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Golden swathes of famous coastline, tropical landscapes and a certain joie de vivre will welcome you to one of the world's most vibrant cities, Rio de Janeiro. Energy pulses through every pore of this passionate and fun loving city, flooding from the favelas to the football fields and cumulating in nightly parties where the caipirinhas are free flowing and the samba rhythm is infectious. Rio may be best known for its annual Carnival, but visiting here you'll realise that every day is cause for celebration. Settle in to your hotel before meeting up with your Travel Director this afternoon. Then perhaps hit the sands of Copacabana to watch the sun set whilst you sip your first Cachaça.
The picturesque Cosme Velho district will be your first port of call today, where 1920's neocolonial buildings will surround you as you board the Corcovado Rack Railway, an old cogwheel train. Hopping on board you'll wind your way through the Tijuca Forest to the very top of the Corcovado Mountains, standing in awe as you catch a first glimpse of the 30 metre high Christ the Redeemer. The undisputed icon of Rio, this magnificent art deco statue is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World and offers the best vantage point of the 'Marvellous City' stretching out below. Take your time exploring here before heading on to visit lively Copacabana and beautiful Ipanema, Rio's best known beaches. Laze under an umbrella, take a dip in the surf, then this evening dive in to Rio's famed culinary scene.
Waking up to your final full day in Rio, today is free to explore your way. Perhaps opt for a sun drenched sailing excursion around Guanabara Bay, passing by islands and forts with the towering Sugarloaf Mountain ever present in the distance. For those keen to get a closer look, you could also opt for a half day city tour of Rio which includes ascending the mountain by cable car for absolutely stand out views. Tonight, celebrate the diversity and culture of South America at the Carretão Ipanema Churrascaria, where drummers and dancers enthral and delight whilst sharing folklore tales and mystical rituals.
Leaving the colourful costumes and infectious rhythms of Rio behind, this morning you'll head to the airport to catch your flight to Iguassu Falls. Words can't really describe the magnificence of the world's largest series of waterfalls (275 to be exact), which straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil and are surrounded by lush expanses of national park. Settle in to your hotel this afternoon and spend the evening relaxing, no doubt bubbling with excitement for the natural spectacle that tomorrow will bring.
Pack your raincoat and your sense of adventure this morning as you're off to visit the Iguassu National Park, entering on the Brazilian side of the falls. You'll be venturing down to the ominously named and utterly exhilarating Devil's Throat, the tallest and most impressive of Iguassu's waterfalls. Remember that raincoat? Now's the time to use it! This afternoon keep the adrenalin levels high on a hike down a canyon to the Macuco Falls, where you'll then board a custom designed inflatable motorboat for a high intensity ride to the base of the falls. If keeping things a little more sedate is more your style, opt to visit a bird park where you can spot more than 150 different species of birds.
Country hopping between Brazil and Argentina, today you'll cross the Tancredo Neves Bridge, otherwise known as Fraternity Bridge, to explore the Argentinian side of the falls. Adding a new stamp to your passport as you cross through customs, you'll drive through the lush and wildlife rich Argentinian Iguassu National Park to reach the falls and cascades which are equally as impressive from this side of the border. Boarding the open sided and near silent Ecological Jungle Train which is every bit as scenic and sensual as it sounds, you'll pay a second visit to Devil's Throat before heading to the airport to catch a flight to passionate, sexy, European influenced Buenos Aires.
Waking up in sultry, red bloodied Buenos Aires this morning is a prospect that should fill you with excitement. This meat loving, tango obsessed capital city is a mix of sultry charm and gritty splendour, where European inspired buildings rub shoulders with rough around the edges barrios, and street art pops from every corner. Dive in to all BA has to offer on a sightseeing tour that will visit 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest avenue in the world, outstanding Colon Theatre, Plaza de Mayo, Metropolitan Cathedral and San Telmo, the oldest district in the city. Finishing up in colourful and charming La Boca you'll then have time to explore by yourself this afternoon before dressing up in your South American finest for a night of Argentinian steak and classic tango, accompanied by a spectacular live orchestra.
Another free day in the Argentinian capital could see you experiencing a glimpse into the life of a gaucho, the cowboy culture that has existed for over three centuries. Heading out into the glorious pampas (grasslands) surrounding BA you'll visit a 3000 acre working ranch to learn more about the gaucho culture, enjoying folk music, traditional dances and carriage rides before rounding off the experience with a juicy BBQ lunch. You've also got the option of visiting the lush countryside region of Tigre Delta, which offers a laid back vibe and a chance to see a different side of Argentine life. Enjoy a picturesque cruise around the delta and spot the delightful summer residences of BA's elite.
From Argentina you'll fly to Peru this morning, bound for the 'City of the Kings', Lima. Rising above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs the city has a real sense of faded yet romantic grandeur, with historical sights a plenty and a culinary scene that is revered the world over. Arriving here you'll have the rest of the day free to explore, which isn't hard to do in this cultural and artsy city. Head to Parque del Amor to admire the Gaudi style architecture with beautiful views over Lima Bay, or take a wander around popular and bustling Miraflores. Tonight, in celebration of your first night in Peru, dinner should absolutely involve fresh ceviche followed by a tangy Pisco Sour as you toast to sunset.
Heading out on a sightseeing tour of Lima this morning, unearth architectural masterpieces including Plaza Mayor, the House of Pizarro, Archbishop's Palace and the fascinating San Francisco Monastery, where the mysterious catacombs will both enthral and delight you. With your afternoon free perhaps head over to the bohemian Barranco district, a historically popular spot for Lima's creatively minded. Admire the old colonial casas, Republican era mansions and colourful houses that add character to the wide, tree lined streets, then tonight join your Travel Director and fellow travellers as you dive deep into the essence of Peruvian food. Feast on an authentic meal at Mangos, a restaurant boasting nearly 15 years of service.
Flying into Cusco, welcome to the Incan capital of the world! Boasting the richest heritage of any South American city, Cusco is a wealth of archaeological greatness and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. It's also the gateway to Machu Picchu, so throbs day and night with visitors exploring its ancient streets. Take in the ornate temples and Incan ruins as you arrive here. You'll also have the chance to learn about the local weaving process, a craft that has been kept alive for thousands of years, and browse different products made from the fur of camelids. Also stopping by Pisac Market, the most famous market in the Cusco region where local indigenous communities from all over come to sell their wares and produce, you'll finally drive the hairpin turned road that will lead you to the Sacred Valley, your stop for tonight.
Today's the day! Up bright and early this morning, you'll travel to the ancient little town of Ollantaytambo to board the train to Aguas Calientes, the Incan village at the base of Machu Picchu. Slowly chugging your way through the rugged lands of the Sacred Valley, feel the excitement levels build as you pass by village settlements and towering mountains, the landscape changing the higher you get. Making the last leg of the journey via shuttle, you'll finally arrive at the most famous archaeological site of South America and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. Catching a first glimpse of this awe inspiring ancient city above the clouds is a moment you'll never forget, so be sure to take a few minutes just to soak it all in. Take your time exploring the vast complex of fascinating ruins and let the mind boggle at how it was all built, before descending the mountain and making your way back to the Sacred Valley.
Arts fans are in for a treat this morning as you pay a visit to the workshop of Pablo Seminario, a respected artist who creates beautiful pottery using techniques, styles and influences reminiscent of ancient cultures from all across Peru. Keeping things local you will then pay a visit to a family home in Ollantaytambo. On the way to Cusco you will sample a drink favored by the Incas. Made from malted corn and sugar, the taste of Chicha de Jora may be a bit of a crowd splitter but is a little taste of history, so one must try it. Continuing on the road to Cusco you will also stop by the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 13th century, before arriving back into the Incan capital where the rest of the day will then be free.
Kick off the final day of your South American Discovery with a sightseeing tour of ancient Cusco. Visit Coricancha, or the 'Temple of the Sun', the most important temple in the Incan Empire, before admiring the bounty of colonial art on display in the Cathedral. Walk down Loreto street and admire the handiwork of Incan stone masons before ending up shopping for local handicrafts in San Pedro market. With the rest of the day then free, why not join us for a visit to Moray and Moras to see Incan farming and salt mining techniques at play, head to 17th century Piquillacta to see the pre Incan citadel built by the Wari people, or treat your sweet tooth with a visit to the Choco Museum to learn more about the Peruvian chocolate making process. Tonight, you'll see out an incredible trip in style with dinner, folklore tales and dancing.
3 countries, 2 New Wonders of the World and 1 incredible adventure later, your trip will finally come to an end this morning. Leaving with priceless memories, a wealth of new knowledge and a wonderful group of new friends, you'll make your way to the airport today. Not done with Peru just yet? Why not extend your holiday with a few extra days in Puno and Lake Titicaca.
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