loading spinner
Brazil/Argentina/Chile/Peru

South American Odyssey: Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Machu Picchu & More

Program No. 22885RJ
Learn the Samba in Rio and the tango in Buenos Aires, climb to Machu Picchu and go wine tasting in the vineyards outside of Santiago on this journey to the best of South America.
Length
19 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
7,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 12 - Mar 2, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2022 for free air from Miami!

Mar 5 - Mar 23, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Jan. 22, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Oct 1 - Oct 19, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Oct 22 - Nov 9, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Nov 19 - Dec 7, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 12 - Mar 2, 2023
Starting at
8,829
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2022 for free air from Miami!

Mar 5 - Mar 23, 2023
Starting at
8,829
Special Offer

Enroll by Jan. 22, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Oct 1 - Oct 19, 2023
Starting at
8,829
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Oct 22 - Nov 9, 2023
Starting at
8,829
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

Nov 19 - Dec 7, 2023
Starting at
8,829
Special Offer

Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 for free air from Miami!

At a Glance

The rhythm of samba and the icons of Rio de Janeiro: Corcovado, Sugar Mountain and Copacabana Beach. The pounding waters of Iguazu Falls. The glint of sunlight illuminating the ruins of the Incas in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The Colorful and classic neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and the culture of Argentina’s Gauchos. Cosmopolitan Santiago, the Pacific coast of Chile and lush vineyards all set against the imposing backdrop of the Andes. On this journey from the extraordinary coast of Brazil to the mountaintops of the Peruvian Andes, feast your senses on the natural, ancient and contemporary wonders of South America.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Elevations up to 11,000 feet in Cusco, Peru. Walking and standing up to two miles a day in a variety of conditions.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the highlights of Rio de Janeiro and take in the awesome splendor of Iguazu Falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian vantage points.
  • Walk among the remains of the ancient Inca civilization in the Sacred Valley and at Machu Picchu.
  • Discover Argentine culture in Buenos Aires with a tango lesson and the colorful neighborhood of Recoleta.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Oscar Oviedo Velasco
Oscar Oviedo Velasco is a native Peruvian with extensive knowledge of his home country and region. He boasts many years of experience as a local expert and group leader. His expertise extends to Peruvian history and culture, and he is fluent in English and Spanish.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Oscar Oviedo Velasco
Oscar Oviedo Velasco View biography
Oscar Oviedo Velasco is a native Peruvian with extensive knowledge of his home country and region. He boasts many years of experience as a local expert and group leader. His expertise extends to Peruvian history and culture, and he is fluent in English and Spanish.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Incas
by Carmen Bernard
Featuring archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and chapters on Atahualpa, the Conquistadors and Hiram Bingham, this handy book (previously published as People of the Sun) illuminates the daily life, monuments and history of the Incas.
The Brazilians
by Joseph Page
A clear, comprehensive and compelling introduction to Brazil, covering politics, history, economics, ecology, conservation and culture.
Lonely Planet Buenos Aires
by Lonely Planet
The best of Buenos Aires is included in this practical guide, along with a pullout map and insider recommendations on shopping, eating, sleeping and day trips.
Lost City of the Incas
by Hiram Bingham
This first-rate adventure story by the man who brought Machu Picchu to the attention of the world 100 years ago is not just a gripping tale of exploration and archaeology, it also sets the scene for any visitor to the site.
Brazil
by Regis St. Louis
An excellent, colorful primer to the country and its history, covering the varied landscapes, diverse cultures and regional customs, including carnaval and soccer.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.
The Machu Picchu Guidebook
by Ruth M. Wright, Alfredo Valencia Zegarra
With maps and site plans, a segment on new discoveries, a wildlife section and a fold-out full color painting of the city as it may have looked during a solstice celebration in 1530.
Inca Trail: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Map
by Lima 2000
This fact-filled map shows the whole of the Sacred Valley, from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, on one side, and, on the reverse, the area surrounding the sanctuary in splendid, topographic detail (1:50,000). It's the best map for those making the trek from kilometer 88 to the site and an excellent choice for those exploring by bus or train.
Buenos Aires, A Cultural History
by Jason Wilson
An exhilarating, erudite guide to Buenos Aires as it has been portrayed by writers, poets and thinkers; serves well as a guidebook, too, with a street map and detailed neighborhood descriptions.
Forgotten Continent
by Michael Reid
Economist editor Reid draws on his years in the cities, presidential palaces and shantytowns of Central and South America in this portrait of a region rich in oil, farmland and culture, with consideration on its prospects in the face of globalization.
Cataratas del Iguazu
by de Dios
This foldup, laminated card shows seven maps of the falls, Puerto Iguazu, park and region.
Cloud Forest, A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness
by Peter Matthiessen
Matthiessen recounts with wit, insight and style his odyssey to the Amazon and Andes, including Machu Picchu and Tierra del Fuego.
Stone Offerings
by Mike Torrey
Torrey captures the dramatic setting, solitude and intricate construction of the Inca site of Machu Picchu in 100 striking color photographs taken over a few days at summer and winter solstice.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
19 days
18 nights
39 meals
16 B 14 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf, Welcome Orientation
Rio de Janeiro
L,D
Praia Ipanema Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m.

Morning: Arrive to Rio’s Aeroporto International — Galeão Antônio Carlos Jobim (GIG), about 15 miles (24km) from the program hotel. After completing arrival procedures, exit the baggage claim area. Your Road Scholar Group Leader will be waiting for you. Board the private motor-coach to drive into the city to meet your local expert and any participants who have arrived early for the visit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf rises 1,300 feet above the city of Rio de Janeiro, presenting a bird’s eye view. It is named for its iconic shape, resembling the cones of sugar that were produced in the 16th century by the Portuguese during the heyday of the sugar cane trade in Brazil. We will ascend via large cable cars that each hold 75 people, over two legs of a journey that last a few minutes each. The first leg takes us to the top of Urca Mountain at 722 feet, with aerial views of Copacabana, the Christ statue, Niteroi Bridge, and Guanabara Bay. The second cable car travels to the top of Sugarloaf, where we have a thrilling 360-degree view of the region.

Lunch: Buffet at a local restaurant generally include mineral water with other beverages available for purchase, unless noted otherwise.

Afternoon: We will head to the hotel for check-in and orientation. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers will be via private motor coach, unless noted otherwise. Schedules for inter-program flights are subject to change by the airlines and beyond the control of Road Scholar. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time" and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel enjoy a 3-course welcome dinner. Dinners generally include mineral water, coffee or tea, with other beverages available for purchase, unless noted otherwise.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Exploring Corcovado, Favela, Samba Night
Rio de Janeiro
B,L
Praia Ipanema Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to two miles throughout the day including up and down hill. The Samba night is an outdoor street party with crowded streets, optional steps with no railing, live music; weather dependent, does not take place in heavy rain. Driving, with periodic stops and short walks of 15-30 minutes with some steps - mainly descending. Visits of the favelas are done by vans as the area is inaccessible to motor coaches.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffets generally feature a selection of international and traditional local foods as well as fresh juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

Morning: We will depart the hotel in vans with our Study Leader and local experts to explore Rio’s favelas. Stopping in Rio's largest and smallest favelas, we learn about the architecture, urbanization projects, the public services, security and the local culture. We will walk through the commercial area of Rio's smallest favela, and the narrow alleyways that provide insight to daily life. We will learn how peaceful and community oriented each favela is, and how visits support community projects in education. We will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best views overlooking Rio.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, choose what you like from the buffet of delicious, traditional Brazilian dishes representative of Minas Gerais state. Among the extensive and varied selections are tutu, made of black beans and manioc flour, roasted and stewed meats, vegetables, salads, as well as selection of desserts. Lunches generally include mineral water with other beverages available for purchase unless noted otherwise.

Afternoon: We will reconvene with our motor coach and local expert for a field trip to Corcovado, with the gigantic statue of Cristo Redentor — Christ the Redeemer — on the summit. Constructed from 1922-1931, it has become an iconic image of Rio and Brazil. We will board the Swiss-manufactured cogwheel train for a scenic ride through the Tijuca National Park to reach the 2,329 feet-high summit of Corcovado, whose name means “hunchback” in Portuguese. The view from the top provides a spectacular panorama of Rio and its bays. Afterwards, descend the hill via the cogwheel train and re-board our private motor coach to return to the hotel, where our local expert will present a lecture to explain the complicated economic layers of Brazilian society and discuss the impact on daily life.

Dinner: At Pedro do Sal, dine as you like on snacks or light bites from street vendors or in the small cafes.

Evening: Your guide will give a historical overview of Pedra do Sol before departing by bus for the Lapa district. Upon arrival, your guide will give a guided tour of the area and explain the historical facts of this Bohemian neighborhood. Afterward, walk to the crazy and colorful tiled Salaron Stairways, work of Chilean artist Jorge Selaron, an important attraction of Rio. Later on, take a short walk to some of the famous street corners of Lapa where you will be free to choose a bar or sit and relax and listen to some Brazilian music.

DAY
4
Rio's Historic Center and Samba School
Rio de Janeiro
B,L,D
Praia Ipanema Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 2.5 miles, standing up to an hour at a time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Depart from the hotel with our local expert and private motorcoach to the historic center Rio de Janeiro. We examine architectural style, noting fine examples of Baroque construction as we drive by the São Bento and Santo Antonio monasteries, which recall the times when Brazil was a colony of Portugal. The French influence may be seen in the 19th century buildings such as the Municipal Theater and the Museum of Fine Arts. Leaving the coach, we walk along colonial avenues, squares and back streets. Discover the important historical, political and social events that have shaped Rio into one of South America’s most exciting cities. We continue strolling along the waterfront, through the newly renovated areas that feature beautiful murals by local artists. We will later board the local tram to return to the city center.

Lunch: At the world-famous Confeitaria Colombo, choose what you like from the extensive buffet. Founded in 1894, Confeitaria Colombo is an important part of Rio’s historical patrimony. The Art Nouveau architecture is enhanced by large mirrors, gold trim, and stained glass imported from Europe. The highlights of its extensive menu are hand-made pastries.

Afternoon: We will walk from the Confeitaria Colombo to the Cathedral. Stepping inside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, discover an astonishing modern construction made of concrete and stained glass windows that was designed to echo the ancient Mayan pyramids. We will re-board our motor coach to continue on. Drive through the Sambadrome, then head to the Academicos de Grande Rio – the Samba School. During our samba school field trip, we will learn about one of the most exciting events of the year, Carnival. Rio’s Carnival derives from pagan celebrations of Ancient Greece that continued through Europe in the Middle Ages, arriving in Brazil through Portuguese colonization. Enriched with rhythms that came with the African slaves, the beat has been ingrained into local culture and can be heard and felt in every street carnival all over the city. The highlight of Rio’s carnival is the parade of the “samba schools” in the “Sambódromo” stadium built expressly for the parade. At a non-profit samba school, we will meet with locals who use the art and cultural aspects of carnival to educate young people and their families from favelas. We will explore the samba school, learn about the history of samba and carnival parades. Later, we will return to the hotel, and take some time to prepare for tomorrow’s departure.

Dinner: We will head to the historic Garota de Ipanema where Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinícius de Moraes co-wrote the song "The Girl from Ipanema." Enjoy a meal of roasted chicken, fries, salad, and vegetables, served family style including mineral water, coffee or tea (a vegetarian selection is available).

Evening: At Leisure.

DAY
5
Fly to Foz do Iguaçu and Iguazu Falls Field Trip
Iguazu Falls
B,L,D
Wyndham Golden Foz Suites

Activity note: Ascending and descending airplane steps with hand baggage. Walking about 1.5 miles and standing for approximately one hour in a humid and tropical climate. There are paved paths leading to Iguazu Falls and many sets of small steps; wet conditions at Falls.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Check out of the hotel for an early morning transfer to the airport in Rio, and fly to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport. Upon arrival in Iguazu, transfer to Iguaçu Falls National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lunch: Buffet at a restaurant near Iguaçu Falls.

Afternoon: With your local expert, walk the long, paved path along the river bank to view the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls. The one-way walk culminates with a spectacular 360-degree view. Be prepared to be wowed and to get wet! We will later transfer to the hotel for check-in. After some time to freshen up, gather for a presentation by our expert naturalist on the Atlantic Rain Forest and the Iguaçu Biosphere.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Bird Park, Falls Field Trip, Indigenous Community
Iguazu Falls
B,L,D
Wyndham Golden Foz Suites

Activity note: Walking up to two miles; humid, tropical climate; paved and unpaved paths, steps. Bring passports today as we cross the border to visit the Argentine side of the Falls. Walking about 0.6 miles (1km) each way to/from viewpoint.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the extensive buffet with international and traditional Brazilian foods plus fresh juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate.

Morning: We will ride to the Bird Park where a naturalist will lead our exploration. There are more than 150 species of tropical Brazilian birds here. In addition to getting close to many exquisitely beautiful birds, the park is an ideal place to continue to learning about the region’s biodiversity We will then ride across the border and go through passport control to explore the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls. The Argentine side makes up about three-fourths of the falls, with a completely different vantage point than from the Brazilian side.

Lunch: At a restaurant inside the park.

Afternoon: Explore a local indigenous community to learn about the original inhabitants.

Dinner: Walk to a nearby Churassceria for a traditional Brazilian BBQ Dinner including water.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for early check out, transfer, and flight in the morning.

DAY
7
Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires
B,D
Hotel Intersur Recoleta

Activity note: Ascending and descending steps with hand baggage. Walking up to two miles on paved city streets. Opportunity to try tango dance steps.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, depart Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and cross the border into Argentina for our flight to Buenos Aires.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at the airport prior to boarding the flight; light snack served on board.

Afternoon: Upon arrival, we will transfer to the hotel for check in.

Dinner: At a restaurant within walking distance from the hotel, enjoy a 3-course dinner with wine.

Evening: Participate in a tango lesson.

DAY
8
San Telmo & La Boca, Meeting Locals, Free Time
Buenos Aires
B,L
Hotel Intersur Recoleta

Activity note: Walking up to two miles and standing for about an hour at a time on paved cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer to the Recoleta neighborhood and set out on a a walking field trip with our local expert. High, historic, beautiful, and affluent, Recoleta is one of the city’s most distinguished neighborhoods. In addition to rich cultural history, neoclassical architecture, aristocratic homes, and elegant avenues, Recoleta is notable for its renowned Cementario. The cemetery has grown around the convent and church of the Recoletos monks who gave their name to the neighborhood. Their orchard was converted into a cemetery after the order was disbanded in 1822. Today, it holds thousands of magnificent and remarkable mausoleums, monuments, and tombs of the great, the famous (including Eva “Evita” Perón), and the merely rich. Later, we will explore Buenos Aires by private motor coach, with our local expert. Discover the San Telmo and La Boca neighborhoods on foot.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will be joined by local residents who will share our leisurely 3-course lunch with Argentine wines. They will tell us about their experiences and help us understand what life is like in this fascinating city.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to make your way a few blocks from the hotel to the famous open air Recoleta market, formally known as Feria de Artesanos de Plaza Francia.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
La Pampa and Argentine Gaucho Life
Buenos Aires
B,L
Hotel Intersur Recoleta

Activity note: The drive into the countryside is about 50 miles, approximately 1.5 hours each way. Walking short distances and standing; unpaved ground at the ranch.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach for a full day field trip to experience La Pampa, the province of estancias (colonial ranches) and gauchos (Argentinian cowboys). We will visit an estancia to learn about the local culture and gaucho life as we watch their horse riding skills, listen to songs strummed on the guitar, and encounter the tradition of Yerba Mate. Brewed from dried leaves of an evergreen tree (Ilex paraguariensis), it has been used since ancient times and still today as both a stimulating beverage and in folk medicine. Yerba mate is sipped from a special gourd through a metal straw.

Lunch: At the estancia, enjoy a typical Argentine asado, a barbecue of meats and poultry with side salads and garnishes.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning for our flight to Santiago.

DAY
10
Fly to Santiago and City Tour
Santiago
B,D
DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago

Activity note: Early transfer to the airport for the flight to Santiago. Walking up to one mile and standing for about an hour on city streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and transfer to Ezeiza International Airport to board our flight to Santiago, Chile.

Lunch: On own.

Afternoon: After arrival in Santiago, meet your local expert and begin to explore. Chile's capital city is a sophisticated, sprawling metropolis wedged between the Andes and mountainous coastal range. It is home to 6 million Santiaguinos — a third of the country’s population. During our motorcoach field trip, we will see some of the city's most important landmarks including the La Moneda presidential palace. Originally a colonial mint, it was designed by Italian architect, Joaquín Toesca. We will take a walk through the Plaza de Armas main square, surrounded by beautiful buildings, then check in to the hotel. Before dinner enjoy an introductory lecture on Chile.

Dinner: At the hotel enjoy a 3-course dinner with one mineral water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Valparaíso, Family host lunch
Santiago
B,L
DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago

Activity note: The drive to Valparaiso is about 72 miles (116km), approximately 1.5 hours. Walking up to two miles and standing up to two hours up and downhill.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach with our local expert for field trip to Valparaiso. Valparaíso is Chile’s second-largest city. This historic port and university town is renowned for its more than 50 hills covered in quaint and colorful old houses. The hills are connected by an ingenious network of twisting streets, stairways, cable car lines, flower filled balconies and lookout platforms with spectacular views of the bay from which the city takes its name. Enjoy a walking field trip into the old Historic Quarter, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. We will also visit the “new” city including the Plaza de la Victoria with its lovely Neptune Fountain; the famous Turri Clock Tower; the docks and fisherman's wharf; and the Naval Academy. We will also stop in Cerro Florida — Florida Hill — to La Sebastiana, the former home of Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), the Chilean poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. La Sebastiana is now a house museum dedicated to Neruda, who was born Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. He changed his name in honor of the 19th century Czech poet Jan Neruda. Our self-directed exploration will be enhanced by audio-guide.

Lunch: At local home hosted lunch, enjoy a typical Chilean lunch, plus a glass of local drink called "terremoto" (earthquake) and a bottled water and soft drinks.

Afternoon: We will drive along the coast a few minutes north of Valparaíso to reach Viña del Mar, founded in 1874 for an overview. The impressive and varied architecture of the Belle Epoque was influenced by French and Italianate styles of the period. Chile's premier coastal resort today is famous for its beaches and a bustling commercial sector. It is also known as the "Ciudad Jardín" (Garden City) thanks to lavish gardens that thrive in the subtropical atmosphere.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. There are numerous choices near the hotel to sample local cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Wine Estate and Andean Museum
Santiago
B,L
DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago

Activity note: The drive to the wine estate is about 18 miles (28km), approximately 1/2 hour. Walking about one mile, standing indoors and out approximately one hour; unpaved ground in garden.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart for a full day field trip into Chilean wine country. Riding south of Santiago to Maipo Province, explore an historic wine estate in the Alto Jahuel region at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Founded in 1880, the Santa Rita Winery has been declared a National Monument of Chile. There are more than 200 acres (800 hectares) dedicated to the production of high quality wines. The old family mansion is surrounded by beautiful parkland and ornamental gardens. The complex also includes a hotel, restaurant, and a museum. We will begin our exploration in the Andean Museum that displays the private collection of the late billionaire shipping magnate and former owner of Santa Rita, Ricardo Claro. There are more than 1,800 pre-Columbian gold artifacts, moais from Easter Island, Arica archaeological pieces, and ceramics, musical instruments, and wooden masks from the Diaguita, Mapuche, and San Pedro cultures. Next, stroll through the beautiful private gardens that surround the original colonial house that dates back to the early 1800s.

Lunch: In the winery's restaurant in one of the estate’s historic buildings, enjoy a 3-course lunch paired with wines.

Afternoon: We will continue our field trip, returning to Santiago in the late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning for our flight to Cuzco.

DAY
13
Fly to Cuzco-Peru, Check In, Rise & Fall of the Inca Empire
Cuzco
B,D
Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Activity note: Early transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima. Early transfer for full day trip from Santiago to Cuzco. Cuzco elevation 11,000 feet.

Breakfast: Due to the early departure, juice, coffee, tea and breakfast pastries will be available in the hotel. There will be time to pick up additional items at the airport after check in.

Morning: We will have early check out and transfer to the airport for flight check, a mandatory three hours prior to departure. We will then fly to Lima and change planes for an onward connection to Cuzco.

Lunch: On your own in the airport between flights connections.

Afternoon: Arrival at Cuzco International Airport is expected late afternoon. Transfer to the hotel and check in. After some time to freshen up, join your expert for a presentation on the rise and fall of the Inca Empire.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a light dinner featuring Peruvian cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Cuzco, Almudena, San Pedro Market, Sacsayhuaman
Cuzco
B,L
Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Activity note: Cuzco is at an elevation of 11,000 feet. Walking up to .5 miles, standing up to an hour at a time; paved streets, unpaved ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: During a field trip by motorcoach and walking with our local expert, visit the Almudena Cemetery, constructed in 1845 partly from rubble left after the Peruvian War of Independence from Spain. The adjacent church was finished in 1664. It contains fine examples colonial goldsmithing and wood carving, as well as a valuable collection of canvases from the Escuela Cusqueña (Academy of Cusco). Afterward, walk through the colorful San Pedro Market and also see remnants of Qorikancha, once the Inca Temple of the Sun. Following their conquest of Cuzco, the Spanish destroyed many Inca buildings and temples, using the Inca foundations and stone for new Spanish churches and public buildings. Qorikancha was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated to Inti, the Sun God. The walls and floors were once covered in solid gold. We can see a small section of the Quorikancha foundation stones in the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, the oldest in South America.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine.

Afternoon: One of the most extraordinary highlights of Cuzco is Sacsayhuaman. Continuing our explorations with our local expert, see the remains of what was once a gigantic construction built with huge carved rocks. Most of what is left was too big and heavy to be moved and used for other purposes. This astounding example of engineering is undoubtedly one of the greatest building achievements of Tahuantinsuyo, the Inca Empire. Long thought to have been a fortress, references to ancient sources say Sacsayhuaman was a “Royal House of the Sun.”

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. At high elevation, it is recommended to eat lightly in the evening and avoid alcohol.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
15
Weaving Cooperative, Maras Salt Mines, Moray, Sacred Valley
Urubamba Valley
B,L,D
Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel

Activity note: Motorcoach travel over winding roads. Walking (distance at personal discretion) at Maras Salt Mine; narrow, paved and unpaved paths. Not recommended for people with vertigo, who may remain at the entry viewing area. Walking up to one mile at Ollantaytambo, climbing many steps (optional), standing up to 1.5 hours at a time; unpaved, cobblestone streets. The elevation in the Sacred Valley is approximately 8,000 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Check out of the hotel, board the motor-coach and depart Cuzco. Our first stop is at a weaving cooperative that has brought back the traditional craft of preparing wool and weaving textiles, which has provided a skilled trade to local women. Weaving provides more than an economic benefit. It strengthens social organization, maintains ties to ancient Inca ancestors, and produces garments and blankets of complexity and beauty. As the weavers work with no patterns other than those in their minds, each piece is unique. Moving on, we will reach Maras, where people have been “mining” or harvesting salt for perhaps 2,000 years. The source of the salt is a natural spring at the top of the mountain. Long ago, local people figured out a way to direct the stream of water downhill into a series of many shallow, walled pools that are then closed. Evaporation leaves salt that is scraped off the pool surfaces and the process is repeated. We will walk along ancient paths next to the salt pools to understand and appreciate the simplicity and genius of this ancient method of producing an essential natural resource.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue the journey into the Sacred Valley and the town of Ollantaytambo. As it was built on the foundations of earlier Inca structures, this is the best representation we have of how an Inca community might have been arranged. For those with stamina, our local expert will lead the way up the many steps to Ollantaytambo fortress, that was never fully completed. The stones used to build the fortress came from a quarry far on the other side of the Urubamba River, an amazing feat of Inca engineering. The views from the summit reveal the strategic importance of its position, commanding access to Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the jungle. Many mysteries surround this unfinished construction and the carvings on its temple walls. We will then walk through the streets of Ollantaytambo town, the only Inca town in all of South America with streets virtually unchanged since the 1500s. Our local expert will reveal the architectural details of Inca construction. We will also step inside one of the houses, virtually unchanged for generations, to get a sense of traditional life. Arrive at the hotel for check in late afternoon.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Pisac Sunday Market
Urubamba Valley
B,L
Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 2.5 miles and standing up to two hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Pisac was founded in the 1570s by Spanish conquistadors where an Inca village once stood. It’s now a rustic Andean village that attracts many visitors, thanks in part to its market that takes place every day and Sunday is the largest, when locals come dressed in their finery. There are typically more than 100 vendors selling textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and much more. Bargaining (a.k.a. haggling) is expected. Since few items have price tags, the first question is usually “Cuanto cuesta” — how much does it cost?—and that’s where it begins.

Lunch: At a private hacienda, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. The current house was built in the 1970s, but the estate dates back to the 17th Century. The owners have displayed their marvelous collection of pre-Incan artefacts and family heirlooms in a series of decorated rooms. The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and green spaces.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. Light meals are available in the hotel lounge with a full range of dining selections in the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer following our full day Machu Picchu field trip tomorrow.

DAY
17
Machu Picchu UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cuzco
B,L,D
Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Activity note: The train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is approximately 1.5 hours. From Aguas Calientes to Cuzco is approximately 3.5 hours. Access to/from Machu Picchu by public bus, 1/2 hour each way, extremely winding mountain road. Walking approximately 2.5 hours. Entrance and introduction to site mostly flat, no steps, then many steps up/down. Option to remain at introduction point. Elevation 7,972 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart our hotel and take the train to Aguas Calientas, gateway to Machu Picchu. En route, our local expert will provide an introduction to Machu Picchu including the history of the community and the ruins. Arriving in Aguas Calientes, we will walk from the train station to local buses that transport visitors to the entrance of the citadel. Explore the astonishing ruins of Machu Picchu on foot with our Study Leader and learn about its construction during Spanish conquest in the 16th century, agricultural and urban aspects, and possible reasons why the Inca abandoned it. Hiram Bingham of Yale “discovered” the lost city in 1911, though in fact it was never lost to local people. It was the biggest archaeological news in the world until the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922.

Lunch: At the Santuary Lodge.

Afternoon: Returning to Aguas Calientes, enjoy some free time for personal independent exploration (depending on train schedules). Later on, board the train to Cuzco and upon arrival, transfer by motor-coach to the hotel for our final night.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel and share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
18
Program Concludes
Cuzco
B,L

Activity note: Transfers to the airport for flights home.

Breakfast: Hotel Buffet

Morning: Enjoy free time this morning.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Transfer to Aeropuerto Internacional Alejandro Velasco Astete — Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport of Cuzco (CUZ). Refer to your personal air itinerary for specific flight information. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

DAY
19
Arrival to North America
In Flight





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.