Fly to Manaus (not included in holiday price on pre-trip extension), the Brazilian gateway of the Amazon. You’ll be transferred to your hotel before embarking on a city tour that will reveal the wealth of the city’s former rubber barons. Visit the grand Palacio Rio Negro with its displays reflecting traditional Amazonian culture, then discover the floating harbour and nearby Customs House. Admire the metallic architecture of the vibrant Mercado Municipal, based on the Les Halles marketplace in Paris and see the Renaissance opera house, constructed during the city’s golden age.
We journey upstream today to see first-hand the tremendous 'Meeting of the Waters'. Watch how the dark waters of the Rio Negro merge with the sandy brown water of the Solimões and then flows eastward to the Atlantic. After lunch, consider joining an optional canoe trip down a smaller tributary and try your hand at piranha fishing, or simply immerse yourself in your jungle surrounds. Later, we transfer to our lodge on the banks of the Rio Taruma.
Walk beneath the towering canopy of the world’s largest rainforest – the life-source of Planet Earth and an area of exceptional biodiversity. We’ll embark on a guided walk this morning with our Local Specialist, keeping a keen eye out for shy capybara or the giant coils of the anaconda as it naps on the branches of a tree. Connect With Locals as you immerse yourself in the culture, rituals and heritage of the native Amazonians gaining first-hand insight into their day-to-day lives, then return to your lodge for dinner against the backdrop of cicadas, bulldog bats and Screaming Piha, the signature sound of the Amazon.
Visit Monkey Forest, a rehabilitation centre and wildlife refuge, as your MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. Then return to Manaus Airport as your Amazon experience comes to an end. Fly to Rio de Janeiro and meet a local host who will take you to your hotel where you’ll enjoy superb ocean views of Copacabana beach and its beautiful people, just minutes from downtown Rio. This evening, we enjoy a festive Welcome Reception with our Travel Director and fellow travellers.
Ease into your morning Rio-style before joining your Travel Director to delve into the captivating contrasts of Brazil’s cidade maravilhosa (marvellous city). See the 18th-century Carioca Aqueduct, the colonial Candelaria church and the home of the Rio Carnival, the Sanbodromo. Ascend Sugarloaf Mountain via cable car for a 'pinch me moment' of inspiring bay and city views. Enjoy a free evening.
The iconic Christ the Redeemer beckons this morning as we journey by cogwheel train to the summit of Corcovado for impressive panoramic views. Returning to the city, we visit the shores of Copacabana and Ipanema, spending the rest of the day at leisure to watch Rio’s beautiful people living life to the fullest. This evening, learn how to mix the perfect caipirinha, then indulge in a sizzling Regional Dinner barbecue at a local churrascaria.
Spend the morning at leisure, then visit a Samba school where you’ll Dive Into Culture, gaining insights into how the school prepares for the pageantry of Carnival week. View the colourful costumes and sway your hips Rio-style as you learn how to Samba. We leave the city behind and fly to Iguassu Falls. This evening, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel.
Explore the Brazil side of Iguassu Falls, joining a Local Specialist in the UNESCO-listed Iguassu National Park for a walk through the rainforest to the base of the falls. Indulge in lunch at a local restaurant against the backdrop of the falls before returning to your resort for an afternoon at leisure. Consider joining one of our optional experiences, including a jetboat ride(^) to the base of the falls or visit a tropical bird reserve, home to more than 500 species of birds.
Cross the border into Argentina to see the falls from a different perspective. Meet your Local Specialist, then board an open-air ecological jungle train through the rainforest and walk along the catwalk peering down into the swirling waters of Devil’s Throat Falls. We leave this force of nature behind for the sophisticated Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires.
Connect with the seamless mix of European elegance meets Latin energy, joining your Local Specialist for a guided tour of Buenos Aires’ most notable sites, including the iconic Casa Rosada and colourful neighbourhood of La Boca. Admire the opulent façade of Teatro Colon, then visit the Recoleta Cemetery, where Argentina’s beloved former first lady, Eva Peron (Evita), is buried. This evening, indulge in the delicious flavours of Argentine beef during a Regional Dinner. Later, we’ll Dive Into Culture, ending the evening with a stirring, sensual Tango performance.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to pursue your own interests in the 'Paris of South America'. Admire the works of Degas, El Greco and Van Gogh at the Museum of Belles Artes or sample delicious dulce de leche ice-cream at the famous Café Tortoni. Feeling adventurous? Consider an optional trip into the countryside to visit a traditional estancia (ranch), including a lively equestrian show and traditional parrillada (barbecue) lunch. Later, we’ll Connect With Locals, joining a family at their home in Palermo Soho for a dinner during our Be My Guest experience.
We leave one capital behind for another, travelling to Peru’s capital, Lima. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in San Isidro.
Francisco Pizarro’s 'City of Kings' is ours to explore this morning as we discover the colonial heritage of Lima’s UNESCO-listed Historic Centre with our Local Specialist. Admire the ornate baroque façades of the Church of San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs. Celebrate Lima’s status as the culinary capital of South America next, and meet Ignacio Barrios who has worked alongside many of Peru's most award-winning chefs. Visit a local market where Ignacio will explain how Peruvian fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats are the basis of Peruvian cooking. Then continue to his cooking school where you'll Connect With Locals and enjoy a demonstration on how to prepare some of Peru's most popular dishes. You’ll have an opportunity to sample some of these at a Be My Guest experience lunch before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
Board a morning flight to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Dive Into Culture and visit the Pisac market displaying Quechua arts and crafts. Connect With Locals and meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a master Quechua weaver, and the first person from her village to attend university. She been an ambassador for Andean traditions since she began learning ancient pre-Columbian weaving techniques as a young girl in the 1960s. Your MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience helps to preserve and promote traditional pre-Columbian weaving techniques in the 21st century. End the day at your Stays With Stories, a former 18th-century colonial-style monastery in the Sacred Valley.
The Sacred Valley reveals its mysteries today as we encounter the remains of the mighty Inca empire. Our first stop this morning is the famous Inca hilltop fortress, Ollantaytambo, built from massive blocks of stone. We board the Vistadome train (light snack included) for our epic journey to the UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu, where a Local Specialist will lead us through the ruins of this once-great fortress. Explore the iconic great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, an intricately carved rock most likely used as a sundial centuries ago. Tonight, we’ll dine at our hotel.
We return to Machu Picchu this morning with an opportunity to explore this mythical fortress on our own terms. If you’re feeling energetic, consider hiking up to the Gate of the Sun for thrilling views over the fortress and valley below. Then it’s off to Cusco, stopping en route at a local chicheria for a taste of chicha. Dive Into Culture and learn how this Peruvian corn beer is made by local women.
Explore the Incan and Spanish roots of the 'Imperial City', unlocking its best kept secrets, including the 17th-century Church of Santo Domingo, built atop the foundations of the Inca Temple of the Sun. Later, we’ll venture with our Local Specialist beyond the city to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. This evening, we’ll Dive Into Culture at a local restaurant for a Regional Dinner of Cusquenian flavours against the backdrop of a traditional dance performance.
A leisurely start to our day sees us return to Lima late this morning. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, then Dive Into Culture with your Local Specialist at the Larco Museum for an evening exploration of its collection of pre-Columbian art. We’ll indulge in a memorable Farewell Dinner in the museum’s garden.
It’s time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers as your trip comes to an end. Head to Lima and fly to Santiago International Airport (flight not included in holiday price). Stay the night in Chile's vibrant capital of Santiago before heading on to your Easter Island extension tomorrow.
Fly to Easter Island (flight not included in holiday price) and connect with the legend and lore of one of the world’s most remote and remarkable islands, delving into the ancient culture of the Rapa Nui who once prospered on this land. Our first stop on this mystical adventure is Ahu Akivi, where we’ll enjoy a private guided excursion with our Local Specialist to view its seven Moai statues, facing the ocean. Learn about their astronomically precise location and how they were placed there to use their mana to protect the inhabitants of the nearby village. Continue to ancient Ahu Hanga Poukura to see the tumbled Moai statues that stand as a testament to ancient battles. Then, visit the Puna Pau quarry with its red scoria stone.
Embark on a privately guided excursion with our Local Specialist to the southern coast and witness the perfectly preserved ceremonial Ahu Vaihu in the bay of Hanga Te'e. Set out with your boxed picnic lunch and proceed to Rano Raraku, a quarry of almost 900 stone statues - 397 of them still located at the slopes of the Rano Kau volcano. Visit Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu on the island, then continue to the eastern coast and visit Ahu Te Pito Kura with its Paro Maoi, the largest maoi statue ever erected. Afterward, visit scenic Anakena beach, where the king first set foot on the island.
Journey to the UNESCO-listed Rapa Nui National Park. Join a private excursion with our Local Specialist up the extinct Rano Kau volcano. Admire views of the island from its slopes, then drive to the village of Orongo, where you’ll view petroglyphs revealing the local culture. Later, catch a glimpse the three islets of Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao on the opposite coast. Then it’s on to Ahu Vinapu for further evidence of the pre-Incan architectural influence. Our final stop is at the Ana Kai Tangata to view the ornate cave paintings from its mouth. Return to your hotel this afternoon before being transferred to the airport. Airport arrival is at 12 p.m., please be aware when booking your flights.