13 days / 12 nights.
Arrival to Lima, reception at the airport and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel in Miraflores Lima.Day 2: December 16. LIMA (Breakfast)
After breakfast, a guided visit of colonial and modern Lima, including the cathedral, dating from 1654, the main square, which still houses the original bronze fountain built in 1650, and the San Francisco Convent and its catacombs. Known as the city of the kings, Lima was founded in 1535 by Pizarro and rebuilt in 1991, the same year that UNESCO declared it a world heritage site. One of the very few South American cities that preserve the colonial past, Lima was home to the Spanish viceroy during the time of the Spanish colonialists. The tour will include a visit to the residential areas of San Isidro and Miraflores, before returning to your hotel.Day 3: December 17. LIMA - CUZCO (Breakfast)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital of the Incas. After the one hour flight, reception and transfer to your hotel. Free morning to acclimatise In the afternoon, a guided tour of Cuzco including the Cathedral, Qoricancha temple, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cuzco, Qenko and Puka Pukara. Cuzco's history extends back to before 1000 BC when the Marcavalle Culture was the dominant power; indeed organized life in the City began practically with them. In the second phase of its history, around 800BC, Cuzco was home to the Chanapata culture and later developed several regional states. What is traditionally known as the Inka civilisation began around 1200 AD in its initial phase, with the first Inka, Manko Capaq and Mama Ocllo. It is also suggested that Pachakuteq, the ninth king, elaborated another foundation in 1438 which is also known as the expansive phase. Inca builders hereafter laid out the city in the form of a puma, with the fortress of Sacsayhuaman as the head.Day 4: December 18. SACRED VALLEY - PISAC - OLLANTAYTAMBO (Breakfast & lunch)
Full-day excursion to the beautiful Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, situated between Pisac and Ollantaytambo. It is an exceptionally fertile valley that was and remains the larder of Cuzco. Visit the village of Pisac, founded during colonial times, and set at the foot of a hill crowned by the remains of an ancient Inca city. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Indians barter their products in the main square and artisans from around the area sell their woven alpaca wool blankets and ponchos, engraved gourds, antique reproductions, jewellery, etc. On Sundays, it is also the meeting place for Mayors from all the villages in the region, dressed in their traditional costumes to attend morning mass. After a buffet lunch, a visit to Ollantaytambo, the only Inca town that was not defeated by the Spanish with an opportunity to explore the ruins which tower above.Day 5: December 19. CUZCO - MACHU PICCHU (Breakfast & dinner)
Enjoy a good night's sleep before boarding the train to Aguas Calientes. Arrival to Aguas Calientes, assistance with your luggage and check-in to your hotel before boarding of the bus for the short ride up to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel. Shortly after, a guided tour of Machu Picchu, the most spectacular ancient city in the world. Built by the Inca Pachacutec, and comprising stone blocks fitted with masterful precision, Machu Picchu harmoniously blends into the mountain landscape. There are many theories as to the origins behind Machu Picchu but three of the most popular ideas include a temple to the sun, a fortress against the jungle inhabitants or a sanctuary for the Incas. This fabulous city has houses, temples, warehouses, a large central square, all connected by narrow roads and steps, and is surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side which were used for agriculture. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.Day 6: December 20. MACHU PICCHU - CUZCO (Breakfast & lunch)
Free day in Machu Picchu. Time for some private reflection before returning for breakfast. Today no guide is provided as we feel that Machu Picchu requires a certain amount of self discovery to be fully understood. Take any of the several paths around various parts of the site (we will provide a map to help you), trek up to Wayna Picchu or walk down to the Inca's bridge. Let Machu Picchu unfold all its mysteries for you, take in the breathtaking cloud forests and jagged mountains, or marvel at the extraordinary Masonic precision of the ancient Incas. Either way, your day of self discovery will be a day never to be forgotten. Return to your hotel for lunch before returning to Cuzco.Day 7: December 21. CUZCO - LIMA - QUITO (Breakfast)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima and connecting flight to Quito. Transfer to your hotel.Day 8: December 22. QUITO - GALAPAGOS ISLANDS (All meals) - Itinerary subject to change
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Baltra. Welcome by the crew of the yacht before a visit to the second largest island in the Galapagos, Santa Cruz. With six different zones of vegetation: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia, and Pampa Zones. The lush green scenery of the Santa Cruz highlands is a welcome contrast to the aridity of the lower islands.Day 9: December 23. FLOREANA - PUNTA CORMORANT (All meals)
Punta Cormorant offers two highly contrasting beaches; the landing beach is of volcanic origin and is composed of olivine crystals, giving it a greenish tinge. At the end of the short trail is a carbonate beach of very fine white sand, formed by the erosion of coral skeletons; it is also a nesting site for green sea turtles. Between these two beaches is a salt lagoon frequented by flamingoes, pintails, stilts, and other wading birds. An old eroded volcanic cone called Devil's Crown is a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, and frigates and it is not uncommon to see red-billed tropicbirds in rocky crevices. The center of the crown is an outstanding snorkeling spot full of sea lions and colourful fish.Day 10: December 24. ESPANOLA - GARDNER BAY - PUNTA SUAREZ (All meals)
Today, we will visit the isolated Española where there is a high percentage of endemic fauna. Gardner Bay, on the eastern shore has a magnificent beach. The beach is frequented by sea lions, and is a major nesting site for marine turtles. Around the small islets nearby, snorkelers will come across many species of fish, turtles and perhaps even sharks. On a trail leading to the western part of the island, several nesting sites of the waved albatross will be encountered. These huge birds nest here from April to December. Finally at Punta Suarez, along with many nesting seabirds there are mockingbirds, Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. Several types of reptile, including the marine iguana and the lava lizard, are also inhabitants of the island. Here you may also see a spectacular blowhole, which shoots spray 30 metres into the air.Day 11: December 25. LEON DORMIDO - SAN CRISTOBAL - LA LOBERIA (All meals)
Today we will pass the shattered rock "Leon Dormido" also known as Kicker Rock, which serves as a nesting place for many sea birds. A visit to the Interpretation Centre at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno before visiting La Lobería, home to a large sea lion colony and nursery. There are frequently dozens of sea lions visible at any time. Low tide is one of the best times to visit however, since it is when the mother's bring the pups into the tide pools for swimming lessons. Here you will see the sea lions, marine iguanas and even giant tortoises.Day 12: December 26. SANTA CRUZ - QUITO (Breakfast)
Our last day on the Enchanted Islands where after breakfast we will visit The Charles Darwin Research Station. The station is also a tortoise breeding centre, where tortoises of different species are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. The most famous inhabitant is probably Lonesome George, the only survivor of this specific turtle species. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the mainland. Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel.Day 13: December 27. QUITO (Breakfast)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Incl. Miraflores Park, Monasterio & Sanctuary Lodge Hotels, all trains, all private tours, finest service guaranteed
03rd April 2013
14 March 2013
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