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Best of South America

51 Days | A kaleidoscope of Latin colour, from Lima to Rio

4.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews submitted.
Explorer
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USD $7,357
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Take a deep dive into Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil on an epic 51-day trip. With local leaders guiding you to the best neighbourhoods as well as plenty of time to explore independently, you’ll wonder what took you so long to appreciate this corner of the globe. Trek or train to the lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, spend a few days on a working estancia in Uruguay, take a 4WD adventure through the Andean desert to the Uyuni salt flats and wind up in all the best cities – Buenos Aires, La Paz and Lima, to name a few. Finish up with beach and party vibes in Brazil – a perfect spot to chill out after your adventure to South America’s hotspots.

Trip overview

Map of Best Of South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay
Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Basix
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
GGBTC
This trip generates 42.72 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Explore elegant colonial architecture, political history in spades and hilly neighbourhoods dotted with terracotta roofs – Sucre might be Bolivia’s most beautiful city.
  • Take an unforgettable 4WD adventure across the Salar de Uyuni – some of the largest salt lakes in the world. Pass cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos.
  • The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries, and so is the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. You’ll experience both your own way, with a range of options to choose from.
  • Enjoy delicious home-cooking and warm hospitality during your three-day estancia stay, and learn about Uruguay’s gauchos – legendary cowboys – while on the ranch.
  • After seeing its virgin rainforests, blue lagoons and splendid beaches, you’d never imagine that Ilha Grande had such a treacherous pirate history. This is true natural beauty, Brazilian style.

Is this trip right for you?
  • There are some long travel days and five overnight bus journeys on this trip. Although the buses feature comfortable reclining seats, they are not beds. There’s also usually a toilet on-board, and some of the buses make toilet stops. Across the Andean Desert and salt flats, you’ll spend long days travelling in 4WDs on bumpy tracks. These trips can be tiresome, but an adventure trip around South America wouldn’t be complete without an overnight bus journey. 
  • In some locations you’ll be staying in basic dormitory-style accommodation with shared facilities, expect some nights to have drop toilets, no showers, no hot water. Please refer to the Itinerary for details of each night’s accommodation.
  • There will be a lot of hiking and walking on this trip (especially on the Inca Trail which can be quite challenging), so this requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details. 
  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers. Night-time in the desert can be especially cold.
  • 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 ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more detail. 
  • 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. Please refer to the itinerary for details.

Itinerary

Map of Best Of South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay

Inclusions

Meals

41 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners

Transport

4x4, Boat, Bus, Coach, Ferry, Minibus, Overnight bus, Plane, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Van

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Dormitory (2 nights), Estancia (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (38 nights), Overnight bus (3 nights)

Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon Condor Visit
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
  • 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail) guided hike(s) with porters' support. Or guided Cusco stay (Machu Picchu by train)
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance & Guided visit
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
  • Salt flats - Visit to 'Fish Island/Inca Wasi'
  • Uyuni - Colchani Salt Factory Visit
  • Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada
  • Buenos Aires - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Tacuarembo - 3-Night Stay on a Working Estancia
  • Iguazu Falls - Tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Rio de Janeiro - Orientation Walk
Add on activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum (entrance fee) - PEN15
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion (entrance fee) - PEN10
  • Lima - Banco Central de Reserva Museum (entrance fee) - PEN5
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum Entrance Fee - PEN35
  • Lima - Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventure (Price based on 2 participants) - USD52
  • Lima - Private: Home Cooked Tour Ceviche experience Urban Adventure (Based on 2 Participants) - USD85
  • Lima - Lima Water Show (Based on 4 participants) - USD40
  • Lima - Lima Pisco Making (Based on 4 participants) - USD35
  • Lima - Private Larco Museum (Based on 4 participants) - USD50
  • Lima - Bohemian Barranco (Based on 4 participants) - USD75
  • Lima - Lima Eat Street (Based on 4 participants) - USD75
  • Lima - Lima Discovery + San Francisco and Pisco Sour - Urban Adventures (Price based on 2 participants) - USD39
  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs Admission Fee - PEN20
  • Paracas - National Reserve guided tour - PEN97
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour - PEN97
  • Nazca - Scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (excluding 77 PEN Taxes at Nazca Airport) - USD100
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum Admission Fee - PEN20
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery Admission Fee - PEN45
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs - PEN15
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN135
  • Cusco - Cathedral Entrance Fee - PEN40
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple (entrance fee) - PEN15
  • Cusco - Half Boleto Turistico Pass (access to selected archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN75
  • Cusco - City tour and 4 Ruins (min 4 people) - USD40
  • Cusco - Pre-Colombian Museum - PEN20
  • Cusco - Inca Museum (entrance fee) - PEN10
  • Cusco - Pisco Making Urban Adventure (Based on 2 participants) - USD57
  • Cusco - Cusco Cooking Class - USD70
  • Ollantaytambo - Archaeological site - PEN70
  • Cusco - Full Day Via Ferrata & Zipline - USD95
  • Cusco - Rainbow Mountain Hike (Based on 4 participants) - USD105
  • Cusco - Full Day Stand Up Paddle Boarding (Based on 4 participants) - USD85
  • Cusco - Humantay Lake Hike (Based on 4 participants) - USD130
  • Cusco - Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain Hike (Based on 4 paticipants) - USD100
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking (Price Based on 2 Participants) - USD170
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
  • La Paz - Coca Museum - BOB15
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku Tour - USD50
  • La Paz City Tour & Moon Valley - USD40
  • Museo de la Recoleta - BOB15
  • Sucre - Dinosaur footprints at Cal Orcko (Admission Fee) - BOB70
  • Sucre - Casa de la Libertad - BOB28
  • Potosi - Santa Teresa Convent Museum - BOB33
  • Potosi - National Mint of Bolivia - BOB60
  • Potosi - Cerro Rico mine tour - BOB150
  • Quebrada de Humahuaca - Free
  • Purmamarca Town - Free
  • Garganta del diablo (Devil's Throat Waterfall) - Free
  • Quebrada de las Señoritas & Hornocal Hill - USD45
  • Buenos Aires - Polo day - USD185
  • Buenos Aires - Ateneo Bookshop - Free
  • Buenos Aires - Tango Show and Dinner - USD120
  • Buenos Aires - Recoleta Cemetry - USD5
  • Buenos Aires - Football game (subject to availability) from - USD120
  • Colonia - Lighthouse visit - UYU35
  • Estancia - Horse riding - Free
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park - BRL80
  • Iguazu Falls - Helicopter ride - BRL610
  • Iguazu Falls - Zodiac ride up to the falls - USD90
  • Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain 3 (Admission Fee) - BRL160
  • Rio de Janeiro - Maracana football game (schedule dependent) - BRL400
  • Rio de Janeiro - Botanical Gardens admission fee - BRL67
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL20
  • Rio de Janeiro - Christ the Redeemer (entrance) - BRL82
  • Paraty - Boat trip - BRL220
  • Paraty - Trindade excursion - BRL120
  • Ilha Grande - Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon - BRL220
  • Hike to Lopes Mendes beach - Free
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour Combo 1: Santa Teresa, Corcovado, Christ & Copacobana - USD149

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead https://www.intrepidtravel.com/machu-picchu-peru/quarry-trail
The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

2. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres (9200 feet) where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude – regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Please read further about altitude sickness in the 'Medical and health information' section of the Essential Trip Information.

3. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

4. There are no activities on the final day and you are free to depart anytime.

5. This trip is a combination of three of our most popular departures. As such the make up of the group and the tour leader may change on Days 21 & 34.

6. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 9, 22, 40 (Overnight bus), Days 11, 12, 13 (Camping), Days 18 (Homestay), Days 27, 28 (Dormitory) and Days 37, 38, 39 (Estancia) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

7. Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.

8. Please see the 'Passport and visa information' section in the Essential Trip Information for related details.
Please note you may require a Brazilian Visa for this trip. Processing can take around 2–5 weeks at the discretion of the embassy or consulate. Please speak with your travel agent well in advance for further advice.

9. While hiking the 4-day Inca Trail or the 3-day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip, you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.

10. Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase entrance fees 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.

11. As you can choose different ways of reaching Machu Picchu (Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train), there is a small chance you may be the only traveller on your selected option.

12. Fees may apply if you choose to change from the Inca Trail to the Train or Quarry Trail after your booking has been made.

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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Maria · Traveled April 2023
I have just done a 51 day South America trip with my mother. It was amazing. The itinerary. The tour leaders. The places we visited. The people we met. The trip has changed our lives. What a great trip can’t wait for the next one
Review submitted 26 May 2023

Jackie · Traveled April 2023
Had a great trip with my daughter for 51 days around South America. The whole trip was so great. The leaders were amazing. Doing Central America next year
Review submitted 26 May 2023

Danny · Traveled December 2022
This tour provides an amazing diversity of experiences for the more adventurous traveller. There are long travel days throughout the tour, and challenging conditions in certain places such as the salt flats. I think the group all felt the tour was very worthwhile, although I personally wouldn’t likely do one again this long without a break.
Review submitted 01 Feb 2023
Best of South America
From
USD $7,357