This is an incredible 12-day tour taking in three World Wonders in three countries. A Machu Picchu tour in Peru; the Corcovado statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the mighty Iguazu Falls in Argentina.
This itinerary can also be done in reverse i.e. starting in Rio and ending in Lima.
Day 1 – Arrival in Lima
Your Three World Wonders tour starts upon your arrival at Lima airport, when we will transfer you to your chosen hotel in the Miraflores area of the city. For some you might be staying at the Casa Andina Classic, Faraona, Allpa Hotel or similar. For luxury travelers it could be the 5 star Miraflores Park Hotel, the superb Casa Andina Private Collection or the Doubletree Pardo Hotel (subject to space of course).
Enjoy the rest of the day as free time to wander the parks and browse the shops. Or why not enjoy the world-renowned Peruvian food. Read our guide to some of the Peruvian dishes you should try.
Day 2 – Lima City Tour
Today, you will be collected from your hotel for full or half-day tour of Colonial and modern Lima, visiting Lima cathedral and the Church of Santa Domingo among other places of interest. You can read more about it here.
After lunch, which we can arrange for you if you wish, you could visit a museum of your choice, such as the excellent Larco Herrera, the Gold Museum or the National Museum. The evening could continue with a visit to the spectacular Fountain Park in the center of Lima. It can be a very full day of sightseeing in this crazy, but historic metropolis if you wish – we custom design everything to your wishes.
After this you may well be worn out and we recommend recovering at a dinner / show at one of our favorite restaurants. Visit our Peru Restaurant Guide, where you will hear traditional music and see dances from all over Peru.
Maybe try our alternative Lima Culture and Contrasts Tour for the full Lima experience?
Day 3 – Cusco City Tour
Upon arrival in Cusco, we will meet you at the airport arrival hall and transfer you in a private vehicle to your hotel, all of which are safe, clean and comfortable with private bathrooms of course.
After settling in and grabbing a quick lunch, later in the afternoon you will enjoy a Cusco City Tour, visiting the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, plus the three other smaller Inca ruins close to Cusco; Cusco Cathedral in the main square; and the most important temple of the Inca Empire, Coricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun. Cusco is lovely city to wander around and you should take time to do this, when not being guided.
Day 4 – Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour
This is a Sacred Valley tour option that includes a visit to Chinchero, an ancient village where much of its original character and traditions have been maintained. We will often use this route on shared tours to avoid many of the crowds in the Pisaq area.
Today we will take you on a full day tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and include a buffet lunch so you can recharge your batteries along the way. The tour of the Urubamba Valley includes a visit to the community of twelve weaving families, called “The Inca Balcony” in the ancient village of Chinchero, between Cusco and the valley. Chinchero is a place where the ancestral methods of coloring and manufacturing of fabrics and weaving are still being used today and is not as touristy a village as some in the area giving you a more authentic feel. The views of Chinchero and the surrounding areas cannot be beaten.
Later, we will arrive to Moray, an impressing pre-Inca greenhouse, then, we will have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch you will visit the Inca town and fortress at Ollantaytambo, the site of an important Inca temple and the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti. It is believed to have some of the oldest, continuously occupied dwellings in the Americas – dating back to the late 15th century. After your day out you will be dropped off at your Sacred Valley hotel or driven back to Cusco depending on your schedule with us.
Day 5 – Machu Picchu tour
Today, you will catch your chosen train to Machu Picchu which … will be one of the services described in the link below. The advantage you have is that, having stayed in the Sacred Valley overnight, you do not have to get up as early as you would in Cusco in order to catch the train.
A transfer will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the station, or if you are staying in one of the hotels really close to the station itself, you can walk there.
After being met in Aguas Calientes by your guide, you can drop off your overnight bags at your hotel, before taking the bus transfer to the Machu Picchu site, to enjoy a private tour with a local English-speaking guide. Take the rest of the day as free time to enjoy this incredible site. In the late afternoon, you will return to your chosen hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town that nestles in the valley below Machu Picchu.
Note: The option exists to return to Cusco the same day, but if you have the time, it is well worth staying overnight, in order to see this incredible place the next day.
For mid-range travelers, we recommend the Inti Inn, Presidente Hotel or similar. For luxury travelers we highly recommend the Pueblo or Sumaq Hotel, both down in the village of Aguas Calientes.
If you prefer to stay right at the gate of Machu Picchu, and your budget will stand it, you could choose the Sanctuary Lodge, as its location cannot be beaten, but please note it will carry quite a premium in price.
Day 6 – 2nd Machu Picchu visit plus Huayna Picchu
Today, you will be able to re-visit Machu Picchu and enjoy this fabulous site at your leisure. You may choose to climb Huayna Picchu, the peak that overlooks Machu Picchu (400 people per day, and by prior appointment only at either 7am or 10am), which affords fantastic views and photo opportunities.
In the late afternoon, you will board the train for your trip back to Cusco. You will leave the train at Poroy, the last station before Cusco, or maybe at Ollantaytambo, for a faster and more convenient transfer by road back to your hotel in Cusco. No trains actually arrive at Cusco train station from Machu Picchu any more and you do save quite a lot of time as a result.
Day 7 – Fly to Lima and connect to Rio de Janeiro
Depending on the air connections available for your tour, we will typically fly you to Lima from Cusco in the morning, to connect with an afternoon flight to Rio.
If the connections for your tour are such that you have to fly to Rio late in the day, you will have a free morning tomorrow to recover in your hotel or dozing on the famous Copacabana beach.
Whatever time you arrive in Rio de Janeiro, we will welcome you at the airport, and transfer you to your hotel, which is typically in the beachside districts of Copacabana or Ipanema.
Day 8 – Rio de Janeiro and the Corcovado – White Christ statue
After you have had time to rest, in the afternoon we will collect you for your half-day tour to the new Wonder of the World, the Corcovado, or White Christ statue, towering over the city of Rio. The views are unforgettable and you will be astounded!
Evening to enjoy Rio nightlife.
Day 9 – Rio de Janeiro and the Sugar Loaf Mountain
Today you will take a tour to see the other very famous Rio landmark, Sugar Loaf Mountain, which you will ascend by a two-stage cable car. The views from this site are also incredible, so you really cannot go wrong. Make sure you have plenty of space on your camera memory card.
You then have more time to catch some rays on the most famous beach in the world.
Day 10 – Fly to Foz do Iguaçu – see Argentine side of falls
We will whisk you off to the airport for your hour and a half flight to the town of Foz do Iguaçu. Foz is the gateway for the spectacular Iguazu Falls. We have a wide range of hotel options from 3 star to 5 star luxury for you to choose from here so let our travel consultants help you select the best for you.
In the afternoon, you will have an excursion crossing the border to see the waterfalls from the Argentinian side. You will pass through the Iguazu National Park, enjoying the lush jungle environment, the huge rapids and very impressive falls.
If you wish to have another day or two at the beach, either before or after Iguazu, just let us know. The tour is custom-designed just for you, we can modify anything you like!
Day 11 – Brazilian Falls and Macuco Safari
Today, you will have a full day excursion to the Brazilian side of these truly breathtaking waterfalls (please check Visa requirements for your nationality). The Iguazu waterfalls are some of the most impressive natural wonders you will ever see.
During the afternoon, you will have a spectacular boat ride right under the Falls. This is a truly amazing experience, but please note that you will be getting a little wet (plastic bags and ponchos provided).
Day 12 – Tour ends or extends …
After breakfast, you will bid farewell to Brazil and will be transferred to the airport for your flight home, via Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo … or to your next holiday destination with us at Escaped to Latin America.