21567
South America
Best of South America: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu & Easter Island
Immerse yourself in a fusion of ancient mystery, natural wonders, modern cities and vibrant cultures as you embark on a comprehensive exploration of South America.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21567RJ
Length
19 days
Starts at
8,899
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19 days
18 nights
42 meals
16 B 14 L 12 D
DAY
1
Departure from the U.S.
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Cuzco, Transfer to Sacred Valley, Orientation & Dinner
Urubamba Valley
L,D
Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado

Morning: From the Cuzco airport, take a scenic coach bus ride to the hotel in the Sacred Valley.

Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Check in at the hotel and take some time to unpack and to relax before orientation. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
3
Sacred Valley
Urubamba Valley
B,L,D
Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a lecture focused on the rise and fall of the Inca's, given by your program lecturer, who will detail the history of the Incan society. Afterwards, we will depart for a field trip to the Sacred Valley Girls Dormitory. In Ollantaytambo, learn about this educational initiative to provide secondary schooling opportunities to girls from mountainous communities surrounding the Sacred Valley. Visit with the dorm mother and director of the project.

Lunch: At the Sacred Valley Project - Girls Dormitory.

Afternoon: Enjoy an excursion to Urubamaba where you will have a demonstration at the Seminario Ceramic Studio which has been dedicated to the discovery of techniques and designs of ancient Peruvian culture. Afterwards, we will depart for a visit to a chicheria to see a demonstration of how Chicha (corn beer) is prepared. En route, you will find a house with a red flag on the front door which symbolizes that the chicha is ready.

Dinner: Enjoy a dinner in a Private Hacienda (Private home restaurant).

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
4
Cuyani Village
Urubamba Valley
B,L,D
Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a full day excursion to Cuyani and explore how local life unfolds in the peaceful Andean Highlands. Soak in the culture during a walk along the ancient farming paths that pass through this primarily agricultural community. At various stops throughout the day, learn about the local agriculture, religious ceremonies, and textile production in this region.

Lunch: Typical Andean lunch at the restaurant run by the local community.

Afternoon: Continue exploring the Andean Community of Cuyuni and return to the hotel to rest and to pack.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
5
Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo, The History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu (Aguas Caliente)
B,L,D
El Mapi Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a presentation introducing Machu Picchu in which your Study Leader will detail the history of the community and ruins of Machu Picchu.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will take a private excursion to the Ollantaytambo ruins and town. Led by your Peruvian Study Leader, explore Ollantaytambo fortress and town. Ollantaytambo is an archaeological park to which different functions had been attributed. It is considered a military construction strategically located to protect Cuzco from possible invasions. The town of Ollantaytambo is one of the few cities that still maintain the Inca system of urban planning. Afterwards, we will take the train to Machu Picchu.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
6
Machu Picchu / Train to Cuzco
Cuzco
B,L,D
Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a visit of Machu Picchu, the most iconic site of the Inca world, and a renowned UNESCO world heritage site. Explore the agricultural and urban sides of Machu Picchu and learn the history of the Incan abandonment of the city and its construction during Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century.

Lunch: In Machu Picchu.

Afternoon: We will wrap up our visit of Machu Picchu and take an afternoon train to Cuzco. Upon arrival, we will check in at our hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
7
Cuzco in Depth
Cuzco
B,L
Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: During an exploration with your local expert, you will visit the Almudena cemetery and later on discover the iconic cathedral whose construction started in 1560 and finished in 1664. It contains the best manifestations of colonial goldsmith and wood carving, as well as a valuable collection of canvases from the Escuela Cusqueña (Academy of Cusco). Afterwards, we will take a trip to San Pedro Market and the Qorikancha Palace, which was the most important temple in the Inca Empire and was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God. The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with your guide.

Afternoon: Enjoy a visit of Sacsayhuaman with your guide. A spectacular fortress built with huge carved rocks, this astounding example of Incan architecture is undoubtedly the greatest work constructed by the Tahuantinsuyo.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
8
Depart Cuzco and Fly to Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Iguazu Falls
B,D
Wyndham Golden Foz Suites

Activity note: Please note that today is a long travel day. The flight from Cuzco to Lima departs very early in the morning and the flight into Iguazu arrives in the evening. Please note that airline schedules are beyond the control of Road Scholar.

Breakfast: You will receive a boxed breakfast at the hotel which includes a breakfast sandwich, a juice box, fruit, yogurt, and cake.

Morning: Early morning transfer to the airport in Cuzco for the flight to Lima, and connection to Iguazu, Brazil.

Lunch: On your own during the layover at the airport in Lima, Peru.

Afternoon: Embark on your flight to Iguazu, Brazil.

Dinner: Late dinner at the hotel in Iguazu Falls.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
9
Argentine Side of Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls
B,L,D
Wyndham Golden Foz Suites

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a field trip led by a local expert to explore the Argentine side of the falls. The experience of seeing the falls from the Argentine side is completely different from the Brazilian side and is well worth the experience..

Lunch: In the park at one of the local restaurants.

Afternoon: We will continue the field trip. You will find that the paths on the Argentine side are much longer than those on the Brazilian side as the Argentine falls represent 75% of the falls. Later, we will explore a local indigenous community to learn about the original local inhabitants.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
10
Brazilian Side of Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls
B,L
Wyndham Golden Foz Suites

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a presentation on the Atlantic Rain Forest and the Iguazu Biosphere. Led by a local naturalist, learn about the biodiversity and complexity of the Atlantic Rainforest in the Iguazu Basin. Afterwards, we will depart the hotel for a morning visit to the Brazilian Falls. Led by a local expert, we will walk the 1.5 mile paved path along the river bank to view the falls. The walk culminates with a spectacular 360 degree fall view. Be prepared to be wowed and to get wet- bring a plastic poncho.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy a field trip to explore the Bird Park. Featuring over 150 species of tropical Brazilian birds, the park is an ideal place to continue to learn about the biodiversity of the region.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
11
Flights to Buenos Aires / Discovering Recoleta
Buenos Aires
B,D
Hotel Intersur Recoleta

Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the hotel in Iguazu.

Morning: We will take a morning flight from Iguazu (Argentine Side) to Buenos Aires and transfer to the hotel.

Lunch: On your own at the airport.

Afternoon: Discover the architecturally rich neighborhood of Recoleta by foot.

Dinner: At a local restaurant within walking distance from the hotel. Participate in a tango lesson and afterward enjoy a performance by the pros!

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
12
Buenos Aires Discovery
Buenos Aires
B,L,D
Hotel Intersur Recoleta

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy some leisure time to enjoy the city or to make your way to the famous Recoleta market, located walking distance from the hotel.

Lunch: We will be joined by local residents who will share what life is like in this beautiful city.

Afternoon: We will set off by coach with our local expert to explore the San Telmo and La Boca neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

Dinner: At a local restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
13
Fly from Buenos Aires to Santiago / Discovering Santiago
Santiago
B,L,D
Plaza El Bosque Nueva Las Condes

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will transfer to the airport to fly to Santiago, Chile.

Lunch: Late lunch in Santiago.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, discover the highlights of Santiago, the capital of Chile.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
14
Arrive Easter Island / Introduction to Rapa Nui
Easter Island
B,L,D
Hotel Otai

Activity note: We suggest bringing a water bottle and flip flops for your stay on Easter Island.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to Easter Island. Upon arrival in Rapa Nui, we will transfer to the hotel for check in.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture introducing you to the mystery of Rapa Nui. Later on, we will depart by bus for a Field Study of Tahai for an introduction to the famous monoliths of Rapa Nui. Our first stop will be at Ahu Vai Ure, which is topped by five moai; Ahu Tahai (AD680); and Ahu Ko te Riku (12th century AD), a 15.5 ft. high 20 ton moai which is topped by a pukao (red scoria top knot). These three ahu, all facing inland, are part of one ceremonial compound which was restored in the 1960’s by the late archaeologist, William Mulloy. Located near Hangaroa at the edge of the ocean, the area also has excellent examples of hare paenga (boat-shaped house foundations), hare moa (chicken houses), umu (earth ovens), occupation caves and a boat ramp. The road along this coast is rough, but there are many ahu in this section of the island. At Hanga Kio`e, a small bay just past town, there are two more ahu restored by Mulloy. The first Ahu is surmounted by a small moai, and the second has a fragment of a statue. They were part of a larger site that includes Ahu Akapu with its solitary moai. The wall of Ahu Akapu originally reached to Ahu #2. Dr. Mulloy’s gravesite is also located at Tahai.

Dinner: At the local Chilean/Rapa Nui fusion restaurant.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
15
Rapa Nui / Ahu Vinapu / Ahu Nau Nau
Easter Island
B,L
Hotel Otai

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by bus for a full day field trip to archaeological sites along the south coast. We will start with a visit to Ahu Vinapu, which is an archaeological site that has raised many questions over the years, because of the similarity in appearance and construction to the pre- Columbian structures found in Cuzco, Peru. Located here are the ruins of three notable temples, one of which has unusually finely shaped and fitted walls, constructed of huge stones. Afterward, we will depart for a field study at Ahu Akahanga. With its four ahu, twelve moai of various sizes and shapes, and eight pukao, some carved with petroglyphs, is known as the platform of the king. On the front of the main ahu is red scoria facia carved with petroglyphs. In the rear is the head of an old moai incorporated amongst the stones. This site exhibits at least eight phases of construction over a very long period of time, including an ancient village site with the foundations of boat shaped houses and earth ovens. Later on, we will depart for Rano Raraku, the quarry of the moai. As we climb the mountain, we will view the quarry from which the massive moai were carved out of the hard basalt.

Lunch: Picnic in the National Park picnic area at Rano Raraku.

Afternoon: We will depart for a field study at Tongariki. We will drive down the south coast along the wind and wave carved shoreline, past many collapsed ahu, toppled moai, and fallen stone fences built by the sheep company. Tongariki is the largest ahu on the island. Demolished in 1960 by the tremendous force of a Pacific tsunami generated by an earthquake in Valdivia (southern Chile), Tongariki has recently been restored by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino and Sergio Rapu, with the help of Japanese archaeologists and the Rapa Nui people, so it once again supports its 15 moai. There is evidence that through the years, more than thirty statues stood on the ahu (not all at once). Also located here are spectacular petroglyphs of a turtle, a tuna fish, a birdman, faces of the god Makemake, and designs similar to those found on rongo rongo boards. Afterward, we will depart for Anakena, a beautiful, sheltered, white sand beach surrounded by swaying palm trees; optional swimming available. We will have a field study at Ahu Nau Nau, a very complex archaeological site located on the hill overlooking the beach. This site includes seven finely carved moai with elaborately decorated backs and at least four levels of ahu construction. Following the field study, we will return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
16
Rapa Nui / Rano Kao Crater and Orongo Ceremonial Village
Easter Island
B,L,D
Hotel Otai

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by bus for a field study at the Parque Nacional Rapa Nui to study Rano Kao crater and Orongo Ceremonial Village. Until 1853, the Birdman Festival was held at Orongo in the spring of each thousand foot cliff to watch their representatives scramble down and swim almost a mile, through the turbulent shark-infested waters to Motu Nui Islet, one of three small islands located off the point. Once there, the competitors hid in caves awaiting the return of migrating sooty terns that nested there. The first competitor to find a newly laid egg, swim back, and carry it unbroken up the precipitous cliff, won the race. He, or the man he represented, then became the Birdman, the position of highest status, for the next year. The ceremonial village of Orongo was inhabited only during the birdman ceremonies. Following our visit of the national park, we will head to Ana Kai Tangata, which is roughly translated as “place-eat-men” or a place where men took shelter for meals. Many stones in the area are carved with petroglyphs, including a makemake near the ahu. Legend has it that the cave was the site of cannibal feasts during the birdman cult rituals, but no remnants of human bone, have ever been found. The cave is known for its ancient paintings of sooty terns flying across the roof.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy some leisure time. You may walk to Padre Sebastian Englert Archaeological Museum for a self-guided tour of this museum and its artifacts, including the only intact white coral moai eye, as well as displays of local geology, flora, and fauna. You may also shop at the local craft markets such as the Mercado Artesenal near the church or other shops along the main street of Hanga Roa town. Make a quick stop at the local post office and get a stamp in your passport with a unique moai statues stamp. The stamp does not have any legal effect - it is just for fun!

Dinner: Take delight in the Rapa Nui farewell dinner which includes a show and dinner cooked in an umu, a traditional Rapa Nui earth oven, face-painting Rapa Nui style, and a traditional Rapa Nui dance show.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
17
Fly to Santiago
Santiago
B
Hilton Garden Inn Santiago Airport

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At leisure in Rapa Nui. Pack your bags or take a stroll through Hanga Roa to explore your favorite part of the small town one last time. We will then transfer to the airport.

Lunch: On your own at the airport.

Afternoon: Depart on flight to Santiago.

Dinner: A meal is served on board the flight.

Evening: Late evening arrival in Santiago International Airport and transfer to the hotel.

DAY
18
Chile's Wine Country, Program Concludes
In Flight
B,L

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Mid-morning, we will check out of the hotel and enjoy a full day exploration of Chilean wine and history. We will drive to the Alto Jahuel region to explore a historic Colonial wine estate, learn about its wine productions, as well as its importance in Chile's battle for independence. Stroll the estate's beautiful gardens and explore the impressive private collection of pre-Columbian art.

Lunch: Enjoy a delicious meal in the winery restaurant.

Afternoon: After the exploration of the wine estate is complete, return to Santiago airport in the late afternoon to check in for your return flight to the U.S. Expected time of arrival at the airport for check-in is 6:30 p.m. Required arrival for check-in is three hours prior to the flight departure.

Dinner: On your own at the airport.

Evening: Depart on return flight.

DAY
19
Arrival in the U.S.
In Flight