South America Spotlight

Colca Canyon

Created by a vast geological fault, the Colca Canyon is thought to be the deepest canyon in the world measuring ...

Guayaquil Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 126

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Day 1: Quito

Bienvenidos a Ecuador! Upon arrival you will be met at the international airport and transferred to your hotel in Quito where the rest of the day is free.

Day 2: Quito

Today you will have a day at leisure, to recover from your long flight or have a wander through Quito’s UNESCO-listed colonial quarter, one of the largest and best-preserved in South America.

Day 3: Quito - Galapagos Islands

Early this morning shared transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos. Arriving on Baltra Island transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz for an introductory briefing and lunch. Set sail This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.

Day 4: Galapagos Islands

After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling or panga ride. Onward to Puerto Egas, Once we disembark at the beach, we can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows.

Day 5: Galapagos Islands

After breakfast, we land on Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. We land at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. Following our walk, we take to the pangas and the glass bottom boat for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, and then land at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing

Day 6: Galapagos Islands

The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this Prince Philip Steps (Genovesa Island) dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Onward to Darwin Bay, in the afternoon, we land at this beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling. Following our dip, we take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds.

Day 7: Galapagos Islands - Guayaquil

After breakfast, there’s optional departure to see the breeding programme of giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado. Here, we learn about this endangered species and its promising recovery. Following the visit, we return to town and shared transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Arriving into Guayaquil, our driver (shared transfer) awaits to take you onto your hotel.

Day 8: Guayaquil - Lima

Bid farewell to Ecuador with a private transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Bienvenidos a Peru! Welcome to Peru and the start of your journey through the land of the Incas. Upon arrival into Lima International Airport you will be met by one of our representatives and private transfer to your hotel.

Day 9: Lima

Today discover why Lima has historically been such an important city with a sightseeing tour (shared basis) that covers Lima’s most impressive colonial buildings as well as a number of fascinating museums. The afternoon is free for you to explore Lima further.

Day 10: Lima - Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

Early this morning you will be given a private transfer to the airport. Board a flight to the remote jungle settlement of Puerto Maldonado - the starting point for our journey (shared basis in Amazon) into the Amazon Jungle. A boat ride along the Madre de Dios River brings you to your jungle lodge where you will spend the next three nights in a beautiful cabaña.

Day 11: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

For today a wide variety of excursions are on offer from guided walks through the jungle to twilight river cruises. Sail in small wooden canoes or test your vertigo on a canopy walkway. Over the next three days you will learn much about the Amazonian wildlife and its most colourful characters with excursions available to the Tambopata National Reserve, Gamitana Creek and the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve. As daylight wanes share your daily experience of life in the rainforest with your fellow guests with the captivating sounds of the jungle your soundtrack.

Day 12: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon - Cuzco

Bidding farewell to the jungle head back to Puerto Maldonado by boat for your flight to Cuzco. After private arrival transfer find out how Cuzco is home to some of the finest examples of Inca history and architecture, which you will discover with private touring of the sights of the Plaza de Armas, the Catedral and the Koricancha complex – a supreme example of Inca stonework. Head out further afield to tour the Kenko Amphitheatre, the fortified hunting lodge of Puca Pucara, the stunning imperial baths of Tambo Machay and the megalithic fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

Day 13: Cuzco

We have a full day of touring around the Sacred Valley of the Incas. First on the itinerary are the Pisac ruins. Marvel at the incredible views of the snow-capped mountains with its hilltop location. Next we visit the famous traditional Indian market of the same name. Enjoy the colourful atmosphere and stock up on souvenirs. We stop for lunch before continuing along the valley to the temple fortress of Ollantaytambo. Here, enormous Inca terracing sweeps down the side of a steep mountain and makes for a challenging climb. We end the day with a briefing to prepare for the next few days.

Day 14: Cuzco - Inca Trail

We depart Cuzco early in the morning to begin the infamous Inca Trail Trek. During your hike you will cross spectacular passes and visit more Inca ruins en-route to Machu Picchu. A local guide will lead this expedition and there will be cooks and porters to carry the main equipment, leaving you with just a small daypack. Nights will be spent in two person tents in designated campsites along the route. A relatively easy 13km walk today will get you limbered up.

Day 15: Inca Trail

Today we head for the highest pass at Warmiwanusca (4200m) which we reach before lunch time. After the pass it is all downhill.

Day 16: Inca Trail

Today we pass the ruins of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca, walking approximately 15 kilometres in seven hours and spending the night in Winay-Wayna.

Day 17: Inca Trail - Buenos Aires

Early this morning we walk the final leg to the Lost City of Machu Picchu and greet daybreak over the famous ‘Sun Gate’. Enjoy free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own or opt to climb up Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain) and reward yourself with spectacular views over the entire site. Once a completely self-contained city, Machu Picchu was surrounded by agricultural terraces with enoughcrops to feed the entire population and natural springs provided the city’s water. We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, transfers at both ends are organized by our friendly local team.

Day 18: Buenos Aires - Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

This morning enjoy a half day guided city tour taking in the Neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral, the unusual dusty pink Government House and the history-packed Plaza de Mayo. Later we transfer to the Aeroparque Airport for your flight to Puerto Iguazú, your base for exploring the magnificent Iguazu Falls.

Day 19: Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

Enjoy a full day private excursion to the Argentinean side of the falls. A number of walking trails are available bringing you in front of or above the rapids. You’ll also see the dramatic Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat, an awe-inspiring display of natural power.

Day 20: Iguazu Falls (Argentina) - Rio De Janeiro

This morning early we embark on a private half day tour of the Brazilian side of the falls, walking along catwalks that allow you to see the torrents of water at their most impressive. We then drive to the Foz do Iguaçú Airport for the flight to Rio, where on arrival our driver takes you onto your hotel.

Day 21: Rio De Janeiro

We will take you on a guided trip up Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car and Corcovado, with its famous Statue of Christ, for great city views. We continue with a walking tour of Rio's historic buildings.

Day 22: Rio De Janeiro

Sadly your journey has come to an end, with your private transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.