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  1. Day 1
    Arrive Cusco
    Hola! Welcome to Cusco. Once the heart of the Inca Empire, it’s now the modern-day starting point for visits to Peru’s most famous site, Machu Picchu. With huge numbers of travellers flocking to the site every year, it’s led to the development of loads of awesome attractions, so there’s plenty of cool ways to spend your time.

    First up we’ll help you get your bearings on a walking tour of the city including a visit to the neighborhood of San Blas, and a stop on Calle Hatunrumiyoc, not far from Plaza de Armas. It is a narrow pedestrian street, famous for its Inca walls where huge stones are precisely carved to fit together without mud or concrete. Hatunrumiyoc is a great place to have a closer look at the engineering skills of the Incas. The 12 sided stone, and the wall it is found on, is a perfect example of the stonework that was reserved for the 'elite' of Incan society who lived in houses of perfect stonework, cut and shaped with not a gap to be seen. The walls were so well built that the Spanish used them for the foundations of their buildings after the conquest.

    From here we’ll head to the Koricancha or Santa Domingo Church. Originally an Inca temple devoted to the worship of the sun god, in its glory days it was covered in gold leaf with a field filled with gold statues surrounding it. The site was later converted into a Dominican church during the Spanish conquest. We’ll take a guided tour so you can really get into the history as we learn about the differences in architecture and cultural beliefs.

    Our next stop is Cusco Cathedral. Built over a period of more than 100 years, the cathedral is a true testament to the place of the church in both the heart of the Spanish conquistadors and their desire to convert the religious beliefs of the locals to coincide with their own. It is filled with beautiful examples of the ‘Cusco School’ style of paintings, gold and religious icons.

    Take a break for lunch before visiting the famous San Pedro market. As you cruise from aisle to aisle you will be amazed by the variety of foods on offer here. From delicious jungle fruits, whole animals to ‘cacao buds’ (one of the new ‘it’ super foods) there is little that you can’t find. A must-do is trying a tasty and refreshing freshly squeezed juice.

    If getting an adrenalin fix or getting back to nature is what you’re looking for, then Cusco is perfect for getting amongst it. With a free afternoon, there are tons of options - from biking, rafting and horseback riding and best of all, your Trip Manager can arrange these for you.

    Or, for those wanting to explore town, simply take a stroll through the city’s cobble-stone streets for a load of examples of Inca constructions and the intricately-carved, wooden colonial doors and balconies.

    For the shopaholics in the group, this is the perfect spot to pick up some gifts for friends and family (or for yourself), there’s loads of artists selling items like woolen and alpaca goods, gorgeous jewelry to artwork. These can be purchased from low-priced market stalls to expensive boutiques that line the streets near the main square, so there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.

    For the foodies on tour, you are in for a treat in Cusco. Peru’s cuisine is exquisite and can be tried in lots of places dotted throughout the town. If you’re feeling like a taste of home, there’s also a number of cosmopolitan restaurants here too, it’s perfect for finding something for everyone.

    Tonight we’ll check out the nightlife that is sure to keep you hopping into the wee hours of the night.

    Day 2
    Cusco to Sacred Valley
    Say farewell to Cusco this morning as we make our way to the Sacred Valley of the ancient Incas.

    The Sacred Valley was the heart of the Inca’s agricultural setting and an important ceremonial region, with the sacred sites of Cuzco at one end and Machu Picchu at the other and countless ceremonial sites in between. Our first stop is to one of these sites, Pisac. On our guided tour we will see two of the most important aspects of the Inca culture – terracing – a farming technique created by the Inca’s and their religion. We’ll take a walk before descending in the village below for a quick visit to the market. This will be great practice for those who have chosen the one-day hike to Machu Picchu tomorrow. Don’t miss the town’s huge wood-oven bakery!

    After a stop for lunch in Urubamba we’ll make our way to one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns of South America – Ollantaytambo.
    On our way, we can see the ‘salineras’ or salt mines of the area from a distance. For hundreds of years these pools, constructed by the Inca’s, have provided salt to the surrounding communities.

    We’ll also make a quick stop to try the local brew “Chicha de Jora” (traditional beverage made from fermented maize) and play a traditional Peruvia game of “Sapo” (Frog) if you’re up for it.

    We soon arrive to the town and archaeological site of the same name, Ollantaytambo, the last fully-functioning Inca town. We’ll wander around the site or visit the still inhabited Inca buildings before checking into the hotel.

    Day 3
    Train to Aguas Calientes or trek the Inca Trail
    For those that have chosen the Inca Trail trek, well wake up this morning and take the train to KM104 to start your trek. Under the guidance of our professional Inca Trail Guide you’ll climb a gentle slope and experience the wildlife and cloudforest found here. You’ll pass a beautiful waterfall on your trek to Winayhuayna where we’ll stop for lunch at a trekker’s lodge. Explore the area if you’re up for it, to get you warmed up for Machu Picchu.

    After lunch begin the journey to our highlight, Machu Picchu. We’ll walk along the original Inca stonework path, past an altar to the Sun Gate where you’ll catch your first look at this awesome site. Another 45 minutes will take us to the Guardian’s House, where there’s the opportunity to take photos of the site at its best. After a wander around the site and some stunning photos to show off back home, we’ll take a bus back into town to meet up with the rest of the group where you can tell your stories from your day of hiking.

    If you haven’t chosen our Inca Trail Trek today, then the morning is free to explore Sacred Valley. If you’re up for it, rafting and horse-riding await you today. Or if relaxing is more your thing, visit the town’s spectacular square and have a wander through the local markets.

    This afternoon, we’ll catch a train through the lush and verdant mountains to Aguas Calientes the town at the base of the ruins. Tonight, soak up the atmosphere, wander through the market stalls, or visit the hot springs which gave the town its former name of Aguas Calientes. Later, we’ll meet up with those who chose to do the one-day hike into Machu Picchu and listen to the stories of their day! The chilled atmosphere and amazing setting makes for a great place to enjoy a couple of drinks on the patio with the group.

    Day 4
    Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Cusco
    It’s an early start this morning to be among the first to enter Machu Picchu. Take advantage of the peaceful early morning quiet to grab some awesome pics from every angle as the sun rises above the mountain tops.

    You’ll learn all about the site as we take a tour through the most important parts of the site such as the Temple of Three Windows, the ceremonial baths and the altar. Widely believed to be the country retreat for wealthy Incas, this site is as fascinating as it is stunning. After the tour, there’s time to explore more of the site in your own time. For those finishing early and looking for a little exercise you can walk down to the simple but interesting Machu Picchu museum at the base of the mountain. Or, for those really feeling up for it, you could continue on to the waterfall 40 minutes outside of town or simply return to "main street" and have a drink before we return to Cusco via train then coach.

    Being full of knowledge about Cusco past and present, now might be time to try one of the delicacies of the Peruvian highlands, ‘cuy’ or crispy fried guinea pig. It’s a must-try in Peru. If you are not feeling quite so adventurous, a traditional dish of trout or some of Peru’s fusion cuisine that mixes traditional ingredients such as quinoa with non-traditional flavors might be a better option.

    Tonight is a great night to become a bona fide member of our "Illary Club" - by heading to one of the clubs and dancing until the sun rises.

    Day 5
    Cusco
    Today it’s your chance to totally chill. Laze around town enjoying a cappuccino while overlooking the Plaza de Armas, or you can pick it up a notch and try one of the adrenaline filled options here. Spend a half-day horseback riding through the X-zone just north of the city, white water raft down the sacred Urubamba River or do some mountain biking.

    Tonight, ask your Trip Manager for some tips on where to head for a meal and have a good time on your last night out in Cusco. Try a salsa lesson or go to a peña to listen to live Peruvian music and to dance the night away.

    Day 6
    Cusco to Jungle Lodge
    We’ll catch a flight over the Andes to the city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru’s southern jungle. We’ll have lunch on the river as we travel upstream by a traditional Peruvian boat to our Contiki Special Stay Rainforest Lodge, where we’ll try to spot toucans, macaws and capybaras along the way.

    Our lodge is a special experience in itself! Located in then luscious rainforest and made from wood and clay, its open walls leave you sleeping virtually amongst the rainforest! After you settle in, we’ll get a different take on the jungle as we take a hike to the canopy tower. After climbing the 100ft of stairs you will be provided with a birds-eye view of the rainforest! Home to monkeys, birds, bromeliads and other jungle life, this is the ultimate way to see the jungle.

    After dinner you can experience something really different, heading out to look for caiman, a member of the alligator family native to the Amazon. Scan the shores with flashlights and see if you can catch the red gleam of the light as it reflects off of the caiman’s eyes.

    Day 7
    Jungle Lodge to Puerto Maldonado
    We’ll wake early for best view of some the wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled as we travel further downstream to Tres Chimadas, an oxbow lake. We’ll board a simple catamaran with a jungle guide to learn about the flora and fauna of the area while looking out for the prehistoric hoatzin bird, the giant river otter, or try your luck fishing for piranha.

    After our cruise, we’ll head to the native community of Infierno, where we will visit a local fish farm to see some of the species that are native to the Peruvian Amazon. After lunch, time is yours to do what you wish. For those keen on footy (soccer), spend the afternoon playing soccer, volleyball or take a dip. There are other options for your free time too. You can take an optional kayaking trip, try a 30 metre Canopy Climb with a rope, harness and jumar (a mechanical device used for ascending on a rope. After a long day exploring, we head to Puerto Maldonado our home for the night.

    Day 8
    Puerto Maldonado to Lima
    Our local guide will accompany us to the airport for our flight back into Lima. The rest of the day is yours to explore and you’ll have a night to relax before we start the next stage of our adventure. Tonight you can explore Miraflores, Larcomar mall or Parque Kennedy where you can grab a bite to eat, have your last Pisco Sour and practice your Spanish before switching gears and heading into the land where wine is king.

    Day 9
    Lima to Buenos Aires
    It’s so long Peru, and hello to Argentina.

    Known as the Country of Seven Continents, the diversity of landscapes here is super cool. You’ll find rainforest, plains and deltas, red sand desert, the southern Lakes District of Patagonia including Ushuaia the world’s most southern city. You’ll also find the Andes and Aconcagua (the western hemisphere’s highest peak) let’s not forget Iguassu Falls.

    We’ll arrive in the capital city, Buenos Aires, known as South America’s most cosmopolitan city and paradise for the urbanite. As a refuge for many Europeans after the Second World War, its diversity is reflected in its people, an awesome melting pot of Spanish, Italian, German, Slavic and Syrian descent.

    Day 10
    Buenos Aires
    On the first day we will dive into the heart of the city witha coach tour.. We’ll visit the city’s historic center, San Telmo, the renowned neighborhoods like the colourful La Boca, including Maradona’s Statue at Boca Juniors stadium, Caminito and other renowned neighborhoods and areas such as Puerto Madero with it’s trendy shops and cafes. You'll also get a an in-depth look at the history and modern-day Buenos Aires as you visit parks, pass by colonial mansions and learn about the historic figures that made the city and the country what it is today. During our tour we will visit the neighborhoods of Recoleta, Palermo Chico and Palermo Lagos y Bosques.



    Buenos Aires is perfect for unleashing the culture vulture within! It is the birthplace of Tango and there is a love of music, art, dance and of course football! The Argentines also love to dine and no visit to the capital would be complete without trying their world-renowned beef and of course, their delicious red wine.

    To bring all of the best of the Portenos (people of Buenos Aires) together any visit to Buenos Aires wouldn’t be complete without a night of Tango, on us! We’ll take you to a Tango show and dinner where you’ll be able to get down and learn this intense dance for yourself. At dinner you’ll have the chance to taste some Argentine wine, food and of course experience an authentic tango show that originated in Buenos Aires. After the show, your Tour Manager can recommend one of the many bars, lounges or clubs for those looking to experience Buenos Aires’ pumping nightlife.

    Day 11
    Buenos Aires
    Your second day in BA is a day to enjoy the city your way. We’ll give you some ideas of how to spend it, doing stuff like watching a Polo game and then experiencing it for yourself, or get into the Argentinian cuisine with a lesson on how to cook different types of local favourites. The best part is you get to eat them when you're done!

    If hanging in town is what you’re after, there are loads of options. Check with your Trip Manager what is going on in town, there might be a football (soccer) game on, maybe rub elbows with the city’s elite while drinking champagne at a polo match or try your luck at the racetrack. For those interested in hitting the shops there is fantastic shopping in the boutiques and galleries that line La Florida, one of two pedestrian streets in the city centre. You could also visit the historic Gran Café Tortoni where you can ask for a ‘café con leche’ (Spanish for coffee with milk).

    Tonight, head out and find a local night spot to get a taste of Argentina’s famous beef, or try some of the homemade pizza and pasta that is the pride of the Italian population found in BA (Buenos Aires). Whatever you choose remember to save a little bit of energy for another night out on the town.

    Day 12
    Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls
    Today we depart Argentina to stay on the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls. Iguassu Falls lies along the border of Argentina and Brazil, with awesome views from both sides, and you’ll experience them both! From the airport in Puerto Iguazu we’ll cross the border into Brazil and head to the Foz do Iguacu. You could get things started with a different perspective of the falls on an optional helicopter flight, providing you with awesome panoramic views and photo ops.

    Although the parks on both sides are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is often debate about who has the better side of the Falls. We’ll leave it up to you, but it’s widely believed that that the view from the Brazilian side is second to none. Take in all 275 individual waterfalls that make up the falls and get an up-close view of the Devil’s Throat (the largest of the 275 falls).

    This evening we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy the Brazilian national drink, a caipirinha.

    Day 13
    Iguassu Falls
    Get ready for an awesome day at Iguassu. First up, we’ll cross back into Argentina and visit their side of the falls. You could feel the spray of the falls on a speed boat ride, or if you feel like a wander, there’s a short hike to the edge of the Devil’s Throat. We have all day, so you can do it all if you want to.

    Later, we’ll say farewell Argentina and it’s back to Brazil for another night of wining, dining and dancing. Tonight join us for a an authentic Brazilian BBQ and chill night in Iguassu.

    Day 14
    Iguassu Falls to Buzios
    It’s time to take it down a notch today as we start the next part of our journey in beachside Buzios. We’ll catch a flight to Rio de Janiero where we’ll transfer to this famous beachside resort town. Located on a peninsula and surrounded by more than 20 different beaches from small coves with white sand, to endless stretches of gold this is the perfect place for a little bit of R&R.

    Later on head out for a tasty local meal. Buzios is the perfect place to try some delicious seafood that is on offered all along Brazil’s coast. Don’t forget, it’s a place to dress to impress, so maybe glam up & get ready for a night on the town.

    Day 15
    Buzios
    If you’re keen, you can rise early and catch a gorgeous sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. For those that prefer to sleep in, don’t worry, today’s another day to relax, chill and do what you want. Head down to the beach and try surfing, get a bit of a workout with an ocean swim or simply read a book while working on your tan with a cocktail in hand.

    Tonight, you could take a stroll through town and check out all of the shops, restaurants and bars here, before settling on one to spend your last night in town.

    Day 16
    Buzios to Rio de Janeiro
    Hello, Rio! Say farewell to the beach as we head to the city for our last 2 days on tour. Home to the world’s largest Carnival celebration, the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the Brazilian bikini and of course some of the world’s best football (soccer) players, Rio goes off!

    First up, we will head to Rio’s old Cathedral, one of the city’s most important historical buildings before visiting the Lapa district and its 150 year-old aqueduct, the Arches of Lapa and Passeio Publico, the first public park in the city.

    After the orientation tour of the city, we’ll check–in to our hotel with time to rest up before a night out on the town. From evening football games, to bars, clubs and Favela parties, Rio’s nightlife will not disappoint. Just ask your Tour Manager for some cool places to head.

    Day 17
    Rio de Janeiro
    This morning we'll visit the Christ the Redeemer statue located atop ‘Corcovado’ and recently designated as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Not only will you be amazed by the sheer size of the monument, but also by the incredible view of Rio in its entirety.

    Next up is Sugarloaf Mountain. Climb 1299ft (396m) in glass-paneled cable cars to the summit for more astounding views of the city and its beaches. The trip is broken in two and if you take a break after the first car on Morro de Acucar you might meet some of the mountain’s naughtier residents, tiny monkeys who will be more than happy to steal your food.

    This afternoon you can opt for a Favela, tour to get a deeper understanding of how many of the city’s inhabitants live. You can visit the markets and shops throughout the city or just relax on the beach and watch the Cariocas, (residents of Rio), do what they do best, play football and practice Capoeira a martial art mixed with dance from the northeast of the country. You could also learn some tricks yourself if you’re keen.

    Day 18
    Rio de Janeiro
    Today is yours to explore this amazing city. Try hang gliding, hang on the beach and this afternoon chill on a boat cruise around Rio's famous harbour. Tonight, end the trip as we head out for a meal & our last night out in this amazing city!

    Day 19
    Depart Rio de Janeiro
    Don’t forget to swap addresses with your mates and Trip Manager, as our South American adventure ends this morning after breakfast.

    Arrive Cusco
    City walking tour
    Visit San Blas, La Catedral & Koricancha
    Cusco to Sacred Valley
    Entry into the Sacred Valley & a guided tour of the ancient ruins of Pisac & Ollantaytambo
    Try some local Chicha de Jora
    Train to Aguas Calientes or trek the Inca Trail
    Train ride to the 104km point
    Tour Machu Picchu with our local guide
    Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Cusco
    Tour the Temple of Three Windows, the ceremonial baths & altar
    Return train ride from Machu Picchu
    Cusco to Jungle Lodge
    City tour
    Canopy hike for amazing jungle views
    Special stay in our Amazon Rainforest Jungle Ecolodge
    Visit the Infierno community
    Jungle Lodge to Puerto Maldonado
    Locally guided jungle catamaran cruise
    Buenos Aires
    Tango lesson, show & dinner
    Visit the neighbourhoods of San Telmo, La Boca & Puerto Madero
    City tour
    City sightseeing bike tour of Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls
    Visit Iguassu National Park (Parque Nacional do Iguaçu - Brazilian side)
    Iguassu Falls
    Visit Iguassu National Park (Parque Nacional Iguazú - Argentinian side)
    See the Devils Throat
    Taste delicious Brazillian BBQ
    Buzios to Rio de Janeiro
    City tour of the Catedral, Lapa Steps & Paseo Publica
    Rio de Janeiro
    Cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain
    City tour of the Catedral, Lapa Steps & Paseo Publica
    Rio boat trip & BBQ
    Rio de Janeiro
    Boat cruise with caipirinhas, sun & music
    Visit Christ the Redeemer statue
  2.  
  3. Day 1
    Guayaquil to Isabela Island
    Meet up with your Contiki Crew this morning as we fly to Santa Cruz Island. After our flight, we’ll make our way to the cute little town of Puerto Ayora, but not before your first taste of the incredible natural habitat here – en route we’ll stop to check out the famed giant tortoises in their natural surroundings, and some of the incredible old lava tunnels (some over 1km long) winding their way under the island of Santa Cruz.
    We’ll stop for lunch before getting out on the water for our first boat ride to Isabela – this nature haven is home to land and sea life that will astound and amaze. Once we arrive on the island we’ll head to town for our first night in the Galapagos National Park.
    As you chill and get to know your travel buddies keep an eye out for the friendly reintroduced wild tortoises roaming around. Tonight, relax over dinner & get ready for two nights in this beautiful spot.

    Day 2
    Isabela Island
    This morning we’ll grab some kayaks & get out on the water around Las Tintoreras where we’ll set out in search for the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found north of the Equator! On return, spot colourful fish as you snorkel the underground lava tubes. This area is often frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom, so make sure you are on the lookout for these incredible creatures as you snorkel through the clear blue water.

    Then this afternoon we’ll walk to the Wall of Tears. From 1945 to 1959 this place held prisoners who were forced to build this wall stone by stone. At 25m tall, it took thousands of lives during its construction. Legend has it that cries of those lost can be heard at the site.

    Day 3
    Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island
    This morning we’ll head to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the island’s natural history on a guided tour, before we take off Santa Cruz Island.
    Before heading to Santa Cruz Island, you can choose to chill or get active, it's up to you! If you feel like getting out and about, this afternoon’s optional activity is a guided trip to the gorgeous Tortuga Bay. After a half an hour stroll along a path you'll arrive at a stretch of white sandy beach where marine iguanas sunbathe. You also have an opportunity to kayak in the bay in search of sharks, rays, turtles, and great blue herons. This pristine beach is absolute heaven!
    Not ready to wield a paddle? No worries – this is the perfect opportunity to sun bathe, body surf, surf, or look for marine iguanas, lava gulls and the famous blue- footed boobies. If you aren’t feeling up for the walk, take to the streets and go local or head to town to shop for souvenirs or relax.


    Day 4
    Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island
    This morning we’ll pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, once home to one of the island’s most famous residents, the world-famous Lonesome George – who was 100 years old when he died. Here you’ll observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas brought back from the brink of extinction and learn about this centre and research facility.
    Later we're back on the boat as we head to our next island, San Cristobal. - keep an eye out for bathing sea lions that the island is known for! This island is made up of four volcanoes – all extinct – and later, we’ll head up into the highlands for a scenic downhill bike ride. Starting at a panoramic viewpoint called La Soledad, we’ll bike through the tiny town of El Progreso and five different and varied vegetation zones until we reach a beach La Loberia beach. From there you can check out some of the other locals - we’ll be able to watch cute sea lions sun bathing, playing and vying for our attention.
    Tonight, it’s all about relaxing over drinks at one of our favourite local spots while watching the sunset.


    Day 5
    San Cristobal Island
    Today we take to the water to get our last glimpse of the famous and equally incredible underwater world of Galapagos. First we’ll cruise along the coast in our boat where our Local Guide will point out the species of shore birds like the Great Frigatebird and other native species.
    We begin our stay in search of wildlife and then we are off to Kicker Rock (or Leon Dormido as it’s known by the locals) the remains of a tuff cone - Kicker Rock rising a massive over 143m out of the ocean (that's about 50 floors in building terms).
    We’ll check out the underwater landscape as we head along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation. Your Local Guide will keep you in the know as we look out for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and, with any luck, a Galapagos Shark or two. Don’t worry, they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them, so it's perfectly safe.
    Later we’ll head to Puerto Grande, a beautiful beach which is our final stop for the day. After lunch on board, spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of Kicker Rock in the distance. We’ll head back to town late afternoon where we'll be treated to one of the best BBQ’s in the Galapagos at one of the local’s favorite spots to celebrate a great Galapagos trip.


    Day 6
    San Cristobal Island to Guayaquil
    The trip is about to come to an end, but its not over yet. Make the most of the time you have left & soak up those last rays and have a few photos with the crew. Next up is Guayaquil, where it’s time to say ‘adios’ to your team & travel buddies.

    Guayaquil to Isabela Island
    Boat ride to Isabela Island
    See Galapagos' famous giant tortoises
    Visit the lava tunnels
    Isabela Island
    Visit the Wall of Tears
    Snorkelling experience
    Wildlife kayaking adventure
    Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island
    Guided tour of the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
    Visit Tortuga Bay
    Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island
    See the island's famous sea lions
    Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
    San Cristobal Island
    Boat cruise & off shore bird spotting experience
    Explore Kicker Rock
    Indulge in our Galapagos BBQ feast
    Visit Puerto Grande Beach
  4.  
  5. Day 1
    Arrive San José
    Meet up with your Contiki team this morning before it’s time to start the trip right & start exploring. First up, we’ll head out into San Jose city & Poás Volcano National Park for our first look at this amazing city & its lush natural environment.

    On our way to the park, keep your eyes peeled for coffee plantations, fields packed with flowers & dairy farms & cool locals as you travel. When we reach the volcano there’s time to check out the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles (or vents where volcanic gas escapes) & frame up some shots of this unique landscape and we’ll hike the trail for the chance to see the beautiful Botos Lagoon.

    This afternoon it’s back to the city, where you’ll get a look at San José’s best spots on our locally guided tour. It’s easy to see why this city is such a popular place to head – with consistently warm weather & year round events this place is always buzzing, so keep your eye out for cool locals, or maybe some music & action around the city streets. Some of the main sights include La Sabana Metropolitan Park, Costa Rican Contemporary Art Museum, the National Gymnasium & with us you’ll see them all. Get the insider knowledge from your Trip Manager before we finish up with a visit the San José Central Market & the see the beautiful National Theatre.

    Tonight, we’ll head out to a cute local nightspot after dinner with the group, it’s the perfect way to relax, get to know your travel mates & get amped for an awesome 12 days.

    Keep it moving later, San José is the perfect place to start with a night out. Known for its awesome nightlife, ask your Trip Manager where’s hot to head for what you’re into – from cute cafes & intimate bars to bigger clubs for dancing, there’s something for everyone.

    Day 2
    San José to Tortuguero
    Say farewell to the big city vibe as we get an early start and depart San José for Tortuguero National Park. We’ll make our way there through Braulio Carrillo National Park, where you’ll check out the beautiful views & native vegetation found here.

    Tortuguero is one of Costa Rica's most popular eco-tourism destinations & is famous the world over. The canals and rivers are known as a place for studying the rainforest, freshwater and marine biology, especially its sea turtles. The park and small village of Tortuguero itself can only be accessed by boat or small aircraft, so we’ll head there by boat – perfect for a different angle on this stunning region & a cool way to get your local fix. This place will leave you impressed, with little lodges & hotels, friendly locals & is known as one of the world's major nesting sites for the Atlantic green turtle & if you’re here during July through October then you might even see them.

    We’ll make a stop for breakfast before continuing on past banana plantations to the dock where we’ll board the boat to the lodge. As we make our way through the Tortuguero canals keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way. We’ll arrive around early afternoon, where lunch will be served, then after a short stop in the village to check out the local vibe, we’ll head back to the lodge for a chilled afternoon working on your tan by the pool and getting to know your travel mates.

    Day 3
    Tortuguero
    Tortuguero is all about getting deep into nature, so get ready to see some amazing wildlife up close today...the animals get up early and so will you! We’ll start out today, with a boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero to admire the awakening of the wild life of the National Park. Keep an eye out for caimans, howler monkeys and toucans. A camera and binoculars are essential!

    After the tour its back to the lodge for breakfast & time to chill before grabbing your walking shoes for a guided nature walk. Our expertly trained Tour Manager will give you the inside track on this amazing haven for wildlife, where you’ll learn all about the unique flora and fauna found here & have the opportunity to ask questions about this incredible spot.

    Later, it’s back to the lodge for lunch, with the afternoon free to explore the way you want. Maybe take a siesta, take a dip in the pool or relax. If you’re feeling like something more active then grab a kayak or go for a walk along the beach or just sit back with a book or a drink & work on your tan.

    Tonight will impress – see the National Park on a different angle as you kick back in true Costa Rican style...enjoy a drink & relax with your mates on an afternoon boat ride along the canals. Calypso beats are the perfect live music to listen to as you chill with your travel buddies on this awesome experience in a blissful setting.

    Day 4
    Tortuguero to Sarapiqui (Pozo Azul Adventures Lodge Special Stay)
    Today is the start of the next leg of this adventure! After breakfast, it’s time to say farewell Tortuguero as we hit the water again en route to Sarapiqui, where our driver will be waiting at the end of the canal.

    We’ll make a lunch stop as we head towards Sarapiqui & our Special Stay experience at Hacienda Pozo Azul Camp, our Rainforest Special Stay overnight. These tent suites will impress – imagine waking up to the sounds of the jungle, yet in comfort, privacy & immersed in nature! It’s a seriously awesome experience. With comfy queen sized beds, ensuite bathrooms with hot water, in-room WiFi & balconies this place is the ultimate way to get back to nature & relax.

    Today you’ll discover the rainforest on our Tirimbina Chocolate tour to learn about one of mankinds favourite treats, before a delicious BBQ dinner. Then head back to your room for a blissful night sleeping in this incredibly lush environment.

    Day 5
    Sarapiqui to Arenal/La Fortuna
    This morning, its all go! We leave it up to you, with choices of rafting the rapids on the Sarapiqui River, a canopy tour (zipline) for birds-eye views over the rainforest or rapelling (abseiling) for that adrenalin fix, whatever you’re into is included! With your adrenalin fix had, it’s back on land before heading to Costa Rica’s famed Arenal Volcano after lunch.

    Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape will impress, and being home to loads of outdoor activities makes it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list. The area is also known for its spa & mud pool treatments, so if you’re feeling up for it then it’s the ideal place to treat yourself & relax.

    Day 6
    Arenal/La Fortuna
    This morning get into the adventure that Costa Rica is known for, adventure and nature! Maybe visit La Fortuna waterfall or try canyoneering/rappelling through a rain forest canyon. This afternoon relax by the pool or head into town for a bit of shopping.

    Later on this afternoon experience the traditional Costa Rican "Tico" way of life. Our visit to Rio Fortuna La Casona will start by introducing us to the students of a local school where they will perform their local folk dances. You’ll love meeting the local students & watching them perform live. Even better is that we are giving back too, with our visit proceeds go towards supporting the school.

    A place full of history, culture and traditions this country estate allows us a peek into the way life used to be here. We'll see how sugar cane was processed and after we'll head to a local farm where we will tour the plantation and meet the owner.

    Later, we’ll head back to La Casona for a delicious home-cooked dinner, done the old fashion way on a wood stove. It's your chance to get hands on as you learn how to make traditional Costa Rican coffee & delicious fresh made tortillas. Learning from the locals is a great way to get that authentic angle & pick up some new skills in the kitchen. We think indulging in the results is the perfect way to end the lesson too. Yum!

    You’ll love this unique meal & you’ll love the way it’s served, dished up in the traditional way on a banana leaf. No meal would be complete without some fresh coffee, famous homemade coffee liquor, with entertainment from our hosts Milton & Eli. It’s the perfect end to the day.

    Day 7
    Arenal/La Fortuna to Monteverde
    Today we head to the cooler highlands for a change of pace, starting with a lake crossing on our way to Monteverde.

    Monteverde Cloud Forest is Costa Rica’s most popular reserve, founded about 40 years ago by a small group of Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Its Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the tropics, filled with cloud forests, coffee plantations, monkeys, mist, and friendly locals. Its high elevation rain forest offers miles of trails with excellent opportunities for watching the species found here so you will really get back to nature today! The amazing Quetzal bird is sighted up here from January to July, so ask your Tour Manager & the locals for what to look for.

    This afternoon we hike into the Santa Elena Cloud Forest reserve. Located high on the Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán (5,000ft/1,500m), the Continental Divide of Costa Rica, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the first community managed reserves in the country. With the help of Youth Challenge International, a Canadian Non-Profit Organization, the Costa Rican government and the Santa Elena Community, the Reserve officially opened in March 1992. The reserve comprises an area of 310 hectare or 765 acres, and together with the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the Arenal Conservation Area and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve constitutes a conservation area of approximately 28,000 hectares or 69,000 acres. Plans are underway to raise funds to buy and restore adjacent farmlands for future inclusion into the Santa Elena Reserve. Current conservation efforts in the area are centered around establishing forest corridors from the central conservation area down to lower altitudes, as many of the forest fauna, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, American pumas, jaguars, ocelots, and Red Brocket deer found here require large territories to breed.

    This evening is yours to explore the bohemian, artistic town of Santa Elena or relax in the spa at the hotel.




    Day 8
    Monteverde
    This morning we visit Selvatura Adventure Park to walk the Hanging Bridges and visit the Butterfly & Hummingbirds Gardens for a taste of the natural landscape found here.

    After is your opportunity to do a canopy tour (zipline), for an adrenalin rush as you fly through 15 cables and 18 platforms with the option of a Tarzan Swing at the end of the adventure. Awesome!

    Selvatura Park is one of the longest Canopy Tours in Costa Rica, and it's the only canopy tour located inside the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not ready to conquer ziplining? You can head back into town for some shopping and leisurely lunch. We'll spend this afternoon on a coffee tour.

    You've already sampled this famous Costa Rican drink, but get ready to learn even more. Our guide will take you through all the stages of production, from the plants themselves, through to harvest, drying, roasting & the grinding of the beans. Later, sit back with a delicious cup & relax.

    With your caffeine fix all done, you'll be wide awake for a night out in this eclectic, fun town.

    Day 9
    Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
    Pura Vida! Its all sun & good times this morning, we’re off to the beautiful beaches of the Costa Rican Central Pacific coast! First up is a stop in the surfing town of Jaco then its on to Quepos.

    Later, we’ll arrive at Manuel Antonio. This place is a popular destination for travellers, and is a haven for those who love to relax.


    Day 10
    Manuel Antonio
    This morning is all about relaxing the way you want. Hit the beach for a surfing lesson, head out to explore the town or just sit with a drink & work on your tan.

    This afternoon we set sail for an awesome afternoon on the water. Chill out on deck, and keep watch for (when in season) dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and unique birds of the Manuel Antonio Marine Reserve.

    Don’t forget your swimming gear, the tour includes snorkeling equipment if you feel like getting into some underwater exploring, and includes a tour of the offshore islands for an even more in-depth look at the area.

    We also stop for a leisurely swim at one of the incredible white sand beaches & if you’re up for it you could dive on the underwater reefs. What’s better, you’ll indulge in a feast of fresh fruits, grilled fish, pasta, salads, drinks with the amazing Costa Rican hospitality that you will have come to love.

    Day 11
    Manuel Antonio
    It’s time to get active & walk with our expert guide through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park. This afternoon join us on an optional catamaran cruise. Set sail on our awesome boat trip to spot many dolphins, whales, sea turtles & birds. Don’t forget your swimming gear for swim stops & snorkelling.

    Day 12
    Manuel Antonio to San José
    This morning you can relax in paradise or for the adventure lovers get your final fix with a kayak excursion before we head back to San José where your tour ends on arrival. Pura Vida!

    Arrive San José
    San José tour including La Sabana Park, the Contemporary Art Museum, Central Market & National Theatre
    Visit Poás Volcano National Park
    San José to Tortuguero
    Visit Braulio Carrillo National Park
    Look out for wildlife on our boat ride
    Tortuguero
    Contiki Special Stay: Jungle Lodge
    Wildlife boat cruise
    Sunset canal cruise
    Tortuguero to Sarapiqui (Pozo Azul Adventures Lodge Special Stay)
    Contiki Special Stay: Rainforest Lodge
    Locally guided Tirimbina Chocolate tour
    Sarapiqui to Arenal/La Fortuna
    Try rafting, a canopy zipline or abseiling - your choice!
    See the incredible Arenal Volcano
    Arenal/La Fortuna
    Guided tour of La Casona & its local industries
    Learn how traditional products are made & try making some yourself
    Arenal/La Fortuna to Monteverde
    Cross Lake Arenal
    Monteverde
    Hike the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
    Costa Rican coffee making tour
    Manuel Antonio
    Visit a local market
  6.  
  7. Day 1
    London to Amsterdam
    Meet up with your Contiki Team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. Next stop: the buzzing, free-wheeling city of Amsterdam.

    Check out Amsterdam’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets.

    Day 2
    Amsterdam
    Cruise out into the countryside and bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, in the world-famous cheese village of Edam. In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm.

    There’s free time this afternoon to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and past gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food.

    With an optional evening canal cruise, there’s a chance to get to know the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level as you drift past the city lights.

    Day 3
    Amsterdam to Berlin
    Motor down the autobahn and get ready for a dose of über-cool Berlin.

    With two nights in this historical hot spot, you’ve got time to find out what makes Germany’s capital one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. It’s hard to believe that this funky town has had such a troubled past.

    On arrival your Trip Manager will peel back the layers of history and point out the lesser-known details of Berlin’s troubled past on an orientation tour of the city.

    Day 4
    Berlin
    Today why not join a local guide for a tour? Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks). You'll also visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate.

    With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti.

    Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Trip Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge.

    Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house).

    Experience the world of espionage in an optional evening Cold War & Cold Drinks tour with our Local Guide, and enjoy a fascinating look into the Stasi (what was once the East German Secret Police). Then top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.

    Day 5
    Berlin to Prague
    Heading south, we roll on to the region of Dresden, often dubbed 'Florence of the North' because of its beauty.

    This town completely rebuilt itself after being flattened in World War II. Your Trip Manager will show you Dresden’s signature buildings, like the Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, the Royal Residence – once home to the Saxon Kings – and the massive Zwinger Palace, where the royals went to party!

    Lunchtime! Go local and hang out in a river side beer garden, order some hearty German dishes with regional specialities like sour roast and potato soup.

    Then we head over the border and into the Czech Republic to Prague.

    Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Trip Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hradčany Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way.

    With a night off, spend some time in the picturesque Old Town Square, where historic buildings and churches surround cafés that spill out onto the pavement. With some world-famous Czech pilsner in hand, park yourself at a table, people-watch and try out some of the traditional local dumplings.

    Day 6
    Prague
    More free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery.

    Choose a river cruise on the Vltava, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists.

    By night, Prague is loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera. There is something for everyone, so make the most of it with the group.

    Day 7
    Prague to Vienna
    Southbound, we head across the boarder into Austria. Next stop is the cultural hub of Vienna. Tonight, there’s a chance to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.

    Tonight is your last night together - so take it up a notch & make it one to remember!

    Day 8
    Depart Vienna
    Spend the morning discovering the historical centre of Vienna. Then it's time to say goodbye to your Contiki buddies as your tour ends around lunchtime.

    London to Amsterdam
    See the White Cliffs of Dover
    See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
    Amsterdam
    See canals & a windmill on a countryside bike tour in Edam
    Visit a cheese farm & clog maker's house
    Amsterdam to Berlin
    See the Tiergarten, Alexanderplatz, Russian War Memorial, Brandenburg Gate & historic Reichstag building
    Take in commemorative artwork & the remains of the Berlin Wall
    Berlin
    See the site of Checkpoint Charlie
    Berlin to Prague
    Visit Dresdan the city destroyed in World War II and known as the 'Florence of the North'
    See the rebuilt Baroque architecture of the Royal Residence, Zwinger Palace, Opera House and Frauenkirche
    See Hradčany Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
    Visit the Old Town Square and see the Astronomical Clock
  8.  
  9. Day 1
    Arrive Rome
    Meet up with your Contiki team & get to know your fellow Contiki travellers over dinner.

    Day 2
    Rome to Florence
    Today we'll be passing Umbria’s rustic hills and many vineyards. Travel past the iconic cypress trees of this olive oil producing region, to the Renaissance city of Florence.

    Day 3
    Florence
    Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum and its UNESCO World Heritage city centre.

    Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence’s cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region’s traditional art.

    With bargains and bustle, the city’s markets are a great place to hang out. Grab a gelato and enjoy this gorgeous city.

    Tonight, there’s a choice of a group dinner - an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in the heart of Florence. Then keep it moving with a night out and get your groove on at Florence’s biggest club.

    Day 4
    Florence to Swiss Alps
    En route north, stop by Pisa and get up close to the famous Leaning Tower. Later, catch a glimpse of stunning Lake Como as we make our way into the massive Swiss Alps and head to the jaw-droppingly beautiful Alpine town of Lucerne.

    With covered wooden bridges, cobbled lanes and quaint buildings, Lucerne’s centre is perfect to explore on foot. Also to stock up on lots of genuine Swiss chocolate! Your Trip Manager can give you pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches that Switzerland is so famous for.


    Day 5
    Swiss Alps
    It’s a change of pace amongst Switzerland’s massive picture perfect Alps.

    Opt to visit up one of the areas famous mountains while you’re here, considered a must-do when you’re in the area, it’s the place to head up to for some seriously spine-tingling views.

    Day 6
    Swiss Alps to Paris
    With down-time on the coach, plug in your MP3, chill out to some music and chat with friends while travelling through the scenic wine producing region of Burgundy.

    Tonight, the group kick starts Paris with the “Paris by Night”, which shows off the French capital’s transformation into the ‘City of Lights’. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafes give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the world’s most recognised monuments, like the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.

    Day 7
    Paris
    Next up: Fragonard! This perfumery has an elegant interior and is a unique setting for a look into the history of perfume. It’s also a chance to pick up some French perfume at great prices.

    This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods). Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank. Step into the Notre Dame or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre, where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. In your free time, try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many cafes

    Tonight is the last night with your friends, so make it special. Treat yourself to the full Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaurant. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls, dinner and Champagne. But don’t stop there – afterwards hit the clubs and finish up your travels with a big Parisian night out.

    Day 8
    Depart Paris
    This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (estimated arrival 10:00am) where your trip ends. Or choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London & extend your stay.

    Florence
    Discover the Secrets of Michelangelo's Florence – see where his David was gifted to the Florentines, Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Palace & much more on our locally guided walking tour of Florence
    See the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry & Piazza della Signoria
    Learn about Florence's leather craft with a demonstration
    Florence to Swiss Alps
    See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
    Swiss Alps to Paris
    See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral
    Exclusive 'Paris by Night' sightseeing tour
    Paris
    Visit a French perfumery
  10.  
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