On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders
. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.
3 flights (longest 2 hours), 2 train journeys (longest 3.5 hours), 4 road journeys (longest 7 hours).
For our Discovery Journeys we aim to use good quality, value-for-money accommodation, in a mix of larger more modern and smaller family run hotels. All the properties we use are well maintained and rooms will have a private bathroom with hot water.
The focus of these trips is on getting outside, seeing the sights, and experiencing local restaurants and cafes, therefore a few hotels may not have evening dining facilities. If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, please see the Hummingbird Tour which follows a very similar route.
Examples of hotels include:
• Rio de Janeiro: Hotel Augusto's
• Foz do Iguaçú: Hotel Taroba
• Asunción: Asunción Palace
• La Paz: Hotel Rosario
• Copacabana (Lake Titicaca): Rosario del Lago
• Puno: Hotel Intiqa
• Cusco: Hotel Ruinas
• Sacred Valley: Tunupa Lodge
• Machu Picchu: Waman Inn
• Lima: Hotel El Tambo
On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
• Rio: city tour, Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountain
• Iguazú: Iguazú Falls (Brazilian and Argentine sides)
• La Paz: city tour
• Lake Titicaca: boat trip to Sun Island
• Lake Titicaca: Uros Islands
• Cusco: guided city tour
• Sacred Valley: guided tour
• Machu Picchu: guided tour of the ruins
• Lima: walking tour of colonial centre
Summary of nights
19 days, 18 nights: Rio 3; Foz do Iguaçú 2; Asunción 1; La Paz 3; Copacabana (Lake Titicaca) 1; Puno 1; Cusco 3; Sacred Valley 1; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 1; Lima 1.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and insurance
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
There are optional excursions available throughout this tour, which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $200USD should cover participation in the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Iguazú Falls: Bird Park
• Iguazú Falls: Gran Safari boat ride to the falls
• La Paz: Pre-Inca ruins at Tiwanaku
• Sacred Valley: Moras and Moray
• Cusco: Horse riding or white water rafting
• Machu Picchu: re-entry to the ruins
• Machu Picchu: climb Huayna Picchu (this excursion must be pre-booked due to availability issues so please let the office know before travel). Please note that this is a vigorous climb, involving very steep steps and uneven terrain. It would not be recommended for anyone suffering from vertigo. For more information, please contact your travel consultant.
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Peru is the sol, in Bolivia the boliviano, in Brazil the real, and in Paraguay the guaraní.
Based on feedback from other passengers who have done this tour we currently recommend a budget of around US$35 per day. This would cover the cost of meals not included in the itinerary, soft drinks and the odd souvenir. This is an average but prices vary greatly between countries with Brazil being more expensive then Bolivia for example.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Your tour leader is on hand to advise the best time to get out or change money along the way. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by visitors who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance
International and domestic departure tax is currently included within the price of tickets.
The pace of this trip is fast; there are some early mornings and long days spent travelling (albeit with frequent stops and fantastic scenery). The streets in Cusco and La Paz are cobbled and steep and you must be cautious at altitude. You should consult your tour leader to make sure your chosen optional excursions are suitable for you.
December- March are the hottest months in Brazil, but also the most humid. Rain is possible at any time. In the southern hemisphere the seasons are the reverse of our own. Summer on the Peruvian coast (November-April) is hot, temperatures rise above 30°C.
In the mountains, rain can be expected at anytime October-April, although January and February are historically the wettest months. The thinness of the air and the strength of the sun mean you can expect warm if invigorating days (up to 25°C), but once the sun sets the temperature drops dramatically (below freezing, depending on altitude). In Iguaçu and Paraguay it will be hot and humid, with frequent showers.
Some of the excursions in and around La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and the Sacred Valley are at high altitude (over 3,000m). Symptoms of altitude sickness vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. Most people are unaffected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don't exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of suffering any symptoms. Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials also work well. It can get very cold at altitude, particularly after sundown and so warm clothes are essential as is a good waterproof jacket. Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block and sunglasses. You should take swimwear for visits to thermal baths.
At the Iguazú Falls you can get very wet from the spray. Some visitors like to take dry clothes in a bag and simply wear swimwear and flip flops.
If you plan to go to good restaurants or out on evening entertainment trips, you might want to bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).
Due to luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu, most of your luggage must be left in Cusco. You can take up to 5kgs per person on the train and an overnight holdall is recommended so that you can separate your luggage for the nights spent away from Cusco. A separate bag is also useful if you are planning an extension from Lima, usually the rest of your luggage can be left in the hotel.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against typhoid, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A and yellow fever. A yellow fever certificate may also be a compulsory requirement for onward travel and immigration purposes. The rules are complex and subject to change. We advise you check the most up to date information at www.iatatravelcentre.com. Please consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on malaria tablets.
For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
As of 2018, visitors to Brazil travelling on our holidays should be protected with a vaccination against yellow fever, and carry the corresponding certificate. In April 2013, the World Health Organisation Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation concluded that a single primary dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and lifelong protection against yellow fever disease, and that a booster dose is not needed.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Other nationalities should enquire or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online
This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.