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Grand Tour of South America

14 days
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.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Brazil aboard a major airline.

Rio de Janeiro2 nights Hotel info

Day 2

Included meals: Dinner

Included entrances: 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.

Day 3

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Cogwheel train

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

Day 4

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Say goodbye to Rio and board your flight for Iguassu. After arriving, head to an included Brazilian barbecue dinner.

Day 5

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Iguassu Falls

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

Day 6

Included meals: Breakfast

Today fly to Buenos Aires and begin exploring. A city of immigrants, it weaves multitudes of people, cuisines and cultures into a vibrant and modern tapestry.

Day 7

Included meals: Breakfast

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.

Optional Excursion - Tango Show & Dinner $115*pp Details

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.

Day 8

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a day to discover the ins and outs of Buenos Aires. Or, opt to take a cruise on the Tigre Delta. Tonight, gather with your group to enjoy an included dinner.

Optional Excursion - Tigre Delta & Cruise $85*pp Details

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

Day 9

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Board a flight to Cuzco this morning, making a layover in Lima en route. Once you’ve arrived in Cuzco, the rest of the day is free to explore or acclimate to the altitude before an included dinner.

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Cuzco ruins

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.

Optional Excursion - Cuzco by Night $45*pp Details

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

Day 11

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Ollantayambo ruins

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

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Included entrances: Machu Picchu

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

Day 13

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: 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.

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 14

Arrive home this morning.

Add the Amazon $499 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

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

Day 14

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Board your flight from Lima to Iquitos. This afternoon, take a boat ride to a Yagua native village where you’ll visit with community members.

Day 15

Included meals: 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.

Optional Excursion - Amazon Canopy Walk $145*pp Details

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

Day 16

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After a local school visit in the Amazon and an included lunch, board your afternoon flight back to Lima, where you’ll connect for your international flight home.

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 17

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Arrive home. Please note: In some cases, flights will depart Lima on the morning of Day 17. In these cases, an overnight in Lima will be provided.

How's the weather?

  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Iguassu, Brazil
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Cusco, Peru
  • Aguas Calientes, Huanuco
  • Lima, Peru
  • Autazes, Brazil
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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.

Baggage Allowance

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).

Health

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.

Electricity

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.

Cuisine

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.

Transportation

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.

Time Zones

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.

Currency

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.

Tipping

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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/20/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: KY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

SuchI especially varied experiences

We returned from our Grand Tour of South America yesterday. Like our previous four GoAhead Tours, tis one exceeded our high expectations. Tour directors Luis & Roberto were knowledgeable, elpful and gracious. From Copacabana Beach in Rio to Iguassu Falls, Buenes Aires, Cuzco, Mach Pichu and the Amazon we were introduced to the architecture and people. I especially treasure the opportunities to come close to the people on the Tigre Delta cruise in Buenes Aires, meeting the weavers in the Sacred Valley, and visiting the Yagua village along the Amazon. It was my first visit to South America and I learned and experienced so much. We were so happy that we had chosen this tour.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

best falls every

had a great time,the only thing i did'nt like the last day spending a day at airports,other than that loved the trip and the fellow travelers made it fun we looked after everyone that makes it a great trip.great people.....

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

South America Potpourri

Great places, great faces. The guides and people are really fun and genuine. Starting with Rio there are lots of things to see and do, Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Parrots park, city fun life. We had a really fabulous time at the beach with all the amenities, drinks, lounge chairs fun, cheap service, deals from vendors, weather, beach, ocean swimming in the ocean, soo fun. Iguassu Falls, Really have to see it. Guides have lots of choices for you. Hotel, pool, hot tub, just great. Buenos Aires, city action, walk around, eat out pizza, go to La Boca, dry your clothes. Cusco via Lima, should have brought some air from Buenos cause you are at 11,000 feet now. This is the hoppiniest spot you will ever end up in. Ruins galore, out of this world eating, Sacred Valley, Manchu Picchu, railroad trips. All places are so different. Amazon, best yet, you can't imagine how much fun you can have there.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Memorable trip with great experiences.

I loved this trip, the tour directors (Santiago & Roberto) were great and there was never a dull moment. So many memorable experiences: Ipanema Beach, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aries, Machu Picchu & the Amazon. My biggest complaint about Goahead in the past has been about the provided meals; not so this time, there were lots of them and they were fantastic! The steak in Buenos Aries was unforgettable. If you like a fast pace tour, book this one with confidence, you will have a blast!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: PE

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Two directors and then there was a guide

This was one of the busiest, most interesting of my Go Ahead tours to date. I had a wonderful time with a great bunch of fellow travellers and two directors. The tour included almost everything I wanted to see in South America. It ran from strolling on Ipanema beach in Rio and shopping in Buenos Aires to crawling over awesome Inca riuns and slogging through the Amazon rain forest. It was awesome! As the venues were diverse, so were the personnel; two local guides stand out for me, Eder in Iguassu Falls and Louis in Buenos Aires. Eder was probably the best local guide I've experienced. Louis on the other hand was definately the very worst. This man had a superior attitude that was quite tiresome. He was constantly talking about his own education and that of his family while expounding on his unfavourable opinion of the less fortunate in society. During the delta cruise, I went out on deck to avoid his boring diatribe about himself and his opinions. We had two directors on this trip, Santiago and Roberto. Santiago was with us in Brasil and Argentina; a very helpful and good director. Then we went to Peru and met Roberto. I have been on a lot of tours with Go Ahead and other companies and this man is without a doubt the very best tour director I've experienced to date.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 2/15/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Phenomenal Tour

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

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 2/15/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: VA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Aggressive Adventure!

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.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 1/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: SC

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

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.

review photo
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4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/2/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: CT

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

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.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/18/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

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.

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