You always wanted to travel to South America but not sure where to start? Our South American Dream is the perfect itinerary for first-time travellers to the continent! Explore South America in three weeks. Visit Buenos Aires and have some fun learning the basic steps of tango. Stroll along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and see the majesty of thundering Iguazu Falls.
Fly across the continent to Peru and learn about the Inca during your stay in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu and Cuzco. Then travel south to Puno where you can experience the strange sensation of walking on Lake Titicaca’s famous Uros floating islands.
Continue to La Paz and wander through the fascinating witches’ market and the Moon Valley. Finally, fly to Santiago de Chile before coming back home.
This is our suggested tailor-made itinerary that we hope can guide you towards your perfect first-time travel to South America. We can customise it to meet your needs to make your holiday in South America, an unforgettable one. So, if you love active holidays, there are plenty of great day hikes or cycling tours we can add.
Alternatively, if you have a little more time, why not include the Amazon or Galapagos? Or ask us about how to enhance your experience! Depending on the time of year, it may make more sense to start in Peru and finish in Argentina. Talk to our travel specialists today. This tailor-made three weeks in South America tour is fully flexible to suit your tastes and budget.
Welcome to Buenos Aires. On arrival at the airport, you will be met by one of our local representatives and transferred to your hotel. Recoleta, San Telmo and Palermo districts all offer wonderful accommodation options.
Today’s tour will take you to the city’s southern districts. Explore vibrant ‘microcentro’ with its historic buildings and monuments. Visit the famous Plaza 25 de Mayo and see the Casa Rosada. You will then continue to the bohemian district of San Telmo and visit Caminito in La Boca for some great photo opportunities, finishing in Puerto Madero. This modern waterfront district is well-known for its restaurants. For the rest of the day, you’re free to continue exploring on your own. Ask us about unique touring options including visits to Buenos Aires’ ancient passages, a specialised Art tour, the Jewish history of Buenos Aires, visits to Classic Cafes or an architecture tour among many options.
Continue exploring Buenos Aires. Tour the northern districts, including famous Recoleta Cemetery and the leafy suburb of Palermo, with its elegant mansions, funky cafes and local fashion and homeware boutiques. In the evening, learn the basic steps of tango before your dinner and tango show.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Rio, 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.
This day is yours to explore this captivating city on your own. We suggest a tour of the Botanical Gardens, a visit to the Museum of Tomorrow, or participate in a percussion class. For a more active option, you can do bike tours or hike Mount Corcovado to Christ the Redeemer in Rio.
After a morning at leisure take an afternoon flight to the mighty Iguaçu Falls. The Brazilian side of the falls offers visitors a panoramic view of all 275 cascades that form the world’s most voluminous waterfalls. Walk along the paths inside the park and see the imposing Bozzeti Falls across the border. The path continues to the spectacular lookout over the Garganta del Diablo, or Devils Throat Falls, just 150m away. Ask us about the special optional tour of a helicopter ride over the falls for the ultimate experience.
Full day tour of the Argentine side of the Falls including the Devil’s Throat balcony. Depart this morning on a full-day tour of the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls, located inside the Iguazu National Park and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. The falls are a group of more than 275 individual cataracts up to 70 meters high, which are fed by the River Iguaçu and border Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The Argentine side allows you to explore the beauty of the forested area around the falls; during today’s tour, you will see a wide variety of ferns, orchids, begonias, birds and butterflies.
Optional, experience the staggering power of the falls by riding the Iguazú River rapids, with the roaring waterfalls towering over your head followed by a 4WD ride inside the jungle.
Free morning. Afternoon tour of the Brazilian side of the falls for the best panoramic view and a visit to the bird park. Fly to Lima and transfer to your hotel.
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. Ask us about a visit to private art galleries or a culinary tour.
Fly to Cuzco. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley is a great place to spend your first few days acclimatising due to the altitude of 2,700m above sea level before moving up to the more challenging heights of Cuzco (3,400m).
A full-day tour through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, including the small picturesque village of Chinchero where you can learn about ancient weaving techniques. Afterwards continue to Ollantaytambo village and fortress, one of the most monumental architectural complexes of the ancient Inca Empire, one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle.
Free day. Optional Community Project day; visit an Andean village for a more in-depth cultural encounter. 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 which will change the life of a family.
Today is sure to be a highlight of your trip! Travel by Vistadome train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and enjoy a guided tour of the archaeological site. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. Consider adding the optional Express Inca Trail, a spectacular 6-hour moderate walk to Machu Picchu, arriving through the Sun Gate.
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.
A half-day walking tour of the main sights of Cuzco, including the Plaza de Armas, Cathedral, Koricancha Temple, San Blas Church and handcraft workshops. Finish with a visit to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
A free day to explore this fascinating city on your own. Ask us about a cooking lesson or trekking Rainbow Mountain (strenuous activity) or visit one of its nine museums.
Depart by bus this morning on a full-day tour across the altiplano to Puno, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This daily service from Cuzco to Puno steadily climbs up the Vilcanota Valley towards the headwaters of the Urubamba River and the highest point of the trip, Abra La Raya at 4321 metres above sea level. From Abra La Raya, it is a gradual descent into the opening grassy plains towards Lake Titicaca and towards the Bolivian Altiplano and eventually to down to the lake’s edge where Puno sits.
Alternatively, you can board the overnight Belmond Andean Explorer.
Depart this morning on a half-day tour out to the famous Uros Islands. After a short 20-minute trip out of Puno harbour, you arrive at the floating islands of Uros, where 300 Uros Indians live and fish on the human-made islands made entirely of totora reeds that grow in the lake. Enjoy the colourful traditional dress of the men and women and perhaps take a ride in s surprisingly stable totora canoe before returning to your hotel.
Option to include Taquile or Amantani Islands to learn more about these unique communities. Or ask us about staying overnight in a homestay or a first-class hotel on Amantani Island.
You will be met at your hotel this morning and depart from Puno on a tour travelling around Lake Titicaca and across the border into Bolivia. You will visit the town of Copacabana, and it’s beautiful Cathedral before boarding the catamaran for Sun Island. Arriving at the southern end of Sun Island, we disembark and visit the Inca Garden and Stairs, the Inti Wati Complex and experience a Kallawaya Ancient Ceremony.
You will also have the opportunity to see a replica of the reed boats once used by the Aymara Indians and see a demonstration of how these ingenious boats plied the water. Visit the Pilkokaina Inca Ruins before boarding the catamaran and sitting down to a delicious buffet lunch. We sail to Chua, where you will disembark and continue the rest of your journey to La Paz by road, arriving this evening at your hotel.
Option to stay overnight on Sun Island Lodge or onboard the catamaran.
Depart this morning on a half-day sightseeing tour of La Paz, including the city’s fantastic street markets, rich in handicrafts, weavings and witchcraft artefacts. We visit the colonial part of the city, including San Francisco Church, the Gold Museum, Murillo Square and the outdoor replica of the Tiahuanaco temple, before continuing to the modern part of town. Finally, admire the natural geological formations of the Valley of the Moon.
Morning at leisure. Fly to Santiago and transfer to your hotel.
Discover Chile’s vibrant capital, Santiago on a half-day guided sightseeing tour. Visit Bellas Artes, San Cristobal and lovely Lastarria before exploring the downtown area. 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 the Atacama Desert or Patagonia.