12 Day South America Highlights Tour

On this 12-Day South America Highlights Tour, you’ll encounter three New Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Machu Picchu in Peru. You’ll also visit Cuzco, Buenos Aires and the Sacred Valley, the beating heart of the Incan Empire. This tour balances fascinating excursions with free time at key destinations to explore at your leisure. And we’ll take care of you every step of the way and accommodate you in comfort and luxury for the duration.


This fully customizable, private tour can be crafted by a Destination Expert to match the vacation of your dreams. From the moment you contact us, until the day you return home, we cater to your every whim.

See our preferred hotels for this itinerary by destination:

1 night in Lima | 2 nights in Cuzco | 1 night in Machu Picchu town | 3 nights in Buenos Aires | 1 night in Iguazu | 3 nights in Rio de Janeiro


Highlights:
  • A tour up Corcovado Mountain to see Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, the city’s most famous landmark.
  • An informative tour of downtown Rio, with stops at the Sambadrome, Metropolitan Cathedral and picture-perfect Sugarloaf Mountain.
  • View and explore both the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the 275 waterfalls that make up the Iguazu Falls, including a trip to the Devil’s Throat, the largest fall in the park.
  • Explore Buenos Aires with visits to San Telmo, La Boca, Recoleta, Puerto Madero, the city center, the main plaza and the Recoleta Cemetery, where you can stay on to explore alone.
  • A free day to explore Buenos Aires, plus your choice of a small intimate tango-and-dinner show, or large, Broadway-style production.
  • A private tour of the remnants of the great Incan capital of Cuzco, with visits to Sacsayhuaman with its impressive stonework, and Koricancha and Cuzco’s Cathedral to observe the differences between Incan and European architecture.
  • A tour of the Sacred Valley, the Incan heartland, with visits to the agricultural terraces of Moray, the salt mines at Maras and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo.
  • A scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu.
  • A chance to uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu, with a guided tour of the Incan citadel, as well as free time to explore the ruins at your leisure or hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird’s eye view of the ruins.
  • A private tour of Lima’s key sites, with stops at the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery, Lima’s colonial squares and the waterfront district of Miraflores.

Trip At A Glance

  • Day 1 – Welcome to Rio! Depending on your arrival time, we can arrange an activity for you in the buzzing city.
  • Day 2 – Set off on a tour up Corcovado Mountain to visit Rio’s most famous landmark, Christ the Redeemer.
  • Day 3 – Take a tour to picture-perfect Sugarloaf Mountain. You’ll ascend in a glass cable car with two stops on the way up.
  • Day 4 – Explore the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls, best known for its all-encompassing vistas of the entire site.
  • Day 5 – Discover the Argentine side of the Falls, with close-up views from cliff-hugging pathways. Visit the Devil’s Throat, the largest set of falls.
  • Day 6 – Enjoy a Buenos Aires City tour to San Telmo, La Boca, Recoleta, Puerto Madero, the city center and the main plaza.
  • Day 7 – This is your chance to explore Buenos Aires on your own. Then, in the evening, to take in a dinner-and-tango show.
  • Day 8 – Welcome to Peru. You’ll stay at the only luxury hotel near the airport to minimize transfer times before traveling to Cuzco.
  • Day 9 – Fly to Cuzco, then take a tour of the city’s sights, including Sacsayhuaman, Koricancha and the Cuzco Cathedral.
  • Day 10 – Journey through the Sacred Valley to the agricultural terraces of Moray, the salt mines at Maras, and the ruins of Ollantaytambo.
  • Day 11 – Uncover the secrets of mystical Machu Picchu on a guided tour of the key sites, then explore the ruins at your leisure.
  • Day 12 – Flight time allowing, take a tour of Lima’s key sites, with stops at the Larco Archaeological Museum and the San Francisco Monastery.

  • Day 1 - Arrival in Rio de Janeiro

    Your SA Expeditions guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your Rio de Janeiro hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, we can arrange you an activity in this buzzing city for the afternoon or evening.

  • Day 2 - Private Half Day Corcovado Tour

    After waking up in the beautiful and vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro, you'll set off on a tour up Corcovado Mountain to visit the impressive statue of Christ the Redeemer. You'll ascend the mountain with your private guide and enjoy Rio's most famous landmark and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World up close.

  • Day 3 - Sugarloaf Mountain Tour

    Get to know Rio a bit better by taking an informative tour though its downtown. You'll pass the famous Sambadrome and Metropolitan Cathedral on your way to Sugarloaf Mountain, another postcard-perfect Rio landmark. To get to the top, you'll take an exciting two-stop ride in a glass cable car. From Sugarloaf's peak you'll have spectacular panoramic views of Guanabara Bay, Corcovado, and the cityscape.

  • Day 4 - Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls & Tour

    In the morning, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguassu, Brazil. On arrival, you will be transferred to the Brazilian side of the falls, best known for all-encompassing vistas of the entire site. From the walkways you'll enjoy panoramic views of Iguazu's 275 falls. Altogether, Iguazu Falls stretches an impressive mile across. After your Iguazu tour, you'll continue in private transportation to your comfortable hotel on the Argentine side of Iguazu.

  • Day 5 - Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires

    Today you'll head to the Argentine national park to see the stunning jungle scenery and rushing waterfalls from the Argentine perspective. This side allows up-close views via pathways that hug the falls. You'll visit Devil's Throat, the largest set of waterfalls in the park. When your tour finishes, you'll be taken to the airport for your evening flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival you will be transferred to your Buenos Aires hotel to rest.

  • Day 6 - Buenos Aires City Tour

    After breakfast you'll head out on a Buenos Aires city tour to explore the districts of San Telmo, La Boca, Recoleta, Puerto Madero, the city center, and the main plaza. The tour will end in the Recoleta Cemetery where you can stay and explore further or continue back to the hotel.

  • Day 7 - Free Day with Dinner & Tango Show

    Today is a free day in Buenos Aires, giving you time to explore independently. The main districts in Buenos Aires are pedestrian friendly and the city's subways are efficient and easy to use. In the evening, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to one of Buenos Aires's best tango houses for an authentic Porteno evening of dinner, music, and dancing. Choose either a small, intimate show or a large, Broadway-style production.

  • Day 8 - Buenos Aires to Lima, Peru

    Today, you'll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Welcome to Peru! After gathering your luggage, simply exit the airport and walk across the street to your Lima hotel, Costa del Sol Ramada.

  • Day 9 - Lima to Cuzco and City Tour

    Take a morning flight from coastal Lima to highland Cuzco. After dropping off your suitcases at your hotel, you'll experience first-hand the remnants of this great Incan capital. At Sacsayhuaman you will see the largest and most impressive stonework of pre-Columbian America. Your visits to Koricancha and the main cathedral will highlight the differences between Incan and European architecture.

  • Day 10 - Private Sacred Valley Tour

    Your Sacred Valley tour will include visits to the ancient circular agricultural terraces of Moray, the salt mines at Maras, and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo. Departing from Ollantaytambo, enjoy a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to the town of Machu Picchu where you will stay in your hotel at Aguas Calientes.

  • Day 11 - Private Machu Picchu Tour

    Uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu during a guided tour of this Incan citadel. You'll visit the most important parts of the ruins to learn how and why they were constructed. After the tour, you'll have time to further explore the ruins or sit back and enjoy the magic of Machu Picchu. You can also hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird's eye view of the ruins. The steep path takes about an hour and a half to ascend. Departing from Machu Picchu town, enjoy a train ride to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival at the train station you will be met and transferred to your Cuzco hotel.

  • Day 12 - International Departure

    You will be collected from your hotel and driven to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. Depending on the time of your international flight out a private tour of Lima's key sites can be arranged. You will visit the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, Lima's historic colonial squares, and the picturesque waterfront district Miraflores.


Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners. Our specialty is private, customizable travel experiences.


12 Day Tour from $3,990 per person

Includes:

  • 11 nights in our preferred properties hand selected for comfort, convenience and quality
  • Privately guided tours with your own personal guide and driver
  • All private airport transfers with English speaking assistance
  • Roundtrip Vistadome train to Machu Picchu Pueblo and the bus to ruins with the company of your private guide to ensure a seamless journey
  • All required entrance fees
  • All breakfasts
  • 24hr support
  • All taxes

Meet The Experts


See All South America Hotels

When to Visit Machu Picchu

How to Visit Rio de Janeiro

See Related Tours

See All →

12 Day Southern Circuit Tour

3 nights in Santiago, 2 nights at a Torres del Paine Lodge, 3 nights in El Calafate, 3 nights in Buenos Aires

Explore the highlights of the southern half of South America during this 12-day Southern Circuit Tour. You’ll visit the cosmopolitan capital cities of Santiago and Buenos Aires, the Chilean seaside towns of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, taking in their key sites, and discover the wonders of the Patagonian wilderness. You will visit not one but two breath-taking glaciers, and tour both the Perito Moreno National Park and the Torres del Paine National Park to complete your Patagonian experience, before heading home.

11 Day Uyuni and Andes Tour

2 nights in La Paz, 2 nights on the Uyuni Salt Flats, 2 nights in Lake Titicaca, 3 nights in Cuzco, 1 night in Machu Picchu town

Experience the best of the Andean highlands on this 11-day Uyuni and Andes Tour, travelling from Bolivia’s capital La Paz to the otherworldly Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, then on to the beautiful Islands of Lake Titicaca in Peru. The expedition culminates with a trip to the awe-inspiring ruins at Machu Picchu, and a tour of the Sacred Valley, the spiritual and agricultural epicenter of the Incan Empire.

11 Day Galapagos & Machu Picchu Tour

1 night in Guayaquil or Quito, 4 nights on Galapagos cruise, 1 night in Lima, 3 nights in Cuzco, 1 night in Machu Picchu town

This 11-day Galapagos and Machu Picchu tour allows you to experience the two leading destinations of South America in one seamless and comfortable tour. Explore the wildlife-paradise of the Galapagos Islands in a private luxury boat, visiting natural and geographical wonders. Then immerse yourself in the incredible Incan heartland of Peru, visiting Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu citadel – the lost city of the Incas.

10 Day Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama Tour

1 nights in La Paz, 2 nights in an Airstream Camper on Salt Flats, 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama, 3 nights in Santiago

If breath-taking, arid expanses excite you then this 10-day Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama tour is just the ticket. You will tour the expansive and otherworldly Uyuni Flats in Bolivia in a fully serviced luxury Airstream camper with private staff, then head South to the Atacama Desert, to explore thermal springs and Moon-like landscapes. Finally, you’ll spend three nights in Santiago, the Chilean capital, taking in the sophisticated delights of this cosmopolitan city and its surroundings.

Our Travelers' Reviews In Their Own Words