South America Spotlight

Colca Canyon

Created by a vast geological fault, the Colca Canyon is thought to be the deepest canyon in the world measuring ...

Aguas Calientes Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 113

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Day 1: Santiago

Bienviendos a Chile! Upon arrival into the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Santiago. The rest of the day is free for you to get out and explore. Overnight - Hotel Torremayor.

Day 2: Santiago

Encircled by snow-capped Andean peaks, the city of Santiago enjoys a particularly spectacular setting. This morning join a group city tour to discover Santiago’s appealing blend of the old and new. Walking to the Plaza de Armas gaze at the handsome colonial architecture including the grandiose Catedral Metropolitana, the Post Office and the Santiago City Hall. Continue to the Government Palace and the older neighbourhood of Plaza Concha y Toro marked by cobblestone streets and elegant 20th century mansions. Heading east through neighbourhoods with a thoroughly modern appearance stop at a local handicrafts store where you can try a Pisco Sour. Hotel Torremayor.

Day 3: Santiago - San Pedro de Atacama

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Calama. On arrival you will be transferred to the little oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama. After hotel check in enjoy an afternoon shared city tour with a visit to the outstanding Museo Arqueológico Gustavo Le Paige. Housing more than 380,000 artefacts including Neolithic tools, ceramics and gold and silver ritual masks, the museum is famed for its prehistoric mummies, notably the withered ‘Miss Chile’. Overnight - Altiplanico San Pedro Atacama.

Day 4: San Pedro de Atacama

After breakfast visit the 12th century pre-Inca fortress of Pukara de Quitor. Strategically located on a hill, the defensive walls encircle a group of stone buildings that have been partially restored. Continue to the ancient settlement of Tulor where circular dwellings are interconnected by common passages and patios. Later in the afternoon see the impressive Licancabur volcano on your way to the village Toconao where the volcanic Liparita stone is quarried nearby. Heading in to the centre of the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt lake in Chile, arrive at the Chaxa Lagoon where you’ll find pink flamingos congregating. Overnight - Altiplanico San Pedro Atacama.

Day 5: San Pedro de Atacama

It’s an early morning departure today as you travel to the Geysers del Tatio for a picnic-style breakfast and a stroll around the geothermal fields to see the geysers and pools of boiling water and mud. Enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the hot springs before heading back to San Pedro de Atacama. En route stop at the small village of Machuca where home-made empanadas, sopaipillas, coffee and coca tea can all be sampled. Later in the afternoon head to the dramatic wind-eroded landscape of Valle de la Luna. The angular geology is often compared to the surface of the moon and you’ll get the opportunity to visit salt caverns and climb the sand dunes to see the sunset. Overnight - Altiplanico San Pedro Atacama.

Day 6: San Pedro de Atacama - Iquique

Later in the afternoon continue north to Iquique passing the impressive Pintados geoglyphs along the way. Consisting of more than 400 figures etched into the hillside, the site features images of animals, birds, humans and geometric patterns. Continue to Iquique for overnight. Overnight - Terrado Club.

Day 7: Iquique - Arica

Once the scene of a thriving industry, the ghost towns of Santa Laura and Humberstone now stand empty and lifeless. Abandoned in 1960, Humberstone now lies in total disrepair with workers’ houses, a theatre, a church and a hotel gradually disintegrating under the desert sun. Continuing your journey north through the desert you’ll pass the Pampa de Tamarugal, an artificial forest in the middle of the desert, and the 86m tall Atacama Giant geoglyph. En route to Arica along the Tiliviche ravine and the Chiva escarpment you’ll also see the well-preserved panel of geoglyps illustrating a herd of llamas. Overnight Diego de Almagro Arica.

Day 8: Arica - Putre

This morning visit Lauca National Park and the Chungara Lake. During the ascent you’ll come across Andean bogs and strange flora such as the llareta plant, which only grows 1mm every year. Surrounded by the snow-capped Volcan Parinacota, the Chungara Lake is one of the highest lakes in Chile and when the wind is still, the reflection of the volcano is a staggeringly beautiful sight. Later visit the village of Parinacota where you’ll have the chance to meet some of the native Aymara inhabitants and learn about their traditional customs and beliefs. Overnight - Hotel Q'antati.

Day 9: Putre

Free day. Overnight - Hotel Q'antati.

Day 10: Putre - Lima

After breakfast and hotel check out you will be transferred back to Arica airport for the flight to Lima. Upon arrival into Lima International Airport you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. After check in spend some time with our rep discussing your up-coming trip. The remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure.

Day 11: Lima

Many of the city’s most imposing and important buildings were built around the Plaza Mayor in the heart of the old town and you'll discover them on the half day tour. Here you’ll find the opulent facade of the Palacio de Gobierno, or Presidential Palace, where each day the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place. Nearby is the austere Catedral and various small palaces and balconied edifices that helped Lima claim UNESCO World Heritage status. Discover contemporary Lima in the form of the plush suburb of San Isidro and lively Miraflores before continuing to the quiet district of Pueblo Libre to see the stylish hacienda museum, which exhibits hundreds of excellently preserved ceramics.

Day 12: Lima - Cuzco

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco, known to the Incas as the ‘navel of the world’. At an elevation of 3400m above sea level, it’s important to acclimatise to the altitude so spend some time resting in your hotel before exploring this historic city later in the afternoon. Considered the archaeological capital of South America, Cuzco is home to some of the finest examples of Inca history and architecture, which you will discover touring the sights of the Plaza de Armas, the Catedral and the Koricancha complex. Head out to tour the Kenko Amphitheatre, the fortified hunting lodge of Puca Pucara, the stunning imperial baths of Tambo Machay and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

Day 13: Cuzco - Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley was greatly appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities and as such contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. On the way to the ancient village of Urubamba stop to visit Awanacancha, an Andean textile centre where the art of Incan textile is kept alive. Continue to the archaeological complex of Pisac, formed of a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples and terracing. Enjoy a spot of shopping and practise your bartering skills at the local market before stopping for lunch. The day of touring concludes with a visit to the impressive fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo.

Day 14: Sacred Valley - Aguas Calientes

Today explore the Sacred Valley further with visits to Andean villages south of the Río Urubamba. See the lovely paintings from the Cuzco School on display in the attractive colonial church of Chinchero. Continue to Maras where the original Indian aristocratic coats of arms hang on the outside of the church and houses. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the train station for a stunning train journey to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Sit back and enjoy the views as the landscape changes from the Andean highlands to the beginnings of the jungle. Arrive Aguas Calientes and check in to hotel.

Day 15: Aguas Calientes - Cuzco

No place in Peru quite captures the imagination like the legendary ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Nestled in a saddle between two forested mountains and surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River, its location couldn’t be more awe-inspiring. The city itself is brilliantly preserved, a classical Inca-style complex of polished dry-stone walls and temples. This morning explore the citadel and the wonderful Temple of the Sun and magical Temple of the Moon on a three hour guided excursion. Other highlights include the fascinating Sacred Plaza and the elaborately carved Intihuatana rock. Lunch is provided at a local hotel before you return by train to Cusco.

Day 16: Cuzco - Lima

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Lima. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to do as you please – head out into town and discover Lima’s excellent dining options or hit the markets for some last minute souvenir shopping.

Day 17: Lima - Buenos Aires

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival we will transfer you to the hotel. Overnight - Two Buenos Aires Hotel.

Day 18: Buenos Aires - El Calafate

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to El Calafate. On arrival we will check you into the hotel. Measuring 30km in length, the monstrous Perito Moreno glacier is a jagged mass of crevasses and towering columns of ice. It’s also unusual in the sense that it is actually growing in size and constantly moving forward. Today enjoy a full day excursion beginning at Brazo Rico where you will be able to spot floating icebergs and continuing with a nautical safari on Rico Lake for spectacular views of the ice wall. Overnight - Rochester Calafate Hotel.

Day 19: El Calafate

Day at leisure. Today offers a chance for you to continue exploring the southern sector of Parque Nacional los Glaciares independently or enjoy some downtime at Lago Argentino. Other options include a full day tour to the Bosque Pertificado La Leona, a petrified forest with fossilised trunks and dinosaur bones. Overnight - Rochester Calafate Hotel.

Days 20-22: El Calafate - Bariloche

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Bariloche and on arrival we will check you into the hotel. Resting on the slopes of a dramatic massif and facing Nahuel Huapi, Bariloche enjoys an enviable setting. Over the next three days you are free to independently explore Bariloche and the surrounding lakes. Spend some time getting to know the alpine style town and its quaint chocolate shops or head for the hills and partake in outdoor activities ranging from mountain biking to horse riding. Overnight - Nahuel Huapi Bariloche Hotel.

Day 23: Bariloche - Mendoza

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina. With striking snow-capped peaks visible on the horizon and an alluring combination of top-class dining and vibrant nightlife, Mendoza is the perfect place to base yourself for trips to the surrounding vineyards. Overnight - Huentala Mendoza Hotel Boutique.

Day 24: Mendoza

Set out on the Wine Route for a half day tour of Mendoza’s wine cellars. The valleys around Mendoza are primarily farmland producing delicious olives, almonds, cherries, plums and of course, wine. Touring two wine cellars observe how wine is made, from the picking of the grape to the bottling of the final product, with time for a cheeky glass or two! Overnight - Huentala Mendoza Hotel Boutique.

Day 25: Mendoza - Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

After breakfast this morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguazu. Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are composed of over 250 separate cascades. Enjoy a full day excursion to the Argentinean side of the falls. A number of walking trails are available bringing you in front of or above the rapids. You’ll also see the dramatic Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat, an awe-inspiring display of natural power. Overnight - Jardin del Iguazu

Day 26: Iguazu Falls (Argentina) - Iguazu Falls (Brazil)

Enjoy a full day excursion to the Argentinean side of the falls. A number of walking trails are available bringing you in front of or above the rapids. You’ll also see the dramatic Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat, an awe-inspiring display of natural power. Overnight - Jardin del Iguazu

Day 27: Iguazu Falls (Brazil) - Curitiba

Today tour the Brazilian side of the falls, walking along catwalks that allow you to see the torrents of water at their most impressive. We will then transfer you to the bus terminal in Iguazu for the start of your bus journey to Curitiba. Overnight - Slaviero Slim Centro.

Day 28: Curitiba

Board the Mountain Range Train for a scenic journey through the largest preserved area of Brazil’s Atlantic forest. Arriving at the historic city of Morretes enjoy a guided tour on a shared service. With charming colonial architecture and a pleasant climate, Morretes is growing increasingly popular with tourists. Enjoy lunch before taking the train back to Curitiba. Overnight - Slaviero Slim Centro.

Day 29: Curitiba

Free day. Overnight - Slaviero Slim Centro.

Days 30-31: Curitiba - Sao Paulo

You will be transferred to the bus station for your journey to Sao Paulo, “the city that never stops”. On arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Remainder of today and the whole of tomorrow are at leisure so why not independently explore one of the world’s biggest metropolises. The sheer size of Sao Paulo is simply mind blowing, being the world's 3rd largest city you'll be hard pushed to not find something to do. Why not head to the Banespa Skyscraper for incredible views of the city or check out Sao Paulo’s fantastic collection of museums. Overnight - Comfort Ibirapuera.

Day 32: Sao Paulo - Rio De Janeiro

Today you’ll be taken to the bus station for your journey to the party capital of the world - Rio de Janeiro. Upon arrival we will transfer you to the hotel. This afternoon you will have a guided orientation tour of the city. Overnight - Ibiza Copacabana Hotel.

Days 33-34: Rio De Janeiro

You will have a half day city tour (shuttle service tour). The rest of today and tomorrow is free for you to explore on your own. There are trips up Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car and Corcovado, with its famous Statue of Christ, for great city views. Another interesting journey is on the old tram system across the viaduct into the cobblestone neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. A walking tour of Rio's historic buildings is also a lovely way to pass an afternoon, or you may like to visit the Botanical Gardens or one of the famous beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon. Overnight - Ibiza Copacabana Hotel.

Day 35: Rio De Janeiro

Your time in South America has come to an end! We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.