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|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Equatorial Monument, Amazonian Rainforest, Pisac Market, Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu, Cathedral & Koricancha in Cusco|
|What to Expect||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.|
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Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
Discover the wonders of two of South America's most interesting countries, Ecuador and Peru, all in one amazingly affordable tour. You'll visit the capital city of Ecuador and UNESCO World Heritage Center of Quito, the Equatorial Monument (Mitad del Mundo) and the world's most biologically diverse rainforest—the Amazon. Then you'll fly from Quito to Lima, Peru, the City of Kings and the country's capital. You'll explore Peru's Sacred Valley and its colorful Pisac Market; Cusco, the 11,000 ft high Inca capital; and Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas and one of the most impressive archeological discoveries of all time. With so much to see and enjoy, at such an affordable price... how can you possibly resist?
Passengers departing JFK or LAX must check-in the night before for their overnight flight arriving on Day 1. An additional night's accommodation is included. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Day 1: USA/Quito. Your exciting tour to Ecuador & Peru begins today as you depart for Quito, Ecuador's capital city. Your guide will meet you upon arrival and escort you to your hotel. Accommodations: Radisson Royal Quito.
Day 2: Quito. Arguably among 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 origins of the city date back to the first millennium, when the Quitu tribe occupied the area.
After breakfast, begin a panoramic tour of the city. In the modern city, visit the Legislative Palace and Alameda Park, containing the oldest observatory in South America. Continue to Quito's beautiful and charming Old Town, where you'll find blocks of colonial architecture dating to the early 1500's when the Spanish founded the city, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Vintage facades line the streets, and large open plazas are surrounded by cathedrals and stately public buildings. Even more breathtaking than the exteriors are the buildings' interiors, particularly the churches, many of which gleam with real gold leaf. Visit 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.
Conclude your tour with a stop at the Equatorial Monument, the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"), commemorating the exact place where Charles Marie de la Condamine established the Equator, where you can stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Amazon. The Amazonian segment of your tour begins after breakfast today as you set out along a scenic stretch of road overlooking lush green valleys and sparkling waterfalls. En route, stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
Arrive at Punta Ahuano, a tiny port town on the north bank of the Napo River, where piraguas (canoes) await you for a short ride downstream to your lodge. After check-in, sip a refreshing welcome cocktail as you watch the sunset. Accommodations: Casa del Suizo or similar. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Amazon. Enjoy a full day exploring the wonders of the Napo River area. After a walk through the jungle, your tour guide will present two options to help you maximize your stay. The first option, for wildlife aficionados, is a tour to Amazoonico, a rescue center for wounded and displaced tropical rainforest animals. You'll be able to observe coatis, tapirs, and several species of monkey, snakes, and a variety of birds, many of which wander around freely! The second option, for adventure seekers, is an ultimate rafting experience on the Napo River. Not only will you have the chance to enjoy a refreshing ride down this Amazonian tributary, you'll actually learn how to make your own raft by tying balsa logs together. You will decide, together with your group members which program the group will take.
Later in the day, enjoy a unique opportunity to visit a local Quechua family who will explain various aspects of their traditional culture, including a special lesson on making chicha, a beverage typical of the region. Or, if you are in the mood for a more laid-back afternoon, we recommend a stroll through the artisan village of Ahuano, where you can watch traditional Quechua ceramics being created. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Papallacta, Quito, & Lima. After breakfast, set out in canoes again to return to La Punta Ahuano. Continue by coach to Papallacta, a small town tucked away in a high Andean valley, known for its volcanic hot springs. Enjoy lunch at the Termas Papallactas Resort & Spa, and then indulge yourself with a relaxing soak in one of the resort's thermal baths. Afterwards, continue to Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport to board your flight to Lima, Peru's diverse capital city, "City of the Kings." Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Atton San Isidro or similar. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 6: Cusco & Sacred Valley. This morning, 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, 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, Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: 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 archeology 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: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco, Sonesta Cusco or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Cusco. This afternoon, explore 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 was all taken as treasure for Spain. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Cusco & Lima. Today, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival, enjoy some free time for lunch and then a panoramic tour of the city, driving by the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral of Lima and the ornate Archbishop's Palace and other buildings. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Then afterwards, bid adiós as you transfer to the airport for your overnight flight back to the USA. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 10: Lima/USA. Your flight departs shortly after midnight. Your amazing South American adventure ends as you touch down in the USA later this morning.
This was our first ever group tour package... and we'll definitely consider another with Friendly Planet based on our experience! The accommodations are all high quality and unique; hotel service outstanding. Our enthusiastic guide, Vivian, and capable driver Jose, were warm, hospitable, knowledgeable ambassadors for their country. Vivian enjoyed maximizing our experiences whether it was at a simple ice cream stop or describing in detail church art treasures. And she's lots of fun! Highlights for my husband Harris and I were the two amazing days spent at Casa del Suizo in Amazonia. Our local guide, Ramon, welcomed us into his culture and literally made the jungle come alive letting us sniff aromatic termite nests or offering us freshly cut jungle hearts of palm to eat. And then there was the blow dart tournament...
Deborah Samuels, New Smyrna Beach, FL