Welcome aboard your chosen air carrier for your flight to Manaus, Brazil, gateway to the Amazon and your exciting adventure featuring the highlights of South America.
Early this morning you arrive at the city of Manaus, to find historic mansions of former rubber barons and traverse the waters of the Amazon. After a leisurely lunch, join with others on a charter boat and cruise to the “Meeting of the Waters” where you will witness the struggle of the two titans: the Rio Negro and the Solimoes flow beside each other for miles before blending to form the mighty Amazon River. (B)
Long will you remember the beauty and excitement of today’s journey. Board with others for a cruise to the Ariau Jungle Lodge, which provides the setting for lunch and your continued exploration of the nearby backwaters of this magnificent region. By sheer volume the Amazon is the largest river in the world. It is this same world’s existence that depends upon the continued preservation of both river and tropical rainforest. Amazonas – providing a wealth of unique and exciting venues to capture in photo and by memory. (B/L)
This morning, join with your private guide for a tour of Manaus and the stately Teatro Amazonas, symbol of the sophistication enjoyed by this city during the gay 90’s. Early this afternoon, you will depart for Rio de Janeiro. Upon arrival, begin to sense the pulsating rhythms that permeate the mood of those who live in this carnival city. There is no other city quite like Rio, and there will be time enough to savor its delicious foods and lively entertainment. An evening arrival takes you aside Rio’s famous beaches to reach your accommodation during your stay. (B)
A tour of this fascinating city begins with a stroll along the cobblestone streets of Paineiras en route to Mt. Corcovado, site of Rio’s most famous landmark, the grand statue of Christ the Redeemer. Thereafter, a thrilling ride by cable car swiftly carries you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for a spectacular panorama of Rio’s magnificent harbor and city. After a leisurely lunch, perhaps to dine at one of Rio’s finest churrascaria restaurants, return to your hotel for a bit of rest or sojourn along the beach, for this evening you will continue the pleasure of your holiday with a colorful Samba performance at one of Rio’s famous nightclubs where color and bravado take precedence on the dance floor. (B/L)
Join your morning flight to unforgettable Iguacu Falls. More than 270 cascades form the backdrop of this natural setting as millions of gallons per minute descend in a thunderous display of power and beauty. Having walked the footpaths aside the thundering cascades, thrills await you upon joining others, and boarding a zodiac raft for a spectacular ride over the rapids to the base of Iguacu. (B)
Your mid-morning departure takes you across the Parna River, the borderline between Argentina and Brazil. Continue your drive aside the jungle pathways to the airport to board your onward flight to the colorful and exciting city of Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, if you choose, walk along “Florida Street” known to be Buenos Aires most famous shopping area, where local residents relish the flavor of their city by visiting the nearby shops and coffee houses that line the thoroughfare. (B)
Today’s tour across Buenos Aires takes you to city center to see the old city hall, the financial district and the tomb of Eva Peron. A special treat is in store with an in-house guided tour of the opera house, Teatro Colon. A visit to Polermo Park, with its magnificent gardens and lagoons is followed by touring one of the oldest districts of the city at San Telmo, known for its devotion to the Tango. Return to your hotel for a relaxing lunch and a bit of afternoon rest for this evening you are the invited guest to a lively performance of dancers and musicians as you experience “The Tango”. (B)
A morning departure wings you to the “European-styled” village town of San Carlos de Bariloche, set amidst the magnificence of the area’s interconnecting lakes and mountain peaks. The small-town friendliness of its inhabitants adds to the natural beauty of this winter and summer playground. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the many shops and kiosks that line the village streets while admiring the spectacular beauty of these environs. (B)
Join with your private guide and travel to dockside to board the local ferry that will carry you across Lake Naheul Haupaui en route to Peulla. The lush topography within this unspoiled natural setting will continue to weave its magic about you. The grandeur of these environs may leave you breathless while you continue your passage aboard three separate ferryboats for an early evening arrival into Puerto Varas. A highlight of the journey will be the crossing at Emerald Lake, its shimmering waters aglow in the sunlight. (B/L)
This morning, while touring Puerto Montt, you will visit the habor side and central market with some free time to bargain for a sweater or alpaca from one of the friendly vendors. Soon thereafter, board your flight to Santiago, where upon arrival your touring begins with a visit to the city museum, which has on display a fascinating collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and ends with a dramatic mountain top view of the Santiago metropolis. (B)
Today’s excursion takes you into the beautiful countryside to Chile’s most popular resort, Vina del Mar. Compare the dramatic contrasts between the old and new areas of the city while enjoying a leisurely drive along the seashore. Visiting one of the more highly rated vineyards for a taste of what has become very popular wine on the global market is followed by an opportunity at lunch to savor some of the local seafood. (B/L)
Begin your day with a flight to the foothills of the Andes and Peru’s capital city, Lima. One of the highlights of your visit will be a tour of the famous Gold Museum, displaying many priceless treasures of pre-Columbian gold and antiquities. Continue your exploration at the resting place of Francisco Pizarro who founded the city in 1535. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will be at leisure. (B)
Excitement mounts as you fly across the Andes to visit the remnants of the Inca Empire in Cusco and at Machu Picchu. Cusco, the capital, flourished long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, and neither they nor any natural disaster could raze the foundations of the sturdy fortresses constructed during that era. The Pucara (fortress) of Sacsayhuaman still dominates the landscape with its tiered walls of finely sculpted boulders rising to heights of nearly 20 feet and weighing in excess of 300 tons. (B)
One of the greatest finds of this century was the “Lost City” of Machu Picchu, discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. A three-hour ride by train through the sacred Urubamba Valley places you within the last refuge of the Incas as they fled the conquistadors’ attack upon the city of Cusco. Nestled at 8,000 feet within nearly inaccessible mountains and almost invisible from the valley floor, this magnificent site comprised over 200 buildings of superbly cut stone. Nature’s beauty blends perfectly with the remains of the temples, houses and terraces – remarkably constructed and unbelievably well-preserved. (B/L)
A late morning arrival into Lima allows time for a relaxing lunch and an afternoon at leisure, perhaps to search the nearby boutiques and antique shops for that special memento of your visit to this colorful and exciting city. (B)
All too soon your holiday has ended and it is time to board your onward flight return to the United States carrying with you the memories to last a lifetime.
A morning departure takes you to the colorful town of Pisac where you will find Indian traders who travel from surrounding hillside villages to barter for their daily necessities. Your journey takes you below the terraced hillsides of the Incas, where local farmers terrace their crops to the very peaks of the surrounding mountains. The lush and verdant farmland dramatically proves the Incas and the generations to follow to be brilliant farmers. Visit the ruins at Urmumbamba and Ollantaytambo before following a different route back to Cusco. (B)
Fly to the southeastern highlands or “Altiplano” and into the ancient city of Puno. Set on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, it is an area resplendent with spectacular landscapes and imposing archaeological ruins. Legends abound that the ancient Inca civilization surfaced from the waters of the lake and were the forebears of the Uros Indians who now inhabit the lake’s famous floating islands. An excursion to the floating islands is an event that you will not soon forget for its unique setting and hearty inhabitants. Constructed of totora reeds that grow along the lakeshore, these islands are home to the Uros Indians who will greet you with a warm welcome and invite you to see their finely embroidered tapestries. (B)
Your private driver and private guide will accompany you along the shores of Lake Titicaca to Copacabana, presenting a delightful array of color and beauty. It is at Copacabana that you will find the revered shrine of the “Virgin Morena” representing a mixture of Indian liturgy and Catholic religion. Continue to dockside to board your hydrofoil for a thrilling passage to the Island of the Sun. Disembark, and if you so choose, climb the sloping hillside to visit the Inca Water Spring, a legendary “fountain of youth”. The hilltop view across the lake toward the Andes is spectacular. Continue on to Huatajata, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where you will find pre-historic reed boats, wandering llamas and alpacas, all within their natural setting. A visit to the two museums on the island will acquaint you with the folkloric history of the Kalawayas and their fascination with herbal medicines and black magic. Arrive at the Inca Utama Resort for a night’s rest. (B)
A morning departure takes you to the ruins at Tiwanacu, an awesome blend of archaeology and living history within a setting high atop the world. Tiwanacu, the capital of a great civilization dating back to 1580 B.C., was one of the largest cities in the world while at its prime in 700 A.D. A visit to the temples, aqueducts, and the Sun Gate will reveal the unique craftsmanship of the Tiwanacu artisans. Thereafter, continue your journey to the city of La Paz, situated in a deep valley below the wondrous heights of the “Altiplano”. (B)
Enjoy a morning tour of La Paz, known as the “City of Contrasts” for its blend of civilizations. Highlights will include the Indian Market, Plaza San Francisco, and the Witch Doctor’s Market. A visit to Moon Valley, with its best-described “other world” landscape, comprises a series of monoliths, jagged hills and caves that depict a moon-like setting. Return by early afternoon to enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B)
Your journey across the breadth of South America now ending, it is time to board your flight return to the United States carrying with you those great memories to last a lifetime. (B)
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