17 days in Peru, Galapagos Islands & Rio de Janeiro Itinerary

17 days in Peru, Galapagos Islands & Rio de Janeiro Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Peru, Galapagos Islands & Rio de Janeiro Itinerary

Start: Johannesburg, South Africa
Fly:  40​h
1
Lima, Peru
— 3 nights
Fly:  1​h 45​min
2
Cusco, Peru
— 2 nights
+2
bus + foot + train:  3​h 15​min
3
Machu Picchu, Peru
— 1 night
+3
Drive + Fly + shuttle + ferry:  30​h
4
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
— 3 nights
+2
ferry + shuttle + Fly:  19​h 15​min
5
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 3 nights
Fly:  15​h
End: Johannesburg, South Africa

3
nights
Lima, Peru

Founded in 1535 by Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro, Lima represents an interesting blend of modern attractions and preserved colonial architecture, much of it clustered in the World Heritage-listed city center.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Galeria Indigo and Museo Larco. Visiting El Canon de Austisha and Playa Penascal will get you outdoors. Next up on the itinerary: shop like a local with Shopping Center Larcomar (Centro Comercial Larcomar), browse the fresh offerings at Centro De Ventas-UNALM, explore the ancient world of Huaca Pucllana, and pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Lima trip planner.

Johannesburg, South Africa to Lima is an approximately 40-hour combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from South Africa Standard Time (SAST) to Peru Time (PET), which is usually a -7 hour difference. Traveling from Johannesburg in December, expect nights in Lima to be about the same, around 22°C, while days are slightly colder, around 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Lima

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

El Canon de Austisha
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Museo Larco ©
Museo Larco
Huaca Pucllana ©
Huaca Pucllana

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 25th (Wed), hunt for treasures at Mercado Central de San Pedro, then gain insight with exploor, then explore the ancient world of Sacsayhuaman, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the world behind art at Museo Maximo Laura and then delve into the distant past at Centro Historico De Cusco.

To find photos, maps, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Cusco online trip planner .

You can fly from Lima to Cusco in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Lima in December, expect nights in Cusco to be cooler, around 9°C, while days are slightly colder, around 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) early enough to travel to Machu Picchu.

Things to do in Cusco

Historic Sites Shopping Museums
Highlights from your plan
Sacsayhuaman ©
Sacsayhuaman
Centro Historico De Cusco ©
Centro Historico De Cusco
exploor ©
exploor

1
night
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.
On the 27th (Fri), look for gifts at Mapi Art and then contemplate the long history of Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Machu Picchu online trip maker .

Traveling by combination of bus and train from Cusco to Machu Picchu takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can travel to Puerto Ayora.

Things to do in Machu Picchu

Historic Sites Shopping
Highlights from your plan
Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu ©
Mapi Art ©
Mapi Art

3
nights
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Puerto Ayora ©
The largest settlement in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora offers visitors to the islands an array of facilities and things to do.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Galeria Aymara and Maki-Art Gallery. Get in touch with nature at Charles Darwin Research Station and Las Grietas. Next up on the itinerary: look for all kinds of wild species at El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve, take in the waterfront at Malecon de Puerto Ayora, enjoy the sand and surf at Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay, and see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Puerto Ayora journey planner.

You can do a combination of car, flight, and ferry from Machu Picchu to Puerto Ayora in 30 hours. In December in Puerto Ayora, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 26°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Puerto Ayora

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Aymara ©
Galeria Aymara
Charles Darwin Research Station ©
Charles Darwin Research Station
El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve ©
El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve

3
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 2nd (Thu), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Church of Our Lady of the Candelaria, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Pao de Acucar, then enjoy the sand and surf at Copacabana Beach, and finally take in nature's colorful creations at Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the landmark architecture of Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas, pause for some photo ops at Corcovado Christ the Redeemer, then stop by Shopping Leblon, then kick back and relax at Praia de Ipanema, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Pedra do Arpoador.

For other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Rio de Janeiro travel route planner.

You can do a combination of ferry and flight from Puerto Ayora to Rio de Janeiro in 19.5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Puerto Ayora to Rio de Janeiro. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in January, and nighttime lows around 28°C. On the 4th (Sat), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach
Bondinho  Pao de Acucar ©
Bondinho Pao de Acucar
Praia de Ipanema
Praia de Ipanema

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