This itinerary is for 2012 departures.
Check out our new Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos tour itinerary.
|Itinerary at a Glance
Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos
|3||Cusco, Pisac Market & Sacred Valley|
|7||Cusco & Puno|
|8||Lake Titicaca, Uros & Taquile|
|9||Puno & Quito|
|12||Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra &
|13|| Galapagos Cruise: Puertas Ega &
|14||Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz &
North Seymour Island
|Ica Pre-Tour Extension|
|2||Lima & Ica|
|3||Nazca Lines & Ica|
|4||Paracas & Lima|
|Highlights||Lima, Cusco, Quito, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, & Galapagos Islands plus optional Ica extension.|
|Travel Style||This fast-paced, partially escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
Join us on a fascinating voyage of discovery as we visit some of the most splendid and awesome sites in the world. First we'll tour Peru, which, like the Parthenon in Greece or the Pyramids of Egypt, provides an unforgettable glimpse of the genius of a past civilization, the Incas.
You'll have the opportunity to visit Lima, the City of Kings and the country's capital; Cusco, the ancient Incan capital perched at 11,000 ft; Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas and among the most impressive archeological discoveries of all times; and Lake Titicaca, among the highest and most beautiful lakes in the world, on Peru's border with Bolivia.
In Ecuador, we'll visit Quito, the lovely colonial capital city, whose Old Town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Otavalo, whose colorful, charming market is known throughout the world. We'll even take a guided tour of the Galapagos Islands, a magical, unique, living laboratory, where Darwin and those who followed studied evolutionary changes that led to a new understanding of life on earth.
This is truly an unforgettable, once in a lifetime adventure, full of discovery, beauty, history, culture and more fun than you can imagine. And while there are no compromises in the quality of the hotels and the scope of touring included in our program, it's yours for a price that's as amazing as the trip itself!
|Departures & Prices*|
|Thu||May 10||2012||Sat||May 26||2012||$4814||Sold Out|
|Thu||Jun 7||2012||Sat||Jun 23||2012||$4814||Sold Out|
|Thu||Jul 5||2012||Sat||Jul 21||2012||$5199||Sold Out|
|Thu||Aug 2||2012||Sat||Aug 18||2012||$5199||Sold Out|
|Thu||Oct 4||2012||Sat||Oct 20||2012||$4899||$5299||Sold Out|
|Thu||Nov 8||2012||Sat||Nov 24||2012||$4899||$5299||Sold Out|
|Thu||Dec 6||2012||Sat||Dec 22||2012||$4999||$5399||Sold Out|
* Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and include airfare and Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee. Prices do not include excess baggage fees, extensions or optional items. Prices in orange reflect an early booking discount for bookings made by 9/25/2012.
|Seperately Paid Fees|
|Ecuador Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$45|
1. All departure taxes are paid locally at the time of departure. Amount is approximate and reflects current exchange rates.
|Optionals & Upgrades|
|Single Room Supplement||+$1499|
|Galapagos Cruise Cabin Selection|
|Standard Plus Cabin||included|
|Junior Suite Cabin, Double Occupancy1||+$300|
|Junior Suite Cabin, Single Cabin Supplement*||+$450|
|Late check-out Quito2|
1. Junior suite cabins are on a request-basis and are subject to availability. These cabins require that your reservation be confirmed separately by the cruise line. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of your cabin.
2. Late check-out on Day 16 is available on request for flights departing Quito in the evening.
|Ica Pre-Tour Extension|
|Ica Pre- Tour Extension1||+$699|
|Single Room Supplement||+$150|
1. The Ica Extension requires a minimum number of passengers to operate.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
To make a reservation, we only require a deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, check or money order. Your final payment is due 105 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Lima. Your exciting journey to Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos begins today as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, Peru's diverse capital city, Lima, "City of the Kings." Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Sol de Oro on Nov 8 & Dec 6 departures, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores on all others.
Day 2: Lima, Peru. Today 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). Visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Cusco, Pisac Market & Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short morning flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, travel to nearby Pisac, a picturesque Andean village with a wonderful market. Here you'll have a chance to buy locally made ponchos, sweaters and other handcrafted clothing, ceramics and hand-painted beads. Enjoy browsing the "locals" section of the market, where villagers come from miles around, dressed in their traditional clothing, to barter and sell their produce.
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. Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Machu Picchu. It's a short drive from your hotel to the Ollanta railroad station, where you'll board the train that will take you through the lush Urubamba Valley, passing through stunning scenery en route to Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular and enigmatic archeological sites in the world. Even those who aren't normally excited by archaeology will be impressed by this Lost City of the Incas.
Unknown to the outside world until archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Inca 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. Return to Cusco for overnight. Accommodations: Posadas del Inca Hotel Cusco on Aug 2 departure, Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco or similar on all others. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Cusco. This afternoon, a panoramic 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 find 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 taken as treasure for Spain. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Cusco. Enjoy a full day at leisure for sightseeing and shopping in Cusco. Your tour guide will gladly offer suggestions for independent exploration. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Cusco & Puno. Take a drive of unbelievable beauty through the Andes and toward the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca. Driving from Cusco to Puno through the Andes, you reach an elevation of more than 14,000 feet at La Raya (the apex between the Andes and Altiplano) as you pass through tiny villages of craftsmen, potters and weavers, farms, waterfalls, clear blue sky, deep blue water and dry, reddish-brown landscape. Have cameras charged and ready for the incredible panoramic shots you'll want to take along the way. En route, enjoy a buffet lunch at a local restaurant.
Later today, arrive in Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level. Accommodations: Posadas del Inca Hotel Puno on Oct 4 & Nov 8 departures, Casa Andina Private Collection Puno on all others. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 8: Lake Titicaca, Uros & Taquile. This morning you'll visit beautiful, Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and, according to Andean legend, the birthplace of civilization. Legend holds that Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac, the founders of the Inca Empire, appeared from the deep waters of this lake. A highlight of your tour is a visit to the floating island of Uros, where many of the inhabitants still practice the old traditions of fishing, trapping birds, weaving and sailing in boats and living in houses made of totora reeds which grow abundantly in the lake.
Continue to Taquile, the largest island on the Peruvian side of the lake. Taquileños, the Island locals, are famous for their beautiful woven goods, widely regarded as some of the highest quality handicrafts in Peru. Here, you'll also be able to take in breathtaking views of the lake, which looks like an ocean surrounded by mountains. Return to Puno this afternoon. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Puno & Quito After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ecuador, via Lima. Arrive in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose elevation gives it a wonderful springlike climate despite being very close to the Equator. Your guide will greet you upon arrival and escort you to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Sheraton Quito. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Quito. After the morning at leisure, set off for a panoramic city tour Quito this afternoon. Arguably one of the loveliest of South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha. The real beauty of Quito is in its wonderful Old Town, where you'll find blocks of colonial architecture, some of it dating from the mid-1500s when the Spanish founded the city. Before the Spanish arrived, Quito was an important Inca settlement, and before the Inca, other tribes lived at the site. Vintage facades line the streets and large open plazas are surrounded by cathedrals and stately public buildings, including the Government Palace, the first stop on your tour.
Even more breathtaking than the exteriors are the interiors of some of the buildings, particularly the churches, many of which gleam with real gold leaf. La Compania, the next stop on your tour, has the most ornate and richly sculptured facade and interior, complete with colored columns, 10-sided altars, and gilded balconies. Several of its most precious treasures, including a painting of the Virgen Dolorosa framed in emeralds and gold, are kept in the vault of the Banco Central del Ecuador and appear only at special festivals. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito's oldest church. Built in the 16th century, the monastery is an exact replica of the Escorial Palace of Madrid. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Otavalo Excursion. After breakfast this morning, set out on a drive along the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo, whose beauty lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians, and their market, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America. Unlike other indigenous people who have given up their traditional dress for jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are still easily identified by their distinctive dress: women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals.
The market takes place in the main Plaza, but don't hesitate to wander into the side streets, where the goods on display start to diversify and the prices get lower. Enjoy the cacophony of sounds as Spanish, and Quichua, the native language of the area, mix together with Andean pipe music and the explosion of color from the many fabric, fruit and craft stalls that line the plaza and side streets. Return to Quito this afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 12: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra & Santa Cruz. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra, gateway to the Galapagos Islands. Board your first class cruiser, the M/V Galapagos Legend, your home for the next three nights. Settle into your cabin and set sail for beautiful Santa Cruz Island. The trail to the highlands of Santa Cruz leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather this area affords beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round.
The scenery will continuously change as you ascend through all seven vegetation zones of the Galapagos. This is sure to be the highlight of your visit to the Galapagos Islands, as this is the place to see giant tortoises, both in the wild and in captivity. Accommodations: MV Galapagos Legend Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 13: Galapagos Cruise: Puerta Egas (Santiago Island) & Bartholomew. Today land in James Bay at the western end of Santiago Island. Nearby Puerto Egas with its black sand beaches was the site of small salt mining industry in the 1960s. A hike inland to the salt crater is an excellent opportunity to sight land birds such as finches, doves, and hawks. A walk down the rugged shoreline, especially at low tide, will turn up many marine species. Iguanas bask on the rocks and sea lions laze in the tide pools. At the end of the trail there is a series of grottoes or sea caves where fur seals and night herons are found resting on shady ledges. You may be able to see colorful sea creatures like octopus and starfish caught in the small pools as the tide goes out. You may also see various birds specific to this area like great blue heron, a lava heron, oyster catchers and yellow crowned night heron. If the tide is low, you’ll see marine iguanas grazing on the exposed green algae. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter the fur sea lion, once thought to be on the verge of extinction.
Continue to Bartholomew, a small barren island, located in Sullivan Bay off Santiago Island. Bartholomew has two important sites. At one of them it is possible to climb to the summit of the island, where you will be able to observe a variety of volcanic formations, spatter and tuff cones, lava flows and lava tubes. The moon like landscape provides the most scenic panorama in the archipelago. At the other site, you may swim and snorkel from a beautiful beach or walk across the isthmus to another beach that faces south, where swimming is prohibited. Multicolored fish and occasionally penguins may be seen at the base of the tall pinnacle rock, which dominates Bartholomew’s landscape. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 14: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz & North Seymour Island. Early in the morning after landing on Santa Cruz Island, you will walk to a hypersalinic lagoon behind the beach. Here you may have the opportunity to view pink flamingos. The trail then leads up to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay. Thanks to the island's Charles Darwin Research Center, this area is also an important nesting site for a large population of land iguanas.
Continue to North Seymour Island, located to the North of Baltra. It's a flat and low-lying island, formed as a result of the uplift of a submarine lava formation. The vegetation is mainly low and bushy, and contains the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos. There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies nesting from May to November and by the coastline resides a colony of playful sea lions. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 15: Quito. Today you will disembark and transfer back to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Sheraton Quito. Breakfast provided.
Day 16: Depart Quito. After breakfast, spend your final day in Ecuador at leisure. Alternatively, take advantage of an optional tour available for purchase locally. Later this evening bid adios to Ecuador as you board your return flight to the USA. Depending on your flight schedule, late check-out is available for a supplement (See Dates & Prices). Breakfast provided.
Day 17: Arrive USA. Your exciting South American adventure ends as you touch down in Miami today.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our pre-tour extension to Ica, Peru for a special opportunity to visit the Nazca Lines, one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world! Passengers taking the Ica Extension will depart the U.S. on Monday, 3 days before the departure dates shown and join the main tour on Day 1 (Thursday) of the itinerary above. (Departures May - June 2012, will depart the U.S. on Tuesday 2 days before the departure dates shown and join the main tour in the evening of Day 2, Friday.)
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Peru begins this evening as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, Peru's diverse capital city. Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Sol de Oro on Nov 8 & Dec 6 departures, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores.
Day 2: Lima & Ica. After a leisurely breakfast, depart mid-morning for Ica, an oasis city that lies in the dune-filled desert coast of southern Peru. The rest of the day is yours to explore Ica. Accommodations: Hotel Las Dunas. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Nazca Lines & Ica. The Nazca Lines remain one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. Debate surrounds the origin, function, and creators of these large-scale geoglyphs. However, consensus exists on at least two characteristics of these designs-that they are pre-Inca, and that they are fascinating. Ranging in size from about 300ft to several miles in length, these designs depict not only abstract geometrical figures, but also different plants and animals, such as fish, hummingbirds, and condors. Because of their large size, the designs are best viewed from above. You'll have the opportunity to experience this superb vantage point on a small plane that flies over the Nazca Lines. After this unforgettable experience, return to Ica for overnight. (Note: The Nazca Lines flight excursion is subject to weather conditions.) Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Paracas & Lima. Set out early this morning along the South Panamerican Highway to Paracas. Upon arrival at Paracas Bay, board your boat to the Ballestas Islands. As you sail, be on the lookout for the strange cactus-like engraving on the sand cliffs, believed to be created by the designers of the Nazca Lines. Sail along the coast of the Paracas National Reserve, the best shorebird sanctuary in South America. Numerous species of birds (cormorants, gannets, gulls, terns, pelicans, Humboldt penguins and other species), as well as a large colony of sea lions, populate these islands. (Note: The boat excursion to Ballestas Islands is subject to weather conditions).
This afternoon, return to Lima in preparation for the next exciting leg of your journey. Accommodations: Sol de Oro on Nov 8 & Dec 6 departures, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores. Breakfast provided.
See Day 1 of the tour itinerary above for the continuation of your touring program. May–June, 2012 departures will depart the U.S. 2 days before the departure dates shown (Tuesday) and join the main tour on the evening of Day 2 above (Friday).
The recently refurbished M/V Galapagos Legend is one of the most talked about additions to the expanding Galapagos cruising fleet. The 5-star, expedition-style Legend offers all of the comfort and amenities of a larger cruise vessel, but is small and specially designed to navigate the waters of the Galapagos. With a passenger capacity of only 100, the Legend provides an intimate cruising adventure that allows you to experience up-close the unrivalled beauty of the Galapagos Islands.
The Legend's bright and spacious cabins are comfortable and well-appointed. All cabins feature adjustable climate controls, closet, safety deposit box, and a private bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Click here for information about your ship.
We took the trip to Ecuador in October. Absolutely fabulous trip, planning, lodging, food, transportation. Our tour guide, Patricio, could not have been a better guide. I would take the trip again in a minute!
— Ann Ritchie, Midland, TX