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Cosmos Ultimate South America with Galápagos Cruise (1205)

26 days from Rio de Janeiro to Guayaquil 
Discover some of South America's greatest cities—Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Quito—and some of its most spectacular ruins and scenic areas on this South America tour. You'll overnight in Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Quito, and Guayaquil, along with four nights cruising the Galápagos Islands aboard the Santa Cruz II.

Highlights of this South America tour include time at Iguassu Falls on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. Experience the falls, hear the thundering roar, be amazed at the brilliant rainbows created by the clouds of spray, and stand in awe as you witness these 275 falls spanning nearly two miles! You’ll also be amazed at Machu Picchu, set in a majestic mountainside with ruins dating back to the 15th century. Glimpse the ancient history and culture as you enjoy this stunning and mystical place. Other tour highlights include a visit to the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, with stones weighing up to 350 tons. Time in Peru's Lake Titicaca, a lake of floating islands maintained over centuries by the local Indians, gives you a chance to experience the world's highest navigable lake and to learn about local practices.

Guided sightseeing in each of the cities features the must-see sites, including Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue, the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Lima’s baroque 11th-century San Francisco Monastery, and Quito’s La Compania Church. But that’s not all…you’ll take a 4-night Galápagos Islands cruise. Explore the islands, snorkel, swim, and enjoy seeing rays, starfish, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, land iguanas, and much more. Learn about conservation efforts for the famous giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

All of this—and more—are included on this South America tour designed for the value-minded traveler who wants to experience it all!

Cosmos Promotions & Special Offers

  • Book early and save $50 per person on 2018 Cosmos vacations (excluding Cuba).*
    Must be booked between 06/21/17 and 10/17/17 - for Travel Dates between 01/01/18 and 12/31/18
Restrictions May Apply

Cosmos Highlights & Sightseeing

In Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca.

Cosmos Hotels

RIO DE JANEIRO Windsor Plaza Copacabana (F)
IGUASSU FALLS Recanto Park (F)
BUENOS AIRES Kenton Palace (F)
LIMA Jose Antonio Lima (F)
SACRED VALLEY La Casona Yucay (MF)
MACHU PICCHU El Mapi Hotel Machu Picchu (F)
CUSCO Jose Antonio Cusco (F)
PUNO Eco Inn Puno (F)
QUITO Grand Mercure Alameda (SF)
GALÁPAGOS CRUISE Santa Cruz II (F)
GUAYAQUIL Unipark Hotel Guayaquil (SF)

Itinerary (2018)

Day 1
 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL.Welcome to spectacular Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics! After arrival, settle into your hotel and meet your Tour Director, who will have pointers for your free time exploration.
Day 2RIO DE JANEIRO.
 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 Christ the Redeemer statue and enjoy 360-degree views of Guanabara Bay and the bustling city below. Your afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps join an optional excursion to a favela for a glimpse into the life of these colorful communities that nearly 25% of the people call home. (B)
Day 3RIO 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. (B)
Day 4RIO DE JANEIRO–IGUASSU FALLS.
 Fly to Iguassu Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Journey to the Brazilian side of the FALLS to see the 275 waterfalls cascading over a precipice almost two miles wide and 250 feet deep. Walk into Devil’s Throat Canyon, where clouds of mist, a thundering roar, and 180-degree rainbows surround you—an unforgettable experience! (B,D)
Day 5IGUASSU FALLS.
 Cross the border for a visit of the Argentine side of the FALLS. Begin with a short ride on the open-air ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN through the surrounding rainforest. A series of boardwalks takes you above the falls for a look over the edge to see the water crashing down below into the Devil’s Throat. This afternoon, you may opt to visit the Bird Park, home to many species of indigenous birds as well as flora from the area. (B)
Day 6IGUASSU FALLS–BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.
 Fly 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. (B)
Day 7
 BUENOS AIRES.Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide focuses on the city’s well-known 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 highlighting this alluring dance so popular here. (B,D)
Day 8BUENOS AIRES.
 Today is free for independent activities, or you can take an optional excursion to visit a local estancia (ranch) to experience the life of the gauchos (cowboys) on a traditional Argentine ranch complete with a barbecue lunch. (B)
Day 9BUENOS AIRES–LIMA, PERU.
 Board a flight for Lima, Peru. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima still carries vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums. (B)
Day 10LIMA.
 Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once the capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore on your own. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening. (B,D)
Day 11LIMA–CUSCO–SACRED VALLEY.
 Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibers that are then used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with a famous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colorful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel, nestled in the peaceful Sacred Valley. (B,D)
Day 12SACRED VALLEY.
 Start the day with a visit to OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest—the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. You will see how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold. Next, visit a LOCAL HOME to experience life in this traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Then, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a typical Inca drink in Peru called chicha. (B)
Day 13SACRED VALLEY–MACHU PICCHU.
 Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for Aguas Calientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. The ruins went undiscovered for nearly 400 years after they were abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. For this reason, many of the mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day. (B,D)
Day 14MACHU PICCHU–CUSCO.
 Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of Aguas Calientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire. (B)
Day 15CUSCO.
 Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicenter of the Incas. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also, see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas before a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here on your tour. Also, see the ruins of Kenko and Puca Pucara before returning to Cusco. (B,D)
Day 16CUSCO–JULIACA–PUNO.
 Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the sun god to found the Inca Empire. (B)
Day 17PUNO. EXCURSION TO LAKE TITICACA.
 Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a motorboat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 18PUNO–JULIACA–LIMA.
 En route to Juliaca, stop at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI. See the above-ground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Fly to Lima and transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 19LIMA–QUITO, ECUADOR.
 Board a flight for Quito. (B)
Day 20QUITO.
 Included sightseeing showcases Quito’s treasures: Independence Plaza and the 16th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, and the Jesuit’s LA COMPANIA CHURCH with its stunning golden altars. (B)
Day 21QUITO–BALTRA (EMBARKATION)–GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND.
 Fly to Baltra in the Galápagos and embark the Santa Cruz II. This afternoon, arrive at SANTA CRUZ ISLAND and visit Dragon Hill, where you will find a brackish lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks, and flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the archipelago, as well as the chance to see land iguanas. (B,L,D)
Day 22GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: ISABELA & FERNANDINA ISLANDS.
 Wake up on ISABELA ISLAND to search for flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, fur seals, and boobies that call this island home. This is also a great place to snorkel due to its rich marine life. In the afternoon, explore the youngest island in the archipelago, FERNANDINA. This unique environment boasts a high density of marine iguanas, sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins, and the flightless cormorants. (B,L,D)
Day 23GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND.
 Visit the CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, established to help conserve the famous giant tortoises. Next up: you have a choice of activities, including visiting the highlands of Santa Cruz, beach walks, or kayaking. (B,L,D)
Day 24GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: FLOREANA ISLAND.
 Visit POST OFFICE BAY on Floreana, named for the wooden barrel that served as an informal post office for sailors passing through. Here, you may also encounter Darwin finches, yellow warblers, and lava lizards, and take advantage of another chance for great snorkeling. Take a dinghy ride along CHAMPION ISLET in search of Galápagos penguins, sea lions, turtles, sharks, and dolphins. At CORMORANT POINT, see a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galápagos. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific sea turtles. Enjoy a chance to snorkel among sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions, and even white-tipped reef sharks. (B,L,D)
Day 25GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: BALTRA (DISEMBARKATION)–GUAYAQUIL.
 Disembark and fly to Guayaquil. (B)
Day 26GUAYAQUIL.
 Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Cosmos Meals

25 breakfasts, 5 lunch, 11 dinners

Related Cosmos Tours

1200 - Ultimate South America
1208 - Add Brazil's Amazon to Your Vacation

Cosmos Pricing Details

Dates & Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Cosmos, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments, starting at $3,063 (based on Miami, departure in January 2018); or (2) intra-vacation air segments only. Required intra-vacation air segments: Rio de Janeiro/Iguassu Falls; Iguassu Falls/Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires/Lima; Lima/Cusco; Cusco/Juliaca; Juliaca/Lima; Lima/Quito; Quito/Galápagos; Galápagos/Guayaquil. Air prices were effective on July 12, 2017 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Gratuities for Tour Director, driver, and Local guides are available for pre-purchase on the base vacation. For vacations that include an extension to the base, pre-paid gratuities only include the base portion. Any additional gratuities would need to be paid on trip.

Galápagos cruise price is based on a Horizon Deck Explorer cabin on the Santa Cruz II. Cabin upgrades are available; please call for pricing.

Galápagos cruise price includes Galápagos National Park entrance fee and transit card ($120 value).

Prices are per person, based on double room occupancy.

Single Room Supplement:
$4,300 to $4,545

Triple Rooms are not available.

Extra Nights per person in Rio de Janeiro:
in single room $200; in twin room $106

Extra Nights per person in Guayaquil:
in single room $158; in twin room $83

2019 prices and itineraries are subject to change. Details will be available in July 2018.

Cosmos Notes

Visit a local familiy’s home at Lake Titicaca and help support the community through Cosmos’ contributions.

Click Quote for a Cosmos Tour Date for our low price tour quote


Cosmos Tour Dates


Guaranteed Departure  indicates Guaranteed Departure
*Tour Land StartCosmos RetailRequest Quote
Guaranteed Departure 03/23/2018 $6,829.00
04/06/2018 $6,829.00
04/20/2018 $6,829.00
05/04/2018 $6,829.00
05/18/2018 $6,829.00
06/15/2018 $6,829.00
Guaranteed Departure 07/13/2018 $6,829.00
08/10/2018 $6,829.00
09/07/2018 $6,829.00
09/21/2018 $6,829.00
10/05/2018 $6,859.00
10/19/2018 $6,859.00
01/25/2019 $7,319.00
02/08/2019 $7,319.00
02/22/2019 $7,319.00
03/22/2019 $7,319.00
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