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The Essence of South America

Immerse in the traditions of South America's most popular countries

From $ per person


Immerse yourself in the traditions of 3 of South America's most popular countries; Peru, Argentina, and Brazil. Experience the best these destinations have to offer, from the Inca remains of Machu Picchu and the force of nature that is the Iguassu Falls, to spirited city of Rio.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights

What’s included

Days 1-2 - London and Peru
Lima Main Square, Peru

We meet at London Heathrow in good time for our flight to Madrid. From here we catch our connecting flight to Lima. After transferring to our hotel on arrival, we head out on a guided coach tour. A thriving capital city, Lima was first founded by Spanish conquistadors in the late 16th century and still has a remarkably well-preserved colonial centre. Our tour begins at the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco to visit its beautiful courtyards and catacombs. Later, we visit Huaca Pucllana, a structure that pre-dates the Incas. We continue to the upmarket district of Miraflores, where traditional stalls rub shoulders with modern boutiques.

Days 3-4 - The Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley

Returning to the airport this morning, we take an internal flight to Cusco. We immediately set out for the Sacred Valley, stopping along the way to take part in an age-old Coca Kintu ceremony, during which we request Pachamama, Mother Earth, and the Apus, mountain spirits, to bless our journey. For the next 2 nights we stay at the Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley Hotel.

Situated in the Peruvian Highlands, the Sacred Valley was once the beating heart of the Incan empire. Made up of fertile farmland, soaring mountains, and traditional villages, today it's a peaceful yet wild region to explore, filled with national treasures. We visit the town of Pisac on Day 4, home to an authentic market selling handmade crafts and Peruvian keepsakes, as well as Ollantaytambo. After our included local lunch, it's time to hit up the local chicheria, a type of bar serving a fermented alcohol drink typically brewed from maize, called chicha. We enjoy a tasting of the different chichas brewed here and are taught a few popular Peruvian pub games.

Days 5-6 - Machu Picchu and Cusco
Machu Picchu

We travel the scenic rail route to Aguas Calientes to visit the 'Lost City of the Incas': Machu Picchu today. A winding bus ride takes us all the way up to the Machu Picchu itself, where we are greeted by one of the most incredible sights in the world. Our local guide explains the fascinating history of this awe-inspiring landmark, forgotten for 400 years and undiscovered until 1911. Machu Picchu is now a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We end the day back in Cusco, which we discover on Day 6's guided walking tour. Regarded as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas', our explorations delve into both the city's colonial Spanish history and its ancient indigenous past. Our itinerary includes the Plaza de Armas and Temple of the Sun. This evening we dine at a local restaurant, where food is served with a side of entertainment in the form of a time-honoured folk show.

Days 7-9 - Buenos Aries
Buenos Aires

Today we fly to the Argentine capital of Buenos Aries via Lima, enjoying a guided tour on Day 8. We get a true taste of South America with an evening visit to a tango show, accompanied by dinner. Day 9 is at leisure and you may like to experience 2 of the things this country is particularly well known for; red wine and steak, or perhaps join an optional excursion to Santa Susana Estancia, a gaucho ranch just outside the city.

Days 10-12 - Iguassu Falls and Rio de Janeiro
Iguassu Falls

On the border between Argentina and Brazil lies the thundering waterfalls of Iguassu. We fly to the falls themselves this morning, checking into our hotel for 2 nights on arrival. Exploring the Argentine side on Day 11, we wander along the elevated wooden walkways that snake through the national park and offer sublime views over the different offshoots of the falls and their bubbling cauldrons below. We also see the torrent that is the Devil's Throat, a spectacular U-shaped cascade once poetically described as 'an ocean plunging into an abyss.' We cross into Brazil on Day 12 for a better view of the source of this epic waterfall system, the Iguassu River. After a half-day's tour with a local expert, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Rio de Janeiro.

Days 13-14 - Exploring Rio
Christ The Redeemer

We get under the skin of this vibrant Brazilian metropolis today, embarking on a sightseeing tour by coach. Firstly, we board the Corcovado Rack and Pinion Mountain Railway to ascend Corcovado Mountain, home to one of Rio's most recognisable landmarks, the astonishing statue of Christ the Redeemer. Travelling 2.4 miles to the viewing platform, on a clear day we admire the sensational views over the sprawling city and beyond to the South Atlantic Ocean. The statue itself is equally remarkable, standing at 98 feet tall with an arm span of 92 feet. Today we sit down to a typical Churriscera style barbecue lunch. Next up are the botanical gardens which display a wide variety of both Brazilian and international flora. We enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

On Day 14, we make the journey by cable-car up the Sugarloaf Mountain, which delivers panoramic views across Guanabara Bay. We continue exploring, making visits to the Sambadrome, the home of Rio's famous carnival, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Municipal Theatre.

Days 15-16 - Rio de Janeiro and London
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Our day is at leisure until this afternoon, when we transfer to the airport to begin our journey home. We fly from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, there connecting with our onward flight to London Heathrow, where we touchdown on Day 16.

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

Trains
Corcovado Rack Railway

The Corcovado Train is a rack railway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Cosme Velho to the summit of the Corcovado Mountain at an altitude of 2,329 feet. The summit is known for its statue of Christ the Redeemer and its views over the city and beaches of Rio. Each train is formed of 2 carriages and has gone under reconstruction after originally opening in 1884. Onboard, the views are spectacular towards the summit, overlooking the Brazillian capital.

Hotels
Grand Hotel Brizo, Buenos Aires
Grand Hotel Brizo, Buenos Aires

The Grand Hotel Brizo in Buenos Aires is a 4-Star establishment set off a well-known boulevard and within walking distance of many city monuments. Amenities at the hotel include a rooftop bar and a gym, while each of the modern rooms comes with a flat-screen television, mini fridge, safe, and free Wi-Fi.

Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco
Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco

The 3-Star Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel in Cusco is housed in a 17th-century colonial mansion in the heart of the historic district, close to the city's most popular attractions. The spacious rooms feature a flat-screen television, a mini bar, a safe and free Wi-Fi. On site there's also a stone-vaulted bar and courtyard area with seating.

Casa Andina Private Collection hotels, Peru
Casa Andina Private Collection hotels, Peru

Casa Andina Private Collection of 4-Star hotels are unique, upscale properties in exceptional locations, perfect for our exploration of Peru. The hotels are created with an eye to conveying what is quintessential about the region. Guests are treated to the finest of local gastronomy at gourmet restaurants, stunning views and privileged surroundings, including architecture that combines the best of traditional and modern Peru. Rooms have air conditioning, a telephone, television, safe, wireless internet access, coffee makers and a hairdryer.

02 Iguazú, Puerto Iguazú
02 Iguazú, Puerto Iguazú

The 02 Iguazú is a hotel located in Puerto Iguazú, not far from the Iguassu Falls National Park. Facilities include a spa and wellness centre, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, while each en suite room has air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

Windsor Leme Hotel, Rio de Janeiro
Windsor Leme Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

The upscale 4-Star Windsor Leme Hotel in Rio de Janeiro overlooks Leme Beach and features a bar, rooftop pool, fitness room, and sauna. Rooms include flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, mini bars, and either views over the beach or the city.

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

Flight upgrades
Flight upgrades

Flight upgrades are available. Please see the information regarding the types of upgrades offered by the various airlines we use in the Add-ons section of 'Things you should know' or call us for details.

London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel       Room Rate From Price 
The Ambassador Hotel      From £65 per person

Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/the-essence-of-south-america/#LAG21 on 6 August 2020.
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