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Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil

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Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil

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Description

There are many sides to South America, from the energy of the cities, the beauty of the lansdcapes and the spirit of its people. Discover it all on this trip that winds through the Inca heartlands and jungles of Peru, the enigmatic cities and natural wonders of Argentina and the dynamism of Brazil’s vivacious Rio. See animals, meet locals, traverse trails and marvel at all the contrasts of this very special corner of the world.

Trip Name
Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil
Last Updated
2024-04-30
Days
21
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • See the famed Machu Picchu – perched high in the Andes on a mountaintop, surrounded by mountain rainforest – and discover the secrets and history of this iconic Inca ruin.
  • Spend a full day exploring the floating islands of Uros (made entirely of reeds) on Lake Titicaca and make the most of the chance to meet the local Uru people who live here.
  • Visit the scenic Sacred Valley, where you’ll stop for lunch in the Huilloq community and participate in their ceremony blessing Pachamama. Listen to their life stories of the Andean highlands and learn more about their fascinating culture through a textile demonstration.
  • Look for rainbows in the mist from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides as you marvel at the power of Iguazu Falls which are higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls.
  • Visit a local Guarani community to meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people and learn how the falls were created when the serpent god M’Boy split the river in half.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Awamaki. Donations help them empower indigenous women artisans in Peru with skills training and job opportunities that provide financial independence.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. DEMONSTRATIONS & STRIKES: Demonstrations and protests, often in response to local labour or social issues, occur regularly in Peru. National strikes can be called at short notice and can cause disruption to road networks leading to inevitable itinerary changes. We will do everything possible for these changes to be at little or no extra cost; however in such circumstances we find that travellers may need to use their contingency funds to cover the costs of itinerary changes.

Day 1 - Lima
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Kick off your adventure in the coastal capital of Lima with a welcome meeting at 2 pm, where you'll meet your leader and fellow travellers. After, head out on a walking tour of the vibrant Miraflores area with your leader. Enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace, then perhaps meet back up with the group for an optional dinner. Whether you dine with the group or sample the city's renowned food scene on your own, don't miss the chance to try Peru's national dish – ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice, often served with hot peppers). If you're not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other excellent options on offer – ask your leader for tips on the best local eats.
Day 2 - Paracas
Today, start with a guided walking tour of Lima's historic centre. Stroll atmospheric streets flanked with ornate mansions, palaces and Spanish colonial churches, taking in Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral of Lima, the San Francisco Monastery and the central market. Your leader will guide you through the market, where you'll find vendors selling a variety of fresh produce and regional specialties like cuy (better known as guinea pig) – a Peruvian delicacy! Head away from the tourist trail and visit Alameda de Chabuca Granda. This pedestrian strip is where Limenos (locals from Lima) go for street food and entertainment. Later, travel by minivan to beautiful Paracas.
Day 3 - Nazca
Today, take a 2-hour boat tour to Islas Ballestas – home to abundant wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and penguins. After some awesome wildlife viewing, hop in a private van to one of the world's most mysterious archaeological sites – the Nazca Lines, stopping off at the oasis town of Huacachina to grab some lunch. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC, and thanks to the dry desert conditions, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well-preserved, providing archaeologists with clear snapshots of the highly developed, pre-Inca civilisation. Head to the viewing tower, or maybe take an optional flight over the lines for even better views! Leave Nazca at sunset, then drive south to a local’s traditional mud house in the middle of the desert. Among paintings of local flora, you’ll have a homemade pachamanca dinner (in the Quechua language, pacha means earth and manka means pot) – a traditional Peruvian dish of potatoes, meat and herbs baked with hot stones. Eat with your hosts after a brief ceremony thanking Pachamama (with chicha, otherwise known as corn beer).
Day 4 - Arequipa
Leave Nazca behind this morning and travel to Arequipa by private vehicle. Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and boasting beautiful baroque buildings, Arequipa vies with Cusco for the title of Peru's most attractive city. Built out of a pale volcanic rock called sillar, the old buildings dazzle in the sun, giving the city its nickname – the 'White City'. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is lovely to wander and stretch your legs after a long driving day.
Day 5 - Arequipa
Get to know this beautiful city with the help of a local guide. Visit the main plaza, Santa Catalina Monastery and San Ignacio Chapel on a walking tour. After, head for lunch with your group at a picanteria for some classic Arequipa favourites like rocoto, relleno, solterito and queso helado. Practice your Spanish with the locals and then you're free to explore Arequipa at your own pace. Maybe return to the main square to take a closer look at the cathedral, cafes and eateries or explore the suburb of Yanahuara. You may also like to visit the Juanita Museum, which houses Peru’s famous ‘Ice Maiden’, the Inca mummy of a girl who died in the 1440s. Ask your tour leader for other tips on how to make the most of your free afternoon.
Day 6 - Puno
This morning you’ll travel by minivan to Puno – a town located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It's a long drive, but the dramatic views of Peru’s highlands, the Altiplano, make it an exceptionally scenic one. As you approach Puno, stop to pay a visit to the ruins of Sillustani. Tucked between small villages on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umaya, the pre-Inca ruins comprise circular towers called chullpas that served as burial sites for noblemen. Continue to Puno, a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indigenous culture. Traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here, earning the town the title of Folklore Capital of Peru.
Day 7 - Puno / Lake Titicaca
Start the day with a tour of Lake Titicaca. It is 3820 m above sea level and holds the title of the highest navigable lake in the world. While cruising across its waters, hop in a motorboat and learn about the lake’s spiritual significance for the Quechua. Stop off at Uros Titinos – floating islands made entirely from layers of totora reeds. As you'll find out, the islands are constantly under construction – as the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added. Reeds are used for making everything on the island, including the boats used to travel to the mainland, which can last up to 12 months. Continue to Taquile Island, where the locals make their livelihood out of textiles. Here, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. To reach the main part of the island, there is a one-hour uphill walk on a paved path with great views of the lake. Sit down to an optional set lunch consisting of a local staple, quinoa soup, washed down with a cup of muna tea (Andean mint tea). After a brief stay, a descent of about 500 steps brings you back to the boat, which will take you back to Puno.
Day 8 - Cusco
Take a scenic bus ride across the Altiplano towards Cusco. You’ll be travelling by public tourist bus, and while there’s a rest stop along the way, it’s best to stock up on snacks before your journey. Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and colonial buildings are built upon foundations that remain from Inca times. Set out to discover some of Cusco's lesser-known sights on a guided walking tour – visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Tonight, ask your leader for great restaurant recommendations for dinner.
Day 9 - Cusco
Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to visit the city’s many museums and archaeological sites with your included boleto turistico (tourism ticket). This includes the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum, Qosqo Native Art Museum and the Inca ruins of Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, and Pisac. The most easily accessible among these sites is Qoricancha, which was once the Incan empire's richest temple until the Spanish built a Dominican church on top of it.
Day 10 - Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo
Today, you’ll hop on a bus and drive through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood for the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Just outside Cusco, stop off for a guided tour of the Inca fortress, Sacsayhuaman. Overlooking the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength. You’ll then head to the AMA restaurant in Urubamba for coffee and homemade cakes – this café provides job opportunities and childcare solutions to single mothers and decadent treats to visitors. Travel further into the Sacred Valley to visit the Huilloq community, where tourists are an uncommon sight. Be welcomed with an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and learn about the community’s ancestral textile techniques. Sit down for a pachamanca lunch and then drive onwards to the day’s final destination – Ollantaytambo. Here, you’ll take a guided tour of the town’s archaeological site, including remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.
Day 11 - Aguas Calientes
This morning, catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley, climbing to Aguas Calientes – this seriously scenic journey will surely give your camera a good workout. If you’d like to give your legs a workout too, your leader can recommend some beautiful walks around Aguas Calientes. The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, so it’s the perfect place to kick back and take in your peaceful surroundings. One Day Inca Trail If you're the active type, you can choose to trek the One Day Inca Trail today (11 km or 7 miles). Keep in mind that you must pre-book this option at least 30 days before departure. If you choose this option, the day begins bright and early with a 6:30 am train ride to the starting point. With a local guide leading the way, the trail will lead uphill and downhill, passing a few archaeological sites. See Chachabamba and Winay Wayna (2680 m altitude), also known as 'Forever Young'. This impressive complex is considered by many to be the most impressive site on the whole Inca Trail and is made up of a terraced agricultural centre, religious sector and urban sector. From here, it's about a 1.5-hour trek to Intipunku (the Sun Gate), where (weather permitting) you'll enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu. Depending on how long the trek takes, you'll have time to snap some pics and look around before taking a short bus ride down to Aguas Calientes, where you'll re-join the group and spend the night at a hotel.
Day 12 - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Take an early bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for the Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. Take a guided tour around the awe-inspiring ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters and decide for yourself. After your tour, catch the bus back to Aguas Calientes, followed by a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo and finally a drive to Cusco, where you’ll spend the night.
Day 13 - Cusco
Enjoy free time to delve deeper into all Cusco has to offer. You may like to use your boleto turistico to check out any sites you missed last time you were here or simply grab a coffee from a cafe at Plaza de Armas and do some people-watching. For those still seeking an active adventure, the hills that surround Cusco are well-suited for some mountain biking. Ask your tour leader for advice on optional activities and how to make the most of your free day.
Day 14 - Lima
Take a short flight from Cusco to Lima. You will be unescorted on your flight today. When you arrive in Lima, you’ll be transferred to your hotel and met by a local leader who can assist with any optional activities or final arrangements. When you arrive in Lima, the day is free to spend how you wish. Visit some of the sites you missed at the beginning of the trip, or maybe do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Why not gather the group for one final night out on the town? Your tour leader will be happy to offer tips on how to make the most of your last day.
Day 15 - Buenos Aires
Say ‘hasta luego’ to Lima and board a flight today to Argentina’s fiery capital, Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city, with Latin passion, European elegance and its own distinctive style. Your adventure continues with another welcome meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at the hotel reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Argentinians enjoy dining late so there will be plenty of time after the welcome meeting to take up any of your leader’s restaurant suggestions for those wishing to sample Argentina’s world-renowned steak.
Day 16 - Buenos Aires
Today explore Buenos Aires on a half-day tour with an expert local guide. Starting in Plaza de Mayo, explore the city’s most famous sights with highlights including San Telmo, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, and La Boca where you’ll visit iconic Caminito Street, which gives the neighbourhood its distinctive spirit.After lunch, your tour continues towards Retiro and Recoleta, where you’ll learn about the families who sought to build a small‐scale Paris in the heart of Buenos Aires and see the ornate mausoleums at one of the world’s most famous cemeteries. This evening is free to enjoy your way.
Day 17 - Foz do Iguazu
Fly to Puerto Iguazu in the northeast corner of Argentina where mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border of Argentina and Brazil. Iguazu Falls are higher than Niagara Falls, wider than Victoria Falls, and a truly epic sight. Take a trip across the border to Brazil to admire panoramic views of multiple thundering waterfalls. You may like to take an optional helicopter flight over the top of the falls for a more panoramic view. Tonight, spend the night in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil), resting up before a big day exploring the Argentinian side of the falls tomorrow.
Day 18 - Iguazu Falls
A visit to the Argentinian side of Iguazu today allows you to get up close to the waterfalls via a series of boardwalks. According to Guarani legend, Iguazu Falls was created when the serpent god M’Boy, enraged by the betrayal of a chieftain’s daughter who was promised to him, split the river in half. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls. This afternoon, join your leader for a visit to a Guarani community where you’ll meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people. Learn about the Guarani way of life and how they have preserved their traditions on the edge of one of the world’s most popular attractions. Return to your hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Day 19 - Rio de Janeiro
Take an early morning flight from Foz do Iguacu to Rio. The locals say that 'if God made the world in six days, he devoted the seventh to Rio'. The day is yours to do what you like. For relaxation and people watching, head to the beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema. If the time of year is right, check out a football game or a Carnival rehearsal. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before getting sweaty with the locals in the samba clubs of bohemian Lapa.
Day 20 - Rio de Janeiro
It's an early start this morning as we embark on a guided tour of Rio, starting at Corcovado Mountain for sweeping views over Rio from the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue before the crowds arrive. Discover the eclectic architecture, restaurants, and art galleries of the artistic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Then continue to the colourful Selaron Steps to see artist Jorge Selaron’s gift to the Brazilian people, a staircase with 215 steps that’s decorated with thousands of tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. The afternoon is free for you to spend as you wish, before rejoining your group for a farewell dinner. A fun local restaurant, specialising in smoky grilled seafood and meat with fresh, zesty salads, is the ideal place to celebrate your time together.
Day 21 - Rio de Janeiro
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end. If you would like to continue soaking up the sun in Rio, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
06-07-202426-07-2024AUD $ 11,493-
20-07-202409-08-2024AUD $ 10,858-
24-08-202413-09-2024AUD $ 10,544-
07-09-202427-09-2024AUD $ 11,169-
14-09-202404-10-2024AUD $ 11,169-
28-09-202418-10-2024AUD $ 11,056-
05-10-202425-10-2024AUD $ 11,169-
19-10-202408-11-2024AUD $ 11,606-
02-11-202422-11-2024AUD $ 11,259-
16-11-202406-12-2024AUD $ 10,238-
14-12-202403-01-2025AUD $ 10,341-
04-01-202524-01-2025AUD $ 11,940-
25-01-202514-02-2025AUD $ 10,746-
08-03-202528-03-2025AUD $ 10,746-
12-04-202502-05-2025AUD $ 11,940-
19-04-202509-05-2025AUD $ 11,940-
26-04-202516-05-2025AUD $ 11,940-
03-05-202523-05-2025AUD $ 12,415-
10-05-202530-05-2025AUD $ 12,895-
24-05-202513-06-2025AUD $ 12,895-
07-06-202527-06-2025AUD $ 12,415-
05-07-202525-07-2025AUD $ 12,415-
02-08-202522-08-2025AUD $ 12,415-
30-08-202519-09-2025AUD $ 12,415-
13-09-202503-10-2025AUD $ 12,415-
20-09-202510-10-2025AUD $ 12,895-
27-09-202517-10-2025AUD $ 12,895-
11-10-202531-10-2025AUD $ 12,895-
25-10-202514-11-2025AUD $ 12,895-

Accommodation

Hotel (20 nights)

Transport

Plane,Train,Private vehicle,Public bus,Boat

Map