Amazon, Galapagos Is, Inca Ruins & Salt Plains
Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
66Trip End Jan 28, 2012
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PERU: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
BOLIVA: Salt Plains
This 2011 – 2012 South America trip is effectively 4 tours back to back. Six and a half weeks. What am I expecting? I expect it to will be very different to my last trip to this continent last December 2010 - January 2011.
First with Tucan Travel and their 13 day Ecuador Discovered starting in Quito, the world's second highest capital city 3,016 metres (9,895 ft). I should see local markets including Otavalo, in dug-out canoes have a taste of the Amazon rain forest plus visit the towns of Banos and Cuenca an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then with G Adventures (formerly GAP Adventures whom I travelled last year to South America: Patagonia and Antarctica) join a 10 day Comfort Galapagos trip to see the Galapagos Islands: marine and land iguanas, sea turtle, flamingos, white cheeked pintails, masked boobies, albatross and blue-footed boobies. Because of a Travel Expo in February, they were offering their Comfort tours at a 25% discount. This was about the price of their standard trip so why not enjoy it.
Off to Cuzco, Peru with the Inca history at Machu Picchu and in the Scard Valley. I have with 2 entries into Machu Picchu plus a ticket to climb Huayna Picchu which soars 1,200 feet above the Machu Picchu ruins, hope it is fine and minimal clouds. As a boy I was always in awe of Thor Heyerdahl 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean on board the Kon Tiki balsa raft and then with his Ra Expedition which is associated with Lake Titicaca. The local culture of the floating reed islands in Lake Titicaca which at 3,811 metre or 12,500 feet is higher than our Mt Cook 3,754 metres (12,316 ft) will finish this country. I've always wanted to see the reed islands ever since I can remember. This section I am doing by myself but many thanks to Eve, Adventure World, my days, transfers and entry tickets are all pre-booked for me.
Finally in Bolivia’s from the world’s highest capital city La Paz 3,650 m (11,975 ft), I join another G Adventures 11 day Bolivia Discovery to experience the Bolivian Altiplano awe-inspiring geography. The 3 day 4WD excursion to the Salar de Uyuni (salt plains and amazing moonscape scenery) should be the highlight.
So join me as I post a few travel blogs and photos as I go. As usual on my return I will fill in the gaps and upload even more photos and videos. Do leave your comments (they are public!) and rate the site by clicking onto the rating star(s) under the map to the right. For those who haven't seen the updated Antarctica / Patagonia entries of my last trip - go have a look.
Wed 14 Dec Depart Auckland LA 800 @4.10 pm.
Arrive Santiago @ 11.40 pm. Galerias Hotel, Santiago
Thurs 15 Dec Depart Lan Ecaudor LA 1446 @ 10.50 am
2.05 pm Arrive Guayquil. Depart Guayquil Lan Ecaudor LA 1442 @ 3.10 pm.
Arrive Quito @ 4.05 pm. Cayman Hotel, Quito
Tucan Tour Ecuador Discovered Day 1 assemble day
Fri 16 Dec Otavalo
Sat 17 Dec Quito
Sun 18 Dec Misahualli
Mon 19 Dec Amazon Jungle
Tues 20 Dec Misahualli
Wed 21 Dec Banos
Thurs 22 Dec Banos
Fri 23 Dec Banos
Sat 24 Dec Cuenca
Sun 25 Dec Cuenca
Mon 26 Dec Quito Cayman Hotel, Quito
Tues 27 Dec Day 13 Change over day Day 1 Voyage G Adventures Galapagos Hotel Quito
On Jan 1 the National Park will change how often a boat can visit the same island. My 10 day departure falls directly during the Itinerary switch over. The first portion of my Itinerary (Day 1-6) will remain the same as before and the second portion (Day 7-10) will have changed slightly. I will correct the following later if wrong:
Wed 28 Dec Day 2 Baltra / Santa Cruz
Day 2 Baltra / Santa Cruz
Fly to Baltra. Meet the guide and transfer across Santa Cruz Island to Puerto Ayora to board the boat. Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Thurs 29 Dec Day 3 South Plaza / Santa Fe
Day 3 South Plaza / Santa Fe Land at South Plaza in the morning for wildlife spotting opportunities. Afternoon visit to Santa Fé Island for guided walks to observe the wildlife and plentiful marine iguanas. Opportunities for swimming and snorkelling with the sea lions.
Fri 30 Dec Day 4 Floreana
Day 4 Floreana Land at Punta Cormorant, on Floreana Island. Guided walks to observe the bird and wildlife and learn about the natural history. Visit Post Office Bay in the afternoon. Snorkelling excusion at the Corona del Diablo.
Sat 31 Dec Day 5 Espanola
Day 5 Espanola Visit to Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay on Española Island. Guided walks to observe wildlife and free time for swimming or snorkelling.
Sun 1 Jan Day 6 San Cristobal
Day 6 San Cristobal Visit the Interpretation Center on San Cristóbal Island
Mon 2 Jan Day 7 North Seymour / Mosquera
Day 7 North Seymour / Mosquera Visit North Seymour and Mosquera Islands. Guided walks to observe birds and wildlife like vast sea lion colonies.
Tues 3 Jan Day 8 Isla Santiago / Bartolome
Day 8 Isla Santiago / Bartolome Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island to witness the giant lava formations in contrast of the white coral sand beach. Continue to Bartolomé Island for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint
Wed 4 Jan Day 9 Santa Cruz / Quito
Day 9 Santa Cruz / Quito Disembark in Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the giant Galapagos tortoises. Fly back to Quito.
Thurs 5 Jan Day 10 Quito. Depart Quito Lan Peru LA2589 @ 8:40 pm
Arrive Lima 10:55 pm. Hotel Los Girasoles, Miraflores, Lima
Fri 6 Jan Depart Lan Peru LA 2071 @ 11.25 am
Arrive Cuzco @ 12.40 pm. San Agustin International Hotel
Sat 7 Jan Cuzco afternoon half day city tour. San Agustin International Hotel
Sun 8 Jan Cuzco to Yucay - Sacred Valley
Mon 9 Jan Yucay – Machu Picchu. El Santuario Hostal
Tues 10 Jan Machu Picchu – Cuzco. San Agustin International Hotel
Wed 11 Jan Cuzco Free Day San Agustin International Hotel
Thurs 12 Jan Cuzco to Puno Depart by bus @ 8 am arrive Puno @ 5 pm Casa Andina Private Collection
Fri 13 Jan 2 All day boat trip to floating totora reed island of the Uros and then to Taquile island. Casa Andina Private Collection
Sat 14 Jan Puno with Lake Titkaka Catamaran Cruise via Sun Is to Bolivia and La Paz. Hotel Las Brisas
G Adventures 11 days Bolivia Discovery assemble
Sun 15 Jan Flight to Sucre
Mon 16 Jan Sucre
Tues 17 Jan Sucre
Wed 18 Jan Potosi
Thurs 19 Jan Uyuni / Salt Lakes Excursion
Fri 20 Jan Uyuni / Salt Lakes Excursion
Sat 21 Jan Uyuni / Salt Lakes Excursion
Sun 22 Jan Overnight train back La Paz
Mon 23 Jan La Paz Hotel Las Brisas
Tues 24 Jan Hotel Las Brisas
Wed 25 Jan Depart La Paz Lan Chile LA 969 @ 4.00 pm. Arrive Santiago 9.15 pm. Galerias Hotel, Santiago
Thurs 26 Jan Depart Santiago Lan Chile LA 801 @ 11.20 pm for home.
Fri 27 Jan Cross international date line
Sat 28 Jan Arrive 4.30 am Auckland New Zealand