Explore Bolivia to Brazil


Explore South America on this 31-day tour. Take the road less travelled from sky-high La Paz to party-ready Rio de Janeiro, stopping along the way to see the mind-bending Uyani Salt Flat, follow your rhythm in Buenos Aires, ride horses on a Uruguayan estancia and wonder at the incredible power of Iguazu Falls. This overland adventure is big on freedom – your local leader will give you insider info, your group will provide the company of curious, like-minded travellers, and then you decide how you want to spend your days.

31 days, from

$5,431

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GGBLC
Style: Basix
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Argentina Bolivia Brazil Uruguay
Accommodation: Dormitory (2 nights), Estancia (3 nights), Hotel (23 nights), Overnight bus (2 nights)
Transportation: 4x4 , Boat , Bus , Coach , Ferry , Minibus , Overnight bus , Plane , Private vehicle , Public bus , Taxi , Van
Included Meals:

  • 22 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 6 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Take a unique route from La Paz to Rio de Janeiro, stopping at tiny villages and indigenous towns along the way to get an authentic view of South America.

  • Hit the off-road on a two-day 4WD adventure across the largest salt flats in the world – Uyuni – exploring cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos.

  • Harness your inner gaucho during a three-day stay at a working estancia in Uruguay. Ride horses relax in nature or get involved with farm work – it’s up to you.

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and this tour includes a visit to both sides for a complete experience.

  • Spend a day in Tilcara, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Argentina that is surrounded by steep and spectacular gorges and mountains.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: La Paz

Welcome to Bolivia! Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, feel free to explore the side streets of La Paz, or alternatively, venture out of the city in search of crisp mountain air. You could hop on a local bus out to the extraordinary landscape of Moon Valley – this maze of canyons and colossal clay spires, make for staggering views. Alternatively, why not take a cable car to the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches Market)? Though we can’t guarantee the potions, incantations and voodoo dolls will work their magic, the experience is fascinating, and the locals will be happy to tell you about their significance. After your meeting this evening, you might like to head out with your new travel buddies for a group dinner.

Day 2: La Paz

Today, you’re free to discover La Paz at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Museo de la Coca, which isn’t too far from your hotel. This unusual museum delves into the history of the coca plant that grows in the region – a plant that’s played a huge role in the rise and fall of governments, and was one of the original ingredients in one of the world’s favourite soft drinks. You may also like to check out the cuisine scene in La Paz on a food tour – taste fish fresh from Lake Titicaca as well as a variety of intense flavours on a chocolate stop. Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Sucre (approximately 9–10 hours).

Day 3: Sucre

On arrival in Sucre, drop off your luggage at the hotel before heading out to explore in your own time. Bolivia’s World Heritage-listed capital is a hub of local cultures and Spanish colonial architecture. You might like to visit the Museo de la Recoleta – a 400-year-old convent which provides great views over the city and is home to a fascinating collection of sculptures and paintings. If you have time, head to the Plaza 25 de Mayo to rub shoulders with Sucre's affluent residents and check out the extravagant interior of the Senora de la Merced.

Day 4: Sucre

Enjoy another free day to see the sights of Sucre. Resting in a mountainous valley and overflowing with white-washed buildings and well-preserved architecture, Sucre is not only Bolivia’s official capital city, but also the most beautiful. Wander the pretty streets and snap photos of the quaint houses and medieval churches, or for something more active, hike along the pre-Inca path known as the Chataquila trek – which is mostly downhill and offers stunning views of the surrounding Andes. For something completely different, discover a prehistoric landscape and compare shoe sizes with a dinosaur at Cal Orcko, where footprints millions of years old have been preserved. This is the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world, with over 12,000 of them. There’s also a food culture in Sucre, so enjoy some delicious empanadas at a restaurant or a fresh juice at the Central Market.

Day 5: Potosi

This morning, take a local bus to the colonial mining town of Potosi (approximately 3–4 hours) – once the wealthiest city in the Americas thanks to its location at the base of silver ore-rich Cerro Rico (Rich Hill). The discovery and extraction of the silver led to a financial boom for the Spanish empire; however, the city’s riches quickly diminished and its citizens soon slipped into poverty once the silver dried up. A tour and brief history of Cerro Rico is definitely a highlight to consider here. Another place of interest is the Santa Teresa Convent Museum, where you can observe the art and treasures on display inside the convent’s original walls.

Day 6: Uyuni

Today, leave Potosi behind and travel to the city of Uyuni (driving time approximately 3–4 hours). This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano – a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. Apart from being a gateway to the Salt Flats, Uyuni also happens to sit above the world’s largest lithium reserve of about 100 million tons! While it won’t help you if you’ve arrived with a flat battery, Uyuni’s lithium, once extracted, could potentially provide enough fuel for the entire planet’s smart phones and electric cars for the next century. Enjoy free time on arrival – perhaps take the opportunity to rest up before you kick off your exciting excursion to Salar de Uyuni tomorrow.

Day 7: Salar de Uyuni

Depart Uyuni this morning and venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion – be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be Cementerio de Trenes (the Train Cemetery) for an eerie look at abandoned locomotives that have been engulfed by the desert. Then, continue on to the highlight of Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flats. This vast desert-like landscape of blinding white salt and cactus-studded islands is the remains of a dried-up prehistoric lake. The desolate and dehydrated eco-system hosts very little wildlife, however it is home to pink flamingos. Make the most of your time on the salt flats, pose for some snaps and explore Inca Wasi – an island covered in cacti and coral-like structures.

Day 8: Salar de Uyuni

Continue driving through the spectacular landscape of the Bolivian Salt Flats with another day to explore this natural phenomenon. Depending on the time of year, the reflections themselves are nothing short of extraordinary, and you and your travel pals can take some seriously cool images. Your local leaders will stage your poses to ensure you capture the best optical illusions. Tonight (weather depending), consider booking into a stargazing experience, where you’ll go spotting shooting stars deep in the Bolivian wilderness. The skies are so clear, and with no light or smoke pollution out here, the constellations will shine bright.

Day 9: Uyuni

Venture out of Bolivia’s wilds and back to Uyuni town today. Once arrived and settled back into your accommodation, you’ll have a free day to check out the town or just simply relax and check out your photos after an action-packed couple of days in the desert. If you’re still up for adventure, be sure to ask your local leader for their recommendations on what to do here – there’s the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum as well as other mining towns that you may have bypassed on your way to the salt flats. After recharging your batteries (as well as your devices), why not head out to stock up on supplies and have a bite to eat with your travel group – keep it low-key tonight as you’ve got a full day worth of travel tomorrow.

Day 10: Uyuni – Tilcara

Rise and shine and prepare for a long travel day as you cross the border into Argentina. Set off at 6 am from Uyuni town on a public bus to La Quiaca. Arriving around 1.30 pm, cross into Argentina by foot and then jump in a taxi to the bus station. You’ll have a chance to stop briefly for lunch with your group, before jumping on another bus to Tilcara, arriving at approximately 6 pm. Nothing is planned on arrival, but if you’re not too exhausted from today’s journey, perhaps head out for dinner – your group leader will be able to point you in the right direction for a feed.

Day 11: Tilcara

Today is a free day to explore this dusty and enchanting town. Nestled in the mountain valley of Quebrada de Humahuaca, Tilcara is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Argentina with an indigenous culture dating back more than 10,000 years – and the influx of tourists hasn’t stopped the age-old customs and rituals from flourishing. You might like to marvel at the pre-Inca ruins at Pucara de Tilcara, or perhaps venture out of town and check out the colourful hills of Purmamarca. If you’re keen for an authentic lunch, visit the vibrant local market, Mercado Municipal de Tilcara, to try some local street food favourites, like the traditional empanada.Your tour leader will be able to provide suggestions and help you make the best of your time here.

Day 12-14: Buenos Aires

This morning, enjoy a relaxed morning in Tilcara before you are transferred to Jujuy for an evening flight to Buenos Aires. Fiery Latin passion, European elegance and superb cuisine combine to make Buenos Aires one of the world's most enthralling cities. You’ve got the next few days to choose your own adventure – nibble on alfajores, wander San Telmo's cobblestone streets, talk football with Portenos (people from Buenos Aires) in a cafe or get a history lesson at the quirky Museo Evita. Alternatively, you might like to walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery – the final resting place of Eva Peron – or check out some of the great museums in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors. The hottest spot in town is Palermo's Plaza Serrano, so why not head out in the evening for a tango with the locals. There are so many things to see and do in Buenos Aires, it's simply a matter of trying to fit them all in.

Day 15: Buenos Aires

Today you can choose to accompany your leader and any new travellers joining your group for an orientation walk around the Microcentro area. There will also be a welcome meeting at 6 pm to officially start this leg of your adventure. Aside from the walk and meeting, your day is free.

Day 16: Colonia del Sacramento

Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry (approximately 1.5 hours). On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this charming colonial city, known as the oldest in Uruguay. The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico (Old Quarter) is a great place to start. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and rub shoulders with locals as they sip their yerba mate (tea). Listen to the noisy parakeets in the Plaza Mayor, or comb Colonia’s small museums. For great views over the city, climb to the top of a 19th-century lighthouse that’s still in operation.

Day 17: Estancia Stay

Today is a long travel day. Take a comfortable local bus from Colonia to Montevideo (approximately 2.5 hours). From Montevideo it's a further 5-hour journey to Tacuarembo by bus. The bus has reclining seats and you'll be provided with a typical Uruguayan snack, but as the bus doesn’t stop it's also recommended that you bring some extra snacks at your own expense. From Tacuarembo, take a 1-hour truck and 4WD journey to the ranch, where you can get to know your hosts.

Day 18-19: Estancia Stay

Spend a few days experiencing life on a working Uruguayan farm. Although you’re welcome to relax and explore your surroundings at your leisure, you can also get involved with day-to-day jobs around the ranch. As a working farm, the digs aren’t fancy, but the incredible surroundings and hospitality are something special. Enjoy three home-cooked meals a day and the chance to ride horses, in true gaucho (cowboy) style.

Day 20: Overnight Bus - Iguazu Falls

In the afternoon, bid farewell to your hosts and cross the border to Concordia in Argentina. Board a 12-hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu.

Day 21: Iguazu Falls (Brazilian Side)

As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station this morning, take a minivan across the border into Brazil and head straight to the national park to witness the majestic Foz do Iguacu/Iguazu Falls. After some time spent admiring this force of nature, head to your hotel in Foz do Iguacu. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day.

Day 22: Iguazu Falls (Argentinian side)

Return to Argentina today to see Iguazu Falls from a different angle. Following a series of boardwalks, it’s possible to get so close to the thundering waters that you can almost touch them. At over two-kilometres long, Iguazu Falls are made up of over 270 separate cascades, with some reaching up to 80 metres in height. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls! In the afternoon return to your accommodation in Foz do Iguacu in Brazil.

Day 23: Rio de Janeiro

Take an included flight to Rio de Janeiro. Settle into your hotel room then head out with your leader for an orientation walk. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore at your own pace. Maybe head to Copacabana or Ipanema Beach or, if the time of year is right, check out a soccer game at the famous Maracana Stadium. You might like to take the tramcar up to the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa or head up Corcovado Mountain, where you’ll find sweeping views over Rio from the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Day 24: Rio de Janeiro

Today is free for you to explore at your own pace until a welcome meeting at 6 pm, when you will meet anyone new joining your travel crew. Of course, if you simply can’t wait you could always join your leader and new folks on an orientation walk at 1 pm, though keep in mind it will be very similar to the one you completed yesterday.

Day 25-26: Paraty

This morning, take a local bus from Rio to Paraty (approximately 4 hours). The remainder of today and rest of tomorrow are yours to explore Paraty. Admire the architecture as you wander along the town’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets, which become partly covered in seawater at high tide. You might prefer to explore the rainforest trails in the surrounding national park, which is rich in wildlife and waterfalls. Otherwise, a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast could be on the cards, or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches. The best thing is you get to decide.

Day 27: Paraty – Ilha Grande

Today, jump on a shared transfer to Angra followed by a ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande, taking approximately 5 hours, in total. This paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. Previously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals, the island has a fascinating history to uncover. The ruins of the prison can still be seen today. Once you’ve arrived and got your bearings, head to the beach – it’s calling your name.

Day 28-29: Ilha Grande

Rise and shine in paradise, ready to enjoy two full free days exploring Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches – Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are two of the best. You could book yourself in on an optional boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon, beach-hopping through Ilha Grande Bay along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood, and to swim and snorkel in the clear water. Or just plonk yourself on the beach with a good book and laze the day away. In the evening, why not meet up with some of your travel pals and relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao – the island’s main town.

Day 30: Rio de Janeiro

Bid farewell to this slice of heaven as you board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here, take a minivan back to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about 3.5 hours, so you should be back in Rio in the early to mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore the city or simply hit up Copacabana and relax. Tonight, get together with your travel crew for a night of food, drinks and some samba – speak to your local leader who’ll have some great recommendations for what to do tonight.

Day 31: Rio de Janeiro

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to continue soaking up the sun in Rio, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).