Mystery Vacation – Bolivia, Peru, Easter Island
21 Days From1 $4,500 PP
Day 1 – Thursday – Miami – Lima: Afternoon flight south to Lima, arriving in the evening. Meeting and transfer to the Miraflores Park for two night stay.
Day 2 – Friday – Lima: Full day exploring the main points of interest in Lima, often called “The City of Kings” and once the seat of the Vice Royalty of Spain, including the Plaza de Armas with government palace and cathedral, the San Francisco or Santo Domingo Convent and the new suburbs of the city. You’ll also visit the Larco Herrera Museum with a large collection of potters from the Mochica, Cupisnique (dating back to 1000 BC), Nazca, Chimu and Inca periods. There is also an excellent collection of pre-Columbian weaving, including a sample of two-ply yarns with 398 threads to the inch. There are several mummified weavers buried with their looms, a small display of gold pieces and a section of erotica in a separate building. Then transfer to the Huaca Pucclana Restaurant, located adjacent to a pre-Columbian temple in the heart of Miraflores (which itself dates back as being inhabited over 3000 years. It is believed to have been a religious and ceremonial site. Besides a spectacular setting, the Huaca Pucclana Restaurant is known for its excellent Peruvian gourmet specialties. And last, but certainly not least, continue to Las Pallas in Barranco. The owner, Mari Solari, has a stunning craft shop and impressive collection of crafts from the diverse regions of Peru. Mari is a Scottish woman who has spent years scouring Peru for crafts and cultivating relationships with local craftsmen. Las Pallas is located in her house, one of the best preserved in the area of Barranco. She is uniquely knowledgeable about the crafts she sells and is said to never be short of a story to tell. (B/L)
Day 3 – Saturday – Lima – Cuzco: Transfer for morning flight over the Andes to Cuzco, ancient capital of the Inca empire and considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere. Upon arrival, meeting and transfer to the charming Inkaterra La Casona for overnight stay. Afternoon visit to the main points of interest in Cuzco, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Cuzco was the capital of the ancient Inca Empire was founded around 1100 A.D. and thought to have been a Holy City, a must pilgrimage for any ranking citizen of the empire. Visit the main points of interest in this historic city including the 17th century Qoricancha Temple which, together with Santo Domingo, form perhaps the most vivid illustration in Cuzco of Andean culture’s collision with Western Europe. Some 4000 of the highest ranking priests and their attendants were housed here, and it was also the main astronomical observatory for the Incas. After the Spaniards ransacked the temple and emptied it of gold (which they melted down), the exquisite polished stone walls were employed as the foundations of the Convent of Santo Domingo. Continue nearby to the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman with massive rocks weighing up to 130 tons forming three walls running parallel for 360 meters, with 21 bastions. Also visit the amphitheater of Kenkko (Qenqo); Puka Pukara, possibly an Inca “tambo”, and the spring shrine of Tambo Machay, said to have been an Inca bath but more likely a site of a water cult. (B)
Day 4 – Sunday – Cuzco-Sacred valley of the Incas: Full day excursion through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. First stop is at Awanacancha, a center of llama, alpacas and vicunas, to learn about their wool, the curing and handling, and about weaving techniques. Continue on to the town of Pisac and wind uphill to the ruins of Pisac to view these ruins cascading down the mountain before returning to Pisac to visit the handicraft market. Also make a stop at Pablo Seminario’s Ceramic Studio where Pablo and his wife are dedicated to sculpting the red clay found in the valley using techniques and designs from ancient Peruvian cultures. Have lunch en route today and at the end of your visits, transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley, the lovely Sol y Luna for a two night stay. (B/L)
Day 5 – Monday – Sacred Valley of the Incas: Begin today with a visit to Ollantaytambo, built by the Incas as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces and an urban area. It was an important administrative center with probable military functions. Today’s town of Ollantaytambo is a Living Inca Town since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Then drive along a non-paved road up a narrow canyon lined with ancient agricultural terraces to the village of Willoq, a native rural Quechua community, located at 12,129 feet and home to a group of families rich in cultural values. Enjoy a box lunch and late afternoon return back to your hotel in the valley, (B/BL)
Day 6 – Tuesday – Urubamba-Machu Picchu: Early morning transfer to the train station in Ollantaytambo for VistaDome rail service to Machu Picchu Pueblo for mini-bus 2,000 foot serpentine ascent to the top of the mountain and the entrance to famed Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas. Enjoy a guided tour of these spectacular ruins, never found by the Spanish Conquistadores and only rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, have lunch and time to explore at your own pace. The ruins remain open until dusk. Take the shuttle bus back down to the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo for overnight at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. (B/L/D)
Day 7 – Wednesday – Machu Picchu-Cuzco: Day at leisure to explore at your own pace. Today plan to re-visit the ruins early in the morning so you have plenty of time to explore at your own pace before the day-trippers begin to arrive around 11 AM. The ruins open at 7AM; re-entry tickets to the ruins including Wayna Picchu Trail entry and roundtrip shuttle bus tickets will be provided to you. Be sure to be back at the train station at Machu Picchu Pueblo in time for your return train to Cuzco on the famed luxury Hiram Bingham train with cocktails, entertainment and three course dinner en route, arriving at the Poroy station in the evening. Upon arrival, meeting and transfer to the Inkaterra La Casona for overnight. (B)
Day 8 – Thursday – Cuzco: This morning you will visit Moray, with three areas thought to have been used as open-air laboratories by the Incas. Locally these are called “greenhouses” and as you take the path down you will feel the change in the climate. Then continue on to Maras and the nearby “salt mines”, a collection of 3000 small pools, each about 53 sq ft constructed on the slopes of the mountain. People fill these up with salty water emanating from a natural spring and when the water evaporates the salt slowly solidifies. It takes about a month of this process to create 4 inches of salt. Salt has been mined in this area since pre-Inca days. Afternoon at leisure to explore Cuzco at your own pace. (B)
Day 9 – Friday – Cuzco – Puno: Morning transfer to the train station to board the Andean Explorer for a full day of riding the rails! Cross the scenic Altiplano and pass through many villages, with a scenic stop at La Raya, the highest point of the train journey. Lunch is served on board. Arrive in Puno in the afternoon and transfer to your hotel on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the Casa Andina Private Collection for a two night stay. (B/L)
Day 10 – Saturday – Puno: Morning visit to the Uros Indians, living on floating islands made from the tortura reeds of the lake. You’ll have time to explore and shop for handicrafts. In the afternoon, visit the nearby Sillustani’s “chullpas”, ancient graves from a civilization pre-dating the Incas. (B)
Day 11 – Sunday – Puno – Lake Titicaca – Inca Utama: Morning transfer to the port to board your modern hydrofoil for your “flight” across the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, and “fly” to Copacabana where you will have time to visit the historic cathedral. Then re-board your hydrofoil for “flight” to Sun Island. Walk up ancient Inca steps, visit the Fountain of Youth and have spectacular views of Moon Island and the lake the Uma Kollu restaurant where you will have lunch. Continue by hydrofoil to Moon Island to visit the Sun Virgin’s Temple and then finally “fly” through the narrow Tiquina Strait and to the Inca Utama Hotel and Spa for two night stay. This evening you’ll enjoy a briefing on the magical, mystical world of the Kallawayas, the medicine men of the high Altiplano, and a visit to the Kallawayas Museum. (B)
ABOUT THE INCA UTAMA: A five star hotel right on the shores of Lake Titicaca, there are 60 rooms and suites, each with private facilities, space heater, electric blanket and lots of of water. There is a new Choza Nautica over-the-water restaurant, a cozy bar with over-stuffed couches and roaring fireplace, “Suma Utavi” restaurant, a complete spa, and elevators in both the original hotel building and the new Colonial Towers. The Inca Utama has a complete cultural complex consisting of the Altiplano Museum; Andean Eco Village complete with handicraft center, Eco Museum, Limachi brothers and their full size replica of the RA II, stone fisherman village, mud igloos and floating islands of the Urus Chipayas, Tikanas agricultural terraces and the famous Sukakollos; Kallawayas Museum and the Alajpacha native observatory.
Day 12 – Monday – Lake Titicaca – La Paz: This morning you will drive towards La Paz and then off the main road to the ruins of Tiahuanaco where the remains of five civilizations, one on top of the other, have been found – the last one disappearing 100 years before the first Inca arrived. Enjoy a box lunch before continuing to La Paz for a visit to the other-worldly lunar landscape of Moon Valley before transferring to your hotel overnight stay at the Hotel Europa in the heart of the town and just blocks from the famed Witch Doctor’s Market. (B/BL)
Day 13 – Tuesday – La Paz – Santiago: Morning visit to the the main points of interest in La Paz, the highest capital in the world, lying in a natural basin some 13,000 feet high. Founded in 1548 by the Spaniards, little of the colonial influence remains. Visit the city, including the open-air archaeological museum, Witch Doctors Market, residential areas & the Moon Valley where clay formations give you a unique panorama. Mid-day transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago. Meeting upon arrival and assistance with getting to Holiday Inn Airport for overnight stay. (B)
Day 14 – Wednesday – Santiago – Easter Island: Morning assistance departure procedures for flight to Easter Island arriving mid-day. Upon arrival, meeting and transfer to the explora Mike Rapu for four night stay. During your stay you will enjoy all meals, open bar and daily choice of activities and excursions. This afternoon you’ll begin discovering this mysterious island, probably the most remarkable open air museum to be found anywhere. Here, in profusion, are the material remains of a sophisticated and complex culture which produced spectacular religious architecture, gigantic sculptures, roads, towers, great stone quarries, petroglyphs, masonry line caves and many other unique monuments. (B/L/D)
Easter Island, the singularly most remote island on earth, is one of the most remarkable open air museums to be found anywhere. Here are found in profusion the material remains of a sophisticated and complex culture which produced spectacular religious architecture, gigantic sculptures, roads, towers, great stone quarries, petroglyphs & other monuments.
Located some 2300 miles from the Central Coast of Chile, the island’s surface is less than 104 miles squared. It is a perfect triangle not quite 15 miles long and only a little over 7 miles wide at the widest point. Easter Island possesses a characteristic marine subtropical climate that is profoundly influenced by wind and maritime currents. The average temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with highs of 82 during the summer and between the high 50’s and low 70’s during the winter. May is the wettest month although it can rain any time of the year.
Day15 – Thursday – Easter Island: Today enjoy activities and excursions as offered by explora Mike Rapu. (B/L/D)
Day 16 – Friday – Easter Island: Again today, in both the morning and afternoon, you’ll enjoy activities and excursions as offered by explora Mike Rapu. (B/L/D)
Day 17 – Saturday – Easter Island: Another day of activities and excursions as offered by explora Mike Rapu. (B/L/D)
Day 18 – Sunday – Easter Island – Santiago: Morning transfer to the airport for your flight east across the Pacific to Santiago, arriving in mid-afternoon for a two night stay at the Santiago Ritz Carlton. (B)
Day 19 – Monday – Santiago: This morning you will visit Santiago, fourth largest city in South America, Santiago and beautifully set among a backdrop of snow-capped Andes. See the highlights of this cosmopolitan capital, such as the Government Palace La Moneda, Plaza de Armas (Main Square) with the Cathedral of Santiago, the Central Post Office and Historical Museum; San Francisco Church and Santa Lucia Hill (where Santiago was founded In 1541). A visit to the Bellavista neighborhood brings you upon a peculiar shaped household, totally out of the ordinary, the La Chascona Museum, the house that Pablo Neruda built for his lover and then third wife, Matilde Urrutia, which shows the unique world where the remarkable Nobel Prize of Literature recipient once lived. Afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace. (B)
Day 20 – Tuesday – Depart Santiago: Morning at leisure. Mid-day check-out, taking your luggage with you, and drive west towards the Pacific coast through the Casablanca valley to the San Antonio Valley and the Matetic Vineyards and Winery. Located in a completely enclosed valley, which is 9,000 hectares in length and perpendicular to the ocean, it enjoys extraordinary light and possesses the ideal climatic and topographic conditions for both red and white wines. Have lunch at the restaurant of the winery, the Equilibrium, and afterwards visit the facilities to learn about their wines and enjoy a wine tasting. Late afternoon return drive to Santiago’s airport to check-in for your international departure flight. (B/L)
Day 21 – Arrive USA: Arrive at your USA gateway this morning. Clear customs and immigration and make connections to your home city.