7 DAYS FROM $2,199
They’re two destinations on any adventurous traveler’s must-do list: Cusco and Machu Picchu. These inimitable Peruvian locales offer a glimpse of the country’s past — especially the mighty Inca Empire.
Begin your South American adventure with a visit to Peru’s mystical Sacred Valley, featuring ancient Inca capitals and Spanish colonial cities, and add a fifth country to your journey in the process! You’ll spend a day touring Sacred Valley, including a visit to Pisac’s market and Ollantaytambo, before embarking on a scenic Vistadome train ride to the region’s crown jewel — Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The past and present intermingle with visits to a local weaving community and a chichería, where the local brew is a traditional corn beer still savored today.
Fly overnight to Santiago, Chile
Your South America adventure begins with an overnight flight to Chile.
Or, if you crossed another destination off your bucket list by joining our extension to legendary Machu Picchu and Peru, you’ll meet up with the base tour on Day 2.
Stroll the Alameda on a panoramic tour of Santiago’s highlights
Upon arrival in Santiago, you’ll be met by a Vantage representative and transferred to your hotel for an early check-in. Afterward, embark on a panoramic tour of Santiago’s colonial and contemporary highlights, including the famous Alameda, the city’s bustling main avenue, and the Plaza de Armas. This evening, our small group will get better acquainted over a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
A day at leisure, or venture on an optional full-day tour to Valparaíso
Explore Santiago from the convenience of your downtown hotel with a day at leisure, or embark on an optional tour to colorful Valparaíso, one of Chile’s most important seaports and its second-largest city.
Set in the valley of the Andes, in a natural amphitheater overlooking the sea, the city boasts a historic quarter named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 19th-century architecture and urban planning. Today, Valparaíso is a romantic and revived city, a renowned educational center, and culinary hotbed. Lunch and dinner will be on your own.
Pre-Columbian art, a walking tour of Santa Cruz, and pisco sours
We’ll journey to the capital of Chile’s wine-growing region today when we transfer to Santa Cruz, an ideal base for our forays into local viniculture. Settle into your balcony room at our intimate, colonial-style hotel and enjoy lunch on your own. We’ll regroup this afternoon for a visit to the Museum of Colchagua, an excellent gallery featuring the largest collection of pre-Columbian art in Chile, followed by a walking tour of compact, charming Santa Cruz. Cultural Discovery: We’ll discover pisco, a grape brandy produced in wine-making regions, when we learn how to concoct a traditional pisco sour before our dinner at the hotel.
Tasting Colchagua Valley vintages and a home-hosted lunch
A red wine lover's paradise awaits us as we venture deeper into the Colchagua Valley today. Unforgettable Moment: This morning, a Colchagua Valley winery visit introduces us to what this region does best, from Carménère to Syrah. We’ll also learn about the region’s soil and climate, as well as the history of wine and the wine-making process in this region, during an included wine tasting. Our tour continues with a cable car ride to Cerro Chamán Observatory — sitting at 256 meters above sea level, this perch offers stunning views of the valley and vineyards below. If you’re interested, you can also tour replicas of indigenous homes and discover the everyday life and culture of Chile’s indigenous people and how they inspired the local wines.
Get another taste of local culture — and a revered cultural icon — when we join a Chilean family in their home for a lesson on how to make empanadas. Cultural Discovery: Empanadas, pastries stuffed with everything from minced meat to cheese to seafood is Chile’s national dish, typically savored on the street on the go, or with a glass of red wine at dinner. We’ll learn how to make these savory pastries and enjoy an intimate lunch and conversation about fruit production in the area. Later, we’ll gain a deeper understanding of rural life in Chile as we set out for a visit to the town of Lolol, brimming with arid landscapes and terra-cotta-roofed homes. After arriving at our hotel this evening, the rest of your day is at leisure.
Board a flight to Montevideo, Uruguay
We’ll return to Santiago today to catch a flight across the Andes to Montevideo, Uruguay’s cultural capital overflowing with palm-tree-studded colonial plazas and cosmopolitan flair. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to our centrally located hotel. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
Exploring Montevideo’s historic gems — and its cowboy culture
Discover Montevideo’s monuments, parks, and gardens today on a walking tour of the Old City, then board a bus to visit the cathedral, Constitution and Independence squares, and other monuments. We’ll also view the marbled Palacio Legislativo — Uruguay’s Congress Building — and ride past El Prado, an elegant neighborhood of sprawling botanical gardens and colonial mansions. Cultural Discovery: We’ll savor lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to the Gaucho Museum to learn about Uruguay’s cowboy traditions. Housed in the ornate Palacio Heber, this museum displays a superb collection of historical gaucho artifacts, including horse gear, silver work, and whimsically designed bombillas.
A day at the ranch with Uruguayan cowboys, then ferry to Buenos Aires
Our South America travel itinerary gets us closer to Argentina today while remaining on the Uruguayan side of the widest river in the world, Rio de la Plata. We’ll depart Montevideo and begin a scenic drive through the flat Uruguayan plains known as the Pampas to Colonia del Sacramento.
Cultural Discovery: On the way, we’ll visit an authentic working estancia (ranch), where we’ll take a carriage ride around the property and interact with real gauchos (cowboys) as we learn about their traditions. Lunch here today will be a traditional asado, a gaucho-style barbecue, complete with a demonstration of how to make mate, a South American herbal tea.
Following the ranch visit, we’ll continue on to Colonia del Sacramento, a historic port with a rich Spanish and Portuguese history. We’ll save some time for strolling along the magical cobblestone streets of the historic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before embarking a high-speed ferry across the Rio de la Plata to Buenos Aires. Once we check into our luxury hotel, you’ll have the afternoon to pursue your own interests in lively Buenos Aires, home of the passionate tango.
City tour of Buenos Aires, including lunch at renowned Café Tortoni
Your Buenos Aires adventure begins in full color today with a city tour that includes the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada, and La Boca, a neighborhood full of colorfully painted homes. Cultural Discovery: No Buenos Aires visit is complete without a visit to the famous Café Tortoni, and we’ll lunch in this institution today. Founded in 1858 by an enigmatic Frenchman, the café’s European ambience, intricate moldings, and marble-topped counters have lured artists and scholars alike for more than 150 years.
Exploring Recoleta's mansions and historical highlights, and a fiery tango lesson and performance
Today we’ll explore Buenos Aires’ opulent Recoleta neighborhood on foot. As we stroll the elegant Avenida Alvear, we’ll pass stately manors and sprawling green spaces until reaching the renowned La Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Perón and other luminaries are interred. A guided tour will show us the highlights before we browse the handicrafts at the nearby Recoleta Fair. Cultural Discovery: This evening, learn how to tango during a private lesson, followed by dinner and a fiery tango performance at El Viejo Almacen, the oldest tango hall in Buenos Aires. The tango show includes multiple variations of the dance, from the most traditional performances to modern acrobatic styles, as well as orchestra solos and tango singers.
Leisure in Buenos Aires, or an optional Cultural Tour
A day at leisure offers more time to discover why this lively city embodies the rich history and heritage of this continent. Or, see the city from a different perspective when you join an optional tour that delves deeper into the culture of Buenos Aires. We'll reconvene this evening for dinner at the hotel.
The spectacular views at Iguassu Falls
We’ll fly to awe-inspiring Iguassu Falls National Park this morning, located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Our first views of the park will be from the Lower Trail on the Argentinean side, before exploring further on the Upper Trail, where we’ll enjoy an eye-popping vantage point as we literally walk across the water! After enjoying lunch in the park on our own, we’ll cross the border to the Brazilian side and check into our centrally located hotel for dinner.
Trekking Iguassu's Brazilian side, and a wild and wet Macuco Safari Boat Ride
Today, we’ll explore Iguassu Falls from the Brazilian side, which features a spectacular panoramic view. Unforgettable Moment: We’ll begin with a walking tour that includes views of Devil’s Throat, the largest of Iguassu’s 275 waterfalls, where torrents crash into a narrow canyon. The tour will end at Puerto Canoas, where we’ll have lunch on our own. Then we'll keep the adventurous momentum going with a Macuco Safari Boat Ride! First, an open trolley ride brings you through the dense rainforest where you’ll view flowers, birds, butterflies, and even centenarian trees. Then, snap some photos worthy of National Geographic when you board special speedboats bound for Iguassu’s gorge. Get ready to get wet! Your experienced river pilots, who know these waters extensively, will give you a thrilling ride through some of the rapids, guiding you right up next to the splashing cascades. (Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, casual clothes, and prepare to get soaked!)
Cultural Discovery: After dinner in the hotel this evening, we’ll capitalize on the spirit of this region with a night on the town. Drinks and a lively dance show are on the menu!
Rio de Janeiro — from Copacabana to Corcovado
Today we’ll transfer to the airport for the final leg of our adventure: renowned Rio de Janeiro. This Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is tropical, musical, and spectacular. Unforgettable Moment: Ride a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for sweeping views of the bay, the curve of the Copacabana, and the peak of Corcovado before heading to our hotel in the heart of world-famous Copacabana Beach. This evening will be at leisure, with dinner on your own.
A train ride through Tijuca Forest, then a Farewell Dinner in Rio
Set off on a scenic ride aboard a cog rail train through the Tijuca Forest to the top of Corcovado Mountain, site of the huge Christ the Redeemer statue — one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — for the best views of Rio. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Rio at your own pace. Tonight, reminisce about your experiences in South America with your small group during a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
A morning at leisure in colorful Copacabana, and exploring Rio's architecture
Spend the morning at leisure enjoying the hotel’s unbeatable location in the heart of Copacabana Beach. We’ll enjoy our last views of Rio during an afternoon tour that showcases this city’s colonial side, beginning with the old buildings found downtown, as well as Rio’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, a modernist masterpiece reminiscent of Mayan pyramids. Afterward, we’ll arrive at the airport for our return flights home.
Your overnight flight from Rio will arrive in the U.S. today.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary. The hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.