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Now, this is as immersive as journeys across South America get! We've pooled our expert knowledge to design a 53-day tour across 8 of the most beautiful countries on the continent. Start in Rio de Janeiro, end in San Jose, and cross the borders of 8 Latin American countries en route. Feel the spray of the majestic Iguazu falls. Set foot in the driest place on earth in Chile. Take a guided day trip to uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu in Peru. See what all the fuss is about as you set foot on the Salt Flats of Bolivia. Island hop the tropical paradise that is the Carribean, and feel your pulse race as you Salsa dance somewhere in Colombia. This is an epic and unforgettable adventure!
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.
Hola! Welcome to your Ultimate South America trip! The journey kicks off at your hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Other than a check-in at the hotel and meeting your tour leader, the day is yours to explore. This evening, there’s a meet and greet dinner at a local Brazilian restaurant. Meet your tour leader and group in the foyer at 18:00; the restaurant is walking distance from the hotel.
After breakfast, embark on a full-day tour of Rio de Janeiro, led by a local guide. As one of Brazil’s most popular tourist destinations, Rio offers the perfect combination of sea, mountains and forests. With the assistance of the coach, drive main avenues and follow pedestrian paths on foot to explore the city at large. On the list of iconic attractions today are Christ the Redeemer statue on top of mount Corcovado, the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, and the famous Escadaria Selaron staircase. Over lunch the guide will help you to find an authentic local meal on the cheap. Tonight, head into town and kick back with a drink. Or join the optional group excursion to experience Rio’s nightlife.
Sleep in this morning and spend the day in Rio as you wish, or join the optional Rio Plus tour to explore more of the city. Sugarloaf mountain is a remarkable natural attraction and offers one of the most impressive views of Rio. Take the modern cable car all the way to the top, led by a local expert, and get breathtaking 360 degree views of the city, Christ the Redeemer statue and surrounding beaches. Then explore downtown Rio and its major cultural and colonial sights. See the Museum of Tomorrow, the Sao Bento Monastery, Kobra Mural and La Candelaria on the go. In the evening, you can head out to explore some more or stay in to relax.
Departing Rio, drive down the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil. In the morning sun, capture views of the Atlantic ocean and dense jungle stretching back miles from the coast. Disembark in Paraty, a beautiful colonial port town. Check into your hotel and set out to follow a local guide for brief orientation tour along cobbled streets and through 17th-century colonial houses. Beauty everywhere! This evening is yours to spend at your leisure. Alternatively, join in on an optional experience to dine at a local hand-picked restaurant.
The day is yours to explore as you wish - no schedule to speak of. As part of the Serra da Bocaina National park, Paraty is surrounded with steep valleys, beautiful mountain scenery, beaches, islands and waterfalls. Pure paradise for any nature-lover! To get to know the surrounding area, you might want to take a boat tour or hop on a 4x4 Jeep tour (optional excursions available). Or walk around the historical old town for views of gorgeous buildings, cobbled lanes and churches that tell the stories of Portuguese colonialism. Wholeheartedly embrace this opportunity; mingle with the locals, get lost and take a dip in the Atlantic ocean. Definitely try a Jorge Amado cocktail! It's made with a rare type of Brazilian spirit, Cachaça Gabriela, that one can only find here in Paraty.
This morning after breakfast we continue our journey to the mega city of São Paulo where we’ll spend one night. Welcome to Brazil’s most populous city and buzzing financial hub! Upon arrival, set out on a guided coach tour with a local guide to find out more about São Paulo. Also visit the famous Mercadão (a sprawling food market). If you like food, you’ll love this place! Spend some time browsing the fresh local products and other market foods like fruit juice and pastries, codfish and the well-known Mortadella sandwich. After a full day of exploring, settle in at the hotel early this evening. You have the option to have dinner at the hotel tonight.
Rise and shine! Take the shuttle to the Guarulhos Airport to board a flight to the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguacu. As soon as you arrive, head to the Iguaçu falls inside the Iguaçu National Park to explore! Iguaçu, Iguazu or Iguassu are all collective names for the waterfalls in the south of Brazil. The word "Iguazú" is derived from the name the falls was once given by the native Guarani tribe. If translated 'I' means "water" and 'ûasú' means "big". This is the largest waterfall system in the world. Once inside (entry is included) you get the most incredible panoramic views of the waterfalls. There is even a pathway with viewpoints that take you to the very foot of the falls. After the tour, head back to the hotel. This evening includes a group dinner with Brazilian barbecue on the menu!
If you wish, spend today at your leisure in Foz do Iguacu. You can choose to book a thrilling helicopter flight over the falls, or visit to the bird park in Foz do Iguaçu. Parque das Aves is home to 150 species of birds, including owls, toucans, flamingos and macaws. Alternatively, join your tour leader and a local guide on a day trip to Paraguay. Departing after breakfast, cross the Ponte Internacional da Amizade (‘International Bridge of Friendship’) over the Paraná River to enter Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. Explore a new city and country as you visit the many shops and markets around. As part of the trip, visit the Itaipú Dam, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant. Also see the Monday Waterfall (Saltos del Monday) inside the lush Monday Municipal Park. The trip to Paraguay ends late in the afternoon before heading back to the Brazil side of the falls for the rest of the evening. Tonight you can choose to partake in a spectacular, world-famous Rafain show and dinner experience.
One more day in the Iguazu falls region! You have the option to join a guided tour to the Argentinian side of the Iguazu falls. This side of the border offers the incredible opportunity to see the falls up close and walk the walkways surrounding by the untamed beauty of nature. The tour includes a chance to explore the very essence of the Iguazu National park and explore the waterfalls and forest. Expect train rides (on a train powered by natural gas), as well as walks on the various wooden walkways: the Lower Trail, Upper Trail, and Devil’s Throat. It's an experience you can't quite get enough of: to marvel at the falls, hear the roar of the surging water and feel the mist on your skin. To see the most dramatic part of the falls you can join the Great Adventure optional that takes you to the foot of the great San Martin waterfall. Back in Foz do Iguacu this evening, a surprise Brazilian dining experience awaits.
Wake up early and leave after breakfast for the Puerto Iguazu airport. We’re heading for the “Paris of South America” - Buenos Aires. There’s no lunch stop included today, so be sure to stock up on snacks at the airport. Get transferred to the hotel on arrival, midafternoon. Today is the first of three days in Buenos Aires, so start exploring, or take it easy to charge your batteries. Dinner is included tonight at a restaurant around the corner from the hotel.
Today is a full day in 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: 9 July Avenue, Plaza de Mayo, the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, the La Boca and San Telmo Neighbourhoods, and Recoleta cemetery. Over lunchtime hunt down a local meal of your choice. Be it a saucy steak or steaming churros, Buenos Aires is known for its culinary delights. Be sure to break for “té” or “merienda”, the Argentinian version of afternoon tea. The locals take it with tea (yerba mate is the local brew), coffee and some alfajor (cake filled with dulce de leche). At the day’s end you will be back at the hotel. 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 collapes. 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.
Head to the Jorge Chávez International Airport after breakfast to board a flight* to Bogota in Colombia. There are no planned activities for today; spend time at your leisure in Bogota for the rest of the day. We highly recommend that you visit the most important gold museum in the world - Museo Del Oro. It closes at 4pm, so get in early! There is an included dinner for everyone tonight.
* Please note: Flight from Lima to Bogota is not included in the price of the tour package. Our team can help you find the best suited flight, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Welcome to Bogota, the capital city of Colombia! Orient yourself on a walking tour with a local expert after breakfast. There’s just no better way to learn than following in the footsteps of a local Bogotano! On the tour, we’ll cover the most popular attractions: the colourful La Candelaria neighbourhood with its colonial architecture, the prominent Plaza de Bolivar, and the neoclassical Bogotá Cathedral. The rest of the day is free for your own exploration. We can recommend a visit to Montserrat Hill for picture-perfect views of the city. Or simply take a moment to pull up a chair in a local bakery and eat some almojábanas (cheese-flavored rolls) This is where you’ll find the local flavour! For dinner this evening you have the option of joining your tour leader for a local Bogotanian food experience, or go it alone.
Following breakfast, board your transfer to catch a flight to the Coffee country of Colombia. Armenia and Pereira are some of the gateway destination to Colombia’s world-renowned coffee region. Expect immense natural beauty - rolling fields of coffee plantations, mountain scenery and valleys declared UNESCO heritage sites. Waste no time after arrival and head straight for the rolling hills for a visit to a local coffee farm. Here you can learn about every facet of the Colombian coffee industry from a local coffee farmer. To top things off, smell and taste some award-winning local coffee after lunch. Caffeine kicks all around! The final stretch of the day takes you to the hotel for the next 2 nights, located right in the heart of Colombia’s Coffee Triangle.
Wake up in the coffee region of Colombia - a place where the rhythm of life has remained unchanged over the centuries. In the area you can see some of the best scenery in Colombia, including colourful colonial houses and the odd coffee farmer on a horse. Today you have the choice to join an optional excursion to the Cocora Valley located in the Los Nevados National Natural Park. Travel by four-wheel truck into a region that boasts incredible beauty and a diverse array of fauna and flora. Here you can spot Colombia’s national tree, the Wax Palm, standing tall in valleys and on mountains. Upon arrival you can choose to hike the valley or explore on horseback. Dig into a traditional lunch before leaving the valley behind. This afternoon, stop at a local spot to try your hand at Tejo - the national sport of Colombia. We return to the hotel this afternoon, with time to freshen up before an optional dinner this evening.
This morning takes you on a scenic drive through mountains and along river valleys to Medellin. Medellin has been nicknamed ‘City of Eternal Spring’ as it’s a destination that boasts pleasant weather year round! Take a tour of the city with the guidance of a local expert before spending the rest of the day at your leisure.
Spend a free day in Medellin today. There are loads to see in the area. On offer are two optional excursions - a Pablo Escobar tour that takes you to the main places interest that played a pivotal role in Colombian drug lord’s life, capture and death; or day trip to Guatepe and Piedra de Penol - a nearby lakeside village, famous for its huge monolithic rock. Climb the 750 steps to be greeted by incredible vistas of the region below.
After breakfast, transfer to Medellin airport and board a flight to Santa Marta. Situated on the Caribbean coast, this was the first Spanish settlement in South America (1525). Check into your hotel, freshen up and take a walking tour of Santa Marta’s impressive Old Town. Led by a local, as always, you’ll see major attractions like Cathedral of Santa Marta, Simon Bolivar Park and El Camellon. Santa Marta is flanked by the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and overlooks the Caribbean Sea - stunning views all around! The rest of the day is yours to do whatever your heart desires.
Drive along the Caribbean coast today to make it to one of Colombia’s finest national parks, Tayrona National Park. This is a true tropical paradise that is home to wildlife like birds, monkeys, crocodiles and even jaguars. A local guide will join us on a hike to the best part of the park where the most beautiful beaches are located. Spend the afternoon there and dig into a traditional lunch before heading out of the park in the late afternoon. Our accommodation for this evening is located near the park entrance and the evening consists of free time.
Enjoy a relaxed morning in the area of Tayrona National Park this morning. You can kick back and rest or choose one of the optional excursions on offer. These include a local village visit or something a bit more adventurous like river tubing. Later this afternoon we’ll return to Santa Marta, where you’ll have free time to relax, or explore the city further.
Leave Santa Marta this morning and take a drive (4 hours), making for Cartagena! Cartagena was founded in the 16th century and is situated right on the Caribbean Sea. Arrive at lunchtime and look for something local to enjoy. After lunch it’s time for a locally-led walking tour to orient yourself. See the most iconic main sights in the old town like Plaza Bolivar, The Old City walls, Plaza de la Aduana and Church of Santo Domingo. The rest of the day can be spent at your leisure. This evening you have the option to join your tour leader for a local meal and experience. Live music and salsa dancing, anyone?
Spend a full day in the Colombian city of Cartagena. Choose from a list of optional activities for the day, or spend the whole day soaking up this city and surrounds in your preferred way. Do a self-guided tour of the city, saunter about, mingle with the locals or head into the vibey Cartagena food markets for a gastronomic experience like no other. Optional experiences for the day include a trip to one of Colombia’s smallest volcanoes for a dip in mineral-rich mud, a speed-boat trip to the Rosario islands, salsa lessons and more! Whatever you choose, you’re sure to experience the vibrancy of the city and meet the happiest of people. This evening, dinner is included and on the menu is traditional dishes prepared from fresh, local ingredients.
Journey across borders this morning as you catch a flight* to Panama City, the capital city of Panama and one of the capitals of Central America. Please note this flight is not included as part of your tour package and must be organised independently, however we can provide advice on the best airlines and times to fly - please contact us for more information. As you arrive in Panama City, catch incredible views of coastal vistas and skyscrapers as the aircraft descends over the city, weather permitting. There is no set schedule after arriving at the hotel; spend time at your leisure in Panama city for the rest of the day. A traditional Panamanian dinner is included this evening.
*Please note: The flight from Cartagena to Panama City is not included in the price of the tour package. Our team can help you find the best suited flight, please feel free to get in touch with us.
After breakfast, take a tour of Panama city, its top sights and the Panama Canal. Panama city is an important link between North America and South America and is home to influences from both continents. Lasting more than 4 hours, you can expect to see the best of what Panama city has to offer. These sights include Panama Canal, Miraflores Lock (with a tour of the visitor centre), Amador Causeway, Flamenco Island, the Biomuseum and Panama Old Town. Finish the tour in the Old Town part of the city and then explore as you please.
Indulge in a full day at leisure in Panama City. Continue explorations of the charming old-town, journey along its tranquil shores or savour Panamanian food with influences from Africa, Spain and Mexico. Stroll through art or history museums, including Afro-Antillean Museum, Biomuseo and the Natural Science Museum. Perhaps join an optional excursion to San Blas islands?
Take an early morning departure and get ready for another a day filled with experiences! Take an hour-long flight to Bocas del Toro. This archipelago of tropical islands is located in the Caribbean Sea, just off the northeastern coastline of Panama. Check in at your hotel upon arrival and stretch your legs on a quick orientation tour of Bocas del Toro town. The colourful seaside villages and untamed beauty is sure to leave you speechless. Your tour leader will point out the best local places to eat and shop. Tuck into a traditional lunch before spending the rest of the day at your leisure. Hop on a boat to a nearby island, do birdwatching or take it easy and curl up in a hammock for the afternoon.
After breakfast today, passengers have the choice to explore the island at their own pace, or take their pick of a bunch of optional activities on offer. Visit Bastimentos Island and Red Frog Beach - both popular destinations in the Bastimentos National Marine Park. There’s also a trip to Starfish beach and Bird Island, or even a Zipline canopy tour. Whatever you do, you’ll experience pure bliss in Bocas town!
Continue the journey and travel by boat, coach and on foot to make it to the next destination. First thing in the morning, transfer to the marina and board a boat for a short ride from Bocas de Toro to the mainland. Then take a trip to Sixaola, a tiny border town located between Panama and Costa Rica. Do things the old school way and walk across the border (the views are worth it, promise). Then travel onwards and see how the landscapes change as we travel deeper into a new country - Costa Rica. Head for the town of La Fortuna, gateway to the Arenal volcano. Check into the hotel and sit down for dinner and you first taste of Costa Rican cuisine.
Today is a full free day for a leisurely exploration of La Fortuna, situated at the base of Arenal Volcano. The Arenal Volcano is a natural wonder that offers many exciting adventures in the surrounding area. Soar between treetops as you zipline over the rainforest, hike around Arenal Volcano National Park or explore hanging bridges in the area. In short: any adventure-seekers dream! In the afternoon you have the option of joining the most relaxing experience of all - a trip to the hot springs of Baldi. Here you can soak in the naturally heated pools at the base of Arenal volcano and experience the rejuvenating effects of the mineral-rich water on your body. The experience includes dinner with full view of the volcano.
We leave after breakfast today for a 4-hour journey to Monteverde and the rainforest in Costa Rica. This is a bucket list destination for many. After arrival, have lunch and settle into the hotel - this paradise is home for the next two nights! Then head out to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for the afternoon. There are a number of tropical cloud forests in Costa Rica; Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve is by far the most famous. This magical forest in the clouds stretches over more than 10,000 hectares and has been dubbed the ‘Crown Jewel’ of cloud forests in the world. It’s the ideal place for hiking and birding. You’re bound to see exotic birds like hummingbirds, toucans, trogons and bellbirds.
Your schedule is free for the day and you can explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest area to heart’s content. If you’re interested in a guided experience, there are some optional excursions lined up. Visit a local butterfly farm or go on a Costa Rican coffee tour. Have a chat with your tour leader about the options and plan your day accordingly.
After breakfast, depart on a short journey heading for Costa Rica's central Pacific coast. Make a stop at the Tárcoles river on the way to spot huge crocodiles sunbathing in their natural environment (weather permitting). Travel onwards to make it to the surfing capital of Costa Rica, Jaco. Upon arrival, head out for an intro walking tour of the town with your tour leader. Jaco is a sleepy surf town with quirky cafes, restaurants and shops. It’s one of the best spots in Costa Rica to surf or to learn how to surf! Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Your tour leader will recommend optional activities if you’re looking for something interesting to do.
Today you can spend time in Jaco or join a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. Even though it’s the smallest in Costa Rica, it’s the most celebrated and was rated as one of the Top 10 national parks in the world! It’s popularity is largely due to the location tucked into the coast offering visitors sandy beaches with a backdrop of the lush forest. And it’s not only naturally beautiful, it’s also one of the world’s most biodiverse parks. In your time here there’s a chance that you can spot animals like the endangered red-backed squirrel monkey, sloths, capuchin monkeys, iguanas, dolphins, even migrating whales! Arrive back in Jaco later this afternoon. As the last night on tour, tonight will be a feast of feasts as we celebrate the end of our Ultimate South America tour.
After spending your final night in Jaco, sit down for one last breakfast at the hotel in Jaco. You can choose to take the coach ride to San Jose, or stay put in Jaco. On arrival in San Jose an orientation driving tour marks the end of the tour. As for the rest of the day there are no activities planned, so it’s adiós in San Jose. Have a safe onward journey! Transfers to San Jose International airport is available on request.
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