Tour Highlights: Lima, Machu Picchu, Cuenca, Amazon Basin. Our Galapagos cruise section is limited to 16 participants.
October 23 - November 13 2018 SOLD OUT
LAND TOUR: $9,895 Canadian/person Starts Lima Peru, ends Quito, Ecuador.
5 day pre-tour extension of La Paz, Bolivia & Lake Titicaca
(detailed itinerary is under DAY 22 )
combine this tour with our tour to PATAGONIA ( Uruguay, Argentina & Chile ) October 23- Dec 6 2018 (45 Days)
updated July 4 2018-
DAY 1 Tuesday October 23
This morning we fly from North America. First of 2 nights in Lima. Sheraton Hotel or similar.
DAY 2 Wednesday October 24
Arrive early this morning in Lima and transfer to our hotel. This morning is free for you to relax after your flights before we begin our exploration of Peru’s capital city. This afternoon we visit the colonial heart of the city around the Plaza de Armas which is centred on the 17th Century bronze fountain. The Government Palace stands on the site of Pizarro’s own house. The Cathedral houses the tomb and skeleton of Pizarro. Next door is the Archbishop’s Palace with its impressive wooden balcony. Nearby we visit the jewel of Lima’s colonial architecture - the San Francisco Monastery. Founded in 1546, the building’s interior contains elaborate woodwork in the Andalusian Moorish style. Second of 2 nights in Lima. Sheraton Hotel or similar. B & D
DAY 3 Thursday October 25
Lima – Cuzco
This morning we fly from Lima on the Pacific coast up to Cuzco located at 11,000 feet (3,350 metres) in the Andes. This afternoon we have a guided tour of the highlights of the city which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. “Qosqo” means “navel of the world” in the Quechua language spoken by the Incas. At its height in the second half of the 15th Century, Cuzco was as large as any European city and centre of an Andean empire which included what is now Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and part of northern Argentina. The centre of Cuzco is the Plaza de Armas which, in Inca times, was the exact centre of the empire and was known as The Four Quarters of the Earth. The square was flanked by Inca palaces and it was here that important Inca religious and military ceremonies were staged. We start our visit at Cuzco’s magnificent Cathedral which was begun in 1559 and took over 100 years to build. The altar is of solid silver and the Cathedral contains many fine paintings. As with many buildings we will see in the city, the Spanish colonial Cathedral is built on solid Inca foundations of perfectly-cut stones. Later in the afternoon we make our way to the most important place of worship in the Inca Empire, El Templo del Coricancha. The walls of the Temple of the Sun were covered in 700 sheets of gold studded with emeralds and turquoise. Windows were positioned so the sun would enter by day and reflect off a huge gold disc which covered one entire wall. At night the moonlight would enter and reflect off an enormous silver disc covering the opposite wall. The Spanish built the Iglesia Santo Domingo church on the magnificent foundations of the Coricancha. Nearby we visit the Convento y Museo de Santa Catalina which, in Inca times, housed 3,000 Chosen Women who dedicated their lives to the Sun God. First of 2 nights in Cuzco. Costa Del Sol Hotel or similar. B & D.
DAY 4 Friday October 26
Cuzco lies in the fertile Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River. Today we travel out to visit other impressive Inca sites in the valley and to observe the villages and agriculture of today. Our first stop is Sacsayhuaman the great Inca fortress overlooking Cuzco. This military complex was built with a zigzag double wall of enormous stones, some of which weight up to 17,000 kilos (125 tons). The Incas are famous for the way they transported and cut precisely such large stones and Sacsayhuaman is probably the finest example of their stonework on a large scale. The fortress was big enough to garrison 5,000 Inca soldiers and was the focus of the native rebellion in 1536 which besieged Cuzco for 10 months and nearly led to the end of Spanish rule. As we enter the valley, we stop at Awanacancha, a weaving centre with the goal to keep alive the traditional textile arts. Here you can see four members of the cameloid family - llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos. Alpacas have thick wool which is the most commonly used while the vicunas are small and delicate with fur considered the finest. Here you can meet these four cameloids, learn about the harvesting of the different wools and the natural dying techniques and have a chance to see native weavers from different areas showing their different weaving styles and dress. Our next stop is the small village of Pisac where we will have time to shop and have lunch at its lively market. At the northern end of the Sacred Valley we visit what is perhaps the best-preserved of all Inca settlements, Ollantaytambo. The old walls of the houses are still standing and many of them are still lived in. In the nearby river stand the remains of an Inca bridge. Above the town looms the imposing structure of Ollantaytambo fortress which contains the Temple of the Sun. As we travel along the valley back to Cuzco, we enjoy the open vistas with the high Andes in the distance. Second of 2 nights in Cuzco. Costa Del Sol Hotel or similar. B&D
DAY 5 Saturday October 27
Cuzco - Machu Picchu
Early this morning we board the train for the beautiful ride down the Urubamba Valley to the most famous archaeological site in the whole of South America, Machu Picchu. People are often surprised to find that Machu Picchu is at a lower elevation than Cuzco. Although it is often called the “Lost City of the Incas,” it is still not known what function Machu Picchu served. When American archaeologist Hiram Bingham led an expedition from Yale University to this area in 1911, he discovered the “lost city” by accident while looking for Vilcabamba, the last stronghold of the Incas. The name “Machu Picchu” is actually the local name for the mountain behind the ruins and means “Ancient Peak.” The ruins are set on top of a sharp mountain with the Urubamba River running below. Examinations of Machu Picchu have shown that it was not destroyed. The Spanish conquistadors never discovered the site. Since they had many local allies, this means that local people did not know about the site by that time either. The site was probably abandoned long before Inca times and left for the jungle to claim. Hiram Bingham called the site a “citadel” but, besides its outer wall and moat, Machu Picchu contains an unusually high proportion and quality of religious architecture. Overnight near Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes town. El Mapi Hotel or similar. B & D
DAY 6 Sunday October 28
Aguas Calientes – Cuzco
This morning we have time to explore the small town of Aguas Calientes before the tourists arrive on the train from Cuzco. Visiting the outdoor thermal pools that vary in size and temperature is a good way to relax. We also have time to shop at the local handicraft market. This afternoon, after a lunch hosted by Royal Heights, we take the train back to Cuzco. Dinner is at your own expense. Overnight in Cuzco. Costa Del Sol Hotel or similar. B & L
DAY 7 Monday October 29
Cuzco – Lima
Today we fly from Cuzco back down to Lima and enjoy a full day guided tour of the highlights of Lima, a city that is not only the capital of the Republic of Peru, but was, during Spanish colonial times, also the capital of all of Spanish South America. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Lima has over 20 museums. We visit the Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History with its superb collection of pottery and textiles from all the main cultures of ancient Peru. For us the Incas are the most famous of Peru’s civilizations, but there were many great empires which flourished along the coast of Peru and in the foothills of the Andes long before the Incas. The Gold Museum has a huge private collection of gold, silver and bejewelled artefacts plus very explicit pottery figurines. We also have time to drive through the modern suburbs of Lima and walk in the shopping streets. Overnight close to Lima Airport. Ramada Airport Hotel or similar. B & D
DAY 8 Tuesday October 30
Lima, Peru - Quito, Ecuador - Otavalo
Today we fly to the capital of Ecuador, Quito. Upon arrival in Quito we drive south through the verdant valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe, with their dairy farms and rose plantations, to stay near the village of Otavalo. Along the way, we visit the delightful town of Cotochachi which is famous for its high quality and inexpensive leatherwork. Overnight near Otavalo. Hacienda Cusin or similar. B & D
DAY 9 Wednesday October 31
Otavalo Market - Equator Monument - Quito
Early this morning, we visit the local animal market where farmers buy and sell their animals and homemade goods. Next, we will visit the Otavalo Market which is South America’s most famous Indian fair. People come from all over Ecuador and the world to buy handicrafts here. We have ample time to explore the stalls and stroll along the narrow, cobblestone streets observing the Otavalo Indians wearing their blue ponchos, white trousers and long, braided hair. On our way back to Quito we stop at ‘el Mitad del Mundo’, The Equator Monument. Here, at 10,000 feet above sea level, one can straddle the Equator with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere.
Upon arrival in Quito we take a guided tour of Ecuador’s capital city. Although it lies only 16 miles (25 Km) south of the Equator, Quito lies at 9,200 feet (2,850 metres) above sea level nestled between two snow-covered ranges of the Andes. This gives the city a year-round spring-like climate and a spectacular setting few cities in the world can match. Quito was once the 2nd capital of the Inca Empire. The colonial section of Old Quito is a United Nations World Heritage Site. We visit St Augustine Convent and stroll to Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace. We visit La Compania church with its ornate facade and breathtaking golden altars. We also visit the Monastery and Church of San Francisco - one of the first great religious buildings to be built in the New World. In the modern section of the city we drive along the broad avenues of the northern residential section and see the impressive Parliament Building, whose stone mural records Ecuador’s history. Overnight in Quito. Mercure Grand Hotel Alameda or similar. B & D.
DAY 10 Thursday November 1
Quito - The Amazon
This morning we take a spectacular drive down from the snow-capped heights of the Andes into the great rainforest formed by the many tributary rivers that ultimately empty into the mighty Amazon River. This vast jungle stretches from the eastern slopes of the Andes through several South American countries, ultimately reaching the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the continent. This afternoon, after settling into our lodge, we can relax by the pool. First of 2 nights in the Amazon Basin. Casa del Suizo Lodge or similar. B & D
DAY 11 Fri November 2
Today we take a guided excursion into the forest to observe some of the many bird and plant species found here in the richest ecosystem in the world. We learn how the native peoples live from the forest and how they make medicines from various plants that Western science is only now realising the importance of. We include a tour of an animal rescue centre where illegally captured jungle animals are acclimatised so they can be returned to the forest. This afternoon we visit a local village to learn how the native people make Chicha, the traditional Andean corn beer that is shared during communal gatherings and festivals. We also see how the people of the tropical rainforest use their blow guns to capture food. Second of 2 nights in the Amazon Basin. Casa del Suizo Lodge or similar. B, L & D
DAY 12 Saturday November 3
The Amazon – Riobamba
This morning we leave the natural wonders of the rainforest and make our way up spectacular, twisting roads to the heights of the Central Valley where the road passes through part of the long and gentle valley flanked
by two parallel ranges of high, snow-capped mountains and active volcanoes, including 9 of Ecuador’s highest peaks. The tallest, Chimborazo, is 20,700 feet (6,310 metres) high and was for many years considered the highest mountain in the world. Everywhere rivers rush down from the mountains past rich terraced farmlands and small villages of adobe houses. We continue to the provincial capital at Riobamba, known as “The Sultan of the Andes”. The city has a spectacular location, lying on the flat plains below the snow-capped cone of Mount Chimborazo. Overnight in Riobamba. Hotel Zeus or similar. B & D
DAY 13 Sunday November 4
Devil’s Nose Train – Cuenca
The Devil’s Nose Railway was one of the great railway engineering feats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The line initially ran all the way from Quito to Guayaquil on the coast, but now only the section between Riobamba and Sibambe is operational. This morning we make an early start to join the train at Alausi for the spectacular ride down the Devil’s Nose to Sibambe and back, with the line descending 1,000 metres down a steep slope on a series of switchbacks. This is considered to be one of the most thrilling train rides in the world. Upon returning to Alausi we travel further south to the colonial city of Cuenca, witnessing a wide variety of rural farming communities along the way. First of 2 nights in Cuenca. Hotel Crespo or similar. B & D
DAY 14 Monday November 5
This morning we take a guided tour of the delightful Spanish Colonial city of Cuenca. We drive up the Hill of Turi for a panoramic view of the city and an explanation of Cuenca’s geography and history. We drive along the Tomebamba River at the edge of the city to admire the overhanging wooden houses. Entering the Old City, we visit the flower market on Plaza del Carmen and the area of old houses round Plaza Calderon. We also visit the huge Cathedral, an imposing structure with a pink marble facade, blue-tiled domes, carved gold-leaf columns and an impressive Baroque altar. We also learn how panama hats are made. Surprisingly, this world-famous hat is made in Cuenca, not Panama.
This afternoon is free for you to enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this charming town with its many cafes, restaurants, parks and quaint shops. Second of 2 nights in Cuenca. Hotel Crespo or similar. B&D
DAY 15 Tuesday November 6
Cuenca - Guayaquil
This morning we descend from Cuenca, among the peaks of the Andes through plains covered in enormous banana plantations to Guayaquil on the coast.
This afternoon we take a tour of Ecuador’s largest city and seaport, which has gone through a metamorphosis over the past few years. Its crown jewel is the Malecon 2000, a two-mile pedestrian walkway along the Guayas River, with restaurants, cafés and shops, botanical gardens and a contemporary art museum. Many buildings in the city have been refurbished, especially in Las Peñas, Guayaquil’s oldest neighborhood, where centuries-old houses line narrow, atmospheric streets. Another new attraction is the Guayaquil Historical Park, a museum of the region’s history and culture. Here we explore a wildlife park with the flora and fauna that once populated the area including parrots, tapirs and deer, a historic zone that recreates Guayaquil from the early 1900s, and an area that celebrates the indigenous cultures complete with recreated haciendas and people in native dress. Overnight in Guayaquil. Hotel Continental or similar. B & D.
DAY 16 Wednesday November 7
Guayaquil - The Galapagos [those taking our Peru & Ecuador only tour fly home today]
This morning you fly from Guayaquil to Ecuador’s famous islands out in the Pacific Ocean - the Galapagos. Of course, it was the unique flora and fauna of these isolated islands which were instrumental in helping Charles Darwin formulate his theory of Evolution, one of the most significant milestones in modern science. Upon arrival at tiny Baltra Island you are met by your naturalist guide/tour leader and transferred to our expedition ship where you meet your crew. You cross the Itabaca Channel to nearby Santa Cruz Island (Indefatigable) where, after lunch on board our ship, you explore The Highlands – which offer a lush contrast to the beaches and arid lowlands found elsewhere on the island. Santa Cruz Island reaches an altitude of 854 metres (2,835 ft) at Crocker Hill and affords a wonderful view of the surrounding islands. This is our first view of (extinct) Galapagos volcanoes. Santa Cruz is the second largest of the Galapagos Islands. All of the islands are within a national park and people are only allowed to live on 3 of them – one of them being Santa Cruz. You stop at the twin volcanic craters of Los Gemelos and marvel at the celebrated Giant Galapagos Tortoises roaming in their natural habitat. Galapagos giant tortoises nearly went extinct in the 19th Century due to constant hunting but extensive conservation efforts in recent decades have brought the remaining populations back from the edge. There are a great number of lava tunnels in The Highlands area and many tree ferns
.First of 5 nights on our cruise ship. Motor Yacht Millennium or similar. B, L & D.
DAY 17 Thursday November 8
Galapagos Islands Cruise
This morning you anchor at the fishing village of Puerto Villamil and spend your day exploring Isabela Island, the largest island of the Galápagos archipelago with an area of 4,640 square kilometres and length of 100 kilometres – almost 4 times the size of Santa Cruz. Isabela constitutes over half the land mass of the 19 Galapagos Islands but is comparatively little-visitted by tourists because it is quite remote. Charles Darwin visited Isabela in 1835. “Los Humedales” translates as “the wetlands” and this area is characterized by sandy beaches, rocky shores, natural pools, lava tunnels and all 4 species of mangrove trees found in the Galapagos. Mangroves are extremely important as they are one of the first plants that take hold in the islands and provide a nursery for young marine animals as well as a nesting site for birds. In recent years the national park has released young giant tortoises from the Isabela Breeding Center in this area and so, by following the trails with your naturalist guide, it’s possible to encounter small 5-year-old and 25-year-old giant tortoises in the wild. In this area you also find the cemetery for the island’s first inhabitants.
The “Wall of Tears” was constructed between 1946 and 1959 while Isabela was a penal colony. As punishment the prisoners were forced to build the wall from huge blocks of lava. Your hike then leads through a wetland of brackish lagoons where flamingos are often seen.
The Centro de Crianza Tortugas Gigantes Arnaldo Tupiza Chamaidan cares for the last remaining Cerro Palomo tortoises - 4 males and 2 females. The breeding centre is dedicated to increasing and stabilizing the population of this endangered species. The centre also cares for more than 300 other giant tortoises.
Later, you explore Islote Tintoreras, a sharp volcanic rock formation with white tips where you should see many Galapagos Marine Iguanas - the only iguanas in the world to get their food from the sea. You should also be able to see friendly sea lions and maybe even Galapagos penguins. When you go snorkeling you will see colorful starfish and reef fish and maybe even sea turtles.
Second of 5 nights on our cruise ship. Motor Yacht Millennium or similar. B, L & D.
DAY 18 Friday November 9
Galapagos Islands Cruise
This morning you visit Punta Moreno on Isabela, a lava flow at the base of Cerro Azul which is dotted with numerous lagoons containing a wide variety of life. Commonly seen bird species include flamingoes, paint-billed crakes, white-cheeked pintails, Bahamian ducks and common gallinules. The lava flow is very young and has several endemic species of plants known to be early pioneers in barren lava fields.
Later this morning you sail to Point Mangle on Fernandina Island, a pristine island that has never been invaded by foreign species. Fernandina is also the youngest island of the Archipelago. The shallow waters are ideal for taking a panga (small, flat-bottomed boat) ride through a grove of mangrove trees, with the possibility of seeing sea lions, tortoises, pelicans, rays and a great variety of birds. This also one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos and an excellent spot to see penguins.
Third of 5 nights on our cruise ship. Motor Yacht Millennium or similar. B, L & D.
DAY 19 Saturday November 10
Galapagos Islands Cruise
In the morning you visit Punta Espinoza in the north of Fernandina, which has fascinating lava scenery with cacti and mangrove vegetation. Penguins, flightless cormorants, sea lions and the largest marine iguanas of the Galapagos are among its attractions.
In the afternoon, you visit Tagus Cove, on the west coast of Isabela. Located at the foot of Darwin Volcano, this was a popular anchorage site for pirates and whalers – some of whom wrote their ships’ names on the rock walls. Charles Darwin also visited Tagus Cove on his voyage on the Beagle. After a two kilometre walk you reach a small cave, whose inscriptions date from about 1800. In this area you find penguins and flightless cormorants. A path through dry forest and cactus leads you to the salty, green crater lake called Darwin Lagoon. You also have the opportunity to snorkel in this unique underwater world.Fourth of 5 nights on our cruise ship. Motor Yacht Millennium or similar. B, L & D.
DAY 20 Sunday November 11
Galapagos Islands Cruise
On Santiago Island (also called James) there are still traces from pirate times. Puerto Egas was a salt mine until the 1960s and some abandoned buildings from that era are still standing. In this area you can watch marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks beside glowing red Sally Lightfoot crabs. Three species of Galapagos herons live here with pigeons, oystercatchers and many other shorebirds. You should also be able to see Galapagos fur seals and sea lions. You can enjoy a swim before leaving Puerto Egas.
In the afternoon you will arrive at Chinese Hat, a tiny island near to the coast of Santiago. Topped by a perfectly formed crater, this island resembles the silhouette of a pointed hat. On your walk you see various volcanic formations including spatter and tuff cones and lava flows. Only specialized plants can grow on the rock-hard lava. Tiny Molluga plants can be spotted growing out of the fissures as they begin to colonize this barren terrain. Sea lions inhabit the white coral beach, fringed by bushes specially adapted to saline soils.
Fifth of 5 nights on our cruise ship. Motor Yacht Millennium or similar. B, L & D.
DAY 21 Monday November 12
Galapagos - Quito
During your sailing this morning you will pass the tiny islets of Daphne Major and Minor. Reaching the northern shores of Santa Cruz Island, your pangas take you to explore Black Turtle Cove, a mangrove estuary where
there are many sea turtles, pelicans and schools of gold rays and baby sharks living among the mangrove trees and their roots. Sea turtles feed and mate in the calm waters and three species of sharks are found there – the black-finned reef shark, the white-tipped reef shark and the Galapagos shark. Groups of spotted rays are also often seen – as are egrets and lava herons.
Later this morning you leave your expedition ship.
Returning to the airport on Baltra Island, there are a few small places to buy high quality souvenirs of your visit to the Galapagos Islands. After saying your farewells to your Galapagos guide/tour leader, you catch your flight to Quito. Overnight near Quito Airport. San Jose Garden Airport Hotel or similar. B & D
DAY 22 Tuesday November 13
Fly Home This morning you fly from Quito, arriving home the same day.
Lake Titicaca: Pre-tour extension
Saturday October 20 – Wednesday October 24 2018
Starts in La Paz, Bolivia ends in Cuzco, Peru.
LAND TOUR: $1,100 Canadian/person sharing
Single Supplement: $450 Can.
Forming the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca sits at an elevation of 12,507 feet (3,812 m), making it the highest navigable lake in the world. This lake of 7,988 square km (3,963 square miles) of shimmering blue water enclosed by some of the highest peaks in the According to myth, the founders of the Inca Empire first emerged from the 457m depths of this lake. We explore some of the lake’s islands and their archaeological sites.
Known as "the Rooftop of the world", Bolivia was led to independence from Spain in 1825 by Simon Bolivar, when it was named in his honor. With around two thirds of the population being of indigenous origin, the authentic culture is still vibrant. Native religions, dialects, clothes, music and medicines all form part of daily life on the street. While the Spanish influence is strong in its colonial architecture, Bolivia has remained close to its roots.
Saturday October 20
This morning we fly from North America to arrive in La Paz, Bolivia early the next day.
Sunday October 21
We arrive early this morning in La Paz and transfer to our hotel. This morning is free for you to relax after your flights before we begin our exploration of “The city that touches the sky.” Few cities in the world have as spectacular a setting as La Paz. At over 3,500m (15,600 feet) above sea level, in a steep-sided bowl dwarfed by the magnificent snow-covered triple peak of Mount Illimani, it’s a scene of stunning contrasts. The city of La Paz was founded on October 20th 1548. Today, with a population of around 850,000, it is the political and commercial hub of Bolivia. We start our tour of Spanish colonial La Paz at the Plaza Murillo, where the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the National Congress buildings are located. We then continue to the famous colonial street "Calle Jaen" where interesting museums are clustered together. Our tour continues to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and La Florida. At the “Witches’ Market” native people sell all sorts of herbal and other kinds of traditional “medicines.” We end our afternoon tour with a visit to the “Moon Valley” where erosion has caused mysterious and beautiful stony formations that give the sensation of walking in a lunar landscape. At the end of our 15 minute walk we have a good view of La Paz city. Overnight in La Paz. Hotel Presidente or similar. Dinner.
Monday October 22
La Paz – Lake Titicaca
This morning we drive west across the Altiplano (high plain) to the shores of Lake Titicaca. At Huatajata, the "Andean Roots Eco Village", we visit the Altiplano Museum, where we learn about the cultural heritage of the local Aymara people, the Incas, the Spanish conquest and the modern explorer Jacques Cousteau’s adventures on and under the lake. We then visit a local village for a chance to meet the Limachi family, builders of the RA II reed boat for Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdhal's epic expedition across the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Barbados. We also learn about the mystical world of the Kallawayas – traditional healers. After dark we visit the Inca Observatory to observe the Southern Constellations and learn about the Inca view of the Cosmos.
Overnight near Copacabana. Inca Utama Hotel & Spa or similar. Breakfast & Dinner
Tuesday October 23
Reed Islands + Lake Titicaca – Puno [Peru]
This morning we take a hydrofoil cruise to visit the Urus Iruitos Floating Islands and Quewaya Sustainable Project, giving us a breathtaking view of Lake Titicaca and the Royal Range of the Andes along the way. Next we sail to Moon Island and visit the Temple of the Sun Virgins. We continue by hydrofoil to Sun Island, which has beautiful white sandy beaches and an extraordinary terraced landscape. With a population of around 5,000, Isla del Sol is the largest island in the lake. It is dotted with several villages and sites sacred to the Incas and their forefathers, including the strange rock formation said to be the birthplace of the sun and moon. Here we visit the ‘’Escalinatas de Yumani’’ (Inca staircase.) At the Sacred Fountain we taste the holy water believed to give eternal youth & happiness! Returning to the mainland, we visit the shrine of the Virgin of Copacabana, where we see many pilgrims making offerings to benefit from the miraculous powers of this ornately-robed, Andean-looking Virgin. We also visit the local handicraft market. We cross the border into Peru, making our way to Puno, with panoramic views of Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Blanco - White Range - of the Andes mountain range along the way. Overnight in Puno. Hotel Conde de Lemos or similar. Breakfast & Dinner
Wednesday October 24
Puno – Cuzco
Today we take the long-distance coach north from Puno to Cuzco, cutting first across the formidable Peruvian Altiplano, whose flat, high plains are rich with large herds of llama and alpaca, green Ibises and isolated mountain villages of adobe houses. Beyond the town of Sicuani the route descends through a pass and then slowly through the stunning green river valleys of Huatanay and Vilcanota, from where the legendary founders of the Inca Empire are said to have emerged, to the former Inca capital at Cuzco. On arrival at Cuzco coach station we transfer to our hotel. This evening you are free to enjoy the Old Town and try a special restaurant for dinner.
First of 3 nights in Cuzco. Costa Del Sol Hotel or similar. Breakfast. Dinner at your own expense.
Thursday October 25
This morning is free for you in Cuzco while the main group fly up from Lima – Cuzco. This afternoon the whole group gets together for our tour of Cuzco as per our main itinerary.
TOUR INCLUDES: (updated May 1 2018)
- Accommodation mainly in Four Star hotels.
- All our hotels have en-suite bathrooms. As appropriate, they have central heating and/or air-conditioning.
- 3 days/ 2 nights in the Amazon basin at a comfortable jungle lodge with en-suite bathrooms
- 6 day/ 5 night Galapagos cruise on Tourist Class ship with breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Expert naturalist guide/ tour leader on board and on all shore excursions.
- Breakfast & dinner daily. Lunches on board our Galapagos cruise ship and at our Amazon Jungle lodge.
- FLIGHTS: Lima-Cuzco, Cuzco-Lima, Lima-Quito, Guayaquil-Galapagos and Galapagos-Quito.
- Land and water transport by coach, train and cruise ship.
- Wildlife viewing, sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
- ALL TIPS for group activities.
- Porterage throughout for one piece of luggage per person
- Guiding: The Bolivia and Peru sections will be led by Norman Bruce with the assistance of our Bolivian and Peruvian local guides. The mainland Ecuador section is led by our Ecuadorian guide Fatima Haro and the Galapagos cruise is always led by our on-board specialist naturalist guide.
- Visa fees. Canadian passport holders do NOT currently require a visa for either Peru or Ecuador [or Bolivia]. However, your passport should be valid for 6 months beyond the date of your return home.
- Lunches when not on our Galapagos cruise ship or at our Amazon Jungle lodge.
- Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance. We offer trip cancellation , interruption & medical insurance with Manulife Insurance Please contact us for a quote
- Single Supplement charge, if requested( please contact us for a quote)
- Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.
- The 100 US dollars Galapagos National Park fee is NOT included in the tour cost. Please be prepared to pay this on arrival at Baltra Island, Galapagos on November 7
- $20 US Control Transit Card at Guayaquil airport for people flying to the Galapagos Islands on November 7
- Arrival and Departure Transfers in Lima Peru, La Paz Bolivia or Quito Ecuador. Please contact us for a quote as you may be able to share the arrival or departure transfer with other tour members.
Land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You can book the Land portion of the tour with us and make your own flight arrangements through your travel agent or using your Frequent Flyer points. We can also put you in touch with our flights specialist who will co-ordinate the flights for this tour.
You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join this tour. Our preferred routing is with American Airlines via Dallas into Lima and returning from Quito via Miami and Dallas.
Price is based on two people sharing a room. We will do our best to find you a roommate. The EARLIER you pay your deposit, the more likely we are to find you a roommate. Those people travelling alone but wishing to share will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not available. At that point you will be invoiced for the single supplement If a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documents. Please contact us for a quote on the single supplement
You can secure your place on the tour with a $400/ person non-refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, VISA or MasterCard for the $400/ person DEPOSIT. The invoice for the balance owing will be sent in early July 2018. Payment for the balance of the tour will be due on August 20th 2018. Prices quoted are for FINAL PAYMENT made BY CHEQUE.
La Paz (Bolivia) , Cuzco (Peru) and Quito ( Ecuador) are over 9,000+ feet in altitude. Please consult your local travel health clinic about the effects of high altitude and what immunizations you require. Our office staff are not medically qualified to address these issues
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.