Take in the unique experiences of South America with this comprehensive, highlight-packed tour.
From the biodiversity of Colombia to the fascinating ethnic diversity of La Paz this trip has something for everyone and offers a real taste of all the different facets that South America has to offer. Enjoy the vibrancy of the Caribbean coast before venturing into the highland coffee plantations of Colombia. Spend time in a jungle lodge deep in the Amazon Jungle, enjoy the surf and beautiful beaches of northern Peru, and conquer the world-renowned Inca Trail. Unwind from this adventurous trip with a night with a local Uros Indian family at Lake Titicaca before exploring La Paz, the highest capital city in the world.
Explore the palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons and rainforest in Tayrona National Park
Learn what it takes to be one of the world's leading producers of coffee, guided tour in Salento
Wander around the historic centre, picturesque buildings and take in a few cafes in Bogota
Camping under the stars in the Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs
3 nights exploring the Amazon Jungle – taking guided walks and view the exotic wildlife by land or river
Relax in the thermal baths in the spa town of Banos or hike the nearby mountain trails by foot or horseback
Why you'll love this adventure
- A boat trip to the Ballestas Islands which are bursting with exotic and rare marine wildlife
- View the majestic condors, which can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the Colca Canyon floor
- Trekking through the Sacred Valley of the Incas reaching the famous UNESCO World Heritage site Machu Picchu
24 October 2024
21 December 2024
This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.
This trip includes an action packed itinerary! Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
Accommodation approx. 35% camping & 65% simple hostels/hotels
Playa Blanca boat trip – Cartagena
City tour – Cartagena
Tayrona National Park – includes entrance & hammock accommodation
El Totumo Mud Volcano
Coffee plantation tour – Salento
3 night Jungle Trip – accommodation & meals (activities are optional)
Chan Chan Ruins – entrance & guided tour
Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu – 4 day trek including all meals & guide
Entrance to Machu Picchu – including guide
Boat Tour on Lake Titicaca
Overnight stay with local family on Lake Titicaca
Meals – approx. 45%
All transport on Oasis Expedition Truck
Camping and Cooking equipment
Services of Oasis Crew
Who is this trip for?
- Suitable For Solo
- Suitable For Couples
- Suitable For Children
- Suitable For Groups
- Suitable For Students
- Suitable For Business
- Suitable For Wheelchairs
DAY 1: CARTAGENA TO TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
A highlight of any trip to Colombia is undoubtedly Cartagena. With its colonial past and Unesco World Heritage status, the old city is an ideal place to just wander the maze of cobbled alleys amongst churches, monasteries, plazas and bougainvillea draped balconies. Las Murallas, the thick walls built around the old city to protect it from pirates, are wonderfully preserved and make for an interesting walk, before stopping off in one of the hidden patio cafes. We spend 2 nights here to get a flavour of both the old city and also the trendy area of Bocagrande. We will also include a boat trip Playa Blanca, with it’s turquoise waters and golden sand it is one of Cartagenas most famous beaches.
We set off in the Truck eastbound with a quick dip in Volcan de Lodo el Totumo before we continue to Taganga where we spend a night in this chilled out Caribbean town with a strong alternative feel. Some of South America’s loveliest coastline lies east of Taganga in Tayrona National Park. We spend 2 days exploring trails to beaches set in deep bays, shaded by coconut palms. We have the option to snorkel and possibly scuba dive in some of the bays. Lack of roads means that we will probably have to hike with our gear to our overnight spots where we sleep in hammocks!
DAY 6-14: TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK TO BOGOTA
We then head south into the heart of Colombia, with a roadside bush camp on the way before arriving in the lively city of Medellin. Here is a good spot to get a few Salsa or Tango lessons in before trying out your moves in the many discos and clubs. For those wanting a little culture there are several art galleries and museums worth visiting or also an option to travel via local bus to the sleepy colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia.
Continuing south, our Colombian overland adventure takes us in to the mountains to the pleasantly cool climate of Salento. Here, deep in the heart of the coffee growing area, we have the option to visit one of the numerous coffee farms. Parque Los Nevados, with peaks topping 5000mtrs, and weirdly tall Palm trees making it a great place to spend a day trekking, before checking out some of the town’s funky bars in the evening.Bogota is our next stop and we have 2 or 3 nights to see the different sides of this once notorious capital city. Having had the accreditation in the 80’s and 90’s of being one of the world’s most dangerous cities, things have really turned around for Bogota. The city is cradled by Andean Peaks and great views can be seen from a trek up the Cerro de Monserrate. Pop in to the cobbled historic centre, La Candelaria, and as well as taking in a few cafes and picturesque buildings, enjoy the age old tradition of adding cheese to your hot chocolate!
DAY 15-17: BOGOTA TO PARQUE PURACE
We now travel through the Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs surrounded by distant peaks of over 5000mtrs. The result is a quite unique ecosystem, and due to the dry, clear conditions, the area is an excellent star gazing spot and we will try to camp here to appreciate the view. Turning west through stunning mountain scenery towards the Pan American Highway, and after a gruelling drive, we eventually take an unpaved road into Parque Purace. The park is the only place to see Condors in Colombia, and it is also home to some good walking trails. The adventurous can scale Volcan Purace (4750mtrs), but there are a few other less strenuous hikes to the Sulphur Mine and Termales de San Juan – a spectacular hot spring complete with water slides!
DAY 18-22: PARQUE PURACE TO QUITO
Further west is the beautiful colonial city of Popayan. Nicknamed the white city, some would say only Cartagena surpasses Popayan’s colonial structures. We shall make a small stop to admire the chalk white facades and stock up on supplies, before following the Andes south towards Pasto. Santuario De Las Lajas – a neo-Gothic church built on a stone bridge spanning a gorge – is the main point of interest in our last stop in Colombia, Ipiales. We may choose to camp the night in either Pasto or Ipiales, or possibly continue on to the border with Ecuador.
We cross the equator as we make our way to Quito, a capital city rich in history, surrounded by mountains – a play ground for hikers and mountain bike fans.
DAY 23-28: QUITO TO AMAZON JUNGLE
Departing the largest city in Ecuador – Quito, we cross the Equator on our way to the town of Otavalo famous for its colourful craft market. Heading east on narrow, tortuous roads to the steamy edge of the Amazon basin and our gateway into the Amazon jungle. Here accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot this exotic environment.
DAY 29-34: AMAZON JUNGLE TO CUENCA
Further south, perched high in the mountains of Ecuador, lies the outdoor adventure mecca of Banos. This spa town, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths, is a favourite amongst those who have undertaken South America travel. With optional activities including rafting, canyoning and treks to waterfalls, you won’t be short of things to do! We hit the road again and drive south along the spine of the Andes towards Peru visiting Cuenca on the way.
DAY 35-40: CUENCA TO LIMA
A days drive on the Pan-American highway brings us to the border with Peru. You will notice an amazing transition in one day, from the glush farming country of highland Ecuador, through sub-tropical forest and immense banana plantations, to dry barren desert in Peru. We are rewarded with a couple of days chilling by the beach. Our next stops on our South America travel experience are the Chan Chan ruins, imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu kings which the Incas later conquered. It claims to be the largest mud brick city in the world.
Continuing with the Andes close to our left and the sea on our right, the capital city of Lima will be our next stop on our South America tour. Here you’ll encounter both abundant wealth and grinding poverty, modern skyscrapers next to some of the finest museums and historical monuments in Latin America.
DAY 41-47: LIMA TO COLCA CANYON
Departing Lima our next stop is the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve. By boat, you have the opportunity to visit the rare and exotic sea birds and mammals that inhabit these islands. An hour’s drive inland in the heart of the Ica Desert is the Oasis of Huacachina; if its an adrenaline rush you’re after, you have the option to head out on a custom made dune buggy & roar across the desert sands to the top of enormous dunes & then sand board down them – head first on a greased up plank of wood! Then, after an unforgettable desert sunset, we sit around the campfire while our guides cook up a storm, followed by a night sleeping out under the stars. In the morning we make our way to one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the desert floor are best viewed from the air – South America travel is not complete until you have seen these unbelievable ancient mysteries.
Still heading south we visit Chauchilla Cemetery with its well-preserved mummies, on our way to Puerto Inca, at this ancient Inca harbour we camp at the beach and enjoy our last night at sea level before beginning our climb back into the towering Andes. The next two nights are spent in Arequipa at 2325m, giving us time to acclimatise, and enjoy this beautiful colonial city with its impressive El Misti Volcano in the background. Arequipa is also the gateway to one of the deepest canyons in the world. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome sight. Here, if you get up early, Condors can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.
DAY 48-54: COLCA CANYON TO CUSCO
Widely considered to be the most interesting city for South America travel, our next stop Cusco is surrounded by the Sacred Valley of the Incas and offers a wide range of activities to explore the region. We will base ourselves here for 6 days giving us enough time for the Inca Trail trip, which is regarded by many to be the highlight of their South America tour. There are several treks which you can take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative Inca Trail treks, like the Lares or Salkantay can be arranged when the Classic is not available or by your choice (must be pre-arranged at time of booking). These alternatives mean that you still get to visit Machu Picchu. Tours to Machu Picchu are absolutely unbelievable; a trip to this City in the Clouds is an ancient and awe-inspiring part of our South America travel tour. Besides seeing Machu Picchu, you are able to enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cusco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. Please note that for all those visiting Machu Picchu there is now the option to buy a ticket to go up the summit next to Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu. Tickets for this must be requested at the time of your booking with us, and payment made in advance in the UK. You will have the option to add the tickets to go up Huayna Picchu when you make your booking online, be sure to add them if you would like them.
DAY 55-59: CUSCO TO LA PAZ
Bordering Peru and Bolivia at 3800m lies Lake Titicaca, the home of the Uros Indians who have made their dwellings on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average tourist and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time during South America travel in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs. From here it is a days drive to the capital of Bolivia – La Paz. This is a great place to visit a ‘peña’ club, dedicated to Andean folk music, and perhaps buy some souvenirs in one of the authentic markets such as the witches market.
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Cartagena To La Paz (59 Days) Bananas & Llamas
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