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Treasures of the Incas with Quito & the Galapagos Islands Cruise

18 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 façade. 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'.
Experience Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert as you are introduced to the 'City of Kings'. Explore the UNESCO-listed Historic Centre of Lima, view the cathedral, and visit the Monastery of San Francisco. Your Highlight Lunch is at Amoramar, in the bohemian district of Barranco, a favourite known only to the locals. Next, visit the workshop of Víctor Delfín, one of Peru's leading artists. Over a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado, learn about Peruvian coffee with a barista. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine on the terrace of Huaca Pucllana, overlooking the illuminated ruins of a 1500-year-old, pre-Inca pyramid.

Day 9 Lima and On To The Sacred Valley.
Board your flight to Cusco before continuing to Peru's Sacred Valley. Visit the colourful market in the town of Chinchero. Next, you will meet Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez, a Quechua scholar, president of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco and a recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Have lunch with Nilda and learn about her mission to preserve traditional weaving techniques. Later, check in to your luxurious resort. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 10 Exploring the Sacred Valley.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a leisurely start before heading to the town of Maras to meet with a local family and learn about the traditional arts and crafts of the region. View the spectacular terraced salt pans, dating back to Inca times. These have been passed down through families for generations and today are maintained in much the same way as they were long ago. Next, experience a typical Peruvian meal, a caja china lunch of fresh vegetables and slow-roasted meats, all cooked in a wooden box. After lunch, witness 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. Travel by Vistadome train for your scenic journey to Machu Picchu, before enjoying an included lunch at your resort. A Local Expert will then show you the nature trails of this 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 enjoying dinner with wine at the hotel. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 12 Mysterious Machu Picchu.
The entire day is for you to discover the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Meet your Local Expert for a walk through the enigmatic 'Lost City of the Incas'. Witness the great Temple of the Sun, Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, believed to be an ancient sun clock. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 13 Return to Cusco.
(Relaxed Start) Return by train to Sacred Valley for a Pachamanca Feast Highlight Lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground. Next, get up-close to llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare vicuñas. Later, arrive at your hotel, steps away from the Plaza de Armas. (Full Breakfast / Lunch)

Day 14 Colonial Cusco.
(Relaxed Start) Join your Local Expert to explore Cusco, visiting the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha, the cathedral and the citadel of Sacsayhuaman. Set out for San Blas, Cusco's artisan centre, to visit a candle shop and learn about its importance to the locals. Enjoy some free time for shopping on the Plaza de Armas. 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 then continue to Puno, nestled along the majestic 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, where locals bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes. Enjoy lunch hosted by the local community of Amantaní Island. Afterward, there will be time to explore local handicrafts before returning to Puno, where you can relax until dinner with wine. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 17 Puno, Back to Lima.
Head to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo to explore the impressive burial grounds, before your flight to Lima. In the evening, you are treated to a sensational Farewell Celebration Dinner with wine at world-renowned Astrid y Gaston, located in a magnificent San Isidro hacienda with over 300 years of history. (Full Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with Wine)

Day 18 Depart Lima.
Your Peruvian adventure draws to a close today with a transfer to the Lima airport. (Full Breakfast)
Map
All This Included
Why not begin your South American adventure with a journey to the Galapagos Islands? Embark on an adventurous journey of discovery across the diverse ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. Experience for yourself the captivating environment which has inspired nature lovers of all backgrounds for generations.

Exceptional Dining
  • Cusco: Dine at MAP, one of the city’s most prominent dining venues. This contemporary Peruvian haute cuisine restaurant offers an artistic dining experience, candlelit for a dazzling evening ambiance.
  • Lima: Over a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado, learn the secrets and discover the unique flavour of Peruvian coffee with an expert barista.
  • Macchu Picchu: Learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour.
  • Quito: The innovative Restaurant Theatrum, located in the lively Theater Square, re-imagines Ecuadorian cuisine, blending ingredients and specialties from the country’s coastal, mountain and Amazon regions.
  • Sacred Valley: Delight in a Pachamanca Feast prepared in an underground oven and served in an exquisite garden.
  • Dining Summary: 17 Breakfasts (BB), 13 Lunches (L) and 14 Dinners (DW).
Luxury Hotels
  • Cusco: The JW Marriott El Convento is a meticulously restored 16th century convent, which uniquely blends historic grandeur and modern luxury in the heart of Cusco.
  • Lake Titicaca: Enjoy the sunsets on the lake from the only five-star hotel region, the Libertador.
  • Lima: Explore the very best of Peru's capital city at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima.
  • Machu Picchu: With your Local Expert, 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.
  • Quito: In the heart of Independence Square, the luxurious Hotel Plaza Grande boasts impressive views of the Government Palace and Cathedral Church, with Panecillo Hill in the distance.
  • Sacred Valley: Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley and built atop ancient Incan ruins, the Tambo Del Inka, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa hotel providing tranquillity and comfort in a green and lush setting.
VIP Experiences
  • Lima: Meet painter, sculptor and local legend, Víctor Delfín, best known for his monumental El Beso sculpture in Parque del Amore, Miraflores. Explore his oceanview workshop in the arts district and chat with Victor as he shares stories about his life.
  • Cusco: Meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, an expert in traditional weaving, to learn how the TreadRight Foundation is helping protect this ancient skill.
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
  • Cusco: Sunday market in Chinchero, truly authentic and local
  • Visit the Salt Pans of Maras and learn about the ancient economy of the Inca empire revolving around caring for terraced salt pools. Lake Titicaca: Stand on the floating islands of Uros and hear about the day to day struggle just to stay afloat on top of Lake Titicaca from family members who know no other way of life.
Journey Highlights
  • Aguas Calientes: With a Local Expert, explore the cloud forest, visit a working tea plantation and an orchid farm.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Puno: Explore Sillustani to view the stone burial towers 'chullpas' that have dotted the shores since pre-Inca times.
  • Quito: Explore the 500-year history of Quito with your private Luxury Gold Local Expert.
  • Sacred Valley: Learn of the importance of ancient rituals to the people of the Sacred Valley as a local shaman performs a a centuries-old ritual just for you that expresses reverence to the Earth.
  • The Galapagos Islands: Intimately explore this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of approximately 1,000 km and 20 islands of the world’s most unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
Accommodations
Quito: Hotel Plaza Grande
Cruising: Cagin onboard La Pinta
Lima: JW Marriott Hotel, Lima (Ocean View Room)
Sacred Valley: Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
Machu Picchu: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Cusco: JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
Puno: Libertador Lake Titicaca
Lima: JW Marriott Hotel Lima (Ocean View Room)
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.