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 ...

Inca Trail Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 55

If you like the itinerary below please quote REF SOUTH AMERICA 55 when enquiring for further details.

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Day 1: Lima

Welcome to the capital of Peru and the start of your adventure! Arrival transfer included to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure in Lima. Why not head out to lively San Isidro or Barranco districts for a bite to eat and a beverage.

Day 2: Lima - Pisco / Paracas Region

After a leisurely morning in Lima, we transfer you to the bus station and assist with your embarkation on the public bus to travel down the coast to Pisco, from where the Peruvian national drink originates. Arriving here, we transfer you to your hotel.

Day 3: Pisco / Paracas Region - Nasca

This morning we move along the coast to neighbouring Paracas where we take a motorboat out to explore the Ballestas Islands. The islands are teeming with over 150 species of bird life (including penguins, cormorants, boobies and pelicans), are home to thousands of sea lions and boast some amazing rock formations. Back on shore we drive into the desert towards the Huacachina oasis where you have the chance to try your hand sand boarding down the enormous sand dunes. Lunch here and then you will be driven to Nasca.

Day 4: Nasca - Arequipa

This morning bright and early you will be assisted over to the airstrip and take the 1 hour flight over the incredible lines. Tonight you travel by public sleeper bus to Arequipa. Long distance buses in Peru are surprisingly comfortable with excellent onboard facilities including video entertainment, complimentary snacks and roomy seats.

Day 5: Arequipa

Arrival here and a transfer to your hotel awaits. Free day for you to do as you please why not head up to the Carmen Alto lookout enjoy the views of the three volcanoes or perhaps Santa Catalina Convent which is Practically an entire city within Arequipa.

Day 6: Arequipa - Colca Canyon

Today head towards the Colca Valley, passing a number of traditional towns, natural lagoons, volcanic peaks and a national reserve along the way. This is a great place to see many species of birds and South American camelids in their natural habitat. Stop for an invigorating coca tea at Patahuasy and ascend to a pass 4800m above sea level before reaching your final destination, the town of Chivay.

Day 7: Colca Canyon - Cuzco

This morning visit the village of Yanque to enjoy the typical dances of the region before continuing towards Cruz del Condor. Here you can observe the majestic flight of the Condor – the largest bird in the world - as it soars over the Colca Canyon. We return to Arequipa in the afternoon and then transfer you to the bus station for the public sleeper bus to Cusco.

Day 8: Cuzco

Arrival transfer to your hotel. Later discover touring the sights of the Plaza de Armas, the Catedral and the Koricancha complex – a supreme example of Inca stonework. Head out further afield to tour the Kenko Amphitheatre, the fortified hunting lodge of Puca Pucara, the stunning imperial baths of Tambo Machay and the megalithic fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

Day 9: Cuzco

Today you explore the region starting with the textile centre of Awanacancha 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. Practise your bartering skills at the local market before stopping for lunch then continue to the impressive fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo. This evening back in Cuzco a briefing to prepare for the Inca trail.

Day 10: Cuzco - Inca Trail

4-5 Am you are collected and you travel by bus, through the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, for the 3½ hour scenic trip to kilometer 82 (the start of the trail). From here we commence hiking past small villages and the highlights today being the Inca hillfort of Huillca Raccay. Arriving at your campsite in the early evening at Wayllabamba.

Day 11: Inca Trail

This morning a steep 5 hours walk brings you to the 4,200m (Abra de Huarmihuañusca or 'Dead Woman's Pass) The descent from the pass is steep although not difficult, following the trail on the left side of the valley to the valley floor and to the 2nd night's campsite at Pacamayo (3,600m).

Day 12: Inca Trail

After an hour's hike visit the ruins of Runkuracay. After than an hour takes you to Abra de Runkuracay pass (4,000m) After, descend to visit Sayacmarca by way of a superbly designed stone stairs. The trail then climbs up to the 3rd pass (3,700m). After around 3 hours more hiking you arrive at your last campsite Winay Wayna (This evening you have a ceremony to thank the porters and cooks and proceed to give customary tips)

Day 13: Inca Trail - Cuzco

This morning it is a 2 hours scramble from about 05:30 to get to the Sun Gate in time to see the sun dispel the mists over Machu Picchu. After a time to enjoy the sunrise, you walk through the ruins to a cafe at the entrance have a tea/coffee then enjoy your guided tour of the site. Free time after to wander around and take it all in. You will have your bus ticket to go down the mountain to Aguas Calientes or you could walk? Make sure you arrive in time to collect your gear, bite to eat then catch the train with your group back to Cuzco - Arriving in the evening you will be driven to your hotel.

Day 14: Cuzco - Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

Early this morning board a flight to the remote jungle settlement of Puerto Maldonado - the starting point for our journey into the Amazon Jungle.A boat ride along the Madre de Dios River brings you to your jungle lodge where you will spend the next three nights in a beautiful cabaña. Enjoy lunch at the lodge and an afternoon excursion.

Days 15-16: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

Over today and tomorrow you will learn much about the Amazonian wildlife and its most colourful characters with excursions available to the Tambopata National Reserve, Gamitana Creek and the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve. As daylight wanes share your daily experience of life in the rainforest with your fellow guests with the captivating sounds of the jungle your soundtrack.

Day 17: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon - Cuzco

Bidding farewell to the jungle head back to Puerto Maldonado by boat for your flight to Cuzco. Arriving here we transfer you to your hotel. Head out and party being the capital for all things nightlife fun here in Peru!

Day 18: Cuzco - Puno

This morning at 6:30 am a transfer to the Inka Express bus stop for your group coach journey to Puno. This coach is unique as you have some incredible stops to be made along the way. You will visit Andahuaylillas with its incredible church, Wiracocha temple, lunch in Sicuani which is a relatively large highland town, go over the Raya Pass (4335 M) and see the snow peaks and finally a visit to Pukara. Arriving into Puno at 17:00 our local rep will transfer you to your hotel.

Day 19: Puno - Islas Taquile and Amantani

After breakfast board a yacht from Puno port for a shared cruise and tour around the floating islands of Uros. Inhabited by fishermen and hunters, these beautiful islands are made from totora reeds and were built in order to escape the imposition of invading cultures. Your cruise continues to the genuine island of Amantani, renowned for the fine crafts made by inhabitants. Enjoy lunch in the community before visiting the hilltop sanctuaries of Pachatata and Pachamama. You then settle in to your home stay, meeting the family who will be your host for the night and enjoying home-cooked meals.

Day 20: Islas Taquile and Amantani - Puno

After breakfast the next morning bid fond farewell to your home stay family and continue to the neighbouring island of Taquile. The peasant community of this island has kept intact the customs and traditions of their ancestors and a visit here is like taking a step back in time. After lunch visit archaeological ruins and soak up the immensity of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake – from the beautiful beaches that line Taquile’s shore. Later return to Puno.

Days 21-28: Puno


Day 29: 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 where you’ll get the opportunity to visit salt caverns and climb the sand dunes to marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours that appear over the Andes at sunset.

Day 30: San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago

Today a private transfer leads you Calama here you will board your flight to Santiago. Arrival in Santiago and our rep will assist you to your hotel.

Day 31: Santiago

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city.

Day 32: Santiago

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city.

Day 33: Santiago - Santa Cruz

After breakfast collect your rental car and drive to Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley. Known as the Valle de Colchagua in Spanish, the valley sits in the centre of one of Chile’s finest wine-making districts and is home to many of the country’s world-class wines.

Day 34: Santa Cruz

Spend today independently touring the wineries in the valley, sampling as much wine as you can handle. It’s also worth checking out the Museo de Colchagua, boasting a well-designed and diverse collection of exhibits housed in a grand colonial hacienda.

Day 35: Santa Cruz - Chillan

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in your hotel before following Route 5 to the lively city of Chillán. Upon arrival and hotel check in why not spend the remainder of your day exploring the vast handicrafts market of Feria de Chillán? Filling the Plaza de la Merced and offering everything from fresh produce to knitwear and leather goods, this daily market is a souvenir hunter’s paradise. Wandering around the city will also reveal a fascinating collection of Mexican murals.

Day 36: Chillan - Pucon

Stretching from Temuco in the north and Puerto Montt in the south, Chile’s Lake District is spattered with dozens of crystal clear lakes, snow-capped mountains and dense forest. After a morning’s drive you reach Pucón, your base for the next three nights and the ideal place from which to explore the region’s natural gems.

Days 37-38: Pucon

The outdoor activities on offer here are staggering – raft the Río Trancura rapids, hike in the secluded wooded corners of Parque Nacional Huerquehue, fish in the pristine rivers or rest your bones in the local thermal spas.

Day 39: Pucon - Buenos Aires

Today marks the end of your Chilean adventure. After breakfast and hotel check out, drive to airport in Temuco to return your hire car and connect with your onward departure flight to Buenos Aires (Via Santiago) Flights usually leave at 11:45 AM - connect and arrive - BUE at 21:00 - Arriving in Buenos Aires our local rep will drive you to your hotel.

Days 40-41: Buenos Aires

Today and tomorrow are at your leisure to explore the city see the Tango Dancers.

Day 42: Buenos Aires

Today a transfer around 2 hours to Las Viboras Estancia. Here on arrival check into your lodgings and meet your hosts for the upcoming days. By night taste Guacho Cuisine - OVERNIGHT AT THE LAS VIBAROS RANCH

Day 43: Buenos Aires

Enjoy a day horseriding with the Gauchos in the outback of Estancia. By night taste fantastic Gaucho Cuisine - OVERNIGHT AT THE LAS VIBAROS RANCH

Day 44: Buenos Aires

Enjoy a day horseriding with the Gauchos in the outback of Estancia. By night taste fantastic Gaucho Cuisine - OVERNIGHT AT THE LAS VIBAROS RANCH

Day 45: Buenos Aires

This morning return to the city - Day at leisure for your to explore.

Day 46: Buenos Aires

Day at leisure for you to go by ferry to Punta Del Este in Uruguay.

Day 47: Buenos Aires - Mendoza

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina. Arrival transfer to your hotel here. 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

Day 48: Mendoza

Set out on the Wine Route for a full 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 four 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

Days 49-50: Mendoza

Enjoy today and tomorrow to explore Mendoza and the surrounding region. Why not rent bikes to get around, visit more wineries, olive plantations and so much more.

Day 51: Mendoza - Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

After breakfast this morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Iguazu, your base for exploring the magnificent Iguazu Falls. Today tour the Brazilian side of the falls, walking along catwalks that allow you to see the torrents of water at their most impressive.

Day 52: Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

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.

Day 53: Iguazu Falls (Argentina)