Days
25
Price from
9035USD
Map of Essence of South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru

Amazon beauty and Inca history on an insightful journey.

Capture the true essence of spectacular South America on a 25-day cultural odyssey through the region’s best of the best. This journey showcases the continent’s diversity of natural beauty, historic wonder and world-class cuisine, passing by the Andes and the Amazon, Mendoza and the majestic Machu Picchu, La Paz and Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley and sultry Santiago, all the way to the Argentinian powerhouse of Buenos Aires. Gain an insight into ancient Inca culture and local communities, indulge in fine food and some of the region’s best wine, and discover the raw feeling of truly understanding what a place is like – away from the tourist traps and cash grabs – with expert local knowledge at every step.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Destinations
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSSEC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Join a specialist historian guide on one of your included visits to an archaeological site in Cusco. Your guide will provide fascinating insights and knowledge of Peru's history and culture

  • Relax into a two-night Peregrine Feature Stay at the private island of Suasi on the Lake Titicaca. Watch the sun go down at the highest point of the island while enjoying a picnic and drinks

  • Experience an untouched world of the Amazon rainforest, strolling along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caymans, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps

  • Marvel at ancient Inca architecture throughout the fertile Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Inca cities – magical Machu Picchu – with your small group

  • Explore the vibrantly colourful port town of Valparaiso, where culture spills out into the streets, and in Argentina, test your palate at a traditional lunch in the malbec-producing wine region of Mendoza

Is this trip right for you?

  • Due to the high altitude of many of the places we visit some people can suffer from 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 Essential Trip Information for more important details about altitude sickness.

  • The heat and humidity can be quite extreme during the summer months, particularly in the Amazon Jungle and Buenos Aires. It’s important to always bring plenty of water, wear comfortable walking shoes and ensure you use adequate sun protection. Wearing layers is a good way to tackle the heat. Make sure you also bring tropical-strength insect repellent.

  • During the colder months, usually between April and October, the border crossing between Chile and Argentina may be closed due to snowfalls. In that event, your emergency funds may be needed to purchase a flight between Santiago and Mendoza. Please see the 'Money matters' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

  • 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.

  • Visitors are not permitted to explore Machu Picchu without a Machu Picchu guide (not our trip leaders) and must follow set routes within the site. This trip includes two guided visits of Machu Picchu and each visit is approximately 1.5 - 2 hours long. Once your guided visits conclude, you will need to leave the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted. Your leader will provide more information to ensure you get the most out of your visits to this incredible site.

Itinerary

Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in Miraflores. In the afternoon around 2 pm, there will be a welcome briefing at the hotel with your Peregrine tour guide. Straight after the meeting 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. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. Continue onto the central market which has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer, including fruits, vegetables and even guinea pigs! You'll also have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food. Next head away from the tourist trail and visit Alameda de Chabuca Granda – an area really only known to locals. This is a place where people go as a treat to enjoy a variety local street food and authentic Peruvian desserts such as mazamorra morada (a sweet porridge made from purple corn), or picarones (Peruvian donuts made from local squash called Macre and sweet potatoes served with a sweet syrup). You will finish in Lima main square, you may choose to stay downtown for dinner or take an included transfer back to Miraflores.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Antigua Miraflores or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Lima - Guided tour Down town, Cathedral of Lima and The Catacombs
  • Lima - Alameda de Chabuca Granda - Street food tasting
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Private Lima: Home Cooked Tour Urban Adventure (price from) - USD83
  • Lima - Night Bites & Sights - Urban Adventures - USD68
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD52
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through us. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.

If you wish to take part in any of the optional activities mentioned below, you will need to book additional accommodation prior to the tour start date as there won't be any spare time once the tour has commenced.
This morning starts nice an early with a transfer to Lima Airport at approximately 5.30 am. Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado today, which should take around 3 hours, including a 30-45 minute stop in Cusco (during this stop you will not disembark the plane). The flight will arrive into Puerto Maldonado airport just before 12 pm (midday). Take a short drive to the lodge's office in town. Upon arrival, you will be provided with a small duffle bag to pack your personal items required for the duration of your jungle stay. The remainder of your items will be stored securely in the office. From the office it's about an hours' drive to the Port of Inferno. Leave civilisation behind and venture deep into the Amazon rainforest by motorised canoe, up river to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios region. During the boat journey you will be given a packed lunch provided by the lodge. Upon arrival at the lodge it's a 15-20 minute walk, and you won't be required to carry your bags. Once you arrive, there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing. After dinner your local guide will take you out into the jungle on a night walk.
Accommodation
  • Nape lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Due to today’s boat transfer to the jungle lodge, the maximum weight limit for the Amazon is 12 kg.

Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas lodges are both owned by the indigenous Ese-Eja community of Infierno. The lodges both offer a 30-metre canopy tower that provides spectacular views of the vast expanses of forest, Tambopata River and endless opportunities to witness Amazonian wildlife. Rooms at the lodges are simple but comfortable. They are built using local materials such as bamboo, adobe mud and palm trees. Rooms don't have regular doors for the entrance and bathroom, instead traditional curtains are used. Each room opens out to the rainforest, providing a true jungle experience. Rooms are equipped with flushing toilets, showers (on occasions water may be cold due to remoteness of lodge), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps. Electricity and internet are only available in the common areas at designated times. Please note that drinks and tips are not included.
Embrace another early start (approximately 4.30 am) and visit the Oxbow Lake. The activity begins with a walk through the jungle. It will take you approximately 30-40 minutes to reach the Lake. Once at the Lake you’ll board a catamaran to take a slow ride around. Keep your eyes peeled for Squirrel Monkey troops that sometimes forage in bushes at the edge of the lake. Overhead, spectacular Scarlet and Red and Green Macaws and parrots are a regularly seen as they fly over the Lake. After the boat ride you’ll take the same path back to the lodge, arriving late morning at approximately 11 am, depending on the group's pace. Soon after you’ll head back out on a 20-minute walk through the rainforest to a clay lick visited by 7 to 10 species of parrots and parakeets. While watching from a blind, you’ll be able to get very close to view the Dusky-headed and Cobalt-winged Parakeets, Chestnut-fronted Macaws with Mealy, Yellow-crowned, Blue-headed, and Orange-cheeked Parrots. After this you’ll walk back to the lodge for lunch. There will some free time until mid-afternoon when you’ll head out for the final activity of the day. A 20-minute boat ride downriver from the lodge brings you to Centro Nap – a traditional community clinic that produces medicines from rainforest plants and administers them to patients who either cannot afford to receive treatment in town or prefer traditional medicines. An Eseeja nativa from the Community of Infierno will take you on a unique tour of Centro Nape to explain the uses of various medicinal plants. Head back to the lodge around 6 pm and enjoy some free time before dinner. After dinner head out on an optional night jungle walk.
Accommodation
  • Nape lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning at approximately 8 am, travel back to Puerto Maldonado before taking a short flight (approximately 35 minutes) to Cusco. The flight will arrive into Cusco at approximately 1.30 pm. After settling in at the hotel, embark on an orientation walk of the hotel's surrounding area and Plaza de Armas. This tour will also include a visit to the Cusco Cathedral with a specialist historian guide. Your guide will be highly educated in colonial art, and will be able to offer special insights into Cusco Cathedral, which is a World Heritage-listed site.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee
  • Cusco - Cathedral tour with Specialist Historian Guide
  • Cusco - Cathedral Entrance Fee
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Pre-Colombian Museum - PEN20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your leader will take you on walking tour of Cusco today. Visit the Coricancha Temple for a tour with a local guide. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its walls. Afterwards, head to the San Pedro market, where you can practice your bargaining skills and take some colourful pictures. The tour will also stop at the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the city. Here you will again see the main cathedral (this time from the front only), built on top of an Incan palace and one of the city's greatest repositories of art.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Inca Museum - PEN10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to a luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu you will be required to pack all necessary items for the next 2 days into a smaller bag. The remainder of your luggage will be stored securely in your Cusco hotel.
This morning, travel by private bus for around 2 hours through the Sacred Valley on the outskirts of Cusco. Known as Wilcamayo by the Incas, this valley was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. Long the main source of food for the high Andes, maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an impressive picture of how greatly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength. En route to Ollantaytambo, visit workshops in the Chichubamba community to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle with an included lunch and visit to some local workshops. After the community visit, continue on to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning and the perfect warm up for Machu Picchu. 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. Today you’ll see lots of evidence of the Incas' engineering skills – in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Late afternoon head to the hotel in Ollantaytambo and settle in for night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Tika Wasi Valley or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included)
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your destination today is Aguas Calientas, nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. Early this morning at approximately 7.45am you will travel by train for around 90 minutes through the meandering Urubamba Valley to reach the town. From here take a 30-minute bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu, where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins and tell you stories of its history and the ancestral people of the region. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. In fact, none were made in the first place, since the Incas had no written language. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’: Emperor Pachacuti. Today, enjoy a guided visit (approximately 1.5–2 hours) with plenty of photo opportunities. Due to visiting restrictions at Machu Picchu, we recommend exploring the Sun Gate and Inka Bridge before your guided tour starts. Your leader can advise how to get the most out of your visit. Later, take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before heading back up to Machu Picchu first thing in the morning for your second visit.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hatun Inti or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • 1 Day Inca Trail - Add-on (Must pre-book) - USD380
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The 1-day Inca Trail hike is a great option for those wanting to experience trekking in Peru, without committing to the full four days. This trek starts from the train station known as 'KM 104' and after a steep ascent it follows the last portion of the Classic Inca Trail. Trekkers enter Machu Picchu at the Sun Gate in the afternoon, where there will be some time to take a few photos before taking a short bus ride down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night and rejoin the rest of the group. This trek is subject to permit availability, must be pre-booked and will incur a surcharge. Please contact your booking agent if you would like to book this activity.

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.
At around 5.30 am this morning, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu. On your second visit to the ruins, join a local Machu Picchu guide once again to explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters. Its mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that, to this day, not even a knife fits between them! You'll have time along the way to take any photos you may have missed yesterday. In the afternoon, return by bus and train to Cusco, where you'll spend the night. In the evening, perhaps head out for a celebratory dinner with your group in the city.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Machu Picchu Site Museum - PEN25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6–6.30 am. The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30 am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Today, enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas. There are many optional activities available in Cusco, so be sure to speak with your tour leader if you wish to book any of these in.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Pisco Making - Urban Adventures - USD51
  • Cusco - Stand Up Paddle Boarding - USD75
  • Cusco - Visit a local Musician's house - USD40
  • Cusco - Totem painting workshop - USD59
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart the hotel just after 7 am this morning. Travel by bus for around 7- 7.5 hours to the tiny but unique town of Puno. This direct tourist service will take you on decent roads through spectacular mountain scenery. You will also drive through the large sprawling town of Juliaca on your way to Puno, which is a colourful and lively place renowned for its traditional street dancing, often performed in celebration of Catholic festive days in February each year. Arrive in Puno at around 3.30 pm. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, this place is a a culture centre of Aymara and Quechuan Indian influences, and where traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, especially the Virgen de la Candelaria, 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. Head to the hotel in Puno and settle in. Shortly after your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Puno town. This evening perhaps head out for dinner with the group – your leader will be able to recommend some great places to eat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Puno or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's bus journey is a direct bus service and there are no toilet stops, however there is a toilet on board. The bus company does provide you with a snack upon boarding, however we do recommend packing a few extra snacks and a drink bottle in your day pack for the ride.
Leave the hotel just before 7 am and set off to explore Lake Titicaca. Be enchanted by the striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca today. As Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, the sun can be extremely strong, so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Stop by the floating Uros Islands. The Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They are built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Next call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts. On the island, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. At approximately 1 pm, retire to the private island of Suasi where you'll spend the next two nights. This afternoon you may want to venture out on a walk around the Island or why not head to the spa and book in a massage. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner at the lodge.
Accommodation
  • Suasi Island Eco lodge or similar (Feature Stay) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Due to a luggage restrictions on the boat you will be required to pack all necessary items for the next two days into a smaller bag. The remainder of your luggage will be stored securely in the Puno hotel.
This morning you will visit the cultural museum on the island. Here you will find maps, pictures of the lake, and books about history of the lake and its communities. There are handicrafts and fabrics from the different groups that developed around the Lake, types of Andean grains like quinoa, and a chance to learn about the painting process of wool. An easy late-afternoon walk (approximately 30 minutes) will take you to a nice spot to witness a memorable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca. Enjoy a private picnic with drinks – a unique moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity, and if the clouds behave, watch the sun go down. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner at Suasi Lodge.
Accommodation
  • Suasi Island Eco lodge or similar (Feature Stay) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suasi Island - Spectacular Sunset over Lake Titicaca, Picnic & Drinks
  • Suasi Island - Cultural Museum Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Enjoy a relaxing morning, and just before 1 pm, travel back across the lake to Puno. The boat journey back to Puno is approximately1 hour and 45 minutes. Enjoy a free night in Puno to explore, eat dinner at a local restaurant or relax in the hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Puno or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The lodge will provide you with a packed lunch today. It will be available from about 12 pm, you may choose to enjoy this prior to departing the island or during the boat journey
This morning depart the hotel at approximately 7 am. Travel by minivan to Desaguadero (approximately 2.5 hours), 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. On your way to La Paz, stop at Tiahuanaco for a guided visit. The archaeological site of Tiahuanaco was the base of a great civilisation that began around 500 BC before mysteriously 'disappearing' around AD1200. It is believed that the ceremonial complex dates back to the AD800 and was once at the centre of a powerful and self-sustaining empire based in the southern Central Andes. It is also 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 a 2-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
  • Hotel Rosario or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At around 3600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. 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. This morning at about 9 am you'll embark on a city tour. Begin with a dramatic ride on the world’s highest 'urban' cable car, up at 13,000 feet connecting La Paz with its twin city El Alto – a challenging urban environment that is a mix of shacks, half-finished buildings and church spires. Here you will visit some craft markets, selling goods made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials, before visiting the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches' Market. Browse the weird and wonderful stalls that sell everything from potions to incantations made from herbs. This witches market is rarely seen by tourists and is much more authentic than the smaller witches market in La Paz. Just outside the market is a street with dozens of types of doctors or shamans that, for a price, can tell of your future health, love, or career. Reboard the cable car to the south of the city and take a walking tour of the extraordinary landscape of Moon Valley. This isn’t a valley, but a maze of canyons and colossal clay spires. These rugged oddities, caused by erosion, make for staggering views. Stop at Mirador Killi Killi for one of La Paz’s most impressive viewing points. Next head to the main square and Plaza Murillo. After lunch, the rest of the day is free. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, join the locals in seeking warmth in a bar or restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Rosario Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please be aware that the order of your tour may change slightly according to weather, however you will still visit everything mentioned in the itinerary.
Transfer to La Paz airport and take an included flight to Chile’s capital, Santiago. Set within a circle of snow-capped mountains, Santiago is vibrant, artistic and gourmet. On arrival, take an included transfer to the hotel. Your adventure continues with another meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early into Santiago, perhaps take a short walk to get your bearings of the city, with the Andes serving as a spectacular backdrop to your exploration.
Accommodation
  • Ismael Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will likely change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. We suggest you attend, as this is also a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. It’s important that you attend the welcome meeting as your new group leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Today at 10 am get to know Santiago on a walking tour with a local guide (approximately 2.5 hours). You’ll discover more about the city that was founded in 1541 by the Spaniard, Pedro de Valdivia, and has experienced a turbulent history filled with native conflicts, floods and earthquakes. Head to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city and home to the cathedral, and walk through the central market to try some local specialities. Next, take the cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for the best view of the city. Finishing the tour in the bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood. Tonight, why not take the chance to dine out at one of the city's famous restaurants and sample some local ceviche. 
Accommodation
  • Ismael Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago - Half-day guided walking tour
  • Santiago - Cerro San Cristobal Funicular
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning in Santiago. Perhaps visit the Mercado Central (Santiago’s celebrated fish market) to savour some breakfast empanadas with pebre, a delicious Chilean condiment of coriander, garlic, olive oil and peppers. At about 2 pm head west towards the coast. Stop for a wine tasting on the way in the Casablanca Valley, located about 45 minutes outside of Santiago. Sitting on a coastal plain between the capital and Valparaiso, the valley is Chile’s fastest growing wine region, with its rich soil and perfect climate making it a wine lover’s paradise. This visit (approximately one hour) is focused more on the sustainability and organic goals of the vineyard and the characters of biodiversity rather than tasting wine. Nice to know however that this area is known for crisp Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but also for stunning reds like Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. Continue (approximately 1.5 hours) through the lush green vineyards to the coast and the colourful city of Valparaiso, notable for its brightly hued houses spread across a series of hills overlooking the ocean. As a creative hub, the city has no shortage of options for a drink, so perhaps find yourself a place to sip some ancho reyes alongside locals for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Casa Galos or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Casablanca region - Tour of an organic & biodynamic vineyard including wine tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Listed as a World Heritage centre in 2003, Valparaiso used to be South America’s busiest port before the opening of the Panama Canal. It has since transformed itself into Chile’s most creative city which you'll learn more about on the walking tour today at 9.30 am with a local guide (approximately 3.5 hours). The ramshackle streets have long been home to artists, writers and musicians so there is no shortage on visual inspiration to prompt some questions about its background. The hills of Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre are dotted with kaleidoscopically coloured houses, with cobbled streets weaving sharply uphill and concealing all manner of galleries, restaurants and shops. Later on, visit the Lukas Museum which houses the collection of original works by the cartoonist, illustrator and chronicler Renzo Pecchenino, Lukas.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Casa Galos or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Valparaiso - Guided City tour
  • Valparaiso - Pisco Sour workshop & Sunset
  • Valparaiso - Lukas Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At 9 am in the morning, travel through the Andes and across the Argentinean border by local bus to Mendoza (approximately 6 hours on the bus). Please note that crossing the border can take up to three hours depending on local traffic so it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the trip may incur delays. On a clear day it may be possible to see Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6962 meters above sea level. Once in Mendoza, get to know the city with a gentle stroll around its tree-lined streets, or visit the local cafes and restaurants for some Argentinean fare.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villagio or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
During the colder months, usually between April and October, the border crossing between Chile and Argentina may be closed due to snowfalls. In that event, your emergency funds may be needed to purchase a flight between Santiago and Mendoza. Please see the 'Money matters' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.
Mendoza is Argentina's most prolific and significant grape-growing region, producing nearly three-quarters of the country's wine. The climate produces an excellent variety of grapes, with the region's signature being Malbec. Expect an 8.45 am pickup today, visit several wineries and cellar doors to see and taste the quality for yourself. Afterwards about 1 pm, stop at a closed door restaurant for an exclusive included lunch. Sit back and enjoy being served delicious food in this unique private eatery. Return to the centre around 3.30 pm. In the evening, perhaps test your palate by attempting to pair the perfect wine with an authentic Argentine asado (barbecue-style food). A visit to Aristides Villanueva Street after dark is a must if you enjoy a bit of nightlife. If you're feeling adventurous, try one of the most popular drinks in town: fernet with coke – an acquired taste and not for the faint-hearted!
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villagio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mendoza - Full-day winery tour - Includes lunch
  • Mendoza - Closed-door restaurant lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This afternoon fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, which only takes around one and a half hours. This domestic flight has a strict luggage allowance of 15kg (one piece) for check in luggage. On arrival about 6 pm, travel in a minivan for just over an hour to a traditional estancia (ranch). This is where the group will be staying for the next couple of days. During your time here, you could go horse riding, take a cooking class or simply read a book. 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 La Eloisa or similar, Feature Stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 2-night stay at a traditional estancia
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today, your leader can assist the ranch staff to brief you about the sport Polo. This nail biting game will enthral and impress you; combining skill, endurance, elegance and danger! Meet the horses up close and get a feel for the equipment and gear used. Later, head into the kitchen to take part in an mmpanada workshop! Empanada's are an Argentinean staple that resemble a small pie. They can be sweet but are most commonly savoury. During the workshop you will learn how to make the dough and a traditional filling from scratch. At some point today a local gaucho (cowboy) will pop in to the ranch for a chat.
Accommodation
  • Estancia La Eloisa or similar, Feature Stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Estancia - Polo workshop
  • Estancia - Empanada Making Workshop
  • Polo workshop
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast travel back to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires (approximately 1.5 hours) to experience its old charm and cosmopolitan streets. Soak up the Argentinean capital’s irrepressible mix of European and Latin culture on an orientation walk with your leader. Visit Florida street, National Congress and the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) in the Plaza de Mayo. If there is time, your group may get to visit the Obelisk and possibly either La Boca or Recoleta. During the free afternoon, perhaps visit the elaborate tombs on display in the famous Recoleta Cemetery, be seduced by the world's most passionate dance at a tango bar, attend a raucous football match, or gorge yourself on the city's sophisticated culture and food.
Accommodation
  • Tango de Mayo Hotel or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show (prices from) - USD60
  • Buenos Aires - Football game (subject to availability) ticket prices from - USD80
  • Buenos Aires - Polo day - USD185
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Please not that you must comply with any of the hotel's internal check-out rules. If you're planning to stay on in Buenos Aires we can assist you in booking extra accommodation (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tigre day trip (prices from) - USD95
  • Buenos Aires - Polo day - USD175
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

23 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Bus, Plane, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Estancia Feature Stay (2 nights), Hotel (18 nights), Jungle Lodge Feature Stay (2 nights), Eco Lodge Feature Stay (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Lima - Guided tour Down town, Cathedral of Lima and The Catacombs
  • Lima - Alameda de Chabuca Granda - Street food tasting
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee
  • Cusco - Cathedral tour with Specialist Historian Guide
  • Cusco - Cathedral Entrance Fee
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included)
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
  • Suasi Island - Spectacular Sunset over Lake Titicaca, Picnic & Drinks
  • Suasi Island - Cultural Museum Visit
  • La Paz - Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Santiago - Half-day guided walking tour
  • Santiago - Cerro San Cristobal Funicular
  • Casablanca region - Tour of an organic & biodynamic vineyard including wine tasting
  • Valparaiso - Guided City tour
  • Valparaiso - Pisco Sour workshop & Sunset
  • Valparaiso - Lukas Museum
  • Mendoza - Full-day winery tour - Includes lunch
  • Mendoza - Closed-door restaurant lunch
  • 2-night stay at a traditional estancia
  • Estancia - Polo workshop
  • Estancia - Empanada Making Workshop
  • Polo workshop
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk

Dates & availability - 2021 season

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Essence of South America trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 and 3 (Amazon Jungle) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 
3. This trip includes domestic and international flights as indicated on the trip map. The flight between Mendoza and Buenos Aires has a luggage allowance of 15kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on. The other flights have a luggage allowance of 23kg for check in luggage and 7kg for carry on.
4. This trip starts at 2pm on Day 1 in Lima. This allows time after the joining meeting to explore the city with your leader.
5. Full name exactly as per passport is required at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on the passport), for activity and transport bookings. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
6. This trip includes two visits to Machu Picchu. According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only, and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted. Please refer to the itinerary for details.
7. Your trip includes taking the train to Machu Picchu, however you may choose to book the 1-day Inca Trail hike on Day 7 (additional surcharge required). This optional activity is subject to permit availability. Please contact your booking agent if you would like to book this activity. Please refer to Day 7 of the itinerary for details of the hike.

Essential trip information

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