Countries visited : Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru
TOTAL DAYS : 24 Days
STARTS IN : Lima
ENDS IN : Buenos Aires
Highlights : Lima , cuzco , The Sacred Valley , machu pichu , Lake Titicaca , Uros floating islands , Copacabana , sun island , La Paz , Parati , Rio de Janeiro , Iguazu Falls , Buenos Aires , La boca – Italian Neighborhood
TRANSPORT : Air-conditioned vehicle , Airplane , Boat , Foot
Come and explore some of South Americas’ most iconic and beautiful sites that this South America small group tour has to offer, get ready for a lifetime adventure and discover cities such as Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, La Paz, Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires!!
Commence your escorted tour in the City of Kings known as well as Lima, a city full of history with its modern and colonial sections, then travel into the Amazon jungle and learn about the lives of the indigenous communities that still call it home, continue to Peru’s Andean highlands – Sacred Valley, once known as the heart of Inca Empire, then onto the colourful market of Pisac, where the locals come and display their beautifully hand painted handicraft and jewellery!
Day 1, Sat – Arrive in Lima
Upon arrival, meet and assist and transfer to your accommodation. Overnight at Hotel Sol de Oro 4* or similar
Lima is situated in the central western region of Peru between the sea and the western cordillera of the Andes. It is home to more than 6 million inhabitants and has been the nation’s capital since the Spanish Conquest, having been founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. From that period in history still survive old mansions, churches and convents as well as the bullring Plaza de Acho, the third most ancient in the world; likewise the original building of the University of San Marcos, the oldest in America. Lima has grown and modernized; it has many excellent hotels and restaurants where one can savour both local and international dishes. It is important to note that Peruvian cooking is offering an abundance of varied and exquisite dishes. As regards to museums, the most outstanding are the Anthropological and Archaeological, the Larco Herrera, the Amano, and the Gold Collection. Neighbouring Lima, the port of Callao has been prepared for reception of tourists on cruises.
Day 2, Sun – Lima
City tour of old and modern Lima with visit to Larco Herrera Museum
Breakfast at your hotel. Tour of Colonial and Modern Lima. This half day tour visits both the colonial and modern sections of this “City of Kings.” Colonial sites include the lovely Plaza de Armas with its cathedral and palace, and the exquisite Torre Tagle Palace modern day seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In modern Lima, drive along the exclusive residential areas of Miraflores and San Isidro. Finish the tour with a visit to the famous Larco Herrera Museum. Remaining day at your leisure. Overnight at Hotel Sol de Oro 4* or similar (B)
Day 3, Mon – Lima/Puerto Maldonado/Sandoval Lake Lodge or similar
Transfer from Puerto Maldonado airport to the river port on the Madre de Dios River. A 25 minutes journey down the Madre de Dios River by motor canoe brings you to the riverside trailhead to Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the trail takes you on a 2-miles (3,2-kilometers) walk through secondary forest, until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled 220 yards (201 meters) through a flooded forest of 100-foot (30-meters) tall Mauritia palms. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, we transfer to a catamaran and are leisurely paddled across half the lake to the lodge.
After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we will learn about the history of the lodge and the philosophy of its founders. Then we once again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire west end of the lake.
Here, in the flooded palm forest we drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. This macaw species is found locally in parts of the Amazon, always living in flooded palm forests such as the beautiful palm stand at Sandoval Lake. At 500-800 birds, this flock of macaws at Sandoval Lake is currently the largest reported in the world for this highly-specialized macaw.
As night falls we will look for the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it is a clear starlit night, we will also be able to float in the middle of the lake to marvel at the brilliance of the sky and listen to the sounds of the forest.
We return to the lodge for a short video or slide presentation and dinner. At any point, you could step out from the bar to admire the wide variety of nocturnal moths, beetles and praying mantis attracted to our black light in the lodge clearing.
For those with lots of energy, our guide will take us on a short night-walk into the forest behind the lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 4, Tue – Sandoval Lake Lodge
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise and a hopeful encounter with the family of Giant Otters who frequent the lake and are most active at this time of day. Sandoval Lake offers abundant wildlife including over 40 species of birds resident to its lake margins, most of the fish-eating water birds around the lake actively fish in the early morning as well, and this outing should provide excellent views, of the prehistoric- looking Hoatzins, These are easy to observe and also photograph from the paddled canoes or catamarans.
After returning for a late breakfast we set off into the cool under story of the tall virgin forest near the lake to see some towering wild Brazil Nut trees and a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product.
After lunch and an hour or so to relax we once again board the catamaran to explore the eastern part of the lake, where we might see one or more of the five species of monkeys who live in the forest near the lake, such as the Brown Capuchin Monkey and Squirrel Monkey. Before dinner we will again enjoy an informative natural history video or slide presentation.
We will leave after dinner to try and spot some Black Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary forest. (B,L,D)
Day 5, Wed – Lake Sandoval/Puerto Maldonado/Cuzco/ Sacred Valley
After early breakfast we leave near dawn and we take a final, shorter paddle around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before returning by motor canoe for the 35 minutes return trip to the Puerto Maldonado Airport, taking advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river. From here you fly to Cusco, where your jungle adventure ends. (B).
Please note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and experienced naturalist guides based at the lodge.
On arrival into Cuzco, you will be picked up from the airport and taken on an excursion to visit the fertile countryside to the colonial village of Pisac. During your visit to the bustling marketplace you will have the opportunity to bargain with the locals for many different types of Peruvian handicrafts and jewellery (This is the place to buy beautiful hand-woven ponchos and other handicrafts). Time will be given for some lunch (boxed lunch), afterwards you will continue to your hotel in the Sacred Valley Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu 3*Sup (B,L)
Note: If you decide to bring some donations, this is the place where you should leave them!
The Urubamba Valley, better known as El Valle Sagrado de los Incas (the Sacred Valley of the Incas), is a relaxed and incomparably beautiful stretch of small villages and ancient ruins spread across broad plain and rugged mountain slopes northwest of Cusco. The magnificent Inca ruins found from Pisac to Ollantaytambo are testaments to the region’s immense ceremonial importance. The Incas built several of the empire’s greatest estates, temples, and royal palaces between the sacred centres of Cusco and Machu Picchu, positioned like great bookends at the south and north ends of the valley.
Day 6, Thu – Sacred Valley
Chinchero Market, Maras Moray Salt Pans & Ollantaytambo Fortress
Today’s excursion will commence visiting Chincheros Market, where the Indians trade among themselves just as they have done for centuries. Continue on to the Inca agricultural experimental centre of Moray, famous for its sunken amphitheatre, made up of four circular terraces, which appear to disappear into the earth like an artificial crater. The site was apparently an Inca agricultural research station designed for experimenting with crops at various altitudes (some of which run down to depths of 100 metres). It is believed that the terraces, built over containing walls filled with fertile earth and watered by complex irrigation systems, enabled the Incas to grow more than 250 plant species.
Afterwards visit the impressive Maras salt pools formed by water emerging from a lake inside a mountain in the Urubamba Valley. An amazing view of evaporating ponds for the extraction of salt. Learn about ancestral techniques, which are still used, in agricultural, irrigation and salt-recollection tasks, as well as in Andean festivals and rites.
Enjoy lunch at the charming Corazones Café, whose profits go towards Living Heart, a non-government organization involved in a number of education, health, and conservation projects in the region.
After lunch, you will visit Ollantaytambo archaeological complex, the Incas built it as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: The religious and worship zone, and the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative centre with probable military functions if one considers the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts.
The town of Ollantaytambo is called a “Living Inca Town” since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Drop off at your accommodation in the Sacred Valley.Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu 3*Sup (B,L)
Day 7, Fri – Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu
Full day excursion on Vistadome train to Machu Picchu w/lunch
Breakfast. Morning departure on one of the world’s great train journeys over and through the Andes to Aguas Calientes where shuttle buses take you up a 2000 foot serpentine road to the entrance of Machu Picchu, fabled Lost City of the Incas, never found by the Spanish Conquistadores and only rediscovered in 1911 by American archaeologist Hiram Bingham. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins (3 hours) followed by lunch at Sanctuary Lodge Hotel. Afternoon return to Aguas Calientes. Overnight at Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu 4*, including dinner. (B, L,D)
Day 8, Sat – Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Afternoon train to Cuzco
Breakfast. The morning is free to further explore this unique mountain citadel or relax (Bus and entry fee not included on this day). In the afternoon return to Cuzco via train. Further transfer to your accommodation upon arrival. Overnight at Casa Andina Private Collection 4* (B)
Optional: Consider adding the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain – please note there are limited permits per day so let your Travel Agent know at the time of booking.
Note: Although it is a challenging walk up, the views from Huayna Picchu are spectacular and we highly recommend this option for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
Day 9, Sun – Cuzco
City tour and nearby ruins & Evening dinner show
Morning at leisure. This afternoon depart your hotel on your city tour, visiting the principal monuments and points of interest in Cuzco, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere, including the nearby important Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Tambo Machay.
In the evening, pick up from your hotel for a dinner and a show at La Retama – One of the most traditional restaurants in Cusco for over 15 years, offering a wide range of Peruvian dishes. See their classic folklore show with local dances and music, said to be the best quality show in town. Dinner and transfers included. Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco 4* (B,D)
Day 10, Mon – Cuzco/Puno
Andean Explorer Train
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the station to commence your journey on board The Andean Explorer across the Altiplano to Puno. The train begins its gentle climb from Cuzco – the magnificent Andean mountains dominate the first half of the trip looming over deep valleys and the meandering Rio Huatanay. Cross a landscape of seemingly endless pastures, remote villages that seem immune to the passage of time, wild alpaca, llamas and flamingos. A stop is made at La Raya, (4,321m) to admire the scenery from this highest point of the route. Your journey continues finally arriving in Puno in the early evening around 6pm. Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection -Puno 4* (B, L)
Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, at 3,808 mt, approximately 8,100 sq.kms. in area, 194 km. long and having an average width of 65 km. At over 170 km long, it is also the largest lake in South America. Its altitude means the air is unusually clear and the azure waters particularly striking. Interesting boat trips can be made from Puno, the major port on the lake. The area is also known for its folk dances and huge herds of alpacas and llamas. In the parts of the lake where its depth is over 25 m. its waters are blue and in the shallower areas it is transparent and green in hue due to the presence of aquatic plants. It is home to extraordinary fauna such as: flamingos, duck; fish such as “suche”, “capache” and trout, which has found the Lake to be a great habitat. As for flora, the ‘totora’ (a kind of cat-tail or red mace) abounds here and serves as a food both for people and cattle and as construction material for houses, rafts, etc. From the river port at Puno town interesting excursions may be made to the Uros islands. It is sa id that the inhabitants of these islands descend from one of the most ancient peoples of America. Their dwellings sit on the surface of Lake Titicaca.
Day 11, Tue – Puno
Full day excursion to Uros floating Islands/Sillustani Necropolis
Breakfast. You will be picked up from your hotel early morning. Arrive at the Uros Island in the Titicaca Lake by boat.
Fishermen and hunters inhabit the floating islands of the Uros. The residents of the Uros use the cattail, a type of rush, which grows in the lake, to create the conditions that ensure the islands stay afloat. The dense roots that the plants develop support the island. The roofs are waterproof and the houses are extremely humid because of the surrounding water. At present, they speak Quechua and Aymara.
Then, get off the beaten track and visit one of the archaeological gems of the Altiplano. The Sillustani burial site is an amazing complex made up by huge cylindrical tombs where the Pukara Culture used to bury their elite. It is said the Incas conquered them in the XV century and continued building theses graves improving the technique. Nowadays it is still possible to observe well preserve tombs including some carving icons. This program also offer a magnificent scenery as the complex was built near a gorgeous lake called Umayo, a nice spot still venerated by the local people. Our trip also includes the visi to some l ocal farmers who plant mainly potatoes and breed guinea pigs. Accommodation at Casa Andina Private Collection- Puno 4* (B)
Day 12, Wed – Puno/La Paz
One day Catamaran Crossing
Transfer to the Copacabana Sanctuary, board the Catamaran Cruise Ship and enjoy lunch while sailing to Sun Island, the legendary birthplace of the Inca Empire. Visit the Inca Garden, steps and fountain then the Inti Wata Cultural Complex including the Ekako Underground Museum, the traditional medicine and the Titikaka Reed Shipbuilders display centres, the Pachamama agricultural Inca terraces, a handicraft centre, the Intica lounge and at the Manco Kapac look out the largest variety of Andean cameloids. Also, a unique sailing experience aboard a huge Titikaka traditional vessel visiting the Pilkokaina Inca Palace. Catamaran Cruise Ship to Chua harbour and continue by land to La Paz city. (Please have your passport ready for Peruvian & Bolivian immigrations). Drop off at your hotel in La Paz. Overnight at Hotel Europa 4* (B,L)
La Paz is the legislative capital of Bolivia, the largest city. The legal capital, home of the Supreme Court, is in Sucre. This description is a good introduction to La Paz, and Bolivia in general. Not as often visited as other countries, Bolivia is the most Indian country in South America, and you’ll experience the language, primarily Quechua, the culture and custom s first hand.
Day 13, Thu – La Paz
Half day city tour & visit to Moon Valley
Morning tour of La Paz takes you to a mysterious past where any corner, any street, is a hidden treasure where adventure begins…a living history which can not release the pre Hispanic times with all their traditions and magic rites spread out in the streets: Native, colonial and modern areas, Indian Market, Open Air Museum of Tiwanaku, Witch Doctor’s Market & breathtaking panoramas framed by the majestic “Illimani”. Also visit the mysterious Valley of the Moon on the outskirts of La Paz. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Hotel Europa 4* (B)
Day 14, Fri – La Paz/Sao Paulo/Paraty
Early morning pickup from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Sao Paulo, on arrival you will be transferred to your Paraty accommodation. Overnight at Hotel Pousada Do Sandi 4* (B)
Paraty is a colonial village from the 17th century and has some of the finest colonial architecture in the country. This sight is enhanced even more due to its beautiful location on the coast. There are beautiful tropical beaches, waterfalls and calm clear water on the 42 islands that dot this paradisiacal bay.
Note: Australian passport holders must have a valid visa to enter Brazil. It has to be issued at least 30 days prior to departure from Australia.
Day 15, Sat – Paraty
Schooner cruise with Lunch
Today take a Schooner Cruise, around some of the main islands, each with their uncommon beauty. Enjoy the beautiness of Ilha (Island) Comprida which is known as a natural aquarium of fishes, where fishes surround the boat and people diving as they begin to fee on the rices that is thrown from the boat, a perfect moment to take pictures.Overnight at Overnight at Hotel Pousada Do Sandi 4* (B,L)
Note: For the 2 May and 13 Jun departures, this excursion might be replaced for a 4 wheel-drive and waterfalls due to weather conditions…
Day 16, Sun – Paraty/Rio de Janeiro
Today travel to Rio de Janeiro. Free time to explore on your own or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful views surrounding you. Overnight at Hotel Excelsior Copacabana 4* (B)
Day 17, Mon – Rio De Janeiro
Full day Corcovado/Sugar Loaf excursion with lunch
Today depart to the Corcovado railway station at the foot of the Corcovado Mountain. A 3,5 kilometer (25 minutes) train ride through the lush mountain greenery to the station on the top of the mountain. Take elevator and escalator from the end station to the 38 meter high statue of Christ the Redeemer, 710 m above sea level. Time at leisure. Return to the train and ride back to the Corcovado railway station. The tour continues through the 2,1 kilometer long “Reboucas” tunnel, passing by the lake “Rodrigo de Freitas”, through the tunnel “Two brothers”, the living area of Sao Conrado and on to Barra da Tijuca, Rio’s newest and fastest growing living area. Drive along the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, Sao Conrado, Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana to the northern part of Rio with a stop at “Sambodromo”, the purposed built stadium where the Samba-schools perform during the carnival.
Pass by the biggest soccer stadium in the world, Maracana with capacity for more than 160.000 spectators. Then towards the downtown area, which is the business heart of Rio but it is also here where the historical sites of Rio are. Driving the narrow streets, passing by the Metropolitan Cathedral, some futuristic office buildings, the municipal theatre and the main avenue of Rio Branco before leaving the downtown area towards Sugar Loaf. Passing through Flamengo Park and Botafogo before arriving at Urca and the cable car station to the Sugar Loaf. By cable car to the first stage, the Morro da Urca mountain (220 meters). Walk to the other side of the mountain to take the next cable car to Sugar Loaf (395 meters). Time at leisure. Return to the ground level. Overnight at Hotel Excelsior Copacabana 4* (B, L)
Day 18, Tue – Rio de Janeiro
Free day for optional activities Suggestion only:
Today depart on a cruise to some of Rio’s nearby islands. Spectacular views include mountainous terrain covered in lush Atlantic rain forest, graceful coves, sandy beaches, little islands and crystal clear water. Return to hotel. Overnight at Hotel Excelsior Copacabana 4* (B)
Day 19, Wed – Rio de Janeiro/Foz do Iguassu
Fly to Foz do Iguassu and drive straight to the falls on the Brazilian side. Arrival at the Visitor’s Centre at the entrance of the Iguaçu National Park with excellent opportunity for photographs of the falls. The visit continues inside the National Park, along a paved road, which will take us to the magnificent Iguazú Falls.
Start the walking tour along the catwalk with several gorgeous panoramic views of the falls and at the end of the catwalk a fantastic close-up encounter with the Devils’ Throat and main waterfalls. It is a completely different tour than the one on the Argentine side, we recommend you to see the falls from both sides. The tour ends at the upper part of Iguazú Falls taking a panoramic elevator. After the tour, cross the border to the Argentine side and overnight at Hotel Amerian Portal Iguazu 4* (B)
Welcome to Iguazú Falls, located in the unspoilt, tropical jungle at the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, belong to the most spectacular nature attractions of South America. They are bigger and more breathtaking than the Niagara falls and they even top bigger than the Victoria falls in Africa. On a spread of 2.5 km the Iguaçú descends with such force into the deep of the Garganta del Diabolo that one can hear it miles away. This spectacle of nature with the brown jungle stream gently flowing until it suddenly plunges straight down into the deep creating a huge cloud of water is an experience that will remain unforgettable.
Day 20, Thu – Puerto Iguazu
Morning tour of Falls- Argentine side
Today enjoy a tour of the falls on the Argentine side, allowing you to explore several spectacular vantage points from which to observe the thundering waterfalls. Two of the highlights are lookout points over Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters) Falls, and La Garganta de Diablo (The Devil’s Throat). To get to the highest fall, you take an ecological train that skirts the river. There are many trails that you will get to explore which showcase the colourful and diverse flora and fauna of the region. Remainder of the day at leisure.Overnight at Hotel Amerian Portal Iguazu 4* (B)
Day 21, Fri – Puerto Iguazu/Buenos Aires
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Overnight at Hotel Buenos Aires Grand 4* (B)
Buenos Aires, capital city of Argentina is, with over 11 million inhabitants, one of the largest cities in the world. It is also the most elegant, sophisticated and active city in South America and undoubtedly the one that summarizes the varied and heterogeneous essence of the argentine being. A city with modern structure and dynamic activity that has nevertheless found the way to preserve old traditions and lovely spots. Its ambiance fascinates for the different personality of each of the neighbourhoods, the warm welcome of the people and the wide cultural and commercial offer. Buenos Aires is, undeniably, the great gateway to this magnificent country and to South America. (Take some time to do some shopping here: Leather goods, shoes, bags and clothes are a real bargain)
Day 22, Sat – Buenos Aires
Half day city tour/Evening Tango dinner show
Today discover the beauty and wonders of Buenos Aires on a half day city tour; visit the National Congress, The Metropolitan Cathedral next to the Government House in may square area. Admire the Colon Theatre, one of the most important opera houses in Latin America. Visit San Telmo, traditional neighbourhood where Tango performances can be seen in many bars and restaurants. Stop at La Boca colourful neighbourhood, which was, seat of immigrants – manly Italians – and now home of some artists. Enjoy Palermo, an area that combines its architecture and history with entertainment and amusement in its green spaces. Finally, La Recoleta, an exclusive and elegant district where the famous cemetery is found. Although it may seem unusual, fashionable restaurants, bars, cafes, discos and a cinema complex also surround the area.
In the evening, Tango Dinner-Show
The ideal way to get to know the city. A delicious meal, good wine and the best Tango: a perfect combination. Taste Argentine cuisine specialities accompanied by excellent wines and finish the evening enjoying a Tango and folklore show long to be remembered. (Includes round trip transfers) Accommodation at Overnight at Hotel Buenos Aires Grand 4* (B,D)
Day 23, Sun, Buenos Aires
Day at leisure. Suggestion: Visit the famous open-air antique market held in Plaza Dorrego Square in the San Telmo district, one of the oldest in Buenos Aires. Known for its bohemian charm, it is also home to many artisans. Every Sunday this neighbourhood explodes with locals and tourists alike. Peruse for antiques and knickknacks, watch the outdoor tango-dancing and other performers, or sit back and enjoy a coffee or beer outside a classic old café. Overnight at Hotel Buenos Aires Grand 4* (B)
Day 24, Mon – Depart Buenos Aires
At convenient time, transfer to the airport for your return or onward flight to your next destination. (B)
End of Services with Travel Projects
Departing 9Apr, 14 May, 11Jun, 15Oct 2016
|Lima||Tourist Class||AUD$11956||AUD$10458||On request|
|Lima||T. Superior||AUD$17031||AUD$13455||On request|
Prices per person in AU$. Not valid during local public holidays and special events. All prices are as a guide only, please check with us for the latest prices.
Flights Included: Economy class seats with LAN Airlines, TAM Linhas Aereas and Boliviana de Aviacion.
Sydney/Santiago/Lima/Puerto Maldonado/Surface/Cuzco/Surface/La Paz/Sao Paulo/Surface/ Rio de Janeiro/Iguazu Falls/Buenos Aires/Santiago/Sydney
Note: Add $100 per person ex Melbourne & Brisbane, $300 ex Adelaide & Hobart, $500 ex Perth & Darwin.
Tour name :
South America Small Group Tour
Custom-made, flexible trips to Central and South America. You tell us when, where and how you’d like to travel.
We will put together a program that best suits your needs and preferences.