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Let us be your travel guide from Buenos Aires to Lima. Kick off in Buenos Aires, one of the most enchanting cities in the Americas. Gain in-depth knowledge as you walk with a local expert and find unique things to do during your time here. Sample Argentinian wine in the vineyard-clad hills of Mendoza. Traverse the Andes mountains to find Santiago de Chile, the Salt Lakes of Bolivia and sunny islands of Copacabana. Journey deep into the Sacred Valley for breathtaking views of forgotten ruins nestled in lush mountains and valleys. Finish in a major Latin American city and capital, Lima.
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
Welcome to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires! If you arrive with time to spare, head into town to make the most of your time in Buenos Aires right off the bat. Meet your tour leader and the group in the foyer at 18:00. Tonight we’ve booked a welcome meet & greet dinner at a nearby restaurant!
Today we explore the eclectic Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. After breakfast, join the Buenos Aires City Tour with a local guide to discover the city’s major sights and neighbourhoods. By the end of the day you’ll be able to tick off these sights from your list: the famous Buenos Aires Obelisk, the widest south american avenue: Avenida 9 de Julio, the administrative center of the city, Plaza de Mayo, the colourful La Boca, the cobblestoned foundational San Telmo and Recoleta cemetery. After the tour you are free to hunt down a local meal of your choice. Be it a saucy steak or delicious pizza, Buenos Aires is known for its culinary delights. Be sure to break for “té” or “merienda”, the Argentinian version of afternoon tea. Portenos, as the locals are known, take it with Mate (the local tea made with yerba mate) or coffee and alfajores (cake filled with dulce de leche). This evening you have the option to join the party for dinner and Tango show.
Today’s schedule is clear like the Argentine skies. Take your pick of a bunch of things to do in this booming Argentinian capital. Roam around the city, go for a tango lesson, or look for street art and graffiti. You can choose a day trip to visit a classic guest ranch (estancia) located in the untamed countryside of Buenos Aires. ‘Gaucho’ is the name for an Argentinian cowboy (also a national icon) and these cattle stations play a big part in Argentine economy and culture. A visit to this local ranch will give you a chance to witness the unique Estancia culture, taste the excellent food they cook here and see local folk dances. As always, you will be welcomed with open arms by the locals. Tonight there’s a group dinner booked at a local Argentinian restaurant. It might get late before we eat, because here we like to do as the locals do...
Take a morning flight westward to the base of the Andes Mountains and the city of Mendoza. You are now in the heart of Argentina’s wine capital with more than 150,000 hectares of vineyards in the region. Arriving in the early afternoon, immediately head out on a tour of the local wineries. The tour will showcase why Mendoza is one of the wine capitals of the world and give you the opportunity to taste the local wine. With the Andes mountain range lined up in the distance the views are just to die for. This evening you have the option to head to the city centre’s beautiful plazas for dinner. You’re sure to feel relaxed as you take in the laid-back pace, fresh air, and mountain vistas with a glass of Malbec in hand.
There’s a long day of travel ahead of us as we make our way to Santiago from Mendoza today. The road takes us over the Andes mountains and past the highest mountain in South America (and the Western hemisphere), Aconcagua. Stop for breaks and breathtaking views in the mountains en route. Cross the border and arrive in Santiago, capital of Chile, in the late afternoon. This evening you are invited to a group dinner.
Hola, Santiago! After breakfast at the hotel this morning, take a locally-guided tour of the city. As the beating heart of Chile, Santiago has a long list of attractions to see. On this tour, we’ll cover Santiago’s downtown area, the famous Alameda main avenue, Plaza de Armas, Santiago Cathedral and the Central Market. We’ll also get to Bellavista district, known for its bohemian history and San Cristobal Hill. The tour will finish around lunchtime and the afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure. This evening you can choose to join a group dinner at a local spot in town.
Today you have a clear schedule to explore Santiago exactly as you wish. Santiago offers various options that vary from cultural activities to nearby wineries and excellent foodie experiences. You have the option of a day trip to visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Depart after breakfast and travel to the captivating Pacific coast of Chile. Visit the coastal city of Valparaiso, a friendly and colourful village and UNESCO World Heritage site. Then head north, with lovely scenery at every turn, and find yourself in the resort city of Viña del Mar. This is another sparkling seaside village famous for its gardens, beaches and museums. Tonight you can pick and choose where you’d like to sit down for dinner. Perhaps in the hippy Bellavista district?
Today we make our way to the desert for a whole new experience! Board a transfer to Santiago Airport after breakfast and grab a flight to the mining city of Calama in northern Chile. After arriving in Calama, travel by coach to San Pedro de Atacama, enjoying the Atacama desert views passing by. The landscapes are dramatic and other-wordly. On arrival we'll take an orientation tour followed by some free time for lunch, before checking into our hotel. Then take a trip just outside the town to Moon Valley. Welcome to the driest desert in the world! Tonight you can roam free at your leisure. You have the option to join your tour leader for dinner and/or a late-night stargazing tour for any keen astronomers.
Take an early morning drive (with breakfast packed for the road) to get to the Bolivian border. Here we get adventurous and jump on 4x4 trucks - our transport for the next three days. Head further into Bolivia to be enthralled by the immense natural beauty of this part of South America. It’s all different-coloured lagoons, windswept deserts, and even flocks flamingoes out here. And if there’s enough time, there might be an opportunity to jump in the Polques hot springs and bathe in the healing thermal waters (so pack some swimwear in your day bag). At day’s end, we make it to our homestay, where a local family will host us and greet us with traditional food. This is a great opportunity to experience and appreciate how these local communities live in this isolated yet beautiful environment.*
* Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities. Please be mindful of the fact that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, we jump back into our 4x4 trucks and continue our incredible journey through southern Bolivia. Today, we’ll visit Laguna Hedionda, famous for the resident flamingo population as well as Laguna Canapa and Laguna Honda. Later in the day, after a picnic lunch, we’ll catch a glimpse of Ollague Volcano, which provides a fantastic backdrop against the rugged landscapes of the desert. We'll also travel to the Uyuni Train Cemetery - an area with abandoned trains from the early 20th century after the local mining economy collapsed. This evening, our second and final night in the desert has us staying with another local family at their humble homestay accommodation.
*Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities.We ask you be mindful that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, join in on a full-day exploration of the Uyuni Salt Flats - one of Bolivia’s most famous attractions. With the aid of a local guide and the assistance of 4x4 vehicles, travel to the very heart of the salt flats and back. Salar de Uyuni is one of the largest salt flats in the world and becomes a natural mirror in the rainy season. We’ll visit the tiny village of Colchani to learn about the importance of salt for the local people here, before heading towards Incahuasi Island, an oasis in the middle of the Salt Flats that is covered in huge cacti. Arriving at our Uyuni hotel at the end of the day, the rest of the evening is yours to spend as you wish.
We leave Uyuni behind and fly north to the world’s highest administrative capital, La Paz. Located in a deep canyon below the Andean peaks, the setting is extraordinary, with scenery straight out of a picture book. La Paz is a bustling city of contrasts where the old is merged with the new. It simply begs to be explored! Check into the hotel upon arrival and spend the day at your leisure. We have an included dinner for everyone tonight.
After breakfast today, fall even deeper in love with La Paz as you set out on a city tour. Wander around beautiful squares like Plaza Murillo, and lay eyes on San Francisco Church - the most famous church in the city. Also visit La Paz’s famous Witchdoctor's market. Round if off with a trip on the “subway in the sky” - La Paz’s cable car. A trip to the Teleferico viewpoint offers the view of a lifetime over the city and surrounding area. After lunch you have the option of exploring the city some more at your own pace. This evening, choose to find dinner in town or join the group at a local restaurant with your tour leader.
Travel from La Paz along the shores of Lake Titicaca to Copacabana this morning. Lake Titicaca is located between Peru and Bolivia and is one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. Legend has it that Lake Titicaca gave birth to the sun and the moon. Upon arrival, take to the water and set out on a day trip to Isla del Sol (the Sun Island). This is the best place to find out all there is to know about the mystery and intrigue of pre-Inca myths. Travel back to Copacabana for the evening and spend the time available here as you wish.
Wake early and travel onward around the edge of Lake Titicaca. Soon cross the Peruvian border to arrive at the port of Puno. Puno is located on the Andean plateau of Peru and known to be Peru’s capital of folklore. The Uros islands are a main attraction in Puno and also in Peru. Upon arrival, board a traditional reed boat and get the rare opportunity to explore these floating islands. The Uru people hand-make these islands using totora reeds, located in the middle of beautiful Lake Titicaca. They maintain a traditional lifestyle away from the mainland, depending only on the lake for food. During the visit you will see how the locals produce handicrafts, witness folk dances and taste the local food. It's truly unique travel experience. Returning to Puno in the late afternoon and make your way to the hotel for the evening.
Fuel up for the long drive ahead today as we head for Peru’s Sacred Valley. Try not to doze off - the views of the Peruvian countryside are incredible! There is something noticeably spiritual about the many Inca sites all located high above 3000 meters. The first stop of the day takes you to visit the town of Pucara to see the ancient Inca ruins. Take the highest pass of the day at 4300m above sea level, La Raya. Enjoy fantastic panorama views, do some souvenir shopping at markets on the side of the road, perhaps even spot some llamas as you go. Getting closer to the Sacred Valley, stop at the ancient Inca fortress of Raqchi. Our last stop before making it to Urubamba is the “Sistine Chapel of Latin America”, the Church of Andahuaylillas. Soon arrive at the hotel, settle in and enjoy an included dinner. You’re now in the heart of the El Valle Sagrado (Sacred valley).
Discover more secrets of the Sacred Valley today. After breakfast, take to the winding roads and head deep into the local villages and imposing mountains throughout the valley. On the way you’ll see the most stunning Incan sites and learn more about the local culture, landscapes and Incan history. Deep in the Sacred Valley, make a stop at the town of Ollantaytambo and its incredible fortress. This was once the base for Incan ceremonies and the royal estate of the Incan Emperor. We also stop at a local marketplaces where locals sell traditional Latin American handicrafts. Enjoy exceptional glimpses into local life as you see the locals go about their business. If you buy, be sure to buy local! On the go you'll see llamas, alpacas, goats and sheep grazing by the side of the highway. Make it back to the hotel in Urubamba by the end of the day for a relaxing evening.
Today is sure to be a soul-stirring highlight of the tour of South America! You have the opportunity to set foot in Machu Picchu on a fully-guided tour. It’s known to be one of the most celebrated heritage sites in South America, and perhaps even the world. The entire site lies on a mountain in the Peruvian Andes surrounded by steep cliffs and lush valleys. It’s made up of the ruins of intricate buildings, tombs, stone canals and plazas. The site is known to have been the royal estate of the Inca king, Pachacutec. Exactly why it was built or what the purpose of Machu Picchu was, no one really knows. After being forgotten for many years, it was rediscovered in 1911 by an American archaeologist. To get to this treasured location, one has to travel by means of bus, train and on foot. After a day of exploring with the local guide, make your way back to the hotel.
Take one last look at the sweet scenery of the Sacred Valley, as the road leads to Cusco this morning. Stop at the fortress-temple of Sacsayhuaman along the way - another example of the ancient Inca architecture at its best. The layered walls you can see here consist of enormous rocks that were stacked to precision. Wander around in pure awe of the remains of what might have stood here once. Then take a short drive to Cusco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. Over lunchtime, look for any spot packed with Cusqueños and you'll be guaranteed a delicious meal on the cheap. This afternoon, explore Cusco on a tour with a local guide. It’s known as the bellybutton of the world and is also the longest continuously inhabited city in South America. As night falls, you can choose to attend a buffet dinner and local dance show, or take time out and spend it however you wish.
Board a flight to Lima from Cusco this morning. After a short flight, a city tour of Lima with a local expert will help you get your bearings. The dynamic city of Lima is the capital of Peru, boasting close to 10 million inhabitants. The city tour will cover all the top attractions like the Cathedral of Lima, the Convent and Plaza San Francisco, Plaza de Armas and more. Our hotel for this evening is located in the Miraflores neighborhood. After checking in and freshening up, head out for dinner with the group.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore Lima, or join a memorable full-day trip to the magnificent Paracas region on Peru’s southern coast. The day starts with an early departure from the hotel and a trip to Paracas. From here we embark on a boat trip to the Ballestas islands, known for its incredible concentration of marine wildlife. See sea lions, penguins, pelicans and dolphins up close and marvel at the spectacular views of the coast. Then take a drive to the Pisco airport to take to the sky and lay eyes on the mysterious Nazca Lines. The sheer scale of these massive geoglyphs is something that must be seen to be believed. At the end of the day return to Lima in time for dinner.
After breakfast at the Lima Hotel, this tour is officially over. Bid your tour leader and driver farewell. We hope you have a safe and pleasant onward journey! Airport transfers to the local international airport is available for your convenience.
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