Best 10 Day South America Itinerary

by Meghdut

Planning a trip to South America? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the best 10-day itinerary, designed to give you a taste of everything this vibrant continent has to offer. From exploring the stunning landscapes of Patagonia to immersing yourself in the rich culture of Buenos Aires, our itinerary will ensure you make the most of your time in South America. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff, or simply looking to relax on beautiful beaches, we’ve got you covered. So grab your passport, pack your bags, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!

Table of Contents

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Arrival at Ezeiza International Airport

Welcome to Buenos Aires, Argentina! Upon your arrival at Ezeiza International Airport, you will be greeted by our friendly guide who will assist you with immigration and customs. Once you have completed the necessary procedures, our guide will accompany you to your hotel in Buenos Aires.

Transfer to hotel in Buenos Aires

After a long flight, it’s time to relax and settle into your hotel in Buenos Aires. Our guide will ensure a smooth transfer to your accommodation, providing you with any necessary information about the city and answering any questions you may have.

Exploring the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires

Once you have refreshed and rejuvenated, it’s time to explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. This city is known for its diverse and lively neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. From the elegant Recoleta district to the colorful streets of La Boca, Buenos Aires has something for everyone.

Enjoy a traditional Argentine dinner

No visit to Argentina is complete without indulging in the country’s world-renowned cuisine. Tonight, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Argentine dinner, where you can savor mouthwatering steak, empanadas, and the famous dulce de leche. Immerse yourself in the rich flavors and culinary delights of Argentina.

Optional tango show in the evening

To truly experience the soul of Buenos Aires, we highly recommend attending a tango show in the evening. Tango is the passionate dance that originated in Argentina, and watching the skilled dancers perform is a mesmerizing experience. Sit back, relax, and let the music and dance transport you to the heart of Argentine culture.

Day 2: Buenos Aires Exploration

Morning visit to Plaza de Mayo

Start your day by visiting Plaza de Mayo, the main square of Buenos Aires. This historic square is surrounded by important landmarks, including Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Take a stroll around the square and admire the beautiful architecture while learning about Argentina’s fascinating history.

Explore the historic neighborhood of San Telmo

Next, we will explore the charming neighborhood of San Telmo. Known for its antique shops, cobblestone streets, and lively atmosphere, San Telmo is a must-visit for any traveler in Buenos Aires. Browse through the unique boutiques, stop by the local market, and soak up the bohemian vibe of this historic neighborhood.

Visit the colorful La Boca neighborhood

No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a visit to the colorful neighborhood of La Boca. Famous for its vibrant houses, tango performances on the streets, and the iconic Caminito street, La Boca is a photographer’s dream. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, take a tango lesson, and capture the essence of this culturally rich neighborhood.

Enjoy a boat tour along Rio de la Plata

To experience Buenos Aires from a different perspective, embark on a boat tour along Rio de la Plata. This wide river separates Argentina from Uruguay, and the boat tour will allow you to enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline. Sit back, relax, and take in the beauty of Buenos Aires from the water.

Discover the Recoleta Cemetery

End your day with a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of many prominent Argentine figures, including Eva Perón. This cemetery is known for its stunning mausoleums and elaborate tombstones, making it a unique and fascinating attraction. Explore the labyrinth of tombs and learn about the stories behind the famous inhabitants of Recoleta Cemetery.

Day 3: Experience Iguazú Falls, Argentina

Flight to Puerto Iguazú

Today, we will embark on a short flight to Puerto Iguazú, the gateway to the breathtaking Iguazú Falls. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel where you can relax and prepare for an unforgettable adventure.

Visit the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls

Get ready to witness the awe-inspiring natural wonder of Iguazú Falls. We will explore the Argentine side of the falls, which offers a close-up view of the cascading waterfalls and allows you to get lost in the beauty of the surrounding rainforest. Walk along the well-maintained trails, marvel at the power of the falls, and feel the mist on your face as you get closer to the cascades.

Boat ride under the falls

For a truly exhilarating experience, hop on a boat and venture under the falls. Feel the thundering sound and the force of nature as you get drenched in the mist of the mighty Iguazú Falls. This adrenaline-pumping activity will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploration of the nature trails

After the boat ride, take your time to explore the nature trails around Iguazú Falls. Immerse yourself in the lush rainforest, observe the diverse flora and fauna, and listen to the sounds of nature. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife, such as colorful birds and playful monkeys.

Optional visit to the bird park

If you’re a bird enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of these winged creatures, consider visiting the bird park near Iguazú Falls. Here, you can witness a variety of native and exotic bird species, including toucans, parrots, and hummingbirds, in their natural habitat. This optional activity will provide a unique opportunity to learn about and admire the rich avian biodiversity of the region.

Day 4: Iguazú Falls, Brazil

Crossing the border to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Today, we will cross the border to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, to explore the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. As you make your way to the Brazilian park, enjoy panoramic views of both sides of the falls and appreciate the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder.

Experience the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls

On the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls, you will have the chance to admire the falls from a different perspective. The Brazilian park offers breathtaking panoramic views, allowing you to fully grasp the immensity and grandeur of the cascades. Be prepared to be left in awe by the sheer force and beauty of Iguazú Falls.

Panoramic views from various viewpoints

Explore the well-maintained walkways and viewpoints along the Brazilian side of the falls, offering different angles and perspectives of the cascades. Take your time to absorb the stunning scenery, capture memorable photos, and marvel at the power of nature.

Optional helicopter ride over the falls

For an unforgettable aerial view of Iguazú Falls, you have the option to take a helicopter ride. Soar above the falls and witness the magnificent cascades from a unique vantage point. This thrilling experience will leave you with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the sheer beauty of this natural wonder.

Visit the Itaipu Dam

To round off your day in Foz do Iguaçu, we recommend a visit to the Itaipu Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world. Take a guided tour to learn about the impressive engineering behind this monumental structure and gain insights into its environmental impact. Be prepared to be amazed by the sheer scale and innovation of the Itaipu Dam.

Day 5: Lima, Peru

Flight to Lima, Peru

Today, we bid farewell to Argentina and fly to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival in Lima, our guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to relax and settle into your new surroundings.

Exploration of Lima’s historic center

In the afternoon, we will embark on a journey to explore Lima’s historic center, also known as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the charming streets, lined with colonial architecture, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this cosmopolitan city. Admire the beautiful Plaza Mayor, surrounded by the Government Palace, Lima Cathedral, and other significant buildings.

Visit to the Plaza Mayor and Lima Cathedral

Make a stop at the Plaza Mayor, the main square of Lima, where you can admire the stunning architecture of the surrounding buildings. At the heart of the square, stands the impressive Lima Cathedral, which houses numerous treasures and works of art. Step inside this grand cathedral and marvel at its intricate craftsmanship and religious significance.

Discover the Catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco

Delve into the history of Lima by visiting the Catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco. Descend into the underground crypts and witness the bones and skulls of thousands of people laid to rest during the colonial era. This eerie yet fascinating attraction provides a unique glimpse into Lima’s past.

Optional visit to Larco Museum

For those interested in Peruvian art and history, you have the option to visit the Larco Museum. This renowned museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including intricate pottery, gold and silver treasures, and ancient textiles. Explore the museum’s exhibits and gain a deeper understanding of Peru’s rich cultural heritage.

Day 6: Sacred Valley, Peru

Flight to Cusco

Today, we will continue our journey to the ancient city of Cusco. After a short flight, our guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you to the Sacred Valley. Take in the breathtaking views of the Andean mountains and lush valleys as you make your way to this mystical region.

Scenic drive to the Sacred Valley

Enjoy a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley, which is situated at a lower altitude than Cusco and offers a picturesque setting. Marvel at the terraced fields, traditional Andean villages, and ancient ruins that dot the landscape. Take advantage of photo opportunities and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Sacred Valley.

Visit to the Pisac Market and ruins

Our first stop in the Sacred Valley will be the vibrant Pisac Market. Explore the colorful stalls filled with local handicrafts, textiles, and traditional Peruvian souvenirs. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and practice your bargaining skills as you interact with the friendly local vendors.

Adjacent to the market, we will visit the Pisac ruins, an archaeological complex that once served as an important religious and military center. Climb to the top of the ruins, and be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding valley. Learn about the history and significance of this ancient site from our knowledgeable guide.

Exploration of the Ollantaytambo archaeological site

Our next destination is the impressive Ollantaytambo archaeological site. This ancient Inca fortress showcases incredible stone masonry and offers a glimpse into the advanced engineering skills of the Incas. Wander through the terraces, staircases, and temples, and imagine what life was like during the Inca civilization.

Traditional Peruvian lunch

To complete your experience in the Sacred Valley, enjoy a delicious traditional Peruvian lunch. Sample regional dishes made from local ingredients, such as quinoa, grilled meats, and Andean potatoes. Immerse yourself in the flavors and textures of Peruvian cuisine, which is known for its rich diversity and fusion of indigenous and Spanish influences.

Day 7: Machu Picchu, Peru

Train journey to Aguas Calientes

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for – the visit to the ancient city of Machu Picchu! Catch an early morning train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to this world-renowned archaeological site. As the train winds its way through the picturesque mountains, sit back and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Early morning visit to the ancient city of Machu Picchu

Arriving at Machu Picchu in the early morning allows you to experience the mystical beauty of this ancient city without the crowds. As the mist clears, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring ruins, nestled among the towering mountains of the Andes. Our knowledgeable guide will lead you through the intricate stone structures, temples, and terraces, providing insights into the history and significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Guided tour of the archaeological site

Embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu, during which you will learn about the fascinating history, architecture, and purpose of this Inca masterpiece. Listen to the stories and myths surrounding Machu Picchu and let your imagination transport you to the times of the Inca civilization. Be sure to capture the iconic postcard-perfect views of Machu Picchu from strategic vantage points.

Free time to explore on your own

After the guided tour, you will have some free time to explore Machu Picchu at your own pace. Take a leisurely stroll along the stone pathways, venture to lesser-known corners of the site, or simply sit and absorb the energy of this mystical place. Allow yourself to be enveloped by the tranquility and serenity that permeates Machu Picchu.

Optional hike to Huayna Picchu

For the more adventurous souls, consider embarking on a hike to Huayna Picchu, the towering peak that overlooks Machu Picchu. This steep but rewarding hike offers breathtaking views of the entire site and surrounding mountains. Please note that permits are limited and must be arranged in advance.

Day 8: Cusco, Peru

Return train journey to Cusco

Bid farewell to Machu Picchu and embark on a scenic train journey back to Cusco. As you wind your way through the picturesque landscapes, reflect on the awe-inspiring experience you had at one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Exploration of Cusco’s historic center

Upon arrival in Cusco, our guide will meet you at the train station and take you to your hotel. Take some time to rest and freshen up before venturing out to explore the historic center of Cusco. This bustling city was once the capital of the Inca Empire and is now a vibrant hub of culture and history.

Visit to the iconic Qorikancha Temple

Our first stop in Cusco will be the Qorikancha Temple, also known as the Temple of the Sun. This ancient Inca site was once the most important religious center of the Inca Empire, dedicated to the sun god Inti. Marvel at the impressive stone walls and the fusion of Inca and Spanish architecture, which symbolizes the blending of two cultures.

Discover the impressive Sacsayhuamán fortress

No visit to Cusco is complete without a visit to the Sacsayhuamán fortress. This massive Inca complex is known for its impressive stone walls, some of which weigh up to 200 tons. Wander through the ruins and marvel at the precision and engineering prowess of the Incas. Take in the panoramic views of Cusco and the surrounding mountains from this elevated vantage point.

Optional traditional Peruvian dinner with folklore show

To immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of Peru, consider indulging in a traditional Peruvian dinner accompanied by a lively folklore show. Taste mouthwatering Peruvian dishes, such as ceviche, lomo saltado, and causa, while being entertained by colorful dances and music. Celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of Peruvian culture in an unforgettable evening.

Day 9: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Flight to Rio de Janeiro

Today, we bid farewell to Peru and embark on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Upon arrival, our guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to relax and soak up the energy of Brazil’s vibrant and lively city.

Visit to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue

After settling into your hotel, we will start our Rio de Janeiro exploration with a visit to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Take a scenic train ride through the Tijuca Forest to reach the top of Corcovado Mountain, where the statue stands proudly overlooking the city. Admire the panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro from this elevated position and marvel at the sheer size and beauty of this world-famous monument.

Scenic cable car ride to Sugarloaf Mountain

Next, we will continue our tour with a scenic cable car ride to Sugarloaf Mountain. As you ascend to the top, take in the breathtaking views of the city, the azure waters of Guanabara Bay, and the vibrant beaches below. This iconic landmark offers a unique perspective of Rio de Janeiro and is a must-visit for any traveler.

Relax on Copacabana or Ipanema Beach

When in Rio de Janeiro, it’s time to soak up the sun and relax on one of the city’s renowned beaches. Whether you choose the iconic Copacabana Beach or the trendy Ipanema Beach, both offer golden sands, turquoise waters, and breathtaking views. Take a dip in the ocean, sip on a refreshing caipirinha, and enjoy the vibrant beach culture that Rio is famous for.

Optional visit to the vibrant neighborhoods of Santa Teresa or Lapa

For those looking to explore more of Rio de Janeiro’s cultural side, we recommend a visit to the vibrant neighborhoods of Santa Teresa or Lapa. Santa Teresa is known for its bohemian atmosphere, charming streets lined with colonial mansions, and stunning views of the city. Lapa, on the other hand, is famous for its vibrant nightlife, historical buildings, and the iconic Lapa Arches. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, discover local art and music, and experience the vibrant energy of these unique neighborhoods.

Day 10: Rio de Janeiro and Departure

Exploration of the historic center of Rio de Janeiro

On your last day in Rio de Janeiro, take a leisurely stroll through the historic center of the city. Known as “Centro,” this area is home to beautiful colonial buildings, historical landmarks, and a rich cultural heritage. Discover the charming streets, visit impressive churches and museums, and immerse yourself in the history and architecture of Rio de Janeiro.

Visit to the Selarón Steps

Make a stop at the colorful Selarón Steps, a world-famous mosaic stairway located in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Admire the vibrant colors and intricate tilework as you climb the steps, each adorned with different patterns and designs. This unique art installation is a testament to the creativity and passion of the late Chilean artist Jorge Selarón.

Optional tour of the Tijuca National Park

For nature enthusiasts, we offer an optional tour of Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest in the world. Explore the lush tropical rainforest, home to diverse plant and animal species. Hike to beautiful waterfalls, spot exotic birds and monkeys, and reconnect with nature in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.

Farewell dinner in a traditional Brazilian restaurant

To celebrate the end of your journey through South America, indulge in a farewell dinner in a traditional Brazilian restaurant. Enjoy a delicious feast of Brazilian specialties, such as feijoada (a black bean and meat stew), picanha (Brazilian-style grilled beef), and brigadeiro (a popular chocolate dessert). Raise a glass to the unforgettable experiences and memories created during your 10-day adventure.

Transfer to the airport for departure

After breakfast, our guide will transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. As you say goodbye to South America, take with you the memories of the vibrant cities, stunning landscapes, and the warm hospitality of the people you encountered. We hope you had an incredible journey and we look forward to welcoming you back to South America in the future!

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