ULTIMATE SOUTH AMERICA – 2017
Tour Code – 1200 19 days – RIO DE JANEIRO to LIMA
Prepare to discover two of the greatest cities of South America—Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires—at a more leisurely pace, and then finish it off with a visit to the continent’s top destination – Peru. On this tour, you’ll have plenty of free time in each city to explore and experience the varied restaurants, shops, and optional excursions. In Rio, view the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain; sip caipirinhas, a popular Brazilian cocktail, catch a samba show, and enjoy the famous Copacabana Beach for endless people watching! While in Buenos Aires, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Cemetery of the Recoleta, where Eva Peron is buried, and learn how at the age of 33, she was declared the “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.” You’ll learn more about her life on your sightseeing tour in Buenos Aires. And no visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without a tango show, the world’s most sensuous dance in a city where romance permeates the air.
A highlight on this journey is a visit to Iguassu Falls. See the impressive falls from both the Brazilian and Argentine sides – Brazil’s view takes you through clouds of mist, where you can experience the 275 falls, spanning nearly two miles! Argentina’s side allows you to walk along the boardwalk network and embark on a jungle train through the forest for unforgettable views. Hear the deafening roar and admire the brilliant rainbows created by the clouds of spray, and take in the majesty of this wonder of the world. Finish your vacation by heading north to Peru, where a city stay in Lima will reveal the colonial heritage of Peruvians, and then you’ll venture to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, two of the most stunning and mystical places on earth. You’ll have the privilege to glimpse the ancient history and culture, and enjoy the unique opportunity to stay overnight in both the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, where you’ll have two included entrances to the site, the chance to visit a local Inca home, and traditional Indian market. From the charming city of Cusco, where you’ll have a full day of exploration of the city and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, you’ll head to fascinating Lake Titicaca – a lake of floating islands, maintained over centuries by the local Indians who build their islands and homes from the continuously sinking reeds.
This experience of South America’s greatest cities, the wonder of Iguassu Falls, and a visit to Peru’s Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca is provided to the fullest on this extraordinary tour. And a trip likely to generate stories you can tell for years to come.
NOTE: Price includes internal air and taxes – International air ticket numbers must be provided upon booking.
In Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca.
- SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS
Corcovado, Brazilian & Argentine sides of Iguassu Falls, Recoleta Cemetery, Tango Show, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.
Local Guides for sightseeing in Rio, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca; services of a professional Tour Director.
Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
Twin-bedded rooms with private bath or shower, hotel taxes, service charges and tips for baggage handling.
- INSIDE VISITS as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Personalise your tour ahead of time with additional excursions.
18 breakfasts (B)
2 lunches (L)
8 dinners (D)
Day by Day
- RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL.
Welcome to spectacular Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics! After arrival, settle into your hotel and meet your Tour Director, who will have pointers for your free time exploration.
- RIO DE JANEIRO.
Guided sightseeing begins with a drive along Rio’s famed Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana Beaches. Take the cog railway 701 metres (2,300 feet) up to the summit of CORCOVADO to view the Christ the Redeemer statue and enjoy 360-degree views of Guanabara Bay and the bustling city below. Your afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps join an optional excursion to a favela for a glimpse into the life of these colourful communities that nearly 25% of the people call home. Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a welcome dinner at a local churrascaria. Following dinner, perhaps opt for a fun outing to see a Samba show highlighting the Brazilian Samba and its dazzling costumes. (B,D)
- RIO DE JANEIRO.
A free day in Rio allows you to relax on one of the beaches or take an optional excursion to the historic city of Petropolis. (B)
- RIO DE JANEIRO-IGUASSU FALLS.
Fly to Iguassu Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Journey to the Brazilian side of the FALLS to see the 275 waterfalls cascading over a precipice almost 3.2 kilometres (two miles) wide and 76 metres (250 feet) deep. Walk into Devil’s Throat Canyon, where clouds of mist, a thundering roar, and 180-degree rainbows surround you- an unforgettable experience! (B,D)
- IGUASSU FALLS.
Cross the border for a visit of the Argentine side of the FALLS. Begin with a short ride on the open-air ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN through the surrounding rainforest. A series of boardwalks takes you above the falls for a look over the edge to see the water crashing down below into the Devil’s Throat. This afternoon you may opt to visit the Bird Park, home to many species of indigenous birds as well as flora from the area. (B)
- IGUASSU FALLS-BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.
Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital. After settling into your hotel, an orientation tour familiarises you with the “Paris of South America” and its wide boulevards, outdoor cafes, and charming shops. (B)
- BUENOS AIRES.
Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide focuses on the city’s well-known landmarks, including the Colon Opera House and Plaza de Mayo, site of La Casa Rosada (the President’s Pink House) and Metropolitan Cathedral. Also visit La Boca and San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires’ oldest neighbourhoods, and RECOLETA CEMETERY, where Eva Peron is buried. End your day with an Argentinean meal, followed by a sensuous TANGO SHOW highlighting this alluring dance so popular here. (B,D)
- BUENOS AIRES.
Today is free for independent activities, or you can take an optional excursion to visit a local estancia (ranch) to experience the life of the gauchos (cowboys) on a traditional Argentine ranch complete with a barbecue lunch. (B)
- BUENOS AIRES-LIMA, PERU.
Board a flight for Lima, Peru. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima still carries vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums. (B)
Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once the capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the Cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore on your own. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening. (B,D)
- LIMA-CUSCO-SACRED VALLEY.
Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of Camelids (llama, vicuna, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibres that are then used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with an infamous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colourful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel, nestled in the peaceful Sacred Valley. (B,D)
- SACRED VALLEY.
Start the day with a visit to OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest-the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. You will see how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold. Next, visit a LOCAL HOME to experience life in this traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Then, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a typical Inca drink in Peru called chicha. (B)
- SACRED VALLEY-MACHU PICCHU.
Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for AguasCalientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. The ruins went undiscovered for nearly 400 years after they were abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. For this reason, many of the mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day. (B,D)
- MACHU PICCHU-CUSCO.
Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of AguasCalientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire. (B)
Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicentre of the Incas. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas before a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here on your tour. Also see the ruins of Kenko and PucaPucara before returning to Cusco. (B,D)
Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the Sun God to found the Inca Empire. (B)
- EXCURSION TO LAKE TITICACA.
Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a motorboat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening. (B,L,D)
En route to Juliaca, stop at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI. See the aboveground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Fly to Lima and transfer to your hotel. (B)
Your holiday ends after breakfast this morning. (B)