South America overland expedition

“Epic in terms of distance and duration, this 12 week South American expedition will take you through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador overland.”


Rio de Janeiro | Pantanal | Iguazu Falls | Montevideo | Buenos Aires | Atlantic Marine sanctuaries | Tierra del Fuego | Torres del Paine National Park | Los Glaciares National Park | Villarrica Volcano | Santiago | Cafayate and Mendoza | Salta | Uyuni Salt Lake | Potosi | Lake Titicaca | Chauchilla Cemetery | Nazca Lines | Temple of Sun and Moon | Rio Napo - gateway into the Amazon Jungle | Quito |

Description of South America overland expedition

Culminating in the Rio Carnival or New Year celebrations, this expedition through South America takes you to many of the continent’s must-see destinations. But beyond ticking places and experiences off your bucket-list, this is an unmissable opportunity to meet local people far off the beaten track, and see an authentic side to South America that most visitors miss.

You’ll travel as part of a small group in a purpose-built vehicle, occasionally camping in the wilderness and taking turns in preparing meals from food that you’ll buy in local markets along the way. This tour involves long, sometimes arduous journeys across difficult terrain, but also unforgettable landscapes, wildlife encounters and thrills. From trekking through the Amazon rainforest, to soaring like a condor above the mysterious Nazca Lines of Peru, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and admiring the spectacular Iguazu Falls - every day promises a new adventure, and every night a chance to share stories around the campfire.

There will be times when you can pause for breath too, of course. That might be relaxing in the thermal baths of Banos in Ecuador, or on Peru’s Pacific coast, sandboarding in the Ica desert or cruising on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. An enthralling itinerary takes you through Argentinian wine country, past immense glaciers, in search of alligator,s piranhas and anacondas, and to exciting cities such as Santiago, Lima, Buenos Aires and of course - Rio de Janeiro itself. Finish your South America odyssey with either Rio’s legendary Carnival, or its equally chaotic and fun New Year party.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?


Check dates, prices & availability

17 Sep 2021
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Sep 2021 departure
12 Nov 2021
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 12 Nov 2021 departure
Our top tip:
Pack light but pack layers - you'll need them as you travel through some extreme climates from the chilly Andean mountains to the sizzling Atacama Desert.
Trip type:
Small Group
Activity level:
Mix of city hotels, guesthouses and wilderness camping
Most travellers solo
All accommodtion fees, all transport and cooking equipment, tour guides, entrance fees, listed activities including Inca trail trek
Approx. half of meals on tour are prepared by the group or provided
Holiday type


If you’re looking for adventure, an opportunity to travel with like-minded travellers and to get off the beaten track then this type of trip is for you! We will sometimes be covering long distances over a period of a few days but will then most often be camped up for a few days with opportunities for adventure activities, visiting local communities, time in a town or city to chill out or wildlife viewing experiences. The roads are sometimes bumpy and you need to expect the unexpected! This type of travel is through regions where things can change and experiences are more important than luxury – borders sometimes close and there may not always be hot water in the showers! You will generally be camping out under the stars, sometimes out in the bush, but generally more on campsites. (Our South America and Central Asia trips also use small locally-run hostels and guest houses). The trips are fully participative so you will be involved shopping for food in local markets, cooking for your group (on a rota system), collecting water and setting up camp. If you’re not confident about doing any of these things beforehand, don’t worry our crew are there to help you and you’ll be good at it by the time you finish!

You will be travelling on one of our own purpose built overlanding vehicles with up to 24 travellers, many of whom will be travelling on their own. It is a great way for solo travellers to travel. We have lost count of the number of travellers who have met their future spouse on one of our trips! Our vehicles are fully equipped with tents and cooking equipment and are designed for great all-round viewing and a sociable seating plan. You will be accompanied on your trip by a Driver and Tour Leader and, depending on your trip, we often use local guides at sites of specific interest for more detailed information.

This type of travel will provide you with a plethora of memories and stories to tell, new-found travelling companions and friends and a well-exercised spirit of adventure!

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

On this trip we stay at small, locally run campsites or hostels and buy our food locally, thereby directly supporting local communities. We use local companies to run all our excursions. They, in turn, employ local drivers and guides-supporting the local economy.

Before the trip commences clients are sent detailed pre-departure information which includes advice on responsible travel. This information is re-emphasised by the tour leader at the start of the trip-clients, for example, are advised about respecting local customs, conservation of natural habitats and wildlife, litter disposal etc.

Clients are also given the opportunity, before the trip commences to attend a Spanish language school in Quito. This involves staying with a local family for a week, sharing their home and meals and one-to-one language tuition. The school also organises a programme of cultural activities. This project helps provide local families with an additional source of income and is a fantastic opportunity for our clients to experience life in Ecuador at first hand. It also obviously enables them to get more out of their entire trip as they are, hopefully, more able to communicate with the Spanish speaking South American people they meet en route. (All of our crew attend this language school before they run their first trip with us).

We try to select campsites or hostels that share our environmental concerns-although this is not always possible. In Ecuador we stay at the Arajuno Jungle Lodge and Forest Reserve. This project not only runs its accommodation on sustainable principles but supports the local community in a variety of ways (including the development of small-scale fishponds in remote indigenous villages partly to stop villagers from fishing with dynamite in the rivers. They have also trained local people to become licensed guides). The forest reserve has a native species reproduction project for guatusas and capybara and are currently involved in trying to re-introduce turtles to the Arajuno River.

We spend one night of the trip as guests in the homes of a community of Uros Indian families on the islands of Amantani or Taquile. This gives our clients an opportunity to learn more about their hosts traditional lifestyles and also provides the families with an additional source of income.

One of the highlights of this trip is obviously trekking the Inca Trails to Machu Picchu. This trek offers opportunities of employment to large numbers of the local community. Porters, cooks and guides are required. However, much of this employment is poorly paid and working conditions are not good. The local company we use to organise our trails has a commitment to the welfare of their porters providing them with a professional wage and health insurance. They are also in the process of completing a house for the porters so that they have somewhere comfortable to stay the night before they start the trail, as many of them travel in from rural areas.

The numbers of clients we take on this tour are limited, to a maximum of twenty-three, thus reducing the environmental and cultural impact of a large group.

On this trip we support a small, Peruvian charity called Pachamamas Children, based twenty minutes outside of Cusco, in the community of Tika-Tika. The charity is in the process of reconstructing a derelict school in an impoverished community. The children of the community currently have no access to formal education. Once completed the school will not only provide education to the children of the community but the plan is also to provide adult education and a basic Medical Centre. We make a regular monthly, financial contribution to this project and once the building work has been completed we hope that our clients will be able to visit the school and that we will be able to offer volunteering opportunities there.

1 Reviews of South America overland expedition

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was certainly the most exciting part of the tour. In addition, stay in Tom's Jungle (near Tena, Ecuador), Lake Titicaca, Salt
flats of Uyuni and Iguazu Falls left a memorable impression!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is an exciting and adventurous way to explore the countryside and interact with locals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, particularly at Tom's Jungle where we visited a local 'Kichwa' community and at Lake Titicaca where we stayed in the home of local family.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an exciting tour and had lots of fun in the company of youngsters. But I think the stay in ' Bush Camps' could be better organised. Similarly, at some places duration of stay was more than necessary particularly during the last part of the tour.

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