Cultures and Contrasts of South America

Machu Picchu, Peru
21 Days from $7,819 per person

The famous icons and secret highlights of Brazil, Peru and Argentina are uncovered on this comprehensive journey of discovery.


You'll enjoy Insider moments like... meeting a local family in Palermo Soho, in the heart of Buenos Aires. They'll teach you how to make bread using a local recipe, and share their family stories over a tasty meal of regional dishes and local wine.

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  1. Bemvindo ao Rio de Janeiro. On arrival at the airport, you'll be met and taken to your lovely oceanfront hotel. Relax, get settled and enjoy your hotel's superb location overlooking Copacabana Beach.
    hotel:Windsor Atlantica
  2. Enjoy a leisurely morning before joining your Travel Director for an exploration of the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city) and its many contrasts, from the 18th century aqueduct and colonial Candelaria Church to the 20th century opera house, Sambodromo, and city cathedral. Ascend Sugarloaf Mountain via cable car for astounding bay and city views followed by a festive Welcome Reception with your Travel Director and fellow travelers.
    meal(s):FB, WR
  3. Journey by cogwheel train to the summit of majestic Corcovado, site of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Back down the mountain, see the song-inspiring Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening, learn to mix the national cocktail, the caipirinha, and indulge in a traditional Regional Meal barbecue at a local churrascaria.
    meal(s):FB, RM
  4. Enjoy a full day to explore the wonders of Rio on your own. Optional activities include a tour into the nearby favelas, a sailboat cruise and a helicopter flight over Copacabana Beach.
  5. Relax and enjoy a free morning for independent activities. This afternoon, visit a Samba school, a Cultural Insight, to see how the school operates and prepares for Carnival week. See Carnival props and should you desire, join a Samba dance lesson. Afterward, head to the airport for the short flight to Iguassu Falls. These 275 separate falls cover nearly two miles along the Iguassu River. This evening, enjoy a convivial dinner with your companions at the hotel.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Iguassu Resort
  6. Enter Iguassu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and meet your Local Specialist to explore the Brazilian side of Iguassu, including a scenic walk through the rainforest to the base of the falls. After lunch at a restaurant overlooking the falls, return to your hotel for a leisurely afternoon at your resort. You may wish to join an optional activity such as a jetboat ride to the base of the falls or a helicopter flightseeing tour.
    meal(s):FB, L
  7. Cross the border into Argentina and board an open-air ecological jungle train for a different perspective of the cascades with a Local Specialist and walk along a scenic catwalk to see the thunderous Devil's Throat Falls. Then fly to Buenos Aires, a city renowned for its boutiques, fine dining and museums.
    hotel:InterContinental Buenos Aires
  8. Embark on an in-depth tour with a Local Specialist to see the Casa Rosada, Metropolitan Cathedral and other government buildings; the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, San Telmo and lovely Palermo. Lastly, visit the Recoleta Cemetery where Argentina's former First Lady, Eva Peron (Evita), is buried. This evening, get ready for a festive Regional Meal and a chance to savor renowned Argentinian beef followed by a Tango performance, a Cultural Insight.
    meal(s):FB, RM
  9. A full day at leisure—explore on your own or perhaps take an optional trip to a traditional estancia (ranch) and learn about the life of a gaucho (cowboy) while enjoying a barbecue lunch and equestrian show. This evening, enjoy an exclusive Be My Guest experience in Palermo Soho. You will be welcomed by a local family, who are long-time residents of this now-trendy neighborhood. Be delighted, as they wine and dine you with homemade family recipes in the kitchen. Spending time with this lively family will be a memory you won't soon forget.
    meal(s):FB, BG
  10. Bid "Adios" to Buenos Aires and say "Hola" to Santiago as you fly to the Chilean capital. Meet your Local Specialist for a tour of this vibrant city, traveling past Club Hipico—the regal racetrack—and sprawling Parque O'Higgins. Drive along Alameda Avenue past the University of Chile on your way to the dynamic Plaza de Armas with its fountains and sculptures. Head up San Cristobal Hill for panoramic views of the city and the snowcapped Andes. Later, settle into your hotel, situated in the heart of one of Santiago's most beautiful neighborhoods, and a prime location close to charming boutiques, bars and restaurants. This evening is at leisure.
    hotel:InterContinental Santiago
  11. Today, set out on a tour of Valparaiso city, formerly a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This afternoon, visit a Chilean winery and sample a variety of local wines from the region before returning to Santiago. Later, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with your fellow travelers.
    meal(s):FB, DW
  12. This morning, fly from Santiago to Lima, dubbed the "City of Kings" by conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535. Take some time to relax and get settled in to your hotel in fashionable Miraflores.
    hotel:Hilton Miraflores
  13. Late this morning, a special experience is waiting to welcome you to beautiful Peru. Meet Ignacio Barrios, a young chef who has worked alongside many of Peru's award-winning chefs. Visit a local market where Ignacio will explain how Peruvian fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat are the bases of diverse Peruvian cooking. Afterward, visit Ignacio's cooking school where you will see a demonstration on how to prepare some of Peru's most popular foods including quinoa and fruit salad. Then enjoy a Be My Guest Lunch of typical Peruvian dishes. After lunch, meet your Local Specialist and start your city tour of the highlights of Lima. Enjoy Lima's ancient districts and visit the Church of San Francisco, the most notable group of colonial buildings in the city. Its unique wooden cupola of Moorish design covers the imperial staircase. Explore the impressive underground catacombs, a religious art museum and extensive library. This evening is yours to enjoy.
    meal(s):FB, BG
  14. Fly to Cusco this morning. On the drive to the Sacred Valley, stop to meet a Shaman who will perform a Pago a la Tierra (Payment to Mother Earth) ceremony, an ancient ritual of the Andean culture and Cultural Insight to welcome you to Cusco and bless your trip. Afterward, stop to visit an animal rescue sanctuary in Cochahuasi, another Cultural Insight, where animals are being protected and rehabilitated. Here you will also learn about the natural dyeing techniques used by native weavers, a Cultural Insight. Enjoy a box picnic lunch before exploring the vibrant handicraft market of Pisac. Visit a local chicheria to learn about chicha, a Cultural Insight and favorite drink of the Andes. Arrive at your luxurious valley retreat in the heart of the Andes this afternoon.
    meal(s):CB, L, D
    hotel:Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and Wellness
  15. Visit the Inca stronghold of Ollantaytambo. Then head toward Machu Picchu aboard the Vistadome train (light snack included). Panoramic views of the valley and mountains are sure to delight. Once you arrive at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, explore the stunning ruins of this once-great fortress with a Local Specialist. Visit the great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved Intihuatana. Later, if you're interested in participating, a cooking class will be offered by the hotel's head chef where you will learn how to prepare Peruvian ceviche and mix the perfect pisco sour. Dinner is at the hotel this evening.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Sumaq Machu Picchu
  16. Return to Machu Picchu and continue exploring on your own. Perhaps hike up to the Gate of the Sun for stunning views. This evening is free to explore Cusco or simply enjoy the amenities of your elegant five star hotel.
    hotel:Palacio del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel Authentic Accommodations
  17. Meet a Local Specialist and begin the day with a visit to Sacsayhuaman, an impressive site of ruins towering over Cusco and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then visit the Cathedral, a stunning example of colonial architecture that was completed in 1694 after over 100 years of construction. Also visit bohemian San Blas, a unique neighborhood with artisan shops and craft workshops. Stroll the cobblestone streets and admire the Incan Walls. Learn more about the nearby 13th century Incan settlement of Qoriwayrachina with a Local Specialist like Peter Frost who found this hidden site back in 1999. The afternoon is free followed by a your choice dining experience, giving you the option to eat at one of several local restaurants.
    meal(s):FB, YC
  18. Fly to Juliaca and meet with a Local Specialist to learn about daily life on the Peruvian Altiplano before transferring to Puno along the shores of magnificent Lake Titicaca. Relish the lake at sunset for breathtaking views not soon forgotten.
    meal(s):FB, L
    hotel:Libertador Lake Titicaca
  19. Discover the floating Uros Islands on lovely Lake Titicaca aboard a cruise with a Local Specialist. The islands are constructed out of reeds by the native Uros Indians. Embark on a private tour of Taquile Island to meet the local Quechua-speaking villagers, renowned for their knitting and weaving techniques. Learn more about the culture of the people living on the island and enjoy a Regional Meal before some free time this afternoon. Perhaps join an optional outing to a pre-Incan burial ground at sunset. Tonight, dinner is at a local restaurant in Puno.
    meal(s):FB, RM, D
  20. This morning, your journey continues with a flight to Lima. Take advantage of some free time this afternoon. Tonight, experience one of Lima's most renowned museums after dark with a Local Specialist. Visit the Larco Museum, full of pre-Columbian artifacts such as jewelry, ceramics and pots that offer insight into the cultures of ancient Peru. You'll then sit down to a gourmet Farewell Dinner of Peruvian cuisine, overlooking the museum's beautiful gardens; a night of great food and culture celebrating your Peruvian vacation.
    meal(s):FB, FD
    hotel:Hilton Miraflores
  21. Say hasta luego to Peru and transfer to the airport for your flight home, or if you like, extend your stay at the Hilton Miraflores.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals

Meal Summary

20 nights' accommodations, 20 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 10 dinners.

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

Cultural Insight

  • At a local Samba school, with a Tango performance, with a blessing from a Shaman, at an animal rescue sanctuary, learn about the natural techniques of local weavers and chica.

Be My Guest

  • With a local family in Palermo Soho and Chef Ignacio in Lima.

Authentic Accommodations

  • Experience the utmost in luxury at the Palacio del Inka.

Local Specialist

  • In Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Machu Picchu, Cusco, the National Museum of Cusco, Temple of Korikancha, Juliaca, at Lake Titicaca and the Larco Museum.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima and Cusco
  • Visit the Christ the Redeemer statue, Iguassu Falls, Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Central Market, the Church of San Francisco, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman Cathedral, the Temple of Korikancha, Lake Titicaca and the Larco Museum
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
3 Feb 17 23 Feb 17 checkmark $8,557$7,819pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,557 $7,819 pp
17 Mar 17 6 Apr 17 checkmark $8,637$7,891pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,637 $7,891 pp
14 Apr 17 4 May 17 $8,637$7,891pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,637 $7,891 pp
5 May 17 25 May 17 checkmark $8,637$7,891pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,637 $7,891 pp
22 Sep 17 12 Oct 17 checkmark $8,637$7,891pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,637 $7,891 pp
3 Nov 17 23 Nov 17 checkmark $8,637$7,891pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$8,637 $7,891 pp

Crossovers: These departures will operate as per the 2016 itinerary; hotels and inclusions may vary.

undefinedFestival Departure: Christmas  celebration is arranged for this departure.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $3,175.

Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $219 per person.

Land and Intra Air prices include economy air and air-related charges for flights between Rio de Janeiro-Iguassu Falls, Iguassu Falls-Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires-Santiago, Santiago-Lima, Lima-Cusco, Cusco-Juliaca and Juliaca-Lima and require purchase of round-trip air travel on LATAM airline between your gateway city and the itinerary's start and end gateway cities (ticket number required). If flying with another airline between your gateway city and the itinerary's start and end gateway cities, the above prices will be higher.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. Travelers visiting Brazil will also need an entry visa.  We will send you application forms to complete to obtain your visa prior to departure. Visa costs and entry requirements can change at any time. Please visit to learn more.

  • You will be using the Brazilian real, Chilean and Argentinian peso, and Peruvian sol on your vacation. It’s generally a good idea to carry some cash on you while you travel; however, you will be able to pay with your debit or credit card in many places and will likely find a better exchange rate once you’ve arrived in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. Brazilian cuisine varies by region but the country’s most popular dish by far is feijoada, a rich stew of black beans and several cuts of meat that is typically served with rice, sautéed greens and orange slices. Brazil’s national cocktail is the caipirihna, made with cachaça, lime, and sugar cane.

    Argentine cuisine is known for its traditional asado (Argentine barbecue) and many beef-oriented dishes. Empanadas filled with meat and cheese make a delicious meal or snack with a glass of local malbec.  For an inexpensive lunch, try a choripan sandwich made with chorizo. Pizza and pasta dishes are also popular and reflect the influence of Italian immigrants on the country’s cuisine. For something sweet, try any dessert served with creamy dulce de leche.

    Peruvian food is a colorful mix of cultural influences and flavorful ingredients. Sample popular specialties including seafood ceviche – the country’s national dish –stir fried beef, potatoes with spicy cheese sauce, and stuffed peppers. And there’s nothing quite like a South American pisco sour cocktail prepared with lemon juice, egg white, and pisco liquor.

    Chilean cuisine reflects Spanish influences and traditional indigenous dishes, many of which are seafood oriented due to the country's long coastline.  Maize and quinoa accompany many meals, served alongside barbecued or stewed meats.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellent and sunscreen may come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. A more formal outfit will serve you if you plan on dining out in nicer restaurants.  Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • When dining out at restaurants it is appropriate to leave up to 10 percent gratuity.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.  Keep in mind that this tour visits locations at high altitude, where it is very important that you stay hydrated and do not over exert yourself.  

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


Extend your vacation with a pre-itinerary 4 day Brazilian Amazon extension package, including 2 nights in a jungle lodge.

Prices for the extension start at $1,295* per person twin share (single supplement $275).

Prices include internal flights. Please note that guaranteed room share is not available on this extension. 

Fly to Manaus, Brazil (international flights not included). Upon arrival, you will be taken to your hotel before taking a city tour. Visit the grand Palacio Rio Negro, the former home of a rubber baron that is now a museum dedicated to preserving the traditional Amazonian culture. Discover the floating harbor and nearby Customs House, the vibrant Mercado Municipal, and the famed Opera House.
Tropical Manaus Hotel

This morning travel upriver to the famous "Meeting of the Waters" and see the dark waters of the Rio Negro mix with the brown waters of the Solimoes, as the river flows east to the Atlantic. After lunch, you may choose to take an optional canoe experience down a tributary river and try your hand at piranha fishing, or stay and relax in the jungle atmosphere.  Later this afternoon, transfer to your lodge on the Rio Taruma.
(FB,L,D) Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge

After breakfast take a guided walk through the rainforest. As you enter the dense jungle, imagine how the early Amazonian explorers felt. Perhaps you'll spot a capybara, the world's largest rodent, or glimpse a sleeping anaconda in a tree. Next you will visit the home of native Amazonians to learn about their culture and way of life. This evening, take to the river and go on a moonlit search for caiman. 

Visit Monkey Forest, a rehabiliation center and wildlife refuge, to watch monkeys eat and play.  Afterwards, say goodbye to the Amazon and return to Manaus Airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro. In Rio de Janeiro, join the rest of your tour group for Day 1 of Cultures and Contrasts of South America.


*Prices are accurate as of 19 October 2016.

Extend your vacation with a 3 day post-itinerary extension package to Easter Island.

Prices for the extension start at $975* per person twin share (single supplement $350).

Please note that the guaranteed room share is not available on this extension. Prices do not include airfare to Easter Island from Peru. Please ask your Grand European Travel Specialist about flight arrangements.  Due to the flight schedules to Easter Island, an additional night in Santiago is required and is included in the cost of this extension.

DAY 1 – 21 will operate per the Cultures and Contrasts of South America itinerary.

Arrive on Easter Island, the cradle of an enigmatic culture that endures to this day. The language, music and traditions remain alive among the island’s people; while the enormous stone carved Moai allude to an ancient past.  Your local host will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. After check-in, enjoy a private guided excursion to Ahu Akivi. Ahus signify the site of a sacred ceremony. The restored site of Ahu Akivi has seven Moai statues representing the seven explorers sent to Raoa Nui by the king Hotu Matua. Continue on to the ancient Ahu Hanga Poukura and visit the Puna Pau red scoria stone quarry.
Tahatai or Otai Rapanui Hotel

Enjoy a privately guided excursion as you drive along the island’s southern coast and see the perfectly preserved Ahu Vaihu in the Bay of Hanga Te’e. Continue to Rano Raraku, a quarry of almost 900 stone statues, 397 of which are on the slopes of the Rano Kau volcano. Visit Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu on the island. Continue your drive to the eastern coast and visit Ahu Te Pito Kura and the “Navel of the World”.  Afterwards enjoy a stop at scenic Anakena beach and take in the splendor of the Pacific Ocean.

This morning your private excursion will take you to the extinct Rano Kau volcano, where you will enjoy magnificent views of the island. See the island’s distinct geological features including a crater lake. Next, drive to a ceremonial village of Orongo, where you can see remarkable petroglyphs.  Enjoy breathtaking views of the three islets of Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao.  Drive down to Ahu Vinapu to see further evidence of pre-Incan architectural influences on Easter Island. Stop at the Ana Kai Tangata to view its ornate paintings. Return to your hotel before you are transferred to the airport for your flights later this afternoon.

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