South America’s World Wonders Tour
For some of us, the opportunity to travel through South America only comes once. If this is the case for you, why not take advantage of being on the continent to tour all the highlights of the continent? Here is a sample itinerary for an 11 day/10 night tour of South America’s world wonders. The tour starts in Brazil, crosses the border to Argentina, and leaps over to Peru, but keep in mind that this can be done in reverse and can also be extended to stop in more of South America’s fabulous destinations.
Days 1 through 4 are in Brazil. Travelers will arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s “Marvelous City,” that features vibrant Carioca culture, music, and food. Must see places include the famed beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, where visitors will find dining and nightlife options in abundance. But the key attraction in Rio is the Christ the Redeemer statue which stands guard over the city. The amazing 130-foot monument is on Corcovado Hill, from which travelers will get amazing panoramic views of the city below. Your stay in Rio can be extended to visit nearby beaches or other attractions within the city.
Day 3 begins with a flight to Iguazu, where travelers can stay on either the Brazil (Foz do Iguazu) or Argentina side (Puerto Iguazu). Either way, it’s highly advisable to visit both sides of the Iguazu Falls, which have been declared a natural wonder of the world. What’s the difference? On the Brazil side, you can get great panoramic views of the falls, whereas on the Argentina side, you can actually go into the falls for a bit of jungle exploration or to visit places like the Devil’s Throat. Day 4 will be a tour of the falls.
Days 5 and 6 are in Argentina. South America’s most cosmopolitan capital city, Buenos Aires, offers a heady mix of culture, history, architecture, shopping, dining, wine, and nightlife that will have you wishing for a longer stay. There is much to see and do in Buenos Aires, including tango shows, museums, football games, polo matches, visits to estancias, and sampling of the excellent restaurants. This can be done independently or by arranging tours.
The final leg of the tour is in Peru, which hosts Machu Picchu, the most iconic wonders of South America that captivates hundreds of thousands of visitors every year with its majesty, scale, and the beauty of its surroundings. To get there, you first have to get to Cusco via Lima. Cusco is the ancient imperial Inca city, and is in itself a proper destination because of the visible architectural and cultural reminders of one of the biggest historical events in the history of the world: the conquest of the great Inca Empire by the Spaniards. Cusco and the Sacred Valley are full of fascinating archaeological sites that are worth spending some time in, Days 8 and 9.
On Day 10, you will finally be on your way to the marvelous Inca citadel, Machu Picchu. You can depart via train from Cusco or from Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Machu Picchu is certainly worth an entire day. A guided tour is well worth it. And within the sanctuary, additional hikes are possible, either to Huayna Picchu, the Inca Bridge, or the Sun Gate, which is the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail. Of course, if you have time to extend this once-in-a-lifetime holiday, you can trek on the Inca Trail on a schedule ranging from 1 to 4 days.
Day 11 is your departure from Cusco back to Lima, Peru’s capital city and the epicenter of the country’s gastronomic boom, which is itself worth spending a few days in if you have the time. Lima also boasts excellent museums and other historical attractions.
In summary, this tour will give you a brief but comprehensive taste of the best of South America.