride for a few dollars.

The lake also lends it’s 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 after a 2 night stay head out on the southern section of the loop allowing you to see some of the more remote people and culture of the central Andes of Ecuador.

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Day 63: Rio Verde

( Sun 10 Apr )

Today we will drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and head north to the village of Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano.

In Rio Verde we will stay at a well-equipped campsite with great facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours

About Rio Verde:

A few kilometres from Banos, is the small town 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 out of town. Whilst staying here, you 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 Banos to visit the thermal springs.

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Day 64 to 65: Rio Verde, Baños

( Mon 11 Apr to Tue 12 Apr )

We will have two full days of free time for a range of activities in Rio Verde, such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. We will also have the opportuinty to visit the nearby town of Banos and its popular volcanic thermal springs.

About Baños:

Set in the hillside of the Tungurahua volcano is the exquisite town of Baños. Tungurahua may be the biggest volcano in Ecuador, but it is also one of the most popular to climb. This creates hiking opportunities and if you explore you will discover the thermal baths and gorgeous waterfalls. Baños is also the perfect place if you want exciting bike rides when the unknown always lies ahead. Pitch black tunnels, sheer drops - it is a place for the bold, it is a place for the daring and most importantly, it is a place that will bring out the adrenaline seeker in us all!

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Day 66: Ecuadorian Amazon

( Wed 13 Apr )

Today we drive to the edge of the Amazon basin near the town of Tena, where we head to our jungle lodge for an incredible 3-night stay.

In the Amazon Jungle we will stay in a comfortable rainforest lodge with meals included.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours

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Day 67 to 68: Ecuadorian Amazon

( Thu 14 Apr to Fri 15 Apr )

Over the next two days we will head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rainforest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community. 

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Day 69: Quito

( Sat 16 Apr )

Today we will drive back up into the highlands and arrive at the Ecuadorian capital, Quito.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Quito:

Quito has a more relaxed atmosphere than most Latin American capitals. Lying in a hollow at the base of Volcano Pichincha, the old town is a maze of steep, cobbled streets with intricately carved, overhanging balconies. Its mixture of old colonial and modern architecture and the mix of European and Indian cultures make this a really fascinating city. Wandering around, you will come across stalls displaying Indian textiles, colourful wall hangings, jewellery, pottery and woodcarvings - and the old town has some of the best examples of Spanish colonial art and churches anywhere in the Americas.With so much to see and do, it is well worth extending your time in South America to ensure you experience all that Quito has to offer.

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Day 70: Quito

( Sun 17 Apr )

Border Information: if finishing in Quito, you will most likely exit Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Quito, and a free day to explore the city. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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Day 71: Quito

( Mon 18 Apr )

Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

Hotel for the night: Fuente de Piedra II

Hotel Fuente de Piedra II

Juan Leon Mera N23-21 y Baquedano

Mariscal Sucre

Quito

Ecuador

Tel - +593 2290 0323

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit one of the countless art galleries in Quito, such as the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana or the Museo Guayasamín USD 6

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

USD 8.5

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

USD 3
Take a walk around Quito's incredible Botanical Gardens, which showcases all of Ecuador's various ecosystems and their flora USD 3.5
Visit the Museo Mindalae, the extremely original project showcasing Ecuador's rich cultural diversity USD 3
Freely explore the stunning historical Old Town of Quito, and wander its ancient streets marvelling at the outstanding architecture and wonderful atmosphere Free
Enjoy the fantastic view over Quito's Old Town from the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the nearby Cerro Panecillo Free
Get away from the busy city with a stroll around one of Quito's numerous parks, all of which are very beautiful and popular with the locals Free
Visit the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, showcasing the country’s largest collection of Ecuadorian art and housing an impressive gold collection USD 2
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Day 72: Quito, Otavalo

( Tue 19 Apr )

Today our journey begins with a short drive to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator. After this we will continue north to the small town of Otavalo, stopping in the centre to visit its famous markets.

In Otavalo we will camp in the grounds of a rural guesthouse overlooking the town.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a short walk to the beautiful Peguche Waterfalls near Otavalo (if time allows) Free

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

Free

Visit the monument to mark the Equator at Mitad del Mundo

Included in Kitty
About Otavalo:

Otavalo is a small town known for it's market, nestled in beautiful surroundings a short distance north of Quito. Many of the local indigenous communities in this area still wear their traditional clothing made from intricately woven and decorated fabrics, and the men tend to wear their hair in long ponytails. Infact, the Otovalan's weaving skills are quite renowned and they are rightly famous for their textiles, so rugs, wall hangings and knitwear are all well worth buying here. There are numerous other activities to do in the surrounding area, including horse-riding and trekking into the surrounding hillsides. If you have time, it may also be possible to visit the hot springs at Papallacta.

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Day 73: Ipiales

( Wed 20 Apr )

Border information: Exit Ecuador at Ipiales, enter Colombia at Ipiales.

Today we will have an early start to cross the border into Colombia and reach the border town of Ipiales. We will visit the famous Santuario de las Lajas church outside of Ipiales in the late afternoon.

In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Ipiales:

Ipiales is the border town on the Colombian side of the Colombia/Ecuador frontier. The town has some pleasant plazas squares and the sight of locals using a horse and cart gives it a quaint, countryside feel.

The star attraction of Ipiales, 7 km outside of town, is the famous Santuario de Las Lajas, the site of many a miracle and apparition over the years. Set amid breath-taking scenery, El Santuario is a spectacular gothic-style church straddling a dramatic gorge with rushing river below. It is one of the most impressive churches on the continent and its fantastic setting and quirky museum make it a highlight of any visit to Colombia.

 

 

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Day 74: Popayán

( Thu 21 Apr )

Today we have a full day drive to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.

In Popayán we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Free
About Popayán:

Nicknamed the White City, Popayán is a beautiful colonial town of white-washed houses and grand churches encircled by rolling green hills. Although the capital of the Cauca region and the former capital of Southern Colombia, Popayán somehow retains it's relaxed small town feel. The friendly locals can often be found sipping coffee in one of the city's excellent cafes or relaxing in one of the shaded parks, catching up with friends and watching the world go by.

The cool and sunny climate of the lower Andes makes Popayán a very comfortable place to stay and as the main university town of the region, there's a young, sociable feel to the city. The leafy parks marked with elegant church towers provide a sociable and relaxed location where you could easily spend an afternoon, while an evenings entertainment could be chatting with the friendly locals in a classy cafe bar or salsa club.

Whilst staying in the town there are some lovely walks offering excellent views of the Historic Centre, several worthwhile museums and galleries and many good cafes, bars and restaurants to make the most of.

Another highlight of this area is the Silvia Indigenous Market. This beautiful Andean market town is absolutely bursting with colour and energy when the market opens on Tuesdays. Guambiano Indians from the surrounding communities make their way into Silvia to sell their produce and socialise with friends from neighbouring towns.

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Day 75: Salento

( Fri 22 Apr )

Today we will drive to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.

In Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

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Day 76 to 77: Manizales, Salento

( Sat 23 Apr to Sun 24 Apr )

This morning we will have an included guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia. In the afternoon we will head to the town of Manizales, where we stay for 2 nights on a coffee plantation.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

During our time in Manizales we will enjoy a night of traditional music and dancing, take a fascinating tour of the coffee plantations, and visit the Sagrada Familia charity - a local Dragoman-supported charity that provides education, nutrition, and psychological support to poor children in the area.

In Manizales we will camp with facilities within the grounds of the finca.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a half-day guided trek through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and see the incredible 50m-tall Quindio wax palms, the tallest plam trees in the world!

Included in Kitty

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

Included in Kitty

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

Included in Kitty

Visit the Dragoman-supported Sagrada Familia project in Manizales, who work to provide education, nutrition, and psychological support to young children from poor backgrounds in the area

Included in Kitty
About Manizales:

Manizales is a friendly city right in the heart of Colombia's coffee region with a comfortable climate and plenty to see and do. Although still opening up to international tourism, Manizales has a lot to offer the visitor in the way of outdoor activities and ecological attractions. The town itself is a relaxed and friendly place centred around the magnificent cathedral with attractions such as the botanical gardens, thermal springs and eco-parks all easily access able from the centre of town. Venturing a little further, you will find coffee haciendas and plantations in the surrounding area as well as some beautiful country landscapes perfect for trekking or just taking a relaxing break in the great outdoors.

In Manizales we stay on one of these working coffee plantations covering approximately 480 acres which provides people from around the world a taste of the finest Manizales fair trade coffee. The plantation employs around 100 people all throughout the year and about 400 people during the peak picking season.

 

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Day 78: Honda

( Mon 25 Apr )

Today we have a final morning in our coffee finca near Manizales, and then drive to Honda, a historic river town where we meet the Rio Magdalena.

In Honda we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours

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Day 79: Villa de Leyva

( Tue 26 Apr )

Today we will continue our journey with a drive to Villa de Leyva, one of the country's most beautiful colonial villages. Nestled high in the arid semi-desert away from any trade routes, the town has escaped development and modernisation for centuries and is one of the most authentic old-towns in South America.

In Villa de Leyva we will camp in the grounds of a hacienda.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the nearby mysterious ancient religious site and observatory of the Muisca people, dramatically named 'El Infiernito' ("The Little Hell") by the conquistadors (if time allows)

COP 3000

See the gigantic near-complete 120-million-year-old fossil of a Kronosaurus (a huge aquatic reptile from the Early Cretaceous Period), still in the spot where it was discovered in 1977 (if time allows)

COP 6000

Discover the delightful Spanish colonial town of Villa de Leyva on a guided walking tour, and explore its cobblestoned streets, huge original plaza, and 16th-Century buildings

Included in Kitty
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Day 80 to 81: San Gil

( Wed 27 Apr to Thu 28 Apr )

Today we will take an included walking tour of the main sights of the colonial town of Villa de Leyva in the morning, before driving to San Gil, the outdoor capital of Colombia and a mecca for extreme-sports enthusiasts! Tonight we will enjoy a vegetarian Indian buffet from the campsite's in-house restaurant.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

The following day is free to enjoy some of the myriad of adrenaline activities on offer in the area, or to spend the day relaxing on the farm.

In San Gil we camp in a coffee and cattle farm outside town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful scenery around San Gil on one of the area's many walking trails, perhaps to the colonial town of Barichala or on the old road to Guane village

Free

Discover the scenery of the San Gil region on a horse riding trip through the surrounding hills

USD 40

Head out on an exhilarating white water rafting trip - the area has options for all levels, from beginner-level rapids on the nearby River Fonce, through the awe-inspiring canyon scenery on the fast rapids of the River Chicamocha, or the crazy Grade 5 rapids of the River Suarez!

COP 50000

Explore the incredible underground caves of Cueva del Indio or Cueva de Vaca underneath the area of San Gil on a fully-equipped caving tour

USD 20

Get your adrenline flowing on a downhill mountain-biking ride through the spectacular scenery of the down the nearby Suarez Valley or the Chicamocha Canyon 

USD 90

Head out to the natural swimming and diving pools of Pescaderito, an area very popular with San Gil's locals and visitors

Free

Explore the atmospheric old town of Barilacha, and discover its cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings, and red-tiled roofs that look almost as new as the day they were created some 300 years ago

Free

Take a pleasant stroll and a swim in San Gil's Parque El Gallineral, getting lost amongst the magical forests of trees covered in wispy climbing shrubs

COP 6000

Take a short trek to the base of the Juan Curi waterfall, a dramatic 180m-high cascade where you can swim in the natural pool beneath or even abseil down part of the cliff!

COP 7000
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Day 82: Aguachica

( Fri 29 Apr )

Today we will drive north, stopping for the night in the town of Aguachica.

In Aguachica we stay in a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

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Day 83 to 84: Mompós

( Sat 30 Apr to Sun 01 May )

Today we will drive to the peaceful and rarely-visited colonial town of Mompós, where we will stay 2 nights. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

The following day we go on a short boat trip down Rio Magdalena to observe the riverside life and do some wildlife spotting. There will also be plenty of free time to explore this historical colonial town, the first town in Colombia to declare independence from Spain, wander the beautiful streets and soak up the atmosphere of the architecture.

In Mompós we stay in a lovely local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful and serene colonial town of Mompós

Free

Explore the area of Mompós by boat, on a beautiful short trip out on the Magdelena River

Included in Kitty
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Day 85 to 86: Tayrona National Park

( Mon 02 May to Tue 03 May )

Today we drive north to Tayrona, one of the most popular national parks in Colombia. Leaving our main luggage stored on the truck, we take a day-pack/night-bag and go on a moderate walk in to the park to where we will stay. Mules to carry your luggage can be hired at an extra cost.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

The following day is a free day to explore this stunning coastal park. We have the opportunity to trek to El Pueblito, a pre-Hispanic settlement of the Tayrona people, do some snorkelling, or just relax on the beautiful beaches.  

In Tayrona National Park we will stay in rented hammocks. The hammocks are equipped with mosquito nets but please note that the nets are not treated with Permethrin or similar pesticides.

There is also an option to bring tents if you prefer to stay in a tent rather than a hammock, but please note that mules will have to ber hired to carry your tent, at an extra cost.

Activity Approximate Cost

Relax and unwind on the stunning unspoilt beaches of Colombia's Tayrona National Park

Free

Discover some of Tayrona's abundant species of fish and aquatic plants by snorkeling in the calmer areas of the ocean along the coast

Free

Explore some of Tayrona National Park's scenic walking trails, including a hike to the mysterious ancient ruins of Pueblito hidden in the jungles high above the coastline

Free
About Tayrona National Park:

Tayrona National Park is a protected site and an excellent example of ecotourism. Tayrona Natonal Park shows a huge diversity of animal and plant species. This is due to the variation in geology of the area. At sea level the climate is arid, making for perfect beach conditions. Further biodiversity is present offshore, in the warm water of the many coral reefs, which offer an excellent opportunity for snorkeling and swimming. As you travel away from the beach you travel upwards, into the sub tropical climate of the cloud forests, on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In total in the park there are over 2000 species of animal and almost 800 species of plant. This can all be explored on foot by designated paths, an attempt to minimize human impact on the habitat.

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Day 87: Cartagena

( Wed 04 May )

We will have some more free time in Tayrona National Park in the morning, before we walk back to the park entrance and complete our epic journey with a drive to the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.

In Cartagena we will stay in a comfortable hotel just outside the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

About Cartagena:

Cartagena is one of the most historic cities in South America. It is legendary both for its history and beauty and tends to be a favourite of all travellers who visit it. Having been the centre of many battles, the city is heavily fortified and huge defensive walls surround its narrow cobbled streets and colonial buildings. The city is made up of various districts, the new town with its high rise hotels, apartments and nightspots; and the older colonial parts of the city. The old city is the main attraction particularly the inner walled town, packed with churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. Wandering through the streets you get a real feel of the sense of history of this amazing city. The waters of the Caribbean surround Cartagena on three sides. It is possible to take a day trip by boat to the idyllic coral islands of Rosario. This archipeligo of small coral islands is surrounded by the largest and most magnificent coral reefs on the Colombian Caribbean coastline. Marine life is abundant and the whole area is protected under National Park status.

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Day 88: Cartagena

( Thu 05 May )

Today we will have an included walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the historic coastal Spanish fortress of Castillo San Felipe

COP 17000

Head out by speedboat to the stunning beaches on the Islas del Rosario off the shores of Cartagena

COP 60000
Head out for a day of scuba diving amongst the reefs surrounding the Islas del Rosario in the Caribbean Sea USD 60
Discover the brutal history of the Spanish Inquisition at their former headquarters in Cartagena, the Palace of the Inquistion COP 15000
Learn all about Cartagena's naval tradition and history at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean COP 15000

Explore the fascinating colonial city of Cartagena and learn all about its incredible history on a guided walking tour

Included in Kitty

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

USD 25
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Day 89: Cartagena

( Fri 06 May )

Border information: if you are finishing in Cartagena, you will most likely exit Colombia at Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Quito. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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

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Day 90: Panama City

( Sat 07 May )

Border information: if you are starting in Panama City, you will most likely enter Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Until the meeting, the rest of the day is free to explore the busting Panamanian capital. Please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time to explore the city.

If you are continuing on from Cartagena today then your leader in Colombia will assist you with transport to the airport for your included flight to arrive in Panama in time for the joining meeting.

In Panama City we will stay in a local hotel in the Bella Vista district.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Andino

Hotel Andino

Calle 35 y Peru

Bella Vista

Panama City

Panama

Tel - +507 225 1162

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Panama City's Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the best collections of works by local artists in Panama

USD 5

Explore the unrestored ruins of Panama Viejo, the original colonial settlement that was founded in 1519 and sacked by pirates in 1671

Free

Explore the streets and beautifully-restored colonial buildings of Casco Viejo, the old district of the modern city of Panama and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Free

See the Panama Canal Museum in the city centre, featuring excellent exhibits about the famous waterway

USD 5

Visit the phenomenal Biodiversity Museum in Panama City, a striking and iconic building containing a wonderful celebration of the flora and fauna of Panama

USD 22
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Day 91: Panama City, Santa Clara

( Sun 08 May )

Today we will drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning all about its controversial history and incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century. After our included visit we will drive to the small coastal town of Santa Clara.

In Santa Clara we will camp in the grounds of a guesthouse, about 10 minutes' walk from the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
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Day 92 to 93: Boquete

( Mon 09 May to Tue 10 May )

Today we will drive up into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take part in some of the many optional outdoor activities which the town is famous for, including the opportunity to take the strenuous trek to the 3,478m summit of Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.

In Boquete we will stay in a local hostel, with a mixture of private rooms and dormitories.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a tour of some of the fascinating coffee plantations around the Chiriqui Highlands near Boquete

USD 30

Head out on an exhilarating white-water rafting expedition on the Chiriqui Viejo river near Boquete, one of the world's best rafting areas with 35 world-class runs to choose from

USD 65

Trek up to the summit of Volcán Barú, at 3,478m the highest point in Panama - please note this is a strenuous trek and usually takes approximately 8-12 hours, so you will need to be in decent physical condition to participate

USD 80

Take a dip in the excellent Caldera hot springs near Boquete

USD 3

Explore the beautiful gardens and parks around Boquete and its surroundings

Free

Take a day trip out to Boca Brava on the Pacific coast, where you can swim, kayak, snorkel and relax on some of the stunning beaches there

USD 75

Head out on a quad bike tour of the mountains, forests and coffee plantations near Boquete (driver's licence required)

USD 55

Go on a half-day rock climbing trip to the basalt cliffs near Boquete, one of Panama's best climbing destinations

USD 45

Take a fascinating bird-watching trip into the Chiriqui Highlands, one of the most abundant areas of birdlife in the Americas

USD 50

Enjoy a fantastic short canyoning trip through the gorges of Gualaca near Boquete

USD 25

Trek the famous Quetzal Trail through the cloud forests of the Chiriqui Highlands, or trek to various waterfalls in the rainforest

USD 35

Explore the spectacular Caldera Highlands around Boquete on horseback, riding through rainforests and local farms and coffee plantations

USD 35

Head on an excellent 12-line zip-lining course through the cloud forests near Boquete

USD 65
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Day 94 to 95: Manuel Antonio National Park

( Wed 11 May to Thu 12 May )

Border information: Exit Panama at Paso Canoas, enter Costa Rica at Paso Canoas

Today we will drive across the border into Costa Rica, and arrive at the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

On the following day we will have an include guided walk through some of the beautiful trails within park, learning all about its flora and fauna and immersing ourselves in the idyllic landscape. We will have free time in the afternoon to take part in some optional activities or relax on the wonderful beaches.

In Manuel Antonio we will stay in a hostel near the beach, with a mixture of private rooms and dormitories.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

USD 40

Take an exhilirating trip to the rainforests near Quepos to enjoy an incredible zip lining course

USD 40

Explore the ocean on a catamaran sailing trip, heading out in search of dolphins, tropical fish and turtles and witnessing an unforgettable offshore sunset

USD 40

Explore the mangroves of Manuel Antonio by boat or by kayak, in search of rainbow boas, crocodiles and various water birds

USD 20

Head on an exhilarating guided jet ski trip on the Pacific Ocean near Manuel Antonio

USD 40

Explore the stunning cattle ranches, fruit plantations and palm trees of the countryside near Manuel Antonio on a horse riding trip

USD 30

Go on an incredible white-water rafting trip on the Naranjo and Savegre rivers near Manuel Antonio National Park

USD 40

Take a paddle-boarding lesson to explore the secluded beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park

USD 20

Explore the rainforest canopy and its incredible wildlife and landscapes on a wonderful canopy bridge course near Manuel Antonio

USD 30

Join a scuba diving trip to explore the reefs and underwater volcanic rock formations in the oceans near Manuel Antonio

USD 50

Try your hand at surfing on a short lesson in Manuel Antonio National Park

USD 10
About Manuel Antonio National Park:

At Manuel Antonio National Park there is the possibility to fish, walk or ride, but either way there is opportunity to see a host of wildlife.  The park is situated on the coast with beautiful secluded beaches.

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Day 96 to 97: Monteverde

( Fri 13 May to Sat 14 May )

Today we will drive to the town of Tilarán, where we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi to the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.

In Monteverde we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

USD 50

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

USD 25

Explore the incredible cloud forests of Monteverde at the tree-top level on a 3km canopy bridge circuit

USD 30

Learn all about the cultivation and processing of the world-renowned coffee of Costa Rica at one of the many incredible coffee plantations near Monteverde

USD 35

Head out to the cloud forests of the Santamarias Reserve to explore the area by night, when much of the elusive local wildlife comes out

USD 23

Take a spectacular canyoning tour near Monteverde, including abseiling down 6 different waterfalls!

USD 50

Visit the fantastic Butterfly Gardens of Monteverde, and learn all about the abundant bug-life of Costa Rica's cloud forests

USD 10

Learn about Costa Rica's spectacular amphibians at the Monteverde Frog Pond 

USD 13

Visit the Bat Jungle exhibition in Monteverde, learning all about the various bat species of the area from an expert guide

USD 10

Take an exhilarating off-road quad biking trip around the stunning countryside of Monteverde (driving licence required)

USD 70

Explore the magnificent Monteverde Orchid Gardens, home to over 400 species of orchids found in the region

USD 10
About Monteverde:

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

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Day 98 to 99: La Fortuna

( Sun 15 May to Mon 16 May )

Today we will continue by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.

In La Fortuna we will stay in excellent cabanas outside of town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Witness incredible views of the famous Arenal volcano, looming high above the town of La Fortuna

Free

Take a fantastic white-water rafting trip on the Balsa or Sarapiqui rivers near La Fortuna, some of the best rafting areas in Costa Rica

USD 69

Take a kayaking trip on Lake Arenal, giving you the best views of the behemoth volcano of Arenal and an opportunity to spot many species of birds

USD 65

Head out for an evening at the spectacular volcanic hot springs complex of Baldi near La Fortuna

USD 34

Explore the breathtaking forests and volcanic landscapes of La Fortuna on several mountain biking trails in the area

USD 75

Take a intense canyoning trip into the rugged gorges of the jungles near Arenal, including several waterfall abseils

USD 100

Learn all about the intricacies of Costa Rican cuisine on a cooking class in La Fortuna

USD 45

Learn all about the plants, animals, traditions and agriculture of Costa Rica on a visit to the El Bosque Eco-Farm near La Fortuna

USD 45

Explore the stunning countryside and lush forests of the Arenal region by foot, where there many excellent guided trekking options

USD 55

Visit the hanging bridge courses through the rainforest canopies near La Fortuna

USD 67

Explore the magnificent countryside and waterfalls around the Arenal volcano by horseback

USD 65

Head out on an incredible zip lining course in the rainforests surrounding La Fortuna

USD 55
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Day 100 to 101: Ometepe Island

( Tue 17 May to Wed 18 May )

Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas, enter Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas

This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

On the following day we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.

On Ometepe we will stay in a small local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 42

Head on a guided walk around Ometepe, and see some of the natural springs, beaches, and small villages on the island

USD 30

Trek to the summit of the iconic Concepción volcano that dominates over the island of Ometepe (please note that this is a very strenuous trek that will only be possible for those with a high level of fitness and in good shape - the trek is over 1000m of ascent and descent on rugged terrain, and will take between 9-12 hours).

USD 40

Trek up to the stunning San Ramón waterfall in the forests near Madera volcano

USD 40

Learn about the fascinating history and geology of the island at the Ometepe Museum in Altagracia village

USD 3

Explore the mysterious pre-Columbian petroglyphs scattered around the island Ometepe

Free

Visit the mystical and serene emerald-green lagoon of Charco Verde

NIO 20
About Ometepe Island:

Isla de Ometepe is beautifully located within Lake Nicaragua and is formed by the 2 volcanoes which rise from the lake. In fact, the name of the island literally means 2 volcanoes in the Nahuatl language with 'ome' meaning two and 'tepetl' meaning mountain. The island's wonderful hourglass shape is home to great beaches and deep jungle making it a great place to spend a day or two.

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Day 102 to 103: Granada

( Thu 19 May to Fri 20 May )

Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.  

In Granada we will stay in a centrally-located hostel, which has a mixture of private and dormitory rooms.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible San Francisco Convent and Museum in Granada, the oldest building in Central America dating from 1585

USD 2

Explore the spectacular buildings and atmospheric streets of the old colonial city of Granada

Free

Trek up the beautiful dormant volcano of Mombacho near to Granada, exploring its rugged terrain and dwarf forests

USD 55

Learn about the cultivation of cocoa and its manufacture into chocolate at the Choco Museo in Granada

Free

Take a boat or kayak trip around the beautiful Isletas de Granada, in search of the local birdlife and the magnificent views of the surrounding volcanoes

USD 25
About Granada:

Granada is the oldest city of the 'new world' having been founded in 1524 and was registered as such registered in the official records of the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Castile in Spain. Due to its Moorish and Andalusian appearance it is nicknamed as the Great Sultan, La Gran Sultana, and has a rich colonial history. The city resides on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and simply is a beautiful place to visit.

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Day 104 to 105: Masaya National Park, León

( Sat 21 May to Sun 22 May )

Today we drive to the university town of León. En route we will have an included visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.

In León we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

Included in Kitty

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

Free

Visit León's many museums and galleries, such as the world-class Ortiz-Gurdián art museum, the Gallery of Heros and Martyrs, and the Museum of Legends and Traditions

NIO 20

Enjoy a fun and unique trip out to 'sand board' down the ash slopes of the Cerro Negro volcano

USD 30

Trek up the impressive active Telica volcano near León (please note that this is a fairly strenuous trek and you will need to be in good physical shape to participate - the trek usually takes about 6-7 hours)

USD 50

See the bizarre volcanic mud pools of San Jacinto near León

USD 18

Head to the fantastic modern visitor centre at the world-famous Flor de Caña rum factory

USD 35

Visit the ancient ruins of León Viejo, the original settlement built by the Spanish before the town was moved in 1610

USD 35

Explore the stunning mangroves and wild sandy beaches of the Juan Venado Natural Reserve on a kayaking trip out of León

USD 35

Head out on a horse riding trip in the stunning countryside near León, including views of the impossibly-circular crater of El Hoyo volcano and the beautiful Asososca lagoon

USD 40

See a fascinating workshop in the village of San Juan de Oriente, demonstrating various local pottery-making techniques

Free
About Masaya National Park:

At the Masaya National Park, the twin volcano craters of Masaya and Santiago are an incredible sight. At the bottom of a vast crater a glowing red fire, like a furnace, fills the air with a pall of pungent sulphurous fumes and rocks and volcanic ashes still cover the area surrounding the volcanoes. The park is inhabited by many different kinds of animals including coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, deer, iguanas, and monkeys and the park makes a wonderful place for trekking.

About León:

The town of León is lined with derelict buildings and the walls are adorned with political murals and graffiti. Given this extraordinary setting it is a pleasant surprise to discover that you receive a cheery welcome from the locals in the market, though the variety of goods and foodstuffs available is limited.

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Day 106: Lake Yojoa

( Mon 23 May )

Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Las Manos, enter Honduras at Las Manos.

Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa.

In Lake Yojoa we will camp for the night in the grounds of a lodge and brewery.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

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Day 107 to 109: Roatán

( Tue 24 May to Thu 26 May )

Today we will take a short drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following 2 days we will enjoy lots of free time to take part in the wealth of optional activities available on Roatán, and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!

In Roatán we will stay in a local hotel near the beach.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 50

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

USD 500

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

Free

Go on a spectacular snorkelling trip around the highlights of Roatán, such as the Blue Channel and St. Anthony's Key

USD 30

Head out on a guided tour of Roatán, seeing some of the most beautiful spots on the island and learning all about its history

USD 65

Sail out on a deep sea fishing trip in the Caribbean waters near Roatán (price for the entire boat with a maximum occupancy of 4 passengers)

USD 90

Go out horse riding across the stunning island of Roatán, through its wonderful eco-system of cacti, palms and orchids

USD 40

Take an exciting zip lining course on Roatán island

USD 45
About Roatán:

Roatán is one of the famous Bay Islands.  This archipelago of coral islands set in the Caribbean is known for its laid back atmosphere. The scuba diving around the reefs is said to be some of the best in the world and extremely good value.  During your stay on Roatán you can snorkel, go sea kayaking, hire jeeps or even get your PADI licence.

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Day 110 to 111: Copán

( Fri 27 May to Sat 28 May )

Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining the Dragoman Bus! We will then continue our journey west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided visit to the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.

In Copán we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

Visit the Macaw Mountain Bird Sanctuary in Copán, home to many rescued birds such as macaws, toucans and kingfishers

HNL 200

Visit the beautiful old Mayan stone carvings of Los Sapos, with fantastic views over the town of Copán

HNL 30

Visit the Copán Butterfly Gardens, a serene garden bursting with tropical plants and dozens of moths and butterflies flitting about!

HNL 115
About Copán:

The ancient ruins of Copán are the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famed. This particular site is unique because of the 21 stelae or columns that have been found there. These are heavily carved with reliefs depicting the passage of time and the lives of the Royal families.  There are also a number of small pyramid shaped temples and excavated vaults.

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Day 112: Suchitoto

( Sun 29 May )

Border information: Exit Honduras at El Florido, enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala at Anguiatú, enter El Salvador at Anguiatú.

Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.

In Suchitoto we will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre, which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Spend the night at the wonderful community centre of Centro Arte Para La Paz in Suchitoto, which runs many workshops and projects for the locals in the area

Free
About Suchitoto:

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

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Day 113: Cerro Verde National Park

( Mon 30 May )

Today we will spend the morning in Suchitoto to have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, and to learn about the incredible work of the Dragoman-supported community centre in which we stay.

In the afternoon we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside.

In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

Trek up to the summit of Santa Ana, El Salvador's highest volcano in the heart of Cerro Verde National Park

Free
About Cerro Verde National Park:

The highlight of Cerro Verde National Park is the Cerro Verde, an extinct volcano which last erupted around 2500 years ago. On the top of its crater there is one of the few cloud forests in the country, located at 2030 meters above sea level. The Cerro Verde along with the volcanoes of Santa Ana and Izalco form one of the most impressive landscapes in El Salvador. These 2 otehr volcanoes can be viewed from lookout points inside Cerro Verde national park. The park offers some wonderful treks enabling fantastic views of northern El Salvador.

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Day 114 to 115: Los Cobanos

( Tue 31 May to Wed 01 Jun )

This morning we will spend some time in Cerro Verde National Park to give us the opportunity to take an optional guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).

In the afternoon we will take a short drive to the Pacific coast and the small fishing village of Los Cobanos, a charming town well off the tourist trail.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to relax on the coast and take part in optional activities such as boating trips through the mangroves and walks along the beach in search of nesting turtles!

In Los Cobanos we will stay in a hotel on the beach.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a boat trip on the Pacific Ocean to search for whales and other marine life

USD 37

Take a walking tour around the stunning mangroves near Los Cobanos, in search of wildlife

USD 10

Observe the traditional methods of fishing in the mangroves of Los Cobanos, on the Pacific coast

USD 45

Head out for a night walk along the beaches of Los Cobanos in search of turtles (not always available, and wildlife sightings are certainly not guaranteed)

USD 15

Take a day trip out to the village of Ataco, famous for its coffee growing and traditional loom-based weaving production

USD 70

Go out on a snorkelling trip in the waters near Los Cobanos

USD 30
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Day 116: Antigua

( Thu 02 Jun )

Border information: Exit El Salvador at La Hachadura, enter Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado.

Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, and discover its historic buildings, monuments, fountains and ruins

Included in Kitty
About Antigua:

Antigua, the old colonial capital of Guatemala,  is only a short distance from the international airport at Guatemala City.  Once the capital of Guatemala, Antigua remains the cultural centre of the country and has a mixture Indian markets and colonial buildings. It's cobbled streets and indigenous marimba music in the many bars and restaurants create a fantastic atmosphere. It is usually possible to arrange an excursion to the Pacaya Volcano.  This can be one of the most exhilarating experiences as it is often active.

The reward for a few hard hours of climbing in the late afternoon is to sit and watch the spectacular eruptions of the volcano from close quarters.  The red hot lava explodes into the dark night air and lights the whole sky like a spectacular firework display.

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Day 117: Antigua

( Fri 03 Jun )

Border information: if leaving in Antigua, you will most likely exit Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Antigua. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Choco Museum of Antigua, learning all about the history of the culinary use of cocoa ever since the Mayan period

GTQ 120

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

USD 59

Explore the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, and discover its historic buildings, monuments, fountains and ruins

Free

Walk up to the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint to get unrivalled vistas over the town of Antigua

Free

Visit the old Jesuit church of Santo Domingo, an iconic building in Antigua and home to six fascinating museums

GTQ 40

Learn all about the culture and history of Antigua at some of its museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Books and the Museum of Colonial Art

GTQ 30

Take a tour of the nearby small village community of San Lorenzo, and visit its schools and traditional handicrafts (only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

GTQ 250

Head on a challenging trek up the Fuego or Acatenango volcanoes near Antigua (please note that both these treks are very strenuous and only those in excellent physical shape will be able to participate)

USD 65

Head out on an exciting exploration of the forests and farmlands surrounding Antigua on a mountain biking trip

USD 45

Visit a traditional coffee plantation in the cool hills surrounding Antigua

GTQ 200

Participate in a local handicrafts workshop in a village near Quito, learning traditional weaving, cooking, or woodworking skills

GTQ 200
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Day 118: Antigua

( Sat 04 Jun )

Border information: if joining in Antigua, you will most likely enter Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings, and to take part in some optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Antigua before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Antigua.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Hotel for the night: Posada La Merced

Posada La Merced

7a Avenida Norte 43

Antigua

Guatemala

Tel - +502 7832 3197

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 59

Explore the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, and discover its historic buildings, monuments, fountains and ruins

Free

Visit the Choco Museum of Antigua, learning all about the history of the culinary use of cocoa ever since the Mayan period

GTQ 120

Walk up to the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint to get unrivalled vistas over the town of Antigua

Free

Visit the old Jesuit church of Santo Domingo, an iconic building in Antigua and home to six fascinating museums

GTQ 40

Learn all about the culture and history of Antigua at some of its museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Books and the Museum of Colonial Art

GTQ 30

Take a tour of the nearby small village community of San Lorenzo, and visit its schools and traditional handicrafts (only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

GTQ 250

Head on a challenging trek up the Fuego or Acatenango volcanoes near Antigua (please note that both these treks are very strenuous and only those in excellent physical shape will be able to participate)

USD 65

Head out on an exciting exploration of the forests and farmlands surrounding Antigua on a mountain biking trip

USD 45

Participate in a local handicrafts workshop in a village near Quito, learning traditional weaving, cooking, or woodworking skills

GTQ 200

Visit a traditional coffee plantation in the cool hills surrounding Antigua

GTQ 200
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Day 119 to 120: Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango

( Sun 05 Jun to Mon 06 Jun )

Today we will head off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat on the lake out to some of the small local villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a boat trip to visit the traditional Mayan villages dotted along the coast of Lake Atitlan

USD 30

Take a tour through the spectacular highlands surrounding Lake Atitlan and Panajanchel, visiting picturesque villages and hot springs

USD 45

Visit the bewildering Mayan markets at Chichicastenango, taking in the incredible sights, smells, and atmosphere (provided it is running while we are in the area)

Included in Kitty
About Panajachel:

Basing ourselves at Panajachel, we spend a couple of days exploring these surrounding villages. You may like to walk to the nearest village, Santa Catarina Palopo, where you can watch the women weaving their huipiles, or perhaps take a boat to the further villages of Santiago Atitlan or San Pedro la Laguna.  Santiago is known for its colourful markets whereas San Pedro has a tranquil atmosphere and is the base village from where the more energetic can climb the San Pedro volcano.

About Lake Atitlan:

Lake Atitlan's beautiful waters change colour to suit the mood of the weather from emerald and azure to lapis and olive. It is set amongst forest-clad hills with three volcanic peaks on its far shores.  All around the lake are small villages where the local Indian life has changed little for hundreds of years.  The people from each village have their own typical dress, and make all the textiles themselves in designs passed down through generations.

About Chichicastenango:

Chichicastenango is perhaps the most colourful of markets in all of Guatemala and everywhere you look your eyes are met by stalls of multi-coloured textiles, by local people in their multi-coloured clothes, or even by the colours of the fresh produce in the vegetable market. This is the ideal place to pick up all those souvenirs and presents for the people back at home.

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Day 121: San Andres Itzapa

( Tue 07 Jun )

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Spend a night at the Manos Amigas community project, a centre which has been set up to support local women and their children

Included in Kitty
About San Andres Itzapa:

San Andres Itzapa is a small village tuched away on the mountains around Antigua. 

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Day 122 to 123: Rio Dulce, Livingston

( Wed 08 Jun to Thu 09 Jun )

Today we will drive north to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have an included boat trip to the village of Livingston on the Caribbean coast, before returning to Rio Dulce. 

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a beautiful boat ride down the Rio Dulce to the Caribbean town of Livingston

Included in Kitty

Take a kayak out to explore the beautiful waters around Rio Dulce at sunrise

GTQ 100

Explore deep into the Guatemalan rainforest on foot and trek on the canopy bridges near Rio Dulce

GTQ 125
About Rio Dulce:

From Puerto Barrios we will take a boat trip along the Rio Dulce. The river flows through dense forests and the jungle comes right down to the water's edge.  Tropical birds nest in the trees around us and fly overhead.  At one part of the river hot water bubbles from a natural spring in the bank, creating a localised hot pool.  For those wanting a hot bath or a swim, you can simply jump over the edge of the boat.

About Livingston:

At the mouth of the Rio Dulce we come to the small town of Livingston.  It has no roads connecting it to the rest of the country and as such has developed its own rather unique character with something of a Caribbean feel and is a great place to spend the night by the coast.

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Day 124 to 125: Poptún

( Fri 10 Jun to Sat 11 Jun )

Today we have a free morning to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce, before heading on a short drive to our fantastic eco-lodge near Poptún and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Poptún we will stay in an eco-lodge in a working Guatemalan ranch.

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek out to the incredible River Cave near Poptún, walking through the stunning Guatemalan rural landscape and exploring the underground rivers by candlelight

GTQ 115

Stay at a wonderful eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan farm near Poptún

Included in Kitty

Head out horse riding through the forests and farmlands near Poptún

GTQ 100

Head out on a self-guided walk around our eco-lodge, taking in fantastic views of the surrounding rural landscape

Free

Take a day tour out to the nearby Mayan ruins of Ixcun, the comprehensive museum of Dolores and the beautiful waterfall of Mopan

GTQ 150

Explore the incredible caves of Naj Tunich, boasting the largest and most exceptional amount of Mayan cave inscriptions, paintings, and hieroglyphs in the world

GTQ 150
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Day 126: Tikal

( Sun 12 Jun )

Today we have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. We will likely stop briefly in the colonial town of Flores en route. 

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world

Included in Kitty
About Tikal:

Tikal is the site of a mighty ruined city of the ancient Mayans, atmospherically located in the dense rainforests of northern Guatemala. Built between the 2nd-10th centuries, Tikal was one of the mst powerful kingdoms of the Mayans and dominated the economy, politics, military, and culture of the area during this time. Excavated in the 1850s, Tikal is one of the most spectacular and well-understood Mayan ruins due to the amount of artifacts and murals found there.

On a visit there, we are able to explore the old relgious centre and even climb up some of the iconic pyramids to get an unrivalled view of the area below!

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Day 127 to 129: San Ignacio

( Mon 13 Jun to Wed 15 Jun )

Border information: Exit Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos, enter Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen.

Today we have a short drive across the border into Belize and on to the village of San Ignacio, home to the country's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

We will have two full days to take part in the many optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Actun Tunichil Mukwal Cave, a Mayan archaeological site that includes ceramics, stoneware, and skeletal remains such as the famous 'Crystal Maiden'

USD 85

Rent mountain bikes and explore the area around San Ignacio

USD 20

Head on a horse riding trip around San Ignacio to the beautiful Barton Creek cave

USD 55

Take a full day tour to the remote ruins of the ancient Mayan capital of Caracol, once twice the size of the modern Belize City

USD 110

Learn about local herbs and plants on a medicinal jungle trail en route to a release program for Green Iguanas near San Ignacio

BZD 12

Explore the ancient ruins of Xunantunich, Belize's most-visited Mayan site and home to the mighty El Castillo pyramid

BZD 10

Visit the stunning ruins of Cahal Pech, atop a hill overlooking the southern outskirts of San Ignacio

BZD 30
About San Ignacio:

San Ignacio, close to the Guatemalan border gives us many options. You can choose from numerous activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, caving and canoeing.  Some of the caving trips here are unique and this is a stop that everyone enjoys.

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Day 130 to 132: Caye Caulker

( Thu 16 Jun to Sat 18 Jun )

Today we will travel north to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have two full days of free time to explore and enjoy the many optional activities available here, such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out to the stunning coral reefs off Caye Caulker on a snorkelling trip

USD 35

Take a scenic flight over the phenomenal natural Great Blue Hole off Caye Caulker

USD 200

Head out on a fantastic scuba diving trip through the colossal coral reefs off the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker (there are many different options and sites available)

USD 100

Hire sea kayaks to explore the deserted mangroves of Caye Caulker's North Island

USD 20

Go on a half-day fishing trip in the idyllic blue ocean near Caye Caulker

USD 250
About Caye Caulker:

The Belize Cayes are a group of islands a short boat ride away from the coast, where scuba diving and snorkelling are about the hardest work to be done all day.  There are a number of these islands to choose from, but we will base ourselves on Caye Caulker as this is one of the more popular islands with travellers.  From here it is possible to arrange day trips to other Cayes, to the best reefs for diving, or simply to take a local boat out to the reef of Caulker itself.  Each island has its own particular character but all of them have the unmistakable Caribbean pace and charm.

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Day 133: Tulum

( Sun 19 Jun )

Border information: Exit Belize at Santa Elena, enter Mexico at Subteniente López.

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the Dragoman Bus in Belize City, before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

About Tulum:

The ruins of the ancient city of Tulum sit on the clifftop overlooking the white beach, the palm trees and the turquoise sea.  It is easy to see why the location was chosen for these temples to the God of the Setting Sun.

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Day 134: Tulum

( Mon 20 Jun )

This morning we visit the Tulum ruins, one of the last cities built by the Maya and one of the best preserved coastal Maya sites. We will have a free afternoon to explore the beaches or take part in some optional activities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the phenomenal clifftop Maya-Toltec ruins at Tulum, wonderfully located right on the Caribbean coast

Included in Kitty

Take an introductory course in the exhilarating sport of kite surfing from the stunning beaches of Tulum

USD 180

Hire snorkel gear on the beautiful beaches of Tulum

USD 10

Go on a scuba diving trip through the ocean reefs near Tulum, or to some of the area's natural cenotes

USD 100
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Day 135: Chichen Itza, Mérida

( Tue 21 Jun )

Today we will have an early start to drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to the beautiful and artistic colonial town of Mérida, the capital of the Yucatan state.

In Mérida we wil stay in a colonial hotel in the heart of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (in total, not including the Chichen Itza visit).

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on a guided tour, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World centred around the world-famous pyramid of El Castillo

Included in Kitty

Take a swim in the stunning natural cenote of Ik Kil near the ruins of Chichen Itza

USD 6
About Chichen Itza:

One of the major highlights of Mexico is the world famous site of Chichen Itza. This ancient Mayan city, dominated by the colossal El Castillo pyramid, was built between the 8th-11th centuries and became a major regional capital during this time. The pyramid houses a huge staircase to a crypt housing a throne in the shape of a jaguar, painted red and inlaid with eyes and spots of pure jade. The steps up the exterior of the pyramid famously project a serpent-shaped shadow every spring and autumn equinoxes, thought to be a representation of the feathered serpent-god Kukulkan. Nearby there is a well of sacrifice, which offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones when it was excavated at the start of the century.

Recently the phenomenal Mayan site was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!

About Mérida:

Mérida is the Yucatan State capital.  Here we get a chance to browse the excellent markets.  This is perhaps the best place to buy a hammock to get into the swing of things or even a Panama hat if you want to get ahead.

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Day 136: Palenque

( Wed 22 Jun )

Today we will have a full day drive to the village of Palenque.

In Palenque we will camp in the grounds of a hotel located within the national park.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

About Palenque:

Palenque, at the start of the Yucatan Peninsula, is sited on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and hosts probably the most impressive series of Mayan ruins, which date back to AD 600.  Whilst walking amongst the ruins it is quite often possible to hear the eerie calls of the Howler Monkeys echoing from the jungle around us, which gives an added dimension to this magnificent archaeological site.  In the Templo de las Inscripciones the excavators actually found an intact funerary crypt containing the sarcophagus of the Sun God.  The temples are superb relics of the Mayan culture, and there are many ruins here still un-excavated and hidden in the surrounding forest.

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Day 137: Palenque

( Thu 23 Jun )

Today we will have an included guided visit to the incredible Mayan ruins of Palenque, which rise out of the thick jungle surrounding them. In the afternoon we will have free time to go on a jungle tour, visit the on site museum, or travel to the nearby waterfall of Misol Ha.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a fascinating guided tour around the magnificent ruined city of Palenque deep in the Mexican jungle, including time to freely explore the excellent on-site museum

Included in Kitty

Take a trip out to the beautiful waterfall of Misol Ha near Palenque (if time allows)

MXN 35
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Day 138: Frontera Corozal, Yaxchilán

( Fri 24 Jun )

Today we will have a drive to the remote town of Frontera Corozal, on the Guatemalan border. In the afternoon we will have an included guided visit to the remote ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilán, which is only accessible via a boat trip down the river.

In Frontera Corozal we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip out for a guided tour of the stunning and remote Mayan ruins at Yaxchilán

Included in Kitty
About Yaxchilán:

Yaxchilán, meaning green stones in Mayan, is an ancient Mayan city located on the bank of the Usumacinta river in the Lacanja region. Yaxchilán was an important site and dominated smaller sites such as Bonampak.

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Day 139 to 141: San Cristóbal de las Casas

( Sat 25 Jun to Mon 27 Jun )

Today we have a full day drive to the stunning old colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, one of Mexico's most beautiful towns. and well known as the heart of the indigenous Tzotzil Maya culture. En route, we may have time for an optional stop at the stunning waterfalls of Agua Azul.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day for exploration and to take part in some optional activities such as taking a tour to the fascinating Maya village of San Juan Chamula, or exploring the nearby Lagunas de Montebello National Park.

On the next day we will have an included boat trip down the phenomenal Sumidero Canyon, viewing its colossal cliffs from the base and searching for the resident wildlife.

In San Cristóbal de las Casas we will stay in a good hotel in the centre.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head on a boat trip along the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon

Included in Kitty

Head out on a mountain biking tour through the cloud forests and highlands surrounding San Cristóbal de las Casas

MXN 380

Visit the atmospheric Tzotzil Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan

MXN 200

Learn all about the traditional medicines of the Mayan people at the award-winning Mayan Medicine Museum

MXN 20

Take a day trip to explore the idyllic national park of Lagunas de Montebello, home to pine forests, Mayan ruins, and many beautiful lakes

MXN 250

Visit the fantastic cultural centre of Na Bolom, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection of the Lacandon Maya culture and the preservation of the Chiapas rain forest

MXN 40

Freely explore the colonial city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, with its narrow cobblestone streets, roofs covered in red clay tile and wrought iron balconies with flowers

Free

Explore the wonderful botanical gardens of Orchideas Moxviquil, and discover its collection of over 400 species of native plants and orchids

MXN 30

See the incredbile showcase of handwoven fabrics from throughout Central America at the Mayan World Textiles Centre

MXN 52
About San Cristóbal de las Casas:

San Cristóbal de las Casas is the administrative centre of the Chiapas region. We will get the chance to visit some of the surrounding Indian villages perhaps taking a gentle horse-back ride to get there. The villages are populated with Tzotzil and Tzeltal Indians who still show their tribal origins through their varied traditional costumes and customs. You may also like to take a horse ride or mountain bike to explore the surrounding area.

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Day 142 to 143: Oaxaca

( Tue 28 Jun to Wed 29 Jun )

Today we have a full day drive to the wonderful laid-back colonial town of Oaxaca, famous for its cuisine and indigenous cultures.

Estimated Drive Time - 12-14 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided visit of the ruined Zapotec city of Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we will have free time to further explore the area's highlights.

In Oaxaca we will stay in a good hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the splendid Baroque Dominican church of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca's colonial centre

MXN 50

Take a guided tour around the ruined Zapotec capital of Monte Alban near Oaxaca

Included in Kitty

See the incredible Tree of Tule, which with a circumference of 42 metres hs the widest trunk in the world

Free

Visit the remarkably well-preserved Zapotec ruins of Mitla near to Oaxaca

MXN 64

Learn all about the history and cultures of Oaxaca at the incredible Museum of Cultures, one of the best regional museums in Mexico

MXN 64
About Oaxaca:

Oaxaca is a beautiful old colonial town.  Its graceful arcades and colourful markets are populated mainly by the descendants of Zapotec and Mixtec Indians, who come to sell their colourful woven blankets and shawls in the Zocalo.  Here you can explore the narrow, cobbled streets, which gave D.H.Lawrence the inspiration for his novel, The Plumed Serpent, or simply sit in the square drinking the local mescal and tequila and watch life in this colourful town go by.

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Day 144: Mexico City

( Thu 30 Jun )

Today we will have a full day drive to Mexico's incredible bustling capital of Mexico City.

In Mexico City we will stay in a good hotel in the central district of Bellas Artes.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

About Mexico City: Mexico City is the world's largest metropolitan area and is home to a population of some 20 million. Despite its size the city centre still has a colonial feel with a massive Hispanic cathedral dominating the Plaza de la Constitucion - the main square. The cathedral is built on the site of the ancient Aztec capital, the remains of which can be viewed alongside at the Temple Mayor and its Museum.  You may like to extend your time in Mexico City and allow yourselves a day or two more to take in some of the spectacular sights. These include the palaces, churches and temples, the anthropological and other museums. Alternatively you may just want to watch life go by in the Alameda Central - the central park.
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Day 145: Mexico City

( Fri 01 Jul )

Border information: if leaving in Mexico City, you will most likely exit Mexico at Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Mexico City. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Activity Approximate Cost

See Mexico City's famous traditional mariachi bands in the evening around Garibaldi Square

MXN 30

Explore the magnificent ancient Mesoamerican ruins of Teotihuacan near Mexico City

MXN 59

Visit the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes and see it's immense murals by world-famous Mexican artists such as Diego Riviera

MXN 50

Explore the huge area of the Zocalo in Mexico City's centre, along with its famous Metropolitan Cathedral and the Temple Mayor (the last remains of the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan)

MXN 59

Explore the vast system of waterways and flower gardens at Xochimilco, possibly including a visit to the creepy Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls)

Free

Explore the colossal Chapultepec Park, one of the world's largest urban green spaces and a cultural hotspot where you can often see the pole-swinging 'Volador' dancers

Free

Visit some of Mexico City's most important museums and galleries, such as the old house of the iconic artist Frida Kahlo, the former home of revolutionary Leon Trotsky, and the Museo Dolores Olmedo art gallery

MXN 75
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Day 146: Mexico City

( Sat 02 Jul )

Today there will be a welcome meeting at 10 am. The rest of the day is free for you to explore and we stay the night in a centrally located hotel.

Hotel for the night: Marlowe Hotel

Marlowe Hotel

Av. Independencia 17

Cuauhtémoc, Centro

06050 Mexico City

Tel - +52 555 521 9540

Activity Approximate Cost

See Mexico City's famous traditional mariachi bands in the evening around Garibaldi Square

MXN 30
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Day 147: Angahuan

( Sun 03 Jul )

We leave the capital behind and drive all day to Angahuan. This village inhabited by the Purepecha who were indingenous to this area a thousand years before the Spanish invasion. Angahuan is the gateway to the Paricutin Volcano, the only volcano in the world that has been born in modern times.

About Angahuan:

The small village of Anguhuan is situated around the Paricutin Volcano which erupted in 1943 and continued to erupt until 1954 when it ceased as suddenly as it had started.  In that time the volcano engulfed two entire villages and all that remains are the eerie church spires protruding from the lava.

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Day 148: Angahuan

( Mon 04 Jul )

Today is a free day for you to look around the village or go for optional waks around the area of the Paricutin Volcano. The colcano buried to villages during its creation in 1943 and it's still possible to see the cathedral of San Juan Parangaricutiro stickign up from the lava field.

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek up the Paricutín volcano in Angahuan

USD 35
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Day 149: Tequila

( Tue 05 Jul )

Drive to the town of Tequila where you stay the night in a basic hotel. Depending on timing you will have the option to go to visit some of the tequila distilleries this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

About Tequila:

The scent of tequila is in the air as soon as we reach the town of Tequila and pass fields of blue agave, the plant from which tequila is distilled. Due to the popularity of the drink the town and the surrounding area have been declared a World Heritage site and it will be only right to try a shot or two!

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Day 150 to 151: Sayulita

( Wed 06 Jul to Thu 07 Jul )

Drive to the coast of Mexico and the surfing town of Sayulita. We have 2 nights here camping near the beach and a chance for you to relax by the ocean and maybe have a go at surfing.

Activity Approximate Cost

Try your hand at surfing in Sayulita

USD 20
About Sayulita:

Sayulita is a coastal town situated on the Riviera Nayurit which stretches from San Blas in the north to Nuevo Vallarta in the south. It's a laid back town with miles of sandy beaches and a wonderful spot to relax or get involved in the many watersports on offer as is a surfing hotspot.

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Day 152 to 153: Mazatlan, Guaymas

( Fri 08 Jul to Sat 09 Jul )

A couple of long drives north along the Pacific coast. You will spend the night camping en route, probably close to Mazatlan and Guaymas.

About Guaymas:

Patzcuaro is a picturesque town nestled on the shores of Lago Patzcuaro and was the capital of the Purepechan Indian empire in the early Fourteenth Century.  The Spanish took the city between 1522 and 1529, and they committed atrocious crimes against the Purepecha people.  Today the town is tranquil with Indian markets and outdoor cafes, a far cry from its turbulent history.

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Day 154: Nogales

( Sun 10 Jul )

Time to wave goodbye to Mexico as you will cross the US border. Tonight you camp outside Nogales.

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Day 155: Phoenix area

( Mon 11 Jul )

Drive north and spend the night in a campsite in the Phoenix area.

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Day 156 to 157: The Grand Canyon

( Tue 12 Jul to Wed 13 Jul )

Continue north to one of the US highlights, the Grand Canyon. Camping by the canyon for 2 nights and free time for optional treks and activities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Flights over the Grand Canyon

USD 200

Visit the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river that carves the canyon's shape

Included in Kitty

Treks into the Grand Canyon

USD 5
About The Grand Canyon:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is carved by the Colorado River and is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide in places and over a mile deep making it one of the largest canyons in the world and allowing it to justifiably call itself grand. The canyon is one of the most famous natural sights in north America and a real must see for any visitor to the USA.

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Day 158 to 159: Las Vegas

( Thu 14 Jul to Fri 15 Jul )

We have a break from camping for the next 2 nights and the chance to enjoy a bed, assuming you can drag yourself out of the various all night entertainment options as we head into the bright lights of Las Vegas. The time in the city is free for you to explore and enjoy.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the various casinos in Las Vegas

USD 1
About Las Vegas:

Las Vegas was once described as a huge cash register in the middle of the desert. Cruise down the lively “Vegas Strip” a boulevard jammed full of neon lights calling you to the various casinos, restaurants and live shows.  Food, drink and entertainment prices here are incredibly low as each casino encourages you to “Take a Chance”.  Vegas owes its growth to the Hoover Dam which brought a large supply of construction workers into the area at the same time as the Nevada Government legalised gambling.

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Day 160: Zion National Park

( Sat 16 Jul )

Short drive to a campsite just outside Zion National Park. Free time in the afternoon for walks or maybe go on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on a shuttle bus.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Zion National Park

Included in Kitty

River tubing in Zion National Park

USD 15

Canyoning in Zion National Park

USD 75

Hiking in Zion National Park

USD 5
About Zion National Park:

In 1863 Mormons fleeing religious persecution settled in the area, naming it their Zion. The Native American Paiute people previously inhabited the area.  Trekking in Zion National Park is an assault on the senses - amazing colours that change depending on the time of day, cliffs that tower above you and trails that seem just as steep as you clamber up them.

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Day 161: Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park

( Sun 17 Jul )

Very scenic drive out of Zion NP and onto Bryce Canyon NP for a few hours hikin to see the hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion). Another short drive to a wonderful camping spot in Kodachrome Basin State Park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Bryce Canyon and Kodachrome Basin State Park

Included in Kitty
About Bryce Canyon National Park:

Bryce Canyon which, despite its name, is not actually a canyon but in fact is a giant natural amphitheatre created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by wind, water, and ice erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colours of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors so get your cameras at the ready!

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Day 162: Lake Powell area

( Mon 18 Jul )

Drive towards Lake Powell. Camping for the night.

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Day 163: Monument Valley

( Tue 19 Jul )

Drive to the iconic Monument Valley, the film set for countless movies. Visit to the Navajo National Monument en route. 

Guided jeep tour of Monument Valley Tribal Park, seeing the incredible formations and learning about the Navajo view of the buttes and mesas.

Spend the night in a traditional Navajo ‘Hogan’, all sleeping together on the ground in a circle.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the iconic Monument Valley

Included in Kitty

Spend a night sleeping in a traditional Navajo hogan and take a jeep tour of the Monument Valley

Included in Kitty

Visit the Navajo National Monument in Arizona

Included in Kitty
About Monument Valley:

They were initially hunter-gatherers that lived peacefully alongside existing tribes.  When the Spanish arrived in the 1800’s, the Navajo acquired the horse thus becoming a powerful nation.  Today the horse is still the best form of transport to get a feel for this valley - horse riding with Navajo guides is a great experience.

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Day 164 to 166: Moab, Canyonlands National Park

( Wed 20 Jul to Fri 22 Jul )

Drive into Utah to Moab, stopping en route to see the Mexican Hat Rock. Spend 2 days visiting  both Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Arches National Park

Included in Kitty

Explore Canyonlands National Park

Included in Kitty
About Canyonlands National Park:

Canyonlands National Park near Moab in Utah consists of canyons and plateaus carved by two mighty rivers - the Colorado and the Green. The park offers some of the most challenging whitewater rapids in the world as well as great opportunities to hike and bike. With wonderfully coloured rocks the park is a photographers dream and contains the much captured image of Mesa Rock.

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Day 167: Salt Lake City

( Sat 23 Jul )

Today we head for a stopover in Salt Lake City in Utah.

About Salt Lake City:

Salt Lake City is the most populous city in Utah and today is a great place to base yourself for skiing and outdoors activities. The city, commonly abbreviated to SLC, was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and his Mormon followers as they searched for a place to settle and practice their faith away from the violence and persecution they faced within the boundaries of the original united states. Today only about half of the city are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints yet the city is still synomynous with the religion. There are lots of places of interest in the city regarding the Mormon faith and in beautifully located, surrounded by mountains and the Great Salt Lake.

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Day 168: Jackson Hole

( Sun 24 Jul )

Cross from Utah to Wyoming and Jackson Hole where you will camp for 1 night. 

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Day 169 to 170: Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park

( Mon 25 Jul to Tue 26 Jul )

Drive north through Grand Teton National Park  to Yellowstone National Park where you will camp for 2 nights. Spend a full day exploring the park and seeing the different geysers, of course including Old Faithful geyser.

Activity Approximate Cost

Kayaking and whitewater rafting in Yellowstone National Park

USD 70

Visit Old Faithful and other geysers in Yellowstone National Park

Included in Kitty

Horseback riding and hiking in Yellowstone National Park

USD 30
About Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone National Park is famous as the home of Old Faithful, however it has other claims to fame. Yellowstone was established as the world's first national park in 1872.  It also has the highest density of geysers, hot springs, fumeroles and mud pots of any area in the world.  Old Faithful (which is a geyser) can be seen spurting into the blue skies and we will have time to trek to various other geysers and mud pot sites.  As we drive through the park there is a good chance of seeing moose, bison, elk and grizzly or black bears - don't feed the bears!

About Grand Teton National Park:

The first permanent settlers began arriving in Jackson Hole in the late 1880's and soon after efforts began to preserve the surrounding area leading to the establishment of Grand Teton National Park in 1929 to protect the major peaks of the Teton mountain range. The national park is named after the Grand Teton, the highest mountain in the range, which is 4,199 metres high.

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Day 171 to 172: Glacier National Park

( Wed 27 Jul to Thu 28 Jul )

Continue north through Montana, reaching Glacier National Park after a full day's drive. Camp for 2 nights and spend a full day in the park for activities. Maybe jump on a shuttle bus along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Activity Approximate Cost

2 night stay in Glacier National Park for optional trekking

Free

Visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Free
About Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park (called Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side) is where the Rockies rise out of the Prairie lands. The park offers wonderful trekking opportunities and contains over 700 lakes, the largest of these being Lake McDonald which is over 9 miles long.

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Day 173: Banff, Glacier National Park

( Fri 29 Jul )

Full day's drive to Banff, stopping en route at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Tonight you stay in dorm accommodation in a centrally located hostel.              

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Included in Kitty
About Banff:

Banff is one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs so a great place to visit at anytime of the year.  Situated amidst mountains within Banff National Park, a World Heritage Site, it is packed with activities for you to partake in and a wonderful place to stay.

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Day 174: Banff

( Sat 30 Jul )

Border information: If you are leaving in Banff, exit Canada at Calgary Airport.

The trip ends this morning. No accommodation is provided for tonight. 

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Day 175: Banff

( Sun 31 Jul )

Border information: If you are starting in Banff, enter Canada at Calgary Airport.

Today there will be a welcome meeting at 10:00 hrs. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Banff. We stay the night in a comfortable hostel in shared dorm accommodation. Banff is located 1.5 hr drive from Calgary Airport.

Hotel for the night: Y Mountain Lodge

Y Mountain Lodge

102 Spray Avenue

Banff

Alberta

Canada

Tel - +1 403 762 3560

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Day 176: Banff

( Mon 01 Aug )

In Banff there is a plethora of stunning sights and wonderful activities to occupy our time. We camp here for 2 nights and explore the surrounding area. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the Gondola up Sulphur Mountain near Banff

CAD 30

Visit Lake Louise near Banff

Free

Relax in the Sulphur hot springs at Banff

CAD 7

Visit the Columbia Ice Fields near Banff

USD 50
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Day 177:

( Tue 02 Aug )

This is a spare day that could be used in Banff or a different location depending on the local conditions at the time of your trip.

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Day 178: Jasper

( Wed 03 Aug )

A scenic drive through the rugged landscape of the Candian Rockies along the Icefields Parkway, travelling through Banff NP and Jasper NP. Visit to the Athabasca Falls en route. Camping 3 kms outside of Jasper.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Athabasca Falls near Jasper, among the most powerful and breathtaking falls in the Rocky Mountains

Included in Kitty
About Jasper:

Set deep inside Alberta's Rockies, Jasper is surrounded by mountains making this an incredibly beautiful place to visit. The road south out of Jasper towards Lake Louise offers wonderful vistas and the Columbia Icefield is one of these. The area offers numerous activities to keep you busy or alternatively just relax and enjoy the views!

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Day 179: Jasper

( Thu 04 Aug )

Free day for activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking and fishing.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the Tramway up Whistler's mountain in Jasper

USD 30

Hire mountain bikes and explore around Jasper

USD 32
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Day 180: En route in British Columbia

( Fri 05 Aug )

Today we leave the Canadian Rockies behind and head northwest on a full day's drive. We will will find somewhere to camp for the night.

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Day 181: Hazelton, Stewart

( Sat 06 Aug )

Today we will drive to Stewart  where we camp here for 2 nights. En route we stop off in Hazelton to visit the Ksan Indian Village. Stewart is situated by the border with Alaska and is called "The Gateway to the Klondike". Its first permanent settlement dates back to the late 1800s when prospectors first came searching for gold. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Ksan Indian Village in British Columbia to visit the museum and view original totem poles and Indian history

Included in Kitty
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Day 182: Stewart, Hyder

( Sun 07 Aug )

Today we drive into Alaska and the Hyder area. We visit Fish Creek bear viewing platform where iAlaskan brown grizzlies and black bears come to fish and eat salmon. We also view the Salmon Glacier, the fifth largest glacier in the world.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Fish Creek for a chance to see both Alaskan brown grizzlies and black bears fishing for salmon (the season is usually from mid-July to early September, but the dates vary every year and no sightings can be guaranteed)

Included in Kitty
About Hyder:

Hyder is on the edge of Misty Fjords National Park. During our visit here we can hopefully catch sight of grizzly bears fishing for salmon in the rivers.  The rivers come from a glacier called Salmon Glacier,  we can take a hike to view this immense natural structure. Hyder is actually a dangerous place, as the local custom is to be 'hyderized' in the local bar.  This entails knocking back a shot of some ferocious 150% proof local alcohol!

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Day 183: Watson Lake

( Mon 08 Aug )

Today we drive north to Watson Lake where we camp for the night. 

Activity Approximate Cost

See a show at the Northern Lights Centre

Free
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Day 184: Watson Lake, Whitehorse

( Tue 09 Aug )

Free time in Watson Lake this morning - perhaps visit the world famous signpost forest. Afternoon drive to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon territory, where we camp outside of town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the famous Signpost Forest - why not make your own sign to put up?

Free
About Whitehorse:

Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon and has the feeling of a frontier town.

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Day 185 to 186: Dawson

( Wed 10 Aug to Thu 11 Aug )

We drive into the Klondike to Dawson City, once a hive of activity for gold prospectors. En route we visit Dredge No 4 which is one of the original mining rigs and the largest woodel-hulled bucket dredge in North America. We will camp across the Yukon river from Dawson City for 2 nights, and in your free time you may want to visit Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino, a real outwest experience!

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy the cabaret and hopefully win a dollar or two at Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino in Dawson City

USD 5

Visit one of the original mining rigs, Dredge No 4

Included in Kitty
About Dawson:

Dawson takes us back to the times of the Klondike Gold rush. It is easy to imagine the old pioneering spirit of the place with it’s boardwalks and boat cruises on the Yukon River all adding to the experience.  We will visit Dredger No 4 (one of the original mining rigs) and Diamond Tooth Gerties, a traditional cancan beer hall.

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Day 187: Tok

( Fri 12 Aug )

Border information: Exit Canada and enter the USA at Little Gold/Poker Creek

A 301km journey along the 'Top of the World highway' on an incredibly scenic drive brings us to Tok where we will camp just ouside town. En route we cross into Alaska via the most northen international border corssing in North America.

About Tok:

Amidst the Land of the Midnight Sun lies the small town of Tok which originally was a camp for the workers constructing the Alcan and Glenn Highways in the 1940s. Tok is best known for it's assocation with dog sledding as well as dog breeding, training and mushing. The Tok Race of Champions Sled Dog Race, one of the oldest in the Alaska, is held each March.

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Day 188 to 189: Wrangell-St Elias National Park

( Sat 13 Aug to Sun 14 Aug )

A drive day takes us to Wrangell-St Elias National Park where we camp for 2 nights. This is the largest national park in the USA and has an abundance of optional activities to partake in such as hiking, historic mine tours, glacier walks or ice climbing.

Activity Approximate Cost

Hiking in Wrangell-St Elias National Park

USD 70
About Wrangell-St Elias National Park:

Wrangell-St Elias is the largest national park in the United States, some six times the size of Yellowstone. The scale of everything here is enormous. Four major mountain ranges meet here, and the park includes 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the United States including Mt Blackburn and Mt Sanford and there are huge chains of glaciers within the park. The high country is covered with snow year round, resulting in extensive icefields and glaciers. Numerous sheep and mountain goats patrol the craggy peaks whilst the park is also home to caribouand moose as well as brown and black bears that roam throughout the park.

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Day 190 to 191: Denali Highway

( Mon 15 Aug to Tue 16 Aug )

Today we drive along the very scenic and rugged Denali Highway to a lodge situated near the base of the Maclaren Glacier. We will have one night camping by the lodge before going on a remote bushcamp to experience the Alaskan wilderness for the second night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Experience an overnight bushcamp in the Alaskan wilderness

Included in Kitty
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Day 192 to 194: Denali National Park

( Wed 17 Aug to Fri 19 Aug )

A short and very scenic drive along the Denali Highway brings us to Denali National Park, the home of Mount McKinley, where we camp for 3 nights. You have a full day included shuttle bus tour to the Toklat River area and then a free day for optional activities such as hiking and cycling.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a shuttle bus around Denali National Park to the Toklat River where you have excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities

Included in Kitty
About Denali National Park:

Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley; America's highest peak at 6000 metres.  You can take a scenic flight over the park and Mount McKinley.  Denali is full of moose, caribou, brown and black bears and over 150 species of birds that flock here during the summer months.

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Day 195 to 196: Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park

( Sat 20 Aug to Sun 21 Aug )

A full day's drive takes us to our campsite south of Seward where will camp for 2 nights. During your free day there will be the opportunity to take a boat trip out into Kenai Fjords National Park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip around Kenai Fjords National Park

USD 150
About Seward:

Seward is a small fishing town on Resurrection Bay and our base from which to visit Kenai Fjords National Park. The town is quaint and lucky to still exist as was almost entirely destroyed by fires and tidal waves during the 1964 earthquake.

About Kenai Fjords National Park:

Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 and covers an area of approximately 4,600 sq km on the Kenai Peninsula. The park is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, including the Harding Ice Field and the largest which is Bear Glacier. Taking a boat out into the fjords is a great way to see the area.

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Day 197: Anchorage

( Mon 22 Aug )

A short drive brings us to Anchorage where we stay in private rooms in a hostel.

Hotel for the night: Alaska Backpackers Inn

Alaska Backpackers Inn

327 Eagle Street

Anchorage

Alaska

USA

Tel - +1 907 277 2770

About Anchorage:

Anchorage is set on the shores of the Cook Inlet at the base of the Chugach Mountains and is an excellent point to begin exploring the Alaskan glaciers and lakes.  Anchorage is historically a frontier oil and railway town and there are interesting museums reflecting the city's past.

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Day 198: Anchorage

( Tue 23 Aug )

Border information: If you are leaving in Anchorage, exit the USA at Anchorage Airport.

The trip ends this morning. No accommodation is provided for tonight.

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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.

The Community Inca Trek, Classic Inca Trail and Non Trekking Package – more information

The Inca Trail usually refers to the ancient pathway used by the Incas leading to Machu Picchu, but in fact there are a number of Inca Trails running through the Urubamba Valley. On all Dragoman trips that travel via Cuzco we include the choice between three options: the Classic Inca Trail, our Community Inca Trek which is exclusive to Dragoman, or a non trekking package.

The kitty has been budgeted to include the cost of the Classic Inca Trail as this is the most expensive option. This means that you will receive a small kitty refund if you do the Community Inca Trek, and a substantial kitty refund if you do the non trekking package.

PLEASE NOTE: You must tell us at the time of booking if you want to book the Classic Inca Trail or the non trekking option. If you do not tell us this you will automatically be booked onto the Community Inca Trek.

Please note that there is an overlap for the Inca trek. 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.

Full details of all three options are below.

Option 1: The Community Inca Trek

New Community Trek Info Sheet.pdf

This unique and pioneering trekking route is automatically included in all of our trips that visit this area of Peru. The trek travels through spectacular scenery, passing through some minor Inca ruins and staying close to remote villages. You will be hiking unspoiled trails used only by local villagers and Dragoman passengers, avoiding the crowds of the Classic route. This is the real Andes, trekking pristine trails with spectacular mountain scenery at every turn. After a comfortable overnight stay in Ollantaytambo we head to the ancient citadel Machu Picchu. Although we do not enter the site through the Sun Gate as on the Classic Inca Trail there is plenty of time to hike to the Sun Gate for those who wish.

This option is automatically included as part of your trip unless you advise us otherwise. So if you want to take the Community Inca Trek no further action is required. If you would prefer to trek the classic Inca Trail, or choose not to trek at all, you let us know at the time of booking.

To be able to buy your train ticket between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, it is vital that you provide the following information at the time of booking:

Any inconsistency between the information provided and the passport you travel on may result in you not being allowed to board the train. 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 (such as the passport number) 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. 

DAY 1: Cuzco to Zurite

Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we proceed to the ruined temples of Sascaywaman for a fascinating tour of the archeological site. 

After this visit we will continue to Chincheros, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins.

From Chincheros we will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then on to Quillarumiyoc (the Temple of the Moon). We will start our trek from here, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle.

Meals provided: Morning snack, lunch, dinner
Approximate walking time: 4hrs
Distance: 8km

DAY 2: Zurite to Amaruwatana

After a hearty breakfast we leave Zurite and head towards Amaruwatana camp. The walk will take us through Qenteqentiyoc (the Hummingbird Temple), where we will visit and admire this archaeological Inca site. 

We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400 metres, where we will have a dramatic view of both the Vilcabamba and Vilcanota mountain ranges. 

From here we start walking down on the way to our first camp in the Sambor Valley where we will spend the night.

Meals provided: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Approximate walking time: 8hrs
Distance: 13km

DAY 3: Amaruwatana to Ancascocha

We have an early start this morning, trekking for 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass. From here we have fantastic views of the rock formations below us, and if we're lucky we may spot Andean ibises, caracaras, eagles or foxes up here! 

After descending for about another 2 hours, we arrive to a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (Zig-zag River) flowing down it - which makes an idyllic stop for lunch!

After lunch we will continue trekking downhill following the ancient trail, which leads us to our campsite in a community called Ancascocha.

Meals provided: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Approximate walking time: 6½hrs
Distance: 10km

DAY 4: Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo

Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe the tall granite walls on its sides which are populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when they bloom. After crossing many little bridges we will reach the community of Camicancha, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking towards the smow-capped Mt. Veronica.

From here, it is only a short trek to the commnuity of Chilca, where out trail ends. We'll be picked up by our vehicle and head to Ollantaytambo, taking a well-earned shower and rest at our hotel.

In the afternoon we will have an included guided tour around the incredible archaeological site of Ollantaytambo and its world-famous Temple of the Sun.

Meals provided: Breakfast, lunch
Approximate walking time: 5hrs
Distance: 12km

DAY 5: Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco

Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and plenty of time to freely explore this magical place. 

In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day!

Meals provided: Breakfast

Community Trek inclusions

 

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. These communities typically have small schools that often need support with construction, furniture, materials and teachers. 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 now a pact between the communities, agencies, and tourists.

Option 2: Classic Inca Trail

Classic Inca Trek Info Sheet.pdf

This original King's route still remains popular and it is a 4-day trek, which passes through cloud forest and dramatic mountain scenery. It ends at sunrise on the last day as you trek to the Sun Gate for your first views of magnificent Machu Picchu. If you would prefer to trek the Classic Inca Trail then you must advise Dragoman at the time of booking. Dragoman will then apply for your permit but please note that these can never be guaranteed and if unavailable we will automatically book you onto the Community Inca Trail.

To be able to apply for your Inca Trail permit, it is vital that you provide the following information at the time of booking:

 

Any inconsistency between the information provided and the passport you travel with may result in you not being granted access to the Inca Trail. 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 (such as the passport number) 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. 

DAY 1
This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley and enjoy lunch at Pisac. We then head to Ollantaytambo to view more Inca ruins and we stay in a nice hotel for the night.
Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

DAY 2
The following morning after breakfast, we catch a bus to the 82 km marker and are joined by a crew of local porters, cook, etc. As we hike from high plateau to dense forest, you will see some remains of ancient villages and temples, the first of which is Llactapata. The starting point of the trek (the 82 km marker) is located at 2,850 m above sea level. The trek includes some uphill trekking to the campsite (over 3,000m above sea level). Take advantage during the 4 days of the trek to get to know your porters. You will realise they work the hardest on the team and are gentle people willing to share with you their culture, language and trek experiences.
Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

DAY 3
This is the most challenging of the trek as w.e ascend a long steep path (approx 4 hrs) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650 m above sea level - 2 hrs downhill). Depending upon local conditions, you might camp here today, or may need to continue further up and down. We might cross the first and second passes on this day. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980 m above sea level - 90 min uphill) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (2 hours downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620 m above sea level).
Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

DAY 4
Today we continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds' (3,850 m above sea level – 90 min uphill). Start descending real Inca Steps (2 hrs) to reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna, or 'Forever Young' ruins (2,750 m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below.
Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

DAY 5
Today is only a short final hike (90 min) to Machu Picchu and we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below. As with the community trek our guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or maybe if you haven't experienced enough steps and trekking, why not visit the Inca Bridge. Or you can just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. Late afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.
Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks

Option 3: Non Trekking Package

If you do not wish to trek but want to take part in the Sacred Valley Tour and guided tour of Machu Picchu, then this is the package for you. You will receive a refund from kitty for the unused part of the excursion as your kitty amount has been calculated for the trekking options. Please note that in order to obtain a refund you MUST inform us that you would like the non trekking package at the time of booking. Please also note that there is a possibility that you may be the only person booked on to the non trekking package.

To be able to buy your train ticket between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, it is vital that you provide the following information at the time of booking:

 

Any inconsistency between the information provided and the passport you travel on may result in you not being allowed to board the train.

DAY 1
You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Community Trek of the Classic Inca Trail. You will visit the fortress of Sacsaywaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights. These hotel nights will be booked for you by your tour leader.

DAYS 2 & 3
There are no activities booked or organised for you during these two days. There will be plenty of free time for you to go out and enjoy the many beautiful restaurants and shops that this wonderful town has to offer.

DAY 4
After being picked up from your hotel in the morning you will be driven to the fortress city of Ollantaytambo and our hotel for the night, the Tunupa Lodge. Here you will rejoin the Community Inca Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.

DAY 5
After an early breakfast and a 10 minute walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (18,800 ft. / 5,750 m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (7,800 ft / 2,400 m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.

Non Trekking Package inclusions

 

Still Unsure of Which Trail?

Dragoman's Community Inca Trek is a unique trekking route that not only involves trekking through pristine unspoiled mountains along ancient Inca Trails, but also allows the trekkers to stay within local communities and get involved with our pioneering community-based tourism project, Tarpuy Yachay. This trek is all about getting away from the overcrowded thoroughfares of the Classic Inca Trail and instead 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 Classic Inca Trail is the trek which you will see in every tour operator's brochure and website that features Peru as a destination. It is the most common trekking route taken to get to Machu Picchu.

Benefits of the Community Inca Trekover the Classic Inca Trail

 

Points against the Community Inca Trek

 

The Classic Inca Trail

 

However this is still the Classic Inca Trail and for some no other route will do, and we therefore offer it as an alternative. The Community Trek is included in our trips, but if you would prefer to take the Classic then you will need to let our sales team know at time of booking.

Trail 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 Community Inca 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 Trail 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. 

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 Community Trek your duffle bag will be carried by pack animals and on the Classic Trail your duffle bag will be carried by porters. Please note that for the Classic Inca Trail there is therefore a strict weight limit of 6 kgs per bag, no exceptions. 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! Community trekkers, you should also bring a set of clean clothes for night 4, which 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.

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.

Exploratory Trip Warning - this is a new trip for us!

Please note that all or part of this trip is a brand new itinerary, and could be going through completely new areas for Dragoman. This is what we call a New or Exploratory trip, and it means that all the passengers on these trips for the first season are the route's pioneers!

However, while we have thoroughly researched all aspects of this new route and put the itinerary together with the best of intentions, please note that your crew will be finding a lot of information out for us on the ground, will be playing a lot of things by ear, and may alter the itinerary slightly in places where it becomes necessary. Most trips will have slight or significant changes made to them after this first season, and frankly we would be very surprised if an Exploratory trip was to run perfectly to the published itinerary. Usually we find that this is rarely a problem but rather an exciting feature, that there are much more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, and these Exploratory trips are a fantastic opportunity to shape the trip as a group.

However, the warning is sincere and these trips must be viewed as Exploratory - if this concerns you or you would rather stick to a tried-and-tested itinerary, then we recommend that you wait a year or two until we have this itinerary perfected following operating it many times, or of course to consider one of the more established trips in our extensive portfolio.

Physical Preparation

Physical preparation for North America

North America is a diverse continent, from the cold wilderness of Alaska to the baking deserts of California. You should therefore be prepared for the full gambit of climates. There will be time for hiking and other activities such as horse riding, and you will need to be reasonably fit.

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

The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. The North America trip is primarily camping based so you need to be prepared to go for a number of days without the luxury of a real bed.

Physical preparation for Central America Itineraries

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

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

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

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. 

Panama

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

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

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.

USA

Citizens of Canada will not need a visa to visit the USA as a tourist for up to 90 days.

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 – this means that you will not need a visa to visit the USA as a tourist for up to 90 days, but you will need an ESTA Electronic Authorisation if arriving to the USA by air or cruise ship. This must be arranged online and in advance – please go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ , apply and pay the appropriate fee for your nationality. Please note this also applies to the same nationalities that are simply transiting through an airport within the USA, as well as those visiting as a tourist. You will not need the ESTA if you are entering by land from Canada or Mexico.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, the most appropriate visa will be the B-1/B-2 visa for temporary visitors, and you will need to obtain it in advance.

Colombia 

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

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

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

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.

Costa Rica

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

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

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

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, Canada and the USA 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)
Americans - USD40 (multiple entry for up to 10 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.

Belize

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Belize as a tourist for up to 30 days.

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

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

Canada

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA and most EU countries will not need a visa to visit Canada as a tourist for up to 180 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, the most appropriate visa will be the Temporary Resident Visa, and you will need to obtain it in advance.

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).

Mexico

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Mexico as a tourist for up to 180 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. Citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey will need to apply for an Electronic Authorisation before travel. 

Nicaragua

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

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

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

Honduras

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

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

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

Flying to Central or South America via the USA

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.

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.

El Salvador

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

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

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

Guatemala

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

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

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

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.

North and Central America Currencies and Cash

It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel.  Do also 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 cheques and ATM cards is best. However, 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. ATMs are everywhere through North and Central America so it is very easy to withdraw cash as you go, and throughout this region the US Dollar is king.

Personal Spending - North and Central America

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

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

Personal Spending - South America

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent in South America, we recommend you allow between USD15 and USD30 per day. This amount is usually lower in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru but slightly higher elsewhere. 

This will covers expenses such as your optional activities, drinks, meals whilst out and also when staying in hotels, souvenirs, tips and personal permits.

What else you need to know

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

Dragoman 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 hotels, 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 depending on what options are available in each of the areas we travel through and the nightstops on our routes; 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.

Equally, the type and standard of hotel accommodation will vary greatly depending on what is available in the area; hotels can vary from very basic multi-share rooms without electricity or running water all the way to high standard hotels with good facilities!

One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp; this allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, this allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.

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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 fully stocked medical kit onboard for use in emergency situations only. 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 the Dragoman Travel Medical Kit. It has been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contains everything you would need for any minor accidents. For more details please visit their website:

http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/pharmacy

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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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