This was the first of many trips to Brazil and was the sole trip to Peru.  The trip started in Brazil with six days in Rio de Janeiro, followed by a flight to Iguazu Falls in southern Brazil on the border with Argentina where stayed for two days.  From there, the flight connected in Lima, Peru for an hour flight to Cusco where stayed a few days and also visited and stayed overnight at Machu Picchu.  The return home was via Lima.

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro; Iguazu Falls

Rio de Janeiro is the second biggest city in Brazil.  International flights arrive at the airport on Ilha da Governador in Guanabara Bay located northeast of the city center.  The more well known beach areas of Copacabana and Ipanema lie in the southern zone of the city.  This trip included visits to Sugarloaf Mountain where a cable car takes passengers to the top; Corcovado where the huge Christ statue overlooks the city; soccer game at Maracana stadium which is the largest in the world; samba show at Plataforma; World Vision project in Caxias which is a small town not far outside of Rio.

Iguazu Falls are about a two hour flight southwest of Rio on the border with Argentina in an open forested area of the country.  The Iguazu River bisects the two countries and the falls can be seen from each side.  Stayed in Foz de Iguazu in Brazil which is a small town not far from the falls.  Visited the Brazil side of the falls on the first day and then to the Argentina side on the second day. 

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Peru - Cusco; Machu Picchu

Cusco is an hour flight southeast of Lima and was once the center of the Incan empire.  It is at an elevation of 11,000 feet and so the altitude can be a problem.  "Cocoa" tea is used as a local remedy for it.  There are some ruins outside of town but Cusco is mainly used as a gateway to Machu Picchu the more well known site.  There are day trips from Cusco to Machu Pichu by train which takes about two and a half hours each way or can stay close to Machu Picchu itself.

Machu Pichu is at an elevation of 8,500 feet and so lower than Cusco.  It is perched high above the Urubamba River and Valley where buses take visitors to the top by way of switchback road.  Came from Cusco by train but stayed overnight at the small government run hotel just outside the ruins.  This gave the opportunity to visit the ruins later in the day when the day trippers left and again in the morning before the day trippers arrived.

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