Day 1:ARRIVE IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Welcome to South America 's capital of glamour—Rio de Janeiro. Your hotel is available for mid-afternoon check-in.Day 2:RIO DE JANEIRO.
Today, a private tour takes you to the Cosme Velho district, where you board a cog-wheel train that will take you through the lush tropical vegetation of Tijuca Forest to the top of CORCOVADO Mountain. This rounded peak rising 2,300 feet from the bay below is one of the New7Wonders of the World and home to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. Enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree panorama, which affords sweeping views of the city and beaches below. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)Day 3:RIO DE JANEIRO.
Enjoy a full day at leisure. Your Local Host will suggest an optional Jeep tour to the rainforest in the middle of the city, Tijuca National Park and its bird sanctuary. This afternoon you may elect to discover historic Petropolis, a mountain resort and site of the former summer palace of Emperor Dom Pedro II, or take an optional excursion to visit the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain. (B)Day 4:RIO-IGUASSU FALLS.
Fly to IGUASSU FALLS. This masterpiece of nature encompasses 275 separate falls and spans almost two miles. This afternoon 's private tour is dedicated to enjoying the spectacle of this 2-mile-wide torrential downpour from the Brazilian side. (B)Day 5:IGUASSU FALLS.
This morning, take the ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN and tour the Argentine side of IGUASSU FALLS with numerous walkways that wind under the crashing water. (B)Day 6:IGUASSU FALLS-BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.
Fly to Buenos Aires, proud capital of the vast country that occupies most of the southern part of the continent. After arriving at your central hotel you will have time to become acquainted with the “Paris of South America” and its wide boulevards and outdoor cafés. Enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)Day 7:BUENOS AIRES.
A PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning starts in the colorful La Boca district, site of the city 's first port. Take a short walking tour of this unique neighborhood, then on to San Telmo, famous for its late-colonial buildings and a popular gathering spot for artists. At the Plaza de Mayo, see La Casa Rosada (the President 's Pink House) and the Metropolitan Cathedral, which houses San Martin 's Mausoleum. Drive past the ornate Colon Opera House before reaching the CEMETERY OF THE RECOLETA, burial site of Eva Perón. This evening, perhaps savor the city 's atmosphere on an optional dinner at a local restaurant, followed by a performance of Latin America 's most sensuous dance—the Tango! (B)Day 8:BUENOS AIRES.
Today is at leisure. Your Local Host will suggest an optional excursion to the Pampas. Experience Argentine country life as you visit an estancia (ranch). Get acquainted with the lifestyle of the gauchos and enjoy a barbecue lunch and the warm hospitality of your hosts before returning to the city. (B)Day 9:BUENOS AIRES-LIMA, PERU.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima, where you will be met by your Local Host. (B)Day 10:LIMA.
Your included CITY TOUR focuses on Lima 's rich colonial history as well as the modern city. Lima was the bastion of Spanish South America from its founding in 1535 until the independence of the South American republics in the early 19th century. See the Cathedral, where the remains of Francisco Pizarro are sealed in a wooden coffin and with its eerie burial crypts and visit the SANTO DOMINGO CONVENT to see the relics of three famous Peruvian saints-Santa Rosa de Lima, San Martin de Porres, and San Juan Macias. (B)Day 11:LIMA-CUSCO.
Fly to Cusco high in the Andes. Your GUIDED TOUR visits the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, previously the Koricancha Temple, one of the most important temples devoted to worship of the sun. It is said it was covered in gold leaf and filled with golden representations of nature. In the Plaza de Armas, see the Cathedral before taking a short drive outside the city to the ruins of SACSAYHUAMAN with its intricate stone walls, amphitheatre of KENKO, and the Red Fortress of PUCA PUCARA. (B)Day 12:CUSCO-SACRED VALLEY.
Today, a short drive into the Sacred Valley of the Incas brings you to AWANAKANCHA, where you will learn about the importance of the alpaca (llama) for Inca cultures as well as the ancient weaving techniques. Continue, to the market town of PISAC. Handmade rugs, alpaca sweaters, and jewelry can be bought here at bargain prices. At the other end of the valley is LLANTAYTAMBO. Here, some of the finest examples of Inca masonry can be seen. (B,L)Day 13:SACRED VALLEY-MACHU PICCHU.
Board a TRAIN TRIP bound for MACHU PICCHU and cut a path through the Sacred Valley to this “Lost City of the Incas,” discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. On a GUIDED TOUR, explore this intact fortress with its temple remains, holy houses, and mile-long aqueduct. For hikers, a brisk one-hour walk leads to the Sun Gate, the ancient entrance used by the Incas. (B,L,D)Day 14:MACHU PICCHU-CUSCO.
A morning at leisure in Machu Picchu allows you to wake up early to see the sunrise over MACHU PICCHU with your second included entrance to the ruins. Return to Cusco, where your Local Host will recommend options for your free time. Perhaps visit the Inca Museum or wander through the artisan district of San Blas. (B)Day 15:CUSCO-LIMA.
Fly to Lima, where the remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)Day 16:LIMA-QUITO, ECUADOR
Fly to Quito, where you will be met by your Local Host. (B)Day 17:QUITO
Your included PRIVATE CITY TOUR showcases the rich legacy left by the Incas and, later, the Spaniards. See Independence Square dominated by its formidable Cathedral, San Francisco Plaza Church, and the basilica. (B)Day 18:QUITO-BALTRA (EMBARKATION)-GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
Fly to the Galápagos Islands and board the Santa Cruz II. Visit Las Bachas on SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, an important nesting area for the East Pacific green sea turtle. See brackish lagoons just steps away from the sea, a feeding ground for various wading birds—from stilts to flamingos. (B,L,D)Day 19:CRUISING: SANTIAGO ISLAND.
Arrive at Buccaneer Cove on SANTIAGO ISLAND to explore the dramatic coastline inhabited by a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel and take a ride on the panga or the glass-bottom boat. Later, at Puerto Egas, -known for its black-sand beach, tuff-stone layers and lava flows,- see land and marine birds, as well as a colony of fur sea lions, marine iguanas, and marine turtles. (B,L,D)Day 20:CRUISING: RÁBIDA & BARTOLOMÉ ISLANDS
Visit RÁBIDA ISLAND with its red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Your Naturalist will point out large colonies of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin 's finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond occasionally hosts American flamingos. Snorkel from the beach to see the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. At BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND, hike to the summit for a stunning view of Pinnacle Rock. Take a snorkel or a ride on the glass-bottom boat and possibly see Galápagos penguins in tropical waters! (B,L,D)Day 21:CRUISING: GENOVESA ISLAND
On GENOVESA ISLAND, take a walk up Prince Phillip 's Steps as your Naturalist reveals large colonies of masked boobies, blue- and red-footed boobies, frigatebirds, storm petrels, and short-eared owls. In the afternoon, disembark on a beautiful beach at Darwin Bay to observe frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies, herons, finches, and mockingbirds. Return to the beach for snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. (B,L,D)Day 22:CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ (DISEMBARKATION)-BALTRA-GUAYAQUIL
Disembark at the north shore of SANTA CRUZ ISLAND for a visit to a TORTOISE RESERVE in the highlands. Here, you will see and learn about the Giant Galápagos Tortoises living in the wild and what is being done to help preserve these ancient creatures. Later, fly to Guayaquil. (B)Day 23:GUAYAQUIL
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
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