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Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Lima.
On arrival into Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a day at leisure.
Stretching across a vast alluvial plain, colonial architecture and towing high-rise banks run alongside crumbling coastal cliffs to form Lima's compelling landscape. Your morning in the UNESCO 'City of Kings' begins at Plaza Mayor, a bustling square overlooked by the cathedral's towering spires, charming wooden platforms of city hall and the grand castle-like Government Palace. Visit the fascinating 16th century Santo Domingo Convent, continuing to the romantic vantage point of Parque Del Amor for majestic views of the Pacific Ocean. You will then be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco.
Begin with a drive along snaking roads to Urubamba Valley, the 'Sacred Valley of the Incas'. Stop en route at Awana Kancha to meet alpacas and llamas while learning how vibrant Andean textiles are created through captivating demonstrations. Arrive in the quaint town of Pisac to visit the local market awash with colourful garments before driving to Ollantaytambo and stepping back in time as you wander the maze of byways and pristine Inca ruins - return to Urubamba for the evening.
This morning, journey by train to the town of Aguas Calientes before taking a coach to the awe-inspiring highlight of your tour and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. Constructed in 1430AD, these mysterious UNESCO ruins blend into the cradle of two granite peaks commanding panoramic vistas of Andean summits. After a guided tour through this ancient citadel of the Incas, you will have free time to explore the iconic terraces upon dizzying slopes and ascend stone steps to absorb the grandeur of your surroundings. Return to Aguas Calientes for lunch at a local restaurant before catching the train back to Ollantaytambo and onto Cusco by coach.
Begin with a morning tour of this UNESCO recognised Inca city, brimming with Spanish colonial and religious majesty under the shadow of a mountainous landscape. Visit the laidback Plaza de Armas' imposing baroque cathedral and explore exemplary masonry at the Incan Empire's most important sun temple, Koricancha. Later, drive to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman designed in the shape of a lying puma, continuing to the underground cave and temple of Kenko - one of the regions largest wak'as (holy places). Witness spectacular views of the Peruvian countryside at Puca Pucara and finally, stop at the 'Inca's Expression' living art workshop to admire the crafts of local artisans.
In the morning fly via Lima to the Ecuadorian capital of Quito where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore this dramatic city situated high in the Andes, filled with architectural treasures and a vibrant civic scene.
Venture into the world's first UNESCO World Heritage Site on a walking tour of the capital. Wander through the cobbled San Francisco Square framed by colonial splendours and visit La Compania, Ecuador's most beautiful church owing to it's interior adorned with gold leaf. Later in the morning, travel by bus to El Panecillo, an elevated viewpoint boasting majestic views of Quito and the striking snow capped Cotopaxi volcano. Following lunch, return to the city and explore at leisure.
Following breakfast, depart Quito for a short flight to the town of Coca; transfer on a motorised canoe along the Napo River - a tributary of the Amazon - before arriving at the charming Manatee cruise ship. In the afternoon, relax on-board or venture onto the observation deck to scan your verdant jungle surroundings. At dusk, wander through a forest alive with nocturnal activity including fruit bats gliding under ginormous Kapok trees and the distinctive call of cane toads. Return to your ship for the night.
Navigate downstream and take a canoe trip in search of the magical Pink River Dolphin, one of the rivers most striking yet endangered creatures; continue to Panacocha lake and catch a glimpse of the infamous razor-sharp teeth of red-bellied piranhas. Pass basking white caiman crocodiles as you reach the shore for a jungle BBQ at a nearby campsite, in the afternoon head out onto the exploration trails before returning to the Manatee for an evening at leisure.
After breakfast, cruise to one of the Napo River's most captivating and grand spectacles, the parrot lick; clinging to patches of collpa, a dazzling display of vivid macaw and parrot species swarm to consume clay rich in minerals. Later, visit the fascinating Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Centre for a unique opportunity to learn of the reclusive Amazonian lifestyle, with talks from local Amazonian tribes people. The day concludes with a walk through the forest for a chance to spot branch dwelling Anacondas, adorable marmosets and an intriguing display of flora unique to the jungle, later returning to the ship for your final night in the Amazonian wilderness.
Disembark and transfer by motorised canoe to Coca for a flight back to Quito, enjoy your afternoon in the city at leisure.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Today is a free day. You can choose to take one of the optional excursions in and around Quito.
Transfer to the airport for a flight to Galapagos, where you will be transferred to the MV Santa Cruz II for a 5-night cruise.
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.
End the Galapagos cruise and fly back to the UK via Quito.
A visa is not required for entry into Peru or Ecuador for UK passport holders. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities & 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 Holidays 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||£42||£79||£135|
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.
Your flight to Lima International Airport is with Avianca (AV), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 2. Please note that all flight times and numbers listed above are provided for guidance only and are subject to change. Final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage. There is also an allowance of one cabin bag not exceeding 25cm x 45cm x 56cm in size and one personal bag not exceeding 45 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm that you can take on the aircraft as hand luggage. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay an additional fee for this at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that you should arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to your flight time for international departures.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
For the departure on 29th September 2016, the minimum number of travellers in your group will be 6 and the maximum will be 28. In the unlikely event there are fewer than 6 passengers booked on your tour date, 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. For all other departures this tour will operate on a private basis meaning you will journey on the itinerary alone with your own personal tour guide.
This is a fully escorted tour meaning that you will be met on arrival and will have a guide with you throughout your stay until you depart Quito, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol, the symbol is S/. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you depart 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. The currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar. Cash machines are available in Quito & Guayaquil but there will not be a chance to exchange currency during your cruise.
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-£400 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
Unfortunately, we do not have any places with no single supplements on this tour. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner. Alternatively, please ask about our single supplement prices in order to book your own room.