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 ...

Santiago Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 97

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Day 1: Santiago

Bienviendos a Chile! Once you've arrived in Santiago you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 2: Santiago - Quito

Returning to the airport with our trusty driver today in time for your flight bound for Quito. Arriving into Quito, our local team are on hand to meet you and take you onto your hotel.

Day 3: Quito

This morning visit downtown Quito and its architectural treasures on a shared city tour. Quito’s UNESCO-listed colonial quarter is one of the largest and best-preserved in South America. Your stroll takes you through Independence Plaza, past the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, and on to the temple of La Compañia de Jesús. Touring continues with the Equatorial Monument that marks the exact point of the Middle of the World. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore.

Day 4: Quito - Otavalo

First stop this morning, Calderón, a small town where bread dough figurines are made in many shapes and sizes. Continue along the valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe, with their dairy farms and flower plantations. After check into our charming colonial hacienda, we head off to explore further to visit San Antonio de Ibarra, famous for the woodcarvings, the town of Cotacachi, an entire town dedicated to selling fine leather products, visit the town of Peguche where textiles are woven in old-fashioned shuttle looms. This evening, relax and enjoy the ambience of your hotel.

Day 5: Otavalo - Quito

This morning an early start at the handicraft market of Otavalo. We then make our way back to the big city, but first stopping for some divine coffee at another charming colonial haciendas of the Cayambe region.

Day 6: Quito - Galapagos Islands

Early this morning we transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos. Arriving on Baltra Island we will transfer you to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz for an introductory briefing and lunch. Set sail for Las Bachas on 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.

Day 7: 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. Onward, sail to Puerto Egas, and when 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 8: 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. After sailing, We land at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! 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 9: Galapagos Islands

The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, on the Prince Philip Steps, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. In the afternoon, we land at Darwin Bay, a 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 10: Galapagos Islands - Quito

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 transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland city of Quito, where our team awaits to take you to the hotel.

Day 11: Quito

This morning we head out of the city to see The Valley of Mindo, which is within the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest, only two hours drive from Quito. Spend the day here, with an expert guide exploring the mysteries of the Cloud Forest, pointing out the unique flora, fauna, birdlife and butterfly life.

Day 12: Quito - Amazon Jungle - Ecuador

Today is at your leisure to explore the city, and get prepped for tomorrows voyage into the jungles of Ecuador.

Day 13: Amazon Jungle - Ecuador

This morning our driver will take you to the airport for the flight to Coca, where on arrival the Amazon Lodge team await to assist you to the dock to embark your speedboat that will lead you along the river to the accommodation. After check in, enjoy a dugout canoeing trip for a couple of hours to see the incredible animal and plant life.

Day 14: Amazon Jungle - Ecuador

A wide variety of excursions are included over the next days, from guided walks through the jungle to twilight river cruises. Paddle the waters 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 and 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 15: Amazon Jungle - Ecuador - Lima

Later today the lodge team will ensure you get back to the airport in time for your flight back to Quito. Arriving into Quito you have a few hours layover waiting for your flight to Lima (return shared transfers to the Rincón de Puembo Hotel is included, where you can relax waiting for your flight)

Day 16: 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 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 17: 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 today.

Day 18: Cuzco - Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley was greatly appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. On the way to the ancient village of Urubamba stop to visit Awanacancha, an Andean textile centre where the art of Incan textile is kept alive. Continue to the archaeological complex of Pisac, formed of a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples and terracing. Enjoy a spot of shopping and practise your bartering skills at the local market before stopping for lunch. The day of touring concludes with a visit to the impressive fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo, before driving to your hotel in the region.

Day 19: Sacred Valley

This morning a scenic train journey followed by a bus ride brings you to the legendary ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Set on a mountainous peak overlooking a deep canyon on the Urubamba River, the ancient Inca city is indeed one of South America’s most impressive sights. Be amazed by the incredibly well-preserved plazas, towers and temples as you enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu. After the tour, you have plenty of free time to explore and a bus ticket will be given to you to catch the shuttle back down to the hotel when you are ready.

Day 20: Sacred Valley - Cuzco

Spend the day morning exploring the site in your own time. In the afternoon, return to Cuzco by train and upon arrival at the train station you will be met by our driver for your transfer to the hotel.

Day 21: Cuzco

Today explore the ‘navel of the world’ and discover why it’s considered the archaeological capital of South America. Your shared city tour takes in the Incan streets of Loreto and Ahuajpinta where you’ll find the remains of impressive Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings such as the Catedral. Later in the day, head to the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the ruins of Kenko, Tambomachay and the Tambo de Puca Pukara.

Day 22: Cuzco - Puno

Today sample more of Peru’s trains with a spectacular 10 hour rail journey to historic Puno. Passing the gentle, rolling Andean Plains where vicuña and alpacas roam freely, the train climbs to 4335m above sea level at La Raya, offering incredible views of the towering, snow-capped Andean mountains. During the journey you will be served a three course lunch in the dining car followed by coffee served in the observation-bar car. Arriving into Puno you will be transferred to your hotel.

Day 23: Puno

After breakfast board a yacht from Puno port for a shared cruise and tour around the floating islands of Uros. Inhabited by fishermen and hunters, these beautiful islands are made from totora reeds and were built in order to escape the imposition of invading cultures. Your cruise continues to the genuine island of Amantani, renowned for the fine crafts made by inhabitants. Enjoy lunch in the community before visiting the hilltop sanctuaries of Pachatata and Pachamama. You then return by boat back to town and then transferred to your hotel for the night.

Day 24: Puno - La Paz

This morning a transfer awaits to take you to Copacabana Sanctuary to embark your catamaran cruise destined for Chua harbor in Bolivia. During the day on board you will make spend lots of time exploring the nooks and crannies of Sun Island the legendary birthplace of the Inca Empire. Arriving into Chua Harbour, you then travel by shared bus with other tourists to the city of La Paz.

Day 25: La Paz

This morning your private guide will take you out to explore the Witches Market, the colonial Church of San Francisco and crafts shops on Sagarnaga Street. After, visit Murillo Square, where you see the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Government Palace and Parliament buildings. After visiting charming colonial areas you conclude the day with a visit to the spectacular Valley of the Moon, where you will have the opportunity to take a short hike.

Day 26: La Paz - Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region

This morning our driver takes you to La Paz Airport for your flight south to Uyuni. Here, you will be collected and taken to visit the Uyuni Salt Flat and Incahuasi Island, en route on your drive to the famous Salt Hotel.

Day 27: Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region - La Paz

Enjoy the stunning views today returning back to Uyuni Airport for your flight to La Paz. After an arrival transfer, enjoy free time to explore.

Day 28: La Paz

Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.