Anchorage<- ->Santiago, (CAS)

Santiago to Anchorage 1 days, departing 02 Dec 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 bright summer day in the Alaskan city of Anchorage

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:

40%60%

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, the jungles and the wind-swept wilds of Patagonia, it is a country with a very special character all of its own and a rich cultural heritage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belize

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

Belize is a small English-speaking enclave on the Caribbean coast, and has its own unique culture and atmosphere. Despite its small size, there are several amazing places in Belize to visit - near the town of San Ignacio there are some of the finest Mayan ruins in Central America including the ancient cities of Caracol and Cahal Pech, as well as several flooded caves and forest to explore.

Off the coast is the wonderful Caye Caulker, a lively island surrounded by glittering turquoise ocean which provides some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world! From here you could take a scenic flights over one of the world's most breathtaking natural wonders - The Great Blue Hole, a 300-metre-wide underwater sink hole formed into a perfect circle. Belize is a fantastic addition to our trips in Central America and a very unique place to visit!

Bolivia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada

The phenomenal alpine scenery of Banff National Park, Canada

The vast country of Canada has so much to offer its visitors, including exhilarating white-water rafting and adventure sports, hiking through the stunning beauty of the National Parks, majestic mountains, atmospheric forests, some fascinating historic cities, and of course the warm welcome from the famously friendly locals!

Some of the major highlights of this wonderful country include the famed and scenic Canadian National Parks of Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff, which all contain some excellent trekking opportunities. You can explore the history of the Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon, see the colossal Salmon Glacier near Stewart on Alaska's border, and learn all about the Aurora Borealis at the Northern Lights Centre in Waston Lake.

Canada is an incredible place to explore, and contains some of the finest outdoor wilderness on the planet!

Chile

The spectacular Three Towers of Torres del Paine, Chile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colombia

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica

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

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

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

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

Ecuador

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Salvador

The incredible landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

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

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

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

Guatemala

The centre of the spectacular ruined temple complex of Tikal

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

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

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

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

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

Honduras

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

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

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

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

Mexico

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

Mexico is a country full of culture, history, and spectacular landscapes. Home to the Mayan and Aztec Empires, the architecture and legacy left behind is nothing short of magical - amongst the incredible ruins are the massive pyramids of Teotihuacan, the overgrown cities of Monte Alban and Palenque, and of course the phenomenal Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

However, although Mexico's ruins and history are a major draw, there is much more to the country. Mexico has a vibrant culture, from its famous mariachi bands, the stunning artwork of Diego Garcia and Frida Kahlo, and the unique customs and way of life of the Tzut'zil Mayan people in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

The food of Mexico is iconic all over the world, and you'll be able to sample burritos and chili con carne alongside more unusual dishes such as mole sauce made from cocoa beans, and of course Oaxaca's favourite snack of fried grasshoppers! Mexico is also famous for tequila, made from the blue agave plants that are ubiquitous in the central regions.

If that wasn't enough, Mexico is one of the most stunning countries in the world, with the cactus-filled deserts of the north, the colossal Sumidero Canyon, the jungles of Palenque and Yaxchilan, and the pristine idyllic beaches of Tulum. Mexico is high on the list of many travellers' favourites list, and has many wonderful and varied highlights to explore!

Nicaragua

The spectacular Volcan Conception on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

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

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

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

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

Panama

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

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

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

Peru

The breathtaking Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USA

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

Adventure travel in the USA is much, much more than the usual Grand Canyon, Rockies and Yellowstone tick-list. With Dragoman you'll get to see all these incredible places, but we also get off the beaten track, overnighting in an Alaskan wilderness camp, exploring the absolutely stunning Glacier National Park and spending time with the Navajo people in Monument Valley Tribal Park.

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. On our trips in the USA you can go trekking through the spectacular rock formations of Zion National Park, gamble and take in a show in Las Vegas, search for wild bison on Antelope Island near Salt Lake City and wild grizzly bears near Stewart, and explore the rugged coastlines and glaciers of Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park.

The USA is a wonderful place for the outdoor explorer to travel to, and is absolutely packed with surprises and highlights.

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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
The El Misti volcano looming over the city of Arequipa, Peru
White water rafting on the Pastaza River in Ecuador
The mighty volcano Tungurahua erupts at night near Baños, Ecuador
Walking in the fantastic valleys to see the waterfalls around Baños, Ecuador
Abseiling down one of the waterfalls on the Baños canyoning trip, Ecuador
One of the famous waterfalls near Baños, Ecuador
The incredible 'Anfiteatro' canyon between Salta and Cafayate
The stunning rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas between Salta and Cafayate
The sun rises under the grape vines of Cafayate, Argentina
The vineyards of Cafayate, Argentina
Some of the atmospheric vineyards of Cafayate, Argentina
The colourful historic centre of Cartagena, Colombia
A view over the beautiful modern skyline of Cartagena
Boats parked at the Rosario Islands, on a day trip from Cartagena, Colombia
The Spanish coastal fort of San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia
Colourful bougainvilleas on a row of houses in Cartagena
Overlooking the Caribbean Sea on Caye Caulker, Belize
The incredible Great Blue Hole near Caye Caulker, Belize
Nurse Sharks spotted in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Caye Caulker, Belize
One of the deserted beaches on the northern island of Caye Caulker, Belize
At one of the breathtaking viewpoints above the Colca Canyon, Peru
A condor soars over the Colca Canyon, Peru
A condor soars over the Colca Canyon, Peru
An awe-inspiring vista over the Colca Canyon
The town centre of Chivay, Peru
Getting the truck blessed in Copacabana, Bolivia
The wonderful vista over Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca
The landscape near the town of Copacabana, Bolivia
Taking the local barge from Copacabana to La Paz, Bolivia
The wonderful vista over Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca
The Parque Calderon in the centre of the colonial town of Cuenca, Ecuador
Panama hats for sale in the Ecuadorian town of Cuenca
The central Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital
Colourful cloth for sale in the markets of Cuzco, Peru
The picturesque Plaza de Armas in Cuzco after dark
The phenomenal Inca stonework at the ruins of Saksaywaman near Cuzco
Overlooking the picturesque city of Cuzco, Peru
The ancient Moche adobe city of Chan Chan, Huanchaco, northern Peru

Day 1: Santiago

( Fri 02 Dec )

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

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.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Santiago 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 Santiago.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide

Free

Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia

Free

Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/hop-off bus around the city

CLP 21000
About Santiago:

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

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

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

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

Day 2 to 3: Mendoza

( Sat 03 Dec to Sun 04 Dec )

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 - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a trek through the incredible valleys surrounding Mendoza

ARS 270

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

ARS 930

Go for a horse ride through the arid foothills west of Mendoza

ARS 800

Discover Argentina's wine capital and explore the vineyards of the Mendoza and Maipu region, either on an organised tour or by cycling between the bodgeas

ARS 300

Take an exhilarating white water rafting trip down the Mendoza River

ARS 600

Relax in the beautiful thermal baths in Cacheuta, in the hills above Mendoza

ARS 100

Take a mountain biking trip through the dramatic landscapes of the Andean foothills near Mendoza

ARS 600
About Mendoza:

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

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

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

Day 4: Rio Ceballos

( Mon 05 Dec )

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

We will aim to camp in one of the small rural towns en route, possibly near the town of Mina Clavero.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

About Rio Ceballos:

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

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

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

Day 5 to 7: Rio Ceballos

( Tue 06 Dec to Thu 08 Dec )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

Day 8: Tafí Del Valle

( Fri 09 Dec )

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 - 9-10 hours.

Day 9: Cafayate, Quilmes Ruins

( Sat 10 Dec )

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 - 2-3 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

ARS 50

Visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo' en route through the primeval landscape of the Quebrada de las Conchas

Included in Kitty
About Cafayate:

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

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

About Quilmes Ruins:

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

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

Day 10 to 11: Salta

( Sun 11 Dec to Mon 12 Dec )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the cable car up to the top of San Bernardo Hill, and take in the breathtaking views out over the city of Salta below

ARS 110

Explore the beautiful mountains and forests near Salta on a mountain biking trip

ARS 690
About Salta:

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

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

Day 12: Purmamarca

( Tue 13 Dec )

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.

About Purmamarca:

The tiny and atmospheric town of Purmamarca is stunningly located in the Quebrada de Purmamarca valley in the far northwest of Argentina at the base of the Andes. It is a beautiful desert village which is nestled in the spectacular valley opposite the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colours), a colourful rainbow-coloured mountain face.

Day 13 to 14: San Pedro De Atacama

( Wed 14 Dec to Thu 15 Dec )

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 - 9-10 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.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

CLP 20000

Visit the incredible salt plains of the Salar de Atacama, and take a swim in the salty pools of Laguna Cejar

CLP 2000

Take a tour of the stunning Lagunas Altiplánicas, backdropped by the incredible deserts and volcanic scenery of the region

CLP 30000

Relax in the blissful natural volcanic hot springs of Puritama, in the hills above San Pedro

CLP 15000
About San Pedro De Atacama:

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

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

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

Day 15: Bolivian Altiplano

( Fri 16 Dec )

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 - 7-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the epic journey across the southern Bolivian altiplano - an incredible high-altitude, off-road adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations, hot springs, and the phenomenal coloured lakes of Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde

Included in Kitty
About Bolivian Altiplano:

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

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

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

Day 16: Uyuni

( Sat 17 Dec )

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 - 7-8 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.

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

Day 17: Salar De Uyuni

( Sun 18 Dec )

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!

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Salar De Uyuni:

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

Day 18: Potosí

( Mon 19 Dec )

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 - 4-5 hours.

 

Activity Approximate Cost

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

BOB 110

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

BOB 60
About Potosí:

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

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

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

Day 19 to 20: La Paz

( Tue 20 Dec to Wed 21 Dec )

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 - 8-9 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.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 110

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 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 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
About La Paz:

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

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

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

Day 21: La Paz

( Thu 22 Dec )

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in La Paz. 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.

Day 22: La Paz

( Fri 23 Dec )

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

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.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in La Paz 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 La Paz.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in La Paz, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 110

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

Day 23: Copacabana, La Paz

( Sat 24 Dec )

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 - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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 Copacabana:

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

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

Day 24: Isla Del Sol

( Sun 25 Dec )

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
About Isla Del Sol:

Isla del Sol is a serene and peaceful island set in the glittering Lake Titicaca off the shore of the Bolivian village of Copacabana. The island was famous in Inca mythology as the supposed birthplace of the sun-god Inti - a legend that is still told by many of the modern-day Aymara and Quechua peoples of the area. 

There small ancient ruins dotted on the island, as well as tiny traditional villages and beautiful walking routes. You can take a boat trip to the island and wander through its atmospheric landscape, exploring the island's dry slopes covered with sweet smelling incense brush, or hike over the ancient pampas which are still cultivated by the island families.

Day 25: Puno

( Mon 26 Dec )

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 - 4-5 hours.

About Puno:

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

Day 26: Cuzco, Puno

( Tue 27 Dec )

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 Tipón en route.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Cuzco:

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

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

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

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

Day 27: Cuzco

( Wed 28 Dec )

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 Wild Andes 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

Freely 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

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

Day 28: Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

( Thu 29 Dec )

These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package.

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, 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. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon).

We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, 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.

Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner 

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have lunch.  We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.  

There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, 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.

Meals included: Lunch

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman 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 - Wild Andes Trek

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

Option 2 - Classic Trek

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

Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option)

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

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

Included in Kitty
About Sacred Valley:

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

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

About Inca Trail :

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

The Classic Inca Trail

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

The Wild Andes Trek

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

Day 29: Inca Trail

( Fri 30 Dec )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

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 Inca archaeological site. We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400m, 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 camping.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 13kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba

After breakfast, we catch a bus to Piscaycuscho and the start of the Classic Inca Trek - the railroad KM82 marker (at 2,700m altitude). Here we are joined by our crew of local porters and cooks. We will cross the bridge over the River Urubamba and following a trail along the left-hand shore of the river, enjoying stunning views of the snow-capped Mount Veronica (5,830m) and the Incan archaeological remains at Llactapata. Continuing through lush farmland and woodland, we gradually climb for approximately 5 hours to our first campsite at Wayllabamba (3,000m).

Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

Today is a free day to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops, selling textiles and handicrafts.

Day 30: Inca Trail

( Sat 31 Dec )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Amaruwatana to Ancascocha

We have an early start this morning, trekking for approximately 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass at 4,700m. 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 approximatley 2 hours, we arrive at a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (meaning "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 the Ancascocha area.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo

This is the most challenging day of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approximately 4 hours) through Andean cloud forest and highland puna to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca (meaning "Dead Woman's Pass") at a height of 4,200m. During our ascent, we can appreciate the wide variety of plant, flower and bird species supported by this unique eco-climate. On reaching the pass, our challenge is rewarded by an astonishing panoramic view of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. From here we descend for 2 hours into the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650m altitude) and to our second campsite.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package
Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops selling textiles and handicrafts.

Day 31: Inca Trail

( Sun 01 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo

Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe its tall granite walls 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 Camicancha area, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking towards the snow-capped Mt. Veronica.

From here it is only a short trek to Chilca, where our 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.

Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Pacaymayo to Wiñay Wayna

Today we follow ancient stone paths and steps to ascend the well-preserved Inca remains of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca (the "Town above the Clouds") where we can appreciate the Incas’ complex architectural style and reverence of natural geography and beauty. Heading down the Andean slope, we reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna (meaning "Forever Young") ruins, with panoramic views of the valley below.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 16kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

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 Wild Andes Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.

Day 32: Machu Picchu, Cuzco

( Mon 02 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

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 there will be plenty of free time to 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

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wiñay Wayna to Machupicchu

Leaving Wiñay Wayna, we descend gradually further through the highland jungle to our destination - Intupunku (the "Sun Gate") leading into Machu Picchu. Arriving at daybreak, we catch our first breathtaking view of this historical wonder. As with the Wild Andes Trek, our local guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is also some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.

Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

After an early breakfast and 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 (5,750m). 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 (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, 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.

Meals provided: Breakfast

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Machu Picchu:

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

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

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

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

Day 33: Cuzco

( Tue 03 Jan )

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cuzco. 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.

Day 34: Cuzco

( Wed 04 Jan )

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

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 Wild Andes 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.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cuzco 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 Cuzco.

A note on altitude: if you are joining in Cuzco, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

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

 

Day 35: Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

( Thu 05 Jan )

These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package.

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, 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. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon).

We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, 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.

Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner 

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have lunch.  We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.  

There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, 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.

Meals included: Lunch

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman 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 - Wild Andes Trek

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

Option 2 - Classic Trek

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

Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option)

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

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

Included in Kitty

Day 36: Inca Trail

( Fri 06 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

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 Inca archaeological site. We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400m, 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 camping.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 13kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba

After breakfast, we catch a bus to Piscaycuscho and the start of the Classic Inca Trek - the railroad KM82 marker (at 2,700m altitude). Here we are joined by our crew of local porters and cooks. We will cross the bridge over the River Urubamba and following a trail along the left-hand shore of the river, enjoying stunning views of the snow-capped Mount Veronica (5,830m) and the Incan archaeological remains at Llactapata. Continuing through lush farmland and woodland, we gradually climb for approximately 5 hours to our first campsite at Wayllabamba (3,000m).

Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

Today is a free day to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops, selling textiles and handicrafts.

Day 37: Inca Trail

( Sat 07 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Amaruwatana to Ancascocha

We have an early start this morning, trekking for approximately 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass at 4,700m. 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 approximatley 2 hours, we arrive at a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (meaning "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 the Ancascocha area.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo

This is the most challenging day of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approximately 4 hours) through Andean cloud forest and highland puna to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca (meaning "Dead Woman's Pass") at a height of 4,200m. During our ascent, we can appreciate the wide variety of plant, flower and bird species supported by this unique eco-climate. On reaching the pass, our challenge is rewarded by an astonishing panoramic view of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. From here we descend for 2 hours into the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650m altitude) and to our second campsite.

Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package
Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops selling textiles and handicrafts.

Day 38: Inca Trail

( Sun 08 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo

Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe its tall granite walls 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 Camicancha area, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking towards the snow-capped Mt. Veronica.

From here it is only a short trek to Chilca, where our 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.

Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek

Pacaymayo to Wiñay Wayna

Today we follow ancient stone paths and steps to ascend the well-preserved Inca remains of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca (the "Town above the Clouds") where we can appreciate the Incas’ complex architectural style and reverence of natural geography and beauty. Heading down the Andean slope, we reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna (meaning "Forever Young") ruins, with panoramic views of the valley below.

Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 16kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

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 Wild Andes Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.

Day 39: Cuzco, Machu Picchu

( Mon 09 Jan )

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

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 there will be plenty of free time to 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

Option 2 - Classic Trek

Wiñay Wayna to Machupicchu

Leaving Wiñay Wayna, we descend gradually further through the highland jungle to our destination - Intupunku (the "Sun Gate") leading into Machu Picchu. Arriving at daybreak, we catch our first breathtaking view of this historical wonder. As with the Wild Andes Trek, our local guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is also some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.

Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks

Option 3 - Train Package

After an early breakfast and 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 (5,750m). 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 (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, 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.

Meals provided: Breakfast

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

Day 40: Cuzco

( Tue 10 Jan )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

PEN 20

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

USD 125

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

Freely 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

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

Day 41: Raqchi

( Wed 11 Jan )

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 - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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

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

Included in Kitty

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

Included in Kitty
About Raqchi:

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

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

Day 42: Chivay

( Thu 12 Jan )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the La Calera thermal springs near Chivay

PEN 15
About Chivay:

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

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

Day 43: Arequipa, Chivay

( Fri 13 Jan )

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 - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Arequipa:

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

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

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

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

Day 44 to 45: Arequipa

( Sat 14 Jan to Sun 15 Jan )

For the next two days we will enjoy free time to independently explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or to take part in some optional activities in and around the city.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

PEN 20

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

PEN 35

Head out for an exciting morning of white-water rafting on the Chili River near Arequipa

USD 35

Take a 'Reality Tour' of Arequipa, a walking tour with an alternative focus on the daily lives of the local people and contemporary issues facing modern Peru

PEN 40

Take a fascinating cooking class in Arequipa, learning how to create some iconic Peruvian cuisine and taking a tour of the nearby food markets

PEN 90

Day 46: Puerto Inca

( Mon 16 Jan )

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 - 7-8 hours.

About Puerto Inca:

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

Day 47: Nazca

( Tue 17 Jan )

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 - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

PEN 3

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

USD 130

Visit the incredible ancient Nazca sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the nearby Cahuachi Pyramid

Included in Kitty
About Nazca:

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

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

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

Day 48: Huacachina

( Wed 18 Jan )

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 - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for an exhilarating dune buggy ride and sandboarding trip into the sand dunes of Huacachina, followed by a camp out around the fire and under the stars in the beautiful deserts

USD 60
About Huacachina:

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

Day 49: Lima, Ballestas Islands

( Thu 19 Jan )

Today we will drive the short distance to Paracas and 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 - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Lima:

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

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

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

About Ballestas Islands:

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

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

Day 50: Lima

( Fri 20 Jan )

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Lima. 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 Lima's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), containing over 7000 pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from a number of Peru's different pre-Columbian cultures

PEN 33

Visit the beautiful Baroque cathedral of San Francisco in Lima's historical centre, and explore the morbidly fascinating catacombs underneath

PEN 7

Visit the excellent Museum of the Nation in Lima, which has numerous exhibits highlighting many of the pre-conquest civilisations and an outstanding photo exhibit on Peru's Internal Conflict of the 1980s and 1990s

PEN 9

Explore the bohemian areas of Barranco and Miraflores on a cycling tour of Lima

USD 35

See the incredible 'Magic Water Circuit' in Lima's Parque de la Reserva, an astounding evening display of water, music, light, images, and laser effects across 13 huge water fountains

PEN 4

Explore the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Lima, containing the largest private collection of pre-Colombian art in the world

PEN 30

Take a cebiche and pisco sour class at one of the top restaurants in Miraflores, a lively district of Lima

USD 40

Day 51: Lima

( Sat 21 Jan )

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

Day 52: Huaraz

( Sun 22 Jan )

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. Looming over the town is Peru's highest peak, the 6,768m mountain of Huascarán.

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

Day 53 to 54: Huaraz

( Mon 23 Jan to Tue 24 Jan )

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.

Day 55: Huanchaco

( Wed 25 Jan )

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:

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

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

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

Day 56: Huanchaco

( Thu 26 Jan )

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).

Day 57: Punta Sal, Lambayeque

( Fri 27 Jan )

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

About Lambayeque:

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

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

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

Day 58: Punta Sal

( Sat 28 Jan )

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.

Day 59: Cuenca

( Sun 29 Jan )

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

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

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

Day 60: Cuenca

( Mon 30 Jan )

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.

Day 61: Chugchilán

( Tue 31 Jan )

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 Chugchilán:

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

Day 62: Lake Quilotoa, Chugchilán

( Wed 01 Feb )

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

Day 63: Rio Verde

( Thu 02 Feb )

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

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

Day 64 to 65: Rio Verde, Baños

( Fri 03 Feb to Sat 04 Feb )

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:

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

Day 66: Ecuadorian Amazon

( Sun 05 Feb )

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

About Ecuadorian Amazon:

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

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

Day 67 to 68: Ecuadorian Amazon

( Mon 06 Feb to Tue 07 Feb )

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. 

Day 69: Quito

( Wed 08 Feb )

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

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

Day 70: Quito

( Thu 09 Feb )

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.

Day 71: Quito

( Fri 10 Feb )

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

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.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Quito 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 Quito.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in Quito, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

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

Day 72: Ipiales, Quito

( Sat 11 Feb )

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

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 cross the Colombian border and reach the small town of Ipiales.

In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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 monument to mark the Equator at Mitad del Mundo

Included in Kitty
About Ipiales:

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

Day 73 to 74: Popayán, Ipiales

( Sun 12 Feb to Mon 13 Feb )

Today we will have an included visit to the famous Santuario de las Lajas church outside of Ipiales, before driving to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore Popayán or take part in some excellent treks or other optional activities in the surrounding area.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek to the 4,650m summit of the towering Puracé volcano near Popayán

COP 85000

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

Relax in the volcanic thermal springs near the village of Coconuco, dramatically set in a steep-sided valley

COP 55000

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

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

Day 75 to 76: Salento

( Tue 14 Feb to Wed 15 Feb )

Today we will continue our journey north to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will head out in the morning for an included visit to a coffee plantation to learn all about the cultivation and producing of Colombian coffee! After a local lunch, we will take 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 Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore a working Colombian coffee plantation near Salento and learn all about its cultivation and production

Included in Kitty

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
About Salento:

Salento is a small town on the edge of the Los Nevados mountain range between the cities of Calí and Medellín, in the heart of Colombia's coffe-growing region. There is a very pleasant cool climate in the hills, and we are able to visit some of Colombia's famous fair-trade coffee plantations in the area.

Salento is also the gateway to the Cocora Valley, which as well as its incredible scenery and walking opportunities contains the world's largest palm trees - the Quindío wax palm commonly grows 45m high, and sometimes stretches as high as 60m! We will fully explore the area of Salento and the Cocora Valley during our journey through southern Colombia.

Day 77 to 79: Medellín

( Thu 16 Feb to Sat 18 Feb )

Today we will drive to the vibrant city of Medellín, where we will spend 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On our first full day in Medellín we will have a guided walking tour of the city, and our second day will be free time to independently explore the town, its parks, churches, and museums.

In Medellín we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

COP 3000
Take the pioneering Metroline cable car up to Santo Domingo, to see a very different area of the city and the revitalising effect the Metroline has had on the communities there COP 1750

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

Free

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

COP 10000

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

COP 2500
Head out on a fascinating walking tour of Medellín and learn all about it's tumultuous past Included in Kitty
Explore the beautiful model Antioquian village of Pueblito Paisa and the interesting sculpture park at Nutibara Hill Free
Explore the Museum of the University of Antioquia, and marvel at its collectino of visual arts, anthropological exhibits, and over 20,000 pieces of pre-Colombian ceramics Free
Head out and discover some of Medellín's vibrant and unusual nightlife at the Dulce Jesus Mio club COP 10000
See some of Colombia's finest contemporary art at the Museo de Arte Moderno (NAMM), including the complete work of the local painter Débora Arango COP 5000
Discover the story of Colombia's most infamous drug kingpin and the wealthiest criminal in history, Pablo Escobar, on a tour of his old haunts COP 60000
Visit the planetarium and public science exhibits at the Parque de los Deseos Free
About Medellín:

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

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

Day 80 to 82: San Gil

( Sun 19 Feb to Tue 21 Feb )

Today we will drive 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 - 9-11 hours.

The following two days will be free to enjoy some of the myriad of adrenaline activities on offer in the area, or to spend some time 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

Freely 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
About San Gil:

San Gil is a small town in the Yariguíes Mountains of eastern Colombia, founded in 1689. During the build-up to Colombian independence, the town was an important gathering point for many native people from surrounding areas who would then march on Bogotá. Now it is famous as being the adventure capital of the region, and there are several outdoor activities available for visitors such as rafting, hiking and caving.

Day 83 to 84: Mompós

( Wed 22 Feb to Thu 23 Feb )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 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 area of Mompós by boat, on a beautiful short trip out on the Magdelena River

Included in Kitty
About Mompós:

The quiet colonial town of Mompós, located in the wetlands along the River Magdelena, is most famous as being the location where the revolutionary Simón Bolívar declared independence from Spain in 1812 and then recruited an army to march on Caracas. Once an important port for transporting goods up the river, the old colonial buildings of Mompós are not only well-preserved but are largely still used today for their original purpose, providing a good example of a living colonial-style city.

Day 85 to 86: Tayrona National Park

( Fri 24 Feb to Sat 25 Feb )

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 - 8-9 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

Freely 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 wonderful protected area on the northern coast of Colombia, which contains a huge diversity of animal and plant species including 2,000 species of animals and 800 types of plants. This is in part due to the variation in geology of the area - at sea level the climate is arid and the rugged coastline has some excellent beaches and coves, but the terrain quickly rises as you travel inland, where we find a sub-tropical climate and cloud forests on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The National Park can be thoroughly explored on foot as there are many winding trails through the incredible scenery. Further biodiversity is present offshore in the warm water of the coral reefs, which offer an excellent opportunity for snorkeling and swimming.

Day 87: Cartagena

( Sun 26 Feb )

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 - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Cartagena:

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

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

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

Day 88: Cartagena

( Mon 27 Feb )

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.

Day 89: Cartagena

( Tue 28 Feb )

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cartagena. 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.

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).

Activity Approximate Cost
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

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

USD 25

Visit the historic coastal Spanish fortress of Castillo San Felipe

COP 17000

Day 90: Panama City

( Wed 01 Mar )

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

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 note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Panama City 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 Panama 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

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
About Panama City:

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

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

Day 91: Panama City, Santa Clara

( Thu 02 Mar )

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 the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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

Day 92 to 93: Boquete

( Fri 03 Mar to Sat 04 Mar )

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

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
About Boquete:

Boquete is a picturesque small town in the stunning green hills of western Panama, close to the Costa Rican border. Its cool climate attracts many visitors, and its incredible forest scenery is some of the most beautiful in Panama. The area has gained a fantastic reputation for exciting outdoor activities such as rafting and forest treks, and is the base for a challenging day-trek up to the summit of Volcán Barú, Panama's highest peak at 3,475m - on a rare clear day it is possible to see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time from the summit!

Day 94 to 95: Manuel Antonio National Park

( Sun 05 Mar to Mon 06 Mar )

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 - 3-5 hours.

On the following day we will have an included 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

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

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

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:

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

Day 96 to 97: Monteverde

( Tue 07 Mar to Wed 08 Mar )

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 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

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

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

Day 98 to 99: La Fortuna

( Thu 09 Mar to Fri 10 Mar )

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

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

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

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

USD 65
About La Fortuna:

The small town of La Fortuna is dominated over by the huge conical volcano of Arenal. The town was founded in the 1930s, and was renamed to "La Fortuna" (meaning "fortune") in 1968 when the previously dormant volcano unexpectedly erupted and engulfed nearby villages - the current name was given to it to mark the good fortune that it was not also buried by the eruption. Between 1968 and 2010 Arenal was one of the world's most active volcanos, and could be relied upon to erupt on most days - however in 2010, the volcano suddenly stopped erupting and has been dormant once more since then!

La Fortuna is a beautiful and serene town, with the mighty volcano as its iconic backdrop. It is one of Costa Rica's msot popular spots, and visitors are absolutely spolied for choice when it comes to optional activities - there are forest treks to the 70m-high Catarata de la Fortuna waterfalls, whitewater rafting trips, zip-lining, canopy walks, horse riding, amongst many other options. After all this activity, you can enjoy a relaxing evening at one of the area's excellent volcanic hot springs.

Day 100 to 101: Ometepe Island

( Sat 11 Mar to Sun 12 Mar )

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 - 4-6 hours.

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

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

Freely 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:

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

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

Day 102 to 103: Granada

( Mon 13 Mar to Tue 14 Mar )

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

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

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

Day 104 to 105: Masaya National Park, León

( Wed 15 Mar to Thu 16 Mar )

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

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

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

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:

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

About León:

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

Day 106: Lake Yojoa

( Fri 17 Mar )

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 - 9-11 hours.

Day 107 to 109: Roatán

( Sat 18 Mar to Mon 20 Mar )

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

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

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

USD 40
About Roatán:

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

Day 110 to 111: Copán

( Tue 21 Mar to Wed 22 Mar )

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

Day 112: Suchitoto

( Thu 23 Mar )

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 lake of Embalse Cerrón Grande, which is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks.

Day 113: Cerro Verde National Park

( Fri 24 Mar )

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

Day 114 to 115: Los Cobanos

( Sat 25 Mar to Sun 26 Mar )

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

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

USD 45

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

USD 10

Day 116: Antigua

( Mon 27 Mar )

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.

About Antigua:

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

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

Day 117: Antigua

( Tue 28 Mar )

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

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

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

USD 59

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

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

Day 118: Antigua

( Wed 29 Mar )

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

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

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

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

Day 119 to 120: Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango

( Thu 30 Mar to Fri 31 Mar )

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 the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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:

The beautiful sparkling waters of Lake Atitlan can change colour from emerald and azure to lapis and olive, all in one day. The lake is perfectly set amongst forest-clad hills with three volcanic peaks on its far shores, making it one of the most scenic lakes in the world! All around the lake's edge 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. The largest settlement of Panajachel is an ideal base to explore the lake and its villages - you can 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 very tranquil atmosphere.

About Chichicastenango:

Chichicastenango is a small village that has perhaps the most colourful markets in all of Guatemala - everywhere you look, your eyes are met by stalls of multi-coloured textiles, local people in their multi-coloured clothes, and by the colours of the fresh produce in the vegetable market. The amazing sights, sounds and smells all contribute to the heady atmosphere of the markets, and its the ideal place to get a slice of local life and pick up all those souvenirs!

Day 121: San Andres Itzapa

( Sat 01 Apr )

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 tucked away on the mountains around Antigua, Guatemala. It is the location of one of our supported community projects, Manos Amigas, that works with women and children who have been victims of violence or abandoned. The centre creates a safe space to build their lives while benefitting from some of the health and education projects run by the organisation, such as professional training in craftwork, social sanitary projects, medical and dental treatment, and promotion of sustainable farming practices.

Day 122 to 123: Rio Dulce, Livingston

( Sun 02 Apr to Mon 03 Apr )

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:

Located in central Guatemala, the stunning river of Rio Dulce flows through dense forests and jungle that comes right down to the water's edge. A boat trip along the river is truly special, with dense foilage and tropical birds nesting in the trees and flying overhead. The river arrives at the Caribbean coast in the small and isolated village of Livingston - with no roads connecting it to the rest of the country, the village has developed its own unique character and laid-back feel.

Day 124 to 125: Poptún

( Tue 04 Apr to Wed 05 Apr )

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

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

Day 126: Tikal

( Thu 06 Apr )

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 phenomenal ruined Mayan city, atmospherically located in the dense rainforests of northern Guatemala. Mainly built between the 2nd and 10th Centuries CE, Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Mayans - the city-state conquered much of the surrounding area and dominated the economy, politics, military, and culture of the Yucatán peninsular during this time.

Knowledge of the site was never totally lost amongst the native Guatemalans, but Tikal came to the world's attention again when German expeditions were guided there in the 1850s. Tikal is one of the most spectacular and well-understood Mayan ruins due to the amount of artefacts and murals found there - a complete lineage of the dynastic rulers has been constructed from the information discovered there, as well as a detailed history of the complex relationships with rival states such as Teotihuacan, Copán and Caracol.

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

Day 127 to 129: San Ignacio

( Fri 07 Apr to Sun 09 Apr )

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

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 is a beautiful town in Belize, close to the Guatemalan border. There are many optional activities in the area such as horse riding, mountain biking and canoeing - however, one of the best and most unique activities here is to head out on a caving trip through some of the incredible caves in the forests surrounding the town.

Close to San Ignacio are some incredible and rarely-visited Mayan sites, including Cahal Pech, Caracol and Xunantunich.

Day 130 to 132: Caye Caulker

( Mon 10 Apr to Wed 12 Apr )

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 60

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 Cayes of Belize are a group of idyllic islands off the coast in the Caribbean Sea - many of these are a short boat ride away from the mainland, and all are stunning places to visit. One of the most popular cayes to visit is Caye Caulker, a laid-back limestone coral island that measures 8kms from north to south. All the action happens on the south side, where there is a superb mix of bars and restaurants all with that unmistakeable Caribbean charm.

There are many activities available on Caye Caulker, most notably boat, snorkel and scuba diving trips through the startlingly blue waters and incredible coral reefs of the surrounding oceans. You may also choose to explore the islands mangroves by kayak, visit some of the other cayes, or head out on an unforgettable scenic flight over the famous Great Blue Hole.

Day 133: Tulum

( Thu 13 Apr )

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:

Spectacularly located atop a cliff over the dazzling Caribbean Sea, the ruined Mayan port of Tulum is a fantastically atmospheric and photogenic spot. One of the most well-preserved archaeological sites in Central America, Tulum was one of the most recently built Mayan settlements - it reached its height between the 13th and 15th Centuries CE and was still active 70 years after the start of the Spanish occupation of Mexico, eventually succumbing to diseases carried by the new settlers.

The compact site is centred around El Castillo (a 7.5m-tall pyramid), with the beautiful Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of the Descending God being some of the more famous highlights. The stunning site sits on the clifftop overlooking the white beach, the palm trees and the turquoise sea. Nearby there are some wonderful beaches and some famous 'cenotes' (natural sinkholes) that visitors can explore.

Day 134: Tulum

( Fri 14 Apr )

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

Head out to explore some of the incredible cenotes (natural water-filled sinkholes) near Tulum

MXN 100

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

Included in Kitty

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

Day 135: Chichen Itza, Mérida

( Sat 15 Apr )

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.

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:

The world-famous ancient Mayan site of Chichen Itza is one of the major highlights of Central America. The ancient Mayan city, dominated by the iconic El Castillo pyramid, was built between the 8th and 11th Centuries CE and became a major regional capital during this time, dominating political and cultural life in the lowlands of northern Yucatán. It exhibits numerous architectural styles inspired by many different areas of Central America, and is thought to have been the home to one of the most diverse populations in the Mayan world.

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, with a relatively dense cluster of well-preserved buildings in the core linked by paved causeways called 'sacbeob'. The colossal pyramid of El Castillo dominates the area known as The Great North Platform - it houses a huge staircase to an upper 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 Mayan feathered serpent-god Kukulkan.

Nearby there is a Great Ball Court, once used to play a unique ancient game similar to basketball but using knees and elbows to strike the ball. Nearby to this is the Sacred Cenote, otherwise known as the 'well of sacrifice', which offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones when it was excavated. There are many other fantastic areas of the site to be explored, including the Temple of the Warriors and the Group of a Thousand Columns.

In 2007 the phenomenal Mayan site was declared one of the New 7 Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote.

Day 136: Palenque

( Sun 16 Apr )

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 is a small town in the far west of the Yucatán peninsula, deep in the hot and humid forests. It is the site of some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in all of Mexico, in one of the most atmospheric settings! 

Although some of the oldest ruins date as far back as the 2nd Century BCE, the city-state of Palenque reached its height in around the 7th Century CE before declining a few generations later and being abandoned and enveloped by the forest. The city was a mid-sized settlement and much smaller than the huge sites of Tikal, Chichen Itza and Copán, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculptures and bas-relief carvings ever found across the Mayan world. The hieroglyphic inscriptions found here have allowed archaeologists to construct a detailed history of the city, its rulers, and its complicated rivalries with neighbouring states - the famous tomb of Pachal the Great was found in the Temple of Inscriptions and replicated in the small museum nearby.

Palenque is a marvellous site to explore - whilst walking amongst the ruins it is quite often possible to hear a variety of bird song and the eerie calls of the Howler monkeys echoing from the jungle around us, which gives an added dimension to this magnificent archaeological site.

Day 137: Palenque

( Mon 17 Apr )

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

Day 138: Frontera Corozal, Yaxchilan

( Tue 18 Apr )

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 Yaxchilan:

Yaxchilan, meaning 'green stones' in the Mayan language, is an ancient Mayan city located on the bank of the Usumacinta river in the Lacanja region. Yaxchilan was an important city-state from the 1st Century CE until the 9th Century CE and dominated over smaller nearby sites such as Bonampak. The city had a major rivalry with the nearby Mayan city now known as Piedras Negras, and there is evidence of warring with Tikal and Palenque during its past.

The site is particularly known for its well-preserved sculptured stone lintels set above the doorways of the main structures. These lintels, together with the stelae erected before the major buildings, contain hieroglyphic texts describing the dynastic history of the city. The site contains impressive ruins, with palaces and temples bordering a large plaza upon a terrace above the Usumacinta River. There are no roads to the site, and we will need to take an hour-long boat ride from Frontera Corozal to explore the incredbile area.

Day 139 to 141: San Cristóbal de las Casas

( Wed 19 Apr to Fri 21 Apr )

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

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 cultural centre of the Chiapas region of Mexico, and lies in a valley in the beautiful Central Highlands of the state. The town itself contains some wonderful old colonial buildings and is famous for its amber jewelery. The surrounding area has many Tzotzil Indian villages, where many inhabitants still follow ancient traditions and beliefs juxtaposed with more modern culture and Christianity.

There are some excellent activities available here, with one big highlight being a scenic boat trip through the awe-inspiring Sumidero Canyon - formed over the last 35 million years, this incredible narrow canyon has a deep river running all the way through it and towering cliffs up to 1000m high on either side!

Day 142 to 143: Oaxaca

( Sat 22 Apr to Sun 23 Apr )

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 one of Mexico's most beautiful old colonial towns. The Spanish founded the town in 1521 in a valley largely populated by native Zapotec and Mixtec people, and its magnificent arcades and colourful markets are still populated by their descendants who come to sell their colourful woven blankets and shawls in the central square. The incredible old colonial churches, cobbled streets and superb array of museums earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987.

Also honoured by UNESCO are the nearby ruins of the ancient Zapotec city of Monte Albán - founded as early as 500 BCE, Monte Albán reached the height of its regional dominance between 100 BCE and 300 CE, becoming the most important city in the Oaxacan highlands and having high-level contacts with the city of Teotihuacan (near modern-day Mexico City). By the end of the 6th Century, the city became largely abandoned due to a loss of political influence. This unique site is full of some amazing buildings, ball couts and magnificent tombs, and a lot of finely-worked gold jewelry was found in the city.

Day 144: Mexico City

( Mon 24 Apr )

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:

The colossal, bustling metropolis of Mexico City is the world's largest Spanish-speaking metropolitan area, home to staggering 21 million people! Despite its size the city centre still has a charming colonial feel with a massive Spanish-built cathedral dominating the Zocalo (the main square).

The city was originally founded with the name of Tenochtitlan in 1325 CE by the Aztec civilisation. The original location was on a small island in an inland lake, so chosen as it was said the Aztecs' principal god, Huizilopochtli, marked the site to the people with a vision of an eagle eating a snake on top of a cactus (an image which can still be seen on Mexico's flag!). By the the arrival of the Spanish in 1519, the Aztec Empire spanned between the Pacific and the Caribbean and stretched as far south as Guatemala. The conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in 1519 and brutally invaded the city in 1521, whereupon the Spanish built over the Aztec temples, proclaimed the city as the capital of New Spain and renamed the city "Mexico" as they found it easier to pronounce.

Little of the Aztec city remains today, except the small site of the Temple Mayor and its museum next to the cathedral on the Zocalo. There are endless sights and highlights to discover in Mexico City, including the colonial palaces and churches of the historical centre and the artistic district of Bellas Artes, the incredible art galleries and countless museums, the wonderful music and food, and the stunning and peaceful Xochimilco floating gardens and Chapultepec Park (with the world-class Anthropological Museum in its leafy grounds). Nearby to the city is the site of Teotihuacan, one of the largest and most spectacular Pre-Colombian cities in Central America.

Day 145: Mexico City

( Tue 25 Apr )

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

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

Freely 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

Freely 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

Day 146: Mexico City

( Wed 26 Apr )

Border information: if joining in Mexico City, you will most likely enter Mexico at Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (IATA code: MEX).

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 Mexico's incredible capital 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 Mexico City 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 Mexico City.

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

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

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

Freely 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

Visit some of Mexico City's other incredible landmarks, such as the Palacio Nacional, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, and the Basilica de Guadalupe

Free

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

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

Freely 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

Day 147: Angahuan

( Thu 27 Apr )

Today we will leave the capital behind and have a full day drive to Angahuan. This village is inhabited by the Purépecha people, who have been indigenous to the area since one thousand years before the Spanish invasion. Angahuan is the gateway to the Parícutin volcano, the only volcano in the world to have been born in modern times.

In Angahuan we will camp at a campsite near to the volcano.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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 Angahuan:

The tiny village of Angahuan is populated by the local Purépecha people, who have resided in the state of Michoacán for many centuries - the village is a typical Purépecha settlement full of wooden houses and people in colourful local dress, and is most famous as being the nearest town to the phenomenal Parícutin volcano.

First erupting in February 1943, Parícutin is famous as being the world's only example of a volcano to have been observed being born in modern times. After weeks of thunderous sounds from underground and several small earthquakes rising in intensity, a nearby cornfield suddenly swelled upwards and a fissure burst open which within hours had formed a small crater. Within 24 hours the ejected lava had formed a 50m-high cone, and by the end of the week this had reached 150m in height! Geologists from all over the world flocked to Mexico to observe the growth of the volcano, which remains the only time that a volcano's full life cycle has been documented by modern science. The volcano continued to steadily grow until February 1952, when it became dormant after reaching its final height of 424m above the valley floor.

Parícutin is a popular highlight for travellers journeying north of Mexico City. As well as being a spectacular sight and a great area for trekking, visitors can observe the half-buried town of San Juan Parangaricutiro and its old church spire poking out of the solidified lava.

Day 148: Angahuan

( Fri 28 Apr )

Today we will have a free day to explore the village of Angahuan or to go for optional walks around the area of the Paricutín volcano. The creation of the volcano in 1943 buried two nearby villages, and it's still possible to see the spire of the cathedral of San Juan Parangaricutiro sticking up from the lava field.

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek up the Parícutin volcano in Angahuan, the only volcano in the world to be spawned during modern times

USD 35

Explore the area of the Parícutin volcano on horseback

MXN 700

Day 149: Tequila

( Sat 29 Apr )

Today we will drive to the town of Tequila, where we will have time for an optional visit to the town's famous distilleries (either today or on the following morning).

In Tequila we will stay in a basic hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the famous Jose Cuervo tequila distillery

MXN 180
About Tequila:

The town of Tequila, in Mexico's state of Jalisco, is of course world-famous as the birthplace of the drink that bears its name! The area has a great abundance of native blue agave plants, which had been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the region to create a fermented drink - the Spanish colonialists took this traditional beverage and distilled it, creating the spirit of tequila. Growing demand resulted in many distilleries opening up around the town throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries, and a huge spike in demand in the 1980s helped the spirit reach worldwide popularity (and infamy!).

The history and culture surrounding the drink of tequila led to the town being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 150 to 151: Sayulita

( Sun 30 Apr to Mon 01 May )

Today we will drive to the surfing town of Sayulita on Pacific coast and enjoy some free time on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the Playa Los Muertos beach and possibly try your hand at surfing!

In Sayulita we will camp in the grounds of a beach guesthouse.

Activity Approximate Cost

Try your hand at surfing at the relaxed coastal town of Sayulita

USD 20
About Sayulita:

Sayulita is a coastal town situated on the 'Riviera Nayurit', a remote area surrounded by thick jungle and stunning natural beauty that stretches from San Blas in the north to Nuevo Vallarta in the south - the remote area is surrounded by thick jungle and stunning natural beauty, and was only colonised in the late 19th Century.

Sayulita is a laid-back town with miles of beautiful sandy beaches - it is famous for its surfing, and with its consistent river mouth surf break is an ideal place for beginner and experienced surfers alike! The chilled-out town is also a fantastic base for other activiteis such as snorkeling, horse riding, and contains some interesting art galleries and great restaurants.

Day 152 to 153: Mazatlán, Guaymas

( Tue 02 May to Wed 03 May )

Over the next two days we will drive north along the Pacific coast, staying close to the towns of Mazatlán and Guaymas en route.

In Mazatlán and Guaymas we will camp in well-equipped campsites.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-11 hours each day.

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.

Day 154: Nogales

( Thu 04 May )

Border information: Exit Mexico at Nogales, enter USA at Nogales.

Today we will cross the border into the US state of Arizona.

In Nogales we will camp in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

Day 155: Phoenix

( Fri 05 May )

Today we start to drive north through Arizona to the area near Phoenix.

In the Phoenix area we will most likely stay in a rustic campsite to the north of the city, where we may have the opportunity to take some short horse rides.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

About Phoenix:

Arizona, in the southwestern region of the United States, was the last of the 'mainland' 48 states to be admitted into the USA in 1912. The southern region of the state is famous for its desert climates and scorching hot summers, and is home to the state capital of Phoenix.

Phoenix is the 6th most populous city in the USA, and the most populous of all the state capitals. It is located in the Salt River Valley of the Sonoran Desert (also known as Valley of the Sun), and receives the most sunshine of any major city in the world (with about 3,870 hours anually). The giant Saguaro Cactus is a very common sight in the surrounding area.

Day 156 to 157: The Grand Canyon

( Sat 06 May to Sun 07 May )

Today we will continue north to one of the most spectacular highlights of the USA - the world-famous Grand Canyon. On arrival we will head up to one of the stunning viewpoints over the Grand Canyon for sunset.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the Grand Canyon area and take optional treks and scenic helicopter flights over the canyon. The entrance to the Grand Canyon is included on the trip, but as there are many options once inside the National Park the day will be free to explore in your own way.

At the Grand Canyon we will camp at a well-equipped campsite in the Grand Canyon Village.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take an unforgettable scenic helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon

USD 300

Visit some of the spectacular viewpoints over the world-famous Grand Canyon and the Colorado river

Included in Kitty

Head out on one of the incredible trekking trails around the Grand Canyon

Free
About The Grand Canyon:

The northern region of Arizona is dominated by the high deserts and coniferous forests of the Colorado Plateau. In the southwest corner of the plateau lies the phenomenal sight of the Grand Canyon, one of the world's most famous natural wonders.

The mighty Grand Canyon is 446kms long, up to 29kms wide, and attains a maximum depth of 1,857m. The canyon has been formed over the last 5-6 million years from steady erosion of the ground rock due to the flow of the Colorado River and its tributaries - this down-cutting has gradually deepened and widened the canyon, and has exposed almost two billion years of the Eath's geological history!

The area has been inhabited by indigenous people for several thousand years, first seen by Europeans on a Spanish expedition in 1540, and was explored in more detail by various trappers, missionaries and military expeditions during the 19th Century.

In modern times, The Grand Canyon has become one of the USA's must-see highlights and one of the world's most breathtaking natural wonders, attracting a staggering 5 million visitors a year. There are a myriad of incredible viewpoints along its edge, as well as some fantastic trekking trails and opportunities for scenic helicopter flights through the canyon!

Day 158 to 159: Las Vegas

( Mon 08 May to Tue 09 May )

Today we will have a full day drive to the bustling and energetic city of Las Vegas.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to fully explore the fascinating city of Las Vegas and enjoy its world-famous all-night entertainment options, including its casinos and shows!

In Las Vegas we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the incredible casinos and resorts of Las Vegas

Free

Take a dazzling helicopter flight over Las Vegas at night

USD 124

Visit the collosal Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, one of the most important architectural projects of the 1930s

USD 30

Visit some of the fascinating museums and exhibitions in Las Vegas, such as the Titanic Exhibit, Madame Tussauds, and the Mob Museum

USD 30

Head out on an exhilarating ATV quad biking tour of the deserts surrounding Las Vegas

USD 150

Kayak down the Colorado River to the scenic Black Canyon

USD 160

Go on a fantastic horse riding trip through the rock formations and deserts around Las Vegas

USD 130
About Las Vegas:

Las Vegas is a world-famous resort city in Nevada, internationally renowned for its casinos, shopping, dining, shows and nightlife! Billing itself as "The Entertainment Capital of the World", the city's dazzling neon lights, incredible atmosphere, wonderful casinos and shows, and incredible range of fantastic activities have made Las Vegas one of the most visited cities in the world.

The city was founded in the Mojave Desert in 1905, and rapidly grew in 1931 when Nevada legalised casino gambing and started construction on the nearby Hoover Dam - this brought many construction workers and visitors to the city, and by the mid-1940s Vegas was synonymous with lavish hotels, casinos and big name entertainment.

As well as the famous casinos and nightlife, the city boasts some fantastic museums and there are some incredible activities out in the surrounding deserts such as quad biking, horse riding, or kayaking to the iconic Hoover Dam.

Day 160: Zion National Park

( Wed 10 May )

Today we will have a short drive into the state of Utah to the stunning Zion National Park, where we will have free time to explore, trek or take scenic drives through the spectacular deserts and rock formations.

In Zion National Park we will camp at a well-equipped campsite just outside the park.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the spectacular canyons and rock formations of Zion National Park

Included in Kitty

Go on a horse riding trip through the magnificent Zion National Park

USD 90

Head out on some scenic trekking routes in Zion National Park

Free
About Zion National Park:

Zion National Park is a stunning area centred around the 24km-long, 800m-deep Zion Canyon in southern Utah - the park adopted the name that was given to the area by Mormon settlers that arrived in 1863. Located at the junction of the Mojave Desert, Colorado Plateau and Great Basin regions, the National Park contains a variety of ecosystems from deserts to woodlands to reddish sandstone mountains and natural rock arches - the park therefore houses an extraordinary amount of plant and animal diversity, including sacred datura, sagebrush, pine trees, mule deer, cougars and eagles.

The National Park is a spectacular natural wonderland, and has some incredible scenic drives and many trekking trails around the hills and canyons - the Angel's Landing route is one of the most popular trails, affording you breathtaking views of theZion Canyon and the Virgin River.

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

( Thu 11 May )

Today we will head on a very scenic drive out of Zion National Park and on to the incredible Bryce Canyon National Park. We will have a few hours here to take some optional treks to its hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion), before taking another short drive to the wonderful Kodachrome Basin State Park.

In Kodachrome Basin State Park we will camp in a scenic campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the beautiful and scenic Bryce Canyon National Park and the nearby Kodachrome Basin State Park

Included in Kitty
About Bryce Canyon National Park:

Bryce Canyon is another awe-inspiring natural highlight of southern Utah - despite its name, it is not actually a canyon but a giant natural amphitheatre created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. It has many distinctive tall rock spires called 'hoodoos' (also known as 'fairy chimneys'), formed by water erosion and frost weathering. The red, orange, and white colours of the rocks make for some awesome views from the rim.

The Bryce Canyon was named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who lived in the area in the 1870s. The region became a National Park in 1928, and due to its remoteness receives much fewer visitors than the nearby Zion National Park.

About Kodachrome Basin State Park:

Kodachrome Basin is a State Park in southern Utah, famous for its colourful sandstone spires that have formed up to 52m tall. The name comes from a photographic expedition for the National Geographic magazine in 1948  - they named the area Kodakchrome after the brand of photographic film that they used, and this name stuck when they designated the area a State Park in 1962.

Day 162: Page

( Fri 12 May )

Today we will continue our drive to the beautiful town of Page near the stunning Lake Powell.

In Page we will camp in a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the iconic Antelope Canyon on a trip from the town of Page

USD 32
About Page:

Page is a small town in northern Arizona, first constructed in 1957 to house the workers building the nearby Glen Canyon Dam. Page is near to the beautiful Lake Powell, a large reservoir on the Colorado River, and the iconic Antelope Canyon.

The Antelope Canyon is a phenomenal narrow slot canyon on Navajo land east of Page, and is one of the most photogenic locations in all of the USA! The canyon was formed by erosion of the sandstone by regular flash floods during the monsoon season - this erosion has, through the ages, made the canyon deeper and smoothed out its hard edges to form the flowing 'wave-effect' in the walls.

Day 163: Monument Valley

( Sat 13 May )

Today we will drive to the incredible Monument Valley, the iconic landscape symbolic of the American West. On arrival we will head out on an included jeep tour of the Monument Valley Tribal Park, seeing the stunning rock formations up close and learning about the local Navajo culture.

In Monument Valley we will spend the night in a traditional Navajo ‘Hogan’ (an igloo-shaped dwelling of wood and earth where 6-8 people sleep together on the ground in a circle).

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

Visit the ancient Navajo National Monument in Arizona

Free
About Monument Valley:

Monument Valley is one of the most famous and iconic sights of the American West - located on the Colorado Plateau at the Arizona-Utah border, the area has a unique and photogenic collection of sandstone buttes and spires with their distinctive vertical edges, vivid red colour and stratified bands in the rock.

Ever since the 1930s, the area has been used as a backdrop in many movies and other forms of media to depict a quintessential vision of the Wild West, including Easy Rider, Forrest Gump, and The Eiger Sanction.

The area is a protected Navajo Tribal Park, and is an excellent place to learn more about Navajo culture. The Navajo people were semi-nomadic from the 16th to 20th Centuries, travelling long distances to accommodate their livestock, gathering, and trading practices. A traditional dwelling is known as a 'hogan', consisting of a wood and mud contructed hut that always has its door to the east to welcome the surise - more modern hogans can be made from modern construction techniques and many are maintained only for ceremonial purposes.

Day 164 to 166: Moab, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park

( Sun 14 May to Tue 16 May )

Today we will have a full day drive to the town of Moab, perfectly located next to the rugged wildernesses of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

We will spend the next two days exploring and trekking in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, and taking part in some optional activities in and around Moab.

In Moab we will camp in a well equipped campsite.

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the phenomenal 'Islands in the Sky' region of Canyonlands National Park and walk on some of it's stunning trails

Included in Kitty

Explore the other-worldly landscapes of Arches National Park and see the iconic Delicate Arch at sunset

Included in Kitty

Hire mountain bikes to explore the canyons around Moab

USD 40

Head on an amazing rafting trip to Fisher's Tower near Moab

USD 65

Visit the Moab Museum and the Museum of Western Film and Heritage

USD 5
About Canyonlands National Park:

Canyonlands National Park, near the town of Moab in eastern Utah, consists of countless colourful canyons, buttes, mesas and plateaus carved by two mighty rivers - the Colorado and the Green.

The park offers some of the most scenic rafting in the world, as well as many wonderful trekking and mountain biking routes. With its wonderfully coloured rocks and canyons and its primitive desert atmosphere, the area is a photographer's dream !

About Arches National Park:

Arches National Park, near to Moab in eastern Utah, is one of the most iconic parks in the USA - it contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches, with the world-famous Delicate Arch being one of over 2,000 sandstone arches in the area.

The area of the National Park lies on top of an underground salt bed which was covered with layers of sandstone starting from the Jurassic era (about 210 million years ago). The weight of the rock on top of the salt caused the salt to liquefy and thrust up different layers of rock - after millions of years of erosion from water and the wind, the area's fins, pinnacles, spires and arches were formed out of these disturbances.

The natural arches are incredibly photogenic and the sight of the sun setting over the red-coloured rocks is truly magical!

Day 167: Salt Lake City

( Wed 17 May )

Today we will drive to Utah's state capital of Salt Lake City, where we will have time for quick free exploration of the city centre and its famous Temple Square. We will then head to the nearby Antelope Island State Park, known for its abundant population of American bison and pronghorns.

In Antelope Island we will camp at a basic campsite with few facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the rugged Antelope Island State Park and go in search of American Bison and Longhorns

Included in Kitty
About Salt Lake City:

Salt Lake City is the most populous city in Utah and the state capital. The city is probably most famous as the home and spiritual centre of Mormonism - the city was founded by the Mormon pioneer Brigham Young in 1847 as a place to settle and practice their faith away from the violence and persecution they faced within the boundaries of the original United States. The city is still the church's headquarters and the location of Temple Square, although only around half of Salt Lake City's population now identify as members of the religion.

Salt Lake City is a wonderful skiing destination in the winter, and even hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. In the summer one of the main draws is the fabulous Antelope Island State Park, located on the Great Salt Lake just to the west of the city. The island boasts a desolate beauty and an incredible abundance of wildlife, including large populations of bighorn sheep, pronghorn, jackrabbits, and most famously its vast herds of American bison.

Day 168: Jackson Hole

( Thu 18 May )

Today we will drive north into the state of Wyoming and the beautiful town of Jackson Hole.

In Jackson Hole we will camp at a campsite surrounded by mountains and on the banks of a small river.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

About Jackson Hole:

Wedged between the mountain ranges of Gros Ventre and Grand Teton in western Wyoming is the picturesque valley of Jackson Hole. The area was named after Davey Jackson, an early trapper who was the first person to spend an entire winter in the valley in the 1820s - the steep sides on all sides of the valley led early explorers to refer to the area as a 'hole'. The valley is a very scenic place for a nightstop, containing some beautiful rivers and surrounded by mountains!

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

( Fri 19 May to Sat 20 May )

Today we will drive north through the stunning Grand Teton National Park and take a stop at the spectacular Jenny Lake, where we'll have some free time to explore the lake and possibly take a short boat trip. We will then continue to the famous Yellowstone National Park, home to magnificent landscapes, fantastic treks, and the incredible Old Faithful geyser.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to fully explore Yellowstone National Park and take part in optional treks and other activities.

In Yellowstone National Park we will camp at a campsite in the Madison area of the park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the highlights of the famous Yellowstone National Park, including its hiking trails and the iconic geyser of Old Faithful

Included in Kitty

Drive through the stunning Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, stopping at the picturesque Jenny Lake

Included in Kitty

Take a short trek or boat ride at Jenny Lake in the heary of Grand Teton National Park

USD 15
About Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone National Park, located in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, was the world's first ever National Park when it was established in 1872.

The park is most famous as being the home of Old Faithful, the huge volcanic geyser that spurts thousands of litres of boiling water up to 56m in the air at semi-regular intervals of around 90 minutes throughout the day - this spectacular natural display is one of the most predictable geothermal events on the planet. As well as Old Faithful, Yellowstone contains an astonishing half of the world's geothermal features, and the highest density of geysers, hot springs, fumeroles and mud pots to be found anywhere - this is because the entire area sits atop the Yellowstone Caldera, the world's largest supervolcano which has erupted with ferocious force three times in the last two million years.

The Yellowstone region is also the largest nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone, contains vast areas of subalpine forests and grasslands, and is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. As we explore the park there is an excellent chance to see moose, bison, elk and grizzly bears!

One of the most popular National Parks in the USA, Yellowstone has attracted at least two million visitors every year since the 1960s. Amongst the many activities available here are scenic drives through the mountains to the incredible geysers and waterfalls, and to explore the many trekking trails that weave through the spectacular forests.

About Grand Teton National Park:

Grand Teton National Park is just south of the world-famous Yellowstone National Park, and is named after the highest mountain in the range - the Grand Teton, which is 4,199m high and looms over the town of Jackson Hole. The first permanent settlers began arriving in the area in the late 1880s 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.

A particularly picturesque spot within the park is Jenny Lake, formed around 12,000 years ago by glacier movement. It is a fantastic spot for some scenic boat rides and short treks on our journey through the beautiful park.

Day 171 to 172: Glacier National Park

( Sun 21 May to Mon 22 May )

Today we will continue north into the state of Montana, reaching the our campsite on the eastern side of Glacier National Park after a full day drive.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

On the following day we will free time to fully explore the pristine ecosystem of Glacier National Park and take some optional treks or scenic drives up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass and other scenic points. 

In Glacier National Park we will camp in a campsite near the spectacular St. Mary's Lake.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the spectacular lakes and mountains of Glacier National Park in the state of Montana

Included in Kitty

Trek along some of Glacier National Parks magnificent walking trails

Free
About Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park is a large protected area in northern Montana on the border with Canada and contains countless pristine lakes and two mountain ranges (both sub-ranges of the Rockies) within its vast area, as well as areas of tundra and praries.

The park contains thousands of types of plants and hundreds of animals, including almost all its original native species - the flora in the ecosystem here is dominated by coniferous forests, including spruce, fir, pine and larch. Some of the large mammals that can be seen in the park include grizzly bearss, moose, marmots, lynxes and mountain goats.

Glacier offers some wonderful trekking opportunities through its the forests, mountains and lakes. There are some incredible scenic drives through the park, especially over the Going-to-the-Sun Road that heads over the Logan Pass and crosses the Continental Divide.

Day 173: Banff

( Tue 23 May )

Border information: Exit USA at Chief Mountain, enter Canada at Chief Mountain.

Today we will have a full day drive over the Canadian border to the town of Banff, stopping en route at the fascinating Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a cliff that aboriginal people used for hunting for almost 6000 years.

In Banff we will stay in dormitory rooms in a centrally-located hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, used for around 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains to kill buffalo by driving them off the 11m-high cliff

Included in Kitty

Visit the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, used for around 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains to kill buffalo by driving them off the 11m-high cliff

Included in Kitty
About Banff:

Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta, is one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations. It is renowned for its impressive mountainous surroundings, hot springs, and incredible array of outdoor activities that are available year-round.

Banff was first populated after the construction of the transcontinental railway through the Bow Valley in the 1880s - some of the railway workers discovered natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain, and the area was rapidly developed as a resort and spa. Many grand hotels were built and the town grew up around the railway station to cater for the influx of visitors that flocked to Banff - the town grew and grew in popularity, and is today one of Canada's most visited towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Banff is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Rundle, Cascade, Norquay, and most notably Sulphur, up which the Banff Gondola and Skywalk offer visitors phenomenal views of the countryside and valleys surrounding the town. Sulphur Mountain is also the site of the famous Upper Hot Springs, a set of naturally-occurring outdoor hot springs with fantastic mountain views. There are also many trekking trails and some amazing white water rafting opportunities around Banff, and the area is also famous for its excellent mountain biking trails.

Day 174: Banff

( Wed 24 May )

Border information: if leaving in Banff, you will most likely exit Canada at Calgary International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Banff. 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

Take the gondola up to the fantastic viewpoint on Sulphur Mountain that looks out over Banff

CAD 40

Explore the wonderfully-scenic Banff National Park and see its famous lakes and walking trails

CAD 10

Relax in the sulphuric hot springs near Banff

CAD 8

Head out on a horse riding trip through the mountains and forests near Banff

CAD 100

Hire mountain bikes in Banff to explore some of the area's numerous biking trails

CAD 20

Head out on an incredible white water rafting experience on the Kananashin or Kicking Horse River near Banff

CAD 100

Day 175: Banff

( Thu 25 May )

Border information: If you are joining in Banff, you will most likely enter Canada at Calgary International Airport (IATA code: YYC).

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 Banff and its stunning surroundings. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Banff 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 Banff.

In Banff we will stay in dormitory rooms in a centrally-located hostel.

Hotel for the night: YWCA Banff Hotel

YWCA Banff Hotel

102 Spray Avenue

Banff

Alberta

Canada

Tel - +1 403 762 3560

Day 176 to 177: Banff

( Fri 26 May to Sat 27 May )

We will have two full days to freely explore the town of Banff, the spectacular Banff National Park, and take part in the myriad of optional activities available here.

Please note that depending on the general preference of the group, the second free day scheduled here could alternatively be used to have more time in Jasper or anywhere else on this trip - it is essentially a spare day to be used flexibly.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the gondola up to the fantastic viewpoint on Sulphur Mountain that looks out over Banff

CAD 40

Explore the wonderfully-scenic Banff National Park and see its famous lakes and walking trails

Included in Kitty

Relax in the sulphuric hot springs near Banff

CAD 8

Head out on a horse riding trip through the mountains and forests near Banff

CAD 100

Hire mountain bikes in Banff to explore some of the area's numerous biking trails

CAD 20

Head out on an incredible white water rafting experience on the Kananashin or Kicking Horse River near Banff

CAD 100

Day 178: Jasper, Banff

( Sun 28 May )

Today we have a scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway to the town of Jasper, travelling through both Banff and Jasper National Parks. En route we will have an included visit to Lake Louise and the Athabasca Falls.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, 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 Athabasca Falls near Jasper, among the most powerful and breathtaking falls in the Rocky Mountains

Included in Kitty

Drive past the mighty Athabasca Glacier, part of the vast Columbia Ice Field between Banff and Jasper

Free

Visit the scenic and colourful Lake Louise near Banff

Included in Kitty
About Jasper:

Jasper is the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies, and features many towering mountains, beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, picturesque lakes, and mighty glaciers originating from the vast Columbia Ice Field.

The town of Jasper was founded in 1813 by fur traders on the confluence of the Miette and Athabasca Rivers. Its stunning natural environs led to the wider area to be established as a National Park in 1907 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. As well as the incredble scenery, the park boasts large populations of elk, caribou, moose, deer, coyotes, beavers and bears, as well many species of birds.

One of Jasper's most spectacular highlights is the huge 6km-long Athabasca Glacier, a major outflow from the Columbia Icefield located just off the Icefields Parkway (the main road between Jasper and Banff). Another fantastic attraction is the supremely picturesque Lake Louise, which is a perfect stop for some short scenic walks and boat trips. Nearby are the famous Athabasca Falls - despite only being 23m tall, the waterfalls are spectacular due to their sheer force and the volume of water crashing down.

Jasper is a centre for many excellent outdoor activities such as trekking, mountain biking and horse riding through the amazing valley landscapes. Another wonderful trip is to take the Skytram up the nearby Whistler's Mountain for breathtaking views of the area, finishing off with a dip in the outdoor Miette volcanic hot springs!

Day 179: Jasper

( Mon 29 May )

Today we will have a free day to explore the stunning Jasper National Park or take part in optional activities such as hiking, rafting, biking, or taking the Skytram up the near Whistlers' Mountain.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the fantastic Skytram up Whistler's Mountain to take in the spectacular views over Jasper

CAD 40

Hire mountain bikes to explore some of the awesome biking trails around Jasper

CAD 32

Visit Maligne Canyon, one of the most spectacular gorges in the Canadian Rockies

USD 5

Head out hiking in the forests and hills of the Canadian Rockies in Jasper National Park

Free

Explore the wonderful scenery of Jasper on horseback

CAD 80

Day 180: François Lake

( Tue 30 May )

Today we will drive away from the Rocky Mountains to stay at the area of François Lake.

In François Lake we will camp at a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

Day 181: Hazelton, Stewart

( Wed 31 May )

Today we will drive to the town of Hazelton and have an included tour of the historical Ksan Indian Village to learn all about the life and history of the Gitxsan people. After our visit we will continue our drive to the town of Stewart.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Ksan Indian Historical Village in British Columbia to learn all about the history and culture of the Gitxsan people

Included in Kitty
About Hazelton:

The town of Hazelton is one of the oldest settlements in northern British Columbia, built as the gateway for the Omineca Gold Rush in 1866. The town is located in a region known as Skeena Country, which has been the home of the native Gitxsan people for at least 10,000 years and today is the site of the Gitxsan First Nation.

The Gitxsan people are a matrilineal society with many different clans, each with their own chiefs and territories. There are approximately 5,000 Gitxsan people living in the Skeena area on their traditional lands. Near Hazelton town there is a historical Gitxsan village known as Ksan, which is open to visitors to learn all about the history and culture of the Gitxsan community.

Day 182: Stewart, Hyder

( Thu 01 Jun )

On the following day we will have an included day trip over the border to Alaska and the 'ghost town' of Hyder. Here we will visit the Fish Creek Observation Site where we will hopefully spot Alaskan brown grizzlies or black bears fishing for salmon. We will also visit the huge Salmon Glacier before returning to Stewart for the night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Fish Creek for a chance to see Alaskan Grizzly Bears fishing for salmon (the season is usually from mid-July to early September, but please note that the dates vary every year and sightings can never be guaranteed)

Included in Kitty

View the colossal Salmon Glacier from Hyder, at the southern tip of Alaska

Included in Kitty
About Hyder:

Hyder is a tiny village in the southernmost area of Alaska, just opposite the Canadian town of Stewart on the other side of the Portland Canal. This tiny settlement is famous for an excellent viewing spot over the Fish Creek River, which provides some outstanding bear watching opportunities - both grizzly bear and the black bear are commonly seen here hunting for salmon, especially during the spawning months of July to September. 

Hyder is also famous as being the gateway to viewpoints of the Salmon Glacier, a mighty 25km-long natural landmark and one of the most impressive glaciers in the area.

Day 183: Watson Lake

( Fri 02 Jun )

Today we will drive through the countryside of British Columbia to the small town of Watson Lake. In the evening we have the chance to go on an optional visit to see the show at the fantastic Northern Lights Centre.

In Watson Lake we will camp at a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn all about the incredible Aurora Borealis at one of the spectacular shows at the Northern Lights Centre in Watson Lake

CAD 10
About Watson Lake:

Watson Lake is a small town in Canada's Yukon province, close to the border with British Colombia - it was named after the trapper Frank Watson who settled in the area in the late 19th Century.

Near to the town is an excellent and popular centre featuring very informative interactive displays and shows about the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights), a spectacular natural phenomenon when solar winds are trapped by the Earth's magnetosphere near to the poles. Aurora Borealis can be occasionally seen in the area and further north.

Watson Lake also contains the famous Signpost Forest - this was started in 1942 by a homesick US Army soldier who was working on the construction of the Alaska Highway, who put up a sign with the name of his home town and the distance back to it. Other people added to it, and the tradition continues to this day. There are now around 80,000 signs of various types depicting locations across the world (including some Dragoman ones!), and you can add to it with your own.

Day 184: Watson Lake, Whitehorse

( Sat 03 Jun )

Today we will have an included visit to the fascinating Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake before continuing our journey into the province of Yukon and its capital of Whitehorse.

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

Estimate Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the famous Signpost Forest near Watson Lake, and perhaps make your own sign to add to the collection!

Included in Kitty

Day 185 to 186: Dawson

( Sun 04 Jun to Mon 05 Jun )

Today we will drive through the Yukon province to the famous Klondike area and the city of Dawson, once a hive of activity for gold prospectors. En route we will stop for a tour of one of the incredible original mobile mining rigs near Dawson, Dredge No. 4.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the area and take part in optional activities such as taking a tour of the old gold mines, trekking up the nearby Midnight Dome, or taking in a can-can show at the Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall!

In Dawson we will camp in a well-equipped campsite just across the Yukon River from the town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Enjoy a Klondike-themed cabaret show at Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall in Dawson City

CAD 12

Visit the famous Dredge No. 4, a massive mobile gold-mining rig built in 1912

Included in Kitty

Learn all about the fascinating history of the Klondike Gold Rush on a guided tour of some the area's old gold fields

CAD 55

Trek up the Midnight Dome near Dawson for fantastic views of the Yukon River and Klondike Valley

Free
About Dawson:

Dawson City is a small town in the Yukon province that was the centre of the famous Klondike Gold Rush between 1896 and 1899. After word spread to San Francisco that gold had been discovered in the Klondike region, a massive migration of around 100,000 gold prospectors flooded to the area to seek their fortune. Dawson City was founded by the prospectors as their main settlement, reaching a population of 40,000 at its peak before most of the inhabitants were drawn away by reports of more gold found in Alaska in 1899.

Despite the drop in population Dawson was the capital of the Yukon province until shortly after the Second World War, when the completion of the Alaska Highway brought about a significant fall in Dawson's economy and the highway's hub at Whitehorse was deemed a more suitable location for the capital.

The town of Dawson today has many visual reminders of its gold-mining past, and it's easy to imagine its original pioneering spirit of the place with its old boardwalks and wooden buildings. No visit to Dawson would be complete without a visit to the incredible Dredge No. 4, an old behemoth of a machine that used to slowly move and mine the gold from the ground. In the tourist season a very popular stop is Diamond Tooth Gertie's, a traditional beer hall with fantastic vaudeville shows on in the evening!

Day 187: Tok

( Tue 06 Jun )

Border information: Exit Canada at Little Gold Creek, enter the USA at Polar Creek.

Today we will travel along the spectacular 'Top of the World Highway' to cross into Alaska at North America's northernmost border. We will drive as far as the small town of Tok.

In Tok we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 188 to 189: McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park

( Wed 07 Jun to Thu 08 Jun )

Today we will drive to the historic remote outpost of McCarthy, once a thriving copper mining town and the gateway town to the stunning Wrangell-St Elias National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore Wrangell-St Elias National Park and the historic towns of McCarthy and Kennicott. We will have the chance to take part in an abundance of optional activities such as hiking, historic mine tours, scenic flights, glacier walks and ice climbing.

In McCarthy we will camp in a very basic campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the stunning mountains of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park on various trekking routes

USD 80

Take a breathtaking scenic flight around Wrangell-St Elias National Park, its mountains, glaciers and icefalls

USD 120

Head out onto the Root Glacier for a day of ice-trekking and ice-climbing

USD 125

Take a guided tour of the historic mill town of Kennicott, frozen in time from when it was abandoned in 1938

USD 30

Take a kayaking trip to the base of Kennicott Glacier, taking in the spectacular views of Mt. Blackburn and the Stairway Icefall

USD 95
About McCarthy:

The historic small village of McCarthy is nestled at the base of the Wrangell Mountains and is the gateway to the spectacular Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It was founded in the 1900s after copper was discovered in the valley - the Kennicott mining company built the nearby town of Kennicott to house the miners, and McCarthy prospered partly due to the fact that (unlike Kennicott) alcohol was legally sold there! Within the next few years, McCarthy was a prosperous town with a school and a hospital.

After the area's copper reserves were almost used up by 1938, the town became almost abandoned - in recent decades however, the town has seen a resurgence of interest from visitors to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The town has maintained its old frontier charm, and many of the old buildings, mines and artifacts have attracted tourists interested in the history and atmosphere of the area.

About Wrangell-St Elias National Park:

The incredible Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the United States, some six times the size of Yellowstone. It encompasses both the Wrangell and St. Elias mountain ranges, and contains 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the United States, including Mt. Blackburn and Mt. St. Elias (which at 5,487m is the second-highest peak in both the USA and Canada). 

The area contains some of the most impressive mountain and glacier scenery in Alaska - the high ground is covered with snow throughout the year round, resulting in extensive icefields and glaciers. Numerous sheep and mountain goats patrol the craggy peaks, whilst the park is also home to caribou, moose and brown and black bears.

The park is naturally the base for some excellent outdoor exploration and activities, including trekking through the hills and mountains, ice-climbing on the mighty Root Glacier, and kayaking up to some breathtaking views of the Stairway Icefall. Within the park you can also explore the historic old mining towns of Kennicott and McCarthy, which retain many of their old buildings and all of their old pioneering atmosphere.

Day 190 to 191: Denali Highway

( Fri 09 Jun to Sat 10 Jun )

Today we have a drive to our lodge along the Denali Highway, located in an area popular with wildlife spotters and fishermen.

Tonight we will stay in rooms at a basic Alaskan lodge - these could be dormitory or private rooms, depending on their availability and our group size.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will head out along the river on motorised canoes to an area deep in the Alaskan wilderness, where we will be able to head out on a trek to a nearby glaicer, explore the surrounding wilderness, and then wild camp for the night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head deep into the Alaskan wilderness by motorised canoe for an incredible remote overnight bushcamp

Included in Kitty

Day 192 to 194: Denali National Park

( Sun 11 Jun to Tue 13 Jun )

Today we will canoe back downstream from our wilderness camp to our lodge to rejoin our overland bus. We will then drive to Denali National Park, the home of Denali, the highest mountain in North America.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have an included trip into Denali National Park. We will take a shuttle bus through the park to the area of Toklat River, where we will be able to freely explore and enjoy some excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. 

On the following day we will have a free day to further explore the National Park or take part in some of the many optional activities available here.

In Denali National Park we will camp in a well-equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore Denali National Park by taking a shuttle bus to the Toklat River, an area with excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities

Included in Kitty

Head on a 2-hour scenic flight around the glaciers and mountains of Denali National Park, including unparalleled views of Denali, North America's highest mountain

USD 500

Head on an excellent white-water rafting trip on the Nenana River in Denali National Park

USD 100

Head out for a fun quad-biking trip through Denali National Park

USD 115

Take a mountain biking tour around the trails and old mining roads of Denali National Park, getting wonderful views of the Alaskan wilderness

USD 57
About Denali National Park:

Denali National Park is dominated by the colossal mountain of Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley), which at 6,190m altitude is North America's highest peak - it is also the world's most topographically prominent mountain (i.e. it has the largest height difference between the surrounding base and the summit), and is the 3rd most isolated peak after Everest and Aconcagua. One of mountaineering's biggest challenges, climbing to the summit will be beyond our trip's ambitions, however we will get to spend lots of time exploring the incredibly scenic National Park that surrounds the mountain!

The National Park is teeming with wildlife such as moose, caribou, brown and black bears, and over 150 species of birds that flock here during the summer months. There is a beautiful mix of tundra and deciduous taiga forest to explore, with a particular highlight being the area of the Toklat River. The park also offers some incredible activities, from white water rafting to quad biking to scenic flights around the mountain!

Day 195 to 196: Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park

( Wed 14 Jun to Thu 15 Jun )

Today we will drive to the town of Seward on Alaska's southern coast.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day you will have free time to explore Seward and take part in optional activities such as a boat trip to the nearby Kenai Fjords National Park.

In Seward we will camp in a woodland campsite near the shore.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head on a 6-hour boat trip in the Kenai Fjords National Park, viewing the abundant wildlife, alpine and tidewater glaciers, rugged fjords and breathtaking scenery

USD 154

Walk out to the massive Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park, one of the largest and most accessible glaciers in Alaska

Free

Trek along one of the challenging alpine trails in the mountains surrounding Seward

Free

Kayak out along the rugged Alaskan coastline near Seward

USD 68

Head out on a mountain biking trip along the coastline or trails near Seward

USD 65
About Seward:

Seward is a small fishing town on Alaska's Resurrection Bay, and our base from which to visit Kenai Fjords National Park. The quaint town was named after William Seward, the US Secretary of State under Andrew Johnson who was instrumental in arranging the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Seward is the start of the historic Iditarod Trail, a 1,600km route pioneered in the early 20th Century to transport people and goods between the port and the interior of Alaska.

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 near to the town of Seward. The park is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the Harding Icefield, which is one of the largest icefields in North America. This field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, including the Bear Glacier and the very accessible Exit Glacier.

Taking a boat out into the fjords is definitely the best way to see the area and observe the rugged fjords and glaciers, and the area provides some great kayaking and mountain biking opportunities.

Day 197: Anchorage

( Fri 16 Jun )

Today our journey ends with a short drive to the city of Anchorage, possibly via a short detour to the Portage Glacier. We will have free time to explore and relax on arrival.

In Anchorage we will stay in private rooms in a centrally-located hostel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit some of Anchorage's fantastic museums, such as the Alaskan Native Heritage Centre which showcases the area's indigenous cultures, the world-class Anchorage Museum, and the fascinating Aviation Heritage Museum

USD 15

Explore some of Anchorage's famous parks, which are full of scenery and walking opportunities 

Free
About Anchorage:

Anchorage is Alaska's largest city, set on the shores of the Cook Inlet at the base of the Chugach Mountains. Due to its location on the globe, the airport is a major transport hub and therefore the ideal point to begin or end your exploration of Alaska, and its wonderful glaciers and lakes.

Anchorage was founded in 1914 as a frontier railway town, and steadily grew through the 20th Century as a military and aviation hub and benefitting from the discovery of oil in 1968. After undergoing a massive project to beautify the city in the 1980s, the city is very pleasant to explore and contains many fantastic parks. There are also several interesting museums to discover, reflecting the city's heritage.

Day 198: Anchorage

( Sat 17 Jun )

Border information: If you are leaving in Anchorage, you will most likely exit the USA at Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport (IATA code: ANC).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Anchorage. 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.

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

The Wild Andes Trek

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

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

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

The Classic Trek

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

The Train Package

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

General

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot water in the morning for washing

 

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


 

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

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

Trekking - what to bring

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

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

Some very useful things to bring:


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

Responsible Trekking

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

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

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

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

Communities Supported

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

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

Multiple departures and amended itineraries

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Physical preparation for Central America Itineraries

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

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

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

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

South America Physical Preparation

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

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

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

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

Visa Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (2015 price) upon entry to Chile. This will be valid for mulitple entries to Chile over 90 days, and can be paid in cash or by card upon arrival.

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

Brazil

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Colombia 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 USA will not need a visa to visit Canada as a tourist for up to 180 days.

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, most EU countries, South Korea and Japan are part of Canada's Visa Waiver Scheme - this means that you will not need a visa to visit Canada as a tourist for up to 180 days, but you will need an eTA Electronic Travel Authorisation if arriving to Canada by air. This must be arranged online and in advance – please go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/ , apply and pay the appropriate fee. Please note this also applies to the same nationalities that are simply transiting through an airport within the Canada, as well as those visiting as a tourist. You will not need the eTA if you are entering by land from the USA (the mainland or Alaska).

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. Please note that several Eastern European nationalities will need a visa.

Bolivia 

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

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

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

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

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

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 or Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who Travels with Dragoman?

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

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Group Size

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

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

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

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

Our Crew and Guides

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

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

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

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

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

Accommodation on Tour

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

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

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

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The Kitty

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

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

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not whilst staying in hotels)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meals and Group Participation

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

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

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Dietary Requirements

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

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Itineraries

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

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

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

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Health

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

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

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Altitude

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

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Yellow Fever

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

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

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

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

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

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

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

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Vaccinations

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

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

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Safety & Security

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

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

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

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Transport Safety

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

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

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

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

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells.

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

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

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

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

Road Safety

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

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

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

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

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

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Safety – Campsites

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

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

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

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

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

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

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group the tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

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

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

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

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

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

Food Safety

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Personal Safety
 

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

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

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

• Avoid carrying too much money.

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

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

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

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

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

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

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

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Included Activities

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

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Optional Activities

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

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

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

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Insurance

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

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

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

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

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Our Liability Insurance

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

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Emergency Contact

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

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

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985 106564

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Luggage & Kit List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Ground mat or compressed foam*.

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

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

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

• 2 pairs of shorts.

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking.

• 1 pair of sunglasses.

• Warm sweater/fleeces.

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood.

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

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops.

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

• Swimwear.

• 2 small towels.

• Washing kit, including a small mirror.

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

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

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

• Good water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity.

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

• Alarm clock.

• Pocket calculator - useful when exchanging money.

• Writing materials and notebook/diary.

• Multi purpose knife.

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

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

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

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

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

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

*For trips with camping nights.

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Personal Medical Kit

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

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

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

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

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Passports

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

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Pre and Post Trip Accommodation and Connecting Flights

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

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

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

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

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Continuing Your Trip

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

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Contingency Emergency Fund

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

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Responsible Tourism

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

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

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Water

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

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

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Electrical Equipment

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

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

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A Few Rules

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

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

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

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

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Issues on the Trip

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

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

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

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

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Tipping

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

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

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Our Community

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

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Feedback

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

Country Specific Notes

Bolivia Note

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

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

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

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