On this 15-day Andean adventure, experience the most prominent sites and cities in Argentina and Peru. The trip starts in Buenos Aires before heading to the iconic Iguazú Falls—which you’ll experience from both Argentina and Brazil. Then, you’ll explore the mountain towns of Salta and Tilcara. The last leg of the trip lands in Lima, the capital city of Peru, then ventures to Cusco and Aguas Calientes, where you’ll end with a visit to the famed Machu Picchu.

Highlights

  • Explore the streets, neighborhoods, and parks in Buenos Aires  
  • Tour the iconic Iguazú Falls, from both Argentina and Brazil
  • View Incan archaeological sites and artifacts in Tilcara
  • Visit the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes and hike the famous Machu Picchu

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires - Guided City Tour Buenos Aires
Day 3 Buenos Aires - Free Day Buenos Aires
Day 4 Travel to Iguazú and Tour the Brazilian side of the Falls Puerto Iguazú
Day 5 Visit the Argentinian Side of Iguazú Falls Puerto Iguazú
Day 6 Iguazú - Free Day Puerto Iguazú
Day 7 Travel to Salta Salta
Day 8 Tour Salta and Purmamarca Tilcara
Day 9 Tilcara - Free Day Tilcara
Day 10 Tour Tilcara and Return to Salta Salta
Day 11 Fly to Lima, Peru Lima
Day 12 Travel to Cusco Cusco
Day 13 Tour Cusco and Aguas Calientes Aguas Calientes
Day 14 Visit Machu Picchu and Return to Cusco Cusco
Day 15 Depart From Lima  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires

Welcome to Buenos Aires!
Welcome to Buenos Aires!

Welcome to Argentina! Once you arrive at the airport in Buenos Aires, meet up with your private driver, who’ll transport you to your hotel. Check-in and get settled, and then enjoy an afternoon city tour.

For dinner, indulge in the local flavors, and toast to your first night in Argentina with a regional glass of wine. You can also go see a tango performance to get acquainted with Argentinean culture.

Day 2: Buenos Aires - Guided city tour

Obelisco de Buenos Aires
Obelisco de Buenos Aires

In the morning, embark on an organized tour of Buenos Aires. Sites you can expect to see include the below:

  • Obelisco de Buenos Aires: This national historic monument is the symbol of the city
  • Various squares: These include Plaza de Mayo, Plaza San Martín, and Plaza Congreso
  • Different types of avenues: Expect to visit Corrientes, Mayo, and 9 de Julio
  • Historical neighborhoods: Bookmark La Boca, San Telmo, and Montserrat.
  • Elegant neighborhoods: Stroll around Palermo and Recoleta
  • Modern neighborhoods: Walk around Puerto Madero
  • Parks: Go to Lezama and Tres de Febrero

You’ll also visit financial and commercial areas, as well as a football stadium. Then, you can enjoy the afternoon at your leisure, or take another optional tour. The evening is yours to enjoy, as well.

Day 3: Buenos Aires - Free day

Asado
Enjoy an authentic meal in Buenos Aires

Today, enjoy free time in Bueno Aires before you move on to your next destination. You can choose some optional excursions to discover the city or walk and experience life among the locals. Feel free to wander through the local antique and artisanal markets, where you can bargain for goods. Find the perfect leather jacket, pair of boots, or handbag from any of the acclaimed local designers. If you enjoy indulging in authentic dishes, make sure to try the signature parrilla (beef barbecue).

If you prefer something more active, you can head on a Tigre Delta excursion with a guide–likely by boat. You’ll take a trip to this unique suburb constructed along the water. Observe the way the locals live on these little islands.

The evening is yours to enjoy, as well, before traveling tomorrow.

Day 4: Travel to Iguazú and tour the Brazilian side of the falls

The Devil's Throat
The Devil's Throat, Iguazú Falls

Today, you take a flight to Puerto Iguazú. Once you arrive, a private driver will take you to your hotel to get settled. Then, you’ll depart from the hotel and head toward the Foz do Iguazú National Park—the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. The area designated for visitors is accessible by a single circuit of walkways–almost 3,000 feet long–which is located on the cliffs of the Iguazú River, offering an impressive, panoramic view of all the falls. The route hits its peak when you get to the loud and palpable Mirador de La Garganta del Diablo, also called the “Devil’s Throat.” Here, there are 14 falls plunging simultaneously from 350 feet. You’ll likely feel the mist from the Devil’s Throat, which can reach nearly 450 feet.

Then, you will return to your hotel in Puerto Iguazú and have the evening to enjoy at your leisure.  

Day 5: Visit the Argentinian side of Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls in Argentina

Today, embark on a full-day tour of Iguazú Falls—via the Argentinian side. Named on the of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature,” you’ll experience the impressive area of the falls and view them from different angles. Historically, the falls were discovered in 1541 by a Spanish conquistador, on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The waterfall system takes up 1.7 miles within the Iguazú River and houses 275 waterfalls.

The tour to Iguazú Falls begins early in the morning with a long walk, observing the natural landscapes and the vast, typical fauna and flora of the region, including birds, butterflies, mammals, flowers, and plants that lend to the outdoor environment. The main objective of this tour is to take full advantage of your time in the wild, experiencing the characteristic natural sounds, images, colors, and aromas around you.

After your exploration of the falls, you will return to your hotel for the evening, where you can enjoy dinner and relax on your own time.

Day 6: Iguazú - Free day

Tour a yerba mate farm
Tour a yerba mate farm

Today, you will have free time to explore Iguazú on your own. If you’d like to do a bit of sightseeing. Consider the below:

  • Stopping at the Güirá Oga animal refuge, where you can take a 90-minute tour
  • Going to Casa Ecológica de Botellas, which is a unique house made of plastic bottles and other recycled materials
  • Taking in the breathtaking vistas at Las Tres Fronteras, where the Iguazú and Parana rivers meet
  • Shopping on a visit to the Comunidad Guarani Yriapu, which is an indigenous community that lives a sustainable lifestyle
  • Having fun at La Aripuca, which is a theme park that educates on deforestation
  • Visit a yerba mate farm to learn all about the traditional, caffeine-rich tea

Dinner and the evening are at your leisure.

Day 7: Travel to Salta

Salta Cathedral
Salta Cathedral

Today, you’ll catch a flight to Salta, which is a provincial capital in the northwest mountains of Argentina. Salta was founded in 1582 and is known for its architectural style, which features Spanish colonial influences and Andean heritage. Upon arrival, meet your private driver, who will transport you to your hotel.

Once you are checked in to your hotel, you can join a half-day city tour. Take the drive up to San Bernardo Hill, which is a mountain overlooking Salta. Here, you can take in the panoramic views of the city, followed by a trip to the Salta Crafts Market. Opened in 1968, the market is still in its original location—a unique and old, 18th-century house.

Following your tour, you can stroll Plaza 9 de Julio, which is a square lined with cafés. Visit the nearby Salta Cathedral and then discover the 18th-century town hall-turned-historical museum known as El Cabildo. You can also browse Incan artifacts at the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña, which is located in the same area.

Day 8: Tour Salta and Purmamarca

7 colours Hill
Seven Colored Hill

Today, the journey continues on to Purmamarca Village, where you’ll be able to do some exploration.  

First, you’ll visit Seven Colored Hill, which is known for its unique range of colors. The Hill’s hues are a product of both marine sediments and lake and river movements that elevated with the activity of the tectonic plates. It is nicknamed “The Hill of Seven Skirts,” because the color spectrum also resembles the long skirts worn by Andean women.

You’ll also visit the Purmamacara Church, which is the only monument in the town and dates back to 1648. A lot of the original materials still remain, including the adobe walls and the roof, constructed of wood and clay.

Next, visit the Artisan Market, where you can do some shopping and browsing of the handicraft goods. You’ll find scarves, hats, sweaters, blankets, and ponchos made of alpaca and llama wool, and can enjoy bargaining among this busy and colorful fair located at the edge of the town’s main plaza.

Next, make a stop for an afternoon visit at the iconic salt flat known as Salinas Grandes. The sodium- and potassium-rich mines create a vast white desert ambiance located more than 11,300 feet above sea level.

You’ll either spend the night in Purmamarca or Tilcara.  

Day 9: Tilcara - Free day

Tilcara
Tilcara

Today, enjoy free time to explore Tilcara. The mountain town has plenty of sites and adventures to offer. On your free day, consider the following:

  • The Hornocal, where you can admire the natural landscape
  • Pucará de Tilcara, a pre-Inca archaeological site of ruins
  • Jardin Botanico de Altura, which houses a large collection of cacti near the ruins of Pucará
  • Museo Archeologico, which is home to many Incan artifacts, masks, ceramics, and mummies
  • Waira Caves, which offers a scenic hike and entry into dark and silent caves (a guide is recommended)

You can also take advantage of the local fare, which includes an assortment of items, like empanadas, tamales, and even llama meat.

Day 10: Tour Tilcara and return to Salta

Humahuaca
Views of Humahuaca

In the morning, you’ll visit Uquía and its local church, where the paintings of the Arcabuceros Angels—important remains from the Cuzqueña School—are kept.

Next, you’ll arrive at Humahuaca around noon, where you can explore the local church and the Independence Monument of the sculptor Soto Avendaño. Then, you’ll have lunch, and continue on the route of La Paleta del Pintor (Painter’s Palette), which frames the town of Maimara.

Then, you’ll continue on to San Salvador de Jujuy, where you can explore the Flag Hall and the cathedral, which is characterized by its pulpit carved in wood and gold, followed by a viewing of the Lola Mora statues.

Finally, you’ll head back to Salta through National Route 9 and its subtropical surroundings. The last stretch of this full-day trip is a stop in El Abra of Santa Laura to see the La Cienaga (The Swamp) dam, Las Maderas, and Campo Alegre, before returning to Salta through Vaqueros.

After the full day of exploration, the evening is at your leisure.

Lima
Lima

Today, you’ll fly to Lima, Peru. Then, you will take a private transfer to your hotel. When you are checked in, embark on a city tour.

Expect to visit the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco, also referred to as the Saint Francis Monastery. Located near Parque la Muralla and the Plaza Mayor, both the convent and the church are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Historic Center of Lima. The site was originally completed in 1674 and has sustained damage through several earthquakes. Explore the Spanish Baroque architecture and Moorish influences, as well as the library, which houses 25,000 antique texts, and the catacombs, which are home to 25,000 bodies laid to rest.

Next, stroll the grounds of the Lima Art Museum – MALI, which preserves 3,000 years of Peruvian art. Take the time to discover different pre-Columbian ceramics and textiles, furniture and pictures from the Colonial and Republican eras, and a decent selection of modern photographic works, as well as paintings.

In the evening, enjoy some local ceviche for dinner, and a pisco sour if you’re interested in the local spirits.

Day 12: Travel to Cusco

Cusco
Cusco

In the morning, a private driver will pick you up and take you to the airport in Lima. Then, you’ll fly to Cusco, and transfer to the hotel.

In the afternoon, you’ll explore the city of Cusco. Some of the sites you can bookmark include the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Temple of the Sun (Coricancha).

You can also continue outside the city, visiting the Incan complexes and the Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Stroll down and through the streets and the center of the city to get feel for the culture.

The evening is yours to enjoy on your own time.

Day 13: Tour Cusco and Aguas Calientes

Aguas Caliente
Aguas Caliente

Today, you’ll begin to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You’ll visit the Incan citadel of Pisac and its traditional market. Then, you’ll continue on to view the fortress of Ollantaytambo.

Next, take a walk through the streets of the town that preserve traces of the old military, and the religious and cultural center, since the time of the Inca Empire.

From there, you’ll take the local train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, a town in the Urubamba River Valley in the southeastern region of Peru. The town is known for its thermal baths and acts as a gateway to Machu Picchu.

Day 14: Visit Machu Picchu and return to Cusco

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Today, take the bus from Aguas Calientes to the lost city of the Incas. The citadel of Machu Picchu, known as the "Old Peak," is considered a jewel of Inca architecture. Upon a trek to Machu Picchu, it is important to be prepared—especially since the site is located nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Those who are unaccustomed to the altitude should learn how to handle the change in elevation prior to visiting. A checklist surrounding your visit includes the following:

  • A backpack, to carry your belongings comfortably
  • Your passport, as identification to access the grounds
  • Appropriate clothes, which vary depending on if you visit during the rainy or dry season
  • Sun protection, which should be applied several times throughout the day
  • Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays at altitude
  • Water, including bottles and/or hydration packs
  • Walking poles, if you have joint issues
  • A flashlight or headlamp, if you are a slow hiker, and may finish around dusk

After the visit, you’ll return to Aguas Calientes to catch the local train to Ollantaytambo, and then from Ollantaytambo, you’ll transport back to Cusco for your last evening.

Day 15: Depart from Lima

Farewell, Peru!
Farewell, Peru!

After breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye to Peru. You’ll be transferred from the hotel to the airport in Cusco. Then, you’ll take the flight back to Lima and connect to your international flight home.

Map

Map of Andean Adventure: Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls, Machu Picchu, & More - 15 Days
Map of Andean Adventure: Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls, Machu Picchu, & More - 15 Days