To start the thirteenth season of The Amazing Race, eleven teams are transported by classic cars to the Los Angeles Coliseum. After receiving a set of initial instructions, they all scramble for clues which direct them to travel on one of two flights to Salvador, Brazil. Several teams are excited to catch the earlier flight, but disappointed when a delay shaves an hour an a half off the three hour lead that they had hoped to enjoy. The teams are directed to find a sandwich shop called O Rei Do Pernil, where they then receive a task instructing them to become old school barristas. They deliver a cart to a man named India in a coffee shop called Parąca de Se, who then gives them a clue directing them to a Brazilian military base. The teams spend the night at the military base and then depart in three groups-- one leaving at 9 in the morning, one at 9:30 and a final one at 9:45. The teams find a church in Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador and also find a Detour involving a choice of upward or downward travel. One team makes a critical mistake at their task, forcing them to repeat previous actions. Ultimately, however, it is another team who is unable to overcome both their early mistakes and slow progress and is eliminated from the race.
The ten remaining teams take off from their Pit Stop in a seventh century fortress in Salvador, Brazil and receive a clue instructing them to fly to Fortaleza, Brazil. Tensions erupt when one team feels they secured an early flight for all teams and seeks a small compensation in return. Once in Fortaleza, the teams receive a clue instructing them to travel to a beach known as Barraca d Manoel. Here, a Detour choice allows one team to set itself apart from the pack by providing a task suited to their skills. Later, a Roadblock requires searching for a clue hidden in plain sight. While some find the clue almost right away, others waste time searching for non-existent leads in distracting advertising information. One team twice makes time-wasting clue-reading mistakes, but ultimately another team is eliminated.
The remaining teams are instructed to fly from Fortaleze, Brazil to La Paz, Bolivia, but not before a rivalry between two teams heats up at the Pit Stop. The teams fly 1,200 miles and find themselves in area that is over 12,000 feet above sea level, leaving some racers struggling to breathe the thin air. The teams camp beside a local statue and then take a newspaper delivery. They scour the newspapers for a clue, which instructs them to travel to the Narvaez Hat Shop in Plaza Mario and then purchase a traditional cholita hat to receive their next clue. This clue turns out to be a Detour, in which the teams face a choice between a task that is arduous but not overly physical or one likely to leave less physically inclined teams winded. After completing this tax, the teams travel by taxi eight miles to Los Titanes del Ring, where a Roadblock sends one member of each team up against a female wrestler. Many teams struggle at this task, but ultimately one team is done in not so much by their poor performance as by their failure to properly read the instructions given in a clue. They check in last at the Pit Stop, the hilltop park of Mirador el Monticulo, and are eliminated.
At the Pit Stop in La Paz, Bolivia, frustrations continue to build between two teams. The remaining teams receive a clue instructing them to fly 6,900 miles to Auckland, New Zealand. There, the teams face tricky nighttime navigation to the Gulf Harbor, where they must untie a Gordian knot. Inside the knots, the teams find a clue instructing them to travel to Mount Eden, a dormant volcano and Auckland's highest point. The knots also include a clue for the Fast Forward, which one team successfully completes, providing a break from the leg's challenging and often frustrating tasks. The other teams forge ahead with those tasks, first completing a detail-oriented Roadblock. They then travel to the City Life Hotel and search for Travelocity gnomes from the rooftops. After finding the gnomes, the teams receive a clue instructing them to drive to Kiwi 360, a local landmark. The teams then face a Detour choice between two tasks that are both gruelingly physical in their own way. One racer is injured during one of these tasks, but plows ahead nevertheless. Ultimately, two teams fight it out on separate tasks late at night, but one ends up being too late and is eliminated from the race.
The remaining teams race to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Terence is pulled over by police on the way to a task. Kelly and Christy demonstrate obnoxious behavior towards over teams.
The six remaining teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Bayon Temple in Siem Reap Cambodia and receive a clue instructing them to fly 2,000 miles to Delhi, India and then find a place called Moonlight Motors. All teams secure the same flight, but difficulties arise for some teams throughout the leg as they try to navigate the complicated streets of India. At Moonlight Motors, the racers face a Roadblock that requires one member of each team to spray-paint a car. During this task, one racer's badgering of their partner causes them to fall dangerously behind. The teams then head to the Ambassador Hotel, where a doorman gives them a clue that leads them to a Detour. One team's ineptitude at their chosen task task causes them to lose valuable time, but another team loses even more due to continued navigational problems. In the end, this team checks in last at the Pit Stop, but is delighted to find that they are not eliminated (though the reprieve comes with a string attached.)
The remaining teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Baha'i House and receive a clue instructing them to travel to Deshbandhu Apartments. Once there, they participate in a Roadblock that frustrates several racers (including some not actually participating in the task) as they are pelted with various colored dyes. Upon completing this trial, the teams receive a clue instructing them to travel into Old Delhi and find the Charity Birds Hospital and search through cages of injured birds for their next clue. At the hospital, most teams proceed forward with the leg's Detour, but one finds itself faced with a Speed Bump for having come in last in the previous leg. As this team struggles to make up time, the remaining teams struggle to varying degrees with the Detour tasks, one involving a confusing search for numbers and one involving the creation of hot chili powder. In the end, the final outcome is determined by one team's poor performance at finding the numbers. This team, which had previously been gaining momentum, is eliminated from the race.
The remaining teams set off from their Pit Stop at Humayun's Tomb in Old Delhi, India and receive a clue instructing them to fly Almaty, Kazakhstan and then find a chicken factory. A mad scramble for flights ensues, but is ultimately rendering meaningless when all teams make the 7 A.M. opening time for the leg's first task. One team leaps ahead after claiming the Fast Forward in an eating challenge, while another that attempted the task falls dangerously behind. Upon completing a chicken filled Roadblock, the teams travel by giant crane trucks to the Koktobe Arch and receive a clue delivered by a trained falcon. Much mooing ensues when several teams take part in a task requiring the racers to dress in a cow costume. One team makes a critical error in reading the clue and is turned back from the leg's Pit Stop-- the Old Square. Ultimately, however, another team is unable to come back from having lagged behind and is eliminated from the race.
The remaining teams continue in the ninth leg of the race. Dan experiences difficulty during a military marching challenge. Nick and Starr encounter transportation difficulties that may cause them to fall behind.
The remaining teams navigate Moscow, Russia in the race's tenth leg.
The final three teams race for the finish line Portland, Oregon in the race's finale.