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This extension is the perfect way to see a little more of South America. Visit Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World as well as the Colonial City of Cusco, built on the foundation of Incan Palaces.
Depart London on your scheduled flight to Quito, via Madrid, Spain.
Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast your guide will pick you up from the hotel to commence a half day walking tour of the historic Old Town of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide will lead you through Independence Square, stopping at the awe-inspiring Cathedral and Presidential Palace. Next admire the church of La Compania, then on to the church of San Francisco whose atrium runs from one side of the square to the other. Your tour then takes you to the summit of El Panecillo Hill, meaning 'the little bread loaf' which is the perfect location for a panoramic view of this memorable capital city over a well deserved lunch. You will then be returned to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
In the morning you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Baltra Island, then taken via speedboat to board the deluxe MV Santa Cruz ship. Holding just 90 passengers, this ship was built exclusively for touring these islands and once on board you will receive an introductory welcome briefing, a safety drill and lunch. No time is wasted as you disembark the ship in the afternoon on North Seymour Island for your first glimpse of the island's wildlife. Moving past prickly pear cacti and a tiny forest of silver Palo Santo trees you will chance upon colonies of blue footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. Guests are divided into small groups of no more than 15 with their own expert 'naturalist' guide.
Today you will start by exploring the coast by a small boat known as a panga, whilst your guide explains the dramatic geology of the area and the nesting place for the flightless cormorants, whose wings no longer function for flight but has evolved instead to swim and dive for its prey, propelling itself by powerful kicks. Depending on weather conditions, you may be able to snorkel alongside the cliffs, rich in marine life with the chance to swim amongst green sea turtles and gigantic Mola Mola, the world's largest bony fish. After lunch back on board and a little time to relax, the afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which having had no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with an unusually high density of marine iguanas. Other sightings may include the wildly bright Sally light-foot crabs, hordes of penguins and waved albatrosses too.
Following breakfast, you will arrive on the northwest of Isabela Island, at Tagus Cove. A gentle uphill hike takes you to the edge of Darwin Lake, a crater filled with salt water supposedly caused by a tidal wave when a volcano erupted centuries ago. A panga ride will then take you to spot local wildlife and provides another opportunity to swim and snorkel with multi-coloured tropical fish and marine life. After a break for lunch, you will continue on to Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor back in 1954. Those wishing to snorkel will have the chance to swim with the exceptionally fast flightless cormorants and playful penguins, dipping and diving around you. Others may prefer to remain on land, perhaps spotting a giant tortoise or vibrant-coloured Galapagos land iguana.
In the morning you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station located on Santa Cruz Island. Charles Darwin arrived in 1835, and was so inspired that he wrote his most famed 'The Origin of The Species' and set up his headquarters for scientific investigation and conservation. The highlight here is the giant tortoise breeding centre where you can explore a walk-in adult tortoise enclosure to come face-to-face with these famed Galapagos giants. You will then be taken to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island before embarking on an afternoon of activities depending on your preference. Choose from mountain biking, kayaking or a hike to discover the flora and fauna.
Your final day amongst these captivating islands takes you to the volcanic isle of Floreana. Your group will explore the north shore by foot, perhaps spotting flamingos, pelicans and other birds. In the afternoon your final excursion will either be on a glass - bottom boat or a panga for those wishing to explore the underwater wonders with their snorkel and mask. You'll be taken to Champion Islet, known as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago then on to Cormorant Point to walk alongside the lagoon where pintail ducks, common stilts, herons and greater flamingos gather. Enjoy your final dinner on board as the sun sets over some of the most mystical and fascinating islands on planet Earth.
The cruise ship will return to Baltra Island where you will disembark and be transferred to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest and most populated city. Your guide will accompany you to your hotel which is centrally located in the heart of the tourist and commercial district. The rest of the day will be at leisure.
After breakfast your guide will meet you to begin a half day walking tour of the city. Guayaquil is situated on the Guayas River, and has undergone considerable development over recent years, reflected in the numerous modern shopping centres and happening eateries nestled amongst revitalized squares and parks. You will be led down the Malecon 2000, an impressive boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River, then visit the picturesque neighbourhood of Las Penas which looks like a cross between a Mexican and Greek fishing village. Stroll down Avenue 9 de Octubre, the main downtown thoroughfare and shopping district and arrive at Parque Bolivar, one of the only parks in the world to have land iguanas, some measuring over a metre in length. The tour will end here and lunch will be served in a local restaurant. The rest of the day will be at leisure.
Transfer to Guayaquil airport for your flight to the UK.
Take an early morning flight to Lima. Your guide will meet you on arrival and accompany you to your hotel, then the rest of the day is at leisure.
This morning you will fly to Cusco. In the afternoon your guide will commence your half day tour, taking you around the most important sites of the city.
Today is the highpoint of this extension - a visit to the world renowned Machu Picchu. Board the Vistadome train to climb up through the Andes, then a bus to the summit of the archaeological site. Constructed on a saddle between the two Andean peaks, Machu Picchu was one of the greates achievements of South American civilisation.
After breakfast at your hotel the rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore Cusco.
After breakfast return to the UK via Lima and Madrid.
A visa is not required for entry into Peru for UK passport holders. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you check with your destinations? Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding required passport validity.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£39||£75||£129|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
All flights are operated by LAN TAM airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 23kgs of hold luggage and hand luggage not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size. Flight times are for guidance only and subject to change.
We recommend that you consult your local GP for advice on vaccinations and travel health before departure.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 30. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival and will have a guide with you throughout the duration of your trip, ensuring you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol, the symbol is S/. We recommend you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in Peru should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. Cash machines are available in all the major cities to withdraw money in the local currency.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any lunches and dinners where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £200-£300 should be sufficient.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Extension Price||Tour Price||Total Price||Book Now|
|26 Mar 2017||09 Apr 2017||£789pp||£3995pp||£4784pp||Please call for availability|
|23 Apr 2017||07 May 2017||£799pp||£3995pp||£4794pp||Please call for availability|
|04 Jun 2017||18 Jun 2017||£799pp||£3995pp||£4794pp||Please call for availability|
|27 Aug 2017||10 Sep 2017||£799pp||£3995pp||£4794pp||Please call for availability|
|10 Sep 2017||24 Sep 2017||£799pp||£3995pp||£4794pp||Please call for availability|
|24 Sep 2017||08 Oct 2017||£799pp||£3995pp||£4794pp||Please call for availability|
|08 Oct 2017||22 Oct 2017||£819pp||£3995pp||£4814pp||Please call for availability|
|19 Nov 2017||03 Dec 2017||£819pp||£3945pp||£4764pp||Please call for availability|
|03 Dec 2017||17 Dec 2017||£819pp||£3845pp||£4664pp||Please call for availability|
Please note that Breakfast and Lunch is not included on the last day of the main tour as your flight departs Guayaquil in the early hours of the morning on Day 10.
Weather and Climate
Please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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