- Explore Lima’s foodie scene, dining at Central Restaurant, ranked no.2 in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2022.
- Complete the one-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and explore the iconic ruins of one of the world's most important archaeological sites.
- Spend time in the Sacred Valley, surrounded by the majestic Andes, visiting Inca ruins and contributing to modern conservation efforts.
- Soak up the laidback beats of Rio De Janeiro with a luxe stay on Copacabana beach, with early morning hikes and late-night samba dancing.
- Uncover Rio's African heritage, high-energy samba bars and colorful street art visiting the city's authentic hidden gems.
- Discover the charm of the lesser-visited Paraty and its unspoiled island-studded bay – along with the bohemian town of Santa Teresa.
Discover a luxury South America vacation shaped by magnificent contrast, from a whirlwind of Peruvian culture and history to the laidback melting pot of Brazil’s Rio De Janeiro.
Beginning in Lima, unravel the rich history of a bustling metropolis before tasting your way through the city’s world-renowned foodie scene. Accompanied by our culinary connoisseur, discover the sights and smells of Mendiburu Market in Miraflores – visiting the stalls and haunts most popular with locals – before dining at the world-famous Central Restaurant, ranked no.1 in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants list for 2023.
Then to the mountains, and the high-altitude Sacred Valley of the Incas. Immersed in the astonishing beauty of the Andes, your luxury South America vacation will be punctuated with some of the most unique experiences in all of Peru. From a private farm-to-table lunch at a private Hacienda – owned by one of the oldest landowning families in Cusco – to witnessing the authentic weaving techniques of the Incas led by Nilda Callañaupa, a local from Chinchero and founder of CTTC (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco).
A flurry of visits to various enigmatic Inca ruins scattered across the Sacred Valley will prelude your journey to the most famous of all of them: Machu Picchu. Reach the ancient wonder on foot, hiking the one-day Inca Trail led by an experienced guide, and spend two days exploring the cloud-shrouded citadel – before heading to the charming, cobbled streets of Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire.
Taking advantage of the connecting flights from Lima, you’re now headed for Brazil and the lush, forest-covered mountains and breathtaking beaches of Rio De Janeiro. Six days here will see you hike the breathtaking viewpoints of Tijuca National Park, unwind on Copacabana Beach, and enjoy the energy of samba-fueled bars. Away from the more typical Rio trail, you’ll seek out the lesser-visited Bohemian district of Santa Teresa, along with the island-studded bay of unspoiled Paraty and its sleepy colonial town.
Handpicked with our partners in Rio, your time in Brazil’s Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is designed to be the perfect contrast to Peru, resulting in a thoughtfully curated Tale of Two Halves: the ultimate luxury South America vacation.
As ever, this private itinerary can be adapted entirely to suit personal travel tastes and interests. Aracari can curate the most appropriate experience for you; be it a family vacation, a honeymoon, or a trip with friends, as well as shorter or longer vacations, or combining many other destinations across South America.
- Day 1
LimaView on map
Welcome to Peru’s coastal capital with dinner at Central Restaurant, recently ranked No. 2 in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2022.
Your Aracari representative will welcome you to your luxury South America vacation. As you might expect from our standard of luxury travel to South America, you will be greeted on the runway tarmac as you alight from your plane. You’ll be presented with your welcome pack, before being whisked off to your hotel, where we will assist with all check-in procedures.
Depending on your arrival time today we recommend dining at one of Lima's top restaurants such as Central Restaurant – home to some of the best food in South America. Famous the world over, Central was recently ranked No. 2 in the World's Top 50 Restaurants list for 2022. This gastronomic haven delivers ambitious and worldly fusion from chef Virgilio Martínez, whose signature menu is a series of modern, molecular dishes showcasing ingredients native to Peru.
- Day 2
LimaView on map
Discover the rich history of Lima, before discovering the authentic flavors of the city with a private foodie tour and cooking class.
Unravel Peru’s multifaceted history and discover the complex past of the city with a visit to an ancient adobe pyramid right in the heart of Lima. Huaca Huallamarca, which dates to around 200 BC, served a variety of functions, including a religious temple and a cemetery, for the populations that inhabited the area.
You’ll then continue your journey to the colonial area of Lima featuring the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its beautiful neo-colonial style buildings. You will also have a chance to visit Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the continent and one that is still family-owned after 17 generations.
If you are interested in learning more about Peru’s history, this experience can also include visits to two exclusive museums, otherwise – your afternoon will be dedicated to uncovering Lima’s foodie scene.
Famed for its status as one of the best culinary destinations in the world, Peru’s distinctive cuisine is shaped by its diverse geography, long history, and rich cultural makeup. And during one of the most unique experiences in Peru – you’ll be introduced to many of the nation’s colorful dishes. Heading to Mendiburu Market in Miraflores with Our Friend in the City – a Lima local and foodie expert, you’ll spend an hour exploring many of the traditional stands showcasing Peruvian produce and delicacies, before sampling delicious juices made from Peru’s richest and most exotic fruits.
For lunch, it’ll be a place popular among locals for its to-go Peruvian classics. It’s a must-see, providing a delicious sample of Peru’s most famous dishes! Then for dessert, there is no better choice than a favorite cafeteria and pastry house with personality, technique, and a lot of heart. Each day, at least 10 different coffee varieties are on offer, as well as freshly prepared pastries – of which ‘the alfajor’ is our favorite!
- Day 3
Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley View on map
Arrive in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and enjoy a farm-to-table meal at a private Hacienda, before witnessing the traditional weaving techniques of the Andes.
Today you’ll fly to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will be met by another member of our team and be driven to the Sacred Valley. Your first stop in this part of Peru will be Hacienda Huayoccari. Tucked away off the main tourist trail, the traditional estate of Hacienda Huayoccari is owned by one of the oldest land-owning families in Cusco. A visit here is an exclusive opportunity to understand the rich history of the rural area and enjoy lunch in attractive surroundings.
To arrive at the property’s entrance, you’ll drive through cultivated fields and eucalyptus forests, where you’ll be welcomed inside to enjoy a tour of the Hacienda's private art collection. An array of rare pre-Columbian, Inca, and viceregal pieces are displayed in the Hacienda’s small three-room museum. Although throughout the hacienda you can find exquisite pieces of both Viceregal and traditional art, including both paintings and furniture. As you pass through the rooms, your host will point out pieces of particular significance, before inviting you into one of the hacienda’s historic dining rooms for a delicious three-course farm-to-table meal.
After lunch, you’ll continue to the region of Huayoccari. It’s here that you’ll meet Nilda Callañaupa, a local from Chinchero, founder of CTTC (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco). During an entirely authentic insight into the history of textiles in the region, you’ll learn how in the Andes, weaving is a language, and that fine weavings were as precious as gold during the time of the Inca Empire. And how more than twenty-five years ago, Nilda Callañaupa, a local from Chinchero, recognized that precious history was being lost.
Since then, CTTC has done extraordinary work here, which means that today, you can witness some of the most authentic textile techniques in all of Peru. And, once the experience has finished, you’ll have the chance to purchase textiles from Nilda. This is an incredibly rare opportunity and one you are unlikely to find anywhere else – the chance to purchase such authentic Peruvian textiles and knits made by methods invented by the Incas.
For this evening’s overnight stay, you’ll be transferred to Los Qolqas. Burrowed in the heart of the Sacred this eco-retreat is found nearby to the town of Ollantaytambo.
- Day 4
Sacred Valley of the IncasView on map
Visit the ancient Inca town of Ollantaytambo and its ruins, before enjoying a traditional Pachamanca – a meal cooked in the earth with wood-fired stones.
Your luxury South America vacation will cross to the fascinating town of Ollantaytambo today, with a guided visit of the enigmatic Inca ruins that are found here. The town itself is unique in that it still maintains its original Inca plan, with people living in the traditional Cancha enclosures that were once occupied by the Inca elite. The archaeological compound is a remarkable spectacle and a site of great historical significance. It was here that one of the greatest battles of the Conquest was fought, and one of the few where the Incas defeated the Spaniards.
For lunch, you’ll be treated to one of Peru’s most traditional dishes - the Pachamanca – provided by the charming El Albergue hotel. El Albergue has established its own organic farm, using environmentally friendly techniques to grow an assortment of vegetables including potatoes, corn, and quinoa to sustainably supply the hotel.
The farm is located amid Inca terracing in the fertile Sacred Valley, with breathtaking views towards the snow-capped peaks of Mount Veronica and the Ollantaytambo ruins. Whilst witnessing first-hand how to prepare the Pachamanca, you’ll hear how Pacha means earth and Manca means oven in Quechua, the language of the Incas.
Pachamanca is a traditional Inca cooking technique where meats, potatoes, and vegetables are cooked with wood-fired stones, which you’ll enjoy as a delicious alfresco lunch on a picnic table underneath a thatched roof.
After you’ve eaten, you’ll return to Los Qolqas for an afternoon at leisure and a delicious evening meal.
- Day 5
Sacred Valley of the IncasView on map
Spend an unforgettable day in the majestic Andes, spotting ancient archeological sites and learning about Valle Sagrado Verde’s conservation efforts.
On day five of your private South America tour you’ll journey to the town of Pumamarca in the Sacred Valley. Once you arrive, you’ll be able to explore this awe-inspiring Pre-Inca and Inca archaeological site perched on a ridge overlooking the stunning Patakancha Valley. The main site dates to 1300 but the oldest buildings are over 2000 years old! The site requires a bit of climbing, but the panoramic views are well worth the effort.
Having heard the fascinating history of Pumamarca, you’ll then embark on your next hike – an easy to moderate climb that takes in the beauty of a little-visited waterfall and a native forest of Qeuña, Unca, and its chachacomo trees. You’ll hear how these magnificent trees, once abundant in the Andes, have become increasingly rare due to deforestation resulting from habitation, intense agriculture, and slash-and-burn farming practices.
Since you’ll be accompanied by a representative from Valle Sagrado Verde during today’s experience – you’ll have the opportunity to directly participate in a native-tree reforestation project, helping to restore the natural balance of the environment. Valle Sagrado Verde will provide all the tools necessary for the activity, and you'll learn about the importance of preserving these trees and their unique ecosystems.
Alongside the archaeological site, waterfalls, and native forest, you'll enjoy a rare sense of peace and tranquility, free from the crowds that can be found in more popular destinations. All of this is made possible thanks to the commitment of Valle Sagrado Verde to the conservation of this magical corner of the world.
- Day 6
Inca Trail - Machu PicchuView on map
Alight a Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes, before hiking the one-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Today you’ll board a Vistadome train headed for Machu Picchu, featuring spectacular panoramic windows offering impressive views of the surrounding valley. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the Hiram Bingham luxury train to Machu Picchu – and of course, we can also arrange private charter train services. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours to Aguas Calientes, where you will then begin the one-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu accompanied by a specialist Aracari guide.
This one-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu allows you to arrive at the world-famous ruins by foot and avoid the usual crowds that arrive by train and bus. Most of the trek is uphill with a fair number of precipices and covers approximately 12km (7.5 mi), which is about five hours of hiking. On the way, you will visit Wiñay Wayna, a remarkable Inca site that is only approachable on foot.
Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, you will enter the ruins with time to take in the fantastic views. Set among mist-shrouded mountains, this man-made marvel has become a symbol of the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most expansive empires in Latin American history: the Incas.
Tonight, you’ll stay in the nearby Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, ready for an early morning start.
- Day 7
Machu Picchu View on map
Take in the sublime beauty of Machu Picchu and Hike Huayna Picchu, before spending a night at the exhilarating Vertical Sky Luxury Suites.
Return to Machu Picchu with your guide early in the morning, hiking to the Huayna Picchu. Offering spectacular panoramic views, Huayna Picchu rises 260 meters (850 ft) higher than Machu Picchu. The Incas built a trail up the side of the mountain and on its top, temples and terraces.
Afterward, take the bus back to the town of Aguas Calientes to catch the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo for your private transfer to the marvelous Vertical Sky Luxury Suites in the Sacred Valley.
Clinging to the cliffs of Antanuca Mountain, deep in the Andes, a stay here offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a luxury adventure holiday to Peru. Once you arrive at the hotel’s reception, you’ll begin the 30-minute hike across the mountain to reach your sleeping quarters and the property’s restaurant. Comprising seven different suites, the cleverly constructed glass domes and capsules are fixed to the landscape, perfectly positioned to give guests a sweeping vista of the magnificent Nev Veronica mountain and the surrounding Valley.
- Day 8
Sacred Valley of the IncasView on map
Discover ancient Cusco with an exclusive private tour of its hidden secrets, before dining at the atmospheric Cicciolina.
You’ll be collected from your hotel this morning and take the 1.5-hour drive to reach the city of Cusco. Here, your exploration will begin on foot at the Plaza de Armas, the Main Square which is marked by the exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and ornamentation imposed by Spanish colonists to exert religious and political influence. From here you’ll visit Koricancha, the ‘Sun Temple’, and the Cathedral - a repository for Cusco’s colonial art.
You’ll head next to the colorful San Pedro Market and the charming neighborhood of San Blas, before finally arriving at Sacsayhuaman, an Inca citadel atop a hill, on the outskirts of the city. Not only are the imposing terraces of masterful stonework a sight to behold, but the vistas overlooking the rust-colored rooftops of Cusco provide a whole new perspective to the city you’ve just traversed.
After a delicious lunch, you’ll begin your discovery of the lesser-visited Cusco sites. As in every city, there are famous sights and there are hidden gems. As you’d expect from luxury South America travel with Aracari, these are the sort of sights included in this experience. During this leisurely visit, you will explore the culture, art, and architecture of this historic city through the centuries, as you stroll along its cobblestoned streets and peek into the interiors of small museums, convents, and archaeological sites you would have otherwise not noticed.
In the evening, you’ll head to Cusco airport where you will catch your domestic flight to Lima. Upon arrival, you’ll be whisked off to the Costa del Sol Hotel which is found within Lima airport itself. Here you can relax and enjoy an early night before tomorrow’s morning flight to Rio De Janeiro.
- Day 9
Lima - Rio De JaneiroView on map
Arrive in Rio de Janeiro and settle into a luxe suite at the Emiliano and spend the day at leisure on Copacabana beach.
Today, your luxury South America vacation crosses from Peru's cultural immersion to Brazil's tropical beats as you arrive in Rio de Janeiro and the luxurious Emiliano Rio Hotel.
Found in one of the city’s most sought-after locations, the Emiliano Rio is in Copacabana itself, but very near the beginning of Ipanema, part of the reason we have handpicked this intimate hotel. Spend your first day settling into your new luxury lodgings, lounging on the private beach and pool, before enjoying a delicious meal in one of the hotel’s acclaimed restaurants.
- Day 10
Rio De JaneiroView on map
Hike through the Tijuca National Park to reach some of the city’s most unmissable vistas, before sambaing the night away.
Wake up on Rio time today, ready to enjoy a gentle hike to one of the city’s most unmissable viewpoints in the Tijuca National Park. The Pedra Bonita hike is no more than 4 km (2.5 miles) round trip, but despite its relatively short ascent, the view at the top is sure to be one of the most breathtaking you witness during your luxury South America vacation. Should you wish - there are more challenging hikes, yet irrespective of the difficulty - all of the views are simply indescribable!
From a magnificent vantage point, you’ll appreciate how Rio’s incomparable beauty is in its unique location, and the boundless lush greenery of the city. Led by a Rio local and a highly knowledgeable guide, you’ll discover how hiking is truly the only way to experience it.
After your morning’s hike, you’ll return to the Emiliano for a delicious lunch, after which you can take to Copacabana beach - soak up the buzzing atmosphere either lounging in the sun or with a guided bike ride along the shore.
For your final night in Copacabana, what better than a night of authentic samba? Considered to be the samba capital of the world, the musical genre is all over Rio, whether you want to sit back and watch the professionals or try the moves for yourself.
- Day 11
Rio De Janeiro - ParatyView on map
Journey from Copacabana to the island-studded bay of Paraty, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sitio Burle Marx.
Today you’ll leave Copacabana behind as you journey toward the colonial town of Paraty. Paraty enjoys one of Brazil’s most spectacular settings, backed by steep jungled mountains which plunge into an island-studded bay.
The journey takes around three hours from Rio, and en route, you’ll stop at the fascinating site of Sitio Burle Marx - which is reached after just 1.5 hours. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sitio Burle Marx, is the home, workshop, and gardens of an eminent landscape architect, artist, naturalist, and musician, Roberto Burle Marx.
An absolute must-see for Aracari clients, Sitio Burle Marx embodies a “landscape laboratory” creating living works of art using native plants and drawing on Modernist ideas. You'll find architectural plant arrangements, dramatic color contrasts, and the incorporation of traditional folk culture. Today over 3,500 cultivated species of tropical and subtropical flora grow in harmony with the native vegetation of the region - truly a sight to behold.
After a guided visit of Sitio Burle Marx, you’ll continue to reach Paraty. Unspoiled and sleepy Paraty was founded in the 16th century as a result of the gold exploitation in Ouro Preto, as the town was right on the gold route. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find churches, parks, tree-lined streets plenty of cafes, as well as lovely colorful houses, akin to the one you’ll be staying in at the intimate Pousada de Ouro.
Tucked away in a historic area of Paraty, Pousada de Ouro is found within an 18th-century house, just a 10-minute walk from Pontal Beach. Spend the rest of the day relaxing on the tropical shoreline and enjoying the laidback beats of Paraty.
- Day 12
Paraty - Rio De JaneiroView on map
Sail the gentle tropical waters in a private boat, as you explore several of the beautiful islands scattered across the bay of Paraty, before heading back to Rio.
Today, your luxury South America vacation will take to the water, as you spend the day exploring several islands surrounding the Bay of Paraty. Accompanied by a private guide, you’ll board a speedboat that will take you from island to island, which plenty of opportunities to swim in the crystal-clear ocean. The center of the colonial city can also be reached by boat, should you opt to dock in the harbor to see more of Paraty’s historical charm.
After a day of sun and sea, you’ll return to Rio de Janeiro late in the afternoon, where you’ll check in to the splendidly scenic Chez Georges.
Found in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Chez Georges is nestled amongst the lush flora and fauna of this precious location and boasts unbelievable vistas. The house itself was designed by a well-known architect in the 1970s in the “Brutalist” style of which there is a lot in Brazil and sold to a designer who lived here with his family. Compromising just seven rooms – each named after a famous musical George i.e. George Harrison – a large outdoor pool, a terrace with truly spectacular views over Rio, this charming bed and breakfast will be your home for the final two nights of your luxury South America vacation.
- Day 13
Rio De JaneiroView on map
Take a ride on the famous Sugarloaf cable car for unmissable views over the city, visit the Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer) by tram, before exploring the charming district of Santa Teresa.
This morning you’ll be greeted by the magnificent views and enjoy a delicious breakfast before heading out to see some of Rio’s most popular sites. Begin with a ride on the Sugarloaf cable car, a journey that takes you up Sugarloaf Mountain to witness postcard views over Rio. It’s possible to spot the famous Christ the Redeemer from this vantage point too – although we can also recommend a tram ride up to the site itself for first-time visitors to Rio de Janeiro.
After you’ve explored two of the city’s most famous attractions, it’ll be time to return to the most subdued and authentic Santa Teresa. Enjoy a gourmet lunch back at Chez Georges before being introduced to your guide for the afternoon.
A local to the city, and extremely knowledgeable about this part of town – your guide will provide you with a fascinating interpretation of Rio. Navigating the cobbled streets of Santa Teresa, you’ll visit hotspots, such as the “Stairs of Celaron” – a staircase between the neighborhoods of Santa Teresa and Lapa decorated by a Chilean artist with many ceramic fragments. As well as passing plenty of colorful graffiti painted by local artists and monumental buildings such as the Opera House. And, since Santa Teresa is nestled in the forest, you can even spot monkeys and plenty of brightly colored tropical birds – adding to the uniqueness of a stay here.
Return to Chez Georges in the afternoon for a delicious evening meal, and a cocktail overlooking the city.
- Day 14
Rio De JaneiroView on map
Discover the rich African influence in Rio de Janeiro with a guided visit to the African suburbs, before enjoying a delicious downtown lunch at Lilia restaurant – a spot favored by locals.
Today you’ll delve deeper into the history of Little Africa in Rio de Janeiro. Once the largest African slave market in the world, Rio was the first port of call for millions of slaves arriving in Brazil. From carnival to samba, and food to music and religion to architecture, discover the harrowing history of slavery, contrasted with the magnificent influence African people have had on the identity of Rio.
For lunch, you’ll visit Lilia restaurant. A firm favorite amongst locals, this traditional downtown haunt serves authentic dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. In the afternoon, return to Chez Georges for a relaxing afternoon by the pool before your final evening in Rio De Janeiro.
- Day 15
Rio De Janeiro - International Flight HomeView on map
Spend the day at leisure, before heading to Rio’s international airport for your onward journey home.
Our Aracari representative will meet you at Chez Georges and transfer you to Rio airport for your international flight home. We will assist you with everything you need for a smooth departure.
Aracari specializes in tailormade travel. Here are just some of our further trip suggestions. Contact us for more bespoke ideas to inspire your travels.
Journey pricing as of 2023
Basic Pricing - US$15,000 per person
- Cost is per person for this 14-day itinerary
- Accommodation at hotels as mentioned above.
- Meals where indicated.
- Local English speaking guides throughout.
- All transfers to and from the airport.
- A detailed itinerary produced by us which includes historical information about the places you will visit, tips for the traveler, where to eat and where to shop, maps of the places you will visit, and a comprehensive reading list.
- Domestic flights (quoted separately).
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Insurance.
- International Flights and airport taxes.
- Neither personal expenses nor any other service not specified in the itinerary.