Welcome to Rio Carnival, the biggest party on the planet!There will be an important meeting at 17:00 or 18:00, where you'll have a full briefing on how to make the most of your time in Rio and receive your tickets, maps, T-Shirt and souvenir booklet - please check the notice board in the reception area for other important information throughout the week.After the meeting we have a table booked at a nearby buffet restaurant, so you can get to know some of your fellow travellers.Our dedicated Carnival team will be on hand throughout the week for a few hours each day to provide any assistance you may need.There's a whole host of additional optional activities that you may like to take part in, such as 'Join the Parade', prior early booking is essential!If you are arriving early you may like to join a Market Tour or Jungle Tour.In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, accommodation is in twin or double rooms. Our hotel is close to the beach and the metro station. Our hotel check-in is from 2pm, and staff will be on hand to give you assistance.Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely enter Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.
Today we will visit the most iconic sights of Rio; the immense statue of Christ the Redeemer standing at 710m on Corcovado mountain and the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). We will have some time to explore these sights in our own time, you may even choose to take a helicopter ride!. We will also aim to see some other important landmarks such as the Maracanã stadium, Escadaria Selarón and the Lapa Arches. We will travel by minibus. (NB today's tour is unguided but you will be accompanied by our crew).This evening we will head out to Lapa for a night out in a samba club; Rio Scenarium, one of the City's greatest nightspots - it's an antiques warehouse, music venue, bar and restaurant all housed in a fantastic colonial mansion. There will be live samba music and DJ's on each floor. We will be hosting a beginners Samba Dance class in the late afternoon, why not sign up and learn some of the basic steps before hitting the town!
This morning why not glitter up and join us at one of the local 'blocos' or street parties, there will be live music, dancing and plenty of opportunities to get to know Rio and it's people! Blocos are great fun, crowded, hot and lively! The local 'cariocas' will be all dressed up, so make sure you come dressed to impress! In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in Sector 11, close to the action.
This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in!In the afternoon you may wish to join us for a walking tour of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.Tonight we have the chance to re-visit the Sambadrome, this time in Sector 5 in the centre of the parade runway, to see the last 7 of the elite Samba schools parading. You even have the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience!It is important to pre-book these activities early.
Today you have free time to enjoy the activities, sights and sounds of Rio! Join a bloco, hit the beach or ride the tram to Santa Teresa. Rio has so much to offer other than it's carnival fesitivities. We will be organising some fun water based activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding (prior booking is essential).Tonight you have a free night to hit the town; head downtown and enjoy a Caipirinha under the iconic Lapa arches or join a bloco.
Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely enter Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport (IATA code: RIO/GIG).Welcome to the iconic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Today we will leave Rio behind and travel by truck to the stunning island retreat of Ilha Grande. We will leave our truck behind for a couple of days and take a ferry, so you may wish to pack a small overnight bag. There are no private cars or banks on the island, so you will need to bring cash along with you and be prepared for a short walk with your bags to the hostel.
Free day to enjoy the island.
Today our journey begins with a short drive to the colonial town of Paraty on the Emerald Coast of the Atlantic!We will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.
We will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.
Today we will drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeastern Brazil.
Today is free to take part in optional adventure activities such as white water rafting or canyoning, or to simply relax by the pool!
Today we have a long drive day as we start our journey towards the Pantanal.
Today we have an early start to meet our guide in Campo Grande, and then drive on to Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal region, where we have a visit a local eco-tourism ranch (or 'fazenda').We will spend 2 nights here and have a comprehensive package of included activities such as exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside on horseback, trips down the wildlife-abundant rivers in boats and canoes, and safaris on the ranch's trucks and on foot where we hope to spot capybaras, caimans, and (if we are very lucky) jaguars and ocelots. Our stay here is an incredible highlight!
Full day in the Pantanal.
After our morning activities and one final lunch in our beautiful ranch, it is time to leave the Pantanal and drive to the Brazilian eco-tourism capital of Bonito.
We have a full day in Bonito to take part in some incredible optional activities. You could go out on a world-class snorkelling trip, explore the nearby caves, or go abseiling down some of the largest waterfalls in the area, amongst many other possibilities!
Today we have a full drive day south to the city of Foz do Iguaçu.
Today we will visit the Brazilian side of the phenomenal Iguazu Falls, to get some incredible panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also time for optional activities such as taking a helicopter ride over the falls, visiting the incredible Itaipu Dam, or to quickly stop into Paraguay to pick up some bargains in the nearby Ciudad del Este.
Today we will take a day trip into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point. We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!
Today we will leave Iguazu and head to the Argentine town of Yapeyú. This small town was the birthplace of General Jose de San Martín, one of the principal leaders of several South American countries' struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.
Border information: exit Argentina at Salto Grande, enter Uruguay at Salto Grande.Today we cross into Uruguay and head to the Tacuarembó area - the traditional gaucho land of Uruguay. We will spend 3 nights in an authentic estancia to learn about the gaucho way of living. We will have a chance to learn how to prepare typical food from the area (and of course taste it!) and also enjoy some traditional music.
Full day at the estancia.
Today we will head south to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. The following day will be free to explore Montevideo. The city has a mix of historical buildings and modern architechture and a main feature of the city is the Rambla (waterfront promenade) where locals frequently go for a stroll to drink their mate. Mate is the traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink sipped through a straw, particularly popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.
This morning we head to Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest and most picturesque towns in Uruguay and a Unesco World Heritage site. The afternoon is free to explore the charming narrow cobbled streets of the Barrio Histórico and the pretty riverfront.
Today we will hop on the ferry across to the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. The truck will drive around by road and rejoin us later in the day.
Today is a free day to explore the city and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.
Border information: if you are starting your trip in Buenos Aires, you will most likely enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code: BUE/EZE).Welcome to the cosmopolitan Argentine capital of Buenos Aires! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this meeting.Please note that many of the optional activities will only be possible for those with extra time in Buenos Aires before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Buenos Aires.
Today is a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.
Today we begin our journey from Buenos Aires with a full drive day across the pampas and grasslands of the province.
Today we head south to the coastal town of Puerto Madryn.
Today we will have a free day for optional activities in and around Puerto Madryn. There is the opportunity to take a tour to the Valdes Peninsular to see its desolate scenery and abundant marine life, head out on a boat trip in search of dolphins and whales, or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh tea house in the nearby towns of Gaiman or Trelew.
Today we will drive south along the coast and have an included visit to the incredible remote colony of Magellanic Penguins in Cabo Dos Bahias (Cape Two Bays), close to the town of Camarones. After seeing the phenomenal sight of thousands of penguins nesting on the shore, we will head to the nearby small town of Camarones.
From Camarones we set off on an all day drive following the South Atlantic coast.
Today we leave the coast behind and head west across the country to the town of El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier.
Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Cerro Castillo and enter Chile at Cerro Castillo.Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and a main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park.Tonight we will camp at Camping Pehoe, a stunning campsite inside the National Park with incredible views of Los Cuernos mountains, which we will refer to as our 'base campsite'.
Embark on the W-Walk with a local guide. Places at the campsites are limited by the National Park, so we book them in advance of your trip. We will be trekking the W-Walk from West to East, to enjoy the spectacular views.This morning we will wake early and transfer by truck for the morning Catamaran to cross Lago Pehoe. We will then set up camp at Paine Grande, before continuing on our hike towards the lookout for Glacier Grey.
Today we depart from our camp at Paine Grande and hike into the stunning French Valley. In the afternoon, we will make our way to Camp Cuernos.The hike is approximately 8 hours.
Today we have a slightly easier day, we will hike from Camping Cuernos along the edge of Lago Nodenskjold, around Almirante Nieto and stay just outside Valley Ascencio. We will arrive at Camp Central after approximately 5 hours hiking.
This is our final day of the W-Walk and the most spectacular. The day begins with a steady climb from our camp site up Rio Asencio. Be prepared for the final hour which is a relatively steep scramble up to the Tarn and Mirrador Las Torres, affording great views of the iconic Towers.Our hike today is approximately 8 hours for the return trip (16km). We will spend the night at Camp Central again.
Today we have an early start to leave Torres del Paine and head south to cross the Magellan Straits onto the island of Tierra del Fuego.Tonight we will wild bush camp somewhere in the desolate wilds of the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego.
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San SebastianToday we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world!
We will have a free day in the remote town of Ushuaia, with plenty of time for optional activities such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast.
Border information: Exit Argentina at San Sebastian, enter Chile at San Sebastian.Today we start heading back north and back onto the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego. Here we will visit the small King Penguin colony that have recently set up home at the remote Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay).
Border information: Exit Chile at Integracion Austral, enter Argentina at Integracion Austral.Today we continue our journey north, crossing the Magellan Strait back to the mainland and then heading across the Argentine border.
Today we will continue north, overlanding across the Patagonian steppe and to the small town of El Chalten, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.
We will have a day to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitz Roy. There are lots of trekking and walking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, horse riding, and many other fantastic options.
Today we start heading north again with a full day drive along the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40).
Border information: Exit Argentina at Ingeniero Pallavecini, enter Chile at Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez.Today we will drive across the border into the magnificent scenery of the Chilean Carretera Austral, possibly one of the most stunning areas in South America, with the beautiful mountains of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. In Cerro Castillo we will camp in a lovely family-run campsite with basic facilities, where we will enjoy a Chilean BBQ.
We have a free day here to enjoy optional activities such as hiking to the turquoise waters of Laguna Cerro Castillo or to go horse riding.
Today we drive through the Chilean fjords to Queluat National Park, where we can take a walk in the enchanted forest to see the spectacular Hanging Glacier.
Today we continue to the rafting mecca of Futaleufu, a frontier town on the northern end of the Carreterra Austral, bordering Argentina. The Rio Futaleufu is one of the premier white water rafting rivers in the world, but the town is also a great spot for mountain biking, trekking and canyoning.
We have time in Futaleufu to relax and enjoy the surroundings or to do optional activities.
Today we continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche in Argentina's Lake District. We will see a definite change in the landscape today as the vegetation becomes more lush and green as we come out of the Patagonia region and into the forests of the Lake District.
We will have a free day to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak or boat.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Mamuil Malal, enter Chile at Mamuil Malal.Today we journey through the Andes into Chile and continue to the town of Pucón via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).
We will have a free day in Pucón to enjoy a range of optional activities, including a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucón, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
Today we will leave the Chilean Lake District behind and head to the coast to the laid back, farming village of Buchupureo, where we can relax by the beach.
This morning we head into the wine region where we will make a stop at a vineyard for a wine tour and tasting. In the afternoon we continue our journey to the cosmopolitan Chilean capital of Santiago.
Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (IATA code: SCL).Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Today is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan Chilean capital.
Border information: Exit Chile at Paso Cristo Redentor, enter Argentina at Los Libertadores. Today we will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Argentine wine capital of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes. Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world.
Today we will have a free day to explore the incredible region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tour of some of the many wineries in the region.
Today we have a full days drive to the bustling city of Cordoba.
Today we will have a leisurely start to the day, with time to explore Cordoba. After lunch we will complete our drive to the Estancia.
Today and tomorrow we will head out horseback riding. This is a magical experience in a beautiful location, and many people's highlight of the trip! Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.
??Full day at the Estancia.
Today we will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains.
Today we will have an included visit to the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route, then arrive in the serene town of Cafayate.
Free day to explore Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentinas's principal withe producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrontes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!
Today we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the beautiful colonial town of Salta.
Today we will have a free day to explore Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Paso Jama, enter Chile at Paso Jama.Today we will have a drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Chile, and then descend all the way into the Atacama desert.
Today we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).
We will depart San Pedro de Atacama early today to drive to the world's highest Geyser field, at 4300m above sea level, the El Tatio Geysers are an impressive sight first thing in the morning. After time to explore, we will continue our journey into the Reserva Nacional Alto Loa, we will have plenty of opportunities for photographs along the way on this scenic drive.Please note: The weather in this region can be unpredictable and has been known to close the road to the border. On these occasions we will take an alternate route across the Altiplano, crossing into either Chile or Argentina at a different border point. Your trip leaders will keep you informed of any changes that may be necessary.
Border information: Exit Chile and enter Bolivia at OllagueAfter breakfast we will break camp and cross the border into Bolivia. We will take our time to enjoy the views on the way to the town of Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.
Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!
Today we will drive north to La Paz, Bolivia's seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world!
Today we will have a free day to make the most of the extrodinary city of La Paz, explore the witches market or take a mountain biking trip down the World's Most Dangerous Road.
Border information: if you are finishing in La Paz, you will most likely exit Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB).Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in La Paz. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.