Treasures Of The Incas

Treasures of the Incas with Quito and the Galapagos Islands Cruise (Summer 2019)

Duration: 21 days Visiting: Ecuador, Peru

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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 these islands. Experience for yourself the captivating environment which has inspired nature-lovers of all backgrounds for generations. The mysterious world of the ancient Inca Empire pairs nicely with the flavours of a modern gastronomic powerhouse. From classic Peruvian dishes such as ceviche, to a traditional Pachamanca Feast in Sacred Valley, you'll be inspired to introduce new recipes into your own cooking back home. These sumptuous dining experiences will fuel captivating days exploring the secrets of an ethereal part of the world. From the pulsating capital of Lima to the mist-cloaked mountains of Machu Picchu and the serene waters of South America’s largest lake, you'll be spellbound by Peru.

  1. Day 1

    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.

  2. Day 2 - Relaxed Start

    Quito Sightseeing.

    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.

  3. Day 3

    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.

    Mosquera

    You’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.

  4. Day 4

    San Cristobal Island.

    Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal 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 Cristóbal mockingbird, and the San Cristóbal lava lizard, both island natives.

    Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal 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?

  5. Day 5

    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.

  6. Day 6

    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.

  7. Day 7

    Espanola Island.

    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.

  8. Day 8

    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 conditions permit, 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.

  9. Day 9

    Baltra Island.

    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.

  10. Day 10

    Arrive in Lima, Peru.

    Welcome to Peru! Fly from Guayaquil to Lima and join the regular itinerary for Treasures of the Incas. 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.

  11. Day 11

    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.

  12. Day 12

    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.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring the Sacred Valley.

    In the town of Maras, you'll meet with a local family who will 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.

  14. Day 14

    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.

  15. Day 15

    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.

  16. Day 16 - Relaxed Start

    Return to Cusco.

    Bid goodbye to Machu Picchu as you travel through the Sacred Valley by train en route to Cusco. Stop for a traditional Highlight Lunch and savour 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.

  17. Day 17 - Relaxed Start

    Colonial 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.

  18. Day 18

    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.

  19. Day 19

    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.

  20. Day 20

    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 Celebration 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.

  21. Day 21

    Depart Lima.

    Your Peruvian adventure draws to a close as you say goodbye to your fellow travellers and Travelling Concierge, before being transferred to Lima airport.

Highlights

 

VIP EXPERIENCES

  • Lima: Meet acclaimed local artist Victor Delfin, known for his monumental El Beso sculpture at his workshop in the city's trendy Barranco district.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lima: Experience the beautiful 'City of Kings' through the eyes of a Local Expert.
  • Quito: Explore the 500-year history of Quito with your private Luxury Gold Local Expert.
  • The Galapagos Islands: Intimately explore this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of approximately 20 islands of the world’s most unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Machu Picchu: 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. A Local Expert helps you understand the enigmatic fortress abandoned by the Incas in the 16th century.
  • Aguas Calientes: With a Local Expert, explore the cloud forest, visit a working tea plantation and an orchid farm.
  • Sacred Valley: At a local camelid farm, meet llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare vicuña and enjoy an insight into how their soft wool is used to make beautiful woven textiles.
  • 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.
  • Puno: Explore Sillustani to view the stone burial towers 'chullpas' that have dotted the shores since pre-Inca times.

EXCEPTIONAL DINING

  • Quito: The innovative Restaurant Theatrum, located in the lively Theater Square, re-imagines Ecuadorian cuisine, blending ingredients and specialities from the country’s diverse regions.
  • Macchu Picchu: Learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour.
  • Sacred Valley: Delight in a Pachamama feast prepared in an underground oven and served in an exquisite garden in Ollantaytambo.
  • Cusco: Dine at MAP restaurant, one of the city’s most prominent restaurants, situated on the lively, modern patio of the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. This contemporary Peruvian haute cuisine restaurant offers an artistic dining experience, candlelit for a dazzling evening ambiance.
  • Lima: Savour an innovative selection of Peruvian cuisine during a Highlight Dinner at Astrid y Gastón, among South America’s most famous restaurants.
  • Dining Summary: Quito and the Galapagos Islands Cruise: 9 Breakfasts (B), 6 Lunches (L) and 7 Dinners (D).
    Treasures of the Incas: 11 Breakfasts (B), 9 Lunches (L) and 9 Dinners with wine (DW).

LUXURY HOTELS

  • 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.
  • Lima: Explore the very best of Peru's capital city at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima.
  • Sacred Valley: The elegant Tambo del Inka will ensure an indelible stay.
  • Machu Picchu: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an intimate Andean village with terraced hills, waterfalls, stone pathways and 81 whitewashed adobe casitas tucked away in the cloud forest.
  • Cusco: The stylishly decorated and luxurious JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is built atop ancient Incan ruins.
  • Lake Titicaca: Enjoy the sunsets on the lake from the only five-star hotel region, the Libertador.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • You will be escorted by one of our fine Travelling Concierges, handpicked to serve as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of 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.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
  • 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 Travel Concierge will enchant you with a Luxury Gold Flourish, which is a local speciality representing the destination.
  • Complimentary, private airport transfers are included on start and end dates and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Plaza Grande

Quito (Heritage) - Equador

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.

Santa Cruz II

Galapagos Cruise (Cruise) - Ecuador

Hotel del Parque

Guyaquil (Boutique) - Ecuador

JW Marriott Hotel Lima

Lima (Contemporary) - Peru

Explore the very best of Peru's capital city at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima.

Tambo del Inka

Sacred Valley (Traditional ) - Peru

The elegant Tambo del Inka will ensure an indelible stay.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Machu Picchu (Traditional) - Peru

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an intimate Andean village with terraced hills, waterfalls, stone pathways and 81 whitewashed adobe casitas tucked away in the cloud forest.

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco

Cusco (Heritage) - Peru

The stylishly decorated and luxurious JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is built atop ancient Incan ruins.

Libertador Lake Titicaca

Puno (Traditional) - Peru

Enjoy the sunsets on the lake from the only five-star hotel region, the Libertador.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.4 out of 5 based on
1026 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 05 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Perfect mix of events and free time - action packed and very enjoyable.

    Service: Action packed tour with exceptional local guides with the right amounts of tour visits, free time, group dinners, etc. Also well organised and any issues resolved very quickly and thoroughly. Fantastic experience.

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