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Grand Tour of South America with Quito and Galapagos Islands Cruise

28 days with Luxury Gold by Insight   Rating: Deluxe

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Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive in Quito.
Welcome to Ecuador. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2 Quito Sightseeing.
(Relaxed Start) A drive north will take you to the Monument to the Equator. Here, you can experience the rare opportunity of standing in the Northern and Southern hemispheres simultaneously. Next, visit the Ethnographical Museum, which presents the history of the cultures of Ecuador. Continue to the historic centre of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Journey to the San Francisco Square, pass the church of La Compañia and see its ornate and richly sculptured facade. Continue on to visit one of the oldest streets in Quito, La Ronda. Later, enjoy dinner with wine in the historic Old Town at Theatrum.

Day 3 Fly to the Galapagos Islands.
In the morning, fly to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands, where you will be met and transferred to the Itabaca Channel. A ferry will take you across the channel to Santa Cruz Island, where you then head for the highlands to learn about the island’s ecosystems and biodiversity. After lunch, travel to El Chato Reserve to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. A short journey will take you to Puerto Ayora where you board La Pinta, your yacht for the next four nights.

Day 4 Observe the fascinating wildlife.
In the morning, a panga (dinghy) will ferry you to Eden Islet to observe Blue footed boobies, reef sharks and frigates. There will be a chance to snorkel and, if weather conditions permit, ride in a glass-bottom boat to see the tiny island of Sombrero Chino. Upon return to Eden Islet, explore the beautiful surrounds and wildlife as you wander the 1,312-foot-long (400 metres) trail.

Day 5 Bartolomé Island, Pinnacle Rock and Sullivan Bay.
In the morning, the Galapagos icon of Bartolomé Island awaits. Ascend a wooden staircase for spectacular views from the top before boarding a panga cruise around the colossal Pinnacle Rock. After lunch, the panga will take you to Sullivan Bay, a white, coral-sand beach that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. It also has a trail running above a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago.

Day 6 Explore Genovesa Island.
Begin your day with an easy stroll to observe marine and land birds, with options available for all travellers. In the afternoon, there is a panga ride alongside the cliffs before disembarking for a captivating walk to observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, Frigatebirds, storm petrels, and the elusive short-eared owl.

Day 7 Onward to Lima.
Return to Baltra Island to disembark and be transferred to Baltra Airport for your flight to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (FB) Anticipated arrival time in Lima is 22:00.

Day 8 Lima 'City of the Kings'.
(Relaxed Start) Experience Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert as you explore the UNESCO-listed, Historic Centre of Lima. Step onto the colonial balconies, with private-access, at the Archbishop's house. Your Highlight Lunch is at Amoramar in the bohemian district of Barranco. Visit the workshop of Víctor Delfín, one of Peru’s leading artists, before enjoying a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado and learning about Peruvian coffee with a barista. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine on the terrace at Huaca Pucllana. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 9 Lima and On To The Sacred Valley.
Board your flight to Cusco before continuing to Peru's Sacred Valley. Meet Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez, a Quechua scholar, and president of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. Enjoy lunch with Nilda and learn about her mission to preserve traditional weaving techniques. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 10 Exploring the Sacred Valley.
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, head to the town of Maras to meet with a local family and learn about the arts and crafts of the region. View the spectacular terraced salt pans dating back to Inca times. Experience a typical caja china lunch, cooked in a wooden box, before witnessing a private Pachamama Ceremony, or 'Payment to the Earth', as a local shaman performs the centuries-old ritual.(Full Breakfast / Lunch)

Day 11 Journey to Machu Picchu.
Visit the town of Ollantaytambo, a national archeological site. Settle into the Vistadome train for your scenic journey to Machu Picchu, before enjoying an included lunch upon arrival at your resort. Venture along nature trails with a Local Expert, through the fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. Discover a working tea plantation and the world's largest private collection of indigenous orchids. In the evening, learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour before dinner with wine at the hotel.(Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 12 Mysterious Machu Picchu.
The entire day is yours to discover the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu with your Local Expert.(Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 13 Return to Cusco.
(Relaxed Start) Return by train to Sacred Valley for a Highlight Lunch of traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground. Later, get up-close to llamas, alpacas and even the rare vicuñas, before arriving at your hotel.(Full Breakfast / Lunch)

Day 14 Colonial Cusco.
(Relaxed Start) Join your Local Expert to explore the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha and cathedral, followed by the citadel of Sacsayhuaman. Set out for San Blas to visit a candle shop and learn about its importance to the locals. Later, a candlelit Highlight Dinner with wine is served at the reputed MAP restaurant.(Full Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 15 Lake Region of Peru.
Board your included flight to Juliaca and continue to Puno, along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Your lakeside hotel is on Esteves Island.(Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 16 The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca.
(Relaxed Start) Cruise Lake Titicaca to the floating islands of Uros before continuing to the island of Amantaní to enjoy lunch hosted by the local community.(Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 17 Puno, Back to Lima.
Head to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo to explore the burial grounds, before your flight to Lima. At night, savour a sensational Highlight Dinner with wine at world-renowned Astrid y Gaston. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 18 Fly to Santiago.
Bid farewell to Lima as you fly to Santiago. In the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine in nearby Lastarria, Santiago's trendiest neighbourhood. (Full Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 19 The Sights of Santiago, Valparaiso and Wine Country.
(Relaxed Start) Meet a Local Expert for a city tour before a visit to the UNESCO-listed port of Valparaiso and the boutique Kingston Family Winery in the Casablanca Valley for a tasting. (Full Breakfast)

Day 20 Fly to Buenos Aires.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a leisurely morning before flying to Buenos Aires. In the evening, your Highlight Dinner with wine is at Piegari Carnes, known for its Argentine beef. (Full Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 21 Beautiful Buenos Aires.
(Relaxed Start) Get to know Buenos Aires with a Local Expert on a tour including Palermo, San Telmo and Recoleta. Enjoy views of the balcony, made famous by Evita Peron, and walk the colourful neighbourhood of La Boca. Visit the Belle Epoque Teatro Colon. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine, live music, singers and dancers at Rojo Tango. (Full Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 22 Pampas, Estancias and Gauchos.
(Relaxed Start) Step into a world of riding boots and leather chaps at an Estancia, where you will be served a delicious asado Highlight Lunch with wine and a taste of the life of an Argentinian gaucho, or cowboy. (Full Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)

Day 23 The Falls of Iguassu.
Fly to Iguassu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the great natural wonders of the world. Your Local Expert will take you to meet a tribal representative of the indigenous Guarani people. Your luxurious resort is the only hotel inside the Brazilian Iguassu National Park. Enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel in the evening. (Continental Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 24 The 'Great Waters' of Iguassu Falls.
(Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert for a walk on the Brazilian side of the falls, see the panoramic view of San Martin Island and visit the Bird Park. Perhaps soar over Iguassu Falls on a helicopter ride? (Full Breakfast)

Day 25 Rio de Janeiro, City of Sea and Samba.
Today, fly to vibrant Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to your hotel located on famous Copacabana Beach where your evening is free. (Full Breakfast)

Day 26 Exploring Rio de Janeiro.
(Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert on a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. At Confeitaria Colombo, enjoy a Highlight Lunch with wine amid a lavish setting. In the afternoon, visit one of Rio's favelas before a stop at The Maze, an iconic jazz club. In the evening, a Highlight Dinner is served with wine at a traditional Brazilian steakhouse, followed by a show at the Ginga Tropical. (Full Breakfast / Lunch with Wine / Dinner with Wine)

Day 27 A Farewell to Rio de Janeiro.
Join your Local Expert on a train ride up Corcovado Hill to Christ the Redeemer, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, toast your journey over a Farewell Celebration Dinner with wine, at Michelin starred restaurant MeE. (Full Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

Day 28 Depart Rio de Janeiro.
(Relaxed Start) A private transfer will take you to the Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. (Full Breakfast)
Map
All This Included
Witness the many cultures and contrasts of South America on this luxurious journey, showcasing a dazzling array of natural beauty, vibrant civilisations, and mystical ancient cities. Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, uncover the secrets of the Incas from a Local Expert at Machu Picchu, and marvel at breathtaking scenery along the way. See how you travel like a VIP with Luxury Gold

Exceptional Dining
  • Buenos Aires: Enjoy dinner is at Piegari Carnes.
  • Cusco: Dine at MAP restaurant, one of the city’s most prominent restaurants, situated on the patio of the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. This contemporary Peruvian haute cuisine restaurant offers an artistic dining experience, candlelit for a dazzling evening ambiance.
  • Included Quality Dining: 21 Breakfasts (BB), 11 Lunches (L) and 15 Dinners (DW).
  • Lima: Enjoy a Highlight Lunch at Amor Amar in a trendy, bohemian district.
  • Macchu Picchu: Learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Indulge in a classic buffet style lunch amid a lavish setting at the Belle Époque, Confeitaria Colombo.
  • Sacred Valley: Experience a caja china lunch, a popular way to create a delicious meal in Peru, cooked in a wooden box.
  • Santiago: Savour a Highlight Dinner at Cafe in Lasterria, Santiago's trendiest neighbourhood.
VIP Experiences
  • Lima: In the artistic district of Lima, meet artist Víctor Delfín at his workshop, best known for his monumental El Beso sculpture.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Meet Bob Nadkarni, a local club owner, and hear how he created one of the most famous jazz clubs in all of South America, The Maze.
Additional five Star Services
  • You will be escorted by one of our fine Travelling Concierges, handpicked to serve as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Relax in comfort on Luxury Gold’s air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom, onboard restroom and and complimentary bottled water for you to enjoy while travelling.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travelling Concierge will enchant you with a Luxury Gold Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
  • Included complimentary, private transfers are available on start and end dates, and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold.
Highlights
  • Aguas Calientes: With a Local Expert, explore the cloud forest, visit a working tea plantation and an orchid farm.
  • Buenos Aires: With a Local Expert, your comprehensive city exploration includes a visit to the splendid Belle Époque Teatro Colon.
  • Cusco: With a Local Expert, practice your bartering skills at a local market. Enjoy a fun challenge of purchasing items from the market (with money and a list supplied by your Travelling Concierge) for the best prices possible. All purchases are later donated to local needy families.
  • Iguassu Falls: Join a Local Expert for a spectacular walk past thundering curtains of water and misty rainbows on both Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls.
  • Lake Titicaca: Cruise the lake and learn about the lifestyle and customs of the local people, who bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes.
  • Lima: Experience the beautiful 'City of Kings' through the eyes of a Local Expert.
  • Machu Picchu: Spend a full day exploring the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, rediscovered by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911 after being forgotten for centuries. A Local Expert helps you understand the enigmatic fortress abandoned by the Incas in the 16th century.
  • Puno: Explore Sillustani to view the stone burial towers 'chullpas' that have dotted the shores since pre-Inca times.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Partake in a stunning show of extravagant costumes and enthralling music, songs and dances at Ginga Tropical.
  • Sacred Valley: Visit the Centre for Traditional Textiles, meet with the founder, Nilda Callañaupa, and learn how the Centre is working to empower Quechuan woman and men in the communities of Chinchero, Chahuaytire and Pitumarca by preserving and teaching textile traditions that had begun to disappear.
  • Santiago: Meet a Local Expert for an exploration of the Chilean capital.
Accommodations
Quito: Hotel Plaza Grande
Cruising: La Pinta
Lima: JW Marriott Hotel Lima (Ocean View Rooms)
Sacred Valley: Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
Machu Picchu: IInkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Cusco: JW Marriott El Convento
Lake Titicaca: Libertador Lake Titicaca
LIma: JW Marriott Hotel Lima
Santiago: The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel
Buenos Aires: Alvear Palace Hotel
Iguassu: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
Rio de Janeiro: Belmond Copacabana Palace
Notes
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Luxury Gold by Insight terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.