Best of South America

Trip Code: GGBTC

Why we love it

Elegant colonial architecture, political history in spades and the hilly neighbourhoods dotted with terracotta roofs – Sucre might be Bolivia’s most beautiful city., Take an unforgettable 4WD adventure across the Salar de Uyuni – some of the largest salt lakes in the world. Pass cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos., The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries, and so is the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. You’ll experience both your own way, with a range of options to choose from., Enjoy delicious home-cooking and warm hospitality during your three-day estancia stay, and learn about Uruguay’s gauchos – legendary cowboys – while on the ranch., After seeing its virgin rainforests, blue lagoons and splendid beaches, you’d never imagine that Ilha Grande had such a treacherous pirate history. This is true natural beauty, Brazilian style.

Is this trip right for me?

There are some long travel days and five overnight bus journeys on this trip. Although the buses feature comfortable reclining seats, they are not beds. There’s also usually a toilet on-board, and some of the buses make toilet stops. Across the Andean Desert and salt flats, you’ll spend long days travelling in 4WDs on bumpy tracks. These trips can be tiresome, but an adventure trip around South America wouldn’t be complete without an overnight bus journey. 

In some locations you’ll be staying in basic dormitory-style accommodation with shared facilities, expect some nights to have drop toilets, no showers, no hot water. Please refer to the Itinerary for details of each night’s accommodation.

There will be a lot of hiking and walking on this trip (especially on the Inca Trail which can be quite challenging), so this requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details. 

We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers. Night-time in the desert can be especially cold.

This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more detail. 

According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only, and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted. Please refer to the itinerary for details.

Important information

1. Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead https://www.intrepidtravel.com/machu-picchu-peru/quarry-trail
The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

2. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres (9200 feet) where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude – regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Please read further about altitude sickness in the 'Medical and health information' section of the Essential Trip Information.

3. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

4. There are no activities on the final day and you are free to depart anytime.

5. This trip is a combination of three of our most popular departures. As such the make up of the group and the tour leader may change on Days 21 & 34.

6. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 9, 22, 40 (Overnight bus), Days 11, 12, 13 (Camping), Days 18 (Homestay), Days 27, 28 (Dormitory) and Days 37, 38, 39 (Estancia) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

7. Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.

8. Please see the 'Passport and visa information' section in the Essential Trip Information for related details.
Please note you may require a Brazilian Visa for this trip. Processing can take around 2–5 weeks at the discretion of the embassy or consulate. Please speak with your travel agent well in advance for further advice.

9. While hiking the 4-day Inca Trail or the 3-day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip, you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.

10. Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

What to bring/pack

Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage.

Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

RECOMMENDED:
- Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
- Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

LAUNDRY
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo)

ESSENTIAL:
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.
- Day Pack - A day bag that has easy access to water bottles (external side pockets) or a day pack with a built in hydration bladder. This bag only needs to be large enough to hold the few things you need during the day (hat, water, camera, snacks, rain jacket etc)
- Waterproof, well worn-in walking boots - Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well-worn in pair!
- Walking clothing - Its best to bring clothes that can be layered so you can adjust layers according to the weather which is ever-changing in the Falklands. Please ensure this includes a waterproof jacket and pants.
-Thermal underwear - Thermal wear is highly recommended, being light, warm and will keep you warm at night.
-Basic personal toiletries, ESSENTIAL:
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, RECOMMENDED:
- Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and band-aids.
- Insect repellent
- Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
- Swimwear
-Sleeping bag: Night time temperatures are often well into the minuses it can often get as cold as -5 degrees. Blankets are provided however due to the extreme weather conditions we strongly recommend that you either rent or bring your own sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags can be rented in Uyuni for the 3-day tour for about 10 USD (total cost, not per day).
- Warm clothes: Thermal underclothes, being small and light, a light water and windproof jacket
-Travel Towel: We recommend bringing a travel towel for the Uyuni part of this trip as we can't always guarantee towels will be provided at your stay in the basic accommodation.

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
- Phrase book

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

LAUNDRY
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo), PERU TREKKING
Tents and sleeping mats are provided for the duration of your Peru trek.
At the pre-trek briefing you will be given a small duffle bag to pack your clothes for the trek, please note there is a 5kg limit, this includes your sleeping bag.

In addition to the general packing list above, please ensure you bring these items if you are trekking in Peru.

Passport:
You MUST take your passport, a photocopy is not sufficient. It's important the passport matches the details your provided us when booking this trip (Keep it in a plastic bag in case of rain)

Sleeping bag:  
You will need a good warm sleeping bag for the trek. Sleeping bags can be hired for US20-25, please let your Tour Leader know at the trek briefing. A four season (or -10) bag is recommended especially for the winter months. At other times you will probably be fine in a 3 season (or -5) bag although this depends on how much you feel the cold and is given as a guideline only.

Silk sleeping bag liner:
Especially recommended if you plan to hire a sleeping bag but can also give your own bag added warmth.

Pillow
Pillows are not provided on the trek and it's your personal preference if you wish to bring one along. If you decide to bring a pillow then we do suggest packing a travel friendly option, something that can be easily packed into your small duffle bag.

Trek Poles:
Trek poles are not requires, it's a personal preference. We recommend hiring these at the pre-trek briefing for approximately US$8 per pole as it will save you carting them around for the remainder of your travels.

Day Pack:
A day bag that has easy access to water bottles (external side pockets) or a day pack with a built in hydration bladder. This bag only needs to be large enough to hold the few things you need during the day (hat, water, camera, snacks, rain jacket etc)

Water bottle:
You should be carrying at least 2 litres of water daily, while trekking. Depending on whether you have a hydration bladder in your bag or not we recommend bringing two (1 litre) bottles that can be refilled on the trail with boiled water, which will be supplied daily.

Waterproof, well worn-in walking boots: 
Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well-worn in pair!

Walking clothing in layers:
(E.g. zip off trousers, fleece, T-shirts). It’s a personal choice as to how many items you bring however please remember there’s a 5kg limit. We recommend the following;

• 2 Pairs of long Walking Trousers (Zip off are a very hand
  choice but not a necessity)
• 2 T-shirts
• 1 Pair of shorts
• Rain Jacket or Poncho (Poncho can be purchased locally
  for a $2-3)
• 4-5 Pairs of Thick socks

Warm clothing for night time:
Fleece, long pants, woollen hat, gloves.

Thermal underwear:
Thermal wear is highly recommended, being light, warm and will keep you warm at night.

Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat

Personal medication and basic first aid kit: 
Band-Aids, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration sachets.

Camera and spare batteries, memory cards or film: 
Please note: there are no electrical outlets on the trek so make sure you fully charge and or have spare batteries.

Snacks:
Chocolates, chips, biscuits, energy bars. Snacks are provided during the trek but you may like to bring one or two extras just in case. If you have a dietary requirement then be recommend bringing some suitable snacks from home. We will accommodate you for Breakfast, lunch and dinner however for snacks it’s recommended to bring some just to be safe.

Head torch or Standard Torch (flash-light)
(Very Important) and spare batteries.

Tropical strength insect repellent.

Antiseptic hand gel.

Flip-flops / thongs / jandals: 
If you wish to have a shower on the third night and to wear around camp after a long day of trekking.

Ear Plugs:
In case your tent ‘roomie’ is a snorer.

Plastic bags: 
To keep your belongings and clothes dry (wrap everything in plastic bags).

Toilet paper: 
Most important! Also small plastic bags or zip lock bags for rubbish which can then be thrown in the main rubbish bag provided by the porters. Please don’t dispose of your toilet paper on the ground!

Wet wipes and or Face wipes:
These are an essential and will come in handy after a long day of trekking and no showers.

Small towel and basic personal toiletries:
On the third night of both the Inca Trail and the Inca Quarry there is an opportunity to have a shower so bring travel size shampoo and shower gel if you would like.

Physical rating

4

The physical rating on this trip is based on you selecting to trek either the Inca Trail or Quarry Trail. Should you wish to take the train option instead of trekking, you can consider the physical level a 2-3.

On Day 2 of the Inca Trail or Quarry Trail you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4500 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While this demanding walk is the main challenge our passengers face on this trip, it's also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it. You can find out more about the trekking options here:
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/inca-trail-vs-quarry-trail/

We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trekking to its fullest. More information can be found here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/trekking-training-guide-tips/

Joining your group

Hotel Santa Cruz, Av. Santa Cruz 1347, Miraflores, Lima, PERU

Hotel Santa Cruz is located on the skirts of district Miraflores. All rooms are equipped with safety box, free WI-FI, hair dryer and air conditioning.

Joining instructions

Please make sure that you provide your flight details, no later than 14 days before departure to book your arrival transfer with us. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre trip accommodation booked through Intrepid.

Lima International Airport (LIM) is located in the Callao area of Lima, which is 25kms/15miles from the Miraflores area of the city. Depending on traffic conditions, the drive can take 30mins to 1.5 hours.

International arrivals will exit Lima International Airport (LIM) at Gate 4. For your confirmed arrival transfer, please exit the airport, towards the parking lot. There is a fence immediately after the first lane, a transfer representative will be waiting here, holding an Intrepid sign. Please note that there are taxi totes right outside the gate and may approach you as Intrepid’s driver. Please only follow our transfer representative who hold a sign with Intrepid’s logo and your name.

If you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the phone number listed in the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of this document.

Alternatively, we recommend TAXI GREEN. They have information booths in the Arrivals Hall after you exit Customs. A taxi will cost approximately PEN80. Do not use the services of taxi drivers waiting outside the terminal as they charge very high fees.

Finishing your trip

Americas Benidorm Hotel (Benidorm Palace Hotel), Rua Barata Ribeiro, 547, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL, Phone: +55 2125488880

If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends.

Alternatively, please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi or instructions to reach the airport by public transport.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 41

Lunches included: 10

Dinners included: 10

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc.

More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets, we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home. 

Climate & seasonal information

HEAVY RAIN ON THE INCA TRAIL
If it rains heavily for a number of consecutive days the terrain on the third campsite (Wiñaywayna) can become unstable increasing the danger of landslides. In such instances, the number of safe camping spots is outnumbered by the number campers. This could occur mostly during the wet season (December to March) although it could also happen at any time of the year.
If that’s the case, some groups will spend the third night at a campsite in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town).
This decision is made by Inca trail local authorities using a lottery type system (Intrepid has no control over this lottery process)
Since there may be hotel availability nearby the Aguas Calientes campsite, you can choose to upgrade to a hotel at your own expense.
We can provide you an insurance letter in this case in order to lodge a travel insurance claim for any incidental costs.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +51 940 512 701 / +51 996 055 559

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

LAKE TITICACA HOMESTAYS
As a responsible travel company, we believe in facilitating positive and meaningful exchanges between our travellers and locals at the places we visit. Homestays are a great vehicle for us to facilitate this!

What will you do during a homestay? Well…it’s hard to tell. As you know a day in a family’s life varies from day to day. We don’t want this experience to feel forced (on you or on them) so we ask families to simply carry on with their lives and that, if there is anything that you may be interested in being part of, they ask you to join in. As such you may be invited to help cook dinner, or to go to the local market for groceries, or to join a soccer game with the kids! While your leader will give you some tools to interact with your family (such as some simple words/phrases in Quechua and/or Spanish) big smiles and lots of sign language can go a long way!

That said, it’s also important that you understand that you are not obliged to participate in these activities. We believe that the more you put in the more you get out of an experience, but we also understand that you may just want to chill out, grab a book or your camera and go for a wander – and that is fine too.

Ultimately, we believe that by simply being there, observing family and friends dynamics is a step forward towards understanding the local way of life.

In terms of facilities, the rooms are clean and comfortable (or as comfortable as they get in this part of the world!) however quite basic. Plenty of blankets are provided. Ask for more if you are cold. Layering up with thin thermals and a fleece material will help during very cold nights too.

Lastly, be aware that some homestays in Lake Titicaca have shared drop toilets and no showers. So mind your step!

PERU
Due to local energy supply and infrastructure issues, please be prepared for some cold showers while travelling in Peru.

Transportation

Our overnight buses have reclinable seats - usually more comfortable than your average economy plane seats. You may be offered a simple dinner on board or stop at a service station to buy snacks and drinks. Before boarding an overnight bus, it's always a good idea to have music, a book, water, snacks and warm clothing ready.


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