Peru & Ecuador

May 16-28, 2018 — Lima / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Quito / Octaval

Itinerary: May 16 - 28, 2018

Galapagos Extension: May 28 - June 1, 2018

Wednesday, May 16

Arrival of international flight to Lima. Upon arrival transfer on your own to the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Thursday, May 17


Our tour will start in the historic center, a World Heritage site. Here, you will see the republican San Martin Square and its surroundings, including the emblematic Bolivar Hotel and the aristocratic “Club Nacional”. We will go through the historic Main Square, in the heart of Lima, founded in the 16th century under the name “City of the Kings.” You will have the opportunity to admire the Cathedral with its grand baroque façade, as well as the republican architecture of the Government Palace. Admire the portals of the Scribes and the Buttoners that surround the square, and the elegant fountain of bronze in the Salvatierra Count. Return to Miraflores via the contiguous upscale neighborhood of San Isidro. Both districts are characterized by their modern constructions, beautiful parks, small and big plazas. Enjoy a welcome lunch at Restaurant Huaca Pucllana. The afternoon and evening are free for you to continue exploring Lima on your own.

Overnight: Hotel Casa Andina Select Miraflores (B, L)

Friday, May 18


Visit Leon Pinelo Jewish School, founded in 1946 and meet with some of its students. Continue to the Conservative Synagogue (Sociedad de Beneficiencia Israelita) and meet community leaders. Transfer to the airport to board a one hour and twenty-minute flight to Cuzco. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel. Enjoy a Shabbat service and dinner at Chabad Lubavitch this evening.

Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas Cusco (B, D)

Saturday, May 19


Visit some of the sites surrounding Cuzco this morning. Begin with Chinchero, known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow. This typical Andean village combines Inca ruins with a colonial church and some wonderful mountain views.

Continue to Maras, a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, twenty five miles north of Cuzco. The town is known for its nearby salt evaporation ponds, in use since Incatimes. The salt evaporation ponds are up-slope, less than a mile west of the town. Conclude our exploration of Cuzco’s environs with a visit to Moray, which contains unusual Incaruins, mostly consisting of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 98 feet deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has a sophisticated irrigation system. The afternoon and evening are free for you to explore Cuzco-a fantastic walking town-on your own.

Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas Cusco (B)

Sunday, May 20


Depart Cuzco for the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit Pisac, an area known for its Incanruins that lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins include the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains and a ceremonial platform.The village of Pisac, which sits below the ruins, is home to a colorful Sunday market. Continue down the valley to Ollantaytambo Fortress, the giant agricultural, administrative, social, religious and military Inca complex and town. From Ollantaytambo, take a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, situated at the base of the mountain on top of which lies Machu Picchu. Check in to our hotel upon arrival.

Overnight: Hotel Machu Picchu Pueblo (B, D)

Monday, May 21


Take a bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472) and is the most familiar icon of the Inca civilization. The Incas abandoned the estate a century after building it, at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911. Return by bus to Aguas Calientes and depart for Cuzco by train. Upon arrival, transfer to our hotel

Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas Cusco (B, L)

Tuesday, May 22


In the morning visit the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay and Puca Pucara. Sacsayhuaman Fortress is an impressive construction that was used to protect Cuzco and is an important example of Inca military architecture. Tambomachay, or the Inca Bath, is an archaeological site made of stone structures, finely carved, aqueducts and man-made waterfalls and water channels from nearby springs. Qenqo is a holy place built on a naturally occurring rock formation. Observe the complex mythical representations that have been carved out of the rock, a complicated system of tunnels and a semicircular amphitheater. In the afternoon enjoy a walking tour of Cuzco visiting the main square, Cuzco´s Cathedral and Coricancha, the religious complex where the Incas built temples dedicated to the different Gods of Tahuantinsuyo and where the Spanish conquerors also built their Catholic churches after they conquered the Inca Empire. Also explore the charming Inca-era streets.

Overnight: Hotel Plaza de Armas Cusco (B)

Wednesday, May 23


Transfer to the airport to board the flight to Lima. Then connect on a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Quito. Arrive in Quito, transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (B, D)

Thursday, May 24


Visit the Albert Einstein Jewish School this morning. In May 1973, a group of members of the Israelite Welfare Association of Quito, now the Jewish Community of Ecuador, decided to start a school based on academic excellence that would open its doors to children without distinction of nationality, race or religion. The Albert Einstein Experimental Educational Unit is a non-profit secular educational community that contributes to Ecuadorian society by shaping integral, analytical, ethical and knowledgeable youth with the necessary skills for a successful path in a changing world. It is considered one of the best schools in Ecuador because of its excellent academic credentials and experienced professionals as well as its interest in accompanying each and every one of its children and young adults in their learning process.

Continue to The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, a tract of land 16 miles north of the center of Quito. The grounds contain the Monument to the Equator, which highlights the exact location of the Equator (from which the country takes its name), and commemorates the 18th century Franco-Spanish Geodesic Mission that fixed its approximate location; It is also home to the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador.

Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (B)

Friday, May 25


In the morning tour Quito. The capital of Ecuador is probably one of the most beautiful cities in South America. Located more than 9,000 feet above sea level and just 13 miles south of the geographic Ecuador, it has magnificent spring weather in a spectacular environment. The view of Quito is dominated by mountains and snow-capped volcanos. It is home to a great number of colonial buildings and new construction has been strictly controlled in the old city since 1978, when it was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Visit the Conservative synagogue, met its leaders, participate in Shabbat services and enjoy a Shabbat dinner with community members.

Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (B, D)

Saturday, May 26


Otavalo Market is one of Ecuador’s most popular attractions. The market is full of brightly-colored, woven craftwork, and the indigenous people of Otavalo wear their traditional costume on a daily basis. It is worn with pride by everyone from tiny children to successful businessmen and women. The Otavaleños, as the indigenous locals are known, have maintained their culture and identity more than most native indigenous groups in Ecuador. Traditional crafts, weavings and textiles, musical instruments and woodcarvings can be found here. Otavalo and the surrounding area has been famous for weaving since well before the time of the Incas. The weavers of Otavalo were exploited by the Inca, then the Spanish conquistadors and later by local landowners. When they were finally allowed to work for themselves again, the Otavaleños showed their entrepreneurial flair-the town is a wealthy and successful community, one of the richest in Ecuador. A backdrop of mountain scenery on a clear sunny day adds the finishing touch to this typical highland scene.

Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (B)

Sunday, May 27


Visit Quilotoa Lake, one of the most beautiful places in the Ecuadorian Highlands. Quilotoa comes from two Quichua words, "quiru" that means tooth, and "toa" which is queen. Its lagoon, located inside a crater, has an elliptical shape and a diameter of approximately two miles. The lagoon is mostly green, but its color varies according to the light; it can appear blue and even yellow. The water has a complex mineral composition including sulphur, hydrogen and carbonic gas which makes it unfit for human consumption, however local people do use this water for their animals. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (B, D)

Monday, May 28

Check out and transfer on your own to the airport. (B)

GALAPAGOS EXTENSION: May 28 - June 1, 2018

Monday, May 28


Take an early morning flight from Quito to Baltra. Upon arrival, transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II, where we receive a welcome introductory briefing and lunch while cruising to Santa Cruz Island. Arrive in Las Bachas, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea, located on the north shore of the island. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, including stilts and flamingos. This is a great opportunity to snorkel! Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on board and go over tomorrow’s expedition plan with our naturalist leaders.

Overnight: Santa Cruz II: (B, L, D)

Tuesday, May 29


After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area's distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as "Elephant Rock", "The Bishop" and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling or a panga ride along the coast. Cruise to Puerto Egas to enjoy a swim from the beach or snorkel along a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we take a guided walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds. We can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Those who don’t wish to swim or snorkel can enjoy a more extensive walk.

Overnight: Santa Cruz II: (B, L, D)

Wednesday, May 30


After breakfast, we land on Rabida Island's red-colored beach, colored by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating American flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners and experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers can enjoy a ride on a glass bottomed boat or a panga. As we navigate to our next island, we may spot dolphins.

Land at Bartolome and take a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase with handrails and rest platforms. The view from the top is worth the effort! Following our walk, we take to the pangas and the glass-bottomed boat for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, and then land at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing (possibly with Galapagos penguins in attendance).

Overnight: Santa Cruz II: (B, L, D)

Thursday, May 31


The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by a landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up Prince Philip’s Steps to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, we can snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting a huge variety of fish, and possibly Galapagos fur seals.

In the afternoon, we land at Darwin Bay to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkeling. Following our dip, take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There's an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else you can return to the beach or enjoy a final panga ride.

Overnight: Santa Cruz II: (B, L, D)

Friday, June 1


Dock at San Cristobal Island’s Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and take an optional excursion to see the Tortoise Breeding Center with its giant tortoise breeding program at Cerro Colorado. Here, we learn about this endangered species and its promising recovery. Following the visit, we return to Balta and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Guayaquil in order to connect to flights home. (B)

Saturday, June 2

Arrive in Canada.


Ariel Goldstein is the CEO of TIYUL, INC. He was born in Uruguay, studied Latin American history in Montevideo and then studied tourism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has led tours throughout Israel, Europe, the Persian Gulf, Latin America, Africa, India and China for fifteen years. He speaks Spanish, English, Hebrew and Portuguese. He traveled in Peru extensively.

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