Galapagos Islands Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 112

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Day 1: Quito

Welcome to Quito and Ecuador! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The capital of Ecuador has a setting that few cities can match. During the 13th century it was the prosperous center of the Kingdom of Quitus. It later became the northern capital of the Inca Empire. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Colonial architects built formidable temples, monasteries and mansions, creating an urban jewel designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Quito's artistic creativity awaits the visitor in cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts. Overnight In Quito

Day 2: Quito

Visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Start at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Lunch is served at one of the excellent restaurants in Quito or the equator area. Overnight Quito

Day 3: Quito

Otavalo is considered one of the most important tourist destinations of Ecuador. Today gives you a wonderful overview of the Andean landscape, departing early to enjoy the Otavalo market activity, visit the village of Peguche. Travel north, to the land of the Otavalo and the most famous Indian fair in South America. Here enjoy visiting the many stalls full of ponchos, shawls, blankets, carpets and more. Here Otavaleños sold in silence, in marked contrast to the noise of other markets. At Peguche, an Indian village very near Otavalo, is home to the artisans who weave in their homes. Return to Quito in the afternoon. Overnight In Quito

Day 4: Quito

The Valley of Mindo is within the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest, located a short two-hour drive to the northwest of Quito. A first short stop is made at the rim of the crater of the extinct Pululahua Volcano, before descending into the Valley of Mindo. Specially trained guides introduce visitors to the mysteries of the Cloud Forest, pointing out the unique flora and fauna. Visit the El Pahuma Orquid Reserve and its Orchid Botanical Garden. Then, take the trail through lush, epiphyte-laden cloud forest to the Pacaya waterfall. Continue to the quaint little village of Mindo, observing the bird life along the way. Then visit to the Butterfly Vivarium, housing 25 varieties of butterflies. Overnight In Quito

Day 5: Quito

Follow the footsteps of the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt and discover what in 1802 he called the Avenue of the Volcanoes. An early departure from Quito this morning as you visit the Cotopaxi National Park near the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano. The evergreen landscape of the Ecuadorian highlands is one of the main attractions, along valleys and mountains covered by multicolored fields. Continue on to Limpiopungo Lagoon to observe a variety of birds and occasionally wild horses. On clear days, the Cotopaxi Volcano is the magnificent backdrop. A short walk around the lagoon allows the observation of the Andean flora. Overnight In Quito

Days 6-13: Quito - Galapagos Islands

Today you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight where you will be leaving us for your cruise to the Galapagos.

Day 14: Lima

Arrival into Lima airport, you will be met by our representative and will be escorte to your hotel. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures and provide you with a detailed itinerary, vouchers covering all the services included in your tour and additional information on the organization of your Peru trip. You will also receive a contact information sheet with all the hotel details as well as our offices contact information for each city and a 24-hour emergency number. Overnight in Lima

Day 15: Lima - Cuzco

At the proper time, escorted from hotel to Lima airport in order to board your flight to Cusco.

Day 16: Cuzco

This morning you will go on a private escorted sightseeing tour of the city of Cusco, archaeological capital of South America. Cusco also has the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. A visit of the city's most important historical monuments, The Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Koricancha Temple, and a visit to the surrounding ruins of the Kenko Amphitheater, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Return to your hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. Overnight Cusco

Day 17: Cuzco

Morning transfer to the train station for an amazing train journey to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, the great mountain-top city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911. Along the way you will enjoy the changing landscape before arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes. A guided tour of the Citadel includes the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds. In the afternoon, return to by train and upon arrival at the train station you will be met by our representative and private driver for your transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Cusco

Day 18: Cuzco

En route towards the Urubamba Valley, you will have the chance to visit Awanacancha, an Andean textile center. Here learn about the dyeing techniques and instruments used for hundreds of years in the weaving of these famous textiles. Then visit the Pisac archeological complex, formed by a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples, and terracing. Continue to the Pisac Markets where we will have the chance to interact with the local folk and even barter with the merchants. After lunch, you will end the day with a visit to the Incan fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo. After the tour you will be driven to your hotel. Overnight in Cusco.

Day 19: Cuzco - Puno

Early departure for the City of Puno. En route, pass by the lovely Wacarpay Lake, offering spectacular views of the mountains reflected in its calm waters. We proceed to the beautiful Town of Andahuaylillas, and visit the Church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas, better known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas due to its decorated polychrome ceiling. Afterwards we pass through La Raya Ranch where we can see herds of vicuñas and llamas. Then travel along the High Plateau of Collao, stopping at the Town of Ayaviri, an important livestock and textile Centre, to visit the impressive Temple of Kalasaya, ruins from the ancient Pucara Culture. Afternoon arrival in Puno and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Puno – Lake Titicaca

Day 20: Puno

Early in the morning, you will have an unforgettable motorboat excursion on the waters of Lake Titicaca to the unique "Floating Islands" of the Uros. These ancient inhabitants of the Lake, known as the Water Tribe, have built their own "Islands" by periodically adding new layers of a type of reed unique to the area called "Totora". You continue the trip to Taquile Island, inhabited by Quechua-speaking natives who have developed efficient and unique social systems, as well as fine hand weaving techniques, passed down through the generations. Upon arrival at the Town of Taquile we will have lunch. Then walk through the various hills and archaeological sites of this 6 km long Island. Overnight in Puno

Day 21: Puno - La Paz

Travel to Copacabana Sanctuary where you will board a Catamaran Cruise Ship, and sail to Sun Island, the legendary birthplace of the Inca Empire. Visit the Inca Garden, steps and fountain followed by the Inti Wata Cultural Complex including the Ekako Underground Museum, the traditional medicine and the Titikaka Reed Shipbuilders display centers, the Pachamama agricultural Inca terraces, and at the Manco Kapac look out the largest variety of Andean camelids. Also, enjoy a unique sailing experience aboard a huge Titikaka traditional vessel for a panoramic visit to the Pilkokaina Inca Palace. Catamaran Cruise Ship to Chua harbor. After you will be transferred to La Paz. Overnight in La Paz

Days 22-23: La Paz

Today visit the famous Witches Market, the colonial Church of San Francisco and crafts shops on Sagarnaga Street. The tour continues to the Murillo Square. Then visit the famous Jaen Street a colonial neighborhood, where the most interesting museums in the city are clustered together, from there we will go to the replica of the Semi-subterranean temple of Tiwanaku Culture. Changing scenery, the tour continues to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and Florida. The tour ends with a visit to the spectacular Valley of the Moon. Tomorrow you will be transferred from your hotel to La Paz airport in order to board your flight to Buenos Aires. END OF ARRANGEMENTS