Southern Cross Westbound - Rio to Lima

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 31st, 2014 Last Updated:
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Introduction

From the sands of Ipanema to the heights of the Bolivian Andes, this incredible 39-day journey will introduce you to the diverse landscape and people of South America. Explore the wetlands of the Pantanal and the bizarre landscape of the Uyuni Salt Flats, and revel in the mists of thundering Iguassu Falls. Gain greater insight into the culture on the region’s public buses and meet locals from the rural towns along the way for an immersive experience that few travellers get to know. Get off the beaten path and experience Peru, Brazil and Bolivia —a vibrant cross-section of South America.

  • Stare in awe at Iguassu Falls
  • Search for wildlife in the Brazilian Pantanal
  • Spend three days exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats and high mountain wilderness by 4x4
  • Settle in with the locals at a homestay on Lake Titicaca
  • Conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Duration: 39 days
Start/Finish City: Rio de Janeiro to Lima
Service Level: Standard
  • Great value, reasonable prices, quality experiences
  • Comfortable and varied tourist-class accommodations chosen for location and character
  • Mix of public and private transport for the best overall experience
  • All the top highlights included, plus plenty of time to explore on your own
Physical Grading: 3
Trips may include activities like hiking, biking, rafting or kayaking. No sweat, right?
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Southern Cross Westbound - Rio to Lima (SZRM)

Day 1 Rio de Janeiro

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro at any time. We will be departing by midday on Day 2. There are no planned activities, so check into to centrally-located hotel in Copacabana (check-in time is approx 3pm) and enjoy the city. In the late afternoon (approx 7pm) you will meet your fellow group members to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice board (or ask reception) to see the exact time and location of this group meeting. After the meeting we will be heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant (optional). If you arrive late, no worries, the leader will leave you a message at the front desk.

**Please note: if you have pre-booked the Peru Adrenaline Bundle your CEO will inform you upon arrival when you will see each activity throughout your tour, dates subject to change: full day rafting (Day 31 - Cuzco) and half-day horseback riding (Day 37 - Cuzco). For more information on the shows see the Optional Activities section.

*Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Latin America (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.

"God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio," so say the Cariocas, residents of this beautiful city. This is a densely packed city of over 9 million inhabitants, whose economic foundations lie in the cultivation of sugar cane and gold mining. Referred to as the “cidade maravilhosa” (Marvellous City), few cities enjoy such a dramatic setting as Rio. Brilliant, white beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema, deep blue waters of the Atlantic, the luminescent green of Guanabara Bay, the bare blue slopes of the Sugar Loaf combine to make Rio unique. Standing over it all, atop Corcovado, is the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer, the best place from which to appreciate the city. Superb panoramic views of the city and area can also be found from the top of the Pao do Açucar (Sugar Loaf), reached by cable car. Head to some of the famous beaches, and prepare yourself for an experience unlike anything else on Earth.

Although the Portuguese first sailed and entered the bay, it was the French who first established a settlement in the area, logging Brazil wood along the coast. Their first permanent settlement lasted a brief five years, when they were attacked and driven from the area by the encroaching Portuguese. A series of skirmishes ensued, with the Tomaio people allied with the French against the Portuguese.

In 1567 the Portuguese began construction of a fortified town to repel any invaders, naming it Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. Amassing wealth with the gold rush of Minas Gerais, in the early 18th century Rio became Brazil’s most important city and a great temptation to the French who, in 1710, waged war against the Portuguese and held the city for a sizeable gold ransom. Again in the 19th century, under threat of Napoleon’s invasion, what remained of the Portuguese monarchy fled to Brazil where they set up court in grand style; many of today’s older structures date from this period.

The gold rush was followed by a coffee boom in the mid-1800s and the wealth generated led to the city’s initial modernization. Replacing Salvador de Bahia as the colonial capital in 1763, the city remained the capital until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia. Today, the city is a magnet for tourists who come to walk the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, and generally partake in the Carioca zest for life. Many ascend the Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao do Açucar), whose image is nearly synonymous with Rio and Carnival. Modern Rio is perhaps best known for the contrasting images offered by the favelhas (shanty towns), and the glitz and glamour preferred by the Samba schools and their Carnival celebrations.

Days 2-3 Ilha Grande (1B)

From Rio head south along the Atlantic coast to one of the picturesque, laid-back islands on the coast, llha Grande. Relax and walk the clean sand beaches, or bathe in the warm waters of this island paradise.

The local fauna and flora in Ilha Grande, a Nacional Patrimony protected area, are extremely diverse. The state park was created in 1971 and encompasses 4.500 hectares of wilderness. Mountain range, coastal, mangrove and prairie vegetation are all found here, along with an astonishing collection of bird life, including parrots, woodpeckers, Brazilian thrushes and saracuras. There are also different kinds of monkeys, squirrels, armadillos, pacas, hedgehogs and snakes, as well as endangered species such as the Alouatta Fusca, generally known as Bugio monkey.

Days 4-6 Paraty (2B)

Head down the beautiful Costa Verde to the colonial town of Paraty, and spend the afternoon exploring the cobblestone streets and cafés. Enjoy two free days to explore by opting to island-hop from beach to beach, snorkelling or a visit to a typical fazenda or farm to sample local cachaça.

Paraty is a lovely colonial town 125 miles from Rio de Janeiro on Ilha Grande Bay, Brazil's southeastern coast. It lies on the border between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states, and is a favourite with those looking to ‘get away from it all’—Brazilians and visitors alike. Considered one of the world's most important examples of Portuguese colonial architecture by UNESCO, the historic centre is a well-preserved national historic monument, and today has been closed to vehicles to preserve its laid-back colonial ambience. During high tide the Portuguese cobblestone streets are partly flooded by seawater, adding to the fairy tale atmosphere.

Founded in 1531, the original settlement was on the opposite side of the river, where a church was erected to their patron "St. Roque." Around 1640 the Indians who used to live here were driven away and the town moved to where it stands now. The founders named it Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, with Our Lady of the Medicines as the patron saint, and they built the main church in her honour. Enlarged and remodelled over the years, the church is now the focal point of the annual Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios on September 8. The festival has been celebrated for over 300 years since a wealthy and reverent benefactor, Maria Jácome de Mello, donated the land to the town for the church, requesting only an annual mass in return. The mass has grown into a procession of the wooden effigy of the Virgen though the town, adorned with gold and silver jewellery.

In the 1700's when the mines of Minas Gerais were pouring out gold, the perfect bay of Paraty was a busy port, the second most important in Brazil during the ‘Golden Century.’ The best pinga or cachaça (sugar cane liquor) of Brazil was produced here and the name Paraty became synonymous with the liquor. Later, coffee was brought from the valley of Paraiba to be shipped to Portugal, sparking another economic boom. In 1888 with the abolition of the slavery, Paraty became almost forgotten in time, and a large exodus left only a population of around 600, a considerable difference from the 16000 when the town was in its prime. In 1954 a road was opened linking the town to the inland through the valley of Paraiba, but it was not until 1973-75 with the opening of the highway BR-101 that Paraty’s rebirth as a tourist town began. Paraty was declared a national monument in 1966.

Paraty's bay is filled with over 65 tropical islands and dozens of beaches, each offering something different, and all covered with vegetation that remains lush and colourful year-round. The water of the bay is always the right temperature for swimming, diving and snorkelling. The national parks that encircle the town are filled with trails, wildlife and waterfalls. Hiking or horseback riding, for the sports minded, or a jeep or van tour are both excellent ways to appreciate this natural wilderness.

Days 7-9 Iguassu Falls (3B)

**NOTE: Canadians, Australians and Americans are now required to pay a reciprocity fee in order to visit the Argentine side of the falls. This MUST BE PAID IN ADVANCE. See Trip Details 'Visas' for a link.

After Paraty transfer to Sao Paulo for a flight to the magnificent Foz do Iguaçu, or Iguassu Falls, which borders Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. In order to see the falls properly you need to view them from both the Brazilian and the Argentine side. The Brazilian side offers the grand overview, and the Argentine side a closer look. Sit back and soak in the stunning beauty and raw power that is Iguassu, or take an optional boat tour directly into the spray of the falls.

Note: If you have booked the Iguassu Falls Boat Ride Theme Pack, you will do it on Day 8 or 9 when visiting the Argentine side of the falls.

At Iguassu there are 275 individual falls in all, spread over a 3-km (almost 2 mile) area. Some are over 80m (2642 ft) in height, making these cataracts both wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara; in 1986 UNESCO declared the region a World Heritage Site. The falls were originally “discovered” by the Spaniard Juan Alvar Nuñez in 1541, when he named the falls Saltos de Santa María; the name we use today means “great waters” in the Tupi-Guarani tongue.

Film buffs know Iguassu as the site of several scenes from “The Mission,” and not far from the falls, the ruins of Jesuit missions of the era can still be visited on a day trip. The best time of the year to view the falls is from August to November, as during rainy season flooding often prevents closer viewing from the catwalks.

In the afternoon of Day 9 we will board an overnight bus or van to travel to Bonito.

Days 10-11 Bonito (2B)

Our journey takes us across the vast cattle ranches of Mato Grosso do Sul en route to western Brazil. Bonito, as the name (“beautiful”) implies, is a great place for nature lovers. Just outside the Pantanal area, this is water and jungle country where brilliantly coloured fish fill the area’s crystalline rivers. Explore nearby underwater caves and waterfalls, go rafting or snorkelling, or simply spend a lazy day by the river.

Days 12-15 Pantanal/Corumbá/Santa Cruz (4B, 2L, 2D)

Less well known outside of Brazil and South America, the Pantanal, a largely flat, wetland area about half the size of France, is still one of the best places in the continent for observing wildlife. This vast alluvial plain, seasonally flooded by the Paraguay River from October to March, is all that remains from an ancient inland sea which began to dry out 65 million years ago. Today it is an area rich in bird life such as macaws and Jabiru storks. With luck and appropriate weather you may spot capivara (capybara), howler monkeys, caiman, giant river otters, anacondas, anteaters and the aforementioned Gauchos.

The area is sparsely populated and what few roads exist are in poor condition. Most people use small airplanes, 4-wheel-drive vehicles and motorized canoes to get around, so expect some rough travel and more rustic accommodations while visiting the area. The area’s Transpanteneira, an elevated dirt road, which extends 145km’s (91 miles) from outside Pocone to Porto Jofre, becomes an island during the wet season. We take a two-day wildlife excursion to fully appreciate the area’s beauty and bounty.

Unfortunately, as in other areas, poachers continue to do damage, and official government resources to protect the zone are scarce. This, combined with corrupt officials and a lack of commitment on the part of the government, have resulted in widespread poaching; latest estimates indicate that anywhere from half a million to two million animals are killed annually in the Pantanal.

From the frontier town of Corumbá, Brazil we cross into Bolivia and Puerto Suarez, Bolivia’s gateway into the Pantanal. An overnight train ride brings us to Santa Cruz. Once a backwater frontier town, it has now grown into Bolivia’s second largest city. A local flight takes us to Sucre.

Days 16-18 Sucre (2B)

Often referred to as Bolivia’s White City, the country’s official capital, Sucre, is situated at nearly 2800m (9184 ft) above sea level, offering its visitors and inhabitants a more moderate, comfortable climate than many of Bolivia’s cities at higher elevations. Before the conquest, military, religious and political leaders of the local indigenous population made their homes on the present day city site. Later, the city became the headquarters for the Spanish Royal Court, which by the late 1700s ruled over colonial Paraguay, parts of Peru, Argentina, Chile, and most of Bolivia. In 1825, in the wake of the Latin American independence movement, the city was renamed Sucre after Simon Bolívar’s second-in-command, General Antonio Jose de Sucre. The city’s fine museums, colonial buildings and ties to the independence movement make it a city of great historical interest. Optional activities include a visit to dinosaur footprints, an old tin baron’s mansion, a textile cooperative, mountain biking and hiking.

Day 19 Potosí (1B)

Sitting at 4070m (13,350 ft), Potosí is the highest city of its size on earth. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 in recognition of its tragic history as a silver mining centre during the time of Spanish colonization. Potosí provided a large share of the silver mined and shipped back to Spain until the early 1800s, when both the supply of silver and world market prices began to decline; it’s said the silver taken out of Cerro Rico (rich hill) propped up the Spanish empire for over 300 years.

Working conditions for miners were appalling, and the indigenous population was decimated. African slaves were brought in to replace the native workers, and it is estimated that as many as eight million indigenous people and Africans died in the mines during the first three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Though sometimes distressing and uncomfortable because of the harsh working conditions, the optional trip underground into the mines of today is an experience that should not be missed.

Days 20-23 Uyuni/Salt Flats Excursion (4B,2L,3D)

Travel through the Bolivian landscape to the town of Uyuni. Despite its isolation and challenging climate (cold and blustery most of the year), the town of Uyuni has earned the nickname of Hija Predilecta de Bolivia (Bolivia’s Favourite Daughter). It is also the starting point for our 3-night excursion through the spectacular Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats) in 4x4 vehicles.

Spend three days in the stunning landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and the Atacama Desert in Chile. The salt flats now cover a total area of over 12000 square km (7440 square miles) and is one of Bolivia's main salt mining centers. Driving across the salt flats is a fantastic experience, particularly for the contrast of piercing blue skies and blinding white salt on the flat lakebed. The area’s unusual landscape of mountains, active volcanoes and geysers is like nowhere on earth. Our groups like to get creative with photography, as the endless white of the salt flats creates some great depth illusions that are fun to play with in photos.

The tour takes us through the impressive large red lagoon of Laguna Colorada the striking blue-green Laguna Verde at 5000m. The region's volcanic activity is present as we pass by numerous geysers, boiling mud pools, thermal baths and Licancabúr Volcano. Surprisingly, both wildlife and flora manage to survive and even thrive in the desolate landscape; this includes vizcachas (of the rodent family), flamingos and assorted varieties of cacti.

We offer unique accommodation on the Uyuni Salt Flats. Instead of very basic refuges and homestays most operators use, we have upgraded to simple hotels that are equipped with solar panels to provide electricity and hot water. Rooms are multi-share and each with a private bathroom. Meals are made from local ingredients, most of which are grown on-site.

Note: During the rainy season the locations visited may change due to some routes being covered by water.

Days 24-25 La Paz (2B)

Founded by Alonso de Mendoza in 1548, La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (the City of Our Lady of Peace) is the highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital, La Paz is the Bolivian centre of commerce, finance and industry, and the de facto capital. This is a busy modern city, with its centre at the base of a canyon 5 km (3 miles) wide and sprawling impromptu housing all the way up the surrounding hillsides. The city is at nearly 4000 m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so visitors should be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.

Explore the city’s many fine museums or its historic ecclesiastical structures, such as the Iglesia de San Francisco, whose architectural details reflect the indigenous and mestizo heritage of modern Bolivia. The city is also renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechicería (Witches’ Market), where Paceños and visitors may purchase potions and incantations made from all sorts of herbs, seeds, and secret ingredients to remedy any number of illnesses (real or imagined) and protect from evil spirits. With streets lined with market stalls and vendors, the pace on the street and the vibrant atmosphere is an incredible experience. There is also a thriving black market and a Carnaval market, where locals purchase carnival costumes. You’ll also find a wealth of shops selling all sorts of handicrafts, mainly alpaca wool products, silver jewellery, woven textiles and leather goods.

Optional activities in La Paz include museums or a visit to the world’s highest ski resort, Chacaltaya (5600 m/18,368 ft). To the south of the city is the Valley of the Moon, with crater-like formations made of sand.

Days 26 La Paz/Tiahuanaco (1B)

Little is known about the Tiahuanaco people who constructed the great ceremonial centre on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca over 1000 years ago. We spend most of the day visiting these mysterious ruins—a cradle of Inca civilization—before returning to La Paz.

Peru is frequently referred to as the 'Land of the Incas'. It is true that the Incas formed the greatest empire on the continent and left mysterious cities such as Machu Picchu. However, it is important to remember that the Incas were the only the last in a long series of Peruvian civilizations spanning several thousand years and the ruins of many of these earlier civilizations can also be visited. Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon and the desert coastal area; during this trip we concentrate on the Andean region of both Peru and Bolivia.

Day 27 Puno (1B)

Enjoy spectacular views of the countryside on a full day of travel from La Paz, around Lake Titicaca and on to Puno.

Located at 3830 m above sea level, Puno is the highest night stop on the tour. As a result the weather can be extreme with very cold nights and a strong sun during the day. Puno is also known for its wealth of traditional dances; there are up to 100 different varieties, usually performed in the street processions celebrating Catholic feast days. Hopefully you visit at the right time and catch one of these celebrations. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site which can (time permitting) be visited upon return from the Islands of Lake Titicaca.

Approximate Distance: 297km
Estimated Travel Time: 7.30 hours

Days 28-29 Lake Titicaca/Taquile Island (2B,1L,1D)

This morning we board a boat on Lake Titicaca. We head to Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant and the chance for some shopping in the local weaving cooperatives. From there we head to Amantani where overnight with a local family and enjoy typical music of the area. The following morning we will visit the floating islands of Uros en route to Puno.

Titicaca is the largest lake in the world above 2000m, and the views from both Amantaní and Taquile Islands are stunning. On our way to Taquile Island we pass the floating islands of the Uros people. The Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate themselves from the Colla and Inca tribes. Sadly, the Uros language has died out, and today they speak Aymara due to intermarriage with Aymara-speakers. Today about 300 families live on the islands, however their numbers are slowly declining.

The Totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake are used for making everything from the islands themselves to the model boats that the islanders sell. The islands are made up of layers upon layers of reeds; as the layers closest to the water start to rot, they are replaced with fresh reeds on top. The reeds are also used to build their boats, which if constructed well will last up to 6 months.

The people of Taquile Island's unique culture, style of dress and lifestyle make for a memorable visit. The men of the community do all the knitting, as this is strictly a male domain, while the women do the spinning. High quality, locally knitted goods are available for purchase at various cooperatives on the island. Despite the short distance that separates the two islands, Amantaní is quite distinct. Its soil is a rich terra cotta red, due to the high iron deposits, and the colour contrasts brightly with the deep azure blue of the lake and sky and the greenery of the local crops. For the night we split into smaller groups and billet into family homes to experience their style of living first-hand.

The following morning we visit the Uros Islands on our way back to Puno.

Days 30-31 Cusco (2B)

The trip from Puno to Cusco takes the better part of the day. Travel through the high Altiplano region and take time to notice the stark and beautiful scenery en route.

Every year Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to experience an age-old culture and to delve into its tragic and noble past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. We spend the next couple of days relaxing and exploring this fascinating city.

Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network and in this respect is reminiscent of Kathmandu in Nepal. Both cities attract travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.

Cusco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build. It is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.

While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. This ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure.

There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. Our best advice for exploring Cusco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!

Approximate Distance: 389km
Estimated Travel Time: 7 hours

Day 32 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo (1B,1L)

Travel with the local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market. Finish the day trip in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Catch your breath and prepare for the hike ahead.

Ollantaytambo is a taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. Spend the night in this small town before heading out for the start of the hike the next morning.

Approximate Distance: 95km
Estimated Travel Time: 2.30 hours

Days 33-36 Inca Trail/Machu Picchu (4B,3L,3D)

The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 44-km (27 mile) hike, with 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.

Depart Ollantaytambo for km 82 where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Our local crew of porters, cook and guide look after us well for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron bushes.

You pass several smaller ruin sites, the first of which is Llactapata. The second day climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At 4198 m (13769 ft) above sea level, this pass is the highest point of the trek. The second pass of the hike is at 3998 m (13113 ft) where on clear days, we enjoy superb views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. The trail goes through some beautiful cloud forest on the gentle climb to the third pass, where you will walk through a causeway and a tunnel, both original Inca constructions. The highest point of the third pass is at 3700m (12136 ft). On clear days you are rewarded for all this work with beautiful views of the Urubamba Valley below. Soon you reach the serene ruins of Phuyupatamarca, or the 'Town above the Clouds', at about 3650 m (11972 ft) above sea level. We will camp either here or an hour and a half further along close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) ruins, a grandiose terraced hillside site, with panoramic views of the valley below and just a short hike from Machu Picchu.

On the final day of the hike we climb the steps to the Sun Gate overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. When the morning is clear, there is no way to describe the feeling of the first views of Machu Picchu, as the mist rises off the mountains early in the morning and the famous site appears in front of you. Following the visit to Machu Picchu, time allowing, travellers can opt to visit the Inca Bridge (15 min walk away) for no additional charge.

Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.

NOTE: Those passengers not able or interested in the hike spend 2 days in Cusco, then travel by train to Aguas Calientes, where they overnight. Next morning they take the bus to the Machu Picchu entrance and rendezvous with the hikers at the ruins. If you decide not to do the hike we need to know prior to your departure in order to obtain train tickets. Please advise your agent or G Adventures.

Also note that portions of the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will hike the Lares Trek.

Approximate Distance: 20km
Estimated Travel Time: 40 minutes

Distances of the Inca trail:
Day 1 Km 82 to Wayllambama
Approximate distance: 11 km
Estimated hiking time: 5-6 hrs

Day 2 Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo
Approximate distance: 12 km
Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hrs

Day 3 Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Approximate distance: 16 km
Estimated hiking time: 8 hrs

Day 4
Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Approximate distance: 4 km
Estimated hiking time: 1.5 hrs

Intipunku to Machu Picchu
Approximate distance: 1.5 km
Estimated hiking time: 45 mins

Day 37 Cusco (1B)

Cusco is considered the mecca of Peru and rightly so. This beautiful colonial town offers much to the visitor with its nearby ruins, cobble-stoned streets, museums, churches and lively atmosphere. Try on of the following optional activities: horseback riding around archaeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Tambo Machay and Puca Pucara; white water rafting on the Urubamba River; and mountain biking down to the Sacred Valley, perhaps visiting an Inca ruin along the way.

Approximate Distance: 118km
Estimated Travel Time: 3.15 hours

Day 38 Lima (1B)

Return via a quick flight to the coast and the capital, Lima. Celebrate our final evening on the tour with one last Pisco Sour.

Known as the City of Kings, Peru’s capital city Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima and, and it is here you find the Cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city.

There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. An optional city tour visits many of the city’s highlights. The more affluent districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro, which are on the coast, offer good nightlife and cafés all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.

Approximate Distance: 572km
Estimated Travel Time: 2.20 hours

Day 39 Lima (1B)

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Beach time on Ilha Grande. Iguassu Falls visit (Brazil and Argentina). Bonito stay. Pantanal wildlife excursion (2-day). 4x4 excursion to the Uyuni Salt Flats (3-day). Floating islands of Uros visit. Lake Titicaca guided tour. Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo ruins guided tour with visit to a Planeterra-supported women's weaving project (full-day). Lunch at the Planeterra-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosco, an indigenous village. Inca Trail guided hike with cooks and porters (4-day). Planeterra-supported handmade biodegradable soap products for use on the Inca Trail. Machu Picchu guided tour. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Stare in awe at Iguassu Falls, search for wildlife in the Brazilian Pantanal, spend three days exploring the Uyuni Salt Flats and high mountain wilderness by 4x4, settle in with the locals at a homestay on Lake Titicaca, conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. Please note that this tour is a combination of several G Adventures tours. As such, your group CEO, fellow passengers, or vehicle may change between the individual tour sections.

2. Please note that this trip is a combination of multiple G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and/or particular vehicles operating your tour may change between tour segments. You may also expect some group members to join or leave the tour, between tour segments.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 12

Meals Included

35 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. G Adventures understands the importance of breakfast to start your day, we strive to include a basic breakfast wherever possible. A typical breakfast may include toast, coffee and tea, however this may vary depending on the city. Should breakfast not be included, your CEO can suggest some local options.

Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. While trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients.

For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD550-650 for meals not included.

Transport

Public bus, plane, 4x4 vehicle, train, walking, hiking.

Local Flights

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotels (26 nts), overnight buses (2 nts), overnight trains (2 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt), basic hotels on Uyuni Salt Flats excursion (2 nts, multi-share), tented room with hammocks in the Pantanal (2 nts, multi-share).

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 9: overnight bus, Nights 12-13: Pantanal, Night 14: overnight train, Nights 21-22: Uyuni Salt flats, Night 24: overnight train.

Joining Hotel

Hotel Bandeirantes
Rua Barata Ribeiro 548
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tel: + 55 21 2548-6252

Please note, if you are on the 4th Jan 2014 departure, your joining hotel will be:

Hotel Atlantico Copacabana
Rua Siqueira Campos, 90, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Phone: + 55 21 2548-0011

Joining Instructions

Galeao International Airport is a 30 to 45 minute drive from our joining hotel. There are many private taxi companies with booths inside the building where you can pay a set rate for a taxi to Copacabana (approximately $50 USD), thus avoiding the confusion outside the airport. There is also an airport bus, called ‘Real’ (approximately $9 USD) which will drop you off at the place of your choice along the route. The closest point to the Santa Clara is at the corner of Barata Ribeiro and the street Figueiredo Magalhaes. From here to the hotel is quite close. You can flag down one of the many official yellow taxis in the street to get the rest of the way to the hotel (approximately $5 USD). There is a money exchange in the Banco do Brazil on the 3rd floor of the international Arrivals area, which is open 24 hours.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned. Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Buenos Aires, Argentina
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Argentina: +54 11 5252 3602
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 5252 3602

After hours Emergency number
From outside Argentina: +54 9 11 3425 0380
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 15 3425 0380

G Adventures Local Representative (Rio)
Alessandra Feliciano
From Outside of Brazil: +55 21 99752 6086
If using Brazilian SIM card purchased outside or Rio: 031 21 99752 6086
If using Brazilian SIM card purchased in Rio: 99752 6086

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

Most airlines allow two checked bags and one carry-on per person. To avoid any problems on check-in and with possible excess baggage charges, please consult the airline for specific restrictions. We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. It can be very cold in the Andean highlands, temperatures of -10C and lower are frequent around Uyuni and the Altiplano (high plateau). It is best to layer clothes rather than wearing a heavy parka. This allows you to accommodate clothing to varying degrees of temperatures and wet/dry/windy weather conditions.

Checklist

- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Money belt
- Flashlight
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Warm hat, gloves and scarf (can be purchased locally)
- Warm sleeping bag for sub-zero temperatures to be used on Salt Flats in Bolivia (NOTE: possible to rent locally for USD5-10)
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Purification tablets or filter
- Pocketknife
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).


**Remember: It can be very cold in the Andean highlands. Temperatures of -10C and lower are frequent around Uyuni and the Altiplano (high plateau). It is best to layer clothes rather than wearing a heavy parka. This allows you to accommodate clothing to varying degrees of temperatures and wet/dry/windy weather conditions.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

BRAZIL VISA
Americans, Canadians, Australians and some other nationalities need a tourist visa in order to enter Brazil. Please contact your local Brazilian Embassy to find out if you need to apply for one and for further details. If you are required to have a visa you will need to get one before entering Brazil, otherwise you will be refused entry. Processing fees and time frames depend on each country, but can take 2 weeks or longer, so we advise you to apply for it as early as possible.

COSTS:
US citizens: 160 USD
Australian Citizens: 35 USD
Canadian Citizens: 65 USD

FOR TRAVELLERS PLANNING ON VISITING IGUASSU FALLS IN ARGENTINA - PLEASE NOTE:

ARGENTINA'S "RECIPROCITY FEE":
Effective January 7, 2013 all US, Canadian and Australian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity tax in order to enter Argentina. This reciprocity tax must be paid in advance online with a credit card. Cash at the border or airport is not accepted.

ONLINE PAYMENT FORM:
https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/

INSTRUCTIONS:
http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/pdf_varios/reciprocidad/Online_payment_instructions.pdf

COSTS:
US citizens: 160USD, valid for 10 years
Australian citizens: 100USD, valid for 1 year
Canadian citizens: 75USD for one entry and re-entries from bordering countries within 3 months; OR 150USD for a multiple entry visa valid for 5 years.

This trip crosses the border between Brazil and Argentina on Day 8 of this tour. The border name is Puerto Iguazu and borders the cities of Foz do Iguazu and Puerto Iguazu. The second crossing is the border between Brazil and Bolivia on Day 15 of this tour. The border name is Puerto Quijaro and borders the cities of Corumba and Puerto Quijaro.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real (BRL), in Bolivia the Boliviano (BOB) and in Peru the Nuevo Sol (PEN).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.

You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money, a combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Please bear in mind that cost of living in the southern cone countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile) is much higher than the rest of South America, and more comparable with Europe. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend bringing travellers cheques as they are very difficult to change in country.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

PERSONALIZE MY TRIP
Extras are specially designed for travellers with unique interests, they are optional add-ons to your G adventures trip that make your adventure more you-centric. Extras must be booked prior to departure.

Extras available on this trip:
PERU ADRENALINE BUNDLE

WHITEWATER RAFTING Cusco, Full-day
Navigate from cuzco into the fabled Urubamba River valley’s white-knuckle rapids via whitewater raft, gulping down fresh mountain air by the lungful.

HORSEBACK RIDING Cusco, Half-day
Explore the andean foothills and incan ruins the way the locals have for centuries. saddle up with a local guide and gallop around the remains of ancient civilization with a trusty steed.

*For specific days of each activity please see the Full Itinerary*

IGUASSU FALLS BOAT RIDE
Feel the thunder of Iguassu Falls closer than you’ve ever imagined! Hop aboard a speedboat and prepare for an up-close-and-personal (and very, very wet) meet-and-greet with this incredible natural wonder.

*Please note: this boat ride is on the Argentine side of the falls, therefore US, Canadian and Australian citizens will need to pay the reciprocity tax for Argentina to do this activity.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Iguassu Falls:
Helicopter Tour 120 USD
Aventuras boat tour 450 ARS
Rafain Show 130 BRL
Paraguay Visit 25 BRL
Itaipu Dam 45 BRL
Bird park 50 BRL
Rapelling 70 BRL
Rafting 97 BRL

Paraty:
Jeep Tour 80 BRL
Caipirinha Boat 60 BRL
City walking tour 25 BRL - 5 pm is the only available time
Kayak Tours 80 BRL per person
Bike Rental 50 BRL/day
Famous Puppet show 40 BRL
Horseback Riding 130 to 150 BRL (depending on number of passengers)
Trindade Tour 70 BRL - leaves at 10 am

Ilha Grande:
Boat to Lopes Mendes beach 25 BRL
Surf Board Rental at Lopes Mendes 55 BRL
Guided walk to Pico do Papagagio 50 BRL

Rio de Janeiro:
Rio City Tour 175 BRL
Favela Tour 80 BRL
Favela Funk Party 70 BRL
Football Game 90-110+ BRL (depending on the match)
Corcovado 50 BRL
Sugar loaf 62 BRL
Samba show 55+ USD - Price is 120 BRL per person without dinner or transfer.

Bonito:
Snorkelling - Rio da Prata 150BRL
Blue Lagoon Cave entrance fee $12-15 50BRL
Baineario Do Sol 35BRL
Waterfalls tour $25-30
Rafting $40
Abismo (rappel and snorkel) $250

Sucre:
Dinosaur Footprints tour $5
Paragliding 400BOL
Tarabuco Village 150BOL
Mountain biking 140BOL
Hiking 200BOL
Horseback riding 279BOL
Motorbiking 200 to 400BOL

Potosí:
Silver Mine Tour $21
Casa de la Moneda $3

La Paz:
Chacaltaya tour $15
City tour $15
City Tour and Moon Valley $25
Mountain biking $45-$60
Tiwanaku ruins 150BOL
Museo de Metales Preciosos Pre-Columbinos entrance $2 for ticket to four museums
Casa de Don Pedro Domingo Murillo entrance included in ticket above


All prices are per person in local currency, except where noted
(unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Trip Specific Responsible Travel

Silver Mines in Potosí

Working conditions for miners were appalling, and a large portion of the indigenous population was decimated. African slaves were brought in to replace the native workers, and it is estimated that as many as eight million indigenous and African people died in the mines during the first three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Unfortunately little has changed throughout time and working conditions have remained the same. Although this is not an excursion for everyone, we do recommend a visit as it is an eye-opening experience that gives you a chance to glimpse the realities of life in the Andes in general and more specifically in these mines however we do not condone the working conditions of the mine.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Associated Planeterra Project

On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following Planeterra project:

HOGAR GRANJA SUCRE
Hogar Granja Sucre is a home that provides a positive environment for abandoned children in the city of Sucre. Thanks to a permanent staff and volunteers, the Hogar is home to more than 30 boys from 6 to 18 years old. Besides providing the basic needs of food, shelter, education and healthcare, they offer a safe nurturing environment and workshops that provide basic professional skills for future social integration into society.

The boys are given the opportunity to participate in workshops that provide them with valuable skills for the future including carpentry, metalworking, sewing, bread baking and how to care for flower and vegetable gardens and greenhouses. This enables the children to design their own products and grow their own food. Children attend the local school, but the Hogar also provides music, dance and theatre programs which are not offered as part of the national curriculum.

The ultimate goal of Hogar Granja Sucre is to become self-sufficient however at this point they are still in need of our support.

How You Can Help
Each year we work with the staff of Hogar Sucre to identify the needs of the project. With your support we can help meet these needs with an annual donation through the Planeterra Foundation. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support.

For more information about this project and/or to make a donation please visit our website: www.planeterra.org or contact us at info@planeterra.org

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.