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Galapagos Cruise & Inca Empire - 14 Days
Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Quito, Lima
 

 

 

Departure May 5, 2013 and Return on May 18, 2013

 
   
$5279 per person Land & Air from Miami
$4460 per person Land Only including internal airfare except that between Quito to Lima
$1635 per person Single Supplement
 
       
Prices include Government Taxes and Fees.
 
Highlights: This tour combines Darwins evolution theory on the Galapagos Islands with the history of Inca civilization climaxed at the ruins of Machu Picchu. Visit the colonial city of Quito, before taking your cruise through the Galapagos. Have an adventure, as you learn about the different flora and fauna, and walk along the beautiful beaches of the islands and snorkel in the bays. Experience the impressive ruins of Cuzco, walk throughcolorful Pisac Market in the Sacred Valley to appreciate the local charm. Discover the greatest examples of Inca architecture at World Heritage site, Machu Picchu. Explore Taquile Island and the Floating Islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca near Puno, and end your tour in fascinating Lima, capital of Peru.  
 
 

Day 1, May 5, Sunday - Miami/Quito
Board Taca Airlines flight from Miami to Quito, Ecuador. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (Swissotel)

Day 2, May 6, Monday - Quito/Galapagos Islands
After breakfast, fly to the Galapagos and transfer to the ship MS Legend. Set sail as you begin your 4 day cruise. In the first place of the cruise, Santa Cruz, observe the giant tortoises that are part of the reproduction program. Observe the worlds most famous tortoise, Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species. Admire the prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. Later, have free time to walk around and shop for souvenirs. (B/L/D)

 

Day 3, May 7, Tuesday - Galapagos Cruise
Learn more about the lava terrain and cross the inactive lava fields. It is a very important site for bird watching. Various bird species like the mockingbird of Espanola, Nazca booby and tropic bird can be spotted and observed closely. See a large colony of marine iguanas, lava lizards, and rally light foot crabs. Take a short trek to encounter colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies. The nesting grounds sometimes overlap the trail. See Galapagos doves, hawks, and swallow-tailed gulls, and reach the worlds largest colony of waved albatross. Also, visit the famous blowhole, where water shoots into the air almost 75ft. Go to Gardner Bay, a wet landing on a white coral beach amidst a large colony of sea lions. Hike along the white sandy beach and spot Galapagos hawks, American oyster catchers, Galapagos doves, hood mockingbirds, three species of Darwin finches, yellow warblers, lava lizards, and marine iguanas. Swim and snorkel and see the many Galapagos marine species like king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays, white-tipped reef sharks. (B/L/D)

 

 

Day 4, May 8, Wednesday - Galapagos Cruise
Explore Cormorant Point, a wet landing on a greenish colored sand beach. Hike from the black mangrove beds to a large, brackish lagoon, which holds one of the biggest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. See the endemic plants like Scalesia villosa, Galapagos daisies, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. Snorkel and practice on the main beach with the playful sea lions. Visit Champions and take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe blue footed boobies, sea lions, marine iguanas, and swallow-tailed gulls. Or, go deep water snorkeling and swim in an aquarium with colorful fish, tame sharks, and rays. Visit Post Office bay, located on the north side of Floreana Island, named because in 1793, Captain James Colnett installed an empty barrel which served as an informal post box for sailors who passed through the Galapagos, taking with them the letters to their destinations. Place unstamped postcards inside the barrel which reach their destinations for free. Down a path, observe the mocking bird of Galapagos, species of Darwins finches, yellow Wardle and lava lizards. Have fun snorkeling, as well. (B/L/D)

Day 5, May 9, Thursday - Galapagos Islands/Quito
Encounter swallow-tailed gulls and sea lions at North Seymour, major nesting colony of blue footed boobies and largest colony of the magnificent frigate bird. Spot both iguana species, the marine iguanas and land iguanas, and hike around the nesting sites. After, Disembark at the docks and transfer to the Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (Swissotel) (B)

 
 

Day 4, October 26, Friday - Uxmal/Chetumal
Travel to Chaccoben, where the fascinating Maya ruins were officially reported to Mexican government in June 1972 by Dr. Peter Harrison, an American archaeologist who was working on a project for Tulane University, and who also made the first maps of Chacchoben. However, in the 1940s a farm was established near the site by the Cohuo family. Harrison stumbled upon this site while flying a helicopter over Mexico and noticed numerous hills in predominately flat lands. He realized temples existed beneath the hills, which were covered over a period of 2000 years. The work continues on some of the hills to uncover further buildings, and some structures still have traces of the red paint with which they were coated. INAH has set up shaded areas to prevent further degradation of this pigment by the sun. From there, travel to the beautiful lagoon of seven colors, Laguna Bacalar and witness mesmerizing sunsets that paint the lagoon's surface gold and intensify the aqua and green tones. Visit the Spanish fort San Felipe, which was built in the form of a four-pointed star in order to protect the people from pirates. It has a 4 meter deep moat for further protection. In the late afternoon, arrive in Chetumal and transfer to your hotel. (Holiday Inn Chetumal) (B)

 

Day 6, May 10, Friday - Quito
Visit colonial Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the Middle of the World. Tour the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical center in the Americas and the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit churches, like the Conjunto monumental San Francisco, which contains masterpieces of syncretic art like the Virgin of Quito by Legarda. This sculpture represents a winged virgin stepping on the devils head in the form of a serpent. It is displayed in the main altar. Explore the colonial quarter and Old Town, where you can see the Museo de la Ciudad, with two floors encircling two quiet courtyards. It provides more social history than other museums in Quito. Walk along the romantic cobbled street, Calle de la Ronda and see the shops, patios, art galleries, and caf restaurants. Stop at Panecillo hillside for breathtaking views. On the hill, you will see La Virgin del Panecillo, a large statue of the winged Virgin Mary. Afternoon free. Perhaps, join an optional tour to Middle of the World. (B)

Day 7, May 11, Saturday - Quito/Lima
Fly in the morning to Lima, the capital of Peru, and transfer to your hotel. Walk the streets of the City of Kings on a half-day tour and see the contrast between the past and present. Walk through the imposing colonial churches and mansions in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Also walk the more modern area to experience the evolution of the city built upon a valley and surrounded by desert. (Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores) (B)

 

 

Day 8, May 12, Sunday - Lima/Cuzco
After breakfast, fly to World Heritage site, Cuzco, and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a half day city tour to discover the harmony between the Incan Cuzco and the Spanish Cuzco. Walking through Cuzco, see the well preserved colonial architecture and the many layers of history. Visit the Convent of Santo Domingo, built on the Incan temple of Korikancha. Tour the Central Plaza, appreciate the beauty of the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus and witness the merger of the two cultures. Visit the Inca archaeological ruins of Sacsayhuaman, which are the most impressive of the ruins. Also see the ruins of Qenqo, which is an immense carved rocky promontory of steps, holes and canals. During Inca time, this was a temple for public ceremonies. Puca Pucara or the Red Forest, which takes its name from the color of the earth in the area, is another place of ruins. Also visit Tambomachay, completely made from sculpted stone and formed by four walls or terraces on a hill, where you can see the caverns where magic was once practiced. The name comes from two Quechua words, Tampu, which means collective housing and Machay, which means a resting place. (Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco) (B)

Day 9, May 13, Monday - Cuzco/Sacred Valley
After breakfast, take a full-day excursion to the Sacred Valley. Visit Ollantaytambo, where you can see houses from Inca times and the nearby ruins feature agricultural terraces and military, religious and administrative sections. See the Ollantaytambo Fortress or Temple Hill, a steep hill on which the Incas built a ceremonial center. Experience the local charm at the Pisac Market, and see the handicrafts like local ceramics and hand-painted multi-colored beads. Taste the exquisite Peruvian cuisine with lunch at a local restaurant. (Sol y Luna Hotel) (B/L)

 
 

Day 10, May 14, Tuesday - Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu/Cuzco
After breakfast, travel by train to World Heritage site, Machu Picchu, hidden among the hills. Explore the area with a local guide from local town, Aquas Calientes. Experience the Lost City of the Incas, built on the mountain of Machu Picchu. The Lost City is one of the greatest examples and most well-known of Inca architecture and engineering. Tour the areas of the complex like the Sun Gate, which connects to the Inca Trail. See the Temple of the Sun, and the rest of the incredible closely-fit stonework. Experience Intihuatana, the sun dial. Enjoy a well-deserved lunch at local restaurant. In late afternoon, take a train back to Cuzco and transfer to your hotel. (Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco) (B/L)

Day 11, May 15, Wednesday - Cuzco/Puno
After breakfast drive over the high Andes to Puno, visit some pre-Inca site and enjoy lunch along the way. Arrive in Puno and transfer to your hotel. (Casa Andina Private Collection Puno) (B/L)

 

Day 12, May 16, Thursday - Puno
After breakfast, explore the Taquile Island and Uros for the full day, complete with a boxed lunch. Take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca to visit the islands. Taquile Island is inhabited by its campesino community that continues to preserve its culture, traditions and archaeological remains. Visit the Floating Islands of the Uros, built with blocks of reeds and cattail roots by the Uros people. These unique islands are considered the oldest inhabitants of the altiplano that still inhabit the area. Suspended in Lake Titicaca, the 22 Uros Islands are home to 2,000 people, devoted to hunting and fishing. After your exploration of the islands, return to Puno. (B/L)

 

 

Day 13, May 17, Friday - Puno/Lima
After breakfast, travel to Sillustani, a tiny settlement near Puno, where you can see the perfect cylindrical constructions of ancient Peru. Exploring Sillustani and have a better understanding of the life of pre-Inca civilizations. Experience the beauty of Umayo Lagoon. Travel to Lima by air in the afternoon and transfer to your hotel. (Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores) (B)

Day 14, May 18, Saturday - Lima/Miami
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to the States.

 
   
 
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