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Amazon, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls & Rio de Janeiro: Some of the continent's top natural and cultural highlights

Days: 15 | From: $7,990/per person

Stay in a premier Amazon eco-lodge, then explore Cusco and Machu Picchu before traveling to Iguazu Falls, and finish your trip in glittering Rio de Janeiro.

  • Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

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At a glance

  • Lima
    1 night: renowned cuisine and world class museums
  • Amazon Jungle
    3 nights: stay in a premier ecotourism lodge
  • Sacred Valley
    2 nights: Andean life and ancient ruins in this magnificent river valley
  • Machu Picchu
    1 night: time to explore this stunning icon in depth & at non-peak hours
  • Cusco
    2 nights: take in the captivating former Incan capital
  • Iguazu Falls
    2 nights: walk among 275 distinct cascades in the middle of subtropical forest
  • Rio de Janeiro
    3 nights: visit the beaches of this sparkling coastal metropolis

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1:

Welcome to Lima

Miraflores Beach, Lima

Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel in Miraflores, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is a great area for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants.

Private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged; we can also arrange culinary tours focusing on Peru’s increasingly renowned cuisine, or art tours for those with special interests.

Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores

With a contemporary design and an ideal location, the flagship Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores offers 148 luxury rooms and suites. Peruvian-owned, the hotel manages to be sophisticated, first class, and modern while also exhibiting local charm. Amenities include a heated pool, fitness center, and an outstanding location in the heart of Lima's main commercial and cultural area. Several of the city's top restaurants are within walking distance.

Upgrades available: Hotel B, Miraflores Park Hotel, and others
Day 2:

Fly to the Amazon

Amazon Wildlife - Blue & Gold Macaw

Fly into the jungle to Puerto Maldonado, a river city in the Amazon rainforest, and travel by boat up the Tambopata River to your premier lodge.

Spend the next three nights at Posada Amazonas, with daily excursions to view the unique plant and animal life of the area. Posada Amazonas is part of a pioneering ecotourism project that has been supported in its work by Conservation International. It’s a great base from which to explore the surrounding rainforest.

The exact itinerary can vary, but you will make a series of excursions into the rainforest and to nearby lakes to spot wildlife, with chances to see several species of monkeys, a wide variety of bird life, and an incredible variety of other flora and fauna.

Accommodations: Posada Amazonas

Posada Amazonas is a jungle lodge that sits within the private territory of the Infierno Community, almost 5,000 acres of protected land. This property is a pioneering eco-tourism project that has received support from Conservation International, and the lodge is managed in a low-impact manner in cooperation with the local community to create a model of sustainable tourism. Its architecture features an eclectic blend of traditional native materials and modern eco-lodge technology. All rooms have private baths; decor is fairly utilitarian and the emphasis is on experiencing the rainforest, not on creature comforts. The 30 rooms are decorated with bas-relief wood carvings representing stories and characters from the Ese-eja tradition. While staying at this lodge you'll have the chance to view a wide variety of bird and animal life, including macaws, parrots, giant river otters, caiman, and several species of primate. This traditional lodge is one of the top in the Peruvian Amazon

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Alternative lodging options: Reserva Amazonica, Refugio AmazonasLuxury Amazon cruises are also an option, such as the Delfin I or the Aria Amazon
Days 3-4:

Explore the Amazon Jungle in Search of Unique Plant and Animal Life

Amazon Wildlife - Monkey

Explore the Amazon Jungle and learn about the life it supports.

Excursions vary depending on the weather and the time of year, but usually include a trip to Chimbadas Oxbow Lake, where you will paddle around in search of Giant River Otters, caiman, hoatzin, horned screamers, and other wildlife.

You will also visit a nearby salt lick that attracts vibrant flocks of colorful parrots and parakeets. Take extended hikes into the forest (including night hikes, to see a variety of wildlife not active during the day), and visit a local farm to learn more about how local plants are cultivated for food and medicinal purposes.

You also have the option to simply relax at your comfortable lodge and enjoy the incredible isolation and tranquility of the area.

Accommodations: Posada Amazonas

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Journey to the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Road into the mountains of the Sacred Valley

Navigate back down the Tambopata River to Puerto Maldonado, where you will board your plane to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. Your local guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a long, fertile river valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Visit Chincheros, a traditional small town situated on a plateau overlooking the Sacred Valley. Explore a colonial church with remarkable paintings and frescoes, which was constructed over the ruins of an Incan temple and is surrounded by impressive Incan terracing. Chincheros is also home to several highly-regarded weaving cooperatives known for their high-quality textiles. Peru is known for its intricate traditional weavings, many of which use symbols to tell stories or depictions of daily life.

Afterward enjoy lunch at a great small restaurant founded by a renowned local chef. Your private guide will be there to help you make the most of the entire experience.

Accommodations: Hotel Sol y Luna

The Sol y Luna Lodge is located in Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas, not far from the town of Urubamba. Peruvian art adorns each of the first class, comfortable adobe cottages, whose terraces offer spectacular views of the mountains. A place that does things the right way, this hotel has long been among our traveler favorites due to the superb accommodations, location, and service. The property offers two outstanding restaurants. There is also a stable with beautiful horses that can be taken out into the surrounding mountains on horseback riding excursions.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Alternative lodging options: Albergue Ollantaytambo: for those who want to stay right in Ollantaytambo
Day 6:

Incan Sites and Ancient Villages: Moray, Maras, and Ollantaytambo

Ruins at Ollantaytambo

Spend the day exploring more of the Sacred Valley, seeing less-visited sites that will deepen your understanding of the local culture.

Discover the unique Incan site of Moray and the nearby town and ancient salt pans of Maras. After a scenic picnic lunch, visit Ollantaytambo, one of the few towns to survive in its current layout from Incan times.

Accommodations: Hotel Sol y Luna

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7:

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu from afar

Travel by train to Machu Picchu, one of South America’s most iconic sites.

Visit this remarkable site with a private guide, enjoy lunch at the famous Sanctuary Lodge, and then have the chance to explore the ruins on your own before returning to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Accommodations: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

This hotel sits on its own 12 secluded acres in Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu. The hotel is ideally located, a short walk to the train station and the shuttles that take visitors to the ruins. Guests follow stone pathways to their rooms, located in comfortable one- or two-story whitewashed casitas. This hotel is a part of its natural environment in the cloud forest, and it should be noted that you may experience some humidity in your room. The hotel offers a high level of service, great design, and a first-class restaurant with views of the rushing Vilcanota River.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8:

Machu Picchu and Cusco

Sun behind the ruins at Machu Picchu

Return to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins on your own. This is a great way to experience the site at your own pace when there are far fewer people around. You’ll also have the chance to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu, or hike back along the Inca Trail to Inti Punku (the Gate of the Sun). There is a lot to see in and around Machu Picchu.

After visiting the ruins, catch the afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

Accommodations: Inkaterra La Casona Cusco

A Relais & Chateaux property, La Casona is set in a restored 16th-century colonial manor house, which was built over an Inca complex and later occupied by the conquistadors of Peru. Its 11 suites surround an elegant courtyard, and the hotel offers a dining room, dining terrace, lounge and sitting area. La Casona graciously preserves the site's historic details while offering modern comfort and amenities. An exclusive boutique hotel experience, and one of the top options in Cusco.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Upgrades and alternatives: Palacio Nazarenas, Palacio del Inka, and others
Day 9:

Private Tour of Cusco: History, Culture, Architecture, and more

Cusco  - Sacsuhuaman

Get to know Cusco with your knowledgeable private guide, visiting the historical highlights of this fascinating city. Visit Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you can enjoy views out over Cusco and the entire surrounding area. Afterward enjoy the afternoon to explore more of the city on your own.

Cusco is one of the highlights of a trip to Peru, an intriguing place built on the foundations of the former Incan capital. You can observe massive Incan walls along many of the streets of the city. The city has a vibrant atmosphere and many excellent restaurants.

Accommodations: Inkaterra La Casona Cusco

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 10:

Fly to Foz do Iguaçu

Iguazu Falls Closeup with Rainbow

Fly into Foz do Iguaçu, home to the magnificent Iguazu Falls, where your private guide will welcome you to the country and take you to your hotel. Your hotel is the only one located within the Iguazu National Park on the Brazilian side. Enjoy a private walking tour of the Brazilian side, exploring the trails and catwalks around the falls. Guests at this hotel also have the unique privilege of being able to see the falls at close range after the park closes.

Accommodations: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

The only hotel within Brazil's Iguassu National Park and just a two-minute walk to the Iguassu Falls, this hacienda-style property is a unique and exceptional way to experience this area. Tastefully remodeled by Belmond Hotels (formerly Orient Express), it is the most refined hotel in the vicinity, and in the evening it gives exclusive access to the falls after the park closes and all other visitors have to leave. The hotel has 193 rooms, including 16 suites, and offers two restaurants, a bar, pool, gym, tennis courts, and full-service spa.

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 11:

Iguazu Falls: Another Perspective

Iguazu Falls - Grass on river rocks

Enjoy a trip to the Argentine side of the falls, getting a different perspective on this magnificent site. The majority of the trails and walkways are on the Argentine side of the falls, and most boat tours that take you up close to the falls also start on this side.

Accommodations: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 12:

Travel to Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Mountain View

Fly to Rio, a coastal metropolis, where your private guide will take you to your hotel on Copacabana Beach. This is one of the best locations in the city; many of Rio’s best restaurants, boutiques, and cafes are located here and in neighboring Ipanema and Leblon.

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

The Copacabana Palace opened its doors in 1923 and continues to be the grande dame of Rio hotels. The hotel's illustrious history is apparent from the minute you walk in the door and see the photos of the countless celebrities and political leaders that have stayed there. The hotel overlooks Copacabana Beach, and its grounds and facilities are exceptionally elegant. Operated by Belmond (formerly Orient Express), the service is impeccable.

*Includes: Breakfast

Alternative lodging options: Marina All Suites Hotel, in the trendy Leblon area
Day 13:

The Best View in Rio and Historic Santa Teresa

Rio de Janeiro Cristo Redentor View

Get to know beautiful Rio with your private local guide. Head to the top of Corcovado Mountain to the iconic Cristo Redentor statue, where you can take in one of the best views in the world. Afterward, visit the Tijuca Forest National Park, the largest urban forest in the world. Drive through the historic Santa Teresa neighborhood, filled with mansions dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and see Rio’s bustling downtown. You have the end of the day free to explore on your own and experience Rio’s nightlife. We’ll recommend some top options for seeing great local music!

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 14:

Time to Relax and Explore Rio; Cable Ride up Sugar Loaf Mountain

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro - Suguarloaf Mountain

After a relaxed morning on your own, head up Sugar Loaf Mountain on a cable car for privileged views of Guanabara Bay, Corcovado, Rio-Niteroi Bridge, Santa Cruz Fortress, and the glittering scenery of Rio.

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 15:

Depart for Home or Your Next Destination

Today you will say goodbye to your local guide and head to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Amazon Wildlife - Blue MacawSol y Luna Hotel at nightOllantaytamboSacred Valley - Willoc GirlMorayLlama at Ruins in Machu PicchuMachu Picchu Ruins Close UpInkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel - BridgeHotel das Cataratas Aerial ViewSunset behind mountains in Rio de Janeiro with water reflection

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Add extra days in Lima, Cusco, or Rio: All are worth exploring on your own, and we can arrange a variety of activities, including city tours, culinary excursions, visits to ruins and historical sites, art tours, and active options such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

  • Take part in a Pachamanca, a traditional Andean cooking ceremony on the shores of Peru’s Lake Piuray.

  • Add a few nights at Lake Titicaca, easily accessible from Cusco.

  • Hike to Machu Picchu: Get off the train at Kilometer 104 to walk the last four to six hours along the famous Inca trail. Or see our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itinerary for information about hiking the whole trail over several days.

  • Visit the Itaipu Hydroelectic Dam, one of the world’s largest operating hydroelectric facilities, at Iguazu.

  • Take in a samba show in Rio; we’ll arrange an evening at one of our local favorites, an intimate and authentic venue.

  • Hike with your private guide up Tijuca Peak, the highest peak in Rio, for rewarding views of the city and coastline.

  • Enjoy a private tour of Rio’s street art, learning about the history and politics of this unique art form.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1-(800)-342-1796

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Why Travel with Vaya?

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South America is the only place we do trips, and no one knows our destinations better. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former U.S. expatriates with years of experience in the region.

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From the first phone call to after you get back, we’re here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

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