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The Essence of South America

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

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2021 Tour code: LAG21

About the tour

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London and 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.

Lima Main Square, Peru
Days 3-4 - The 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.

Sacred Valley
Days 5-6 - Machu Picchu and Cusco

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.

Machu Picchu
Days 7-9 - Buenos Aries

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.

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

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.

Iguassu Falls
Days 13-14 - Exploring Rio

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.

Christ The Redeemer
Days 15-16 - Rio de Janeiro and London

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.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Hotels

Grand Hotel Brizo, Buenos Aires

Grand Hotel Brizo, Buenos Aires

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Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco

Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco

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Casa Andina Private Collection hotels, Peru

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02 Iguazú, Puerto Iguazú

02 Iguazú, Puerto Iguazú

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Windsor Leme Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

Windsor Leme Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

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Train

Corcovado Rack Railway

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The Essence of South America

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

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Helen Laverack
Helen
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke