Days
27
Price from
$9,555USD

Ancient ruins, waterfalls, lush wine country — take the scenic route from Rio to Buenos Aires

Capture the spirit of South America on this 27-day adventure from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Take a ride in a historical streetcar in Rio; be awestruck by the thundering Iguazu Falls; meander through the markets of Buenos Aires; discover ethereal flora and fauna in the Amazon; learn about the incas in La Paz; and stare up in awe at the Andes as you stroll the streets of Santiago. This is a journey rich in history, culture and beauty. From waterfalls to lush jungle, charming city streets to ancient Inca sites, be spellbound by the sights and sounds of South America.


Start
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Finish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Countries
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSRB
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
1 review
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Experience the breadth of South America's diverse cities, from the cosmopolitan colours of Buenos Aires to the old-world charms of Cuzco

  • Witness the crashing streams of Iguazu Falls on a guided tour, one of the world's true natural wonders. Take an optional Zodiac boat to the base of the falls or get a bird's eye view on a helicopter ride

  • Delve into the Amazonian abyss beyond Puerto Maldonado to find one of the most pristine rainforests on the planet

  • Cruise across Lake Titicaca to visit the indigenous Uru people on their hand-built islands

  • Explore the ruins of Incan civilisations, including Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Guided tours of these sites provide amazing insight into a bygone time

  • Indulge in Argentina's world-famous food and wine - not only in the vineyards of Mendoza, but also on a traditional rural ranch stay

Is this trip right for you?

  • The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid, so it's important to drink plenty of water and wear light cotton clothing. Please make sure you also bring tropical-strength insect repellant.

  • While accommodation in the Amazon is clean, comfortable and ideally located, it's pretty basic compared with other accommodation throughout the trip. Please remember that this is a very remote part of the world. As there's no electricity at night, the rooms are lit with candles and kerosene lamps.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. Please see the ‘Fitness’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

Welcome to Rio, Brazil. On arrival, take your complimentary transfer to the Peregrine joining hotel. Join your group and guide for a welcome meeting at around 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ipanema Inn or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Rio de Janeiro city tour inc. Santa Teresa, Selaron Steps, Christ the Redeemer and Santa Marta favela
Optional Activities
  • Samba show - BRL200
  • Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD30
  • Carnaval rehearsal (only available from June to Carnaval) - BRL80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the morning with a visit to the famed Christ the Redeemer statue, which presides over the city and enjoys expansive views across the forests, beaches, bays and mountains that surround the city. From tourist mecca to local favela, your next stop will take you through the narrow laneways of these communities. You'll have the opportunity to meet some local people and learn more about life within a favela. 

Live music is the heartblood of the city, with everything from samba, jazz, bossa nova, hip hop, reggae and rock to the myriad of regional styles and fusions. Lapa is the place to go if you want to join locals for some serious dancing in the many dancehalls there. The white sand beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema are certainly the best place for people watching.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ipanema Inn or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will fly to Iguazu Falls, which takes around one a ahalf hours. From Foz do Iguacu airport, travel by minivan to visit the Brazilian side, which offers grand panoramas of the falls. Later, continue across the border into Argentina and finish at your hotel in Puerto Iguazu. You can also choose to get a more exhilarating look at Iguazu, via a zodiac boat ride below the falls or a helicopter flight over the top.
Accommodation
  • El Pueblito or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Brazil side tour
Optional Activities
  • Helicopter ride (min 3 people) - USD110
  • Bird Park - BRL28
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today visit the Argentinean side of Iguazu, where you can get up close and personal with the powerful falls on boardwalks. Iguazu is two kilometres in length, and made up of 275 falls in total, some of which stretch up to 80 metres high. This makes them both higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls. Afterwards, you'll have the opportunity to meet one of the few remaining original inhabitants of the region, the Guarani, on a visit with your tour leader. The rest of your evening is free.
Accommodation
  • El Pueblito or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guarani community visit
  • Iguazu Falls - Argentina side tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Fly to Buenos Aires today, the cosmopolitan epicentre of South America (approximately four and a half hours). Combining the passion of Latin America with the elegance of Europe and its own distinctive style, Buenos Aires is a magical city. Each neighbourhood has a distinctive style, and you'll notice that the local residents, or Portenos, are incredibly proud of their city. Your evening is free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out for dinner with the group to one of the many famed Argentinian steak houses.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Patios De San Telmo or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full-day Buenos Aires tour. It includes a visit to La Boca, Centro, San Telmo, Recoleta and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Tango show (ticket price depends on the location and inclusions) - USD120
  • Coastal train - USD10
  • Tigre - USD60
  • Polo day - USD175
  • Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore Buenos Aires on a full-day city tour with a local guide today. Wander the cobbled streets of San Telmo and browse its famous antiques market and art displays, then continue to Plaza de Mayo and see the Casa Rosada. Walk among the tombs and monuments of Recoleta Cemetery – the final resting place of some of the city’s most famous residents. From here, take a private van to La Boca and its well-known ‘Caminito’ district. Afterwards, move onto the lesser known side of the neighbourhood to visit an artist's gallery and enjoy an included lunch at a local social project.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Patios De San Telmo or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will need to book a flight from Buenos Aires to Lima for today (this is not included in your tour cost) to start the Peruvian section of your tour. Please try and book an early flight, as there's usually a group meeting today at approximately 2 pm. Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. Your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre.

Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. You'll also visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. From here, head to the Central Market for a walking tour and then onto China Town. In the afternoon enjoy free time to explore the city further.

Tonight you have an included group dinner.


Accommodation
  • Antigua Mira Flores or Similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado this morning, which should take approximately two hours. Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you'll leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. You'll then take a motorised canoe up river to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. The rest of your evening is free to relax.

The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
Accommodation
  • Posada Amazonas lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Head into the jungle with your local, multilingual guides today and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You may spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. After exploring the wilds, it's time to jump back in the canoe and return to Puerto Maldonado.

Please note that a reasonable degree of fitness and patience is required for this trip. It's not necessarily the distance of the Amazon walks, however during the rainy season the walking tracks can become quite muddy and sometimes slippery. The lodge does provide 'gumboots' if required. Please also see the preparations section above for more information on appropriate clothing and footwear for this trip.
Accommodation
  • Posada Amazonas lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leave Puerto Maldonado behind today before flying to Cuzco, which takes around an hour. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Steeped in history, tradition and legend, this is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Musuem and the local San Pedro market. Your evening is then free.

Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. Please see the ‘Fitness’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Coca Museum
Optional Activities
  • Coricancha Archeological Site - Cuzco - PEN15
  • Cathedral Visit - PEN25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
If you're interested in visiting the many museums of Cuzco, please be aware that you have the Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) included - just ask your tour leader about this. This will also cover surrounding archaeological sites, for example Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed with a Boleto Turistico. For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake, head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all of its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley, which is known as Wilcamayo by the Incas. This lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. At the Sacred Valley, visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you a picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was.

Visit a local community en route to Ollantaytambo. The town of Ollantaytambo was built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
Accommodation
  • Samanapaq hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today will be Aguas Calientas. Travel by train for 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach town, where you can spend some free time exploring the natural hot springs after which the town was named.
Accommodation
  • Santuario Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
In the early morning at 5.30 am, take a bus along the winding road for around 30 minutes to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. On arrival, take a one to two hour guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy some free time afterwards to wander around on your own. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience.

After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a Pisco sour. The rest of today and tomorrow will be free for you to continue exploring Cuzco.

Notes: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco. Your included "full boleto turistico" will give you access to the archaeological sites of Qenqo and Tambomachay, on the outskirts of Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by bus for around six hours to Puno, which will be more or less a full day's journey. This scheduled tourist service will take you on decent roads through spectacular mountain scenery, with the chance to stop at several sites along the way, including adobe Inca ruins. Along the way you'll also make a short roadside stop at La Raya, which at 4,335 metres is the highest point of your journey. Lunch will be included on a stop in the small town of Sicuani. Continue driving through the large sprawling town of Juliaca on your way to Puno.

Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Accommodation
  • Taypikala hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Later on visit Taquile Island, on the Peruvian side of the lake, and peruse its residents’ renowned handicrafts, including woollen items.
Accommodation
  • Taypikala hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full Day Lake Titicaca tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel by minivan this morning to Desaguadero, where you'll cross the border into Bolivia. The first stop is the Peruvian migration office where you'll be asked to leave the bus and proceed through Peruvian migration. Then walk via a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus, which will continue to La Paz. About 30 minutes after crossing the border there's another stop where the army will again check your documents. Remeber to reset your watch, as Bolivia is one to two hours ahead of Peru.

On your way to La Paz, stop at Tiwanaku for a guided visit. Tiwanaku archaeological site was where the Incas learned about building systems and agricultural practices. The sprawling ruins comprise of temples, courtyards, terraced pyramids, monolithic stone statues and gateways. The most famous structure is the Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun). From the ruins it's less than a two-hour drive to La Paz, where you'll spend the night. Enjoy spectacular views of the city on your approach, due to its unique location in the middle of a vast volcanic crater.
Accommodation
  • Rosario Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At around 3,600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Head out an included orientation walk with your leader today and get your bearings of this amazing city. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional.
Accommodation
  • Rosario Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will need to book a flight from La Paz to Santiago for today (this is not included in the tour cost). Please try to book an early flight if possible as there will be a group meeting in Santiago at approximately 6 pm. Welcome to Chile! There are no planned activities today, apart from the meeting this evening.

Notes: If you're taking a transfer with us and have arrived on an international flight, please leave by door 4 (not 3, nor 5). If you arrive on a domestic flight, please leave by door 2 (not 1, nor 3).
Accommodation
  • Hotel Loreto or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take an included tour of Santiago this morning, as the city centre itself is quite small and easy to get around. The Plaza de Armas is at the heart of the city and is home to the cathedral. The rest of the city is a jumble of shops, restaurants and parks. A visit to Bella Vista, Santiago's Parisian Quarter, will offer a slightly more serene perspective on the Chilean capital. Similarly, taking the cable car to Cerro San Cristobal will offer you impressive views across the city and onto the peaks of the Andes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Loreto or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour of Santiago
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel across the Andes by local bus today, which takes around six to seven hours. On a clear day you may be able to spot Mt. Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 metres above sea level. Please note the time spent at the actual border crossing may take anything between one to three hours depending on local traffic. Make sure you have snacks and water for today, and remember that fresh fruit and deli products (cheese, ham, etc.) have to be consumed before crossing to Argentina or disposed off at the border.

Once in Mendoza, there's no better way to spend the afternoon than going for a gentle stroll around Mendoza's tree lined streets. Choose a cafe along Sarmiento pedestrian street and watch life pass by with a coffee. The city centre is beautifully landscaped and full of trees, squares and parks.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villagio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full-day winery tour including lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out late in the morning for an included winery tour. Mendoza is Argentina's most important grape growing region, producing 70 percent of the country's wine. Its exceptional climate produces excellent grapes, and the region's signature variety is the Malbec. At night head out to Aristides Villanueva Street, which has lately become the starting point of Mendoza's night life. Why not try the most popular drink in town, Fernet and Cola - a bitter (very) alcoholic cocktail. You'll be staying in a centrally located hotel, so it'll be easy for you to get home.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villagio or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Leave Mendoza behind and fly to Buenos Aires today, which takes around an hour and a half. From Buenos Aires, drive for approximately two hours to a traditional estancia (rural estate) where you'll stay overnight.
Accommodation
  • Estancia Monte Viejo or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
During your time on the estancia you can do as much or as little as you desire. Activities may also vary depending on the day. You could go horse riding, work with the cattle, take a cooking class or learn more about the sport of polo. Alternatively you could laze by the pool and read or have a barbecue. Estancias are ideal for relaxation and provide a great base for activities. Please remember that activities vary depending on the days that you are there. If in doubt, ask your trip leader for more information.
Accommodation
  • Estancia Monte Viejo or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel back to Buenos Aires this morning, perhaps South America's ultimate cosmopolitan city. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of their city which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own style. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk, perhaps visiting San Telmo and its antiques stores and artists' displays, La Boca home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors, Recoleta or the Casa Rosada (Pink House) among other attractions. Your evening is then free to enjoy the last night of your trip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Patios De San Telmo or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tango show (ticket price depends on the location and inclusions) - USD120
  • Coastal train - USD10
  • Tigre - USD60
  • Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your tour comes to an end this morning, as there are no more activities planned. You can depart the accommodation and book your flights for any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

27 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel, Jungle lodge, Estancia (ranch house)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Rio de Janeiro city tour inc. Santa Teresa, Selaron Steps, Christ the Redeemer and Santa Marta favela
  • Iguazu Falls - Brazil side tour
  • Guarani community visit
  • Iguazu Falls - Argentina side tour
  • Full-day Buenos Aires tour. It includes a visit to La Boca, Centro, San Telmo, Recoleta and lunch
  • Coca Museum
  • Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
  • Machu Picchu entrance and Guided Tour
  • Full Day Lake Titicaca tour
  • Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
  • Guided walking tour of Santiago
  • Full-day winery tour including lunch

Reviews

Our Around South America trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Around South America- Rio to Buenos Aires, July 2015

Hannelore McPherson

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Non-included flights:
There are two international flights on thjis trip that are not included in the price. Flight on day 7 from Buenos Aires to Lima and day 20 from La Paz to Santiago.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.