Immerse yourself in the tropical allure of Rio de Janeiro - your launch pad to a South American exploration of capital cities and ancient cultures. Meet your local host on arrival and transfer to your hotel offering superb views of Copacabana Beach. This evening, we'll join our travel Director and fellow travellers for a festive Welcome Reception.
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 Be My Guest dinner.
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. 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 lunch before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
Board a morning flight to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Visit the Pisac market displaying Quechua arts and crafts, then continue to a former 18th century colonial-style monastery in the Sacred Valley. Later this afternoon, we arrive at a former 18th century colonial-style monastery in the heart of the Sacred Valley, our hotel for the night. 'Dive into Culture' 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. 'Make a Difference' as your visit helps to preserve and promote traditional pre-Columbian weaving techniques in the 21st century.
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 beyond the city to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking the city. This evening, we'll gather 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 join 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.
Say hasta luego to Lima and transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Lima.