South Amercan Treasures
Day 1 - Callao (Lima), Peru A 45-minute drive from the port city of Callao brings you to exciting Lima, the City of Kings. From its founding in 1535 until today, it remains one of the most important cities in all South America. The handsome old buildings from the earliest colonial days surrounding the Plaza de Armas contrast with the soaring modern towers rising in the newer sections of the city.
Day 2 - Islas Ballestas
Day 2 - San Martin Pisco dates from 1640, and its Plaza de Armas is a Spanish colonial treasure. Another treasure is the Ballestas Islands, an offshore cluster of rocky outcroppings teeming with seabirds, penguins, sea lions, dolphins and other wildlife. Many visitors take the opportunity to take a scenic flight over the huge, mysterious Nazca Lines pictographs etched into the nearby desert surface 2,000 years ago. And still more belly up to a bar to sample a Pisco Sour cocktail made with the Pisco brandy distilled from locally grown grapes.
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - Punta Islay, Peru Punta Islay is on the Southern Peruvian coast, along the Lagunas de Mejia National Marine Sanctuary where the Tambo River meets the Pacific Ocean. This is a crucial environment supporting prolific populations of birds. The town is near the important Pacific seaport of Matarani, which provides easy access to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Arequipa inland.
Day 4 - Matarani, Peru This major port on the southern coast of Peru is an important element in the current plan between the governments of Peru and Brazil to afford easy commercial movement between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans by both countries. Matarani is the gateway to Arequipa, where you discover its very interesting prehistory that spanned over 10,000 years, ending with the arrival of the Spanish in the 1530s. Arequipa is rich with not only Incan archaeology, but also various pre-Incan cultures, and even earlier nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Day 5 - Arica, Chile Arica is fortunate to lie at the mouth of the fertile Azapa Valley, which is fed with water from the high Andes. In the middle of the 16th century, when a fabulously rich silver lode was discovered at Potosi (in present-day Bolivia), Arica became the shipping center and supply port for the mine. Located close to the Peruvian border and connected with La Paz by road and railway, it remains an important trade and shipping center. Because of its strategic location, Arica has been hotly contested among Chile, Bolivia and Peru. This is obvious in the unusually tight security measures you will find in the port.
Day 6 - Iquique, Chile Enjoy a performance of Chilean folk dances followed by a cocktail reception at Palacio Astoreca, a belle époque mansion from the ‘nitrate' heyday.
Day 7 - Antofagasta, Chile A busy port hard by the arid and mysterious Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. With the wealth generated by minerals flowing from the barren land, they’ve managed to build a pleasant town of parks and plazas, conquering, for a while, the emptiness beyond. See the English clock ensconced in the Plaza Colon by British residents, and the uniquely hybrid architecture of the Customs House. In the manicured gardens and verges along Avenida O’Higgins, soil imported as ballast aboard visiting ore ships was used to augment the desert sands and nourish the greenery.
Day 8 - Isla de La Plata Isla de la Plata is a small island off Ecuador's central coast, near the town of Puerto López. Part of Machalilla National Park, the uninhabited island features beaches, headlands and shrubland. It's known for its many marine birds, like blue-footed and masked boobies, plus Galapagos albatrosses. Trails run from Drake Bay to sheer clifftops overlooking waters that attract manta rays and migratory humpback whales
Day 9 - At Sea
Day 10 - San Antonio (Santiago), Chile This large, modern port serves Chile’s capital, Santiago, a city with Spanish colonial charm and a vivacious spirit. Encircled by the Andes and the Coastal Range, Santiago is centered around the Plaza de Armas, with several of the city’s landmarks: the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral the Palacio de la Real Audencia from 1808, the City Hall and the National Museum of History. North of San Antonio lie the picturesque old port and university town of Valparaíso and the colorful seaside resort of Viña del Mar. In between the coast and the capital are valleys filled with some of Chile’s most famous wineries, all inviting you to come and taste.
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