South America Discovered
A Journey Offering Richness In Cuisine, Topography & Cultures
Land Arrangements per person TBA
In-country Airfare per person TBA
With Private SUV, Private Driver, Private Boat & Private Guide
Day 01 / Depart United States
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.
Day 02 / Arrival Manaus
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, board your private charter 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.
Day 03 / Excursion on the Amazon
Long will you remember the beauty and excitement of today’s journey. Board your private charter vessel 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.
Day 04 / Manaus – Rio de Janeiro
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.
Day 05 / Rio de Janeiro
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.
Day 06 / Rio de Janeiro – Iguacu Falls
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.
Day 07 / Iguacu Falls – Buenos Aires
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.
Day 08 / Buenos Aires
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”.
Day 09 / Buenos Aires – Bariloche
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.
Day 10 / Bariloche – Puerta Varas
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.
Day 11 / Puerta Varas – Santiago
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.
Day 12 / Excursion to Vina del Mar
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.
Day 13 / Santiago – Lima
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.
Day 14 / Lima – Cusco
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.
Day 15 / Excursion to Machu Picchu
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.
Day 16 / Cusco – Lima
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.
Day 17 / Lima – United States
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.
Optional: Extension to Bolivia
Day 16 / Excursion to the Valley of the Kings
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.
Day 17 / Cusco – Puno
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.
Day 18 / Puno – Lake Titicaca
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.
Day 19 / Lake Titicaca – La Paz
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”.
Day 20 / La Paz
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.
Day 21 / La Paz – United States
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.
Day 1 / United States – Bangkok
Relax and enjoy the exemplary service aboard your chosen airline jetliner as you wing your way across the Pacific bound for the exciting city of Bangkok.
CROSS INTERNATIONAL DATELINE
Day 2 / Arrival Bangkok
The innate friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people await your arrival. This storied city of brilliantly colored temples, jewel-bedecked dancers and joyous children splashing in canals will weave its sensuous magic about you. Your private escort who will greet and accompany you to your hotel meets your late evening arrival.
Day 3 / Bangkok
Golden-tiled roofs glowing in the morning sun draw you to riverside to join with your private guide aboard a motorized longboat that will whisk you to the klongs (canals) interlaced within the backwaters that surround the city. Stilted houses dot the banks of the shoreline, with children playing in the waters, passing sampans filled with produce en route to market make the journey a photographer’s delight. Disembark nearby the Thai Royal Palace to visit the exquisite temple of the emerald Buddha. Stroll the grounds as you begin to compare the unique and varied styles of architecture as you begin to distinguish among the Thai, Burmese and Cambodian influences. Return to your hotel for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure, and to find pleasure in some of the offerings among a fine selection of amenities. (B)
Day 4 / Bangkok - Hanoi
Having enjoyed the beauty and glorious surroundings found in Bangkok, it is time to wing your way high above the jungle carpet to Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Founded some 4,000 years ago by the Hung Kings, it shares borders with Cambodia, China, and Laos and claims a magnificent shoreline stretching some 2,000 miles. Your private guide who will accompany for lunch at a popular local restaurant meets your noontime arrival. Thereafter, visit the Temple of Literature; enjoy a cyclo ride through Old Town, a visit to Ngoc Son Temple, and the Hanoi Hilton, where captured Americans were held during the time of conflict. End your day with a performance of water puppets at the Thang Long Theatre. (B/L)
Day 5 / Hanoi ~ Ha Long Bay
This morning, begin your tour with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his former private residence, the One-Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, all encased within the center of the city. Upon completing your visits, your private guide will accompany you for a leisurely lunch at one of the more popular restaurants within the city. Thereafter, drive across countryside to Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful settings in all of Vietnam. The Bay covers some 930 square miles and is dotted with a myriad of over 3,000 islands. Upon arrival, you will have the remainder of the evening at leisure; perhaps to walk along the sidewalks and pathways found aside the shoreline. (B/L/D)
Day 6 / Ha Long Bay ~ Hanoi
Begin your day by private charter aside the hundreds of isles and monoliths that comprise one of the most beautiful settings within Vietnam. Shades of emerald from grass and vine, tethered to stately monoliths project their sunlit glow across the placid waters of this peaceful bay. Artists both young and old have tried to capture on canvas or in prose the dynamic and sensual beauty of this region. It will be for you to capture its beauty either in memory or photograph when you cruise the waters of this spectacular bay. Enjoy lunch aboard your vessel prior to joining with your private driver and guide for a return to Hanoi. (B/L)
Day 7 / Hanoi ~ Hué
A morning stroll among the local residents who enjoy their sidewalk exercise completes your visit to Hanoi. Fly to the city of Hué, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all cities within Vietnam. Upon arrival, enjoy a leisurely lunch at a popular local restaurant prior to a drive across the countryside to the Kai Dinh Tomb, one of the more elaborate tombs among Vietnam’s former emperors. Stop by villages, where conical hats, incense sticks and duck raising are their means of livelihood, and lastly, visit the open-air market, where one can find some rather unique and amazing choices. (B/L)
Day 8 / Hué
Board your private launch to cruise the Huong Giang (Perfume) River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, perhaps the most famous in all of Vietnam. Continue to the Ming Manh Tomb. Completed in 1843, its design has elaborate bridges that link the various ceremonial halls, each surrounded by the magnificence of a landscaped natural setting. Enjoy a relaxing lunch in the town and thereafter, visit the expansive Citadel, known as the Forbidden City of Vietnam. It is the site of the fierce battle during the TET offensive of 1968. Return to your accommodation to enjoy an evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 9 / Hué ~ Danang ~ Hoi An
A morning drive takes you south along the coastal highway across three mountain passes as you view the South China Sea, making your way to the town of Da Nang, where you will visit Marble Mountains. Set along the South China Sea, they depict the harmony between mountain and sea, forming a splendid display of natural color. The staircase leading to the inner caves is your gateway to viewing a temple set within the center of the cave, with sunlight glowing downward from a natural skylight formed at the mountain top. Thereafter, visit the Champa Museum, where you will find an impressive display of statuary dedicated to the former Champa people who held vast territories within the Champa Kingdom. Enjoy lunch within the town followed by the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. (B/L)
Day 10 / Hoi An
Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast, followed by entry into the small town of Hoi An to enjoy a walking tour discovering its history as an international seaport generations ago. The town has become a popular tourist attraction with local artisans busy at work in their craft shops found along the narrow lanes that dot the landscape. Visit the Tan Ky old clan house, the 400-year-old Japanese bridge and the Fukien Assembly Hall. Your morning ends with lunch within the town, and thereafter a return to the hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure, perhaps to enjoy some of the fine amenities offered at the resort. (B/L)
Day 11 / Hoi An ~ Saigon
Fly to Saigon, a city like no other, which welcomes you to partake in all of its offerings, be they a beautiful temple in Cholon, a stroll through the city or simply the purchase of a silk garment as a memento of your visit. Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxing lunch within the city before the start of you tour. Your exploration of the city begins with a visit to Reunification Palace, which was the accommodation for heads of State, a visit to the site of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the colonial-styled architecture of the inner plaza and dockside, where the never-ending movement of boats ply the waters of the Saigon River, moving both passenger and merchandise to market. Drive to Cholon for a visit to its enormous market prior to arrival at your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 12 / Excursion: Mekong Delta
Join with your private boatman and guide as you embark on a daylong excursion to Ben Tre province, famous for its coconut plantations and peaceful waterways. Upon arrival, enjoy a “Xe Loi” (cyclo) ride through the local village of Huu Dinh, followed by a private boat cruise through the small canals of the delta waterway. En route, stop at a village brick kiln and thereafter, switch to a private sampan taking you through the narrow backwaters of the delta to the home of a private family. If you choose, you can bicycle from their home to another part of the village where handcrafted sampans are produced. Continue your ride to the home of a former Viet Cong soldier who fought the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and is now making rice paper as his livelihood. Enjoy a five-course lunch at a specialty restaurant within the village before embarking on your private watercraft to return to Ben Tre city. There you will board your private vehicle and return back to Saigon. Your visit to the Mekong complete, enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 13 / Saigon ~ Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and at mid-morning depart for the airport to join your noontime flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, site for the magnificence of Angkor. Upon arrival, your private driver and guide will accompany you to enjoy lunch within the town. Thereafter, join with your private driver and guide to begin your exploration of these spectacular ruins with a visit to the south gate at Angkor Thom, the site of Bayon, the Royal Enclosure, Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Return to your accommodation, perhaps to visit the town enjoying the night market and the colorful array of local kiosks and restaurants within the town. (B, L)
Day 14 / Excursion to the Ruins at Angkor
Begin your day with a private boat excursion along the waters of Tonle Sap Lake and the many floating villages that dot the waters landscape. It is a pleasurable journey to a very unique setting. Return for lunch within the town prior to a continuation of your touring of Angkor, beginning with a visit to the Bakan tower at Angkor Wat temple. Travel deeper into the forest for a visit to perhaps the most spectacular ruins at Ta Phrom, which in particular is a photographer’s delight with much of the grounds encased in rooted Banyans, which have overcome the many walls and foundations on site. It is a remarkable temple ruins, one not to be missed and surely not forgotten. Return to your accommodation to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 15 / Siem Reap ~ Luang Prabang
Complete your visit to Angkor with a private boat exploration of the stilted fishing villages along the waterway to expansive Tonle Sap Lake. It is a colorful journey, highlighting life upon the river leading to the expansive lake where fishermen take to the waters by wooden boat. Upon return to Siem Reap, visit Les Artisans D’Angkor where master craftsmen teach the young the art of sculpting and craft design. Many of their creations are beautifully adorned and can make for excellent choices as a memento of your holiday. Enjoy lunch within the town, and thereafter join your onward flight to Luang Prabang. (B, L)
Day 16 / Excursion on the Mekong River
Begin your tour with a visit to the colorful Royal Palace, built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Thereafter, board your private launch for a journey to the Buddha caves at Pak Ou. While traveling on the Mekong, you will have the opportunity to stop at a village to see a generations-old rice-making mill and stroll through the grounds to see how villagers live their lives along the banks of the Mekong. (B, L)
Day 17 / Siem Reap ~ Yangon
A morning drive takes you to the district of Puok for a visit to the silk farm, which maintains a weaving project for young people in the region. You will see all stages of the silk weaving process, from the growing of the mulberry trees, the raising of the silk worms to their life cycle and how the thread is then woven into some of the beautiful silk garments sold within the towns and cities. Thereafter board your flight to Yangon, capital city of Myanmar (Burma), “Land of Pagodas” and one of the world’s least traveled countries. The warm welcome given visiting tourists by the Burmese people adds to the charm and enjoyment of your stay. (B/L)
Day 18 / Yangon
Following breakfast, join with your private guide and driver to visit the Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years. From there visits will be made to the reclining Buddha, Karaweik Hall, Royal Lake and Bogyoke market to find the greatest array of goods within Myanmar. A special treat is in store upon visiting on of the most sacred shrines within the country, the Shwedagon Pagoda, considered by many to be the most impressive pagoda in the world. Its main spire rises to a height of 396 feet and is adorned with thousands of semi-precious stones, all surrounded by multi-layers of gold leaf. (B/L)
Day 19 / Yangon ~ He Ho ~ Kalaw
A morning flight wings you to He Ho in Upper-Burma to meet your waiting guide for transport across the pine-scented woodlands to reach what once was a favorite hill station retreat for British administrative officials, located on the rim of the Shan Plateau. En route, stop at a farming village where Pa-O and Shan people live working the soil as their livelihood. Nearby, visit a small cave where Buddhist devotees have placed numerous Buddhist statues. Upon lunch within the town, enjoy a walking tour through this peaceful setting with the atmosphere so very reminiscent of the colonial era. Nowadays the town is a market center for ethnic minorities that reach here from the hillsides to gather necessities. (B/L)
Day 20 / Excursion to Green Valley Elephant Camp
Completing an early breakfast, drive to the Magwe elephant camp. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the camp’s team who will inform you about the project of rescuing elephants from their former life of hauling timber within the forests. Within the camp, you will observe how the mahouts and their families live while caring for the elephants. You will have a chance to both feed and bathe the elephants by riverside. (B/L)
Day 21 / Kalaw ~ Nyaung Shwe ~ Inle Lake
This morning’s drive takes you across the countryside to the embarkation point at Nyuang Shwe to board your private launch whisking you across the lake to the site of your accommodation. En route you will see the famous Inthar leg rowers, who wrap their lower leg around the paddle as they search the waters for their favorite fishing sites. Passing the floating gardens at Inle, you will visit the Phaungdaw OO Pagoda, dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery, and the weaving village of Inpawkhon (B/L)
Day 22 / Excursion to Indein Pagoda complex
Board your private launch taking you to the western shore of the lake where you will disembark and begin the stair path lined with hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens to the top of the hillside and the Indein Pagoda complex. Continue on foot to a nearby village where the residents continue to grow their crops in generations-old fashion. Walking past the many fields of rice and flowing creeks, arrive at the village of Sae Ma and onward to Tha Le. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants prior to returning to your resort. (B/L)
Day 23 / Inle Lake ~ Yangon ~ Bangkok
Return by boat to Nyuang Shwe for transport to He Ho for you return flight to Yangon. You will have the use of your private vehicle; time permitting, for additional sightseeing prior to boarding your connecting flight to Bangkok. (B)
Day 24 / Bangkok ~ United States
All too soon you passage throughout Southeast Asia has come to an end and it is time to board your flight homeward carrying with you some marvelous memories that will be rekindled again and again over a lifetime.
ADVANCED BOOKING DISCOUNT:
A tour booking and full payment made 6 months or more prior to the departure date qualifies you for a 10% discount on Land Arrangements.
CUSTOM TOUR OPTION:
You are welcome to visit our custom tour page using this basic itinerary as a model and customize the entire day-to-day tour program or begin anew to craft one that matches your choice for countries and locations to visit, length of stay at each destination, choice of 4 or 5 star accommodations and number of days for travel. Once provided with an overview of how you would like to see the itinerary completed, First Cabin will send you a draft for review and work together to finalize an itinerary to your specifications.
Book Your Luxury or Custom Personalized Itinerary Well In Advance of Your Departure Date and Qualify for a 10% Discount on Your Tour