Epic South America

Trip Code: GGYPC

Why we love it

Head to a local community and rub shoulders with the inhabitants of the Sacred Valley – if you’re lucky, your travel day might even fall on market day where you can pick up some hand-painted beads or a warm poncho., Roam the Amazon Jungle by boat at night (with an expert local) and float down the river, keeping an eye out for the glaring eyes of jaguars, anacondas and caimans., Embark on a three-day adventure by 4WD across the rocky Atacama Desert in Salar de Uyuni and the largest salt lakes in the world. Pass cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with birdlife., Spend two nights at a working estancia (farm) in Uruguay, where you can spend your time getting involved in farm work, learning about gauchos, riding horses or simply relaxing in the sun., The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and you’ll cross the border to see its incredible cascades from both sides.

Is this trip right for me?

On this trip, you’ll be camping along the Inca Trail and spending the night in a homestay on Lake Titicaca. Bolivia is also the least developed and most challenging country you’ll travel around during this trip. Transportation can be slow and isn’t as easy as it might be in developed countries. Additionally, making your way across the Andean Desert involves long travel days spent in 4WDs on dusty and bumpy tracks. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold, and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory style. This is all part of the adventure.

The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle this. Also, don't forget tropical-strength insect repellent! It’s also important to wear sunscreen and always drink plenty of water.

This trip involves a lot of hiking and walking, so it does require a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the Essential Trip information (ETI) for more information.

Due to the high altitude of many places, some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the Essential Trip information (ETI) for more important information about altitude sickness.

Travellers who choose different ways of reaching Machu Picchu (Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train), will not follow the same routes within Machu Picchu. This means that you may not be able to have photos together overlooking Machu Picchu. This applies to travellers on the same booking or separate bookings.

While at the estancia in Uruguay, you can choose to participate in the day-to-day activities of the farm as much or as little as you like. If you do choose to get involved, prepare for some early morning starts and to get your hands dirty when working directly with animals. The accommodation is multi-share and meals are served family style. Please inform your booking agent if you have any dietary requirements.

Important information

1. In order to obtain the necessary permit to trek the Inca Trail, we must be provided with accurate details of the passport to be used whilst travelling in Peru. If the name, passport number, nationality or date of birth shown on the permit are different from the passport, park authorities will refuse entry. If passport details have not been supplied, the permit cannot be issued. When we are unable to secure the "Classic Trail", our groups take the "Inca Quarry Trek". This also applies during February each year, when the Classic Trail is closed for restoration.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 & 3 (Amazon Jungle), Days 6, 7 & 8 (Camping), Day 12 (Lake Titicaca Homestay), Days 16 & 32 (Overnight bus), Days 17 & 18 (Dormitory) and Days 30 & 31 (Estancia Stay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or 3 Day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by some non-Intrepid travelers, who might be over the age of 35 years old.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. In addition to a Traveler’s Affidavit, and health insurance, entry into Chile currently requires submitting proof of vaccination in advance of travel or proof of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of departure. As this validation process can take a while, it is recommended that you submit your electronic validation request 30 days in advance of Travel. The link to submit and more information is available here: https://www.chile.travel/en/traveltochileplan/
8. We highly recommend you take US Dollars with you to Argentina and change it locally. While ATMs are widely available, there is a daily limit for withdrawals and the exchange rate does fluctuate.
9. The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion starts in February, you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.

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, Aerolineas Argentinas (domestic airline in Argentina) allows a maximum of 15kg 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 or per load, which is generally inexpensive (2 USD per Kg).

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.
-Basic personal toiletries, 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 required, it's a personal preference. We recommend hiring these at the pre-trek briefing for approximately US$10 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

3

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. Some rooms are equipped with safety box, free WI-FI, hair dryer and air conditioning.

Alternate Joining Point


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

Alternate Finish Point


Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 35

Lunches included: 11

Dinners included: 10

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader or local representative 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 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 or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative 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 numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +51 996 055559 Lima, +51 940 512701 Cusco

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.