It may seem strange that we have this here a grand tour of “South America”, especially in light of the fact that we often go to extremes to make people aware that South America is not just one destination but a host of destinations that you can visit over multiple trips. Still there is the desire in many travellers to see it all at once, to go there and do it all. Most of the itineraries you see that supposedly “do it all”cover about 30 to 40 days, some are a little more complex and cover around 90 days. Our itinerary while not covering everything covers most things and at 214 days is fairly inclusive, though as usual this can be cut back to suit needs – after all not everyone may want as many jungle lodge stays or explorations of different parts of the Amazon as we do.
This tour covers all but the northernmost countries which we will cover in our Central American Grand Tour, and Paraguay which we do not deal with much. It does extensively cover though the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uraguay, Brazil and the Easter Islands. The timing for the trip is best centered with the Chile and Argentina portion around Cape Horn being based in November to January for the best weather conditions and the possibility of tying Rio de Janeiro in with Carnival!
Unlike on many of our itineraries we have in this case listed days with the destinations as the days (ie Monday or Wednesday etc) are important on how cruises and rail fall in together on the itinerary.
The Grand Tour Of South America
214 Days, Quito – Mataveri
Visiting: Quito, Galapagos Islands (including Baltra, Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, Bartolome Island, Santiago Island, Hood Island, San Cristobal Island), Cocoa, Napo Wildlife Centre, Panayacu River Delta, Panacocha Biological Corridor, Yasuni National Park, Limoncocha Biological Reserve, Calderon, Otavalo, Salinas, Avenue of Volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Banos, Riobamba, Lasso, Tren Crucero Railway, Bucay, Alausi, Colta, Urbina, Guayaquil, Lima, Trujilio, Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, Huanchaco Beach, Chiclayo, Cusco, Ollyantambo and the Sacred Valley, Chincheros, Maras, Moray, Ollanta, Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Iquitos, Yanayacu, Yacapana, Yarapa, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Puerto Prado Village, Nauta Cano, Choroyacu, Tasha River, San Martin de Tipishca, Charo Lake, Puerto Maldonado, Pachacamac, Paracas, Ballestas Island, Nasca, Arequipa, Colca Valley, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Uros, Taquile, La Paz, Tiawanaku, Moon Valley, Rurrenbaque, Chalalan Eco-Lodge, Madidi National Park, Trinidad, Santa Cruz, Samaipata, San Javier, Concepcion, Cochabamba, Inkallajta, Quillacollo, Sucre, Potosi, Uyuni, Hedionda Lagoon, Red Lagoon, Villamar, San Pedro de Atacama, Moon Valley, Aliplanic Lagoons, Geisers del Tatio, Calama, Aricao, Lauca National Park, Chungara Lake, Putre, Azapa Valley, Santiago, Vina del Mar, Valparasio, Santa Cruz, Curico, Mendoza, Temuco, Pucon, Villarrica, Puerto Montt, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Chiloe, Ancud, Osorno Volcanoe, Petrohue, Peulla, Bariloche, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Serrano and Balmaceda Glaciers, Torres del Paine National Park, Cruceros Australis, Beagle Channel, Cape Horn National Park, Wulaia Bay, Ainsworth Bay, Ushuia, Tierra del Fuego, El Calafate, Perito Moreno, El Chalten, Los Glaciares National Park, Lago Belgrano, Cerro de los Indios, Valle del Rio Oro, Lago Posadas, Monte Zeballos, Cueva de las Manos, Los Antiguos, Sarmiento, Comodoro Rivadavia, Bahia Bustamante, Puerto Deseado, Penguin Island, Puerto San Julian, Monte Leon, Isla Pavon, Rio Gallegos, Trelew, Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdez, Punta Tombo, Buenos Aires, la Rioja, Huaco Valley, Valle de la Luna, Laguna Brava, Villa Union, Talampaya, Tigre river Delta, Colonia, Montevideo, La Pedrera, Salta, Cafayate, Amaicha del Valle, Cachi, Purmamarca, Tilcara, Posadas, Ibera Swamps, Mocona, Iguasu, Yacutinga, Raices Argentina, Curitiba, Pantanal, Sao Paulo, Manaus, Salvador, Lencios, Mucugezinho, Igatu, Poco Encantado, Ouro Preto, Mariana, Congonhas, Tiradentes, Rio de Janeiro, Mataveri, Easter Island and more.
Ecuador & Galapagos
Day 1: Friday: Arrival in Quito: Upon arrival in Quito, one of our guides will greet you and transfer you to your Quito hotel. The capital of Ecuador, Quito is situated at the foot of the volcano Pichincha and is surrounded by hills and snow-capped mountains. The city is known for its colonial churches and well-preserved architecture, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city has nearly one impressive church on every block: there are 86 churches and monasteries built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Much of the architecture reveals a blend of Spanish, Flemish, Moorish, and pre-Colombian styles. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure, strolling along the sidewalks and getting acquainted with this bustling city.
Day 2: Saturday: Transfer to the Galapagos: After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the 2.5 hour flight to the Galápagos Islands. Once at the Baltra airport, you’ll be greeted by your Galapagos Cruise guide and transferred to the port to begin your Galapagos Cruise. For the next few days and nights, this luxury Galapagos cruise boat will be your floating hotel, and all meals and amenities are included.Afternoon excursion to North Seymour, one of the best places to see Blue-Footed Boobies (May – November) and the magnificent Frigate birds. Walk along the coast to search out the bird nesting areas, then continue inland to explore more of the island.Saturday : AM: Arrive Baltra Island PM: Santa Cruz, Whalers Bay (WH, SN, PR)
Day 3: Sunday: Galapagos Cruise: AM: Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca (PR, SN) PM: Fernandina Island: Punta Espinosa (WH)
Day 4: Monday: Galapagos Cruise: AM: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay (WH, Swimming) PM: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove(PR, SN)
Day 5: Tuesday: Galapagos Cruise : AM: Bartolome Island (WH, SN, PR) PM: Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay (SN, WH)
Day 6: Wednesday Galapagos Cruise : AM: Santa Cruz, Bachas Beach (CA, SN) PM: Santa Cruz, Dragon Hill (WH, SN)
Day 7: Thursday: Galapagos Cruise : AM: Santa Cruz, Highlands of the island PM: Sana Cruz, Charles Darwin Station and Puerto Ayora
Day 8: Friday: Galapagos Cruise: AM: Hood (Española) Island: Punta Suarez (WH) PM: Hood: Gardner Bay (WH, SN, KY)
Day 9: Saturday: Galapagos Cruise to Quito: AM: San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center (WH) , you’ll return to the port of Baltra and then transfer to the airport for the flight back to Quito. Your Quito guide will greet you and take you back to your Quito hotel. Relax in your hotel or explore the city on your own this evening.
Day 10: Sunday: Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo Monument: Today, enjoy a city tour of Quito. Visit the Church of San Francisco, which is said to be the first religious building constructed in South America by the Spanish. Also see the church of La Compañia, which has the most ornate and richly sculptured façade and interior. Have a closer look at the heart of the city of Quito: the Independence Square with the Government Palace and the Cathedral. In the modern part of the city, admire the elaborate stone-carved façade of Ecuador?s House of Congress, which tells the story of Ecuador’s history. Then head to Guapulo, a natural terrace on the foothills of the Pichincha Volcano, admire the spectacular views to the Valleys of Cumbayá and Tumbaco and of the Eastern Chain of Mountains. On a day with clear sky, we can see the Cayambe, the Antizana and Puntas Volcanoes. Our tour goes on to the Equatorial Line Monument called ?Middle of the World.? Here you get the opportunity to stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres simultaneously. The Equatorial Monument, located as focal point of the park, marks the spot where an 18th century French scientific expedition established the exact position of the Equator. The area has been built as a typical colonial town, with restaurants, gift shops and Post Office with philatelic sales. Visit the monument and the Ethnographical Museum, which covers the history of pre-Colombian cultures of Ecuador.
Day 11: Monday: Napo Wildlife Center: Fly from Quito to Coca airport, located in the Amazon Basin. From this jungle town you will be be taken to Napo Wildlife Center private motorized canoes to start a boat ride downstream the Amazon major tributary, the Napo River. And from there on the adventure begins! During the trip our staff members will provide you lunch box and as you enjoy your delicious meal, you will have the chance to see just before you different bird species. Then, after about a 2 hours trip to along the Napo River, we will get to Napo Wildlife Center welcoming area, where the natives of Kichwa Anangu Community live. From there, we will take a peaceful dugout-canoe along a narrow creek that will lead us to our magical destination, the Napo Wildlife Center, which is located on the banks of the Anangu Lake, a black water lake that is home of different fish species, caimans and the endemic Giant Otters.
Day 12: Tuesday: Napo Wildlife Center : On the second day during your stay at the NWC you will have an early buffet breakfast at the lodge restaurant and then visit the Canopy Tower, an experience just like any other! The tower is about 30 minutes away from the lodge within the forest. This 36 meters wooden platform offers you a 360 degrees view of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. It is just impressive and a great opportunity to get a close look at colorful birds such macaws, toucans, and even some monkey species as the Spider or Howler Monkeys that feed up with the fruits they found on the nearby trees. After our visit to the Canopy Tower we will return to the lodge to have a delicious lunch at the restaurant, we recommend you to ask for a typical Ecuadorian lunch. In the afternoon, after having some rest at the social areas or rooms of the lodge, we will go for a hiking activity through a marvelous terra-firme forest. You will be amazed of the beautiful flora you will find on the trail, vines, ancient trees, orchids, bromeliads stand out in this natural garden. Also, we will explore the waters of the sourranding creeks where you will have the chance to run into a Giant otter family.
Day 13: Wednesday : Napo Wildlife Center : Early in the morning we will get up to visit one of the most incredible nature spectacles you will ever see: the parrot clay licks. The most accessible parrot clay lick is about an hour from the lodge and ten minutes from the community welcome area. Once you get there, hundreds of parrots such as the Amazon-Mealy and the bleu-headed Parrot; parakeets and macaws shown up just before your eyes to feed with the minerals and salts the soil contains. After our visit to the licks, we will spend time with local people of the Kichwa Anangu community, learning about their daily life activities, routines and ancestral customs and traditions. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the welcome area. In the afternoon, we will visit the Interpretative Centre where women of the community will welcome you with dances and typical rituals and typical drinks as “chicha”. It is a nice and interesting activity in which you will learn much more about indigenous rich culture. Late in the afternoon, back to the lodge you will be welcomed with some drinks and have a delicious dinner.
Day 14: Thursday: Napo Wildlife Center: On this morning we will explore the forest trails of the Amazon jungle to search for more wildlife species such as monkeys, birds, rare insects, reptiles, mammals, etc. The Yasuní National Park is one of the most diverse areas in the World, so you never know which jungle creature will show up! But what we can assure you is that there is a lot to see! Then, after a long walk we will go back to the lodge to have lunch and rest in the social areas and rooms. In the afternoon, we will continue the adventure at the Napo sourranding creeks to see some aquatic species such as caimans, turtles, fish or the endemic Giant otters, a unique specie of the Amazon Basin. Late in the afternoon, back to the lodge our staff members will share with you a video about the Napo Wildlife Center and the Kichwa Añangu Community’s history and beginnings.
Day 15: Friday: Napo Wildlife Center – Manatee River Cruise : On your last day at the lodge our staff members will prepare you and the other guests a special farewell breakfast early in the morning. Then, you will go back the way you came to the hotel: a paddle-canoe ride to the NWC welcome area and then navigate on the Napo River to reach the jungle town of Coca. Transfer to the Napo River port then the motorized canoe ride downstream will be approximately one and a half hours; during the trip we will provide important information about the region. Once on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer will start navigating down the Napo River for the whole afternoon. At night our first live experience with the Ecuadorian Amazon basin will begin (night walk or canoe ride will depend on the river level, climatic conditions, wildlife behavior and accessibility to a location).
Day 16: SATURDAY: SANI WARMI – OBSERVATION TOWER & THE PAÑACOCHA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR: We will continue our navigation downstream to the Pañayacu River delta; take a canoe trip up the river to experience the sights of this fascinating reserve. We will seek out Pink River Dolphins, Common Squirrel Monkeys and much more. Pañacocha (Piranha Lake, in Quechua) is an ecosystem flooded by white waters. The rivers and lakes here are the perfect habitat for the infamous Piranha, as well as the Water Monkey Fish (Arawana) and White Caiman. After a refreshing swim (for the courageous!), we will enjoy a delicious Amazon-style BBQ meal and refreshing beverages at a nearby camping site. In the afternoon, we will head out on exploration trails, and return onboard for dinner.
Day 17: Sunday: YASUNI NATIONAL PARK – YAKUKAWSAY & CLAY LICKS – SANI WARMI & YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARK: Breakfast on board. We set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles this side of western Amazonia known as parrot licks, these unique pools of mud become rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and amazons every day. If weather permits, we will have a chance to marvel at this astonishing natural phenomenon. Later we will visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where a group of Kichwa women will speak of their customs, cuisine and everyday life. They have created the center in order to showcase their culture, and it is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyles along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy crafts, local products and souvenirs. After lunch, we will make a stop at the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre, and end with an interesting evening walk through the forest (depending on accessibility, river water levels and weather conditions).
Day 18: Monday: POMPEYA – NAPO RIVER – YASUNI NATIONAL PARK & INDILLAMA & NAPO RIVERS – YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARK: In this day you have the option to kayak trough one of the afluents of the Napo River that goes into the Yasuni National Park, the Indillama River. Great excursions for wildlife observation, kayaks are a great silent vehicle to flow down river. Or you can choose to go tin a canoe ride in search of more wildlife through the Napo River. It’s up to you!
Day 19: Tuesday: BORDER WITH PERU (THE HEART OF YASUNI)DAY 5 – TUESDAY: BORDER WITH PERU (THE HEART OF YASUNI): After a delicious breakfast, we disembark on land for our first daylight close-and-personal tropical rainforest experience, where we will learn about the relationship between plants and animals while closely watching out for samples of Amazonia’s fascinating biodiversity at every turn. After lunch, the M/V Manatee navigates to one of the most pristine and little explored sections of Ecuadorian Amazonia, home to the legendary pink river dolphin, black caiman and anaconda. We may also find river turtles and various species of monkeys, as well as the primitive Hoatzin, a one-of-a-kind bird locally known as “the Stinky Turkey”. The only way to actually visit this flooded ecosystem is by canoe, a ride that will reveal the beauty of a lush jungle world.
Day 20: Wednesday: MEETING THE COMMUNITY – ACTIVITIES ON BOARD – ISLAND EXPLORATION: Breakfast on board. We visit a school located on the banks of the Napo River, where we will have the opportunity to interact with children of the area and learn about the educational system of a remote jungle community in Ecuador. We return on board the M/V Manatee for lunch and a moment to relax while we navigate upstream. We will offer a lecture and documentary screening, and if time permits, learn about (and make) typical handicrafts of the area. In the afternoon, we explore one of the largest river islands of the Napo River.
Day 21: Thursday: THURSDAY: PARROT’S CLAY LICK – LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Breakfast on board. We set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles this side of western Amazonia known as parrot licks, these unique pools of mud become rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and amazons every day. If weather permits, we will have a chance to marvel at this astonishing natural phenomenon. We will also visit a small community arts and crafts shop, an excellent place to find souvenirs to take back. In the afternoon, we visit Limoncocha Biological Reserve, a fascinating protected area where more than 478 bird species and several monkey species have been recorded. This activity will extend into the evening, when we will have a chance to spot black caiman with the help of our flashlights. Return to the M/V Manatee for dinner.
Day 22: Friday: Return To Quito: In the morning, disembark the M/V Manatee and transfer by motorized canoe to Coca (1 ½ hour ride); flight to Quito.
Day 23: Saturday: Visit to Calderon and Otavalo Market: On the bus ride to Otavalo, we will visit the small town of Calderón, where miniature bread figurines are hand-crafted. After Calderón the road descends into the spectacular same-time arid and fertile Guayllabamba gorge and village. With some luck, a few minutes later you can enjoy the opportunity of looking out the snow-capped Cayambe. The Ecuadorian Line goes directly through the glacier of the immense volcano, which shows the highest worldwide point on the Ecuadorian line. On the way through this wonderful landscape you can see the Lago San Pablo with its great background ? the rock massive Taita Imbabura. The town of Otavalo is known worldwide for its indigenous handicrafts market. The local residents their skill in weaving a tremendous variety of designs in belts, tapestries, ponchos and other clothing items. Community residents have a long tradition as artisans and traders. They commonly travel to Europe and other countries in the Americas to sell their wares. This typical indigenous city where tourists can see families wearing their colorful cloths and speaking Quichua as their first tongue and Spanish as their second, you will enjoy the unique variety of handicrafts that offers this giant colorful market and certainly, carrying some new souvenirs with you. Before continuing to Cotacachi, visit Laguna Cuicocha, which is a crater lake of 3000 m above sea level. Two islands emerge from the center, both of volcanic origin, covered with vegetation and rimmed with totora, a type of reed. The small town Cotacachi itself is Ecuador?s center of leatherworks. Here you can stroll through the small streets choosing one of the various shops as your favorite. Arrive to Magdalena Community overight at one of the community houses.
Day 24: Sunday: Chaski Route: Magdalena Community discover this hidden mountain niche through a serie of activities; horseback riding, mountain biking or hiking. Then drive to Ibarra and catch the “Liberty Train”, landscapes provide a magical setting as you pass through mysterious tunnels, cross bridges spanning canyons and gullies, and admire a unique biodiversity.Then arrive in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Salinas, well know for its agricultural activities. Overnight in Quito
Day 25: Monday: Avenue of Volcanoes – Cotopaxi – Baños – Riobamba: The central sierra of Ecuador is known as The Avenue of the Volcanoes (325 km.), a necklace of ?snow-cones? like a jeweled crown. Chimborazo, Antisana Cayambe, Tungurahua and Cotopaxi to name perhaps the most emblematic are all highly prized mountain-climbing destinations that rise well over 16,000 feet (5000m) above sea level and give the overall Andean landscape, from large cities to small towns, a character of unsurpassable splendor.People wear bright ponchos and typical hats; they preserve their ancient harvesting traditions and keep a close bond with their animals. In Ecuador, close encounters with indigenous communities who maintain their own language, traditions, and beliefs are easy to come by.31 miles (50 km.) south of Quito. The Cotopaxi National Park is located at 5897 meters above sea level, and rises majestically above the Andean mountains as Ecuador´s highest active volcano. The Park is surrounded by haciendas and trails that provide the opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and trekking activities. Inside the Park, visit the crystaline Limpiopungo Lagoon, home to Andean Gulls, wild rabbits, llamas and horses. About 95 miles (153 km.) south of Quito. Located in the middle of a mountainous region, Baños is well known for its natural hot springs. The lovely scenery is the areas other main attraction, offering good hiking trails, horseback riding, canopying, and mountain biking, and more. From here you can see the Tungurahua volcano 16479 ft. (5023 mts.) during its eruptive process. There are also more than 60 waterfalls, including among the most impressive: Pailón del Diablo, Manto de la Novia, Cabellera de la Virgen, Inés María.At 102 miles (165 km.) from Quito, Return to Rio.
Day 26: Tuesday: Tren Crucero Railway Journey: Quito – Lasso (L, D): transfer you from your hotel to the Chimbacalle train station in Quito for check-in at 7:30am. After check-in, the train will depart from Chimbacalle at 8:00am to the train station in El Boliche. From the Boliche station, we will take a car to Cotapaxi National Park, where the incredible landscape will surely delight you. Later, we will have lunch at a nearby hacienda and then drive to the Lasso Train Station where we will spend the rest of the day participating in local festivities. That night, we will eat dinner at the Hacienda in Lasso and spend the night in their comfortable accommodations.
Day 27: Wednesday: Tren Crucero Railway Journey: Lasso – Riobamba (B, L, D): After breakfast at the Hacienda in Lasso, we depart by bus for the Latacunga train station where we will continue our journey. On the way, we will stop to explore a Rose plantation that will enchant you with the most beautiful roses in the world. After this wonderful visit, we will stop to eat lunch before continuing to Urbina, the highest train station of the Ecuadorian railroad system. While in Urbina we will meet the last Ice-Merchant of Ecuador, who will explain how he still climbs the Chimborazo glacier to collect ice to sells in the market. That night we will eat dinner and spend the night at the Riobamba Hacienda.
Day 28: Thursday: Tren Crucero Railway Journey: Riobamba – Bucay (B, L, D): After an early breakfast, we will depart for the Riobamba train station and make our way to Colta. Here we will visit the Balbancera church, one of the oldest churches in Ecuador. After Balbanera, we will visit the Guamote market, experiencing many different sights, sounds, and smells. We will eat lunch at the train station and depart by train to Alausi. From Alausi, we will begin our descent to the emblematic Devil’s Nose. As we descend 535 meters in altitude, the train will start to perform a zigzag maneuver that is considered to be one of the greatest engineering tasks in the world and has led many engineers to call it one of the most challenging trains to conduct. Once our descent is complete, we will arrive in Bucay where we will eat dinner and spend the night.
Day 29: Friday: Tren Crucero Railway Journey: Bucay – Durán (B, L): After breakfast in Bucay, we will travel along the Chanchan riverbed to Bucay. In Bucay, we will meet a Shuar community who will share their ancestral customs and traditions with us. From there, we will eat lunch and continue to the Duran train station in a restored steam locomotive. Upon arrival at Duran, as a special service provided by Columbus Travel, you will be transferred via private transportation to your hotel in Guayaquil.
Day 30: Saturday: Guayaquil City Tour: Thursday: After breakfast in your Guayaquil hotel, enjoy a city tour of this coastal beauty. Visit Ecuador’s largest city port, the romantic Las Peñas neighborhood, the glorious Guayas river and Malecón 2000. Feel free to stroll along the Malecon, a clean and scenic boardwalk along the ocean.
Day 31: Sunday: Guayaquil to Lima: Fly Guayaquil to Lima. Upon arriving in the city of Lima, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will have the afternoon free.
Day 32: Monday: Lima Market Tour, Cooking Class and Pisco Sour Lesson: Lima Food Tour of the Barranco District: Take a guided market tour, watch a cooking demonstration and discover the signature tastes of Peru: fish ceviche and the pisco sour cocktail. You’ll visit a typical fresh produce market in Lima, and learn how to prepare Peru’s national dish and drink. Then sit back and relax, and enjoy a traditional Peruvian lunch at a local restaurant.Get a taste of Lima’s bohemian neighborhood, the Barranco district, on this evening culinary walking tour with a local guide. You’ll visit small restaurants and street vendors abuzz with hungry locals to sample typical Peruvian dishes in a city that has become a food mecca, including fresh fish, grilled meats, sweet corn desserts, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Plus, make your own pisco sour, learn about the history of the popular Lima neighborhood, and see its colonial attractions.
Day 33: Tuesday: Lima City Tour: This day, you will head to the Pueblo Libre Disctrict and visit the Larco Herrera Museum, an eighteenth-century Viceregal mansion that houses more than 3,000 years of Peru’s pre-Columbian history. The museum boasts a supremely fine collection of gold and silver jewelry and worship paraphernalia that demonstrates the superb skill of ancient Peruvian gold and silversmiths. The Larco Herrera also contains a famous collection of erotic ceramic tomb art that gives insights into various aspects of pre-Columbian sexuality. Lunch at Café del Museo The tour will continue with an exploration of Colonial Lima. First, you will stop off at the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). You will get a chance to explore the square by foot and admire the exteriors of the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipalidad (City Hall), all examples of Lima’s still-present colonial architectural opulence. Afterwards, you will visit La Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that currently holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited private residence in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, you will make your way to the Convento de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Convent), a religious and architectural gem that houses holy paintings, images, and relics of Peruvian saints, as well as written accounts of the endeavors of the Dominican Order across the country. Finally, you will leave behind Lima’s Historical Center and begin your journey through the streets of modern Lima as you head toward the most traditional of the residential zones of the capital: San Isidro and Miraflores. In San Isidro, you will pass through the heart of the city’s financial district and then enjoy a panoramic view of the Huaca Hullamarca Pyramid, an important pre-Inca and Incan ceremonial center and cemetery built out of adobe mud bricks. Soon afterwards, you will travel to the district of Miraflores, a perfect spot to enjoy wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. You will complete your tour of Lima with a visit to the Bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, a neighborhood called home by countless artists, photographers, and authors. Walk along peculiar streets lined with Republican houses, admire the splendid views, and visit the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), witness to untold numbers of past and present romances, and source of inspiration for one of Peru’s great composers, Chabuca Granda. Remaining day at leisure
Day 33: Wednesday: Flight Lima – Trujillo and city tour: At the scheduled time, you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Trujillo. Upon arriving in the city of Trujillo, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will get your first taste of the architectural richness of colonial Trujillo as you admire the magnificent Plaza de Armas (Main Square), considered one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the country. Surrounding the square are the Cathedral and various Colonial and Republican mansions, notable for their wrought-iron windows and beautifully decorated porticoes. The center of the square is dominated by the Monumento a La Libertad (Freedom Monument). Your tour will continue with a stroll down calle Pizarro (Pizarro Street), until you reach La Casa de la Emancipación (House of the Emancipation), a Republican Neoclassical architectural treasure. You will have the rest of the afternoon free.* Please note that the Trujillo city tour can not be done on Sundays.
Day 34: Thursday: Excursion to Huacas del Sol y la Luna, Chan Chan and Huanchaco beach: You will begin your tour of the region by visiting the remaining traces of the ancient Mochica, an important culture that achieved unmatched levels of sophistication in the Americas. You will visit the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Sun and Moon Pyramids), considered the most important Mochica ceremonial center in the region. Explore the interior of the Moon Pyramid and admire its amazing reliefs of the many Mochica anthropomorphic deities, expertly carved into the walls by the pyramid’s builders. Upon visiting the site’s museum, you will bear witness to the Moche people’s great artistic sensibility, reflected in their textile, ceramic, metal, and wooden creations. After visiting the pyramid, you will move on to the workshop of a local artisan. Here, you will have a chance to observe the thousand-year-old techniques once used by the ancient inhabitants of the valley to produce works of ceramics, leather, and wood. You will continue your journey through northern Peru’s pre-Columbian history as you visit Chan Chan (meaning ‘Sun-Sun’), the social and administrative center of the Chimú civilization. Built on an area of roughly eight square miles (20 sq. km), Chan Chan came to be home to a population of around 100,000 people. After finishing this tour, you will make your way to Trujillo’s best-known seaside resort, Huanchaco. Here, since pre-Hispanic times, intrepid fishermen have braved the ocean’s waves in crude vessels made from totora reeds (an aquatic reed native to the Americas), which were named “seahorses” by the Spanish upon their arrival. Nowadays, Huanchaco is heavily trafficked by surfing enthusiasts and lovers of good seafood. You will stop to eat at a local restaurant. You will have the rest of the afternoon free.
Day 35: Friday: Road trip from Trujillo to Chiclayo visiting huaca El Brujo Cao Museum on route: In the morning, you will take a private transport to the city of Chiclayo. On the way, you will make a slight detour near the Magdalena de Cao District so that you may visit the Complejo Arqueológico el Brujo (Brujo Archeological Complex), considered one of the most important religious and political centers of Moche culture. The complex is formed by two large pyramids: Huaca el Brujo and Huaca Cao (*), that rise up just yards from ocean. Huaca Cao is the better known of the two pyramids, due to the discovery of the tomb of the Señora de Cao (Lady of Cao), a young ruler who was around 25 when she died. In the on-site museum, you will be able to see her mummy, with its skin completely covered in snake and spider tattoos. After finishing your tour of the museum, you will resume your trip to Chiclayo, a land of contrasts near the sea, also known as the Capital of Friendship. You will have lunch at a local restaurant in Chiclayo. (*) Huaca Cao is not open for tourist visits
Day 36: Saturday: Visita a Huaca Rajada, Museo de Tumbas Reales y Pirámides de Túcume. Vuelo Chiclayo – Lima: The first destination will be the Complejo Arqueológico Huaca Rajada (Cracked Pyramid Archeological Complex), a funerary complex located 22 miles (35 km) from the city of Chiclayo, where the tomb of one of the Moche ruling elite, the Señor de Sipán (Lord of Sipán), was found. Next, you will visit the Museo Tumbas Reales (Royal Tombs Museum), which was built specifically to house the greatest archeological discovery of recent times: the tomb of the Lord of Sipán. Its amazing pieces of unsurpassed beauty made of gold, silver, and precious stones, as well as the exquisitely produced ceramics, will make your visit here difficult to soon forget. After enjoying the excellent cuisine at a local restaurant, you will continue your tour by visiting the Pirámides de Túcume (Túcume Pyramids), a magnificent complex of 26 adobe pyramids that once formed part of an extensive urban center, perhaps once the capital of the realm of Sicán. You will visit the Museo de Sitio (on-site museum), move on to the Huaca Larga (Long Pyramid), the most important of the complex, and then climb until you reach the lookout point on Cerro La Raya (Stingray Hill), where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the entire valley. Return to the hotel. At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport to board the flight back to Lima. *Upon arrival , assistance and transfer o the hotel. *Due to the flight schedule Chiclayo / Lima, we suggest to spend the night at the hotel located in the airport. * Please note that Royal Tombs Museums remains closed on Mondays.
Day 37: Sunday: Cusco: Fly To Cusco. History-filled alleys, churches, walls and archeological treasures await you in the magnificent Incan capital. You will begin your tour as you enjoy the best view of the city of Cusco from atop Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak), a natural scenic overlook from which the outstretched arms of Cristo Blanco, a massive white statue of Christ, embrace the city in a benevolent gesture. You will then visit the nearby Fortaleza de Sacsayhuamán (Fortress of Sacsayhuamán), a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision. As you return to the lower part of the city, you will stop off at the Mercado de San Pedro (Market of St. Peter), which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colors of the region. Just a few blocks away, you will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple) – a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. You will complete the day with a stroll through the Cusco Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Day 38: Monday: From Cusco to the Sacred Valley: This morning, we will continue or trip toward Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), you will soon reach the must-see stop of Awanakancha. Here, you will learn about the various types of camelids (Llamas, Alpacas, Vicuñas, and Guanacos) that live in the Andes region. Additionally, the local villagers will teach you about the ancestral methods and techniques used to produce their textile art. A few miles farther along, you will reach Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created the unique way of life of the local inhabitants. You will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where you can find extraordinarily fine jewelry and ceramic and textile craftwork. You will have lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. Time permitting you will get a chance to mingle with the locals at a typical Peruvian Andes establishment, either at a “chichería” (establishment for the brewing and sale of chicha, the famous traditional Andean drink made of germinated corn) or a bakery with still-functioning traditional ovens.
Day 39: Tuesday: Chincheros – Maras, Moray, and Ollanta: Early in the morning, you will set out for the district of Chincheros, a place which is famous for the extraordinary beauty and quality of its textiles, and for its Sunday fair, where local people dress in traditional colorful outfits and travel down from their villages to trade their goods. After walking along its traditional alleyways, you will visit the weaver’s workshop of Nilda Callañaupa, who 28 years ago decided to bring together like-minded women who shared her passion for weaving, and in time was able to motivate younger women who had lost interest in weaving to learn from their elders and connect once more with this ancestral art. This initiative became the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco), a strong organization dedicated not only to the preservation, but also the commercialization of beautiful, high quality textiles. You will resume your journey by visiting Salinas de Maras (Salt Pans of Maras). The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since Incan times, will amaze you–the stark white of its steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes. Your journey will continue on until you reach the archeological site of Moray. Used as an agricultural testing ground, the site’s system of circular terraces descends 490 feet (150m) from where you will be standing, serving as a perfect testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas, who excelled at building masterful constructions in harmony with nature. You will have lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. Time permitting you will get a chance to mingle with the locals at a typical Peruvian Andes establishment, either at a “chichería” (establishment for the brewing and sale of chicha, the famous traditional Andean drink made of germinated corn) or a bakery with still-functioning traditional ovens. Stay the night in Valle Sagrado.
Day 40: Wednesday: Day 3: From Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu: On the second day, you will visit the Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu (Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). At the Ollanta train station, you will board a comfortable train that will take you to the town of Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, you will transfer to a bus that will take you to the entrance gate of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham more than a century ago, Machu Picchu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away. You will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incans as you explore this magical citadel along with your guide. After the tour, you will stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Time permitting you will be able to head back to the site for a second visit. At the scheduled time, you will be picked up and taken to the Aguas Calientes Station. From there, you will return to the hotel. You will have dinner and spend the night in Aguas Calientes.
Day 41: Thursday: Aguas Calientes to Cusco: Your morning will be free. You will have the option of visiting the citadel again on your own, if you like. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb Huayna Picchu*, where you can visit the Templo de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). At the scheduled time, you will board the return train at Aguas Calientes Station. Upon your arrival at the station just outside of Cusco, a private transfer service will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in the city. *Please keep in mind that there is a maximum daily number of visitors allowed to climb Huayna Picchu. It is essential that you buy your entry ticket in advance.
Day 42: Friday: Cusco to Iquitos: At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport or station, as needed. 3:30 p.m. Flight from Lima LA 2382. In just an hour and 45 minutes you will be in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon region. 5:15 p.m. Arrival. Your guides await you, as your flight from Lima glides in for landing at Iquitos International Airport. After you’ve claimed your luggage, you will board an air-conditioned bus for your journey to the river. 5:40 p.m. Transfer to Iquitos’ Main Wharf. There the Aria Amazon awaits you. 6:00 p.m. Embarkation and Check-In. From the moment you step on board, you will enjoy the Aria Amazon’s atmosphere of low-key luxury. As you settle into your handsomely appointed, over-sized suite, you will feel the vessel begin to move –the beginning of one of the great adventures of your life. Stand on the Upper Deck to take in the view, as the Aria Amazon leaves Iquitos behind. Over the next seven days, you will also sail along the two largest tributaries of the Amazon, the Ucayali and the Marañon, as well as the mighty Amazon itself. You are embarking on a spectacular adventure, to a place visited by only a few of even the most experienced world travelers. 7:30 p.m. Safety Drill and Briefing on the Upper Deck. Before dinner we will perform a routine safety drill. Then it’s into the air-conditioned lounge, where you will learn about life onboard, and will have the first of the nightly briefings about your adventure to follow. You will meet the naturalist guides and the cruise director, who will use video, photos, and maps to explain the details of your journey into the Amazon. 8:00 p.m. Welcome Dinner. Sit down, relax, sample some fine South American wine, and enjoy the truly world-class cuisine, created by Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, is the one of the best in all of Lima. Schiaffino’s recipes, with the imaginative use of local products – fruit, fish, spices – make every meal a delightful adventure. (The menu always offers choices, including a vegetarian option.) Toast the beginning of a beautiful journey. Perhaps enjoy a nightcap on the Upper Deck, under the stars, before retiring.
Day 43: Saturday: AMAZON/YANAYACU/YACAPANA/YARAPA: 6:30 a.m. See the Sun Rise Over the River. Be up early to catch your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon River, as you watch the sun rise over this green world filled with wonderful wildlife. This initial contact with Amazonia is only a brief sampling of what the rest of your journey will hold. 8:00 a.m. Breakfast. Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet features a wide choice of traditional breakfast egg dishes, plus Peruvian specialties, and fresh-squeezed juices, made from tropical fruits you’ve never tasted before. 9:15 a.m. Explore the Yacapana Isles. Locals call the Yacapana Isles the “the Isle of the Iguana” thanks to the great number of these reptiles, resembling tiny dinosaurs, which inhabit them. Amazonian beliefs state that if you touch an iguana, you will develop some of its characteristics and, as no one wants to look like one of them, these animals are well protected. We will pass very close the islands aboard the launches, giving you an opportunity to take good photos of the flora and fauna that we are able to observe along our route. We will also have the opportunity to go fishing for the infamous piranhas with our naturalists. 11:45 a.m. Return to the Aria Amazon. While the boat continues its journey along the Amazon River, you will have free time to rest or take a siesta before lunch. 12:30 p.m. Lunch. Enjoy a light lunch in the air conditioned dining room. 4:00 p.m. Expedition to the Yarapa River. As the sun sets, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and photograph both gray and pink freshwater dolphins. The people of the Amazon believe that these dolphins turn into humans to steal handsome men or pretty women from their villages during celebrations. Once the sun sets and the jungle is dark, we begin our search for caiman, frogs, and different kinds of nightlife. 7:30 p.m. Return to the boat. Before dining, we recommend drinking a pisco sour as an aperitif on the top deck, while watching the sunset. 8:00 p.m. Dinner
Day 44: Sunday: YANALLPA/MAGDALENA VILLAGE/PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE: 6:30 a.m. Optional excursion to see wildlife along the Ucayali river. 8:00 a.m. Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Jungle Walk to Magdalena. After breakfast we stroll through the village of Madgalena, a small community of just ten families. After you meet the people, including lots of lively and curious children, your naturalist guides will lead you through the jungle to a beautiful lake that is home to the world famous Victoria Regia giant water lily. Have your cameras ready to capture this once-in-a-lifetime sight. 11:30 a.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 12:30 p.m. Lunch, followed by a siesta 4:00 p.m. Excursion to watch Monkeys and Dolphins. On this trip, you will be able to appreciate the different types of freshwater dolphin, including the rare pink dolphins found along the Ucayali River. We recommend that you bring your binoculars as there will also be opportunities to observe some species of birds, among which the macaws stand out, as well as a spectacular sundown. 7:30 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 8:30 p.m. Dinner
Day 45: Monday: SOURCE OF THE AMAZON/PUERTO PRADO VILLAGE/NAUTA CAÑO: 7:00 a.m. Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Birthplace of the Amazon. This morning, the Aria Amazon skirts the edges of the vast Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. Rise early and be on your skiffs at 8:00 a.m. to view one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the sun rising over the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here—where the union of two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, form the world’s greatest waterway—nature is at its most dramatic. Your dawn excursion will be accompanied by abundant bird song, as you glide in small boats past river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and dozens of other birds. 8:30 a.m. Puerto Prado Village. We will then travel by skiff to Puerto Prado native village, where you will get to know the hospitable Cocama Indians. They will share their culture, traditions, and folklore with you, and you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their delightful folk art and crafts. 12:00 p.m. Lunch. Share a farewell last lunch with your fellow passengers who have taken the three-night journey. 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Excursion to Nauta Caño. Nauta Caño is also part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. It is known as the mirrored forest, due to its glistening black water lagoons. Here you will enjoy observing different species, such as: toucans, parrots, macaws, iguanas, and more. On the way back to the Aria Amazon you will see a glorious sunset reflected in the waters of the mirrored forest. 6:00 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 8:30 p.m. Dinner. Meet new passengers who have signed on for the four-night trip, and enjoy your gourmet meal as we start our journey along the Ucayali River.
Day 46: Tuesday: MARAÑON RIVER/CHOROYACU/PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE: 7:00 a.m. Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Boat Ride Expedition. This morning we will board the skiffs to explore part of the vast Amazon flooded forest. Your guides will tell you about the rainforest and its dynamic life, as we explore what scientists call a “gallery forest,” because of its narrow vegetation, creating a tunnel of leaves. As we float through this tunnel, it is easy to spot parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys, very close to the skiff. 11:30 a.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 12:30 p.m. Lunch 4:00 p.m. Jungle Walk and Village Visit. On this walk, your guides will introduce you to native people doing subsistence farming, and will tell you how they learned to cultivate wild plants and trees to earn farm income. As your adventure takes you deep into the primary forest, your guides will also show you the wealth of fruit trees and medicinal plants hidden in the jungle – and will reveal some of the plants’ secrets. 7:30 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 8:00 p.m. Dinner
Day 47: Wednesday: TACSHA RIVER/PACAYA SAMIRIA/SAN MARTIN DE TIPISHCA: 6:30 a.m. Breakfast. Today you can choose between two options: (Option 1:) Full-day excursion to Primary forest with a Picnic Lunch. 7:30 a.m. This morning you will board your skiff to go deep into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, along the Samiria River. Along the route, we will have the opportunity to see various species of monkey, such as howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, saddleback tamarin monkeys and many bird species such as blue, yellow and scarlet macaws as well as toucans and some species of river hawks. We will arrive at the PV2 Tacsha watchpost, where we will follow a path deep into the rainforest. Enjoy a generous picnic lunch, before we begin our journey back to our vessel. 5:30 p.m. Arrive at the Aria Amazon. (Option 2:) Guided Jungle Walk/Siesta/Monkey and Dolphin Expedition . 7:30 a.m. Guided Jungle Walk in the Primary Forest. This morning your Naturalist Guide will tell you all about sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia, and will take you to one of these projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your Guide may also show you the artificial nests created on the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will take you deep into the jungle, where you will encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the important medicinal value of many jungle plants. We will also show you famous Kapok Trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin. 12:00 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 1:00 p.m. Lunch, followed by a Siesta 4:00 p.m. Caiman Expedition. In this late afternoon skiff excursion, keep your eyes directed toward the jungle canopy, where you can spot at least several kinds of primates—some of the 13 species of monkeys resident in the National Reserve. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of tamarins and dusky titi monkeys, as well as pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for alligators, and keep your binoculars at the ready, as you are likely to see more than 200 species of birds. As the sun sets and our searchlight comes on, keep your eyes out for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs. 7:30 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon 8:30 p.m. Dinner
Day 48: Thursday: YANAYACU PUCATE/TAHUAYO/CHARO LAKE: 6:30 a.m. Yanayacu Pucate Exploration and Breakfast Aboard the Skiffs. Back on the river as the sun rises, you will see a treasure trove of wildlife, including parrots, macaws, toucans, and many kinds of monkeys—as well as some “surprise” species that you have never seen before. Enjoy a “bag breakfast” of light sandwiches and fresh juice. Since we will stop near a popular dolphin feeding spot, you will see quite a show as you enjoy your meal. 11:30 a.m. Return to the Aria Amazon. As our journey nears its end, your luxurious home away from home starts to sail back down the river toward Iquitos. It isn’t over yet however. A new adventure awaits you this afternoon. 12:30 p.m. Lunch 3:30 p.m. Excursion along the Tahuayo River and Fishing on Lake Charo. This evening you will board our comfortable launch and navigate from the Amazon River through the Huaysi Canal to explore the dark waters of the Tahuayo River. Lifejackets, ponchos, rubber boots and freshwater will be available on our launches. As we navigate along the Tahuayo River, we will observe fishermen paddling in their canoes. Keep your binoculars handy to see the abundant wildlife: sparrows, hawks, monkeys and sloths will be sharing this marvellous location with us. After our arrival at Lake Charo, you will be using the fishing gear to fish for piranhas and other specious. While you fish, our nature guides will tell you the history of the lake and its residents. 6:30 p.m. Return to the Aria Amazon. Once we are back onboard, the ship will continue its journey down stream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night. 7:00 p.m. Briefing in the Top Lounge – Recap of Itinerary and Sightings. 8:00 p.m. Farewell Dinner. Leaving the peace and beauty of the jungle behind, we will enjoy our final dinner together, swapping stories about the wonderful experiences shared on the river. 9:00 p.m. Crew Presentation. After dinner, your guides will introduce some of the crew members that you have not yet met, but who have been busy with the “behind the scenes” work that has helped to create a seamless experience.
Day 49: Friday: ARRIVAL IN IQUITOS/CHECK OUT AND DISEMBARK AT THE MAIN WHARF/CITY TOUR/TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT : 7:30 a.m. Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Morning Excursion. The excursions today depend on the level of the river. Weather and time permitting, this will be the last opportunity to see how people live along the Amazon—by floating in skiffs through the lively riverside community of Belen, in Iquitos. Here, where the houses and shops actually float on the river during some months, you will see the bustling food market for the entire Peruvian Amazon. All local inhabitants throughout the region sell and purchase goods here. 11:00 a.m. Return to the Aria Amazon. Sadly, it’s time to finish packing. Please leave your packed suitcases in your suite for pickup before going to lunch. 12.00 p.m. Light Lunch 1:15 p.m. Disembarkation/City Tour/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport. Your afternoon in the remote city of Iquitos, accessible only by river or air, will not disappoint. This bustling town, complete with a house built by Gustave Eiffel, was once a rich center of the rubber industry. Before we head for the airport, we will take you to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people, including fishermen. Biologists will give a presentation about the project and its efforts to help these helpless mammals. You will also see how the manatees are cared for and are prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat. Finally, we will stop at the San Juan Amazonian Indian Market, for a last chance to shop for local crafts. 4:30 p.m. Check in at Iquitos International Airport. Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima. 5:50 p.m. Your Flight Departs for Lima LA 2383
Day 50: Saturday: Lima to Puerto Maldonado: At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport to board the flight to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arriving in Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by one of the lodge’s representatives, who will welcome you and take you to the Inkaterra offices. There, you will go through the simple check-in process and will be able to store any extra luggage you might have. With your group, you will head to the river port to board the boat that will take you to Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, one of the best lodges in the region. Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by the staff, who will give you a brief tour of the lodge and will explain the schedule of meals and excursions. On the first day, we recommend that you discover the jungle through a guided tour along the trail network of the Inkaterra Nature Reserve, where you will discover the marvelous Amazon River Basin and have excellent opportunities to see some of the birds and insects that live in the area. Once the guided tour ends, you will be invited to take an evening boat tour on the Madre de Dios River and experience nightfall on the river. Witness the fantastic transformation of the jungle as the various creatures active in daylight are replaced by new species, totally adapted to the night. Enjoy lunch, dinner, and an excellent night’s sleep at the lodge.
Day 51: Sunday: Puerto Maldonado: After breakfast, you will have a chance to visit Lake Sandoval in the Reserva Nacional de Tambopata (Tambopata National Reserve), a nature lover’s paradise. Enjoy exceptional views on the lake as you canoe across its waters. In the afternoon, visit Canopy walkway Inkaterra. Here you will be able to observe the many animal species that make their home in the treetops as you climb the first tower, 95 feet (29 m) above the ground. Get ready to walk through the treetops of the tropical forest for more than a quarter of a mile on the extensive network of suspension bridges that connect eight observation platforms. After descending from the canopy, you will experience the Anaconda Walk (650 feet [200 m] of wooden bridges spanning the Aguajales Swamp), where you will be able to observe different species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and tropical plant life. Once more, enjoy lunch, dinner, and an excellent night’s sleep at the lodge.
Day 52: Monday: Puerto Maldonado: You will journey along a portion of the Madre de Dios River to reach your next destination: Gamitana Creek, home to piranhas, caimans, turtles, and a large variety of birds. After exploring the creek, you will return by river and stop to visit the Gamitana Model Farm, where you will get an idea of how a farm operates in the jungle and will get to see the products produced there. In the afternoon, you will journey to the Hacienda Concepción, an incredible botanical garden home to more than 200 species of plants native to the rainforest. Then, you will take an amazing 30 minute canoe trip in search of turtles, nightjars, and exotic herons. After dinner, you will go on a nighttime trek on the trail network at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica Lodge and will enter into the secondary forest. For around two hours, you will enjoy the concert of natural sounds created by the jungle. Prepare yourself to encounter new animals that are only active at night. Return to the lodge. You will have dinner and spend the night at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica.
Day 53: Tuesday: Puerto Maldonado – Lima: Enjoy a delicious breakfast before you leave. You will travel 45 minutes upstream to Puerto Maldonado on the Madre de Dios River. On the way, you will visit the Butterfly House, a nursery where you will be able to observe various native species of butterflies in their natural habitat. You will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be meet by our representative who will assist you to board the international connecting flight
Day 54: Wednesday: Road trip from Lima to Paracas visiting Pachacamac on route: Early in the morning, you will begin the four-hour trip to Paracas, a beautiful bay rich in marine life and full of ancient mysteries. On the way, around 20 miles (30 km) south of Lima, you will visit the Santuario Arqueológico de Pachacamac, the archeological site of what was once an important pilgrimage center for many of the cultures that populated ancient Peru. Lunch on the road. Upon arriving in Paracas, you will make your way to the hotel to rest and enjoy the facilities of the hotel. You will have the rest of the day free.
Day 55: Thursday: Motorboat excursion to Ballestas Island – Road trip from Paracas to Nasca: You will enjoy the sunrise at one of the most scenic bays in Peru and then take part in a fantastic voyage to the Islas Ballestas (Crossbow Islands), a nature reserve and excellent place to observe close-up the largest concentration of guano-producing birds and sea lions on the Peruvian coast. Along the way, you will be able to see the mysterious Candelabro (a candlestick-shaped figure etched on a sandy hillside, associated with the Nasca Lines). As you approach the islands, Mother Nature will greet you with an impressive display. Thousands of birds, among them Peruvian Boobies and Guanay Cormorants, will drown out all other sounds with their peculiar honks and quacks. Sea lions will take a short break from bumping around on the protruding rocks, or fighting over territory, and will slip beneath the waves to approach your ship in a friendly manner. Return to the hotel. In the afternoon, you will begin a three-hour journey south on the highway to reach Nasca. You will have the rest of the day free to enjoy as you please.
Day 56: Friday: Overflight Nasca Lines – Road trip from Nasca to Arequipa: Early in the morning, you will head to the city’s airport. From here, you will begin your flyover of the enigmatic Nasca Lines. Behold the incredible creative abilities of the ancient Peruvians as you discover one of humanity’s greatest mysteries: geoglyphs and lines of colossal magnitude etched in the desert sands by the Nasca people. A monkey, a spider, a hummingbird, and more than 20 other figures occupying an area of approximately 190 sq. miles (500 km²), wait to be admired from above in an unforgettable 30 minutes flyover. You will have some free time to eat lunch. At the scheduled departure time, you will head south once more on the Pan-American Highway on an eight-hour trip to Arequipa.
Day 57: Saturday: Arequipa city tour: Fiercely guarded by three volcanoes the Misti, the Chachani, and the Pichu Pichu the magnificent Ciudad Blanca (White City) awaits you with its extraordinary architecture and surreal landscapes. Discover one of Peru’s most beautiful colonial cities. You will begin your tour with a visit to the Convento de Santa Catalina (Convent of St. Catherine). Founded in 1579 as a cloister, in its early days the convent was home to a small group of clergy who came from the local elite. Walk through its beautiful buildings as your guide takes you on a journey back in time through one of the largest holdings of colonial art in the Americas. The tour of the city will continue as you visit the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (Church of the Society of Jesus). With its imposing size and fascinating appearance, this magnificent church will take your breath away. Be sure to pay special attention to the Baroque façade and the amazing sacristy, meticulously decorated with vividly-colored murals. After finishing your tour of the church, you will move on to the Mirador del Carmen (a natural lookout point), ten minutes from the city center. From there you will be able to enjoy a spectacular view of the Chili River Valley and of the majestic Misti. Next, you will stop off in the upscale neighborhood of Yanahuara and get a chance to walk along its wide cobblestone avenues and see its old ashlar stone mansions, which still preserve their traditional gardens. You will also be able to admire a beautiful church constructed in 1750 and a quaint plaza with a gorgeous ashlar stone lookout balcony. You will have the rest of the day free.
Day 58: Sunday: From Arequipa to Colca Valley: Early in the morning, you will depart Arequipa to embark on a journey across a land of snow-covered volcanoes, inhospitable pampas, and incredibly beautiful quaint villages, arriving finally in the Colca Valley. The first stop will be in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, whose rugged plains are home to vast herds of Guanaco, Alpaca, and Vicuña. You will continue the journey as you ride along the edge of the crater of the Chucura Volcano, until you reach the Mirador de los Andes (Lookout Point of the Andes) in Patapampa. This lookout point, at 16,100 ft (4,900 m) above sea level, will offer spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of the various volcanoes surrounding Arequipa, including the Hualca Calca, the Sabancaya, and the Ampato. Next, you will head to the town of Chivay (close to where the Colca Valley begins) for a closer inspection of the impressive system of platforms and terraces built by the ancient Collagua and Cabana inhabitants. After lunch, you will make your way to the hotel. Rest of the afternoon free to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings, or simply rest and recover for the next day, as you see fit. Enjoy an excellent night’s rest at your hotel in the Colca Valley.
Day 59: Monday: Road trip from Colca to Puno: Early in the morning, you will travel to the Mirador de la Cruz del Cóndor (Condor Cross Lookout). With its incredibly vast and breath-taking expanses, it is considered to be the best spot in the world to see the majestic Andean Condor in flight. Be on the lookout for the sudden appearance of this emblematic bird on the verge of extinction. With a little luck, you will enjoy a truly awe-inspiring experience as you watch this awesome bird soar, almost magically, ever higher into the infinite blue sky. From this vantage point, you will be able to look out across one of the world’s deepest canyons (13,650 feet [4,160 m] deep at the northern end and 11,800 feet [3,600 m] deep on its southern end). After lunch, you will experience an awe-inspiring trip of about six hours through the unique landscapes of the high mountain plain. The trip will begin in Colca Valley, and shortly thereafter you will reach the Mirador de los Andes (Lookout Point of the Andes) in Patapampa. Here you will be able to view a landscape covered with yaretas, a local type of cactus that has adapted to the high altitude, and you will see the snow-capped peaks of the various volcanos that surround Arequipa, among them the Hualca Calca, the Sabancaya, and the Ampato. Continuing the trip, you will circle along the base of the Chucura volcano as you make your way towards Pampa Cañahuas, a rugged plain that belongs to the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, a place where guanacos, alpacas, and vicuñas freely roam. The pastoral countryside of Pampa Cañahuas, covered with ichu grass and yareta cacti, reveals a unique flora capable of surviving at extreme altitudes and temperatures. A few miles away, you will be able to see the grand Bosque de Piedras de Imata (Imata Stone Forest) in the distance. You will then arrive in Lagunillas, which sits at 13,684 ft. (4,171 m) above sea level. Here you will observe numerous species of migratory and Andean birds, among them Andean flamingos and crakes. You will end your trip in the legendary city of Puno, built on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Overnight in Puno
Day 60: Tuesday: Islas Uros & Taquile island excursion: On the second day, you will enjoy an extraordinary journey across the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. Travel to legendary places where time seems to have stood still. Your first stop will be the Uros floating islands. These are a peculiar grouping of around 40 small islands made totally of totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. The cheerful inhabitants will invite you to get to know their traditional lifestyle and customs. You will continue your voyage across the placid waters of the lake until you come to the picturesque island of Taquile, a peaceful place where old Quechua traditions live in perfect balance with modernity. Discover a landscape distinct from the other islands thanks to the Incan terraces filled with local flowers and crops. The rich colors of the clothing worn by the local inhabitants will amaze you; admire their beautiful hand-made fabrics. Most importantly, enjoy the unbelievable hospitality of the islanders, known as Taquileños, who will make your visit to the island a memorable one. Before making your way back to Puno, you will have lunch at a local home.
Day 61: Wednesday: Catamarán Cruise from Puno to La Paz: Early in the morning, we’ll pick you up at your hotel in a private vehicle and we’ll head to the Sanctuary of Copacabana. Upon arrival, we’ll visit the main square and the Cathedral (sanctuary of the Black Virgin of Copacabana), before boarding the catamaran that will take us on a cruise through Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun, the cradle of the Inca Empire. We’ll have lunch on ship. On this legendary island we will visit the Garden, the Steps and the Inca Fountain. Then we’ll visit the Inti Wata Cultural Complex, Bolivia’s main private tourist attraction, which includes the underground Ekako museum, the traditional medicine centers and the construction of totora reed vessels, the Pachamama terraces of Incan agriculture, a handicraft center, the Intica refuge and the widest variety of Andean camelids located in the Manco Capac lookout point. At this complex we’ll also sail on a huge traditional totora reed vessel and we’ll enjoy the panoramic view of the Incan Pilkokaina Palace. We’ll also have an opportunity to participate in the ancient Kallawaya ceremony as well as the water ceremony. At the end of this visit we’ll board the catamaran again, which will take us to the port of Chua as we enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. Upon arrival, a bus will be waiting to take us to La Paz. Overnight at a hotel in La Paz.
Day 62: Thursday: Tiawanaku excursion, La Paz city tour and Moon Valley visit: At 8 a.m. we’ll pick you up from your hotel to visit the archaeological complex of Tiahuanaco, one of the most ancient civilizations of the Americas (approx. 1589 B.C.). During its golden age it served as the main ceremonial center and was also the cradle of Andean culture. We’ll visit the Temple of Kalasasaya (Sun), the Gate of the Sun, the Semi-Subterranean Temple (Earth), the Akapana Pyramid and its museum, where you can see an impressive collection of objects and instruments from ancient civilizations. After this visit, we will return to the hotel. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the famous Witches’ Market, the colonial Church of San Francisco and the handicraft shops of Calle Sagarnaga. We’ll continue our tour through the city of La Paz with Plaza Murillo, where the Government Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Parliament are located. We’ll then move on to the well-known Jaen street, where the city’s most important museums are located. From here we’ll move on to the replica of the Tiahuanaco culture’s semi-underground temple. At the end of this visit, we’ll shift gears and go to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and La Florida. Our trip will end with a visit to the spectacular Valley of the Moon, where we’ll go on a short walk to visit a pottery workshop and view a demonstration of this art. Overnight in a hotel in La Paz.
Day 63: Friday: La Paz / Rurrenbaque (Chalalan Eco-Lodge): Flight La Paz – Rurrenabaque (50 minutes). Our staff will be waiting to transfer you from Rurenabaque airport to the Chalalan office by bus where you will proceed to fill in the forms to enter the Madidi National Park and receive information about your trip to the Ecolodge. . Free afternoon to visit the town at the edge of the Beni River. Lodging at hotel Safari, the best in Rurrenabaque.
Day 64: Saturday: Madidi National Park (Chalalan Eco-Lodge): Breakfast at the Hotel. At 7:15 transfer to the river Beni to board a boat. Boat trip to Chalalan Ecolodge (5½ hours) up the rivers Beni and Tuíchi. Our boats are equipped with: roof, comfortable seats, life jackets, raincoats and a first-aid kit. Box lunch on the way. At 12:30 approx. arrival to Chalalan´s port and after a 25 minute walk we get to the Ecolodge. Help is given for luggage. Welcome lunch and after a time to rest or swim in the lagoon, a short walk along the Paraba path towards the viewing point where you can see the beautiful landscape across the lagoon, mountains and Madidi rainforest. Return by canoe along the rivers leading to the Chalalan lagoon to observe a variety birds and monkeys. Theme: hardwood trees and wildlife. Dinner. Night hike to observe a variety of insects, tarantulas, amphibians, mice, nocturnal birds and monkeys.
Day 65: Sunday: Madidi National Park (Chalalan Eco-Lodge): Breakfast. Walk through the jungle on the theme paths to see and learn about the forest and the wildlife. Choose from: natural interpretation of the forest, natural history, ecological processes, medicinal plants and hardwood trees, animal behavior and bird watching. Return to the Ecolodge for lunch. Time to rest or swim in the lagoon. In the afternoon short walk along one of the paths. Choose from: medicinal and tropical plants, hardwood trees, bird and insect watching. Return to the lodge for optional activities: – An afternoon of handicrafts – Trips on the lagoon by canoe. – Showing of videos about the community and the Madidi National Park. Dinner, optional, a canoe night trip along the rivers of the Chalalan Lagoon to observe amphibians, alligators and nocturnal birds easily spotted do to their night glowing eyes.
Day 66: Monday: Madidi National Park (Chalalan Eco-Lodge): Breakfast. Full day walk towards the rivers Rayamayo and Eslabon where you will be able to fish and observe spider monkeys, tapirs, deer, wild boar and maybe take a glimpse of a jaguar. Theme: natural interpretation of the forest, natural history, ecological processes, medicinal plants and hardwood trees, animal behaviour insects and bird watching. At mid day box lunch by the River Eslabon. After a walk along the riverbank of the River Eslabon, for bird and insect watching or go fishing; return to the Ecolodge observing a variety of birds and mammals. Before dinner we enjoy a canoe trip along the shores of the Chalalan Lagoon to observe a variety of birds, monkeys and see the tropical “vanilla” plant. Traditional “dunucuabi” dinner of catfish wrapped in leaves or fish á la “tacuara”. Traditional Quechua – Tacana night with music and dances from the San José de Uchupiamonas community.
Day 67: Tuesday: Rurrenbaque to the Pampas: Breakfast. Short walk to the River Tuíchi to take the boat back to Rurrenabaque. After 3 hours, we arrive to Rurrenabaque. Transfer to Hotel Safari. lodging. Note: The schedules can be changed as guests wish or because of the weather, flight delays, etc. SERVICE INCLUDES: Transfer in/out Rurrenabaque Airport, bilingual guide, entrance fee to Madidi National Park, overnight at hotel in Rurrenabaque, full board and accommodation at Chalalan Ecolodge. NOT INCLUDED: Airport taxes; Airline Tickets and meals at hotel in Rurrenabaque. PAMPAS PROGRAM Departure from Rurrenabaque by 4×4 jeep, driving northeast for approximately 3½ hours to Caracol Lodge near the Yacuma River. After lunch, boarding of the dugout canoes on the Yacuma River and travel upriver looking for dolphins, monkeys, capybara, turtles and a great variety of bird life. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight. Possibly a night hike in search of caiman and anaconda.
Day 68: Wednesday: The Pampas: Morning hike to search for anaconda and other wildlife including pink dolphins and capybara. Lunch followed by a short walk to look for rheas, anteaters and monkeys. Possibly a nighttime boat trip to observe caiman and other nocturnal wildlife.
Day 69: Thursday: Pampas to Rurrenbaque: Morning wildlife viewing. Return to Rurrenabaque, arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight in Hotel Safari.
Day 70: Friday: Rurrenbaque to Trinidad: After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to Trinidad. Reception at Trinidad Airport. Transfer to Port Varador on the Mamore River. Boarding of the Flotel Reina de Enin. Along the way we will observe a great variety of birds and also the river turtle. Possibility to swim with the river dolphins.
Day 71: Saturday: Trinidad: On horseback a ride to a cattle ranch followed by a ride through the lowlands which are characteristic of this forest called Enin. In the afternoon we will visit the community Yukare of San Renato to exchange experiences.
Day 72: Sunday: Trinidad: In the morning a visit to Victoria Villa, a community of ancient indigenous people, and a walk of 1 hour along the Lagoon to observe animals. In the afternoon a 3 hour walk through the forest where we will be able to observe trees of the region and a canoe ride which will allow us to observe the famous Victoria Regia flower. We will end the afternoon with a bath in the Mamore River.
Day 73: Monday: Trinidad to Santa Cruz and Samaipata: In the morning the possibility to fish or swim. In the afternoon transfer to the airport. Flight to Santa Cruz. Private transfer from the airport to the hotel Departure to Samaipata, on the way we will visit “Cuevas” waterfalls. We then ascent to the archaeological region of the millennial haven of the Bolivian East and one of the most important in America: the Archaeological Complex and Ceremonial Temple “The Fort” that was inhabited by diverse pre-Columbus cultures, such as the Amazon and the Inca civilizations. After lunch in Samaipata we walk around the picturesque town looking for crafts. Dinner and lodging in the town of Samaipata.
Day 74: Tuesday: Samaipata to Santa Cruz: We visit the town, church, arqueological museum and the nearby villages. Return to Santa Cruz city. Accommodation at the selected hotel with daily breakfast.
Day 75: Wednesday: Santa Cruz to Concepcion via San Javier: Early departure from Santa Cruz to San Javier that is the oldest Jesuit Mission founded in 1691, on the way we will visit Cotoca, Pailas, the cross of the Rio Grande and natural parks with beautiful gardens.Upon arrival to San Javier we will visit the ancient church recently restored and the museum. Lunch andafter we will continue to Concepcion, on arrival check in at Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 76: Thursday: Concepcion to Cochabamba: After breakfast we will visit the famous cathedral founded in 1709 and handicraft shops. Then we will take a walk around the town and have lunch. We will visit the dam and return to San Javier to enjoy a typical coffee. Return to Santa Cruz. And fly out to Cochabamba.
Day 77: Friday: Cochabamba: Sightseeing: Four hours visiting the most interesting places in the city: El Prado Boulevard; the main square 14 de Septiembre where the Metropolitan Cathedral is located; The University of San Simon’s Archaeological Museum; and the Alcides D’Orbigny Natural History museum, plus other historical monuments. Shopping at the typical market called La Cancha. The tour will end at the Cristo de la Concordia monument where you will enjoy a magnificent view.
Day 78: Saturday: Cochabamba & Inkallajta: Transfer from the airport to the selected hotel. Four hours visiting the most interesting places in the city: El Prado Boulevard; the main square 14 de Septiembre where the Metropolitan Cathedral is located; The University of San Simon’s Archaeological Museum; and the Alcides D’Orbigny Natural History museum, plus other historical monuments. Shopping at the typical market called La Cancha. The tour will end at the Cristo de la Concordia monument where you will enjoy a magnificent view.
Day 79: Sunday: Cochabamba & Inkallajta: Among the testimonies obtained by the Inca empire. Incallajta, Inca Village, is the country’s most significant archeological site after Tiwanaku. It was a fortress, and at the same time one of the last Inca control points for the agricultural areas to the east of the Andes. It is located in the Pocona Canton, 134 Km out of the city along the new highway.
Day 80: Monday: Cochabamba to La Paz: Departure towards Sipe Sipe, visiting on the way the town of Quillacollo, the Calvary and the Sanctuary of the Urkupìña Virgin. Once in Sipe-Sipe we will start a walk ascending a hill in order to reach the archaeological site known as Inkarrakay, it was a civilian administrative site, important because of its strategic location. Visit to the ruins, box lunch. Pick up from the hotel, transfer to the airport, flight to La Paz City. Private transfer from the airport. (by car, van or bus). Accommodation at the selected hotel with daily breakfast.
Day 81: Tuesday: La Paz to Sucre: Depart La Paz and fly to Sucre and transfer on arrival. We will visit the House of Freedom Historical Museum; the Convent of La Recoleta Museum and its viewpoint; the facades of the churches of San Lazaro and Santo Domingo; the main historical monuments and Bolivar Park. Optional Visit: Textile Asur Museum or the Convent of San Felipe de Nery.
Day 82: Wednesday: Sucre to Potosi: Private transfer from Sucre to Potosi. Will visit the most important and interesting places of the city, which was declared UNIVERSAL HERITAGE OF MANKIND by UNESCO. We will visit San Lorenzo Church where we will appreciate its beautiful façade, Casa de la Moneda Museum, the exterior of the Tower of Company, the exterior of the Arch of Cobija and the artisans market in the colonial area of the city.
Day 83: Thursday: Potosi: You will visit a private mine on the Cerro Rico, currently managed by the miners who bought it from the State. Passengers will be able to see the miners performing their job in rudimentary form and in similar conditions as those of the Spanish Colony.
Day 84: Friday: Potosi to Uyuni: Leave Potosi in the morning to Uyuni. Box lunch on the way. Arrival in the evening, to visit the Cemetery of Trains, the Main Square, the Church, the Cemetery of the city and the salt producers in the locality of Colchani. Overnight.
Day 85: Saturday: Uyuni Salt Flats: Breakfast. We will visit the Great Salar de the Uyuni, biggest in the world, until we arrive at Isla Pescado – Fish Island, well-known as “Huasi Inca”, which is famous for its giant cactus. Box lunch. In the evening we will visit Jirira and Coquesa from where we can observe the Thunupa Volcano and Aymara ruins. Return to Uyuni. Overnight.
Day 86: Sunday: Uyuni to Hedionda Lagoon: Breakfast. Departure to visit the Uyuni Salt Flat and the Incahuasi Island, this island is located in the heart of the salt flat and is the greatest of a group that represents an isolated ecosystem. The island is populated with a cacti species that measures up to 12 meters high, adding the background provided by the salt flat the panorama becomes impressive. Lunch in the island and in the afternoon we continue towards Laguna Hedionda, on route we visit the village of San Juan. Arrival to Laguna Hedionda where we can closely observe the andinian flamingos. Accommodation in a local hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 87: Monday: Hedionda Lagoon, Red Lagoon, Green Lagoon & Villamar: Breakfast. Departure from Laguna Hedionda towards Villamar, crossing the Siloli Desert where we will see an interesting rocky formation known as Stone Tree., in this interesting journey we will be able to observe the famous llamas, vicuñas and a particular rodent denominated viscacha, we later visit he Red Lagoon classified as Andean Waters of height and counts with Borax islands in its nor and Southeastern sections, the red color is due to the fine sediment accumulation of the same color in the surface, as well as the pigmentation of certain type of seaweed. This lagoon is populated by 3 species of flamencos (among them the famous James), making this place one of the few in the world where they can be found together. Our last descent stop is Green Lagoon, an impressive aquatic mirror that resembles a giant emerald with a particular brightness in the mornings and afternoons; its color is due to the high magnesium content in the water. In the proximities of this lagoon is the Licancahur Volcano. Box lunch and we continue to the village of Villamar. Accommodation in a local hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 88: Tuesday: Villamar to San Pedro de Atacama: Breakfast. Depart from Villamar towards Uyuni, in route we visit the valley of the rocks, famous for its giant rock formations, the villages of Alota, Kulpina K, the mining town and finally the train graveyard. Drive to Hito Cajon cross the boarder and continue to San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 89: Wednesday: San Pedro de Atacama (Moon Valley): Breakfast. Transfer to the airport to take flight to Calama (1 hour and 45 minutes). Upon arrival in Calama, transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis located in the middle of the driest desert in the world, Atacama Desert. An exploration to the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) takes place, with magnificent geological formations and sediments of various colors. The origin of the Cordillera de la Sal corresponds to the origin of the Atacama Salar; therefore, its rocks are mainly composed of salt and similar clay, creating an extremely special and inspiring landscape, and originating the mystic Moon Valley. Exploration trek through inner valleys, watching caverns and abandoned salt mines, winding dunes and specially, we will enjoy the dusk in the Moon Valley, which is an invitation from nature to silence and to the amazement that Creation produces. Return to San Pedro. Lodging.
Day 90: Thursday: San Pedro de Atacama – Altiplanic Lagoons: Breakfast. Departure for a full day tour including lunch at a local restaurant. Today we will visit the Altiplanic (High Plains) lagoons. Located 4500mts above the sea level, these turquoise blue lagoons are surrounded by imposing volcanoes created by the lifting of the Andean Mountain range, during remote geological times. Its waters come from the underground and are originated by defrosting. During the trip, you will also visit Socaire, town of Atacaman peasants. Return to San Pedro. Lodging.
Day 91: Friday: San Pedro de Atacama – Geisers del Tatio: Trip at dawn towards the Andean foothills. There are few places in the world where thermal energy can be actually seen by man. The peculiar geological conditions of the mountains of Tujle, together with the volcanic activity in the area, created the favorable geological conditions for the creation of El Tatio Geysers. Guided exploration, to see steam fumes, red-hot mud, boiling water puddles (86º) and geysers. This is also the time to enjoy the thermal pools. Breakfast. At the moment of returning, the trip will have reached 4500 m. of altitude, which is literally being close to the clouds and the Andes Mountain Range, blended with beautiful colors. During the trip, we will appreciate the active Tocorpuri volcano and the amazing Sairecahur (6200m High). Breakfast will be served at the Tatio Geysers. Return to San Pedro at mid-day. Rest of the Day at leisure. Lodging.
Day 92: Saturday: San Pedro de Atacama – Calama – Aricao: Breakfast at hotel and transfer to Calama to take flight back to Arica. Arrival at Chacalluta airport in Arica. Assistance and transfer to selected hotel. During the afternoon, city tour of Arica. Lodging.
Day 93: Sunday: Arica – Lauca National Park – Chungara Lake – Putre: Full day tour (SIB) The tour leaves from the hotel towards the El Lauca National Park crossing the Lluta Valley to observe the geoglyphs in the slopes of the hills to arrive in the town of Poconchile to appreciate its church. Tour around the town of Socoroma. Visit to the Lauca National Park, a genuine sanctuary of nature, place of the Chungará Lake, the highest lake in the world, (4,500 m above the sea level). In its calm waters, the Parinacota, Pomerape, Quinchazata and Guallatire volcanoes are reflected, with their permanent fumaroles and, also in this spectacular landscape, hundreds of guanacos, alpacas, vicunas, llamas and vizcachas rest. Lunch and tour of the town of Putre. Return to Arica. Lodging.
Day 94: Monday: Arica – Azapa Valley: Half day tour to this fertile Valley bordering the Sombrero Hill with its panels of geoglyphs. Visit to the Archaeological Museum of San Miguel de Azapa, which shows the ancient heritage of the surrounding area. Permanent and temporarty exhibitions display mummies, such as the Chinchorro, some of the oldest in the world, which are approximately 7,600 years old.
Day 95: Tuesday: Arica to Santiago: Transfer from the hotel to the airport. Fly to Santiago, Reception at airport and transfer to the hotel. Lodging.
Day 96: Wednesday: Santiago: Breakfast. Half day city tour of Santiago, a panoramic tour visiting the main attractions of the capital, where you will appreciate the contrast between the city’s rich history and its modern and imposing buildings. We will see the Government Palace, the Main Square “Plaza de Armas”, Santa Lucia Hill, the Metropolitan Park and the exclusive residential areas of Vitactura and Las Condes. Lodging.
Day 97: Thursday: Santiago to Viña del Mar: Breakfast. Full day tour of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. (Lunch not included). A full day tour of the coastal area, visiting the main port of Chile: Valparaiso, recently declared world’s heritage by UNESCO. Then visit the coastal city of Viña del Mar, also known as the “Garden City”. Return to Santiago in the late afternoon. Lodging.
Day 98: Friday: Viña del Mar / Valparaiso: Breakfast. Day at leisure for personal activities. Lodging.
Day 99: Saturday: Viña del Mar – Santiago: Breakfast. Morning free at leisure for personal activities. Return to Santiago at around 3 p.m. transfer, in SIB. Lodging at selected hotel in Santiago.
Day 100: Sunday: Santiago – Santa Cruz: Breakfast. Departure from the hotel towards the south via Panamerican Highway, passing the city of San Fernando on to Santa Cruz (178 kms), located at the shores of the Tinguiririca river, nowadays an active town located in the heart of the wine zone. During this day we will visit 2 wineries, with wine tasting included. Enjoy a typical Chilean lunch-menu at restaurant Los Varietales, in Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza. After lunch, visit to the Colchagua Museum (closed on Mondays), known today as one the most complete Museums in South America. Lodging at Santa Cruz Plaza hotel.
Day 101: Monday: Santa Cruz – Curicó Wine Route – Curicó: Breakfast. In the morning, we continue south to visit the Curico Wine Route which is rich in history and attractive places like the Vichuquén Lake, or the old churches (1734) and the Condell hill that looks after the growing city, land and the heart of the wine growing area of Chile. Check-in at hotel. Lunch-menu at hotel. In the afternoon, there is a visit to a winery in the Curico Wine route including some wine tasting. Lodging at Turismo hotel, located downtown very close to all the attractions of the area.
Day 102: Tuesday: Curicó – Santiago: Breakfast. During the morning, there is a visit to a winery including wine tasting. Lunch-menu included at a local restaurant. Transfer to Curicó train station to take train back to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, transfer to the hotel. Lodging.
Day 103: Wednesday: Santiago – Mendoza: Transfer from the hotel to Bus Terminal, to board regular bus with destination Mendoza. (Duration: 6 hours approximately). Upon arrival in Mendoza, transfer to your selected hotel. Lodging.
Day 104: Thursday: Mendoza: We will depart to Mendoza’s agricultural oasis and visit two prestigious wineries, part of the wine circuit; we will visit their facilities and be able to participate in a guided wine tasting, during which we will begin to get familiarized with the local wines and their elaboration process.Our guide will explain to us the technique of wine tasting, wine production techniques, the importance of the cork in the bottle and the correct way to handle a glass in order to taste wine. At noon we will have lunch at a well-known winery, where we will enjoy an unforgettable gastronomic experience. In the afternoon we will be able to visit other wineries and enjoy a wine tasting session. As the sun sets behind The Andes mountains, we will return to the hotel. Lodging
Day 105: Friday: Mendoza: Breakfast. Accompanied by expert guides, we will visit two wineries, touring its cellars, facilities and taste their wines. Return to Mendoza. Afternoon at leisure. Farewell dinner at a renowned restaurant. Lodging.
Day 106: Saturday: Mendoza – Santiago: Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to bus terminal to board regular bus to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, transfer to your selected hotel. Folkloric show and dinner. Lodging.
Day 107: Sunday: Santiago – Temuco – Pucón or Villarrica: Breakfast.Transfer from the hotel to the airport to take flight to the city of Temuco (55 min.), capital city of the “IX Region de la Araucanía”. Transfer ride with a beautiful view of the forests of araucarias, a coniferous dating from the Jurassic period which has been declared A Chilean Natural Monument, going along the borders of the lake and arriving at the hotel of your choice. Lodging.
Day 108: Monday: Pucón or Villarrica: Breakfast.Half day tour to the impressive Villarrica volcano and the Volcanic Caves. At night, it is suggested that you try your luck at the Casino. Lodging.
Day 109: Tuesday: Pucón or Villarrica: Breakfast.During this day, we suggest an optional excursion to the thermal spa of El Huife to enjoy the outdoor swimming pools. Lodging.
Day 110: Wednesday: Villarca to Puerto Montt: We have a relaxing morning before we depart Villarrica on a liesurly drive for Puerto Montt where you have some free time to explore this city or relax at the hotel.
Day 111: Thursday: Full day tour to Frutillar: Breakfast. Tour around the cities of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas to continue towards the beautiful resort of Low Frutillar, located at the shores of the Llanquihue Lake. Lunch included in a typical restaurant. Return to Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas. Lodging.
Day 112: Friday: Island of Chiloé, Ancud: Breakfast. Full day tour to the island of Chiloé, crossing the Channel of Chacao by ferry (15 min.), to continue the trip by land towards the city of Ancud, founded in 1765. Lunch included. In the evening, return to your hotel in Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas.
Day 113: Saturday: Osorno Volcano Ski and Mountain Center: Breakfast.Depending on weather conditions, departure from your hotel for a full day tour of the Osorno Volcano Ski and Mountain Center, in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, to the Todos los Santos Lake, also known as the Emerald Lake because of the green-blue color of its water. Lunch is included in a typical restaurant of the area. During the evening, return to your hotel. Lodging.
Day 114: Sunday: Puerto Varas – Petrohué – Peulla: Departure from Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas. The tour will then follow to Petrohue, bordering Llanquihue Lake. Throughout the journey on route, you will be able to enjoy breathtaking sights of Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. Visit to Vicente Perez National Park, place in which you will visit the Petrohue falls, an impressive volcanic rock formation, covered by emerald green water. The trip continues to Todos Los Santos, where we set sail and navigate to Peulla, arriving after 1.40hrs of navigation to this ecological Village, paradise for nature lovers. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and lodging in Peulla.
Day 115: Monday: Peulla – Bariloche: Breakfast. Continuation of the crossing. We will then board a bus with destination Puerto Frias, go through Customs procedures to exit Chile and enter Argentina. We will cross the Andes Mountains at only 976 metres above the sea level. We will start to go down the road to Puerto Frías, and navigate through the lake that receives the same name: Lago Frias (Lake Frias) and head onto Puerto Alegre, place in which we will board a bus to Puerto Blest. Departing from Puerto Blest, this will be our last navigation through Nahuel Huapi Lake with destination Puerto Pañuelo. After that, we will take a bus to do the last portion of the trip with destination to “The Argentinean Tourism City”, San Carlos de Bariloche.
Day 116: Tuesday: Bariloche: Breakfast. Half-day tour around the city of Bariloche. Rest of the day at leisure for personal activities. Lodging.
Day 117: Wednesday: Bariloche: Full day sightseeing including Victoria Island and Arrayanes Forests.
Day 118: Thursday: Bariloche to Puerto Montt: Sit back for a day of R&R as we take a day journey back to Puerto Montt from Bariloche. Overnight in Puerto Montt
Day 119: Friday: Punta Arenas: Breakfast. At time to be advised, transfer from the hotel to the airport to take flight to Punta Arenas. On arrival to the airport transfer to Punta Arenas Bus terminal to leave on a public bus to Puerto Natales. (249 km, 3 hours). Transfer from Puerto Natales Bus terminal to the hotel of your choice. Lodging.
Day 120: Monday: Puerto Natales – Serrano and Balmaceda Glaciers: Breakfast served in the restaurant of the hotel. At 8 o’clock, it is boarding time at Puerto Natales pier for a full day sailing towards the Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers. At approximately 4:30, return to the pier. Lodging ** Daily Navigation during the months of September through March. From April to September, sailing is only on Sundays and depending on weather conditions.
Day 121: Tuesday: Puerto Natales –Torres del Paine National Park: Breakfast served in the restaurant of the hotel. In the morning, departure from the hotel, for a full day tour of the Torres del Paine National Park. Lunch is not included. In the evening, return to the hotel. Lodging.
Day 122: Wednesday: Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales: Breakfast served in the restaurant of the hotel. After some last minute sightseeing at Torres del Paine National park, return to Puerto Natales for Overnight. Lodging.
Day 123: Thursday: Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas: Breakfast. Drive from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas, PM City Sightseeing tour. First, drive one half hour to Cerro Mirador, a ski resort located within Magallenes National Reserve, and climb the hill – 2,000 feet (600 meters) above sea level – for a fantastic panoramic view of the city and sea! Take a few photos of the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, and then head to the city’s historical cemetery, one of the city’s most popular locations. Here, enter through the portico and stroll down paths lined with European Cypress, and admire the marble sculptures, tombs and mausoleums adorned with iron and brass. Within the high walls that surround the cemetery, your guide will point out the chapels belonging to the city’s most eminent families. Next, head to Plaza Muñoz Gamero, the city’s main square, to view the Memorial to Portuguese explorer, Admiral Ferdinand Magellan, whose brass statue stands above that of an Onas Indian. Continue to the Regional Salesian Museum, named after the missionaries who settled the area in the 19th century. See interesting exhibits on the Yámana, Tehuelche, Onas and Alacalufe cultures to learn about the native people who once populated the entire region. Then, visit the Magallanes Regional Museum inside the Mauricio Braun and Josefina Menéndez palace, one of the city’s former mansions, built in 1903. See the museum’s historical displays and a permanent collection of gorgeous furnishings brought from Europe.
Day 124: Friday: Punta Arenas: Breakfast. Climb aboard a large powerboat and head north for about 40 minutes on the Strait of Magellan. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse panda dolphins leaping out of the choppy grey waters. Arrive at the small and rocky Magdalena Island, also called Los Pinguinos Natural Monument, a protected nature reserve and park since 1982, and a breeding site for Magellanic penguins. Even before the boat docks, you’ll see thousands of penguins crowding the shores and hear their squawking. During the summer, approximately 120,000 penguins occupy the island. Disembark and spend about an hour here with your guide, keeping to the designated trail roped off for visitors. These curious birds, about 2 feet (61 cm) tall, will cross your path and may approach you, but you’ll be instructed not to touch or feed them. On either side of the trail, see hundreds of burrows in the ground, about a foot (30 cm) in diameter, each populated by a pair of penguins. Watch penguins pop in and out of the holes, where eggs are laid, and others excavate new burrows by flinging aside heaps of dirt with their webbed feet. Your guide may point out cormorants and Andean seagulls on the island as well. Reach the highest point on the island and enter a lighthouse, which houses exhibits explaining the penguins’ habitat and breeding cycles, the history of the strait and the rich ecosystems of nearby islands. Then warm up with coffee and snack on biscuits (provided) before leaving the island. On your way back, if the weather permits, your captain may pass by Isla Marta, where you can snap shots of sea lions and elephant seals lounging on the rocky outcrop. After a marvelous morning with penguins we return to shore and enjoy a half-day shore excursion to Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes) with an expert guide. Drive approximately 37 miles (60 km) to the historic site, where you’ll embark on a tour through Chile’s first settlement on a rocky hill at Punta Santa Ana. Founded in 1843 under the command of President Manuel Bulnes, the fort was abandoned and burned down six years later, due to the challenging living conditions and the harsh terrain. In 1943 the fort was reconstructed, and it was fully restored in 2002. As you explore the grounds, learn about the original construction of the buildings, manufactured from logs, dirt and bricks made of grass. See the small church and chaplain’s quarters, and visit the jail, post office and stables. Discover the barracks and log cabins at this historic military outpost and imagine living within its defensive walls as you enjoy fabulous views of the sea!
Day 125: Saturday: Cruceros Australis – Day 1 Punta Arenas: Check in takes place between 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, with cruise ship boarding scheduled for 6:00 pm. The captain and crew give a welcome cocktail reception on board as we set off on our great adventure!
Day 126: Sunday: Cruceros Australis: Day 2 Ainsworth Bay & Tuckers: This morning we continue navigating through Almirantazgo Sound, arriving at Ainsworth Bay inside the Alberto De Agostini National Park. From a distance we can see the Marinelli Glacier descending from the Darwin Mountain Range. We come ashore in search of wildlife, first walking to a beaver dam in the subpolar Magellan forest before setting out along the beach in pursuit of elephant seals. Later, we sail to Tuckers Islets, and after lunch we board the Zodiac boats to view Magellanic Penguins (which only live in the Southern Hemisphere), and cormorants.
Day 127: Monday: Cruceros Australis: Day 3 Pia & Alley Glacier: We navigate along the main part of the Beagle Channel to reach Pia Fjord, disembarking near Pia Glacier. A short hike takes us to a look-out point with a spectacular view of the entire glacier tongue, stretching from high in the mountains all the way to the sea. After this unforgettable experience, we continue sailing along the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel through majestic Glacier Alley.
Day 128: Tuesday: Cruceros Australis Day 4 Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay: We sail through the Murray Channel and Nassau Bay to reach Cape Horn National Park, where we disembark (weather permitting). The mythical Cape Horn was discovered in 1616, and it is a sheer, 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory. For many years it was an important navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and it is known as the End of the Earth. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. We take a walk through the Magellan forest of Lengas, Coihues, Canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a look-out point before returning to the boat.
Day 129: Wednesday: Cruceros Ausralis: Day 5 – Ushuaia: This morning we arrive at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world on Tierra del Fuego.
Argentina & Uraguay:
Day 130: Thursday: Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego: Half day excursion in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Located at 11 km in the west side of the city along National Route Nº3, it was created in order to protect the northern area of the Sub-Antarctic wood. It has 63,000 hectares and it is different from other national parks since it is a mixture of forests, mountains and ocean. Red foxes, “cauquenes”, woodpeckers, ducks and more than 90 species of birds are part of this southern fauna which can occasionally be observed during the journey. There is also the possibility of seeing some introduced species: beavers and rabbits. The lenga, ñires and morello cherry forests, the peat valleys and a great variety of lichens make this scenery of a rich flora. As an alternative, you can travel on the old steam train which in the early 19th century was used to take the prisoners of the old prison in Ushuaia to the clearing area.
Day 131: Friday: Ushuia to El Calafate: Breakfast before heading to the airport, fly to El Calafate and have afternoon free for some rest and relaxation.
Day 132: Saturday: El Calafate: All Glaciers Navigation, full day excursion through the North Arm of Argentino Lake to admire the impressive ice flows that cut through its water. Upsala, Spegazzini, Bolados and Agassiz Glaciers will be visited. Lodging.
Day 133: Sunday: El Calafate – Perito Moreno: Full Day Excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. Optional: Minitrekking on the Glacier to appreciate, walking on its irregular surface, the various tones of blue and its deep chinks. Lodging.
Day 134: Monday: El Chalten / El Calafate: After breakfast the journey begins bordering Viedma Lake at the North of Los Glaciares National Park and continues through the patagonic plateau towards the South to Argentino Lake, in which shore the emblematic city of El Calafate raises. Arrival at El Calafate, transfer to the hotel. Lodging.
Day 135: Tuesday: El Chalten: It is possible to perform a Full Day Trekking to Cerro Torre or Laguna de los Tres. Lodging.
Day 136: Wednesday: El Chalten to Lago Belgrano : After breakfast, departure from El Chalten to Lago Belgrano, through the mystic Route 40, bordering Cardiel Lake. In this area there are a lot of “maras”, guanacos and armadillos. Lake’s water is the ideal habitat of some salmon species like Rainbow and Fontinalis trout, turning the lake in The Mecca of fishermen of the whole world. Arrival and lodging.
Day 137: Thursday: Lago Belgrano: This lake is one of the eight mirrors of water that has Perito Moreno National Park. Each of everyone is individual; therefore this lake is unique, like the turquoise color of Lago Belgrano waters. This National Park was created to protect the patagonic plateau and its autochthonous fauna. A short trekking will be performed to the base of San Lorenzo Hill, another natural wonder where the greens and the blues embrace everything, from the forest to the surrounding waters. The mount is 3.700 meters high and a series of pending glaciers, snowdrifts and standing walls of ice and rocks. It presents plentiful vegetation on its hillsides, in which green tones contrast with the ever white summit covered in snow all year round. As a corollary to such an abundant forest, there is a magnificent panoramic beauty as well. Lodging.
Day 138: Friday: Lago Belgrano – Cerro de Los Indios – Valle del Río Oro – Lago Posadas: Breakfast. We leave Lago Belgrano and travel onto Cerro de los Indios to perform a trekking for this is an important area of archeological explorations where we will be able to see in wide rocky fenders paintings aged 3800 years. Followed by an excursion to Throat and Rio Oro Valley. This river, located in the surroundings of Posadas and Pueyrredon lakes, is a watercourse very coveted among fishing lovers, because a big amount of rainbow trout that inhabit these lakes go up to spawn through this river between August and October, before arriving for overnight at Lago Posadas. Lodging.
Day 139: Saturday: Lago Posadas – Monte Zeballos – Cueva de las Manos – Los Antiguos: Today we journey across the Perito Moreno Plateau through the new Route 41, going round the Jeinemeni and Zeballos Rivers thorough the mountain chain road on the West, high and desolated with spectacular views of San Lorenzo Mount. Visit to the impressive Rio Pinturas Canyon, located at 230 km from Los Antiguos, where is concentrated the most quantity of cave paintings of Argentina. Throughout 600 meters of standing walls, fenders and into the same cave, more than 800 negatives of hands can be seen, in the brightest colors: ochre, red, violet, yellow, as well as black and white. These surprising artistic manifestations are pieces of art from the ancestors of Tehuelches, and are aged 8000 to 10.000 years. Cueva de las Manos were declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Lodging
Day 140: Sunday: Los Antiguos – Perito Moreno – Petrified Forest – Sarmiento – Comodoro Rivadavia: Leaving Los Antiguos we will visit the Perito Moreno and Musters Lake continuing on to Sarmiento and the Petrified Forest Jose Ormaechea provincial reserve located at 28 km from Sarmiento town. It has a big paleo-botanical richness in accordance with huge coniferous trunks of the old forest that covered the actual patagonic plateau. This outcrop of fossil forests turn into stones constitutes a real deposit due to its magnitude and concentration. The area is situated in what was the sea bed, setting up a peculiar landscape. Sightseeing of the most attractive areas: Moon Valley and Cerro Colorado. Lodging.
Day 141: Monday: Commodoro Rivadavia: We leave Los Antiguas this morning for the Commodoro Rivadavia. In the afternoon excursion to the natural reserve of Punta Marques located at 17 km from Comodoro Rivadavia. This is an outstanding geographical accident that goes above in the sea 2,5 km approximately, that turns it in the most prominent of San Jorge Gulf. This big “restinga” has a permanent colony of one hair sea lions with a population from 400 to 1.500 specimens, according to the season of the year. Lodging
Day 142: Tuesday: Commodoro Rivadavia and Bahia Bustamante: Ideal for nature lovers, this place offers different activities such as bird and sea lion watching, visits to the Petrified Forest, to the seaweed industry, and to a typical Patagonian Ranch, panoramic trekking, horseback riding and mountain bike. Also, you can just relax and enjoy the most exclusive sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, surrounded by huge redish rocks, in an atmosphere of incredibly different textures and colours. With its huge number of geographic accidents, sound and quietness, Bahia Bustamante is a paradise for you to discover.
Day 143: Wednesday: Bahia Bustamante to Puerto Deseado: Arrival PM at Puerto Deseado. Lodging. We explore the Natural Reserve Ria Deseado in boats suited for small groups, making possible incredible sightseeing of sea fauna, as Commerson’s Dolphins and Sea Lions; bird watching in different colonies with Red-legged Cormorants, Rock Cormorants, and Blue Eyed Cormorants, Snowy Sheathbills, Black-Crowned Night-Herons, Dolphin Gulls, Crested Ducks and Flying Steamer-Ducks, Real Terns, South American Terns and Cayenne Terns, Great Grebes, etc. Crossing different channels and going ashore in Isla de los Pajaros, we will be able to see Magallanic Penguins, Blackish Oystercatchers and Magallanic Oystercatchers, Neotropic Cormorants and Kelp Gulls. Lodging.
Day 144: Thursday: Puerto Deseado: Full Day Penguin Island Expedition. A voyage in open waters sailing between waves and tiderips to the fantastic Penguin Island, where we will visit the abandoned facilities of the sea lions factory, the Lighthouse, Sea Lion and Elephant Seal colonies; the biggest Great Skuas colony of the coast, Magallanic Penguins and especially the Rockhopper Penguins, the only breeding colony of the entire Patagonian coast. This expedition requires good physical conditions due to the difficult landing and boarding into the island.
Day 145: Friday: Puerto Deseado / Jaramillo Petrified Forest / Puerto San Julian: Start in the morning towards the Jaramillo Petrified Forest. On arrival, walking visit on foot through this magnificent landscape dominated by huge trunks turn into rocks due to a process that began millions of years ago. These trees were giant coniferous of more than 100 meters height that constituted a thick forest fostered by deep rains from the West when the Andes Range was not already raised. A true Jurassic Park in Patagonia. Continue the trip to Puerto San Julian (total 480 km, of which 400 km are paved, the rest is gravel) arrival at this picturesque city located on a smooth plateau that slope down to the bay. Lodging.
Day 146: Saturday: Puerto San Julian / Monte Leon / Isla Pavon: Start in the morning, destination Comandante Luis Piedra Buena (total 265 km of which 165 km are gravel). Arrival. Continue to Monte Leon National Park (about 30 km) to visit the seal and sea elephant colonies and penguin nesting. On October 2004 was passed the law that created the park, to protect a part of the big extent Atlantic Coast, (it represents a 1% of our coast) turning it into the first continental marine park of our country. Monte Leon is a place of privilege not only by its beauty but the remarkable representation of the costal and steep fauna that gather there. A 60.000 penguin’s colony live in Monte Leon National Park, it is the fourth colony in the world. The approximately surface of the area is 61.700 hectares. Other proper birds from the coastal slope nest there: 4 varieties of Cormorants: Real, Gris, Imperial and Roquero, Chorlos Migratorios, Flamingoes, Oystercatchers and some duck species. It exist a One Hair Sea Wolf colony as well. Sometimes these gather over big rocky outcrops that are used as natural slides to hurl into the sea. Inside the continent the park protect the typical steep animals: Guanacos, Choiques, Panthers, Wolves and predatory birds like Aguilas Moras and Falcons. It is also remarkable the richness of fish population and the occasional presence of Sea Elephants and Southern Right Whales. Little trees, bushes and “xenophiles herbaceous” composed the vegetation. High cliffs, small bays, beaches and “restingas” composed Monte Leon National Park. We continue our journey to Isla Pavon. Settled in the big junction made up by Santa Cruz and Chico Rivers, constitutes one of the most important attractions of the region, due to its natural and re-creative value as well as to its historical interest. There lived Comandante Luis Piedra Buena, the Lord of the Southern Oceans. Lodging.
Day 147: Sunday: Isla Pavon to Rio Gallegos: We depart Isla Pavon early this morning and drive south via the Laguna Azul to explore Rio Gallegos, one of the southernmost cities in Patagonia.
Day 148: Monday: Rio Gallegos to Trelew: Depart early AM from Rio Gallegos to Trelew, on arrival transfer to Puerto Madryn. Afternoon free for relaxation or exploration.
Day 149: Tuesday: Puerto Madryn: Peninsula Valdez: Full day excursión to Península Valdés. The journey continues towards the northeastern area, entering the area of Península Valdés through the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus where the Interpretation Centre is located. There, visitors will be able to know details about the history, avifauna and land and marine fauna of this sanctuary of nature. The journey continues along gravel roads, typical of this area, until reaching Caleta Valdés or Punta Norte, continental place of Sea Elephants. During the whole journey, you will find out the natural inhabitants of Península Valdés: rheas, guanacos, maras, piches, foxes, skunks, eagles, Patagonian owls, etc. The excursion continues with a visit to Puerto Pirámide, a picturesque village located in the New Gulf, with crystal clear waters which make it a paradise to divers and naturalists. In the period from June to December, time when Right Whales mate to have their babies, navigations are arranged so that you can get near these amazing species in modern boats. The village has some restaurants where you can taste typical meals with sea fruits and international menus. Among the months of December and March, there are visits to Punta Pirámide, place one-hair sea lions. On the return, along the coasts of the San José Gulf and with fixed binoculars, you can see the avifauna of the Birds Island, located at 800 mts away from the shore. You will be able to observe flamingoes, swans, skuas, petrels, seagulls, gulls, Antarctic doves, etc. in their natural habitat. Then you arrive at Puerto Madryn, disembarking point of the first Welsh settlers in Chubut in 1865. The path goes by the only Aluminum Plant in Argentina – Aluar-, the Industrial Fishing Park, the quay of profound waters, Almirante Storni, where tourist and international transport loading ships are tied up. Later arrival at Trelew, last place of the excursion.
Day 150: Wednesday: Puerto Madryn: Punta Tombo: Excursion to Punta Tombo. The tour begins in Madryn and goes to the south, going through the Patagonian plateau until reaching the Dos Pozos spot where remains of stone constructions of the first offices of the telegraph of the region can still be appreciated. In this area, near the sea, the natural vegetation has characteristics different from the Patagonian fauna: rheas, guanacos, maras, piches, foxes, skunks, eagles, Patagonian owls, etc. After going through “La Perla” Manor, where in shearing times (Sept-Oct) you can see different country tasks, you arrive at Punta Tombo Reserve, the biggest continental penguin breeding site in the world, having a colony of Magellan Penguins of approximately 1,000,000 species. A few minutes after the arrival, the spectacle on both sides of the path is a big surprise: thousands of penguins in activity, fixing caves, building nests, going to the sea to look for food.
Day 151: Thursday: Trelew to Buenos Aires: Return to Trelew and fly to Buenos Aires, this afternoon join a fantastic tour out and learn about the tastes of Argentina! Experience the best of Argentine culture and cuisine, and meet people from all over the world by participating in Buenos Aires’ only interactive dining experience in the trendy Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. First, learn from the resident sommelier and mixologist how to make delicious wine-based cocktails. Then, you’ll be taught the skills and techniques to prepare authentic foods that Argentina is known for: empanadas, ‘alfajores’ (sweet biscuits) and mate. During your experience, enjoy tastings of two contrasting limited production Malbec wines and learn about these culinary specialties from your guide, while enjoying what many say is the best steak in Buenos Aires.
Day 152: Friday: Buenos Aires to La Rioja: Reception at La Rioja airport. Transfer to hotel. Lodging. Day at leisure. Optional: Passengers might enjoy a three – hour tour to Velasco Ridge, visiting The Creek, Los Sauces Levee and Sanagasta, a summer village located in a mountain area, near the splendorous Huaco Valley.
Day 153: Saturday: La Rioja / Valle de la Luna / Villa Union: Breakfast and departure towards Provincial Park Ischigualasto – Valle de La Luna (Moon Valley) – located in the neighbor Province of San Juan. Visitors arrive and visit Paleontology Museum. There follows a vehicle tour along the Park, enjoying a three-hour circuit through noticeable geological rock formations that have acquired strange shapes caused by erosion, turning them a unique landscape: the Worm, the Submarine, the Mushroom, Bowling square, The Red Gorge are some of them . In the afternoon, the visit keeps on to Villa Unión. Lodging.
Day 154: Sunday: Villa Union / Laguna Brava / Villa Union: Breakfast. Departure time for an exceptional circuit of beauty and color, that will lead visitors to Laguna Brava Reservoir, located at 4200 meters above sea level, in the middle of Los Andes Mountain Range. This spectacular excursion is done in 4×4 vehicles and goes through a number of mountain ranges, wave-cut platforms, salt works and landscapes of different colors. At La Troya and Peñón Creeks visitors will be able to admire the magnificent geological folded mountains and their fantastic landscapes. Arrival at Reservoir Laguna Brava, created in 1980 to protect the vicuna. On their way, visitors will pass by Vinchina, The Diaguitas´ Stars- a place characterized by enormous stars made of black, red and white stones build on the ground, which today stand restored. They constituted a ritual center where it is believed the Diaguitan Indians used to make ceremonies and pray to their gods – the trip continues by Jagüe. On the road, visitors will see some of the highest volcanoes of the world: the Veladero, the Pissis and the Bonete. At Laguna Brava, there could be seen the ecosystem rich fauna, such as: vicunas, guanacos, American panthers, flamingoes, purple eagles and falcons, being permanent residents of this reservoir in spite of its andean-punean weather with big temperature variations. In the afternoon, visitors return to Villa Unión. Lodging. Observations: We inform that during this excursion, visitors will arrive at some areas located over 4000 meters above sea level. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the excursion must be taken by people who physical and health conditions let them reach these heights. Note: Between June and September arrival at the Lagoon will depend on climate conditions, since roads and traces are usually blocked by snow accumulation. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid the blockages, so it is better to return 10 km. before Laguna Brava. Nevertheless the excursion is highly recommended because of the greatest attraction of its journey along the multicolored creeks.
Day 155: Monday: Villa Union / Talampaya / La Rioja: Breakfast. Departure from Villa Unión to Talampaya National Park. Unique in the world, it has a complete sequence of continental sedimentary-rocks from Triassic period. Inside the park visitors may enjoy different circuits, being the most traditional the one called “Talampaya Canyon” a three-hour trip consisting of a vehicle incursion along Talampaya River’s bed. Between the high walls of the great canyon, there can be seen natural formations carved by water and wind erosion during millions of years. Some of these are: The Sentry, The Magic King, The Gothic Cathedral, The Falcon, The Tower and The Monk. These nature manifestations are enhanced by the ancient inhabitants of the surroundings, who left the testimony of their presence by drawing pictures and stone-carvings. Then, in the afternoon, visitors return to La Rioja city. Lodging.
Day 156: Tuesday: La Rioja to Buenos Aires: Breakfast. Transfer to airport. End of services.Transfer to your Buenos Aires Hotel. In the afternoon, City Tour – 3 hours approximately. The tour starts in the historical Plaza de Mayo (Mayo Square) around which the most traditional places stand out: Casa Rosada (Pink House or House of Government), Presidential Site, the Cabildo, first city council of Buenos Aires and the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral). It is there where Avenida de Mayo (Mayo Avenue) begins, well known for its architectural buildings. It ends in Plaza del Congreso opposite the Palacio Legislativo (Law Courts). The tour goes along the wide 9 de Julio Avenue with its eight lanes separated by wonderful small squares full of sculptures and fountains, until reaching the majestic Teatro Colón (Colón Theatre) an ideal place for lovers of poetry, music and ballet. Going towards the south, we find the picturesque and colourful neighborhood of La Boca with its well known street called “Caminito” dating from 1883. The tour continues across the traditional neighborhood of San Telmo, with its colonial houses, its cobblestone streets and its peculiar antique shops which gathered around Plaza Dorrego (Dorrego Square) every Sunday spread hundreds of local art pieces. From that point, the tour continues to the north visiting the residential Palermo area, the Planetarium, the Polo fields, the Racetrack and the Zoo. Recoleta is the most sophisticated neighborhood in the city, with its restaurants, cafés, night clubs and shops. However, the most typical thing in this corner of the city is the Recoleta Cemetery where the remains of historical celebrities can be found as for example the mythical Eva Peron’s. Return to the hotel.
Day 157: Wednesday: Full Day Tigre River Delta Tour: With your guide, board the boat at Puerto Madero and head to Tigre.In Tigre, hop an a bus, where you’ll head to Puerto de Frutos. Here, follow your guide to the port that connects life on the islands with the mainland. It’s a lively and popular spot where you’ll have some time to take photos and walk around. You can also grab a bite to eat (own expense). Next, hop on a boat for your cruise through the canals of the delta, one of the largest in the world. Discover how the inhabitants of the delta turned it from a swampy area into a developed region with grass paths and canals of fresh water. Pass yacht clubs, waterfront houses on stilts, a market, and the house and museum of former Argentina president Sarmiento, who encouraged people to make their homes here. Your boat will then leave the delta, heading out onto the Rio de la Plata, one of the widest rivers in the world. Cruise along the Costanera Navigation Canal, parallel to the Buenos Aires shoreline, passing the River Plate Stadium, the University of Buenos Aires and the city’s port and cruise terminal. You’ll arrive at Puerto Madero, where you tour ends.
Day 158: Thursday: Buenos Aires – Gaucho Day Tour and Tango Evening: Experience a ‘fiesta gaucha’ (gaucho party) on this full-day tour from Buenos Aires to Estancia Santa Susana, a traditional ranch in the Argentina countryside. Loosely translated as the South American version of cowboys, gauchos are residents of the Argentina plains, and at Santa Susana, they offer a fun-filled day of ranch activities, horseback rides, a traditional folk show, a BBQ lunch, wine and a performance of their fantastic horse-riding skills. Late in the afternoon, the tour begins to the southern area of the city to enjoy a classical place in Buenos Aires, the spectacle in a traditional “tanguería” in the city. The best soloists and dancers will offer an incredible show with the music, poetry and sensual dancing of Tango, an authentic symbol of Buenos Aires. In a comfortable environment and enjoying an extraordinary service, you can taste the most exquisite typical Argentine meals, being the first-quality meal the specialty, accompanied by exquisite Argentine wines. Following the style of the greatest orchestras of Tango of the 40´s, a group of marvelous artists invites us to a luxury journey along the best music of the city. Tango, with its intimate and profound poetry will be reflected in the voice of the best interpreters. At the end of the show, you will return to the hotel.
Day 159: Friday: Buenos Aires to Colonia: Head down to the docks and take a Hydrofoil transfer from Buenos Aires to Colonia. Arrival and reception at Colonia’s Port. City tour visiting Colonia’s most important attractions. Colonia is an old city which has been declared World Heritage by the UNESCO. We will visit the little stone streets, old edifications, forts, Spanish and Portuguese Museums, the port, downtown, the Ferrando Beach, the wonderful Coastal Rambla which borders Colonia from the Old City to the “Real de San Carlos” where we will visit the bullring, the horses’ race course and the old port. Transfer to the bus station in order to take a bus to Montevideo. Arrival and reception at “Tres Cruces'” bus station. Transfer to the hotel.
Day 160: Saturday: Montevideo: Breakfast at the hotel. City Tour visiting Montevideo’s most important attractions: the Independence Square, the Legislative Palace, the traditional Prado neighborhood, the residential zone of Carrasco, the Old City and pedestrian streets, the town hall, the cathedral and the typical Mercado del Puerto, where we will have lunch. (Lunch not included).
Day 161: Sunday: Punta del Este & Cabo Polonio: Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion to Punta Del Este, where we will visit Casapueblo, a strange construction designed by the famous Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, where we will visit his atelier.: Once in Punta del Este, we will visit the Mansa and Brava Beaches as well as the residential neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, San Rafael and Cantegril Golf. We will cross the strange undulated bridge of “La Barra” and then continue our journey towards the Province of Rocha. When we arrive to Cabo PolonioÅs entrance we will cross the sand dunes in 4×4 vehicles (or horseback) until we reach the coast of this cozy fishing town. We will have lunch at “La Perla” (The Pearl), a little local Posada with a view to the sea. We will then visit one of the world’s biggest Sea Lions Reserve. After lunch, we will continue our trip to the typical Estancia “Guardia Del Monte”, located at the shores of the Castillos Lagoon. Dinner and lodging are included in this Estancia.
Day 161: Monday: Estancia Guardia del Monte: Breakfast at the estancia. Visit to the Ombues Forest, one of the few that still exist. Full Day dedicated to enjoy the estancia and its surroundings. You will be able to practice several activities like: horse-riding, fishing, bird-watching, and swimming at the Castillos Lagoon. Lunch, dinner and lodging are included at this estancia.
Day 162: Tuesday: Playa La Pedrera: Breakfast at the estancia and transfer to La Pedrera. Day at leisure to make optional excursions. We suggest the visit to Rocha Palm Groves, where we will visit the palm trees and the Black Lagoon. We will have lunch near the lagoon. In the afternoon we will visit the Ficus Forest and the Hill, where we will appreciate the spectacular view of the countryside. We will then return to La Pedrera.
Day 163: Wednesday: Montevideo: Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the bus station in order to take a bus to Montevideo. Arrival, reception and transfer to the hotel.
Day 164: Thursday: Montevideo to Salta: Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Carrasco International Airport, fly to Salta Arrival at Salta airport. Transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, City Tour, including ascension to the top of Cerro San Bernardo by cable railway. Return to your hotel. Lodging.
Day 165: Friday: Salta / Cafayate: Breakfast. Departure to Cafayate. Arrival at Posta de las Cabras and follow up through Quebrada Las Conchas to watch its changeable-reddish rock formations such as: The Obelisco, Fraile, etc. Arrival at Cafayate. Lodging.
Day 166: Saturday: Cafayate / Amaicha del Valle / Cafayate: Breakfast. Departure to Quilmes, visiting the ruins of the Old Quilmes Indian settlement – located in Tucumán Province. Continuing to Amaicha del Valle. There visitors may look over the Archaeological Museum “Pachamama” with a wide range of thematic exhibition halls: Archaeology, Geology, History and an outdoor display of natural figures such as: The Great Chaman, The “Pachamama”, The Two-Headed Serpent, etc. Lodging.
Day 167: Sunday: Cafayate / Cachi / Salta: Breakfast. Departure to Salta City – via Cachi – passing by Quebrada de las Flechas, visiting the Archaeological Museum of Cachi (Museo Pio Pablo Díaz) and the Church of Cachi. Resuming the tour to Salta we will go through Los Cardones National Park and Cuesta del Obispo which is 3.348 meters above sea level traveling from Tin Tin to the junction with the route to Salta city. Lodging.
Day 168: Monday: Salta / Purmamarca: Breakfast. Departure towards Purmamarca -a place enhanced by the matchless Cerro de los 7 Colores – located in the Jujuy Province. Lodging. Departure to Salinas Grandes (important saltwork) – 3.706 meters above sea level – going through Cuesta de Lipán – 4.170 meters above sea level. A great opportunity to buy salt-made crafts. Return to Purmamarca. Lodging.
Day 169: Tuesday: Purmamarca / Tilcara / Salta: Breakfast. Departure to Pucará de Tilcara having the opportunity to visit there the Archaeological Museum of Tilcara: “Dr. Eduardo Casanova”. Departure to Humahuaca, getting there in time to receive San Francisco Solano’s Blessing (daily appearance at 12:00 AM). Return to Purmamarca. Departure to Salta. Lodging.
Day 170: Wednesday: Salto to Posadas to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini / Iberá Swamps: Breakfast. Transfer to Salta city airport. Arrival at Posadas Airport or Bus Terminal and transfer to Estancia Rincón del Socorro. Estancia Rincón del Socorro is a 12,000-hectare former cattle ranch on the edge of the Iberá wetlands that has been turn into a nature reserve. In the afternoon, you will be able to go for a walk around the ranch and visit the gardens where vegetables are cultivated.
Day 171: Thursday: Iberá Swamps: This is ideal for a horseback riding and guests are encouraged for this even they are not seasoned riders. From the saddle you can see lots of wildlife; riding is the quickest, easiest and most pleasant way to get to know this ecosystem. The horses are well-behaved and the guides competent. Rincón Del Socorro is an excellent place for bird watching; if you are not already a birdwatcher, it is very easy to become one here! In the four different habitats of this large former ranch, you can see an amazing number of different species of birds in a short time, including endangered species from the surrounding region that have found shelter here. You will learn about their behaviour, habitats, migrations, and the problems caused by the degradation of their environment. Lodging.
Day 172: Friday: Iberá Swamps: The Estancia offers boat trips. Groups must be small (no more than six people); if necessary there may be several trips per day. The boat trip begins at the far end of the ranch 35 kilometres northeast of the inn; it takes about 30 minutes to get there by car. Most guests prefer to make these trips in the early morning or early evening, when you can appreciate more animals. The boat ride takes 1 ½ hours, depending on weather conditions and guests’ preferences. After a morning outing, a barbeque lunch is served in a beautiful hut beside the boat dock, if weather conditions permitting. Good wildlife watching is possible right by the barbeque area for those who would rather relax there and wait for the others to return in the boat. Lodging.
Day 173: Saturday: Iberá Swamps / Posadas: After breakfast we leave the estancia to visit the Trinidad Jesuitical Ruins located in Paraguay. The Jesuit Priest Juan de Anaya together with a native group coming from the village of San Carlos arrived to the place in 1706 founding Santísima Trinidad del Paraná. Since its foundation until the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, Trinidad was an example of organization and cooperation. Harmony and organization in all the people’s tasks reigned in the place and each native’s property was respected. The Jesuit reduction of Santísima Trinidad del Paraná was declared World’s Patrimony under the Nº 648 of the 17th meeting of the committee, carried out in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia on December, 16th 1993. This inscription gives the universal exceptional value of a cultural property to the site that deserves protection for all the humanity. The village of Jesus is located at 25 kilometres from Trinidad. The church was never finished and the building shows, even today, the same conditions as in 1767, when the Jesuits were forced to abandon the village. From the two reductions many artistic pieces have been rescued and may be appreciated in the museums of San Ignacio, Santa Rosa and Santa María de Fe. After this visit we continue the trip to Estancia Santa Ines. It was founded over 100 years ago by Don Pedro Nuñez. He was a pioneer with the first Yerba Mate plantation in Misiones. The colonial English farmhouse is located in a middle of a park, which opens on Misiones Whispering Jungle Islet. It also has a small chapel and a volcanic stone swimming pool with spring water. Lodging.
Day 174: Sunday: Posadas / Moconá: After breakfast we leave the Estancia to visit San Ignacio Mini Jesuitical Ruins, which were established in 1696 in the place where we find its ruins nowadays. As the other reductions, the Paraguayan destroyed it in 1817. The ruins were totally restored in 1940. Thanks to those improvements, the urban outline of the reduction can be appreciated, with remarkable accuracy. This is one of the best prepared for the tourist visit. It counts with local guides, toilets, interpretative museum, various models and sound and light show. They are kept in a very good condition for the appreciation of what this epic has involved: the temple, the arm square, the dwellings, the school, the graveyard and other places of interest. In its surroundings there are numerous restaurants, bars, hotels and all the necessary for tourist care. After this, we continue our trip to Moconá, lodging at Don Enrique Lodge. It is situated just in one of the limits of this reserve, in 25 hectares of tropical rainforest, and in the heart of a thick ravine on the bank of the Paraíso River, of calm green waters. It was built with wood and stones from the place. The lodge has spacious inner rooms and all the amenities of the civilization. Lodging.
Day 175: Monday: Moconá: Visit to the spectacular Moconá Falls, making a beautiful voyage on boat through the Uruguay River.Moconá Falls, after Iguazú Falls, are the most important natural tourist attraction in the Province of Misiones. It is a geological imperfection that fractures longitudinally the trench of the Uruguay River. This imperfection of more than three kilometres (1.9 miles) forms a continuous jump that reaches a height of 25 meters (45 feet), that can be appreciated depending on the river’s water level. Lodging.
Day 176: Tuesday: Moconá / Iguazú: Transfer form Moconá Falls to Iguazú, visiting the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. The magnificent stage of this Nature Wonder is worthy to be appreciated from both margins, for this reason it is indispensable to see them from the Brazilian side. This focus has the peculiarity of embracing a full view of the landscape, a panoramic picture of more than 200 falls. For private visitors the locomotion within the park consists of amusing and comfortable double floor busses, totally panoramic. The first postcard that announces the beginning of the journey leave us motionless and without words, only trying to capture by means of our glance the impression of nature as well as the hand of God. First we gaze at the three great falls San Martín, Bozetti and Tres Mosqueteros (Three Musketeers), and after walking 1.200 mts by a path, we get to the typical Brazilian Fall, the Floriano and by a footbridge we access the view of the majesty, the main impressive of the falls, Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat). This park has innumerable attractions, from journeys, interpretative buildings, artisan shops, commercial shops, a varied food area, ending with an excellent restaurant with a view to the Devil’s Throat called Puerto Canoas, where both lunches and special events can be performed. After the excursion passengers will be taken to the Sheraton Iguazú Hotel. Ideally situated in the heart of Iguazú National Park, Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa is within walking distance of some of nature’s finest creations, from the spectacular Iguazú Falls to the Devil’s Throat you will find a wide array of activity opportunities as well as incomparable views. Lodging.
Day 177: Wednesday: Iguazú: We will take a full day visit to the Argentinean side of the falls. The natives who inhabited this region called the most impressive falls in the World “Big Water”. It is nowadays perhaps the best definition to give to this group formed by 275 falls with a flow that may reach 1800m3 per second. Discovered in 1541 by the conqueror Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Iguazú Falls (called by him Saint Mary – Falls), form a semicircle of 2700 meters with falls and cascades of 40 to 80 meters, which constitute one of the most beautiful postcards in the world. The Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) is its main fall, which may form a 30 meters high mist. The Iguazú Falls integrate one of the world principal ecosystems. The biodiversity of the National Park, helped by the subtropical climate with wet season, gives shelter to more than 2000 kinds of vegetables and approximately 700 species between mammals, birds and reptiles. The multicoloured butterflies give an unequalled show. The red land, which owes its colour to one of its components: the iron oxide, encloses a frame of multiple beauties and unforgettable landscapes. This show of nature, considered as one of the World’s Wonders, originated 200 thousand years ago in the place that we call today “Three Frontier Landmarks”, where the Iguazú River and the Paraná River join. A geological fault produced in the Paraná River bed convert the Iguazú River mouth in an abrupt cascade of 80 meters of height. From that point, where the falls originated, up to the place where nowadays the Garganta del Diablo is located, there is a distance of 23 kilometres, due to the slow but continuous erosive backward movement, in the position of the falls. This great original fall, has turned into two great sinuous arches with an extension of 2700 meters. The most impressive fall of the group is the Garganta del Diablo, with 80 meters of height which is located in the main course of the river. According to the flow of the river, 160 to 260 falls may be admired, which in average pour approximately 1500 cubical meters of water per second. The violence of the fall produces a permanent mist inside of which the sunbeams form multiple rainbows of an insuperable beauty. Lodging.
Day 178: Thursday: Iguazú / Yacutinga: AM, at leisure to enjoy hotel facilities. At 2.30 P.M. Transportation from Puerto Iguazú – Raices Argentinas (meeting point) – in modern vans travelling through Uruguay Provincial Park and rural areas of Yerba Mate plantations. In the 145-km distance covered along a paved road the landscape combines small towns and Forest. During this trip, the guide will explain the environmental problems of the region and the importance of Natural Areas Conservation. Arrival at Yacutinga Lodge, reception, room distribution. Dinner. Night walk, The Forest at night. Lodging.
Day 179: Friday: Yacutinga Lodge: Breakfast. Early in the morning boating along the San Francisco stream, which flows into the Natural Reserve. This is the right moment for a photo-safari and general fauna observation. Boating trip lasts almost 3 hours, silently going through the Gallery forest area. Back to the Lodge at mid-morning. Lunch. Free time to walk along and simply enjoy the facilities of the Lodge (swimming pool, observation towers, hanging walkway, visitors centre, etc.). Interpretative walks in the afternoon, conducted by expert guides who provide good information on the several natural environments, their Flora and Fauna. Back to the Lodge. Dinner.
Day 180: Saturday: Yacutinga Lodge / Raíces Argentina / Iguazú / Curitiba: Breakfast and free time to explore around or simply enjoy the Lodge area.Return to Puerto Iguazú by land at mid-morning. Arrival estimated at 1:00 p.m. passengers will be transferred to the Airport. Flight to Curitiba. Arrive in Curitiba, named best-organized city in South America, now a model for many Western industrialized nations! The city has grown 10-fold in the past 20 years, using innovative ideas to manage its substantial growth. Check in to your Hotel. Tonight’s included dinner will give you a taste of the region’s mix of cultures.
Day 181: Sunday: Curitiba: This Morning the bus will pick you up at the hotel and take you to Porto de Paranaguá. Then you will have a transfer to Antonina and Morretes, where you will be able to tasty the very typical meal known as Barreado. After lunch, board the scenic historic railway as it winds its way from sea level up 1200m (3/4 of a mile high!) over the Serra do Mar chain back to Curitiba and transfer to Pantanal.
Day 182: Monday: Pantanal : Pantanal – Along with the Amazon Basis, the Pantanal is one of the last virgin areas on the face of earth. A huge lowland plain, it is entirely overgrown by luxuriant vegetation dotted by thousands of rainbow colored flowers which bloom during the rainy season (Dec to March). It shelters innumerable rivers and crystal clear lakes. Along their shores are rare species of animals such as jaguars, peccaries, bob-cats, wild boards not to mention flocks of ducks, Gray Teals, pigeons, partridges and herons who live in total and undisturbed freedom protected by the laws that created the National Parks. Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to PousadaRio Mutum passing through the small village of Mimoso, where Mal. Candido Rondon was born. On the way, observation of many kind of birds, small mammals and typical landscapes. After check-in, introduction to the lodge and area around it and lunch. Afternoon with activiities at the pousada. In the evening a delicious piranha soup is served just before dinner. After dinner, introduction to the activities of the following days. Overnight at Pousada do Rio Mutum.
Day 183: Tuesday: Pantanal: After breakfast, horseback trail riding in the jungle, up to the edge of the Siá Mariana bay. During the whole year, a big variety of birds, animals and reptiles can be observed. Return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, boat ride for a photographic safari in Mutum River. In its crystal clear water it is possible to see giant otters, stingrays and shoals of small fish. At the Mutum river banks, a large variety of birds can be observed. Return to the lodge for dinner, then nocturnal animal spotting by jeep in the lodge surrounding area. Overnight at Pousada do Rio Mutum.
Day 184: Wednesday: Pantanal: Early morning (4:30am) – Canoeing in the Mutum river to observe the sunrise and the beauty of wildlife at the break of dawn in the Pantanal. Return to the lodge, breakfast and check-out. Transfer to the Curitiba
Day 185: Thursday: Curitiba to Sao Paulo: Transfer to Sao Paulo: Transfer from your hotel in Curitiba to São Paulo. The city of São Paulo is full of surprises. There was a time when it was just considered a rainy city full of work and concrete. São Paulo, the capital, has indeed a rainy season, but just in the first three months of the year. It is the right place to work, run helter-skelter, and have busy days. Its concrete is attractive and can be seen in monumental buildings, shopping centers and residential neighborhoods. Later you will check in to your hotel.
Day 186: Friday: Sao Paulo to Manaus: Today we have a full mornings sightseeing in Sao Paulo before heading to the airport for an afternoon flight to Manaus.
Day 187: Saturday: Manaus: Manaus is the capital city of Amazonas, which is the largest state in Brazil. It is a modern city and one of the fastest growing in Brazil. It is also the ideal point of departure for visiting the rest of the Amazon region. Tour boats leave Manaus to see the Meeting of the Waters, where the black waters of the Negro River meet the light waters of the Solimões River, which flow side by side without mixing for several miles. Visitors can also explore river banks and “igarapes” (creeks), swim and canoe in placid lakes or simply walk in the lush forest. After arriving in Manaus, the group will transfer to Hotel Tropical Manaus. The afternoon city tour of Manaus will visit some of its typical neighborhoods as well as the Museum of Indigenous Peoples, where guests can see some of the traditions, tools and garments used by these people. Next, visit the Teatro Amazonas (Opera House), the primary tourist attraction in the city.
Day 188: Sunday : Manaus: Manaus – Capital of Amazonas, the largest state in Brazil, is a modern city. It is also the ideal point of departure for visiting the rest of the Amazon region. Tour boats leave Manaus to see the Meeting of the Waters, where the black waters of the Negro River meet the light waters of the Solimoes River, flowing side by side without mixing for several miles. Visitors can also explore river banks and “igarapes”, swim and canoe in placid lakes or simply walk in the lush forest. Arrive Manaus – transfer to hotel Overnight at Hotel Tropical Manaus.
Day 189: Monday: Manaus: This morning, Half day city tour of Manaus – Visit to some typical neighborhoods in Manaus with a stop at the Rio Negro Palace, where the local Mayor lives, visit to the Indian Museum, where we can see some of the tradition, objects and costumes used by this people. After that, visit to the Teatro Amazonas (Opera House), the mainly tourist spot in the city. In the afternoon, board the Amazon Clipper Premmium boat, for a 3 nights cruise on the Amazon Forest (Departures only on Wednesdays) Leaves the Hotel Tropical landing-stage at 02:30 pm. Presentation on board of the staff, route and facilities. Navigation to the Ariau river (tributary of Rio Negro). Canoe trip shortly before sunset, returning after dark, with the possibility of observing nocturnal animals and perceive the change in the forest as night falls. Dinner. Navigation to Açu-Creck or nearby tributaries. Overnight at Amazon Clipper boat.
Day 190: Tuesday: Manaus: Walk in the forest with commentaries by specialists. Observation of flora. Visit to a “Caboclo” family. Change to see the local way of life, preparation of manioc flour (the staple food stuff of the Amazon), the health and education situation of children, etc. Lunch. Navigation through the Anavilhanas Archipelago. Visit to the small, isolated town of Novo Airo with opportunity to see local boat building sawmills, market, sometimes the commerce of palm-fiber and ornamental fish, and other activities. Navigation. Dinner. Night trip to see Caymans and possibly frogs, sloth, snakes and other species, depending on the season. Overnight at Amazon Clipper boat.
Day 191: Wednesday: Manaus: Breakfast. Navigation to Praia Grande or other while-sand beach. Swimming if conditions permit, and observation of vegetation of sandy areas. Canoes trip in Lake Acajatuba or adjacent lake to see typical flora (rubber trees, Brazil nuts, useful palm trees of various types). Fishing for piranhas. Lunch. Depending on water-level and wind: stop at the Paricatuba community to see old, abandoned rubber-boom buildings, now overgrown with strangler fig trees, or canoe trip in the Jacareubal area. Dinner. Navigation. Overnight at Amazon Clipper boat.
Day 192: Thursday: Manaus / Salvador: Lake Januari. Canoe trip at sunrise for bird watching. Breakfast. Navigation to the “Meeting of the Waters”. Return to the Hotel Tropical landing-stage, with fine views of Manaus waterfront buildings, activities and commerce. Arrival at 11:30am in Manaus. Transfer to airport for flight to Salvador. Arrival and transfer to hotel.
Day 193: Friday: Salvador: The day will begin with a half-day historical city tour. Participants start in the modern suburb of Barra and head towards the old, historical section of town, Pelourinho, with the most expansive selection of preserved colonial architecture in the Americas. The tour will visit the church of Sao Francisco and its exuberant gold-leafed baroque interior and the Pelourinho Square, the heart of old town. This tour shows two distinct aspects of Salvador: the new and the old worlds, concentrating on the early expansion of the city. That evening witness Bahia by Night withdinner and a show at the intimate Miguel de Santana Theatre, in Pelourinho. The Bahia Folklore Company (Balé Folclórico da Bahia) is one of the most respected folklore dance teams in the world. The troop performs a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that permeate Bahian culture. Perforfances include the sacred dances of the Candomblé; puxada de rede, a song by fishermen in honor of Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea; maculelê, an acrobatic stick and sword dance with origins in the cane fields; capoeira, a martial art/dance created by Brazilian slaves and the samba de roda, a spinning, swirling version of the exuberant national dance. After the show dinner will be served in one of the many traditional restaurants in the area. Overnight accommodations at Bahia Othon Palace Hotel.
Day 194: Saturday: Salvador: This day features a full day schooner cruise with lunch. Transfer to the pier and board a schooner to cruise to some of the 36 islands in the bay. Stop with time to relax in the sun or swim in the warm waters. Re-board for a short crossing to the larger Itaparica Island for lunch. Enjoy more time to relax on the beach or an optional visit to the colonial town of Itaparica before returning to Salvador.
Day 195: Sunday: Salvador: Explore the Historic Pelourinho: After a hearty Brazilian breakfast, depart for a lively tour of Salvador. Visit the Pelourinho, the recently restored historical center of Salvador, which the UNESCO declared a World Heritage Cultural Site. This evening, opt for a Bahia by Night excursion including dinner and show.
Day 196: Monday: Salvador: Praia do Forte Turtle Project: Continue your explorations of the city, or opt to visit Praia do Forte, known as the “Brazilian Polynesia”, including a visit to the Turtle Station Tamar and lunch. It has so many leisure options that it is hard to know where to start. There are 12 kilometers of beaches surrounded by dunes, coconut groves and tidal pools. Among the attractions there are: Garcia D’ôvila Castle Historic District, Sapiranga reserve, Pojuca river rapids and a fishermen village that welcomes the tourists with open arms. Besides all that, Praia do Forte also offers an excellent infrastructure. An old fishermans village originated what today is known as Praia do Forte Village, where the rustic meets the sophisticated. A few streets, from the coconut plantation to the village which has several natural attractions and where preservation is a strong characteristic of the place.
Day 197: Tuesday: Salvador to Lencios: Visit the Historic Diamond Mining Village of Lencois: Depart this morning for a journey inland to the historic diamond mining village of Lençois. Early settlers strung sheets (Lençois in Portuguese) from tree to tree to protect themselves from the elements, thus giving the town its name. Check in your hotel. A short hike with your guide brings you to a natural waterslide, where you can test your courage with the local youth! Your guide takes you on a walk through the old town before heading for dinner.
Day 198: Wednesday: Full Day Excursion to Mucugezinho: Today, take a full-day excursion to Mucugezinho, a beautiful ecological sanctuary with some waterfalls and natural swimming pools surrounded by exuberant Flora. Continue to Poço do Diabo (Devil’s Well), a big black lagoon. Next, explore the Cave Lapa Doce (a 1 km-long (½ mile) beautiful rock formation), the Cave Partinha, an amazing flooded cave, and Lake Paratinha, with crystal clear waters, with an opportunity for bathing, relaxing and lunch (included). As the day winds down, hike up the Morro Pai Inácio, a beautiful tabletop mountain, where you will appreciate a wide variety of wild orchids and other exotic plants. From the top, experience the magnificent setting sun over the panoramic view of mountains and canyons. Return to Lençois for dinner (included).
Day 199: Thursday: Full Day Excursion to Igatu & Poco Encantado: Early breakfast and departure for another full day tour to explore the diamond mining ghost town Igatu. Continue to Poco Encantado, a mountain cave with a spectacular lake of crystal clear water, 60m (200ft) deep. From April to August, a shaft of sunlight penetrates the cave through the mountainside, with the waters reacting like a prism, dispersing the colors in a rainbow spectrum. Lunch at Poco Encantado and dinner in Lençois are included.
Day 200: Friday: Lencios to Ouro Preto: The airport is only 10 minutes away for a flight to Belo Horizonte. Arrive in Belo Horizonte and get picked up at the airport and immediately transfer to the city of Ouro Preto. Ouro Preto was founded in the early 18th century. It was built on rocky ground and declared a national monument in 1933. It is a masterpiece of Brazilian colonial architecture with fountains, churches, ruins and towers with shining colored tiles. Due to its distance from the coast, it is the only town in Brazil to remain as an outstanding artistic and architectural example of that era. Ouro Preto’s baroque architecture can be viewed upon as traditionally Brazilian. Overnight accommodations at Pousada Minas Gerais.
Day 201: Saturday: Ouro Preto and Mariana: Today visit the most important historical city of Minas Gerais – Ouro Preto which got from UNESCO the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity, being also part of Brazil´s Circuit of Gold. Ouro Preto also has the most valuable collection of the baroque art, the biggest homogeneous complex of Brazilian’s baroque architecture and the biggest complex of baroque in the world. Our next destination is the enchanted city of Mariana, founded in 1696 which was for a short time the capital of the State of Minas. A walk down the picturesque streets allows you to see houses which date from the beginning of the XVIII century, with their balconies of wood, iron and even soapstone. Return to Ouro Preto for Overnight.
Day 203: Sunday: Ouro Preto / Congonhas / Tiradentes : After breakfast, by bus to the city of Congonhas, where we will find the masterpieces of Master Antonio Francisco Lisboa, known just as Master ALEIJADINHO (the little cripple) – the twelve Prophets, carved in soapstone and his sculptural representation of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross), done in polychromatic woodwork. His works in wood and stone were the “trademark” that decidedly defined the Brazilian Baroque style. The set of life-sized sculptures is Brazil’s greatest artistic treasure. Continue to the charming historical city of Tiradentes (about 20km). The city has its name because of our first martyred hero – Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, nicknamed Tiradentes . Comfort, sophistication and style make Tiradentes one of the most alluring towns in Minas. Its shops are inviting, the craftworks of the finest quality, the inns and restaurants enchanting. All very romantic. Afternoon at leisure to get to know this charming city. Great shopping and nice restaurants. In Tiradentes, overnight at Hotel Solar da Ponte, one of the most charming colonial hotels in Brazil.
Day 204: Monday: Tiradentes: Visit the Church of Santo Antonio, Rosario Church, Colonial fountain and the Museum. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the pousada.
Day 205: Tuesday: Tiradentes to Rio de Janeiro: Morning departure to visit Sao Joao del Rey, about 14km distant. Sao Joao del Rey is a city from the “golden era”, combining modern and colonial. During the tour you will visit the Church of Sao Francisco de Assis, Regional Art Museum, Carmo Church, Rosario and Cadeia bridges. Transfer back to Belo Horizonte airport and fly to Rio.
Day 206: Wednesday: Rio de Janeiro: This morning we catch the sunrise over the famous Copacabana beach and head off on a city sightseeing tour. It is nestled between the mountains and the sea. Its magnificent shoreline includes charming bays and beautiful beaches, dotted with islands up and down the coast. Flying into Rio is a beautiful sight; whether at night or during the day, the visitors quickly find out why Rio is known as the Marvelous City. It is also an important center for art and fashion. The afternoon consists of a half day tour to Sugar Loaf: visit the world famous Sugar Loaf Mountain in the middle of the Guanabara Bay, which offers one of the most breathtaking views of the city. The tour also offers a ride to downtown Rio which features a panoramic view of the city.
Day 207: Thursday: Rio de Janeiro : The morning will start with a tour to Corcovado. After a beautiful scenic drive along Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, passengers arrive at the bottom of the Corcovado hill where they will embark on a comfortable train ride to the top of the beautiful mountain, where the statue of Christ, the Redeemer is located. From the summit, enjoy the most breathtaking view in Rio! Return to the Hotel early in the afternoon. That evening experience Rio by night with dinner and a show. Take in an elegant dinner in one of Rio’s famous barbecue restaurants. After dinner, enjoy a show at Plataforma (does not operate on Sundays), a samba house with elaborately costumed morenas, singers and dancers, presenting Brazil’s folklore.
Day 208: Friday: Rio de Janeiro to Santiago: The morning starts with a Tijuca Forest tour by Jeep. Tijuca Forest is known as the world’s largest urban forest. With its paths, waterfalls and greenery, Tijuca forest is a mix of history and nature. Afternoon flight to Santiago.
Day 209: Saturday: Santiago to Mataveri (Easter Island): Fly to Mataveri, upon arrival at Mataveri airport, welcome and transfer to your selected hotel. Lodging.
Day 210: Sunday: Easter Island: Breakfast. Full day excursion visiting the archaeological centre of Akahanga, Rano Raraku quarry where all the existing Moais were sculpted, over 300 Moais in different stages of completion, Ahu Tongariki, with its archaeological ruins of what once was the largest platform until washed away by a tidal wave in 1969, Te Pito Kura, Ahu Ngau Ngau, including picnic lunch on Anakena Beach with its crystal-clear emerald-green waters. Lodging.
Day 211: Monday: Easter Island: Breakfast. During the morning, visit to Rano Kau volcano, (1,6 km in diameter), the ceremonial village of Orongo with the largest concentration of Petroglyphs with images of Tangata Manu, the birdman, gods Make Make and Komari, fertility symbols and Vinapu. Rest of the day at leisure. Lodging.
Day 212: Tuesday: Easter Island: Breakfast. Half-day sightseeing of Ahu Akivi, site of the seven Moais overlooking the sea, Caves of Ana Tepahu, among the largest on the island and Pun-a-Pau quarries on the slopes of a volcano and where the reddish topknots were sculpted. Rest of the day at leisure. Lodging.
Day 213: Wednesday: Easter Island departure: Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for flight home via Santiago.