A portion of this tour runs as a group tour where you will be escorted by an expert tour leader. Another portion is self-guided, whether conducted by rail, cruise or land, and you will travel between destinations on your own, with free time to explore at your own pace.
This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.
These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.
Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period.
✓ Click HERE for 2024 departures
✓ Incredible sightseeing, including the Inca treasure Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Amazon jungle, both sides of thundering Iguazu Falls, islands of Lake Titicaca, glamorous Buenos Aires, vibrant Rio de Janeiro, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s capital Quito, Santiago de Chile & Valparaíso
✓ Small, intimate group experience – no more than 20 people
✓ All internal flights, coach, rail and boat transportation
✓ 28 nights at quality accommodation, including 2 nights at stunning Peru Amazon Lodge
✓ Two-day exploration of Peru Amazon Jungle & its diverse wildlife
✓ Five-day discovery of the world's only Galapagos Islands, including visits to Bartolome Island & Kicker Rock offering the best snorkelling experience in the archipelago
✓ Daily breakfast, 5 lunches and 2 dinners
✓ Escorted by an English-speaking guide in each city
Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.
Welcome to Argentina! Make your own way to the starting point hotel. An arrival transfer can be pre-booked for if required. Upon check-in at the hotel, you’ll be handed a welcome note with your meeting time for tomorrow.
This beautiful city, on the banks of the Río de la Plata, is a city of contrasts. You’ll find grand avenues with fine European architecture, and vibrant neighbourhoods buzzing with Latin American flair – it is the birthplace of tango, after all.
The food scene in Buenos Aires is happening. If you’re a fan of steak, a visit to a parrilla (steakhouse) is in order – Argentines are known for their love of beef and asado (barbeque). Make like a Porteño and grab a choripán, a classic Argentinian hot dog made with chorizo. There are plenty of food stands dotted around the city where you can buy an empanada, the classic Argentine snack. You’ll also find great ice cream, especially the Argentine favourite dulche de leche flavour.
People eat dinner late around here – and head out to nightclubs even later! Argentina’s oldest and arguably most famous café, Café Tortoni, is a great place for coffee and people watching – and to see the tango performed onstage. Café con leche, anyone?
Arrival Transfer & Check in: The easiest and most convenient way to make your way to the starting point hotel is by taxi. An official airport taxi rank is located outside the luggage collection area. A taxi ride will typically cost USD 50-60 per car. Alternatively, we can assist you pre-arrange an arrival transfer. If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer through us, your driver will be waiting for you art the arrival hall.
Hotel check-in time is at 3pm. If arriving prior to this, you will be able to leave your luggage with hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available. The hotel may grant early check-in, however this is strictly subject to availability and at the hotel’s discretion.
Please note: Buenos Aires is a thriving, dynamic city. We recommend those travellers wishing to explore it in depth arrive one or two days in advance and take part in some of the optional activities available.
In the morning, meet your local representative at approximately 8am for a welcome meeting and a briefing on the trip ahead. This meeting will be followed by a city tour of Buenos Aires before transferring to the airport for your flight to Iguazu.
During the city tour we’ll head to Plaza de Mayo (Main Square) and see the pink-hued Casa Rosada (Government Palace) – this is, of course, where Juan and Eva Perón delivered famous speeches from the balconies. See Metropolitan Cathedral and City Hall before we head to San Telmo, known as the tango neighbourhood. It’s the oldest neighbourhood in the city and its narrow cobblestone streets, colonial character, tango parlours and a lively street market make for a charming visit. You’ll have some free time for lunch (not included). Learn more about Argentina’s passion – _fútbol _(football) – by visiting vibrant La Boca. We’ll pass by La Bombonera, the iconic stadium of the Boca Juniors, and see Puerto Madero on the waterfront, the most modern neighbourhood of the city. We’ll finish with a visit to the upscale Recoleta neighbourhood, with its elegant buildings and the most exclusive pocket of the city, Alvear Avenue.
The flight to Puerto Iguazu is approximately 1.5hrs long. On arrival you will be transferred across to the Brazil side of the falls for your accommodation.
The Iguazu Falls are located where the Iguazu River cascades over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, created by an enormous volcanic eruption more than 130 million years ago. Straddling the Argentine-Brazil border, the falls are made up of up to 275 individual waterfalls, lining a 2.7km-wide horseshoe-shaped gorge. It’s a truly breathtaking sight to see the unyielding force of nature in such a magnificent setting.
Please note that your internal flights within South America have a luggage limit of 15kg per person (33lbs). Unfortunately, Inspiring Vacations cannot increase this limit and is limited by the airlines luggage policy. Any fees for excess baggage incurred at the airport will be the responsibility of the traveller and payable directly to the airline during check in.
Note: If you require a Brazil visa, please ensure it allows for multiple entry as you will cross the border twice during your time in Iguazu.
These spectacular falls can be viewed from both sides; the Brazilian side offers a broader, panoramic view, and the Argentinian side offers a series of catwalks that allow you to experience the Falls up close.
This morning you’ll explore Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian side. Beginning at the visitor’s centre, you’ll take a ride on the Rainforest Ecological Train before exploring the upper and lower circuit footbridges. These footbridges, raised off the jungle floor, provide panoramic views from above and below the falls.
A visit to monumental, roaring Devil’s Throat – arguably the most spectacular of the falls – is one of the day’s highlights. It’s the heart of the falls and the highest, at about 80 metres. The noise as these mighty falls plunge to the bottom of the narrow canyon is almost deafening. There’s the chance of getting under the falls, with an optional ride on the Gran Aventura.
You’ll return to the hotel in the afternoon.
The best way to experience the falls is to get right in the action. You’ll travel through lush landscape by specially designed tracks. This five-kilometre long ride ends at Puerto Macuco. Board a small boat and explore Lower Iguazu River for as long as six kilometres, heading towards the waterfalls area to enjoy the sight of plenty of small cascades. From the Tres Mosqueteros Falls, see the falls on both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides crowned by the view of the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat). Afterwards, it’s surely a highlight when you face the incomparable San Martín waterfall. After that we’ll navigate downriver to Puerto Macuco. You’ll walk up the hill, about 150 metres, and ride a truck back to the starting point. This tour goes for 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Please note: This tour is unsuitable for pregnant women, people with back injuries, heart conditions or those with hearing aids.
Today, you’ll tour the relatively dry Brazilian side of the falls, with breathtaking panoramic views at every turn. Uninterrupted vistas of the Floriana Falls, the Devil’s Gorge canyon and the Iguazu River are spectacular and guaranteed to impress.
You’ll then be transferred to the airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro.
Bem vindo ao Rio - Welcome to Rio! You’ll be met at Galeao International Airport and transferred to your hotel in Copacabana, on the city’s dazzling iconic shoreline.
Nicknamed a cidade maravilhosa (the marvellous city), Rio de Janeiro is world-renowned for its dazzling landscapes and location, nestled between steep, green mountains and crystal-clear seas.
The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for not only its ‘staggeringly beautiful location’, but its cultural landscape. The city is full of energy. Cariocas, the locals of Rio, are known for their carefree spirit and charm.
Rio is one of the most important cultural and economic cities in Brazil and is home to some of the country’s most famous attractions, like Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar), Corcovado Hill, and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. The city comes alive for Carnival celebrations each winter, an extravagant pre-Lenten spectacle with street parades and samba parties.
Get a spectacular aerial view of Iguazu Falls during a 10-minute helicopter ride. Board a state-of-the-art helicopter flown by an experienced pilot in Foz do Iguaçu. You’ll soar above the magnificent falls to get a bird's-eye view of the rushing water and the surrounding rainforest while enjoying commentary from your pilot. Be sure to bring your camera for amazing photo opportunities and your passport for the border crossing.
This morning, you’ll meet your local guide who will welcome you and brief you on the next couple days. Then we’ll embark on a full day tour of Rio de Janeiro to see the city’s famous landmarks, like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.
We’ll take a scenic drive from Copacabana Beach, continuing along Botafogo Beach and passing imposing Guanabara Palace on the way to Corcovado Hill. At the top we’ll find the greatest national icon, Christ the Redeemer, standing tall over the city with arms outstretched. This giant Art Deco statue was recently named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The panoramic views of the city are lovely from up here, 709 metres at the summit.
We’ll then continue on to the district of Urca and the world-famous rocky peak of Sugarloaf Mountain, where you’ll board the first cable car to the top of Urca Hill, enjoying spectacular views of Guanabara Bay.
A second cable car takes you on to Sugarloaf, with 360-degree views of the city and surrounds. Sugarloaf Mountain towers over the harbour, 400 metres above the mouth of Guanabara Bay.
Afterwards, we’ll pass through the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema en route to a traditional Brazilian lunch at a local churrascaria, an all-you-can-eat barbeque.
After lunch, we’ll visit the Maracanã Stadium, home of Bellini’s statue and the Hall of Fame. Brazilians also love their football (soccer) and this is their biggest stadium. Entrance to the stadium is not included. And there will be a stop at the Sambadrome, the stadium for the city’s main Carnival parade.
As we pass through the city’s historic centre, you’ll have a chance to see the Lapa Arches. Built in the middle of the 18th century, this aqueduct is an impressive example of colonial architecture and engineering. We’ll also make a quick stop to see the colourful Selaron Stairs, an amazing urban work of art by the late Jorge Selaron. These steps are decorated with more than 2,000 brightly coloured tiles and mirrors.
We’ll return to the hotel along Aterro de Flamengo (Flamengo Park), passing by the Monument to the Dead of World War II and the beaches of Flamengo and Botafogo.
It’s a free day for you to enjoy the rhythm of this vibrant, bustling city. Your tour guide will be at hand to assist with suggestions and optional activities. Relax on the legendary beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema or take one of the tours on offer to explore more of this iconic city.
The famous crescent-shaped beach of Copacabana is a tourist hotspot. It’s lively, vibrant and busy… round-the-clock busy. The golden sand stretches nearly four kilometres long, from Copacabana Fort to Leme Beach. It’s lined with high-rise hotels, including the iconic Copacabana where Barry Manilow penned that hit in the 1970s.
Wander the iconic black and white promenade – it’s everything you imagined. Swaying palm trees, skimpy bikinis and people sunning themselves, playing volleyball, dancing and swimming. Beach vendors stroll up and down the shore, selling all manner of snacks, souvenirs and drinks.
Ipanema Beach is more upscale, the place to see and be seen. You’ll find more locals chilling out here.
If you are planning to take a dip in the warm Carioca waters, make sure you leave your belongings at your hotel. Unfortunately, opportunistic theft can be a regular occurrence.
If you want to relax off the beach, the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens are lovely for a stroll. There’s a Japanese garden, a pond filled with water lilies and 600 species of orchids.
Head to the Benedictine Church and Monastery of São Bento, founded in 1590. The unassuming exterior is in complete contrast to the intricate interior, covered with gilded carved wood and decorated with exquisite wooden statues. São Francisco da Penitência is an elaborate church – you have to see inside to believe it, with its rich gold leaf interior. The choir ceiling has the earliest trompe-l’oeil painting in the country, painted by Caetano da Costa Coehlo in 1736.
For a taste of Rio nightlife – or just great people watching – head to the Lapa neighbourhood in downtown (where you saw the Lapa Arches yesterday). As Rio’s party district, it’s home to samba bars and a huge street party every weekend. Try the national drink caipirinha, a cocktail of sugar, cachaça and lime.
Today you will eat and drink your way around some great spots in Rio. The best way to get to know a city is by strolling along the streets, eating the food and rubbing shoulders with the locals. You won’t find the true spirit of Rio in the flashy bars and tourist-traps of Ipanema – you’ll find it in the bustling street markets and little bars and restaurants that have been favorites with the locals for generations.
These small-group culinary walking tours take guests through the neighborhoods of Lapa, Glória, Flamengo and Laranjeiras. We taste Amazonian fruit juices, visit a street market, bars and some of Rio’s older restaurants - in total we make 8 stops and finish up with a big meal and plenty of beers and caipirinhas for those who are thirsty! The tour also passes by some great non-food stops (including Escadaria Selarón - the Selarón Steps) which have become an iconic attraction in recent years. The tour takes approximately 6 hours and includes all food, water, juices, beers, caipirinhas and other drinks.
Today you’ll be heading to Lima, City of Kings.
Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Your local guide will meet you for a welcome briefing and offer some tips for this leg of your adventure.
While Peru’s capital officially began life in 1535, Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city’s attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre. You’ll also find excellent museums – a given considering the history and culture of its surrounds – and interesting colonial architecture. One such museum, the Museo de la Nación, is the largest museum in Lima and an ideal place to begin exploring Peru’s ancient history.
At night, the Magic Water Circuit show in the Parque de la Reserva is a tourist drawcard. Every one of the 13 fountains at the park is illuminated with different colours and synchronised to music.
Get ready to discover Lima today!
In the morning, your local guide will meet you for a welcome briefing and offer some tips for this leg of your adventure.
On the way to the historic centre, we’ll see the outside of the pre-Columbian site Huaca Pucllana, a magnificent ceremonial and archaeological centre built in the fourth century – considered a sacred village by the Incas.
We’ll continue on to the colonial side of the city where we’ll pass by the Cathedral, the Viceroyalty of Peru, the Government Palace, City Hall, and other important monuments. We’ll visit the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), the historical centre of Lima. Although most of the buildings of the original city were lost in the earthquake of 1746, the bronze fountain in the centre of the square dates back to 1651.
Later, we’ll visit the Bodega Y Quadra Museum, in a well-preserved house of the Peruvian Republican period. Then we’ll see the 16th-century Santo Domingo Convent, one of Peru’s oldest churches. There may be a chance to climb the bell tower for stunning views of Lima.
Finally, we’ll see the changing of the guards at Government Palace (subject to the Palace’s program) before returning to the hotel.
You’ll have the afternoon free to explore on your own. Your local guide will be with you to assist in anything you may need.
Feel free to head to the modern section of this great metropolis and visit the district of Miraflores with its shopping mall Larcomar, built on a spectacular cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the traditional ‘Parque del amor’ (Love Park). Miraflores is home to the pyramid-shaped temple of Huaca Pucllana. If you have time, a leisurely stroll down the Miraflores Boardwalk will showcase the coastline views.
With its vibrant, varied flavours, Peruvian food will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip and Lima is the country’s gastronomic capital. Ceviche is Peru’s most popular dish, and with the Pacific Ocean just west of the city, you’ll find it everywhere – from cevicherias to street stalls to fine dining restaurants. You might like to end the day with the ubiquitous pisco sour, a popular cocktail made with the nation’s favourite brandy.
Located in the heart of the city, this spectacular pre-Inca structure is a 1,500-year-old pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. The complex is now home to a high-end restaurant, adjacent to the pyramid, overlooking the historic ruins of this fascinating archaeological complex. It’s one of Lima’s best restaurants, where classic techniques and contemporary style fuse with Peruvian flavours for a truly special culinary experience. This tour starts from 6.30pm and lasts approximately three hours, and includes transfers.
At the appropriate time, you’ll be taken to the airport to board your flight for the Peruvian jungle town of Puerto Maldonado – gateway to the Peruvian Amazon.
Upon arrival, the staff will welcome you and take you to the nearby office to pack your bag for the jungle stay. Your luggage will be stored in a secure place while you are exploring the jungle.
Then, it’s about a 45 minute bus trip to the indigenous community of Infierno. Your lodge in the Peruvian Amazon is 100% owned by this community. It was founded with the mission of promoting sustainability through eco-tourism and conservation efforts. All staff are members of the community and all income generated goes directly to support this indigenous community in one of Peru’s most remote corners.
We’ll take a motorboat along the warm, calm waters of the Tambopata River. Travel time is about 30 minutes, while we enjoy a delicious lunch typical of the Peruvian jungle.
This area is the least populated territory in Peru, with its lush tropical rainforest. Of course, it’s more than a rainforest – it’s a complex ecosystem, with a dazzling array of flora and fauna. You’ll observe life in the jungle, its thrilling landscapes and the fascinating wildlife that call it home.
When you arrive at the lodge and settle in, enjoy your first activity. A member of the community will explain how the Ese Ejja people made and used the bow and arrow to hunt in the area for food. You’ll have a chance to practise this fun activity, using the bow from a long distance.
After dinner, you’ll search for caiman. We’ll return to the river with flashlights in search of the red reflection of caiman eyes lurking along the riverbank. With any luck, we’ll see some nocturnal animals as well. It’s a magical experience to witness them in the wilderness.
A day of adventure awaits!
In the morning, we’ll travel by boat for 30 minutes and then walk for 25 minutes to reach the water’s edge of the lake adjacent to Tambopata National Reserve. This reserve is one of the largest areas of untouched rainforest in the world, a vast expanse home to fascinating landscapes and wildlife.
Take in the amazing view of the lake, surrounded by aguaje palms. There is a vibrant array of jungle fauna, like hoatzin, monkeys, macaws, black caiman, flying parrot – perhaps even a family of endangered giant river otters (pteronura brasiliensis).
When we return, we’ll pass a parrot feeding ground. After a 15 minute boat ride, we’ll arrive at a hidden spot to see a cliff formed by the river – the inland collpa, or clay lick, where a dazzling array of famous macaws and other species of birds flock to feast on the nutrient-rich clay.
The macaws begin by ceremoniously circling the cliff area. The birds consume the salt for 20 to 25 minutes and they depart.
We’ll return to the lodge for lunch and some relaxation before heading out again.
We’ll head to the nearby medicinal garden to meet the shaman of the community, who will talk to us about the immense variety of medicinal plants and traditional remedies considered part of the ‘natural pharmacy’ used by inhabitants of this region. We’ll then visit the facility where medicines are prepared.
After dinner, an excursion into the Amazon rainforest promises real adventure. Explore this thrilling jungle on one of the lodge’s trails, home to nocturnal animals with intriguing behaviour patterns. Experience this hidden world in the dark and search for insects, amphibians, tarantulas, bats and nocturnal birds. If lucky, we’ll see some nocturnal mammals.
After breakfast, we’ll take a ride back to Puerto Maldonado by motorised canoe. You’ll pick up your belongings and transfer to the airport to board your flight to Cusco. Upon arrival you’ll be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley.
The Sacred Valley was once the epicentre of the Inca Empire, running from the ancient capital of the empire, Cusco, to the breathtaking citadel of Machu Picchu. This lush green valley’s agreeable climate and fertile plains provided an unusual abundance for the high Andes. Here the Incas sculpted the mountain flanks with vast contour terracing and irrigation channels.
In the morning we’ll head to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
We’ll visit a community in the valley to learn about daily life for the locals. If the visit coincides with market day, you’ll have time to browse the stalls for hand-painted beads or warm ponchos – or a chance to practise the local language, Quechua. Lunch will be served at the community.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit the town of Ollantaytambo and there is the option of visiting the ruins here.
We’ll travel along the Urubamba River towards the town of Ollantaytambo, one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. It’s a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. You’ll visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo, an important Inca construction built during the Empire’s heyday. It’s an extraordinary place, with its wonderful stonework. You may also see an amazing rock formation said to represent the Inca god Wiracocha.
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this is the jewel in South America’s crown – today we’ll visit the breathtaking archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
Early morning you’ll be taken to the station to board the fabled tourist train towards Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes). It’s a modern little town close to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
The train ride to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful journeys you can experience in Peru. It’s an almost two-hour journey that passes through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, then descends gradually along the edge of the Urubamba River, before finally reaching the cloud forest. The train reaches its last stop in Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes), on the foothills of Machu Picchu. From here it’s a short bus ride – about 30 minutes – up the steep, zigzagging road to the famed ancient site.
Upon arrival, we’ll enter the archaeological zone of Machu Picchu and the tour guide will show you the most important sectors of this great Inca City, such as the great Intiwatana (solar clock) and the Sun Temple, among others. Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors, the urban sector in the northern part and the agricultural sector on the south-east side.
Now the most recognisable icon of the Inca civilisation, Machu Picchu was long thought to be legendary. Then, in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon its remains. At 2430 metres above sea level, Machu Picchu is in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing creation of the Inca Empire at the height of their reign. The stonework has to be seen up close to truly comprehend its intricate beauty. Giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments.
After the tour, we’ll return to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes) by bus before taking the tourist train back to Ollantaytambo town, followed by a private transfer to your hotel in Cusco.
You’ll have a free morning to relax in Cusco. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cusco has a long and interesting history, from the first Inca ruler through to the Spanish conquest – and now a major tourist destination. It’s the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas.
As you wander the streets and side alleys of the city you will witness the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cusco’s colonial and modern buildings.
In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour to discover the sights of Cusco, vivid examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. We’ll start with the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace, on Hatun Rumilloc Street (check) before visiting
the most sacred Inca building, the Temple of Qorikancha – the Inca temple of the sun.
We’ll then visit the heart of the city, the busy main square Plaza de Armas – a great place to people watch. Then, time at the San Pedro Market makes for some great food and souvenir shopping – you’ll find local cheese and chocolate, herbal medicines and local handicrafts.
You’ll have a free day to see Cusco at your own pace today.
Perhaps a visit to the traditional, picturesque neighbourhood of San Blas is in order – you can reach it by taking a short but steep walk from the Plaza de Armas. Here you’ll find art studios, artisan workshops and many of the best bars and restaurants. It’s a great place to wander and soak in the atmosphere.
Embark on a breathtaking journey from Cusco (3300m) to Palcoyo (4900m) starting with a 5:30 am pick-up from your hotel. We´ll drive for 1.5-hour to Cusipata Town for a brief stop and restroom break. Continuing for an additional 1:20 hrs driving, we reach the Palcoyo Community.
En route, witness picturesque villages, potato and corn farms, alpaca herds, and the stunning red river landscape. Upon reaching Palcoyo, embark on a 45-minute hike to the lookout point, offering breathtaking views of three rainbow mountains, the Red Valley, and the majestic Mt Ausangate, the highest peak in Cusco. A further 20-minute walk leads to the fascinating 'Bosque de Piedras' (Stone Forest), where you can explore for approximately 2 hours.
Heading back, stop at Combapata Bridge to visit the historic colonial Rumichaca Bridge, dating back to 1604. We´ll stop at Cusipata town for lunch (included) before the drive back to Cusco City, with an estimated arrival around 5:00 pm.
We’ll set off for Puno today, a ten-hour bus journey. This is a gorgeous scenic journey. The first half is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains towering over deep valleys, then you’ll reach the gentler, rolling Andean Plains, where vicuñas and alpacas can be spotted.
Along the way, we’ll visit charming landmarks with a rich history, like the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, or the Andahuaylillas Church, built during the 17th century, and the archaeological site of Raqchi (also known as Temple of Wiracocha). You’ll get a beautiful view of the Chimboya glacier from the La Raya Pass. There will be a stop at the Pukara Lithic Museum, where you’ll find archaeological gems like stone sculptures and impressive pottery among the artefacts.
Today we’ll take to Lake Titicaca, an ancient treasure trove of Andean culture that straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. We’ll spend the day touring by boat on this high altitude lake. There are numerous islands here whose inhabitants live with the same customs and traditions of their ancestors.
We’ll spend time on the Uros Islands (floating islands). Centuries ago, the indigenous Uros tribe harvested totora reeds in the shallows of the lake, bundled them tightly and built floating island platforms with reed houses and canoes.
We’ll then continue to Taquile Island, about an hour away. The Taquileños, Quechua-speaking locals who live here – about 2,200 of them – are known for their ancestral weaving skills (a UNESCO-protected art). Their fine handwoven handicrafts are incredibly high quality.
In the afternoon we’ll return to Puno by boat.
At the appropriate time you will be transferred to Juliaca airport in order to catch your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Due to recent modifications in flight schedules among South American airlines, it's possible that this will be a lengthy day of traveling.
Once you clear customs, you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel. Guayaquil, officially Santiago de Guayaquil, is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, as well as that nation's main port. The city is the capital of the Ecuadorian province of Guayas and the seat of the namesake canton.
Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil. Because of its location, the city is the centre of Ecuador's fishing and manufacturing industries. Its main attractions include Las Peña’s neighbourhood, Malecon 2000 Pier, Parque historico and more.
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Please note a US$20 per person transit card is payable on departure at Guayaquil Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable
on arrival on the islands. Both payments are made in USD cash.
Your guide will pick you up from the airport and continue on to visit the Highlands of the Island where you can observe the giant tortoise roaming in a natural habitat. Make the most of great picture opportunities with this endangered species, endemic to the Galapagos before continuing to your hotel in Puerto Ayora.
After settling you’ll visit Tortuga Bay. The walking the path is an experience in itself (about 45 minutes each way). Spot lava lizards and a number of birds including a yellow warbler and a Galapagos mockingbird.
At the end of the path you’ll come to Playa Brava. Swimming is prohibited at Playa Brava due to dangerous currents. You will continue walking until you reach Playa Mansa a protected bay where you can swim and enjoy the shade of the mangroves.
After breakfast, you will embark on a full day tour of the beautiful Bartolome Island. You will reach Bartolome Island by speed boat - the trip takes approximately 2 hours each way. Bartolome Island is one of the most recognizable and photographed island in the archipelago thanks to its distinctive pinnacle rock. Follow the trail to the top of this once-active volcano, seeing the different lava rock formations that were created during the formation of island. At the top, enjoy fantastic panoramic views across to Santiago Island’s Sullivan Bay – look out for the surrounding plants like lava cactus as well as Darwin`s finches.
After the walk, take a zodiac ride along the island to meet the cheeky Galapagos penguins, and then disembark on the beach for some snorkelling. This is a great place to see white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, many fish, and maybe swim alongside sea lions. You’ll then return to Puerto Ayora by late afternoon.
After breakfast, transfer to the pier and board a speed-boat to San Cristobal Island (approximately 2.5 hours ride). Upon arrival, walk to your nearby hotel for check-in and prepare for today’s excursion to Loberia, a scenic beach filled with large colonies curious sea-lions, marine iguanas, frigate birds and more.
Enjoy a wildlife filled hike around the site, explore the mangrove forest and go snorkelling to witness some of the Galapagos Island reach marine wildlife.
This morning you will visit one of the most iconic sites in the Galapagos Islands: Kicker Rock or “Leon Dormido”, an amazing rock formation just 90 minutes from San Cristobal Island. This incredible landmark is a remnant of a vertical tuff cone formation with an altitude of 500 feet from the Pacific Ocean, it is considered as one of the best snorkelling sites in the Archipelago.
Erosion has given the formation its characteristic shape of a shoe (hence the name Kicker Rock) and others see a sleeping lion from above, reason why in Spanish is called “Leon Dormido”.
Snorkelling in the rock is truly an unforgettable experience! You will be able to spot marine iguanas, sea turtles, rays, Galapagos sharks, school of colourful fishes and, with some luck, hammerhead sharks. Also in the crevasses of the rock, you can encounter blue-footed boobies, masked-boobies and frigate birds.
Return to San Cristobal and your hotel for a well-deserved resting time. In the afternoon, visit the Interpretation Centre to learn about the history of the Galapagos Islands.
This morning enjoy your own time to stroll around the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for some souvenir shopping. At the appropriate time you will be picked up and transferred to the airport in time to board your flight to the capital of Ecuador, Quito. Upon arrival, your guide will welcome you and drive to your cosy centrally located hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the surroundings.
Today, join your local guide on a scenic city tour of Quito. Explore Quito's Old Town, considered a Human Heritage Patrimony and the largest Colonial district in all of South America. Visit “La Compañia de Jesus” Church, surely one of the most beautiful churches in South America as well as the charming “La Ronda” Street, the a popular colonial street for centuries in the centre of the City.
Afterwards, you will head north to "Middle of the World " monument & museum. The Monument was built during the XVII century when a French expedition travelled to Ecuador to define the precise location of the Equatorial Line. Visit Monument to learn about Ecuadorian rich and ancient culture and human history.
Finally, visit the “Inti-Ñan”, a peculiar museum showcasing interactive equator-related science experiments.
After breakfast, join a full day guided tour to the Otavalo Market. Drive north (approximately 2 hours) towards the Northern Andes of Ecuador until you reach the Town of Otavalo and its indigenous market - one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. Explore the town & market by foot, bargain for typical clothing, hats, blankets and souvenirs whilst witnessing the day to day live in this thriving local market.
You will return to Quito in the afternoon.
At the appropriate time, you will be transfered to Quito airport to board your ongoing flight to Santiago.
Once in Santiago, you will be collected from Santiago airport and transfered to your centally located hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring Santiago, a city which is full of life, art, and food. The centre is quite compact and easy to get around. The city's centre is roughly triangular in shape with the Plaza de Armas – at the centre. Perhaps head out to Barrio Bella Vista, Santiago's 'Paris Quarter', and take a cable car up to Cerro San Cristobal. If the weather’s fine, you’ll have lovely views over the city and the Andes.
This morning you’ll be collected from your hotel for a city tour of the city. Explore the city, which was founded in 1541 by the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia, and has experienced a turbulent history that has included native wars, floods and earthquakes. Head to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city and home to the cathedral. The cathedral has recently undergone renovations, so now is the ideal time to visit. The square is also home to the Royal Court Palace, Natural History Museum and Central Post Office. Continue on to Cerro Santa Lucia, the hill where de Valdivia began the settlement. Today it’s a park of fountains and a fort that offers one of the best panoramic views of the city. Return to your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day to explore if you wish. Your hotel is centrally located and vibrant cafes and restaurants are all within walking distance.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and travel west towards the Pacific Ocean and Valparaiso (approximately 2 hours). On your way, wind through the Casablanca Valley, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about Chilean wine and have a premium tasting at world class winery. Vines have been grown in the valley since the mid-1980s. and the cool climate is ideal for whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, plus a drop of Pinot Noir, and you’ll be tasting some of them today. Continue on to the historic port town of Valparaiso, a vibrant maze of hills where the residents have done their best to fit the colourful houses and buildings on whatever patch of land possible. It’s a cultural capital of Chile with festival throughout the year and on some of the world’s best street art hidden in the labyrinth of laneways and corners. You’ll get a perfect view of the hills and the city from the coast, then take a walk around town, where the historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the funicular lifts are an historical treasure. Discover the hidden art galleries, small cafes and breweries and then get suggestions from your guide for your lunch. After filling up on the food and culture of Valparaiso return to Santiago and your hotel, with time to relax and explore the city one final time.
As they say, all good things must come to an end. Today marks the end of your incredible tour through South America. At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight home.
Check out: Standard hotel check-out times will apply no matter what time your flight is scheduled to depart. Check-out time is generally anywhere from 10am-12pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or alternatively please speak with hotel staff if you would like to extend your check-out time.
Secure your trip with a $99.00 deposit per person.
Once we receive your deposit, we will send you an invoice with your remaining balance and payment options.
This package is sold as land only, however you do have the option of adding international airfares to your booking. Simply click on’ book now’, and under upgrades , you will be asked “Would you like us to contact you around our flight service?”
By selecting this option Inspiring Vacations will contact you to discuss adding flights to your chosen destination. We can assist with flying the airline of your choice to turn your booking into a flight inclusive package.
We would be more than happy to provide you with a quote for the following requests:
We are currently unable to provide a quote for the following requests:
Some airlines may not permit online check-in where flights have been booked by a travel company. Where unavailable to do so online, you will be required to check-in at the airport. Inspiring Vacations cannot check-in online on behalf of our customers.
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.
As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
This particular tour is categorised as a “3”.
3 – Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.
No strenuous or fast-paced walks are required to complete this itinerary. However, you must be able to walk for approximately 2 to 3 kilometres in (at times) hot and humid conditions, or muddy and slippery paths. You also need to be able to get on and off small boats in the Amazon Jungle – though assistance is always provided.
Travelling at altitude Cusco sits at 3,399 metres above sea level where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to altitude – regardless of age, gender and fitness. It's important that you discuss this itinerary and your travel plans with your doctor beforehand. Prescription medication to prevent altitude sickness is available. If left untreated, altitude sickness can lead to serious health complications or even be fatal. While on tour, safety is paramount and it’s important that you discuss any altitude sickness symptoms with your local guide, so that appropriate medical attention can be provided. Follow this link for more helpful information on altitude sickness.
Yellow fever According to the World Health Organisation, yellow fever is present in some destinations on this itinerary (Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janeiro & the Amazon Jungle in Peru). The best prevention of mosquito bites is to simply wear neutral-coloured (beige, light grey) long-sleeved, breatheable garments and to use mosquito repellent.
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. Tipping is not compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry and is a welcome way to show your appreciation. If you feel that your guide/s and driver have done an impeccable job, you can choose to give a gratuity, but this is entirely your decision.
The suggested tipping amounts are: USD 2-3 per person per day for local guides; USD 1-2 per person day for your driver and USD 2-4 per person per day for your tour leader. In restaurants and cafes, 10% of the bill is normally expected. Please note that this information is to be used as a guideline only and it’s based on the recommendation from our ground teams and past travellers. Tipping in local currency is the norm.
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however any changes are beyond our control.
Single supplement is $1,315.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.
Visa & Passport information
It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return.
Visas may be required.
Please note that these details are subject to change without notice. We recommend visiting https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html for up to date information in terms of entry requirements.
4 to 20 people.
Trip Style - Partially Escorted
During this tour you will be accompanied by an expert English-speaking local guide in each city. Flights are unaccompanied and a different local guide will greet you after each flight.
In Santiago de Chile you will join guided activities each day.
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.
To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):
Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.
Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.
You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:
Pre Tour Accommodation
Post Tour Accommodation
Arrival and departure airport transfers
Your transfer may be shared with other Inspiring Vacations customers.
Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.
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