Company : Oasis Overland
Duration: 4 weeks to 2 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 1250 £ Pound (UK)
Travel and take a tour exploring Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.
Travel and take a tour exploring Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.
Explore the dense Amazon Jungle and follow the footsteps of the Incas to the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. Stay overnight with a local family on Lake Titicaca and experience the vastness of the uninhabited Salt Flats of Uyuni. An unforgettable and action packed adventure through some of the most diverse landscapes in South America.
Days 1 to 4
Leaving Chile's capital, Santiago - a very modern, well-run city - we head for the Pacific coastline and relax at a beach campsite near to La Serena for a day. Then rejoining the Pan American highway, we enter the Atacama Desert and head for our next destination on our Andes to Amazon overland tour, the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama surrounded by the Valley of the Moon, salt lakes, volcanoes, geysers and Stone Age dwellings. From the desert, our ascent through the Andean passes is spectacular - with dozens of volcanic peaks all over 5000m, leading us to the attractive colonial city of Salta in Argentina, a hub for overland travel.
October to April - Leaving Chile's capital, Santiago, we begin our Argentina overland travel towards the Andes - past the Inca Bridge and San Martin's pass. Continuing north, we join Route 40, the longest route in Argentina, to Mendoza. Our Argentinean overland journey then takes us to the attractive colonial city of Salta where we have a couple of days to go horse riding, mountain biking, mountain trekking or river rafting.
Days 5 to 10
Heading overland from Argentina, we venture into Bolivia where you will notice the difference as paved roads become non-existent and locals still follow tradition, wearing bright woollen clothes and bowler hats. Quite a contrast is the shimmering white Uyuni Salt Lake. It is possible to venture out into the salt lakes for a 1 day excursion. With no roads and only vague tracks to follow it makes for an unforgettable overland experience.
Days 11 to 16
Continuing north we arrive in Potosi which at over 4000m, it is the highest city of its size in the world and 400 years ago it was the largest city in all the Americas. Vast amounts of silver were extracted from Potosi and shipped to Spain. There are tours to the mines and it is still clear to see that, unfortunately, working conditions here have hardly improved over the centuries. The adventurous among us will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines with a local guide. The less adventurous can visit the ancient mint or take a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) which will provide a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. The history and past colonial splendour make Potosi a fascinating place to visit on an overland trip to the Andes & Amazon. A tortuous drive across the Altiplano, where Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a sparse living from their small plots of land in this harsh climate, brings us to La Paz. It's the highest capital city in the world and is built on a steep slope that falls away from the Altiplano. La Paz is a great place to visit on an overland trip to the Amazon, be sure to stop in at a 'pena' club, where live bands entertain us with Andean folk music.
Days 17 to 19
Leaving La Paz we head to a Peru tour highlight - Puno. Nestling on the shores of Lake Titicaca it is a friendly, well-kept place and much calmer than the hustle and bustle of La Paz. A must visit attraction on any Peru tour, Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake at 3800m, it is also the original home of the Uros Indians who have made their dwellings on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time in these local communities on a Peru tour will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs.
Days 20 to 26
Continuing on our Peru tour, from Lake Titicaca we drive on very good sealed roads through some spectacular scenery as we make our way to Cuzco, the outdoors capital of Peru and our base for the next 6 days. This gives us enough time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. There are several treks which you can take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative Inca Trail treks such as the Salkantay or Lares can be arranged when the Classic is not available or by your choice (must be pre-arranged at time of booking). Tours to Machu Picchu are absolutely unbelievable; a trip to this City in the Clouds is an ancient and awe-inspiring part of our South America travel tour.
Days 27 to 31
From here, we continue west on our Peru tour, passing herds of llama, alpacas and unspoilt Andean villages as we head towards the world's deepest canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome spectacle. Here you have the option, accompanied by a local guide, of a one day excursion to view Condors circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor. On your trip into the canyon you can overnight in the town of Chivay. Because it was isolated for so many years, customs and dress have changed relatively little, which gives a rare glimpse of what life in the Andes would have been like during colonial times. From here we begin dropping down out of the Andes as we head to Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city set at the foot of the impressive El Misti Volcano.
Days 32 to 35
We then camp on the beach on our way to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries and a Peru tour highlight - The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the stony desert are best viewed from the air. Following the Coastal Highway, the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve is our next stop. Here we take a boat trip to view one of the most important marine reserves in the world with one of the highest concentrations of rare and exotic sea birds and sea mammals. Further up the coast is Peru's capital city, Lima. On this stop on your overland trip to the Amazon you'll encounter both abundant wealth and grinding poverty, modern skyscrapers next to some of the finest museums and historical monuments in Latin America.
Days 36 to 40
Continuing north along the coast we reach the Chan Chan ruins, the imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu Kings which the Incas later conquered - claimed to be the largest mud brick city in the world. Nearing the border with Ecuador we have a couple of relaxing days camping on the beach at Punta Sal before our tour of Peru comes to an end.
Days 41 to 46
You will see an almost immediate change from the dry, barren desert of Peru through sub-tropical forest to the fertile farming country of highland Ecuador. We reach the outdoors mecca of Banos, a spa town nestled at the foot of a volcano, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths. On this stop of our overland Amazon trip you can hike, mountain bike or horse-ride to one of the surrounding waterfalls including El Pailon del Diablo. For the more adventurous there is the option to go canyoning down one of the many rivers in the area.
Days 47 to 53
On the final leg of our overland trip, we descend to the lowlands and the steamy edge of the Amazon basin to the town of Tena, gateway to the Amazon jungle. Here, accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot this exotic environment for two days and you also have the chance to go whitewater rafting on the rapids of the Rio Napo. Returning to higher altitudes and mountain scenery, we visit the town of Otavalo, famous for its colourful crafts market. Finally we cross the Equator, just 25km's south of Quito and discover how Ecuador got its name, before ending our journey in the capital of Ecuador, Quito.
Trip Price: £2145.00 + Local Payment: US$1,240.00
Departures in April
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