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  • Exploring Machu Picchu, Peru
  • A colourful boat made out of reeds on lake Titicaca, Peru
  • Jumping for joy at the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
  • Capybaras in the Pantanal, Brazil
  • Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina
  • Christ the Redeemer looking out over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Route:
Lima to Buenos Aires
Days:
32
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: SAPA
From:

US$5,819

Discover Incan ruins hidden high within the Andes mountains, get close to caimans in the Pantanal Wetlands, and learn to samba with the locals in Rio de Janeiro before continuing on to Buenos Aires. Cross four diverse countries and see some of the big highlights. Visit unexpected gems and experience some of the most colourful cultures in South America.

About this tour

  • Type of Travel: Public Transport
  • Group Size: Average 10-14. Maximum 16.
  • Recommended Age: 18-65
  • Country: Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina

What you need to know

  • The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. You will meet your Tour Leader at 18.00 for the pre-departure meeting. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Lima

Lima was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 after he eradicated the Incas and made the city his capital. Lima has many fine colonial buildings and some of the best museums in South America including the Gold Museum, Museum of the Inquisition and the Catacombs below the San Francisco Church. Peru's capital has much to offer and many of the sights, including the city's two main squares the Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, boast some fantastic sightseeing opportunities. The Plaza de Armas houses the Cathedral, Municipal Palace and Presidential Palace where the changing of the guard can be seen every day at 12 noon. There are also many markets in Lima, possibly the best being in the central district.

Please note: On arrival at your Lima hotel, a hotel representative will be on hand to welcome you and assist with your flight the following day. You will meet your tour leader the next day in Cusco

Optional Excursions

Museum Inquisition – free • Monastery and Catacombs – US$3 guided tour • Plaza San Martin, one of the largest and most impressive squares

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 2 to 2 - Cusco

Having spent the previous day exploring Lima's bustling capital city, we take a flight to Cusco, where you have the rest of the day free to explore the fascinating ancient capital. We recommend taking a city tour, so that you see as much of the city as possible in the time available

The oldest continuously inhabited city in South America, Cusco was the hub of the Incan Empire and features a population of around 300,000, most of who are indigenous. This marvellous colonial city is situated 3,310 metres above sea level and has numerous churches, some of which were built using recycled Inca masonry, as were many other buildings in Cusco. The main square is called the Plaza de Armas, which has the beautiful cathedral on one side, which took a century to build, and the Church of La Compañia de Jesus on the other. The colonial arcades, which occupy the remainder of the plaza, are full of restaurants and shops. If you're in the mood for a cultural experience, take a peek inside the 14th-century Inca palace which was later converted into the city's Museo de Arte Religioso (Museum of Religious Art). Well worth exploring during your time here is the ancient archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, which has the largest and most impressive Inca stonework of all.

The city also boasts the San Pedro market, where all kinds of textiles and artisan merchandise are sold, and you can enjoy a fresh fruit juice made by one of the welcoming locals. Or you can simply enjoy wandering the cobbled streets, enjoy a cup of coca tea in a local café and soak up the friendly atmosphere.

Optional Excursions

Boleto Completo, valid for 10 days and includes entrance to most Inca ruin sites in Sacred Valley and Cusco.– US$40 or 130 soles • Boleto Partial, includes just sites around Cusco – 70 soles • Massages – US$25/hr • City tour – US$30 + 70 soles entry if Completo has not been purchased • Chocolate making course – US$22

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 3 to 3 - Sacred Valley of the Incas

A full day is spent visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas before staying the night at a hotel in Ollantaytambo . At an altitude of 3800m we take slow walks that take up to an hour, around each of the ruins in order to manage any effects the high altitude may have. Firstly we visit the Pisac ruins, perched on a hilltop with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. We then go down to the famous traditional market of the same name, which is full of colour and atmosphere. A great place for souvenirs! After lunch, we continue along the valley to the temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo with its enormous Inca terracing constructed on the side of a steep mountain.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 4 to 4 - Machu Picchu

The Peruvian Culture Directorate announced that from the 1st July 2017, entry to Machu Picchu will be split into a morning and afternoon shift in order to ease the flow of tourists to the site and aid conservation and preservation of the citadel. As a result, if you are scheduled to take the train to Machu Picchu after this date, your guided tour will take place in the afternoon shift. Waking early in Ollantaytambo you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, arriving at 10am. You will have time to get some food before entering Machu Picchu at approximately midday. Enjoy a guided tour around the site before getting the train back to Ollantaytambo and arriving back in Cusco at approximately 10pm.

The lost city of Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) was originally completely self -contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs. Located high above the fast flowing Urubamba River, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation that will simply take your breath away. The ruins were only discovered by the outside world in 1911, when American explorer Hiram Bingham found them while looking for another “lost city” called Vilcabamba. Due to their isolation many of the buildings are still quite intact and you can't help but admire Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain), which towers above the ruins.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 5 to 5 - Cusco

Today we return to Cusco to explore it further and pick up any last minute souvenirs

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 6 to 6 - Puno

Leaving Cusco, we'll drive along roads abundant with herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas before reaching the Altiplano (high plain) where our journey takes us past hot mineral pools, snow capped mountains and through villages where the locals sell food, fur hats and alpaca sweaters. At the highest point, the La Raya pass at 4,321 metres, you can see the research station for high altitude animals.

The beautiful scenery is continual all the way to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which at 3,855 metres above sea level, is the highest navigable lake in the world. We'll arrive in time so you can visit the colourful local market.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 7 to 7 - Lake Titicaca

The next morning departing Puno for our overnight excursion we visit the floating reed islands in the Bay of Puno to see the Uros islanders way of life and we will have the option to ride in a traditional reed boat before continuing our boat journey to the island of Amantaní. Unlike other islands in the area, Amantaní Island is not manmade or floating but is at high altitude. On arrival, we will be assigned local families to stay with, enjoying the hospitality of the local Aymara/Quechua families, sleeping in their homes, enjoying their food and learning about their way of life. We recommend you purchase gifts for the families at the port of Puno before leaving to offer to the families – they will greatly appreciate this gesture as it is often difficult and expensive for them to acquire goods from the mainland. There is limited/no electricity in the homestays and very basic bathroom facilities. We recommend charging your cameras in Puno.

Tonight you will have the chance to dress up in local costumes and take part in traditional dances and celebrations put on in your honour on the island. You can also watch the sunset from the top of Amantaní Island for exceptional views and participate in football matches with the local children.

Please note: On all of our tours that have overnight excursions, we recommend bringing a small bag to carry only necessary overnight belongings

Included Excursions

Overnight excursion & homestay on Lake Titicaca

Accommodation

1 night(s) in homestays

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es), 1 Dinner(s)

Day 8 to 8 - Return to Puno

After breakfast with our families, we make our way to Taquile Island only half an hour away, where we enjoy a hike around the local area, seeing the cultural differences between the two islands. Here we can enjoy some delicious local trout for lunch before heading back to Puno for the night.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 9 to 11 - La Paz

Built in a steep valley that protects the city from the harsh elements of the Altiplano, La Paz offers a spectacular cityscape, with huge skyscrapers juxtaposed with steep, craggy mountainsides, with the enormous 6438m-high Mount Illimani watching over the whole scene in the background. Our hotel is very centrally located and is just around the corner from the city's colourful indigenous street markets including the fascinating and suitably named "witches market'' where bowler hat wearing women in their flared skirts sell such items as dead cats and llamas foetuses said to ward off evil spirits. The main square, Plaza Murillo, is also within walking distance. The square still retains its colonial buildings including the Presidential Palace. La Paz is possibly the best place to experience a traditional peña show of Andean music and dance where local bands play time -honoured instruments such as zampoñas (pipes) and charangos (ukulele).

There are also many optional excursions available. You might like to visit the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather. Another fantastic excursion is to the emerald green area of Coroico, the gateway to the Bolivian jungle region and a great place to see sub -tropical vegetation and plants. En route you will cross a 5,000 metre high pass before descending to 1,300 metres on narrow mountain roads bordered by sheer drops. The excursion to Coroico can also be done by mountain bike, as it is downhill nearly all the way and very exhilarating, but not for the fainthearted!

Please note: On arrival in Bolivia you will be required to pay an entry fee of US$10.

Please note: During the winter months of May-August temperatures of the Altiplano can be extremely cold, so please be prepared and pack warm clothes

Optional Excursions

Red Caps walking tours – Bs.20 • Death Road Mountain Biking – US$124

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

3 Breakfast(s)

Day 12 to 12 - Uyuni

Leaving La Paz we will fly to Uyuni.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 13 to 13 - Uyuni (Salt Flats)

The next morning we visit what is claimed to be the largest salt flat in the world, the brilliant white vast Salar de Uyuní, which covers some 10,500 square kilometres and estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt. A 4WD excursion takes us to a hotel made entirely of salt and then surrounds you with a world of white and blue. Fish Island (which is seasonal dependent) provides stunning views of the salt flat which prove quite otherworldly, as giant cacti and wandering llama punctuate the scene and provide perfect photo opportunities. The fantastic contrast of the brilliant blue sky (weather permitting of course) and the pure white of the salt flats will take your breath away. We stay the night in a hotel by the salt flats

Please Note: Occasionally in the rainy season the salt flats become overly flooded and we may have to alter the itinerary if the salt flats are not safe to traverse. In addition, the local transport timetable on this route changes frequently and this sometimes necessitates a small change to the itinerary. Your tour leader will advise as early as possible if this is likely to happen on your tour.

Included Excursions

Overnight excursion on the Uyuni Salt Flats visiting Isla Incawasi & Volcan Tunupa

Accommodation

1 night(s) in basic, multi-share hostels with limited facilities

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es), 1 Dinner(s)

Day 14 to 14 - Uyuní

After enjoying our time at the Salt Flats we head into the town of Uyuni where we can compare our photos!

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 15 to 15 - Potosí

Travelling along scenic passes by public bus we come to the mining town of Potosí. The city was established by the Spanish in 1545 soon after the discovery of a rich vein of silver in a nearby hill, the Cerro Rico (or “rich hill”). It soon became the world's largest silver producer and silver from Potosí underwrote the Spanish economy, particularly the monarchy's extravagance, for over two centuries. In Spanish there is still a saying ‘valer un potosí’ (to be worth a fortune).

Millions of the indigenous population, and later, African slaves, worked in the mines in appalling conditions. You have the option to visit the mines, stopping first at the miners market to buy gifts such as coca leaves, dynamite and cigarettes. In the mines we will experience the difficult conditions in which the miners work - including 50°C heat. We'll pass several of the shrines they have made to 'el Tio', who they hope will protect them while they are working in what they believe is the devil's territory. If you'd like to learn more of the historic silver industry you can take a tour of the Casa de Moneda, a museum exhibiting coins, artwork, mummies and many other interesting artefacts from Potosí's history

Optional Excursions

Silver mine tour – US$16 • City tour – US$16

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 16 to 17 - Sucre

A short journey along new roads brings us to Sucre, the official capital of Bolivia, where by law all buildings are painted white. Founded in 1538 it still has much of its colonial charm intact. The city is also famous for its warm and sunny climate. Don't miss a visit to the cathedral where you can see the jewel encrusted painting of Sucre's patron - the Virgin of Guadalupe. You have the option to visit the bustling Tarabuco market where ‘people watching’ is as interesting as the market itself. Try some of the cooked meals in the food market if you want to sample some of the locally grown hot chillies! Local indigenous communities are famous for their multi-coloured textiles.

Optional Excursions

Mountain biking – US$25-36 • Hiking – US$31-42 • Horse riding – US$42 • Museos Universitarios

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 18 to 19 - Santa Cruz

From Sucre we fly to Santa Cruz where we rest up for the night and enjoy some time for sightseeing, before boarding an overnight train to the Pantanal.

Santa Cruz is Bolivia's most populous city, and produces over a third of the country's gross domestic product. It is an important business centre and is classed as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Despite the city's rapid growth, Santa Cruz has managed to preserve much of its local traditions, culture and cuisine, and there are many interesting cultural institutions to visit, ranging from the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The city's main square, Plaza 24 de Septiembre, is surrounded by attractive colonial-style buildings and is a nice play to enjoy a coffee and people-watch.

Optional Excursions

Biocentro Guembe – US$25

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 20 to 20 - Overnight train to the Pantanal

We take an overnight train to the Bolivian border town of Puerto Suárez before travelling by road for a short trip over the border to the Brazilian town of Corumba, a port city on the Rio Paraguay and the southern gateway to the Pantanal.

Accommodation

1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 21 to 22 - Pantanal

We enter the Pantanal National Park for sightseeing and a range of activities in this fantastic region. The Amazon may have all the fame and glory, but the Pantanal certainly gives it a run for its money in terms of opportunities to spot wildlife. The area is a huge wetland in the centre of South America and is truly a birdwatchers paradise, but is also home to a multitude of other animals. The ecosystem is known to be home to at least 3,500 species of plants, 650 species of birds, 400 species of fish, around 100 species of mammals, and 80 species of reptiles, with an estimated 10 million caimans alone. Giant river otters, anacondas, iguanas, jaguars, ocelots, cougars, crocodiles, marsh deer, armadillos, giant and lesser anteaters, black howler monkeys and zebu bulls are all known to inhabit the region, although seeing all these wildlife species is unlikely due to the sheer size and immensity of the Pantanal ecosystem.

We stay in the Miranda Province, deep in the Pantanal with our ranch being set on over 800 hectares of protected land. Where three different ecosystems meet, the area surrounding the ranch contains many natural water springs which help to sustain and nourish the surrounding flora and fauna. On nature walks, boat rides and 4WD excursions out in to the Pantanal, you might have the chance to see large land mammals like the maned wolf, giant anteater, pampas deer, white-lipped peccary, tapir, puma and more.

All of the food is included as part of the tour and is all prepared for you. It is locally grown, and vegetarian. After arrival and check in we take a walk through the open land, marshy areas or dense forest, great for wildlife and bird watching before dinner. The following day, you will spend the day exploring the Pantanal by safari, on foot and by boat to get the best overview of the different ecosystems the Pantanal has to offer. Keep an eye out for the toucans that live around the ranch !

Please note: This is an example itinerary of your time in the Pantanal. The exact itinerary will be tailored by the English-speaking local guides depending on the arrival/departure time, time of year and weather forecast.

Included Excursions

Pantanal Wetlands excursion

Optional Excursions

Horseriding – BR$80

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 2 Lunch(es), 2 Dinner(s)

Day 23 to 25 - Rio de Janeiro

Fantastic Rio de Janeiro has many things to see and do. A highlight for many would be to experience the majestic gaze of Christ the Redeemer at the top of Corcovado, the breath-taking panoramic views from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, and the vibrant coloured tiles of the Selarón staircase. You can walk from the top of the staircase up to the quiet hill-top neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, with many quaint cafés and shops lining the cobblestone streets. In the city centre, you can stroll around Rio's old colonial buildings and wander around the skyscrapers of the financial district. Alternatively, you may like to visit the Botanical Gardens, one of the world-famous beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema, or the beautiful Rodrigues de Freitas Lagoon. If you are in Rio de Janeiro around February/March, get ready for the world's biggest party, the Rio Carnival.

Optional Excursions

Full day Rio de Janeiro city tour – US$47 • Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) cable car – US$12 • Beaches – free • Maracana Stadium tour – US$7-35 • Favela half day tour – US$25 • Hang-gliding – US$145

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 26 to 27 - Paraty

Following the stunning coastline north we come to colonial Paraty, an old pirate town with streets made of stone slabs designed to let the tide wash over and clean them. You have an option to go on a full day boat cruise around the bay with plenty of time for swimming in the turquoise waters, sun-baking on the decks and eating a fresh seafood lunch washed down by a few cold beers. Other popular pastimes here are exploring the nearby beaches and perusing the local shops.

Optional Excursions

Paraty boat cruise – US$40 • Visit to Trinidade National Park – free • Visit to Cachoeira do Tobogã, a massive natural waterslide - $10 per taxi

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 28 to 30 - Foz do Iguaçu

We fly over fertile farmlands to the Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu, our base for visiting the famous Iguazú Falls - the most magnificent waterfalls in the world. Unlike most other waterfalls that have just one or two cataracts, at Iguazú Falls there are 275 cataracts in a magnificent 3 kilometre long U shape that we will visit from both the Brazil and Argentinean sides.

Visiting the Argentine side of the falls you can board a speed boat which will take you under the falls soaking you from head to toe, an optional adventure you'll never forget! On the Argentine side you'll also find the famous "Devil's Throat" where fourteen falls drop with such force that there is always a massive cloud of spray overhead.

Visiting the Brazilian side of the falls will give you a completely different perspective from the Argentine side. On the Brazilian side you can see the falls by walking through the rainforest and along catwalks above and below the rushing water. You can also visit the world's largest hydroelectric dam at Itaipu (optional) where you can learn more about the ecological issues faced during the dam's construction. There is also a very interesting bird park nearby, perfect for that must-have photo with a toucan!

Included Excursions

Entry to Iguazú Falls in Argentina,Entry to Iguazú Falls in Brazil

Optional Excursions

Helicopter ride over the Falls – US$120 • Bird Park – US$14 • Rafain dinner and dance show – US$50 • Itaipu Dam, including transport, presentation film and tour around the engineering marvel – US$25 • Jungle 4WD and boat trips – US$12-60

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 31 to 31 - Buenos Aires

We fly to the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, known as the "Paris of South America" due to its lovely green parks, plazas and wide boulevards. Explore the quirky neighbourhoods and artistic markets of the city, where European and Latin American influences have mixed together to create a city like no other. Stroll down Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world, spotting the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, which was built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the city, and the impressive Teatro Colón, one of the world's best opera houses. You can also visit the famous Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential palace, from where Juan and Eva Perón famously addressed the crowds gathered on Plaza de Mayo in 1945.

Argentina’s capital city is a great destination for culture lovers, with the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes boasting an impressive collection including original works by Monet, Renoir and Cézanne. You can also learn about the national heroine ‘Evita’ at the Museo Eva Perón.

Buenos Aires has a variety of craft markets, and if you stroll through them at the weekends you may come across live bands, barbecues, make-shift bars and practising tango dancers for a truly atmospheric Latin-American experience. San Telmo is the best market for antiques, while the market at Recoleta has great hand-made craft items. The nearby Recoleta Cemetery is also worth a visit – it has beautiful marble tombs and Eva Peron’s family tomb can be found here. No visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without a stroll around the upmarket boutiques and cafés of the Palermo district, and the contrasting bohemian barrio of La Boca, where poor inhabitants of the area used left-over paint from the nearby shipyards to paint their humble houses made of scrap metal in bright, block colours.

The city is also world-renowned for its incredible nightlife, with many nightclubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas open all night. For a great evening, you could see an authentic tango show in the city where the dance originated, and you can’t leave Buenos Aires without trying some of the best steaks in the world!

Optional Excursions

Tango show & dinner – US$90 • Hop on/hop off bus – US$28 • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Free

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 32 to 32 - Depart Buenos Aires

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

What's Included

Excursions & Activities

  • Guided tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Overnight excursion & homestay on Lake Titicaca
  • Overnight excursion on the Uyuni Salt Flats visiting Isla Incawasi & Volcan Tunupa
  • Pantanal Wetlands excursion
  • Entry to Iguazú Falls in Argentina
  • Entry to Iguazú Falls in Brazil

Accommodation

28 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) in homestays, 1 night(s) in basic, multi-share hostels with limited facilities, 1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains

Transportation

Public Bus, Travel by 5 flight(s), Private Vehicle, Boat, 4WD, Overnight Train

Meals

25 Breakfast(s), 4 Lunch(es), 4 Dinner(s)

Other

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

Group

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 8-12

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

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2017

Mon 23 Oct
Thu 23 Nov
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Thu 23 Nov
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