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
Destinations
Argentina, Brazil, Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGSGC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Marvel at the mother of all Inca cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and free time to explore on your own

  • Enjoy plenty of time in gorgeous Cusco, the perfect place to launch into further outdoor adventures, or simply relax and take in mountain views

  • The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are astounding in concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake and stay with a local family there

  • Discover Buenos Aires, Argentina's sultry and sensual capital. Tour its best sights, then explore its many corners at your leisure, from the star-studded Recoleta cemetery to the tucked-away milongas (tango halls)

  • Explore the lush landscapes of the Ibera Wetlands in search of anacondas, otters, howler monkeys and a vast array of colourful birds

  • With included visits to Iguazu Falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, you'll get the most out of this jaw-dropping natural wonder

  • Finish in Rio de Janeiro, where you're free to stroll the sands of Copacabana, soar across town on the Sugarloaf Cable Car or delve into the city's pulsing nightlife

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

  • The facilities are basic at your homestay on Lake Titicaca. While creature comforts are few and far between while you're there, many travellers find the experience a rich and rewarding one.

  • 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

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru’s capital and one of South America’s most beautiful cities. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and tour leader. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. After the meeting, stroll the streets of downtown Lima and check out some of its main attractions on a leader-led walking tour. Enjoy free time before an optional group dinner this evening. The unofficial food capital of South America, there’s no better place to sample Peru’s national dish, ceviche, than at one of Lima’s excellent restaurants. As there's little time spent in Lima, you may like to arrive a few days early to see the sights, including the chic suburb of Miraflores, Central Park, Lovers' Park and the National Museum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Private Lima: Home Cooked Tour Urban Adventure (price from) - USD83
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD52
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Catch an early flight to Cusco. Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3450 metres/11,320 feet) and then get acquainted with this charming town on a walking tour with your leader. Check out Cusco’s vibrant main square (Plaza de Armas). Witness the flurry of activity that characterises San Pedro market. Stroll past the slew of quaint restaurants and artisans found in San Blas Square. See Qoricancha (an Inca Sun Temple) and the famous 12 Angle Stone, then end your tour at the chocolate museum, where you’ll get a chance to sample 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN135
  • Cusco - Half Boleto Turistico Pass (access to selected archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN75
  • Cusco - City tour - USD15
  • Cusco - Pre-Colombian Museum - PEN20
  • Cusco - Inca Museum - PEN10
  • Cusco - Cathedral Entrance Fee - PEN25
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
To catch the early flight we will be leaving the hotel at 5.30 am, as such the hotel can only provide a basic breakfast of bread, butter, jam and coffee.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley (approximately 2 hours) on the outskirts of Cusco. This lush valley was known as Wilcamayo to the Incas and has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. You will visit a community in the valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities. If your visit coincides with market day you can browse the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos, and perhaps practice your newfound language, Quechua. Later in the afternoon, board a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This extra journey ensures that we can travel to Machu Picchu as early as possible tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes). This is your chance to decide for yourself whether Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility or is an ancient astronomical observatory. Enjoy a guided visit of the incredible site (1.5–2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards to wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, return to Cusco.

Note: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking climbs of Wayna Picchu.

Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sunrise at Machu Picchu: The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6-6.30 am The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30 am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cusco's sights, or simply rest your legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas. For those who can't get enough active adventure, a mountain bike adventure into the surrounding hills is recommended.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Cusco - Stand Up Paddle Boarding - USD75
  • Cusco - Totem painting workshop - USD59
  • Rainbow Mountain Hike - USD97
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
RAINBOW MOUNTAIN:
Before you trip comes to an end, why not pay a visit to Instagram’s most popular mountain - Rainbow mountain (or Vinicunca in Quechua, the local language). This activity involves climbing up to more than 5000 meters above sea level in one day, which can lead to life threatening altitude sickness. As such, our tour leaders are only able to assist you booking this activity at the end of your stay in Cusco (when you will be better acclimatised) and on our own operated departures where we have full control over the safety aspects of this activity (such as transport, oxygen, emergency horses, adequate first aid kits and experienced guides). The price indicated for is indicative only and the final price will depend on the total number of travellers taking this activity. Ultimately the price can range from as little as $56 (with 16 travellers) to $216 for 2 travellers. A minimum of 2 travellers is required to operate this activity. Your tour leader can assist with booking this on the ground.
Travel by local bus across the spectacular Altiplano to Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 7 hours). Mingle with the locals in this melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan cultures and see how traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. If you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, which see the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. Using the versatile totora reeds found in the shallows of the lake, the Uros originally built their islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. To get a closer look at daily life in the Lake Titicaca region, you'll be welcomed into the home of a local community and stay the night. Make the most of your visit by helping your host family with their daily activities, communicating to them in Quechua or perhaps trying your luck with them at soccer.

Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Puno is home to Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation supported by The Intrepid Foundation that works towards improving the living condition of children, families and elderly affected by poverty and malnutrition in surrounding rural communities.

Check out this video if you'd like to learn more: vimeo.com/154422813
If after your time here you'd like to support this project, donations can be made through The Intrepid Foundation's website: theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo
Depart your homestay this morning and take a bus to Juliaca airport (approximately 2 hours). In the afternoon take an included flight flight back to Lima (approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes). Enjoy a last night out with your fellow travellers in Lima.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bienvenido! Welcome to Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city, with Latin passion, European elegance and its own distinctive style. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at the hotel reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. If you arrive early, why not visit San Telmo and its weekend antiques market and artists' displays – it's a great chance to acquaint yourself with some portenos (local residents). Alternatively, visit Recoleta (the grand cemetery) or perhaps Casa Rosada (the Pink House).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Coastal train - USD10
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show (prices from) - USD60
  • Buenos Aires - Football game (subject to availabilityand tickets from) - USD80
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure - USD113
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 20 days ago in Lima on Ultimate Peru, Argentina & Brazil (GGSAC) or 8 days ago in Lima on Explore Peru, Argentina and Brazil (GGSGC).
Enjoy some breakfast, then embark on an orientation walk through this fantastic city. You'll be introduced to some of Buenos Aires' major sights – the likes of the Colon Theatre, the Obelisc and Plaza de Mayo. Along the way, learn a little more about Argentina's independence from Spain.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Polo day - USD185
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning catch a short flight to Posadas, followed by a drive to Ituzaingo (approximately 1 hour). Ituizangó will serve as your base to explore the beautiful Ibera Wetlands region in the north of Argentina. Spanning more than 15,000 square kilometres, the Ibera wetlands are roughly the size of Belgium, which gives you an idea of how much there is to explore. The biodiversity in incredible, and the swamps, lakes and lagoons are home to such creatures as otters, alligators, deer, wolves and black howler monkeys, just to name a few. Keep a look out too for those oddly noble-looking creatures, the capybaras. These cousins of guinea pigs are the largest rodents in the world.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take part on a full day (approximately 8-10 hour) walking tour and car safari with a guide, tasty lunch and plenty of snacks. You might see any number of obscure species – maybe caiman or swamp deer, perhaps even an armadillo, or a flock of rhea (which are like a South American equivalent of an emu). Anacondas, though particularly hard to spot at certain times of the year, are also known to inhabit these wetlands. Keep an eye to the sky, as you're bound to catch a glimpse of some of the 350 bird species here, from the sharp-tailed tyrant to the gorgeous and garish yellow robin.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ibera Wetlands - Day tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy some breakfast and prepare for a long travel day. From Ituizangó take a comfortable local bus to Puerto Iguazu (approximately 5 hours). As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station, you will take a minivan across the border into Brazil and continue to your hotel in Foz do Iguazu (approximately one hour, depending on traffic at the Argentina–Brazil border).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Here at Iguazu, you'll visit the mighty waterfalls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. At over 2 kilometres long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in all, and with some reaching up to 80 metres in height, they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara. Enjoy the magnificent panoramas on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. Seeing the falls from this side has its perks, such as a view of San Martin Island which you don't quite get from the Argentinean side. You might like to take a helicopter ride over the falls while you're here. This optional excursion gives you spectacular views of the falls and the lush green parklands that surround it.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we go to the Argentinean side of the Falls where it’s possible to follow a series of boardwalks to get up close to the thundering waters – so close you can almost touch them. Later, visit a Guarani community for the rare opportunity to meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Guarani community visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by plane to Rio de Janeiro, the festive heart of Brazil. Settle into your hotel and then set out on an orientation walk with your leader. Rio is a fascinating and diverse city best known for its contrasting images of favelas (shanty towns) and the glitz and glamour of Carnaval. With free time, you can choose from many optional activities. Perhaps head to a football game, take a cable car ride between Praia Vermelha and the Sugarloaf Mountain for incredible views over town. For further options, chat to your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Santa Clara (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Carnival rehearsal (June to Carnival only) - BRL90
  • Rio de Janeiro - Football game (tickets from) - USD50
  • Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain - BRL110
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you'll be picked up at your hotel first thing in the morning and head straight to Christ the Redeemer to beat the crowds. Soak up the early morning air and take some photos of this iconic statue before heading to a traditional local Farmer's Market. Your local leader will show you some of the best foods to try as well as providing plenty of interesting facts about the market traditions. Today you'll have a free afternoon, so may wish to return to the hotel with your leader to relax. Otherwise, a visit to Sugarloaf is a great way to spend the rest of the day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer & Farmer's Market Urban Adventure
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Optional Activities
  • Ilha Grande - Day trip - BRL390
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
ILHA GRANDE OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:
This activity will only run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you wish to do this activity and your tour does not finish on one of these days you may need to book additional accommodation to allow for this activity. Pick up time for this activity is between 6am and 7:30am and does not return to Rio until approximately 8:30pm.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Bus, Private, Vehicle, Plane, Train

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and guided tour
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
  • Ibera Wetlands - Day tour
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Guarani community visit
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer & Farmer's Market Urban Adventure

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. In 2019 the flight from Lima to Buenos Aires on Day 9 is not included in the tour cost and must be purchased in advance. Please consider booking international flights with LAN so you can book this flight on an airpass. Contact your booking agent for more information.
2. Airport transfers between Lima and Buenos Aires are included on Day 9, however we must have your flight details no later than 15 days from departure in order for these to be booked. 
3. Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase tickets to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary
4. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip, excluding Days 7 (Homestay) & 11 & 12 (Ibera Wetlands) where you will be in shared accommodation.
5. Please note that all 2020 departures will include the flight from Lima to Buenos Aires on Day 9 in the trip price.

Essential trip information

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