SCINTILATING SOUTH AMERICA

The above mentioned  trip to South America will take place at the end of the year.

The plans for  this trip are now almost finalised.  We have arranged the tour into two sections. The first is a great Patagonian section involving some easy walking amongst spectacular scenery and involves some nights in excellent national park lodges with breakfast provided.

The second part of the trip is a comprehensive tour of the best of South America from Quito in Ecuador to La Paz in Bolivia, with Buenos Aires thrown in for good measure. This section uses twin share rooms in good quality 3 star hotels throughout.

We have packages our tours through Peregrine Adventures because of their expertise, knowledge of the continent and excellent price we have managed to negotiate. The details are:

THE OPTIONS.

The trip is structured so that people can participate in either the Patagonian Circuit, the Quito & Beyond Section or both trip combined which we have called Scintillating South America. All three options represent outstanding value.

PATAGONIA.

We have developed a program that takes in most of the key points of interest. The planned itinerary is set out below. By using a few mountain / national park lodges, we have managed to keep the price down. This section represents fantastic value for money and will be a nature lovers paradise. The Towers of Paine National Park is truly one of the great ecological treasures of the planet. Contained within its boundaries are spectacular granite spires which tower above the rolling Argentinean Pampas and a bevy of startlingly blue lakes. There are also Guanacos and the Rheas. Rheas are an ostrich-like bird. Guanacos are wild South American cameloids, related to the domesticated llama and alpaca.

As you will see from the itinerary, there is scope for gentle, laid back enjoyment of the environment as well as moderate walks and harder ones. Participants can select the level that best suits their wishes.

QUITO & BEYOND.

After Patagonia we return to Buenos Aires for a night and then fly on to Quito. From here on the trip is based on two share accommodation in selected 3 star properties. This section “picks the eyes” out of the list of “must see” tourist destinations of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. There is plenty of time to explore and wander with your partners or in personally chosen small groups.

If you have ever dreamt of visiting South America then these tours are for you. Just imagine:

·        The towering granite spires of Patagonia; &

·        The sparkling blue lakes and fascinating wildlife of the Southern Alps; &

·        The rolling, rich plains of the Pampas; &

·        The sights, sounds, culture and people that will make the trip such a richly rewarding experience and provide countless memories that will last your lifetime.

·        Seeing the Ecuadorian markets with their vibrant, colourful rugs and ponchos; &

·        Exploring Lima and the Pachacamac Ruins that predate the Incas Empire by a 1000 years; &

·        Visiting Cusco and the legendary Machu Picchu, the home of the Inca Empire; &

·        Travelling into the Amazonian jungle amongst breathtaking displays of birds and animals; &

·        Wandering the ancient city of La Paz, browsing through the myriad of cobbled streets & churches and shopping at the wonderful markets; &

·        Enjoying Buenos Aires, the “Paris of the South” with its cosmopolitan feel & sophisticated people who luxuriate in a modern urban city that has fabulous café culture & vibrant lifestyle.

If you like the sound of these images, then this trip is for you. Although it is based on twin share accommodation, single people can also be accommodated.

OPTION 1:  ITINERARY PATAGONIA CIRCUIT.

Fri 22 Dec. 

Depart Australia for Buenos Aries. Stay 22nd, 23rd December. The transfer with a guide is included. Stay Hotel Continental (***).

Sun 24th Dec.

Fly to Rio Gallegos and transfer to El Calafate on the shores of beautiful of stunning Lago Argentina.

Mon 25th Dec. Enjoy Christmas Day in El Calafate.
Tue 26th Dec. Free day to explore. Perhaps catch a ferry up the lake or take a gentle stroll.
Wed 27th Dec. 

Guided full day tour of Perito Moreno National Park. "This spectacular glacier descends to the surface of the water across a 5 km. frontage & reaches a height of 60 m. The vivid hues of the ice floes 7 the dull roar of huge chunks of ice breaking away from the glacier is unforgettable". The day includes a mini trek on the glacier.

Thu 28th Dec.

Transfer to El Chalten at the base of the Fitzroy Massif. Stay 3 nights at the Alberque Patagonia Lodge. Breakfasts included. Trek to the Laguna de los Tres. This area is part of the Torres del Paine National Park.

Fri 29th Dec.

In 1978 UNESCO gave the park World Heritage status, recognizing it as a biosphere especially worthy of international recognition. A variety of walks are available to suit all levels. Some will want to take one of the full day energetic treks available. Others might select something shorter. The choice is yours and there is plenty to choose from.

Sat 30th Dec. Free time to walk, rest or explore to your hearts content.
Sun 31st Dec.

Bus back to El Chalten & settle in to the Refugio Las Torres. Breakfast included. Stay 3 nights here whilst we revel in this wonderful environment. The mountain scenery is absolutely stunning and the park abounds with wildlife. There is the chance to see Guanaco, Rheas, Armadillos & a huge variety of bird life including the giant Condors.

Mon 1st Jan. Free walking exploring the beautiful Paine National Park.
Tue 2nd Jan.   Free walking exploring the beautiful Paine National Park.
Wed 3rd Jan.

Transfer to Puerto Natales close to the Argentinean border. This is a picturesque fishing village. Time to explore & stay the night at Hotel Martin Gusinde (***).

Thu 4th Jan. 

Move back to Rio Gallegos to catch flight back to Buenos Aries. Transfer included. Stay the night in Hotel Continental (***).

OPTION 2: ITINERARY QUITO & BEYOND

Fri 5th Jan.  Fly to Quito.  Transfer to Hotel Fuente De Piedra (***).
Sat 6th Jan. 

Morning transfer by road to Otavalo.  Overnight in Otavalo. Visit this fabulous market on its best day. This market is the showplace of the Otavalenos People whose weaving has made them famous for 1000 years. Their markets are a riot of colour which fills 3 main plazas with the overflow spilling into neighbouring streets. The traditional costume worn by the people adds to the charm of this special place.

Sun 7th Jan.

Explore some of the surrounding attractions and then transfer by road back to Quito for the night.

Mon 8th Jan.  Transfer by road to Banos with visit to Cotopaxi National Park en route. Mount Cotopaxi is Ecuador’s most visited national park but is almost deserted during the week. Banos is home of famous thermal baths. Despite its altitude the town boasts a semitropical climate and a renown Basilica.
Tue 9th Jan.  

Morning free to enjoy Banos then transfer to Quito airport for flight to Lima.

Wed 10th Jan.

Lima.   Free day to explore Lima or its neighbouring areas. For instance, the Pachacamac Ruins that predate the Incas by 1000 years or the Ballestos Islands which abound in sea life and birds.

Thu 11th Jan.

Morning flight to Cusco and afternoon free to explore this ancient & fascinating city. Cusco was a city of Quecha Indians before the Incas made it their Capital. Then the Spanish rebuilt the place in their 15th Century style. Most of the building based on Inca foundations. One of the most impressive characteristics of the city are the huge walls of intricately fit stone which pays testimony to the civilisation that controlled most of South America 500 years ago.

Fri 12th Jan. Cusco. Free day to explore this ancient & fascinating city.
Sat 13th Jan.

Cusco.  Free day. Tomorrow the group will divide for a couple of days into those who wish to catch the train all the way to Machu Picchu & those who want to walk the last few kms.  The groups will reunite at the ruins and return to Cusco together.

Sun 14th Jan. 

Those going by train have another free day in Cusco. For those who wish to walk the last few kms to Machu Picchu, the day starts by train to Km 104 & then a 4 hour walk to Huinay Huayna. Overnight here & leave at dawn for Machu Picchu. This spectacular & mystical place has an aura that is special. It is impossible not to be moved by the setting and history of the area.

Mon 15th Jan.

Walk 3 hours to Machu Picchu & explore. The “train Group” rejoin the walkers during the day. Bus / train back to Aguas Calientes. The place name means, “Hot Springs”. Stay the night.

Tue 16th Jan.  Another chance to sightsee Machu Picchu before taking train back to Cusco.
Wed 17th Jan.

Head by chartered Trans-Manu bus from Cusco to Manu Biosphere. The drive involves 2 spectacular passes & then descends into the lush eastern slopes of the Andes. En route there are frequent stops for interpretation of the culture, the geography & the natural history of this pristine transect from the Andes to the Amazon. Stay the night at Manu Cloud Forest Campsite.

Thu 18th Jan. 

Manu Biosphere sightseeing.  This World Heritage Site is considered the most important forest reserve in the world. It is unbelievably rich in bird life and the range of plant species is the most diverse in the world.  It contains Stay the night.

Fri 19th Jan.  Return to Cusco.
Sat 20th Jan.  

Cusco to Puno travelling by train. Travelling by train has always been a "must do" item for those journeying to South America. This trip satisfies the romantic in you & along the way you can bargain for ponchos, Alpaca sweaters & bags out of the carriage windows.

Sun 21st Jan.  

Visit Lake Titicaca stopping to see Amantani & Taquile Island and the Floating Islands of the Uros people. There is nothing quite like the latter attraction anywhere else in the world. The Uros' lives are total interwoven with the totora reed which they harvest to make everything from boats to floating homes.

Mon 22nd Jan.

Puno to Copacabana another town beside the legendary Lake Titicaca. Overnight on Isla del Sol  (Sun Island), fabled birthplace of the Incas.

Tue 23rd Jan. 

Copacabana to La Paz. This is the largest city in Bolivia & was founded by Mendoza in 1548. The first view of the city is unforgettable. Below a 400 meter escarpment lies La Paz, filling a natural bowl and climbing the walls of a gaping canyon beyond. On a clear day the snow-capped Illimani Mountain towers over the city. La Paz is one of South America's most unusual & lively cities. It stands at an elevation of 3,600 meters.

Wed 24th Jan.

Today we visit Tiahuanaco & Valle de la Luna. Tiahuanaco is fast becoming one of the most important archaeological sites in the continent. It boasts a magnificently carved Gate of the Sun, Acapana Pyramid & chambers cut from stone with faces staring from the walls.

Thu 25th Jan.

Depart La Paz today for Buenos Aires & either onward flights home or additional "side trip" to Iguassu Falls. These are 5 times the width of Niagara and exceptionally spectacular.

Fri 26th Jan. 

Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls. Explore falls from the various viewpoints &/or boat. Overnight.

Sat 28th Jan.  Return to Buenos Aires for homeward flights as arranged.

OPTION 3: PATAGONIA & QUITO & BEYOND COMBINED.

With this option Adventures Unlimited has combined the Patagonian Section with the Quito & Beyond option to give you a truly superb South American itinerary. This will be a remarkable trip at a price that is nothing short of outstanding.

THE TOUR COSTS.

Please Note:         Peregrine are currently working on the airfares. The prices below exclude these costs. These will be available very shortly.

TOUR NAME

ITEM COST IN AUD

PATAGONIA CIRCUIT

$ 2420.00

QUITO & BEYOND TOUR

$ 3218.00

SCINTILLATING SOUTH AMERICA

$ 5638.00

INCLUDED IN TOUR COST:

·        Accommodation in three star hotels/hostels (based on twin share), with b/fast for the Spanish Class leg of the trip. Cheaper accommodation & some huts / tents for Patagonian leg.

·        Transport as mentioned on itinerary

·       Sightseeing in private vehicle/vans ferry, as per program

·       English speaking local guides (1) in Ecuador & (1) in Peru/Bolivia

NOT INCLUDED IN TOUR COST:

·      Travel Insurance

·      Items of a personal nature; gratuities, postage, drinks and souvenirs

·      Meals other than b/fast (Allow $US 15 per person/ per day)

·      Optional activities and excursions

·      Entrance fee to Cotopaxi National Park US$10.00 per person

·      International air ticket taxes

·       Visas (if applicable)

Please Note: Adventures Unlimited has packaged these tours through Peregrine Adventures. Peregrine reserve the right to increase/change prices  due to currency fluctuations and itinerary amendments at any time prior to being fully paid to  Peregrine.

CONCLUSION.

The itinerary and arrangements suggested in this document are very time efficient. They will maximise our chances to see and do as much as possible and the price is fantastic. The group will be small in size and there will be plenty of opportunity for participants to "do their own thing" with the people of their choice.

.If you would like more information please contact us on the above telephone number or e-mail at autravel@one.net.au

We hope to have you on this fully escorted trip.

GEOFF & SUSAN BATTEN

OWNER/MANAGERS