For endless experiences most wonderful, South America has it all. If your travel aspirations are guiding you towards this exuberant continent for the first time, then Discover South America lets you discover its highlights. This fully tailorable itinerary is more than just a list of famous destinations, it is pure fulfilment in life’s journey.
So, why not? To you, epicurean Lima, marvellous Rio de Janeiro, classy Buenos Aires and sophisticated Santiago will reveal all. Of humanity, the fertile Sacred Valley, the enigmatic Machu Picchu, and noble Cuzco will deepen your understanding. In nature, the vast biodiverse Amazon, the deep-blue Lake Titicaca, the breath-taking Iguazu Falls will evoke wonder. While the striking Altiplano, the condors of Colca Canyon, and the picturesque Lakes District will tease you into wanting more. It’s all here waiting for you.
Besides, there’s plenty to do and see. Explore jungles, beaches, ancient ruins and sprawling megalopolises. Delve deep into an astonishing range of ecological and cultural diversity. Connect with the locals and listen to their remarkable stories. Unleash yourself on great local cuisine food, fine wine, and traditional festivals. Let go with rhythmic music, seductive dance, thrilling adventures and bad Spanish. Lastly, take time to relax, recharge, and reflect in beautiful places with lovely people.
So, write the next chapter of your travel diary with our Discover South America suggested tour. You’ll need plenty of pages and lots of colouring pencils!
Welcome to Lima! On arrival at the airport, you will be met by one of our local representatives and transferred to your hotel. Miraflores and Barranco are top picks for great accommodation.
Depart on a half-day sightseeing tour of Lima’s historic centre, the seaside suburbs of Miraflores and San Isidro with a guided tour the Larco Museum. Free afternoon to explore Lima on your own.
This morning, visit a local food market followed by a cooking class and lunch. Afternoon at leisure or ask us about visiting Pachacamac Ruins or having a night tour of beautiful Barranco.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Amazon Basin (Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos) and transfer to your all-inclusive jungle lodge or cruise. Amazon cruises sail from Iquitos and are the most luxurious way of experiencing the Amazon.
Full day exploring the Amazon with activities such as jungle hikes, canoe trips and night walks. Some lodges offer the option of staying overnight in a Canopy Tree House, and others have observation towers. Depending on the number of nights you stay in the Amazon, you can stay at a lodge located only 90min or one 5 hours away from the airport.
Spend the day discovering the jungle trails and wildlife through the eyes of the native guides.
Early this morning you will board the motorboat and head back to the airport. You will be transferred to headquarters to pick up your luggage and then to the airport for your onwards flight. On arrival in Cuzco, you will be met and transferred to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located at around 2,700 m.a.s.l. and the best place to adjust to the high altitude of this region.
Full-day tour through the Sacred Valley, including the small picturesque village of Chinchero where you can learn about ancient weaving techniques. Afterwards continue to Ollantaytambo village and fortress.
Today you have a free day so you can choose the tour that best fits your interests. Take a cooking class, go kayaking or cycling or be part of a Community Project. You can visit an Andean village for a more in-depth cultural encounter and learn about their way of living and their everyday activities, including a one-on-one weaving lesson. We encourage you to bring along a water filter donation (Contours Travel’s Agua Pura Project) which will change the life of a family.
Travel by train to explore the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. A guided tour of the ruins and buffet lunch is included today. Option: Add the Express Inca Trail, a spectacular 6-hour moderate walk to Machu Picchu, arriving through the Sun Gate. Dinner is included in your hotel tonight.
Return to Machu Picchu this morning to continue your unguided exploration of this extensive site. Consider a hike to Huayna Picchu for stunning views. Catch an afternoon train to Cuzco.
Discover one of South America’s most beautiful cities on your half-day guided tour of UNESCO Heritage Listed Cuzco. Walk along the streets of Cuzco and visit Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, Koricancha Temple, San Blas Church and handcraft workshops. Finish with a visit to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
Take today to explore this fascinating city on your own. You can visit the MAP (Precolumbian Art Museum), wander around the city, or take a cooking class. Tonight we suggest you take a tour of Cuzco by night with a Pisco Sour lesson.
Depart on a full-day tour by bus across the Altiplano to Lake Titicaca stopping at Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, and for lunch in Sicuani along the way. Alternatively, you can board the overnight Belmond Andean Explorer or take a full day train (selected days of the week).
Depart this morning on a tour visiting Uros floating reed Islands on Lake Titicaca. You can also include Taquile or Amantani Islands to learn more about these unique communities. For a more cultural experience, ask us about staying overnight in a homestay or a first-class hotel on Suasi or Amantani Islands.
Take a bus (or a private car) to Chivay. Here you’ll meet your driver and guide and enjoy an afternoon exploring the stunning Colca Canyon region. Colca Canyon is deeper than the Great Canyon.
The Colca Canyon is one of Peru’s most majestic sights – incredibly deep (3,270mts), vast and dotted with stunning terraced farms and Andean villages, in use since Inca times. Early this morning visit ‘Cruz del Condor’; this is the best viewpoint to see condors’ in flight. A fantastic experience. After lunch, transfer to your hotel in Arequipa.
Enjoy a guided tour of historic Arequipa, including a visit to the must-see Santa Catalina Convent. This afternoon is free to continue exploring on your own or visit the fascinating Andean Sanctuary Museum.
Fly to Brazil, via Lima. On arrival transfer to your hotel – this is a great place to splurge and upgrade to a hotel located inside the National Park, overlooking the magnificent Iguazu falls.
Full day tour of the Argentine side of the falls including the Devil’s Throat lookout. Optional thrilling speedboat tour to the falls.
Morning tour of the Brazilian side for the best panoramic view of the falls. Option to add a visit to the Birds’ Park. Fly to Rio and transfer to your hotel, arriving in time for a stroll or a sundowner on Copacabana Beach.
A full-day tour of Rio’s most beautiful and famous sights. Admire the spectacular views from Mount Corcovado and see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. After a traditional BBQ lunch, ride the cable car to the top of iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. Ask us about ways to enhance this experience!
Today you will have a free day. We suggest a guided tour of Santa Teresa bohemian district or go behind the scenes to see what’s involved in creating the amazing floats & costumes for Rio’s Carnival. Talk to your consultant about the many tours available in Rio. From active to cultural and everything in between.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires; on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Recoleta, San Telmo and Palermo all offer distinct experiences and boutique accommodation.
Go on a sightseeing tour of the city’s most iconic places. Visit Plaza de Mayo with the Casa Rosada and the Cabildo; pass through 9 de Julio Avenue and continue to San Telmo. Further south you’ll arrive at the picturesque and colourful port neighbourhood of La Boca, with its famous street Caminito. Finally, visit Palermo and Recoleta.
Day at leisure. Consider a full-day tour to Areco town (cradle of the Gaucho) with a visit to an Estancia or a day in Tigre and Parana Delta. You can also take any of the many specialised tours such as art, architecture or bike tours. This evening, learn the basic steps of tango before your dinner and tango show.
Fly to Bariloche and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon relax and enjoy stunning views over Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Depart on a half-day tour of Bariloche’s surrounding mountains, lakes & parks. Bariloche is the perfect combination of city comforts and remote natural beauty. We can offer you ways to enhance this tour or add some cycling and hiking too.
Begin the spectacular lakes crossing through the untouched wilderness of the Andes. Morning transfer to Puerto Pañuelo where you will board your catamaran and sail Lake Nahuel Huapi towards Puerto Blest. Take a bus to Puerto Alegre and continue by catamaran across Lago Frias. Continue by bus to Peulla and then sail Todos Los Santos Lake, with spectacular views of Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls. Finally, take the bus to your hotel in Puerto Varas.
Day at leisure. Consider a full-day tour to Chiloe Island or a trip to Frutillar & Puerto Octay; a scenic beauty on the shore of Lake Llanquihue.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago; on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Enjoy a walking tour of the heart of Santiago including the most iconic and historical sites. Ask us about adding a visit to La Chascona (Neruda’s house) or a winery tour.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Option to extend your trip to Antarctica or Atacama Dessert.