Quito & the Galapagos Islands Cruise - Luxury Gold

Grand South America with Quito and Galapagos Island Cruise (Luxury Gold - Summer 2018)

Duration: 28 days Visiting: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru

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Witness the many cultures and contrasts of South America on this luxurious journey, showcasing a dazzling array of natural beauty, vibrant civilisations, and mystical ancient cities. Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, uncover the secrets of the Incas from a Local Expert at Machu Picchu, and marvel at breathtaking scenery along the way.

See how you travel like a VIP with Luxury Gold

  1. Day 1

    Arrive in Quito

    Welcome to Ecuador. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

  2. Day 2

    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 and Board La Pinta.

    In the morning, fly to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands, where you will be met and transferred to the Itabaca Channel. A ferry will take you across the channel to Santa Cruz Island, where you then head for the highlands to learn about the island’s ecosystems and biodiversity. After lunch, travel to El Chato Reserve to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. A short journey will take you to Puerto Ayora where you board La Pinta, your yacht for the next four nights.

  4. Day 4

    Observe the fascinating wildlife.

    In the morning, a panga (dinghy) will ferry you to Eden Islet to observe Blue footed boobies, reef sharks and frigates. There will be a chance to snorkel and, if weather conditions permit, ride in a glass-bottom boat to see the tiny island of Sombrero Chino. Upon return to Eden Islet, explore the beautiful surrounds and wildlife as you wander the 1,312-foot-long (400 metres) trail.

  5. Day 5

    Bartolomé Island, Pinnacle Rock and Sullivan Bay.

    In the morning, the Galapagos icon of Bartolomé Island awaits. Ascend a wooden staircase for spectacular views from the top before boarding a panga cruise around the colossal Pinnacle Rock. After lunch, the panga will take you to Sullivan Bay, a white, coral-sand beach that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. It also has a trail running above a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago.

  6. Day 6

    Explore Genovesa Island.

    Begin your day with an easy stroll to observe marine and land birds, with options available for all travellers. In the afternoon, there is a panga ride alongside the cliffs before disembarking for a captivating walk to observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, Frigatebirds, storm petrels, and the elusive short-eared owl.

  7. Day 7

    Onward to Lima.

    Return to Baltra Island to disembark and be transferred to Baltra Airport for your flight to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (FB) Anticipated arrival time in Lima is 22:00.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Lima City of the Kings.

    Experience Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert as you explore the UNESCO-listed, Historic Centre of Lima. Step onto the colonial balconies, with private-access, at the Archbishop's house. Your Highlight Lunch is at Amoramar in the bohemian district of Barranco. Visit the workshop of Víctor Delfín, one of Peru’s leading artists, before enjoying a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado and learning about Peruvian coffee with a barista. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner on the terrace at Huaca Pucllana.

  9. Day 9

    Lima and On To The Sacred Valley.

    Board your flight to Cusco before continuing to Peru's Sacred Valley. Meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a Quechua scholar, and president of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. Enjoy lunch with Nilda and learn about her mission to preserve traditional weaving techniques.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring the Sacred Valley.

    In the morning, head to the town of Maras to meet with a local family and learn about the arts and crafts of the region. View the spectacular terraced salt pans dating back to Inca times. Experience a typical caja china lunch, cooked in a wooden box, before witnessing a private Pachamama Ceremony, or 'Payment to the Earth', as a local shaman performs the centuries-old ritual.

  11. Day 11

    Journey to Machu Picchu.

    Visit the town of Ollantaytambo, a national archeological site. Settle into the Vistadome train for your scenic journey to Machu Picchu, before enjoying an included lunch upon arrival at your resort. Venture along nature trails with a Local Expert, through the fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. Discover a working tea plantation and the world's largest private collection of indigenous orchids. In the evening, learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour before dinner with wine at the hotel.

  12. Day 12

    Mysterious Machu Picchu.

    The entire day is yours to discover the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu with your Local Expert.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Return to Cusco.

    Return by train to Sacred Valley for a Highlight Lunch of traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground. Later, get up-close to llamas, alpacas and even the rare vicuñas, before arriving at your hotel.

  14. Day 14 - Relaxed Start

    Colonial Cusco.

    Join your Local Expert to explore the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha and cathedral, followed by the citadel of Sacsayhuaman. Set out for San Blas to visit a candle shop and learn about its importance to the locals. Later, a candlelit Highlight Dinner is served at the reputed MAP restaurant.

  15. Day 15

    Lake Region of Peru.

    Board your included flight to Juliaca and continue to Puno, along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Your lakeside hotel is on Esteves Island.

  16. Day 16 - Relaxed Start

    The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca.

    Cruise Lake Titicaca to the floating islands of Uros before continuing to the island of Amantaní to enjoy lunch, hosted by the local community.

  17. Day 17

    Puno, Back to Lima.

    Head to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo to explore the burial grounds, before your flight to Lima. At night, savour a sensational Highlight Dinner at world-renowned Astrid y Gastón.

  18. Day 18

    Fly to Santiago.

    Bid farewell to Lima as you fly to Santiago. In the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner in Lastarria, Santiago's trendiest neighbourhood.

  19. Day 19 - Relaxed Start

    The Sights of Santiago, Valparaiso and Wine Country.

    Meet a Local Expert for a city exploration before a visit to the UNESCO-listed port of Valparaíso and the boutique Kingston Family Winery in the Casablanca Valley for a tasting.

  20. Day 20

    Fly to Buenos Aires.

    Enjoy a leisurely morning before flying to Buenos Aires. In the evening, your Highlight Dinner with wine is at Piegari Carnes, known for its Argentine beef.

  21. Day 21 - Relaxed Start

    Beautiful Buenos Aires.

    Get to know Buenos Aires with a Local Expert on an exploration of the city including Palermo, San Telmo and Recoleta. Enjoy views of the balcony, made famous by Evita Peron, and walk the colourful neighbourhood of La Boca. Visit the Belle Époque Teatro Colon. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine, live music, singers and dancers at Rojo Tango.

  22. Day 22 - Relaxed Start

    Pampas, Estancias and Gauchos.

    San Antonio de Areco remains one of the prettiest towns in the Pampas District. Step into a world of riding boots and leather chaps at an Estancia, where you will be served a delicious asado Highlight Lunch and a taste of the life of an Argentinian gaucho, or cowboy.

  23. Day 23

    The Falls of Iguassu.

    Fly to Iguassu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your Local Expert will take you to meet a tribal representative of the indigenous Guarani people. Venture to the Argentinean side of the falls to see the unfathomable Devil's Throat. Your luxurious resort is the only hotel inside the Brazilian Iguassu National Park. Dine on a selection of traditional Brazilian barbecue or international cuisine at your hotel's restaurant.

  24. Day 24 - Relaxed Start

    The 'Great Waters' of Iguassu Falls.

    side of the falls, see the panoramic view of San Martin Island and visit the incredible Bird Park, which provides shelter for over a thousand exotic birds, butterflies and reptiles from across South America.

  25. Day 25

    Rio de Janeiro, City of Sea and Samba.

    Fly to vibrant Rio de Janeiro and transfer to your hotel on famous Copacabana Beach. The evening is at your leisure with your Traveling Concierge on hand to make recommendations.

  26. Day 26 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring Rio de Janeiro.

    Join a Local Expert on a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. At Confeitaria Colombo, enjoy a Highlight Lunch amid a lavish setting. In the afternoon, visit one of Rio's favelas before a stop at The Maze, an iconic jazz club. This evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner served at a traditional Brazilian steakhouse, followed by a show at the Ginga Tropical.

  27. Day 27

    A Farewell to Rio de Janeiro.

    Join your Local Expert on a train ride up Corcovado Hill to Christ the Redeemer, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, toast your journey over a Farewell Celebration Dinner, at the Michelin starred MEE Restaurant.

  28. Day 28 - Relaxed Start

    Depart Rio de Janeiro.

    A private transfer will take you to the Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, locally known as Galeao International.

Highlights

 

VIP EXPERIENCES

  • Lima: In the artistic district of Lima, meet artist Víctor Delfín at his workshop, best known for his monumental El Beso sculpture.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Meet Bob Nadkarni, a local club owner, and hear how he created one of the most famous jazz clubs in all of South America, The Maze.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Aguas Calientes: With a Local Expert, explore the cloud forest, visit a working tea plantation and an orchid farm.
  • Buenos Aires: With a Local Expert, your comprehensive city exploration includes a visit to the splendid Belle Époque Teatro Colon.
  • 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.
  • Iguassu Falls: Join a Local Expert for a spectacular walk past thundering curtains of water and misty rainbows on both Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls.
  • 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.
  • Lima: Experience the beautiful 'City of Kings' through the eyes of a Local Expert.
  • 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.
  • Puno: Explore Sillustani to view the stone burial towers 'chullpas' that have dotted the shores since pre-Inca times.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Partake in a stunning show of extravagant costumes and enthralling music, songs and dances at Ginga Tropical.
  • Sacred Valley: Visit the Centre for Traditional Textiles, meet with the founder, Nilda Callañaupa, and learn how the Centre is working to empower Quechuan woman and men in the communities of Chinchero, Chahuaytire and Pitumarca by preserving and teaching textile traditions that had begun to disappear.
  • Santiago: Meet a Local Expert for an exploration of the Chilean capital.

EXCEPTIONAL DINING

  • Buenos Aires: Enjoy dinner is at Piegari Carnes.
  • Cusco: Dine at MAP restaurant, one of the city’s most prominent restaurants, situated on the 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.
  • Included Quality Dining: 21 Breakfasts (BB), 11 Lunches (L) and 15 Dinners (DW).
  • Lima: Enjoy a Highlight Lunch at Amor Amar in a trendy, bohemian district.
  • Macchu Picchu: Learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Indulge in a classic buffet style lunch amid a lavish setting at the Belle Époque, Confeitaria Colombo.
  • Sacred Valley: Experience a caja china lunch, a popular way to create a delicious meal in Peru, cooked in a wooden box.
  • Santiago: Savour a Highlight Dinner at Cafe in Lasterria, Santiago's trendiest neighbourhood.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • 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.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services Relax in comfort on 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.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services 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.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services From time to time, your Travelling Concierge will enchant you with a Luxury Gold Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
  • Inclusive Luxury Gold Services Included complimentary, private transfers are available on start and end dates, and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold.

Accommodation

 

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.

The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel.

The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel.

Alvear Palace Hotel

Buenos Aires (Heritage) - Argentina

Distinguishable by its architecture and décor, the Alvear Palace Hotel is a hallmark of world class hotels.

Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas

Iguassu (Heritage) - Brazil

The luxurious Belmond das Cataratas is the only hotel inside the National Park and sits alongside the falls.

Belmond Hotel de Cataratas, Iguassu.

Belmond Hotel de Cataratas, Iguassu.

Belmond Copacabana Palace

Rio de Janeiro (Heritage) - Brazil

With a prime location overlooking Copacabana Beach, the iconic Belmond Copacabana Palace offers an unforgettable stay in timeless luxury.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

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

  • 20 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We arrived in Quito 2 days early and stayed at the hotel that the tour was starting at. There was no information available at the hotel regarding when the guide was arriving to start our tour which caused us some distress. The next day the guide checked us and one other person who was on the Galapagos Extension in at the airport and did not inform us that the plane touched down on the way. We got off the plane thinking we were there (the announcements were in Spanish and not clear) and this caused an incredible amount of stress to the three of us, I am sure the other person will have given you this information. It is not good for your company as that part was definitely a one star experience for us. Once we did get to La Pinta everything was fantastic, however that really is a let down for you. As I said the 21 day tour that started in Lima with Roberto was definitely 5 star and he really makes that trip a stand out. I don't know how you can handle the other part that lets these coach trips down. We did a 7 day Alaska trip in August and 2 lots of people would not rotate as they supposedly had claustrophobic issues and could only sit near the front of the coach. On this coach trip one couple sat in the best seats at the front on every single trip, I believe he had a problem which entitled them to sit in these seats. The guide had to go with it and apologised to the rest of us. This caused a lot of annoyance to the extent that people were saying have they payed extra to sit in the best seats all the time or are they doing a Luxury Gold PLUS trip. We all pay the same amount of money, they were not disabled but it seems that these, may I say scams are becoming a way to get around the rotation. I find this very wrong but I do believe as a company it would be very difficult for you to manage this. This is all meant to be constructive for you, we have finished our trip now and as I have stated it was a great itinerary in a difficult part of the world which I would not want to have done with any other guide.

    Service: The start in Quito was not good, the Galapagos was very good and the 21 days that followed with Roberto as the guide was well worth the 5 stars. You are very lucky to have Roberto he is just wonderful and is the hardest working guide we have every had on any coach tour that we have ever experienced.

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered everything we wanted to see

    Service: Great hotels , terrific travel consierge.

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