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Delve into Latin America’s finest on our delectable 15-day Wines and Cultures of South America adventure. This whirlwind trip through Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil will introduce you to South America’s irresistible rhythms, traditions, and tastes. Beginning in the Andean city of Santiago and wrapping up on the Brazilian beach of Copacabana, you’ll get up close with cowboy culture, learn to dance the sensual tango, and be swept away by Brazil’s vibrant carnival pageantry. With 37 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you’ll admire UNESCO World Heritage sites like Valparaiso and marvel at Cristo Rendedor, one of the New Wonders of the World.
With our enhanced itinerary, your days will be deliciously filled with wine, pisco, empanadas, and three different kinds of world-renowned barbecue. From the sprawling fields of the pampas to colonial, cobblestoned towns to sophisticated capitals, you’ll get to know various sides of South American culture. Dine on parrilla with a local Argentine family, stomp grapes in the Colchagua Valley, and admire nature’s force at Iguassu Falls. With an intimate group of 16-24 people, including options for solo travelers, this is one spectacular journey for the senses.
Arrive early for our pre-trip extension, plunging into the heart of Peru’s Incan culture. This 6-night trip will transport you back into pre-Columbian times with visits to the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and the ruins of Machu Picchu — a magical UNESCO site that’s also one of the wonders of the New World. Whether or not you choose to join the group early, you’ll enjoy luxurious accommodations and transportation, as well as an expert guide, throughout your trip. Let Vantage introduce you to the stunning landscapes, culinary pleasures, and irresistible rhythms of South America on this cultural adventure in 2022.
For a taste of the memories you’ll create on this trip, head to our photography page for inspiration now!
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. Spend a day touring Sacred Valley, including a visit to Pisac’s market and Ollantaytambo. You’ll then 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.
The journey doesn’t stop there, as you’ll get to know the enchanting city of Cusco with walking tours featuring Koricancha and the Catholic catedral. After flying to Chile, overnight stays in the 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 joined our pre-trip extension to the eminent Inca site of Machu Picchu, you’ll meet up with the rest of the group on Day 2 of our base tour.
Stroll the Alameda while touring Santiago’s highlights
Upon arrival in Santiago, you’ll be met by a Vantage representative and transferred to check in to your hotel. Afterward, embark on a comprehensive bus tour of Santiago’s colonial and contemporary highlights. This includes the famous Alameda, the city’s lively main avenue, and the Plaza de Armas. In the evening, attend a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Explore the colorful hills of UNESCO-listed Valparaíso
Depart early morning for a full-day journey through bohemian Valparaíso, one of Chile’s most important seaports. Set in the Andean Valley overlooking the sea, this hilly city is Chile’s second largest. Its historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its 19th-century architecture and urban planning. Today, “Valpo,” as it’s colloquially known, is a culinary hotbed and a charming destination recognized for its educational opportunities. We’ll begin admiring the city from above on a funicular ride. The next step is discovering nearby beaches, including Viña del Mar. You’ll have to chance to choose your own lunch here, where the seafood is spectacular. You’ll also be on your own when back in Santiago this evening.
Enjoy Chilean rodeo, pisco, empanadas, and cueca in Santa Cruz
Today, we’ll head two hours out of Santiago into Santa Cruz, the hub of Chile’s wine-growing region. Before we venture into local viniculture, we’ll stop by a local rodeo along the way. Rodeo is the country’s national sport. Here, several skilled huasos (cowboys) will teach you about rodeo’s origins, traditions, and garments. Afterward, you’ll savor asado, Chilean BBQ, for lunch. This will show you an entirely new side of rodeo!
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 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. After your culinary lessons in the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a private folkloric show, demonstrating the lively cueca, Chile’s national dance. Dinner is on your own tonight in charming Santa Cruz.
Savor lunch with the locals, make wine in Colchagua Valley, and feast on a wine-paired dinner
After breakfast, we’ll take a short walk to the Colchagua Museum to view the largest collection of pre-Columbian art in Chile. Next, we’ll set out for the town of Lolol. Brimming with arid landscapes and terracotta-roofed homes, this pueblo will show us a richer perspective of rural life in Chile. Here, we’ll get another taste of local culture when we join a Chilean family in their home for a traditional lunch.
As we venture deeper into the Colchagua Valley, a wine aficionados’ paradise awaits. We’ll visit a Colchagua Valley winery for an introduction to what this region does best: from carménère to Syrah. We’ll learn about the region’s soil and climate, as well as the history of wine and the winemaking process in this region, all while sipping on wine. Then, if you're traveling during the harvest season between February and March, you’ll head out to the vineyard to pick your own grapes. 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 discover the everyday life and culture of Chile’s indigenous people. This optional tour of their home replicas will teach you how they inspired the local wines.
Later, you’ll enjoy a sumptuous 3-course wine pairing dinner at the winery before returning to Santa Cruz in the evening.
Board a flight to Montevideo, Uruguay
We’ll return to Santiago today to catch a flight across the Andes to the eastern side of South America. Montevideo is Uruguay’s cultural capital, overflowing with cosmopolitan flair and colonial plazas lined with palm trees. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to our centrally located hotel. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
Explore Montevideo’s historic Old City and discover Uruguayan wine
Today we’ll take a walking tour of Montevideo’s Old City, exploring historic monuments, parks, and gardens. Afterward, we’ll board a bus for more panoramic view of the city. The tour will include the neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as the Constitution and Independence squares. While riding past El Prado, an elegant neighborhood filled with colonial mansions and vibrant botanical gardens, we’ll witness the Palacio Legislativo. This marble structure dates to 1908 and serves as Uruguay’s Congress Building.
Later in the afternoon, we’ll visit a local winery. Here, we’ll appreciate a specially prepared lunch and wine tasting. As Uruguayan wine is not widely exported, this will offer us an insider’s perspective that is seldom found elsewhere.
Taste regional Uruguayan cheeses and discover Colonia on a walking tour, then ferry to Buenos Aires
Today, we’ll approach Argentina while on the Uruguayan side of Rio de la Plata, the widest river in the world. Departing Montevideo, we’ll take a scenic two-and-a-half-hour drive into Colonia del Sacramento. Upon arrival to this historic, Spanish and Portuguese-influenced port, we’ll visit La Vigna, a rural estancia renowned for organic produce and sheep’s milk cheese. Here, we’ll have a tasting and interact with the locals, learning about their customs and traditions.
Afterward, in UNESCO-listed Colonia, we’ll take a walking tour along the town’s cobblestone streets and into the historic quarter. Along the way, we’ll visit a local artist to learn about the town’s vibrant art scene.
After wrapping up the tour with lunch, you’ll have free time to explore more of Colonia’s slow-paced vibe. We’ll then embark on a high-speed ferry, crossing the Rio de la Plata into Buenos Aires. Once we’ve checked into the luxury hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day to wander around Argentina’s lively capital.
Explore the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, lunch at the esteemed Café Tortoni, and savor an authentic, wine-paired Argentinean dinner
After breakfast, your Buenos Aires adventure begins at full speed with a panoramic tour. We’ll see the Plaza de Mayo, where Portenos (Buenos Aires locals) gather to celebrate. This is arguably the city’s most important square, named after the May revolution, when independence from Spain was declared. Alongside the square is the Casa Rosada, a governmental building equivalent to the White House, and the neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, where Pope Francis resides.
We’ll then venture southward to La Boca — a tiny neighborhood bursting with color, tango, futbol, and art. After taking in El Caminito’s street art and Maradona caricatures of Maradona, the next stop is La Recoleta. As we stroll the elegant Avenida Alvear, we’ll pass stately manors and sprawling green spaces until reaching the opulent, above-ground Recoleta Cemetery. As the tour guide will inform you, this is where Eva Perón and other luminaries are entombed.
Since no trip to Buenos Aires would be complete without visiting the famous Café Tortoni, it is here that we’ll have lunch. Founded in 1858 by an enigmatic Frenchman, this legendary café has been the haunt of artists and intellectuals, such as Jorge Luis Borges and Carlos Gardel, ever since. With its Parisian ambience, marble-topped counters, delicious churros, and live tango shows, you’ll quickly recognize its allure.
Later tonight, you’ll gather with your fellow travelers at the hotel for an exclusive tasting of regional wines and delicacies. A local sommelier will guide you through different flavors and textures, offering an illuminating presentation on South America’s lush and diverse wine regions.
Explore the heart of the pampas and embrace the fiery tango
After breakfast, we’ll head an hour outside of Buenos Aires to a polo ranch. This full-day tour in the heart of the pampas will teach you about countryside traditions, gaucho (cowboy) culture, and the ever-present mate. Short for Yerba Mate, this hot-brewed tea is a caffeinated staple in the Argentinean diet shared throughout the day and into the night. You’ll also have the pleasure of watching a polo demonstration by gauchos. Lunch will include barbecue straight from the parrilla as well as Argentinean Malbec.
In the evening, you’ll take private lessons to learn the nuances of el tango. At El Viejo Almacen, Buenos Aires’s oldest tango hall, we’ll be seated in preparation for an unforgettable night. While enjoying a sumptuous dinner, we’ll watch a passionate tango performance. This dazzling show includes multiple variations of the dance, from the most traditional to modern acrobatic styles, and features orchestra solos and tango singers.
Soak in Porteño culture, savor choripan at Pulpería Quilapán, and home-hosted dinner
Today, you’ll get acquainted with this lively, sophisticated metropolis that’s been coined the Paris of South America — for good reason. This full-day tour of Buenos Aires will commence on foot, passing by neighboring mansions before arriving at the grand Teatro Colón. We’ll explore this architectural masterpiece, which is the world’s third-ranking opera house, before heading to El Ateneo Bookstore. This structure has morphed through the years from a theater to a cinema and is now one of the world's top five bookstores.
Next, we’ll head into the barrio of San Telmo for lunch at the Pulpería Quilapán. With its vintage colonial flair and superb traditional cuisine, it’s frequented by gauchos and city dwellers alike. Try choripan, a national sausage dish, with a glass of vino and typical Argentinean dessert. Afterward, browse through the stalls of La Feria de San Telmo, the weekly antique market that is one of the city’s most highly praised events. Before heading back to the hotel, you’ll have time on your own to explore the market and learn about its traditions.
To end this spectacular day with authentic Argentinean flair, we’ll dine with a local family. Our hosts will introduce you to Argentinean cuisine, wine, and traditions.
Admire the unparalleled views of Iguazú Falls
This morning, we’ll fly to the national park of Las Cataratas de Iguazú, which borders Argentina and Brazil. This mesmerizing site is also the world’s largest waterfall system, with 275 falls in less than a two-mile radius. Our first views of will be from the Upper Trail, located on the Argentinean side. We’ll enjoy a premium vantage point of this natural wonder as we literally walk across the water! After enjoying lunch in the park on your own, we’ll cross the border to Brazil– where the falls are known as Foz do Iguaçu. You’ll enjoy your first Brazilian meal at the hotel.
Trek Iguaçu’s Brazilian side and ride the thrilling Macuco Safari Boat
Today, we’ll explore the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls, taking you into the depths of the waterfall. We’ll take a walking tour with incredible views, including the Devil’s Throat. This is the largest of the falls, where torrents crash into a narrow canyon. The tour will end at Porto Canoas, where you’ll be free to have lunch on your own.
We'll keep the adventure rolling into the afternoon with the Macuco Safari Boat Ride. An open trolley will whisk you through dense rainforest for vistas of flowers, birds, butterflies, and ages-old trees. Then, get your waterproof camera ready, as we embark on speedboats bound for Iguaçu’s gorge. Your experienced river pilots will give you a thrilling ride through the rapids, guiding you right up to the splashing cascades. (Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, as you will likely get soaked!)
After drying off and dining at the hotel this evening, we’ll embrace the spirit of Brazil with a night on the town. On the menu are drinks and a lively samba dance show. You’ll learn more about this vibrant dance and music genre, which originates from African religious traditions, as well as other regional dance forms.
Fly to Rio, explore the mountains of Sugarloaf and Corcovado, and relax on Copacabana
Today we’ll embark on the final leg of our adventure by flying to Rio de Janeiro. Known as A Cidade Maravilhosa, or The Marvelous City, you’ll be swept away by the tropical flavors, striking landscapes, and ever-present alegria.
Once we touch ground, we’ll ride a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf, or Pão de Açúcar, Mountain. The sweeping views of the bay, the curve of Copacabana, and the peak of Corcovado provide excellent photography opportunities.
After descending, we’ll head to our hotel, situated in the heart of the renowned Copacabana Beach. The evening will be at your leisure, so stroll along the shore, sip a caipirinha, or try a fresh açaí bowl. Dinner is included at the hotel.
Experience the pageantry of Carnival, ride a cog rail train to Corcovado, and savor churrascaria
Today, we’ll venture behind the scenes of one of Rio’s top samba schools. Here, we’ll learn about the history and culture of Brazil’s Carnival, marveling at the elaborately vibrant costumes and pageantry.
We’ll then board a cog rail train for a scenic ride through the Tijuca Forest to the top of Corcovado Mountain. This is where you’ll witness the towering statue of Cristo Rendedor, or Christ the Redeemer. This is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, which offers the perfect opportunity to photograph Rio’s panoramic views (or yourself with the statue).
The tour ends in Ipanema, the famous beach-side neighborhood that's long been memorialized in songs like “The Girl from Ipanema” and other pop culture. Take the rest of the day yours to explore Rio de Janeiro’s marvels.
Tonight, we’ll gather together at a local Brazilian steakhouse to savor churrasco and reminisce about the magic only South America could offer.
Explore Rio's architecture downtown before returning home
Enjoy the hotel’s unbeatable location in Copacabana Beach before breakfast, as we’ll head to downtown Rio this morning. Our morning tour showcases the city’s colonial side, beginning with historic buildings as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, a modernist masterpiece. The last stop will be the famous Escadaria Selaron, or Selaron Staircase, artist Jorge Selarón’s homage to the people of Brazil.
After having lunch on your own, we’ll check out of the hotel and head to the airport to fly 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.