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|Itinerary at a Glance
Exotic Easter Island & Machu Picchu
|1||Depart USA via LAN Airlines|
|2||Arrive Easter Island, Orongo
& Ahu Tahai
|3||Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki &
|5||Easter Island & Lima, Peru|
|7||Cusco & Sacred Valley|
|8||Machu Picchu & Cusco|
|10||Cusco & Lima|
|11||Depart Lima/Arrive USA|
|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Lima, Cusco & Sacred Valley|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations.|
|As Seen in|
Solve ancient mysteries and discover lost cities on an epic journey through South America. Start on mysterious and remote Easter Island, where the maoi—massive stone statues up to 100 tons—stand guard over this exotic speck of a Polynesian island in the vast South Pacific. Volcanic mountains form a rugged backdrop to a surprisingly sensuous experience of spas, snorkeling, fresh seafood cooked on open fires, and ceremonial dances that tell the stories of the island's early Rapanui people. From here, our incredible journey of discovery heads mainland to Peru and the Inca cities of the Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu, and the indigenous cultures of Cusco.
This amazing journey will transform you as you experience these exotic and fascinating destinations, luxurious accommodations, plenty of sightseeing and many meals all in one, incredibly affordable package. In fact, you won’t find this opportunity even at twice the price. So don’t wait to reserve your spot. Our groups are small and intimate, and space is definitely limited.
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Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey to South America begins today as you depart Miami, New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco on your overnight flight bound for Easter Island, Chile via Lima, Peru on LAN Airlines.
Day 2: Arrive Easter Island, Orongo & Ahu Tahai. This morning, arrive at Mataveri International Airport on Easter Island. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the island’s only town, Hanga Roa. After check-in and breakfast, take some time to rest. This afternoon set out on your first exploration of this mysterious island.
Travel south from Hanga Roa to visit the Rano Kao Volcano. En route, stop at Ana Kai Tangata to see ancient cave paintings depicting the seabirds that the islanders call Manutara. Continue to the summit of Rano Kao for a wonderful view of its colorful crater lake and the nearby island of Motu Nui. Alongside the crater are the remains of the stone village of Orongo, which was once a ceremonial center of the island’s mysterious birdman cult. The village was abandoned in the mid-19th century, but was restored by American anthropologist William Mulloy in the 1970s. Return to Hanga Roa for a tour of this small seaside village and a visit to Ahu Tahai, believed to be the oldest collection of Easter Island’s iconic statues, called moai. Accommodations: Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki & Anakena. After breakfast, set out on an excursion to Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater, which served as the quarry that supplied the stone for the moai on the island. En route, stop at Ahu Akahanga, the necropolis of King Hotu Matua, surrounded by 13 majestic moai decorated with red stones and hieroglyphs. Arrive at Rano Raraku, where nearly 400 moai in various stages of completion can be found. Next, visit Easter Island’s largest ahu, Tongariki which consists of 15 massive moai that were almost totally destroyed in the island’s tribal civil wars and a subsequent tsunami. Taking the route towards the north, discover Ahu Te Pito Kura, "the navel of the world”, the site of the largest moais on the island standing 35 feet tall and weighing almost 100 tons. From here, travel along the coast to Anakena beach, one of only two natural sand beaches on the island. Anakena has two ahus, one with a single moai and the other with six. Enjoy an included boxed lunch in the shade of Anakena’s palm grove or relax in the sun. Afterwards, return to Hanga Roa. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 4: Easter Island. Today is at leisure to explore on your own. Discover the wonders of this ancient island and its mysterious birdman cult, or take advantage of one of the various optional activities available for purchase locally. Some of the most popular activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, bicycling, horseback riding, and ATV 4x4 rentals. This evening, enjoy a wonderful dinner and cultural show with traditional Kari Kari dances, folklore, and music. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 5: Easter Island & Lima, Peru. This morning, enjoy some leisure time before the next leg of your journey. This would be a great opportunity for some last minute shopping or simply exploring the streets of Hanga Roa. This evening board your flight to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Atton San Isidro Hotel on Nov 10, Nov 17, Nov 24, 2012 departures, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores on all others. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Lima. Enjoy the morning at leisure. This afternoon, embark on a city tour of both modern and colonial Lima. See the Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its library and catacombs, and the historical city center, based around the beautiful and sprawling Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas).
The Grand Cathedral of Lima, the ornate Archbishop's Palace, and the Government Palace, or Casa de Pizarro, line the plaza. Both the Government Palace and the cathedral were first built by Francisco Pizarro when he founded the city in 1535 to govern the conquered Incan empire (though both have been rebuilt since). Next, explore the exhibitions of the Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum, containing thousands pre-Columbian artifacts that span 3000 years of Peruvian history. Finally, visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Cusco & Sacred Valley. This morning after a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, continue to Ollantaytambo, located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. The temple area is at the top of a series of steep terraces which helped provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex, still under construction at the time of the conquest by Spain, was never completed. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel. Accommodations: Aranwa Sacred Valley. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8: Machu Picchu & Cusco. It's a short drive from your hotel to the Ollanta railroad station where you'll board the Vistadome train, which will take you through the lush Urubamba Valley, passing through stunning scenery en route to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular and enigmatic archaeological sites in the world.
Unknown to the outside world until archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911; Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Incan Empire. Believed to have served as a country retreat town for Inca nobility, the complex consists of giant walls, terraces, and ramps constructed from precisely cut rock formations. This impressive architectural feat, in combination with its breathtaking natural setting amidst mist-covered green mountains above the rushing Urubamba River, makes for a visually stunning, and even mystical, experience. Enjoy an included lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge located adjacent to the citadel. Depart by train to Poroy station then transfer to your hotel in Cusco. Accommodations: Aranwa Cusco. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Cusco. Enjoy the morning at leisure. This afternoon, a tour takes you to the main sites of this impressive city. You'll see the Plaza de Armas, center of the Inca Empire, where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the conquest of Cusco. Here, you'll see Cusco's beautiful 16th century cathedral. Then, just a few blocks away, you will see the ruins of the Koricancha, an important Inca temple to the Sun God. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors, this incredible wealth had all been taken as treasure for Spain. Next visit some of Cusco’s surrounding areas, including the the cult center of Sacsayhuaman, the temple and amphitheater of Kenko, and the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara. Continue to the village and markets of Chinchero, well known for its colorful textiles & tapestries. Later return to Cusco for overnight. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Cusco & Lima. Enjoy the morning at leisure. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your short flight back to Lima. Take advantage of some last minute shopping at Lima's Indian market before dinner at the famous Junius Restaurant. Depending on the departure time of your return flight, transfer to the airport following dinner or enjoy a folklore performance and transfer to the airport later this evening. Bid adios as you board your overnight flight back to Miami, New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco departing shortly after midnight. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 11: Depart Lima/Arrive USA. Your exciting South American journey to Easter Island & Peru ends as you touch down in Miami, New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco this morning.
We just returned from our vacation to Peru. I must admit we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotels, the airline, and the professionalism of each individual that we dealt with. It was my dream to visit Machu Picchu and Friendly Planet made this an amazing experience. All three tour guides were knowledgeable and very friendly. They went above and beyond to make this experience unique for us. We will definitely be booking another tour with Friendly Planet again.
Beth Chevere, Waterbuty ,CT