Vikings in America 2021
A Road Trip from Canada to Patagonia- Vagabjorn style
The first leg, or first part, of this trip, is a trans Canadian road trip. We leave the home base of Montreal to the West on a sunny summer day.
Finish line of the first leg: Calgary.
The plan: head to Alaska to hike the Stampede Trail to the Magic Bus, camp in National Parks on the way, swim in ice cold rivers and eat food on the fire. Simple living. Loop back through the Rockies before starting the descent to South America.
This implies that we will cross Canada, at least from Montreal to Calgary, if not all the way to British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska, which are lovely at that time of the year.
What factors in: who joins, how many cars are heading West at that time, unforeseen events (keep in mind this one applies on the whole itinerary). If curious about more details, please ask us.
Date of departure: unknown (around the first of July at the earliest for an Alaska adventure, around mid July for a Vancouver taster, early August if going straight to Calgary).
What sort of experience can you expect? In the second biggest country on Earth, a road trip takes on a new meaning. Driving a couple of hours to enjoy a favored piece of pie is not rare. The abundance of wildlife, wonders, breathtaking views, and camping spots are a fraction of its beauty.
"Yes... but what will I see? What places will we go through? What's the itinerary?", I hear you asking.
Here’s a rough draft, which is 100% going to differ when the time comes.
1JUL: Leaving Montreal to La Macaza, sleep at Tom’s cottage for a couple of nights, visit Mont-Tremblant on the way. A couple of hours worth of drive North.
3JUL: Spend a few hours on the road and reach Parc National de La Verendrye, a real gem. We have 1200kms until Thunder Bay, the next “checkpoint”.
4JUL: Drive a few hundred kilometers, still North, up to the vicinity of Iroquois Falls.
5JUL: Headed West, we could drive up to 800 kms in the day to build more time for somewhere else or stop in between, by a lake or a river
6JUL: Still on the road. We should be in Thunder Bay or past it already.
7JUL: Expecting to be around Dryden or in Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba depending of the pace. Winnipeg is 750km from Thunder Bay
8JUL: Driving the last few kilometers to or in Winnipeg already, for 2 or 3 nights.
10JUL: Leaving Winnipeg, we take highway 16 (called the Yellowhead pass, it’s the “other, original trans Canadian” highway). It leads to Edmonton. It has many authentic villages dispersed in the vast land dubbed The Prairies. It makes for better pit stops among the interminable wheat fields, in comparison to the 1 headed to Calgary.
From Winnipeg to Edmonton is approximately 1000km. We would go through Saskatoon, largest city in Saskatchewan (it’scute).
14JUL: Driving past Edmonton and headed North West. Seeing the Rockies from afar, not to worry, we will spend a good 4 or 5 days driving through the Icefields Parkway (Jasper to Banff) on our way back from Alaska and BC.
17JUL: 2000km later, after as much forest as there was prairies, we arrive in Whitehorse, capital of Yukon, where we will stay a couple of nights to rest. Ridiculously small city, quick to visit.
20JUL: Dawson City, 530km from Whitehorse. We will stay there for 4 nights; you will wish it were more. It’s the far West, the side walks are wood planks, the streets are packed sand and earth, it’s like no other place. Around the city (it’s a town), there are goldmines to go visit, rivers to go canoed on, hikes to be planned, personalities to be met (the people that get up there have stories to tell!).
25JUL: Drive through the Top of the World highway to get into Alaska. Simply majestic. Get as far as Chicken (cool place).
26JUL: 280 miles (450 km) from Chicken, we arrive in Fairbanks. From here, we can drive 800km North to go swim in the Beaufort Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. (Factor in roughly 5 days and minimum 200USD, at best)
27-28JUL: Head out of Fairbanks, direction Healy! A short scenic drive (180km), we arrive at the very humble hometown of famed artist Portugal The Man, where we start preparation for the Magic Bus hike totalling 40km.
28JUL-2AUG: The hike, with a full day at the bus to rest and chill before walking another 20km back.
3AUG: Drive down to Denali National Park, where we can see the highest mountain in North America. We might go take a lookat what base camp looks like, if we get curious enough. Fun fact, the mountain has more elevation (more meters to climb) than Everest, albeit being lower in altitude.
5AUG: Depending on how much we enjoy the national park, we make our way through down to Anchorage for a quick visit and perhaps an airport run.
7AUG: Drive down to the town Homer on the Kenai peninsula, a remote fishing village with gorgeous views on the glaciers. Ithas a Scandinavian touch in its style, with the colorful wooden homes.
9AUG: On our way out, we pass Anchorage and head full on East for the first time.
11AUG: We are going through Beaver Creek, the Westernmost village of Canada, back in the Yukon. We have 3000 km until Vancouver area, approximately 6 days. We have a ferry option here, from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, which would save us from driving about 500km.
17AUG: Vancouver area, from the island to the city (depending on the alternate route, there are many hikes, pubs, history, outdoor activities and entertainment to keep us there all summer but we want to make the most out of the Rockies so we won’t be more than 6 days before leaving Vancity. In the meantime, we will surf in Tofino, stroll the streets of the very Victorian Victoria, cycle through Stanley Park, indulge in the West Coast culture, and maybe even go to Squamish for some rock climbing or mountain biking.
23AUG: Sea to Summit highway calls and we are out of this lovely metropolitan region, on our way to Banff.
30AUG: We arrive in Calgary, after spending almost a week on the Icefield Parkway. The highlights are numerous, and no decision can be made until we arrive close by regarding where we will sleep or where we will hike. It will be a decision worth thinking and talking about for many days as there are many good options. Rest assured, it will be camping, Banff and Jasper are ridiculously expensive.
1SEP: Calgary - we will pick you up at Calgary International Airport (IATA code YYC)
2SEP: Banff- Enjoy a range of activities in Banff
3SEP: Banff- Enjoy a range of activities in Banff
4SEP: Canada-U.S. border crossing
Today we will have a full day drive over the US border into the state of Montana and arrive at the eastern side of Glacier National Park, stopping en route at the fascinating Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a cliff that aboriginal people used for hunting for almost 6000 years.
Accommodation: In Glacier National Park we will camp in a campsite near the spectacular St. Mary's Lake.
Border information: Exit Canada at Chief Mountain, enter USA at Chief Mountain.
5SEP: Glacier National Park: we will free time to fully explore the pristine ecosystem of Glacier National Park and take some optional treks or scenic drives up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass and other scenic points.
6SEP: Drive South into the state of Wyoming and camp along the way. Driving time will be approx 5hrs.
7SEP: Drive South into the state of Wyoming and camp along the way. Driving time will be approx 5hrs.
8SEP: Yellowstone- we will pack up our camp and explore Yellowstone National Park as we make our way to our camp on the southern edge of the park, where we will base ourselves for the next 2 nights.
9SEP: Yellowstone: we have a free day to fully explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton National park and take part in optional treks and other activities.
10SEP: Today we will drive 8hrs south through the stunning Grand Teton National Park and take a stop at the spectacular Jenny Lake, where we'll have some free time to explore the lake and possibly take a short boat trip. We will then continue to the beautiful town of Jackson Hole.
Accommodation: in Jackson Hole we will camp at a campsite surrounded by mountains and on the banks of a small river, the following day we have a free day for activities and to explore the area.
11SEP: Jackson Hole- today we have a free day to explore the area around Jackson Hole
12SEP: Today we will drive approximately 6 hours to Utah's state capital of Salt Lake City, where we will have time for quick free exploration of the city centre and its famous Temple Square. We will then head to the nearby Antelope Island State Park, known for its abundant population of American bison and pronghorns.
13SEP: Today we will have an approximate 7 hours drive to the town of Moab, perfectly located next to the rugged wildernesses of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
We will spend the next day exploring and trekking in Canyonlands National Park, and taking part in some optional activities in and around Moab.
14SEP: We will spend today exploring and trekking in Canyonlands National Park, and taking part in some optional activities in and around Moab.
15SEP: Today we will drive approximately 9 hours to the incredible Monument Valley, the iconic landscape symbolic of the American West. On arrival we will head out on an included jeep tour of the Monument Valley Tribal Park, seeing the stunning rock formations up close and learning about the local Navajo culture.
16SEP: Monument Valley
Accommodation suggestion: In Monument Valley we could spend the night in a traditional Navajo 'Hogan' (an igloo-shaped dwelling of wood and earth where 6-8 people sleep together on the ground in a circle).
17SEP: Today we will continue our drive (approx 6hrs) to the beautiful town of Page near the stunning Lake Powell.
18SEP: Today we will drive to the wonderful Kodachrome Basin State Park, where we will have free time on arrival to explore the beautiful landscape.
19SEP: Today we will drive approximately 5 hours to the incredible Bryce Canyon National Park, where we will have a few hours here to take some optional treks to its hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion). Following this, we will take a very scenic drive to the stunning Zion National Park.
20SEP: Zion National Park- free day to explore
21SEP: This morning we will have free time to explore, trek or take scenic drives through the spectacular deserts and rock formations on Zion National Park. In the afternoon we will drive approximately 5 hours to the bustling and energetic city of Las Vegas.
22SEP: Las Vegas
23SEP: Today we will drive approximately 8 hours south into the state of Arizona and to one of the most spectacular highlights of the USA - the world-famous Grand Canyon. On arrival we will head up to one of the stunning viewpoints over the Grand Canyon for sunset.
24SEP: Grand Canyon- Today we will have free time to explore the Grand Canyon area and take optional treks and scenic helicopter flights over the canyon. The entrance to the Grand Canyon is included on the trip, but as there are many options once inside the National Park the day will be free to explore in your own way.
25SEP: Today we will drive approximately 6 hours south through Arizona to the area near Phoenix.
Accommodation suggestion: In the Phoenix area we will most likely stay in a rustic campsite to the north of the city, where we may have the opportunity to go horse riding or visit Antelope Canyon.
26SEP: We will spend the morning wandering around the town of Phoenix before we drive approximately 6 hours south to the border town of Nogales.
27SEP: Today we will cross the border into Mexico, and over the next two days we will drive south along the Pacific coast, staying close to the towns of Guaymas and Mazatlán en route.
Border information: Exit USA at Nogales, enter Mexico at Nogales.
28SEP: Mazatlan- We will continue our drive south, driving approximately 10hours and staying near the town of Mazatlan
29SEP: After having had an exhausting driving day behind us we will have a free day to drink margaritas and relax on the beach in Mazatlan.
30SEP: We will have a 500km/ up to 8 hour driving day down to Guadalajara where the second trip leg will end.
1OCT: Guadalajara Today we will welcome new travelers and maybe say goodbye to some that might be leaving us. We will be having a relaxing day at a hostel to catch up with WiFi and sleep before continuing to the coast.
2OCT: Tequila- Today we will do a day trip to the town of Tequila, where we will have time for an optional visit to the town's famous distilleries
3SEP: Sayulita- Today we will drive approximately 300km/ 5hours to the surfing town of Sayulita on Pacific coast and enjoy some free time on arrival.
4OCT: Sayulita: Today we will have free time to explore the Playa Los Muertos beach and possibly try your hand at surfing!
5OCT: Sayulita/Puerto Vallarta: if you feel like a break from Sayulita we can take you on a day trip to Puerto Vallarta also known for surfing and nightlife.
6OCT: We will drive from Puerto Vallarta to Chamela Bay, which is a very low key beach area where will spend one night.
7OCT: We will drive from Chamela Bay to Barra de Navidad which is a nice little beach resort where we will look for a place to camp.
8OCT: We will drive to a city called Manzanillo.
9OCT: We will drive from Manzanillo to Faro de Bucerias which has a remote beautiful beach.
10OCT: We will continue driving approximately along the coast until we get to Zihuatanejo- a fishing village that has turned into a low-key tourist destination. If we feel like staying at a bit more glitzy (resortlike place) we could also stay at Ixtapa which is just on the other side of the mountain.
11OCT: Manzanillo/Ixtapa- spend a free day exploring the beaches of these two towns.
12OCT: We will drive approximately 300 kilometers or 4-5 hours to the city of Acapulco. You might have already heard the song and know what Aca is all about.
13OCT: Acapulco- spend the day at Icacos beach with some margaritas and Coronas if you’d like. Or you could go to the seaside cliffs in La Quebrada for the famous diving shows.
14OCT: We will drive 400 kilometers to Mexico City and find a safe place to park the car for a couple of nights.
15OCT: Free day to explore Mexico City.
16OCT: Spend the day exploring Mexico City or join us for a day trip to one of the Mayan Ruin sites like San Juan Teotihuacan.
17OCT: today we will have an 8 hour drive to the wonderful, laid back colonial town of Oxaca famous for its cousine and indigenous cultures.
18OCT: Free day to explore Oxaca or join us on a day trip to the ruined Zapotec city of Monte Alban.
19OCT: Today will be the longest drive of the trip, probably close to 14 hours, but it will be worth it when we reach the stunning old colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, one of Mexico's most beautiful towns. and well known as the heart of the indigenous Tzotzil Maya culture.
20OCT: Today we will have a free day for exploration and to take part in some optional activities such as taking a tour to the fascinating Maya village of San Juan Chamula, or exploring the nearby Lagunas de Montebello National Park.
21OCT: San Cristobal de Las Casas- Today we can try to negotiate a good rate for a boat trip down the phenomenal Sumidero Canyon, viewing its colossal cliffs from the base and searching for the resident wildlife.
22OCT: Today we will have a full 10 hour day drive to the remote town of Frontera Corozal, on the Guatemalan border. En route, we may have time for an optional stop at the stunning waterfalls of Agua Azul.
23OCT: Today we will have an included guided visit to the remote ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilán, which is only accessible via a boat trip down the river. After our visit we will drive to the village of Palenque.
24OCT: Palenque- Today we will go visit to the incredible Mayan ruins of Palenque, which rise out of the thick jungle surrounding them. In the afternoon we will have free time to go on a jungle tour, visit the on site museum, or travel to the nearby waterfall of Misol Ha.
25OCT: Today we will drive around 10 hours to the beautiful and artistic colonial town of Mérida, the capital of the Yucatan state.
26OCT: We will drive around four hours to Cancun
27OCT: Cancun- a free day to explore the town and the beaches
28OCT: We will have a short drive to Playa del Carmen
29OCT: Playa del Carmen- a free day to explore the town and the beaches
30OCT: We will drive down to Tulum to explore some Mayan ruins and he ready for three days of festivities
31OCT: We will drive to Riviera Maya to celebrate the cultural festival called day of the dead. There is a program we can join in Xcaret which you can read more about here.
This is the end of one leg and beginning of another.
Border information: If you are starting your journey with this leg you can fly in to Cancun International Airport and we will pick you up from there.
1NOV: The Day of the Dead celebrations in Xcaret.
2NOV: The last day of celebrations Xcaret before we get ready to cross into our next country; Belize.
3NOV: Today we will travel south across the border to Belize City, and to be honest it’s a bit of a dump, but I will stay behind and watch the car and do some servicing while you can head over to the more relaxed Caye Caulker.
Border information: Exit Mexico at Subteniente López, enter Belize at Santa Elena.
4NOV: Spend the day at Caye Caulker by bike or do a day trip to the famous blue hole for a dive or snorkel.
5NOV: Enjoy a second full day of relaxing and exploring this chilled and beautiful island.
6NOV: Head back to the mainland in the morning and have a short drive to the village of San Ignacio, home to Belize's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!
7NOV: We will have a full day to take part in the many optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.
8NOV: Today we will have a short drive across the Guatemalan border to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour.
Border information: Exit Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen, enter Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos.
9NOV: Today we have a short drive to the small town of Poptún, stopping in the colonial town of Flores en route. We will arrive at our fantastic eco-lodge which allows camping near Poptún and have a free afternoon.
10NOV: Today we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.
11NOV: Today we will drove to Lanquin and stay at a hostel situated in a beautiful setting. Be prepared for a party- since at midnight it will be my 32nd birtday!
12NOV: This will be an awesome day. In the morning you will have the chance to go river tubing with breakfast beer and afterwards you can explore some truly fascinating caves where you have to bring your own candle for light. It’s my favorite place in all of Central America!
13NOV: Today we will have drive to the magnificent city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 60 kms from Guatemala City.
14NOV: Antigua- you will have a free day to explore
15NOV: Feel free to do a day trip to one of the volcanoes, markets or villages around. Antigua is a really beautiful place where it’s worth spending two full days.
Border information: if joining in Antigua, you will most likely enter Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).
16NOV: Today we will cross the border into El Salvador and drive to the beautiful town of Suchitoto where we will have the afternoon to explore.
Border information: Exit Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, enter El Salvador at La Hachadura.
17NOV: Today we will have a full day drive (Approx 8hrs) to Leon in Nicaragua.
Border information: Exit El Salvador at Santa Clarita, enter Honduras at El Almatillo. Then we will exit Honduras at El Guasaule, enter Nicaragua at El Guasaule.
18NOV: We will spend a day in the colorful student town of Leon where you will have the opportunity to go volcano boarding on a day trip.
19NOV: Today we will take a short drive to Nicaragua's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! En route we will have an included visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).
20NOV: Today we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.
21NOV: This morning we drive to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.
22NOV: Today we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.
23NOV: Today we will take an early morning ferry back to San Jorge and drive to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano.
Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Penas Blancas, enter Costa Rica at Penas Blancas
24NOV: Today we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.
25NOV: Today we will drive across the Panama border into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.
26NOV: On Today we will have a free day to take part in some of the many optional outdoor activities which the town is famous for, including the opportunity to take the strenuous trek to the 3,478m summit of Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.
27NOV: After a relaxing start of the day in we will drive towards Panama City, probably finding a place to bush camp close to Santiago.
28NOV: After packing up our tents in the morning we will have our final drive for this trip leg ending in Panama City.
30NOV: Even though the trip leg is over you will have plenty of time to explore more of Panama and Costa which is considered more developed, safe and easy to get around than most other Latin American countries.
December 1st: if you are leaving the trip here, then we will take you to Panama City international Airport, and if not you will have lots of options for things to do. Stay behind a few days to soak up some sun at the beach in Panama or join us with a boat to Cartagena in Colombia which is full of adventurous things to do (nearby).
Border information: Me and Tom will look for containers that can take the car from Central America to South America and also a boat that can take the group to Colombia via the San Blas Islands. After two weeks the customers papers should be ready so that we can continue driving from Cartagena in Colombia.
December 15th: If you haven’t already arrived in Cartagena then today would be the time to come and start the next trip leg.
December 16th: Today we will have a full day in the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.
In the morning we go together for a walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.
December 17th: Today we have a short drive to the stunning Tayrona National Park.
In Tayrona we will sleep in Hammocks, and there will be a restaurant nearby but it is better to bring some food in to save some money. There is an hour walk from where we park our car to our campsite.
December 18th: Today we will have a walk in the national park to see some Mayan ruins. If you don’t want to join you could just chill at the beautiful beaches of El Cabo San Juan.
December 19th: Today we will drive four hour drive down to the pretty colonial town of Santa Cruz de Lorica on the Sinu River.
We will have the afternoon to relax and discover the historic centre, learn about the traditional Vueltiao hat or head to the coast and soak up the sun in San Bernardo del Viento.
December 20th: We will have a free day to relax and discover the historic centre, learn about the traditional Vueltiao hat or head to the coast and soak up the sun in San Bernardo del Viento.
December 21st: Today we will have a full day drive down to Medellin where we will stay for a couple of days.
December 22nd: Explore Medellin which is famous for being the city where the drug baron Pablo Escobar was based. Learn about his story, or party hard at the many pubs and nightclubs.
December 23rd: Free day in Medellin which is an awesome city.
December 24th: I’m sure we will find a Christmas party or other event which will make you want to stay behind in Medellin for another day here.
December 25th: Today we will head into the heart of the coffee region and look for a Hacienda near the town or a hostel in the city of Manizales.
December 26th: Today we will continue our journey south to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.
Salento will be our base to take a guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia and also to do a coffee plantation tour.
December 27th: Today we will take a guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia. You could also explore the coffee plantation and learn about coffee if you prefer.
December 28th: Today we will drive to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.
December 29th: Today we will have a full day drive to the border town of Ipiales and cross into Ecuador. We will look for a place to camp before or after the border.
Border information: Exit Colombia at Ipiales, enter Ecuador at Ipiales.
December 30th: We will drive to the bustling capital Quito where we will find a good hostel to celebrate New Years and the last days of this trip leg.
December 31st: Today you can explore Quito and the nearby sites like “Mitad del Mundo” (middle of the earth) to learn and try exercises only possible on the Equator.
January 1st: Today will be a hangover day at the hostel in Quito, if that’s what you are into. For those who have the energy, now would be a good time to wash clothes and Skyping with family and friends as we will most likely not have internet the following days.
January 2nd: Today our journey begins with a drive to a village on the edge of the Amazon basin, near the town of Tena, where we will look for a lodge to stay at for the next few nights.
January 3rd: Over the next two days our plan is to head into the Amazon jungle, enjoying rainforest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting plenty of wildlife on the way. We will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs, and visit a local Quichua community.
January 4th: This will be our second day in the jungle
January 5th: Today we will drive through the highlands of Ecuador, arriving in Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano.
January 6th: We will have two full days of free time to take part in a range of optional activities in Rio Verde, such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. We will also have the opportunity to visit the nearby town of Baños and its popular volcanic thermal springs.
January 7th: Second free day in Rio Verde
January 8th: Today we will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the 'Quilotoa Loop'.
January 9th: Today is a free day in Chugchilán to enjoy optional activities such as mountain biking or horseback riding.
January 10th: Today we will drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and then head south to the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca. We will pass through the stunning landscape of the Cajas National Park en route.
January 11th: Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Cuenca. The town is the birthplace of the famous Panama Hat, and we will have the opportunity today to visit one of the factories to learn about the manufacturing process.
January 12th: Today we will have a full driving day south, crossing the border into northern Peru.
Border information: Exit Ecuador at Huaquillas, enter Peru at Tumbes.
January 13th: Today we have a full day to relax on the beach and enjoy some activities in and around the stunning coastal area of Punta Sal.
January 14th: Today we will have a full day's drive to Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo.
January 15th: Today we will try to find a guided trip to explore the enormous adobe ruins of Chan Chan and the world-famous Moche archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).
January 16th: Today we will have a spectacular drive up the winding roads of the 'Casma Route' into the Cordillera Blanca section of the high Andes, reaching the mountain town of Huaraz.
January 17th: We have two days in the spectacular area of the Cordillera Blanca for exploration and optional activities such as visiting the incredible pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huantar or trekking and climbing to the nearby lakes and glaciers.
January 18th: Enjoy a second free day in Huaraz
January 19th: Today we will have another full day's drive back to the coast via the 'Paramonga Route' and then on to the enormous Peruvian capital of Lima.
January 20th: Today will be a free day to explore the markets, churches etc of Lima.
January 21st: Today we will have a very early start to leave Lima before the rush hour, and drive 270kms south to Paracas. There we will look for one of the local boats for an included trip to the Ballestas Islands (also known as the Poor Mans Galapagos) to view its incredible array of resident wildlife and birds.
After lunch, we will continue south to arrive at the stunning desert oasis town of Huacachina, where we have the option to head out for an evening of sand boarding and dune buggying.
January 22nd: Today we continue south to the world-famous village of Nazca, the location of the mysterious Nazca Lines. On the drive, we will stop at a viewing platform to get a glimpse of some of these lines. The Nazca Lines are a series of figures, lines, and geometric shapes that were etched into the ground of the desert plateau over a thousand years ago by the ancient Nazca culture, and their purpose is still unknown to this day.
In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to take an optional 30-minute flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft - this is by far the best way of seeing the figures.
January 23rd: This morning we head south of Nazca, and have a visit to the nearby ancient sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the Cahuachi Pyramid, thought to have once been the religious centre of the Nazca civilisation.
In the afternoon we will continue our drive to the coastal resort of Puerto Inca.
January 24th: Today we will start our drive inland, and head uphill to the beautiful 'White City' of Arequipa.
January 25th: Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.
January 26th: Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.
January 27th: This morning we will head out on a short drive to some of the best viewpoints along the spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world! The canyon is famous for its resident condors, and we will spend a good amount of time at the viewpoints to give ourselves the best chance of spotting them. We will have a free afternoon to explore Chivay, and possibly take an optional trip to the nearby hot springs.
January 28th: Today we will drive through the stunning landscapes of the Peruvian highlands to the small village of Raqchi. Here we will stay at a homestay as guests of the local villagers in their traditional family homes. The houses are very clean and have basic facilities. This evening the villagers will invite us to take part in a traditional Quechua religious ceremony, and we'll have some lively music from some of the village's musicians.
January 29th: This morning we will visit the Inca ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi, and then see a pottery demonstration at a local artisan centre.
In the afternoon we will drive to the incredible historical city of Cuzco, the former Inca capital.
January 30th: The day will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.
January 31st: Second free day in Cuzco. What about doing a bungee jump? Cuzco is also a good place to party and try Guinea Pig if you are into that. Or Qui as the locals call it.
Border information: if you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).
February 1st- February 4th: Inca trail anyone? If not you can spend these days trekking in the Andes at a place which is free (or cheaper than the quite expensive Inca Trail). You could visit the Sacsayhuaman, stop by Quechua speaking villages, seeing how traditional weaving is done, and see the Sacred Valley.
February 5th: All will probably be back to Cuzco by this time. If so we will head through the highlands of Peru to the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
February 6th: This morning we will cross into Bolivia and head to the lakeside town of Copacabana.
Border information: Exit Peru at Yunguyo, enter Bolivia at Kasani.
February 7th: Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, one of the holiest sites in ancient Inca mythology and supposedly the birthplace of the Sun God Inti. We will take a 14km walk across the length of the island, taking in the incredible and serene scenery and soaking up the calm atmosphere of the island (this walk can be skipped by anybody who does not want to do it). We will return to Copacabana for the evening.
February 8th: Today we will drive around 5 hours to the famous city of La Paz, Bolivia's seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world!
February 9th: Today we will have a free day to make the most of the extrodinary city of La Paz, explore the witches market or take a mountain biking trip down the World's Most Dangerous Road.
February 10th: We will have one last day in the Bolivian capital where you can do the stuff you missed out on the last days.
February 11th: Today we will drive around 9 hours south to Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.
February 12th: Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!
February 13th: Today we will head off across the wilds of the Altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way into Chile. We will make plenty of stop for photographs on the way and at the end of the day we aim to cross the border into Chile, making camp soon afterwards. Tonight we will bush camp in a remote spot with no facilities!
February 14th: After breakfast we will break camp, and drive through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa on the Chilean part of the Altiplano, stopping off en route for photographs and a lunch stop at the famous El Tatio Geysers, the worlds highest Geyser field at 4300m. Afterwards descending down to San Pedro de Atacama.
Border information: The weather in this region can be unpredictable and has been known to close the road to the border. On these occasions we will take an alternate route across the Altiplano, crossing into either Chile or Argentina at a different border point. Your trip leaders will keep you informed of any changes that may be necessary.
February 15th: Today we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).
February 16th: Today we will have a full day (12hrs) driving to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Argentina, and reach the beautiful town of Salta.
February 17th: Today we will have a free day to explore Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.
February 18th: Today we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the serene town of Cafayate.
February 19th: Free day to explore Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentinas's principal withe producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrontes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!
February 20th: Today we will drive south through spectacular mountains and arrive in the pampas that Argentina is famous for. We will visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route.
February 21st: Today we drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights. During our time at the Estancia, we can head out horseback riding, subject to weather ofc.
February 22nd: Full day in Estancia
February 23rd: Today we will have a leisurely start after breakfast to the city of Cordoba, where we will enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city.
February 24th: Today we will have a very early start for a full day's (around 9hrs) drive to the stunning town of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes.
Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world.
February 25th: Today will be free time to explore the region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.
February 26th: Today we will have a full day drive (11hrs) over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Chilean capital of Santiago.
February 27th: Today is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan Chilean capital.
February 28th: Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! This will be the ending point for some and start of the adventure for others.
March 1st: Free day in Santiago.
Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL).
March 2nd: Today we will leave the bright lights of Santiago behind and head to San Javier, to take a wine tour at one of the famous vineyards of the region. After lunch, we will head to the laid back farming village of Buchupureo, on the Chilean coast, where we can relax by the beach for a couple of hours.
March 3rd: This morning we will continue our drive into the Chilean Lake District to the town of Pucon.
Tomorrow we will have a free day in Pucón to enjoy a range of optional activities, such as a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucón, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
March 4th: Free day in Putin for optional activities.
March 5th: Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).
Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal.
March 6th: Today will be a free day to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak or boat.
March 7th: Today we cross back into Chile and drive to the rafting mecca of Futaleufú. From this point we will join the famous Carretera Austral, probably one of the most stunning roads in South America, surrounded in gorgeous mountain and forest scenery. Please note that the road from here to El Chaltén is rough and mostly unpaved meaning that the going is slow.
Border Information: Exit Argentina at Rio Futaleufú, enter Chile at Rio Futaleufú.
March 8th: Today we will leave Futaleufú and drive through the Chilean fjords to Queluat National Park. If time allows there is an optional walk to see the incredible hanging Glacier.
March 9th: Today we drive south through the magnificent Chilean scenery to the beautiful area of Cerro Castillo National Reserve.
March 10th: Today we have a free day to hike to the stunning turquoise waters of Laguna Cerro Castillo or to go horse riding.
March 11th: Today we will cross into Argentina's Patagonia region and continue our journey south along the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40).
Border Information: Exit Chile at Huemules, enter Argentina at Huemules.
March 12th: Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.
March 13th: Enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitz Roy. There are lots of trekking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, horse riding, and mountain biking
March 14th: Today we have a short drive to El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier.
March 15th: Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.
March 16th: Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders!
Border information: Exit Argentina and enter Chile at Cerro Castillo.
March 17th: This morning we plan to wake up early and to drive to the harbour to board a Catamaran to cross Lago Pehoe. We will then set up camp at Paine Grande, before continuing on our hike towards the look out for Glacier Grey. The walk returns by the same route.
March 18th: Today we depart from our camp at Paine Grande and hike into the stunning French Valley. In the afternoon, we will make our way to Camp Cuernos.
March 19th: Today we have a slightly easier day, we will hike from Camping Cuernos along the edge of Lago Nodenskjold, around Almirante Nieto and stay just outside Valley Ascencio. We will arrive at Camp Central after approximately 5 hours hiking.
March 20th: This is our final day of the W-Walk and the most spectacular. The day begins with a steady climb from our camp site up Rio Asencio. Be prepared for the final hour which is a relatively steep scramble up to the Tarn and Mirrador Las Torres, with great views of the iconic Towers.
Our hike today is approximately 8 hours for the return trip (20km). We will then spend a second night at Camp Central.
March 21st: Today we will have a full drive day, heading south to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego.
Tonight we will wild camp somewhere on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego.
March 22nd: Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world!
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian
March 23rd: Today is a free day in the wonderful remote town of Ushuaia, with options such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast for those with more time here.
March 24th: Today we start heading back north on a full day drive back across the Magellan Straits and up the Chilean side of the mainland.
March 25th: Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and a main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park.
March 26th: Today we will head north to reach the small town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.
March 27th: Today we will have a full day drive across the plains of Patagonia towards the South Atlantic coast.
March 28th: Today we continue our drive north up the Atlantic coast to the small town of Camarones.
March 29th: This morning we have an included visit to the incredible remote colony of Magellanic Penguins in Cabo Dos Bahias (Cape Two Bays), close to the town of Camarones. After seeing the phenomenal sight of thousands of penguins nesting on the shore, we will continue our drive north to the coastal town of Puerto Madryn.
March 30th: Today we will have a free day for optional activities in and around Puerto Madryn. There is the opportunity to take a tour to the Valdes Peninsular to see its desolate scenery and abundant marine life, head out on a boat trip in search of dolphins and whales, or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh tea house in the nearby towns of Gaiman or Trelew.
March 31st: Today we have a full day's drive heading north towards Buenos Aires. We will see a definite change in the landscape today as the vegetation becomes more and more lush and green as we come out of the Patagonia region and into the pampas of Buenos Aires.
April 1st: Another full day drive will take us across the beautiful grasslands of Buenos Aires province and to the cosmoplitan Argentine capital itself.
April 2nd: We will say goodbye to the ones who are leaving and welcome the ones who are coming.
Border information: if you are joining in Buenos Aires, you will most likely enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code: BUE/EZE).
April 3rd: A full free day to explore Buenos Aires
April 4th: Another full day to explore the wonderful capital of Argentina.
April 5th: This morning you can hop on a ferry to Uruguay and head to Colonia del Sacramento, or join us driving around. Colonia sel Sacramento is one of the oldest and most picturesque towns in Uruguay and a Unesco World Heritage site. The afternoon is free to explore the charming narrow cobbled streets of the Barrio Histórico and the pretty riverfront.
Border information: You can chose to either cross with us in the car or take the more scenic and convenient ferry across to Uruguay.
April 6th: Today we will head north to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. We will have the afternoon to explore Montevideo. The city has a mix of historical buildings and modern architecture and a main feature of the city is the Rambla (waterfront promenade) where locals frequently go for a stroll to drink their mate. Mate is the traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink sipped through a straw, particularly popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.
April 7th: We will have a full day to explore Montevideo or to relax at the beaches.
April 8th: Today we will drive north and camp somewhere along the banks of the River Uruguay. The goal would be to reach Yapeyú in Argentina, which is very famous amongst Argentines for being the birthplace of their national hero General Jose de San Martin, one of the liberators of South America from Spanish colonial rule.
Border information: We will most exit Uruguay at Salto and enter Argentina at Concordia.
April 9th: Today we continue driving North, finding a place to camp in Parque Nacional Iberia.
April 10th: We will drive from Parque Nacional Iberia in Argentina to Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Pilcomayo, enter Paraguay at Asunción.
April 10th: Free day to explore Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.
April 11th: Today we will drive to Eco Reserva Mbatoví, the perfect place for adrenaline junkies where you can go down a 105m long zip line, swinging between bridges and do abseiling.
April 12th: We will cross the country and arrive Brazil at Fox do Iguacu.
Border information: Exit Paraguay at Ciudad del Este and enter Brazil Foc do Iguacu.
April 13th: Free day to explore Iguassu Falls on the Brazilian side.
April 14th: Today we will take a day trip back into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point). We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!
April 15th: Today we will drive to Ponta Grossa and will have an optional visit to m Salto Sete Waterfall on the way.
April 16th: We will continue driving Northeast and stop in the regional capital Curitiba along the way. Hopefully we will reach the coast to camp around a beach for the night.
April 17th: We will drive to São Paulo and find a hostel for a couple of nights.
April 18th: Free day in São Paulo.
April 19th: We will drive to Praia do Centro and take a ferry over to Ilha Bella, where we will find a campsite for a couple of nights.
April 20th: Free day in Ilha Bella.
April 21st: We will have a short drive to Paraty, a lovely Portuguese colonial city between Sao Pulo and Rio.
April 22nd: Free day in Paraty. Today we will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.
April 23rd: Today we will travel a little further up the coast to the stunning island retreat of Ilha Grande. We will leave our truck behind for a couple of days and take a ferry, so you may wish to pack a small overnight bag. There are no private cars or banks on the island, so you will need to bring cash along with you and be prepared for a short walk with your bags to the hostel.
April 24th: Free day to enjoy the island.
April 25th: This morning we will drive to the incredible Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world and home to the most famous Carnival celebrations in Latin America!
April 27th: Today we will visit the most iconic sights of Rio; the immense statue of Christ the Redeemer standing at 710m on Corcovado mountain and the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). We will have some time to explore these sights in our own time, you may even choose to take a helicopter ride!. We will also aim to see some other important landmarks such as the Maracanã stadium, Escadaria Selarón and the Lapa Arches.
April 28th: A free day to explore the city and beaches on your own. This evening we will head out to Lapa for a night out in a samba club; Rio Scenarium, one of the City's greatest nightspots - it's an antiques warehouse, music venue, bar and restaurant all housed in a fantastic colonial mansion. There will be live samba music and DJ's on each floor. We will be hosting a beginners Samba Dance class in the late afternoon, why not sign up and learn some of the basic steps before hitting the town.
April 28th: This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in!
In the afternoon you may wish to join us for a walking tour of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
April 29th: Today you have free time to enjoy the activities, sights and sounds of Rio! Join a bloco, hit the beach or ride the tram to Santa Teresa. Rio has so much to offer other than it's carnival fesitivities. We will be organising some fun water based activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding (prior booking is essential).
April 30th: This will be the last day for some and the first day for others. We will be dropping off and picking up people from the airport while you can pack your bags and be ready to head out of Rio.
May 1st: Today we will drive to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto.
Along the way we will stop at Petropolis, the cool hill-side hideaway for local Cariocas escaping the heat of Rio. We will have 2 hours to explore the Museu Imperial, the former Imperial Palace, wander the town or visit the Palacio de Cristal, the site where the last slaves of Petropolis were released.
May 2nd: Today we can enjoy a half day guided tour of Ouro Preto, well known for its colonial architecture and the first Brazilian town to be considered a UNESCO world heritage site. In the afternoon enjoy some free time to explore the town, visit the museum or some of the stunning baroque churches. There are some fantastic cafes and restaurants in Ouro Preto. Don't forget your camera today - Ouro Preto is one of the most picturesque towns on our itinerary!
May 3rd: We have a full day drive through the Brazilian countryside. We will find a nice spot and camp for the night near Tres Marias.
May 4th: Today we arrive in the futuristic capital of Brasilia. In the morning we will enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating city, which was designed and built to be the Brazilian Government's headquarters in 1960. The city is designed to resemble a plane, and is a UNESCO heritage site, housing some incredible, futuristic style Cathedrals and Monuments.
May 5th: After our morning tour of the city, we will drive to the chilled out town of Alto Paraiso, which will be our base for exploring the Chapada dos Veadeiros. Alto Paraiso is crossed by Parallel 14 (in the same way as Machu Picchu) and is at the centre of some fantastic stories of space ships and aliens!
May 6th: Today we can explore the National Park. The Chapada dos Veadeiros is one of Brazil's hidden gems, one of the oldest and most beautiful tropical ecosystems in South America and home to incredible waterfalls, rock formations, caves and grottoes.
This morning we will try to visit to the Vale da Lua or the Valley of the Moon, so called due to the rock formations giving it an appearance similar to the moon.
This area is perfect for hiking, horse and bike riding and of course swimming in natural pools and soaking up the parks atmosphere. It is said that due to the high amount of quartz in the ground, that this Chapada is glows from space!
May 7th: Over the next days we will travel overland across the central Brazilian countryside.
May 8th: Overlanding through Central Brazil to Lencois.
May 9th: We will spend 2 full days in Lencois, the gateway to Chapada da Diamantina National Park. A former diamond-mining town in Bahia. Lencois's friendly inhabitants, great restaurants, cobbled streets and brightly coloured buildings make it a great town to explore.
May 10th: Go hiking, kayaking, riding, explore the town, or simply kick back and relax!
May 11th: We head to the coast today, to the beautiful beach town of Itacare, with its stunning Atlantic rainforest, laid back eco-friendly cafes and bars, and the opportunity to surf, relax and explore.
May 12th: Time to relax and enjoy some beach time!
May 13th: Today we have a free day to explore the area, enjoy the beach, take part in some of the many adventure activities available here, or visit the stunning Peninsula de Marau, stopping off at Praia Taipus de Fora and Lagoa Azul.
May 14th: Today we drive to the beautiful town of Salvador da Bahia. Salvador is a vibrant and exciting place to visit, with its bright colonial architecture, tasty street food scene, great music and impressive Capoeira, there's plenty to keep us busy for 2 days.
May 15th: Free time to explore the energetic and vibrant city of Salvador, known around the world for its Carnaval festivities. Salvador is home to over 300 churches, the historic centre is recognised by UNESCO and full of interesting architecture, brightly coloured buildings and cobblestone streets. It's an excellent place to witness the African culture in music and dance and enjoy some delicious street food.
May 16th: Free day in Salvador.
May 17th: Today we head north up the coast of Bahia, into the state of Sergipe. Along the way we will make a stop at the Projeto Tamar - a research station involved in the protection of Brazil's fives species of turtle, which spans 1000km and 9 of Brazil's states. The best time to visit is September to March when the spawning occurs.
Afterwards we will continue our journey north to Aracaju, where we can chill out in one of the town's seafront eateries, listen to some traditional forro music and enjoy the fresh crabs that the town is known for.
May 18th: We have a full day drive to the stunning colonial gem of Olinda, considered one of Brazil's most important historic sites.
May 19th: Explore the beautiful town of Olinda, once known as 'small Lisbon' and the richest town in Brazil. Enjoy wandering the cobblestone streets, check out some of the exquisite churches and definitely make time for lunch at Alto da Se to enjoy the views!
May 20th: Continue the journey to the cool seaside town of Praia da Pipa.
May 21st: Today we have a drive day to the pink sands of the Canoa Quebrada beaches.
May 22nd: Huge pinkish sand dunes dominate the area of Canoa Quebrada, it's a fantastic spot to kick back and relax after a week of overlanding, or for the more energetic; try your hand at kite surfing, take an evening horseback ride along the beach, head out on a beach buggy. There's a laid back small town to explore too.
May 23rd: An all day drive brings us to the laid back beach town of Jericoacoara, or 'Jeri' as it's affectionately known. Access to Jericoacoara is only by 4x4 through unpaved tracks through the dunes, making it a wonderfully hard to reach place.
May 24th: Jericoacoara is a magical place to spend some time; wander the sandy lanes, enjoy the sunset with a caipirinha on the dunes whilst the locals practise their Capoeira, head out on a quad bike adventure to remote lagoons where you can take a dip, laze in a hammock and enjoy a seafood lunch. Jeri is also one of the prime spots for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing!
May 25th: Today we drive to the town of Barreirinhas, the gateway to the Lencois Maranhenses National Park.
May 26th: Today we adventure into the Lencois Maranhenses National Park begins.
Seen from the sky, the meeting point of the Rio Parnaiba and the Atlantic Ocean looks like a giant puzzle, made up of 85 tiny islands.
May 27th: Today we will head out to the protected area of Pequeneos Lencois, along the way, we will visit a small fishing village, take a short walk & enjoy views of the dunes and the Preguicas River.
May 28th: This morning we will continue our journey to the beautiful UNESCO town of Sao Luis.
May 29th: Today we can enjoy the UNESCO world heritage site of Sao Luis, the only city of Brazil to be founded by the French. The city is full is interesting museums and the historic centre houses beautiful, pastel coloured colonial mansions. You can take a boat trip to the more laid back town of Alcantara, you may spot the Scarlet Guara birds on your way.
May 30th: Our final drive day brings us to Belem where the mighty Amazon River meets the Atlantic.
May 31st: Today is yours to enjoy the port town of Belem, one of the first Portuguese settlements. Explore the historic centre which houses various museums and cathedrals and be sure to visit the Ver-o-Paso Market, considered the largest in South America, with its stalls scattered with Amazonian fish, baskets of Acai, herbs and crafts.
June 1st: The next four days of our itinerary will be flexible to suit the sailing times of our ferry and the road conditions.
June 2nd: We hope to board the Amazon passenger boat today or tomorrow at 10am, sailing to the port of Macapa - this crossing usually takes around 24hours and is a real local experience. Be sure to bring some snacks, playing cards and a good book for the journey. Meals will be provided on the ferry but these are quite basic. Snacks and drinks are sold on board. We will probably be sleeping on deck in hammocks.
June 3rd: Today we chill. Either on the boat or around Macapa, depending on how far we have come.
June 4th: Overlanding day towards French Guiana
June 5th: We will likely spend a night in Macapa on arrival, followed by 2 days overlanding to the city of Cayenne in French Guiana. Our itinerary will depend on road conditions and the arrival times of the passenger and cat ferries.
June 6th: We will be arriving into French Guyana today.
Border Information - If joining the trip at Cayenne, you will fly into Cayenne Félix Eboué International Airport (IATA code: CAY)
June 7th: Today we will enjoy a half day walking tour around Cayenne. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy, perhaps even take a Kayaking trip to the Ilets du pont. Depending on departure days we may choose to visit the Space station at Kourou ths morning.
June 8th: Today we will head out to the town of Kourou; the site of the European Space station and the starting point for boat trips around the former penal colony on Devil's Island, one of the infamous Iles du Salut, off the coast of French Guiana. The ordeal of Frenchman Henri Charriere, who spent 12 years here, would later inspire the book Papillon.
June 9th: Today we will visit the European Space Centre near Kourou, en route to the town of Saint Laurent du Maroni.
Since it is Turtle viewing season (March to August) we will probably spend tonight at Plage les Hattes, in the hope of spotting a Olive Ridley or Leatherback Turtle.
We will stay in a local guesthouse or sleep in hammocks if we visit Plage Les Hattes.
June 10th: Today we have a free day to explore the border town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, located on the Maroni river, with its interesting and dark history as an arrival point for prisoners during the 19th Century.
June 11th: We continue our journey west to the lively capital Paramaribo.
This evening we may choose to take an evening sunset boat trip in the hope of seeing some Dolphins playing in the Suriname River.
June 12th: Today we have a full day to explore Paramaribo's historic inner city and the Commewijne area. You can easily explore the historic centre on foot, visiting Fort Zeelandia and the Suriname museum, and enjoying the fantastic architecture of Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the western hemisphere, or hire a bike and take a boat across the river to cycle the peaceful Commewijne Plantation Loop, visit the star shaped fort at Neiu Amsterdam. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.
June 13th: This morning we have the option to travel 190km to the port at Atjoni, where we can hop on a boat for approx 1hr trip along the Suriname River, deep into the rainforest where we can stay for two nights on our own private island!
Be sure to pack light for this excursion, as we can only take a small bag each with us.
June 14th: During our stay we can visit local villages, walk around the island in the hope of meeting some of its furry inhabitants and learn about the medicinal plants, try to spot Caiman on a night time canoe trip, take a dip in the river at the Ferulassi rapids - a natural Jacuzzi, and relax on the island by our pool, spot the kingfishers on the banks of the river and enjoy the tranquillity of the Amazon Rainforest.
June 15th: This morning is free for you to enjoy how you wish, walk, swim or relax and after lunch we will transfer back to Paramaribo.
June 16th: Paramaribo and its surroundings definitely deserve at least one more day for exploration. Today is yours to spend as you wish; take a boat trip to Jordensavanne, take part in a Moengo Cultural experience, go walking in the Peperpot Nature reserve or Brownsberg Nature Park, learn the art of Surinamese cookery, or take part in one of the many day tours available.
June 17th: Today we will leave the bright lights of Parbo behind and head to the Bigi Pan, designated an 'Important Bird Area' for its spectacular bird life, particularly the country's largest colony of Scarlet Ibis.
June 18th: Today we head across the border by Ferryboat to the Guyana Capital, Georgetown.
Border information: Exit Paramaribo, Enter Guyana
In Georgetown we stay in a central located, basic but cosy, locally run hostel, with shared bathrooms in a combination of twin and dorm rooms.
June 19th: Take a morning tour of the city, explore the old canals and great sea wall, visit incredible wooden cathedrals, the huge market and try to spot the manatees swimming in the National park's lake. Georgetown is a busy place, and feels happily free from mass tourism. Be sure to take your camera!
June 20th: Today we have a second free day in the city.
Perhaps one of the greatest highlights of Guyana is the spectacularly remote and impressive Kaieteur Falls, one of the tallest single drop waterfalls in the world, and reachable only by light aircraft. Take a half day flight to the falls and then enjoy a walking tour to the Falls and search for the tiny golden rocket frogs, hiding in the tank bromeliads leaves, as well as an impressive variety of butterflies, you may also be lucky enough to spot the bright orange Guayanan Cock of the Rocks.
June 21st: Today the adventure really begins, as we travel south into the Guyanan Interior. We enjoy the comforts of a tarmac road for around 120km, as far as the town of Linden, and then the dirt road begins! it's the only road that connects Georgetown to Brazil, at some times of the year it becomes impassable due to the rains, but most of the time you'll find trucks and minibuses happily bumping along the road transporting people to and from Lethem. Many people choose to fly to the jungle resorts, but as overlanders we will get to enjoy the pristine rainforest - keep your eyes peeled in case of the illusive jaguar road crossing!
Please note we will likely set off very early today in order to make the most of the cooler parts of the day.
June 22nd: This morning we will cross the River on a small barge and head deep in the Guyanan rainforest, which gives us some unique wildlife spotting opportunities in one of the most pristine and untouched eco-systems in the world. We have a variety of options for us including walking, bird watching, canoeing trips, nocturnal wildlife spotting and even a spot of swimming (if the watre is low enough).
June 23rd: Today we will have an opportunity to visit the Iwokrama Forest Canopy Walkway, set 30metres above the forest floor and providing a unique opportunity to experience the jungle's mid-level canopy through a series of suspension bridges and decks. Visits during dusk or dawn are best for bird spotting of Macaws and Tucans, you may even be lucky enough to see Red Howler Monkeys.
June 24th: Today we leave the dense rainforest behind and head towards a village settlement in an area of Savannah, where we will take a walk in the village and a short river trip in Canoes on the Burro Burro River. Afterwards we will head to our camp, which is a little further south further into the Savannah region.
June 25th: Today we have a free day for activities such a horse riding, hiking and further opportunities for spotting wildlife.
June 26th: This is our final day in Guyana, we will head south past the town of Lethem and onto the city of Boa Vista in Brazil
(Please note that it is possible to fly from Lethem to Georgetown for approximately 150USD, for outbound international flights).
June 27-29th: From Boa Vista we can go on excursions into the Brazilian Amazon or hike the Roraimas. These are multi day itineraries from Boa Vista which we will look into when we are there.
June 30th: Today is the final day for passengers finishing their trip in Boa Vista. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your sales agent if you are interested in booking an extra night of accommodation in order to fully explore the area.
Border Information: if you are finishing in Boa Vista, you will most likely exit Brazil at Boa Vista-Atlas Brasil Cantanhede International Airport (AITO code: BVB)
July 1st: We will drive to the border of Venezuela, camping somewhere close to be ready to cross in the morning.
July 2nd-21st: Due to the unstable situation in Venezuela it will be impossible to plan what we will do. We will set off three weeks and see what will be possible depending on the situation when we are there:
Border Information: We will exit Brazil from Pacaraima and enter Venezuela around Santa Elena de Uaiaren.
July 22nd-August 1st: We will cross from Venezuela into Colombia and then take the ferry from there over to Panama where this trip leg will end.
Border information: if you are starting in Panama City, you will most likely enter Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport (IATA code: PTY).
August 2nd: Free day in Panama City. We can drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning about its incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century. After our included visit we will complete the drive to the capital, Panama City.
August 3rd: Today we will drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning about its incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century.
We will then continue to Chagres National Park and explore the Grandfather of the Panama Canal: the Camino Real, a cobble stoned road from the Caribbean to the Pacific through the rain forests of Panama, established as the transport route of gold and silver by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century. The Camino Real was rediscovered only recently, and we will visit and stay overnight at a community, which worked together with researcher Christian Strassnig to identify the original route of the Camino Real in the jungle.
At Alajuela Lake we take a dugout boat to observe the remains of the Camino Real at the lakeshore, before heading to our Community stay to enjoy a typical Panamanian lunch and see then a presentation of authentic folklore. We will then hike some of the Camino Real, see the original cobblestone and be fascinated by stories of the mule trains, gold and pirates.
August 4th: After early morning coffee we can go for an optional birdwatching hike on a trail with plenty of tropical birds, followed by a hearty breakfast. Afterwards we will drive up into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.
August 5th: Today we will have a free day to take part in some of the many optional outdoor activities which the town is famous for, including the opportunity to take the strenuous trek to the 3,478m summit of Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.
August 6th: Today we will drive across the border into Costa Rica, and arrive at the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.
Border information: Exit Panama at Paso Canoas, enter Costa Rica at Paso Canoas.
August 7th: Today we will have an included guided walk through some of the beautiful trails within park, learning all about its flora and fauna and immersing ourselves in the idyllic landscape. We will have free time in the afternoon to take part in some optional activities or relax on the wonderful beaches.
August 8th: Today we will drive to the town of Tilarán, where we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi to the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.
August 9th: Today we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.
August 10th: Today we will continue by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano.
August 11th: Today we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.
August 12th: This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.
Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas, enter Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas
August 13th: Today we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.
August 14th: Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.
August 15th: Today we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.
August 16th: Today we drive to the university town of León. En route we can have a visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).
August 17th: Today we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.
August 18th: This morning we will drive to the Somoto Canyon, where we will have an included Canyon tour, or village tour if you prefer.
August 19th: Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa.
Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Las Manos, enter Honduras at Las Manos.
August 20th: Today we will take a short drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay.
August 21st: Today we will enjoy some free time to take part in the wealth of optional activities available on Roatán, and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!
August 22nd: Relax on the beach or head out on some activities on our second full day on Roatan.
August 23rd: Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining our overland car! We will then continue our journey west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.
August 24th: Today we will have a visit to the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.
August 25th: Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.
In Suchitoto we will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre, which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.
Border information: Exit Honduras at El Florido, enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala at Anguiatú, enter El Salvador at Anguiatú.
August 26th: Today we will have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.
August 27th: Today we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the afternoon we can take a guided hike up the Santa Ana Volcano.
August 28th: Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.
Border information: Exit El Salvador at La Hachadura, enter Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado.
August 29th: Free day to explore Guatemala City or Antigua
August 30th: Antigua is a lovely city to spend some time in. There are lots of activities around that you can do.
August 31st: Last day in Antigua.
Border information: if joining in Antigua, you will most likely enter Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).
September 1st-September 30th: We will drive through Mexico up to Houston or Miami in the US.
October 1st- November 1st: this will be the last leg of our journey taking us back to where we started in Montreal, Canada.