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The Gringo Trail

20 Days FROM USD 6,199

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Overview

Choose this suggested itinerary or customise to create your own unique journey. Operates daily to suit your travel plans. Price based on Standard accommodation. Superior or Deluxe also available.

Your journey starts in Buenos Aires. After a few days here, say goodbye to the big city as you fly to Iguazu Falls. After a quick onward flight, you will begin the Gringo Trail which starts in Salta with a few days to explore the city and its surrounding area. From Salta, continue to Uyuni, but not before a couple of pitstops in La Quiaca and Tupiza. In Uyuni, experience the famed Salt Flats. Then it’ll be off to La Paz before heading to Peru, beginning in Puno then to Cusco for your trip to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.

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Trip Code: MCTSGRI

Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru

Flights: Internal flights included in itinerary. Ask us to help book your flights to/from South America.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • In just under three weeks, you will experience Buenos Aires and the Iguazu Falls and follow the Gringo Trail from Salta to Cusco.

  • You will see the main sights of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires and intriguing La Paz.

  • The itinerary takes you to the thunderous Iguazu Falls that you will visit from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides.

  • You will experience spectacular scenery as you take a day trip from Salta to Cafayate and explore the Salar de Uyuni.

  • This itinerary includes an overnight stay in a salt hotel and a night on Lake Titicaca’s Island of the Sun.

  • You will gain an insight into the fascinating history of the Incas as you explore Cusco, the beautiful Sacred Valley and of course Machu Picchu.

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Arrival transfer in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina’s elegant, historic and cosmopolitan capital, is known as the “Paris of the South” due to its European atmosphere with glamorous avenues lined with fashionable shops and Parisian-style restaurants and cafes. Located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires has many fascinating neighbourhoods to explore including the colourful and lively La Boca, home to art galleries and tango shows; San Telmo with its restored mansions and antique stores and Recoleta, the city’s most exclusive area.

Buenos Aires

You will be collected from your hotel for your three-hour tour visiting the most important highlights of the city of Buenos Aires. Discover the history of the Plaza de Mayo Square, the site of Argentina’s most important historical events - see its surroundings and the most emblematic buildings and learn all about them. Then enjoy Mayo Avenue and wonder in awe at the oldest residential neighbourhood in Buenos Aires: San Telmo. Live and feel the original Tango in the neighbourhood of La Boca: walk along Caminito Street and enjoy the Dancers and souvenir shops. See the mythical Boca Juniors soccer stadium. Contemplate the modernization of the city whilst traveling along Puerto Madero and its exclusive docks, full of excellent restaurants and large offices. Pass through the Retiro neighbourhood and move on to see Palermo and its most exclusive residential area before finally arriving at Recoleta. Here, discover the final resting place of Eva Peron, “Evita” and wander through Recoleta Cemetery where she is to be found. On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Highlights of Buenos Aires City Tour

This evening you will be collected from your hotel to experience a Tango Show with dinner. This is an intimate & passionate tango show, housed in a cozy wood-panelled 19th century building with a colourful history as a meeting point for poets and students in the heart of Buenos Aires's historic centre. After being abandoned in the late 1970s, the bar was restored and reopened in 1992 as El Querandí Tango Hall. The show is directed by Claudio Campos, with musical arrangements by Ado Falasca, and it smoothly charts the history of Argentina's most authentic artistic expression from its origins to the modern day. The dinner is better than many, and at just over an hour long, the show is the perfect length. The three house singers, six dancers and four musicians put on a great show. Dinner will be served from 8.30pm followed by the show commencing at 10.00pm. Please note timings are subject to change and will be confirmed directly to you. On completion of the show, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

El Querandi Tango Show & Dinner

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight. This service includes a driver only.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

*Please note the Iguazu Tourist Tax will now be charged on check out at all Iguazu hotels. The amount is currently ARS50 (USD3.40) per person per stay. Please note this tax is subject to change without prior notice.

The spectacular Iguazu Falls that straddle the Argentine-Brazil border, are made up of 275 individual waterfalls lining a 2.7km wide horseshoe-shaped gorge. The Falls are located where the Iguazu River cascades over the edge of the Paraná Plateau. The Falls can be viewed from both the Argentinian and the Brazilian sides, the Brazilian side offering a broader, panoramic view, with the Argentinian side offering a series of catwalks that allow you to experience the Falls from close range.

Our guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the park (if coming from a hotel in Argentina, please don’t forget your passport, with the relevant visa should you require it!). Once inside the park you will transfer onto the park authority’s buses. From the first balcony there is a great panoramic view of the Argentinian side of the falls. From the Brazilian side there are gorgeous panoramic views of the lower Iguazu River and the Devil’s Gorge Canyon. The elevator and the stairs lead to the shopping and restaurant area upstairs. There is some degree of difficulty as the path includes many stairs.

Iguazu Falls

The spectacular Iguazu Falls that straddle the Argentine-Brazil border, are made up of 275 individual waterfalls lining a 2.7km wide horseshoe-shaped gorge. The Falls are located where the Iguazu River cascades over the edge of the Paraná Plateau. The Falls can be viewed from both the Argentinian and the Brazilian sides, the Brazilian side offering a broader, panoramic view, with the Argentinian side offering a series of catwalks that allow you to experience the Falls from close range.

Iguazu Falls

Early morning pick up from your hotel for your full day of exploring the Argentine side of the falls. This tour always starts early in order to beat the crowds and get the first train to the Devil’s Throat. There are walkways over the islands which take you to a balcony over the falls and the most spectacular view of the entire Devil’s Gorge. You will then have plenty of time to walk the 800 metres of paths on the upper circuit. These new suspended walkways are detached from the jungle surface so as to protect the fauna by preventing disruption of the natural trails. From this circuit you have a higher sight of the falls, providing you with a magnificent panoramic view. It takes around one hour to cover the upper circuit. The lower circuit contains 600 metres of walkways, also detached from the jungle floor, and has great views from below and around the falls. Once you have finished all the circuits, return to the visitor centre where your vehicles will be waiting to transfer you back to your hotel. Please note there is some degree of difficulty as the path includes many stairs, particularly on the lower circuit. National Park fee is included. On completion of the tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is small group tour.

Iguazu Argentinian Falls

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Salta

Known as ''Salta la Linda'' (Salta the Pretty), Salta is a provincial capital in the mountainous north western part of Argentina. Founded in 1582, it is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets as well as its Andean heritage. The centre of the city is the Plaza 9 de Julio, an elegant square bordered by the cathedral and El Cabildo, an 18th century town hall that is now a historical museum.

Salta

We set out from Salta travelling south to El Carril and entering the Laurel and Escoipe Gorges. From here we head up the Cuesta del Obispo, enjoying stunning views of the Enchanted Valley below before reaching the Mill Stone. At 3,384 meters, this is the highest point of the trip. From here we cross the Los Cardones National Park, named after the cactus plants that grow here before stopping at the charming mountain town of Cachi.

We continue along Route 40 to arrive in the sleepy town of Cafayate where we spend the night.

Salta - Cachi - Cafayate

We begin this morning with a tour of Cafayate before boarding the bus for our return journey. This time we follow Route 68 traversing the Quebrada de las Conchas (Valley of Shells), where erosion caused by wind and water has carved various recognisable shapes out of the bright red rock.

Cafayate - Salta

Private transfer from your hotel in Salta to the border with Bolivia at La Quiaca.

Please note this transfer includes local English speaking driver and only operates during the day. Journey will take approximately five hours and 30 minutes.

Salta Private Transfer to La Quiaca

Once you have passed through the border formalities and enter into Boliva, you will be met by our representative who will drive you to Tupiza where you will overnight.

La Quiaca - Tupiza

Uyuni, founded in 1889 by Bolivian president Aniceto Arce, is still an important military base. It lies in south-western Bolivia, 3,670 metres above sea level and situated on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. The Salar de Uyuni covers 12,000 square kilometres of the Bolivian Altiplano and is fringed by the mountains of the Andes. Beneath it lies the world’s largest lithium reserve estimated to be about 100 million tons. The salt in the salt flats is over 120 metres deep. The area is remote, arid and cold, stark, yet stunning, boasting extraordinary beauty and a silence that is captivating.

Uyuni

Today spend the day exploring the Salt Flats. Enroute visit a Salt Factory, the salt mounts and Salt Museum. Enter the impressive Salt Flats and head north to visit the pre-Columbian Pucara de Ayque Fort and the nearby chullpares on the foothills of Thunupa volcano. A picnic lunch in the middle of the Salt Flats is included.

Salt Flats

Today visit Isla Incahuasi, home to a special habitat of giant cactus and volcanic rocks. Enjoy a picnic lunch and continue onto the Ojo de Agua (Eyes of Salt), where water bubbles up from subterranean rivers flowing under the Salt Flats.

Continue to Uyuni Airport in time to board a flight to La Paz.

Salt Flats - La Paz

In the morning you will have a tour of the city of La Paz and its surroundings, where it can transport you to a mysterious past where any corner of any street is a hidden treasure. The Native, colonial and modern areas, Indian Market, Witch Doctor's Market & breathtaking panoramas are all framed by the majestic Illimani" mountain. You will then visit the Moon Valley, a clay formation resembling the face of the Moon.

By afternoon you will rrive at Huatajata to experience the Andean Roots Eco Village and The Altiplano Museum where you will be told of the cultural heritage of the Aymaras and the Incas. You can go shopping for local handicrafts and visit fishing villages; then meet the Limachi family; builders of the RA II and Tigris for Thor Heyerdhal, epic expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean. You can spend some time at the Kallawaya Natural Spa where we use thousand years' old methods and treatments for stress and cosmetology.

Later an audiovisual and night visit to "The Mystic World of the Kallawayas, natural healers of Bolivia is planned. They believe that you first have to heal the soul in order to heal your body. Tata Benjo, our Kallawaya, will bless visitors and answer questions by casting his sacred coca leaves. Candlelight dinner follows.

Night visit to the Native Observatory Alajpacha; learn from the Aymaras cosmovision & Southern constellations. Overnight at the unique Inca Utama Hotel & Spa.

La Paz Half Day City Tour & Moon Valley

This morning you will be collected from your La Paz hotel and travel north through the highlands and parallel to the Andes Royal Range to Copacabana, a small town located on the shored of Lake Titica. Visit the famous Virgen Morena and its church, have a stroll through the town and board the boat that will take you to the Island of the Sun. Enjoy a typical lunch Aptapi and then hike for about 45 minutes to the Ecolodge La Estancia. Dinner included this evening.

La Paz to Copacabana

The morning is at leisure. Around noon visit the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain; taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Lunch at the Uma Kollu archaeological Restaurant; Visit the small handicraft market. Hydrofoil cruise to Copacabana. Once in Copacabana, visit to the shrine and the Dark Indian Virgin”. Overland journey to your hotel in Puno.

Copacabana to Puno

Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.

Puno

Early this morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the port to board a fully equipped speedboat with on board service to visit various islands on Lake Titicaca. First stop is Taquile Island where you will explore a scenic and less touristy area. Enjoy time on a pristine sandy beach to relax and feel the serenity of Lake Titicaca. We then hike along a pre-Inca trail with spectacular landscapes of the island, visiting families of weavers to learn about their textile art and symbolism. In 2005, "Taquile and its Textile Art" were proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. After three hours on Taquile, board the speedboat for a short journey to the community of Santa Maria-Llachon, on the tip of the Capachica Peninsula. This is a picturesque off the beaten track destination. We are welcomed by the small Quechua speaking community and introduced to an intensive cultural experience, observing the traditions of the community and participating in an ancient ceremony to learn about their magical world. Experience the preparation of "Pachamanca", a traditional way of cooking meat, fish and potatoes using underground ovens, and one of the main dishes of Peruvian cuisine. Enjoy these delicacies in a small, but scenic restaurant (included in tour price). For the more adventurous there is an optional kayak along the coast of Llachon. After lunch we leave Santa Maria and arrive at a remote area of the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca to explore Uros Ccapi. These are considered to be the last authentic floating islands, less commercial and little visited. The Uros are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in South America. There are optional tours in reed boats before we depart back to Puno. On arrival at the port, you will be transferred to your hotel. Please note this is small group tour.

Please note there is a minimum number of passengers requested to operate this tour from December to March, if the required number of passengers is not reached we will offer you a similar alternative. Please also note that between the months of January and March the ceremony of "Pachamama" will be subject to weather conditions.

Titicaca Uncover by Speed Boat

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to either the bus or train station for your journey from Puno to Cusco.

Transfer from Puno hotel to bus or train station

The spectacular journey from Puno to Cusco takes you across the Altiplano and you will travel accompanied by an English-speaking guide. The drive takes you through sleepy Andean villages and past spectacular snowcapped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. Lunch is included and you will arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening. The approximate journey will take ten hours.

Puno to Cusco

On arrival at Cusco bus or train station, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it, to transfer you to your hotel.

Arrival transfer in Cusco

Cusco, set at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Peruvian Andes, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Incan remains. Narrow, cobble-stoned streets lined by Inca walls stretch out from the main plaza in every direction. Many of the colonial buildings were built on top of Incan foundations and the stonework is unparalleled in its precision and beauty.

Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel for a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo (giant rock), the ancient site of Puca Pucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay. On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Included in your tour price is the BTG (Tourist Ticket of Cusco). Please note this is a small group tour.

Cusco - City Tour

This morning you will be collected from your hotel for full day of exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market. The colonial village of Pisac sits at the base of the spectacular Pisac Ruins – a hilltop Inca citadel and fortress with impressive agricultural terracing. On market days Pisac comes alive with locals from nearby hillside villages in traditional dress selling local fruit and vegetables as well as handicrafts. There is free time to wander the colourful market stalls before a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue your journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo. The town, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning and was the scene of a rare Inca victory over the invading Spanish. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to the train station in Ollantaytambo to take the train to Aguas Calientes. Lunch is included.

Sacred Valley Tour

Travel from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu in this comfortable train, and let your feet have rest. Enjoy an authentic Andean experience, while relaxing in modern and comfortable interior design illuminated by Latin American music. Comfortable seats with tables in front to share the journey with friends and partake of a refreshing beverage. On-board services includes a fun and refreshing selection of drinks prepared using Andean herbs and fruits, all of which boast revitalising properties to fill you with energy and keep you ready for the next adventure waiting ahead of you.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes

Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site, located 2,430 metres above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. It is the most famous of all Inca sites, but it was not until 1911 that it was brought to the world’s attention by the American historian Hiram Bingham. The Incas abandoned the city just prior to Spanish colonisation, the city was never pillaged and as a result the ruins are still in fantastic condition. With its location on a dramatic ridgeline surrounded by sheer cliffs and the Urubamba River on three sides, the city of Machu Picchu is a remarkable place to visit. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007 it was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The tour starts with a bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. You will be astonished at your first view of Machu Picchu, a stunning display of ancient architecture with incredible surroundings. Enjoy a guided shared tour of the ruins and monuments such as the Main Square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Cemeteries. Return by bus to Aguas Calientes village.

Please be aware that your tour of Machu Picchu does not include an entry permit to Huayna Picchu (the iconic hill behind the Machu Picchu ruins). If you want to climb Huayna Picchu then you need to pre-book your permit with at least 3 months in advance. Please contact your travel specialist if you would like to do this.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour

This afternoon travel by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

360 Machu Picchu Train: Mapi - Ollanta PM

Transfer from Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley to Cusco.

Private Transfer Ollantaytambo - Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

This is a suggested itinerary. All Tailor-Made journeys can be customised to suit. Add in additional highlights, spend more time in areas of particular interest to you, or extend your journey to visit other regions of Latin America or Antarctica.

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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Uruguay is only one hour by fast ferry from Buenos Aires. This highlights tour introduces you to the charming UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Colonia, Uruguay’s historic capital of Montevideo and the famous and ritzy beach resort town of Punta del Este.Find out more

  • Explore the Chilean capital of Santiago, before heading to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in South America. Head to El Calafate on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and from here visit the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Find out more

  • Why not undertake an incredible journey to the world’s most remote wilderness? A 10-day Antarctica adventure will take you to the final frontier, take to the icy waters in a zodiac, be enthralled by ice-capped vistas and magnificent glaciers and introduce yourself to a host of Antarctic wildlife including penguins, seals and whales. Find out more.

WHY TAILOR-MADE?

  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

Travel Style Departing Duration PRICE FROM
Standard Daily 20 USD 6,199
Superior Daily 20 USD 6,685
Deluxe Daily 20 USD 7,499
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Important Information

  • Airport transfers
    Internal flights
    Accommodation with breakfast
    All inclusive accommodation in the Amazon and Galapagos Cruise
    Tours as stated in the itinerary
    Other meals where stated


    EXCLUSIONS: 

    Personal expenses
    Gratuities for staff/guides
    Alcoholic beverages in Amazon Lodge 
    International flights 
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable)
    Any items not mentioned as included 

  • 3 Light Adventure (High altitude in some areas)
  • Available on request. Contact us for more details.

  • All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.

    This is a Tailor-Made itinerary which can be customised to create your own unique journey. Contact us to discuss your travel plans.

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Your Destination Specialists will turn your South America adventure dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first-hand experience, our Destinations Specialists will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

 

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE