Our tantalising new 19-day tour showcases the history, culture and breathtaking scenery of South America. Admire the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, marvel at Iguazu Falls and enigmatic Machu Picchu. Explore colonial Cusco, bustling Lima and charismatic Santiago. Feel the beat of the tango in Buenos Aires; taste the emerging wines of Chile and try a mix of fine New World cuisine and classic dishes. En route we examine a fascinating array of sites associated with the Inca, colonial conquistadors and modern immigrants.
Elegant squares and piazzas, a legacy of Spanish colonialism
The tango, Argentina’s dance of passion
The legacy of the Spanish in the churches, monasteries and delightful town squares
Historic Inca sites and culture around Cusco and Ollantaytambo
The superb cuisine of these regions now making their mark on the world culinary stage
The vibrant capitals of Santiago, Buenos Aires and Lima
Soaring snow-capped peaks of the Andes – the world’s longest mountain range
See the mighty Iguazu Falls from both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides
The colonial heritage of the city centres and plazas of Santiago, Buenos Aires and Lima
Impressive Inca fortifications at Sacsayhuaman and the sun temple of Coricancha in Cusco
Admire the colonial town of Ollantaytambo built on Inca foundations
Marvel at the glorious mountain estate of Machu Picchu built at the height of the Inca Empire
Days 1–3: Arrive and tour Santiago, Chilean wineries.
Days 4–6: Fly to Buenos Aires, experience tango and visit the Rio Paraná Delta.
Days 7–8: Fly to Puerto Iguazu and view the falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinean sides.
Days 9–10: Sights in Lima.
Days 11–12: Fly to Cusco, visit Sacsayhuaman and Coricancha.
Days 13–14: Markets, churches and Inca ruins, culminating in Machu Picchu.
Day 15: Train to the Sacred Valley, sites in Ollantaytambo.
Days 16–17: Return to Cusco.
Days 18–19: Fly to Santiago and depart.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qantas flies into and out of Santiago four times a week, coinciding with the tour dates on current schedules. Contact us for competitive quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday September 25: Arrive Santiago
The tour begins at the Santiago Hotel this afternoon. There is a light dinner available in the hotel this evening. Overnight Santiago (D)
Tuesday September 26: Touring Santiago
This morning we begin our explorations with a tour of Santiago including the neoclassical La Moneda Palace which houses the seat of the government, the gardens and monuments on Santa Lucia Hill, the Metropolitan Cathedral in the Plaza De Armas and the house of Pueblo Neruda, the celebrated Chilean poet. Our welcome lunch is in a fine local restaurant in the cultural neighbourhood of Lastarria. Overnight Santiago (B, L)
Wednesday September 27: Day trip to the wineries
Today we make travel a short distance out of Santiago towards the Andes Mountains to the village of San Jose de Maipo. We sample Chilean wines and enjoy lunch at a local vineyard. In the afternoon, we explore the plazas and village markets and spectacular mountain landscapes of the Maipo Valley. Overnight Santiago (B, L)
Thursday September 28: To Buenos Aires
We take a morning flight over the Andes to Buenos Aires. On arrival, we embark on an orientation tour of the city including the Obelisk in the Plaza de la Republica, the Casa Rosada, or pink house, where Eva Perón regaled the masses from the balcony and the 18th-century Cabildo building, the original government house and now a museum housing exhibits from the Spanish Colonial era. This evening we have dinner and experience some Argentinian passion with a tango show. Overnight Buenos Aires (B, L, D)
Friday September 29: Touring Buenos Aires
Our day begins with a guided tour of the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires’ well regarded 2500 seat opera house. We continue on to the cosmopolitan and vibrant neighbourhood of La Boca characterised by its colourful houses. La Boca has a rich cultural history and a lively political and arts scene. After lunch in the neighbourhood we head to the Recoleta cemetery and wander through the paths lined with marble mausoleums and decorative statues. Argentina’s rich and famous, past president, national heroes and Eva Perón are all buried here. Overnight Buenos Aires (B, L)
Saturday September 30: El Tigre
We travel a short distance from Buenos Aires to El Tigre in the Paraná Delta; a popular weekend retreat for the locals. We cruise the canals past homes built on stilts by the riverbank and explore the port of Paseo Victoria with its stately homes and rowing clubs. Overnight Buenos Aires (B, L)
Sunday October 1: To Puerto Iguazú
Today we fly to Puerto Iguazú. We transfer to our hotel and check in before viewing the falls for the first time from the Brazilian side. Overnight Puerto Iguazú (B, D)
Monday October 2: Iguazú Falls
This morning we cross the border to view the falls from the Argentinian side. Returning to our hotel, the afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore the town. Overnight Puerto Iguazú (B)
Tuesday October 3: To Lima
Today we fly to Lima, Peru’s capital, a modern city with large sections of preserved colonial architecture. This evening we enjoy dinner at La Rosa Nautica seafood restaurant on the historic pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Overnight Lima (B, D)
Wednesday October 4: Touring Lima
Our day begins at the Larco Hoyle Museum, a converted 18th-century viceroy’s mansion. Founded in 1926 by pre-Columbian collector Larco Hoyle the museum houses one of the best collections of ceramics in Peru with pieces from the Cupinesque, Chimú, Chancay, Nazca and Inca cultures. We enjoy lunch in the private garden of the museum’s café. This afternoon we embark on a tour of the city including the Plaza de Armas, Lima Cathedral with its baroque façade and neoclassical interior, and the San Francisco Monastery, famous for its bone-filled catacombs and vast library with antique texts, some of which pre-date the Spanish conquest. Overnight Lima (B, L)
Thursday October 5: To Cusco
This morning we fly to Cusco, arriving in time for lunch. We continue to the Andean village of Chinchero, believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. We see the Incan ruins and visit the Centre for Andean textiles to see the local craftswomen give a weaving demonstration. Overnight Sacred Valley (B, L)
Friday October 6: Ollantaytambo
We explore the ruins at Ollantaytambo where the Spanish conquistadors suffered a rare defeat in 1536 against the Manco Inca. The fortress also served as a temple with a ceremonial centre at the top of the terraces. The main structure of the Sun Temple is an incomplete building featuring the wall of the six monoliths built from enormous stones, quarried from the mountainside six kilometres away. After lunch in Urambamba we head to Maras to see the terraced salt evaporation ponds used by the Inca. At Moray, we encounter circular terraces thought to have been used as an agricultural laboratory or Incan seed bank. Overnight Sacred Valley (B)
Saturday October 7: Machu Picchu
We depart by train for Aguas Calientes and have lunch before exploring Machu Picchu in the afternoon, when most tourists have left for the day. Undoubtedly the highlight of the tour, the 15th-century Inca citadel evokes a sense of awe and mystery amongst the most seasoned travellers. Undiscovered by the Spanish conquistadors, Machu Picchu lay abandoned and unknown to the outside world until the local Quechua people guided American historian Hiram Bingham to the site in 1911. There is plenty of time to explore the sprawling ruins as we depart when the site closes in the late afternoon. Overnight Aguas Calientes (B, L, D)
Sunday October 8: Machu Picchu
After a free morning with the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu, we return by train to Ollantaytambo and our Sacred Valley Hotel. Overnight Sacred Valley (B, D)
Monday October 9: Pisac
Today we visit the ruins of the hilltop Incan citadel at Pisac overlooking the Sacred Valley. After a picnic lunch overlooking Sacsayhuaman we spend the afternoon exploring the Inca citadel, an immense and impressive ruin of religious and military significance. The site comprises magnificent three-tiered zigzag fortifications, retaining walls, carved stone benches known as the Inca’s Throne and a flat parade ground where an important Inca religious ceremony called Inti Raymi is held every year. Overnight Cusco (B, L)
Tuesday October 10: Coricancha
This morning we visit the Inca sun temple, Coricancha, which means Golden Temple in the Quechua language. Dedicated to the sun god, Inti, it was the most important temple in the Incan Empire. Its walls were once lined with gold and filled with gold statues used in ceremonial rituals. The Spanish colonists demolished the temple, stripping out the gold and used the Inca stonework to build the Church of Santa Domingo that now stands on the site. From Coricancha we head to Cusco Cathedral completed in 1654 which, in addition to being a place of worship, is also a major repository of Cusco’s colonial art. The afternoon is free to explore Cusco. Overnight Cusco (B, L)
Wednesday October 11: Andayhualillas
We depart for Andayhualillas and visit the colonial church which is considered the Sistine Chapel of America due to the quality of its art works. The baroque church dates from the 17th century and houses many great carvings and paintings, the centrepiece being a canvas of the Immaculate Conception. After lunch in a local restaurant there is the opportunity to witness a shamanic ceremony and receive a blessing for the group before returning to Cusco in the afternoon. Overnight Cusco (B, L)
Thursday October 12: Return to Santiago
Today we fly back to Santiago in Chile. There is a farewell dinner in Santiago this evening. Overnight Santiago. (B, D)
Friday October 13: Depart
The tour ends after breakfast this morning. (B)
Has an Honours and Master’s degree in archaeology and has recently completed a PhD. He has led tours to Central and South America for over 20 years.
He has worked as a professional archaeologist and taught extensively in the field. He is currently involved with prehistoric sites in the Atacama region of northern Chile.
Hotels have been selected principally for their central location.
Santiago, HotelPlaza San Francisco (4 nights)
Buenos Aires, Lancaster Hotel (3 nights)
Puerto Iguazú, Belmond Hotel (2 nights)
Lima, Lima Country Club (2 nights)
Sacred Valley, Aranwa Sacred Valley (3 nights)
Aguas Calientes, Inkaterra Hotel (1 night)
Cusco, Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (3 nights)
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.