style of travel
Our South America group tours are designed to suit adventurous travellers who love to encounter different cultures and see a destination from the locals’ perspective. We use a mixture of private and public transportation, stay in simple, locally owned accommodation and offer plenty of unique travel experiences.
Group tour accommodation
From homestays to haciendas, eco lodges to guesthouses, the accommodation on our group tours has been specifically selected to enhance your experience and to capture the essence of the local regions we travel to.
We stay in simple hotels, homestays, guest houses and on occasion hostels, which are generally the equivalent in comfort of a 3 star hotel. The properties we stay at are usually situated close to the main sights and town centres. They are chosen for their local ambience rather than star rating and we look for attributes like character, location, atmosphere, cleanliness and security. You will find clean, comfortable rooms with en-suite facilities (occasionally bathrooms may be shared, although this is rare).
Service at hotels may be a little erratic at times. Central heating, hot water and electricity may fail and the hotel staff may not speak English but this is all part of the adventure. Be prepared for the odd mishap and appreciate that we are often travelling through poor and underdeveloped regions. If you can take a flexible approach to this, have a good sense of humour, go with the flow and accept that things don’t always go according to plan, you will maximise the enjoyment of your adventure holiday.
We match up solo travellers with another group member of the same sex. Mostly this will be in twin rooms although sometimes in triples depending on the group composition and hotel rooming structure. When staying in the Amazon jungle and on Amantani Island accommodation is rustic and on a shared basis.
Amazon Jungle Accommodation
In Ecuador we include a three-night excursion into the Amazon from Misahualli. Accompanied by expert local guides, we take motorised dugout canoes downriver and enter the Amazon jungle on foot, staying in rustic huts made of locally-sourced materials. Accommodation is on a twin or multi-share basis, with all bedding and towels, mosquito nets and candles or oil lamps provided. Most cabins have en suite bathrooms with cold or tepid running water, a toilet and shower. Electricity is only available for a short period in the morning and evening. All meals are provided and there is a bar onsite selling alcohol and soft drinks.
Many of our tours to Peru include a two-night excursion into the Amazon, staying in an eco lodge in the Tambopata National Reserve with a two to four hour motorised canoe ride from Puerto Maldonado (part of this journey may be made overland, depending on the season). Accommodation is on a twin or multi-share basis, with all bedding and towels, mosquito nets and candles or oil lamps provided. Most cabins have en suite bathrooms with cold or tepid running water, a toilet and shower. Electricity is only available for a short period in the morning and evening. All meals are provided and there is a bar on site selling alcohol and soft drinks. All jungle activities are led by the lodge's expert naturalist guides.
The Inca Trail
On many of our tours three nights are spent camping on the Inca Trail en route to the lost city of Machu Picchu or two nights are spent camping on the alternative Lares Trek. All camping equipment is provided (apart from sleeping bags) and it's carried by porters. For more information about the Inca Trails and trekking in Peru click here.
Arrival & Departure days
There are no planned activities for the first and last days of our tours, allowing you the freedom to arrive and depart at your convenience. We spend very little time in the arrival and departure city so if you would like to see the sights and spend some time there, we can book pre and post tour accommodation for you. Airport arrival transfers are included in the cost of our South America tours, ensuring a smooth and stress free start to your holiday.
Group size & profile
The average group size on our South America tours is 8 to 12 passengers with a maximum of 16, however on some included excursions group sizes may occasionally be larger. Our tour attract a varied mix of couples, groups of friends and solo travellers from around the world.
Many of our South America tours form part of a modular system, therefore group numbers may fluctuate at times, with group members joining and leaving the tours at different stages. This is a great opportunity to meet an even more diverse range of people.
Based on the adventurous and active nature of our South America tours, they are generally suitable for people aged between 18 and 60 years old, who are fit and active. On these tours there are many walks between bus/train terminals and hotels, and travellers must be able to carry their own luggage over various terrains as well as lift up luggage onto the tops of buses, so do not pack more than you can comfortably carry.
Included & optional excursions
Our tours include a range of excursions, including visits to Inca ruins, museums, national parks and other highlights and we use the services of local guides where applicable. The Amazon Jungle and Inca Trail/Lares Trek are also included on many itineraries. On some excursions services may be pooled and you will travel as a larger group. We also offer an exciting range of optional excursions and activities to cater for all interests, which can be booked locally. All optional excursions are listed on the tour Trip Notes, which are available to download online.
What to pack
Whether you are travelling for 7 days or 37 days, deciding what to pack is never an easy feat. If packing for South America we recommend stocking up on light trousers, shorts, t-shirts, long-sleeved tops and windbreakers so you can be prepared for any climate. Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes too, and some sandals. You’ll also want to pack some swimwear, a sun hat and UV protection. Other packing essentials include a travel adaptor, a towel, mosquito spray and a torch. Finally, don’t forget all of your camera gear - such as a charger and an extra memory card, so that you can snap happy whilst on holiday.
Travelling with Children
On our South America tours we welcome parents with minors aged 12 and above at our discretion. All minors between 12 and 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and the ratio should be one adult per minor. Please be aware that these tours will run as normal with no modifications made for minors and family rooms are very rarely available. If you are travelling with children please let us know at time of booking.