Gems of South America - 17 Days
Travel to a culture vultures dream destination with this 17 days trip to South America.
Experience charm at every turn as you see spectacular scenery, and explore an ancient cultures when you travel through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil on this unique getaway. Be sure to have your camera ready at all times when you explore landmarks, temples, markets, mountains, lakes, cities and villages. You will clock up many miles as you visit iconic locations such as Lima, Arequipa, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, La Paz, Buenos Aires, Iguazu, and Rio.
Your accommodation will range from dazzling 5-star hotels to a rustic lodge made of salt blocks.
The tour also includes flights, meals, transfers, a friendly guide, sightseeing and memories to last a lifetime.
• Take in the history and culture of Peruvian capital Lima
• Visit the ancient Inca capital of Cusco
• Walk through Ollantaytambo town
• Visit Machu Picchu the lost city of the Incas
• Discover the floating islands of Uros
• Visit iconic La Paz
• Discovery of the biggest archaeological sites in Bolivia: Tiwanaku and the Sun Island
• Catamaran cruise on Lake Titicaca the world's highest navigable lake.
• Marvel at the vast expanse of the Uyuni Salt Flats.
• Buenos Aires city tour and Tango show
• Visit the famous waterfalls in Iguazu from both Argentian and Brazilian side
• Rio De Janeiro city tour including Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains
• International flights in economy class
• All internal flights in economy class
• Transportation as mentioned in the itinerary.
• Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary.
• Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
• Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
• Local English speaking guide
• Train to Machu Picchu from the railway station in Ollantaytambo.
• Tourist tax in Cusco
• Admission to the indicated visits.
• The bus and hydrofoil of the Titicaca package on days 6/7 are always shared with other travelers during the tour program as well as during a private tour, but a dedicated tour guide is provided.
• Permanent assistance by our Operations Department.
• Entrances to Iguazu Park
What's not Included:
• All drinks (unless otherwise indicated) will be billed on consumption on spot.
• Travel Insurance
Your health is important. If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, you must consult your doctor before going to highland areas such as Cusco and Puno. In case you suffer from altitude sickness please consult your GP before making a reservation.
Day 1 - Lima- Arrival:
Get ready to be dazzled by the culture of Peru, when your plane lands at the airport. You will be welcomed by a guide who will transfer you to your hotel - Posada del Inca Miraflores. Once you have checked-in, you are free to relax. But if you have enough energy and are keen to explore then venture outside and discover Lima , which is a modern metropolis full of history.
Day 2 - Lima: (B,L,D)
Today you will peel back the many fascinating layers of Lima, which is the capital and the most populated city of Peru. In fact, it is home to around 10 million people. As you explore, you will discover that Lima is also one of the very few South American cities that has preserved its colonial past. This morning, you will tour the historic center of Lima – starting at the Main Square, with the Presidential Palace and the City Hall. Get your camera ready as you visit of the Cathedral of Lima. Behind its relatively bare facade, you will find a beautiful chapel and splendid wood carvings. As you wander the landmark, you will learn how it was first built in 1625 and then rebuilt again in 1940 after an earthquake hit the city. Next, you will then visit the Aliaga House, and Saint Francis' Church, which has an enviable collection of old books and an authentic network of catacombs open to the public. Next, you will go to the Pueblo Libre district to visit the Larco Museum, which houses the most complete pre-Hispanic collection of gold and silver artefacts as well pieces of erotic art. You are bound to work up an appetite from all this activity, which is handy as you will next enjoy lunch at an old-style cafe, that is best known for its exquisite pastries, cakes, breads, and gourmet food shop. You will then have time to rest before dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 - Lima, Cusco & Sacred Valley: (B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a flight to Cusco, which boasts ornate cathedrals, Inca temples, narrow cobblestone streets, and boutiques. Once you land, you will be transferred to your hotel. You will have time to freshen up before embarking on a tour of the area starting at the Coricancha, which also known as the "Temple of the Sun". You will head to the Cathedral, which is the most important building on the Main Square and is one of the most splendid Spanish colonial churches in America. You will adore wandering through the site, which is shaped as a Latin Cross and houses about 400 colonial paintings, impressive goldsmith, silversmith and precious stones works. Here you will learn how its construction lasted almost a century from 1560. Discover how the Ecclesiastical Chapter transport hundreds of stones from the Sacsayhuamán fortress for the build. You will then visit Sacsayhuamán fortress, which was built to protect the Holy City. You will learn how it was conceived and built by Inca Pachacútec in the 15th century. You will then go to Qenqo, which is located four kilometers away from Cusco city, and is an archaeological complex that was used for religious ceremonies. In fact, it is believed that many agricultural rituals once took place there. Next, you will visit the ruins of Puka Pukara, which means "red fortress", and was an architectural complex that was once used for military purposes. It has many rooms, bathrooms, and towers. Finally, you will be transferred to your hotel in Urubamba. Despite the busy day, you will stop for lunch at Calle del Medio Restaurant and also enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Day 4 - Sacred Valley: (B,L,D)
Be sure to don comfortable shoes today as you embark on a busy day of sightseeing. You will first travel to the town of Ollantaytambo and explore its famous Fortress, which is a great archaeological complex. Be sure to pull out your camera to snap a selfie inside this unique landmark. After the visit, you will enjoy a delicious lunch in a restaurant before continuing to tour the church and market of Pisac, which sell products produced by the residents of the area. Relish in the hustle and bustle of this vibrant market as you peruse the stalls. You can even put your haggling skills to the test as you bid to buy textiles, carvings and replicas of ancient Inca pieces. This also makes it the ideal spot to find a holiday souvenir. Finally, you will enjoy an overnight stay at your hotel in Sacred Valley.
Day 5- Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & Cusco: (B,L,D)
Fuel up on a hearty breakfast to prepare for a busy day of travel and sightseeing. This morning you will be picked up from your hotel in Urubambaand taken to Ollantaytambo station, to travel to Aguas Calientes. Also, known as "The lost city of the Incas" it was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. This town is also known as "Machu Picchu pueblo" and is the last stop before the entrance to the remains of the most important archaeological site in Peru. You will have a chance to browse its crafts market, and restaurants. Next, you reach Machu Picchu, which is a masterpiece of engineering and architecture. It is believed that it served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Pachacutec. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain", is also considered a World Heritage by UNESCO and one of the new seven wonders of the world. Located at 2400 meters above sea level, it is made of stone and spreads on a low and narrow hill. The function of this citadel is a mystery that archaeologists have not been able to clear up. You will enjoy lunch with the original flavors of the Imperial City; when you dine on local produce at Chullpi Machu Picchu, which guarantees a unique culinary experience.
After such a fascinating day, you will enjoy dinner at Restaurant Tunupa, where you can experience the best panoramic view of the charming main square of Cusco. Soak up at the atmosphere as love music plays and folk dancers perform, as you dine on a feast. Finally, as the sun sets, you will enjoy an overnight stay at Hotel Jose Antonio in Cusco.
Day 6 - Puno: (B)
Be sure to wear comfy clothes as you travel to Puno today. A transportation service will pick you up from your hotel and will transfer you to the train station. A guide will accompany you until the boarding gate and will explain your trip to Puno on the way. You will enjoy this journey from Cusco to Puno as it passes through some of the most amazing landscapes of the Peruvian highlands. Once you arrive, you will be transferred to your hotel. Once you have checked-in you can relax inside the hotel or explore the local area. Whatever you decide to do, you are bound to be wowed by this high rising city, which houses the stunning Titicaca Lake.
Day 7 - Puno - Copacabana -Lake Titicaca: (B,L)
This morning you will travel to Copacabana to visit the shrine of the Dark Indian Virgin. Next, you will take a hydrofoil cruise to Sun Island. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you as you climb the Inca “Grand Stairs”. You will also have the chance to taste the water of the Sacred Fountain, which is believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Next, you will enjoy lunch at the Uma Kollu archaeological Restaurant. There is a small Indian market near the restaurant, where you can shop afterwards.
Next, you will continue to Moon Island and the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu”. Then you will travel back to Copacabana before going overland to Huatajata, which is located at the shore of Lake Titicaca. Feel the wind on your face as you look out onto the stunning scenery. Here you will discover how the shimmering deep blue Lake Titicaca is home to a highland culture that is steeped in its ancient ways, when you visit the Andean Roots Eco Village and explore its Altiplano Museum, handicrafts villages, as well as the Mud Igloos and the mortuary towers of the Urus Chipayas. You will discover more about the rich culture, when you meet the Limachi family, and learn more about vicuñas, llamas, alpacas and the mythical Suri. Today, you will also go on "The Mystic World of the Kallawayas" night experience and come face to face with the natural healers of Bolivia. They believe that you first have to heal the soul in order to heal your body. You will have a chance to ask them questions about your future, which they will answer by casting sacred coca leaves. Finally, you will also enjoy a nocturnal visit to the Native Observatory Alajpacha to learn from the Aymaras Cosmovision and watch the southern constellations.
Day 8 - Lake Titicaca:Hautajata - La Paz: (B,D)
Prepare to be wowed today as you visit the Urus Iruitos Floating Island and Quewaya Sustainable Tourism Project. Here you will also have the chance to see the local way of life, and how families live in small straw houses, which are made from the same material of their boats, and survive from fishing and hunting. Your day will start with a cruise on Lake Titicaca to reach the Floating Islands & Sustainable Project. Enjoy a breath-taking view of the Royal Range of the Andes and feel the wind on your face as you look out onto the stunning scenery. Here you will discover how the shimmering deep blue Lake Titicaca is home to a highland culture that is steeped in its ancient ways. After a fascinating day, you will check in at your hotel - Casa Grande – for dinner and a well-earned rest
Day 9 - La Paz: (B,BL,D)
Culture vultures will be in for a treat today as you experience a half day tour to the Archaeological site of Tiwanaku to see the magnificent ruins of Bolivia. You will be wowed by the Sun Gate, the Temple of Kalasasaya and the Pyramid of Akapana, which are the sample of a glorious past. Here you will discover more about Tiwanaku culture and how due to an economic crisis caused by a long dry season, Tiwanaku collapsed around 1.000 AD. After an exciting morning, you will stop to enjoy a vegetarian lunchbox. Then, in the afternoon you will embark on a half day city tour of La Paz and Moon Valley. It is here that you will discover how the city of La Paz and its surroundings can transport you to a mysterious past. You will adore exploring the Moon Valley, and seeing the clay formations that resemble the face of the moon. You will be able to enjoy a cable car ride from one point of the city to another where you can relish the view. Finally, as the sun sets you will enjoy dinner at the La Vienna Restaurant before relaxing inside your hotel.
Day 10 - La Paz to Uyuni: (B,L,D)
This morning will be transferred from your hotel to the airport in La Paz for a flight to Uyuni. Once you land, you will start exploring with an excursion to the Salt Lake and Isla Pescado. Here you will see for yourself how Uyuni is the largest salt flat on Earth. The Bolivian Andes offer stunning sceneries, which can be hardly matched. The sound of silence will make your heart beat faster and the surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, the pure sky, the cacti and sometimes even the flamingos, will make you feel that there is no other place like this in the whole world. Here you will visit “Isla Incawasi”,which is an oasis with formations of algae and fossils. It is covered by thousands of giant columnar cacti, which can be more than a hundred years old, growing to a height of over 12 meters. The landscape against the background of the salt pans extending to the horizon makes it an ideal place for photography hunters. Finally, you will check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 11 - Uyuni to La Paz: (B,L,D)
This morning, you will be transferred back to the airport for your flight back to La Paz. Once you land, you will be taken to your hotel for check-in. Then you will have time to freshen up before enjoying lunch at an Indian restaurant. You will then have the chance to go on an optional tour through the shopping paradise of La Paz, where you find great bargains made of leather, alpaca wool and silver. Finally, you will enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 12 - Buenos Aires: (B,D)
After breakfast, you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport in La Paz for your flight to Buenos Aires. Once you land in Buenos Aires you will be greeted by another guide who will take you to your hotel for check-in. You will have the afternoon free to rest and recover from your flight. But when night falls, you will get dressed up to take part in a short tango class. Then you will watch professional dancers in action as you enjoy a tango show, while enjoying a delicious dinner.
Day 13 - Buenos Aires: (B,L,D)
Be sure to enjoy a hearty breakfast today to prepare for a busy day exploring one of the most exciting cities in the world. Today you will discover how Buenos Aires is a throbbing cosmopolitan city with a unique mix of European, North American, and South American elements. It is one of the world’s great ports, and the home of every third Argentine. Your adventure will start with a trip to the Northern Quarters. You will visit Palermo and also see the beauty of its parks and buildings. You will be wowed by Recoleta, with its French-style architecture, as well as the imposing Colon Theatre, which is one of the five most important opera houses in the world. You will also explore Plaza de Mayo, The Old Cabildo Town Hall and the Metropolitan Cathedral. There will also be time to see the colours of La Boca, which is the picturesque quarter of Italian immigrants as well as the fashion area of Puerto Madero with its chic bars and restaurants. You will have lunch at the famous Quilapan Restaurant, before enjoying the rest of the day at leisure. When night falls, you will feast on a delicious dinner at La Alameda before enjoying a good night’s sleep at your hotel.
Day 14 - Buenos Aires & Iguazu: (B,L,D)
You will start the day with a delicious breakfast before being transferred to the airport for a flight to Iguazu. Once you land, a guide will take you to your hotel while share their insights into the stunning national parks of this area where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. After you've checked into your hotel, lunch will be served. Then you will have the evening free to relax by the swimming pool.
Day 15 - Iguazu & Rio de Janeiro: (B,L,D)
Today you will see one of the planet’s most awe-inspiring sights - the Iguazú Falls, which are simply astounding. A visit is a jaw-dropping, visceral experience, and the power and noise of the cascades – a chain of hundreds of waterfalls nearly 3km in extension – will live forever in your memory. An added benefit is the setting as the falls lie split between Brazil and Argentina in a large expanse of national park, which is teeming with unique flora and fauna. During a guided walk on the Brazilian side you will enjoy epic views of the waterfalls, so be sure to pull out your selfie stick and snap a unique photograph. Once you have worked up an appetite, you will enjoy lunch at the hotel’s restaurant before being transferred to the airport for your flight to Rio. You will be wowed by this city, which is famous for its golden beaches, lush mountains, samba-fueled nightlife and spectacular football matches. Once you land, you will be transferred to your hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 16 - Rio de Janeiro: (B,L,D)
This morning, you will reach new heights as you experience a tour of the city by cable car. Enjoy amazing views from an altitude of 440 m on the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. You will also see the city center, the cathedral, the opera house and the Avenida Rio Branco. Once you have worked up an appetite, you will feast on a delicious lunch at the hotel´s restaurant. In the afternoon, you will tour Corcovado and Floresta. Then as night falls, you will enjoy dinner at the Nomangue Restaurant before returning to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 17 - Departure: (B)
Be sure to relish in the final breakfast of your holiday today. You will have time to pop out and pick up any last-minute holiday souvenirs, before being taken to the airport for your flight to the UK. If you would like to extend your stay or travel in a premium class, then please speak with our Travel Specialist who will be happy to assist you.
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