Peregrine | South America in Depth

Packed full of highlights, this journey showcases the diversity of wonders across the Andes and Amazon. At Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes, be immersed in the ancient culture of the Incas, visit the Sacred Valley and revel in the magnificent citadel ruins of Machu Picchu. At Lake Titicaca, we visit the floating Uros Islands before continuing to the lofty heights of La Paz. The Chilean capital of Santiago is home to some of Chile's most famous wineries and the lively neighbourhoods and late nights of Buenos Aires. At the border with Brazil, we experience the magnificent might of Iguazu Falls, before finally arriving in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro. Please note the international flight from La Paz to Santiago on day 23 of this itinerary is not included in the tour price: Please contact us or your travel agent for flight details and costs.

  • Highlights

    • Spend a whole day exploring the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu - the most famous and beautiful wonder on the continent
    • Tackle the might of Iguazu Falls and choose whether to float on its thunderous waters or fly in a helicopter overhead
    • Travel deep into the Amazon Jungle with a local guide, keeping an eye out for macaws and monkeys in the trees, peccaries, jabiru, otters and thousands of butterflies
    • Two nights in Santiago affords you the time to really get to know Chile's great capital. A guided tour will also help you find your feet
    • Venture out on a comprehensive city tour of Rio de Janeiro, the diverse city with Portuguese influence. You'll be taken through the nooks and crannies that only the locals know
    • Visit some of the most significant ancient places in Latin American: Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Walk in the footsteps of the Incas and discover their mind-boggling architecture
    • Witness the floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca during a boat tour. These man-made islands are home to the indigenous Uru community
  • Pricing

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      • End Date
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      • Start Date:9 Dec 16
      • End Date:13 Jan 17
      • Price:$14,095
      • Availability:On Request
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Quito - Welcome to Quito, Ecuador! Your tour will begin with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Quito is one of the most beautiful cities in South America, sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level, beneath the snow capped Volcan Pichincha. As we don't spend much time in Quito during the trip, why not arrive early and make the most of your time here? You'll be taken on a guided tour of Old Town and some of the famous sites tomorrow, but perhaps you'd like to explore Cotopaxi National Park, home to the country's famous volcano, or take the TelefériQo Cruz Loma, a gondola lift over the city.  Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit including Quito, Lima and Cusco, some people can suffer altitude sickness regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Fitness' sectionin the trip notes for detailed information.


    Day - 2

    Location: Cotopaxi - This morning you'll explore Quito's Old Town with its countless churches, engrossing history and wonderful museums. Along the way you'll see La Compania de Jesus, the most beautiful church in the Americas, and Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. Next, head north of the city for about 45 minutes to reach the Middle of the World monument, which was built by the French in the 17th century at the precise location of the equator. You'll enter the monument and then visit the local Inti Nan museum, where you can see different experiments to prove that you're at the Centre of the Earth. Later, travel past the Avenue of Volcanoes (approximately 2 hours) to a lodge in the Cotopaxi area where you'll spend the night.


    Day - 3

    Location: Cotopaxi - Today after breakfast travel approximately 2.5 hours to Quilotoa, a lake-filled dormant volcano. Although this stunning lagoon looks like a crater-lake, it's technically a caldera formed by the collapse of a volcano. Quilotoa is located at an altitidue of 3900m. Be prepared with warm clothes as it can get quite cold! You'll have the option to hike down to the lake. The Walk down hill takes approximately 40 minutes. Please note that the the walk back up to the top can take up to 1.5 hours and is quite strenuous, mainly due to the sandy and steep path. Please speak to your leader if you're concerned about this as you may decide to stay at the top, go for a walk along the crater or simply relax and take in the stunning views. After exploring Quilotoa, we drive back to the lodge (approximately 2.5 hours) and the remainder of your day is free.


    Day - 4

    Location: Banos - Today you'll visit the highest active volcano on earth, Cotopaxi. Soak in the incredible scenery of the area under formidable snow-capped peak, then hit the road again on your way to Banos. This town is a traveller's secret delight. It sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by green mountains, filled with waterfalls and hot springs.


    Day - 5

    Location: Banos - Enjoy another day in the little treasure that is Banos. On weekdays, experience peace and tranquility as you stroll through the town and its neighbouring hills, or perhaps go for a swimming. On weekend, get to know the louder side of Banos when it fills with carnival-like festivals. For those who like to get active, Banos also has plenty of adventure sports available. Please note, due to Peregrine's safety policy our leaders are only allowed to recommend or assist with activities that have been through our safety assesment.


    Day - 6

    Location: Cuenca - Leaving Banos today, you'll head to Cuenca, widely considered the most beautiful city in Ecuador. The drive takes approximately 7-8 hours, we'll arrive in the late afternoon. Cuenca has an old-world ambience with historical streets, 16th and 17th century buildings, and a Cathedral erected by the Spanish in 1557.


    Day - 7

    Location: Cuenca - Stay another day in Cuenca and discover this town's ancient history. The area was conquered by the Inca well before Spanish times and was said to be so beautiful that it rivalled Peru's Cusco. It's now a UNESCO world heritage site. Today you'll also go on an excursion to the Ingapirca ruins, Located about 1 hour away from Cuenca Ingapirca are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. Wander around the site and see the famous Temple of the Sun before returning to Cuenca where your leader will take you on an orientation walk around. Cuenca is widely considered the most beautiful city in Ecuador.


    Day - 8

    Location: Tumbes- Lima - Drive through the mountains today (approximately 4-5 hours) until you reach the border with Peru. Here you'll  be transferred to Tumbes Airport. You'll farewell your Ecuadorian leader before taking an included flight to Lima. The rest of the day will be free for you to relax or step out into this brand new city.


    Day - 9

    Location: Lima - Today is a free day in Peru's capital of Lima, once the most powerful and opulent city on the continent. You'll be doing plenty of sightseeing with your group tomorrow so make the most of your free day today by visiting sites that aren't on tomorrow's itinerary. Perhaps visit the chic suburb of Miraflores, stroll through Lover's Park and Central Park, or visit the Gold and Larco Museums. Lima also has an impressive museum called the National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is a must-see for history buffs.


    Day - 10

    Location: Lima - Go on a guided tour of Lima today with your leader and fellow travellers. The tour begins at San Francisco Monastery, where you'll see the famous catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. Next is a trip to the Central Market, where you'll browse the local produce and perhaps have a bite of Peru's infamous delicacy, grilled guinea pig. The tour will take you on to Peru's Chinatown and then on to the main square, the Plaza de Armas. After a long day of walking, enjoy dinner with your group at a local eatery.


    Day - 11

    Location: Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle) - Take a two-hour flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, our gateway to the Amazon. Here, you'll leave most of your luggage and pack the necessary items for the next few days including light cotton clothing and your insect repellent. Once you're ready, take a motorised canoe up the river to your eco-friendly jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. Notes: The eco-lodge in the jungle is simple but clean and comfortable. You'll have no power and only cold-water showers, but there are private en suites with flush toilets, mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.


    Day - 12

    Location: Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle) - Head into the jungle with your guide, a knowledgeable local who will tell you about the flora and fauna of the area. You're likely to see macaws and monkeys in the trees, peccaries, jabiru, otters and thousands of butterflies. Your guide will also teach you about the medicinal and practical applications of many jungle plants. Notes: You'll require a reasonable level of fitness for this part of the journey. While the Amazon walks are not overly long, they can be muddy, slippery and difficult to walk during the rainy season. The lodge provides gumboots but be sure to check the 'What to take' section of the trip notes for more information on clothing and footwear.


    Day - 13

    Location: Cusco - Travel back to Puerto Maldonado and from there fly to Cusco. Cusco is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city, originally built by the Inca empire but later conquered by the Spanish. Here you'll see Spanish colonial architecture atop Inca stonework foundations. Go on a guided walking tour with your leader, which will take you through the city's magical centre, the Coca Museum and the local San Pedro Market. Cusco will be your base for exploring the Inca ruins of the area for the next few days.


    Day - 14

    Location: Cusco - Take a whole free day to explore the historical wonderland that is Cusco. We recommend buying a tourism ticket (boleto turistico) which grants you access to many of the city's museums and neighbouring archaeological sites. Inclusions include the ruins at Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, as well as the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum. We also suggest having lunch at Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas Street. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit:


    Day - 15

    Location: Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo) - Take a private bus through the Sacred Valley. Here you'll see the fertile valley walls that have been a source of livelihood for the locals, including the ancient Inca, for hundreds of years. See maize crops on the terraced valley walls and the winding river below. Along the way, you'll visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman which shows not just the feats of Inca engineering but their formidable military strength. Continue through the valley where you'll visit a local farming community. Reach the town of Ollantaytambo which was built over an ancient Inca town. Here you'll see the magnificence of Inca urban planning, and admire one of the few places where the Inca defeated the Spanish in battle. The archaeological site in the town is a terraced outlook providing beautiful views and photo opportunities over the town.


    Day - 16

    Location: Aguas Calientes - Travel by train for an hour and a half to Aguas Calientes, the town within a cloud forest. You'll pass through the Urubamba Valley for more spectacular scenery. When you reach town, enjoy some free time to unwind and perhaps hop into one of the hot springs that the town was named after.


    Day - 17

    Location: Machu Picchu- Cusco - Wake up early this morning and get the bus at 5.30 am on your way to Machu Picchu. By far the most famous ancient site in South America, Machu Picchu is thought to have been used as a holiday retreat for Inca nobility and been a place of worship for much longer. No matter how many photos you've seen, nothing can brace you for the first sight of the ruins - it's sure to take your breath away. Next you'll be given a guided tour of all the temples, palaces and living quarters here (about two hours). Afterwards, enjoy plenty of free time to explore the ruins by yourself or simply take rest and enjoy the view. In the evening, it's time to return to Cusco for a shower and a pisco sour. WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.


    Day - 18

    Location: Cusco - Have another much-needed free day in the Cusco area. Make the most of your tourism ticket and visit the museums and archaeological sites you haven't seen yet. If you need more ideas, your leader can give you plenty of recommendations.


    Day - 19

    Location: Puno - Today's schedule involves a full-day bus journey towards Puno, making several stops along the way. Travel through spectacular mountain scenery until you reach the first stop, Inca adobe ruins. After some more driving, stop for lunch at the town of Sicuani and then continue to La Raya. At 4335 metres above sea level, this will be the highest point on your journey. You may experience some shortness of breath but after a few quick photos, you'll be back in the bus and descending to a more familiar altitude. Your final stopover will be Juliaca, a bubbling town renowned for its festivals and traditional street dancing. Continue on to Puno and arrive in the evening. This town is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and will be your base for exploring the lake over the next couple of days. With its blend of Aymara and Quechuan cultures, Puno is considered the folk culture capital of Peru. If you're lucky, you'll arrive during a festival and experience some vibrant parades in the evening.


    Day - 20

    Location: Lake Titicaca Tour (Puno) - Tour Lake Titicaca by slow motorboat. This is the highest navigable lake in the world and also a sacred site for the ancient and modern-day Indians. It's also a beautiful and expansive body of water. You'll make a stop at the floating Uros Islands, the famous islands handmade by the locals and used as their homes. Learn about the construction of these islands and wave hello to the friendly locals. Spend another night in Puno. Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website:


    Day - 21

    Location: La Paz - Today, take a minivan to Desaguadero on the border with Bolivia. Here you'll alight the minivan briefly, go through Peru's migration office and then walk over a bridge into Bolivia. Get back on the minibus towards your first Bolivian destination of Tiahuanaco. During the drive, you'll be stopped again by Bolivian officials who will check your documents. Once you reach Tiahuanaco, have a guided tour of these sprawling ancient ruins which include various temples, courtyards, pyramids and monoliths, including the iconic Gateway of the Sun. Little is known about this place and the people who created it, but scientists think that it was used as a ceremonial centre and holy site. From the ruins, drive for two-hours to La Paz. The approach to this city is famous for its dramatic reveal of the town lying within a volcanic bowl.


    Day - 22

    Location: La Paz - At around 3,600 metres, La Paz feels like the top of the world and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Head out a orientation walk with your leader today and get your bearings of this amazing city. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional.


    Day - 23

    Location: La Paz- Santiago - Today you'll need to take a flight from La Paz to Santiago - at your own expense. The flight isn't included in the price of the trip and you'll need to arrange it before you travel. Please book your flight for earlier in the day so that you can attend the group meeting in Santiago at 6 pm. Here, you'll meet some new travellers who are joining the tour at this point and say hello to your new leader.


    Day - 24

    Location: Santiago - Start your second day in Santiago with a guided tour of the city. Santiago is small and easy to get around but full of things to see. You'll visit the Plaza de Armas with its attractive cathedral in the centre of the city and Bella Vista, Santiago's cool Parisian quarter. Here you'll get a feel for Chile's bohemian side. You'll also take a cable car to Cerro San Cristobal and enjoy some impressive views of the city and the Andes.


    Day - 25

    Location: Mendoza - In the morning, travel through the Andes and across the Argentinian border by local bus to Mendoza (approximately 6-7 hours). It’s a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the trip may incur delays. On a clear day it may be possible to see Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 meters above sea level. Please note that crossing the border can take up to three hours depending on local traffic. Once in Mendoza, get to know the city with a gentle stroll around its tree-lined streets, or visit the local cafes and restaurants for some Argentinian fare. Arrive in Mendoza after a long ride. Perhaps you'd like to stretch your legs and explore the city's leafy streets, or perhaps grab a coffee in a local cafe and soak up the beauty of the landscape. Tonight you'll stay in a convenient centrally located hotel.


    Day - 26

    Location: Mendoza - Go on a winery tour of Mendoza. This picturesque part of the country is renowned for producing the bulk of Argentina's wine. It's especially well known for Malbec wine. After dark, you'll visit Aristides Villanueva Street to enjoy the country's ostentatious nightlife. 


    Day - 27

    Location: Estancia Stay - Today fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, which only takes around one and a half hours. On arrival, travel in a minivan for around two hours to a traditional estancia (cattle ranch). This is where the group will be staying for the next couple of days. Arrive in time for afternoon tea and explore the grounds. If there’s time in the evening, perhaps go for a swim in the pool to freshen up after a long day.


    Day - 28

    Location: Estancia Stay - During your time on the estancia you can do as much or as little as you desire. Activities may also vary depending on the day. You could go horse riding, work with the cattle, take a cooking class or learn more about the sport of polo. Alternatively you could laze by the pool and read or have a barbecue. Estancias are ideal for relaxation and provide a great base for activities. Please remember that activities vary depending on the days that you are there. If in doubt, ask your trip leader for more information.


    Day - 29

    Location: Buenos Aires - Leave the Estancia and continue to Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan epicentre of South America. Buenos Aires combines the passion of Latin America with the elegance of Europe to create its own distinctive style. Each neighbourhood within Buenos Aires also has a distinct style, and you'll notice that the locals, or Portenos, are incredibly proud of their city.


    Day - 30

    Location: Buenos Aires - Today you will be taken on a tour of the city to visit a selection of notable places. The tour starts in San Telmo and moves on to the famous Plaza de Mayo. You'll then go to La Boca, where the world-class football team Boca Juniors train. Here, stop for lunch in a local artists house. The last stop is at Recoleta Cemetery, where you can see the graves of some of the countries most influential figures.


    Day - 31

    Location: Buenos Aires - Today is a free day in Buenos Aires. Perhaps further explore the many interesting neibourhoods or head to a cafe and relax.


    Day - 32

    Location: Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) - Fly to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, our gateway to the mighty Iguazu Falls. You will spend the next two days exploring the falls in depth, seeing them from both the Argentinean and Brazilian side. The falls are two kilometres in length, and made up of 275 falls in total, some of which stretch up to 80 metres high. This makes them both higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls. Please note for visa information, you will be visiting the Brazilian side of the falls on Day 32 and Argentina on Day 33. The Brazilian side of the falls offers great panoramic views of them. For eagle-view of the falls, you can also opt to take on an optional helicopter flight over the top.


    Day - 33

    Location: Iguazu Falls (Argentinian side) - Today you'll visit the Argentinean side of the falls. You'll also have the opportunity to meet the Guarani indigenous group with your tour leader.


    Day - 34

    Location: Rio De Janeiro - Cross the border into Brazil and take a flight from Foz do Iguacu to Rio de Janeiro. You'll have a guided tour of the city tomorrow, but why not head out and see it for yourself today? From the extravagance and opulence of the city centre to the humble poverty of the Favelas, Rio is majestic and diverse. Perhaps step out to Lapa to see some of the city's famous live music and dance. Time permitting, you may like to visit the white sand beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.


    Day - 35

    Location: Rio De Janeiro - Go on an included tour of Rio during which you'll see the famed statue, Christ the Redeemer, and panoramas of forests, mountains, beaches and bays.  Later, head to a Favela (slum) where you'll wander the narrow laneways and meet the vibrant communities. 


    Day - 36

    Location: Rio De Janeiro - There are no activities planned for today and you can leave the accomodation at any time. If you'd like to spend more time in Rio, we'll be happy to assist in booking accommodation. 


    South America in Depth
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
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