27 days

South America Circle

South America Circle

Puno - a town four kilometres above sea-level

Tasting Chile's wine

The Amazon Basin by boat

The rubber-boom colonial history of Iquitos

Yagua native community in the Peruvian Amazon

The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu

UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima

UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco

Santiago from San Cristobal Hill

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Iguaçu Falls

The potions of 'Witches’ Market'

La Paz - the world's highest 'unofficial' capital city

The 'Devil’s Throat' of Iguazu

Tiahuanaco's 'Gateway of the Sun'

Argentina's capital Buenos Aires

Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer

Recoleta Cemetery and Eva Peron’s tomb

Trip rating
  • The captivating power of Iguazu Falls is a fine introduction to South America, as is stunning Rio de Janeiro, where we have time to enjoy such well known sights as Corcovado, the Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana. A flight across the breadth of the Amazon and the Andes brings us to the Peruvian capital of Lima. Explore the city and the vast Peruvian tracts of Amazon Jungle. High up in the Andes is Cusco, the former stronghold of the Incas and gateway to the Sacred Valley and magnificent Machu Picchu. On one of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, we visit a Uros Indian community, before continuing on to the lofty Bolivian heights of La Paz. Stylish Santiago is home to some of Chile's most famous wineries and a short distance to the breathtaking mountains, picturesque lakes and towering volcanoes.

    Why we love it

    • The captivating power of Iguazu Falls is a fine introduction to South America, as is stunning Rio de Janeiro, where we have time to enjoy such well known sights as Corcovado, the Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana.
    • A flight across the breadth of the Amazon and the Andes brings us to the Peruvian capital of Lima. Explore the city and the vast Peruvian tracts of Amazon Jungle.
    • High up in the Andes is Cusco, the former stronghold of the Incas and gateway to the Sacred Valley and magnificent Machu Picchu.
    • On one of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, we visit a Uros Indian community, before continuing on to the lofty Bolivian heights of La Paz.
    • Stylish Santiago is home to some of Chile's most famous wineries.


    Day 1-2 - Buenos Aires

    • Arrive in the cosmopolitan epicentre of South America, Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel.
    • There's a welcome meeting this evening, which is usually at 6pm. Please ensure you check the notice board in reception for the confirmation of the time and place.
    • 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 will notice that the local residents, or Portenos, are incredibly proud of their city.
    • On Day 2, at the agreed time, you will be taken on a walking/ driving tour of the city to visit a selection of notable places. It starts in San Telmo followed by the fampous Plaza de Mayo. Continuing on you will visit La Boca, where the world-class football team 'Boca Juniors' train. You will also stop and have lunch in a local artists house in La Boca. The last stop is at Recoleta cemetery where you can see the graves of some of the countries most influential figures.
    Hotel Patios De San Telmo or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3-4 - Iguazu Falls

    • Today you will fly to Puerto Iguazu, from where you will explore the impressive Iguazu Falls.
    • You will spend the next two days exploring the falls in depth, seeing them from both the Argentinean and Brazilian side. The falls are 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. The Brazilian side of the falls offers great panoramic views of them, while the Argentinian allows to you to get up close and personal with the powerful falls on boardwalks.
    • You can choose to get an even more exhilarating look at Iguazu via a zodiac boat ride below the falls or a helicopter flight over the top.
    • You will have the opportunity to meet one of the few remaining original inhabitants of the region, the Guarani, on a visit with your tour leader.
    • NB: Please note for visa information, you will be visiting the Brazilian side of the falls on day 3 and Argentina on day 4.
    Hotel Jasy or Similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 5-6 - Rio De Janeiro

    • You will leave the falls and fly to Rio de Janeiro today, where you will be met by a local guide and taken on a city tour. You will start the tour with a visit to the famed Statue of Christ, 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 vibrant communities. You will have the opportunity to meet some local people and learn more about life within a favela.
    • The intense green of Guanabara Bay and the beauty of the surrounding slopes of the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountain, make Rio a majestic place, locals like to say that 'God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio'.
    • The Portuguese influence is ever-present here, especially in the opulent Portuguese buildings that were constructed when the Portuguese monarchy fled Europe under threat of Napolean and took up residence here.
    • The contrast between the opulence of this architecture, the extravagance of Carnaval and destitute poverty of the favelas make this one of the most fascinating and diverse cities in the world. 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.
    Mirador Rio hotel or similar

    Day 7 - Lima

    • You will need to book a flight to Lima today, this flight is not included in the price of your trip and will need to be arranged separately. Please ensure you book an early flight as there will be a group meeting at approximately 2 pm at the Lima hotel.
    • Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, it was from Lima that all Spanish territories in South America were governed. Few cities at that time could rival Lima’s power, wealth and opulence. However its glory days ended in 1746 when the city was virtually destroyed by an earthquake. Many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and you will get a first-hand look at several of them on the tour. The striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas), flanked by some of the most important buildings in town such as the cathedral, the huge Government Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace, constitutes the heart of the city.
    • You will visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains.
    • Next we will visit the Central market where we will take a walking tour. The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer including fruits, vegetables and even Guinea pigs. You will have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food.
    • Next we will visit China town which is close to the Market.
    • The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for dinner in Down Town or back to Miraflores.
    • In your spare time you might enjoy wandering around around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy a view aross Lima's beaches, or catching a taxi to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum, which is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. Please remember that you must agree on a fare with the driver before catching a taxi, as the taxis here do not have meters. (Miraflores-Downtown approximately 10-15 soles). You may also want to visit the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is home to a wonderful collection of cultural exhibits tracing the history, arts and accomplishments of the people of Peru, ranging from the original inhabitants of the land through to the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquerors.
    • There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!
    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar

    Day 8-9 - Amazon Jungle - Puerto Maldonado.

    • You will take a two hour flight to Puerto Maldonado today. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the office in town where your will be able to store your luggage before heading off with just a small pack for your two nights in the jungle. A motorised canoe will transport you up the river to your jungle lodge is the Madre de Dios region.
    • The lodge is sustainable and eco-friendly, it is built in the native style. While simple, the rooms are comfortable, with flushing toilets, cold water showers, kerosene lamps and mosquito nets.
    • Multilingual guides will take you through the forest and and help you to explore the incredible flora and fauna, teaching you about the medicinal properties of the plants and pointing out the spectacular wildlife. You will see everything from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies.
    • After spending time immersed in the wilderness, you will re-board the canoes and head back to Puerto Maldonado.
    Posada Amazonas lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10-11 - Cusco

    • You will take a short (35 minute) flight to Cusco from Puerto Maldonado today.
    • The oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, Cusco is a wonderful place in which to stroll aimlessly or participate in an outdoor activity. If you are feeling energetic there are a myriad of adventures available in and around town.
    • There are plenty of opportunities to shop for handicrafts or wander around the cobblestone streets and visit museums, churches and colonial sites. You may just wish to relax with a 'cerveza' or a 'pisco sour' in one of the restaurants and 'penas' (traditional local bars) surrounding Plaza de Armas.
    • You will go on a guided walking tour while you are here, visiting the Coca Museum and the San Pedro market. Ensure you take some time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 metre altitude. We recommend seeing your doctor pre-departure to check if you have any pre-existing conditions, and monitoring your health while you are in Cusco closely.
    • You have included a Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) if you are interested in visiting the many museums in Cusco, it will also grant you access to the archaeological sites that surround the city, including Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Puka Pukara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
    Eco inn or Similar

    Day 12 - Sacred Valley

    • You will drive on to the Sacred Valley on a private bus today.
    • The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River.
    • At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength.
    • You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community.
    • Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
    • You may also wish to try the Hearts Cafe while you are here, a project designed to support the local community.
    Samanapaq hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 13 - Aguas Calientes

    • Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today will be Aguas Calientas. You will 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.
    Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 14 - Aguas Calientes- Machu Picchu- Cusco

    • You will travel along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes) today, where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty.
    • MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters.
    • You will have a guided visit (approximately 1.5-2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.
    • WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
    Eco inn or Similar

    Day 15-18 - Cusco-Puno-Lake Titicaca

    • You will have the rest of today Day 15 free to further explore Cusco. Your included "full boleto turistico" will give you access to the archaeological sites of Qenqo and Tambomachay, in the outskirts of Cuzco.
    • On day 16 you will travel on to Puno today, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 6 hours drive). You'll stop en route at the Sillustani archaeological site, a collection of ruined towers built by a pre-Inca civilisation near Lake Umayo. The towers are chullpas - funeral towers built to commemorate noble men, and fitted with offerings to help secure their passage into the next life.
    • This scheduled tourist service will take you on good roads through some spectacular mountain scenery and you will stop at several sites along the way, including Inca adobe ruins.
    • Puno is situated on Lake Titicaca, and is a fusion of Quechuan Indian and Aymara culture. It is recognised as the cultural capital of Peru, with an abundance of festivals, music and dancing.
    • You will go on a tour of the lake on a motor boat, visiting the floating islands that are built on totora reeds. In fact everything on these islands are crafted from reed, including their boats which last up to 12 months.
    • You will stay overnight with a local community in the lake region, offering you invaluable insight into daily life here. The home-stay will be a mud-brick house, the rooms have beds and multiple blankets. The drop toilets are shared, and there is no shower. Take this opportunity to practice the local language, be immersed in the culture and perhaps play a soccer game with the locals.
    • Return to Puno on day 17 where you will spend the night.
    Taypikala hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 19 - Puno- Tiahuanaco La Paz

    • Today you will travel to the Bolivian border at Desaguadero. Here you will complete immigration and customs formalities. There will be a few stops and you will be required to leave the bus to complete the formalities. The journey by road to the Bolivian capital, La Paz, will take you via the ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco.
    • This was the base of a great civilisation that began around 500 BC before mysteriously 'disappearing' around 1200 AD. It is believed that the ceremonial complex date back to the 8th century AD and was once at the centre of a powerful and self-sustaining empire based in the southern Central Andes. 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 is less a than two hour drive to La Paz, where you'll spend the night. You will enjoy spectacular views of the city on your approach, due to its unique location in the middle of a vast volcanic crater that resembles a bowl.
    • At around 3,600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world. It's not far from it 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. 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.
    • There are no activities planned for the final day and you will be able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
    • Whilst in La Paz you will take an orientation walking tour around Down town.
    Rosario Hotel or similar

    Day 20-21 - Santiago

    • You will need to book a flight to Santiago de Chile today, this flight is not included in the price of your trip and will need to be arranged separately. Please book an earlier flight today as you will have a group meeting in Santiago at approximately 6pm.
    • The second day in Santiago you will go on an orientation walk with your guide. The city centre itself is quite small and simple 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 on to the peaks of the Andes.
    Gen suites or similar

    Day 22-23 - Mendoza

    • You will make the six to seven hour trip across the Andes to Mendoza today. On the way, you may be lucky enough to spot Mt Aconcagua, the highest mountain in America, depending on the weather and clarity.
    • The border crossing can take anywhere between one and three hours depending on local traffic. As such, we recommend that you bring snacks and water for the drive. please keep in mind that you will have to dispose of any fresh fruit or deli products before you cross the border into Argentina.
    • Upon arrival in Mendoza, we recommend taking a stroll around the city's tree lined streets, or enjoying a coffee in a local cafe and soaking up the beauty of this well landscaped and lush city. Your centrally located hotel will make it easy for you to explore at your leisure.
    • While you are in Mendoza, you will go on an included winery tour. Mendoza is the most important grape growing region in the country, producing more than 70% of Argentina's wine. It is especially well known for Malbec.
    • A visit to Aristides Villanueva Street after dark is a must if you enjoy a bit of nightlife.
    San Suites or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 24-25 - Estancia Stay

    • You will leave pretty Mendoza behind and fly to Buenos Aires. From Buenos Aires you will travel (approx 2 hrs) on to a traditional Estancia (a rural estate) , where you will spend the night.
    • 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 work with the cattle (including branding, vaccinating etc), participate in a cattle auction or visit the local town, visit a cheese factory, play volleyball, soccer etc. Alternatively you could laze by the pool and read or have a barbecue.
    Estancia Monte Viejo or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 26 - Buenos Aires

    • From the Estancia, you will continue your journey to Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan epicentre of South America. 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 will notice that the local residents, or Portenos, are incredibly proud of their city.
    • Your leader will take you on an orientation walk, perhaps visiting San Telmo and its weekend antiques market and artists' displays.
    • You will also have free time to explore this wonderful city.
    Hotel Patios De San Telmo

    Day 27 - Buenos Aires

    • Your trip will come to an end in Buenos Aires after breakfast.
    Hotel Patios De San Telmo or similar
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader in each country, and professional local guides at some sites.
    • Arrival transfer to the Peregrine joining hotel.
    • • City tours of Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Cusco, La Paz and an orientation walk in Santiago (including entrance fees where applicable).
    • Visit to Iguazu Falls and guided tour on both the Argentine & Brazilian sides.
    • Motorised boat ride to a Jungle Lodge in the Amazon for a two day stay, including jungle excursions with a local guide.
    • Sightseeing where mentioned in the trip notes.
    • Train and bus to Machu Picchu (non-trekking trip), with a guided tour of Machu Picchu.
    • Boat cruise on the highest navigable lake in the world - Lake Titicaca, including the floating reed islands of the Uros people.
    • Authentic stay at a traditional Estancia in Argentina.
    • Full day winery tour in Mendoza.
    • Authentic accommodation- 22 nights comfortable hotel, 2 nights amazon jungle lodge, 2 nights estancia (ranch house), 1 night homestay.
    • Meals- 28 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners.
    • • Visit to a Guarani Village near the Iguazu falls

    Not Included

    • All international flights including Flight from Rio to Lima on Day 7 and flight from La Paz to Santiago on day 20
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    South America Circle

    Peter - Australia, 16 Sep, 2012
    Overall Rating

    We enjoyed the trip. All the connections worked without an issue. Felt like we spent a day too long in the Ssacred vallley area and would have preferred an extra day in Santiago. We also felt that a visit in Igauzu to the river junction where the three countries abut should be a standard part of the tour. We got there but had to ask for it.

    South America Circle

    Mairead - , 23 Oct, 2011
    Overall Rating

    We both enjoyed our cultural adventure in South America, it was a wonderful experience in many ways. All the trip leaders were very good at their job. Two were wonderful people, and really deserve a special rap. They were Lolly Springer in Argentina, and Teresa Navarro in Peru.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSSC
Start City: Buenos Aires
End City: Buenos Aires
Style: Small Group

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