Airport greeting and transfer to your hotel in the trendy neighborhood of Miraflores near the beach. The conquistador Pizarro founded the city in 1535, and it became the capital of Spanish-ruled South America. Today, it is hailed as the gastronomic capital of the Americas, with a fresh, creative cuisine melding the flavors of the many people who settled here: European, African, Andean, Chinese and Japanese. Go for a stroll among Miraflores' parks, sculptures, stylish bars and restaurants. Enjoy dinner and a pisco sour.
Transfer to the airport for a 75 minute flight to Cuzco, 11,200 ft high in the Andes. Airport greeting and transfer by minivan to the Sacred Valley of the Incas with breathtaking views. The road follows the meandering Urubamba River, past rich farmland and picturesque villages. Pause along the way to visit the colorful Pisac market displaying native handicrafts, Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo, a stronghold of Incan resistance to the Spanish, and lunch. Late afternoon arrival at your hotel.
Dinner and overnight in the Sacred Valley. Pack an overnight bag—space is limited on the bus to Machu Picchu.
(Breakfast, Lima; Dinner & Accommodations, Sacred Valley)
After breakfast, take a train to the village of Aguas Calientes, then a bus up to the dramatic citadel of Machu Picchu on a spectacular mountain ridge. A guide explains the sights at this "Lost City of the Incas" – never discovered by the Spanish conquerors. Admire the polished dry-stone walls with no mortar, typical of Incan architecture and able to withstand earthquakes. Lunch nearby at the Sanctuary Lodge is included. Afternoon free to explore the ruins on your own.
Transfer to your hotel in Aguas Calientes below Machu Picchu for dinner and overnight.
(Breakfast, Sacred Valley; Lunch, Dinner, & Accommodations, Machu Picchu)
Free time and frequent bus service lets you return on your own to Machu Picchu in the morning. Mid-afternoon transfer to train and minivan for the trip back to Cuzco, arriving early evening.
Dinner and overnight in Cuzco.
(Breakfast, Machu Picchu; Dinner & Accommodations, Cuzco)
Morning at leisure to explore the red-tile roof city, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where charming Spanish churches and arcades sit on Incan foundations. Your afternoon tour starts at Plaza de Armas, at the exact center of the Inca Empire, making Cuzco the "navel of the world". The Church of Santo Domingo is built on the ruins of the meticulously cut stone walls of Qorikancha, the Incan "Temple of the Sun". The Cathedral has outstanding examples of Cuzco School paintings. Next, visit the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, where massive stone blocks form zig-zag walls. Continue to the ruins of Kenko (Q'enqo), a complex believed to be an observatory. See Tambomachay, the "baths of the Incas", and Puca Pucara, a ruin known also as the red fort.
Return to Cuzco for free time, dinner and overnight. This is a city worth spending another day in.
(Breakfast, Dinner, & Accommodations, Cuzco)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago, Chile's capital ringed by snow-capped mountains and surrounded by vineyards. Greeting and transfer to hotel. Free time to explore on your own, easy to do using the extensive metro system. Check out the neighborhoods of Bellavista, Providencia and Barrio Brasil for art galleries, cafes, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Avanti offers a variety of add-on half-day and full-day tours if you choose to stay another day or two – biking, walking, wine-tasting, cooking, dining, history and architecture old and new.
(Breakfast, Cuzco; Accommodations, Santiago)
Transfer to the airport for a 5 hour flight to Easter Island in the South Pacific, one of the most remote islands in the world. Airport greeting and transfer to hotel. Relax by the pool, go to the beach or start exploring on your own. Dinner and overnight in Rapa Nui (Polynesian name for Easter Island).
(Breakfast, Santiago; Accommodations, Easter Island)
Your guide for an all-day tour around the small island meets you at the hotel. Learn the legends of this isolated island's colonization by Polynesian navigators and the first king (ariki), Hotu Matu'a.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Easter Island)
Your morning tour, called "Looking at the Stars", focuses on the central part of the island and its astronomically-oriented ahu (altars) and moai, created during the end of the prosperous Ahu Moai era. Visit Ahu Huri a Urenga, Ahu a Kivi, Ahu Vai Teka and the quarry Puna Pau, where the red volcanic rock was mined that crowned the head of some moia. Lunch at the hotel.
The afternoon tour, "Power of the Birdman", explains the next era of Rapa Nui's history, the cult of the birdman. Visit the sites of the annual ceremonies, where men swam through shark-infested waters to be the first to claim an egg from the manutara bird (sooty tern) on an islet, Motu Nui.
Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Easter Island)
Say goodbye to the silent moai and their former paradise as you transfer to the airport to fly back to Santiago for your last night. Stay at an airport hotel, or venture downtown to explore this cosmopolitan city.
(Breakfast, Easter Island; Accommodations, Santiago)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or your next Avanti destination.