Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil

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4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Comfort (4*)
21 days
From: $ 8,168 $ 389 / day
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Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • A trip through Peru wouldn't be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. Let a scenic train do the climbing for you, then enjoy a guided tour around the world-famous ruins.
  • Look for rainbows in the mist from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides as you marvel at the power of Iguazu Falls which are higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls.
  • Visit a local Guarani community to meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people and learn how the falls were created when the serpent god M’Boy split the river in half.
  • Get hands on making empanadas or pizzas for lunch, followed by the quintessential Argentinian sweet treat – alfajores – at an NGO in the Barracas neighbourhood.
  • The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries. Scrutinise them up close on a viewing platform or from a bird's-eye-view on an optional flight.

Short Description

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.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Comfort (4*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Lima
End City Rio de Janeiro

Itinerary

Day 1 Lima

Kick off your adventure in Peru's coastal capital. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm where you'll meet your leader and fellow travellers. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the location of the meeting. After this important meeting, head out on a walking tour of the vibrant Miraflores area with your tour leader. Enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace, then perhaps meet back up with the group for an optional dinner. Whether you dine with the group or sample the city's renowned food scene on your own, don't miss the chance to try Peru's national dish, ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice, often served with hot peppers). If you're not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other excellent options on offer – ask your tour leader for tips on the best local eats.

Day 2 Paracas

Begin the day with a guided walking tour of Lima's historic centre. Stroll atmospheric streets flanked with ornate mansions, palaces and Spanish colonial churches, taking in Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral of Lima, the San Francisco Monastery and the central market. Your leader will guide you through the market where you'll find vendors selling a variety of fresh produce and regional specialties like cuy (better known as guinea pig) – a Peruvian delicacy! Head away from the tourist trail and visit Alameda de Chabuca Granda. This pedestrian strip is where Limenos (locals from Lima) go for street food and entertainment. Later on, travel by minivan to beautiful Paracas.

Day 3 Nazca

Wake early and make your way to Paracas' port, where you'll board a boat bound for Islas Ballestas. The islands are home to an abundance of wildlife including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. Have your camera handy as there's a good chance you'll get up close to the wildlife on this 1.5 to 2 hour boat tour. The port is sometimes closed due to weather conditions between June and September, in which case an alternative land-based tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged instead. After some awesome wildlife-viewing, hop in a private van and drive to one of the world's most mysterious archaeological sites, the Nazca Lines, stopping off at the oasis town of Huacachina to grab some lunch along the way. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC, and thanks to the dry desert conditions found here, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well-preserved, providing archaeologists with clear snapshots of the highly developed, pre-Inca civilisation that once resided here. Climb to the viewing platform, or perhaps take an optional flight over the lines for even better views. The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert.

Day 4 Arequipa

Leave Nazca behind and travel to Arequipa by private vehicle. Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and boasting beautiful baroque buildings, Arequipa vies with Cusco for the title of Peru's most attractive city. Built out of a pale volcanic rock called sillar, the old buildings dazzle in the sun, giving the city its nickname - the 'White City'. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is a lovely place to wander and stretch your legs after a long driving day.

Day 5 Arequipa

Get to know this beautiful city with the help of a local guide. Visit the main plaza, Santa Catalina Monastery, San Ignacio Chapel and the suburb of Yanahuara. Afterwards, you're free to explore Arequipa at your own pace. Perhaps return to the main square to take a closer look at its lovely cathedral, cafes and eateries. You may also like to visit the Juanita Museum, which houses Peru’s famous ‘Ice Maiden’, the Inca mummy of a girl who died in the 1440s. Ask your tour leader for other tips on how to make the most of your free afternoon.

Day 6 Puno

Travel by minivan to Puno, a town located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It's a long drive, but the dramatic views of Peru’s highlands, the Altiplano, make it an exceptionally scenic one too. As you approach Puno, stop to pay a visit to the ruins of Sillustani. Tucked between small villages on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umaya, the pre-Inca ruins are comprised of circular towers called chullpas that served as burial sites for noble men. Continue to Puno, a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan indigenous culture. Traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here, earning the town the title of Folklore Capital of Peru.

Day 7 Puno / Lake Titicaca

Start the day with a tour of Lake Titicaca. Sitting 3820 metres above sea level, it holds the title of highest navigable lake in the world. Hop in a motorboat and learn about the spiritual significance the lake holds for the Quechua while cruising across its waters. Stop off at Uros Titinos, floating islands made entirely from layers of totora reeds. As you'll find out, the islands are constantly under construction – as the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added on top. Reeds are used for making everything on the island, including the boats used to travel to the mainland, which can last up to 12 months. Continue to Taquile Island, where the locals make their livelihood out of textiles. Here, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. To reach the main part of the island, there is a one-hour uphill walk on a paved path with great views of the lake. Sit down to an optional set lunch consisting of a local staple, quinoa soup, washed down with a cup of muna tea (Andean mint tea). After a brief stay, a descent of about 500 steps brings you back to the boat, which will take you back to Puno.

Day 8 Cusco

Take a scenic bus ride across the Altiplano towards Cusco. You’ll be travelling by public tourist bus, and while there’s a rest stop along the way, it’s best to stock up on snacks before your journey. Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and colonial buildings are built upon foundations remaining from Inca times. Set out to discover some of Cusco's lesser-known sights on a guided walking tour. Visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. End the walking tour at Cusco's chocolate museum, where you'll get to sample a decadent cup of hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. There’s a small store where you can browse handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products.

Day 9 Cusco

Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to visit the city’s many museums and archaeological sites with your included boleto turistico (tourism ticket). This includes the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum, Qosqo Native Art Museum and the Inca ruins of Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The most easily accessible among these sites is Qoricancha, which was once the Incan empire's richest temple until the Spanish built a Dominican church on top of it.

Day 10 Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo

Set out by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Just outside Cusco, stop off for a guided tour of the Inca fortress, Sacsayhuaman. Overlooking 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 and engineering ingenuity. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. Meet women from the community and share a meal of local specialties, including guinea pig. You’ll see each family wears different clothing to indicate where they are from, and you’ll learn about the traditional wool dyeing and weaving techniques. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. On arrival, take a guided tour of the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.

Day 11 Aguas Calientes

This morning, catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley, climbing to Aguas Calientes – this seriously scenic journey is sure to give your camera batteries a good workout. If you’d like to give your legs a workout too, your leader can recommend some beautiful walks around Aguas Calientes on arrival. The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, so it’s the perfect place to kick back and take in your peaceful surroundings. With a free afternoon, you may like to while away the hours in the natural hot springs. One-Day Inca Trail: If you're the active type, you can choose to trek the One-Day Inca Trail today. Keep in mind, you must pre-book this option at least 30 days prior to departure. If you choose this option, the day begins bright and early with a 6:30 am train ride to the starting point. With a local guide leading the way, the trail will lead uphill and downhill, passing a few archaeological sites along the way. See Chachabamba and Winay Wayna (2680 metres), also known as 'Forever Young'. This impressive complex is considered by many to be the most impressive site on the whole Inca Trail, and is made up of a terraced agricultural centre, religious sector and urban sector. From here, it's about a one-hour trek to Intipunku (the Sun Gate), where (weather permitting), you'll enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu. Depending on how long the trek takes, you'll have time to snap some pics and look around before taking a short bus ride down to Aguas Calientes where you'll re-join the group and spend the night at a hotel.

Day 12 Machu Picchu - Cusco

Take an early bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. Take a guided tour around the awe-inspiring ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters. 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. After your tour, catch the bus back to Aguas Calientes, followed by a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, and finally a drive to Cusco where you will spend the night.

Day 13 Cusco

Enjoy free time to delve deeper into all Cusco has to offer. You may like to use your boleto turistico to check out any sites you missed last time you were here, or simply grab a coffee from a cafe at Plaza de Armas and do some people-watching. The Manos Unidas cafe is a great choice for a meal. In addition to serving up delicious food, this central pizzeria also provides vocational training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For those still seeking an active adventure, the hills that surround Cusco are well-suited for some mountain biking. Ask your tour leader for advice on optional activities and how to make the most of your free day.

Day 14 Lima

Take a short flight from Cusco to Lima. You will be unescorted on your flight today. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be transferred to your hotel and met by a local leader who can assist with any optional activities or final arrangements. Once you arrive in Lima, the day is free to spend how you wish. Visit some of the sites you missed at the beginning of the trip or perhaps do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Why not gather the group for one final night out on the town. Your tour leader will be happy to offer tips on how to make the most of your last day.

Day 15 Buenos Aires

Say ‘hasta luego’ to Lima and board a flight today to Argentina’s fiery capital, Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city, with Latin passion, European elegance and its own distinctive style. Your adventure continues with another welcome meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at the hotel reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Argentinians enjoy dining late so there will be plenty of time after the welcome meeting to take up any of your leader’s restaurant suggestions for those wishing to sample Argentina’s world-renowned steak.

Day 16 Buenos Aires

Today explore Buenos Aires on a full-day tour with an expert local guide. Starting in Plaza de Mayo, explore the city’s most famous sights with highlights including San Telmo, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, and La Boca where you’ll visit iconic Caminito Street, which gives the neighbourhood its distinctive spirit. From here, you’ll head to an NGO and get hands on making empanadas or pizzas for lunch, followed by the quintessential Argentinian sweet treat – alfajores. After lunch, your tour continues towards Retiro and Recoleta, where you’ll learn about the families who sought to build a small‐scale Paris in the heart of Buenos Aires and see the ornate mausoleums at one of the world’s most famous cemeteries. This evening is free to enjoy your way.

Day 17 Foz do Iguazu

Fly to Puerto Iguazu in the northeast corner of Argentina where mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border of Argentina and Brazil. Iguazu Falls are higher than Niagara Falls, wider than Victoria Falls, and a truly epic sight. Today, you’ll be visiting them from both sides, starting with a trip across the border to Brazil to admire panoramic views of multiple thundering waterfalls. You may like to 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).

Day 18 Iguazu Falls

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. This afternoon, join your leader for a visit to a Guarani community where you’ll meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people. Visit an interpretation centre and learn about the Guarani way of life and how they have preserved their traditions on the edge of one of the world’s most popular attractions. Return to your hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls.

Day 19 Rio de Janeiro

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.

Day 20 Rio de Janeiro

It's an early start this morning as we embark on a guided full day tour of Rio, starting at Corcovado Mountain for sweeping views over Rio from the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue before the crowds arrive. Discover the eclectic architecture, restaurants, and art galleries of the artistic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Then continue to the colourful Selaron Steps to see artist Jorge Selaron’s gift to the Brazilian people, a staircase with 215 steps that’s decorated with thousands of tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. The evening is free for you to spend as you wish, perhaps ask your leader where they recommend for great caipirinhas and night-time views.

Day 21 Rio de Janeiro

With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end. If you would like to continue soaking up the sun in Rio, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Availability

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Price From $ 8,168
Price Per Day: $ 389 per day
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4,186 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,164
Great 667
Average 132
Disappointing 66
Terrible 157
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil

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I had a really fun time travelling to…

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I had a really fun time travelling to Thailand last December. Intrepid made the entire trip easier because of the preparations they made beforehand. I'm definitely going to recommend Intrepid to my friends. Ciao!
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Viewing wildlife in a natural setting

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Viewing wildlife in a natural setting with an experienced naturalist is outstanding

Great trip made better by the guide.

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Great trip made better by the guide.

This trip is an excellent mix of cultural experience, adventure and nature.

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This trip is an excellent mix of cultural experience, adventure and nature. Nepal is a beautiful country and the people are so warm and approachable. Dal Bhat Power 24 hour!

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This tour of Bali was the perfect mix of culture, adventure and relaxation.

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This tour of Bali was the perfect mix of culture, adventure and relaxation. Andy was an exceptional leader. If you want more than just resorts when coming to Bali I highly recommend this tour

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Walk the Scenic Rim

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Had the best time! Over 5 days we hiked up hill, down dale, across creeks and through beautiful pockets of ancient Gondwana rainforest. The scenery was stunning, the company was awesome, and I can't recommend Intrepid Travel (and our tour leader, Joel) highly enough!
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Plane,Train,Private vehicle,Public bus,Boat

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accommodations

Hotel (20 nights)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Americas Copacabana Hotel
  • Rua Barata Ribeiro 550 Copacabana
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • RJ, 22040-001
  • BRAZIL
  • Phone: +55 2134459666

Trip ID#:

intrepid-GGKPC

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