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South America Highlights with Peru

16days from
£5,299*per person

Overview

16 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

Peru was home to the civilisation that created one of the greatest empires in the world. Its legacy can still be seen to this day. In the Sacred Valley and Cusco - one of the oldest inhabited cities in the Americas – Incan walls still line the cobbled streets. But nothing could prepare you for our visit Machu Picchu, and the sheer exhilaration when it comes into view through dense rain forest. In Argentina, we'll watch the gauchos (cowboys) hard at work on a ranch in the Pampas plains and visit Buenos Aires – most ‘European’ of the South American capitals - with its wide tree-lined avenues, café culture and upmarket boutiques. ON the border between Argentina and Brazil we’ll see Iguazu Falls - it may not be as well-known as Niagara or Victoria Falls, but it outshines them all in scale and majesty!  And finally, we'll visit the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, marvel at the views on top of Sugarloaf Mountain and stay near Copacabana beach. 

Itinerary

  • Arrive at the airport for your overnight flight to Lima
  • On arrival, we transfer by coach to Lima. In the afternoon, we’ll see the Presidential Palace, the Plaza del Armas and the charming Baroque San Francisco church, in the central and UNESCO listed colonial area of the city.
  • Today we fly to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas. To help you acclimatise to the altitude, we spend two nights at the slightly lower altitude of the Urubamba Valley, the ‘Sacred Valley of the Incas’, just below Cusco.  
  • We spend the day in the Sacred Valley, firstly visiting Pisac, famous for its colourful indigenous market with a huge range of local handicrafts. It’s a fantastic sight, full of traditionally dressed locals bartering for all kinds of produce. All sorts of handicraft are available, too, from vibrant handmade rugs and ponchos in bright reds and yellows, to local ceramics and a wide variety of llama and alpaca knitwear. After an included lunch, we visit the impressive hillside fortress of Ollantaytambo, the site of a rare Conquistador defeat. You can examine the astonishingly intricate and precise Incan stonework, all fashioned using stone tools.  
  • Today you’ll experience one of the highlights of your tour. We board the Explorer train on one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys through the increasingly narrow Urubamba River gorge to the legendary Machu Picchu. As we descend, the scenery changes from semiarid brush and cactus to dense, lush rainforest. Below us the river rushes headlong into numerous rapids, whilst above the precipitous sides of the gorge rise to dizzying heights. Nothing can prepare you for your first sight of the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, the only Inca settlement never discovered or destroyed by the Spanish – its wonder and mystique are simply astounding. No one knows why it was built in such an inaccessible spot or why it was mysteriously abandoned. Set along a high ridge, it was rediscovered in 1910 by Hiram Bingham, an American explorer. We return by train to the Sacred Valley, from where we drive to Cusco. 
  • Cusco is a mixture of colonial architecture interspersed with fascinating Inca remains. The main square, nestling within a maze of narrow streets and quaint plazas, has been the city centre since Inca times. Today, it’s the site of the 16th-century cathedral, so huge it took a hundred years to complete. We visit the Qorichancha, the Incan temple to the sun, the ‘navel’ of their world and originally covered in sheets of pure gold. Although a Spanish convent was built over the Inca temple, many of the internal walls remain. Cusco is such a beautiful city, with so many fascinating corners to explore, that this afternoon is free for you to make your own discoveries. Our hotel is centrally located, so you can easily walk everywhere.
  • This morning we fly back to Lima to connect with our flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina, arriving late in the afternoon.
  • After breakfast, we drive out of the city to the Pampas plains to the west of Buenos Aires. Our destination is the Estancia Santa Susana, originally created by Irish migrants and today still a working ranch spread across almost 3,000 acres. The original house is beautifully preserved and gives a fascinating insight into life here during the late 19th century. The ranch has plenty of horses and in true gaucho tradition, you’ll see them showing off their equestrian skills. An excellent lunch is included featuring Argentinian beef on the barbecue, which you can enjoy with local songs and dances.
  • Today we explore the fascinating metropolis of Buenos Aires. Known as the Paris of South America, with its wide tree-lined avenues, squares, parks and grand public buildings, it exudes an unmistakable style. We’ll visit the Plaza de Mayo and the pink-coloured Presidential Palace, from where Eva Peron used to speak to huge rallies. We’ll see the colourful barrios (districts) of San Telmo and La Boca, and also visit Recoleta Cemetery to see Eva Peron’s final resting place. This evening we enjoy a visit to one of the city’s best tango shows, with dinner included.  
  • This morning we take the short flight to Iguazu Falls, arriving in the mid-afternoon. And spend the afternoon seeing Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side.
  • The Argentinian side of the falls is known for its numerous viewpoints including the stunning Devils’ Throat balcony. There are many small and large falls, which are easily accessed by wooden boardwalks through the lush forest surrounding the falls. We also catch the charming open-sided ‘jungle train’ to the head of the falls. For the more adventurous, there is the option to take a jetboat ride to the foot of the falls on the Iguazu river – you will get seriously wet! 
  • In the afternoon, we take a short flight to Rio de Janeiro, where we stay three nights with breakfast at the local hotel.
  • Today we visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the highlights of the tour. Reached by a Swiss-built cog railway through the Tijuca Forest National Park, the granite peak stands at 2,300ft, with the statue itself a further 100ft tall. The views in all directions are simply outstanding. On return to sea level, we take a walk through Rio’s charming Botanical Gardens before our included lunch of Brazilian barbecued meats (a vegetarian option is available). 
  • This morning we board the breathtaking two-stage cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, which overlooks some of Rio’s most spectacular bays and beaches. We follow this with a tour through the centre of Rio and an included lunch at one of the city’s most iconic restaurants, the beautiful belle-époque Confeitaria Colombo. 
  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
  • Arrive back in the UK after a truly memorable tour.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain and the foot of Christ the Redeemer, and Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian and Brazilian sides 
  • Guided tours of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, the ‘Paris of South America’, and Cusco, the former capital of the Incan empire, now one of South America’s most enchanting cities 
  • Discover Argentina’s ‘pampas’ or plains on our visit to a typical ‘estancia’  
  • Explore the extraordinary Machu Picchu, the fabled ‘Lost city of the Incas’, on a guided tour 
  • Tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas and visit Pisac’s famed Indian market and temple of Ollantaytambo 

Our Price Includes

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes: 
  • Scheduled flights to Lima via Sao Paolo, flights between Lima and Cusco, from Lima to Buenos Aires, from Buenos Aires to Iguacu, from Iguacu to Rio, return flights from Rio via Sao Paolo 
  • 13 nights’ accommodation 
  • Daily breakfast and five meals 
  • All tours as mentioned 
  • All transfers 
  • Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person 
  • The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager 
  • Included excursions: entrances to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & Cusco, estancia and Tango show in Buenos Aires, Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer peak & Botanical Gardens in Rio
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Dates and Prices

 
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Departure Airport:
London Heathrow (LHR)

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Price from:£5,299
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Accommodation

4* 725 Continental Hotel - Buenos Aires -

★★★★

The four-star 725 Continental Hotel is located right in heart of Buenos Aires, a short walk from the Plaza de Mayo and one of the best shopping areas, the pedestrianised Florida street. Dating back to 1927, the hotel has been recently stylishly renovated and offers a lobby bar, restaurant and spa/fitness room. Sip an afternoon cocktail at the roof top bar and open-air pool and enjoy the view over the Buenos Aires skyline. All the 192 rooms all have air-conditioning, bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar, TV and complimentary Wi-Fi.

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★★★★★

4* Casa Andina Select – Miraflores, Lima -

★★★★

The four-star Casa Andina is well located in the upmarket Miraflores district of central Lima, with plenty of restaurants nearby. The hotel has an ATM, gym, hair salon and the Plaza & Grill restaurant serving excellent breakfast and evening dinner. The 155 bright and modern rooms are all air-conditioned, with bath/shower, hairdryer, mini-fridge, iron/board, safe, TV, coffee-maker and wifi at extra charge (free in lobby).

4* Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel -

★★★★

The four-star Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel is set in a secluded rural location on a hillside with beautiful views across the Urubamba valley. There’s a lobby bar with fireplace, a main restaurant and gym. The extensive well-kept gardens have hammocks to relax in, as well as a small observatory for star gazing. The 92 comfortable rooms are in several two-storey blocks and offer bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, TV and coffee-maker.

4* Mercure Iguazu Hotel - Puerto Iguazu -

★★★★

The four-star Mercure Iguazu is situated in a quiet location surrounded by forest on the Argentinian side of the falls. There’s a lobby bar, restaurant, spa/fitness room and a large open-air pool with a pool bar in the grounds. The 100 spacious and contemporary air-conditioned rooms have views of the pool or the jungle and offer shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar, TV, complimentary Wi=-Fi and balcony.

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Other Information

Holiday code

R356

Holiday provided by Riviera Travel

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: change your booking for free, Covid-19 cancellation protection included as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Riviera Travel (ABTA V4744, ATOL 3430). These ABTA and ATOL bonds mean that, when you book a Riviera Travel holiday, you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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