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Welcome to the Capital of the New World – the launch pad to our effortlessly delivered encounter with the iconic and unexpected highlights of Peru. On arrival in Lima, you’ll be transferred to your hotel in the exclusive barrio of San Isidro where you’ll enjoy a Welcome Reception this evening to meet your Travel Director and travel companions.
Connect with the colonial heritage of Francisco Pizzaro’s 'City of Kings', admiring the colonial splendour of Lima’s UNESCO-listed Historic Centre. Stand in the birthplace of this ancient, yet modern city, surrounded by the Baroque façades of Cathedral of Lima and Palace of the Union. See the Church of San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs. Celebrate Lima’s status as the culinary capital of South America and Connect With Locals when you meet Ignacio Barrios, who has worked alongside many of Peru's most award-winning chefs. We visit a local market where Ignacio will explain how Peruvian fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats are the basis of Peruvian cooking. Then, continue to Chef Ignacio's cooking school where we’ll enjoy a demonstration on how to prepare some of Peru's most popular dishes and have an opportunity to sample some at a Be My Guest experience lunch before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
Board a morning flight to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Dive Into Culture when you visit the Pisac market, displaying Quechua arts and crafts, then continue to a former 18th century colonial-style monastery in the Sacred Valley, our hotel for the night. Connect With Locals and meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a master Quechua weaver, and the first person from her village to attend university. She has been an ambassador for Andean traditions since she began learning ancient pre-Columbian weaving techniques as a young girl in the 1960s. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as your visit helps to preserve and promote traditional pre-Columbian weaving techniques in the 21st century.
The mystical empire of the Incas takes centre stage today. We visit the famous Sacred Valley stronghold of Ollantaytambo with a Local Specialist, before boarding the Vistadome train (light snack included) for our epic journey to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Delve into the mysteries of this once-great civilisation, admiring the 15th century stone ruins of temples, palaces and terraces perched high amidst the clouds. Join your Local Specialist for an exploration of the iconic great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, an intricately carved rock most likely used as a sundial centuries ago. We return to our hotel where we dine tonight.
The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu beckon again and we have an opportunity to re-connect with this ancient wonder. We board a train to the Sacred Valley, then head to the colonial city of Cusco, stopping en route at a local chicheria. Dive Into Culture and enjoy the sweet flavours of chicha as you learn how this Peruvian corn beer is brewed by the local women.
Discover Cusco’s colonial center with your Local Specialist, highlighting the city’s most important landmarks of both the Inca and the Colonial times including the Plaza de Armas where a cathedral stands on the ruins of the ancient Inca Palace. Stop at the Temple of the Sun, Korikancha, before visiting the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a UNESCO-listed Incan fortress with tremendous views over Cusco. The afternoon is free to join an optional experience including a visit to the Chocolate Museum, Cusco off the beaten track or the Incan agricultural greenhouse and salt wells of Maras & Maray.
A leisurely start to our day sees us return to Lima this afternoon. Meet a Local Specialist at the Larco Museum, which houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in the world. This evening we join our travel companions for a Farewell Dinner in the museum's garden restaurant.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Ecuador (flight not included in holiday price). Enjoy a warm welcome in Quito where you will be greeted at the airport and taken to your hotel.
Visit the historical centre of Quito, which was the first place in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and travel to the 'Middle of the World' to stand on the Equator. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Discover a land that inspired Darwin to form his Theory of Natural Selection. On arrival at Baltra airport, transfer to the M/V Galápagos Legend. Sail to Bartolomé Island, hiking to its summit for soul-stirring views, then snorkel in the midst of Galápagos penguins.
Our first destination today is South Plaza Island, home to the famed Galápagos sea lions and the unusual prickly pear cactus tree which dot the island’s red landscape. Next is North Seymour Island, on whose long sandy beach and rocks, the resident sea lions and marine iguanas sun themselves.
We journey to Pitt Point this morning, ascending to a high point on the steep volcanic tuff hill to see if we can spot all three of the booby species simultaneously. Cerro Brujo’s coral sand beach is our next destination, where we can connect with the resident sea lions or snorkel in the shadow of Witch’s Hill.
Enjoy a first-hand encounter with the giant tortoises of La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, a tortoise reserve that protects the island’s tortoise population. Your Galápagos exhibition at its end, transfer to San Cristobal Airport for your return flight to Quito. Airport arrival time in Quito will be at 7 p.m.; please be aware when booking your flights.
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