Jewels of South America

Lima, Iguazu Falls, Cuzco & Machu Picchu plus Buenos Aires & Easter Island optional extensions

This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our current tour & cruise packages in South America.

Jewels of South America tour itinerary Most experienced travelers agree that among all the glorious and inspiring sites of South America, two stand out as "jewels" of the continent: Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas in Peru; and Iguazu, the magnificent waterfall spanning Brazil and Argentina (also known as Iguazú or Iguaçu). Now with the new routes of LAN Airlines linking Lima and Iguazu, you can experience these two priceless "jewels" in one, creatively designed and well-priced package. If time and budget permits, take advantage of a pre-tour extension to Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America and a post-tour extension to Easter Island, another new LAN Airlines route, the least known and most mysterious island of the South Pacific. But don't wait long to book. Space is limited and at these prices, it will fly!

Itinerary at a Glance

Jewels of South America
Day Destination
1 Depart USA
2 Lima/Iguazu
3 Iguazu Falls
4 Iguazu Falls, Lima
5 Cuzco, Chinchero & Sacred Valley
6 Machu Picchu
7 Cuzco
8 Lima, depart Peru
9 Arrive USA
Buenos Aires Pre-Tour Extension
Day Destination
1 Depart USA
2 Buenos Aires
3 Buenos Aires
4 Buenos Aires
5 Depart Buenos Aires
Easter Island Post-Tour Extension
Day Destination
9 Arrive Easter Island
10 Aha Akahanga, Rano Raraku Quarry & Anakena Beach
11 Ahu Akivi
12 Depart Easter Island
13 Arrive USA

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins as you depart on your overnight flight to Lima, Peru. (Passengers departing Los Angeles will overnight in Lima.)

Aerial view of Devil's Throat at Iguazu Falls - Photo by Mario Robert Duran Ortiz Day 2: Lima/Iguazu. Arrive in Lima. Enjoy the airport's VIP Club Lounge while you await your connecting flight to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to take in your beautiful surroundings. Bristol Viale Hotel

Day 3: Iguazu Falls. Upon seeing Iguazu, Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" You'll soon discover why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world! Straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, the Falls consist of 275 inlets and cataracts cascading down 250 feet, framed by multiple rainbows and mist that rises up to 500 feet in the air. Iguazu boasts the greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world.

Exploring by boat  Photo by Dr. Robert Nguyen This morning, you'll get a fantastic close-up view of the falls and their dazzling and awesome display of power. Cross over into Argentina and travel through the rainforest to the most spectacular sight at Iguazu: Devil's Throat, a massive U-shaped cataract that measures 270' high, 490' wide and 2300' long.

Enjoy some free time to explore on your own. Or, take advantage of an optional nautical adventure along the Lower Iguazu River, sailing under the Falls. Breakfast provided.

Day 4: Iguazu Falls, Lima. This morning, visit the Brazilian side of the falls. Walk along the pathways through the sub-tropical rainforest into the canyon on the falls, for an incredible up-close view. Later transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Sol de Oro Breakfast provided.

Peruvian in traditional dress Day 5: Cuzco, Chinchero & Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short morning flight to Cuzco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 11,000 feet above sea level.

Upon arrival, travel through the magnificent Urubamba River Valley to the picturesque Andean village of Chinchero. Chinchero was built by the Incas under the snowy peak of Chicon, meaning "Courageous Man" in the Quechua language. The main square is bordered by a well-preserved wall built by the Incas. See the colonial church which boasts unique frescoes in the portico. Visit the home center for Traditional Textiles, where the ancient art of weaving has been preserved and has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. See a demonstration as wool is carded, spun and dyed. Learn about the different techniques used to create ponchos, fajas (belts) and mantas (shawls).

Ollantaytambo, Peru In the afternoon, enjoy an optional tour to Ollantaytambo, located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. The temple area is at the top of a series of steep terraces which helped provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river—an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex, still under construction at the time of the conquest by Spain, was never completed.($30) Sol y Luna Breakfast provided.

Plaza Principal, Machu Picchu © Promperu Day 6: Machu Picchu. It's a short drive from your hotel to the Ollanta railroad station where you'll board the train that will take you through the lush Urubamba Valley, passing through stunning scenery en route to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular and enigmatic archeological sites in the world.

Unknown to the outside world until archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Incan Empire. Believed to have served as a country retreat town for Inca nobility, the complex consists of giant walls, terraces, and ramps constructed from precisely cut rock formations. This impressive architectural feat, in combination with its breathtaking natural setting amidst mist-covered green mountains above the rushing Urubamba River, makes for a visually stunning, and even mystical, experience. Return to Cuzco for overnight. Libertador Posada del Inca Breakfast provided.

Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru Day 7: Cuzco. Enjoy the morning at leisure in Cuzco, or take an optional tour of the city. View the Cathedral in Cuzco with its many works of art. Visit the Temple of the Sun, and important religious site of the ancient Incas, whose walls were once covered in gold. From here, drive to Sacsayhuaman, an impressive Inca fortress ($65). In the afternoon, you will have a walking tour of the quaint San Blas district. Visit the beautiful colonial church, which houses an impressive pulpit, a filigree woodcarving bearing the fruits of the region and dedicated to the Virgin of the Blessed Event. Stroll through the ancient quarters dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the many handicraft and native art galleries in the little square. Breakfast provided.

Miraflores district, Lima Day 8: Lima, depart Peru. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your short flight back to Lima. This afternoon, embark on a city tour of both modern and colonial Lima. See the historical center and the San Francisco Church as well as Plaza de Armas and the Government Palace. Visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean.

Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions. Or extend your stay to visit the mystical Easter Island and transfer to the airport for your overnight flight. Sol De Oro Breakfast & dinner provided.

Day 9: Arrive USA. After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight Your South American adventure ends today as you touch down in Miami.

Buenos Aires Optional Pre-tour Extension

Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Buenos Aires, the chic jewel of Argentina. Passengers taking the pre-tour extension will depart the U.S. 3 days before the scheduled departure date.

Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins as you depart this evening on your overnight flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Arrive and transfer to your hotel. NH Lancaster

Casa Rosada presidential palace Day 2: Buenos Aires. Arrive and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the day at leisure, and discover why Buenos Aires so often referred to as "the Paris of the South."

Day 3: Buenos Aires. After breakfast this morning, set out on a tour of the city. Begin at the Plaza del Mayo, the historic and political center of the city. You'll see the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace from which Juan and Eva Perón spoke to throngs of adoring Argentinians.

La Boca District  Photo by Luis Argerich Continue to the Obelisk landmark on the Avenue 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. Then to the crowded Florida Street, a true shopper's paradise. Pass through the colorful neighborhood of La Boca and the charming San Telmo area. Buenos Aires is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor, but everywhere the people are warm and welcoming.

Recoleta Cemetary, Buenos Aires Admire the French architecture in the exquisite Recoleta neighborhood, including the beautiful Cemetery of La Recoleta, where Evita Perón is buried. It is one of many ironies of this complex city that Evita, heroine of the poor, is buried in the city's most elegant (and expensive) section. Tonight, take advantage of an optional dinner, complete with an exciting performance of the tango, Argentina's passionate national dance, which originated in Buenos Aires from Spanish and African influences. ($65) Breakfast provided.

Day 4: Buenos Aires plus optional Tigre excursion. Today is yours at leisure to explore on your own.

Rowing Club in Tigre  Photo by longhorndave Or enjoy an optional tour of nearby Tigre and San Isidro. The beautiful town of Tigre, situated an island in the Paraná Delta, was first settled by Europeans and has become a fashionable weekend spot, with its grand architecture, antiques shops, riverside restaurants and pubs, a casino and a small amusement park. Enjoy a catamaran ride through the labyrinth of islands and islets along the delta, which is lined with countless marinas and English-style rowing clubs, humble dwellings and elegant mansions from the "Belle Époque", small hotels and upscale lodges, teahouses and picnic sites.

San Isidro cathedral Disembark and board the Tren de la Costa, a light rail train that connects the elegant riverfront areas. Stop at San Isidro, one of the most affluent municipalities in Argentina. Tour the town's neo-gothic Cathedral, built in 1898, and the Plaza Mitre, an historic area with cobbled streets and grand old houses. The plaza slopes down to a popular park on the Río de la Plata and hosts an antiques and crafts fair. ($27)

Day 5: Buenos Aires. Enjoy your final day in Argentina at leisure for last-minute shopping or relaxation. We recommend a stroll through the colorful streets and shops around your hotel to scout the amazing bargains that will make shopping for souvenirs (and that gorgeous leather bag) a pleasure.

Later today, transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguazu. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred across the border to Brazil, where you will meet up with the remainder of your tour group at your hotel. (See Day 2 of the itinerary above.) Bristol Viale Hotel Breakfast provided.

Easter Island Post Tour Extension

Take advantage of the new direct flight from Lima, Peru to Easter Island Chile. Visit exotic Easter Island, which is one of the most isolated islands in the world. The people, known as Rapa Nui, came to the island approximately 1200 years ago, with their King Hotu Matua, and built the incredible moai out of the volcanic rock. Passengers taking the post-tour extension will return to the U.S. 4 days after the return date shown above

Moai at Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island Day 9: Easter Island. Morning arrival at Mataveri International Airport on Easter Island. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Iorana Hotel Breakfast provided.

Rano Raraku quarry, Easter Island Day 10: Aha Akahanga, Rano Raraku Quarry & Anakena Beach. Today, visit Aha Akahanga, a large Ahu (platform) with four large fallen statues, and according to legend the site of the tomb of the first king. Visit the Rano Raraku quarry, where the Maoi were originally sculpted. There are over 300 statues in various stages of construction. Visit Ahu Tongariki, the largest known ahu with 15 upright moai on its platform. Drive along the north coast, passing by La Perouse Bay to the Ahu Te Pita Kura (the World's Navel). Visit the Anakena beach where the expeditions of Hatu Matua landed. See two restored Ahu (Ahu Nau Nau and Ahu Ature Huki). Enjoy a box at a picnic facility. Breakfast & lunch provided.

Rapa Nui tribesman, Easter Island Day 11: Ahu Akivi & Orongo Volcano. This morning, visit the inland site of Ahu Akivi, one of the later constructions, built when the statue cult was drawing to an end. Visit the caves at Ana Te Pahu, used as shelters and dwellings by the ancient Rapa Nui. This afternoon visit the Orongo Volcano, the final setting of the Rapa Nui culture. Hear the story of the ancient rites and tests of skill, as told by the painted Matamua'a men. See the carved petroglyphs of birdmen, and the glistening lakes and marshes dotting the floor of the volcano. From one of the viewpoints, you will be able to see the modern village of the Rapa Nui today. Breakfast provided.

Day 12: Easter Island. In the late morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to USA via Santiago.

Day 13: Arrive USA. Your South American adventure ends today as you touch down in Miami.

HIGH ALTITUDE ADVISORY: The altitudes reached on this trip (Cusco is at 11,000') and the amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, requires that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. We strongly suggest that you consult your physician if you have any concerns regarding your ability to handle these conditions.

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