Discover the famous Machu Picchu ruins and the Amazon rainforest in Peru, immerse yourself in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, and explore Iguazu Falls and Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. This 3-week itinerary combines each country’s natural highlights with the cosmopolitan cities of Lima, Santiago, and Buenos Aires.

Highlights

  • Visit the Machu Picchu ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore culture in the iconic cities of Lima, Santiago, and Buenos Aires
  • Discover lush rainforests and the species that call them home
  • View the majestic snowcapped mountains of Torres del Paine   
  • Feel the power of the thundering Iguazu Falls 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Lima Lima
Day 2 Lima – City Tour Lima
Day 3 Lima/Cusco – City Tour & Nearby Ruins Cusco
Day 4 Cusco – Sacred Valley Urambambe 
Day 5 Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu Aguas Calientes
Day 6 Machu Picchu- Cusco Cusco
Day 7 Cusco- Puerto Maldonado (Hacienda Concepcion) Hacienda Concepcion
Day 8 Hacienda Concepcion Hacienda Concepcion 
Day 9 Hacienda Concepcion Hacienda Concepcion 
Day 10 Puerto Maldonado – Lima – Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 11 Santiago de Chile – City tour Santiago
Day 12 Santiago de Chile: Valparaiso & Viña del Mar Santiago
Day 13 Santiago de Chile/ Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 14 Puerto Natales: Full Day Torres del Paine National Park Puerto Natales
Day 15 Puerto Natales/El Calafate El Calafate
Day 16 El Calafate: Perito Moreno Glacier El Calafate
Day 17 El Calafate / Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 18 Buenos Aires: City Tour & Dinner and Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 19 Buenos Aires/Puerto Iguazu Puerto Iguazu
Day 20 Puerto Iguazu: Excursion to Argentinian Falls Puerto Iguazu
Day 21 Puerto Iguazu: Excursion to Brazilian Falls/ BUENOS AIRES Rio de Jainero 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Lima

The Plaza Mayor in the Historic Center is a great place to people watch and see the local government buildings
The Plaza Mayor in the historic center is a great place to people watch and see the local government buildings 

Welcome to Lima! Your guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your hotel. Along the way, they will point out the sights and explain all the attractions the city has to offer. 

Day 2: Lima - City Tour

Walking around Lima and experiencing everyday life is one of the best ways to get to know the city
Walking around Lima and experiencing everyday life is one of the best ways to get to know the city  

Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. 

From there, visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family.

Continue to the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts, as well as pieces of erotic art. Finally, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific.

Day 3: Lima - Cusco - City Tour & Nearby Ruins

The terraced gardens of the Incan empire served several functions - to optimize limited growing space and to prevent landslides
The terraced gardens served two functions: to optimize limited growing space and to prevent landslides 

Head to the Lima airport for your transfer flight to Cusco. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport and accompany you to the hotel.  After settling in, head out for your day tour! Your first stop will be Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun."  The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438 - 1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent.

Visit the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the Plaza de Armas. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654. Continue your tour to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, built originally by the Killke people and expanded upon by the Incas in the 15th century. 

Continue to Quenqo, an archaeological complex used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Explore Puca Pucara — meaning "Red Fortress" — an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby. 

Day 4: Cusco - Sacred Valley

Shopping at the traditional Pisca Market is an experience of colors, textures, and sounds
Shopping at the traditional Pisca Market is an experience of colors, textures, and sounds

Start your tour today at Awanakancha, a camelid farm and textile showroom where local families demonstrate the entire traditional process of weaving and making garments. Visit the Pisac market, which has scores of stands that exhibit and sell products manufactured by local residents. You'll find vibrant textiles, intricate carvings, and replicas of old Inca pieces.

After having lunch at a local restaurant, head to the old Incan town of Ollantaytambo, where current-day residents still live in the old stone architecture laid down by the Incas centuries ago.  Ollantaytambo is a sprawling network of ancient storehouses, buildings, and old terraces, and was used as a Tambo —  a leisure place used to accommodate the groups that traveled long distances.

Day 5: Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu

The traditional clothing of the people who call the Sacred Valley home is covered in colorful designs

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Urubamba in the morning and drive you to the Ollantaytambo train station, where they will assist you in finding the correct train.  Take the Vistadome train for about two hours to Aguas Calientes. This town is also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo and is the last stop before entering the remains of the most important archaeological site in Peru. Aguas Calientes contains the train station, a craft market, restaurants, and a variety of hotels for those who prefer to spend the night at the foot of the mountain and climb it early in the day.

After a short bus ride up to the ruins, you will reach Machu Picchu, a masterpiece of engineering and architecture that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. 

Day 6: Machu Picchu - Cusco

Walk on the stone walkway of the Inca Trail on the way to the ruins of Puerta del Sol
Walk on the stone path of the Inca Trail on the way to the ruins of Puerta del Sol

You'll have the morning at leisure in Aguas Calientes. If you feel adventurous or romantic, catch the sunrise at the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) by reaching the ruins very early in the morning and trekking up to the gate on the Inca Trail

In the afternoon head to the train station at Aguas Calientes and take the Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo.  Your guide will pick you up from the station at the established time and transfer you to your hotel in Cusco City. 

Day 7: Cusco - Puerto Maldonado 

Stay in the warm and welcoming Hacienda Concepcion, and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle
Stay in a warm and welcoming hacienda, and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle

Take a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the southern Amazon rainforest. Take a short motorized canoe trip down the Madre de Dios River to the Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion deep in the jungle, where you will stop for a traditional, delicious meal.  

After lunch, take a walk around the hacienda's trails, where you will discover and learn about the primary and secondary rainforest.  At dusk navigate the river by outboard motorized canoe with a guided twilight river excursion. Learn about the Amazonian river ecosystem, nocturnal wildlife behavior, and the southern constellations.

Day 8: Amazon Rainforest

Many animals in the Amazonian rainforest exhibit dazzling colors, like this Blue Morpho Butterfly
Many animals in the Amazonian rainforest exhibit dazzling colors, like this Blue Morpho butterfly

Get ready for a long trek through terra firma into the Tambopata National Reserve towards Lake Sandoval. Navigate by dugout canoe across this mirror-like oxbow lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, the blue-and-yellow macaw, the red howler monkey, the black caiman (a member of the alligator family), and one of the world's biggest freshwater scaled fish, the paiche.

Head back to the lodge for lunch, and later go on a tour of the canopy walkway, where you can spot anacondas! Take a 20-minute ride by outboard motorized canoe to an interpretation center, where you will learn about its construction and conservation projects. Ascend one of the two 98-foot towers (30 m) and cross the seven hanging bridges that connect the treetops at 91 feet high (28 m). Enjoy the breathtaking vistas and catch a glimpse of white-throated toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, squirrel monkeys and three-toed sloths. Go on a night excursion into the rainforest to see fascinating nocturnal animals and listen to the sounds of the variety of species that surround you.

Day 9: Amazon Rainforest

Spend a peaceful evening on the water in a dugout canoe as the rainforest transitions to night
Spend a peaceful evening on the water in a dugout canoe as the rainforest transitions to night

After a beautiful sunrise and an early breakfast, go on a farm excursion, where you will learn local cultivation techniques and taste some of the produce.  Visit a botanical garden and discover the immense variety of medicinal plants used by the indigenous people of the Amazon.

In the afternoon,  head back to the hacienda to enjoy lunch. After lunch, you will be treated to a trip in a dugout canoe on a natural pond. Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while observing tropical hoatzin birds, as well as an array of flycatchers and Gray-necked Wood-Rails. Disembark at the remains of the Fitzcarrald steamboat, where you'll learn about its history and how it became part of the award-winning film, "Fitzcarraldo."

Day 10: Puerto Maldonado - Lima - Santiago de Chile

The snow-capped mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this cosmopolitan city
The snow-capped mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the cosmopolitan city of Santiago, Chile

After breakfast, take a ride back to Puerto Maldonado by outboard motorized canoe. While you wait to transfer to your flight to Santiago de Chile, take some time to check out the beautiful Tambopata Butterfly Farm. The rest of the day is reserved for travel — take a flight to Santiago de Chile via Lima, and upon arrival in Santiago transfer to your hotel. 

Day 11: Santiago de Chile 

The Plaza de Armas is a central place to view history and architecture in Santiago
The Plaza de Armas is a central place to view history and architecture in Santiago

Take the morning to explore the city or relax in your hotel. In the afternoon, start your guided half-day tour at Santa Lucia Hill. From the Caupolicán terrace, you can admire the Hidalgo Castle (formerly a Spanish fortress) and enjoy beautiful views of the city. The tour continues to Constitution Square and La Moneda Palace, the current seat of government.

The next stop on the tour is Plaza de Armas, the main square. Here you'll find the Metropolitan Cathedral, the palace of the Supreme Court, the Central Post Office and other grand buildings of historical interest. A short drive takes you to San Cristobal Hill. On the way, you will see the Central Market, Mapocho Station, Forest Park, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Take a stroll and sip on mote con huesillo, a summery Chilean drink made from wheat and peaches. If there's time, return by cable car and make your way back to the hotel. 

Day 12: Santiago de Chile - Valparaiso and Viña del Mar

Centuries of European colonization have lent a distinctly German feel to the architecture
Centuries of European colonization have lent a distinctly German feel to the architecture

Today, explore the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Be amazed by the colorful Valparaiso, an eclectic mix of port city and university town. Famous for its stacked hills and incredible street art, this UNESCO World Heritage City takes you back in time yet has a modern feel. As you climb the winding stone stairs or ride in one of the famous funiculars, you'll enjoy incredible views of the bay and German-style homes.

Along the way, you'll see the Plaza de la Victoria, the famous Turri Clock, and the Naval Academy. A highlight of this tour is visiting the home of Chile's Nobel Prize-winning poet, Pablo Neruda (1904- 1973). Find a restaurant along the cobbled streets — your guide can provide recommendations. Take the funicular down and then head up the coast to Viña del Mar, known for its beaches and gardens.

Day 13: Santiago de Chile - Puerto Natales

A gorgeous sunset reflects off the cliffs and water at Puerto Natales
A gorgeous sunset reflects off the cliffs and water at Puerto Natales 

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in Puerto Natales in Patagonia. This trip usually takes approximately 3 hours, but don't worry about getting bored — the views from the window are breathtaking the entire way. 

Day 14: Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is breathtaking, but be forewarned: once you visit, you may never want to leave.
Torres del Paine is breathtaking, but be forewarned: once you visit, you may never want to leave. 

Journey into the surreal Torres del Paine National Park on a full-day tour from Puerto Natales. See the sparkling glaciers, iridescent lagoons, and snow-capped spires of the Andes Mountains during an exhilarating excursion into the wild park. Explore the depths of Milodon Cave with a guide, visit a gushing waterfall near the Nordenskjold Lake, admire the shimmering surface of Sarmiento Lake, and trek the enchanting Grey Glacier on this unforgettable adventure.

Day 15: Puerto Natales - El Calafate

The enormous and stunning landscape of South America will leave you awe-struck
The enormous and stunning landscape of South America will leave you awe-struck

After breakfast, you will transfer to the city of El Calafate in Argentina. This scenic ride takes four to five hours, and you will cross the border via Cancha Carrera. Along the way, keep an eye out for animals like rhea birds, llama-like guanacos, Patagonian hare, and even condors. 

Day 16: El Calafate - Perito Moreno Glacier

The glacial blue waters surrounding the Glacier reflect the sunlight and seem to glow from within
The frigid blue waters surrounding the glacier reflect the sunlight and seem to glow

After breakfast, you will start the full day excursion to Perito Moreno. In Glacier National Park, you will take the route along Lake Argentino where, 50 miles (80 km) from El Calafate, the Perito Moreno rises in a wall of ice 230 ft (70 m) from the water. Numerous walkways leading to the front of the glacier offer both a visual and auditory experience, with each different view soundtracked by the constant ruptures and echoes of the iceberg. The tour also includes a short boat trip past the glacier. You will return to the hotel in the evening.

For the more adventurous, glacier hiking tours are also available as an addition. For more information on these excursions, just ask!

Day 17: El Calafate - Buenos Aires

The view from Estancia Cristina is worth the trip to the remote location
The view from Estancia Cristina is worth the trip to the remote location

Free day — ask your travel advisor about optional excursions. A great option is taking a day trip to the beautiful but remote Estancia Cristina, a Patagonian lodge located in Glacier National Park with stunning views of the Upsala Glacier.

In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to the big city of Buenos Aires.

Day 18: Buenos Aires City Tour & Dinner and Tango Show

Pochi and Osvaldo are San Telmo's emblematic tango couple - they've been dancing together for three decades
Pochi and Osvaldo are San Telmo's famous tango couple — they've been dancing together for three decades

Join a fascinating city tour and get an overview of the city,  its attractions, and a better understanding of Argentina’s history and culture. During this three-hour tour, you will visit many attractions: the neighborhood of Retiro, the Avenida 9 de Julio, South America’s widest avenue, named after Argentina's Independence Day, El Teatro Colón, the main performance theater in South America,  the historic and architecturally imposing city center, the modern docks of Puerto Madero, and the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo,  with stops at the street museum Caminito, located in the La Boca neighborhood.  

At night, enjoy a delicious meal with free-flowing wine and a tango show where you will experience the heartbeat of Argentina firsthand, before being transferred to your hotel to relax for the rest of the night.

Day 19: Buenos Aires - Puerto Iguazu

Argentina has many ecosystems and climates - stay a while and see them all!
Argentina has many ecosystems and climates - stay a while and see them all!

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Puerto Iguazu. When you arrive in Puerto Iguazu, you will be met with a private car which will take you to your selected hotel, where you will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the pool. In the evening, visit the Three Borders Landmark, located in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Day 20: Argentinian Falls

It's a common sight to see condors circling by catching the warm currents of air above the falls
It's a common sight to see condors circling by catching the warm currents of air above the falls 

Get ready for a full-day excursion to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls. Explore the national park and take in the incredible views of the 200 waterfalls that give the park its name. Lunch is at noon, after which you can take the optional Great Adventure tour that allows you to examine the falls up close, and even takes you underneath! In the afternoon, catch the train to the largest of the park's attractions: the Devil's Throat waterfall. 

Day 21: Brazilian Falls - Buenos Aires

Numerous platforms that are built out into the rushing water enable tourists to get a better view
Numerous platforms that are built out into the rushing water enable visitors to get a better view 

Today's excursion takes you to the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls, where you will be treated to panoramic views of the thundering water. Afterward, pack your things and transfer to Foz de Iguaçu airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro. After arriving at your hotel in Rio, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the city or spend time relaxing on the beach. 

Head to the international airport for your flight back home.  Have a great trip!