Grand Tour of South America14 days
93.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Savor the diversity and beauty of South America, from cosmopolitan capitals to ancient Incan ruins. The sophisticated cities of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are the perfect introduction to this continent of contrasts. In between your city explorations, you’ll undertake thrilling outdoor adventures—admire the Iguassu waterscape from every angle and embark on an expedition of Incan sites, including the legendary Machu Picchu.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
11 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Argentinian wines & Brazilian barbecue
The beach scene & bossa nova in Rio
Lush greenery & spectacular scenery at Iguassu
Surprising, sophisticated Buenos Aires
The history & mystery of Machu Picchu
Pisac’s colorful local market
Overnight Flight1 night
Rio de Janeiro2 nights - hotel info
Take in the “marvelous” vista from Sugarloaf Mountain
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Cable car, Metropolitan Cathedral
This morning arrive in Rio de Janeiro, the Marvelous City. A Go Ahead representative greets you and escorts you to your hotel. After settling in, join your Tour Director for a cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, the peak that greets entrants to Guanabara Bay. Looking out from nearly 1,300 feet above the waves, you’ll be able to see out for miles, soaking in panoramic views of the South American landscapes. Then, pass by downtown Rio’s vast collection of colonial buildings on your way to explore the Metropolitan Cathedral. Later, mingle with your group at your welcome dinner.
Ramble around Rio from Corcovado to Copacabana
This morning, board a cogwheel train and travel to the top of Corcovado Mountain, where you’ll stand next to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the modern Wonders of the World. Spend the rest of your day as you please, hopping among Rio’s white-sand beaches or just sitting back and basking in the sun.
Iguassu Falls2 nights - hotel info
Feel the falls rushing down from hundreds of feet and miles around
One of South America’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, Iguassu Falls is like no other place in the New World. Here, over 275 cascades rush and churn, spread across just over one mile of land. First, drive through Iguassu National Park, a subtropical paradise, to the Brazilian side of the falls. Walk through forested footpaths for panoramic views of the waters. In the afternoon, cross Tancredo Neves Bridge into Argentina to take in the largest and most famous section of Iguassu Falls: Devil’s Throat.
Buenos Aires3 nights - hotel info
Taste the unique European flavor of the Argentine capital
Today fly to Buenos Aires and begin exploring the city. Known as “the Paris of the South,” Buenos Aires is renowned for its elegant culture. A city of immigrants, it weaves multitudes of people, cuisines and cultures into a vibrant and modern tapestry. After getting acquainted with the capital, join your group for an included dinner.
Tour the bodegones, hear the music, dance the tango
Optional Excursion - Tango Show & Dinner
Embark on a guided tour of Buenos Aires and get to know the city where the tango was born. Begin at Plaza de Mayo, continue on to the colorful streets of La Boca and end your tour in Recoleta, where you’ll visit the grave of Eva Perón. Tonight, opt to attend a tango performance and dinner.
Tango Show & Dinner $115* pp
Relax and enjoy the show as accomplished tangueros perform their national dance. Accompanied by live music, the elegant dancers will transport you to a bygone era. You’ll also enjoy a dinner featuring regional specialties and Argentine wine.
Delve deeper into BA or enjoy a day on the Tigre Delta
Optional Excursion - Tigre Delta & Cruise
Take a day to discover the ins and outs of Buenos Aires. Or, opt to take a cruise on the Tigre Delta.
Tigre Delta & Cruise $85* pp
This morning, travel by bus through the northern coastal neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including prestigious Olivos, home of the Argentine presidential palace. Continue through the affluent and architecturally rich districts of San Isidro and San Fernando to Tigre, where you will board a one-hour cruise on the Luján River, taking in the lush tropical vegetation of the Parana Delta. Explore the vast maze of canals and tributaries dotted with old residences, vacation homes and restaurants before returning to Buenos Aires by bus.
Cuzco2 nights - hotel info
Contrast Cuzco’s colonial architecture and Incan ruins
Optional Excursion - Cuzco by Night
On a guided tour of Cuzco, visit the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, the city’s colonial-era Plaza de Armas, the Incan Korikancha temple, the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the temple of Kenko and the ancient Incan baths at Tambomachay. This evening, experience another side of Peruvian culture at our optional outing, Cuzco By Night.
Cuzco by Night $45* pp
Peru’s diverse culture comes alive in the heart of Cuzco. Admire the glowing lights of the city as you stroll to dinner at a local restaurant. After arriving, feast on a buffet of Peruvian specialties, featuring an array of authentic dishes. While you eat, you'll be entertained by a native folk show, showcasing the region’s traditional music and dance.
Aguas Calientes1 night - hotel info
Feel the spirit in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
A local guide leads you on a full-day sightseeing tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Uncover the famous ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo and visit several local market towns. Board a train bound for Aguas Calientes, passing through the spectacular mountain scenery of the dramatic Urubamba River Valley.
Cuzco1 night - hotel info
Explore the ancient temples and green terraces of Machu Picchu
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Explore the Lost City of the Incas, discovering the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Three Windows, cave of the Temple of the Condor and mysterious calendar of Intihuatana. After lunch board a train for a ride back to Cuzco for a farewell dinner with your group.
Limafor a day - hotel info
Descend into Peru’s captivating seaside capital
Cathedral of Lima, Church of San Francisco, Huaca Huallamarca
Arrive this morning in Lima, Peru’s diverse capital. After hotel check-in, a local guide leads you on an extensive tour of both modern and colonial Lima. This evening, transfer to the airport for your flight home. If you’re going on the tour extension, you’ll overnight in Lima.
Extend Your Stay
Add the Amazon $499*
One of South America's most magnificent natural wonders, the Amazon is the biggest forest in the world and home to the single greatest concentration of life on the planet. Hike through a part of this stunning landscape, take a boat ride to an indigenous Yagua village and visit a former Franciscan mission town.
The Amazon2 nights - hotel info
Venture into the green depths of the Amazonian rainforest
Optional Excursion - Amazon Canopy Walk
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning, take a hike through the Amazon rainforest reserve or opt for an Amazon canopy walk. Later, sit down for a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.
Amazon Canopy Walk $145* pp
Go deep into the Amazon with a treetop walk. The day starts with breakfast under the palm-thatched roofs of the ExplorNapo Lodge on the Napo River. Next, hike to the spectacular Canopy Walkway for a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest, taking in the lush plants and wildlife along the way. Afterward, enjoy lunch and a visit to the ReNuPeRu Ethnobotanical Garden, which has 240 plants cultivated by local shaman who will explain their practices of Amazonian natural healing.
Limafor a day
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Brazil, Argentina and Peru, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the reentry date. Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in advance in order to enter Brazil. You may choose to obtain your individual visa by applying directly to the Brazilian consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. In accordance with Argentine law a reciprocity fee must be paid prior to your departure. For U.S. citizens the charge is $160 USD per person and for Canadian citizens $75 USD per person. To prepay your reciprocity fee, please visit the Argentine National Immigration Directorate online. An Andean Immigration Card is required to visit Machu Picchu and will be issued to you upon arrival in Peru. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & Packing Tips
Light, loose-fitting, comfortable clothing is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. Binoculars may be handy for a closer look at wildlife and views from Iguassu Falls and the Peruvian highlands. Insect repellent is strongly recommended on excursions to Iguassu Falls, Iguassu National Park, the Incan ruins and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Bring a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, remember to bring something more formal to wear. Also, it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Travelers should be aware of high-altitude conditions in Peru. The altitude of Cuzco is 11,000 feet. Travelers (especially those with heart or lung conditions) are encouraged to take precautions and consult with their personal healthcare providers before undertaking high-altitude travel. The best way to prevent “altitude sickness,” which sometimes results in headaches and nausea, is to make sure that you are well hydrated throughout your stay. Sightseeing of Machu Picchu and the Incan ruins also involves walking on some uneven terrain, and travelers should be in reasonable shape. While no vaccinations are required, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor at least eight weeks prior to departure.
Brazil uses 110 volts. Peru and Argentina use 220 volts; an adapter is necessary.
Important Health Tips
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:
- Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
- Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
- Bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.
The cuisine of Argentina is distinctive in South America because it is closer in style and flavor to Italian, Spanish, French and other European cuisines rather than the other Latin American cuisines. Also, since Argentina is one of South America’s major food producers, mainly in meat, corn, soybean and dairy products, its cuisine tends more toward European dishes with an Argentine flair. Italian pastas and pizzas, German Schnitzels and British scones and tea sandwiches are as common as the indigenous fare. Perhaps the most common dish is the asado, or barbecue, a series of salt-rubbed meats, ribs and chorizo sausages cooked over a fire pit on a series of metal grills and crosses. For dessert, try dulce de leche, a sweet honey-and-milk paste used to fill any number of heavenly pastries. Since Brazil is the largest country in South America, its cuisine varies from region to region. Some staples, like beans, coconut, dende oil, codfish and shrimp, can be found throughout. Another favorite throughout the country is the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (distilled from sugar cane, like rum), sugar and lime. Peruvian cuisine features a blend of indigenous and European (mainly Spanish) tastes. Typical dishes on the coast include shellfish, sea bass and scallops, often marinated in lemon juice, chili peppers and onion and served with potato or corn. Highland dishes are heartier, also featuring corn and potatoes, usually with roasted meat.
Round-trip flights arrive in Rio and depart from Lima. Flights from Rio to Iguassu Falls, from Iguassu Falls to Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires to Cuzco and from Cuzco to Lima are also included in your trip cost. Most other transportation is by private motor coach. Rio de Janeiro is a large, busy city; local buses are the best way to travel around town. Buenos Aires is a large city set up on a grid, much like New York City. While most of the city is pedestrian-friendly, you can always hop on the metro or bus to get around town.
Argentina and Brazil are both one hour ahead of New York from October to April, and are the same time as New York from April to October. Peru lies in a similar time zone but does not observe daylightsavings time. Therefore, Peru has the same time as New York from October to April, and is one hour behind New York from April to October.
The Argentine peso, the Brazilian real and the Peruvian sol are the currencies you will use on your tour. ATMs, which are widely available in major cities (mostly on the Visa and Plus international networks), are the most cost-effective way to get cash. We also recommend that you take credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
93.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
The sites, guides and organization were exceptional. Luis and Roberto were both excellent guides and made all the transfers easy. Special recognition should go to Roberto and the driver (Mario) for their help during the transportation strike around Cuzco which allowed our trip to continue on schedule. We have taken trips with Goahead before and this was certainly one of the best. Rio, Iguassu, Buenos Aires, Cuzco,Machu Picchu, The Amazon, I can't believe we saw it all. Paul and Laurie Conrad
Want to sum up a couple of the highlights. Rio de Janeiro in my estimation will not be ready for the World Soccer Cup or the Olympics. City is poor and crime is rampant. Iguassu Falls was awesome from Brazil and Argentina vantage point. Buenos Aires is beautiful and vibrant. Also, full of pick pockets. Markets in Cusco and Mazan were interesting and gave us a good taste of the indigenous people and how they live and eat. Our tour director in Peru Roberto and driver Mario turned a possible dangerous event into an experience of a life time. I am referring to the strike in Cusco that blocked all the main roads in and out of Cusco. Roberto walked 1.8 miles to the local town to get a police escort for our bus that had been sabotaged by the strikers. Mario changed 3 tires with 14 punctures due to the strikers not wanting us to exit Cusco. Because of their courage and professionalism we made it through to Machu Picchu to catch the last train and save what may have been a lost day. The decision was also made to leave Machu Picchu later than scheduled the next day to avoid the second day of the strike. The plan worked and we arrived back in Cusco for a late dinner. The extended trip to the Amazon was well worth the extra time and money spent.
BEST SITE & GUIDE
I HAVE TO GIVE KUDOS TO EDWIN WHO WAS OUR GUIDE IN PERU. HE WAS THE BEST WE HAD & TRULY DID WHAT I WOULD EXPECT OF A GUIDE. OF COURSE, THE BEST SITE OF THE TRIP WAS MACHU PICCHU. WE HAD A FEW PEOPLE WHO GOT SICK IN PERU DUE TO HIGH ALTITUDE, BUT IF YOU GO, DRINK THE COCO TEA. IT WORKED FOR ME!!! I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN RIO & BUENOS AIRES. THE LATTER JUST SEEMED LIKE A PLACE TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY. LA BOCA WAS NICE, BUT WE WERE ONLY THERE ABOUT AN HOUR & SINCE I WAS ALONE, I DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE ON A TAXI. IGUASSU FALLS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. THEY GO ON & ON & ON. WE WERE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE RAINBOWS THE DAY WE WERE THERE. GORGEOUS SIGHT. MACHU PICCHU WAS JUST AMAZING TO SEE & REALIZE NONE OF OUR BUILDINGS WILL LAST ANYWHERE NEAR THAT LONG. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE DAYS IN PERU & FEWER IN BUENOS AIRES. ALSO, IT'D BE BETTER IF MACHU PICCHU WERE THE 1ST TOUR AS WE WERE ALL PRETTY TIRED BY THE TIME WE GOT THERE AT THE END OF THE TRIP.
Touring South America
Go Ahead did a very good job handling logistics and selecting interesting places. The tour directors Luis and Roberto made sure everything went smoothly. I would recommend this tour to anyone who likes to see quite a bit over a short period.
A Great Experience
If you are looking to "sample" Brazil and Argentina and Peru this is for you! Though the information presented by the guides and the tours within the countries, we gained an excellent understanding of the cultures and histories of places visited. The food was incredible and the total experience was what I was looking for. Be prepared to face the effects of high altitude and seek the advice of your physician before traveling.
Buenos Aires and Peru
Buenos Aires and Peru portion of the tour were great. We didn’t make it to Barzil because we didn’t get a visa. Would have appreciated if Customer Relations would have followed-up with us to make sure we understood in addition to a passport a visa is required for Barzil.
This was more than a Grand Tour of South America. It was awesome! The trip got better as we went along and the extension to the Amazon was terrific. We figured we would not go back to go to the Amazon and are so thankful we went. Catching a piranha was great!
I would rate this tour excellent if it were not for the Uruguay trip, that was an awful experience. To start with half of the tour got first class on the ferry, which didn't seem fair since we all paid the same. The bus that picked us up was so dirty we couldn't see out of the windows some of the men on the tour cleaned the windows while the driver just watched. The Uruguay guide spoke no English which I thought very strange with a bus load of Americans. When we returned to Buenos Aires the bus they sent to pick us up wasn't big enough so 3 people walked back to the hotel. We saw no grand sights like advertized, we were very disappointed and felt ripped off as it was not a cheap excursion.
While the Grand Tour of South America was a valuable experience overall, many of us on the tour recognized that with the 11 flights involved, much time was spent getting up very early, getting to airports, waiting in airports, and in the air. Of course, some of what I was able to see from my window seat in the air was remarkable, such as the Andes and our descent into Cusco. In Rio, a very expensive experience for the brief stay, hours were also spent waiting in line for brief tram rides and views that could be appreciated in twenty minutes. The Rio stay was not worth the cost of the visa. Iguassu Falls alone was almost worth the high expense of the trip. The usual words are inadequate to express the power, magnitude and beauty of the falls. Spending two days appreciating the falls from both Brazil and Argentina was well worth the time. Buenos Aires offered a variety of experiences. However, one of my favorite experiences was strolling off the noise and repair work on Florida Street into the beautiful park with its flowering jacaranda and bottle trees as well as views of the city. While most of the tour group took an optional day trip to Uruguay, four of us took a taxi to the National and modern art museums, a park with a kinetic sculpture, and lunch along the waterfront, for me, a memorable day spent with new friends. Cuzco offered a totally different, and seemingly more authentic, experience that the prior two large cities with its more neighborly feel. From there, while getting acclimated to the 11,000 foot altitude, we visited two very beautiful Inca sites as a preparation for traveling to Machu Picchu. The train ride to Machu Picchu was part of the fun as we were served a small but elegantly presented brunch. The site itself, like Iguassu Falls, can only be described with words that sound cliche. Not only the ruins, but also the landscape are stunning. We discovered what superb architects and engineers the Incas people were. While Machu Picchu is far more vast than any photos can indicate, it is small compared to the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, we spent little time getting acquainted with Lima. We used it mainly as a departure point for going to the Amazon and for leaving for home. The 15 of us who took the Amazon extension made a smart choice. I found it the most unique and valuable part of the whole tour. The size of the Amazon river, even at the western beginnings, is immense. We motored through Iquitos twice in an open bus, and we breezed on the Amazon in open speedboats to see pink dolphins and visit three villages, each different from the other. The resort was a comfortable place to stay, relax, walk, swim, eat and generally enjoy the last few days of the tour. Special thanks goes to Edwin, our tour director for the western side of the journey. He inspired confidence with his organization and energy, and his affability. Many other local guides offered tremendous information as well. Because this journey was one of my more complex travel experiences, there is so much more I could say, but for now, this is enough. Lee
Best of sousthamerica
I enjoyed this tour to the best of southamerica, I would rate my fav. places as 1) Iguazo Falls, 2)Rio de Janeiro 3) Machupichu 4) Lima 5) Buenos aires. I wish we had spent more time at Rio and less in buenos aires but all in all it was all good. The tour directors were very knowledgable and organized, always prompt and concerned for our well being ( there were 28 people in the group). This was my first escorted tour and I felt very secure being in countries I had never visited before. Hotels and transportation were as promised. I am looking forward to travel again!