South American Adventure
Duration: 83 Days
- Trip Details
- Trip Summary
- Extra Info
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- Next Steps
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Embrace the colourful, passionate and captivating continent of South America over three action packed months! Journey through the rich, cultural cities of Ecuador, the diverse landscapes and fascinating traditions of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay before finally arriving in the vibrant and energetic cultural capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro!
We may be able to offer a reduced price on this trip, which could mean a fantastic saving for you. Contact us for details!
Uncover South American history first hand by exploring ruins, historic buildings and ancient cities, discover exotic wildlife and lush rainforest as you trek through the Amazon jungle, enjoy a homestay at a traditional Uruguayan Estancia, trek the iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, take a 4x4 adventure through the salt flats of Uyuni, marvel at the spectacular Iguazu Falls, soak up the sun on the paradise island of Ilha Grande and much much more! If you are truly looking to immerse yourself in South American culture and don’t want to miss a thing then this tour is for you!
Quito - Cuzco
Your tour will kick start in the cultural and atmospheric capital of Ecuador, Quito, where you will have the chance to explore the beautiful architecture, museums and art scene that make it such a diverse and fascinating city, all whilst soaking up the breathtaking views of the Andean mountains. This is followed by a three night adventure in the Amazon jungle, where you will trek through lush forest, discovering the jungles exotic and diverse wildlife up close and learning all about the local communities way of life. Uncover the beautiful area of Banos where you will be spoilt with waterfalls, hot springs and stunning landscapes, as well as a huge range of adventure activities to keep you busy.
Next stop is the impressive mud city of Chan Chan in Trujillo where you will uncover Peru’s rich history first hand before setting off to Peru’s captivating capital city, Lima, where there is plenty of chance to stock up on Alpaca clothing and delicious food at the traditional markets. Speculate about the mysterious origins of the Nazca lines, a series of remarkable insects, animals and birds all depicted in the Peruvian mountainside before heading off to the Colca Canyon, which is nearly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and soaking up its breathtaking and impressive views.
Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
You will have the unique chance to make the iconic journey up the Inca Trail to the staggering, spiritual ruins of Machu Picchu, which is thought to be an estate for the Incan emperor Pachacuti. Trekking for four days through mountains, valleys and steep slopes, this is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip and an epic adventure you will never forget! This challenging yet rewarding trek will give you a real insight into Peruvian history as you uncover spectacular ruins and breathtaking views along the journey, finishing with an awe inspiring last day as you finally reach the sun gates, the entrance to Machu Picchu, as the sun rises across the landscape making the last four days of trekking completely worth it!
Lake Titicaca - Santiago
Take a tour of the fascinating floating villages of Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America, where you will have the opportunity to stay with a local family and understand the day to day activities of life on the water. Explore the captivating streets of La Paz in Bolivia, one of the highest cities in the world! La Paz is packed to the brim with unusual and intriguing markets and you will even have the chance to browse the weird and wonderful potions and ailments at the cities traditional witches market.
Discover the hugely impressive salt flats of Uyuni, where blue skies meet an endless expanse of sparkling white salt and the chance for perspective defying (and perfect profile picture!) photo opportunities. Enjoy the beautiful architecture, rich culture and ‘thriving’ arts scene of Salta and sample the finest wines in Mendoza, Argentina’s most significant wine region, before setting off the the buzzing capital of Chile, Santiago where you can experience spectacular views from the top of Cerro San Cristobal.
Pucon - Rio de Janeiro
Immerse yourself in the adventure lovers paradise of Puco with outdoor activities galore, including mountain biking, white water rafting, hiking, climbing and horse riding. Next stop is the cultural and bohemian Buenos Aires, where you will have the chance to explore the diverse and colourful Barrios that make up the city whilst indulging in world class music, arts and cuisine.
Immerse yourself in a traditional Uruguayan way of life as you live and work on a running Estancia ranch in the heart of the Uruguay's farming country; embrace a simpler way of living and learn to love life without the interference and stresses of modern technology as you get stuck in to the daily farming chores such as sheep herding or tending the garden. Marvel in awe of the spectacular and breathtaking Iquazu Falls, a collection of roughly 270 impressive waterfalls that border Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The next stop of your South American adventure is to the paradise island of Ilha Grande where you can indulge yourself in the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters for three days. Ilha Grande boasts some of the best beaches in Brazil and you can spend your days snorkelling and swimming in the tropical waters or exploring lush, virgin rainforest.
And last, but by no means least, this tour will take you to the colourful and intoxicating Rio de Janeiro! There is so much to keep you busy in this fantastic city so why not check out the spectacular views from the top of sugarloaf mountain, visit the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, take a guided tour of one of the local favelas, soak up some rays on Copacabana beach and dance the night away at one of the city’s lively bars!
1. Explore the beautiful and culturally diverse streets of Quito in Ecuador.
2. Trek through the lush rainforest of the Amazon jungle, discovering the exotic and colourful wildlife.
3. Marvel at the mysterious and ancient Nazca lines depicted in the Peruvian mountainsides.
4. Make the iconic 4 day trek along the Inca Trail to the spectacular Machu Picchu.
5. Experience a completely different way of life on Lake Titicaca.
6. Witches Market - La Paz, one of the worlds highest cities.
7. Photo opportunities at the salt flats of Uyuni.
8. Experience life in the heart of a working Estancia in the heart of Uruguay's farming country.
9. Marvel at the 270 spectacular waterfalls to make up Iguazu Falls.
10. Kick back and soak up the sun, sea and sand on the paradise island of Ilha Grande.
11. Embrace the passion and excitement of Rio De Janeiro.
- Trip Name
- South American Adventure
- Trip Code
- South America
- Mariscul Sucre International Airport (airport code UIO)
- Minimum Duration
- 83 Day
- Minimum Age
- Trip Type
- Group Tours
- From £5995 for 83 Days
- £ 195.00
- Preferred Duration
- This is an 83 day tour only.
- Reasonable standard of health and fitness for some of the activities involved, esspecially trekking the Inca Trail. The trip involves some long/overnight journeys so a level of patience will also be required. English language is not common in South America so you must be prepared to make an effort with the local language and respect local customs.
- Ideal for
- Adventure Tours in South America; Tour of Peru; Tour of Ecuador; Tour of Argentina, Tour of Bolivia, Tour of Brazil, Tour of Uruaguay, Tour of Chile, Gap Year Adventure Tours; Career Break Adventure Tours; Adventure Holidays, Inca Trail Trek, Machu Pichu Tour.
Arrival DatesContact us for dates as we have weekly departures available.
British nationals will not require a visa for the first 90 days of their stay in Ecuador. For more information about your visa requirements you can click here.
- A range of accommodation options will be arrange for you for the duration of your tour, including hotels, hostels, home stays and camping.
- Some Meals
- Some meals are included during your tour (25 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 10 Dinners). You will need to budget for meals not included. We recommend approx. $1400 to cover food costs and other expenses.
- Tour Activities
- A range of amazing activities will be arranged for you throughout your tour. Please see the Extra Info tab for a detailed itinerary of activities.
- All transport (for included activities) is included for the duration of your tour. Transport types will include ferry, bus, overnight bus, 4x4 and canoe.
- Tour Leader
- You will have a dedicated tour guide for the duration of your tour, who will show your the sights and give you all the information you need.
- You will have 24 hour support from our in-country staff and from our UK office for the duration of your tour.
- Equipment and Medical Discounts
- Changing Worlds customers will receive 10% off Travel Equipment, Medical Supplies and Vaccinations from Nomad Travel Store.
Days 1- 2: Quito
Your adventure will kick start in the capital city of Ecuador, Quito. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in South America, Quito boasts breathtaking views as it sits in the Andean valley and is surrounded by spectacular volcanic peaks. Quitos town is jam packed with historic and colonial buildings for you to explore, including more than 30 churches and plenty of museums to keep you busy!
• Compania de Jesus - USD4
• La Ronda - Free
• Equator Monument Entrance fee - USD80
• Cotopaxi National Park - hiking - USD80
• Ballet Folklorico Ecuatoriano de Jacchigua - USD40
• Mindo Cloud and Tropical Forest - USD290
• Antisana Trek Full day from Quito (Optional) - USD70
• Otavalo Market day trip - USD45
• Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD30
• The Equator line tour (Optional) - USD40
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-5: Amazon Jungle
You will leave Quito bright and early and start you journey by bus, boat and then canoe to reach the local community in the Amazon jungle and the starting point for your trek. The 3-4 hour trek will take you up close to the jungles diverse and exotic wildlife as you visit protected private reserves with sections of secondary and primary forest. The third day in the jungle is all about the local communities and you will learn the skills it takes to live in this secluded part of the world. A local guide will explain, demonstrate and encourage you to get involved in typical activities such as fishing in the Napo river, understanding medicinal plants, blow pipe hunting and traditional cultural events such as song and dance.
Jungle Lodge (3 nts), Homestay (2 nts)
Days 6-8: Banos
The next day will see you heading off to the town of Banos. Located in the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, Banos is the perfect place to explore the Ecuadorian countryside as it is surrounded by waterfalls, hot springs and stunning landscapes. There’s plenty to keep you busy in Banos and many different ways to take in your spectacular surroundings, from hiring out a bike, horse riding, hiking or even rafting. For a truly unforgettable experience though, wake up early and watch the sun rise from the comfort of a hot spring! There will also be a walking tour of the town including the Cathedral, local market, artisanal market.
• Baños bike rental per day - USD6
• Canyoning - USD35
Hostel (3 nts)
Day 9 - 10: Cuenca
Today you will make the journey to the captivating, UNESCO World Heritage city of Cuenca. Despite being one of the largest cities in the country Cuenca retains much of its old age charm and is full to the brim with historic buildings, including many 16th and 17th century buildings and a cathedral dating back to 1557.
Head out to El Cajas National Park, where you can explore some of the countries most spectacular and varied landscapes, including over 200 lakes! Theres plenty to keep you busy here, whether its hiking round the national park, trout fishing or looking out for some amazing and unusual wildlife such as Llama’s, Spectacled Bears, Pumas and Tigrillo’s.
You can reach El Cajas by local bus from Cuenca (approx 1 hr and 45 mins). Once there, pay the entrance fee, hire a native guide and start hiking around the beautiful lakes.
• El Cajas National Park - USD60
• City tour - USD20
• Ingapirca ruins - USD30
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 11 - 12: Zorritos
Today you will travel by local bus to Huaquillas on the border of Ecuador and Peru before crossing the border and continuing on to the fishing town of Zorritos on the Pacific coast. Zorrito is a popular destination for locals in Peru and boasts stunning long beaches and a great selection of seafood. Use this time to chill out and explore the town, snorkel in the sea or visit the mangrove swamps and search for local birdlife.
• Mangrove swamps - USD60
• Snorkelling - USD25
• Hemingway's Route - PEN110
Days 13 - 14: Trujillo
Today we will head off to Trujillo where there will there will be the chance to visit the impressive mud city of Chan Chan. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site Chan Chan is unlike many of Peru’s archaeological sites in that it was not an Inca city but instead part of the Chimu and Moche civilisations.
• Chan Chan Archaeological Site
• Huaca del Sol y la Luna - PEN12
• Caballito de totora ride - PEN15
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 15 -16: Lima
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru and is jam packed with ornate colonial buildings, churches and palaces. Your guide will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima and then you will be free to explore the city, grab some delicious peruvian cuisine or head to the markets and pick up a traditional Alpaca jumper!
Overnight bus (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 17: Pisco
Next stop on your adventure will be the small fishing town of Pisco (most famous as the home of Peru’s famous drink - the Pisco Sour!) Here you will receive a walking tour of this stunning town, taking in your surroundings and observe the local way of life.
• Leader-led walking tour
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 18: Nazca
Today you take the bus journey to Nazca which is home to the famous Nazca lines. These remarkable pieces of art and history are large indents in the ground which have been formed by scraping away the top layer of gravel which then contrasts with the paler one underneath, creating some stunning images. Animals, insects and birds have all been depicted here and there are many local theories as to their mysterious origins.
There is also the option to visit the spectacular Ballestas island, which are sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of Peru, and are home to a huge array of unusual wildlife.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 19- 20: Arequipa
Early in the afternoon you will head out on the 9 hour bus journey to the beautiful city of Arequipa. Arequipa is a city packed to the brim with Spanish colonial charm, exquisite cuisine and enchanting architecture, all in set in the breathtaking surroundings of three dramatic volcanoes. Theres plenty to keep you busy here as you can visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, check out the Incan mummy of a young girl at the Juanita museum or just chill out in the main plaza at one of the many cafes.
• Santa Catalina Monastery - PEN37
• Juanita Museum - PEN20
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 21-22: Colca Canyon/Arequipa
Today you will head off on a fascinating bus journey where you can spot Llamas, alpacas and vicunas as well as stop of to try some coca tea before ending up in the Colca Canyon. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon provides some truly breathtaking views . Your guide will organise a short trek which will finish at a local thermal hot bath. Spend your evening chilling out in the baths or listening to live Andean music at the pena. Head out early the next morning and witness the magnificent Andean Condour soaring over the canyon for a real treat!
• Colca Canyon entrance
• La Calera hot springs - PEN15
Accommodation in Chivay is in a very basic hostel. There is no heating at the hostel however you can request extra blankets if required. (Hostel 2 nts)
Days 23 - 24: Cuzco
Today we say goodbye to Arequipa and make the 10 hour bus journey to the ancient and intriguing city of Cuzco which is steeped in Peruvian tradition, history and culture. Cuzco is the country's oldest inhabited city and was home to the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here, making it the perfect place to explore the Inca world and a range of exciting outdoor activities.
You will head off on a walking tour of the city where you would visit the Coca museum where you will learn all about the diverse coca plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries.
• Boleto turistico (Full BTC) - PEN135
• Qoricancha - PEN12
• Aldea Yanapay - Free
• Cathedral - PEN27
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 25: Sacred Valley
We will take a relatively short two hour journey to visit the Sacred Valley Inca sites just outside Cuzco. This fertile land which is rich with maize crops has long been the source of food for the high Andes and you will learn all about the way of life in the local communities.
• Leader-led walking tour
• Sacred Valley and local community visit
• Ollantaytambo Ruins - PEN70
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 26 - 29: Inca Trail
Day one - Today we will take the journey by minivan to meet the cooks and porters at the beginning of the trail ready to start the trek! The first day includes some uphill trekking on the way to the campsite where you will see the ruins of Llactapata, burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail.
Day two - Today is the most challenging day of the trek where we will take a steep path to reach the highest point of the journey, Warmiwanusca (nicknamed ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’) before descending into the Pacaymayo Valley and further onto the Runkuracay pass where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding snow capped mountains.
Day three - Today we will continue on over the third pass until we reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, at a staggering 3,850m above sea level, which has been nicknamed ‘the town above the clouds’. From here we start the descent down the inca steps to reach the final nights camp at the Winay Wayna archaeological site.
Day four - Today we will wake up bright and early at 4.30 am, eat a hearty breakfast and say farewell to our porters as we begin the last leg, and most memorable leg of our journey. The trek to the Inti-Punku (sun gate) takes approximately 2.5 hours and this is where you will see the first glimpse of the breathtaking Machu Picchu site. On a clear morning the view from the sun gate can be spectacular and certainly make the last four days and early morning worth it!
After exploring Machu Picchu and the endless photo opportunities we will return to Cuzco for a well deserved rest and a Pisco Sour or two!
The Inca Trail is within the ability of most reasonably fit people, but be prepared as it is 28 miles long and steep in places. On average you will walk for 7 hours a day starting at 7am and stopping for food and drinks breaks throughout the day until you arrive at the campsite for 4-5 pm. You will be given a small duffle bag the night before your trek in which to pack clothes for the next 4 days which will be carried by the porter along with the food, equipment and tents.
• 4 or 3 days trek and Machu Picchu guided tour
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 30: Cuzco
Spend today exploring Cuzco and recovering from your hard work trekking, grab a coffee in one of the quaint cafes at the Plaza de Armas or shop for some traditional Peruvian trinkets at the local markets. If you still have the taste for adventure then try out some mountain biking in the surrounding hills!
• Mountain biking - USD35
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 31 - 33: Puno/Lake Titicaca
Today we will make the journey through breathtaking scenery of the high altiplano to Puno on the outskirts of Lake Titicaca. We will take a tour of the lake by motor boat, stopping to visit the many of the Uros floating villages which were originally built to isolate the communities from rival tribes. To gain a thorough understanding of daily life on the floating islands we will be welcomed into local homes for an overnight stay in the community, where you will help families out with their daily chores, or even play soccer with the kids!
After breakfast the next morning we will say our goodbyes and board the boat again to visit Taquile Island, where you can buy some high quality, locally knitted goods before taking the boat back to Puno.
• Sillustani archaeological site - USD10
Hotel (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt). Homestay in Lake Titicaca is in a mud brick house which includes beds and blankets.
Day 34 - 37: La Paz
Today we will head off by bus to Desaguadero where we will cross the border into Bolivia and head straight to one of the highest cities in the world, La Paz. La Paz is brimming with traditional and modern architecture, markets and cuisine and is a fantastic city to get a real insight into fascinating Bolivian culture. La paz is renowned for it’s unusual markets and the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches' Market is one not to be missed! Browse through weird and wonderful stalls selling everything from potions to strange ailments.
• Witches' Market - Free
• Coca Museum - BOB8
• City Tour La Paz + Valle de la Luna - USD105
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 38 -39: Sucre
Nicknamed the ‘White City’ due to the white washed buildings, Bolivia’s official capital city was acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. For a unique experience, head out to Cal Orcko where a 60 million year old dinosaur footprint has been discovered!
• Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko - USD5
• Casa de la Libertad - BOB21
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 40 - 41: Potosi
Today you will take a local bus to Potosi which is also one of the highest cities in the world. Potosi has a turbulent past, which is mostly due to the failures of the mining industry. There will be an optional trip into the mines, where you can meet the miners and find out more about their working lives and seemingly crazy working conditions. There is also plenty to do above ground in Potosi, including a wealth of colonial art and architecture to explore!
• Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa - BOB21
• Casa de la Moneda - BOB48
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 42-44: Uyuni/Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats)
You will take a local bus to the town of Uyuni ready to start the 4WD excursion into Salar de Uyuni, or as they are better known, the Salt Flats. The first day will be spent exploring the massive salt plains of Bolivia where blue skies meet an endless expanse of white salt. The salt flats are a sight to be seen and the perfect setting for perspective - defying and often hilarious photo opportunities!
The second day will be spent discovering the diverse surrounding landscapes in the 4WD, including Laguna Colorado, which is a lake coloured red by algae and minerals, a large array of wildlife including llamas, flamingoes and foxes as well as snow capped volcanoes, geysers and why not take the chance to relax in the thermal baths.
Note: Accommodation in Salar de Uyuni is basic. There are no showers and electricity is generated by solar panel so there is not enough to charge electronic devices. Salar de Uyuni is at high altitude and can experience extremely cold weather, particularly at night. In the rainy season, the itinerary may be altered depending on the accessibility of roads.
Dormitory (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 45 - 46: San Pedro de Atacama
The 4x4 adventure through the salt plains comes to an end in the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile where you can discover lots of quirky, traditional architecture and a local museum. Relax and reflect on your Salt Flat experience and share some of your stunning photos with your new friends.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 47-49: Salta
Today you will start the long journey by bus to Salta in Argentina (Approximately 12 hours).
Salta is one of Argentina’s top tourist attractions, packed to the brim with beautiful colonial architecture, rich culture and a thriving arts scene. There will be plenty to keep you busy here.
For the more adventurously inclined there are plenty of activities to get your teeth into, including a hike to the top of the mountain Cerro San Bernardo, rafting, bungee jumping and horse riding.
On the last evening in Salta you will travel by overnight bus to Mendoza, which takes approximately 18 hours arriving the next day at around midday.
• Gondola to Cerro San Bernardo - ARS32
• Archaeological Museum - ARS32
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Days 50 - 52: Mendoza
Mendoza is Argentina’s most significant grape growing region, producing approximately 70% of the countries wine. Mendoza’s wine is world famous and this is a fantastic place to experience an authentic wine tour and tasting session. The city is full of beautiful landscaped gardens, coffee shop lined streets and markets selling local delicacies, making it the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing couple of days.
• Winery tour - ARS105
• Canopy - ARS152
• City Tour - ARS63
• Mountain Tour - ARS210
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 53-56: Santiago
Today you will make the journey to the capital of Chile, Santiago, with spectacular views of the Andes from your window along the way. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and parks to explore in Santiago and you will receive a walking tour of Santiago to make sure you don’t miss a thing! You can also take a cable car up the Cerro San Cristobal where you will experience breathtaking views across the city and further across the Andes.
• Leader-led walking tour
• Cerro San Cristobal cable car - CLP1800
• Valparaiso & Viña del Mar tour - USD59
• Concha y Toro Winery visit - USD133
• Wine tour - CLP6000
• Leader-led walking tour - Free
Hostel (3 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Days 57-59: Pucon
Today you make the journey to Puca, a mecca for adventure sports and a world famous destination for adrenaline junkies! With endless activities to keep you busy and get your heart pumping, including Mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing and horse riding, this is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip! You will have two full days in Pucon make the most of your time here.
• Villarica Volcano climb - CLP45000
• Day trip to Mapuche Community & hot springs - USD30
• Thermal springs (full day) - CLP10000
• Bicycle rental (full day) - USD16
Hostel (3 nts)
Days 60-61: San Martin de los Andes
Today you make the journey by local bus to the picturesque town of San Martin de los Andes. Surrounded by a national park and on the edge of the beautiful Lake Lacar this town boasts fantastic landscapes and a great place to explore nature at its best in Argentina. Activities in San Martin de los Andes vary depending on the season; in the winter Chapelco ski resort offers some of the best spots in the area and there are plenty of hikes through the national park to keep you busy throughout the rest of the year.
• Chairlifts (seasonal) - ARS210
• Ski or snowboard rental (seasonal) - ARS105
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 62-64: Bariloche
Today your group will head to Bariloche which is roughly a 3 hour journey from San Martin de los Andes. Bariloche is an outdoor enthusiast's dream as it hugs the shores of the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by lush national park. Outdoor activities range from skiing on the peaks of Cerro Catedral (in season), hiking or biking around its base, fishing for trout and horse riding. Bariloche is also Argentina’s chocolate capital and there are plenty of chocolate shops to get your tastebuds tingling! Cerros Catedral provides a fantastic look out spot with stunning views across the town and surrounding landscapes which can be enjoyed from a revolving cafe offering 360° views!
On the last day in Bariloche you will take an overnight bus to Buenos Aires which will take approximately 25 hours, including plenty of stop offs along the way.
• Framtom's Chocolate Factory - Free
• Cerro Otto cable car - ARS50
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Day 65 - 67: Buenos Aires
Travel to the capital of Buenos Aires and discover the culture and charm of this bustling city. Buenos Aires is full to the brim with beautiful architecture, exquisite cuisine and a thriving nightlife, and there will certainly be plenty to keep you busy! You will start the day with an orientation walk of the city including the Microcentro area passing by the iconic Plaza de Mayo and San Telmo. This will all be followed by an optional tango show in the evening!
• Buenos Aires - Leader led walking tour
• Tango show - ARS1050
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 68: Colonia
Today you will take the ferry across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. This picturesque town is the oldest in Uruguay and boasts cobblestone streets, charming buildings and a great nightlife. This is a fantastic town to soak up the culture as you explore the World Heritage listed Barrio Historico and witness parakeets at the Playa Mayor.
• Lighthouse visit - UYU16
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 69: Montevideo
Today you will take a three hour bus journey to the capital city of Montevideo, which is also Uruguay’s largest city. Montevideo is a vibrant and eclectic city with stunning beaches and a real hot-spot for music, theatre and the arts at the Mercade del Puerto. Optional activities in Montevideo include a guided city tour and a visit to the Gaucho Museum.
Hotel (1 nt)
• City tour - USD24
• Gaucho Museum - Free
Days 70-73: Estancia Stay
For the next three days you will experience life on a working estancia in the heart of Uruguay's farming country. You will take a bus to Tacuarembo (approx 5 hours), and from here it will be a further hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch where you will start your work on the farm. This is a really fantastic chance to get stuck in and experience life as a local in Uruguay. Jobs on the farm may include herding the sheeps and cows, branding cattle and marking and injecting the lambs. You will receive a warm welcome from your hosts and delicious Uruguayan home cooking each day.
On the afternoon of your last day you will travel to Concordia in Argentina before taking a 12 hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu.
Accommodation Things are pretty simple down at the ranch and you will be staying in authentic farm style accommodation, with a dorm style sleeping and limited hot water and electricity, which all adds to the experience! Three nights staying in a hacienda and one on the overnight bus.
Days 74-76: Foz do Iguazu
After arriving in Puerto Iguazu you will take a minivan to cross the border into Brazil and head to Foz do Iquazu, the ‘gateway to Iguazu Falls.’ These waterfalls border Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and consist of roughly 270 falls with some reaching as high as 80m. They are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara and certainly are a spectacular site to be seen!
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Optional Activities include
• Helicopter ride - USD110
• Bird Park - USD17
• Acquamania Water Park - BRL40
• Iguazu Falls - Argentinean Side - USD68
• Great Adventure - BRL150
Days 77-78: Paraty
Paraty is one of the worlds best preserved Portuguese colonial towns and boasts fantastic architecture and beautiful landscapes. Paraty is a hotspot for nature and the surrounding national parks are filled with trails, waterfalls and a huge array of wildlife.
•Boat trip - BRL40
• Trindade excursion - BRL9
Days 79-81: Ilha Grande
Today you will take a local bus and ferry to the paradise island of Ilha Grande, where you can kick back and soak up the idyllic surroundings for 3 days. Untouched by major development, Ilha Grande boasts an array of tropical beaches for you to swim and snorkel in and virgin rainforest to explore.
• Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon - BRL70
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 82-83: Rio de Janeiro
You will wake up bright and early to start the journey to Rio de Janeiro where you will finish your tour in style! Rio is a colourful and exciting city dripping with culture, white sand beaches and a lively nightlife. There is so much to keep you busy in this fantastic city so why not check out the spectacular views from the top of sugarloaf mountain, visit the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, chill out on Copacabana beach and dance the night away at a Brazilian bar!
• Sugar loaf cable car - BRL53
• Christ the Redeemer lookout - BRL26
• Favela tour - BRL80
• Botanical Gardens - BRL5
• Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL1
• Maracana soccer game - BRL80
Hotel (1 nt)
Ecuador is a very compact South American country brimming with biodiversity and incredible natural beauty. Less than half a day from the capital city, Quito, you will find the Andean mountains, the Amazon Rainforest and the beaches of the Pacific coast – perfect for expeditions, adventure sports and chilling out. Ancient ruins and countless volcanoes can be found all over the country including the isolated Galapagos Islands (made famous by Darwin’s theory of evolution) which are separated from the mainland by the Pacific Ocean.
Ecuadorians are renowned for their warmth and welcoming nature, which you will experience firsthand throughout Ecuador. And if you do ask a local for directions, be prepared to be taken to your destination in person!
- The Republic of Ecuador
- South America
- Bordering Countries
- Colombia and Peru
- Capital City
- Democratic Republic
- 15 million
- US Dollar (USD)
- The Republic of Ecuador
- 65% of the population live below the poverty line
- Main Exports
- Petroleum, Bananas, Shrimp, Coffee, Cocoa, Fish
- Tropical along the coast and in the Amazon region; cooler in the highland areas
- Time Zone
- GMT -5
• Ecuador is the Spanish word for Equator
• Ecuador is the world’s number one producer of bananas
• You can balance an egg on a nail at the Equator
• Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo and straddle both hemispheres
• Explore the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano on horseback
• Visit the land where 'Lonesome George' used to roam – George was the last of the Pinta Island Tortoise Species
• Surf at Montanita – one of Ecuador’s best surf beaches
• Hike up the Cotopaxi volcano and enjoy the breathtaking glacial views
• Discover the biodiversity and wildlife of the Galápagos Islands
Where is Ecuador?
The Republic of Ecuador is located on the north western coast of South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator and bordering Colombia and Peru to the east.
History of Ecuador
For centuries, Ecuador was inhabited by indigenous civilisations. That was until the Incas arrived from Peru, attempting to expand their empire into neighbouring countries. Despite strong resistance from the native Ecuadorians, the Incas were successful in establishing their civilisation across Ecuador during the 1400s. The following century, in 1526, the Spanish explorers landed in Ecuador. This was the same year that the Inca Empire became divided for the first time, thanks to Huavna Capac, the Inca ruler, leaving his empire to two sons, rather than to one son as tradition dictated. Years of fighting ensued but Atahualpa finally defeated his brother to become ruler of the Inca Empire. In the 1530s, the Spaniards increased their presence and the Inca Empire was all but eradicated. The Spanish forced the local Indians and Mestizos (people of mixed European and indigenous race) into hard labour which led to various uprisings and, eventually, liberator Simón Bolívar leading his country to independence in 1830.
Following a turbulent and violent past, the 19th century was predictably filled with chaotic politics and rulers who could not bring stability to the region. The 1920s and 1930s put further strain on Ecuadorian society and the economy, especially with the collapse of the coco market and then the Great Depression. More positively, however, Ecuador saw a significant rise in its banana exports from the late 1940s up to the 1960s bringing increased wealth and stability for many. That, unfortunately, was until Ecuador was hit by recession in the 1960s. Social unrest and insecurity fuelled the rise of an anti-communist military government that took power in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1979 that a democratic government was properly installed. This gave a new voice to many indigenous groups and, for the first time, gave them a role in Ecuador’s politics. The landscape for Ecuador’s future is now much more positive, but Ecuador still has a long way to go to achieve economic stability and combat its high levels of unemployment.
Climate in Ecuador
Ecuador’s rich biodiversity and varied terrain means the climate various from region to region. As a guide, Ecuador’s winters tend to be dry, lasting from June to September, and the summers are wetter, lasting from December to April. The jungle area, known as the Oriente, remains high in humidity all year round. The sierra region is much cooler, and the coast tends to be warm throughout the year. The Galápagos Islands have a cool climate for most of the year, although December to April sees a much warmer period, perfect for snorkelling, surfing and boat trips.
Language in Ecuador
The official language of Ecuador is Spanish but Quichua, an Inca language, is spoken by the Indian population. Ten other native languages are spoken in Ecuador, and English is the most spoken foreign language.
Food in Ecuador
Ecuadorian food is famous for exotic fruits, fantastic seafood, and a spectacular assortment of Andean potatoes. You’ll enjoy sampling Ecuador’s national and regional dishes, including shrimp marinated in lemon, pastries stuffed with spiced meats and toasted corn. And if you're feeling really brave, why not try roasted cuy (guinea pig) or tronquito (soup made from bull penis)!
Travelling in Ecuador
For getting around the local area, public buses are a good bet, although you should expect crowding due to the cheap fares. Local taxis are also a popular option for short journeys or day trips around the area, especially if you are sharing the fare with other passengers. This can often be cheaper than renting a car. You should try and agree the price before you leave as taximeters rarely work.
For longer journeys, Ecuador has a pretty reliable bus network. However, be prepared for poor road conditions that can create an uncomfortable ride at times. Buses tend to leave from a number of central terminals in the main towns and cities, and it’s a good tip to buy your ticket a day in advance to guarantee your seat.
For short travel times and spectacular views, there’s no better option than flying. It is also an affordable option in Ecuador. Most travel hot spots are no more than 30mins away and there are regular flights from most of the main towns and cities. Flights to the Galápagos Islands can, however, be on the expensive side due to a 3 hour flight time. Tourists usually have to pay more than locals. Furthermore, you cannot reserve your seat. You should therefore confirm your reservation 24 hours before departure to ensure your place has not been issued to someone else!
Sport in Ecuador
South America has a wealth of sporting talent. You only need mention the national football teams of Brazil, Argentina and Mexico to realise the skill, flair and passion for sport on the South America continent. Ecuador shares this passion, from the north to south. Football is Ecuador’s first sport, with many young athletes dreaming of playing football for their country. That is why you, as a volunteer sports coach, can give children the chance to play football in a structured environment. Football, however, is not the only sport in Ecuador. Tennis, golf, rugby and other sports are played with enthusiasm and there are grassroots initiatives in other sports including basketball, hockey and netball. You can also play lots of sport in Ecuador with a number of local sports teams. On the sports pitch, you will learn new skills and attitudes to sport. Off the pitch, the cross-cultural friendships you build are priceless.
Gap Years and Career Breaks in Ecuador
Explore the outstanding travel opportunities in this unassuming country that is rammed full of fun to be had. From the depths of the Amazon rainforests to the shores of the world famous Galapagos Islands, the diversity of people, land and wildlife will keep you in awe of this dramatic nation throughout your gap year or career break.
Before you see a tour on our website, a lot of background work has gone on. We have met with local organisations, vetted in-country staff, conducted rigorous safety assessments and thoroughly evaluated the tour. Only then do you get to see the tour on our website and book your place, safe in the knowledge that it is well-structured and guaranteed to be an amazing experience.
Help Choosing Which Tour
If you are not sure which tour or country to choose, our hugely informative Travel Advisors are here to help. They are a friendly bunch, have all travelled extensively and can offer lots of advice on choosing the right tour or destination for you. This makes the task of deciding to travel in a foreign country much less intimidating, and far more exciting.
Once you have booked your tour, you will be assigned a dedicated Travel Advisor to offer essential pre-departure advice on vaccinations, visas, kit lists and more. They will also be on call to answer those important last minute questions in build up to your tour start date.
Help with Flights and Insurance
We do not include flights and travel insurance in our tour fees. This avoids us having to pass on unnecessary admin charges to you. It also gives you flexibility to find flights and insurance to suit your tour budget. We do, however, offer lots of help on this through our leading flights and insurance partners, providing you with an easy booking facility and the best prices around.
There’s nothing like seeing a friendly face when you walk out of a new airport. And once we have given you a warm welcome, the in-country staff will take you back to your accommodation and help you settle in.
We will take you through a local orientation and tour induction on arrival. This will introduce you to any useful amenities and local customs, talk your through your tour itinerary, and it will also show you how to stay safe while travelling abroad.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation is provided on all of our tours. In some destinations, you may be able to upgrade to alternative accommodation, this is something that will be offered to you at different stages of your tour. We endeavour to supply food where we can on our tours, however in some cases this is not always possible. Please see the trip itinerary on the Extra Info tab for further details.
Your safety and enjoyment is extremely important to us. That’s why we have dedicated in-country teams to look after you and guide you throughout your tour. Our staff can be reached 24-hours a day and will travel with you throughout your tour to ensure everything is running smoothly, and that you are happy.
24-Hour Emergency Support
In addition to our in-country staff, you will benefit from our international support network. You will be given emergency contact details before you leave which you can call in the event of a crisis. We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Giving Others Similar Travel Opportunities
In order to provide a reliable flow of participants on our tours overseas, we have to spend a chunk of money on recruiting people like you to take part in these amazing experiences. It costs to maintain a website, an office, phone lines and a team of dedicated Travel Advisors to answer all your questions!
There are quite a few things to consider and to organise before you travel to your chosen destination to take part in your placement, trip or tour.
Flights and insurance are not included on your placement which means you will have to arrange them before you leave. But don't panic this can be simpler than you may think! To make life much easier for you, we offer a free, personal booking service through our chosen flights and insurance partner – STA Travel. They will guide you every step of the way. If you would like to talk with one of our STA Travel advisors to get a quote then either call them on +44 (0)333 321 3102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In many cases your chosen destination country will have requirements with with regards to visas, which will depend on the purpose of your visit, and there will be recommended and required vaccinations to make sure you are protected against any possible health issues that you may face in specific areas. Changing Worlds is here to help and we are on hand to provide you with advice on visas and vaccinations.
Booking your flights is an essential part of your trip. That's why we have teamed-up with STA Travel. This means that once you have reserved your place on your chosen placement, trip or tour, you will have a dedicated booking agent on hand to talk through your plans.
Travelling after your project? Need a round-the-world ticket? Not a problem. Your booking agent will work with you to find the most suitable and flexible flights possible. And remember, the sooner you book your tickets, the better the price will be.
STA Travel is also one of the world’s largest flight providers specialising in adventure travel and can therefore offer some of the cheapest prices around. They have over 700 branches worldwide, which makes them easy to contact wherever you are in the world. They also hold an ATOL licence through the Civil Aviation Authority, meaning you can book in confidence, secure in the knowledge that your flights are fully protected.
Note: If you choose to book your tickets through another flight provider, you must ensure that they hold a full ATOL licence.
Why are flights not included?
By not including flights in our placements, trips and tours, it avoids us having to pass on unnecessary admin charges to you. This keeps the cost of your trip lower and also means you have the freedom to search around for the lowest fares and most flexible tickets that fit your travel plans. It also means you can benefit from the expertise of our preferred partner – STA Travel.
We take the safety of our travellers very seriously. You must therefore book adequate travel insurance before you come away with us – you simply won’t be able to participate in your placement, trip or tour if you don’t. Although policies vary, your insurance must include emergency medical expenses, personal accident cover, and repatriation. We also recommend that you book baggage, personal liability and cancellation cover.
To help you navigate through this confusing world of insurance, we have partnered with STA Travel to offer you a specialist insurance service. Your personal advisor will find out exactly what you’re planning to do, from scuba diving to jumping out of planes, and tailor a policy specific to your requirements. In addition to this personal service, some of the other benefits of booking with STA Travel are as follows:
• Access to a network of over 700 branches in over 40 countries worldwide
• Advice and assistance over the phone from a travel help facility, available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year
• Access to a 24-hour multilingual emergency telephone number for medical help, hospital treatment and/or repatriation
• A choice of 3 levels of cover to suit your needs – budget, standard and premier
• A range of durations, from 4 days up to a maximum of 24 months
• A simple extension service that gives you the flexibility to extend your 4-week volunteer project while in-country (up to 24 months!)
• Cover for over 100 adventure sports and adrenalin activities, including black water rafting, bungee jumping, elephant trekking, heli-skiing, kite surfing, scuba diving, shark cage diving and sky diving
• Peace of mind – STA Travel is an Appointed Representative of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Note: You must provide us with details of your travel insurance before you leave as you will not be permitted to participate on your placement, trip or tour if you do not have adequate cover. It is also advisable to book your cover as early as possible to make sure you are insured for cancellation of your trip due to illness, serious accident or any other insurable reason.
Why is insurance not included?
Each of our volunteer’s plans are different, and while STA Travel can provide adequate cover for the vast majority of our travellers, there may be some activities or destinations that cannot be covered by STA Travel. It is therefore important to give you the freedom to choose the insurance that covers your plans and that you feel comfortable with. It also saves us from having to pass on extra admin costs to you.
Different destination countries have different visa requirements depending on things such as your length of stay and your reasons for entering the country, and whether you will be gaining paid work during your time in the country. Changing Worlds will supply you with any advice you need with regards to the visas you require for your chosen destination, and we will make information available to you to assist with your application.
It is important that you check your visa requirements well in advance of your travel date, as with many tourist and working holiday visas you will need to submit an application to the relevant consulate, embassy or high commission before your travel date. In some cases entry to your destination country will be granted at immigration on arrival without having to apply for a visa before the departure date for your travels.
With all visa applications it is important that you have sufficient space available in your passport for the relevant visas required for your travels, and that your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned date of return.
At least 6 – 8 weeks before your chosen travel date you should visit your local GP or Nomad Travel Clinic to discuss your vaccination and medication requirements. Your medical professional will be able to advise you of any recommended and required vaccinations for your chosen destination(s).You should inform your doctor of all of your destination countries, and what activities you plan on doing, and in which regions you plan to stay while you are there, as different regions and activities have different health risks in some countries.
Some destination countries will require you to produce a certificate of vaccination in order to enter the country, so be sure that you understand any vaccination requirements for your chosen destination, so that you do not have any issues when passing through customs.
Above all you should make sure you are well prepared for your travels, so that you have the best experience possible whilst overseas!
If you have any questions or would like some more information, simply contact one of our friendly Travel Advisors. You can give us a call, request a call back or drop us an email and they will be able to answer any questions you might have.
Book Your Place
Once you have decided to travel with us, you can secure your place by paying a small deposit. You will then be able to pay the rest of your placement fee in easy-to-manage instalments.
Once we have received your deposit, we will send you a welcome email confirming your booking. This will contain your personal login details for your Travel Centre – an online account full of useful information about your destination, you chosen project and all the things you need to do before you depart.
We will ask you to provide some key information to help us create the best overseas experience for you, such as medical and dietary requirements, any previous language lessons you have done, and what you’re hoping to get out of your time abroad. We may also ask you to complete a police background check.
Flights and Insurance
You will need to book your flights and travel insurance before you leave, and then provide us with these details. We do not include flights and insurance in the project fee (to avoid passing on extra admin costs to you) but our partners will help you find the best options around.
Next you will need to get your visa for your trip. British citizens do not require visas unless they are planning to work before or after the course, in which case a Working Holiday Visa will be required. We will also provide you with lots of information to make obtaining your visa very straightforward.
We will ask you for your final payment 90 days before your scheduled departure date. Once paid, you will be ready to pack your bags, grab your passport and get on the plane!
Nomad Travel Store
Nomad Travel has been kitting out travellers for a wide range of trips since 1990.
Specialising in kit that can take you off the beaten track, Nomad ensure that you leave fully prepared for your trip. With large ranges in-store and online including clothing, rucksacks, footwear and a lot more as well as a team of travel experts to help you select your gear, Nomad are the one stop shop for all your travel needs.
In addition Nomad have been providing travel health advice to thousands of people to ensure they leave prepared health-wise for their trip. As well as general advice about your destination, vaccinations and information about anti-malaria options, you will also be able to discuss any health issues you might be worried about when travelling abroad.
Changing Worlds have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores to offer great deals on a whole range of equipment and clothing.
By quoting 'CW1000' you will be entitled to a 10% discount on travel gear and vaccinations, both online and in-store.
Visit their website to take advantage of this great offer and service here: www.nomadtravel.co.uk
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"A demanding, thrilling, incredible insight into this beautiful and stunning country and to top it off: an entirely rewarding project that makes you appreciate everything."Ross Green , Sports, South Africa
"This was the best way to spend my gap year! Sun, sea, sand and sport all whilst coaching amazing kids. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had and I would jump at the chance to do it again."Rosie Wells , Sports, St Lucia
"My overall experience was fantastic, I enjoyed all aspects of this trip and there is never a dull moment in St Lucia! "Sam Evans , Sports, St Lucia
"This experience was unforgettable, I have met people that I will stay friends with for many years to come and completely fell in love with Argentina!"Jamie Henderson , Languages, Argentina
"I was so surprised how quickly I picked up the language! The school was great and really supportive throughout the learning process and it was amazing to practice what I had learnt in real life situations."Melissa Cutler , Languages, Argentina
Not only did I have tons of fun I've also gained a qualification that means I can continue my travels around the world whilst getting paid to teach English!Helen Turner , Teaching, Argentina
This was probably the most worthwhile experience I have ever had. The organisation and staff at the school were amazing and really supported me throughout the whole process. I wish I could go back!Tom Mitchell , Teaching, Argentina
''It was an ideal opportunity for me to combine travelling with my passion for sport.''James Hairsine , Sports, Ghana
“This was a fantastic opportunity to gain some experience in sports psychology, which has really helped with the psychology element of my sports studies degree.”Anthony Gibson , Sports, Ghana
"What a great way to get hands on experience in the field of finance and economics! I feel like I have acquired many skills that will stay with me for years to come!"Jenny Allen , Business & Law, Kenya
"This was such a sustainable way to support the community in Kenya, and I would love to return to continue helping out."Paul Taylor , Business & Law, Kenya
"I had such an amazing gap year! this project was challenging but completely worth it."Francesca Le Poideven , Business & Law, Kenya
"Lake Nakuru National Park is just incredible. The game rangers were so friendly and helpful, going out of their way to make sure I had an amazing time during my placement. I would love to do it all over again!"Maria Rossi , Wildlife & Conservation, Kenya
"It was great fun because the kids want to learn and everything you do is such a novelty to them. I was moved by what I saw, not for sentimental reasons, but because the teachers and the children were so keen and worked so hard."Katie Godfrey , Teaching, Kenya
"This was such a heartwarming project, the children have so little but are so greatful. I met some amazing people and will remember this experience forever."Sylvia Amani , Teaching, Kenya
"What a fascinating country. I not only learned so much about the healthcare system and gained some great experience to help with my degree, but got to visit some amazing places in Kenya. The Masia Mara trip was just unreal."Aaron Leyman , Medical & Health, Kenya
"The kids were so amazing, it was such a heartwarming experience and i'm just really glad that I could help out."Gemma Bracknell , Care Work, Kenya
"What a great project! I am so greatful to have had this opportunity and it is certainly something I will never forget."Suzanne Hart , Care Work, Kenya
"I really enjoyed my time on the Galapagos Islands. This tour is such a great way to see the islands. Everyone I met were so welcoming, and they helped to make this an unforgettable experience. Seeing giant tortoises up close was awesome!"Jocelyn Whitehead , Wildlife & Conservation, Ecuador
"This is was certainly one of the most unique and fulfilling trips I have had. From helping out the kids with learning the game of tennis, to seeing the smiles on their faces, these moments gave me a new light on my career and my way of life."Peter Kung , Sports, Argentina