An unforgettable journey across South America visiting five iconic countries and ticking off bucket-lists sights. Discover the legendary ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and local cuisine in Peru. Head to the highest capital in the world in Bolivia and Chile’s central wine region before discovering Argentinean steak and wine. Visit the awe-inspiring Iguazú Falls, and end your South American journey in Brazil with the sights of Rio and the golden sands of Copacabana beach.
• Lima: 1 night
• Sacred Valley: 2 nights
• Machu Picchu: 1 night
• Cuzco: 2 nights
• Puno: 1 night
• La Paz: 2 nights
• Santiago: 2 nights
• Buenos Aires: 2 nights
• Iguazú: 2 nights
• Rio de Janeiro: 2 nights
Day 1: UK to Lima Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Lima. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Stay: Hotel Jose Antonio Deluxe (or similar).
Day 2: Lima to Sacred Valley This morning discover modern and colonial Lima on a city tour. Start in the Miraflores district then head to the historic centre for the Plaza de Armas, home to the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Baroque cathedral containing the remains of conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima’s founder. Visit the Choco Museum and the Santo Domingo Convent, a colonial architecture gem with an ancient crypt. Afterwards, you will go to Museo del Pisco to taste the traditional Peruvian liquor. Upon leaving the Historic Center, you will head towards the Larco Museum, which houses the incomparable Treasures of Ancient Peru private collection. You will have lunch at the museums famed restaurant. Fly to Cuzco (approx. 1½ hours) and transfer to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, or Urubamba Valley. Stay: Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 3: Sacred Valley Today you will spend the day exploring the Sacred Valley. The tour will head towards Moray, a fascinating archaeological site where the Incas built concentric terraces for agriculture with an irrigation. Then, you will visit the Andean Misminay community, where your local hosts will welcome you with music and dancing, invite you to experience a bit of their daily life activities and serve you a delicious meal made with local products. After experiencing living culture in Misminay, you will continue to Ollantaytambo, where you can visit the archaeological complex of the same name, one of the largest in Peru, strategically located on top of a mountain. Finally, you will descend to the town of Ollantaytambo, which stands out for maintaining its original Inca urban planning. Here you can tour the town and visit the local market before returning to your hotel for an evening at leisure. Stay: Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel (or similar). B, L.
Day 4: Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu Today visit the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, the legendary Lost City of the Incas. Transfer to the train station to board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes (approx. 1½ hours). Continue by bus to the top of the mountain and Machu Picchu. You’ll need a small overnight bag here; the rest of your luggage will be forwarded on to your Cuzco hotel. Stay: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Machu Picchu to Cuzco This morning is free for further exploration at Machu Picchu. Your hotel is just a short stroll from Aguas Calientes where you can go by bus to the ruins (additional entrance not included, we recommend booking in advance). In the early afternoon, board the Vistadome train for your journey (approx. 1½ hours) to Cuzco, the Inca Empire’s former capital. Stay: Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel (or similar). B, D.
Day 6: Cuzco Join a city tour and see the highlights of this striking colonial city and surrounds. You will visit the city of Cusco, known as the Imperial City and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here you will start your tour at the iconic San Pedro market, a local market where you can explore the colours, flavours and traditions of modern Cusco. The visit continues with the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and cult centre of the Sun God, above which the order of the Dominicans built a church, which remains standing to this day. You will continue ascending to the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture. Afterwards, you will explore Q'enqo archeological site, where important Inca ceremonies took place. Finally, you will arrive to the Plaza de Armas (main square), where you will visit the Cathedral, the most important temple in the city. Afternoon at leisure with the option to pre-book a Night Tour of Cusco and Pisco Sour making class. Stay: Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 7: Cuzco to Puno This morning you will catch the Titilaca train to Cuzco (approx. journey time 10½ hours, 210 miles). It's a long journey but crossing the Peruvian Andes by rail is unforgettable. Enjoy lunch and afternoon tea in a 1920s-style Pullman carriage, and absorb breathtaking landscapes through panoramic windows – the open-air observation car is a dream for photographers. Stop en route to enjoy incredible views and the highest point at La Raya at 4335m. On arrival in Puno transfer to your hotel, with the rest of the evening at leisure. Stay: Casa Andina Premium Puno (or similar). B,L.
Day 8: Puno to La Paz After breakfast you will be picked up from the hotel in Puno and begin the overland journey to Copacabana in Bolivia, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Here you will visit the shrine dedicated to the patron saint of Bolivia, the Dark Virgin of the Lake. Board a hydrofoil for a cruise to the Moon and Sun Islands. You will have lunch at a local restaurant on the Sun Island before continuing to Moon island to see the Sun Virgin Temple of Inak Uyu. Then cruise to Cocotoni where you will disembark and travel to Huatajata by road, stopping en route at the Andean Roots Eco village, Altiplano Museum and a handicrafts village. Continue your overland journey to your hotel in La Paz, travelling along a road running parallel to the mighty snowed peaks of the Andes. Stay: Casa Grande Hotel (or similar). B,L,D.
Day 9: La Paz Today you will experience La Paz and Moon Valley on a full day tour. This city of La Paz has a living history which keeps pre-Hispanic traditions alive through its markets including the infamous Witch Doctors’ market. The tour will take you to Murillo Main Square, Jaén Street including a few of its Museums and San Francisco Church. You will also visit the spectactular Moon Valley, a clay formation resembling the face of the Moon. Upon your return to the city you will take a cable car ride from one point of the city to another and enjoy the view which is a wonderful way to end the day. Stay: Casa Grande Hotel (or similar). B,L.
Day 10: La Paz to Santiago An early start for your morning flight to Santiago. Santiago is considered one of South America’s most cosmopolitan cities and this afternoon you’ll get to explore it on a half day guided tour. You’ll start the tour passing by the main streets of the civic district, Santa Lucia Hill, Palalcio La Moneda which is the seat of government and the traditional main square (Plaza de Armas). The tour continues through the Forest Park until you reach the Bellavista neighbourhood from where you will head up to the summit of Cerro San Cristóbal for far-reaching views over the sprawling city. Dinner this evening will be in the same neighbourhood, at Meson Nerudiano Restaurant. Stay: Luciano K (or similar). B,D.
Day 11: Santiago Today, head west to the Pacific Ocean coast for a tour of Valparaíso. This port, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003, is built on several hills, which can be accessed through narrow streets, long stairs and funiculars. The hills are covered in brightly coloured houses and much street art, which give the city its unique character. During your time here you will visit the hilltop home of Nobel-prize-winning writer Pablo Neruda and sample the region’s incredible seafood at a local restaurant. Following a visit to the main square, travel back to Santiago through the Casablanca valley, stopping for a private vineyard tour and wine tasting. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 137 miles. Stay: Luciano K (or similar). B, L.
Day 12: Santiago to Buenos Aires After breakfast at your hotel transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening is one of the highlights of your time in South America – a traditional tango show and three-course dinner. Soak up the drama and passion as 21 dancers tell the story of the tango while you dine on Argentinian specialities. Stay: Emperador Hotel (or similar). B, D.
Day 13: Buenos Aires Explore the city during a morning tour that visits the main attractions including the historical complex of Mayo Square, surrounded by the Government House, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cabildo – the city’s first town hall. Stroll along the Avenida de Mayo before visiting the colourful La Boca District, famous for its vibrant houses, paintings, sculptures and handicraft market. Continue to San Telmo, a paradise for antique lovers and the site of a popular Sunday market. You’ll see the famous Obelisk, the symbol of the city, and the Recoleta district, renowned for its French influences. Continue to Palermo – the city’s largest barrio – home to former aristocratic residences, attractive parks and botanical gardens. Stay: Emperador Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 14: Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls Fly to Iguazú Falls, a natural wonder whose 275 waterfalls are often framed by rainbows. After checking in at your hotel, cross over the border into Brazil to enjoy your first experience of the falls. Journey by bus through Iguaçu National Park to reach the falls. Most of them are on the Argentinian side so from this side you can enjoy incredible panoramic views as you follow the forest trail down to the canyon. View the largest fall, the Devil’s Throat, from just 200 metres away – close enough to feel the spray on your face – and watch in awe as thousands of gallons of water roar over the edge every second. Take the lift or stairs to the Upper Balcony for more views. Approx. flight time: 2 hours. Stay: Mercure Iguazu Hotel Iru (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 15: Iguazú Falls Enjoy a full-day tour of the Argentine side of the national park and falls, which includes a ride through the jungle on the ecological train. The park is rich in flora and you’ll see a variety of ferns, orchids, begonias, birds and butterflies, as well as native species such as coatis. Follow a series of walkways to the top of the falls and stand just metres from the top of the mighty Devil’s Throat, or ‘Garganta do Diablo’. Stop for lunch at La Selva Restaurant, which is within the park. Transfer to your hotel, nestled in the Iryapú Reserve halfway between Puerto Iguazú city centre and the falls. Stay: Mercure Iguazú Hotel Iru (or similar). B, L.
Day 16: Iguazú Falls to Rio de Janeiro Depart from Iguazú this morning and fly to vibrant Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to your hotel, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Approx. flight time: 2 hours. Stay: Windsor California Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 17: Rio de Janeiro Discover some of the city’s most iconic attractions on a full-day excursion to Corcovado. Enjoy a scenic drive along the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon to the foot of Corcovado Hill and ride a small train up the mountain to view the city’s world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, which stands at over 30 metres tall with arms outstretched overlooking the beautiful bay. On a clear day, there are spectacular panoramic views over the city and beyond. Descend the mountain for a delicious lunch. Continue to another of Rio’s most recognisable symbols, Sugar Loaf Mountain. Ride two cable cars to the top for sensational 360-degree views over the whole city. Your farewell dinner will be at Fogo de Cháo, a churrascaria – traditional Brazilian steakhouse with incredible views of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Order your favourites or sample the entire menu with 15 cuts of fire-roasted meats to choose from. Flip your token to green or red to indicate if you want more or if you’re full up. If you have room left for something sweet try one of Brazil’s most popular desserts, fresh papaya blended with vanilla ice-cream and topped with blackcurrant liqueur. Stay: Windsor California (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 18: Rio de Janeiro to UK To help you make the most of your time in Rio, we’ve arranged a late check-out (4pm). Later transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B.
Is this for you?
A packed itinerary for those looking to experience South America’s most famous sights in a under three weeks.
Good to know
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey, where the minimum age is 10)
• Average group size of 12 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag
What to expect
• You'll need a small overnight bag for your night in Machu Picchu, the rest of your luggage will be forwarded on
• Tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties due to uneven terrain, steps and hills to climb
• Tour is not suitable for those with respiratory problems as you'll visit altitudes up to 4000m (13,125ft)
• Temperatures and weather conditions vary, therefore we recommend taking layers that can be easily added or removed and a waterproof jacket (particularly for Iguazú Falls)
• A pair of comfortable walking shoes is recommended
• Luggage is not always included on internal flights, it can be paid in advance online or on the day at the airport
• A good level of fitness is required
• Meals are meat based – vegetarian and vegan meals have to be requested in advance
• A city tax of $1 USD per person, per night is payable locally in Buenos Aires
• Ensure you have your passport handy when crossing land borders
Accommodation on tour
From a restored colonial mansion in Cusco, to a boutique Art Deco hotel in Santiago to a hotel with a rooftop pool perfectly situated on Copacabana Beach, the accommodation on this tour has been handpicked to give you the best experience and locations.
Sole-use room from £10209
2021 Feb 15; Mar 8; May 3; Oct 11; Nov 8
2022 Feb 14; Mar 7; May 2; Oct 10; Nov 7
Included in price
• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Handpicked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights
Upgrade your tour
Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £11425 per person.
Day 5: Second entrance to Machu Picchu from £91 per person.
Day 6: Night tour of Cusco & Pisco Sour making class from £31 per person.
Travel to Machu Picchu by train Take the classic train journey from the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.
Cross Lake Titicaca Sail across the highest navigable lake in the world from Peru to Bolivia while learning about the unique cultures of the people who call the lake their home.
Experience the passion of Tango Soak up the drama and passion as 21 dancers tell the story of the tango while you dine on Argentinian specialities in Buenos Aires.