Discover momentous ancient, colonial and modern history in South America's diverse collection of fascinating cities.

South America's great cities have histories stretching back hundreds of years to the times of Spanish and Portuguese conquest, some even further. They have been the epicentres of colonial rule, homes of royalty and viceroyalty, and the sites of revolutions, independence movements, dictatorships and the establishment of democracy. Their links with Europe throughout the colonial period imported sophisticated Spanish culture to much of South America, and Portuguese culture to Brazil. This has left many of the cities with well established artistic and cultural heritages, magnificent cathedrals and palaces, and universities.

The first great city in Brazil was Salvador, on the north eastern coast of Bahia. Founded in 1549, it was Brazil's first capital, and because of its location was one of the main ports for trade with Europe and the Portuguese empire. The state of Bahia was one of the richest in Brazil, through its production of sugarcane and tobacco. Rio de Janeiro, now a cosmopolitan metropolis known for its beaches, was from 1808-1821 the capital of the Portuguese empire. This move paved the way for a number of royal palaces to be built, and enhancing the city's culture, fine arts and architecture - a legacy which can still be seen today. This importance led to Rio remain the capital of Brazil through its independence, until 1960 when it was transferred to the newly built city of Brasilia.

In Peru, the city of Lima was founded in 1535 on the site of a much older settlement, evidenced by the adobe pyramid of Huaca Pucllana dating to around 200-700 AD. It was named 'The City of Kings', and became the administrative centre of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and wealthy through the trade of silver and gold passing through its sea-port at Callao. Remains of the lavish colonial period can be seen in the old city's palaces, cathedral, and convents, while the later Republican period is characterised by highly ornate wooden balconies on the outside of the buildings. Meanwhile, Cusco was also conquered by the Spanish invaders, who took the opportunity to loot the precious metals from the Inca temples and palaces. They were able to destroy many of the Inca buildings and use their foundations to build their own houses, churches and convents. Cusco became a wealthy city through agriculture, cattle farming, and mining for precious metals. It was also an important religious centre in the Andes, drawing many artists and craftsmen to work for the church, leading to an artistic style known as the Cusco school. Paintings in this style can still be seen in galleries and churches throughout Cusco.

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The Cusco City Break Tour - Cusco - Holidays to Peru

Peru

Cusco City Break Tour

7 Nights from £1,577 €992 $1,050

Perched high in the Andean Mountains, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the "Sacred Valley of the Incas" tell the story of the Inca Empire and the colonial legacy of…

The Cusco City Break Tour
Tours in Peru

7 Nights from £1,577 €992 $1,050

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight to Lima

  2. Day 2 - Flight to Cusco

    Day 3 - Cusco City Tour & Nearby Ruins

    Days 4-7 - At Leisure in Cusco

  3. Day 8 - Departure

The Rio City Break Tour - Holidays to Brazil

Brazil

Rio City Break Tour

6 Nights from £1,624 €1,048 $1,111

Explore this vibrant exotic City in a stunningly beautiful setting. Enjoy Copacabana beach, visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf mountain an…

The Rio City Break Tour
Tours in Brazil

6 Nights from £1,624 €1,048 $1,111

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight: London to Rio de Janeiro

    Day 2 - Walking Introduction to Rio de Janeiro

    Day 3 - City Tour of Rio de Janeiro

    Day 4-7 - At Leisure in Rio de Janeiro

    Day 8 -  Return Flight to the UK

  2.  Range of excursions available

  3. Extend your trip

  4. Days 1-3 - Relax on Buzio's beaches

    Day 4 - Transfer to airport

The Salvador City Break Tour - Holidays to Brazil

Brazil

Salvador City Break Tour

6 Nights from £1,429 €814 $857

Explore the fascinating essence of Brazilian identity: a blend of Portuguese and African heritage, visible in the colonial architecture, Orixas, Capoeira, …

The Salvador City Break Tour
Tours in Brazil

6 Nights from £1,429 €814 $857

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight: London to Salvador da Bahia

    Day 2 - Walking Introduction to Salvador da Bahia

    Day 3 - City Tour of Salvador

    Day 4-6 - At Leisure in Salvador

    Day 7 - Return Flight to the UK

The Montecristi Tour - Holidays to Landmark Tours

Landmark Tours

Montecristi Tour

17 Nights from £4,166 €4,099 $4,415

The stunning setting of Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana on the Beach and high on Lake Titicaca, with a luxury train journey across Andean mountain landscapes to…

The Montecristi Tour
Tours in Landmark Tours

17 Nights from £4,166 €4,099 $4,415

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Arrive at Rio de Janeiro in the evening

    Day 2 - Full Day Tour of Rio de Janeiro

    Day 3-5 - At Leisure in Rio de Janeiro

  2. Day 6 - Transfer to La Paz

    Day 7 - Tour of La Paz

  3. Day 8 - Lake Titicaca

    Day 9 - Journey from Lake Titicaca to Cusco

  4. Day 10 - Sacred Valley of the Incas

    Day 11 - Tour of Cusco & nearby Inca sites

  5. Day 12-13 - Visit Machu Picchu

  6. Day 14 - Lima city tour

    Day 15 - Lima & Departure  

The Osorno Tour - Holidays to Landmark Tours

Landmark Tours

Osorno Tour

22 Nights from £5,402 €5,582 $6,022

A cross-continent adventure with alpine and Andean scenery, tropical beaches, cosmopolitan cities, magnificent waterfalls and colonial and Inca heritage.

The Osorno Tour
Tours in Landmark Tours

22 Nights from £5,402 €5,582 $6,022

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Departure

    Day 2 - Half day Tour of Rio de Janeiro

    Day 3 - Rio de Janeiro at Leisure

  2. Day 4 - Iguassu Falls, Brazilian side

    Day 5 - Iguazu Falls, Argentinian side

  3. Day 6 - Full Day Tour of Buenos Aires

    Day 7 - Buenos Aires at Leisure

  4. Day 8 - Flight to Bariloche, Argentine Lake District

    Day 9 - Full Day Tour of the Lake District 

    Day 10 - Andean Lake Crossing to Chile

  5. Day 11 - Flight to Santiago de Chile

    Day 12 - Tour of Santiago

    Day 13 - Santiago at Leisure

  6. Day 14 - Fly to La Paz

    Day 15 - City tour La Paz

    Day 16 - Lake Titicaca

  7. Day 17 - Andean Explorer Train Journey to Cusco

    Day 18 - Sacred Valley of the Incas Full Day Tour 

  8. Day 19 - Machu Picchu by Vistadome Train

    Day 20 - Machu Picchu at Leisure 

  9. Day 21 - Tour of Cusco

  10. Day 22 - Lima

    Day 23 - Return flight

The Shaman Tour - Holidays to Landmark Tours

Landmark Tours

Shaman Tour

28 Nights from £9,643 €10,671 $11,535

Cross the continent and cruise deep into the Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy cosmopolitan cities, colonial heritage, stunning Andean landscapes and the magnificen…

The Shaman Tour
Tours in Landmark Tours

28 Nights from £9,643 €10,671 $11,535

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Departure from the UK

    Day 2 - Buenos Aires at Leisure

    Day 3 - Buenos Aires City Tour

    Day 4 - Buenos Aires at Leisure

  2. Day 5 - Iguazu Falls, Argentinian side

    Day 6 - Iguassu Falls, Brazilian side

  3. Day 7 - Full Day Tour of Rio de Janeiro

    Day 8 - Rio de Janeiro at Leisure

  4. Day 9 - Flight to Salvador

    Day 10 - Salvador City Tour

    Day 11 - Salvador at Leisure

  5. Day 12 - Brasília City Tour

  6. Day 13 - Manaus tour

    Days 14 - 17 - Cruise in the Amazon rainforest

  7. Day 18 - Transfer to Lima

    Day 19 - Lima City Tour

  8. Day 20 - Fly to La Paz

    Day 21 - La Paz City Tour

  9. Day 22 - Lake Titicaca

    Day 23 - Uros & Taquile Islands

  10. Day 24 - Andean Explorer Train to Cusco

    Day 25 - Sacred Valley of the Incas Full Day Tour

  11. Day 26 - By Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

    Day 27 - Machu Picchu at Leisure

  12. Day 28 - Cusco Tour

    Day 29 - Cusco at Leisure

    Day 30 - Departure

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