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Andes and Altiplano: Cusco, Lake Titicaca and La Paz

14 days from £2619pp

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Andes and Altiplano: Cusco, Lake Titicaca and La Paz

14 days from £2619pp
 

Private Journey

 
Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines + Paracas

3 days from £586pp

Travel to the Paracas Peninsula and explore the bird-smothered Ballestas Islands by boat. Fly over the Nazca Lines for a bird’s eye view of the giant symbols and lines carved into skeletal desert rock by the pre-Columbian Nazca people.

Day 1: From Lima, travel by public coach south to Paracas (3.5hrs) on the Panamerican Highway, which follows the contours of the coastal cliffs, carving a lonely path through bleak desert scenery. The severity of the sparsely populated landscape is relieved by tiny oases producing dates or maize and rickety fishing villages. Your modern hacienda-style hotel, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas, overlooks Paracas Bay.

Day 2: Embark on a private motor-launch tour of the Ballestas Islands, which comprise one of the most important wildlife areas of Peru. The arches and caves - the result of wind and tide erosion - provide shelter for thousands of seabirds: albatrosses, cormorants, boobies, pelicans and the odd Humboldt penguin. The coves and surrounding waters are also visited by sea-lions, the mournful cries of which mingle with the screeches of the birds in a cacophonous symphony of sound.

Later, board a light aircraft for a 90min flight to and over the Nazca Lines. This series of giant geometrical figures, animals and insects was etched into the desert floor by the Nazca people over a period of several hundred years. The interpretation of the lines puzzles scientists – do they comprise an astronomical map, calendar or astrological symbols? The rocky, wind-contorted desert scenery seen from the air is as startling as the lines themselves.

Day 3: Return to the city of Lima to continue your holiday or to the airport for your international flight.

UK clients arrive home the following day

Breakfast daily.


Chalalan Eco Lodge

Madidi Rainforest Reserve

4 days from £556pp

Harbouring almost 1,000 species of bird and nearly half of all the mammal species found anywhere in the Americas, the diverse habitats of Madidi National Park are a haven for Amazonian wildlife.This well-protected reserve is home to jaguars, ocelots and tapirs, although easier to spot are the numerous capybaras, caimans, spider monkeys and colourful birds, including toucans and parrots.

On this four day trip you’ll travel by boat down the jungle-fringed rivers Beni and Tuiche through steep canyons for 5 hours to reach isolated Chalalan Lodge, a community-run eco-project.  From there you will venture out both on foot and by boat with an expert guide who can point out exotic creatures hiding in the tree tops, and there are nocturnal hikes to experience the forest when most of its wild inhabitants are at their most active (unless it's unseasonably cold!).

Day 1: Accompanied by a pilot and guide, you will travel by motor launch from your hotel or the airport in the attractive little river-port Rurrenabaque. After an hour cruising down the broad River Beni, flanked by fields of crops and vegetables and dotted with small farmsteads through a steep gorge o its junction with the smaller, livelier river Tuiche, negotiating small rapids. Once within the park, there is no more farming: just pure rainforest. Arrive at Chalalán and walk for 30mins, possibly accompanied by birds and monkeys, to the lodge. Lunch, and your first guided excursion into the surrounding jungle or by canoe on the serene Lake Chalalán below the lodge..

Days 2-3: There are at least two outings per day on foot, exploring well marked circuits through the surrounding rainforest and up to viewpoints over the surrounding jungle. You’ll be very likely to spot several species of monkey, caimans lurking in the lagoon, and loads of tropical birds including macaws, parakeets and toucans. 

Day 4: Return by boat to Rurrenabaque. 


Bogotá, Colombia

Bogota

3 days from £290pp

Founded in 1598, the effervescent capital Bogotá sits on an upland Andean plateau. It’s a city of striking contrasts; skyscrapers and colonial single-storey houses, fast highways and cobbled lanes with chaotic traffic and the occasional mule cart.

There are humble homes clinging to the mountain-sides and affluent tree-lined residential boulevards; crowded alleys and green, wide and shady parks; a cultured middle class jostling with workers and their families from all over Colombia.

The night scene is lively with music clubs, bars and cafés spilling out on to the pavements.  You can’t really understand Colombia without a visit to this agreeable city.

Day 1:  Plaza de Bolivar is a good starting point for your guided city tour, with its statue or the Liberator, baroque cathedral and a clutch of  government buildings. It’s in the heart of the Candalaria district which is the literary and artistic heart of Bogotá with theatres, libraries and universities. Here, many of the the original Spanish colonial buildings with their heavy tiled rooves, wrought iron grills and carved wooden doors have been restored. It’s a pleasure to stroll through the cobbled lanes.  On the fringe of this district is the Museo de Oro, one of the best collections of gold artefacts on the continent, beautifully displayed.

Day 2: Just 90mins' drive from Bogotá the little town Zipaquirá’s fame lies in the subterranean salt cathedral - an enormous church built within a mountain at site of a salt mine. This unique place of worship has a magical feel, with high ceilings, carved pillars and huge stone statues. After your visit, you continue to the crater lake Guatavita, was a sacred place for the Muisca indians and is steeped the mythology of El Dorado. The excursion lasts about eight hours.

Day 3: Continue your holiday or transfer to Bogotá airport for your international flight.


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