Oasis Overland camping in the snow in Patagonia.JPG

CARTAGENA to USHUAIA (98 days) Tip to Tail

Overland Adventure

Tip to Tail

Countries Visited: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Explore the very best this continent has to offer, from North to South and everything in between! This trip takes you through densely bio-diverse Colombia, across the incredible Andes and down through stunning Patagonia to the southernmost city, Ushuaia. Take in the cultural diversity and extremes of climate that spanning 6 countries will inevitably showcase and see both extremes of city immersion and real remoteness. This trip has something for everyone and offers a real taste of all the different facets that South America has to offer. Travelling overland will give you the unique opportunity to see the real South America and the possibility to meet people you would never otherwise encounter.

Route Map

CARTAGENA to USHUAIA  (98 days) Tip to Tail
Click map to enlarge

Highlights

  • Explore the palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons and rainforest in Tayrona National Park
  • Wander around the historic centre, picturesque buildings and take in a few cafes in Bogota
  • Camping under the stars in the Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs
  • 3 nights exploring the Amazon Jungle - taking guided walks and view the exotic wildlife by land or river
  • A boat trip to the Ballestas Islands which are bursting with exotic and rare marine wildlife
  • View the majestic condors, which can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the Colca Canyon floor
  • Trek through the Sacred Valley of the Incas reaching the famous UNESCO World Heritage site Machu Picchu
  • Explore Lake Titicaca by boat - the world's highest navigable lake at 3800 metres
  • Tour the local wineries by foot or bicycle in the wine growing region of the Andes
  • Take a boat ride up close to this almost 200ft high glacier, Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Enjoy the outstanding beauty of Torres del Paine National Park, where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape
  • See the Magellanic, Gentoo and the odd King penguin in their natural habitat at Tierra del Fuego

Includes

  • Accommodation - approx. 50% camping & 50% simple hostels/hotels
  • Playa Blanca boat trip - Cartagena
  • City tour - Cartagena
  • Tayrona National Park - includes entrance & hammock accommodation
  • El Totumo Mud Volcano
  • Coffee plantation tour - Salento
  • 3 night Jungle Trip - includes accommodation and meals (activities are optional extra)
  • Chan Chan Ruins - entrance & guided tour
  • Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu - 4 days trek including all meals & guide
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu - including guide
  • Boat tour on Lake Titicaca
  • Overnight stay with local family on Lake Titicaca
  • Torres del Paine National Park - park entrance fee included
  • Meals - approx. 40%
  • All transport on Oasis Expedition Truck
  • Camping and Cooking equipment
  • Services of Oasis Crew

Excludes

  • Visas
  • Optional Excursions as listed in the Pre-Departure Information
  • Flights
  • Airport Taxes & Transfers
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals - approx. 60%
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Trip Itinerary

A highlight of any trip to Colombia is undoubtedly Cartagena. With its colonial past and Unesco World Heritage status, the old city is an ideal place to just wander the maze of cobbled alleys amongst churches, monasteries, plazas and bougainvillea draped balconies. Las Murallas, the thick walls built around the old city to protect it from pirates, are wonderfully preserved and make for an interesting walk, before stopping off in one of the hidden patio cafes. We spend 2 nights here to get a flavour of both the old city and also the trendy area of Bocagrande. We will also include a boat trip Playa Blanca, with it's turquoise waters and golden sand it is one of Cartagenas most famous beaches.

We set off in the Truck eastbound with a quick dip in Volcan de Lodo el Totumo before we continue to Taganga where we spend a night in this chilled out Caribbean town with a strong alternative feel. Some of South America's loveliest coastline lies east of Taganga in Tayrona National Park.  We spend 2 days exploring trails to beaches set in deep bays, shaded by coconut palms. We have the option to snorkel and possibly scuba dive in some of the bays. Lack of roads means that we will probably have to hike with our gear to our overnight spots where we sleep in hammocks!

We then head south into the heart of Colombia, with a roadside bush camp on the way before arriving in the lively city of Medellin. Here is a good spot to get a few Salsa or Tango lessons in before trying out your moves in the many discos and clubs. For those wanting a little culture there are several art galleries and museums worth visiting or also an option to travel via local bus to the sleepy colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia.

Continuing south, our Colombian overland adventure takes us in to the mountains to the pleasantly cool climate of Salento. Here, deep in the heart of the coffee growing area, we have the option to visit one of the numerous coffee farms. Parque Los Nevados, with peaks topping 5000mtrs, and weirdly tall Palm trees making it a great place to spend a day trekking, before checking out some of the town's funky bars in the evening.Bogota is our next stop and we have 2 or 3 nights to see the different sides of this once notorious capital city. Having had the accreditation in the 80's and 90's of being one of the world's most dangerous cities, things have really turned  around for Bogota. The city is cradled by Andean Peaks and great views can be seen from a trek up the Cerro de Monserrate. Pop in to the cobbled historic centre, La Candelaria, and as well as taking in a few cafes and picturesque buildings, enjoy the age old tradition of adding cheese to your hot chocolate!

We now travel through the Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs surrounded by distant peaks of over 5000mtrs. The result is a quite unique ecosystem, and due to the dry, clear conditions, the area is an excellent star gazing spot and we will try to camp here to appreciate the view. Turning west through stunning mountain scenery towards the Pan American Highway, and after a gruelling drive, we eventually take an unpaved road into Parque Purace. The park is the only place to see Condors in Colombia, and it is also home to some good walking trails. The adventurous can scale Volcan Purace (4750mtrs), but there are a few other less strenuous hikes to the Sulphur Mine and Termales de San Juan - a spectacular hot spring complete with water slides!

Further west is the beautiful colonial city of Popayan. Nicknamed the white city, some would say only Cartagena surpasses Popayan's colonial structures. We shall make a small stop to admire the chalk white facades and stock up on supplies, before following the Andes south towards Pasto. Santuario De Las Lajas - a neo-Gothic church built on a stone bridge spanning a gorge - is the main point of interest in our last stop in Colombia, Ipiales. We may choose to camp the night in either Pasto or Ipiales, or possibly continue on to the border with Ecuador.

We cross the equator as we make our way to Quito, a capital city rich in history, surrounded by mountains - a play ground for hikers and mountain bike fans.

Departing the largest city in Ecuador - Quito, we cross the Equator on our way to the town of Otavalo famous for its colourful craft market. Heading east on narrow, tortuous roads to the steamy edge of the Amazon basin and our gateway into the Amazon jungle. Here accompanied by experienced guides, we explore on foot this exotic environment
Further south, perched high in the mountains of Ecuador, lies the outdoor adventure mecca of Banos. This spa town, where Ecuadorians go to relax in the thermal baths, is a favourite amongst those who have undertaken South America travel. With optional activities including rafting, canyoning and treks to waterfalls, you won't be short of things to do! We hit the road again and drive south along the spine of the Andes towards Peru visiting Cuenca on the way.

A days drive on the Pan-American highway brings us to the border with Peru. You will notice an amazing transition in one day, from the glush farming country of highland Ecuador, through sub-tropical forest and immense banana plantations, to dry barren desert in Peru. We are rewarded with a couple of days chilling by the beach. Our next stops on our South America travel experience are the Chan Chan ruins, imperial citadel of the pre-Inca Chimu kings which the Incas later conquered. It claims to be the largest mud brick city in the world.

Continuing with the Andes close to our left and the sea on our right, the capital city of Lima will be our next stop on our South America tour. Here you'll encounter both abundant wealth and grinding poverty, modern skyscrapers next to some of the finest museums and historical monuments in Latin America.

Departing Lima our next stop is the Ballestas Islands in the Paracas National Reserve. By boat, you have the opportunity to visit the rare and exotic sea birds and mammals that inhabit these islands. An hour's drive inland in the heart of the Ica Desert is the Oasis of Huacachina; if its an adrenaline rush you're after, you have the option to head out on a custom made dune buggy & roar across the desert sands to the top of enormous dunes & then sand board down them - head first on a greased up plank of wood! Then, after an unforgettable desert sunset, we sit around the campfire while our guides cook up a storm, followed by a night sleeping out under the stars. In the morning we make our way to one of the world's great archaeological mysteries The Nazca Lines. These huge figures and shapes, carved into the desert floor are best viewed from the air - South America travel is not complete until you have seen these unbelievable ancient mysteries. 

Still heading south we visit Chauchilla Cemetery with its well-preserved mummies, on our way to Puerto Inca, at this ancient Inca harbour we camp at the beach and enjoy our last night at sea level before beginning our climb back into the towering Andes. The next two nights are spent in Arequipa at 2325m, giving us time to acclimatise, and enjoy this beautiful colonial city with its impressive El Misti Volcano in the background. Arequipa is also the gateway to one of the deepest canyons in the world. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is an awesome sight. Here, if you get up early, Condors can be seen circling lazily on the thermals rising from the canyon floor.

Widely considered to be the most interesting city for South America travel, our next stop Cusco is surrounded by the Sacred Valley of the Incas and offers a wide range of activities to explore the region. We will base ourselves here for 6 days giving us enough time for the Inca Trail trip, which is regarded by many to be the highlight of their South America tour. There are several treks which you can take in Machu Picchu. When permits are still available, we will organise the Classic Trail trek, but great alternative Inca Trail treks, like the Lares or Salkantay can be arranged when the Classic is not available or by your choice (must be pre-arranged at time of booking). These alternatives mean that you still get to visit Machu Picchu. Tours to Machu Picchu are absolutely unbelievable; a trip to this City in the Clouds is an ancient and awe-inspiring part of our South America travel tour. Besides seeing Machu Picchu, you are able to enjoy the architectural uniqueness of Cusco and explore some of the colourful surrounding markets. Please note that for all those visiting Machu Picchu there is now the option to buy a ticket to go up the summit next to Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu. Tickets for this must be requested at the time of your booking with us, and payment made in advance in the UK. You will have the option to add the tickets to go up Huayna Picchu when you make your booking online, be sure to add them if you would like them.

Bordering Peru and Bolivia at 3800m lies Lake Titicaca, the home of the Uros Indians who have made their dwellings on floating reed islands. By boat we visit the floating islands during the day and then we go that one step beyond the average tourist and spend the night with one of the Indian families on the lesser known islands Isla Amantani or Taquile. Spending some time during South America travel in these local communities will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people and their customs. From here it is a days drive to the capital of Bolivia - La Paz. This is a great place to visit a 'peña' club, dedicated to Andean folk music, and perhaps buy some souvenirs in one of the authentic markets such as the witches market.
Leaving La Paz we enter real Bolivia, where the Aymara and Quechua Indians scrape a living from their small plots of land in the harsh climate and paved roads are virtually non-existent. A days drive brings us to Potosi. At over 4000m it is the highest city of its size in the world and 400 years ago it was the largest city in all the Americas. Vast amounts of silver were extracted from Potosi and shipped to Spain in years gone by. The adventurous who have undertaken South American travel will appreciate the opportunity to go down one of these mines where mining techniques have remained unchanged for centuries. Visiting the ancient mint or having a tour around the Casa Nacional de Moneda (National Money House) also provides a good look into Potosi's and Bolivia's past. Leaving the bleak Altiplano we arrive at the shimmering white Salt Flats of Uyuni.
It is possible to venture out into the salt lakes for a 1 day excursion. With no roads and only vague tracks to follow it makes for an unforgettable experience. Our descent through the Andean passes is spectacular as we cross into Argentina towards the colonial city of Salta where we have a couple of free days.
After Salta, we head south winding around lakes and weaving through baked cliffs until we reach Cafayate, the first wine region of Argentina. Famous for its white wines, you can explore some of the wineries on foot or by bicycle. Continuing south we join the route 40, the longest route in Argentina, to Mendoza, the biggest wine region in Argentina. Here you can indulge in more wine and good steak! From here we head for Chile as we cross the Andes past the Inca Bridge and San Martin's pass and into the modern capital, Santiago.

We have a free day to explore Santiago, with famous Chilean Steak houses, Casillero del Diablo winery, Skiing available in the winter, you will find it easy to pass the days away.

If you are travelling on the trip that travels through Patagonia from July to September, please be aware it will get very cold at times with temperatures well below zero, and you can expect snowfall. Please be prepared for cold conditions, with thermal clothing and the correct sleeping bag. 

On our July to September trips in Patagonia, this section of the trip is subject to change en route. Please see our 'Winter in Patagonia' notes below for further details. 

Leaving Santiago, we pass small villages and deep blue lakes with mountains towering above us as we wind through Chile's Lake District. Pucon, an outdoors centre in its own right, will be our base for the next few days from where it is possible to organise whitewater rafting, water sports, horse riding and one day hikes up nearby Villarrica Volcano. Ascending the Andes via some spectacular mountain passes we arrive in Bariloche, Argentina. This very popular holiday destination for Argentinians is the top ski resort on the continent and also has several hiking trails and a great nightlife.

Heading further down through Argentina into the deep south on a good dirt road we enter the vast wilderness of Patagonia. The perpetual wind makes it difficult for trees and plants to grow, so for a while we are faced with endless grassland. However our long drive will soon be rewarded with the stupendous views that Los Glaciares National Park provides - it also has the largest glacier in the world and here we have the option to take a boat ride up close to Perito Moreno Glacier, almost 200 ft high. Torres del Paine NP is another area of outstanding beauty where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape. A good way to explore the area is either hiking or by horseback. Here there is the option to complete the famous W-Trek (bookable as an Add on). Please note that spaces on this trek are subject to availability. For those who do not want to complete the W-Trek there are options of shorter day hikes in the park which do not need to be booked ahead and you are free to do as you choose once there. 

We continue south towards the wild and hauntingly beautiful land at worlds end, the island of Tierra del Fuego. We cross by ferry to the most southerly town in the world Ushuaia, from where you can view the green waters of the Beagle Channel and the snow clad peaks beyond. 

Winter in Patagonia - Please note that the trips which travel through this part of  Patagonia between July and September will coincide with winter in Patagonia. This will give us the opportunity to see the Andes at their most impressive, driving past towering snow-capped peaks and experiencing this rugged wilderness at a time of year that not many other travellers get to see! We will hopefully have the chance to ski or snowboard in Bariloche and Ushuaia, ice-climb across glaciers in El Chalten, and hike in national parks at the most dramatic time of year. However, weather conditions can be unpredictable, and there is a chance that certain roads will not be passable, so we cannot guarantee following our planned itinerary to Tierra del Fuego; changes may have to be made with little or no notice. But if this is required we will make a new plan and find a different route that will be sure to offer its own attractions and experiences, so come prepared for an adventure!


Trip Joining Point: Mamallena Hostel - Cartagena

Start Time Day 1: 08:00

Address: Calle 30 #11-41, Gestemani, Bolívar

Telephone: +57 (5) 6700 499

Website: www.hostelmamallenacartagena.com

Email: cartagena@mamallena.com

 

All prices listed are approximate and subject to limited availability. 

Room Type

Price

Description

Mixed Dorms with aircon.

US$12.00

Per Person

Double en-suite with aircon.

US$35.00

Per Room

Double en-suite with fan

US$25.00

Per Room

 

The trip starts from the Mamallena Hostel at approximately 8am on the morning of Day 1 of your trip.

Hostel Mamallena has long been regarded as a leader in providing a good hostel atmosphere, reasonable prices, friendly staff and great travel advice without compromising on the things that travellers want and need. Cartagena is a great city for travellers, offering the right combination of history, beaches and parties. Hostel Mamallena, Cartagena is located within the walled city, in the historic district of Getsemani. Getsemani is known as one of the nightlife centres of Cartagena, and here you will find everything you need, within seconds of the hostel. Whether it is bars and pubs, cheap or expensive restaurants, Getsemani has it all.

PRE-TRIP ACCOMMODATION:

Please book this direct with Mamallena Hostel. Accommodation costs for any additional nights are payable direct to Mamallena Hostel in Peso's.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS:

We are unable to arrange transfers in Cartagena. Licensed taxis are available from the outside arrival concourse. Join the queue at the taxi rank, an official will ask you where you are going before giving you a ticket, and directing you to your allocated vehicle. Tell the driver Hostel Mamallena, Calle Media Luna, Getsemani. The journey should take around 20 minutes, costing approximately 13,000 COP - 15,000 COP.

We recommend to change some currency into Colombian Pesos in the airport at a bureau de change or there are ATM's - hostel rates can be low.

There will be a pre-departure meeting in the starting hotel the night before the start of the trip, usually around 6:00pm.  There will be a notice in reception advising the exact time and here your crew will explain how the day to day running of the trip works. Your Tour Leader will collect your Local Payment money as well as 2 photocopies of your passport information pageinsurance policy details with policy number and confirmation that the duration will cover you for the entire trip and a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. It is essential that you attend this meeting - please let the UK office or your tour leader know if you are unable to do so.

Post-trip accommodation can be arranged with your tour leader during the trip or directly with the hotel on arrival. The return airport transfer can be arranged through your hotel / hostel and is not included, it is at your own expense. We regret these services cannot be arranged via the Oasis office before departure.

The exception to this is for Rio accommodation over the New Year & Carnival periods, please contact southamerica@oasisoverland.co.uk when you make your booking for further information.

You need to arrive at your departure city at least the day before your trip begins. Return flights must be booked for at least the day AFTER the trip is due to end. You may wish to allow some extra time to explore your arrival and departure cities.

There are many online flight search engines such as www.skyscanner.net or www.ebookers.co.ukflights can also be booked direct with airline websites or through travel agencies. Please inform us of your flight details through your online account, as airport transfers can be arranged for various trips.

One way ticket: If you intend to travel on a one way ticket to meet up with one of our trips, without possessing an onward flight ticket - we recommend that you have a copy of your payment confirmation/receipt (that you will be sent at time of your balance payment) available at immigration to assist easy entry.

Departure Taxes: Please check with your Travel Agent or Airline if your flight ticket already includes a departure tax payment out of the country. If it does not - please budget for approx US$30 to $70 USD - to be paid in US$ only.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your trip finishes. This is a general requirement for all of the countries we travel to on our trips.

If you have dual nationality you can only use one passport for the entire trip. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Please bring 2 photocopies of your passport details to give to your tour leader.

As a guideline, you will need at least 1 blank page per country in your passport, (for the 31 weeks Trans South America, you should allow at least 13 blank pages).

Inca Trail Trek – you will need to provide your passport details to apply for your Inca trail trekking permit, please enter these correctly on your booking form. If you are intending on renewing your passport then please let us know at the point of booking. In order to trek you will need to be in possession of both your passport and your permit – and the passport details have to match otherwise the permit issuing authorities will not let you trek.

The information below is to be used only as a guide and may change without prior notice. It is advisable to contact the relevant embassy in plenty of time before the trip departs to check the current visa requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Visas must be paid for in USD cash ONLY.

On arrival to countries in South America, you will be given an 'Immigration card'. It is important that you keep this with your passport during your entire stay in the particular country as it is needed for departure. Failure to produce this immigration slip can result in a fine.

Transiting via the USA - Travellers who are flying to South America via the US will require either a US visa or for certain nationalities an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to take advantage of the visa waiver programme. These can be processed and paid for here.

If you have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011 you will not qualify for the ESTA and must apply for a visa.

It is very important you establish your ESTA eligibility and have the correct documentation before departing, as if you do not have the right authorisation upon checking in at the airport you may not be permitted to travel.

For more information on other nationalities & visas checkout www.projectvisa.com

Peru

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Peru. 

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Inca Trek – you will need to provide your passport details to apply for your Inca trekking permit, please enter these correctly on your booking form. If you are intending on renewing your passport then please let us know at the point of booking. In order to trek you will need to be in possession of both your passport and your permit – and the passport details have to match otherwise the permit issuing authorities will not let you trek.

Argentina

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Argentina.

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Bolivia

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Bolivia.

American passport holders will require a visa to enter Bolivia, you can purchase these upon arrival for approximately US$165. You will need one passport-sized photograph (3cm x 4cm), a colour photocopy of the passport information page, a copy of your yellow fever certificate, paper copy of your trip booking confirmation and a bank statement. For travellers joining one of our Regional Explorers in Peru and Bolivia you may wish to obtain this visa in advance.

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Chile

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Chile.

USA passport holders are all required to pay a 'reciprocity fee' if they are flying into Santiago International Airport only. This is approximately $160 USD for Americans. If entering Chile via a land border, this is not applicable.

Starting from the 16th May  2020 - Australian passport holders will be required to obtain an e-visa to enter Chile. There will be single entry and multiple entry visas available. More information of this process will be made shortly. 

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Colombia

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Colombia.

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Ecuador

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Ecuador. 

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Travellers must have physical proof of health care Insurance whilst travelling through Ecuador. You may be asked to provide this at Immigration at the land border or at the airport on arrival - a printed copy of your travel Insurance should suffice.

It is possible that you may require some vaccinations for your trip, depending on the areas that you are visiting. As we are not medically trained, we are unable to give detailed advice on vaccination requirements, so please use the information below as a guide only. We have worked closely with Nomad Travel Clinics for many years and they offer Oasis travellers a 10% discount on vaccinations, anti- malarial drugs, first aid items, clothing and equipment, just enter discount code OASIS1000 at www.nomadtravel.co.uk. Alternatively you can check out the fit for travel website for more travel health information or consult a reputable travel clinic or your GP for information and advice. We suggest that you allow at least 8 weeks to get all your vaccinations.

Yellow Fever - Being vaccinated against Yellow Fever and having a valid certificate and a photocopy is deemed compulsory in some countries we visit, especially at certain borders and are needed if you are entering from an infected country. You can view a list of countries requiring a certificate through the World Health organisation http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf 

Rabies - Vaccinations are regularly advised for many countries that we travel through - especially if time and money are not a deterrent.

Malaria - In some of the areas we visit there is a risk of contracting Malaria. You must be aware that whatever malaria prophylactics you are taking, they only offer partial protection. They must be coupled with your own physical efforts against being bitten - which is the best prevention. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes come out at sunset so from this time you should wear long sleeves and trousers.  Exposed skin, especially ankles, should have insect repellent containing 'Deet' applied to them. Your crew will advise on where the worst affected areas are on the trip. There are a number of prophylactic malaria treatments on the market & requirements change. It is also wise to take a sample of whichever prophylactic you choose, a few weeks before you leave. This way you may determine early on if you have any adverse reactions so you can change the regimen if necessary. Please consult a reputable travel clinic or GP for advice. For more information visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk or www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

Medical advice should be taken particularly if you are visiting the jungle in either Ecuador or Peru, the Brazilian Pantanal or Iguazu Falls in either Argentina or Brazil as part of your trip.

Altitude sickness - This is caused by thin air (due to lack of oxygen) and can affect anyone arriving at high altitude (above 3000mtrs). The symptoms are headaches, dizziness, shortage of breath and possibly nausea. To avoid this or alleviate the symptoms make a point to acclimatize by arriving into a high altitude destination a few days early and make sure you do not over exert yourself, rest for a few hours, avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, large meals and drink plenty of water.

As we are travelling mostly by land (as opposed to flying into a high altitude location) we should acclimatise gradually, and so avoid 'soroche', mountain sickness.

Dengue - Unlike the malaria mosquito, which bites at night, the dengue carrying mosquito bites during the day. Some areas we travel to do have occasional outbreaks & it is therefore advised that you take care not to be bitten during the day as well as at night.  There is no vaccine available.

Health - To join our trips you should be in good general health. Your medical insurance company must be told if you have any pre-existing medical condition / allergy or if you are on any regular medication, otherwise you may not be covered under your policies for these. Our crew will need to know of any medication or conditions you may have. For general health advice log onto www.nathnac.org/travel/

It is a compulsory requirement that you have adequate travel insurance before you join any Oasis Trip & at the very least are insured for all necessary medical & repatriation costs incurred.

You will be asked to provide the following details in My Oasis Account if you have not already done so: travel insurance name, insurance policy number & insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to your Tour Leader on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip.  It is also wise to leave a copy of your insurance policy with a friend or relative for safe keeping.

We believe that your safety and holiday enjoyment are very important. It is a mistake to think that "it will never happen to me". It is also very important that you are covered for all the activities that you may wish to undertake while on our trip. It is extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you. Your policy should include adequate Medical Emergency and Repatriation cover as well as Cancellation, Baggage and Personal Liability cover. You need to be aware of EXACTLY what activities your policy covers you for. Please note that skiing is not usually covered in most insurance policies. 

We offer tailor made Overland Adventure Travel Insurance that covers most of the adventure and sporting activities on our trips.

For further information on the insurance we offer, the activities covered and costs, check out the Travel Insurance section of our website. You can purchase our insurance by logging into My Oasis Account and click 'Buy Insurance' or through the following link.

Local Payment (LP)

LP is part of your overall trip payment and is the most cost effective and practical way to get hard currency to South America to pay for a variety of your day to day local costs (i.e. all meals prepared by the group, campsite/hostel/hotel fees, gas, and certain activities listed on the trip page) which cannot be pre-paid from the UK. It is a guaranteed amount, set before your trip departs, and unlike 'group kitty' systems we will not ask you to contribute more once the trip is underway.

Please note: Your LP is payable to your Tour Leader on the morning of departure in US$ Dollars CASH ONLY. Make sure that all your notes are in good condition. Old, torn or marked notes are often refused by the banks and we will therefore be unable to accept them either and you will be required to change them in the country you start for new unblemished notes which will be difficult. Please do not bring all of your Local Payment in US$100 notes, a good mix of $20s, $50s and $100s is preferable and also make sure that they are post 2013 and do not have a serial number starting with CB. In many countries smaller US$ notes are simply not accepted and as such notes smaller than $20 are best avoided.

Please remember that you will need to pre-order US$ cash for your LP before you leave home as your LP is payable all at once at the start of your trip and you cannot pay in local currency using ATMs due to the withdrawal limits in place and their unreliability. In addition, ATM transaction fees can seriously add to your travelling expenses.

How to bring your currency?

Past Oasis travellers have fed back that they have felt, as a general rule it is best to bring your money in a combination of cash US dollars, pre-paid travel currency cards and debit/credit cards.

Make sure that all your notes are in good condition. Old, torn or marked notes are often refused by the banks and shops. Please ensure your notes are dated post 2013 and do not have a serial number starting with CB. When buying US Dollars before you travel it is best to ask for clean notes with no tears or markings. It can be difficult using US$100 bills in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia so if possible, bring US$50 bills for these countries. Some travellers worry about carrying so much cash with them, however all Oasis Overland trucks are equipped with an onboard safe for the security of your money and passport. Please also remember that Visas, where required, need to be paid for in US dollars cash only.

Venezuela (If we are able to go there): There are strict currency controls in place in Venezuela, with two official and one unofficial exchange rate currently in use. ATMs have extremely low limits for daily withdrawals and frequently run out of cash or are not in working order, as such they cannot be relied upon. We recommend you budget for your entire trip in Venezuela in cash US dollars.

Spending Money

From past trips and traveller feedback US$150 to US$200 per week should cover costs such as some meals out, soft drinks and beers, email & communications, souvenirs and other general spending. Personal spending habits & budgets differ greatly from person to person. Budget on visa costs and optional activities separately (see visa section above & optional excursions page) & allow extra for your Local Payment contribution. There is often a departure tax payable in the airport, so allow up to US$50 for this.

For trips starting / ending before Carnival: During the Carnival week both tourists and locals flock to Rio, meaning that many resources are stretched. This includes access to cash via banks and cash machines, as the banks frequently close for the whole ten day carnival period. Many of the machines run out of cash early on in the celebrations (often by day 2), and once the machines are empty they are not restocked until after the carnival celebrations have finished.  Money exchanges can also be difficult to access during this time, or will only provide a very poor rate. From past experience we know that the exchange rate weakens in the run up to Carnival, so all in all (if possible) it would be best for you to get some Brazilian Real’s in advance. When working out how many you need, bear in mind any time you will be spending in Brazil before Carnival in Rio.

If your trip goes to French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana please note that the general cost of living in these countries is much higher than elsewhere in South America, and you can expect the price of meals, drinks, souvenirs and excursions to accordingly cost more. For these countries we suggest you budget around US$300 a week for extra expenses.

Changing money

Change your money only at banks, hotels, airports or forex bureaus. It is illegal to change money on the street, as these people will normally be opportunistic thieves or undercover police. Your crew will advise you where & when you can change money & with what means. It is also a good idea to have a small CASH emergency fund, to allow for the unexpected.

Credit & Debit Cards 

If you are intending using your credit or debit card, we suggest taking more than one card with you as you may find that your card is not accepted in the first ATM you try. For credit and debit cards Visa is best. Mastercard and American Express are generally not accepted throughout South America. We recommend that you inform your bank that you will be using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked.

Pre-Paid Travel Currency Cards

These cards are similar to normal Credit and Debit cards but they can be pre loaded with cash before you travel with a set amount allowing you to withdraw this cash using the card at normal ATMs. It is a more secure way to access cash on your trip, but again do not rely on these as your sole means of funds on a trip - (please refer to the ATM section). Several banks and companies now offer these cards, but be sure to look into the rates for withdrawing cash when making your decision. When using these cards abroad you will use them to withdraw the local currency from an ATM and not the currency that you loaded onto the card.

ATMs 

These are available in most major cities along our route and allow you to withdraw local currency only. We discourage you from relying on your ATM card as a primary source of funds in case it is lost/stolen/swallowed, or the machine isn't working. In some destinations we probably won't even see a bank or ATM for days on end.  Even where do find them, they cannot always be relied upon - things change, and ATMs don't always work! Besides memorising your PIN, it is also important to be aware of your daily withdrawal limit and bank withdrawal costs.

Tipping 

Tipping in South America is customary and often expected, and local attitudes towards tipping are different to what we are used to in the West. It is often more than a reward for services well done but as wages are extremely low, it is an accepted means of supplementing an income. As a general rule, tipping around 10% of the total bill in restaurants is a good guide, and the same amounts usually apply for activities and excursions.

Because it can be difficult to know what to tip, and as it has such importance in some areas both economically and culturally, there may be times and activities for which your crew will make it clear what level of tipping is 'customary/expected'. They may also be quite enthusiastic or assertive in encouraging you to take account of these suggestions. This is motivated by the knowledge of how important tipping can be, and the offence or confusion that can be caused when local people are tipped poorly. In the end, tipping remains at the discretion of the individual, but our crew will continue to advise on normal rates, and we would ask you to carefully consider the economic or personal impact of being seen to 'under tip'. We know that many who travel with us are on a tight budget, but ask you to remember that those we work with locally may also face financial hardship, and also work very hard to try to give you unrivalled service/experiences. 

As a very rough guide, we would suggest that you budget for an amount equal to 10% of the local payment for your trip, plus 10% of the cost of any of the listed optional excursions that you wish to do. The amounts you end up tipping may vary from a rigid 10%, but hopefully this will help you budget in general.

On the Inca Trail, your crew will advise you what the expected tipping amounts are before the trek. It may seem unusual to be asked to tip before receiving a service, but the tips are a crucial part of the income for the guides, cooks and porters, and it is important that this gets shared out equally and fairly between them, so you can expect your Oasis Tour Leader to take an active role in ensuring it is done in the correct manner. The tips are usually spread out by the Tour Leader and then given to the travellers to hand out on the last day of the trek.

In the past we have been asked by travellers about tipping your Oasis Crew. If you choose to do this, it would be budgeted separately from the above. Our guys work very hard at making your trip a great travel experience. Working overseas can often be challenging and they are pretty much on call for you 24 hours a day, so it's appreciated as a thank you for hard work and good service, but of course not mandatory. Our suggestion is to budget around US$1, per person, per day.

You will experience a varying degree of climatic changes at any time of year, from freezing temperatures (down to as cold as minus -15°C) in the Andes, to scorching heat in the desert and heavy downpours in the jungle (up to as hot and humid as 47°C and 90% humidity).

The rains in the Andes usually occur between November and April. This means downpours once or twice a day with the rest of the day usually warm and sunny, although there will also be times where it may not rain at all for a week or so. April to October is the dry season with clear views of the mountains. It is hot during the day but extremely cold at night with temperatures often well below zero. You will be spending a lot of time at altitude where nights can be very cold at any time of year.

The deserts in Peru can also be cold during the night but can be very hot during the day particularly between October and May. The Amazon Jungle is very hot with high humidity plus regular downpours of rain usually year-round. View South American Climate Chart

If you are travelling on a trip that goes through Patagonia in July – September, please be aware it will get very cold at times with temperatures well below zero, and you can expect snowfall. Please be prepared for cold conditions, with thermal clothing and the correct sleeping bag.

The less you take the less you have to pack, wash & lug home & you can always pick up extras along the way. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much gear. Clothes washing or laundry facilities will be available at least once a week. You will be travelling in the heat & camping in the cold, so bring clothes for all climates; rough stuff is best. Pack according to season: allowing for extremes in temperature (from the constant baking heat in the dry season to the cold and occasional frost overnight in some areas) Make sure that you bring your gear in a traditional soft sided 70 - 90L rucksack or holdall - suitcases are not suitable. Remember baggage is limited to 20kg per person plus one day bag.


Equipment Toiletries - Most available to buy on trip
  • Sleeping Bag - 3 to 4 season bag, depending on season, & sleep sheet
  • Foam sleeping mat or thermarest & repair kit
  • Small day-pack or small bag to carry daily items
  • Soft rucksack or holdall (NOT rigid suitcase)
  • Water bottle - for personal use - we recommend Water-to-Go (see below Responsible Travel)

  • Soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, antibacterial hand wash, lip balm & moisturiser
  • Sun block 35 + after sun, hat & sun glasses
  • Tampons (can buy in most places)
  • Contraception
Clothes Personal Effects
  • One pair of trainers or boots
  • Sandals/flip flops/jandals/thongs
  • Underwear/socks
  • T shirts/shirts
  • Shorts/swimwear
  • Jeans/trousers/jog pants/leggings
  • Skirt or dress
  • Sweat shirt/jumper
  • Jacket/fleece & waterproof jacket
  • Camera with protective case, spare batteries, film/memory card
  • Torch & spare batteries (head torch is best)
  • Travel adaptor plug/charger (for cameras & mobile phone batteries)
  • Money belt
  • Personal stereo - there is a stereo on the truck with iPod/MP3 adaptors
  • Towel &/or sarong


 

Recommended Medical Kit List
  • Antiseptic ointment/Antihistamine cream &  tablets
  • Nurofen or equivalent pain-killer
  • Eye-drops/bath
  • Anti-diarrhoea treatment
  • A couple of bandages (elasticated & triangular)
  • Medication for personal allergies/asthma etc
  • Insect repellent containing Deet

  • Re-hydration sachets/vitamin tablets
  • Assorted plasters
  • 1 Course of malaria treatment
  • Some suitable antibiotics as recommended by your doctor for infected cuts or to treat severe dysentery
  • Malaria Tablets - see Vaccinations & Health section

Please note that in the winter months (June - September) it can be very cold, especially at altitude, so we recommend that you bring extra layers of be prepared to purchase some when you are in Peru, Bolivia & Patagonia.

Even though our trucks are equipped with a comprehensive medical kit, we advise you to bring a small personal medical kit as our truck kit is not for general everyday use. It will also be your responsibility to carry your kit on included excursions and optional activities as some local operators may not have medical kits to hand.

Cameras (incl. Digital & Video Cameras) - An easy to use 'point and shoot' will get you some good photos. For memorable shots, it may be worthwhile investing in an SLR camera, but be sure to get some practice in before the trip! Most towns and cities have internet cafes where you can download onto CD/internet sites - but don't rely on it.  Internet speeds can be slow for uploading photos to social media or the Cloud.

Photography - Be aware of your surroundings when taking photographs and filming. Some locations will be sensitive or have local laws banning photography. For example it is usually forbidden to use cameras at borders or around government buildings, military installations, bridges and airports or to take photos of local officials. If you do take photos or film where it is not permitted you may find yourself being questioned by irate officials who may decide to confiscate your camera or instruct you to delete all the images/footage on your device. If in doubt ask for permission, or if there is no-one to ask use some common sense.

Drones - As the use of drones becomes more common, countries throughout the world are gradually updating their laws and restrictions on usage. The specific regulations will vary from one country to another, so do check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for the latest information. As with cameras, use your common sense if you do use a drone and avoid operation in sensitive areas. If you plan to bring a drone on your trip with us please contact us first to ensure there will be a suitable place to store it while on your trip.

Electrical charging & power supply - It may be difficult to find a power source for charging at times, so a spare battery is a must.

Consider a 12V in-car charger (our vehicles are equipped with a couple of 12 volt cigarette lighter charger sockets - truck trips only) or bring along your 230V mains charger and travel adaptor plug for use at some of the hotels, hostels and campsites we stay at.

NOTE: 12V - 230V inverters cannot be used on our vehicles because of the power drain they cause.

Log onto www.whatplug.net for information regarding the different electrical plugs and voltage used in each country.

The internet and WiFi are readily available in almost every town and city you will visit; most hotels and hostels will have free WiFi as will many bars and cafes.  Do bear in mind that the connections can be unreliable and will not always be as fast as you are used to at home.  If a lot of people try to use the internet at the same time the speed will be slower still, especially if trying to make Skype calls or upload photos/videos.  During periods of the trip where we are camping, internet will be less common.

Some travellers choose to take an unlocked mobile phone with them and buy local SIM cards in each country, allowing them to use mobile data. If you particularly want or need regular internet access this may be a good option. Telephone calls can be expensive usually £1 to £5 for a three minute call.

Online Diaries - A great variety of free "travel blogs" are now available online, they are a good way of keeping relatives and friend up to date with what you are doing and a good place to upload photos, collecting messages as well as keeping a record for yourself.

Before you go

  • Remove unnecessary packaging before you go - waste disposal facilities are often stretched or non existent in the places we visit. To avoid unnecessary pollution of local water supplies take environmentally friendly toiletries with you.
  • Why not invest in a wind-up or solar-powered torch or media player before you travel or at least rechargeable batteries.
  • Learn some of the local language and read up on the local history/culture before you go. You'll get so much more out of your trip.
  • Why not pack some pens/pencils exercise books in your rucksack and they can be donated to a local school or project while you're away. You can also purchase these items cheaply, locally which will help local businesses.
  • Take a sturdy water bottle with you from home that you can re-use throughout your trip. We carry large quantities of purified water with us on our Expedition vehicles and it is much better for the environment if you drink this, rather than purchase bottled water along the way. (It also saves you money).
  • Water-to-Go: Oasis Overland have partnered with Water-to-Go to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed during a trip. Water-to-Go is a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source. Click here and enter the code OASIS15 to purchase your Water-to-Go products at 15% discount. Water-to-Go will then donate a further 15% to Oasis Overland Charity projects.
 
While you're travelling

From experience gained in running trips, we have developed our own practical and manageable environmental policy which all of our crew practice on the trips we operate, and they will share this information with you at the start of your trip. We welcome your input on this, plus any new ideas you may have, to improve our existing procedures. As a guide here's a few tips to bear in mind.

  • Don't waste water. It is a scarce resource in many of the places our trips visit. On all our Ultimate and Overland Expeditions we carry large quantities of purified water with us. We encourage you to refill your own water bottles from this supply, rather than purchase bottled water along the way-much more environmentally friendly and saves you money.
  • Never buy endangered species or endangered habitat products. Apart from the fact of it being illegal it also encourages the trade to continue.
  • Look after and preserve the areas we visit. Be careful about stepping on coral reefs or trekking on undesignated tracks.
  • Buy locally made crafts and products helping to support the local economy.
  • Don't feel when bargaining that you have to get the cheapest price possible just for the sake of it. Pay what the item is worth to you & don't worry about what someone else has paid.
  • Try the local food and drinks - this will help to support local farmers and food sellers. Sitting in a local cafe is also a great way to meet local people.
  • Dispose of litter appropriately on your trip. This includes cigarette butts. Not only does litter look unsightly it can be lethal to wildlife.
  • Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavoury they might seem to you, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near (at least 30m) a water source.
  • When game viewing do not encourage your guides to get too close to the wildlife so that their natural behaviour is impeded.
  • Respect local customs, traditions and beliefs of the people in the different regions that you travel through.
  • Do not take photos of people, ritual events or special places unless you have asked first. Dress appropriately according to local codes and show respect around religious festivals.
  • Recycling is almost non-existent in many of the areas and countries we visit - we do the best we can with limited resources & space on our vehicles.
  • For books dedicated to travelling more responsibly & ethically see: www.tourismconcern.org.uk
 
Community Projects - Oasis are active in raising awareness and providing support to a number of projects and local schools where we believe we can make a positive difference. More information on the projects we support.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer country-specific advice, regarding not only security but also entry regulations, local laws and customs and health. We strongly recommend all travellers visit the FCO website, or the equivalent in their home country, to familiarise themselves with local conditions and issues in the countries they plan to visit before committing to a trip with us. You can view their website here.

If you have any questions at all about the safety or security of your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss your trip in more detail.

In cities - All major cities have their share of petty crime (just like our cities) and sensible precautions need to be taken. Wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches and carrying cameras will draw unnecessary attention to you. Leave valuables such as passports and excess money in your hotel safe or truck safe (we recommend carrying a copy of your passport details page at all times). You may find a simple money belt is more discreet than a bag. Always be aware of your surroundings and when approached by people you do not know, use your common sense. At night in cities it's best to use a taxi, rather than walking around the streets, single women in particular need to be careful and we would suggest that it is safer to be in a group.

On board the truck - Each vehicle is fitted with a hidden, lockable safe to be used for money, passports and important documents. Group members will be responsible for the safe and Oasis Overland cannot accept any liability for clients' personal or monetary contents kept in the safe or on board the truck. We advise you to not take items of value that are not essential for the journey. In certain areas a roster may be drawn up for the group to share the task of guarding and keeping the vehicle secure.

The Inca Trail

We INCLUDE the cost of trekking to Machu Picchu in ALL our trips that visit Peru.

We offer 3 routes - Classic, Salkantay and Lares - (subject to season and availability), all accompanied by knowledgeable guides and porters.

Our first choice trek is the Classic trail. As availability is limited we will move quickly after booking to obtain you a permit where possible. It is VERY important to note that as soon as we purchase your permit it is non-transferable, and non-refundable. Your permit will be linked to your passport details, so please make sure you enter these correctly at the time of booking. If you are intending renewing your passport then please let us know at the point of booking.  In order to trek you will need to be in possession of both your passport and your permit – and the passport details have to match otherwise the permit issuing authorities will not let you trek. If you need any further clarification then please contact southamerica@oasisoverland.co.uk

When the Classic trail is not available, we will arrange the Lares trail at no extra charge (subject to minimum 2 people). If you wish to trek either the Lares or Salkantay by choice (or take the train option), you must let us know at the time of booking. An additional fee may be payable, but we will discuss this with you. All of the treks visit Machu Picchu for the day.

For more information about the treks including maps please click below for the three routes and treks: Classic    Lares    Salkantay

Tipping on the Inca Trail - Before you start your trek, your Oasis Tour Leader will advise you and other travellers of the suggested tipping amount for the guides, porters and cooks on the trek (this applies to the Classic, Lares and Salkantay treks). Tipping is a vital part of the income for the staff who work on the treks, and it is expected. It is not compulsory, but if you choose not to tip it will be viewed suspiciously and negatively by the local staff and as such we respectfully ask all our travellers trekking to pay the requested amount. We are advised by the local operators what the suggested tipping amount is for each trek, and you will be asked to contribute, before the trek departs. It is usually around US$50 per person, which is then shared out amongst the guides, porters and cooks.

Porters - We can arrange a Porter to carry 5kgs of your equipment whilst on the Classic Inca trail, at the briefing the Guide will provide you with a duffle bag to pack your equipment into which will be available at camp each night, this is arranged on trip and will cost an additional $30 paid locally to your tour leader. Lares and Salkantay treks 

Train Only - For those who don't fancy trekking at all, there is the option of taking the train to the town of Aguas Calientes, at the base of Machu Picchu, staying overnight in a simple hotel, and heading up to nearby Machu Picchu the next day. This option gives you an extra two nights in Cusco, where we will provide accommodation.  If you wish to take the train option you must state this at the time of booking.

Huayna Picchu - Some people like to climb the nearby summit of Huayna Picchu during their time at Machu Picchu. One of the main reasons for doing this would be for the view from the top of it over Machu Picchu. Because of its increasing popularity the local authorities have introduced a permit system to control numbers and collect funds from those wanting to do this. Permits can sell out a long time in advance, and you therefore need to request us to purchase you a permit urgently if you want to do this. You can request this by clicking the Huayna Picchu 'add-on' through your account. There are 400 permits available per day currently. Once requested your tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged, as it is arranged with your specific name and passport details.

The ascent of Huayna Picchu is very steep in places and it can take about an hour to the top. It will be your responsibility to be at the entrance point at the right time, and should you be late then you will unfortunately forfeit your opportunity to go up. The climb is done on the same day that you are visiting the ruins at Machu Picchu, so reduces your time wandering around the ruins. Please bear in mind that to get up and down can take around three hours, and is very steep in places. It is not really for those who are unfit, or scared of heights. The path is pretty deteriorated in places so some light scrambling is required.


W-Trek, Torres del Paine

Explore South America’s finest national park. This 6 Day / 5 night option will take you on trails to the mighty granite pillars of Los Torres, through the imposing French Valley and magnificent Grey’s Glacier. Hike through emerald forests, to magnificent glaciers, along alpine rivers and lakes, with picturesque mountain vistas while in this area of unparalleled beauty.

The W Trek is a challenging hike with some tricky terrain and steep ascents and descents. You do not need to be a specialist or experienced hiker to complete the trek, but you do need to be in moderate to good health with a decent level of fitness. The Active W Trek is a popular, camping style multi-day adventure program.

Spaces to hike the W Trek are limited and issued on a first-come-first-served basis and subject to availability at all times, so if you want to join this trek it is recommended you add this at the time of your booking. If we are unable to confirm your space you will be refunded in full, including your deposit.  

What’s Included:

  • Accommodation for 5 nights - 2 nights Puerto Natales (twin share), 3 nights in park (2 camping, 1 dorm)
  • Transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park (1.45 hours drive)
  • Park entrance fee 
  • Catamaran ticket from Paine Grande to Pudeto, bus ticket from Pudeto to Puerto Natales
  • Tents
  • Guide on first day of trekking to the base of the towers
  • Trekking poles for the first day of trekking if required
  • Meals as listed

What‘s Not Included:

  • Meals not listed
  • Tips

Itinerary: Please note the itinerary is subject to alteration and the stated walking times are approximate. Weather in the park can be changeable and affect hiking, and everyone walks at their own pace.

Day 1: This evening you will meet fellow trekkers for a welcome dinner, followed by a briefing for your 'W Trek'.

Accommodation: Puerto Natales (twin room - shared bathrooms)

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: This morning nice and early you will meet the group and travel to Torres del Paine National Park. Torres del Paine was given its name from the three striking granite towers, formed above a glacial lake. The trek today is with a guide and you will be making your way to the base of these towers. Once you reach the lookout of the ‘Base of Torres del Paine’ you can enjoy the view of Torre Sur (2,850m), Torre Central (2,800m), Torre Norte (2,600m) and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. The trek today is approximately 19kms and should take about 8 hours.

Accommodation: Refugio Torre Central or Refugio Torre Norte (Dorm bed) 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Today the trail follows alongside the turquoise waters of Lake Nordenskjöld. We then make our way to Los Cuernos (The Horns), an outcropping of granite peaks which stand at over 2000 metres high, before continuing through to Domos Frances. The views from Los Cuernos are considered by many to be the most memorable in the whole park, perched on a hillside with the famous towers above with views across one of the park’s stunning light blue lakes. The trek today is approximately 14.6kms and should take about 6.5 hours.

Accommodation: Camping at Francés 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: Making our way through 'The French Valley' we will pass through Mirador Británico, the lookout point generally thought to be one of the most overwhelming spots on the whole Circuit, where you can take in Paine Grande, Cerro Hoja, Cerro Máscara, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Aleta de Tiburón, Cuerno Norte and other magnificent peaks. We return back the same way and continue to the Pehoe sector, reaching our evening destination Paine Grande. The trek today is approximately 20.3kms and should take about 9 hours.

Accommodation: Camping at Paine Grande 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Our final day of trekking will take us on the trail through the western side of the Paine Massif, stopping off at various viewpoints to take in Grey Lake and the Mountain views, as we continue north to the impressive natural ice formations of Grey's Glacier. The return is the same way back to Paine Grande where you will take a catamaran across Lake Pehoé to Pudeto. You will then board the bus back to Puerto Natales arriving in the evening. It is time to put your heels up and celebrate your huge sense of achievement having conquered one of the world’s great hiking routes with a cold beer and Pizza. The trek today is approximately 22kms and should take about 8 hours.

Accommodation: Puerto Natales (twin room - shared bathrooms)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: After your breakfast (included) you will then continue with your Oasis Overland Adventure.

Please Note: The above itinerary and stated accommodation is subject to change without notice and may be altered due to local operating conditions. In the event of any changes due to circumstances beyond our control, while we will do our utmost to minimise the impact on the planned itinerary, we will not be held responsible for any costs incurred.

Deposit: £400 per person. (Once requested your permit cannot be refunded or exchanged).

Just add this on to your trip when booking


The Oasis truck will be your new home giving you a comfortable, secure base with which to experience your trip. As part of the adventure you will be expected to have an active involvement in the day to day running of the trip, be part of the group and get stuck in and help with various tasks, whether it's cooking meals over open fires, pitching your tent or keeping the truck clean & tidy.

Itinerary

Because Oasis Overland do not operate normal 'package holidays' the itineraries given cannot be guaranteed to run exactly as outlined. However, it is rare that we have to make major changes and in the event that we do this will be discussed with you either before or during the trip. It is important to bear in mind that should it not be possible to enter a certain country due to safety concerns, visa problems or political turmoil etc, and it becomes necessary to fly over a country in order to continue a trip, that all costs for flights will be borne by you and not Oasis. Should it not be possible for an Oasis trip to begin from a scheduled starting city due to border closures, civil unrest etc,  Oasis will make all reasonable efforts to begin the trip from an alternative location. However, all additional costs that you may incur in travelling to the alternative location will be paid by you or your insurance company and not Oasis.

Seatbelts

All Oasis Overland trucks are fitted with seat belts. For your own safety and security we recommend that travellers wear these at all times whilst the vehicle is moving.   

Accommodation

Camping - Oasis provides tents for those nights you will be camping. Tents are shared (between two people of the same sex from your group unless you are a couple). We spend some nights bush or desert camping, and on some occasions it is necessary to camp at overnight services, which are basic but equipped with showers and other facilities; the rest of the time in campsites. Facilities and standards at campsites vary, some are well equipped and managed and some are very basic. At bush camps you will be living off the truck, so there will be no showers or en-suite facilities! At certain campsites there is the opportunity to upgrade to a private room at your own expense if you are missing your bed.

Simple Hotels/Hostels - At some locations we will stay at small locally owned hostels/hotels. These are usually basic places, and often the accommodation will be mixed sex dormitory style. Upgrades may be available on arrival, but cannot be reliably pre- booked. Please be aware that the quality of accommodation can vary quite a lot from area to area and sometimes in a small hotel the standard of rooms can vary even from one room to the next - so there needs to be a level of understanding within the group that your Oasis Crew does not often have power over room allocation or services provided by various hotels and it is unavoidable that they have to rely on the local staff. Please note if you choose to participate on an overnight optional activity, then you will not receive reimbursement for any accommodation or meals that you are missing out on with the rest of the group. 

During the day

As a guide, driving days normally start at about 8am and finish at about 5pm, with stops for lunch and buying food, seeing local sights etc. We won't be driving every day, although there are times when we will drive for two, but we will then stop for a few days and you will have free time to explore, meet local people, do some optional activities or just relax and do your own thing. Expect to sometimes get dusty & dishevelled during the day and although you will be able to shower most nights (except at bush camps), not all camps will have hot showers.

Meals & cook groups

When 'on the road' or camping, we usually cook using gas or over open fires in a rota system and you can expect to cook in a group of two or three people approximately once every ten days depending on the number of people on trip and whereabouts you are. Your cook group will have to decide on what to cook, utilise stocks from the truck stores and locally obtain ingredients from markets, shops etc. and rustle up a meal. But don't worry if you're not a Gordon Ramsay, as the rest of the group and the Tour Leader usually lend a helping hand. Here is an idea of what to expect at meal times:

Breakfasts:  Usually simple - we help ourselves to cereal, toast, hot drinks and on occasion we will splurge with a cooked breakfast.

Lunch: Cold and usually quick. The cook group will put out bread, tinned supplies and maybe make a salad.

Dinner: Cooks come into their own in the evening, and will always attempt to cook up some delights.

When staying in hotels in towns or cities we do not include meals. This is your chance to go out and explore and try local cuisine in local restaurants.

Vegetarians / Vegans / Coeliacs / Gluten & Lactose intolerance - Our Tour Leaders will always do their best to cater for any dietary requirement or intolerance whenever possible. However we do not cater for fussy eaters. It must be remembered that the variety of dishes available to Vegetarians may not be the same as available to meat eaters. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet or because of an allergy or would miss from home, it would be best to bring these with you, as these cannot be purchased with normal Local Payment funds due to the high cost of these specialised and often imported foods.

Remember that when eating out in local restaurants & hotels that vegetarianism or food allergies / intolerance's, are still not widely known about or understood by many local people. i.e Vegetarians or Vegans will often be offered fish or chicken in error. Most large towns and cities, or areas used to tourists, will often have more choice but please be aware that it will probably not be as varied as you are used to when eating out at home. 

In the evenings 

When at a bushcamp or campsite, you and your tent buddy will put up the tent, and then lend a hand with getting out the tables, stools, firewood and water containers. The fire grates need to be taken out, the fire lit and someone can fill the kettle and make hot drinks while the cook group prepares the evening meal. Then just sit back, chill and enjoy the rest of your evening!

Oasis Crew

We usually have two Crew whose duties are extensive and quite demanding, with challenges ranging from driving and maintaining the expedition vehicle to a high standard, to organising visas and border crossings, arranging accommodation, pre-booking some excursions and guides, helping with shopping and cooking as well as finding the best deals, socialising and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Whilst our Crew are usually experienced and knowledgeable, they are not tour guides as such. Our trips pass through many countries and our Tour Leaders cannot be expected to have detailed knowledge of each countries history, flora and fauna and archaeological sites. Even so - they will be more than willing to pass on any interesting and useful information that they have acquired whilst on the road. A rewarding way to gain a better insight into the wildlife, cultural and historical diversity of the countries we travel through is by reading guide books as well as talking to the local people and using local guides.

Adventure travel can be unpredictable and occasionally our Crew may have to amend the itinerary to take into account changing local circumstances or because of a delay at a border or because of circumstances outside our control. This can all lead to additional work and commitment for our Crew who will do all they can to minimise any disruption to the trip. While our Crew are essentially on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it has to be remembered that no one is actually expected to work these hours, so at Oasis we are realistic that within a trip there will be times when our Crew need 'down time' and a chance to relax and 'let their hair down' as well. They are only human!


Optional Excursions are paid for on the day and organised during your trip, so you can decide whilst travelling which activity you may want to do. Prices listed are only a guide and may be dependant on fluctuating exchange rates and minimum numbers. Please see below for more details.

 

Colombia

Title From Price
Cerro de Monserrate Cable Car - Bogota US$15
Chiva Bus Tour - Cartagena US$25
Coffee Farm Plantation Tour - Manizales US$20
Museums, Attractions & Entrances - Bogota US$5
Parque Los Nevados Day Trip - from Manizales US$65
Santuario de las Lajas Museum - Ipiales US$1
Termales del Ruiz - Thermal Baths US$30

Ecuador

Title From Price
Bridge Swing US$25
Canyoning/Rappelling/ Abseiling - from US$50
Entrance to Del Diablo waterfall- Banos US$5
Hot Springs - Banos, from US$5
Jungle Activity Package, from US$30
Massages - Banos, from US$20
Whitewater Rafting - Banos Grade 4/5 US$75

Peru

Title From Price
Horse Riding, from US$20
Sun & Moon Temple- entrance US$5
Thermal Mud Pools US$12
Mountain Biking - Mancora, from US$10
Ballestas Island Boat Trip US$15
Colca Canyon - National Park entrance fee and guided overnight tour, from US$65
Dune Buggies & Sandboarding (combo) US$65
Guide & Staff Tips - Inca Trail treks US$50
Nazca Lines Flight (weather permitting), from US$100
Porter on Inca Trail to carry up to 5kg of belongings (recommended!) US$30
Cusco City Tour US$10
Cusco Museum Day Pass US$20
Mountain Biking - Cusco, from US$10
Sacred Valley Tour, from US$25

Bolivia

Title From Price
La Paz City tours, from US$15
Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, from US$115
Potosi Guided Mine Visit US$20
Uyuni Salt Lake - 1 Day Tour inc. Lunch US$55

Argentina

Title From Price
Cafayate Bike Hire & Wine Tastings US$20
Canopy Zip Line - Salta US$50
Horse Riding Salta - Incl. Transfers and Lunch US$60
Mendoza Wine Tour US$25
Whitewater Rafting - Salta US$45
Beagle Channel Boat Trips - Ushuaia US$50
Horseriding, Bariloche - 3hrs US$95
Kayaking, Bariloche, from US$50
Moreno Glacier Day Trip - El Calafate, from US$45
Paragliding - Bariloche US$90
Viedma Glacier - El Chalten US$60
Viedma Glacier Ice Trekking or Climbing - El Chalten, from US$150
Hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park - Ushuaia, from US$57

Chile

Title From Price
Funicular de Santiago US$6
Santa Catalina Winery Tour US$15
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino US$15
Camping fee for overnight treks - Torres del Paine US$10
Horse Riding - Torres del Paine, from US$50
Return Ferry to Main Trekking Route - Torres del Paine US$30
Villarica Volcano Climb - inc. guide & equipment - Pucon US$110
Whitewater Rafting - Pucon, from US$40

We feel that having optional excursions gives a greater degree of flexibility and independence to our group members; independence to decide how much your spending budget can afford; flexibility to decide when and what time of day or with whom to visit a particular site, rather than for example, with the whole group at a pre-ordained time. If you decide not to join a popular excursion, you will have free time to relax or wander off to a market, village or beach, depending on where we are.

You pay for the optional excursions to the local operator, ensuring the money stays with that operator in the local community and this ensures as well, that you are paying the true price for any optional excursions you want to do. This also applies to accommodation costs before and after the trip. Please note that the prices of optional excursions quoted are approximate as local prices can and do change. Please see the relevant trip page for the Optional excursions you can do on that trip and a list of prices.


If you have more time to travel then why not consider CARTAGENA to RIO (18 weeks) Kingdoms & Carnivals

2020

Start Finish Special Events Availability Trip Price Local Payment   
Thu 08 Oct Wed 13 Jan Dates: Thu 08 Oct - Wed 13 Jan
Special Events: New Year Availability: Available Adult Price: £4245 Local Payment: US$2590 Book

2021

Start Finish Special Events Availability Trip Price Local Payment   
Mon 14 Jun Sun 19 Sep Dates: Mon 14 Jun - Sun 19 Sep
Special Events: Availability: Available Adult Price: £4245 Local Payment: US$2590 Book
Thu 21 Oct Wed 26 Jan Dates: Thu 21 Oct - Wed 26 Jan
Special Events: New Year Availability: Available Adult Price: £4245 Local Payment: US$2590 Book
98 days from £4,245

+ Local payment from US$2,590

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist
  • Travel Style
    Overland Adventure
  • Start Location
    Cartagena
  • End Location
    Ushuaia
  • Region
    South America

A deposit of just £600 secures your place; full amount payable if booking within 10 weeks of departure.

Add Ons and Volunteer Projects

Making a Difference for Children in Ecuador - Volunteer and Spanish School

£775

Huayna Picchu Permit - the summit next to Machu Picchu (For Salkantay & Lares Trek, along with Train Only Participants) - Peru

£35

Huayna Picchu Permit - the summit next to Machu Picchu (For Classic Inca Trail Participants ONLY) - Peru

£75

W-Trek - Torres del Paine - Chile

£799

Trips you might also like

CARTAGENA to RIO (18 weeks) Kingdoms & Carnivals
Travel Style
Overland Adventure
Departing
Aug, Oct
CARTAGENA to RIO via BUENOS AIRES (94 days) Southern Trans Oceanic
Travel Style
Overland Adventure
Departing
May