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Location: Perú, Ecuador
Duration: 19 Days
Type: Luxury Travel Perú
Destinations: Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Quito, Papallacta, Island Galapagos, Quito, Ecuador
From the ancient legacy of the Incas to the colonial impact of the Spanish Conquerors to the influences of indigenous cultures, our journey to Peru & Ecuador will be fascinating and inspiring.
From the convergence of modern and colonial influences in Lima and Quito to the ancient Incan temples and landsapes that dominate the historical centers of Cusco and Machu Picchu to the naturalist wonderland of the Galapagos, we will discover the best of both countries all in the comfort of supurb accommodation, gourmet food and wine and exceptional hospitality and service
You will be greeted by one of our friendly drivers upon your arrival to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Perú. From there you will be driven in comfort by private car to either the Marriot at Larcomar, Miraflores Park Plaza Hotel or the Swissotel, depending on what you have chosen. All these fine deluxe hotels are located in the most exclusive, upscale residential and commercial districts of Lima. Our driver will not leave until you are checked in to your hotel.
After breakfast you will be met at your hotel to begin our guided tour of Lima, the fabulous “City of the Kings”. We will be visiting the Plaza Mayor de Lima and the 16th century Cathedral of gold, followed by a tour of the catacombs at the Convento de San Francisco and the Museum of Gold. These are the most popular tourist attractions in Lima. We will end our tour in one of the wealthiest residential and most beautiful districts in Lima, Miraflores. There we will visit the only pre-Inca ruin remaining there, Huaca Pucllana. Constructed in the 2nd century AD it was considered by the Incas as a “Sacred Town” and was a busy ceremonial and administrative center.
Cusco Navel of the World Altitude: 3,400 meters above sea level. After your breakfast we will drive you in a private transfer to the Jorge Chavez international airport in Lima where your flight will take you to the majestic city of Cusco, (duration approx. of flight is 55 minutes). Our staff will greet you at the Cusco airport and escort you to your designated hotel and assist you in checking in. There you will have time to rest and acclimate to Cusco’s elevation. After a nice afternoon rest you will be able to take a City Tour, visiting the main square, the temple of the sun (Koricancha), including the Cathedral. Then we will visit the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, Quenqo and ending in Puca Pucara. End to our tour in Cusco.
After breakfast you will be driven west comfortably to the Poroy train station 20 minutes from Cusco. At Poroy our guide will assist you in boarding the “Hiram Bingham” train, the most luxurious way to journey to Machu Picchu from Cusco. En route to Machu Picchu a brunch will be served as you are treated to spectacular views as you drive further into the Andes. Upon reaching “Aguas Caliente” at the base of Machu Picchu a specialized English speaking guide will show you the wonders of the lost Incan city, one of “The New Seven Wonders of the World “. Your guide will point out the importance of the building’s positions and their relationship to the sun and moon. After a day in Machu Picchu you will be treated to a fine dinner and accommodations at the only hotel adjacent to the ancient citadel, The luxurious Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
This is the day to wake up early and be at Machu Picchu early to watch the sun rise over the “East Gate”. Enjoy a wonderful sunrise (if the sky cooperates) and it will make a perfect beginning to another wonderful and energetic day. Few people get to experience the ancient magnificence at sunrise of the one of most spectacular places on earth. After the day exploring the marvels, mysteries and accomplishments of Machu Picchu, cocktails and a gourmet dinner are served on the return train ride to Cusco aboard the luxurious “Hiram Bingham”. Our guide will meet you at the Poroy train station eager to hear of your experience and escort you back to the Monasterio Hotel.
After breakfast we will begin your private tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas north of Cusco. Our first stop will be the famous Indian market of Pisaq, a beautiful place to observe archaeological remains (the best days to visit are Tuesdays, Thursdays or Sundays). After Pisaq we will stop in Urubamba to enjoy a wonderfully prepared local lunch at a fine restaurant. Throughout the day we will stop at scenic overlooks for photo opportunities of the mountains and the traditional, colorfully dressed Quechua women, their children and alpacas. They are happy to pose for pictures along these stops in exchange for 1 soles per person and alpaca you photograph. The next major stop is the enormous walled city of Ollantaytambo where you will be able to appreciate the amazing complexity of Inca construction. If time permits you may visit the traditional town of Chinchero and see the fine handmade items made there. At the end of the day after arriving back in Cusco we will see you safely back to your hotel where you will enjoy another fine dinner.
After breakfast in Cusco your driver will greet you at your hotel and drive you to the Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima. From the Lima airport you will get your connecting flight to Quito, Ecuador. In Quito you will be greeted by one of our friendly drivers and driven in comfort by private car to either the Marriot, Swissotel or Hilton hotels, depending on what you have chosen. All these fine deluxe hotels are located in the most exclusive, upscale residential and commercial districts of Quito. Our driver will not leave until you are checked in to your hotel.
Your encounter with old romantic colonial Quito will be very special as you get acquainted with the history and mysteries of its temples and convents. Quito´s old town is the biggest and most well preserved on the continent and was designated by UNESCO as “World Heritage City”. After lunch on your return to Quito with your guide, you will stop at the Equatorial Monument that sits just 25 km from the equator. There you will be able to take pictures with one foot in each hemisphere at the “Middle of the World” monument. After lunch enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city during a cable car ride up to Pichincha Volcano. When you reach the top the views of the city of Quito, the surrounding valleys and other snow covered volcanoes are nothing short of spectacular. Each of the 18 cable gondolas, with panoramic windows, can take 6 guests on an 8-minute ride from 3,045 meters above sea level to 4,050 meters on Cruz Loma hill. At the top are several lookout points where you can enjoy a stroll along paths surrounded by Andean shrubs and forest. There are also several coffee, handcraft and souvenir shops to visit up there.
After breakfast your personal driver will transfer you by private, comfortable car for an overnight stay at the luxurious Termas de Papallacta Spa, Resort and Convention Center. Located a short 40 miles east of Ecuador’s capital Quito, in an Andean valley, the Spa sits at the entrance to the Ecuatorian Amazon jungle. This upscale spa is an exclusive centre that specializes in health through water amidst a natural mountain environment. Due to the medicinal mineral properties of the thermal waters the spa provides a range of massages aromatherapies, pools and treatments in first-class facilities offering maximum comfort and wellbeing. When you’ve had enough pampering explore the abundance of flora and fauna via a number of the walking trails on the premises. You will have chosen to stay at the hotel or in one of the cabins but either way after your day of recreation, adventure and rest you will thoroughly enjoy the Spa’s restaurant that offers only the finest international delicacies.
In the afternoon after lunching at the outstanding Termas de Papallacta Spa your personal driver will return you refreshed to Quito to another fine predetermined hotel of your choice.
After breakfast in your Quito hotel your personal driver will transfer you in private comfort to the Quito airport for your flight to Guayaquil airport. From here you will get your connecting Aerogal flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos. Upon your arrival to Baltra Island you will be met by your naturalist-guide or other crewmember holding a sign with the name of your boat – Isabela II. A short bus ride from the airport takes you to the harbor where the Isabela II luxury cruise ship waits for you to begin your tour. The Isabela II is a 40-guest vessel and the most luxurious yacht cruising the Galapagos Islands. It includes spacious cabins, 3 public decks, bar-salon, ample sun deck, a library with a large selection of reference, conservation, and nature books and videos, an elegant dining room, a reading room, jacuzzi, observation area, boutique, shop, and game room. One GP/doctor is always on board. Your three multilingual naturalist guides will soon become the highlight of your voyage as they delight you with superb on-deck natural history explanations, eye-catching lectures and multi-media presentations. Together with the Captain they will plan the next day’s activities they will be escorting you on thoughout the islands. Be sure to look up and enjoy the nightly light show in the sky. Stargazing is an amazing nocturnal activity since the nearly cloudless, light-pollution free, pitch-black skies give you unprecedented views of the brilliant stars and constellations. The trained chefs daily prepare superb selections of a-la-carte meals while the warm staff attends to your every need. Tuesday – Baltra Island and North Seymour Island. After lunch on your first day out you will disembark on dry landing for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island. This will be your first chance to observe the local bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. A shorter walk is also available. At night get better acquainted with the captain as he welcomes you with a cocktail. Enjoy a fine dinner before your naturalist guides brief you on the next day’s activities.
Gardner Bay (Hood Island) After breakfast disembark to a wet landing to white coral beaches where you can take a short walk and watch the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is wonderful snorkeling in this area (snorkeling equipment is available for guests at no extra cost) or ride the glass-bottom boat to get a fish-eye of the marine life. Punta Suárez (Hood Island) After lunch disembark to a dry landing for an exciting walk on lava terrain and visit the island’s unique sea bird colonies, including the Waved Albatrosses (May – December). Here the marine iguanas have a particularly striking red color. In the northeast of the island you will delighted by the site known as “The Blowhole’ named for enormous geysers created by wave energy concentrated up through cracks in the rocks. A shorter walk is also available. Back aboard the Isabela II enjoy dinner and your naturalist’s briefing on next day’s events and activities and of course more fantastic stargazing on deck of the Isabela II.
Point Cormorant (Floreana Island) After breakfast disembark at Point Cormorant (wet landing), one of the older islands, for an easy walk to see the flamingos, other birds, ducks, stilts, sandpipers, etc. that inhabit the lagoon. There is also another great snorkeling opportunity at this site. Those who do not snorkel can enjoy a ride on the glass-bottom boat to view the marine life. Floreana is one of the few Galapagos Islands with a reliable fresh water source at the base of Cerro Olympus in the lush southeast highlands. Enjoy lunch back on board the Isabela II. Post Office Bay (Floreana Island) Wet landing at the historical Post Office Bay to learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. Then enjoy a panga boat ride will it takes you to nearby islets to observe sea lions, rays and sea turtles, boobies and possibly the Galapagos penguin. Afterwards back on board the Isabela II you can discuss the day’s events with your naturalist guides, get briefed on the next days’s events, enjoy a great dinner and of course stargazing.
After breakfast disembark with a dry landing on Santa Cruz Island and see the peculiar Scalesia Trees. The Scalesia is a member of the daisy family but the only one to grow 50 feet high. You’ll also see the deep twin pit craters (volcanic depressions); Los Gemelos. From December to mid-April, weather permitting, visit the giant tortoises in the wild may. Lunch at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. After lunch you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, staffed with international scientists conducting biological research and conservation projects. Here you’ll be able to admire the famous giant tortoises involved in the breeding program. Visitors can also admire the prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. Then stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on the Isabela II. Naturalist’s briefing and dinner, and stargazing before turning in for the night.
Darwin Bay (Tower Island) Your morning wet landing will precede an easy stroll observing thousands of frigate birds, red footed and masked boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. If you wish you can continue walking over sharp lava and uneven terrain, or just go back to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor. Those most adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs. By now you’ll be ready for another great lunch on board the Isabell II. Prince Philip’s Steps (Tower Island) On the east side of Darwin Bay the afternoon starts with a scenic panga ride along the rocky cliff ledges to Prince Phillips Steps. This ride will give you a great vantage point to observe the islands many shore birds. Disembark on dry land at the base of the steep cliffs. The 90 foot climb up the stairs is fairly easy for those with good balance, and a handrail helps make the journey more manageable. At the top of the steps the trail becomes relatively flat and bird life abounds. Once on top the walk levels out and you will reach a lava field past the forest buzzing with petrels looking for crevices to make their home. Back on board the Isabela II enjoy another night of stargazing, naturalist’s briefing and a fine dinner.
While crossing the equator early risers will enjoy cruising right in front of the famous Volcan Ecuador. Its amphitheater-like shape was created when the eastern half dropped into the ocean. It is the most geologically puzzling formation in the Galapagos islands. Tagus Cove (Isabela Island) On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove was in past centuries a favorite anchor for pirates and whalers. Old graffiti is still found on its walls. The vegetation in the area includes the unusual Palo Santo trees. These white-barked trees are leafless and look dead most of the year. They leaf out and spring back to life in the short wet season, which usually begins in March or April. An uphill hike through palo santo forest takes guests to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. The view at the end of the trail is worth the climb. Darwin is one of Isabela’s six volcanoes, a remarkable contrast to the lower islands to the east of the archipelago. Lunch back on board the Isabela II. Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island) The afternoon brings us to the youngest island, Fernandina. Disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness with lots of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their space with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant., Naturalist’s briefing, dinner and evening stargazing on board the Isabela II.
Puerto Egas (James Island) Wet landing for a mid-length walk. Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and there is a colony of fur-sea lions. Good snorkeling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Lunch on board. Bartolomé After lunch dry land on the beautiful white sand beaches of Bartolomé to see moon-like landscapes and volcanic formations such as lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. After hiking to the summit you can enjoy a great view of the surrounding islands, including Pinnacle Rock’s eroded tuff cone. On the way to the summit you’ll often see colonies of marine iguanas, lava lizards, tiquilla and various cacti. You’ll be able to snorkel and see the Galapagos penguin, sea turtles, and white tipped sharks from a safe distance. There will be time for a panga ride around Pinnacle Rock to observe penguins, enjoy the beach (wet landing), snorkeling and swimming from the beach, or a ride on the glass-bottom boat. Farewell departure briefing and cocktail..
After breakfast you will depart to the port and be taken to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil airport and connecting flight to Quito. Your driver will be waiting for your private ride to the pre-selected luxury hotel and dinner.
After breakfast your driver will greet you at your hotel for a private transfer to the Quito airport for your international flight home. This brings your tour and our services to an end. Price available upon request
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