12 days in South America Itinerary

12 days in South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in South America Itinerary

Start: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Fly:  12​h 15​min
1
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h 30​min
2
Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
— 2 nights
Shuttle + Fly:  5​h 15​min
3
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
4
Santiago, Chile
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
5
Cusco, Peru
— 2 nights
Fly:  9​h 30​min
End: Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Barra da Tijuca Beach, kick back and relax at Copacabana Beach, then take some stellar pictures from Pao de Acucar, and finally don't miss a visit to Escadaria Selaron. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Sat): admire the natural beauty at Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, pause for some photo ops at Corcovado Christ the Redeemer, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Praia de Ipanema, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Pedra do Arpoador.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Rio de Janeiro sightseeing planner .

Playa del Carmen, Mexico to Rio de Janeiro is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of ferry and flight. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Brasilia Time is 2 hours. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Playa del Carmen in August: high temperatures in Rio de Janeiro hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Sat) so you can travel to Foz do Iguacu.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer ©
Corcovado - Christ the Redeemer
Sugarloaf Mountain ©
Sugarloaf Mountain
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach

2
nights
Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

Foz do Iguacu ©
A gateway to the world-renowned Iguacu Falls, which spectacularly divide Brazil and Argentina, the modern, high-rise city of Foz do Iguacu can't help but play second fiddle to the natural wonder in its vicinity.
On the 25th (Sun), take in the spiritual surroundings of Buddhist Temple, then get to know the resident critters at Parque das Aves Bird Park, and then see human ingenuity at work at Itaipu Dam. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the engineering at Iguazu Falls.

To find more things to do, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Foz do Iguacu trip itinerary planning website .

You can fly from Rio de Janeiro to Foz do Iguacu in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Plan for a bit cooler nights when traveling from Rio de Janeiro in August since evenings lows in Foz do Iguacu dip to 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can travel to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Foz do Iguacu

Parks Nature Zoos & Aquariums
Highlights from your plan
Iguazu Falls ©
Iguazu Falls
Parque das Aves Bird Park ©
Parque das Aves Bird Park
Buddhist Temple ©
Buddhist Temple

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Plaza de Mayo, wander the streets of Puerto Madero, get a sense of history and politics at Casa Rosada, then don't miss a visit to Cemiterio de Recoleta, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with El Ateneo Grand Splendid. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, then admire the natural beauty at Jardin Japones, then take in nature's colorful creations at Parque 3 de Febrero, and finally admire the masterpieces at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

To see photos, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Buenos Aires travel route planner.

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from Foz do Iguacu to Buenos Aires in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or drive. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Foz do Iguacu in August: high temperatures in Buenos Aires hover around 20°C and lows are around 12°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Santiago.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Historic Sites Museums Parks
Highlights from your plan
Puerto Madero ©
Puerto Madero
Cemiterio de Recoleta ©
Cemiterio de Recoleta
Parque 3 de Febrero ©
Parque 3 de Febrero

3
nights
Santiago, Chile

Santiago ©
Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Santiago is known for shopping, museums, parks, nature, and historic sites. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through San Cristóbal Hill, make a trip to Santa Lucia Hill, browse the eclectic array of goods at Central Market (Mercado Central), and steep yourself in history at Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda y Plaza de la Ciudadania.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our Santiago route maker site .

Traveling by flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference moving from Argentine Time (ART) to Chile Time (CLT) is minus 1 hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Sat) early enough to travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Santiago

Parks Shopping Museums
Highlights from your plan
San Cristóbal Hill ©
San Cristóbal Hill
Cerro Santa Lucia ©
Cerro Santa Lucia

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.
On the 1st (Sun), stop by Hilo, steep yourself in history at Plaza de Armas, then steep yourself in history at Sacsayhuaman, and finally explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Precolombino. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon): hike along exploor and then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia De Santo Domingo.

To find more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Cusco online trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Santiago to Cusco takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Santiago to Cusco is minus 1 hour. In August, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 2°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Cusco

Historic Sites Museums Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Sacsayhuaman ©
Sacsayhuaman
Plaza de Armas ©
Plaza de Armas
Iglesia De Santo Domingo ©
Iglesia De Santo Domingo

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