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We’ve also added a full day in colorful Valparaíso, a flamboyant folkloric dance show, a cultural tour of Buenos Aires, and an inside glimpse into Rio de Janeiro’s spectacular Carnival festivities — all in an intimate group of just 18-24 travelers! Immerse yourself in cowboy culture in Chile and Uruguay, join a local family for a home-hosted dinner, and leave your inhibitions at the door during a private tango lesson in Buenos Aires.
Spend five nights in the most isolated inhabited island in the world — Easter Island. This enigmatic outpost burst into the limelight in 1958 with the publication of Thor Heyerdahl’s Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island, and the giant stone faces that line the island have ensnared the world’s imagination ever since. Here’s your chance to see them up close, in a small group, and discover what life is like in this Polynesian paradise. Overnight stays in the Chilean capital, Santiago, bracket your pre-trip adventure and ensure a relaxing experience, while our itinerary provides active opportunities for walking and swimming.
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 Easter Island, 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 with a Welcome Briefing and a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Exploring colorful, UNESCO-listed Valparaíso
Embark on a full-day exploration of quirky 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, this hilly city boasts a historic quarter named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 19th-century architecture and urban planning. Today, “Valpo,” as it’s colloquially known, is a romantic and revived destination, a renowned educational center, and culinary hotbed. We’ll check out views of Valpo on a funicular ride then scope out the city’s beaches, including Viña del Mar, where you’ll seek out lunch on your own. Back in Santiago this evening, dinner will also be on your own.
Chilean rodeo experience, discovering pisco, empanadas, and cueca in Santa Cruz
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. Along the way, discover Chile’s cowboy culture with a visit to the rodeo. Rodeo is the country’s national sport, and we’ve arranged for several skilled huasos (cowboys) to show you the ropes — pun intended! — and teach you about the origins of the rodeo, its traditions and garments, and more. While here, you'll also enjoy a typical Chilean BBQ lunch. You may think you know rodeo . . . but this experience will show you otherwise!
Once in Santa Cruz, settle into your balcony room at our intimate, colonial-style hotel. Later, we’ll discover pisco, a grape brandy produced in winemaking regions, when we learn how to concoct a traditional pisco sour and learn how to make a revered cultural icon: the empanada. These pastries — stuffed with everything from minced meat to cheese to seafood — are Chile’s national dish, typically savored on the street on the go, or with a glass of red wine at dinner.
Later this afternoon, a private folkloric show showcases the dramatic cueca, Chile’s national dance. Dinner is on your own tonight in charming Santa Cruz.
Winemaker for a day in Colchagua Valley, followed by a home-hosted lunch and wine pairing dinner
After breakfast, it’s just a short walk to the Colchagua Museum, where you’ll view the largest collection of pre-Columbian art in Chile. Next, get another taste of local culture when we join a Chilean family in their home for a homemade lunch.
Afterward, a red wine lovers’ paradise awaits us as we venture deeper into the Colchagua Valley. A visit to the Colchagua Valley winery 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. Then, channel your inner Lucille Ball with some grape picking, and show off your skills as you make your own personal wine blend based on what you’ve learned and tasted.
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.
Later, enjoy a sumptuous 3-course wine pairing dinner at a local winery.
Please note: The grape picking feature is only available during Chile’s harvest season.
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 discovering Uruguayan wine
Discover Montevideo’s monuments, parks, and gardens today on a walking tour of the Old City, then board a bus for a panoramic tour of 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. This afternoon, visit a local winery and enjoy a special lunch and tasting as we get an insider’s perspective on Uruguayan wines. (It’s quite rare to find Uruguayan wines in the United States, so this will be a special treat!)
A day at the ranch with Uruguayan cowboys, then a 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.
On the way, we’ll visit a typical Uruguayan 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 and an evening wine tasting and Argentinean dinner
Your Buenos Aires adventure begins in full color today with a city tour that includes the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada, La Boca — a neighborhood full of colorfully painted homes — and the neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, the church home of Pope Francis. 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.
Your taste buds are in for a delightful treat tonight! Join your fellow travelers for a special tasting of regional wines and Argentinian delicacies tonight, complete with the help of a local sommelier. You’ll also enjoy an illuminating lecture on South America’s lush wine regions and the many local varietals offered here.
Exploring Recoleta, and an unforgettable night of tango
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.
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.
A cultural tour of Buenos Aires, lunch at Pulpería Quilapán, home-hosted dinner
A full-day cultural tour of Buenos Aires will immerse you in this sensual and alive capital that’s long been considered the Paris of South America. We’ll visit the grand Teatro Colón, the third-ranking opera house in the world, before visiting the El Ateneo Bookstore. The store building was a former theater turned cinema and is now one of the world's top five bookstores.
Next, shop for antiques, handmade crafts, and other exclusive collectables at the San Telmo Market, one of the most popular attractions in Buenos Aires.
Lunch will be memorable as we sit down at Pulpería Quilapán, a beloved and charming restaurant with vintage tchotchkes and historical touches, and the place to savor authentic Argentinean cuisine. After, enjoy more time at the market or take the afternoon to pursue your own interests. Bring a camera and your curiosity for tonight’s dinner! We’ll visit a local family and learn firsthand about life in Argentina while savoring some traditional dishes, enhanced by some fabulous Malbec wines.
The spectacular views at Iguassu Falls
Fly this morning to awe-inspiring Iguassu Falls National Park, located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Our first views of the park will be from the Upper Trail on the Argentinean side, 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 hotel for dinner.
Trekking Iguassu's Brazilian side, and a wet and wild Macuco Safari Boat Ride
Today, we’ll explore Iguassu Falls from the Brazilian side, which features a spectacular panoramic view. 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!)
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 samba dance show are on the menu, and you'll learn more about this dance and musical genre that has roots in African religious tradition while also witnessing other varieties of regional dance.
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. 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 included at the hotel.
Carnival’s pageantry, a cog rail train to Corcovado, and a churrascaria dinner
We’ll discover the costumes and pageantry of Carnival today when we venture behind the scenes to the warehouse of one of Rio’s top samba schools. Here, we’ll learn about the history and culture of Brazilian Carnival.
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. Your tour ends in Ipanema, the famous neighborhood and beach that's been memorialized in pop culture over the decades. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Rio at your own pace.
Tonight, reminisce about your experiences in South America with a Farewell Dinner at a local Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse).
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.