12 days in South America Itinerary

12 days in South America Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South America attractions planner

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Route & dates

12 days in South America Itinerary

Start: Philadelphia, United States
train + Fly:  10​h
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 2 nights
Fly:  8​h 45​min
2
Cusco, Peru
— 2 nights
+2
bus + foot + train:  3​h 15​min
3
Machu Picchu, Peru
— 2 nights
+4
train + foot + bus + taxi + Fly:  14​h 15​min
4
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  6​h 45​min
5
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 1 night
Fly + train:  15​h 30​min
End: Philadelphia, United States

2
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
To find where to stay, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, use the Cartagena trip itinerary builder site .

Philadelphia, USA to Cartagena is an approximately 10-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly; or do a combination of bus and flight. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Philadelphia in May: highs in Cartagena hover around 90°F, while lows dip to 79°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Cartagena

#Historic Sites
Find places to stay May 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Walled City of Cartagena ©
Walled City of Cartagena
San Felipe de Barajas Castle ©
San Felipe de Barajas Castle
Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa ©
Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa

2
nights
Cusco, Peru

Cusco ©
Capital of the Inca Empire for three centuries, World Heritage-listed Cusco is now a major tourist destination, drawing nearly 2 million annual tourists with its well-preserved colonial architecture and proximity to Machu Picchu.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: steep yourself in history at Sacsayhuaman, then steep yourself in history at Plaza de Armas, then delve into the distant past at Centro Historico De Cusco, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at The Company of Jesus Church.

For where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, use the Cusco itinerary app .

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to Cusco takes 9 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Cartagena in May, things will get cooler in Cusco: highs are around 69°F and lows about 39°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) early enough to travel to Machu Picchu.

Things to do in Cusco

#Historic Sites

Side Trip

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Find places to stay May 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Sacsayhuaman ©
Sacsayhuaman
Plaza de Armas ©
Plaza de Armas
Centro Historico De Cusco ©
Centro Historico De Cusco

2
nights
Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu ©
A symbol of the Incan civilization, the abandoned city of Machu Picchu represents a must-see on a Peru vacation.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Wed): delve into the distant past at Intipuncu, then explore the ancient world of Winay Wayna, and then delve into the distant past at Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu.

To see more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Machu Picchu travel route planner .

Take a train from Cusco to Machu Picchu in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Machu Picchu

#Historic Sites
Find places to stay May 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu ©
Winay Wayna ©
Winay Wayna
Intipuncu ©
Intipuncu

2
nights
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro ©
Bustling with samba music and all-night street parties, no city encapsulates the spirit of Brazil better than Rio de Janeiro.
On the 1st (Fri), enjoy the sand and surf at Copacabana Beach, kick back and relax at Pedra do Arpoador, then enjoy the sand and surf at Praia de Ipanema, then appreciate the history behind Corcovado Christ the Redeemer, and finally view the masterpieces at Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire all the interesting features of Maracanã, contemplate the long history of Parque Lage, then take in nature's colorful creations at Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, and finally take a stroll through Barra da Tijuca.

To find maps, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read Rio de Janeiro road trip app .

Traveling by combination of train, bus, and flight from Machu Picchu to Rio de Janeiro takes 14.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Machu Picchu to Rio de Janeiro due to the time zone difference. In June, daily temperatures in Rio de Janeiro can reach 78°F, while at night they dip to 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) to allow time to travel to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors
Find places to stay May 31 — Jun 3:
Highlights from your plan
Corcovado Christ the Redeemer ©
Corcovado Christ the Redeemer
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach
Praia de Ipanema
Praia de Ipanema

1
night
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires ©
Cultural capital of South America, Buenos Aires remains one of the largest cities on the continent, serving as a point of departure for exploring the rest of the country.
On the 3rd (Sun), admire the masterpieces at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

To find reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Buenos Aires day trip planner.

Getting from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires by combination of bus and flight takes about 7 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. Traveling from Rio de Janeiro in June, things will get a bit cooler in Buenos Aires: highs are around 60°F and lows about 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

#Museums, #Neighborhoods, #Shopping
Find places to stay Jun 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Plaza de Mayo ©
Plaza de Mayo
Puerto Madero ©
Puerto Madero

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