Galápagos Island Cruise Tour - Cosmos® Affordable Tours

Ultimate South America with Galápagos Cruise (1205)

26 Day Tour from Rio de Janeiro to Guayaquil

2017 Tour Details

Discover some of South America's greatest cities—Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Quito—and some of its most spectacular ruins and scenic areas on this South America tour. You'll overnight in Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Quito, and Guayaquil, along with four nights cruising the Galápagos Islands aboard the Santa Cruz II.

Highlights of this South America tour include time at Iguassu Falls on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. Experience the falls, hear the thundering roar, be amazed at the brilliant rainbows created by the clouds of spray, and stand in awe as you witness these 275 falls spanning nearly two miles! You’ll also be amazed at Machu Picchu, set in a majestic mountainside with ruins dating back to the 15th century. Glimpse the ancient history and culture as you enjoy this stunning and mystical place. Other tour highlights include a visit to the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, with stones weighing up to 350 tons. Time in Peru's Lake Titicaca, a lake of floating islands maintained over centuries by the local Indians, gives you a chance to experience the world's highest navigable lake and to learn about local practices.

Guided sightseeing in each of the cities features the must-see sites, including Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue, the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Lima’s baroque 11th-century San Francisco Monastery, and Quito’s La Compania Church. But that’s not all…you’ll take a 4-night Galápagos Islands cruise. Explore the islands, snorkel, swim, and enjoy seeing rays, starfish, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, land iguanas, and much more. Learn about conservation efforts for the famous giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

All of this—and more—are included on this South America tour designed for the value-minded traveler who wants to experience it all!
800.276.1241

 Destinations & Sightseeing

Sightseeing:
In Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.

Guides:

Local Guides for sightseeing in Rio, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca; services of a professional Tour Director.

Scenic Highlights:
Corcovado, Brazilian & Argentine sides of Iguassu Falls, Recoleta Cemetery, La Boca, Tango Show, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.

The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:

  • City of Cusco
  • Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
  • Historic Center of Lima
  • Galapagos Islands
  • City of Quito
  • Iguazu National Park

Transportation:

Transportation:
Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.

 Meals

 Meals & Itinerary

25 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 12 dinners

 Itinerary

Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.

Day 1 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Welcome to spectacular Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics! After arrival, settle into your hotel and meet your Tour Director, who will have pointers for your free time exploration.

Day 2 Rio de Janeiro

Guided sightseeing begins with a drive along Rio’s famed Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana Beaches. Take the cog railway 2,300 feet up to the summit of CORCOVADO to view the Christ the Redeemer statue and enjoy 360-degree views of Guanabara Bay and the bustling city below. Your afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps join an optional excursion to a favela for a glimpse into the life of these colorful communities that nearly 25% of the people call home. Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a welcome dinner at a local churrascaria. Following dinner, perhaps opt for a fun outing to see a Samba show highlighting the Brazilian Samba and its dazzling costumes.

Breakfast Breakfast
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Day 3 Rio de Janeiro

A free day in Rio allows you to relax on one of the beaches or take an optional excursion to the historic city of Petropolis.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 4 Rio de Janeiro–Iguassu Falls

Fly to Iguassu Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Journey to the Brazilian side of the FALLS to see the 275 waterfalls cascading over a precipice almost two miles wide and 250 feet deep. Walk into Devil’s Throat Canyon, where clouds of mist, a thundering roar, and 180-degree rainbows surround you—an unforgettable experience!

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Day 5 Iguassu Falls

Cross the border for a visit of the Argentine side of the FALLS. Begin with a short ride on the open-air ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN through the surrounding rainforest. A series of boardwalks takes you above the falls for a look over the edge to see the water crashing down below into the Devil’s Throat. This afternoon you may opt to visit the Bird Park, home to many species of indigenous birds as well as flora from the area.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 6 Iguassu Falls–Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital. After settling into your hotel, an orientation tour familiarizes you with the “Paris of South America” and its wide boulevards, outdoor cafés, and charming shops.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 7 Buenos Aires

Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide focuses on the city’s well-known landmarks, including the Colon Opera House and Plaza de Mayo, site of La Casa Rosada (the President’s Pink House) and Metropolitan Cathedral. Also visit La Boca and San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhoods, and RECOLETA CEMETERY, where Eva Peron is buried. End your day with an Argentinean meal, followed by a sensuous TANGO SHOW highlighting this alluring dance so popular here.

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Day 8 Buenos Aires

Today is free for independent activities, or you can take an optional excursion to visit a local estancia (ranch) to experience the life of the gauchos (cowboys) on a traditional Argentine ranch complete with a barbecue lunch.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 Buenos Aires–Lima, Peru

Board a flight for Lima, Peru. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima still carries vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 10 Lima

Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once the capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore on your own. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

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Day 11 Lima–Cusco–Sacred Valley

Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibers that are then used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with an infamous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colorful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel, nestled in the peaceful Sacred Valley.

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Day 12 Sacred Valley

Start the day with a visit to OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest—the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. You will see how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold. Next, visit a LOCAL HOME to experience life in this traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Then, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a typical Inca drink in Peru called chicha.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 13 Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu

Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for Aguas Calientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. The ruins went undiscovered for nearly 400 years after they were abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. For this reason, many of the mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day.

Breakfast Breakfast
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Day 14 Machu Picchu–Cusco

Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of Aguas Calientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 15 Cusco

Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicenter of the Incas. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas before a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here on your tour. Also see the ruins of Kenko and Puca Pucara before returning to Cusco.

Breakfast Breakfast
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Day 16 Cusco–Juliaca–Puno

Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the sun god to found the Inca Empire.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 17 Puno. Excursion to Lake Titicaca

Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a motorboat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening.

Breakfast Breakfast
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Day 18 Puno–Juliaca–Lima

En route to Juliaca, stop at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI. See the above-ground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Fly to Lima and transfer to your hotel.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 19 Lima–Quito, Ecuador

Board a flight for Quito.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 20 Quito

Included sightseeing showcases Quito’s treasures: Independence Plaza and the 16th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, and the Jesuit’s LA COMPANIA CHURCH with its stunning golden altars.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 21 Quito–San Cristobal (Embarkation)–Galápagos Cruising

Fly to San Cristobal in the Galápagos and embark the Santa Cruz II. This afternoon, arrive at PUNTA PITT, one of the only places where all three types of booby exist (blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca), nesting next to both types of frigates.

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Day 22 Galápagos Cruising: Santa Fé & South Plaza Islands

Wake up at SANTA Fé Island, where you are met by sea lion harems and the endemic land iguana. The beach offers great snorkeling. At SOUTH PLAZA, wildlife includes sea lions, land iguanas, and hybrid iguanas—the result of a cross between male marine iguanas and female land iguanas. This is also a bird-watcher’s paradise!

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Day 23 Galápagos Cruising: Santa Cruz Island

Visit the CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, established to help conserve the famous giant tortoises. Next up: the highlands of SANTA CRUZ, marked by extinct volcanoes and astonishing plants.

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Day 24 Galápagos Cruising: Española Island

Excursions to Gardner Bay and Punta Suárez on ESPañOLA ISLAND, one of the oldest islands in the archipelago, feature the famous blowhole, as well as unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (Apr.-Dec.), Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and Darwin’s finches.

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Day 25 Galápagos Cruising: Baltra (Disembarkation)–Guayaquil

Disembark and fly to Guayaquil.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 26 Guayaquil

Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning.

Breakfast Breakfast

 Tour Director

With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

FERNANDO BORDALLO

Years of Experience: 21

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, I speak English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I became a Tour Director in 1986, and I love my work. It's so great to see guests engage with the diversity of South American countries -their traditions and contrasts. I love sharing the history of these countries, watching the group interact during the trip, and knowing I play a fundamental role in the success of the trip.

Tour Director - FERNANDO BORDALLO

 Accommodations

RIO DE JANEIRO Windsor Plaza Copacabana (F)
IGUASSU FALLS Recanto Park (F)
BUENOS AIRES Dazzler Maipu (F)
LIMA San Agustin Exclusive (F)
SACRED VALLEY La Casona Yucay (MF)
MACHU PICCHU El Mapi Hotel Machu Picchu (F)
CUSCO Jose Antonio Cusco (F)
PUNO Eco Inn Puno (F)
QUITO Grand Mercure Alameda (SF)
GALÁPAGOS CRUISE Santa Cruz II (F)
GUAYAQUIL Unipark Hotel Guayaquil (SF)

 Know Before You Go

These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.



* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).

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