Patagonia & Amazon between Santiago and Rio de Janeiro, (JSAR)

Rio De Janeiro to Santiago 1 days, departing 02 Aug 2015
A scenic lakeside stop on the Carretera Austral, Chile A glamourous performer at the Sambadrome during the Rio Carnival One of the phenomenal floats at the Sambdrome during Carnival, Rio de Janeiro An incredible view over the Chilean captial of Santiago

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Rio De Janeiro to Santiago
Duration: 1 days
Transport: Dragoman Overland vehicle
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:

63%37%

A mixture of campsite, wildcamp, hostels and hotels.

Route Map

Countries Visited

Argentina

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

Argentina is a vast country which has a staggering diversity of climates and landscapes. With vibrant cities, the pampas, jungles and wind swept Patagonia it is a country with a very special character all of its own. Its initial appearance is fairly western but this disguises a long history of its own cultural heritage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brazil

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

Brazil has a totally different feel to it than the other Latin American countries. It positively vibrates, it is dynamic and the whole country has a unique energy. Its ethnic mix is very different from most South American countries with a predominance of Afro American people, especially in the Bahia coastal region. Brazil is a much underrated country in terms of tourism. Our trips explore much of the country, especially the little known regions and National Parks.

Most visitors start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's most famous city and home to the Christ the Redeemer statue. The deeper you travel into the country, the more the culture of Brazil is exposed. This is a chance to hear the soulful music which is influenced from Africa and Europe and brings the distinctive sounds of Samba, Choro, Brega and more, echoing throughout the land.

With the Amazon Rainforest covering large parts of Brazil, the natural environment is home to much wildlife and bio deversity. Eco safari in the rainforest and Pantanal are becoming popular elements of Brazilain tour

One of the many wonders is the language. Although Portuguese is the main language in Brazil, over 200 languages are spoken in the country, and the diversity of each reflects the diversity of the regions.

Brazil is also the place to taste  many unique foods. Inspired by others to cook, no matter what direction you head in the country, you are bound to find something new each time. To the south of Brazil is the taste of grilled meats that melt in your mouth, and to the north is the amazing Manicobo dish, that takes at least a week to prepare.

Chile

The spectacular Three Towers of Torres del Paine, Chile

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

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

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

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

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

Back to top ^

Daily Itinerary

Ice climbing on the Viedma Glacier near El Chaten, Argentina
Idyllic scenery on the lower stretches of the Iguazu Falls, Argentina
One of the dancers in the Sambadrome parades during Rio Carnival
A scenic lakeside stop on the Carretera Austral, Chile
The beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi, Bariloche, Argentina
On the road through the beautiful alpine region near Bariloche, Argentina
Taking a boat trip on Lake Nahuel Huapi near Bariloche
Wild camping en route to Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
Snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters of the Rio Prata, near Bonito
A group braves the journey into the Cave of the Blue Lagoon, near Bonito
The incredible clear waters of the Rio Prata, near Bonito, Brazil
The iconic Obelisk in central Buenos Aires, Argentina
Colourful houses in La Boca, Argentina
The Plaza de los dos Congresos in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires
A tango performance in the famous Café Tortoni, Buenos Aires
The Floralis Genérica sculpture in the Recoleta area of Buenos Aires
Walking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, southern Argentina
The colossal Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate in southern Argentina
The mighty Mt Fitzroy dominates over the town of El Chalten, Argentina
Stunning autumn colours on a walk along the base of Mt Fitzroy, El Chalten
The world-famous Iguazu Falls, spanning across the Argentina-Brazil border
Taking a boat ride past the incredible Iguazu Falls
A view of the mighty Garganta del Diablo, the powerful heart of the Iguazu Falls
Enjoying the ocean on a boat trip out of Paraty, Brazil
Some of the beautiful tropical scenery around Paraty, Brazil
A fleet of boats at the harbour of Paraty
Trekking up the Villarica volcano near Pucon, Chile
On the upper slopes of Villarica volcano, Pucon
A view of Villarica volcano from the town of Pucon, southern Chile
A Southern Right Whale spectacularly breaching off the Valdes Peninsular, Argentina
Young elephant seals sunbathing on beaches of the Valdes Peninsular
A friendly Magellan penguin on the Valdes Peninsular
Whale-spotting off the Atlantic coast near the Valdes Peninsular
A Southern Right Whale waves at us off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina
A glamourous performer at the Sambadrome during the Rio Carnival
One of the phenomenal floats at the Sambdrome during Carnival, Rio de Janeiro
The statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcavado mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro
A hang-glider soars high over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The stunning vista of Rio from the Sugarloaf Hill at sunset
Locals playing football on the world-famous Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro
An incredible view over Rio de Janeiro from a scenic flight around the city
The vast expanse of the Perito Moreno Glacier, southern Argentina
The ancient hand paintings at the Cueva de las Manos, Argentine Patagonia
Sampling some delicious Chilean wine at a vineyard en route
The beautiful Salto de Laja waterfalls in the Chilean wine region
An incredible view over the Chilean captial of Santiago
Barrels of wine at the Casillero del Diablo cellars near Santiago, Chile
Wonderful Dragoman crew in Santiago, Chile
Cerro San Lucia, central Santiago
A cool autumn day in Santiago, Chile
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro

( Sun 02 Aug )

The first day of Rio Carnival is free time as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Hotel check-in is from midday and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you assistance. There will be a joining meeting in the afternoon. Please check the notice board in the lobby / reception area for exact times for your meeting.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Argentina

Hotel Argentina

Rua Cruz Lima, 30

Flamengo

Rio

Tel: +55 21 2558 7233

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Meet your fellow travellers at the welcome meeting

Included in Kitty

Join your guide and group for a meal

About Rio De Janeiro:

Rio de Janeiro has to be one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) rises up out of Guanabara Bay, the sandy beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana cut beautiful curves in the shoreline, all under the watchful gaze of Christ the Redeemer.

This is a city with something for everyone; beaches, history, shopping, culture, fantastic food and amazing nightlife. For amazing views of this spectacular city,  take the cable car up to the top of Sugar Loaf, or "Pao de Azucar" as the Brazilians call it, ride the train to Corcovado or jump on the tram to the historic hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. If you're interested in learning more about Rio and Brazil, the Historical, Indian and National Museums are all well worth a visit, and even just wandering around the older parts of the city you'll be able to see some fantastic architecture. Kick back and relax on the beach, enjoy a beer or caipirinha at one of the many pavement cafes and then when evening comes you can party the night away - Rio has some unbelievable bars and clubs, Lapa is always a fun night out and Ipanema is always buzzing too. If you need a bit of quiet time to recover, take a walk in the Botanical gardens, or escape town for the day on an excursion to the lust forests of nearby Tijuca National Park.

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

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-03 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-03 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 2: Rio De Janeiro

( Mon 03 Aug )

Today is free time for you to explore the city. In the morning there's the option to go for a guided visit to the Morrinho project which is a favela community project we support. In the afternoon there's also an option to go for a football fame in the famous Maracana stadium.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit Community Project Morrinho - a model favela

GBP 58

Watch a football match at the legendary Maracana Stadium

GBP
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-04 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-04 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 3: Rio De Janeiro

( Tue 04 Aug )

Early this morning you have the option to head to Corcovado for a half-day guided tour. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic sights of Rio and if the weather is clear there is a fantastic view over the rest of the city including Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in sector 13, the most lively of the sectors where local Cariocas are supporting their favourite Samba schools by singing and dancing. The sector is at the very end of the runway and you have the chance of collecting parts of the costumes as some dancers will throw them up in to the stand. Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade. If you should wish there's an option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade - this is highly recommended if you're interested in photopraphy and would like good pictures of the costumes and floats.

Activity Approximate Cost

Ticket to the Sambadrome Parade in sector 13

Included in Kitty

Party all night to the fantastic sounds and sights of the Samba schools parade

Included in Kitty

Upgrade to sector 11 in the Sambadrome for a closer view

GBP 150

Half day guided tour of Corcovado mountain and the world famous Christ the Redeemer

GBP 65
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-05 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-05 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 4: Rio De Janeiro

( Wed 05 Aug )

This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome. A chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in! In the afternoon you have the chance to go on an optional guided visit to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), rising almost 400 metres above the harbour. You will take the cable car up to the top from where there's a chance of seeing the wonderful vistas over the city and Copacabana beach. If the weather is clear you will also be able to see Christ the Redeemer looking down at the city from the top of Corcovado mountain. In the evening you have the chance to revisit the Sambadrome to see the last 6 of the elite Samba schools parading. You even have the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience!

Activity Approximate Cost

Second visit to the Sambadrome in Sector 5

GBP 240

Join in and be part of the Sambadrome Parade, an experience of a lifetime!

GBP 500

Half day guided tour of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

GBP 70
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-06 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-06 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 5: Rio De Janeiro

( Thu 06 Aug )

Today is fee time to explore further - maybe find one of the blocos (street parades) that take place during the Carnival and continue the party, and in the evening why not don an outrageous outfit and head to the Gay Ball!

Activity Approximate Cost

Check out the local parades and soak up the Brazilian Carnival atmosphere

Included in Kitty

Dress up and go to the Gay Ball, the most colourful of all the balls

GBP
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-07 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-07 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 6: Rio De Janeiro

( Fri 07 Aug )

The Carnival package finishes after breakfast and hotel check-out is at 11:00 hrs. Depart at any time or spend the day exploring further or relaxing.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-08 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-08 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 7: Rio De Janeiro

( Sat 08 Aug )

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

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

Hotel for the night: Hotel Paysandu

Rua Paissandu, 37

Flamengo

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

Tel +55 21 2558 7270

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro

Included in Kitty
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-09 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-09 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 8 to 10: Paraty

( Sun 09 Aug to Tue 11 Aug )

We drive 235 kms to the Emerald Coast where we have 3 nights in dorm accommodation in a beachside hostel. There is free time to explore plus an included boat trip in the beautiful bay.

Activity Approximate Cost

3 days on Brazil's Emerald Coast

Included in Kitty

Horseriding or mountain biking around Paraty

USD 60

Boat Trip Out To Islands And Beaches

Included in Kitty
About Paraty:

The Emerald Coast, or the "Costa Verde" as it is known in Brazil, stretches south from the city of Rio de Janeiro, a thin strip of land sandwhiched between verdant green mountains and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic. Picture-book islands, deserted beaches and picturesque coves with excellent swimming and diving make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a couple of days of R & R. Dotted along the coastline itself are lots of small towns and villages, not to mention the hundreds of tiny islands, best explored on a lazy boat-trip.

The old Portuguese colonial town of Paraty is perhaps the most attractive spot on the coast. Low white-washed buildings with colourful doors and shutters crowd around the cobbled streets and plaza, full of interesting shops, bars and restaurants. Paraty really comes alive at night, when locals and tourists alike sit outside the many street cafes and congregate in the main square. The town also has a couple of beaches and there are plenty of others in the surrounding area - and this is also a good place for diving and snorkelling trips, which can be arranged locally.

 

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-12 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-12 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 11: Brotas

( Wed 12 Aug )

Today we drive 560 kms drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeast Brazil. Here we will stay for 2 nights in a campsite with facilities.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-13 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-13 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 12: Brotas

( Thu 13 Aug )

Today is free for adventure activities such as white water rafting, or maybe just relaxing by the pool. We stay a second night at the same campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Half day canyoning

BRL 85

Half day tubing

BRL 45

Half day rafting, grade 1-4

BRL 90
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-14 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-14 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 13: Campo Grande

( Fri 14 Aug )

We overland 650 kms towards the Southern Pantanal. Tonight we will bush camp somewhere close to Campo Grande.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-15 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-15 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 14 to 15: Southern Pantanal

( Sat 15 Aug to Sun 16 Aug )

We arrive in time for lunch in Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal where we will spend 2 nights and have 2 days of activities. From our ranch base we explore the surrounding area on horseback, from boats and canoes, from farm trucks and on foot.

Activity Approximate Cost

2 night wildlife safari into the Pantanal

Included in Kitty
About Southern Pantanal:

The Pantanal is a vast wetland that covers much of inland central and southern Brazil, teeming with birds and wildlife from toucan to caiman, capybara, ocelot and even Jaguar. Originally this was a predominantly agricultural area, dotted with cattle ranches known locally as "Fazenda". Today the cattle ranchers live side by side with the anaconda and Jaguar, having realised the importance of their home as a unique habitat for wildlife, with many of the Fazendas opening up for eco-tourism and offering safaris and tours of the area.

The wildlife here is staggering and there is probably no-where else in South America where you'd be able to see as many indigenous species. Over 250 different birds have been recorded here, including parakeets, macaws, kingfishers, ibis, storks, kites and hawks, hummingbirds and more - and there are also prolific numbers of jacare, anacondas, iguanas, two species of anteaters, ocelot, jaguars, cougars, giant river otters and thousands of pamba and march deer. One of the easier animals to spot is the capybara, a giant guinea pig type rodent that grows up to 60 kg. and lives in large herds in the swamps.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-17 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-17 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 16: Southern Pantanal, Bonito

( Mon 17 Aug )

After our morning activities and one last lunch in our beautiful ranch it is time to leave the Pantanal. We drive on to Bonito where we will stay in a campsite with full facilities.

About Bonito:

The area around the small town of Bonito really is unique. It’s main attractions are its crystal clear rivers, springs and caves, not to mention the abundant wildlif, which includes monkeys, alligators, anaconda, over 30 varieties of fish and tremendous birdlife. Unsurprisingly, the town is often described as the "eco-tourism capital of Brazil".

There are endless activities on offer, from spectacular walks through the surrounding hills and forest, to caving, horse-riding, abseiling, and snorkeling. Many of the best attractions are on private land and the area is being very carefully managed in order as to protect the wildlife and habitats found here.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-18 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-18 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 17 to 18: Bonito

( Tue 18 Aug to Wed 19 Aug )

We have two full days in Bonito, the eco tourism capital of Brazil. There will be plenty of free time to enjoy the range of activities available around town such as world class fresh water snorkelling or rappelling.

Activity Approximate Cost

Rio da Prata snorkellling

BRL 180

2 full days to enjoy Bonito, Brazil's ecotourism capital

Included in Kitty

Blue Lake Cave

BRL 56
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-20 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-20 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 19: Foz do Iguacu

( Thu 20 Aug )

Today is a full day's drive to Foz do Iguazu where we camp 3 nights outside town in the grounds of a hostel with good facilities and a pool.

About Foz do Iguacu:

Foz do Iguacu is named after the impressive waterfalls located close to the town forming the border with nearby Argentina and Paraguay. Foz is on the Brazilian side and is much larger than nearby Puerto Iguazu. Visiting the Iguacu falls is a must from here, even though you can visit the Argentinian side as well. The Brazilian park features a number of cleverly constructed walkways that allow you to get right out over the water up close to the falls themselves - and you will often be able to see fantastic rainbows forming as the sun catches the spray. If you want the ultimate waterfall experience, you can also organise helicopter flights here, where you'll be taken out right over the horseshoe of the falls, giving you a spectacular view of this natural wonder from a totally different perspective.

As well as the magnificent waterfalls, there's also a great bird park in Foz, where you can see many of Brazil's native species, including Toucans and Macaws. You can also visit the incredible Itaipu Dam, a vast concrete edifice that spans the Rio Parana and has been described as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-21 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-21 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 20: Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu Falls

( Fri 21 Aug )

Today we visit the Brazilian side of Iguazu to get the panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also plenty of time for any of the optional activities available.

Activity Approximate Cost

Helicopter ride over the falls

USD 110

2 full days to discover the unbelievable Iguazu Falls

Included in Kitty

Bird Park

BRL 28

Tour of Itaipu dam

BRL 50
About Iguazu Falls:

There is a mile long walk along the edge of the fall beginning at the Three Sisters and ending at the Devil’s Throat. Millions of gallons of water pour or cascade down escarpments forming spectacular mist “curtains” and many rainbows. In the surrounding dense tropical jungle there are many varieties of brightly coloured butterflies and birds. If we have time we can take a closer look at these birds in the Foz Tropicana Bird Park.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-22 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-22 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 21: Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu Falls

( Sat 22 Aug )

Today we have a day trip to the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Boat trip approaching the falls

ARS 220

Boat trip and 4WD adventure

ARS 300
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-23 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-23 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 22: San Ignacio de Mini

( Sun 23 Aug )

Border information: Exit Brazil and enter Argentina at Tancredo Neves.

Today we cross the border to Argentina and drive to the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio de Mini for a guided tour around the ruins. We spend the night at a campsite with facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Jesuit ruins at San Ignacio de Mini

Included in Kitty
About San Ignacio de Mini:

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

 

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-24 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-24 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 23: Concordia

( Mon 24 Aug )

Today we have a full day's drive south towards Buenos Aires. We will most likely bush camp for the night.

About Concordia:

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

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-25 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-25 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 24: Buenos Aires

( Tue 25 Aug )

We set off early morning to drive into Buenos Aires to hopefully arrive late in the afternoon. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Buenos Aires:

At the mouth of the River Plate lies Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. It's a buzzing, energetic city that often feels more European than Latin American, so much so that it's often referred to as "the Paris of the South". Not surprising when you consider how much the city has been influenced by immigration, with it's large Italian and Spanish communities.

There is a huge amount to do see and do here and a good place to start is with a city tour, which will help you get your bearings and see all the main sights. You can take in a lot on foot, as the wide streets are very pedestrian friendly and the underground metro system is cheap and easy to navigate. The neighbourhoods of San Telmo, Recoleta and Palermo are certainly all worth exploring, San Telmo for it's olde worlde charm, antique shops and Sunday street market, Palermo for it's unique quirky shops and restaurants and Recoleta is the "Mayfair" of Buenos Aires and home to the La Recoleta cemetry, Eva "Evita" Peron's final resting place. The waterfront area known as La Boca is also worth a look, this slightly down-at-heel neighbourhood is Buenos Aires' most colourful barrio, the ramshackle buildings painted in a rainbow of different bright colours.

In the evenings, you are also spoilt for choice. Buenos Aires has a vibrant nightlife, with a huge number of bars and night clubs to choose from. Restaurants here vary from cheap and cheerful to world class and it's a great place to get stuck into some of Argentina's finest steak and red wine. Of course this is also the home of Tango, and there are many evening Tango shows you can buy tickets for, or if you want a more "real" Tango experience you can check the local papers for details of where tango "milongas" are being held. This is where the locals go to tango, with dances held in school halls, meeting rooms and even warehouses. You might also like to visit the Teatro Colon, one of the world's greatest opera houses - even if you don't go to watch a show, it's usually possible to take a guided tour of the building during the day.

Everywhere you go you'll be surrounded by some fantastic architecture. The Plaza de Mayo is perhaps the most historically interesting - as this is the ste of the Cabillo (original town hall), Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace) and the cathedral where the body of General San Martin lies. Finally, if you get the chance, try and get hold of tickets for an Argentinean football match while you're here, even if you're not usually a sports fan, the electric atmosphere of a local match is definitely something you'll never forget - tickets are usually available from local tourist agencies - and if you've still got time to spare, why not take the hydrofoil across the water to Uruguay for a day.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-26 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-26 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 25: Buenos Aires

( Wed 26 Aug )

Border information: If you are leaving in Buenos Aires, exit Argentina at Buenos Aires Airport.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 140

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

ARS

Head out to an tango show in Buenos Aires' oldest cafe, the Gran Cafe Tortoni - seeing a slice of iconic Argentine culture in an ideal and intimate setting

ARS 240

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

USD 45
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-27 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-27 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 26: Buenos Aires

( Thu 27 Aug )

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

Today there will be a group meeting at 18:00 hrs.

In BA we stay in a centrally located hotel.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Splendid

Hotel Splendid

Avenida Rivadavia 950

Buenos Aires

Argentina

+54 11 4345 2800

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-28 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-28 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 27: Buenos Aires

( Fri 28 Aug )

Free day to enjoy the vibrant city of Buenos Aires and all it has to offer.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

ARS

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

USD 140

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

ARS

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

USD 45

Head out to an tango show in Buenos Aires' oldest cafe, the Gran Cafe Tortoni - seeing a slice of iconic Argentine culture in an ideal and intimate setting

ARS 240
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-29 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-29 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 28: Monte Hermoso

( Sat 29 Aug )

We head of from Buenos Aires for a full day's drive across the pampas.

Tonight we will bush camp, possibly near Monte Hermoso. 

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

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-30 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-30 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 29: Puerto Madryn

( Sun 30 Aug )

We continue south on a full day's drive to Puerto Madryn.

In Puerto Madryn we stay in a campsite with facilities.

Drive time - 12 hours.

About Puerto Madryn:

Puerto Madryn is a port town on the atlantic coast of Argentina, gateway to the Valdez Peninsula, known for its wildlife. The town is also popular with locals as a beach destination and it can become quite busy in summer months with Argentinian holiday-makers. The original settlers here were Welsh, founding the port and colonising the Chubut River valley. Some of the smaller communities are still fiercely Welsh, retaining many of the original immigrants traditions and customs, and in places like Gaiman you can even go for a Welsh afternoon tea in one of the local tea houses. Whilst the Welsh language was kept alive for over four generations, it is now gradually dying out, although the area still offers an interesting insight into the lives of the people who landed here during the latter part of the last century.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-31 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-31 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 30: Puerto Madryn

( Mon 31 Aug )

Today is a free day for activities around Puerto Madryn. You have the chance to visit the Valdes Peninsula to see its abundant marine life or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh Tea house in Gaiman or Trelew.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Valdes Peninsula to meet the elephant seals and sealions

ARS 460
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-01 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-01 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 31: Camarones

( Tue 01 Sep )

This morning we drive to Camarones. In the afternoon we visit the colony of Magellanic penguins in Cabo dos Bahias.

In Camarones we stay in a campsite.

Drive time - 4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the penguin colony at Camarones

Included in Kitty
About Camarones:

Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías are both important nesting sites for large colonies of Magellanic penguins, Camarones alone is home to around 25,000. Between September and April, the penguins come to these sites to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration. Each couple stand in front of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 32: Atlantic Wildcamp

( Wed 02 Sep )

From Camarones we set off on an all day drive following the Atlantic coast south. If time and conditions allow we might visit the Jaramillo Petrified Forest en route.

Tonight we will spend the night in a basic campsite.

Drive time - 9 hours.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-03 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-03 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 33: El Calafate

( Thu 03 Sep )

Today we leave the coast behind and head west to continue our overlanding journey to El Calafate.

In El Calafate we stay in dorm accommodation in a lovely hostel.

Drive time - 10 hours.

About El Calafate:

El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling small town atmosphere thanks to a growing tourist trade. Most people base themselves here whilst visiting the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-04 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-04 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 34: El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier

( Fri 04 Sep )

Today we go on a full day's guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the more spectacular sights in Patagonia. 

Activity Approximate Cost
Guided full day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier Included in Kitty

Boat trip beneath the Perito Moreno Glacier

ARS 180
About Perito Moreno Glacier:

If Patagonia is synonymous with jaw-droppingly beautiful mountain scenery, then the Perito Moreno Glacier certainly doesn't disappoint. This incredible glacier is the highlight of the southern region of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, a spectacular wall of ice over 60m tall above the water and 5km wide. One of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating, you can stand on one of the many catwalks and marvel at the glacier, listening to it creak and watching as enormous chunks crash into the water. It's also possible to take a short boat trip out onto the lake in order to get up even closer to the face of the glacier itself.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-05 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-05 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 35: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Sat 05 Sep )

Border information: Exit Argentina at Cerro Castillo and enter Chile at Cerro Castillo.

Today we drive across the border and into Chile to Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of beauty in Chile and the highlight of the trip for many passengers. We stop en rouite in Puerto Natales to pick up our local guides and cook.

Tonight we camp for the night at a stunning lakeside campsite with facilities.

Drive time - 9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

4 days to explore and trek the rugged Torres del Paine National Park

Included in Kitty
About Torres Del Paine National Park:

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park it's name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande.  The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it's also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.

The best way to explore is definitely to get out there on foot or perhaps on horse-back. The park is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes, or by doing a circular hike like the W-walk,  taking a few days and stopping off at the parks refugios or camping along the way. Horse-riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoe in season.



ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-06 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-06 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 36: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Sun 06 Sep )

During the next few days you will get to walk part of the famous W-walk circuit with a local guide. You can also complete the full trek if you have pre-booked this option.

Today we take the catamaran across Lake Pehoe to the Paine Grande Campsite. From here the group splits into 2 groups (base package group and W-walk extension group) and we walk with our respective local guides to view Glacier Grey. We then walk back down to Paine Grande where we will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs.

Activity Approximate Cost

W-walk extension - 2 days

The package includes 2 nights camping with facilities, food for the duration of the trek and the service of an expert English speaking local guide. 

Please note that this package must be pre booked through your sales agent. Please book as early as possible to ensure availability. For further information on the W-walk please refer to the trip notes.

GBP 140

Base package

Guided base package to trek part of the famous W-walk. The package includes camping with facilities in Paine Grande, food during the trekking days and the service of an expert English speaking local guide.

Included in Kitty
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-07 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-07 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 37: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Mon 07 Sep )

Base package group: If you have not opted for the optional 2 day W-walk extension package, this morning will be free time around Paine Grande. You then board the catamaran back to Pudeto, where the truck will meet you and drive you to our campsite for the night. 

W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional 2 day W-walk extension, you will leave Paine Grande and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Campsite Cuernos where you will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-08 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-08 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 38: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Tue 08 Sep )

Base package group: Today is free for those that have not booked the W-walk optional 2 day extension package. There are many other optional activities available near our campsite, or maybe take a day to relax and just enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite. 

W-walk extension group: For those of you that continue on the W-walk, your local guide will direct you along Lago Nordenskjold to Las Torres Campsite where you will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.

Activity Approximate Cost

Zodiac boat trips, horse rides and trekking in Torres del Paine National Park

USD 90
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-09 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-09 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 39: Torres Del Paine National Park

( Wed 09 Sep )

Today is our last full day in this beautiful National Park.

Base package group: The truck will take us to the base of the famous three peaks which give the name to the park. From there we will walk up the Torres with our local guide before we make our way back to the truck and onto our campsite for the night. Approximate distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.

W-walk extension group: This morning we will hike up to see the Torres and come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the night. Approximate distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-10 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-10 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 40: Strait of Magellan, Tierra Del Fuego

( Thu 10 Sep )

We head to the island of Tierra del Fuego via a ferry across the infamous Magellan Straits. 

Tonight we bush camp somewhere on Tierra del Fuego.

Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Follow in Darwin's footsteps across the Strait of Magellan

Included in Kitty
About Strait of Magellan:

Separatyng Tierra del Fuego from mainland Argeninta are the infamous Strait of Magellan. This treacherous stretch of water is about 500km long and takes it's name from the explorer Magellan who first navigated these waters in 1520. It was the only ship out of a total of 17 attempting the passage that sucessfully managed to reach the Pacific. Before the Panama Canal was built, the Strait provided a useful route between Chile, Peru and Europe, and though they are less important as a major shipping route today, they still see a fair amount of traffic.

About Tierra Del Fuego:

Tierra del Fuego ("Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town, Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote,with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to Rheas, Condors, Buzzard Eagles, Seals and Sea Lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. Originally the home of the Yamana and Ona Indians, sadly there are not any indigenous communities left here. The people who inhabit Tierra del Fuego today are the descendants of the colonial settlers who came here from Europe in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mostly from Britain, Spain and Yugoslavia.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-11 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-11 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 41: Ushuaia

( Fri 11 Sep )

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

Today we cross back into Argentina and drive to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world.

In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a hostel.

Drive time - 5 hours. 

About Ushuaia:

Ushuaia lies at the southernmost tip of the Americas, the most southerly city on the island of Tierra del Fuego and often referred to as "the city at the end of the world". The town itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel. Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British-funded mission in the late 1800's and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a sleepy small town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here.

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

The area is famous for its biting winds, so remember to pack your thermal undies if you're heading here, whatever time of year you're going to be visiting!

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-12 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-12 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 42 to 43: Tierra Del Fuego, Ushuaia

( Sat 12 Sep to Sun 13 Sep )

We have 2 full days in Ushuaia with time for optional activities such as a visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Beagle channel boat trips

USD 40

Guided tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park

ARS 310
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-14 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-14 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 44: Tierra Del Fuego

( Mon 14 Sep )

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

We head north again and cross back into Chile. Visit the small King Penguin colony by Bahia Inutil. 

Tonight we bush camp for the night.

Drive time - 7 hours.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-15 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-15 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 45: Argentinian Patagonia

( Tue 15 Sep )

Border information: Exit Chile at Integracion Austral, enter Argentina at Integracion Austral.

We head north on and take the ferry back onto mainland Chile before crossing into Argentina.

Tonight we bush camp for the night.

Drive time - 5 hours.

About Argentinian Patagonia:

Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateau. The area is split down the middle, with Chilean Patagonia on the east, and Argentinian Patagonia on the west. Renowned for its desolate landscape, unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m (or 5' 11) as oppose to 1.55m (5' 1) which was the average height of a Spaniard at the time. Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Argentinian Lake District and the Fitzroy Range.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-16 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-16 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 46: El Chalten

( Wed 16 Sep )

Drive day to El Chalten, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its world class trekking opportunities.

In El Chalten we stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel. 

Drive time -  10 hours.

About El Chalten:

The clouds that form around the summit of the surrounding mountains were mistaken for smoke, which gave the name "Chalten" which means volcano. The picturesque landscape is a perfect place for hiking, as there is so much to explore and the rewards of constant beautiful sights gives a perfect reason to hike.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-17 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-17 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 47 to 49: El Chalten, Los Glaciares National Park

( Thu 17 Sep to Sat 19 Sep )

Three days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and Fitzroy National Park where lots of treks are available. There is also a wide range of activities available from horse riding to glacier trekking and a boat trip on Viedma Lake.

Activity Approximate Cost

Glacier trek, hikes and horseriding in Los Glaciares National Park

USD 50
About Los Glaciares National Park:

Los Glaciares National Park is probably home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Argentina, if not South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot. There are plenty of well established trails through the park and maps can be picked up locally, so you can plan a short walk that will just take you a couple of hours, or the more adventurous might choose to hike out for a whole day or even overnight. Los Glaciares covers a massive area and there are two main gateways to the park; to the south, El Calafate provides access to Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding area, then in the North, the small town of El Chalten can be used as a base to explore the Fitzroy Mountains and Lake Viedma and it's glacier.

 

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-20 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-20 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 50: Rio Pinturas, Cueva De Las Manos

( Sun 20 Sep )

Full day's drive north along the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40). Visit the UNESCO site Cueva de las Manos. 

Tonight we bush camp for the night in the Rio Pinturas area.

Drive time - 10 hours.

 

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the UNESCO site Cueva de las Manos at Río Pinturas

Included in Kitty
About Cueva De Las Manos:

The world heritage site of Cueva de las Manos lies in an isolated spot in the valley of Rio Pinturas. The cave takes it's name from the hundreds of paintings of hands made by it's indigenous inhabitants some 9000 years ago - possibly the forefathers of the Tehuelche people. As well as the hand impressions, there are also depictions of of human beings, guanaco, rhea and other animals, as well as representations of the sun, moon and hunting scenes.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-21 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-21 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 51: Argentinian Patagonia

( Mon 21 Sep )

Continue north on a full day's drive.

Tonight we bush camp around the Tecka area.

Drive time - 10 hours.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-22 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-22 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 52: Bariloche

( Tue 22 Sep )

Today we continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche.

In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a hostel outside of town.

Drive time - 6 hours.

About Bariloche:

The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Hapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a must to get out and explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island.

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

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-23 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-23 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 53 to 54: Bariloche

( Wed 23 Sep to Thu 24 Sep )

Two free days to enjoy this beautiful mountain town. Perhaps explore on a mountain bike, take a trip along the river in a kayak or enjoy the delights on a chocolate factory tour!

Activity Approximate Cost

Horse riding and mountain biking around Bariloche

USD 80
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-25 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-25 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 55: Pucon

( Fri 25 Sep )

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

Drive north via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route) and we cross into the Lake District of Chile and the town of Pucon. 

In Pucon we stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel.

Drive time - 10 hours.

 

About Pucon:

Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alos or New Zealand have to offer. Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping. The attractive small town of Pucon is located at the heart of the northern Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano, a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. In fact the whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some great self-guided walks.

Alternatively Pucon offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. And if all this talk of activity just sounds a little too much, there are also some great thermal springs to relax in nearby, the natural pools at Pozones have a beautiful setting and is a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening.

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-26 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-26 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 56 to 57: Pucon

( Sat 26 Sep to Sun 27 Sep )

We have two full days in Pucon with a range of activities available from hiking to hot springs. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover the Chilean Lake District

Included in Kitty

Trek up the snowcapped volcano Mt Villarica

USD 100

Horseriding, white-water rafting or hikes around Pucon

USD 50
ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-28 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-28 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 58: Santiago

( Mon 28 Sep )

Today we have a full days drive to Santiago. 

In Santiago we stay in a good quality hostel in the centre.

Drive time - 11-12 hours.

About Santiago:

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

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

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

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

ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-08-02 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-29 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC ) ZenDate Object ( [tz:protected] => DateTimeZone Object ( ) [date] => 2015-09-29 04:18:39.000000 [timezone_type] => 3 [timezone] => UTC )

Day 59: Santiago

( Tue 29 Sep )

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

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

Back to top ^

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.

Rio Carnival detailed notes

Rio at Carnival

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

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

For other things to do, try some quiet time in stunning surroundings at the Botanical gardens, shop at the "hippie" markets for jewellery and paintings and of course there are the beaches to lie on and all the local street parades to dance at. 

Day 1: Friday

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

Day 2: Saturday

This morning you may wish to join us to a guided tour of a favela and a community project that we support. In the afternoon there's an option to go for a football game in the famous Maracanã stadium, the site of the FIFA World Cup final 2014.

Optional Morrinho Project - £58

Morrinho is the name used by the youth of the Pereira da Silva favela for their scale model of a favela made basically with bricks. The Morrinho began in 1998, when Nelcirlan (14 years old at that time) starting building the Morrinho, together with his brother Maycon. Both were impressed with the view of favelas, high on the hillside, and decided literally to bring it closer. The "toy" became a construction and attracted other boys like Rodrigo, Naldão, Júnior, Paulo Vítor, Luciano and Raniere, and became a part of the community. Today, the Morrinho model occupies an area of 300 square metres in the community Pereira da Silva and has a wealth of details such as funk clubs, police, drugs sales points, alleys, staircases, small bars etc. The colours are strong and vibrant, the constructions are unusual and unique, and the vegetation is integrated with the "bonsais" wisdom. Miniature vehicles and motorcycles fill out the streets. In the interiors of the residences you can see beds, dressing tables and closets. All the details show the creative imagination of the guys that constructed the Morrinho. They drew streets, built support walls to contain hillsides, distributed light posts etc. Their plastic universe reveals the aesthetic fullness of the favela, often portrayed by international artists, photographers and film directors. The model is now being used to generate money by the NGO Morrinho, a charity that provides professional qualifications to the residents of the Pereirão Community through workshops including audiovisual production, art-education, Brazilian culture, and youth and citizenship. The charity is also involved in utilising the project as a film set, which has raised awareness of how harsh life is for shanty town dwellers. The trip includes a donation of 40 BRL to the charity.

Optional Football Game - TBC (for reference, the price was £45 in 2015) 

In the afternoon we will head off to the Maracanã stadium for a game of football. Please note that the stadium will almost certainly feel empty as it seats almost 79,000 spectators and a local game will not draw enough people to fill the stands. However, for most people it's still a fantastic experience to visit this legendary stadium. You'll be travelling to the stadium on the Metro, accompanied by a local guide.

Day 3: Sunday

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

The Sambadrome

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

Sambadrome Visit (sector 13) - included

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

Optional Sambadrome Upgrade to sector 11 - £150

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

Optional Corcovado visit - £65

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

Day 4: Monday

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

Optional Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) visit - £70 

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

Optional Return to the Sambadrome (sector 5) - £240

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

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

Optional Join the Parade - £500

Watching the parade is one thing but actually taking part in the parade is a real thrill and an unparalleled experience. Yes, it will be hot and sweaty and your feet will ache after an hour or more parading but it will make a talking point for years to come. Not many people can say they have actually taken part in a Sambadrome Parade. You will be a part of one of the ground wings or alas, parading behind the massive floats that make up the parade. Each school has between 65 and 80 minutes to parade and each ala/ wing passes through the Sambadrome in about 30-40 minutes, it is exhausting but unforgettable! The alas provide a massive display of colour and movement, each school has about 25 alas – each one tells a part of the overall story/ theme of the Samba School. The alas get judged for their stamina throughout their parade, the singing of the whole parade, being able to Samba is not necessary – there is a kind of jumping, bouncing way that people parade to overall create the whole feeling of strength and happiness. You will be 1 of the approx 4,000 paraders in a school, each and every person must put their utmost energy into their performance for the School. This is the most important event of the year for Cariocas (the people from Rio) and you will be playing a part on the biggest stage in the world! It is an amazing once in a lifetime experience you will never forget.

Your costume will be delivered to the hotel ready for the parade, and is yours to keep! You will then be accompanied by a guide to the starting point. You will need to meet your ala and school about 2 hours before the parade time (the first school will meet at 19.00 and the last at 01.00 approx) the parade lasts about 1 hour. Please note that Metro tickets are included but entry into the Sambadrome is not included.

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

Day 5: Tuesday

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

Optional Gay Ball - TBC (for reference, the price was £65 in 2015)

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

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

Day 6: Wednesday

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

 

Additional Carnival notes

Optional activies – All the optional activities listed above need to be booked prior to arrival at Carnival and by 1 December 2015 at the latest. This can be done by contacting Dragoman's sales team or your agent. More details can be found here.

Accommodation – This is on a shared basis (twin, triple or quad share) with breakfast included daily but no other meals. All rooms are en-suite with air-conditioning, TV, fridge and safe.  

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

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

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

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

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.

Torres del Paine National Park and the W-walk

The group will spend 5 nights and 4 full days in the Torres del Paine National Park, allowing plenty of time for hiking, trekking and other optional activities - such as the 4 day W-walk, a popular route taking in 3 of the most famous features of the park.

The W involves 4 full days trekking and 3 overnight stays away from the truck. Dragoman offers a 2 day W-walk extension package which includes a local guide, food and camping with facilities. This package enables you to complete the entire W-walk circuit without having to carry your own tent, cooking equipment or food supplies. It is however important to bear in mind that you will have to carry your own personal effects for the duration of the trek, e.g. sleeping bag, clothes for 4 days, toiletries, snacks, water, etc.

Please note that the extension package must be pre booked through your sales agent. To ensure availability we recommend that you book early, especially during high season. Please also note that any cancellation within 65 days of departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee.

W Walk Info Graphic.pdf

Itinerary for Base Package:

Day 1: Pehoe Campsite
The group arrives in Puerto Natales where two local guides will join on the journey to Torres del Paine.


Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite
The Dragoman truck will drive the group to Pudeto. From here the group will take the first catamaran across Lago Grey to Paine Grande. The group will split into 2 groups, one for the base package walkers and one for the extension package walkers, and hike up to the Glacier Grey viewpoint with their respective guides. The groups will return to Paine Grande in time for dinner. The night will be spent camping in Paine Grande campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 3: Pehoe Campsite
This morning will be free to enjoy the surroundings of Paine Grande and then the group and the guide will take the catamaran back to Pudeto around midday. The truck will meet the group here and drive to our campsite for the night. 


Day 4: Pehoe Campsite
Free day for optional activities around the camp.


Day 5: Pehoe Campsite
This morning the group will wake early to drive to Refugio Las Torres in the Dragoman truck. You will hike with your guide to see the Torres (Towers), and come back down to Refugio Las Torres where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the evening. Today the path climbs to reach the Las Torres lookout and then descends again. The path is quite steep (the last part before reaching the lookout is very steep) with some loose scree and uneven terrain.

Please note that you will be able to see most areas of the park in the included Base Package itinerary. You should also note that it is possible to visit other areas of the park on day hikes from the main campsite where the truck will be based for 4 nights.

Itinerary for Extension Package to full W-walk (optional):

Day 1: Pehoe Campsite (already included in trip)
The group arrives in Puerto Natales where two local guides will join on the journey to Torres del Paine.


Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite (already included in trip)
The Dragoman truck will drive the group to Pudeto. From here the group will take the first catamaran across Lago Grey to Paine Grande. The group will split into 2 groups, one for the base package walkers and one for the extension package walkers, and hike up to the Glacier Grey viewpoint with their respective guides. The groups will return to Paine Grande in time for dinner. The night will be spent camping in Paine Grande campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 3: Campsite Cuernos (optional extra)
The group will hike from Paine Grande to the French Valley and then finally onward to Los Cuernos. The group will spend the night camping in Campsite Cuernos. Today the path climbs to reach the top of the French Valley and then descends again. Some parts are steep with loose scree and uneven terrain.


Day 4: Las Torres Campsite (optional extra)
The group will hike from Campsite Cuernos along Lake Nordenskjold and Almirante Nieto Mountain to the foot of Ascencio Valley. The group will spend the night camping in Las Torres Campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 5: Pehoe Campsite (already included in trip)
This morning the group will hike up to see the Torres (Towers), and come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the evening. Today the path climbs to reach the Las Torres lookout and then descends again. The path is quite steep (the last part before reaching the lookout is very steep) with some loose scree and uneven terrain.

Trekking - what to bring

Tents as well as food during the trek are provided. You will have to carry your own daypack with any items you need during the trek, including your sleeping bag. 

You will need to be prepared for 4 seasons' weather in one day. It can be cold and windy and you may have to layer up with thermals and warm socks.

Some very useful things to bring on the trek:

• Daypack (less than 30 litres)
• Waterproof bag(s) to keep you stuff dry (bin liners or similar are fine)
• Sleeping mat (only for base package; a mat is included in the extension package)
• Warm sleeping bag (also available to rent from our local supplier)
• Sleeping bag liner (if you wish for extra insulation)
• Walking sticks (some of the track is steep and made of loose scree)
• Water bottle(s) with a total capacity of at least 2 litres
• Head torch or normal torch
• Small towel
• Camera (remember extra batteries and memory cards)
• Binoculars
• Walking boots
• Light shoes or sandals (to allow your feet to relax and breathe during the evenings)
• Waterproofs
• Thermal underwear
• Warm socks
• Fleece or other warm sweater
• Woolly hat & gloves
• Sunglasses
• Sun hat
• Basic toiletries (lip salve, sun block, insect repellent, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc)
• Basic medical kit (any personal medication, plasters, painkillers, etc)
• Pack of cards / book / game for evenings
• Any snacks (also possible to buy en route but generally it's cheaper to get it in Puerto Natales)
• Money (for souvenirs, snacks, drinks, etc)
• Entrance ticket to Torres del Paine NP
• Passport + the immigration slip you receive when you enter Chile

Multiple departures with amended itineraries

South America is very busy for travel at certain times of the year, particularly in connection with the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro which takes place every year 40 days before Easter.

If the trip you are on is connecting to Rio Carnival in any way then there is likely to be more than just one truck on your specific departure date. This means that each truck will operate on slightly different itineraries and your day to day itinerary may vary from your trip notes. You will of course still visit all the highlights listed, and the presence of other trucks can make for a great atmosphere leading to or from the greatest party on earth! 

Torres del Paine National Park and the W-walk

The group will spend 5 nights and 4 full days in the Torres del Paine National Park, allowing plenty of time for hiking, trekking and other optional activities - such as the 4 day W-walk, a popular route taking in 3 of the most famous features of the park.

The W involves 4 full days trekking and 3 overnight stays away from the truck. Dragoman offers a 2 day W-walk extension package which includes a local guide, food and camping with facilities. This package enables you to complete the entire W walk circuit without having to carry your own tent, cooking equipment or food supplies. It is however important to bear in mind that you will have to carry your own personal effects for the duration of the trek, e.g. sleeping mat, sleeping bag, clothes for 4 days, toiletries, snacks, water, etc.

Please note that the extension package must be pre booked through your sales agent. To ensure availability we recommend that you book early, especially during high season. Please also note that any cancellation within 65 days of departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee.

High season runs from 1 November to 30 March.

Itinerary for Base Package (included in High Season trips):

Day 1: Pehoe Campsite
The group arrives in Puerto Natales where two local guides will join on the journey to Torres del Paine.


Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite
The Dragoman truck will drive the group to Pudeto. From here the group will take the catamaran across Lago Grey to Paine Grande at 09:30 hrs. The group will split into 2 groups, one for the base package walkers and one for the extension package walkers, and hike up to Glacier Grey with their respective guides. The groups will return to Paine Grande in time for dinner. The night will be spent camping in Paine Grande campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 3: Pehoe Campsite
The groups will hike from Refugio Paine Grande to the French Valley. The base package group will then walk back to Paine Grande and board the catamaran back to Pudeto with their guide. The truck will meet the group here and drive to our campsite for the night. Today the path climbs to reach the top of the French Valley and then descends again. Some parts are steep with loose scree and uneven terrain.


Day 4: Pehoe Campsite
Free day for optional activities around the camp.


Day 5: Pehoe Campsite
This morning the group will wake early to drive to Refugio Las Torres in the Dragoman truck. You will hike with your guide to see the Torres (Towers), and come back down to Refugio Las Torres where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the evening. Today the path climbs to reach the Las Torres lookout and then descends again. The path is quite steep (the last part before reaching the lookout is very steep) with some loose scree and uneven terrain.

Itinerary for Base Package (included in Low Season trips):

Day 1: Pehoe Campsite
The group arrives in Puerto Natales where two local guides will join on the journey to Torres del Paine.


Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite
The Dragoman truck will drive the group to Pudeto. From here the group will take the catamaran across Lago Grey to Paine Grande at 12:00 hrs. The group will then split into 2 groups, one for the base package walkers and one for the extension package walkers, and hike up to the Glacier Grey viewpoint with their respective guides. The groups will return to Paine Grande in time for dinner. The night will be spent camping in Paine Grande campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 3: Paine Grande Campsite
The groups will hike from Refugio Paine Grande to the French Valley. The base package group will then walk back to Paine Grande with their guide and stay a second night in the campsite. Today the path climbs to reach the top of the French Valley and then descends again. Some parts are steep with loose scree and uneven terrain.


Day 4: Pehoe Campsite
This morning is free time before boarding the catamaran back to Pudeto at 12.30 pm. The truck will meet the group here and drive to our campsite for the night. The afternoon is free for optional activities or relaxing around the camp. 


Day 5: Pehoe Campsite
This morning the group will wake early to drive to Refugio Las Torres in the Dragoman truck. You will hike with your guide to see the Torres (Towers), and come back down to Refugio Las Torres where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the evening. Today the path climbs to reach the Las Torres lookout and then descends again. The path is quite steep (the last part before reaching the lookout is very steep) with some loose scree and uneven terrain.

Please note that you will be able to see most areas of the park in the included Base Package itinerary. You should also note that it is possible to visit other areas of the park on day hikes from the main campsite where the truck will be based for 4 nights.

Itinerary for Extension Package to full W-walk (optional):

Day 1: Pehoe Campsite (already included in trip)
The group arrives in Puerto Natales where two local guides will join on the journey to Torres del Paine.


Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite (already included in trip)
The Dragoman truck will drive the group to Pudeto. From here the group will take the catamaran across Lago Grey to Paine Grande. This afternoon the group will split into 2 groups, one for the base package walkers and one for the extension package walkers, and hike up to see Glacier Grey with their respective guides. The groups will return to Paine Grande in time for dinner. The night will be spent camping in Paine Grande campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 3: Campsite Cuernos (optional extra)
The group will hike from Paine Grande to the French Valley and then finally onward to Los Cuernos. The group will spend the night camping in Campsite Cuernos. Today the path climbs to reach the top of the French Valley and then descends again. Some parts are steep with loose scree and uneven terrain.


Day 4: Las Torres Campsite (optional extra)
The group will hike from Campsite Cuernos along Lake Nordenskjold and Almirante Nieto Mountain to the foot of Ascencio Valley. The group will spend the night camping in Las Torres Campsite. The walk today is mostly flat with easy terrain.


Day 5: Pehoe Campsite (already included in trip)
This morning the group will hike up to see the Torres (Towers), and come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the evening. Today the path climbs to reach the Las Torres lookout and then descends again. The path is quite steep (the last part before reaching the lookout is very steep) with some loose scree and uneven terrain.

Trekking - what to bring

Tents as well as food during the trek are provided. You will have to carry your own daypack with any items you need during the trek, including sleeping bag and sleeping mat. 

You will need to be prepared for 4 seasons' weather in one day. It can be cold and windy and you may have to layer up with thermals and warm socks.

Some very useful things to bring on the trek:

• Daypack (less than 30 litres)
• Waterproof bag(s) to keep you stuff dry (bin liners or similar are fine)
• Sleeping mat (also available from our local supplier)
• Warm sleeping bag (also available to rent from our local supplier)
• Sleeping bag liner (if you wish for extra insulation)
• Walking sticks (some of the track is steep and made of loose scree)
• Water bottle(s) with a total capacity of at least 2 litres
• Head torch or normal torch
• Small towel
• Camera (remember extra batteries and memory cards)
• Binoculars
• Walking boots
• Light shoes or sandals (to allow your feet to relax and breathe during the evenings)
• Waterproofs
• Thermal underwear
• Warm socks
• Fleece or other warm sweater
• Woolly hat & gloves
• Sunglasses
• Sun hat
• Basic toiletries (lip salve, sun block, insect repellent, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc)
• Basic medical kit (any personal medication, plasters, painkillers, etc)
• Pack of cards / book / game for evenings
• Any snacks (also possible to buy en route but generally it's cheaper to get it in Puerto Natales)
• Money (for souvenirs, snacks, drinks, etc)
• Entrance ticket to Torres del Paine NP
• Passport + the immigration slip you receive when you enter Chile

Visa Information

Visa Information

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

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

For visas that are needed in advance, you may wish to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. If you require any supporting documentation for your visa applications, please complete the ‘Visa Support Form’ available at this link: http://dragoman-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support.

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

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

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

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

Chile

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

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

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

Argentina

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

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

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

Australians - USD100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from the date of issue)
Canadians - USD75 (single entry) or USD150 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
Americans - USD40 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)

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

Brazil

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

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

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

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

Flying to Central or South America via the USA

If your flight to Central or South America goes via the USA, then you must obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before travel.

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

Personal Spending

South America Currencies and Cash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else you need to know

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

Dragoman has 32 years experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up close. Your journey will be overland across vast distances so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores etc.

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

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

Back to top ^

Who Travels with Dragoman?

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

Back to top ^

Group Size

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

Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi, for example, will visit Zanzibar at the same time as group starting a trip in Dar es Salaam. In practical terms this means there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

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

Our Crew and Guides

Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 10 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to six months on the road as a trainee. On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. The crew are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip. On our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and for them to offer suggestions of things to do and see.

On trips south of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes.

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

Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your crew is new to a particular region or training other crew. Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.

Accommodation on Tour

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

The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary depending on what options are available in each of the areas we travel through and the nightstops on our routes; The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses.

Equally, the type and standard of hotel accommodation will vary greatly depending on what is available in the area; hotels can vary from very basic multi-share rooms without electricity or running water all the way to high standard hotels with good facilities!

One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp; this allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, this allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.

Back to top ^

The Kitty

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

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

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not in hotels)

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

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

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

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

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

Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders are experiencing frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept TCs on our trips. As an alternative, in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines and use either a cash passport or a debit card.

Back to top ^

Meals and Group Participation

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

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

Back to top ^

Dietary Requirements

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

Back to top ^

Itineraries

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

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

• Local contacts we have built up over 33 years of experience

Back to top ^

British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

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

However we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. Check to ensure that no travel warning is invalidating your travel insurance Here are a few useful addresses:

UK  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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

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

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

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

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

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

Yellow Fever

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

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

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

Get expert advice before travelling about types of malaria pills and take them as instructed. Recommended types do change from time to time and from area to area. Consult your GP / travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements.

Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya are continuing to spread and becoming a bigger problem around the world. Bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available.

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

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

Back to top ^

Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest advice on the region(s) you are planning to travel in so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel.

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

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

Back to top ^

Safety & Security

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

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

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

Back to top ^

Transport Safety

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

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

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

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

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells

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

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

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver

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

Road Safety

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

• In many countries vehicles do not automatically stop at crossings.

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

Back to top ^

Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

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

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

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

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

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

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

• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under Western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care.

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

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

Fire Safety – Campsites

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

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

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

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

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

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

• Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents.

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

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

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

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

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

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

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

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

• When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group. Food Safety We prepare many meals during the tour and our crew are hygiene trained; however, some general tips can help in order to avoid the possibility of stomach upsets;

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Restaurant Food: This is grassroots travel and many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the Western World. Unfortunately this is part of travel in these regions. Therefore think carefully about what food you order and be aware of the risks.

Back to top ^

Personal Safety

One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise you to leave any valuable jewellery, watches, etc, at home. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow:

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

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

• Avoid carrying too much money.

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

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

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

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

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

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

Back to top ^

 

Activity Safety & Optional Activities

You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included, whilst others are optional (i.e. hiking The Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas). These require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip to its fullest.

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

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

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

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

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

Optional Activities

A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This is not an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. 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.

Back to top ^

Insurance

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

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

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

Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas.

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

Emergency Contact

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

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

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

Back to top ^

Luggage & Kit List

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

The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats (except on routes between Nairobi and Cape Town where ground mats are provided).

The clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats*, so you'll need to bring those with you. Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to- there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember that even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.

IMPORTANT: Ground mats are provided on all of our overland trips that run in South and East Africa, between Nairobi and Cape Town. This includes our Family trips between Nairobi and Cape Town.

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

• Sleeping bag* - Check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months.

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

• Ground mat or compressed foam*

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

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

• 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship

• 2 pairs of shorts

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking

• 1 pair of sunglasses

• Warm sweater/fleeces

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood

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

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops

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

• Swimwear

• 2 small towels

• Washing kit, including a small mirror

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

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

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

• Good water bottle at least 1 litre

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

• Alarm clock

• Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

• Writing materials & notebook/diary

• Multi purpose knife.

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

• "Wet Ones" (moistened tissues) and hand gel

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

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

• Extra batteries for your camera / phone etc as there are only limited opportunities to recharge. For a comprehensive kit list take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. You will receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click to see the kit lists http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/c/381/Overland

 

*For trips with camping nights

Back to top ^

Personal Medical Kit

All of our trucks have a fully stocked medical kit onboard for use in emergency situations only. Therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit. In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce the Dragoman Travel Medical Kit. It has been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contains everything you would need for any minor accidents. For more details please visit their website:

http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/pharmacy

Back to top ^

Passports

Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of the trip - this is important as some countries WILL refuse entry to anyone whose passport is due to expire. A temporary or "visitor's” passport is not valid on our trips. You will need to provide us with your passport details prior to departing for you trip. If you change your passport please remember to inform us.

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

Continuing Your Trip

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

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

Responsible Tourism

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

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

Back to top ^

Water

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

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

Back to top ^

Electrical Equipment

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

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

Back to top ^

A Few Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups. It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special. The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes or abuse children. Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession, if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence, without a refund of the trip price.

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

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^

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

Back to top ^

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.

Back to top ^