Inca Highlands South

Inca Highlands South

From AUD 3,560.00 + LTP: US$ 1180.00
Trip Length 53 Trip Code SA - OO - 11
Tour Group 10 - 24 Age Range 18 - 55+

Inca Highlands South: Tour Information

This action packed South America tour takes us through some of the most diverse landscapes on the continent. In Ecuador we explore the dense Amazon Jungle and can mountain-bike down spectacular volcanoes, through Peru we follow the footsteps of the Incas on the Inca Trail as we hike to the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu, while Bolivia provides us with the opportunity to overnight with local Indians and experience the vastness of the uninhabited Salt Flats of Uyuni, before our journey culminates in the cosmopolitan capital of Santiago de Chile.

Our Andes & Amazon South American tours can be joined in Quito, La Paz or Santiago. Should you wish to arrive a few days before this South American travel experience starts we can help you arrange accommodation.

Days 1 to 8 Ecuador

Depart Quito, the capital.
Otavalo - a small market town famous for its colourful arts & crafts.
Papallacta - thermal pools and stunning volcanic scenery.
Tena - jungle town and where we can go white water rafting on Upper Napo River.
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.

Days 9 to 18

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!
Peru
Punta Sal & Pacific Ocean coast - camp on sandy deserted beaches play volleyball and have a BBQ.
Chan Chan ruins - built by the pre-Inca Chimu kings, it's the largest mud brick city in the world.
Lima - the capital city with many plazas and museums and great local seafood (Ceviche).

Days 19 to 26 Peru

Lima - the capital city with many plazas and museums and great local seafood (Ceviche).
Ballestas Islands - a boat trip takes us up close to the Islands which are bursting with exotic & rare marine wildlife.
Ica Desert & Oasis of Huacachina - visit a local winery & taste Pisco, the national drink.
Dune Buggies & Sandboarding on the giant dunes out in the desert. BBQ and camp overnight under the stars.
Nazca Lines - huge figures and shapes carved into the stony desert, best viewed from the air.
Ascend the Andes mountain range and drive past grazing Llama, Alpaca and Vicuna
Arequipa - a magnificent colonial city with authentic Peruvian nightlife.
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.

Days 27 to 33

Traverse mountainous passes of nearly 5000m within sight of active volcanoes
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 Salkantay trail.
Machu Picchu - finally on day 4 we reach the famous UNESCO World Heritage site - entrance and guide included.

Days 34 to 37

Puno - Lake Titicaca - the world's highest navigable lake at 3800m.
Floating reed islands - home to the Uros Indians - explore Titicaca by boat & spend a night with one of the local families.
Bolivia
La Paz - highest capital city in the world, visit the colourful witches market!

Days 38 to 45

Altiplano - drive across this wild and barren landscape.
Potosi - Silver & Tin mines - the opportunity to enter a working mine where techniques have remained unchanged for centuries.
Uyuni Salt Lake - take a 1 day excursion out onto the vast salt flats.
Tupiza - follow in the steps of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Argentina
Humahuaca Canyon and Purmamarca
Salta - founded over 400 years ago and a great place for live music, mountain biking, mountain trekking, horse riding and river rafting.

Days 46 to 52

Oct to April trips (via Argentina)
Cafayate and Mendoza, - wine growing region visiting wineries by bicycle or tandem paragliding from the Andes.
May to Sept trips (via Chile)
Atacama Desert & San Pedro - experience this oasis town & beautiful barren moonscape & the option of astronomer guided stargazing.
Valley of the Moon - salt lakes, volcanoes, as well as stone age dwellings.
Pan American Highway and Pacific Ocean coastline with stunning beaches; and the famous 'Hand in the Sand' Sculpture.

Day 53

Pacific Ocean - towns and stunning beaches
Santiago - Chile's capital, a modern, organised city with great food and nightlife.

Inca Highlands North - South America
Detailed Itinerary
 
Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.
 
Days 1 to 6
 
Starting our South America tour in Quito, we first visit the town of Otavalo famous for its colourful craft market. Heading east on narrow, tortuous roads to the steamy edge of the Amazon basin the town of Tena is our gateway into the Amazon jungle. Here accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot this exotic environment.
 
Days 7 to 12
 
Further south, perched high in the mountains of Ecuador, lies the outdoors mecca of Banos. This spa town, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths is ideal to hike or mountain bike the various trails to one of the surrounding waterfalls or the impressive nearby rocky canyon, is a favourite amongst those who have undertaken South America travel. We hit the road again and drive south along the spine of the Andes towards Peru.
 
Days 13 to 18
 
A days drive on the Pan-American highway brings us to the border with Peru. You will notice an amazing transition in one day, from the good farming country of highland Ecuador, through sub-tropical forest and immense banana plantations, to dry barren desert in Peru. We are rewarded with a couple of days camping on the beach. Our next stops on our South America travel experience are the Chan Chan ruins, imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu kings which the Incas later conquered. It claims to be the largest mud brick city in the world.
 
Continuing with the Andes close to our left and the sea on our right, the capital city of Lima will be our next stop on the Andes & Amazon South America tour.Here 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 19 to 25
 
Departing Lima our next stop is the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve. By boat we visit the rare and exotic sea birds and mammals that inhabit these islands. We now make our way to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the desert floor are best viewed from the air - South America travel is not complete until you have seen these unbelievable ancient mysteries.
 
Still heading south we visit Puerto Inca, at this ancient Inca harbour we camp at the beach and enjoy our last night at sea level before beginning our climb back into the towering Andes. The next two nights are spent in Arequipa at 2325m, giving us time to acclimatise, and enjoy this beautiful colonial city with its impressive El Misti Volcano in the background. Arequipa is also the gateway to one of the deepest canyons in the world. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome sight. Here, if you get up early, Condors can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.
 
Days 26 to 32
 
We now have to face one of the most arduous and punishing dirt roads on the tour, although we soon arrive at Cuzco. Widely considered to be the most interesting city for South America travel, Cuzco is surrounded by the Sacred Valley of the Incas and offers a wide range of activities to explore the region. We will base ourselves here for 6 days giving us enough time for the Inca Trail trip, which is regarded by many to be the highlight of their South America tour. There are several treks which take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative 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. Besides seeing Machu Picchu, you're able to enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cuzco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets.
 
Days 33 to 37
 
Bordering Peru and Bolivia at 3800m lies Lake Titicaca, the 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 tourist and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time during South America travel in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs. From here it is a days drive to the capital of Bolivia - La Paz. This is a great place to visit a 'pena' club, dedicated to Andean folk music, and perhaps buy some souvenirs in one of the authentic markets such as the witches market.
 
Days 38 to 43
 
Leaving La Paz we enter real Bolivia, where the Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a living from their small plots of land in the harsh climate and paved roads are virtually non-existent. A days drive brings us to Potosi. 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 in years gone by. The adventurous who have undertaken South American travel will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines where mining techniques have remained unchanged for centuries. Visiting the ancient mint or having a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) also provides a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. Leaving the bleak Altiplano we arrive at the shimmering white Salt Flats of Uyuni.
 
Days 44 to 47
 
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 experience. Our descent through the Andean passes is spectacular as we cross into Argentina towards the colonial city of Salta where we have a couple of free days.
 
Days 48 to 53
 

APRIL TO OCTOBER TRIPS ONLY
- We cross the mighty Andes again towards the Atacama Desert in Chile. The oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama is our next destination. Surrounded by the Valley of the Moon, salt lakes, volcanoes, geysers as well as stoneage dwellings, its a great place to explore. Continuing south we rejoin the Pacific Ocean and the Pan American Highway. We camp on deserted beaches for a couple of days before our drive to Chiles capital, Santiago, which is a very modern, well-run city and quite a change to what we have been used to.
 

NOVEMBER TO MARCH ONLY
- After Salta, we head south winding around lakes and weaving through baked cliffs until we reach Cafayate, the first wine region of Argentina. Famous for its white wines, you can explore some of the wineries on foot or by bicycle. Continuing south we join the route 40, the longest route in Argentina, to Mendoza, the biggest wine region in Argentina. Here you can indulge in more wine and good steak, paraglide or try a host of other outdoor sports. From here we head for Chile as we cross the Andes past the Inca Bridge and San Martin's pass and into the modern capital, Santiago.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Local Tour Payments (LTP) or a Kitty payment, if stated is paid direct to your tour leader / crew on day 1.

DATES, PRICES & AVAILABILITY:

Availability Trip Date Price Local Payment Click to book
Availability Sep 17, 2017 - Nov 08, 2017 AUD 3,560.00 US$ 1180.00 Book
Availability Oct 27, 2017 - Dec 18, 2017 AUD 3,560.00 US$ 1180.00 Book
Prices: All prices Charged in Australian Dollars
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