12 Day Tour: May 14-25, 2021
- Base Pricing is always calculated for double occupancy.
- $1,000 supplemental for Solo Travelers.
Place to See
Before You Die
- 2 Landings on Galapagos per day
- Sea Lions
- Marine Lizards
- Blue Footed & Masked Boobies
- Giant Albatross
- Giant Tortoise
- Fortress of Sacsayhuaman
- Monastery of San Francisco
- Roundtrip airfare from Chicago
- All Internal Flights
- First Class Hotel Accommodations
- Daily Breakfast
- All lunches on cruise
- 7 Dinners
- Deluxe Motorcoach Transportation
- Admissions to all listed Attractions
- Roundtrip airport transfers in the Chicagoland area
- Guided by Bill Ball
- Baggage Handling
- All Gratuities
We fly to Peru today to begin our magnificent adventure. Peru has one of the most spectacular sections of the Andes running through it. This is where the great Inca Kingdom that created Machu Picchu was headquartered. We will investigate that empire for the next few days.
We tour the ancient capital of the Incas—Cuzco- today including the remarkable fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Many of the ancient Inca buildings still stand, at least partially, and have been converted to catholic churches and government buildings. There are over a dozen UNESCO sites in and around Cuzco for that very reason. At the edge of town is the imposing Sacsayhuaman. Once a great fortress, it is an unbelievable architectural wonder since it is made of giant carved stones with nothing holding them together but perfect placement. Tonight we are entertained at dinner by Peruvian musicians and dancers.
We head to the base of Machu Picchu today. On the way, we visit more UNESCO sites throughout the Ollantaytambo Valley where the Incas once reigned supreme. We finally board a train that will bring us to a small village just outside Machu Picchu where we will spend the night.
Up early to be the first to enter Machu Picchu. The ruins of this great city are one of the 7 Man Made Wonders of the World for good reason. Perched on top of a mountain, this city of stone went undetected for centuries. Wondering among its many buildings, store rooms and housing areas is like traveling through a time machine. We can savor this human achievement before the crowds reach it on their day trips making this a day to remember.
We tour more the of the Inca’s awesome ruins around Cuzco. This is one of the largest collections of protected native people structures found anywhere in the New World. We will learn how the Inca’s rose to power and what finally brought them down.
We fly to Quito to ready ourselves for the adventure of a lifetime—visits to South America’s other famous UNESCO site and true wonder of the world—the Galapagos.
We fly out to the Galapagos where we will board our yacht and begin to explore the islands Darwin made famous. We will do our first landing today seeking out the birds, reptiles and marine mammals that are found here and no where else.
Two landings are scheduled which will introduce us to more of the unique wildlife of the Galapagos. Only here are there lizards that swim, sea lions unafraid of humans and giant tortoises. We will look for the camouflaged lava lizards, the cute fur seals and the great colonies of nesting seabirds. There is no place on earth like the Galapagos.
We visit two more islands where giant albatross, blue footed and masked boobies nest without any fear of humans. You will literally get within inches of these unusual creatures. The reason for Darwin’s Origin of Species is not, though, these large colorful birds, but the many species of finches. Bill will point out many of those rare birds as we visit the islands.
Our last full day in the Galapagos but maybe the most memorable. We will seek out the giant tortoises in the wild that the islands are so famous for. Most tours pretend that you can’t see them in the wild because special arrangements need to be made, but we will do that for you. We will also see more unique birds like Galapagos mockingbirds, hawks and the lava heron. You will get the best wildlife photos ever here as the animals and birds pose and don’t run away.
We tour the UNESCO city of Quito today. Early 16th century missionary groups competing for souls constructed some of the most ornate and beautiful churches anywhere. The Monastery of San Francisco is the oldest and is known for its spectacular baroque carved altar. Nearby is the Jesuit church La Compania which had 7 tons of gold used to gild the walls, ceiling and altar. Nowhere in South America is there such an architecturally significant city as Quito.
We fly home with two mind boggling adventures under our belts. One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World—The Galapagos—never disappoints. You will add many rare and endemic birds to your list along with swimming lizards and giant tortoises. Machu Picchu and the surrounding Cuzco area is an archeological treasure that will amaze and delight you for years to come.