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Rio De Janeiro to Quito

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. This incredible trip starts in the iconic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, home to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Our journey begins by heading down the coast and to the atmospheric colonial town of Paraty, famed for its magical tropical islands and world-class diving. We'll then head inland to our amazing package of activities in the wildlife-packed wetlands of the southern Pantanal, before we continue on to the eco-tourism and outdoor activity capital of Brazil - the wonderful town of Bonito. Here we have the chance to take many optional activities such as snorkelling through the crystal-clear waters of the surrounding rivers. Finally we head south to one of South America's most impressive highlights - the mighty Iguazu Falls - and you'll get to see these colossal waterfalls from both sides of the border. We then drive south into the often-overlooked but fantastic country of Uruguay, where we will stay at a traditional estancia, see the rugged coastline of Santa Teresa, visit the buzzing capital of Montevideo and wander the cobbled streets of the sleepy colonial town of Colonia. We then make our way back into Argentina, and arrive in the cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires. Heading north from Buenos Aires, we arrive at a very special highlight of this trip - our unique estancia stay for two days of horse riding on an idyllic country ranch. After this we head north across the pampas and into the wine regions and highlands of northwest Argentina, arriving at the wonderful town of Salta. From here we cross the mighty Andes to the incredible Atacama Deserts of Chile, then overland across the other-worldly scenery of the Bolivian Altiplano to the town of Uyuni. Uyuni is our base for our visit to one of the continent's most spectacular natural wonders - the phenomenal salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. From here we will drive north via the famous mining town of Potosí to the hectic Bolivian city of La Paz. From La Paz we will continue to the serene shores of Lake Titicaca and its sacred Inca island of Isla del Sol, and then move on to the traveller's paradise of Cuzco. 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. From Lima we head north into the spectacular Andean town of Huaraz, then to the ruined Moche city of Chan Chan, before arriving on the idyllic beaches of Punta Sal. We then explore the stunning towns, highlands and jungles of Ecuador before visiting the buzzing capital of Quito. Join us for this unforgettable South American adventure!

Latin America

Duration: 88 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Community Project Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158375
Starts: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Finishes: Copacabana, Bolivia
You will visit
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Paraty
  • Brotas
  • Campo Grande
  • Southern Pantanal
  • Bonito
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Yapeyú
  • Tacuarembo
  • Santa Teresa National Park
  • Montevideo
  • Colonia
  • Buenos Aires
  • Las Cañas
  • Cordoba
  • Rio Ceballos
  • Quilmes Ruins
  • Tafí Del Valle
  • Cafayate
  • Salta
  • Purmamarca
  • San Pedro De Atacama
  • Bolivian Altiplano
  • Uyuni
  • Salar De Uyuni
  • Livichuco
  • La Paz
  • Copacabana

Itinerary

01

Day 1-2: 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 (IATA code: RIO/GTG).

Welcome to the iconic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The following day will be a free day to explore this marvellous city and take part in some optional activities.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Rio de Janeiro before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Rio de Janeiro.

In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, close to the beach and the metro station.

02

Day 3-5: Paraty

Today our journey begins with a short drive to the colonial town of Paraty on the Emerald Coast of the Atlantic!

Estimated Drive Time - 4 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 our first full day in Paraty, we will have an included boat trip around the incredible islands and beaches off the coast. 

On our second day, we will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.

In Paraty we wil camp at a well equipped campsite.

03

Day 6: Brotas

Today we will drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeastern Brazil.

In Brotas we will stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

04

Day 7: Campo Grande

Today we will start driving west towards the Southern Pantanal, and wild camp towards the end of the day somewhere close to the city of Campo Grande.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

05

Day 8-9: Southern Pantanal

Today we have an early start to meet our guide in Campo Grande, and then drive on to Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal region, where we have a visit a local eco-tourism ranch (or 'fazenda').

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

We will spend 2 nights here and have a comprehensive package of included activities such as exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside on horseback, trips down the wildlife-abundant rivers in boats and canoes, and safaris on the ranch's trucks and on foot where we hope to spot capybaras, caimans, and (if we are very lucky) jaguars and ocelots. Our stay here is an incredible highlight!

In the Southern Pantanal we will stay in dorm accommodation in a well equipped lodge with all the meals and activities included.

06

Day 10-12: Bonito

After our morning activities and one final lunch in our beautiful ranch, it is time to leave the Pantanal and drive to the Brazilian eco-tourism capital of Bonito.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We have two full days in Bonito to take part in the plethora of incredible optional activities here. You could go out on a world-class snorkelling trip, explore the nearby caves, or go abseiling down some of the largest waterfalls in the area, amongst many other possibilities!

In Bonito we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel with a pool and good facilities.

07

Day 13-15: Foz do Iguasu

Today we have a full drive day south to the city of Foz do Iguacu.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

The following day we will visit the Brazilian side of the phenomenal Iguazu Falls, to get some incredible panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also plenty of time to visit the bird park, take a helicopter ride over the falls, see the incredible Itaipu Dam, or quickly stop into Paraguay to pick up some bargains in the nearcy Ciudad del Este.

On the following day we will take a day trip into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point). We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!

We will return to our base in Foz do Iguacu tonight.

In Foz do Iguacu we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel out of town, with good facilities and a pool.

08

Day 16: Foz do Iguaçu

Border information: if you are finishing in Foz do Iguaçu, you will most likely exit Brazil at Foz do Iguaçu Cataratas International Airport (IATA code: IGU).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Foz do Iguaçu. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

09

Day 17-18: Foz do Iguaçu

Border information: if you are joining in Foz do Iguaçu, you will most likely enter Brazil at Foz do Iguaçu Cataratas International Airport (IATA code: IGU).

There will be an important group meeting at 9:00am at the joining site - please look out at the reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

After the meeting we will visit the Brazilian side of the phenomenal Iguazu Falls, to get some incredible panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also plenty of time to visit the bird park, take a helicopter ride over the falls, see the incredible Itaipu Dam, or quickly stop into Paraguay to pick up some bargains in the nearcy Ciudad del Este.

On the following day we will take a day trip into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point). We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!

We will return to our base in Foz do Iguaçu tonight.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Foz do Iguaçu before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Foz do Iguaçu.

In Foz do Iguaçu we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel out of town, with good facilities and a pool.

10

Day 19: Yapeyu

Border information: exit Brazil at Tancredo Neves, enter Argentina at Tancredo Neves.

Today we will leave Iguazu and head to the Argentine town of Yapeyú. This small town was the birthplace of General Jose de San Martin, one of the principal leaders of several South American countries' struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. 

In Yapeyú we will stay in a basic campsite on the shores of Rio Uruguay.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 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!).

11

Day 20-21: Tacuarembo

Border information: exit Argentina at Salto Grande, enter Uruguay at Salto Grande.

Today we cross into Uruguay and head to the Tacuarembo area - the traditional gaucho land of Uruguay. We will spend 2 nights in an authentic estancia to learn about the gaucho way of living. We will have a chance to learn how to prepare typical food from the area (and of course taste it!) and also enjoy some traditional music.

In Tacuarembo we will camp in the grounds of an estancia.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

12

Day 22-24: Santa Teresa National Park

We head to the Atlantic coast and the Santa Teresa National Park close to the town of Punta del Diablo.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

The following day is a free day for optional activities such as exploring, hiking, relaxing on the beach, or wildlife spotting at the nearby Laguna Negra. The park’s star attraction is the impressive star-shaped hilltop fortress, Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, begun by the Portuguese in 1762 and finished by the Spaniards after its capture in 1793.

On our second full day here we have an included excursion to Cabo Polonio, one of Uruguay's hidden gems. Cabo Polonio sits on the tip of a moon-sliver shaped peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean. The region has no electricity or running water for the few hundred houses. The principal attraction is the natural reserve of sea lions and the mobile sand dunes. The village is accessible only by walking through the dunes or by 4x4 vehicles (transport by 4x4s is included in the trip). 

In Santa Teresa National Park we will camp in the national park.

13

Day 25-26: Montevideo

Today we will head south to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

The following day will be free to explore Montevideo. The city has a mix of historical buildings and modern architechture and a main feature of the city is the Rambla (waterfront promenade) where locals frequently go for a stroll to drink their mate. Mate is the traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink sipped through a straw, particularly popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.

In Montevideo we will stay in a comfortable hotel. 

14

Day 27: Colonia

This morning we head to Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest and most picturesque towns in Uruguay and a Unesco World Heritage site. The afternoon is free to explore the charming narrow cobbled streets of the Barrio Histórico and the pretty riverfront. 

In Colonia we will stay in a lovely hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

15

Day 28-29: Buenos Aires

Border information: exit Uruguay at Puente General San Martin, enter Argentina at Puente General San Martin.

This morning we go to visit the El Anglo Industrial Museum in Fray Bentos. This is the disused once-famous meatpacking factory called 'the kitchen of the world'. At its peak in the first half of the twentieth century, the factory employed 4,000 people a day to slaughter 6,000 animals from all over the continent. The meat was exported all over the world, but mostly to Britain. The tour will take you through the slaughterhouses, kitchens and meatpacking rooms and introduce you to the rich history of this factory and the story of globalisation and of the industrialisation of our food production. El Anglo is currently a candidate for Unesco World Heritage status.

In the afternoon we cross back into Argentina and drive to the wonderful capital city of Buenos Aires.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

The following day is a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.

In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally located hotel.

16

Day 30: Buenos Aires

Border information: if you are finishing in Buenos Aires, you will most likely exit Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code: BUE/EZE).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Buenos Aires. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team if you would like to arrange some extra nights of accommodation here after your trip.

17

Day 31-32: Buenos Aires

Border information: if you are joining in Buenos Aires, you will most likely enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also commonly known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code: BUE/EZE).

Welcome to Buenos Aires, the wonderful capital of Argentina! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The following day is a free day to explore the incredible city, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Buenos Aires before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Buenos Aires.

In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

18

Day 33: Cordoba

Today we will have a full day drive to the lively university city of Cordoba.

In Cordoba we will stay in a hostel close to the city centre.

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!).

19

Day 34-36: Rio Ceballos

Today we will have a free morning to explore Cordoba, before driving to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia after lunch, where we will stay for 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding, taste the excellent wines produced by their vineyards, be entertained by a local musician, learn some of the skills of the gauchos, and enjoy a traditional asado (Argentine BBQ). This isa magical experience in a beautiful and atmospheric location, and many people's highlight of the trip!

Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.

In the Estancia we will camp with facilities in the grounds near the main house.

20

Day 37: Quilmes Ruins

Today we will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains, stopping near the town of Tafí del Valle, near the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes. 

Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite in the town of Tafí del Valle.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

21

Day 38: Cafayate

Today we will have an included visit to the Quilmes Ruins en route, then arrive in the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentina's principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!

In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

22

Day 39: Salta

Today we wil drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach our campsite in Cabra Corral, a small village south of Salta where we have the opportunity to go rafting or zip-lining!

Tonight we will camp at the rafting base in Cabra Corral.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

23

Day 40-41: Salta

Today we will have a short drive to the beautiful town of Salta, with a free afternoon to explore upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

On th following day, we will have a free day to explore the town of Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.

In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guesthouse.

24

Day 42: Purmamarca

Today we will have some more free time in Salta before heading up to the small village of Purmamarca, at the base of the aptly-named 'Hill of the Seven Colours'

In Purmamarca we will camp at a local campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

25

Day 43-44: San Pedro De Atacama

Border information: Exit Argentina at Paso Jama, enter Chile at Paso Jama.

Today we will have a long drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Chile, and then descend all the way into the Atacama desert.

Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).

In San Pedro de Atacama we will stay in a centrally located hostel.

26

Day 45: Bolivian Altiplano

Border information: Exit Chile at San Pedro de Atacama, enter Bolivia at Uyuni.

Today we will climb back up into the deserts and cross the Bolivian border into the wilds of the Bolivian altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way to the town of Uyuni. We will visit the spectacular coloured lakes of Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde en route.

In the Bolivian Altiplano we will stay in a basic mountain refuge.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

27

Day 46: Uyuni

Today we will have an early start to complete our epic crossing of the Bolivian altiplano, and reach the town of Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.

In Uyuni we will stay in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world!

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

28

Day 47: Salar De Uyuni

Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!

29

Day 48: Livichuco

This morning we will head to the small community of Livichuco for an overnight stay in this small Andean village - an amazing opportunity to experience an area of Bolivia that few tourists ever will.

In Livichuco we will stay in very basic shared accommodation.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

30

Day 49: La Paz

Today we will lave Livichuco and drive north to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! We will have a free afternoon to explore the fascinating city on arrival.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

31

Day 50: La Paz

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in La Paz. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

32

Day 51: La Paz

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

Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in La Paz before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring La Paz.

In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.

33

Day 52: Copacabana

Today we will head to the beautiful town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we will have some time to freely explore.

In Copacabana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 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!).

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Take a boat trip out of Paraty, exploring the stunning islands and beaches and swimming in the idyllic warm water of the sparkling blue ocean
    • Take an unforgettable 2-night fully-inclusive package from our eco-lodge in the Southern Pantanal, where we will go out on jeep safaris, canoe expeditions, boat rides, horse back trails, and enjoy a BBQ night with local music and dancing
    • Visit the phenomenal Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side, where you can get the closest views of Garganta del Diablo and explore the web of nature trails around the area's forests and waterfalls
    • See the mighty Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, enjoying the incredble panorama of waterfalls and exploring the beauty of the area
    • Visit the phenomenal Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side, where you can get the closest views of Garganta del Diablo and explore the web of nature trails around the area's forests and waterfalls
    • See the mighty Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, enjoying the incredble panorama of waterfalls and exploring the beauty of the area
    • Enjoy an incredible 2-night stay at a traditional Uruguayan farm to gain a fascinating insight into the lives of the gauchos, take part in a cooking demonstration, and go to an evening of traditional local music
    • Take a day trip across the phenomenal sand dunes to the remote settlement of Cabo Polonio, and explore its dramatic coastlines and beaches
    • Learn all about the fascinating history of the once-world-famous Fray Bentos meat factory on a guided tour, at one time the pride of Uruguayan industry which fell into decline after nationalisation and the formation of the European Common Market
    • Spend 3 special days at a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, to experience the gaucho way of living and see the beautiful countryside by horseback
    • Explore the atmospheric ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes in north west Argentina
    • Visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo' en route through the primaeval landscape of the Quebrada de las Conchas
    • Explore the dramatic, other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley, and take in an incredible sunset from one of its high viewpoints
    • Take the epic journey across the southern Bolivian altiplano - an incredible high-altitude, off-road adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations, hot springs, and the phenomenal coloured lakes of Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
    • Take a full day tour out in jeeps to the dazzling Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats - the spectacular, perfectly-flat salt plains that are one of South America's most incredible sights
    • Stay as guests of the local Andean community of Livichuco, and get an insight into the life of rural Bolivians in an area largely untouched by other tourists
    Accomodation
    • 45% Camping - 55% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Overland Journey
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