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Rio De Janeiro to Lima
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Overlanding is the best way to see South America by far! Dragoman have been leading the way in South American overland expeditions since 1990, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading to some unique hidden gems, well away from the usual tourist trail. Beginning in the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro on Brazil's Atlantic coast, this unique and pioneering trip from Dragoman cuts through the interior of the vast country of Brazil and continues into Peru. Our first stop is the old mining district of Minas Gerais, full of colonial history and grand churches telling of the local gold rush, slavery, and the Inconfidência Mineira, an important early attempt to break free from colonial rule. We then then head to the staggeringly-beautiful Chapada dos Guimarães National Park and explore its stunning scenery, table-top mountains, ravines, caves, streams and waterfalls - it's a paradise for walkers and nature lovers. Next we head to the northern Pantanal, one of the world's largest tropical wetland areas, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species. Even more famous than the Pantanal is of course the Amazon, and we will head overland into south-eastern Peru exploring one of the most untouched stretches of the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Then we climb up into the high Andes and to the traveller's paradise of Cuzco, once the capital of the Inca Empire. Cuzco is our base for one of South America's best highlights, the Inca Trails and a visit to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu. We then head across the highlands of Peru to the Pacific coast via the breathtaking Colca Canyon and the colonial city of Arequipa. We overland to the mysterious Nazca Lines, head to the magical dunes of Huacachina, and arrive in the chaotic Peruvian capital of Lima. Join us for this unforgettable South American adventure!

Latin America

Duration: 41 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Boating Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158359
Starts: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Finishes: Lima, Peru
You will visit
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Ouro Preto
  • Brasilia
  • Barra Do Garças
  • Chapada Dos Guimarães
  • Northern Pantanal
  • Vila Bela da Santíssima Trindade
  • Rondônia State
  • Xapuri
  • Puerto Maldonado
  • Peruvian Amazon
  • Posada Amazonas
  • Quince Mil
  • Cuzco
  • Inca Trail
  • Sacred Valley
  • Machu Picchu
  • Raqchi
  • Chivay
  • Arequipa
  • Puerto Inca
  • Nazca
  • Huacachina
  • Paracas
  • Ballestas Islands
  • Lima

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro

Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely enter Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.

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

Please note that the trip will leave Rio de Janeiro tomorrow morning, so we suggest you might fly to Rio de Janeiro at least a day earlier if you want to visit any sites in the city.

In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the Flamengo region of the city.

02

Day 2-3: Ouro Preto

Today we have a full day's drive inland to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto. En route we will stop at the village of Congonhas to see the famous 'Twelve Prophets' statues built by the local sculptor Aleijandinho.

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

On the following day we will have free time to explore the town, and discover its cobblestone streets and stunning Baroque churches. We can also make an optional trip to one of the fascinating mines in and around town.

In Ouro Preto we will stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel.

03

Day 4-5: Brasilia

Today we will have an early start for a full day's drive to Brasilia, the country's capital. 

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

On the following day, we will explore the city's fascinating architecture on a guided tour. Designed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950s, the city was a landmark in the history of city planning - it is a very bizarre and interesting place to explore, quite unlike anywhere else in South America.

04

Day 6: Barra Do Garças

Today we set off west towards Chapada dos Guimarães, anstunning overland journey of almost 1000km in total.

Tonight we will wild camp en route, probably without facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

05

Day 7-9: Chapada Dos Guimarães

Today we complete our drive to Chapada dos Guimarães, and meet with our local guide who will be with us for the next 10 days!

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

We will then have 2 full days of hiking around the stunning landscapes of Chapada dos Guimarães. We will follow the popular waterfall trail, visiting natural pools and incredible viewpoints along the way - the highlight is the Véu de Noivas ('Bridal Veil') waterfall, one of the postcard views of the Chapada. We will also hike around the Rio Claro valley and visit the Cidade de Pedra look-out point.

In Chapada dos Guimarães, we will camp in a well equipped campsite.

06

Day 10-12: Northern Pantanal

Today we will have an early start from Chapada dos Guimarães and drive to Poconé, the gateway to the northern Pantanal region. From here we will start our trip along the Transpantaneira road, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife along the way.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

Over the next 2 days in the Pantanal, we will explore the flora and fauna of these vast wetlands on foot and horseback, as well as in boats and our overland vehicle. We will be in search of the area's incredible array of wildlife on a flexible itinerary with our expert local guides.

In the Pantanal, we will stay in lodges with all the food included.

07

Day 13-14: Vila Bela da Santíssima Trindade

After breakfast we will leave the Pantanal and have a full day's drive to the village of Vila Bela da Santíssima Trinidade.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

On the following day we will go a boat trip on the Guaporé River in search of wildlife and bird-life including capybara, anacondas, and most impressive of all the pink dolphins in the river. We will also explore the beautiful colonial town of Vila Bela, and learn how the local Marroon community came about from the local tribes and fugitive slaves. We then take a boat down the river visiting a number of small-hold farms to learn about the livestock, crops, fruit trees, and vegetables that they grow.

In Vila Bela da Santíssima Trinidade we will camp in a well equipped campsite.

08

Day 15-16: Rondônia State

Today we will say goodbye to our local guide, and embark on 2 days of driving the 1800kms north towards the Peruvian border. 

We will wild camp en route, probably without facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours each day.

09

Day 17: Xapuri

Today is our final full day in Brazil, as we drive to the far western border town of Xapuri.

In Xapuri we stay the night in a local pousada (traveller's guesthouse).

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

10

Day 18-19: Puerto Maldonado

Border information: exit Brazil at Assis, enter Peru at Iñapari.

Today we cross from Brazil over the Rio Acre and enter Peru. Once through border formalities, we drive on to Puerto Maldonado, the base of our upcoming expedition into the Peruvian Amazon.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours, including the border crossing.

The following day we will have free time to explore the interesting town of Puerto Maldonado.

In Puerto Maldonado we will stay in a small locally-run hotel.

11

Day 20-22: Posada Amazonas

Today we will head 20kms from Puerto Maldonado to the Tambopata River port, where we will take a 45-minute boat transfer to our jungle lodge at Posada Amazonas where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

During our time here, we will enjoy a full schedule of activities to explore the phenomenal Amazon region of Peru. This will include a walk to the scaffolding canopy tower where you can enjoy spectacular views of the forest and the Tambopata River, a visit to the Tres Chimbadas Lake to look for the resident family of giant river otters and other lakeside wildlife, and an ethnobotanical tour to learn about the traditional ways of using plants as medicines. At night there's also an option of going for a hike in the forest, a time when most mammals are active but rarely seen so expect to use your ears more than your eyes! One of the mornings we will visit a 'Parrot Clay Lick', where if it's a clear morning you have the chance to see dozens of parrots and parakeets descend to ingest the clay on a river bank. We will also go on a guided hike in the forest, learning about the natural history of the rainforest, and visit one of the farms in the community of Infierno and learn about the different Amazonian crops grown here.

In Posada Amazonas we will stay in a jungle lodge, with all meals included.

12

Day 23: Quince Mil

This morning we depart Posada Amazonas and drive onwards towards the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. We will break the journey in the town of Quince Mil, just before we head up into the mighty Andes.

In Quince Mil we will stay in a simple local farmstead guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

13

Day 24: Cuzco

Today we will complete our drive to the amazing town of Cuzco, once the centre of the Inca Empire.

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel in the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

14

Day 25: Cuzco

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

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

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

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

15

Day 26-29: Inca Trail

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

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

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

16

Day 30: Machu Picchu

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

17

Day 31: Cuzco

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

18

Day 32: Raqchi

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

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

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

19

Day 33: Chivay

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

In Chivay we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

20

Day 34: Chivay

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

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

In Arequipa we will stay in a good local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

21

Day 35: Arequipa

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

22

Day 36: Puerto Inca

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

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

23

Day 37: Nazca

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

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

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

24

Day 38: Huacachina

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

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

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

25

Day 39: Paracas

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

We will wild camp in the National Park tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

26

Day 40: Ballestas Islands

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

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

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

27

Day 41:: Lima

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

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

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit the village of Congonhas near Ouro Preto and see the remarkable statues of the Twelve Prophets by Aleijadinho, an accomplished sculptor who worked depsite losing his hands to leprosy
    • Head out on a guided tour of the bizarre capital of Brasilia, a realisation of a 1950s vision of the future - includes a visit to the cathedral, the central plazas, and the memorial to the former president Juscelino Kubitschek
    • Head out on 2 full days of trekking around the spectacular landscapes, caverns and waterfalls of Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park
    • Enjoy an incredible 3-night stay in the heart of Brazil's Northern Pantanal wetlands, including a full package of boat trips, 4x4 safaris, horse rides, and kayak trips through this idyllic wildlife haven
    • Take a guided tour of the interesting town of Vila Bela to visit the local Maroon communities, and explore the River Guapore by boat in search of pink river dolphins
    • Head out on a fantastic 3-night stay deep in the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet - here we will embark on a full package of educational rainforest walks, wildlife spotting, boat trips, and visits to the remote communities of the area
    • Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details): Option 1 - Community Trek Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists and through local communities, on our exclusive Community Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty. Option 2 - Classic Trek Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options. Option 3 - MAPI non-trekking option Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a substantial refund from kitty. Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the MAPI non-trekking option, otherwise you will automatically be booked onto our Community Trek.
    • Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsaywaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour
    • Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo
    • Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of time to freely explore before returning to Cuzco
    • Stay at an incredible Quechua homestay with local families in Raqchi, taking part in a traditional religious ceremony and visiting a community crafts project in the village
    • Take a guided visit to the ruins of the Inca Temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi
    • Visit the phenomenal Colca Conyon and search for the native Andean Condors that fly through its spectacular scenery
    • Visit the incredible ancient Nazca sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the nearby Cahuachi Pyramid
    • Explore the haunting wilderness of the Paracas National Park on the Pacific coast of Peru
    • Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, and see their colossal colony of resident seals and seabirds
    Accomodation
    • 30% Camping - 70% Hotels
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