South Americas BIG FIVE Explorer

From Buenos Aires to Quito
  • Amazon Jungle
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Custom
  • Wildlife
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Tour Description

Discover South America, a continent like no other. Join us on this amazing tour to witness five of the bucket list places on the continent, i.e. Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu, Amazon, Iguazu Falls and the Galapagos Islands.

Starting from Buenos Aires, the birthplace of famous tango, to Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall complex in the world splitting between Brazil and Argentina, and the most beautiful and interesting urban centre -  Rio de Janeiro. We continue to Lima, also known as the Colonial ‘City of Kings’ and we set off exploring the famous Lake Titicaca. Travel to the beautiful city of Cusco and visit what once was the heart of the ancient Inca civilization, the Sacred Valley, and explore one of the most important archaeological sites in the world: Machu Picchu. The journey proceeds with a visit to the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rain forest and continues to the Galapagos Islands, home of unusual and unique wildlife. 

Diverse nature, wildlife, climate, cultures, history and buzzing metropoles are what make the tour of the South America a one of a lifetime experience!

Viva's Best Bits...

Tick off five bucket list places in South America – Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Amazon & Galapagos

Return back in time and get insights into what the lost city of Incas must have looked like

Learn about the wildlife, conservation and future of the largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon Jungle

Tour Itinerary

Customisable ? This tour can be customised to suit your tastes and timing. Enquire here for more information.
Day 1
Buenos Aires

On arrival into Buenos Aires you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s elegant, historic and cosmopolitan capital, is known as the “Paris of the South” due to its European atmosphere with glamorous avenues lined with fashionable shops and Parisian-style restaurants and cafes.
Overnight in Buenos Aires

Day 2
Buenos Aires

Today you have the option of exploring Buenos Aires by regular bus or for the more adventurous, by bicycle (please advise your preference at the time of booking). You will visit many of the highlights that Buenos Aires has to offer including San Telmo, Plaza de Mayo, La Boca, the old docks etc.
Afternoon is at leisure before your evening Dinner & Tango show.
Overnight in Buenos Aires

Day 3
Buenos Aires Iguazu

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your departing flight. Flight Included.
On arrival at Iguazu Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
*Please note the Iguazu Tourist Tax will now be charged on check out at all Iguazu hotels. The amount is currently ARS50 (USD3.40) per person per stay. Please note this tax is subject to change without prior notice.
The spectacular Iguazu Falls that straddle the Argentine-Brazil border, are made up of 275 individual waterfalls lining a 2.7km wide horseshoe-shaped gorge.
Overnight in Iguazu, Argentina

Day 4
Iguazu

In the early morning we will visit the Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side. We will ride the Rainforest Ecological train and then explore panoramic views from above and below the waterfalls. We will visit the Devils Falls, which is said to be one of the most spectacular falls and you have the option of taking a boat ride under the Falls (additional costs apply. Payable locally). National Park fees included.
Overnight in Iguazu, Argentina

Day 5
Iguazu Rio de Janeiro

Today we see the falls from the Brazilian side of the border. After arriving at the visitor centre, we board buses for a tour of the park. Equipped with panoramic windows, the buses are designed to maximize your views of the falls, while the walkways and steps allow you to get up close to the spray. Views of the Floriana Falls, the Devil’s Gorge Canyon and the Iguazu River are spectacular and are guaranteed to impress. National Park fees included.
At the end of the tour you will be taken to the airport for your departing flight to Rio. Flight Included.
Upon arrival in to Rio, you will be met & transferred to your hotel.
Known as the ''Cidade Maravilhosa'', or Marvellous City, Rio never fails to amaze with its sandy beaches, carefree lifestyle and unparalleled natural beauty
Overnight in Rio

Day 6
Rio de Janeiro

Today we explore Corcovado & Sugarloaf Mountain. An early start to get you to thee bottom of Corcovado Hill, where we ascend the mountain by vehicle. Climbing 4km through the Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest urban National Park, we will arrive at the statue of Christ the Redeemer. We have a traditional Brazilian BBQ lunch before visiting the famous Sugarloaf Mountain with views across the entire city. After descending the mountain, you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Included: All transport, tickets and entry fees, lunch (beverages not included).
Approximate duration of tour: 8 hours
Overnight in Rio

Day 7
Rio de Janeiro

Today is a free day for you to relax on one of Rio’s famous beaches such as Ipanema or Copacabana, or explore the city further at your leisure. We have a great selection of optional day tours. Please ask for more details.
Overnight in Rio

Day 8
Rio de Janeiro Lima

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Lima. Flight Included.
On arrival in to Lima you will be met & transferred to your hotel.
Lima, the capital of Peru, sits on the country's arid Pacific coast. Founded in 1535, its colonial centre is well preserved, but today Lima is a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities.
Overnight in Lima

Day 9
Lima

Today is spent touring Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’. On the city tour you will visit a number of well-known sites including the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Plaza de Armas as well as the Catacombs located beneath the San Francisco Convent. This is a chance to appreciate Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past.
Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Lima

Day 10
Lima Puno

Transfer from your hotel to the airport or your onward flight. Flight Included.
On arrival into Juliaca you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Puno, stopping on the way to take in the pre-Inca burial ground of Sillustani. Here you can wander through the remarkable tombs built from volcanic stone. Known as Chullpas, these funerary towers reach heights of up to 12 metres. Overlooking the beautiful Lake Umayo, Sillustani is considered to be one of the most important necropolises in the world.
Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.
Overnight in Puno

Day 11
Puno -Lake Titicaca

Enjoy a full day out on Lake Titicaca by boat. We explore a scenic and less touristy area of Taquile Island. Enjoy a pristine sandy beach where you will have plenty of time to relax and feel the serenity of Lake Titicaca. We then hike along a pre-Inca trail with spectacular landscapes of the island, visiting families of weavers to learn about their textile art and symbolism. We then journey to the community of Santa Maria-Llachon, on the tip of the Capachica Peninsula. This is a picturesque off the beaten track destination. We are welcomed by the small Quechua speaking community and introduced to an intensive cultural experience, observing the traditions of the community and participating in an ancient ceremony to learn about their magical world.
After lunch we head to a remote area of the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca to explore Uros Capi. These are considered to be the last authentic floating islands, less commercial and little visited. The Uros are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in South America.
Overnight in Puno - We also offer an overnight homestay Tour on Lake Titicaca. Please ask for more details

Day 12
Puno Cusco

This morning you will be transferred to the bus station for your bus journey to Cusco
The spectacular journey from Puno to Cusco takes you across the Altiplano and you will travel accompanied by an English-speaking guide. The drive takes you through sleepy Andean villages and past spectacular snow-capped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. Lunch is included and you will arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening.
Approximate duration of drive: 10 hours. Lunch is included.
Upon arrival you will be met & transferred to your hotel
Cusco, set at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Peruvian Andes, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Incan remains.
Overnight in Cusco

Day 13
Cusco

Take a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo (giant rock), the ancient site of Puca Pucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay.
Afternoon is at leisure.
Overnight in Cusco

Day 14
Sacred Valley Aguas Calientes

Today, explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. We visit the village of Pisac, with its famous market. On market days Pisac comes alive with locals from nearby hillside villages in traditional dress selling local fruit and vegetables as well as handicrafts. Later we explore Ollantaytambo, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, and is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning.
In the late after board a train in Ollantaytambo bound for Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu township)
Overnight in Aguas Calientes

Day 15
Machu Picchu Cusco

Today you will be astonished at your first view of Machu Picchu, a stunning display of ancient architecture with incredible surroundings! Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and monuments such as the Main Square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Cemeteries.
Optional extra: Include a permit to climb Huayna Picchu.
Afternoon you will return to Cusco by train & road.
Overnight in Cusco

Day 16
Cusco Amazon Jungle

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Puerto Maldonado. Flight Included.
**Why not extend your stay & explore Cusco some more?
Upon arrival transfer by road and a two and a half hour boat journey to Refugio Amazonas (Alternative Amazon Lodges available), located in a 200-hectare private reserve. The boat ride from the Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas takes us past the Infierno Community and the Tambopata National Reserve checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. A boxed lunch is provided to eat along the way.
On arrival you will be welcomed to the lodge and given a brief orientation.
After dinner at the lodge there is the option to join a night walk when most of the animals are active but sometimes difficult to see. The frogs are easier to see with their fascinating shapes and colours and fascinating sounds.
Overnight at Refugio Amazonas

Day 17
Peru Amazon Jungle

After breakfast venture out onto the lake by canoe or catamaran, looking for wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman, horned screamers, macaws and otters that are sometimes seen in the area. Back on land, a 30 minute walk from the lodge takes you to the 25 metre scaffolding canopy tower, complete with staircase running through the middle and providing safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built on high ground to give views of the primary rainforest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. Enjoy excellent views across the canopy and look for toucans, macaws and raptors.
After lunch you will visit a farm to learn about local agriculture and Amazonian crops before an ethnobotanical tour to learn about the medicinal uses of the various plants and trees of the region. In the evening, Refugio Amazonas staff offer lectures covering topics such as conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
Overnight Refugio Amazonas

Day 18
Peru Amazon Jungle

Witness the audio and visual spectacle of a clay lick, watching vibrant coloured macaws, parrots and parakeets feast on clay. Species such as dusky-headed and cobalt-winged parakeets are often seen and with luck we may also see mealy and yellow-crowned Amazons, blue-headed pionus, severe macaw and orange-cheeked (Barraband`s) parrots.
Later, a short hike from the lodge brings us to a beautiful Brazil nut forest that has been harvested for decades. Here you can learn about the whole process of the rainforest’s only sustainably harvested product, from collection through transportation to drying. You will also see the remains of a camp used by the Brazil nut gatherers for 2 months each year.
In the afternoon, there will be a visit to a peccary clay lick, this time to see mammals. Wild rain forest pigs show up in herds of up to twenty to eat clay, alongside deer, guan and parakeets.
Overnight Refugio Amazonas

Day 19
Peru Amazon Jungle Lima

After breakfast, return to Puerto Maldonado for your onward flight to Cusco. Flight Included.
Upon arrival in to Lima, you will be met & transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Lima

Day 20
Lima Quito

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Quito. Flight Included
On arrival into Quito you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador
Overnight in Quito

Day 21
Quito

Commence a colonial city tour of Quito exploring the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical old town in the Americas. Visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compañía and iconic San Francisco which have stunning multi-ethnic designs and cultural heritage. We then take you to the Ethnographic Museum, which shows the great diversity of Ecuador’s native groups.

This afternoon you will see The Equatorial Monument which marks the exact middle of the World, Latitude 0º. You can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. A certificate for having crossed the Equator is issued to each guest! The surrounding, volcanic scenery is stunning. Beside the monument is a Colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and gift shops.
Lunch not included.
Overnight in Quito

Day 22
Quito Galapagos Islands

Transfer to Quito Airport for your onward flight to the Galapagos. Flight Included.
Please note that before taking the flight you must pay the INGALA Tourist Control Card Fee at the Galapagos Government Council counter. This is currently US$20 per person but subject to change.
On arrival at Baltra Airport, travellers pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the Galapagos Islands National Park Entrance Fee. This is currently US$100 per person but subject to change.
Guides will meet you, collect your luggage and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbour. Motorized rafts, called ‘pangas’ will transport you to the M/C Seaman Journey and our crew will welcome you on board. After departure and lunch, we make our first island visit.
**EXAMPLE ITINERARY**:
Afternoon: Interpretation Centre
Opened to the public in 1998, the Interpretation Centre is set in exuberant gardens with stunning ocean views. The Interpretation Centre presents a complete and documented history of the Galapagos, its flora, fauna and ecosystems. It focuses on the history of the archipelago from its volcanic origins to the present day with information on both the geological and human history as well as conservation facts and natural history.
**NOTE : This is an example itinerary. We have a variety of Galapagos Cruises available from 4-15 day itineraries. Please ask for more details)
Overnight on board Galapagos Seaman Journey

Day 23
Galapagos Islands

**EXAMPLE ITINERARY**
MORNING: The Galapaguera was built to increase the population of the Galapagos tortoise that is under threat from introduced species such as wild goats and cats. It is a breeding station and sanctuary for giant tortoises and provides a good place in which to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.
San Cristobal Island is the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago. It has some endemic species including the San Cristobal mockingbird, San Cristobal lava lizard, leaf-toed gecko and turtles. The beach is large and serves as a nesting site for sea turtles. The females lay their eggs in the sand dunes between January and May.
AFTERNOON: Cerro Brujo is a beautiful white coral sand beach, with good swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise waters. It is home to a colony of sea lions and blue-footed boobies and there are great egrets and great blue herons in the lagoon behind the beach. Nazca boobies, frigate birds and shore birds can also be observed. This is the first coast where Charles Darwin went ashore in 1835.
The salt water pools behind the sand dunes were used by the fishermen as a salt mine in order to preserve food for the local population. Here you may see the Chatham mockingbird and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both species being endemic to the island and unique to this area. You may also spot Galapagos turtles and with luck the small bird known as the Pájaro Brujo in Spanish, an endemic species from San Cristobal Island. The vegetation on the island includes candelabrum cacti and carob trees.
Located on the north coast of Isla San Cristobal, Cerro Brujo is a peaceful place with white sand and crystal water, a perfect combination for an incredible visit.
Overnight on board Galapagos Seaman Journey

Day 24
Galapagos Islands

**EXAMPLE ITINERARY**
MORNING: Española Island is the southernmost of the Galapagos Islands and one of the oldest, and due to its isolation it has a large number of endemic species including the Española mockingbird, Española lava lizard and the waved albatross.
Located on the north-eastern coast of Española Island (or Hood Island as it was named by the English), Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. The beach attracts many sea lions and you may see sharks as well as green sea turtles in the crystal clear ocean waters.
AFTERNOON: This beautiful site on the ocean front is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. The large waved albatrosses breed on the island and use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, where waves crash into a lava fissure, creating a blowhole that spurts water 30-50 metres into the air. Suarez Point presents wonderful photographic opportunities.
Overnight on board Galapagos Seaman Journey

Day 25
Galapagos Islands

*EXAMPLE ITINERARY**
MORNING: Cormorant Point on Floreana Island probably offers one of the largest and best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. It is situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various other species of shorebirds to observe including common stilts, white-cheeked pintail ducks, large-billed flycatchers, finches and other migratory birds. There are two distinct beaches: “Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and “Flour Beach” which is made up of fine, pulverized coral. Green sea turtles nest on Flour Beach and several species of rays can be seen in the waters.
AFTERNOON: Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed here by the crew of a whaling ship in the 18th century. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. This area was also the site of a failed colonization effort by Norwegians in 1926. At the north of the island we ascend an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, you can see the landscape from the coastline at Enderby Islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and the wide forest of Palo Santo.
Overnight on board Galapagos Seaman Journey

Day 26
Galapagos Islands Quito

**EXAMPLE ITINERARY**
MORNING: Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (turtle from Pinta), and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
After the morning excursion you will be taken to Baltra Airport for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil. Flight Included. Transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Quito or Guayaquil

Day 27
Quito or Guayaquil Depart

Depart Any time. Transfer to the Airport is Included

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Standard hotel accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 4 nights on board Galapagos Islands cruise
  • Included Copy 31 Hotel upgrades available
  • Included Copy 31 Alternative 4-15 day Galapagos Cruise options (Additional costs apply)
Food
  • Included Copy 20 Breakfast daily, and other meals as outlined in the included sightseeing tours
  • Included Copy 20 Full Board while on the Galapagos Cruise & in the Amazon (Excludes drinks)
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Internal flights
  • Included Copy 20 All transfers, mostly on a private basis
  • Included Copy 20 Sightseeing on a shared basis as outlined in the tour itinerary with English speaking guides
  • Included Copy 7 Galapagos National Park Fees of USD$100 per person payable locally (subject to changes)
  • Included Copy 7 Galapagos tourist card of USD$20 per person payable locally (subject to changes)
  • Included Copy 20 Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes Return
  • Included Copy 20 Entrance fees & National Park fees, unless otherwise stated
  • Included Copy 7 Iguazu Tourist Tax payable locally. Approx. ARS50 (USD3.40) per person. Subject to change
  • Included Copy 7 International flights are NOT included. However can be added. Please ask for more details.
Transportation
Land, Air, Ship, Train ...

M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey

16 Passengers

Click here for dates & prices
Duration

27 days

Price from

$9,330 USD

Per person, twin share

Daily departures
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