Discover the delights of South America in Peru, Argentina and Brazil

There are many sides to South America, from the energy of the cities, the beauty of the lansdcapes and the spirit of its people. Discover it all on this trip that winds through the Inca heartlands and jungles of Peru, the enigmatic cities and natural wonders of Argentina and the dynamism of Brazil's vivacious Rio. See animals, meet locals, traverse trails and marvel at all the contrasts of this very special corner of the world.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Countries
Argentina, Brazil, Peru
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGKPC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Cuzco is a great city to explore on foot. Enter a bygone era as you explore the ancient Incan ruins dotted all over the city

  • A trip through Peru wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour around the ruins as well as plenty of free time to discover it on your own

  • Spend a full day exploring the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island, with the chance to meet the local Uru people

  • Buenos Aires offers an eclectic mix of European, Cosmopolitan and Latin flavours, as well as a booming cultural and nightlife scene. Explore the neighbourhoods of this lively, confident city on a full-day tour with a local guide

  • Look for rainbows in the mist of the mighty Iguazu Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, and visit a local indigenous community

  • Gaze over the dazzling city, mountains and bay of Rio de Janeiro from the foot of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue

  • Favelas may sit alongside mansions, but in the heaving metropolis of Rio, everyone’s invited to the party. Immerse yourself in Brazilian culture, dance and music

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of travel on local buses, including some long trips and an overnight bus. Bus travel can be tiring, but is also a great opportunity to relax, rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy the scenery.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

  • There are several orientation walks and city tours during this trip so there will be quite a lot of walking. It’s important to always bring plenty of water, wear comfortable walking shoes and ensure you use adequate sun protection. Wearing layers is a good way to tackle the heat.

Itinerary

On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. You'll meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing, which is usually held at 2 pm. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the location of the meeting. Afterwards, your leader will take you on a brief walking tour within the Miraflores area. Your in-depth city tour will be on Day 14 of the trip.

This evening, you may want to go out for a group dinner. There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!

Notes: Altitude sickness is a common occurrence in this part of the world. Anyone can suffer from the symptoms, so it's important to be prepared for it. Please see the 'Health' section of the trip notes for more information.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Pachacamac Tour (30 km from downtown) - USD37
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral of Lima, which houses the remains ofLima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains.Continue onto the Central market where you'll take a walking tour.The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer, including fruits, vegetables and even guinea pigs. You'll also have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food. Next head away from the tourist trail and visit ‘Alameda de Chabuca Granda’ an area really only known to locals, it is a place wherepeople go as a treat to enjoy a variety local street food and authentic Peruvian desserts such as ‘Mazamorra Morada’ a sweet porridge made from purple corn or ‘Picarones’ Peruvian donuts made from local squash called Macre and sweet potatoes served with a sweet syrup, these are a must try whilst in Peru!
Later, travel by minivan for around four hours to Paracas, arriving in the late afternoon/early evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs
  • Lima - Guided tour, including San Francisco Monastery, the Catacombs and Central Market
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Cathedral visit - PEN12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Awake early for an excursion to the Islas Ballestas and make your way to Paracas' port, where you'll board a boat bound for the islands. Often referred to as the Galapagos of Peru, Islas Ballestas are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You'll have the opportunity to see the wildlife up close on a boat tour of the islands (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Between June and September the port may be closed due to weather conditions, if this is the case, an alternative land tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged.

You will be driven in a private van from Paracas to Nazca next. This is a three hour drive, but we may stop at the oasis town of Huacachina on the way. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC and here, in the dry desert conditions, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well preserved to give archaeologists clear snapshots of this highly developed civilisation. Visit the viewing platform here or to get a bird's eye view of the lines, you can choose to go on a flight tour of the area. The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert.

Notes: The flight can be bumpy and it is only recommended for those with a strong stomach. There have been safety issues with these flights in the past, so we have done our best to research the best operators in the area to recommend to you. Our tour leaders are prohibited from recommending or booking through any other operators. This optional tour (flight) costs about US$100 per person (price subject to change).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ballestas Island - Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today will be a long day of travel. You will journey to Arequipa by private van (approximately 12 hours including toilet and lunch stops) It is well worth it though, Arequipa is a beautiful Spanish colonial city, known as ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ (The White City) because the buildings have been built almost exclusively from a white volcanic material called 'sillar'. The city lies in a beautiful valley and at the foot of the 5822-metre-high El Misti volcano, a perfectly shaped cone.
Arequipa is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. Protected by mountains, its wild surrounding landscape consists of high altitude deserts, hot springs and abyssal canyons.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There will be a walking tour arranged with a local guide that will take you to visit the main square, the Santa Catalina Monastery, the San Ignacio Chapel with its colonial mural paintings and the suburb of Yanahuara. Otherwise, relaxing in a cafe in the main plaza is the perfect way to spend your time here.
You will have some free time today. Perhaps visit the Juanita Mueseum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
Optional Activities
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum - PEN20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by minivan to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approx 6 hrs). On the way we stop at the Sillustani archaeological site.
Tucked away in between the many small villages around Puno are the ruins of Sillustani. These ruined towers are set on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umayo, built by a pre-Inca civilisation hundreds of years ago. The Sillustani Indians built several 'chullpas', funeral towers. Each tower would have contained the remains of noble men, buried together with offerings to secure their comfortable passage into the next life.
Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sillustani archaeological site (time permitting)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Tour the lake by slow motor boat stopping off to visit the floating islands. The Uros originally built the islands from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the lake's shallows to isolate themselves from the rival tribes. As the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added on top. These reeds are used for making everything on the islands, including the boats which can last up to 12 months.
We will also visit the Taquile Island, where knitting is strictly a male domain and women do the spinning. This is a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. To reach the main part of the island there is a an uphill trek (approx 1 hour) with great views of the lake. There will also be an optional lunch consisting of a basic set meal where you can taste the nutritious quinua soup and enjoy a muna tea (Andean mint tea).
A descent of approx 500 steps brings us back to the boat which will take us all the way back to Puno (approx 3 hours).

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by local bus across the spectacular Altiplano to Cuzco (approx 10 hours including stops)
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here.
Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city. Your tour leader will take you out on an orientation walk. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Finally you’ll visit the Chocolate museum where there will be an opportunity to sample a hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. This might be a good opportunity to purchase some gifts or souvenirs. There’s a small store where you’ll find various handicrafts and a variety of artisanal chocolate products. Tonight is free, perhaps head out for dinner your fellow travellers. Your leader will be able to recommend some good place sot eat!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You have a free day to explore Cusco today.
For you to make the most of your free time in Cusco, your trip includes a “Full Boleto Turistico”, a tourist pass that gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in and around Cusco, including Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Saqsaywaman, amongst others.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/
Included Activities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will drive on to the Sacred Valley on a private bus today.
The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River.
At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength.
You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community.
Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
You will leave the majority of your luggage in Cusco while you spend time in Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, be sure to bring a small backpack that you can pack with necessary goods for the days ahead.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today will be Aguas Calientas. You will travel by train for 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach town.
The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a very early (5:30am) bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes) where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty.
MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters.
You will have a guided visit (approximately 2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you have a free day in Cusco to further explore this wonderful city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly from Cuzco back to Lima (approx 1 hr).
The remainder of the day is free to further explore Lima. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will need to book a flight from Lima to Buenos Aires for today (not included in the tour price)

Please arrive in time for a group meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information

Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style all of its own, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (local residents) are justifiably proud of their city which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own style.

If you arrive early, why not visit San Telmo and its weekend antiques market and artists' displays, La Boca home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors, Recoleta with its ornate and grand cemetery or Casa Rosada (Pink House) among other attractions.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The complimentary airport transfer is only applicable on Day One of your trip or if pre-trip accommodation is booked through Intrepid (please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided).

If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.
Today explore Buenos Aires on a full-day tour with a local guide. Wander the cobbled streets of San Telmo and browse its antiques markets, then continue to Plaza de Mayo to see the presidential palace of Casa Rosada. Walk among the tombs of the Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. From here take a private van to La Boca and its well-known ‘Caminito’ district, before moving on to the lesser-known side of the neighbourhood. Here you’ll visit an artist's gallery and eat an included lunch in support of a local social project.

In the evening, perhaps enjoy a tango show, a football match or a steak and glass of malbec in one of the city’s trendy restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Full-day guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD120
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show (ticket price depends on the location and inclusions) - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Fly to Puerto Iguazu in the northeast corner of Argentina today. The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border of Argentina and Brazil, and the group will be visiting the falls from both sides. The falls are over 2 km in length and consist of 275 falls in total, some of which stretch up to 80 metres high. This makes them higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls. Head across to Brazil to admire panoramic views of the waterfalls. Take an optional helicopter flight over the top of the falls for a more panoramic view. Tonight, spend the night in a hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil)
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Bird Park - BRL40
  • Helicopter ride (min 3 people) - BRL430
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
For visa information purposes:
Day 17 - Visit Brazilian side of the falls, overnight in a hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil)
Day 18 - Visit Argentinean side of the falls, overnight in a hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil)
A visit to the Argentinian side of Iguazu today allows you to get up close to the waterfalls via a series of boardwalks. According to Guarani legend, Iguazu Falls was created when the serpent god M’Boy, enraged by the betrayal of a chieftain’s daughter who was promised to him, split the river in half. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls or a helicopter flight over the top. Visit a Guarani community to meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people. Return to our hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu - Guarani community visit
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, cross the border into Brazil and take an early morning flight from Foz do Iguacu to Rio. The locals say that 'if God made the world in six days, he devoted the seventh to Rio'. The day is yours to do what you like. For relaxation and people watching, head to the beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema. If the time of year is right, check out a football game or a Carnival rehearsal. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before getting sweaty with the locals in the samba clubs of bohemian Lapa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Carnaval rehearsal (only available from June to Carnaval) - BRL80
  • Rio de Janeiro - Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD30
  • Rio de Janeiro - Samba show - BRL200
  • Rio de Janeiro - Sugar loaf cable car - BRL76
  • Rio de Janeiro - Favela feelings Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning embark on a full-day guided tour of Rio. Discover the eclectic architecture, restaurants and art galleries of the artistic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Stop by the famous Selaron Steps to see artist Jorge Selaron’s gift to the Brazilian people. Continue up to Corcovado Mountain for sweeping views over Rio from the base of the Christ the Reedemer statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Then experience a different side of the city with a visit to the Santa Marta favela to learn about local life and meet some of the people who make up this dynamic community.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Guided tour including Santa Teresa and Selaron Steps
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today your adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day so you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Bus, Private, Vehicle, Plane, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (20 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs
  • Lima - Guided tour, including San Francisco Monastery, the Catacombs and Central Market
  • Ballestas Island - Guided tour
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
  • Sillustani archaeological site (time permitting)
  • Cuzco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Buenos Aires - Full-day guided tour
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu - Guarani community visit
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Rio de Janeiro - Guided tour including Santa Teresa and Selaron Steps

Dates & availability

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Important notes

FLIGHT NOT INCLUDED
Flight from Lima to Buenos Aires on day 15 is not included in the tour cost and must be by client or agent.
Please consider booking international flights with Lan so you can book this flight on an airpass. Contact us for more information.
**Airport transfers are included for these flights, however we must have flight information, no later than 15 days out from departure**

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Domestic airlines require passengers' passport numbers to issue their tickets. It is then very important that you provide this information at the time of booking. Delays to provide this information may result in third party booking fees.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
A single supplement is available on this trip except on day 7 at the Lake Titicaca homestay.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to important sites such as Machu Picchu. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.