Land Program Highlights: South America

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
By Azamara

Do you long to go beyond the beautiful ports of the world? To travel across the sea and on land in a way that promises authentic, enriching experiences? Our recently announced Land Program will immerse you in the cultures and traditions of cities, countries, and continents around the world—forging deep connections with locals and embracing all the thrills of travel along the way.

To celebrate these exciting new Land Programs, we’re highlighting some of our favorite all-new experiences that will take you off the beaten path and onto the road (and waters) less traveled when you explore the world with us. Let’s take a deep dive into the Land Program journeys of South America.

Spectacular South America

Rio De Janeiro Aerial

As diverse as it is dazzling, South America is a continent of ancient ruins, natural wonders, and modern marvels. Here, there are tropical rainforests and towering waterfalls, beautiful fjords and breathtaking glaciers, tribal villages and major metropolises—all waiting for you to discover.

Here are a few of the highlights you can expect when you join us in South America.

On the Prowl in Pantanal

Wild Jaguar

Answer the call of the wild and embrace your animal instincts when you embark on the In Search of Jaguar: Pantanal Land Journey. This four-night expedition from Rio takes you directly into the heart of Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland area in the world. At over 81,000 square miles, Pantanal is half the size of France, and is home to jungles, rivers, marshlands, and hundreds of species, including the highest-density population of jaguars on Earth.

A boat navigating through the waters of Pantanal at sunset

There are no towns in Pantanal, and very few people. This truly is the wild, and an experience you'll never forget. We'll spend two and a half days here, where expert naturalist guides will lead you on an immersive safari unlike any other. You'll navigate the forest by horseback as capybara, black vultures, and anteaters go about their daily rituals. Join nighttime treks through the jungle, searching for elusive nocturnal wildlife. Hop aboard a boat to patrol the waters for the world's largest otters, stingrays, and green anacondas, while howler monkeys make their presence known from the canopy of trees above.

And through it all, keep your eyes peeled for the majestic jaguar—the largest native cat species in the Americas—thriving in its natural habitat.

A Real-Life Desert Oasis

Remember when we said South America was diverse? The juxtaposition between Pantanal and our Atacama Desert Expedition Land Journey perfectly highlights the contrasting climates you can explore on the continent.

Sunset and strong shadows in the Moon Valley of Atacama desert

The Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. Perched at a height that prevents ocean moisture from reaching it, this region sees less than one millimeter of rain per year. In fact, some parts of the Atacama Desert have never had a recorded rainfall. Still, don't mistake its aridness for bareness—even here, life finds a way to thrive. More than a million people call the desert home, making a living by growing dry-weather produce, herding alpacas, and mining copper.

The Salt Mountain Range in the Atacama Desert

The landscape is surreal and striking, and a paradise for outdoor lovers. When you visit, you'll have more than 30 unique tours to choose from. There's mountain biking with expert guides, sightseeing expeditions, culinary quests, and incomparable astronomical adventures.

Woman looking at star sky at canyon in Atacama Desert

When the sun goes down, the Atacama Desert really shines. We mean that literally, as you'll find yourself looking up at a blanket of stars in the clear skies above. It's known as one of the best places for stargazing in the world. Our experts will guide you through the skies, giving you a better understanding of where we are in the universe, as well as pointing out a few of the coolest things happening high above us.

When it's time to retire for the evening, you'll be staying at the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa—a rustic retreat nestled in the red Atacama peaks—where you can enjoy locally sourced dishes in the restaurant (paired with fine Chilean wine, of course), unwind in the world-renowned spa, or take a dip in one of six outdoor pools, each offering stunning views of the desert. The cherry on top of your oasis experience.

Glaciers Galore

Glacier Perito Moreno in the Patagonia

From the wetlands and the desert, we make our way to Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. Discover even more of South America's incredible biodiversity on the Perito Moreno Glacier UNESCO World Heritage Overnight Experience, where you'll visit one of the few advancing glaciers in the world.

You may be wondering, what’s an "advancing glacier?" Well, in the 21st-century, most glaciers are retreating—that is, getting smaller. However, the Perito Moreno Glacier is growing—advancing as much as two meters per day. This is actually quite a sight to see (and hear). As the glacier advances, you'll hear creaking, even witness massive chunks of ice cracking off the glacier and falling into the waters below. Don't worry! This isn't a sign of the glacier retreating. We liken it to growing pains! Either way, it's thrilling to watch. And don't worry, you'll get a good view. We'll take you on an up-close adventure, where our guides will share insights on everything that makes this glacier one of the world's most impressive.     

Breaking ice formations falling from Perito Moreno Glacier

Named after the famed Argentine explorer Francisco Moreno, the Perito Moreno Glacier is three miles wide and covers more than 100 square miles of surface area. To put its impressive size into perspective, the glacier is the third largest reserve of freshwater on the planet. The only reserves larger are the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.

Explore One of the Seven Wonders of the World

Machu Picchu, Peru

Immerse yourself in the history, art, and culture of the ancient Incas on the Machu Picchu, Cusco & Hiram Bingham Train AzAmazing® Journey—an archeological exploration that will have you standing in the shadows of ancient wonders and basking in the Temple of the Sun.

This five-night journey is highlighted by two incredible days on the ground at Machu Picchu, the iconic Incan citadel that towers over the Urubamba River valley in Peru's Andes mountain range. Travel to this mysterious wonder aboard the Hiram Bingham, a luxury train named after the explorer who rediscovered Machu Picchu. Relax, enjoy a delicious meal in the dining car, or simply gaze out the window at the mountainous views, as you make your way to Machu Picchu aboard 1920-style carriages that harken back to the golden age of railroads.

Machu Piccu

Once you arrive, Machu Picchu's enigmas are yours to uncover. You'll visit the Inca Bridge, believed to be a secret entrance into the citadel crafted by the Incas. Then, hike uphill to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. Believed to be Machu Picchu's control gate, Inti Punku got its name because of its significant location, as every year on the summer solstice, the rising sun passes through the gate. It's also the perfect spot to survey the sanctuary from above. From the Sun Gate, make your way to the Temple of the Sun, a sacred place where ancient Inca rituals were conducted—including the worship of mummies!

Peruvian woman weaving

Beyond the mythical energy of Machu Picchu, this journey will also bring you closer to Peruvian culture. You'll learn pottery techniques passed down from generation to generation, visit a local hat-maker's home for insight on what makes the perfect chapeau, and take part in a special weaver's workshop where experts will share their textile traditions with you. Along the way, you'll picnic by Huaypo Lagoon, with views of the Andes in the distance, and enjoy a private lunch at Hacienda Huayoccari—a beautiful 17th-century estate.

Stand in the Wonder of Iguazú Falls

Iguazu Falls and Devil's Throat

In the local Tupi language, Iguazú means "Big Water." One glimpse of Iguazú Falls and you'll quickly realize its name is justified. This is the most extensive waterfall system in the world, stretching nearly two miles and acting as a natural border between Argentina and Brazil. To call the sheer size and power of Iguazú astonishing doesn't do it justice. It must be experienced in person, something you'll do on the Iguazú Falls From Argentina & Brazil AzAmazing® Journey.

Catwalks near Iguazu Falls

We'll take you high above the falls to adventure out on the catwalks that surround Iguazú's upper cascades. Feeling brave? Gaze out over the edge for an incredible view of the Paraná River below. And if you want to get even closer to the falls, you're in luck! We'll take you by speed boat to Devil's Throat, where you'll find yourself mere feet from some of the most immense and impressive waterfalls in the entire system. You’ll be able to see the falls from both the Brazilian side and the Argentinian side—revealing unique perspectives along the way.

Of course, there's more to this journey than just Iguazú Falls. We'll also take you to the indigenous Jasy Porá Guarani Village in the Yriapu rainforest to meet the people of the Guarani tribe. You'll learn the tribe's remarkable history, as well as more about local flora and fauna from a village elder. Undoubtedly, the sparking of a new friendship with the tribe's people is sure to leave an impression on you that will last long after your journey is done.

Discover a Different Brand of Southern Hospitality

Hugging couple looking at Machu Picchu

Unlock the secrets of South America with us and make travel memories to last a lifetime. Find the perfect adventure for you today.

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