If you only ever visit South America once, this trip will give you an insight to the variety of fascinating cultures and scenic highlights; Rio, the Amazon, Machu Picchu and the amazing Colca Canyon and condors. Plus an off the beaten track itinerary covering northern Argentina, the Atacama desert and the shimmering salt lakes of Bolivia. A fabulous tour that can be combined with the Galapagos Islands
This South America tour has it all. A fascinating journey around the highlights of South America plus some off the beaten track adventures!
Duration: 30 days from Rio to Lima
Trip focus: A moderately active sightseeing trip exploring the highlights of South America
Accommodation: 28 nights hotels, 3 nights Rain Forest lodge
Transport: flight, bus, train, boat, van
Group size: Maximum 12 + S.E.T. tour leader, Minimum 6
**Internal Airfares subject to change. If not arriving with Lan Airlines, an airfare surcharge applies. Please ask for a quote
Single supplement: US$985
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
Many of our tours involve a local payment, which is part of your overall trip cost, and is deducted off the amount you pay to us prior to departure. These funds are then paid to your leader upon arrival in cash, on day one of the trip and put towards local expenses. In some developing countries the transferring of funds is at times problematic and many small hotels and operators only deal in cash payments. This in turn helps us support small local businesses, rather than turning to large operations.
All prices are approximate and subject to currency fluctuations until final payment has been made.
Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, transfer to your hotel and meet your tour leader who will let you know when to meet in the morning for a briefing. As most flights from New Zealand arrive late in the evening, we have nothing planned tonight, so relax, the adventure begins tomorrow.
We’ll a have a morning briefing on the adventure ahead. Then there’s time to sunbathe and swim at Copacabana or Ipanema Beach, before trying the local cuisine and night life. Rio by night – enjoy a dazzling show featuring Brazilian folkloric music, Carnival costumes and dances, with special emphasis on the world famous “Samba”. On day 3 we take you to Corcovado, Statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. From the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer enjoy one of the most wonderful views of Rio de Janeiro: the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon; the Lagoon and Sugar Loaf, which are nothing short of breathtaking. (2B,D)
Transfer to the airport for our flight to the most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in the world –Iguassu Falls. There are 275 falls along 2.7 kilometres of the Iguazu River. Enjoy a half day tour on arrival of the Brazilian side of the falls, then transfer to the Argentine side and our family run hotel in Puerto Iguazu. In the morning visit the spectacular “Devils Throat”. There are many walkways to explore on both the upper and lower circuits, and plenty of wildlife to see. Later in the afternoon of day 5 we fly to Buenos Aires.(2B)
This exciting cosmopolitan City, often known as the “Paris of the Americas” is a mix of colonial architecture and European influences – and a shoppers paradise. Our hotel is steps away from the major shopping area of Recoleta. Walk down to the Recoleta cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, and stroll the labyrinth of alleyways. We’ll take you on a full day insightful walking tour of Buenos Aires visiting the Plaza de Mayo, then on to the colourful Bohemian district of La Boca with it’s many artists and street markets. One evening will feature the fabulous ‘Argentine Experience” and the next night a Tango show”. (2B, 1D)
Truly one of the most beautiful cities in northern Argentina. Relax and enjoy the local craft market for great souvenirs and ride the cable car up San Bernardo Hill for a spectacular view. In the evening we sugest an absolute “must do” while in Salta, going to a peña restaurant. Loved by locals as much as by visitors they serve up wonderful regional food and have live shows of traditional dancing. This area is also know for its fabulous Torrontes wine and is the northernmost wine region of Argentina. (B)
The next few days find us off the beaten track, exploring canyons of multi coloured rocks and surreal eroded formations. We venture high into the Andes to catch our first glimpse of shimmering salt lakes, but we have to be flexible with the itinerary and the exact places visited on our way to San Pedro will be determined by local conditions. Please be prepared for a long traveling day into Chile of 10 to 12 hours. However you will be amply rewarded with stunning scenery and the privilege of visiting less touristed areas. We’ll get to enjoy the atmosphere of beautiful San Pedro de Atacama, visit the valley of the moon or take an optional trip to the Tatio Geyser field or a horse ride through the desert. (3B)
From San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), cross the border into Bolivia and drive towards Hito Cajón, admire the Green Lagoon and enjoy the panoramic view of the Licancabur Volcano. Cross the Dali Valley, enjoy the Polkes hot springs and see the “Sol de Mañana” geysers. Continue towards the Red Lagoon where you will observe many Andean flamingos and visit the Árbol de Piedra (Stone Tree). . The next day we'll visit the small Lagoons: Onda, Chiar Kota, Hedionda and Cañapa, and stop at the scenic viewpoint of the Ollagüe Volcano, one of a few active volcanoes left. We will continue the journey through to the Salt Flats of Chiguana. On arrival in the village of San Juan, we will visit the archaeological museum, then carry on through the Salt Flats of Uyuni towards Tahua village. (2B, 2L, 2D)
In the morning visit the mommies of Coquesa and cross the Uyuni Salt Flats towards the Fish Island (Inkawasi), where you will find the tallest cactus in the world, walk up to the top of the island and enjoy the views of the Salt Flats. After lunch, drive towards Colchani and visit the salt processing and distribution centers. On the way to Uyuni, visit the train cemetery. Head to the airport for an evening flight to La Paz.
The next day we explore the city on a Half Day City tour. Pick up from the hotel to begin the excursion of Moon Valley, it is located 10 km. from downtown of La Paz´s city. They are impressive formations, composed mainly of clay and were created by the persistent erosion of mountains by the area’s strong winds and rains. Then, we will take the cableway from where we can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of La Paz. Finally, we will visit the Historic Center of La Paz where we will visit Witches´ Market (here, we will understand the Andean way of thinking and their mystery), San Francisco Church, Murillo Square, Executive Palace, Legislative Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and Killi Killi Viewpoint. (2B, 1L)
Leaving La Paz, we drive via the Bolivian version of Copacabana located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake (3860 m above sea level) to Puno. Enjoy spectacular Altiplano scenery along the way, with plenty of photo stops and a chaotic but interesting border crossing. The next day after breakfast we board our boat to explore the lake. Visiting the fascinating floating reed islands of the Uros people, where houses, schools, boats and the islands themselves are made of the Tortora Reed. Continuing on to Taquile Island for an insight to this unique communal culture, before returning to Puno for the night. (B)
We'll drive across the Altiplano towards the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world with a staggering total depth of 3270m! Home to the famous Andean Condor. View these birds close up, as they soar above us while on the edge of the canyon. Visit local villages still inhabited by people of the Collagua and Cabana cultures, soak in thermal baths and sample the life, music and spectacular scenery. (2B)
Our drive today takes us to arguably Peru’s most beautiful city. Arequipa exhibits delightful colonial past and a lovely spring like climate. Situated under the volcano “El Misti”, stroll around the city enjoying the local museums, churches, the gorgeous Santa Catalina Monastery and sample some of the many superb regional dishes. 2B
Today we fly from Arequipa to Cusco, where we head out to the beautiful Urubamba Valley (Sacred alley of the Inca’s), visiting a weavers village or local market on the way, depending on flight times. The following is an exciting mix of local culture and your first experience of an ancient Inca site. Pisac Inca site and vibrant Pisac market, along with Ollantaytambo are all in the Sacred Valley, so we'll try and maximise time so as to best explore the area and Inca ruins. (2B)
A highlight of the trip is taking a scenic train ride through spectacular mountain vistas to Aguas Calientes – then transfer by coach to Machu Picchu – the “Lost City of the Incas”. Machu Picchu, rediscovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, is one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. After our guided tour of Machu Picchu we return to Cuzco in the evening. (B)
A half day tour today reveals to us the ancient city that was known by the Incas as the “Navel of the World”. We also visit the surrounding Inca site of Sacsayhuaman. Cuzco is an exquisite mix of Incan and Spanish colonial influences. A free day to explore Cuzco and enjoy the special atmosphere. Browse in the many craft shops, enjoy a coffee overlooking the plaza, or relax in the courtyard of your colonial style hotel. The day is yours. Dinner this evening will feature regional Andean cuisine.(2B, 1D)
After a short flight we arrive in the steamy Amazon town of Puerto Maldonado, where we’re met and taken to our lodge. First we ride by boat from the Tambopata Port to the lodge trail head, then walk 3km to stunning Sandoval lake, where we are canoed across to the lodge.
Amazon lodge – Nature walks, canoeing, medicinal plants and their uses, wildlife videos and lectures will have you enthralled. We have the chance to see spider, capuchin and howler monkeys, macaws, sloths, giant river otters which are resident in the lake, hummingbirds, caimans and a vast variety of insects. The lodge’s unique location is sure to be a highlight of your trip. (3B,3L,3D)
We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado. A short flight takes us to Lima via Cusco. On day 32 we visit Lima’s historic city center during an insightful city tour. Rest of the afternoon free to relax or explore further or we can take a short orientation walk in the neighbourhoods of Miraflores and Barranco, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our final dinner will feature regional Peruvian specialties. (2B, 1D)
(B) **Ask us about joining on to our Galapagos Adventure Tour
|Start Date||End Date||Spaces Available||Cost|
|21st May 2018||21st Jun 2018||12||USD 8480.00|
Choose this trip if you think you may only visit South America once for a sample of the highlights, or to get an idea of the area so you can then come back for further in depth travel to specific regions.
It will give you a taste of the diverse cultures and geography that is South America and will whet your appetite to explore further. You will experience a variety of climatic zones from the steamy Amazon Basin and tropical heat of Rio, to the cool heights of the Andean Altiplano and the sublime Atacama Desert.
Our trips are designed for everyone who is of moderate fitness and prepared to be active. There is some walking involved on most days, as we prefer to show you the cities on foot, where it will add to your enjoyment of the tour. All of the Inca sites have lots of steps. This can be a bit tougher with the altitude in areas like Cuzco, Puno and San Pedro but we take it easy and give you time to acclimatise. There is a 3km walk through the rainforest to get to the Amazon Lodge, gumboots are provided if its wet and your bags will be carried by porters. You only carry a day pack.You’ll be responsible for moving your own luggage from your hotel to taxis and transport.
Be prepared to travel a on a variety of transport from planes to motorised canoes and private vans. There are also a couple of long bus rides on comfortable long distance coaches. Accommodation is simple 3 star standard, but comfortable, on a twin share basis and have en-suite rooms and hot water. Hotels are chosen for their safety, location, ambiance and friendly staff. If you enjoy unique journeys and look forward to special experiences, this will be the trip of a lifetime.
Our South American trip was a wonderful adventure, we really enjoyed, it was way beyond our expectations. The different cultures, scenery, history, cuisine, accommodation, our friendly travel group and your enthusiasm and great organization all contributed to making this a trip of a lifetime for us and we have many amazing memories and photos of new travel experiences we shared. Colleen & Bob – South America Sojourn
A Lifetime Journey
Great Tour itinerary
Fantastic Tour leader and local guiders
Worth every cent for this SET Tour. David Goh, South America Sojourn 2016
Better than we dared to dream! The highlights were too many to mention, but discovering a continent that is a little off the beaten track for many NZers was exciting. I will be recommending to my friends they tour South America and will most certainly point them at Southern Exposure Tours. Prospective tourists will not get better advice or organisation anywhere. Joseph Romanos - Customised South America tour 2016