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 ...

Lima Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 69

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Day 1: Lima

Bienviendos 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 transferred to your hotel. After check in spend some time with our rep discussing your up-coming trip. The remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure

Day 2: Lima

For centuries Lima was considered the most beautiful city in Spanish America and today discover why with a morning sightseeing tour. Many of the city’s most imposing and important buildings were built around the Plaza Mayor in the heart of the old town. Here you’ll find the opulent facade of the Palacio de Gobierno, or Presidential Palace, where each day the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place. Nearby is the austere Catedral and various small palaces and balconied edifices. Discover contemporary Lima in the form of the suburb of San Isidro and lively Miraflores before continuing to Pueblo Libre to see the stylish hacienda museum.

Day 3: Lima - Cuzco

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco, known to the Incas as the ‘navel of the world’. At an elevation of 3400m above sea level, it’s important to acclimatise to the altitude so spend some time resting in your hotel before exploring this colourful and historic city later in the afternoon. Considered the archaeological capital of South America, Cuzco is home to some of the finest examples of Inca history and architecture, which you will discover touring the sights of the Plaza de Armas, the Catedral and the Koricancha complex – a supreme example of Inca stonework.

Day 4: Cuzco - Aguas Calientes

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the train station for a stunning train journey to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Sit back and enjoy the views as the landscape changes from the Andean highlands to the beginnings of the jungle. Arrive Aguas Calientes and check in to hotel. Make the most of the area’s hot springs with a dip in the local thermal baths.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Cuzco

No place in Peru quite captures the imagination like the legendary ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Nestled in a saddle between two forested mountains and surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River, its location couldn’t be more awe-inspiring. The city itself is brilliantly preserved, a classical Inca-style complex of polished dry-stone walls and temples. This morning explore the citadel and the wonderful Temple of the Sun and magical Temple of the Moon on a three hour guided excursion. Other highlights include the fascinating Sacred Plaza and the elaborately carved Intihuatana rock. Lunch is provided at a local hotel before you return by train to Cusco.

Day 6: Cuzco - Quito

Today we will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Quito. Bienviendos 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 7: Quito

Shared transfer from Hotel to Quito Airport. Flight from Quito to Galapagos Islands. Arrival by plane to San Cristóbal Island and transfer to the M/V Santa Cruz, anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital of the Galápagos Islands. Cabin assignment, introductory talk and lunch. In the afternoon, we disembark on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, we have a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets. Overnight - M/V Santa Cruz

Day 8: Quito - Galapagos Islands

After breakfast, we take the dinghy over to Sante Fe Island, populated by many sea lion harems. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Following lunch and a rest, we disembark at South Island Plaza, whose turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Overnight - M/V Santa Cruz

Day 9: Galapagos Islands

In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem. A choice of excursion this afternoon (the boat crew will go through the options) - trek, mountain bike ride, sea kayak or visit to a sustainable organic coffee plantation. Overnight - M/V Santa Cruz

Day 10: Galapagos Islands

Punta Suárez (Española (Hood) Island) An exciting walk awaits at this site, where we enjoy its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls as well as a view of the Galápagos famous “blow-hole”. Also, look out for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch. Gardner Bay (Española Island) In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, finches as we relax. We can expect great snorkelling in this area, or a ride aboard the glass-bottom boat.Overnight - M/V Santa Cruz

Day 11: Galapagos Islands

Baltra Island On our last day, we disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent. At the end of yuour cruise you will take a shared transfer from Baltra Airport to Hotel Finch Bay. Overnight - Hotel Finch Bay

Day 12: Galapagos Islands

Day at leisure. Overnight - Hotel Finch Bay

Day 13: Galapagos Islands - Quito

Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means turtle, since it is the favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Tortuga Bay is reached via a marked and cobbled path of two kilometers that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; at the beginning of the path guests must sign in and out – it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent bird watching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s Finches and other sea birds. Enjoy this paradise and relax along this breathtaking beach. Return to the hotel around midday. Overnight - Hotel Finch Bay

Day 14: Quito

Sadly today tour arrangements conclude after breakfast and hotel check out with a departure transfer to the airport for your onward journey.