15 Day Pilgrimage to Brazil, Argentina and Peru

*** Daily Masses Included ***

Day 1:  NORTH AMERICA / BRAZIL.  Depart North America for Brazil.  Your flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment.

Day 2:  RIO DE JANEIRO.  Upon arrival in Rio De Janeiro, we will be met by a CPO staff member at the airport.  First we will stop for a nice lunch (included).  Then we continue on with our City Tour of Rio, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, the train through the Tijuaca Forest up Corcovado to the Statue of Christ the Redeemer (subject to time and space availability) and cable car to the top of the Iconic Sugar Loaf for spectacular views of Rio de Janeiro.  After the train ride back down, we check in at our hotel for overnight.

Day 3:   RIO DE JANEIRO / SAN PAULO.  After breakfast, this morning we drive to Aparecida, 155 miles southwest of Rio, home to and named after the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, declared so by Pope Pius XI in 1929.  Pope Benedict XVI delivered a speech here in May, 2007.  Continue our drive to San Paulo for overnight.

Day 4: SAN PAULO / IGUAZU FALLS. Breakfast at the hotel.  Our tour will visit the main points of São Paulo City, including the Se Cathedral and the Pateo do Colegio - the foundation site of this metropolis.  From the downtown area we will tour through the Paulista Avenue area, where the MASP Modern Art Sao Paulo Museum is located with his fabulous collection of modern Art, the biggest collection in the Southern Hemisphere.  We will also drive through the Jardins area, very famous for its famous Stores and also for the gorgeous car stores. After that, we will proceed to the airport for our flight to Iguazu Falls. Upon arrival in Iguazu you will be greeted at the airport by your escort and taken to your hotel. Dinner and overnight.

Day 5: IGUAZU FALLS. After breakfast, your guide will pick you up in the morning for your full day tour of Iguazu Falls. We begin with a 3-hour tour of the Brazilian side of the falls by your city guide. During the walk, there is an impressive view of the Devil's Throat from a bridge. At the end of your tour an elevator will take you up to the top of the falls. After your tour of the Brazilian side, there will be a break for lunch. Then on to see the Argentinian side of the Iguassu Falls (4-hour tour). You will be taken across the border into Argentina, into the Parque National del Iguazu, 40 km away from the Brazilian border. Once in Argentina, you will go on a walking tour of the falls. The views are magnificent, especially the one right on top of the Devil's Throat. Return to our hotel for overnight.

Day 6: IGUAZU FALLS / BUENOS AIRES.  This morning we fly to Argentina.  Upon arrival our panoramic tour will view the main points of Buenos Aires, typical neighborhoods like La Boca, which retains the spirit of Italian immigration and Palermo with its big green spaces, exclusive avenues and first class bars and restaurants. The Recoleta, marked by a French style, is one of the fanciest residential neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, with great cultural activity and spaces dedicated to the arts.  Overnight at our hotel.

Day 7: BUENOS AIRES. Today is a full day private excursion to Tigre & San Isidro cathedral. This includes a one hour navigation over the Tigre delta which combines a ride on the modern Coastal Train that passes through Olivos and San Isidro to the Tigre Port. Sail along the Delta along some of the uncountable channels and forest-covered islands, yacht clubs and weekend houses in the Paraná River delta. During the cruise, you will see the natural environment and a network of water canals where water sports can be practiced. Then to San Isidro Cathedral. Even from afar, it’s hard to miss the tall spire of San Isidro’s small neo-Gothic cathedral. Finished in 1898 and recently renovated, the pristinely beautiful white-and-gold interior is sparsely decorated but worth a visit for its beautiful stained glass windows and soaring ceiling. Overnight at our hotel.

Day 8: BUENOS AIRES – LIMA. This morning we take the traditional route of the Catholic parishioners, with our guide. Buenos Aires possesses a rich Colonial heritage, and its churches are a fundamental part of it. In this tour, we’ll trace back the active role the Catholic Church played in the country’s political history. We start our journey at the Manzana de las Luces (The Block of Lights), occupied by the Jesuits since 1633. On this plot the order started in 1712 the construction of Bavarian-Baroque San Ignacio de Loyola church. A few meters away lies the San Francisco Basilica, built in 1725. This imposing church has elaborate façades, towers and ornaments.  We then continue to the Santo Domingo Basilica, built between 1751 and 1783. There we find General Manuel Belgrano’s Mauseoleum, who created the national flag. Next we visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, actually more resembling a Greek temple than a Catholic church. In the Cathedral we find José de San Martín’s mausoleum. Next, we visit Nuestra Señora de la Merced, a Baroque temple built in 1721. Finally, we visit the Santa Catalina de Siena convent, the city’s first monastery for women. It was built in 1727 in the Baroque style, and stands out for its surprising state of preservation.  Transfer to the airport for our flight to Lima and a dinner and overnight.

Day 9: LIMA - CUSCO.  This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Cusco where we meet our driver and are told about the bordering archaeological centers like Sacsayhuaman Fortress, Q'enko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.   Time at leisure for activities of our own before dinner and overnight. 

Day 10: CUSCO. After breakfast, relax on a scenic drive to the ancient site of Sacysayhuaman, an archeological park perched on the top of a hill. Admire spectacular city views before exploring the UNSECO World Heritage listed site with your guide; see colossal stones crammed together to create a fortress-like structure. Decipher depictions of condors, pumas and snakes upon the façade of the temple, enriching your knowledge of the Incan empire. Return to your coach and continue on to Qengo, home to an enormous sacrificial altar and sacred temple. See, too, Puca Pucara to discover the atmospheric military ruins of the site then set out to explore Tambomachay, where a series of aqueducts, moats and stolid stonewalls provided impenetrable defense from Incan attackers. Gaze upwards at the impressive Temple of the Sun, an ancient pyramid upon which resides the Convent of Santo Domingo. Head back to the center of the city to continue your cultural exploration; stroll around the ambient and attractive Plaza de Armas before entering the sacred and spectacular Cusco Cathedral. Admire prismatic stained glass windows, classic colonial art and the Gothic grandeur of the architecture; the cathedral is home to Cusco’s oldest surviving painting, Pintura Senor de los Temblores, among other significant works. We also visit the Main square, Cathedral, the Koricancha (temple of the sun).  Return to your Cusco hotel for dinner and overnight. 

Day 11: CUSCO - PISAC - OLLANTAYTAMBO - AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHU PICCHU.  After breakfast in your hotel, we will pick you up at 8am in our transport to drive you from Cusco passing Saqsaywaman & Tambomachay, over the mountains toward the Sacred Valley and descend 1500 feet to the valley floor of the sacred Urubamba river and the village of Pisac where we will visit a traditional market and you can buy some local souvenirs.  Then we will drive to explore the Inca site of Pisac with stunning views over the valley. Here you can appreciate temples, residences, altars, channels, carvings, tunnels/caves and the famous Intihuatana “The hitching post of the Sun". After this amazing visit we will drive for about 40 minutes to the lunch stop in Urubamba. Here we will enjoy a buffet lunch (not included). After lunch we continue our journey to Ollantaytambo where we will visit the Inca site, which is an area of important Inca construction built during the Inca’s times. This is an extraordinary Inca site where we will find an amazing rock formation representing the Inca god Wiracocha. Later today we will board the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). On your arrival we will take you the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 12: MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO - LIMA. After breakfast, we will head to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. We will appreciate the spectacular sunrise, then you can head for Huayna Picchu (extra cost) on your own without guide which will take about 2 hours round trip. Then return to Machu Picchu where our guide will be waiting for you to start the guided tour in Machu Picchu for about 2 hours, visiting the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of Three Windows and various cemeteries around. Then you will have free time to relax, take pictures and enjoy the last views. After that you will take the bus to go down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included) and take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where we will be waiting for you, and take you to the airport for our flight to Lima.  Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 13:  LIMA.  Today our tour will start at the Pucllana temple built in the IV century A.D., an ancestral and ceremonial site dedicated to the local divinities. A panoramic view of the Huacllamarca shrine, a typical pyramid that characterizes sacred buildings on Peru’s coast. These shrines are located in the modern Lima neighborhoods of San Isidro and Miraflores. Next, a guided tour of the splendid and vast archaeological citadel of Pachacamac, the temple of the deity Pachacamac, believed to be the creator of the universe and a divinity adored by old Andean civilizations and who they believed could see the past, the future and people’s fate. Highlights of the Incas include the Palace of the Chosen Women or Virgins of the Sun.  This afternoon we visit Peru’s Gold Museum, a dazzling collection of gold artifacts from various pre-Colombian civilizations, some more than 3,000 years old. Ancient Peruvians were master metalworkers. The “cire perdue” or lost wax process, known across the Orient and lost in the West until the Renaissance, was the most frequent technique used by master ancient Peruvian gold and silversmiths. Metal pieces and jewels of incalculable value in gold, silver and precious stones used by the Incas—the children of the Sun God and monarchs of the vast Inca Empire—are shown in this collection. Peru’s Gold Museum also houses a valuable collection of old and modern weapons that ranks among the best in the world.  Dinner and overnight. 

Day 14:  LIMA - USA.  After our early morning Mass and breakfast, we will visit the highlights of Lima: the Plaza de Armas, Cathedral and Santo Domingo (St. Martin de Porres). We will tour the famous Monastery of San Francisco with its catacombs. We will then visit the Jesuit Church of San Pedro and the Palacio de Gobierno (Pizzaro´s house).   We will finish exploring Lima with the house and church of St. Rosa Lima, Church of Las Nazarenes and then with La Merced.  Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.  Then we transfer to the airport for our late night flight home.

Day 15:   USA.  Arrival this morning in the US and continue home – the end of a memorable pilgrimage.