Marvel at the scale and design of Machu Picchu on a guided tour of the ruins and during free time. Stop in at the incredible floating Uros Islands, constructed by the Uros people as a form of protective isolation in ancient times. Discover Buenos Aires, Argentina’s ostentatious capital, and enjoy a private tango lesson from a professional dance couple. See the marvellous and breathtaking Iguazu Falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides
Immerse yourself in three bold and rugged destinations on this tour. This 16-day adventure through South America will have you exploring the lofty ruins of Machu Picchu, perfecting your steps at a private tango class in Buenos Aires and sipping a caipirinha in Rio de Janeiro.
Breakfast Included: 13 Lunches Included: 4 Dinner Included:
On arrival to Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. Meet your leader and fellow travellers at the hotel for a pre-trip briefing, usually held at 2 pm. After the meeting, your leader will take you on a brief orientation tour of the Miraflores area. Your in-depth city tour will be tomorrow morning. Lima has some of the best cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its seafood. Perhaps sample Peru's national dish of ceviche this evening, raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers.
Sacred Valley of the Inca
Take a flight from Lima to lofty Cusco today, then make a two-hour minivan journey to Urubamba. Set in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Urubamba is a small town named for the river that cuts through the mountains and mainly functions as a transport hub and base from which to explore the surrounding ruins.
Sacred Valley of the Inca/Aguas Calientes
Some of the region’s most captivating historical sites are on the itinerary today. First up is the small town of Maras. Known for the thousands of individual salt pools set into the surrounding hillside that date back to Inca times, these white terraces stand out even in an environment known for its physical and man-made beauty. From here, continue to Moray, an Inca archaeological site on a high plateau featuring a series of concentric terraces that are sure to stun in their design and scope. Enjoy lunch at the small community of Chichbamba, then continue by train to the town of Aguas Calientes in preparation for tomorrow's visit to mighty Machu Picchu.
Rise early for a 5.30 am for a 30-minute bus ride along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The first views of Machu Picchu against a backdrop of forested mountains will likely stun even experienced and worldly travellers. Enjoy a 1.5- to 2-hour guided tour through the magnificent ruins and learn about the site’s known history and the ancestral people of the region. 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 Inca had no written language. Some historians have argued it was a place of spiritual worship; others, a military stronghold, and some even think it was a prison. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’, Emperor Pachacuti. Later return by bus and train to Cusco, where you'll spend the night. At 3450 metres (11,150 feet) above sea level, it’s important to take time to acclimatize to the city’s altitude, so perhaps take it easy this evening.
Today, enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of Cusco. This city is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, and was the home of the Inca for two centuries before the Spanish invaded and built their first capital here. Today Cusco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. This tour includes a visit to the Cusco Cathedral with specialist guide, Professor Alfredo Hinojoza Galvez, a born and raised Cusconian and academic considered an icon in the colonial art and tourism world. Alfredo is uniquely placed to offer special insight into Cusco Cathedral, which is also a World Heritage site. Following the tour, perhaps ask you leader for a restaurant recommendation or seek out aji de gallina (creamy chicken) or Quechan classic causa (potato casserole).
Enjoy a free day to explore Cusco at your own pace. Perhaps visit the San Pedro market in the morning and wander among the colourful produce and early-bird crowds. You could pick up some fruit and other snacks and make the 45-minute walk to Sacsayhuaman. Another incredible example of Inca ingenuity, Sacsayhuaman was an important religious site that features imposing stones stacked together to form a wall complex. Photographs do not do these towering walls justice. If you are still struggling with the altitude or simply prefer to relax, maybe take a seat at a cafe overlooking the Plaza de Armas and watch the world go by with a pisco sour or two.
Depart today for Puno, the ‘Folklore Capital of Peru’, which lies on the shore of vast Lake Titicaca. The journey will take around seven hours, though there will be a stop en route at Juliana, a lively town known for its traditional street dancing. Upon arrival in Puno at around 3.30 pm, take a lead-led orientation walk around town. Puno is known for the vibrant celebration of many festivals, particularly February’s Virgen de la Candelaria, a blend of town-wide feasting, Catholic devotion and flamboyant carnival. Even if your visit does not coincide with a festival, Puno is sure to delight with boundless joviality and good cheer year-round. In the evening perhaps head out for dinner with the group, your leader will be able to recommend some fantastic places to eat.
Depart the hotel before 7 am and set off to explore Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world. Be enchanted by the striking scenery and encounter waterfront communities on a cruise around the lake today. Stop in at the incredible floating Uros Islands, constructed by the Uros people as a form of protective isolation in ancient times. Built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, the structures are constantly replenished with fresh material as the reeds beneath rot away. Next call into Taquile Island, where knitting is a strictly male pursuit and women do the spinning, resulting in famed woollen handicrafts. Return to Puno for a final evening in the Altiplano.
Today, on the way to the airport, visit the crumbling chullpas (funerary tours) of Sillustani, the tallest of which is 12 metres. Spend some time wandering among the remnants of this pre-Inca cemetary and look closely for the ancient carvings that are still visible on many of the structures. Later, catch a flight to Lima. Perhaps head out for a final meal with your fellow travellers and toast to the adventure that has been.
Today, transfer to Lima Airport and take an included flight to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Depending on the time you arrive and transfer to your hotel, you might have some time to discover the city at your own pace. Perhaps you could explore the antique markets of San Telmo or browse the museums in the well-to-do neighbourhood of Recoleta. Keep in mind that your adventure continues with another meeting for the entire group so you can all get acquainted at 6 pm. Afterwards, perhaps head out and be swept away by the dance of love at an optional tango show.
Enjoy a morning exploring some of Buenos Aires’ most iconic sites with your leader on a walking tour. First stop is the Plaza de Mayo to visit the original town hall, as well as the presidential palace known as the Pink House. Walk around La Boca and its ‘Caminito’ district, before moving on to the lesser-known Barracas neighbourhood and stop in at a local NGO to learn about their agroecological model of food production and community collaboration. Help prepare a meal – much of the ingredients for which are grown in the co-op garden – and then dine on the results, including alfajores (classic South American cookies) for dessert. Your leader-guided tour continues after lunch in Recoleta Cemetery, a labyrinth of ornate mausoleums. After a stop at the grave of Eva Peron, head to Palermo to see beautiful parks and the unique Floralis Generica – a huge metal flower. Enjoy a few hours of free time in the afternoon. In the evening, enjoy a professional tango performance, followed by an hour-long beginner’s class. The dancers will explain the origin of the style and its rich history.
Iguazu Falls (Brazil)
This morning, transfer to the airport and board your flight to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina (2 hours). While you are flying into Argentina, today will actually be spent exploring the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, so please be sure you have any necessary visas. At over two-kilometres in length, and are made up of 275 waterfalls in total, Iguazu is higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls. The Brazilian side of the falls offers great panoramic views, which you’ll get to spend time taking in today. Return to your hotel in Argentina for the evening.