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Best of Peru + Brazil: Iguazu Falls + Rio


PPB21L
21 NIGHTS
FROM £3,995
International flights quoted separately
Explore in-depth the Inca treasures & cultures of Peru, including Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Machu Picchu & the wildlife of the Amazon. Then fly to Brazil to visit the amazing Iguassu Falls - one of the great wonders of the world - before relaxing on the spectacular Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. All transfers & specified sightseeing with English speaking guides included.
Photo Peru Brazil Machu Picchu Lake Titicaca Amazon Iguassu Falls Rio
• 
Lima
• 
Arequippa
• 
Colca Canyon
• 
Lake Titicaca
• 
Cusco
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Iguassu Falls
• 
Rio de Janeiro
• 
Christ the Redeemer Statue
• 
Sugarloaf Mountain
• 
Lima
• 
Arequippa
• 
Colca Canyon
• 
Lake Titicaca
• 
Cusco
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Iguassu Falls
• 
Rio de Janeiro
• 
Christ the Redeemer Statue
• 
Sugarloaf Mountain
Day 1
You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city - the largest in Peru and its gastronomical centre.
Day 2
This morning enjoy a half day tour of historic Lima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved architecture.
 
Founded in 1535, Lima was re-named the "City of Kings" when it was conquered by the Spanish and became the most important city in the region. On the main square, the Plaza de Armas, you can see many imposing colonial buildings with their intricate balconies - including Government Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place. See the beautiful Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall. The baroque Torre Tagle Palace, a couple of blocks east of the main square, adds to the city's charm.
 
Our next stop is the 17th century Santo Domingo Convent, which is also a World Heritage site. We then drive through the modern financial district of San Isidro for a tour of Huaca Huallamarca, a pre-Incan adobe pyramid.
 
Afterwards we head for the residential district of Miraflores, stopping off at the Parque del Amor (Lover’s Lane), with its incredible views over the Pacific Ocean, before being transferred to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Arequipa Airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in this second largest city in Peru, surrounded by three magnificent volcanoes.
 
Check in and relax in this Ciudad Blanca ("White City") - the old Spanish colonial capital, with its many beautiful baroque buildings constructed from white volcanic stone.
Day 3
This morning enjoy a city tour of Arequipa, an important regional capital that is the seat of the Constitutional Court.
 
Start with a tour around the elegant Plaza de Armas (the main square) with its neo-Renaissance Cathedral and the magnificent Church of the Jesuits, with its multicolored dome and hundreds of pieces of colonial art. The convent at Santa Catalina will be a highlight, as it is practically an entire city within a city, with its narrow cobblestone alleys, plazas and cloisters that have remained intact over centuries.
 
We continue to the Carmen Alto lookout for spectacular views of the city’s three surrounding volcanoes - Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. You can admire the attractive natural scenery that surrounds the city, including Inca terraces still used for crop cultivation, see the well-maintained colonial houses of the district and its famous temple, and visit the Yanahuara lookout for more magnificent views of Misti.
 
You will then be dropped off at your hotel, with afternoon at leisure to explore Arequipa independently.
Day 4
At leisure to relax and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this old colonal city.
Day 5
This morning join your shared tour and travel 3-hours to the magnificent Colca Canyon, a popular hiking and bird watching destination that is renowned for its giant condors.
 
We travel through the towns of Yura and Pampa Arrieros, and the Salinas & Aguada Blanca National Reserve with its volcanoes and wetlands, frequented by Andean flamingos in season. Nearly 140 different species of birds have been observed here including blue billed ducks, eagles and kestrels. It is also the ideal place to see small herds of South American camelids (llama, vicuna and alpacas) in their natural habitat.
 
We continue driving through Torja, with its natural lagoons, to Patahuasy. Chucura is the highest point of the journey at 4,800 meters above sea level. At Patapampa we will see the volcanoes of the Chira Mountains, where the well-preserved Mummy Juanita (or Inca Ice Maiden) was found. Enjoy an included lunch in Chivay, before relaxing at your hotel for the rest of the afternoon.
Day 6
We make an early start today as we drive 1-hour to the Colca Canyon - the third deepest in the world, plunging 0,6 miles (1 km) from its vertical rim to the river below. The breathtaking scenery here is dominated by the snow-capped peak of Mismi Nevado, the source of the Amazon River.
 
In the small village of Yanque you can see traditional dancing by school children, before continuing to the Cross of the Condor, one of the most popular viewing points over the canyon. With a drop of over 1,200m this is an ideal location to observe the majestic flight of the giant condor - the largest bird in the world. Weather permitting, you are almost guaranteed to see several of these magnificent birds as they stand sentinal on the lofty crags or use thermals to circle up from the depths of the canyon against breathtaking scenery. The best viewing conditons are in the morning (8 to 9.30 am).
 
Further down the valley it is gentler and greener, with huge pre-Inca terraces carved over the centuries by isolated communities who still live here and wear traditional intricately woven costumes. On the way back admire the beauty of the canyon and the fertile valley below.
 
After an included lunch, leave Chivay and travel 5-hours by air-conditioned coach to Puno, travelling through beautiful Andean scenery and stopping at a viewsite overlooking the 'lagunillas' - small lagoons that are home to the Andean flamingo.
 
On arrival check into your hotel in Puno - a lively university town situated on the shore of Lake Titicaca with several churches dating back to the Spanish colonial period. Puno is an important centre for Peruvian folklore, with a rich tradition of music and dance, and this is a great place to buy local handicrafts.
Day 7
Today enjoy a full day shared tour to Uros and Taquile Islands on Lake Titicaca - which at 3,860 m above sea level is the highest lake in the world navigable by large boats.
 
A boat will be waiting at the port to take us to the unique floating islands of Uros, made from layers of tortora reeds. Uros Indian fishermen and hunters withdrew here to escape the invading Spanish and preserve their own culture. Today there are over 40 man-made reed islands and as a source of income, they offer optional rides on their distinctive totora reed boats.
 
We continue to Taquile Island situated deeper in Lake Titicaca, where the local Quechua speaking Indians have kept intact the customs and traditions of their ancestors, including their incredible knitting skills. The island is 4.5 miles (7 km) long, without any roads or vehicles, and its terraced hills are scattered with pre-Inca ruins. Walk up a steep hill to the main plaza, where you can buy local handicrafts including some of the finest hand knitted items in all of Peru. A picnic lunch is included today.
 
Please note: Taquile Island is not recommended if you have mobility problems. Ask about alternative excursions.
Day 8
Today transfer 6-hours by air-conditioned coach from Puno on Lake Titicaca to Cusco.
 
This spectacular journey climbs to over 4,300 m as the bus travels through rural fields and remote highland plains, at time flanked by snow-capped peaks and across Andean landscapes dotted with adobe hute, herds of llama and alpaca.
 
Check into your hotel in Cusco and relax in this ancient Inca capital city - set high in the Andes Mountains and today a World Heritage Site.
Day 9
Today enjoy a half day tour of the city of Cusco situated high in the Andes Mountains, followed by a visit to some of its ancient Inca ruins outside the city.
 
Comprising a fascinating mix of colonial churches, monasteries and extensive pre-Columbian ruins, almost every central street in this city has remnants of Inca walls. Explore the Plaza de Armas and the impressive Temple of the Sun (Qurikancha), whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold.
 
Walk down well-preserved Loreto Street, and along Ahuajpinta Street you can see the remains of impressive Incan palaces as well as old colonial buildings such as the 16th century cathedral and the Museum of Colonial Art. If you walk down Hatun Rumiyoc, a cobbled street near the Archbishop's Palace, keep an eye out for the famous 12-sided stone that fits so perfectly you can't even insert a coin.
 
We then leave the city and visit the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. We also visit the archaelogical site at Tambomachay (also known as the Incan Baths) and the excavated ruins at Q'inqu, before returning to town.
 
In the evening savour the local cuisine including a Pisco sour, the national drink. If you are feeling adventurous you can even try guinea pig - the local speciality.
Day 10
This morning join a tour to the Sacred Valley. Our first stop is at Awanacancha, where we visit an Andean textile centre that strives to keep traditional Incan textile art alive. Here we learn about the dyeing techniques and instruments used for hundreds of years in the weaving of these famous textiles - as well as close up views of lama, alpaca and vicuna.
 
We continue to the picturesque colonial village of Pisac in the Urubamba Valley. Here we visit the impressive Pisac archeological complex, a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples and terracing, before visiting the village's colouful Indian market.
 
After an included lunch, we visit the citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to protect the northern entrance to the Sacred Valley from invasion, and later the centre of Incan resistance against the Spanish. Known for its 'andenes' (agricultural terraces dug into the slopes of the mountains), Ollantaytambo was a highly effective fortress, which also served as a temple. Today this unique living town is the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been used since the 13th century. Afterwards you will be dropped off at your hotel in the Sacred Valley.
Day 11
Up early this morning to transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for the air-conditioned Vistadome train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu - an amazing 1.5-hour journey to this magnificent mountain top city situated in a beautiful cloud forest, that was abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911.
 
This legendary "Lost City of the Incas" is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built on the summit of Machu Picchu (meaning "Old Peak"), on a natural saddle between steep forested mountains, it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River some 3,400 m above sea level. With its giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear to have been cut naturally out of the rock escarpments, Machu Picchu's history remains shrouded in mystery as the Incas did not leave any written records.
 
At the gateway town of Aguas Calientes, leave the train and board the bus for the 40-minute zig-zag ride up to this 14th century citadel for a guided tour. Here we visit the Main Plaza, Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds. We suggest you take a packed lunch (to avoid queues at the restaurant). In the late afternoon return by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo Station, where you will be met and transferred back to your hotel.
 
Note: You must take your passport today, as this will be needed to gain access to Machu Picchu and only one bag or rucksack not exceeding 5 kg (11 lb) is allowed as hand luggage on the train. From January to June, parts of the rail track may be impassable due to mud slides when a bus transfer is substituted.
Day 12
Transfer 2-hours to Cusco Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Puerto Maldonado Airport and transferred to town. Here you will be asked to take only the necessary items for the next few days and leave the rest in safekeeping to keep the boat and cargo light (overnight bags are provided by some lodges - please check with us).
 
You will then be transferred 1-hour by bus to the Tambopata River for your boat ride to your Amazon lodge. This scenic river transfer takes up to 2.5 hours upstream, depending upon your lodge, and includes a light traditional lunch.
 
On arrival walk 15-minutes to your lodge, check in and relax in your tropical jungle surroundings.
Days 13 To 14
Explore the birds and wildlife of the amazing Amazon Basin today - a 2,7-million sq.mile (6.7 million sq.km) conservation area that is the largest in the world, spreading across eight countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
 
Your naturalist guide will accompany you along the many trails that wind through the rainforest. As you walk through woods and past waterfalls, you can marvel at the magnificent trees and the extraordinary variety of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, begonias, lichens and mosses that grow here.
 
You may see caimans (related to alligators), turtles, woolly monkeys, tufted brown capuchin monkeys, a variety of frogs and many other reptiles and insects. You may also be fortunate enough to see some of the colourful birds of the rainforest such as the brilliant golden-headed quetzal, grey-breasted mountain toucan, blue-crowned motmot, umbrella bird, blue-banded toucanet, fruit-eating tanager, red-crested cotinga, banded-tail fruit-eater and a variety of flycatchers. At certain locations, from September to November you may see the raucously competitive lek mating displays of the spectacular Cock-of-the-Rock, Peru’s fiery orange national bird.
 
Activities vary by lodge but can include climbing an observation tower for treetop views over the primary forest, visiting a parrot clay lick to see these colourful birds or a peccary clay lick frequented by forest pigs, canoe rides in search of hoatzin (stinkbird), otters, macaws and other lakeside wildlife, learning about traditional and medicinal plants, visiting a local village, watching pink river dolphins or a night walk in the jungle.
 
Note: a headlamp is essential in the Amazon.
Day 15
Transfer by boat 1.5-hours downstream to Puerto Maldonado Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel situated near the airport.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city.
Day 16
Transfer to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Foz do Iguacu Airport and transferred to your hotel near one of the greatest waterfalls in the world and regarded as one of Latin America's most awe-inspiring sights.
 
The mighty Iguassu Falls, whose name means "Great Waters", straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil - although almost 80% of the falls are on the Argentinian side. It is situated in a huge tropical rainforest that has been declared a World Heritage site, with countless flora and fauna species.
Day 17
Today enjoy a half day tour of the Brazilian side of the incredible Iguassu Falls, with panoramic views of the nearly 2-mile (3 km) cliff edge. We take an elevator down to the base of the waterfalls and stop at different viewing points.
 
The volume of water flowing over the falls varies greatly by season, depending on the rainfall. The heaviest rains are from December to February, when the flow of water is at its greatest, but many trails are closed then due to the rains. The shoulder seasons of March/April and August/September are generally regarded as the best time to visit, but the falls are a spectacular sight at any time of year.
Day 18
Today enjoy a half day tour of the Argentinian side of the incredible Iguassu Falls.
 
Comprising approximately 275 separate cascades, the falls form a curtain of foaming water that crashes over a vast granite amphitheatre and into the jungle below. Resembling a reversed letter "J", most of the Iguazu River plunges down through an area known as The Devil’s Throat, with the rest spreading out over a wide shelf that splits into hundreds of different waterfalls.
 
There are a series of walkways that lead above, below and behind the falls, with breath-taking views. You can also hope to see monkeys, toucans, parakeets and other wildlife in the rainforest.
Day 19
Transfer to Foz do Iguacu Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Rio de Janiero Airport and transferred to your hotel in this iconic city - famous for its magnificent setting and enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer looking down from Corcovado Mountain - one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
 
Check into your hotel in the city that is renowned for its fabulous samba and bossa nova dancing, exciting carnivals and music festivals. Rio is also home to the magnificent beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon and Barra da Tijuca.
Day 20
Today enjoy a half day tour to one of the world’s most famous landmarks.
 
We start by boarding the cog train from Cosme Velho Station to Corcovado Mountain. Enjoy the steep 20-minutes train journey through the dense Atlantic rainforest of Tijuca, with wonderful views of the lush tropical vegetation, and scenic landscapes of the city and its beaches below. Disembark and climb the steps or take the escalators to the base of the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer - one of the 7 wonders of the modern world - and enjoy its spectacular 360 degree panoramas.
 
Afterwards we descend by cog train and drive back along Rio's world class beaches of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana, before returning to your hotel with afternoon at leisure.
 
Day 21
Today enjoy a half day tour of the exciting city of Rio de Janiero.
 
We visit the vast Sambodrome exhibition space, where the famous Rio Carnival is held, and view the huge Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, built in the form of an ancient Mayan pyramid. We see Cinelândia Square with its historical buildings, including the Municipal Theater, the National Library and Museum of Fine Arts, and the enormous Maracana, one of the largest football stadiums in the world and the venue for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics. We also visit the colourful Seleron Steps.
 
Afterwards our tour continues as we drive past Flamengo Park, the largest public park in Rio, to one of the most famous symbols of the city - Sugarloaf Mountain. Here we travel all the way to the top, in two cable cars. The first cable car takes us to Urca Hill, a vantage point with beautiful views of Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. The second cable car takes us all the way to the top, with wonderful views of Copacabana beach, Santa Cruz fortress and the beaches of Niterói.
 
We return by cable car and transfer back to your hotel, with afternoon at leisure.
Day 22
Transfer to Rio de Janiero Airport for your flight home.

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