3/126 Albert Road, Warragul VIC 3820 Australia   Phone: (03) 5623 5151           Email us     EMERGENCY NUMBER +61 (0)419 213 274

South America Spectacular
ARGENTINA BRAZIL PERU CHILE BOLIVIA

12 September to 11 October 2017
Personally escorted by Jacquey Turner

YOUR TOUR ESCORT

YOUR TOUR ESCORT Jacquey Turner is a highly experienced travel agent and tour escort with more than 32 years’ industry experience. Jacquey’s attention to detail and personal care ensure that everyone travelling in her group will have a most enjoyable South America experience.

 


TOUR COSTS:

SOUTH AMERICA SPECTACULAR
TOUR COST:
12 September to 11 October 2017

$21,999 per person
Single Supplement $6,139 per person


GALAPAGOS ISLAND EXTENSION TOUR COST:
9 October to 18 October 2017
Based on Junior Suite Cabin on board MV Galapagos Legend. Upgrade to Balcony Suite on request
$6,887 per person Single Supplement $2,149 per person​


AIRFARES

Business Class and Premium Economy upgrades are available on Sydney/Santiago and Santiago/Melbourne flights. Upgrade cost on request.
Please advise as soon as possible if you would like costs for an upgrade.
Balance of Payment for the tour will be due
Tuesday, 13 June 2017


YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Iguazu
  • Rio de Janeiro\
  • Lima, the City of the Kings
  • Puerto Maldonado 
  • The Sacred Valley 
  • Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex 
  • Cusco City 
  • Puno Lake Titicaca 
  • La Paz
  • Uyuni 
  • Atacama
  • Santiago de Chile 

COST EXCLUDES:

  • Travel Insurance. Please note that it is a condition of our tour that all participants have comprehensive travel insurance. All details are available from our office.
  • Any meals not included in the itinerary
  • Telephone calls, laundry and any expenses of a personal nature
  • Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination (required for Brazil)
  • Passport & visa expenses for Chile (on arrival) – approx US$120; Argentina (obtain on line) – approx US$100.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Telecommunications charges.
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges.

CANCELLATION FEES:
If you cancel more than 125 days prior to tour departure, your deposit is non-refundable.
Notice of cancellation must be made in writing to Gippsland Travel Centre.
If notice of cancellation is received less than 125 days prior to departure, the following fees apply:

No of days prior to tour departure  Cancellation fee as a % of tour cost 
91 days or more Loss of all deposits
90 days or less No refund applies
   

All costs are based on the exchange rate prevailing
as at 11 November 2016

 
Departs Melbourne: 12 September 2017
Concludes: 11 October 2017
MEALS INCLUDED
Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017  Australia – Buenos Aires  

An early morning transfer from Gippsland to Melbourne Airport for our Qantas flight via Sydney and Santiago. Upon arrival at Buenos Aires International airport, we will be met by our local host who will drive us to The Brick Hotel, or similar, for a three night stay. 

Welcome to Buenos Aires!
Elegant, old-worldly, with a touch of Paris here and of London there, a dash of New York cosmopolitanism and Italian exuberance, the city nevertheless has a lot of Latin America in it as well. And some things that are uniquely Argentine, such as its tango bars and overflowing kiosks. Here, everything is grand, on a scale fit for kings: tourists photograph their steaks at the restaurant, Av. 9 de Julio ranks as the world's widest avenue, a cemetery so fancy that it occupies one of the most elegant parts of downtown, the entire city fronts on the world's widest river. Buenos Aires never fails to impress.

Wednesday, 13 September Buenos Aires  

This morning, we shall explore the highlights of the "Paris of South America" in a city tour escorted by one of our experienced representatives who will introduce you to the history and culture of this magnificent city.

  

The tour will include the historical areas of Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo, the political heart of the city, laid out by Don Juan de Garay in 1580 during the second founding of Buenos Aires. You will also pass through San Telmo neighborhood, with its cobblestoned streets, where the original porteños settled in the early days. Continue to La Boca, the colourful working class port neighbourhood, and walk along Caminito Street, where local artists display their artwork to the tunes of Tango being performed on the street. Pass through Puerto Madero and see this new area where redbrick warehouses were transformed into trendy restaurants and bars.

This evening you will go to the excellent ‘Esquina Carlos Gardel’ tango venue. Here you will enjoy the finest tango show in Buenos Aires, and will of course have the best seats in the house. Elegance and splendor share every corner of this dazzling place. A la carte dinner will be served prior to the show. “The lights will dim and the orchestra will tune up as elusive legs will begin their dance” Esquina Carlos Gardel is a revival of the tango during the sophistication, luxury, and style of the Golden Decade of Buenos Aires.

The show, with its incomparable technical display and an artistic proposal of international level, weaves the audience into a mystic tango atmosphere. The sensuality underlying all choreographic patterns combines in a vivid tribute to tango. The Orchestra mingles both dancers and voices, thus reaffirming unparalleled interpretative standards well worth a standing ovation. After the show you will be driven back to the hotel.

Thursday, 14 September Buenos Aires  

We depart Buenos Aires on a full day tour to a typical Argentine estancia. We will travel to San Antonio de Areco to enjoy a close-up view of the pampas on the way. At the same time, we will receive a complete explanation from one of our specialised guides.

  

On arrival at San Antonio de Areco we will take a tour of the village, which includes a walk around the historical heart of the city.

Following that we will make our way to the exclusive ‘El Ombu de Areco Estancia. Once at the estancia you can take rides on the horses or go for a ride in a sulky whilst enjoying a buffet with traditional cold cuts, cheeses and beverages. At lunchtime, we will enjoy a typical country style barbeque prepared using only the finest quality meats. Dessert is accompanied by a folklore show, which is followed by a demonstration of gaucho skills.

We return to the hotel in the late afternoon and the evening will be at your leisure.

Friday, 15 September Iguazu  

This morning we shall be transferred to Buenos Aires Domestic airport. Upon arrival at the airport, our guide will be on-hand to assist with check-in formalities for our flight to Iguazu. On arrival at Puerto Iguazu airport, we will be met by our local host who will drive us to the Sheraton Hotel, or similar, for the next two nights. Dinner will be included at the hotel tonight.

Saturday, 16 September Iguazu  

Today we have a full day visit to the Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls National Park. Arriving at the Visitors Centre, we can access the Nature Interpretation Centre of Iguazu National Park, a building which also provides areas for cultural, educational and social activities; then we will find the starting point for an amazing tour including:
Devils Gorge: Departing from Cataratas Station, the train will take you to Garganta Station in about 18 minutes. The stroll along the catwalks is 1200 meters long, across the islands of the delta, leading to the main balcony on the most spectacular fall, the Devil's Gorge.

Upper Trail: offers magnificent panoramic view of the falls from the Upper Iguazu River.

Lower Trail: this walk, along 1600 meters of catwalks detached from the surface of the jungle's soil for its protection, provides a view from below and around the falls.

Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Sunday, 17 September Rio de Janeiro  

This morning we will experience the falls from the Brazilian side. The falls are the heart and main attraction of the National Park, which is also a vast forest made up of tropical wood species such as Brazilian walnut, cedar and peroba, an area home to a wide array of rare birds such as the macaw, toucan, parrot, as well as monkeys, crocodiles, armadillos and jaguars. UNESCO declared Foz do Iguazu National Park, in Brazil, Natural Heritage of Humanity in 1986. The visiting area consists of a single circuit of walkways facing the falls. The panorama it offers is really impressive.

Later in the day we will transfer from the National Park to Foz do Iguassu airport. Our local host will assist us with the flight check in for Rio de Janeiro and on arrival we shall be transferred to the Belmond Copacabana, or similar, for the next 3 nights.

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!
A country of mythical proportions, Brazil enchants with natural beauty, friendly people and an intoxicating, unique mix of European, African and Indian influences. Discover the very best of this captivating destination on your journey, whether you want to visit its sun-kissed beaches or travel deep into the lush Amazon.

Perhaps no other destination in Brazil is more legendary than Rio de Janeiro, known for its samba, Carnival and dazzling beaches. But this former colonial city also boasts historic architecture, incredible natural scenery and iconic sights, such as the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Rio de Janeiro is the Brazilian tourism capital, with a population of 6 million. Known by its inhabitants, the Cariocas, as the "Cidade Maravilhosa", its reputation precedes it. Images explode forth of stunning mountains, glittering carnival costumes, the statue of Christ's welcoming outspread arms, skimpy bikinis and the endless rhythm of samba.

However, behind all the glitz and glamour, this wonderful city, located in the Southeast Region of Brazil, is also rich in history and culture. There are many fine buildings, historical neighbourhoods and museums from its time as the capital of Brazil.

Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

Monday, 18 September Rio de Janeiro  

Included in our full day excursion, we will enjoy a scenic drive through popular beaches of Rio. To reach the Sugar Loaf Mountain, we take a cable car to the top of Urca Hill with pretty gardens and lookout points over Rio and Guanabara Bay with its rocky peaks jutting out of the water. A second cable car will take us even higher to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, 1300 feet above sea level. Here the view of the beaches, Bay, hills and harbour is breath taking. 

From here, we stop at Cosme Velho district, a traditional neighbourhood in the Southern part of Rio de Janeiro called Cosme Velho. Here, we can take a train up to the Corcovado Mountain, through the Atlantic rainforests of Tijuca to see the Christ. The view of Rio from Corcovado Mountain is world famous.

The peak of Corcovado mountain is over 700 metres high and crowned by the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is 30 meters high and has an 8-meter pedestal with a chapel in honor of the Lady of Aparecida, patron Saint of Brazil. Before returning to the hotel, we will be taken for a visit to São Conrado beach to observe the famous hang gliders flying over the beach.

We can get a taste of the historic part of downtown Rio during our stop for lunch at the famous cafeteria Colombo. This restaurant, founded in 1894, provides a unique perspective of the historic and cultural heritage of Rio.

Tuesday, 19 September Rio de Janeiro  

Our tour today combines the historic highlights of downtown Rio with the modern attractions in the Porto Maravilha area. We begin the tour at Cinelãndia area to see the Municipal Theater, National Library, and the fine arts museum. Transition from the historic sites to Rio’s newly developed Port area riding on the new VLT, the light rail system. We then visit the Mauá square learning about the history of Rio’s port and visiting the new attractions, including the “Olympic Boulevard” and the famous Graffiti Murals by Eduardo Kobra. A quick visit to Rio’s Art Museum will provide a panoramic view of the Porto Maravilha. Next, we visit Rio’s newest Museum of Tomorrow, which mixes science with innovative design to focus on sustainable cities. We will walk to the Square of Nov. 15th (Praça XV) which provides a great view of the Guanabara Bay. From there we can see the ferry station, Imperial Paço (Palace), and the Tiradentes monument. We shall enjoy lunch at a downtown restaurant before heading back to the hotel. Your evening is at leisure.

Wednesday, 20 September Lima  

After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Lima. On arrival at Lima International Airport we will be met and transferred to the Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel, or similar, for the next two nights. 

Lima, the Capital of Peru, was founded on 18th January 1535, by Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, and quickly became known as the City of the Kings. Within 70 years it became the most important city in the Spanish-American empire and was the focal point for European trade and cultural activity in the region. It is a city of rare fascination and unexpected pleasures.

Thursday, 21 September Lima  

This morning, you will be taken on a half day tour of the "City of the Kings" with its colonial attractions such as the Main Square, the Cathedral, Santo Domingo Convent and the Residential Districts of Miraflores and San Isidro. Afterwards, we visit the Larco Herrera Museum; it showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview of 3000 years of development of Peruvian Pre-Columbian History. For an unforgettable experience, Larco is one of the few museums in the world where visitors can also choose to enter the storage area with its 45.000 classified archaeological objects. Its masterpieces are considered worldwide icons of Pre-Columbian art, after being exhibited in the world's leading museums. 

Lunch at Café del Museo restaurant, with a varied and select house menu, showcases the flavors, products and customs of the country, giving it a character which reflects the vibrancy of modern Peru. All of the regions of Peru feature in the Museum exhibits are also represented in the Museum Café’s menu, demonstrating that Peru is indeed an extraordinary gastronomic destination. After lunch, there is time to explore the city on your own.

Friday, 22 September The Amazon   

We leave Lima today and transfer to the airport to board our domestic flight to Puerto Maldonado.

Welcome to Puerto Maldonado.
We head to the boarding wharf to begin our experience of the enchantment of the rainforest, and take a 45-minute boat ride along the Madre de Dios River to arrive at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge,or similar, for the next two nights. After a short briefing, we settle into our beautiful cabaña and enjoy lunch in the dining room. Take a siesta, share a refreshing tea time and get ready for the afternoon excursion.

On our first day, we will take a guided walk along the trail system into the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica natural area, where we will discover the Amazon Basin. This trail offers an excellent introduction to the forest environment, winding past impressive trees such as the Shihuahuaco and the strangely beautiful strangler fig, offering excellent opportunities for bird watching and observing exotic insects.

We shall have a guided afternoon boat ride on the Madre de Dios river to witness the transformation from a diurnal to a nocturnal world: animals and birds of the daytime give way to species specially adapted to the night. As you enjoy their paradise, you will learn about their habits while you search for nightjars, owls, capybaras and big caimans.

After dinner, you may retire early to your own cabaña, or join us to talk about the experience of life in the rainforest, as you listen to the intriguing sounds of the jungle at night.

 

Saturday, 23 September The Amazon   

We have the choice this morning to rest in bed or rise early if you want to avoid the heat and enjoy nature at its fullest. This morning you may join the Lake Sandoval excursion into the Tambopata National Reserve. Glide in a wooden canoe, across a beautiful, mirror-like oxbow lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles and black caimans. 

We return to the Inkaterra lodge for lunch. After lunch, we will visit the remarkable Inkaterra Canopy Walkway and Anaconda Walk. Ascending the first tower, 29 meters above the forest ground, we begin our encounter with the treetop realm.

For more than a quarter of a mile, you will literally walk through the rainforest canopy on a suspension bridge network linking eight observation platforms. During this hour-and-a-half expedition, be on the lookout for bright toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys and the three-toed sloth. If you wish you may extend your excursion and appreciate the sunset from one of the towers. After your descent from the Canopy, experience the Anaconda Walk for about 30 minutes along the 200-meter wooden bridge over the Aguajales swamps. In this lush eco system, you may observe the various species of amphibians, birds, mammals, abundant flora, trees and there is a possibility to see serpents of this flooded marshland. The walk finishes by returning to the lodge where you can enjoy the daily nature presentation in the Eco Center. Dinner will be at the lodge.

Sunday, 24 September The Sacred Valley   

A 45-minute return trip by boat on the Madre de Dios River will take us to Puerto Maldonado, where we can visit the Inkaterra Butterfly House. Peru boasts the greatest variety of butterflies in the world, with 3,700 known species. Many of these can be seen at the Butterfly House, a showcase for the variety, beauty and adaptability of these fascinating insects. In the afternoon, we will transfer to the airport to board our domestic flight to Cusco, where on arrival we shall be transferred to the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, or similar, for the next two nights. 

After we have checked in we will visit the local village of Pisac, famous for its bustling, colorful market which attracts tourists from all over the world to try their hand at bartering for local sweaters, ponchos, wall hangings, jewellery and goods. We shall enjoy a buffet lunch in a local restaurant. Then we will visit Awanankancha, a centre where South American Cameloids (members of the camel family) – Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos, and Vicunas are bred, to learn about the renowned fibers created from their coats, as well as the ancient weaving techniques which are still used. Dinner tonight will be at the lodge.

Monday, 25 September The Sacred Valley  

This morning, we will visit an Andean highland community to meet the Quechua speaking farmers and weavers of a rural Andean community and have a personal encounter with local lifeways and traditions. This is a visit to the magical and inspiring world of Quechua highlanders, in which we learn how traditional people live today in the Andean countryside. We participate in the daily activities of this place that they call the village of beautiful flowers, visiting the kitchens to see a colourful variety of local foods on display, under preparation and being cooked on wood-fired mud-brick stoves. The welcoming and hospitable villagers will offer us a demonstration of textile technique and design, an essential feature of Peruvian life for millenia. They will share this knowledge with us, and reveal the symbolic meanings encoded into their cloth and styles of dress. 

After a short walk with our village companions, to the accompaniment of flutes and drums, we enter the heart of the Andean agricultural cycle, as vital today as it was in Inca times. Our Quechua hosts will show us how they hand-turn the soil on the mountain sides, and invite us to join them in blessing their earth, their animals, and the newly plowed land. In this celebration of profound Andean traditions inherited from the Inca past, we gain a privileged experience for ourselves today. We continue to enjoy both the archaeological and aesthetic qualities of the Sacred Valley. The picturesque town of Maras has a colonial feel and the nearby salt mines present excellent photographic opportunities.

Then we visit Moray, a fascinating archaeological site comprising of a series of concentric agricultural terraces, some as deep as 150 m, while enjoying the magnificent views this part of the Sacred Valley offers.

Tuesday, 26 September Machu Picchu   

Today we visit the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo. The fortress, a formidable stone structure that climbs massive terraces reaching the top of a high peak, was the valley’s main defense against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-colored granite, this huge installation was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. 

We board the train bound for Machu Picchu, with a late morning arrival to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu, or similar, for an overnight stay. Before we begin our explorations of this breathtaking Incan citadel, we shall enjoy a buffet lunch at Café Inkaterra. After lunch we will walk to the station to take a bus to Machu Picchu. Accompanied by our guide, we explore the city's ruins and feel its pulse as you visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen and servants who inhabited this seemingly uninhabitable citadel.

Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artifacts and woollen clothing, but no gold. The same precision of assembled stones exists here as in other Incan sites. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold its secret of its destruction – the Incas left no written record. After our return to Aguas Calientes shall enjoy dinner at our hotel.

Wednesday, 27 September Cusco  

The morning is at your leisure however you may like to take the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu or explore the town of Aguas Calientes. 

In the afternoon, we will board the Hiram Bingham train to Poroy. A gourmet dinner will be served on board. On our arrival, we shall be greeted and transferred to the JW Marriott Hotel, or similar, for the next two nights.

Thursday, 28 September Cusco  

This morning, we will visit the Mercado Central de San Pedro, a great spot for buying local souvenirs, but also where locals go to buy their fresh produce.

 

We will be driven to the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and Santo Domingo, a Dominican church and convent built upon the foundations of the Koricancha, or the ‘place of gold’. After seeing the sights of the ancient city, we continue to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a true testimony to Incan architectural skills.

Compiled of massive stones (one weighs 125 tons!) you are challenged to try to slip a piece of paper through the cracks in between these blocks, cut and fitted together with incredible precision without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place.

The afternoon will be at leisure to explore the city on your own.

Friday, 29 September Puno Lake Titicaca   

This morning we shall transfer to the airport to board our domestic flight to Juliaca. On arrival, we will be met and transferred to the Titilaka Puno Hotel, or similar, for the next two nights. During the afternoon, you can rest up and enjoy the scenery. An afternoon siesta is recommended along with plenty of liquids to help you aclimate to the altitude. There is plenty to do at the Lodge; explore the lake, go on a walk in nearby rural paths, observe local birds or ride a bicycle through the fields of Plateria.
We shall enjoy evening cocktails before getting together for dinner.

Saturday, 30 September Puno Lake Titicaca   

Today we have a full day excursion on Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca, at 3820m, is the highest navigable lake in the world. At over 170km long, it is also the largest lake in South America. Its altitude means the air is unusually clear and the azure waters particularly striking. Sightseeing on the islands of Uros and Taquile are followed by lunch.

The floating islands of the Uros, a small tribe (now intermarried, however, so pure-blooded Uros no longer exist), is an interesting excursion. The islands themselves are constructed from the totora reed found in abundance in Lake Titicaca. The Uros' homes and boats are also of totora and their entire lives revolve around their famed reed-weaving.

On the island of Taquile inhabitants dress in homemade traditional colorful clothing – men in elegant waistcoats and floppy knit caps; women in layered skirts and embroidered blouses. Quechua is their language and they maintain a very individual, proud and independent lifestyle. This beautiful island setting holds several terraced hillsides of Inca ruins which you are free to explore. 

We shall return to the hotel in the late afternoon with some time to freshen up before cocktails and then dinner.

Sunday, 01 October La Paz  

Today we travel overland from Puno (Peru) to Copacabana (Bolivia), located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Once in Copacabana, we visit the shrine and the Dark Indian Virgin and take a Hydrofoil cruise to Moon Island, visit the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu” and then continue to Sun Island. We visit the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain and taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness. 

Lunch will be served at the Uma Kollu archaeological Restaurant, next to the small handicraft market. We then Hydrofoil cruise to Cocotoni and transfer to Huatajata. On arrival, we visit the Andean Roots Eco Village: The Altiplano Museum, handicrafts village, the Mud Igloos and the mortuary towers of the Urus Chipayas.

We meet the Limachi family, builders of the RA II and Tigris for epic expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean and see the elegant vicuñas, llamas, alpacas and the mythical Suri.

We then have an overland trip to our hotel in La Paz on a road running parallel to the mighty snow capped peaks of the Andes. On arrival, we shall check into the Casa Grande Hotel, or similar, for the next two nights.

Monday, 2 October La Paz

The City of La Paz and its surroundings can transport you to a mysterious past where any corner, any street, is a hidden treasure where adventure begins; a living history which treasures the pre-Hispanic times with all their traditions and magic rites on its streets. 

The indigenous, colonial and modern areas, Indian Market, Witch Doctor's Market & breathtaking panoramas are all framed by the majestic "Illimani" mountain. Visit the Moon Valley, a clay formation resembling the face of the Moon. Our tour includes a visit to the Teleferico – Cable Car.

Tuesday, 3 October Uyuni   

This morning we shall transfer from our hotel to the airport to catch our flight to Uyuni. 

On arrival, we begin our excursion to the Salt Lake and Isla Pescado. Uyuni is the largest salt flat on Earth, located on the Bolivian Andean Altiplano with 12.000 square Km; the Bolivian Andes offer stunning sceneries which can be hardly matched. The sound of silence makes the heart beat faster and the surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, the pure sky, the color lagoons, the cacti and the flamingos, certainly make you feel that there is no other place like this in the whole world.

Lunch will be at Isla Pescado, also called “Incawasi”, an oasis with formations of algae and fossils. It is covered by thousands of giant columnar cacti, which can be more than a hundred years old, growing to a height of over 12 mtrs. The landscape against the background of the salt pans extending to the horizon, makes it an ideal place for photography hunters. We shall transfer to our hotel, the Palacio de Sal, Salt Palace, unique for being built entirely of salt: walls, floors, ceilings, sculptures etc. We stay here for two nights and dinner will be at the hotel.

Wednesday, 4 October Uyuni   

We shall enjoy an excursion to the foot of Thunupa Volcano and then stroll through the village and hike to the cave of the Coquesa Mummies. Included today is a gourmet lunch and later, dinner at the hotel.

Thursday, 5 October San Pedro de Atacama   

We have an overland journey to Laguna Colorada, with an area of 60 km2, at an altitude of 4,278 metres. It is characterized by the red tone of its waters and it is inhabited by three species of flamingoes: tokoko, with red plumage; chururu, with whitish plumage; and jututu, with pink plumage. The scenery is exceptionally beautiful and it is considered to be the most important flamingo watching site in the region. Also Vicuñas, Llamas and Vizcachas can be seen. 

After lunch we continue to “Sol de Mañana” Geysers, with fumaroles and volcanic craters of spectacular formation, featuring intense volcanic and fumaroles activity.

The crater bottoms display boiling lava; the fumaroles emit spouts of mixed water and superheated steam reaching 80 to 100 metres high; this phenomenon displays a landscape dating from the beginning of the earth. This geothermal field is located at an altitude of 4.900 metres. We continue to Green lagoon, where the water surface has the appearance of a giant emerald.

From this Lagoon, there is an impressive view of Licancabur Volcano, at an altitude of 5,865 metres. The special brightness of the green waters in the afternoon is dazzling. The intensely green coloring is due to their high magnesium content.

After the tour transfer to your hotel Cumbres San Pedro de Atacama, or similar, for a two night stay.

Friday, 6 October Uyuni   

After meeting our guide in the lobby we will head into the great expanse of the Atacama Desert to explore the salt flats and high-altitude lagoons. First is a visit to Toconao, a small pre-hispanic village known for its art made from volcanic rock and its bleach-white buildings and homes. We then head to the Atacama salt flats where it can be hard to define the horizon between land and sky. 

With over 3000 square kilometers, it is the third largest salt flat in the world and home to three species of flamingos. When you start to think that the world is upside-down, it is time to head up to about 4500 m above sea level to the lagoons. The bright, bold blue and frosty green at Miscanti and Meñique lagoons stand in bold contrast to the red and brown mountains at its perimeter.

  

We will stop at Socaire, a bit off the tourist track but known for its exceptional views of the salt flats and Andean terraces. Here we'll feast on a typical regional lunch, enjoying a farm-to-table meal. After a satisfying lunch we will return to our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.

Later, we shall commence the evening with one of the most memorable sunsets, and the best place to wait for it is the "Cordillera de la Sal" with its valleys, which are called Valle de Marte (Mars Valley) and Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). These are saline and clayed shapes, a product of mineralogical folds that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago. The sunset turns them into a moon landscape scene. We will celebrate this natural spectacle with cheese & wine. After the tour, we will return to the hotel.

Saturday, 7 October San Pedro de Atacama  

This morning we will transfer to Calama airport to board our flight to Santiago. 

On arrival to Santiago International Airport, we will be met by our guide who will assist in collecting our luggage and passing through custom procedures before escorting us on a private transfer to Cumbres Lastarria Hotel, or similar, for a two night stay.

During our time in Santiago we shall take tour of the city. Chile's capital city is a sophisticated, sprawling metropolis. One of the iconic landmarks we will discover during our time is the La Moneda presidential palace. Originally a colonial mint, it was designed by Italian architect, Joaquín Toesca. The Plaza de Armas main square is surrounded by some beautiful buildings, including the impressive cathedral and central post office, as well as the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which houses over 700 exhibits. Then of course there's San Cristobal Hill, where you'll get a panoramic view of the city and the omnipresent Andes.

There will also be some free time for you to buy last minute souvenirs or just relax.

Our farewell dinner will be at a local restaurant located within walking distance from our hotel.

Sunday, 8 October
Monday, 9 October
Santiago de Chile   

This morning we will transfer to Calama airport to board our flight to Santiago. 

On arrival to Santiago International Airport, we will be met by our guide who will assist in collecting our luggage and passing through custom procedures before escorting us on a private transfer to Cumbres Lastarria Hotel, or similar, for a two night stay.

During our time in Santiago we shall take tour of the city. Chile's capital city is a sophisticated, sprawling metropolis. One of the iconic landmarks we will discover during our time is the La Moneda presidential palace. Originally a colonial mint, it was designed by Italian architect, Joaquín Toesca. The Plaza de Armas main square is surrounded by some beautiful buildings, including the impressive cathedral and central post office, as well as the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which houses over 700 exhibits. Then of course there's San Cristobal Hill, where you'll get a panoramic view of the city and the omnipresent Andes.

There will also be some free time for you to buy last minute souvenirs or just relax.

Our farewell dinner will be at a local restaurant located within walking distance from our hotel.

Tuesday, 10 October Chile – Australia

Today we will transfer to the Santiago International Airport to board our Qantas flight back to Melbourne, via Sydney.

Wednesday, 11 October Santiago – Sydney – Melbourne   

We shall arrive in Melbourne late in the evening and will be met and transferred by coach back to Gippsland.

ECUADOR / GALAPAGOS EXTENTION     

At the end of the tour there is an option to continue exploring this fascinating region with a 7-night tour. The tour includes a
4-night cruise to the Galapagos Islands with their unique wildlife, plus sightseeing in Quito, once the northern capital of the Incan Empire.
This Ecuador Galapagos tour will not be personally escorted by Jacquey, but as she toured this region in 2009, can certainly recommend this extension.