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The Great South American Journey–Quito to Fortaleza
SAVE UP TO 20% on this tour

How do you possibly sum up an epic 73-day adventure throughout the entire continent of South America? From a unique homestay in the Amazon, to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, glittering Buenos Aires nightlife, the majesty of Iguassu Falls, and the mystery of Nazca, this massive tour is the perfect introduction to a whole (and incredibly exciting) portion of the world. Take this South America journey with a group of similar adventurers to yourself and be reminded why you started travelling in the first place.

Latin America
  • Duration: 73 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Wildlife, Parks & Nature Reserves, Trekking, Hiking, History, Local Culture & Cuisine
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Not Rated%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 154234
  • Starts: Quito, Ecuador
  • Finishes: Fortaleza, Brazil
You will Visit
  • Quito
  • Fortaleza

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Quito

Spend the first day of your trip wandering Ecuador's capital city. Meet the group in the evening at the hotel.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

02

Day 2: Quito/Tena (1B, 1L, 1D)

Travel overland to Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer for 45 minutes by truck to the local community of Pimpilala that will be our home for three nights. Stay with a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.

Included Activities:
Amazon Jungle Homestay

Transport:
Local bus (6.00-7.00 hours)

03

Day 3: Tena

Head out on nature walks and learn about local traditions at an overnight homestay.

Included Activities:
Amazon Jungle Homestay

04

Day 5: Tena/Baños (1B)

Baños is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate.

Transport:
Pickup truck (0.75 hour(s))
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)

05

Day 6: Baños

Opt to soak in the nearby hot springs or get active by hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking.

06

Day 7: Baños/Cuenca

Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca, retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit national parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside, and see Ecuador's only Inca ruin site.

Explore the city's sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums.

Transport:
Local bus (2.00 hour(s))
Local bus (6.00 hour(s))

07

Day 8: Cuenca

Enjoy a free day to visit Cajas NP or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca.

08

Day 9: Cuenca/Máncora

The adventure continues as we travel from Cuenca through the busy border town of Huaquillas and across the Peruvian border into Mancora. We follow the Pan-American Highway south to the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Enjoy the relaxing beach atmosphere.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Ecuador - Peru)

Transport:
Local bus (5.00-6.00 hours)
Local bus (4.00-5.00 hours)

09

Day 10: Máncora

Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.

10

Day 11: Máncora/Huanchaco

Free time in Mancora. Overnight bus to Huanchaco.

Transport:
Overnight bus

11

Day 12: Huanchaco

We continue heading south along the coast to Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. It is known for its beautiful colonial structures and nearby attractions of Chan-Chan ruins and the resort town of Huanchaco, where we spend the night.

12

Day 13: Huanchaco/Lima

Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima.

Transport:
Overnight bus (8.00 hour(s))

13

Day 14: Lima (1B)

To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.

14

Day 15: Lima

Enjoy the day exploring the city.

15

Day 16: Lima/Paracas (1B)

Savour a pisco sour while staying in Pisco's neighbouring town of Paracas.

Transport:
Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 250km)
Minibus (0.50 hour(s))

16

Day 17: Paracas/Nazca (1D)

There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the popular Ballestas Islands, which provide an excellent chance to view a lively sea lion colony, pelicans, penguins, and other varieties of birdlife.

Back on land, catch a bus south to Nazca. On the way, pass by the pleasant colonial town of Ica.

Ica enjoys a dry, sunny climate year-round and is known for its huge sand dunes. Located around the nearby oasis of Huacachina, the dunes are perfect as subjects for photographs and for a favourite local past time: sandboarding. Apart from the dunes, Ica is famous for its wines and there are several wineries and distilleries in the area.

Included Activities:
Huacachina Winery Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 175km)

17

Day 18: Nazca/Arequipa

Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines. Overnight bus to Arequipa.

Transport:
Overnight bus (8.00-9.00 hours, 570km)

18

Day 19: Arequipa

Those with an interest in history and architecture may opt to visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, which offers a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Other optional excursions include rafting and mountaineering.

For spicy food lovers, checking out one of the “Picanterías” is a must. Arequipa has a variety of regional food: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.

19

Day 20: Arequipa/Colca Canyon (1B)

Enjoy an overnight excursion to the impressive Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Stop in fascinating villages and at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where, with a little luck, visitors can see Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that can be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama and vicuña.

Included Activities:
Colca Canyon Guided Tour

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.50-5.00 hours, 165km)

20

Day 21: Chivay/Arequipa (1B)

Get an early start to go on the lookout for flying condors. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to admire these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop by some local villages and viewpoints to see old terraces and sections of Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.

Additional Notes:
Colca Canyon/Arequipa

Included Activities:
Colca Canyon Guided Tour

21

Day 22: Arequipa/Cusco (1B)

In the morning head back to Arequipa and enjoy a free day. Overnight bus to Cusco.

Transport:
Private Van with Wi-fi (4.50-5.00 hours, 165km)
Overnight bus (10.00 hour(s))

22

Day 23: Cusco

Free time to explore Cusco. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.

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Day 24: Cusco (1B)

Enjoy another free day in Cusco.

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Day 25: Cusco/Ollantaytambo (1B)

Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and a first taste of what lies ahead. For those craving more before they head out on the Trail, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour which includes not only Ollantaytambo and the ruin site of Pisac, but also a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 95km)

25

Day 26: Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D)

Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.

Additional Notes:
A crew of local porters, cooks, and guides will take care of all the details for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear so you'll only need to carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc.

Included Activities:
Inca Trail Hike

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))

26

Day 27: Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D)

Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman's Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.

Included Activities:
Inca Trail Hike

27

Day 28: Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D)

Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley.

At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).

Included Activities:
Inca Trail Hike

28

Day 29: Machu Picchu/Cusco (1B)

The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore until noon as permitted by the tourist ticket. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows.

Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.

Included Activities:
Inca Trail Hike
Machu Picchu Guided Tour

Transport:
Train (1.50 hour(s), 118km)
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))

29

Day 30: Cusco (1B)

Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.

30

Day 31: Cusco/Puno (1B)

Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.

Transport:
Local bus (7.50 hour(s), 390km)

31

Day 32: Puno/Lago Titicaca (1B, 1D)

Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on Taquile Island and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views.

After, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake (the homestay location can vary based on community availability). This experience provides an opportunity to learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and to participate in local traditions. Eat with the family, learn some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village.

Included Activities:
Lake Titicaca Guided Boat Tour Day 1
Lake Titicaca Homestay

32

Day 33: Lago Titicaca/Puno (1B, 1L)

Leave the homestay families late morning, and visit the Uros Islands on the way back to Puno. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site only a short drive away.

Included Activities:
Lake Titicaca Guided Boat Tour Day 2

33

Day 34: Puno/La Paz (1B)

Enjoy a full-day drive around the lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Bolivia is filled with spectacular views of the countryside. La Paz sits nearly 4,000m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Peru - Bolivia)

Transport:
Local bus (2.50 hour(s), 300km)
Local bus (3.00 hour(s))

34

Day 35: La Paz (1B)

Free day in La Paz. Opt to visit Iglesia de San Francisco, the Valley of the Moon, the Witches' Market, or the nearby Tiahuanaco Ruins.

35

Day 36: La Paz/Sucre (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore the vibrant markets and winding streets of the city before boarding a night bus to Sucre.

Transport:
Overnight bus (14.00 hour(s), 416km)

36

Day 37: Sucre

Travel south to Sucre. Tackle the city as there is a lot to offer during the two days here. Optional activities include a visit to an old tin baron's mansion, mountain biking, and hiking.

37

Day 38: Sucre (1B)

Enjoy another free day to explore Sucre and surroundings.

38

Day 39: Sucre/Potosí (1B)

Staying in the Bolivian highlands, we travel south to the city of Potosí. The highest city of its size in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has had a tumultuous history as a silver mining centre during colonial times.

Transport:
Local bus (2.50 hour(s))

39

Day 40: Potosí (1B)

Get out and explore Potosí, learn about the history of the city while wandering the streets. Stop at the market and interact with the locals.

40

Day 41: Potosí/Uyuni (1B)

Travel to Uyuni and get ready for an excursion to the salt flats.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))

41

Day 42: Uyuni/Salar de Uyuni (1B, 1D)

Travel through the Bolivian landscape to the town of Uyuni. Despite its isolation and challenging climate (cold and blustery most of the year), the town of Uyuni has earned the nickname of Hija Predilecta de Bolivia (Bolivia's Favourite Daughter). It is also the starting point for our 3-night excursion through the spectacular Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats) in 4x4 vehicles.

Spend three days in the stunning landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama Desert in Chile. Our groups like to get creative with photography, as the endless white of the salt flats creates some great depth illusions that are fun to play with in photos.

The tour takes us through the impressive large red lagoon of Laguna Colorada and the striking blue-green Laguna Verde at 5,000m (16,404 ft).

Additional Notes:
Note: During the rainy season, the locations visited may change due to some routes being covered by water.
We offer unique accommodation on the Uyuni Salt Flats. Instead of very basic refuges and homestays most operators use, we have upgraded to simple hotels that are equipped with solar panels to provide electricity and hot water. Rooms are multi-share and each has a private bathroom. Meals are made from local ingredients, most of which are grown on-site.

Included Activities:
Salt Flats Excursion

Transport:
4x4

42

Day 43: Salar de Uyuni (1B, 1L, 1D)

Continue exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats on a 4x4 excursion. Admire the spectacular scenery while passing red and blue lagoons along the route. Spot wild llamas, alpacas and even flamingos deep within the desert.

Included Activities:
Salt Flats Excursion

43

Day 44: Salar de Uyuni/San Pedro de Atacama (1B, 1L)

After continuing through the Uyuni Salt Flats in the morning, hop on a bus further south to the dry desert regions of Argentina and Chile, where we stop in the little town of San Pedro de Atacama, on the edge of the Atacama desert—the driest place on earth.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Bolivia - Chile)

Transport:
4x4 (1.00 hour(s))
Local bus (1.50-2.50 hours)

44

Day 45: San Pedro de Atacama

There are plenty of optional excursions here -- biking, exploring nearby ruins, horseback riding, and touring the Valley of the Moon.

45

Day 46: San Pedro de Atacama/Salta

We make our way to Salta, situated in the Lerma Valley of northern Argentina. Salta is home to empanadas salteñas - the delicious local specialty, and no visit to the town will be complete without giving them a try. In the evening, opt to experience a local celebration at one of the "Peña" folklore shows.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Chile - Argentina)

Transport:
Local bus (10.00 hour(s))

46

Day 47: Salta (1B)

Explore the city and enjoy the local cuisine. Opt to take a trip through the scenic Quebrada de las Conchas to Cafayate, or visit the High Mountain Archaeological Museum.

47

Day 48: Salta/Buenos Aires

When you are done exploring, settle your weary feet and enjoy a drink in one of the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants and begin to understand the contemplative Argentine way of life. Try the succulent bife and parrilladas!

Transport:
Plane (5.00 hour(s))

48

Day 49: Buenos Aires

Get out and explore. Consider visiting the districts of La Boca, Recoleta, and San Telmo or catch a tango show at one of the many famous tanguerías. Wander the pedestrian walkways and see some dancing in the streets.

Additional Notes:
Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.

49

Day 50: Buenos Aires

Known as the ‘Paris of the Americas,' Buenos Aires is a vibrant city full of life. Visit the districts of La Boca, Recoleta, and San Telmo or catch a tango show at one of the many famous tanguerías. Wander the pedestrian walkways and see some dancing in the streets. Whatever you do, Buenos Aires is sure to leave lasting memories.

50

Day 51: Buenos Aires/Colonia del Sacramento

Cross the Río de la Plata by ferry to Colonia, Uruguay. Explore on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to explore the area and relax at a streetside café.

Additional Notes:
In high season, accommodation may be multi-share.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Argentina - Uruguay)
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Ferry (1.00 hour(s))

51

Day 52: Colonia del Sacramento/Montevideo (1B)

Spend free time in Montevideo exploring the city and Mercado del Puerto, having a picnic in the park or visiting Estadio Centenario where the first World Cup was played in 1930. Cycle around the coast or head to the beach.

Transport:
Local bus (2.50-3.00 hours, 177km)

52

Day 53: Montevideo (1B)

Free time to explore Montevideo.

53

Day 54: Montevideo/Mercedes (1B, 1L, 1D)

Travel by day through picturesque settlements and pastures finishing in the last Uruguayan stop—a local ranch, known in the region as an estancia.



Included Activities:
Estancia Stay

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 250km)

54

Day 55: Estancia Stay (1B, 1L, 1D)

Spend a day at the estancia getting into rural life. Learn about the historical roots of the region, lend a hand on the farm, go for a walk, make empanadas or sit back and sip on the wines of the region as you take in local Uruguayan life.

Included Activities:
Estancia Stay

55

Day 56: Mercedes/Foz do Iguaçu (1B)

In the morning cross the border into Gualeguaychu in Argentina, then begin the long overnight journey to Iguassu Falls.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Uruguay - Argentina)

Transport:
Overnight bus (16.00-18.00 hours, 868km)

56

Day 57: Foz do Iguaçu

After a night of travel, our visit to Brazil begins with the magnificent Foz do Iguaçu, or Iguassu falls, bordering Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Argentina - Brazil)
Iguassu Falls (Brazil Side) Guided Tour

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)

57

Day 58: Foz do Iguaçu (1B)

Today enjoy a full day excursion to the Argentinian side of the falls. Wander along the walk paths that connect different view points of the falls. Opt to take a boat tour to see the cascading falls from below.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Brazil - Argentina)
Iguassu Falls Visit
Border Crossing (Argentina - Brazil)

58

Day 59: Foz do Iguaçu/Paraty

Skipping the long bus ride, we fly to Sao Paulo and head straight to Paraty, a quaint colonial town on the coast renowned for its architecture.

Additional Notes:
In high season, accommodation in Paraty may be multi-share.

Transport:
Plane (1.50 hour(s), 1000km)
Shared van (5.00-6.00 hours, 314km)

59

Day 60: Paraty (1B)

Paraty is a quaint colonial town renowned for its architecture—the pace might be slow but there's a lot to choose from. Considered one of the world's most important examples of Portuguese colonial architecture by UNESCO, the historic centre is a well-preserved national historic monument, and today has been closed to vehicles to preserve its laid-back colonial ambiance. Optional caipirinha boat trip, regular boat trips, kayak tours, horseback riding and jeep tours.

60

Day 61: Paraty/Ilha Grande (1B)

Tavel to the port in Angra dos Reis and catch a boat over to Ilha Grande not far from the coast.

Additional Notes:
In high season, accommodation in Ilha Grande may be multi-share.

Transport:
Local bus (1.50-2.00 hours)
Ferry (1.50 hour(s))

61

Day 62: Ilha Grande

Free time to explore the beaches of Ilha Grande. Opt to hike the remote trails, take a boat trip around the island, play in the waves or go snorkelling.

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Day 64: Ilha Grande/Rio de Janeiro

Leaving the port after returning from Ilha Grande, a dramatic road then takes us north along the coast through superb scenery before rounding the cliffs at Vidigal. Get a first glimpse of one of the most memorable cities in the world, Brazil's ocean-side jewel, Río de Janeiro.

Enjoy any free time by taking an optional city tour or exploring the wonders that this city has to offer from the centrally located hostel in Copacabana.


Additional Notes:
The hostel has private rooms with private bathrooms for travellers, but its common areas are shared with other guests of the hostel.

Transport:
Ferry (1.50 hour(s))
Local van (3.00-3.50 hours)

63

Day 65: Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy a free day to soak up the vibrant energy of Rio de Janeiro.

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Day 66: Rio de Janeiro/Salvador (1B)

Fly up the coast to the capital of Bahia and enjoy an orientation walk around the Pelourinho or old city centre complete with brightly painted colonial buildings.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Plane (5.00 hour(s))

65

Day 67: Salvador

Enjoy free time to explore town. Hit the beach, take a capoeira lesson, or learn how to samba.

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Day 68: Salvador/Fortaleza

Cover the long distance with another flight to the vibrant city of Fortaleza. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Plane (3.00 hour(s))

67

Day 69: Fortaleza/Jericoacoara

Spend the day travelling further north past beaches and sand dunes to reach Jericoacoara, a tranquil slice of beachside paradise.

Transport:
Local bus (8.00 hour(s))

68

Day 70: Jericoacoara

Affectionately known as 'Jeri' to locals, Jericoacoara is a small fishing village where the streets are made of sand. Surrounded by sand dunes, and stunning coastline there are plenty of activities to choose from during the day. At night, the town lights up with its many restaurants and fun nightlife.

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Day 71: Jericoacoara

Explore the small town, take a stroll along the endless beach and watch windsurfers ride the waves. Opt to take a surf lesson, rent a stand up paddle board or soak up the sun.

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Day 72: Jericoacoara/Fortaleza

Transfer back to Fortaleza and after leaving behind the chill town of Jeri enjoy the hustle and nightlife of the city.

Transport:
Local bus (8.00 hour(s))

71

Day 73: Fortaleza

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Amazon Jungle, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and Uyuni Salt Flats excursions
    • Beach time in Mancora, Huanchaco, Ilha Grande, and Jericoacoara
    • Pachamanca ceremony (Nazca)
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
    • Inca Trail hike with a local guide and cook (4 days)
    • G Adventures-supported handmade biodegradable soap products for use on the Inca Trail
    • Entrance and visit to Iguassu Falls (Argentina and Brazil sides)
    • Orientation walks in Salvador and Fortaleza
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hostels/hotels (55 nts, some multi-share), jungle homestay (3 nts), overnight buses (6 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt), basic hotels on Uyuni Salt Flat excursion (2 nts, multi-share), estancia/ranch (2 nts, multi-share)
    • 39 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners
    Transport
    • Local bus, boat, truck, motorized canoe, train, hiking, plane, 4x4 truck
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO), specialist Inca Trail CEO on hike, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Mingle with the locals at a homestay in the Amazon
  • Conquer the Inca Trail on the way to Machu Picchu
  • Experience traditional life on Lake Titicaca
  • Cross the Uyuni Salt Flats on a 4x4 excursion
  • Stand in awe at Iguassu Falls
  • Sip caipirinhas on world-renowned Brazilian beaches.