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South America expedition | part 1

13 July, 2022

South America expedition | part 1

Route
Expedition information
  • 13/07/2024 - 21/08/2024
  • 40 days
  • 9,000 km
  • 5

Overland South America expedition

2-part journey by car

A trip to South America is almost on every bucket list. South America is synonymous with adventure. Be amazed by the extraordinary nature and exhilarated by the lively music. It is an ideal continent for traveling around bustling cities and sleepy villages, past vast salt flats and through dense rainforests, over high mountain passes and past colorful markets. The possibilities are endless!

But what are the real highlights? It can be quite difficult to choose, because South America is a beautiful and diverse continent. All countries have their own gems. In 3 parts we take you along the gems of South America:

  1. Paramaribo – Santiago (13/07/2024 – 21/08/2024)
  2. Santiago – Buenos Aires (01/11/2024 – 30/11/2024)

These expeditions can be booked separately, but do you want the full South America experience? Then of course take part in both expeditions.

s
40 days/39 nights
w
Guided tour
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DIFFICULTY: 5

This video is not from this South America expedition but from our Africa Expedition. It does give you a good idea though of what to expect from our expeditions.

Paramaribo - Santiago

part 1

The first part of the 2-part journey starts in the capital of Suriname, Paramaribo, and takes us in 40 days to Santiago, the capital of Chile. In between, we’ll travel through through the Amazon via Suriname, Guyana and Brazil and via the Andes Mountains through Peru, Bolivia and Chile. So plenty to see and experience along the way!

Some highlights during this expedition

Early in our trip we drive through the Iwokrama rainforest, one of the last untouched tropical forests. We fly past the Kaieteur waterfall, one of the most powerful and beautiful waterfalls in the world. About 3x as high as Niagara Falls. You then steer your Bliss Mobil through the Amazon on the famous BR-319. This road was built in the early 1970s by the Brazilian military dictatorship, but was abandoned in the late 1980s. Keep your ears tuned and your eyes open, because did you know you can still spot the jaguar or puma in the wild here?

In Manaus we cross the Rio Negro, having traveled hundreds of kilometers on bright red, unpaved laterite roads. We continue our journey through Brazil’s little-visited, remote north. Of course in Brazil, picanha is on the menu. Buttersoft and oh-so tender. And typically Brazilian!

About halfway through our expedition we visit Cusco, once the ancient capital of Tahuantinsuyo, the center of the Inca Empire. Because this expedition would be incomplete without a visit to Machu Picchu, the famous ruined city of the Incas. Machu Picchu stands 2430 meters above sea level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest.

We alternate the sparsely populated jungle with bustling cities, because in this expedition there is room for both nature and culture. From rainforest to exciting music, this expedition has it all!

From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean

After our visit to Machu Picchu, we continue our journey past the following highlights, among others:

  • Lake Titicaca, the largest freshwater lake in South America, located in the Andes Mountains on the border between Peru and Bolivia. Also known as the highest navigable lake in the world.
  • Southeast of Lake Titicaca lies La Paz. The Bolivian city of La Paz is a unique and special city because of its geographic location in the Andes Mountains, its vibrant culture and its diverse population. The city lies in a gorge created by the Choqueyapu River and is surrounded by the high mountains of the Altiplano.
  • Do you dare take the El Camino de la Muerte, or “Death Road?” A narrow, winding road stretching from La Paz to Coroico. It is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world because of its steep cliffs, lack of guard rails and frequent landslides. Definitely a must for those who are not averse to an adrenaline rush. El Camino de la Muerte is not only thrilling, it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and it’s a great way to experience Bolivia’s unique culture. *) Whether it is wise to take this road depends on the size/state of your vehicle and weather conditions.
  • Bolivia’s salt flats are special because they are incredibly large and pristine. They are – the name gives it away – covered with a thick layer of salt and are known for their beautiful scenery, with the white salt contrasting with the deep blue sky and bright red mountains in the background. The salt flats are also important to the local people, who use the salt for trade and even religious ceremonies.
  • During this expedition we will also traverse the Atacama Desert, a coastal desert in northern Chile that stretches for nearly 1,000 km along the Pacific coast. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world, with an average of 1 mm of rain per year.
  • Personally, we think the starry sky in the Atacama Desert is perhaps the most beautiful in the entire world. We are curious to find out if you agree with us! The Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert offers some of the very-all-best conditions in the world for stargazing and other celestial bodies. The location is at an altitude of 2650 meters and very little light pollution.
  • Alpacas you will certainly see plenty. Just along the road! Because alpacas occur naturally on the high Andean plateaus of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile. The animals are kept mainly for their wool, which is very soft and warm.

From sea level tot 4,500 m altitude and back

Moreover, this expedition is again one full of stages on challenging terrain. From the unpaved laterite roads to the Dakar tracks in the Atacama Desert and from high sand dunes to beach and high altitude (from 4500 meters altitude we travel to the Pacific Ocean). But also a good glass of wine at a Chilean bodega cannot be missing during this trip. In short: during this expedition nature, culture and adventure alternate perfectly again.

Shipping

Shipping of the car to Paramaribo can take place from the Netherlands or Belgium. If you do not participate in the follow-up trips, you can ship your car back from Santiago or Buenos Aires. Shipping is exclusive calculated on day pricing. Please contact us for a custom quote.

What do we offer?

A rally-like tour, with challenges and instructions to improve your driving skills.

Professional organization by Overland Travel.

The expedition includes an adventurous road book, training, technical back-up and support.

Challenging routes through beautiful nature.

Overnight camping/bivak in your Bliss Mobil at unique spots.

Lots of fun and amazing stories to share.

The possibility transporting your car to (and from) South-America by Overland Travel, while you fly in.

Renting a suitable overlanding car from Overland Travel is also definitely among the possibilities. Contact us for more information.

Want to join this expedition?

Start with the form below.

You will be contacted shortly to reserve your spot.



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