SANTIAGO to QUITO (53 days) Andes & Amazon
Starting in Santiago with the snowcapped Andes as the city's backdrop, head north through Argentina's wine country into Bolivia and up into its vast altiplano with the eerir yet majestic Salt Flats and the complex and mysterious indigenous culture of the locals. Cross into Peru and stay with a local family on Lake Titicaca before following in the footsteps of the Incas on the famous trail to Machu Picchu. Through Lima follow the coast north and check out the surf scene on Peru's northern beaches before delving into the Amazon basin and seeing the rainforest and its wildlife up close at a unique jungle lodge. Finish in Quito, the 'City of Eternal Spring', surrounded by volcanic peaks. Throw in a few adrenaline activities, like sandboarding in the Peruvian desert, the wine country of northern Argentina, some bustling colonial towns, and cosmopolitan Santiago and Lima with their great bars and restaurants and you've got a varied and packed adventure that gives you a genuine taste of South America!
Days 1 to 8
Cafayate and Mendoza, - wine growing region visiting wineries by bicycle in the Andes.
Days 9 to 16
Salta - founded over 400 years ago and a great place for live music, mountain biking, mountain trekking, horse riding and river rafting.
Humahuaca Canyon and Purmamarca
Tupiza - follow in the steps of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Uyuni Salt Lake - take a 1 day excursion out onto the vast salt flats.
Potosi - the opportunity to enter a working silver & tin mine where techniques have remained unchanged for centuries.
Altiplano - drive across this wild and barren landscape.
Days 17 to 19
La Paz - highest capital city in the world, visit the colourful witches market!
Floating reed islands - home to the Uros Indians - explore Titicaca by boat & spend a night with one of the local families.
Puno - Lake Titicaca - the world's highest navigable lake at 3800 metres.
Days 20 to 26
Cuzco (our base for the next week)
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu - 4 day hike on the Lares, Classic or Salcantay trail.
Machu Picchu - finally on day 4 we reach the famous UNESCO World Heritage site - entrance and guide included.
Traverse mountainous passes of nearly 5000 mtrs within sight of active volcanoes
Days 27 to 35
Colca Canyon - accompanied by a local guide, you have the opportunity to view the majestic condors, which can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.
Arequipa - a magnificent colonial city with authentic Peruvian nightlife.
Ascend the Andes mountain range and drive past grazing Llama, Alpaca and Vicuna
Chauchilla Cemetery - ancient eerie tombs.
Nazca Lines - huge figures and shapes carved into the stony desert, best viewed from the air.
Dune Buggies & Sandboarding on the giant dunes out in the desert. BBQ and camp overnight under the stars.
Ica Desert & Oasis of Huacachina - visit a local winery & taste Pisco, the national drink.
Ballestas Islands - a boat trip takes us close to the Islands which are bursting with exotic & rare marine wildlife.
Lima - the capital city with many plazas and museums and great local seafood (Ceviche).
Days 36 to 44
Chan Chan & Temple of Sun and Moon - built by the pre-Inca Chimu Kings, the largest mud brick city in the world.
Pacific Ocean coast - Punta Sal/Mancora, chill out by the beach or perhaps have a go at surfing the waves.
Cuenca - UNESCO World Heritage site.
Banos - a spa town where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths and hike the various mountain trails by foot or horseback plus the opportunity to go canyoning!
Days 45 to 53
Rio Napo - gateway into the steamy Amazon Jungle - by motorised canoe we access our jungle camp where we spend two or three nights to view the exotic wildlife - our guide will show us examples of medicinal, edible and hallucinogenic plants.
Otavalo - a small market town famous for its colourful arts & crafts.
Crossing the Equator we arrive into Quito, the capital.
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