Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL. Welcome to spectacular Rio de Janeiro, home to white-sand beaches and host of the 2016 Summer Olympics! Settle into your hotel and meet your Tour Director, who will have pointers for your free-time exploration.
RIO DE JANEIRO. Sprawling between majestic granite peaks and the blue South Atlantic, Rio is a city of beauty, wonder, and energy. Guided sightseeing begins with a drive along Rio’s famed Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana Beaches. Take the cog railway 2,300 feet up to the summit of CORCOVADO to view the infamous Christ the Redeemer statue and 360-degree views of Guanabara Bay and the bustling city below. Your afternoon is free to explore on your own. Perhaps join an optional excursion to a nearby favela for a glimpse into the life of these colorful communities that nearly 25% of the people call home. Tonight, perhaps opt for a dinner at a local churrascaria, serving prime meats, seafood, and fish.
RIO DE JANEIRO. A free day in Rio allows you to relax on one of the beaches or take an optional excursion to the historic city of Petropolis to see the former summer palace of Emperor Pedro II.
RIO DE JANEIRO–IGUASSU FALLS. A morning flight takes you to Iguassu Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Journey to the Brazilian side of the FALLS to see the mammoth series of 275 waterfalls cascading over a precipice almost two miles wide and 250 feet deep. Walk into Devil’s Throat Canyon, where the clouds of mist, thundering roar, and 180-degree rainbows surround you—an unforgettable experience!
IGUASSU FALLS. Cross the border and visit the Argentine side of the FALLS. Begin with a short ride on the open-air ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN through the rainforest. A series of boardwalks takes you above the falls to see the water crashing down into the Devil’s Throat. Your afternoon is free to explore, or you may opt to visit the Bird Park, home to many species of indigenous birds as well as flora from the area.
IGUASSU FALLS–BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital. After settling into your hotel, an orientation tour familiarizes you with the “Paris of South America” and its wide boulevards, outdoor cafés, and charming shops.
BUENOS AIRES. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide focuses on the city’s landmarks, including the Colon Opera House and Plaza de Mayo, site of La Casa Rosada (the President’s Pink House) and Metropolitan Cathedral. Also, visit La Boca and San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhoods, and RECOLETA CEMETERY, where Eva Peron is buried. End your day with an Argentinean meal, followed by a sensuous TANGO SHOW.
BUENOS AIRES. Today is free for independent activities, or you can take an optional excursion to a local estancia (ranch) to experience the life of the gauchos (cowboys), as well as traditional dance performances and a barbecue lunch.
BUENOS AIRES–SANTIAGO, CHILE. Fly over the majestic Andes to Santiago, Chile’s scenic capital between the Pacific and the Andes. With a coastline more than 2,650 miles long, Chile is more than 10 times longer than wide. It has a distinctly European flavor accented with Latin flair, making Santiago one of South America’s most sophisticated and modern cities.
SANTIAGO. Your guided city tour introduces you to Santiago—the country’s political, commercial, and cultural capital. View La Moneda Government Palace and San Cristobal Hill with its landmark statue of the Virgin Mary. Also, see Club Hipico, one of the most renowned horseracing tracks in South America. Your tour ends at the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas, with a visit to the relic-filled CATHEDRAL. Your afternoon is at leisure. This evening, consider the optional Chilean Folkloric Dinner Show.
SANTIAGO. Today, enjoy a day at leisure. A trip to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar is highly recommended. A leisurely drive through the countryside and vineyards delivers you to Valparaiso, a city of 42 hills and the inspiration of many artists and poets. On to the chic seaside resort of Viña del Mar, full of unusual architecture and beautiful gardens. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate your exciting Latin American vacation.
SANTIAGO–EASTER ISLAND. Today, board a flight for Easter Island, considered the largest open-air museum and boasting more than 400 moais, ruins, and temples.
EASTER ISLAND. Your first stop is AHU VAIHU, where eight large moais lie in ruins, followed by AHU AKAHANGA, said to be the site where bones of the first king of Easter Island (Hotu Matu’a) were buried. Next up: RANO RARAKU, where 95% of all moai were carved and you will find 394 statues remaining in various stages of completion. It seems as if production was abruptly abandoned, leaving a frozen snapshot of time. Visit the beautifully restored AHU TONGARIKI, the largest platform on the island with its 15 moai. See AHU TE PITO KURA, the largest moai ever transported and erected on an ahu (stone ceremonial platforms). Last stop is the beach of ANAKENA, where King Hotu Matu’a first landed on Rapa Nui. (B,L)
EASTER ISLAND. Visit RANO KAU, the second-oldest volcano on the island with a freshwater lake in its caldera. Continue to the ceremonial village of ORONGO to see the restored houses from the 16th century. At AHU VINAPU, see the fallen remains of the broken moai— the figures here are slightly different and have short legs. Next stop is ANA KAI TAGATA, a beautiful cave with wall paintings depicting the Manutara bird. This afternoon, visit AHU AKIVI, with seven restored moais built in the middle of the island. According to legend, these statues represent the seven scouts sent to Rapa Nui by King Hotu Matu’a. Finally, visit the PUNA PAU topknot-quarry, where all the pukaos that were placed on top of the moais were made.
EASTER ISLAND–SANTIAGO. Fly to Santiago for your connections to your homebound flight.