For a taste of the incredible wonders found here in South America, this 16-day Rio, Iguazu Falls & Machu Picchu tour will amaze and surprise. Visit majestic natural wonders along with ancient archaeological and historical ones to create what may be the perfect vacation. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, family, or group, this Rio Iguazu Falls Machu Picchu immersion is not one to be missed. Throughout your tour, you’ll enjoy the comfort of your choice of 4-star or 5-star hotels, followed by an enticing cruise with luxury suites.
Marvel At Machu Picchu & More
After overnighting in Lima, you’ll kick off your adventure by flying to the Incan Sacred Valley for an exploration of the quaint towns, ancient sites, and traditional culture. Your explorations will also include the city of Cusco, a unique testimony of the ancient Inca civilization, full of archaeological and historical wonders, along with a colorful local market.
A highlight of your time here will be a train trip up to, and exploration of, the legendary sanctuary of Machu Picchu, one of the exceptional New Seven Wonders of the World. You’ll discover this Incan royal estate built in the mid-1400s with the help of your expert guide, who’ll bring the history of these remarkable ruins to life.
Be Amazed By The Amazon
A flight to Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon comes next. Here you will board the Zafiro for your cruise deep into the rainforest. Select between upper or lower deck suites, master suites, or indulge yourself with a stay in the spacious Zafiro Suite. Each one is air-conditioned and comes with its own private bathroom with hot shower.
Spend time up on the observation deck for incredible views, or enjoy a soak in the Jacuzzi while enjoying the scenery. The Zafiro also offers you an indoor and outdoor lounge to relax in during the cruise. Chef-inspired meals are served in the dining area, also with a list of selected wines to enjoy.
Naturalist guides are always available and will lead you on exciting expeditions during the cruise. Explore parts of the Amazon aboard skiffs and spot various wildlife, including caiman, tarantulas, and the famous gray and pink river dolphins. You’ll also have a unique chance to visit a local indigenous community.
As your cruise comes to a close, you’ll be transported back to Iquitos for a flight to Lima to prepare for the next part of your Peru Brazil tour.
Fall For Rio & Iguazu Falls
Your flight from Lima takes you to Iguazu, where you’ll have a chance to rest and explore the town before visiting the famous Iguazu Falls, also one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, along with the Amazon.
Spend a day exploring the Argentinean side of the falls, walking over raised platforms and walkways for spectacular views. Spend a second day taking in the Brazilian side of the Falls for different views, which are equally beautiful and compelling. Catch a rainbow in the midst of the Fall’s mist, and experience a panoramic view of over 275 falls, including the famous Devil’s Throat at 80 meters tall!
Now that you’ve experienced the two spectacular sights of Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls, it’s time to fly to Rio de Janeiro to discover the wonders of one of the world’s most vibrant cities. Explore the Tijuca National Park and behold the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Learn Brazil’s history by touring Rio’s old city center, seeing such buildings as the Opera House, Fine Arts Museum, and the former Imperial Palace. A cable car ride to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain is the perfect way to end your day, taking in views of the city all the way to the beaches.
All too soon, it seems, your Rio and Machu Picchu tour must come to an end, and you’ll transfer back to the airport for your return home.
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Lima!
Today you arrive in Lima! Tonight you will cozy up and unwind at the airport hotel, before your departure flight to Cusco the following day.
Lima to the Incan Sacred Valley
After a good night’s rest, enjoy a delicious breakfast before you fly from Lima to Cusco. At Cusco you will be met at the airport and transferred into the Sacred Valley. Our tours in the Cusco area always begin in the valley, which is approximately 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) lower in elevation than Cusco, so that guests may better acclimatize to the altitude.
Get ready to explore the most important ruins, which start with a trip to historic Pisac. Our expert local guide will show you around the Temple of the Sun, ancient baths, altars, fountains, and ceremonial platform, and a type of sundial carved into the volcanic rock which was used for determining the time of year. At the side of the citadel, you will see the terraces that are still used to this day to grow crops.
After a quick visit to the colorful market of Pisac to buy souvenirs, we enjoy a traditional lunch in a restaurant in Urubamba. Afterwards, we take you to visit the impressive fortress town of Ollantaytambo as we continue our trip around the ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley. Perched atop a mountain it acted as the religious, military, financial, and agricultural center of the Inca culture and we also visit the town of the same name which maintains its Incan charm as a window into the past.
Meals (B, L)
Maras, Moray and Chinchero
The Maras salt mines were an important part of the economy of the Inca culture and to this day the salt produced in these mines, recognizable by its pinkish hue, is amongst the most sought-after and expensive in the world. From there, we take you to the picturesque archaeological site of Moray which is a huge expanse of concentric terraces which the Incas used a botanical laboratory. Once finished with this leg of the tour, we enjoy a typical Andean lunch at the Casa de Barro restaurant.
Our next stop is at the PARWA Center in Chinchero, where you can learn about the centuries-old traditional textile making so important to the Andean people. You will have the chance here to buy traditional textiles and other souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Remaining in Chinchero we take in the 17th Century church built by the Spanish invaders and then the surrounding ruins, aqueducts, and agricultural terraces that sustained the local people hundreds of years ago.
Meals (B, L)
The Grandeur of Machu Picchu
Today is the big day! Get ready to tick one of the New Seven Wonders of the World off your list as we head to Machu Picchu Citadel. Leaving the Sacred Valley by train, we enjoy a peaceful snake through the mountains, uphill to Aguas Calientes, situated at the foot of Machu Picchu. The views on the way to Machu Picchu itself are an intrinsic part of the trip itself and worth savoring. Built in the mid 1400’s it acted as a royal estate to two different Inca rulers, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui and Tupac Inca Yupanqui. After 80 years of occupancy, it was abandoned, possibly due to Spanish infiltration in other parts of Peru, and remained abandoned until the early last century when efforts Hiram Bingham brought its existence to world attention.
Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors, the urban and the agricultural. Our expert guide will take you through both and show you the key spots in the ancient citadel such as the Temple of the Sun and the Room, the Intihuatana Stone, and the Room of Three Windows. The residential buildings feature exquisite stonework with no cement or mortar and are characterized by small trapezoid windows that face the morning sun. After our extensive tour, we put you back on the train to your hotel in either Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
Meals (B, L)
Ancient Inca Capital City
Today, we pick you up at your hotel for your tour of Cusco and its most important archeological sites. Cusco, known as the Imperial City, and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is home to Inca structures with a smattering of colonial influence. You start your tour at the iconic San Pedro market, a local market where you can explore the myriad colors, flavors, textures and traditions of modern Cusco.
The visit continues with the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and cult center of the Sun God, above which the order of the Dominicans built a church. It remains standing to this day. Still standing to this day, this temple/church really is a remarkable building and an amalgamation of the two cultures. From there, we ascend to the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture. Afterwards, you will explore Q’enqo archeological site, where important Inca ceremonies took place before moving on to the Plaza de Armas, home to the Cathedral, and the centerpiece of the city.
Departing Cusco & Cruise Embarkation
AM: After breakfast, at the scheduled time, you will be picked up from your hotel and privately transferred to Cusco airport, ready to board your departure flight to Iquitos!
After your flight to the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, our guides will meet you at the Iquitos airport—waiting for you with a sign with the name of Jungle Experiences. We will then go to the Doubletree by Hilton Iquitos Hotel, the meeting point, to receive your first briefing about the trip and where you will enjoy a delicious welcome lunch. Then you will be transported by a private vehicle to the main dock of the city of Iquitos to board El Zafiro, your home for the following three nights.
PM: Our staff will show you to your suite, equipped with comfortable beds, 100% Peruvian Pima cotton sheets, cotton bathrobes, air conditioning, and a private bathroom with a shower and amenities. Before setting sail, our bartender will serve you a cocktail prepared with local fruit and pisco, the most popular liquor in Peru. You can sip it while enjoying 360° views from the observation deck or a panoramic view from the indoor or outdoor lounge.
After setting sail, our naturalist guides will offer an overview of the travel itinerary, including activities, routes, information about wildlife and vegetation, geographical and historical context, as well as other useful info. If you have any doubts or concerns, our guides are always available to answer your questions.
We’ll then enjoy the welcome dinner. Start your journey by sampling the selected wines and dining Peruvian cuisine with an Amazon flare. There are many options on our menu, including vegetarian alternatives. Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary needs. After dinner, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the starry night sky while we start our journey to the depth of the Amazon rainforest.
Meals (B, L, D)
Ucayali River, Yanallpa of Ucayali, Tapiche River & Dorado River
AM: Before breakfast, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Yanallpa area of the Ucayali River in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, where we’ll see many native animal species. After breakfast, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Tapiche River in search of wildlife. Before midday, we’ll head back to the boat for a cooking demonstration by the executive chef.
PM: After lunch, whoever is interested may attend a talk about the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and in the afternoon, we’ll take a skiff to the Dorado River, where we’ll fish using local techniques. Before heading back on board, we’ll enjoy a nighttime outing in search of caimans, tarantulas, and other species that make an appearance after the sun goes down. Dinner will be served onboard the Zafiro.
Meals (B, L, D)
Ucayali River, Yarapa of Ucayali, Amazon River, Tahuayo River & Huaysi Community Visit
AM: After breakfast, we’ll set out to explore the Yarapa River, where the infamous pink and gray river dolphins swim in its black waters. Back on the Zafiro, we’ll see the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers, which give rise to the Amazon River.
PM: After lunch, we’ll take the skiff out on the Amazon River to visit the Huaysi community. There, we’ll see how the locals live and learn more about their customs with our guides, who will act as interpreters. We’ll also take a dip in the Tahuayo River and, before heading back to the boat, enjoy a colorful Amazon sunset. Back on the Zafiro, you’ll have some time to relax and enjoy live music before the presentation by the crew and farewell dinner.
Meals (B, L, D)
Disembarkation to Lima
AM: After breakfast, we begin to disembark. On the way to the airport, stop by the Amazon Rescue Center (CREA), where biologists and volunteers take care of manatees (an endangered species) rescued by the authorities. We’ll see how the manatees are cared for and prepped for reinsertion into their natural habitat. We also get to see other animals that have been rescued from attempts to turn them into pets and other dangerous situations.
Afterward, you will be transferred to Iquitos airport for your departure flight back to Lima. Spend the night relaxing at the airport hotel before your departure flight to Brazil in the morning!
Welcome to Brazil!
Get ready to board your flight this morning – Brazil awaits!
Upon arriving in Iguazu, our local representative will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel.
Today your day is free to spend at leisure. If your accommodation is located on the outskirts of the town, you can relax and enjoy the facilities of your accommodation. Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the center of town where you can walk down the main street of Foz do Iguazu, enjoying some of the local shops and cafes.
Visit the Argentinean Falls
After breakfast this morning, you will begin your exclusive tour of the Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls. You’ll head towards the Iguazu National Park where you’ll climb aboard a small train at the entrance of the National Park – your first stop will be the ominously named Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo) which stands at over 262ft, making it the biggest waterfall of Iguazu! Having soaked up the enormity of the Devil’s Throat, your guide will take you along the wooden walkways and trails of both the upper and lower circuit. With over 270 separate waterfalls and the copious verdant jungle of Iguazu, exploring this Natural World Wonder of the World is one of the most unforgettable experiences.
The various trails that take you above and around the waterfalls are built a few feet above the jungle floor. These raised platforms not only protect the natural habitat of the jungle wildlife but will also take you to secluded viewpoints offering unimaginable views across the whole National Park. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure while visiting Iguazu, we highly recommend booking the optional (not included) Great Adventure (Gran Aventura) boat tour that takes you right under the rainbows and mist of Iguazu’s waterfalls. Make sure to pack a change of clothes or swimwear and a watertight bag for your valuables because you will get wet!
After a full day exploring Argentina’s side of Iguazu Falls, you’ll head back to the visitors’ center and from there, your transfer will take you to your hotel in Iguazu where the rest of your evening is free to spend at your leisure.
The Brazilian Falls
After breakfast, you´ll head out again to discover the Natural Wonder of the World, Iguazu Falls. Today you’ll have a private guided tour of the Brazilian side.
Situated inside the Iguazu National Park, the Iguazu Waterfalls enthrall visitors from all over the world. This huge series of waterfalls plunge through a gorge onto the Iguazu River. They are more than 3 kilometers wide and 80 meters high! Wider than the Victoria Falls, higher than the Niagara Falls, and more beautiful than either. The falls create a never-ending spray of water and keep the sky decorated with rainbows. Walking by a 1.2-km trail, you will be treated to an amazing panoramic view of the over 275 waterfalls and the frontal view of Garganta del Diablo (or Devil’s Throat), which is the most powerful and spectacular waterfall of them all, at over 80 meters tall.
After the day at the falls, you can relax in your hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure.
Arrival in Rio de Janeiro
At the designated time you’ll be taken to Foz do Iguaçu airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro!
Landing in Rio, our local representative will be waiting for you at the airport to greet and take you to your hotel. Once you’ve settled into your accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore some of our favorite local spots. Stroll along the long boulevards next to the beaches of Ipanema, Leblon, and of course Copacabana. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of huts selling delicious freshly squeezed juices and coconuts which will refresh you as you soak up the breathtaking cityscape.
Relax and perhaps watch the sunset at the beach before going for dinner at one of the restaurants along the promenade. We recommend trying one of Brazil’s most famous and traditional dishes, feijoada carioca (stew of beans with beef and pork served with white rice and farofa) washed down with a refreshing caipirinha cocktail or a local beer – Brahma and Skol are our favorites! Following dinner, you can go back to your hotel to relax or go to one of the local samba bars to dance the night away!
Getting to know Rio
This half-day private tour will take you to the Tijuca National Park, the world’s largest urban forest. Arriving at the top of Corcovado Mountain you’ll visit the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. In 2007, the statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and standing at the base of the 124 ft. tall statue, you’ll be treated to some truly amazing views over the city. Enjoy eye-catching views of the forest below and where Rio de Janeiro’s mountains dive into the clear blue water.
After visiting the statue and the Tijuca National Park, you’ll head back to your hotel passing by the golden beaches of Ipanema and Leblon.
Sugar Loaf & City Tour
To understand the history of Brazil there is nothing better than taking a tour of the old city center of Rio. You’ll visit the impressive Cinelandia Square which was built in honor of the second president of Brazil, Floriano Peixoto, and features important buildings such as the Rio Opera House, the National Library, and the Fine Arts Museum. Continuing your tour through the historic center, you’ll also visit Rio’s Chamber of Deputies, the former Imperial Palace, and the ornate Candelaria Church.
Having explored the city from the street level, you will head towards Sugarloaf Mountain where you’ll take the cable car to its summit. Ascending the famous natural landmark of Sugarloaf Mountain you’ll be able to enjoy stunning 360-degree views across the sprawling city below, Guanabara Bay, Copacabana Beach, and up to Christ the Redeemer statue.
You will also get to learn how to make and taste the most famous and traditional Brazilian drink – a caipirinha !! The perfect end to a perfect day.
Enjoy your final breakfast at the hotel in Rio de Janeiro, because it’s time to hit the road again as you make your way to your next destination, or return home. You will be transported to the airport at the scheduled time.
Travel safely to your next destination as you leave with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.