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Tour escorts & guides for some segments
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu & Iguazu Falls. Optional Buenos Aires extension|
|Themes||Family Friendly, History & Culture, Nature & Wildlife|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking, and reaches high altitudes requiring that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
|As Seen in|
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HEALTH REQUIREMENTS/PRECAUTIONS: The high altitude reached on this trip (Cusco is at 11,000 feet above sea level) as well as the considerable amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, requires that you be in good physical condition to enjoy this trip. We strongly suggest that you consult with your physician regarding any concerns as well as possible medications to ease the effects of the high altitude.
You will be arriving to Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) from Peru, which is one of the Yellow Fever Countries. Therefore, you must be vaccinated against Yellow Fever at least 10 days prior to your departure from the United States. When you arrive to Brazil, you will be asked to present a certificate of vaccination, and if you do not have one, you could be denied entry to the country. An exemption is granted under certain medical circumstances, so be sure to discuss this issue with your physician, or click here to find a local vaccination center.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
Indisputably, Machu Picchu in Peru and Iguazu Falls straddling Argentina and Brazil, are two iconic South America destinations. They're tough to combine in one, affordable tour because for starters, they're on opposite sides of the continent. But that's no problem for Friendly Planet travelers with a week's worth of vacation and a desire to experience the best of South America for a price that literally screams "amazing deal!"
You'll visit Machu Picchu, Lima, Cusco, and Iguazu Falls, on both the Brazilian and Argentinean sides. All flights, hotels, transfers and plenty of touring are included on this South American escorted tour. And if you can stand just a tad more excitement, why not take advantage of your already-included airfare and enjoy 3-nights in fabulous Buenos Aires. Friendly Planet makes travel in South America easy and affordable. But hurry space is limited, so reserve your spot today!
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Lima. Your exciting journey to South America begins this evening as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, Peru's diverse capital city. Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores, Doubletree El Pardo or similar.
Day 2: Lima. Enjoy the morning at leisure. (Passengers from New York and Los Angeles will arrive early this morning.) In the afternoon, embark on a city tour of both modern and colonial Lima. See the Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its library and catacombs, and the historical city center, based around the beautiful and sprawling Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas).
The Grand Cathedral of Lima, the ornate Archbishop's Palace, and the Government Palace, or Casa de Pizarro, line the plaza. Both the Government Palace and the cathedral were first built by Francisco Pizarro when he founded the city in 1535 to govern the conquered Incan empire (though both have been rebuilt since). Visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 3: Cusco & Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short morning flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, travel to nearby Pisac, a picturesque Andean village with a wonderful market. Here you'll have a chance to buy locally made ponchos, sweaters and other handcrafted clothing, ceramics and hand-painted beads. Enjoy browsing the "locals" section of the market, where villagers come from miles around, dressed in their traditional clothing, to barter and sell their produce.
Continue 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. Accommodations: Aranwa Sacred Valley or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: 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. By train, return to Ollanta station then drive to Cusco for overnight. Accommodations: Aranwa Cusco or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Cusco. This afternoon, a panoramic tour takes you to the main sites of this impressive city. You'll see the Plaza de Armas, center of the Inca Empire, where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the conquest of Cusco. Here, you'll visit Cusco's beautiful 16th century cathedral. Then, just a few blocks away, you will discover the ruins of the Koricancha, an important Inca temple to the Sun God. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors, this incredible wealth had all been taken as treasure for Spain. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 6: Cusco/Iguazu Falls. Very early this morning, your journey continues as you board your flight from Cusco to Lima connecting to Foz do Iguassu, Brazil. Upon arrival, and after customs formalities, transfer to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Bourbon Iguassu Resort or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: 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.
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. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Iguazu Falls. 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 this evening, bid farewell to sensational South America as you transfer to the airport for your return overnight flight back to Miami via Lima. Or, extend your stay and visit the “Paris of the South”, Buenos Aires, on a 3 night post tour extension. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Arrive USA. Your unforgettable South American adventure comes to an end as you touch down in Miami this morning.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Buenos Aires, the chic jewel of Argentina. Passengers taking the post-tour extension will arrive in the U.S. 3 days after the dates listed.
Day 8: Buenos Aires. Transfer from the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls across the border to the airport on the Argentinean side for your flight to Buenos Aires. Arrive in Buenos Aires, so often referred to as "the Paris of the South." Upon arrival you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Sheraton Liberator Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: 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 Peron spoke to throngs of adoring Argentineans.
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.
Admire the French architecture in the exquisite Recoleta neighborhood, including the beautiful Cemetery of La Recoleta, where Evita Peron 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. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Dinner & Tango Show. 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. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 10: Buenos Aires plus optional Tigre excursion. Today is yours at leisure to explore on your own or enjoy an optional tour of nearby Tigre. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Tigre. 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. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 11: 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 this evening, bid farewell to South America and transfer to the airport for your return overnight flight back to Miami. The hotel check-out time will be 12:00pm (noon), late check-out is available for a supplement (See Dates & Prices). Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Arrive USA. Your unforgettable South American adventure comes to an end as you touch down in Miami this morning.
This was our first tour with Friendly Planet but it won't be our last. We always knew what we were doing and where we were going. The guides were excellent and our accommodations were wonderful. There was nothing we would change about this wonderful trip. Thank you Friendly Planet Travel.
Don & Jan Mantei, Canby, OR