Premium Peru, Chile & Argentina

Trip Type: Explorer
Peru | 18 D | 1 - 12 People
Starts From:

NZD 15,585.00 /Person

Capture the true essence of South America on an 18-day Premium adventure through Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Premium Peru, Chile & Argentina

Capture the true essence of South America on an 18-day Premium adventure through Peru, Chile and Argentina. This journey showcases the continent’s diversity of natural beauty, historic wonder and world-class cuisine, passing by the Andes and the Amazon, Mendoza and the majestic Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and sultry Santiago, all the way to the Argentinian powerhouse of Buenos Aires. Gain an insight into ancient Inca culture and local communities, indulge in fine food and some of the region’s best wine, and get to the heart of each destination with expert local knowledge at every step.

Welcome to Peru! Your adventure begins in Lima, where you will be collected from the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Here you will meet your small group of fellow travellers and your local leader for a 2pm welcome meeting. Afterwards, head out to get to know the city on a walking tour of downtown Lima with your leader. Admire the colonial buildings of Plaza Mayor and visit the eerie catacombs of the Saint Francis Monastery, then head away from the tourist trail to Alameda de Chabuca Granda – an area popular with the locals. Stop off at the colourful street food stalls to sample some of Lima’s favourite sweet treats, like Peruvian donuts and mazamorra morada; porridge made from purple corn. But be sure to leave some room as tonight’s dinner is really something special. Lima has one of the world’s most revered culinary scenes, and this evening you’ll head to one of the city’s best restaurants with stunning views surrounded by ancient ruins. The creative chef offers up traditional Peruvian dishes with modern twists in a one-of-a-kind environment.

Today you will catch a flight to Puerto Maldonado. On arrival in the afternoon, take a bus to the port where you will board motorised canoes and head into the Amazon rainforest. Keep an eye out for macaws, herons, alligators and capybaras along the way. Here you’ll find Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion, your Feature Stay for the next two nights. Built in the heart of a 380 hectare-private ecological reserve, this unique resort is focussed on the conservation of local habitats and features 25 private cabanas plus an on-site team of expert local guides. Enjoy lunch at the lodge then explore the Concepcion Trails with an expert guide. As darkness begins to fall, join a guided Twilight River boat ride and see how many caimans you can spot lurking on the riverbanks. Dinner is a la carte and draws on local Amazon ingredients to create a meal to remember.

After breakfast, board a dug-out wooden canoe to quietly glide across Lake Sandoval, keeping an eye out for red howler monkeys, giant river otters, and colourful macaws along the way. After lunch you may like to walk along the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a 344 metre network of suspension bridges that take you high above the forest floor to some of the best places to spot toucans, woodpeckers, monkeys, and three-toed sloths. Join a night walk to discover the nocturnal activity in the surrounding areas or book into the lodge’s spa (own expense), before you meet your group for dinner.

This morning you will travel back to Puerto Maldonado, then take a flight to Cusco, the former centre of the Incan Empire. Arrive in the early afternoon and settle in to your hotel, then head out with your leader for an orientation walk to familiarise yourself with one of South America’s oldest city and get used to the high altitude. Stop by the stunning Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, flanked with colonial buildings and ornate churches. Visit the World Heritage-listed Cusco Cathedral, built on top of an Incan palace and one of the city's greatest repositories of art. Here you will meet with a local historian guide who will provide expert insight on the colonial art, architecture and history of this magnificent building and the city surrounding it. The evening is free for your own discoveries – Cusco offers no shortage of excellent restaurants, and as night falls the city is swept up in a flurry of live music and late-night street food stalls.

Today you will discover more of Cusco’s charms on a walking tour with your leader. Visit the Coricancha Temple, once the most important temple in the Incan Empire. Formerly plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its walls. Meet with a local guide to uncover the secrets of the temple and the ancient civilization that first built it. Afterwards, head to the San Pedro market, where you can practice your bargaining skills and take some colourful pictures, then swing by the Plaza de Armas for another look at the marvellous cathedral. The afternoon is free for further explorations – speak to your leader about the option to arrange a cooking class at a local restaurant using fair trade products, or the half-day Inkilltambo trek, exploring an archaeologic site on the city’s outskirts.

This morning, travel through the Sacred Valley towards Ollantaytambo, passing maize crops and fertile terraces carved high into the valley walls. Stop by the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, where the massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site provide an impressive picture of how greatly developed Inca engineering was. Visit the Willoq community to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle with a visit to a local workshop where you’ll learn about traditional textile techniques that are used by the community – and you’ll even have the chance to make your own bracelet with the local women! Sit down for a festive pachamanca lunch. Aftwerwards, visit AMA, a local restaurant specializing in organic produce, and learn how they support single mothers in the Sacred Valley while enjoying a snack and drink. Continue on to Ollantaytambo, a magnificent example of Incan urban planning and the perfect warm up for Machu Picchu. Explore Ollantaytambo's archaeological site with an expert local guide who will discuss the evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Late afternoon head to the hotel in Ollantaytambo and settle in for night.

Today, travel from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes in style, boarding the 360 Machu Picchu Train. High, domed windows offer up unbelievable views of the Andes, allowing you to sit back in comfort and take it all in. The train also features an open air observation carriage so you can completely immerse yourself in the remarkable landscape – have your camera ready as this scenic journey will be one worth remembering. Disembark the train in Aguas Calientes, quickly drop your belongings at your hotel, then take a short bus ride up the winding road to Machu Picchu, where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins and tell you stories of its history and the ancestral people of the region. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of Emperor Pachacuti. Your leader can advise how to get the most out of your visit. Later, take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before heading back up to Machu Picchu first thing in the morning for your second visit.

Rise before the sun and take the winding road back up to incredible Machu Picchu. On your second visit, explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters. Looking at Machu Picchu as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains is a truly breathtaking experience. Its mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that, to this day, not even a knife fits between them. You'll have time along the way to take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Take the bus back to Aguas Calientes, then catch a standard train back to Ollantaytambo. From here, you will make the drive back to Cusco for the evening.

In the afternoon, fly from Cusco back to Lima, where you will spend the night. In the morning, you'll depart Peru and head to Chile.

Depart Peru on an unescorted flight to Santiago, Chile. Set within a circle of snow-capped mountains, Santiago is vibrant, artistic and gourmet. On arrival, take an included transfer to the hotel where your adventure will begin with a welcome meeting at 6pm. If you arrive early, perhaps head out and explore the delightful Parque Forestal that’s just steps from your front door. After your meeting, it’s time to get acquainted with Santiago’s fantastic food scene during a welcome dinner with your leader and group. From baked casserole to razor clams cooked in parmesan cheese, Chilean food is hearty, fresh and most of all, delicious.

Get to know the city on a tour with a local guide who’s an expert on all things Santiago. Your guide will peel back the many layers of the city’s history, beginning at the main square of Plaza de Armas where you’ll hear the tales of the foundation of Santiago and its turbulent past. Continue to La Moneda Palace, the home of Chile’s presidential office, where your guide will fill you in on the country’s complicated political history. From here take the short drive to Parque Bicentenario, created in 2011 to commemorate 200 years of independence. Walk through the gorgeous grounds and discuss the cultural identity of Chileans today. Today’s lunch will be a celebration of Santiago’s finest produce. Stop by a local eatery and sample some excellent cheese, ham and wine – a taste of which will take you straight to the heart of Chilean culture. The rest of the day is free for your own explorations.

Enjoy a free morning in Santiago. Perhaps make a visit to the Mercado Central, Santiago’s celebrated fish market. Begin the journey to Valparaiso, stopping off for a wine tasting on the way in the Casablanca Valley. Sitting on a coastal plain between the capital and Valparaiso, Casablanca Valley is Chile’s fastest growing wine region, with rich soil and a perfect climate for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Visit a vineyard that is focused on sustainable and organic viticulture, as well as producing outstanding wines. Continue to the colourful Valparaiso, notable for its brightly hued houses spread across a series of hills overlooking the ocean. Your hotel for the next two nights has been delighting guests since 1885 and sits in the historic heart of the city. Enjoy an introduction to pisco atop its marvellous rooftop and take in unbeatable views of Valparaiso. Afterwards, perhaps head out and find yourself a place to sip some ancho reyes alongside locals for the evening.

Listed as a World Heritage centre in 2003, Valparaiso used to be South America’s busiest port before the opening of the Panama Canal. It has since transformed itself into Chile’s most creative city which you'll learn more about on the walking tour today with a local guide. The ramshackle streets have long been home to artists, writers and musicians so there is no shortage on visual inspiration to prompt some questions about its background. The hills of Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre are dotted with kaleidoscopically coloured houses, with cobbled streets weaving sharply uphill and concealing all manner of galleries, restaurants and shops. Later on, visit the Museum of Fine Arts, housed in a beautiful art nouveau chalet. Dinner this evening will be on your own. Perhaps visit an iconic local restaurant credited with the invention of chorrillana. This legendary Chilean dish is made up of french fries topped with beef, eggs and fried onions, and there’s no better spot to try it than at its birthplace.

Depart Valparaiso and head back to Santiago to catch a flight to Mendoza. As your plane crosses the Andes, you might catch a glimpse of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6962 metres above sea level. In Mendoza, get to know the lively city with a gentle stroll around its wide, lively streets with your local leader. Technically a desert city, the extensive irrigation system here means Mendoza is remarkably green. Check out the city’s lush tree-lined spaces – from the sprawling Parque San Martin to petite Plaza Espana – and get a taste of local life along the bustling pedestrianised street, Peatonal Sarmiento. Head South towards wine country, and your countryside boutique hotel. Perhaps enjoy a dip in the pool before an included dinner.

Mendoza is Argentina's most prolific and significant grape-growing region, producing nearly three-quarters of the country's wine. The climate produces an excellent variety of grapes, with the region's signature being Malbec. Today you will get to experience this internationally renowned wine at its source during tours and tastings at three world-class and innovative wineries, each with its own distinct style and flavour. Meet with a local wine expert and gain inside knowledge on the varieties of grapes and different production methods used at each winery, and sample award winning bottles just as spectacular as the surrounding Andes mountain landscape. After the tastings, settle in for a special closed-door gourmet lunch at one of the wineries. Enjoy several courses paired with wines carefully selected to bring out the flavours in the wonderful food. In the evening, perhaps test your palate by attempting to pair the perfect wine with an authentic Argentine asado (barbecue-style food).

This morning fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, then transfer to your impressive boutique accommodation. Built in 1913, the historic hotel is located in the centre of the city with spectacular Art Nouveau charm. In the afternoon, soak up the Argentinean capital’s irrepressible mix of European and Latin culture on an orientation walk with your leader. Visit Florida Street, National Congress and the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) in the Plaza de Mayo. If there is time, your group may get to visit the Obelisk as well. The evening is free to explore. Be seduced by the world's most passionate dance at a tango bar, attend a raucous football match, or gorge yourself on the city's sophisticated culture and food.

Today you will head north of Buenos Aires to explore the city of Tigre and its surrounding delta region. First, do as the locals do and catch the subway to San Martin square, then set off on a bicycle tour around Puerto Maldero and the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve – where inhabitants of the city come for a peaceful escape and fresh air. Hop on a train to Tigre and get to know the city during a walking tour. Visit the local fruit market, follow the river along the stunning Paseo Victorica street and stop by the Tigre Art Museum to admire the European inspired building. Next, take a private boat through the third-largest river delta in the world, watching local life play out on the water as you go, then stop off on an island to enjoy a delightful homemade lunch. Take some time to swim, kayak or just sit back and soak in the beautiful island surroundings. Transfer back to Buenos Aires and spend an evening at leisure.

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you're planning to stay on in Buenos Aires we can assist you in booking extra accommodation ahead of time (subject to availability).

Meals
16 Breakfast(s), 7 Lunch(s), 4 Dinner(s)

Transport
Private vehicle , Plane , Bicycle , Boat , Train

Accommodation
Comfortable hotel (13 nights), Feature Stay (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Downtown walking tour
  • Lima - Alameda Chabuca Granda tour and tastings
  • Lima - San Francisco Monastery and the Catacombs
  • Lima - Welcome Dinner
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Amazon Jungle - Night boat tour
  • Amazon Jungle - Oxbow Lake
  • Amazon Jungle - Night jungle walk
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple (entrance fee)
  • Cusco - Walking tour
  • Cusco - Cathedral tour with Specialist Historian Guide
  • Ollantaytambo - Archaeological site
  • Sacred Valley - Community workshops visit
  • Cusco - Sacsayhuaman
  • Sacred Valley - Home-cooked lunch
  • Sacred Valley - AMA Snack and Drink
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance & Guided visit
  • Ollantaytambo - 360 degree train to Aguas Calientes
  • Machu Picchu - Second visit
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Santiago - Welcome Dinner
  • Santiago - City tour
  • Santiago - Gourmet bodega lunch
  • Casablanca Valley - Winery tour and tasting
  • Valparaiso - Rooftop pisco sours
  • Valparaiso - Walking tour
  • Valparaiso - Museum of Fine Arts (entrance fee)
  • Mendoza - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Mendoza - Tour of three wineries
  • Mendoza - Gourmet winery lunch
  • Buenos Aires - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Buenos Aires - Tigre Delta day trip
  • Buenos Aires - Home-cooked lunch
  • Experience Peru’s most celebrated sights during an unforgettable day of wildlife activities in the Amazon Jungle and two guided visits to remarkable Machu Picchu – reached by scenic 360 train, this Exclusive Experience allows you to immerse yourself in the landscape.
  • Take your taste buds on a trip with Exclusive Experiences, including bodega tastings in Santiago, an expert-lead winery tour in Mendoza, a restaurant supporting local single mothers, and a traditional Andean lunch in the Sacred Valley.
  • Enjoy the different of Peru and Chile with two Feature Stays.Sleep surrounded by nature in the Amazon rainforest at an indigenous-owned lodge, your feature stay for this trip.
  • Discover the real Buenos Aires during Exclusive Experiences – a traditional asado feast in the home of a local, and a lively tango lesson with two professional dancers and an insider’s day tour of the El Tigre Delta.
  • Get to know local culture during Exclusive Experiences, including interactions with two local communities in Peru, and explore with expert guides in Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu.

Due to the high altitude of the places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Please see the 'Medical and health information' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details. This trip visits South America's west coast, the Andes and the Amazon Jungle, which means you'll need a flexible wardrobe no matter what time of year you travel. Please review the 'Climate and seasonal information' and 'Packing' sections of the Essential Trip Information. Visitors are not permitted to explore Machu Picchu without a Machu Picchu guide (not our trip leaders) and must follow set routes within the site. This trip includes two guided visits of Machu Picchu and each visit is approximately 1.5 - 2 hours long. Your leader will provide more information to ensure you get the most out of your visits to this incredible site. During the colder months, usually between April and October, the border crossing between Chile and Argentina may be closed due to snowfalls. In that event, your emergency funds may be needed to purchase a flight between Santiago and Mendoza. Please see the 'Money matters' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details. According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only, and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted. Please refer to the itinerary for details. Travellers who choose different ways of reaching Machu Picchu (Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train), will not follow the same routes within Machu Picchu. This means that you may not be able to have photos together, overlooking Machu Picchu. This applies to travellers on the same booking or separate bookings. It is possible for passengers who have taken the train to join passengers who have done the Inca Trail on the 2nd visit of Machu Picchu, by repeating the guided tour. If you are interested in this option, you must tell your sales agent when you book.

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Destination Details
Peru | 18 D | 1 - 12 People
Trip Location
Trip Starts:
Peru
Trip Finishes:
Argentina
Countries Visited:
Argentina
Chile
Peru
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