• Credit Jackie Appleton

Ecuador

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Located on the equator, this is a country of snow capped volcanoes, green valleys and steamy jungles and of course the wonderful Galapagos Islands, the archipelago that inspired Charles Darwin in 1835 and continues to amaze every visitor since.

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Ecuador

Day 1: Arrive Quito
Day 2: Private tour of Quito and the Equatorial Monument
Day 3: Otavalo
Days 4 – 6: Spirit of the Andes 3 day tour .
Day 7 – 11: Galápagos Cruise
Day 11: Guayaquil
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Description

Day 1: Arrive Quito
Arrive in Ecuador’s Capital city where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, your base for 3 nights

Day 2: Private tour of Quito and the Equatorial Monument
Quito, a modern, vibrant city with a long and fascinating history, was the second most important city in the Inca Empire (after Cusco). The beautifully restored colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the Old Town with its churches, monasteries and hidden patios. Your tour continues just north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador.

Day 3: Otavalo
Early departure for a one day tour of the fertile Otavalo Valley. The journey north takes you through dramatic mountain scenery to Otavalo, surrounded by volcanoes, rivers and lakes. Visit the world famous market featuring a dazzling display of tapestries, hammocks, jewellery, paintings and colourful native clothing. Continue to Peguche, an Indian village, home to the artisans who do the weaving in their homes; learn about their culture and everyday life. The excursion includes lunch at one of the charming country inns or haciendas of the area.

There are other options here, including a visit to the Cloud Forest either on a day or multi day basis and/or to visit the Amazon basin for two to three days.

Days 4 – 6: Spirit of the Andes 3 day tour .
Today you will embark on a 3 day adventure into the Andes that will awaken your senses. From Quito, travel along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, to Cuenca. The journey takes you through breathtaking landscapes, with cultural discoveries and ethnic and culinary delights along the way; you will gain insights into the local life, customs and traditions of the Andean people.  There are various options for this part of your tour, which may include exploring Cotopaxi National Park in more detail and/or travelling on the Devil’s Nose train

Your journey ends in the city of Cuenca. Its superb Colonial centre, that still retains all of its traditional charm, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along the flower-lined cobblestone streets and along the river bank, visit the churches, museums, antique shops and art galleries. At dusk on you final day transfer to Cuenca airport for your flight to Guayaquil for an overnight stay.

An alternative here is to take an overland journey to Guayaquil, this is a full day journey and requires the addition of two extra nights – one in Cuenca and one in Guayaquil.

Day 7 – 11: Galápagos Cruise
Today you will be transferred to Guayaquil Airport for your flight to the Galápagos. There is no place on Earth like the Galápagos Islands. Far out in the Pacific Ocean, this archipelago is part of Ecuador’s national park system. When Charles Darwin visited in 1835, he observed a pristine, naturally isolated living laboratory that would inspire and refine his theories. The islands have not lost their ability to inspire; here you can walk amongst unique species such as marine iguanas, observe the elaborate mating rituals of blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigate birds, snorkel with turtles… encounter wildlife unthreatened by predators and undisturbed by visitors. Explore the magic of the Galápagos on comfortable expedition cruise vessels, accompanied by expert, knowledgeable guides who are committed to preserving this wonderful area for future generations.

There are a number of different cruise options and of varying durations.  There is also a land based programme for those less keen to take to the water.

Day 11: Guayaquil
Fly back to Guayaquil on the mainland to continue your onward arrangements

All photographs by kind permission of Metropolitan Touring

MTE1977      RODRI 11

 

quito      spirit-of-the-andes

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Little Gems

Without a doubt, the highlight of this itinerary is the opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands and it is your preference for this part of the tour that should be planned first!
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A Taste of South America: Brazil, Argentina and Chile

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Discover the highlights of Brazil, Argentina and Chile combined in this itinerary, A Taste of South America.

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Brazil, Argentina and Chile

Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro
Day 4: Iguassu
Day 6: Buenos Aires
Day 9: Los Glaciares National Park
Day 11: Puerto Natales, Chile
Day 14: Chile’s Lake District
Day 17: Bariloche
Day 21: Buenos Aires
Day 22: Depart Buenos Aires
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A taste of South America: Brazil, Argentina and Chile

Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Mountains, forests, beaches, lagoons, vegetation and the South Atlantic blend to form a dramatic back-drop as this incredible landscape rises from the sea. With its warm climate, it is the perfect year-round destination. Favourite sightseeing tours include taking the train to the top of Corcovado, the Statue of Christ overlooking Rio, the cable car to the top of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, a city tour to appreciate the history and colonial past of Rio, day trips to the tropical islands and beaches near the city or to the former capital of Petropolis located up in the cool of the mountains.
Rio de Janeiro 3 nights

Day 4: Iguassu
Fly to Iguassu. On arrival you will be met at the airport and taken directly to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. The Iguassu Falls are one of South America’s most renowned landmarks and one of world’s great natural wonders. The national parks on both sides of the Falls offer a wonderful range of tropical flora and fauna and during your stay you will be able to participate in a full range of activities. Local animal species include the black howler monkey, capybara, jaguar and puma. Transfer to a hotel on the Argentine side for your stay.
Iguassu 2 nights

Day 6: Buenos Aires
Fly to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and known as “The Paris of South America”. From the tantalising tease of the tango to the bustle of its prosperous port, this European style city offers a great mix of cultures. There is something for everyone to discover and enjoy in this unique city and its environs.
Buenos Aires 3 nights

Day 9: Los Glaciares National Park
Fly to El Calafate, gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. Transfer to your hotel located in the National Park for a 2 night stay. On your full day include an excursion to the striking Perito Moreno Glacier.
Los Glaciares 2 nights

Day 11: Puerto Natales, Chile
Back to El Calafate to board the regular overland bus service to Puerto Natales in Chile. This memorable journey takes about 10 hours. Chile’s Patagonia, land of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego is the gateway to Antarctica. This is one of the most spectacular areas in the world. Vast green pampas, ice blue glaciers, black and jade-coloured mirror-like lakes, deep valleys which turn to fjords, volcanoes, bays, inlets, channels waiting to be explored where icebergs float silently on the waters of Laguna San Rafael, under the brow of majestic snow-clad peaks. Patagonia has so much to offer; Torres del Paine National Park, its Mylodon Cave, flight seeing over Cape Horn, Straits of Magellan ferries to Tierra del Fuego, the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers by boat from Puerto Natales and the Grey Glacier from Pehoe. Wildlife is abundant and includes Condors, herds of Guanacos, Black-necked Swans, Silver Fox, Rheas and Trout-filled Rivers.
Chile’s Patagonia 3 nights

Alternatively stay at a special all inclusive resort located in the heart of Patagonia. Here daily excursions to suit all levels are offered in Torres del Paine National Park. Excursions are by comfortable 4WD, foot, horseback, motorboat, mountain bikes or boats made of lingue (native wood of the region). Due to its remote location a minimum 4 nights is required here.

Day 14: Chile’s Lake District
Transfer to Punta Arenas airport for your flight to Puerto Montt, where you will discover the wild and beautiful lands of Chile’s famed Lake District. The lakes are located in one of the Earth’s truly unspoiled areas. Here, stretching for hundreds of kilometers between the ocean and the Andes, are scores of glittering emerald lakes set amidst snow-capped active volcanoes, deep woodland meadows and flowering gardens. Here you will find great pine forests, waterfalls, clean air, and the purest of waters, that make tourists come to paint, photograph, hike, ride horses, or just relax. On one of your full days here take a tour to Chiloe Island, the last area of the Chilean territory dominated by the Spaniards.
Puerto Varas 3 nights

Day 17: Bariloche
Today cross back into Argentina with a one day lake crossing to Bariloche; known as the Switzerland of South America. Located in the heart of the Andes in the Patagonian Region of south western Argentina, Bariloche is the gateway to a marvellous group of lakes, woods, glaciers and snowy peaks. During the Argentine winter (June to September) it is a thriving ski centre where it is possible to enjoy wide open ski slopes. At other times of the year hiking, mountain-climbing, riding, fishing and mountain-biking are on offer.
Bariloche 4 nights

Day 21: Buenos Aires
Transfer to Bariloche airport for your flight to Buenos Aires for your final night.
Buenos Aires 1 night

Day 22: Depart Buenos Aires

JA Iguassu

Credit Jenny Appleton

 

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Little Gems

Plan to visit Iguassu Falls at a full moon and ensure you stay at the Das Cataratas Hotel.  It is only from here that you have the opportunity to experience the lunar rainbow – don’t forget you’ll need a clear night, which of course can’t be guaranteed!
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Peru – Condors, Culture and Countryside

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Picture courtesy of M. Buckman. There is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu, and on this itinerary idea you will explore many of Peru’s highlights, culminating in your discovery of the stunning city of Machu Picchu.

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On the 24th July 1911, Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu and on any visit to Peru, this is one of the major highlights.  However, there is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu and on this itinerary idea, you will explore many of Peru’s highlights, culminating in your own discovery of the stunning city of Machu Picchu.

Day 1: Lima
Day 2: Arequipa
Day 4: Colca Canyon
Day 6: Puno
Day 8: Cusco
Day 10: Sacred Valley
Day 11: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu
Day 12: Cusco
Day 14: Depart Cusco
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Description

The country of Peru is located on the western side of the South American continent, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes and into the Amazon Basin, and from its border with Ecuador in the north to Chile and Bolivia in the South.  It is a country steeped in history, probably the best known of which is the Inca Empire.  No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to the lost city of Machu Picchu, but take time to explore other highlights of this fascinating country first and one very quickly realises that there is a lot more to Peru than meets the eye.

Day 1: Lima
Arrive in Lima. Take a tour of Peru’s capital city before transferring to your overnight hotel.
Lima 1 night

Day 2: Arequipa
Fly south to Arequipa for a 2 night stay. Located in the southern Peruvian highlands, Arequipa is set in beautiful countryside surrounded by snow capped mountains. Your stay here includes a city tour which begins with the extraordinary architecture of the Convent of Santa Catalina, opened to the public in 1970 after more than 400 years of religious cloistered life. Visit the Plaza de Armas or Main Square, the Cathedral, Church of La Compañia with all its colonial jewels and its chapel Sixitina, then cross the city along the Chili River before visiting the Carmen Alto viewpoint to enjoy beautiful views of Arequipa´s valley.
Arequipa 2 nights

Day 4: Colca Canyon
Today you will embark on a 3 day/2 night private tour to the remarkable Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest canyon. During your tour you will journey deep into the Andes where you will have the opportunity to view the majestic flight of the condors. With spectacular scenery the area is also home to llamas and Vicuñas, the national animal of Peru. Visit small remote towns and villages that still maintain their ancestral traditions.Your base for 2 nights is the town of Chivay.
Chivay 2 nights

Day 6: Puno
This morning travel by private transfer to the city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca for a 2 night stay. On your full day here you will take an excursion to the Uros and Taquile Islands in Lake Titicaca. The Uros Islands are made of reeds and rise six meters above the lake level. They are anchored by logs and connected to each other by ropes. The inhabitants live basically by fishing, hunting and making handicrafts to sell to visitors. Continue to the Taquile island. Offering a spectacular view from its hills, Taquile is an important textile centre. Taquileños still follow a traditional life style, making a living from their textile activities.
Puna 2 nights

Day 8: Cusco
Today you will take a guided bus transfer from Puno to Cusco. This 9 hour journey includes lunch and stops off enroute at many places of interest including Andahuaylillas Church, with its superb murals, the remarkable Raqchi Inca archaeological complex and the village of Pucara, famous for its pottery. Your full day will include and half day tour or the city, considered by many to be the Archaeological Capital of the Americas, and the nearby ruins.  There is an alternative mode of transport here – by rail.

Cusco 2 nights

Day 10: Sacred Valley
Today you will take a full day tour in the Sacred Valley of the Incas before checking in to you hotel in village of Yucay, located in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Sacred Valley 1 night

Day 11: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu
Rise early and transfer to Ollantaytambo railway station to board the tourist train through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the fabulous mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spaniards. For centuries it was buried in the jungle until found in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. The Holy City of Machu Picchu represents an extraordinary example of architecture and engineering. Upon arrival at the station at Aguas Calientas, buses wait to transfer you to the top of the ruins.
Aguas Calientes 1 night

Day 12: Cusco
Morning at leisure, before catching the afternoon train back to Cusco.  On arrival in Cusco, you will be transferred to your hotel for a further 2 night stay
Cusco 2 nights

Day 14: Depart Cusco
Transfer to Cusco airport for the start of your return journey to the UK or continue your adventure…

Possible Extensions
The above itinerary is just one suggestion for Peru – it may be amended to suit your particular interests. If time allows, there are numerous ways to extend your trip including..

The Nazca Lines
Travel South of Lima to Ica. From here take a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines. These drawings made in the sand over 2,000 years ago by the Nazca people are only visible from the air. You will see gigantic geometrical lines resembling a landing field and over 32 figures including a monkey, a spider, a condor, a reptile, a fish, a bird… Continue to the Paracas Peninsular where you may take a cruise out to the Ballestas islands; sea lions, penguins and more than 60 species of sea birds and wild life.

Peruvian Rainforest
Complete your Peru experience with a few days in the Amazon rainforest. There are number of exciting options available, from a luxury cruise into remote estuaries of the Peruvian rainforest to an exhilerating camping expedition through the remote and pristine Manu Biosphere Reserve, or a relaxing stay in a rainforest lodge where rainforest walks, bird watching and canoeing are amongst the acitivities on offer.

Call us for more details and ideas on your tailor made trip …

JA bus

Credit Jenny Appleton

 

JA crocodile

Credit Jenny Appleton

 

JA horseriding

Credit Jenny Appleton

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Little Gems

Machu Picchu is a very special place. We suggest including a second entry ticket to the ruins giving you the opportunity to explore at your own pace and without the crowds of day trippers that will arrive in the middle of the morning.
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Client Feedback

‘We loved Cusco and really could have spent an extra night there, but the highlight of the holiday, without a doubt, was our visit to Machu Picchu.  STUNNING!’
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