South America Xplorer

Travel South America!



Adventurous group gap travel at its best in South America. Join us and the rest of the team and travel through South America on 7 glorious weeks. Featuring two of the most epic backpacking destinations in the South American continent: Ecuador and Peru. Brush up on your Spanish and trek to Machu Picchu before getting involved in the jungle animal sanctuary. All the while you will be immersed in ancient Incan culture. Option: Add on a week on the Galapagos! 90% of our travellers travel alone so this is a great way to join a group travel programme in South America.


South America Xplorer: Trip Highlights


Like the continent it is set in, the South America Xplorer programme has it all.

A 7-week South American adventure combining Spanish lessons, a Trek to Machu Picchu, volunteering at a  jungle animal sanctuary and an included visit to the Galapagos!

Visit two of South America’s most iconic countries – Peru Ecuador – and discover the lost lands of the Incas! Whether the awe-inspiring spectacle of Machu Picchu, the sensation of waking up to the sounds and sights of the Amazon rainforest, or intimate encounters with incredible animals, you are sure to encounter something to astound you at every turn of this journey. Volunteering opportunities in wildlife conservation mean you can leave your mark and give something back as you travel this vibrant, surprising corner of South America.

Highlights:

  • Discovering hidden lost cities
  • Learn Spanish in the old Inca capital of Cusco
  • Hanging out in the cool backpacker city of Cuzco
  • Living in the Amazon with the tribe for a week
  • Hanging 10 on awesome surf breaks in the Pacific Ocean
  • Trekking high in the Andes
  • Backpacking through Peru and Ecuador with an awesome group of new friends
  • Fully guided awesome fun and full-on adventure
  • Trek off the beaten trail to the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu
  • Learn to surf in the laid back beach town of Mancora
  • Volunteer at an Amazon animal rescue centre in the heart of the rainforest
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research centre on the world-renowned Galapagos Islands

South America Xplorer Photos





Itinerary


On Arrival:

You need to fly into Cuzco airport in Peru.  This is the gateway to the Inca Trail as an incredibly beautiful old colonial city located high in the Andes.  On arrival an Xtreme Gap representative will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation.  You will then meet the rest of the group and be prepared for your welcome briefing and orientation.

Week 1: Cuzco

Begin your journey in Cusco, historic capital of the Inca Empire and cultural heart of Peru. Spanish lessons, homestays with friendly local families and city exploration with your fellow travellers are the perfect way to acclimatise – both to the altitude and the laid-back South American way of life.

Week 2: The trek to Machu Picchu

Step up the adventure level with an epic trek across the Andes to Machu Picchu. Follow in the footsteps of Inca roadbuilders on the remote Salkantay route over icy mountain passes and through mysterious cloud forests to the remains of a fallen civilisation. This is the way to the Lost City of the Inca for those who prefer the path less travelled.

Week 3: Andes to Amazon

Leaving Cusco and the Andes mountains behind, we set off on an exciting overland journey along the
northern coastline of Peru into Ecuador! Our first stop will be the bustling Peruvian capital of Lima to discover the city’s streets, parks and plazas and get a feel for the rich history of the country.

Next we depart Lima and follow the coastline until the beautiful beach town of Mancora: Peru’s best sandy beach stretches for several kilometres and is the sunniest region in the country.
We typically spend 3 days in Mancora and optional activities include snorkelling, surfing and swimming with turtles. Alternatively, just kick back on the beaches, watch the plethora of surfers and explore the many bars
and restaurants.

From Mancora we cross the border into Ecuador for our first stop in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, renowned for its laid-back culture, clean streets and great climate. From there we continue our journey inland past stunning scenery to Puyo, on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest for the next phase of your adventure.

Week 4 - 5: Animal Rescue Centre

One of our most popular projects – the Animal Rescue Centre – helps wild animals that have been rescued from mistreatment and abuse. The project focuses on saving lives, helping them to recover and, if possible, letting
them return to the wild.

There are different areas in need of help and the exact work you will be doing will depend on your personal
interests but could include:

• Preparing animals’ food
• Daily feeding and cleaning
• Assisting in construction and maintenance work to improve animal living conditions
• Providing care and support to animals.

After the first week, those booked on the four-week program will be transferred to Quito for their return flight home. Those staying on will have the chance to go to Banos for the weekend where optional activities include rope swings, hot springs, cycling, hiking and canyoning before returning to the Animal Rescue Centre for a
second week of volunteering.

Week 6 : Indigenous Cultural Exploration

During your third week in the rainforest, we head deeper into the jungle to live and work amongst an
indigenous community in an eco-lodge suspended amongst 125 hectares of protected rainforest.
While indigenous peoples own, occupy or use only a small fraction of the world, they safeguard nearly all of the remaining biodiversity.
During your time at the eco-lodge, you will learn about the  conservation initiatives taking place in the Amazon to combat deforestation. Days are spent completing various renovation projects amongst the tranquillity of the jungle, and heading deep into the cultural practices of the indigenous community. Learn how to cook with nature. Make craft-works like colourful bracelets and pottery. Explore local cultural sites. Learn local dances and hunting techniques like shooting a blowpipe. The sustainable practices of those living in the Amazon allow volunteers to reflect on the past and forge preservation for the future.

Week 7: The Galapagos Islands

The legendary marine and land Iguanas, the giant tortoises and sea lions of the Galapagos are among
nature’s most fantastic beings. Your 5 days will be split between Isabella and Santa Cruz, the two largest islands of the Galapagos:

Santa Cruz Island

Your arrival and departure island on The Galapagos, Santa Cruz is filled with pristine beaches and home to the Charles Darwin Research station. We will not only gain some insight into the Archipelago, but get to experience
first-hand why the Galapagos is also known as a beautiful destination for some rest and relaxation. We have included the following tours and visits for the group:

• Charles Darwin Research Station: Headed by a team of more than two hundred scientists, educators, research volunteers and support staff, this worldwide foundation is dedicated to preserving the Galapagos ecosystems. It is a perfect place to learn all you can how truly impressive the Galapagos is.

• Tortuga Bay: One of the most beautiful beaches in the world and an absolute ‘must see’. Also home to the infamous marine Iguana – incredible creatures capable of diving up to 9 meters in depth.

• Rancho Primicia: a giant tortoise reserve on private property in the
Galapagos. The tortoises migrate here in search of places to lay their eggs.

• Lava Tunnels at El Mirador: A volcanic tunnel system where you can go into the earth at one place and come out 30 minutes later in another location.

Isabela Island

You will also spend two nights on Isabela island, the largest of the Galapagos islands boasting more animals – especially Tortoises – than all other islands. You will have the opportunity to take part in a number of tours and visits to the following must see places:

• Flamingo Lagoon: the largest coastal lagoon on the archipelago and of course packed with the colourful bird

• The rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano: the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos and hosts one of the most scenic views on all of the islands

• Concha de Perla: a crystal clear bay, perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Quito

Your journey ends in Quito where there is a chance to explore the city and visit the Mitad del Mundo, zero degrees of latitude and longitude – the centre of the world!


Accommodation


Accommodation

You will stay in a variety of diverse accommodations throughout your trip including: local hotels and hostels,
camping, volunteer guesthouses, cabins in the Amazon and homestays. Most accommodations will be dorm
style with shared bathrooms.

Meals

Typical South American food includes lots of rice, meat, beans, vegetables and fruit, regional dishes vary and
local specialities will always be made available! On your trek to Machu Picchu and the animal sanctuary cooks
provide hearty meals.

Price

7 Week - 

USD 4889




What's Included?


The Basics

  • Pre-departure briefing and support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Expedition leader
  • Local support staff
  • All accommodation for the duration of the trip
  • Breakfast and dinner each day
  • Lunches during the trek, project work and on The Galapagos
  • Project equipment
  • Project donation
  • Program transfers
  • 24/7 UK emergency backup
  • Social activities
  • Return airport transfer

Trips and Activities

  • Spanish lessons
  • Sacred Valley Tour
  • Salkantay Trek
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Surf lesson
  • White water rafting*
  • The Galapagos Islands: Flamingo Lagoon*
  • The Galapagos Islands: Sierra Negra Volcano*
  • The Galapagos Islands: Charles Darwin Research Centre*
  • The Galapagos Islands: Snorkelling Tour*
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee**Some activities are only applicable to participants that take part in the 6 or 8- week program. Please give us a
    call to check which activities your program includes.

What's Excluded?


  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa & Vaccinations
  • Tips for activity and trek guides
  • Spending Money for drinks, snacks, optional activities and personal items
    lunches (except where indicated above)

Frequently Asked Questions



  • The majority of foreign nationals do not require a visa for Peru or Ecuador, however, it is your responsibility to
    check your own individual requirements and obtain a visa if necessary.

    It is your responsibility to check with your own doctor or travel clinic which vaccinations are recommended for your expedition and we recommend you do this at least 2 months prior to the start of your expedition.


  • If possible, it would be best to get the flight arriving at 11:00.(Iberia/LAN from Lima to Cusco) So arrive on the start date of the trip at 11 am, or earlier in the morning, in Cusco.

    You can arrive 1 day early if that’s more convenient, the price is £30 for an extra night (incl food)


  • The start point of your expedition is Cuzco airport (CUZ) and end point is Quito airport (UIO). You are responsible
    for booking your own flights/transport to the start point of the expedition (at the in-country airport). Information and advice about booking flights will be provided upon booking but please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance. Do not forget to upload your flight details on your personal pages before you go!

    Call us if you have any questions or need any advice.


  • Weather Ecuador: The highland dry season is June through until the end of September. In the Oriente, it rains during most months, but August and December through March are usually the driest. In the Galápagos, the wildlife is there year-round. The dry season (June to December) is also cool and often misty. On the coast, the wet season (roughly January to May) sees sunny days with daily afternoon downpours, but it’s the best beach weather. The dry season (roughly June to December) is cooler.

    Peru: From June to August is the dry season in the mountains and altiplano (Andean plateau); the wettest months are from December to March. It rains all the time in the hot and humid rainforest, but the driest months there are from June to September. However, even during the wettest months from December to May, it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time.


  • Even though you will be provided with food and accommodation in-country, you will need money to do your own travelling if you wish and for any activities not on the itinerary. There will be plenty of things do! Depending on the duration of your stay, we advise you to budget for $60 – $80 or £40-£50 a week.


  • We can cater for vegetarians. Meals are normally locally sourced and include rice, beans, pulses and some meat (if you want it!).


  • Upon booking you will be provided with a recommend kit list. You will also have a kit briefing before you go out on expedition and you are welcome to call us with any kit related queries before you go!


  • Don’t be! By joining our group you will be meeting loads of like-minded adventurers so don’t be put off travelling if you don’t have any mates to come with you.  You’re guaranteed to make loads of friends and have an incredible time on this adventure!


South America Xplorer Trip Dates


2020

Fri 10th January 2020

Fri 17th April 2020

Fri 3rd July 2020

Fri 16th October 2020

The Galapagos tour starts on a Monday after and ends on Friday

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South America Xplorer

Adventurous group gap travel at its best in South America. Join us and the rest of the team and travel through South America and eight glorious weeks. Featuring two of the most epic backpacking destinations in the South American continent Ecuador and Peru. Brush up on your Spanish and trek to Machu Picchu before getting involved in the jungle animal sanctuary. All the while you will be immersed in ancient Incan culture. 90% of our travellers travel alone so this is a great way to join a group travel programme in South America.


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