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Immerse yourself in the traditions of South America

16 days From £3,995 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2022 Tour code: LAG22

About the tour

Immerse yourself in the traditions of three 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 Iguazu Falls, to the spirited city of Rio.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London and Peru

We meet at London Heathrow for our flight to Madrid, where we catch our connecting flight to Lima. We head to our hotel on arrival on Day 2, then enjoy our first taste of South America 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, where we visit its beautiful courtyards and catacombs. Later, we see 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

We take an internal flight to Cusco this morning. Here, we set out for the Sacred Valley, stopping along the way to take part in a Coca Kintu ceremony, an age-old ceremony that involves asking mountain spirits to bless our journey. For the next two 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, where we have a guided tour. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the local chicheria, a type of bar serving a fermented alcohol drink typically brewed from maise, 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

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 up to 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 discovered in 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, as we visit 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 Aires

Today we fly to the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, enjoying a guided tour on Day 8. We visit Recoleta, an upmarket suburb with a distinctly Parisian atmosphere, where elegant townhouses and chic boutiques line the streets. We visit the resting place of Eva Perón here, a true icon of Argentina, who is buried at the local cemetery - known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. We continue our tour, seeing sights including the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral - the main Catholic Church in the city, and San Telmo, the city's oldest neighbourhood, with its quaint cobbled streets and antique shops. This evening, we get an authentic taste of South America with a visit to a tango show, accompanied by dinner.

Day 9 is free. You may like to visit one of the city's fine restaurants and experience two of the things this country is particularly well known for; red wine and steak. Or, you could join an optional excursion to Santa Susana Estancia, a gaucho ranch just outside the city.

Days 10-12 - Iguassu Falls and Rio de Janeiro

On the border between Argentina and Brazil lies the thundering waterfalls of Iguazu. We fly to the falls themselves this morning, checking into our hotel for two 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 pools of water 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 Iguazu River. After a half-day's tour taking in the dramatic landscapes with a local expert, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Rio de Janeiro.

Days 13-14 - Exploring Rio

We get under the skin of this vibrant Brazilian metropolis today, embarking on a sightseeing tour. 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 just over two miles to the viewing platform, on a clear day we admire the sensational views over the sprawling city and beyond to the turquoise South Atlantic Ocean. The statue itself is equally remarkable, standing at 98 feet tall with an arm span of 92 feet. Back in the heart of the city, we sit down to a typical Churriscera style barbecue lunch before visiting the botanical gardens, where we see a wide variety of both Brazilian and international flora. Enjoy the afternoon to explore at your own pace.

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

Days 15-16 - Rio de Janeiro and London

Our day is free until this afternoon when we transfer to the airport to begin our journey home. We fly from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo and connect with our flight to London Heathrow, where we arrive on Day 16.

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel Grand Brizo, Buenos Aires

Hotel Grand 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

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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Immerse yourself in the traditions of South America

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Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke