Arrive In Quito.
Welcome to Ecuador. On arrival you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel in Quito, Ecuador's culturally rich capital city, situated high in the Andes. You'll join your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers at 18.00 for a private drinks reception and Welcome Dinner. Stay: Hotel Plaza Grande, Quito
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. (B/DW)
Fly To The Galapagos Islands.
Fly to Baltra Island and take a short journey to Puerto Ayora, where you will board the Santa Cruz II and enjoy lunch along with an introduction. Afterwards, relocate to Mosquera Islet. MosqueraYou'll land among the long and narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs, the perfect rookery for young sea lions. Walk along sandy dunes and past the sea lion colonies. Learn more about the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos. (B/L/D) Stay: Santa Cruz II (Darwin Suite Cabins)
San Cristobal Island.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) After breakfast, we disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the island's capital, and drive to the southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, visit the breeding centre for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island natives. Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island) In the afternoon, arrive at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. Walk or enjoy a panga ride along the coast. If you're up for it, why not try snorkelling, swimming or kayaking in your free time? (B/L/D)
Santa Fe And South Plaza Islands.
Santa Fe Island After breakfast, take a dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by sea lions. The land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Enjoy Santa Fe Your Way, with opportunities to snorkel or swim from the panga, relax on the glass bottom boat, or spend time kayaking. South Plaza Island After a rejuvenating lunch, arrive at South Plaza Island, where the turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline you can find sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide, playing with the thermals. (B/L/D)
Santa Cruz Island.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island) Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and it's spectacular giant tortoise Breeding Centre, hidden within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Board your transport for lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem. Santa Cruz Island Spend an afternoon at leisure, with the opportunity to enjoy Santa Cruz Island at your own pace. Your Traveling Concierge is on hand to assist with booking any activities. Afterwards, return to Puerto Ayora and the Santa Cruz II. (B/L/D)
Punta Suarez (Española Island) An exciting walk reveals the island's unique sea bird colonies, including Galapagos albatross (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls as well as a view of the Galapagos' famous “blow-hole”. Also, look out for red-green-black marine iguanas. Gardner Bay - Osborn Islet (Española Island) In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby islet of Osborn provide a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches. Expect great snorkelling with an opportunity for swimming and kayaking as well. (B/L/D)
Santa Cruz And North Seymour Islands.
Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island) A panga ride takes you to Eden Islet, a small islet located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where you can observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There's a chance to snorkel and, if weather condition permits, ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayak.North Seymour Island North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. (B/L/D)
On your last day cruising the Galapagos, disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Arrive at your hotel at Guayaquil. (B) Stay: Hotel del Parque, Guayaquil
Arrive In Lima, Peru.
Welcome to Peru! Fly from Guayaquil to Lima and join the regular itinerary for Grand South America. On arrival at Lima International Airport, you will be greeted and transferred to your luxurious hotel in Miraflores. You can relax before meeting your Travelling Concierge at 18.00 for a Welcome Dinner, where you'll have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers over wine and dinner at Amoramar, in the trendy bohemian district Barranco. (DW) Stay: JW Marriott Hotel Lima (Ocean View Rooms)
Lima City Of The Kings.
Experience the cultural metropolis of Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert. A mix of modern high rises and ancient temples, you'll delve into the history of the fascinating City of Kings. Explore the UNESCO-listed Historic Centre of Lima, view the cathedral, and visit the Monastery of San Francisco. A Highlight Lunch is served at CALA, known for mouth-watering Peruvian favourites. Experience Lima Your Way and visit the workshop of Víctor Delfín, one of Peru's leading artists best known for his monumental El Beso sculpture, or take a guided visit to MATE-Museo Mario Testino, created by one of the world's most influential photographers. (B/LW)
On To The Sacred Valley.
Board your flight to Cusco and continue on to Peru's Sacred Valley. Visit the colourful market in the town of Chinchero. Afterwards, meet Nilda Callañaupa 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 and how she has succeeded in bringing weaving once more to the forefront of her community. Later in the afternoon, check in to your luxurious spa resort. (B/L/DW) Stay: Tambo del Inka, Sacred Valley
Exploring The Sacred Valley.
In the town of Maras, you'll meet with a local family who explain ancient salt mining techniques. Visit the spectacular terraced salt pans and where you will have a chance to participate in the ancient tradition. The salt pans, dating back to Inca times, have been passed down through families for generations and today are maintained in much the same way as they were long ago. Dine the local way as you feast on 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. (B/L)
Journey To Machu Picchu.
Today you'll visit the town of Ollantaytambo, a national archeological site set on the Urubamba River. Afterwards, board your first-class seats on the Vistadome train for your scenic journey to Machu Picchu village. Enjoy lunch at your rejuvenating resort followed by a guided exploration of its nature trails and fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. One for tea lovers, the afternoon will be spent discovering a working tea plantation, before viewing 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. (B/L/DW) Stay: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Mysterious Machu Picchu.
No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Pichu. With Luxury Gold, you'll arrive at this striking archeological site before the crowds of day-trippers. Meet your Local Expert for a guided exploration through the enigmatic Lost City of the Incas, rediscovered only 100 years ago by archaeologist Hiram Bingham. See the great Temple of the Sun, Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, believed to be an ancient sun clock. In the afternoon, enjoy time to explore Machu Picchu at your leisure or return to your resort. After a full day of discovery, enjoy a delicious dinner with wine, where you can share stories of your day with fellow guests in the serenity of your tranquil hotel. (B/L/DW)
Return To Cusco.
Bid goodbye to Machu Picchy as you travel through the Sacred Valley by train en route to Cusco. Stop for a traditional Highlight Lunch and savor a sumptuous Pachamanca Feast of Peruvian cuisine cooked underground. After lunch, get up-close to llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare vicuñas before arriving at your hotel in Cusco, steps away from the Plaza de Armas. (B/L) Stay: JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
Join your Local Expert to explore Cusco, where you'll check out the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha, the cathedral and the citadel of Sacsayhuaman. Shop like the locals do at the San Blas artisan centre. Enjoy free time for shopping on the Plaza de Armas, where you can stock up on a few souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy a candlelit Highlight Dinner with wine at one of the city's most prominent culinary scenes, the MAP Restaurant in the central Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. (B/DW)
Lake Region Of Peru.
Board your included flight to Juliaca and continue to Puno, nestled along the majestic shores of Lake Titicaca. The peaceful, lakeside Libertador Hotel on Esteves Island is your home away from home. (B/L/DW) Stay: Libertador Lake Titicaca, Puno
The Floating Islands Of Lake Titicaca.
Cruise Lake Titicaca to the floating islands of Uros, where locals bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes. On Amantaní Island, join the local community for a lunch of regional specialties. Afterwards, you can explore local handicrafts before returning to Puno, where you can relax until your evening dinner with wine. (B/L/DW)
Puno, Back To Lima.
Head to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo to explore the impressive burial grounds, before your flight to Lima. Savor a sensational Highlight Dinner with wine at the world-renowned Astrid y Gastón. In the ambiance of a magnificent San Isidro hacienda, Chef Gaston Acurio Jaramillo - the father of modern gastronomy in Peru - dreams up innovative dishes for you to enjoy. (B/L/DW) Stay: JW Marriott Hotel Lima (Ocean View Rooms)
Fly To Santiago.
Bid farewell to Lima as you fly to Santiago, Chile's capital and largest city. In the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner and get a taste of Chile. (B/DW) Stay: Mandarin Oriental Santiago
The Sights Of Santiago, Valparaiso And Wine Country.
Meet a Local Expert for an in-depth city exploration before visiting the UNESCO-listed port of Valparaíso. Visit the boutique Kingston Family Winery in the Casablanca Valley for a local wine tasting. Return to Santiago for the evening. (B)
Fly To Buenos Aires.
Enjoy a leisurely morning before flying to Buenos Aires, where you'll spend the next couple of days. This evening, taste famed Argentinean beef, a local specialty, during a Highlight Dinner with wine at Piegari Carnes. (B/DW) Stay: Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires
Beautiful Buenos Aires.
Get to know Buenos Aires with a Local Expert as you explore the neighborhoods of Palermo, San Telmo and Recoleta. View the balcony made famous by Eva Peron, the former First Lady of Argentina, and walk the colourful streets of La Boca. Experience Buenos Aires Your Way with a visit to the regal Belle Époque Teatro Colon theatre or the historical Barolo Palace. Experience an electrifying evening of live music, singers and dancers at Rojo Tango during your Highlight Dinner with Wine. (B/DW)
Pampas, Estancias And Gauchos.
Experience a Candelaria del Monte, a working farm in the Argentine pampas. Step into a world of riding boots and leather chaps at the estancia, where you will be served a delicious asado Highlight Lunch and a taste of the life of an Argentinian gaucho, or cowboy. (B/LW)
The Falls Of Iguassu.
Fly to Iguassu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venture to the Argentinean side of the falls to see the unfathomable Devil's Throat with your Local Expert. Dinner is served at your luxurious resort, the only hotel inside the Brazilian Iguassu National Park, where you'll choose from a selection of traditional Brazilian barbecue or international cuisine. (B/DW) Stay: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Iguassu
The 'Great Waters' Of Iguassu Falls.
Wake up inside the park and beat the crowds. Join a Local Expert for a walk on the Brazilian side of the falls, where you'll witness panoramic views of San Martin Island and visit incredible Bird Park, which provides shelter for over a thousand birds, butterflies and reptiles from across South America. (B)
Rio De Janeiro, City Of Sea And Samba.
Fly to vibrant Rio de Janeiro and transfer to your hotel on iconic Copacabana Beach, famous for its three-mile stretch of golden sand and bustling energy. Settle into the local way of life, with a Highlight Dinner at a traditional Brazilian steakhouse followed by a lively samba show at Ginga Tropical. (B/DW) Stay: Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro
Exploring Rio De Janeiro.
Join a Local Expert on a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Savour a Highlight Lunch at Confieiraria Colombo, a century-old cafe in a lavish setting. Explore a different side of Rio as you visit one its favelas, with a special introduction to Bob Nadkarni, founder of The Maze, an iconic jazz club and community hot spot. (B/LW)
A Farewell To Rio De Janeiro.
Join your Local Expert on a train ride up Corcovado Hill to Christ the Redeemer, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and modern wonder of the world. Toast your journey over a remarkable Celebration Dinner at the exceptional, Michelin-starred MEE Restaurant. Asian and Brazilian flavors come together through innovative dishes served up by Executive Chef Kazuo Harada. (B/DW)
Depart Rio De Janeiro.
A private transfer will take you to the Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, locally known as Galeao International. (B)