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EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

central Central AMERICA america

Inca Gold Tours for discerning travellers Luxury, fully-escorted small group tours with guaranteed departures


welcome to diverse central america AT INCA TOURS WE HAVE OVER 29 YEARS EXPERIENCE ORGANISING AND LEADING FULLY ESCORTED SMALL GROUP TOURS TO VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD. IMAGINE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU ! Clients who have experienced our special fully escorted Inca Gold Tour report it was the best tour they have ever been on and they are all experienced and discerning travellers. Please see a few of their comments below. Most have also offered to personally recommend our Gold Tours to other prospective clients. So if you would like to speak with someone who has travelled with us, please contact us... “Your Inca Gold Tour of Central America, Cuba and Mexico was well worth the effort. I loved every minute of it!” Ms E Otis

tikal, guatemala

cub an

from a rica, o cost n a c l o v arenal

hotel

chichicastenango markets, guatemala

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INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

“We can’t thank you enough for making our trip so memorable. The way you’ve looked after us (and our heavy suitcases) is greatly appreciated. Everything was done with happy countenance. Looking forward to travelling with you again. Yours in friendship...” Mr A & Mrs B Healey “The tour is expensive but the care, service and exposure to Latin American highlights was superb! The Gold Tour is good value-formoney. We certainly got what we paid for.” Mr B Matthews “We had a really fabulous time. The tour exceeded all of our expectations.” Mrs J Mulhall “The balance between sightseeing, fabulous restaurants and free time was just right. This is the best tour we have ever taken.” Ms A Larkin “The past weeks have been a wonderful experience for us and this ‘Gold Tour’ has exceeded our expectations. We also greatly appreciated the various local restaurants you have taken us to.” Mr B & Mrs P Newman “I believe your tour leader went out of his way to make everyone get as much as possible from the tour. I was impressed with his courteous treatment of all group members and his very impartial manner in relating to us all. Well done Inca Tours!” Mr N Lipp “I want to compliment and thank you for your care and company on the tour. You made it feel like a group of friends travelling together—that was special” Mrs P Barnett


so much to see, experience & enjoy! CONTENTS

Days Page

Client Testimonials

2

Gold Tour Guarantees

3

Central America Gold Tour 33

6

First Half of Gold Tour

20

10

Second Half of Gold Tour

18

11

Colonial Mexico Tour

6

12

Belize & Honduras Tour

7

13

Old Cartagena Tour

4

14

Tour Inclusions & Exclusions

15

How to Reserve Your Place

15

The Real Central America There are so many facets to this beautiful part of the Americas, it is difficult to describe. It is a fascinating place of excitement, abounding with adventure, intrigue, contrast, surprise and mystery, all combined with the laughter and music of the Latin American way of life. The Central America Region is comprised of nine countries, including neighbouring Cuba and Mexico. This offers you an exceptional variety of scenery from majestic mountain ranges, to the steaming jungles of Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, with their rivers, lakes and more species of wildlife per square kilometre than any other place on the planet! Smoking volcanoes, waterfalls that defy description, barren deserts and palm lined tropical beaches are just some of the contrasts you will witness in this region.

These cultures built incredible empires, but they were invaded in the 15th Century by the Spanish. More recently immigrants have arrived from other parts of the world including Brazil, Japan, Korea and North America. This combination has created a unique, contrasting and extremely interesting blend of people. Planning In planning a tour to such a diverse part of the Americas, one not only has to decide what to see and how much time to spend in each location, but just as importantly what to avoid. A tour must be well planned to satisfy special interests, whether they be the majestic scenery, learning a language, the vast dynamic cities of today, the ruined but well preserved cities of lost civilisations, colourful indians, meeting new friends, or just having a good time! We do all this and more, because our Inca Gold Tours have been planned and are operated by people who really know and above all, love the Central America region. Inca Gold Tours Inca Gold Tours are the most exclusive, personalised tours to Central America, Cuba and Mexico available anywhere in the world. They are luxury tours especially designed for those discerning travellers who wish to visit the most important and exotic places in the region. Fully escorted and with a maximum of only 18 guests, you are guaranteed of the most personalised attention available on any tour. Our special baggage handling service means you only need to place your suitcase outside your hotel room door. We do the rest!

Food In Central America your taste buds are in for a real treat! There is Costa Rica’s wonderful seafood and also very good beef. You will find the food excellent throughout and contrary to what you may have imagined, not laced with hot chilli or loaded with beans, even in Mexico! Fresh vegetables and tropical fruit are plentiful and vegetarians are very well catered for. Accommodation We select hotels which retain the charm and character of Central America. We avoid where possible, the chrome and glass hotels of major international chains, preferring to experience the culture and lifestyle first hand in properties with a local flavour. All Inca Gold Tour hotels have private facilities, are of Superior or Deluxe-class and have been personally inspected and selected by us. Medical Care We intentionally do not have a doctor on our tours. Australian doctors when travelling do not have access to foreign hospitals or clinics and often are not familiar with local brand names of medicines. Central America’s best doctors are of world standard, speak English, and have access to the best private hospitals. Price Guarantee Unlike most operators, we guarantee that once you have paid your Gold Tour deposit, any subsequent surcharges will be absorbed by us. In addition, if you are a solo traveller wishing to share rooms and we do not have a person for you to share with, we guarantee not to surcharge you the full Single Supplement.

You will marvel at the differences between the mysterious wonders and legends of ancient cities lost for centuries and the ultra modern splendour of cities with 20 million people. This is the real Central America. Still unspoiled, Central America merges the ancient treasures of lost civilisations, the Colonial culture of yesterday and the modern societies of today. It is without doubt, one of the best value destinations in the world today. Don’t be too late! The People & History The Olmecs, Teotihuacans, Toltecs, Mixtecs, Aztecs and Maya were the original inhabitants of the Central America Region, all magnificent civilisations, the earliest dating from around 3,400 years ago. Santo Domingo hotel reception, antigua guatemala

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

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inca gold Tour of central America Inca gold tours: small groups & personalised service

Guaranteed Departures Unfortunately today, many tour companies have in their fine print that the tour may not be fully escorted without a minimum number of clients, usually fifteen. We know that this uncertainty causes many problems for travellers, so on all Inca Gold Tours we absolutely guarantee that your tour will operate and will be fully escorted. Guaranteed Maximum Numbers In the same way that we guarantee our departures and Tour Conductor, we also place a cap of only eighteen guests on each of our Gold Tours. For financial reasons, most other tour companies do not do this and book as many people as they can onto their tour departures. We believe your tour should give you the opportunity to connect with the people and places you visit and also enable your Tour Conductor to get to know you personally, not just by a name tag. This is only possible if travelling in a small group, not in the large crowds often seen in other tour groups. The Inclusions on the Gold Tours We have gone to great lengths to design a tour where everything that you could want to see and do is included. We don’t believe in making a tour look cheap in the brochure and then charging for “optional extras” to all the places of interest after you arrive.

Your Companions and You Most of our Gold Tour guests have travelled extensively and do not wish to be part of a large noisy ‘touristy group’. Our tours are conducted in a discreet and low-key manner with high regard for local customs. We never have name tags for guests and we never wave flags or umbrellas to follow. Our guests are people who demand excellence and value-formoney, but realise the truth of the adage “you only get what you pay for” and are therefore prepared to pay for quality and reliability. Whether you travel alone or as two or more, you will be equally well cared for. If you travel as a couple you can be assured of privacy if and when you desire it. Your Gold Tour Conductor Your personal Inca Gold Tour Conductor will be a senior executive of the company—never a junior. He or she will be very experienced in Central America and have the ability to identify and solve problems before they occur. Your Tour Conductor will ensure that your Gold Tour really is the holiday of your lifetime. Having designed and operated tours to Latin America for the last 29 years, we will show you the very best of the region, ensuring that you meet the locals and eat in establishments of excellent value, ones that other travellers just don’t find. You will see things not in any other itinerary to Central America, Cuba & Mexico.

The shows, dinners, city and sightseeing tours and excursions as described in our Gold Tour itinerary are all included in the tour price and are always the very best available.

Your highly experienced Tour Conductor will ensure that you are treated as VIP’s throughout the tour, with the best seating on transport, in restaurants and in shows. He or she will ensure that your tour runs like absolute clockwork.

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INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

Why Choose Inca Tours? As travel pioneers and market leaders in South and Central America, we ensure that you are in the very best available hands: • While there are no age restrictions, you will travel with others who are usually over 50 years of age but regardless of their age, our guests are always “young at heart”, active, moderately fit and enjoy life to the fullest. • You will have an English speaking Senior Tour Conductor throughout your tour. • Our tours run during the best times of the year to take advantage of the best weather conditions and very little (if any) rain. • Only the best available ground services are used to ensure your absolute enjoyment. • If travelling alone on the Gold Tour, you may elect to share rooms with another solo traveller of the same sex and we guarantee not to surcharge you the full Single Supplement if we do not have another Gold Tour guest for you to share with. • We also guarantee that there will never be more than 18 guests on an Inca Gold Tour. We have sufficient time at leisure • throughout the tour but more importantly, we allocate time at leisure only in the places which warrant it and which you will enjoy. • We have mainly two and three night stays, avoiding one night stays where possible. • All excursions are planned at the best times of the day, with the very best seats reserved months in advance for Gold Tour guests. From the Managing Director I hope you can join us on one of our very special Inca Gold Tours of Central America.

I am sure you will find it a most exciting, educational and enjoyable experience. Since there is no other tour conducted at a similar standard, please act promptly, as space is limited. Alternatively, if you prefer to travel more independently, please tell us what you wish to do and see and what standard of hotel you prefer and we will design your own personal tour: long, short, budget or deluxe. Please call us if you have any questions about our travel services. Feliz viaje!

Mike Kuhl Managing Director


for the most discerning of travellers

colonial building, cuba

restaurant, guatemala

central american staples

New Orleans

Houston

United States Gulf of Mexico Mexico

Miami

Nassau

Havana

Merida

The Bahamas

Dominican Republic

Cuba

Mexico City

Jamaica

Haiti

Santo Domingo

Puerto Rico Antigua Honduras Guadeloupe Dominica Guatemala City Tegucigalpa Martinique St. Lucia Caribbean Sea Guatemala San Salvador St. Vincent Curacao Barbados El Salvador Nicaragua Grenada Bonaire Managua San Jose Trinidad and Panama City Tobago Costa S ou th Amer ic a Rica Panama Belmopan Belize

costa rican coast

Kingston

Port-auPrince

fabric, chichicastenango

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

che guevara monument, havana

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inca gold Tour of central America Wednesday Depart Home / Santiago Today we depart on our flight to Santiago in South America. As we cross the International Date Line we ‘gain’ a day so we arrive in Chile later the same day. On arrival we will be met and taken to our hotel for the night. This provides the opportunity to acclimatise to the new time zone and also breaks the long flight from Australia to Mexico. (Meals Inflight)

In the afternoon we take a comprehensive city tour visiting the Main Square with its centuries of tradition, the National Palace with its famous murals, the Metropolitan Cathedral and other sights of Mexico City.

DAY 2

DAY 4

DAY 1

Havana

Mexico

Cuba

Cienfuegos Trinidad Playa del Carmen

Merida Chichen Itza Mexico City Tikal Belize

Guatemala

Honduras

Antigua Guatemala City Lake Atitlan

El Salvador

Nicaragua Arenal

Costa Rica

San Jose

Manuel Antonio Panama City

Panama

GOLD TOUR HIGHLIGHTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Senior Tour Conductor throughout. Expert local tour guides in each location. Mexico City, the cosmopolitan capital. Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico. Merida, Mexico’s “White City”. Chichen Itza, the ancient Mayan Capital. Playa del Carmen, on the Caribbean Sea. The Communist island state of Cuba. Three nights in Havana, Cuba’s capital. Trinidad, Cuba’s unique “Museum Town”. French influenced, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Panama City, the Panamanian capital. A Panama Canal partial boat transit. The Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica. Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge. Manuel Antonio National Park. Panajachel & Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Chichicastenango & its famous markets. The Mayan Ruins of Tikal. Colonial Antigua, Guatemala.

Thursday Santiago / Mexico City Following a leisurely breakfast we return to the airport for our flight to Mexico City. Mexico is the third largest country in Latin America and the most populous Spanish speaking country in the world. Its geography ranges from swamp to desert; from tropical lowland jungle to high alpine vegetation above the tree line; from thin arid soils to others so rich that they grow three crops a year! Mexico City, founded by the Spaniards in1521, was built upon the remains of Teotihuacan, the Aztec Capital.

On arrival in Mexico City later this evening we are met and taken to our well located, luxury hotel for four nights. (B & Meals Inflight)

DAY 3

Friday Mexico City After a leisurely start to the morning we will host a brief but informative Tour Orientation Meeting in which we get to know each other and outline the important aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Inca Gold Tour.

FINE DINING EXPERIENCES • The Gold Tour includes most meals, with the exception of those during leisure time. This allows you to do what you wish and eat where you like in your free time. • On most occasions, lunches and dinners are not buffet or set menus. We visit local restaurants where you have a wide choice. • 59 superb meals are included in the tour: 29 Breakfasts, 17 Lunches & 13 Dinners, plus a number of meals while inflight. merida markets, mexico

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INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

This is followed by a Tour Welcome Dinner at one of Mexico City’s many excellent restaurants, where we can sample some fine local cuisine and perhaps try a sangria or two! (BD) Saturday Mexico City This morning we visit the renowned National Anthropology Museum with its many interesting exhibits. Following lunch we drive to Xochimilco where we experience Mexico City as it was in the time of the Aztecs as we take a boat tour on the extensive waterways in the area. (BL)

DAY 5

Sunday Mexico City – Teotihuacan  Pyramids Today we drive out of the city to see the spectacular Teotihuacan Pyramids. This vast archaeological site contains some of the world’s most remarkable relics of an ancient civilisation. It is believed to date from around 300 BC and housed 250,000 inhabitants. One of the largest of the pyramids covers almost the same area as the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.

On the way back to Mexico City we stop at the Shrine of Guadalupe Virgin, the Patron Saint of the Americas. (BL)


mexico cuba panama costa rica guatemala enjoy the latin music & laughter

DAY 6

Monday Mexico City / Merida This morning we are transferred to Mexico City Airport for our flight to Merida, called the “White City” because of the cleanliness and beauty of its Colonial streets and houses. Many Meridanoes wear immaculate embroidered costumes and speak the language of their Mayan ancestors, as well as Spanish. On arrival in Merida we enjoy a typical Yucatan lunch before undertaking a city tour and checking into our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this beautiful town. (BL)

DAY 7

Tuesday Merida / Chichen Itza You have the morning at leisure to enjoy Merida. Later we drive to Chichen Itza, the original capital of the ancient Mayan Empire. Founded in 432 AD, re-founded in 987 AD and taken over by the Toltecs in the 10 th Century, the site is now surrounded by jungle, with iguanas occupying the palaces. Our hotel is located at the entrance to the ruins. (BD)

DAY 8

Wednesday Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen This morning we are taken on a comprehensive tour of Chichen Itza. We see the Temple of Tigers and the Ball Court, where the first known ball games were played, as well as the Sacred Cenote, a sacrificial pool. The Cenote illustrates the paradox of a civilisation so barbarous and yet so scientifically advanced as to baffle archaeologists. After visiting this amazing site we return to our hotel to freshen up before departing by road to Playa del Carmen for a restful two-night stay. (BLD)

DAY 9

Thursday Playa del Carmen Today is at leisure to just relax or enjoy the atmosphere of the Caribbean Riviera, where the sun shines brightly and the unpolluted waters are warm and sparkling clear. (BLD)

DAY 10 Friday Playa del Carmen / Havana Following breakfast we are taken to the airport for our flight to Havana de Cuba. Here we are met and taken to our historic hotel for a memorable three-night stay. Havana, the capital of Cuba, was founded in 1514 by explorer Diego Velazquez and the original city is listed by UNESCO as a World

Heritage Site. With narrow streets and a rich diversity of Colonial buildings, decorative balconies, shuttered windows and museums, Havana is one of the most appealing cities of the Americas. At sunset, Havana’s bars and cafes come to life with the rhythm of Salsa and Jazz, embracing all those who stroll her streets. This evening we enjoy dinner and some typical Cuban music in downtown Havana. (BD)

DAY 11

Saturday Havana After breakfast we undertake a comprehensive tour of old and new Havana which includes Revolution Square, the National Capitol, Arms Square, San Francisco Square and the Cathedral Square. We drive along the Malecon to Mora Castle for a view over the city and visit the traditional Del Medio Bar (an old haunt of writer Ernest Hemingway) and a cigar factory where we see the famous Cuban cigars being rolled by hand. (BL)

DAY 14 Tuesday Trinidad Trinidad was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in1988 and today this “Museum Town” offers a great Spanish Colonial atmosphere of pastel painted buildings with tiled roof tops, cobbled stone streets, Baroque church towers and wrought iron gates. The classic old American cars and horse drawn carts add to the ambiance of a by-gone era. Today we undertake a tour of Old Trinidad with its museums and churches. One of the highlights is a visit to the Borrell Family Mansion. This1820’s home now houses the Municipal History Museum. There is also a splendid view from the tower overlooking Trinidad. (B)

DAY 12 Sunday Havana You have the whole day at leisure to explore Havana before we depart for dinner, which is followed by a spectacular Cabaret Show. (BD)

DAY 13 Monday Havana / Trinidad Today we leave Havana and drive to the Cuban city of Trinidad where we stay for two nights. This gives us ample time to soak up the atmosphere and history of this relic of early Spanish colonisation. Later after freshening up we have dinner at our Trinidad hotel. (BD) havana locals

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

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teotihuacan chichen itza havana DAY 15

Wednesday Trinidad / Cienfuegos This morning we travel through mountain scenery and old sugar plantations in the area surrounding Trinidad, enroute to Santa Clara where we visit the Che Guevara Memorial Museum. We then continue our journey to Cienfuegos where we check into our hotel for two nights. (BLD)

DAY 16 Thursday Cienfuegos The city of Cienfuegos, with its strong French influence depicted in its imposing Neoclassic architecture, sits on beautiful Cienfuegos Bay in the Caribbean Sea. This morning we are taken by boat to visit the historic Old Fort at the entrance of Cienfuego Bay. Following the visit we return for lunch before undertaking a walking tour of the old city. After some free time on our return to the hotel we are taken out to one of the city’s best seafood restaurants. (BLD)

DAY 17

Friday Cienfuegos / Panama City Early this morning we are driven from Cienfuegos back to Havana, where we have an early lunch before being taken to the airport for our flight to Panama. On arrival into Panama City we are met and taken to our hotel for two nights. (BL)

DAY 18 Saturday Panama City – Panama Canal This morning we are taken to board our vessel for a visit to the greatest engineering

masterpiece of the last century—the Panama Canal, considered the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World! Following the partial crossing we undertake a fascinating Panama City Tour. The Spaniards’ efforts to settle colonies in the Atlantic Region of Darien failed due to the unhealthy location and food scarcity. This led to a move to the Pacific Ocean, founding Old Panama City on15th August 1519. Panama rapidly became a wealthy country of legend, attracting buccaneers who roved along its coasts. The pirate-captain Henry Morgan attacked and ‘sacked’ the old city in 1671. Today’s tour visits many of these sites. (BL)

DAY 19 Sunday Panama City / Arenal After breakfast we return to Panama City Airport for our flight to San Jose in Costa Rica. On arrival we are met and taken on a scenic drive across the Cordillera Tillaran, passing through quaint villages, rolling mountains and dense tropical jungle to the classic cone-shaped 1633 metre high Arenal Volcano. We have views of the volcano from our resort-style hotel, our home for two nights. Come nightfall, we may hear loud rumbles and see red hot lava as it is spewed from the volcano and tumbles down its side. (BL)

DAY 20 Monday Arenal – Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica’s main attraction is its countryside, nature and wildlife. With a quarter of the country preserved in national parks and

wildlife conservation areas, a trip to Costa Rica would not be complete without visiting Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge, where we undertake a boat trip into this wildlife paradise. On our return tonight, we can enjoy the hot springs and soak in their natural thermal waters. (BL)

DAY 21 Tuesday Arenal / Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve This morning we depart Arenal and travel to Santa Elena, where the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is situated. This private reserve is home to the shy and very rare Resplendent Quetzal. Later in the day we undertake a canopy walk along suspension bridges through and above the tree tops of the cloud forest with our expert naturalist guide. (BD)

DAY 22 Wednesday Monteverde / Manuel Antonio National Park Following breakfast we visit the Monteverde Mariposario (butterfly farm) for a glimpse into the life and variety of butterflies and other insects from Monteverde and its surrounding areas. Later in the day we depart for the beach-side village of Manuel Antonio with its beautiful beaches, views and lush national park. (BL)

DAY 23 Thursday Manuel Antonio NP Early this morning we are taken on a guided walk in the Manuel Antonio National Park by our naturalist guide, who will point out the many and varied species of birds, animals and plants which call this park home. On our return, the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or explore further. Tonight we dine high above the Manuel Antonio cliff face, with Pacific Ocean sunset views. (BD)

DAY 24 Friday Manuel Antonio / Lake Atitlan Later this morning we are taken back to San Jose Airport where we board our flight to Guatemala City. On arrival we are met and taken to the bohemian lakeside village of Panajachel on the shores of Lake Atitlan, considered by many as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Here we spend two picturesque nights (B) mayan ruins of tikal

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INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL


panama canal Atitlan tikal antigua antigua, guatemala

DAY 29 Wednesday Antigua This morning we undertake a tour of Antigua’s Coffee and Music Museum before visiting some of the surrounding indigenous villages and a coffee farm where you may be lucky enough to witness the beans being harvested and sorted for export. Our afternoon is at leisure to further explore Antigua. Tonight we meet for our End of Tour Dinner. (BD)

DAY 30 Thursday Antigua / Santiago This afternoon we bid farewell to Antigua, Guatemala and Central America as we return to Guatemala City Airport for our flight to Mexico City. Here we remain in transit before connecting with our overnight flight to Santiago de Chile. (B & Meals Inflight)

DAY 25 Saturday

DAY 28 Tuesday

Lake Atitlan Today we undertake a boat excursion on Lake Atitlan, during which we visit the village of San Antonio Polopo. On our return we have lunch overlooking the lake before having the afternoon at leisure. (BL)

Tikal / Antigua (Guatemala) Early this morning we fly back to Guatemala City where we are met and driven to our hotel located in the beautiful Colonial City of Antigua. On arrival at our historic hotel we undertake a comprehensive tour of this spectacular hotel and its grounds!

DAY 26 Sunday Lake Atitlan / Chichicastenango / Tikal Following breakfast we are driven to Chichicastenango, the centre of the MayaQuiche Highlands. Here we visit the magnificent Church of Santo Tomas with its famous markets offering a variety of handmade textiles, pottery and crafts. As we wander around the square, we may also witness the ancient incense-burning ritual on the steps of the church. From here we continue to Guatemala City to board our evening flight to Flores where, on arrival, we are met and taken to our hotel near Tikal for a two-night stay. (BL)

DAY 27 Monday Tikal Today we visit the ruins of Tikal located in the Tikal National Park. Here we see the ‘Q’ Complex, the Great Plaza, the Palace of the Nobles and Pyramid IV the highest of the Mayan Pyramids. From the top of this pyramid a complete view of Tikal and its surrounding jungle can be enjoyed. We also visit the Lost World Complex, recently discovered structures from the late pre-Classical period which pre-date Tikal itself. (BLD)

Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, providing a dramatic backdrop to this quaint town. It overflows with fine churches, beautiful Colonial architecture, ruins and great shopping opportunities. In the afternoon we undertake a city tour which includes many of these highlights. (BL)

DEPARTURE DATES

FOR

DAY 31 Friday Santiago On arrival in Santiago this morning we are met and taken to our hotel for the day. Later tonight we are taken back to the airport for our flight home. (Meals Inflight)

DAY 32 Saturday Santiago / Auckland Today is spent inflight as we re-cross the Date Line and ‘lose’ one day. (Meals Inflight)

DAY 33 Sunday Auckland / Arrive Home This morning we arrive back home. Welcome Home!

GOLD TOUR of CENTRAL AMERICA*

Departing 29 February 2012

Returning 1st April 2012

Departing 27th February 2013

Returning 31st March 2013

Departing 26th February 2014

Returning 30th March 2014

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COSTS

FOR

GOLD TOUR of CENTRAL AMERICA*

AU$24,350 Per person twin-share departing from Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney AU $5,597 Single room supplement for solo travellers not wishing to share rooms AU $5,600 Business-class upgrade for long-haul return flights to Mexico City US $770 Local payment for tipping, local airport departure taxes & some meals

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details. Please note: the current tour itinerary differs slightly from the itinerary printed in this brochure. Tour costs may change prior to receipt of full payment due to circumstances beyond our control.

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

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first half: inca Gold Tour mexico & cuba

Havana

Mexico Merida Chichen Itza Mexico City

First Half of Gold Tour This exciting escorted tour takes in the best of Mexico and Cuba. Mexico with is welcoming Latin hospitality and equally hospitable Cuba, the last bastion of Communism, will provide a most contrasting Latin American experience. At twenty days in length, it also allows people with limited time to enjoy the luxury and pampering of our Inca Gold Tours. Cuba

Cienfuegos Trinidad Playa del Carmen

Belize Guatemala El Salvador

Honduras Nicaragua

Costa Rica Panama

GOLD TOUR HIGHLIGHTS • • • • • • • • • • •

Senior Tour Conductor throughout. Expert local tour guides in each location. Mexico City, the cosmopolitan capital. Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico. Merida, Mexico’s “White City”. Chichen Itza, the ancient Mayan Capital. Playa del Carmen, on the Caribbean Sea. The Communist island state of Cuba. Three nights in Havana, Cuba’s capital. Trinidad, Cuba’s unique “Museum Town”. French influenced, Cienfuegos, Cuba.

FINE DINING EXPERIENCES • The Gold Tour includes most meals, with the exception of those during leisure time. This allows you to do what you wish and eat where you like in your free time. On most occasions, lunches and dinners • are not buffet or set menus. We visit local restaurants where you have a wide choice. • 34 superb meals are included in the tour: 16 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches & 9 Dinners, plus a number of meals while inflight.

We have the opportunity to see the exciting cities of Mexico City, Merida, Havana and Cienfuegos. With their own charm and character, we will be taken on conducted tours to gain an understanding of their uniqueness. This will be balanced with great views as we gaze across the Caribbean from Playa del Carmen, in Mexico and travel by road from Havana to Trinidad de Cuba. To top it all, you will experience fantastic food, as well as attending a fabulous Cabaret and a Cuban Salsa Show to liven up your nights. Overall this is a very rounded tour with activities to keep everyone eagerly anticipating the next surprise yet conducted at a leisurely pace to give us time to take in everything we are seeing and doing.

DAY 1 to DAY 16

DAY 19 Sunday

Home to Cienfuegos The itinerary for the Gold Tour First Half is the same as the Gold Tour of Central America from Day 1 to Day 16.

Santiago / Auckland Today is spent inflight as you re-cross the Date Line and ‘lose’ one day. (Meals Inflight)

Please see pages 6 to 8 of this brochure for the itinerary...

DAY 17

Friday Cienfuegos / Santiago Early this morning we are driven from Cienfuegos to Havana, where we have an early lunch before being taken to the airport where you board your overnight flight to Santiago de Chile. (BL)

DAY 20 Monday Auckland / Arrive Home This morning you arrive back home. Welcome Home!

DAY 18

Saturday Santiago On arrival into Santiago early this morning you are met and taken to your hotel for the day. This evening you are taken back to the airport for your flight home. (Meals Inflight)

DEPARTURE DATES

FOR

mayan calendar, mexico

FIRST HALF of CA GOLD TOUR*

Departing 29 February 2012

Returning 19 th March 2012

Departing 27th February 2013

Returning 18th March 2013

Departing 26th February 2014

Returning 17th March 2014

th

COSTS

FOR

FIRST HALF of CA GOLD TOUR*

AU$15,383 Per person twin-share departing from Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney AU $2,777 Single room supplement for solo travellers not wishing to share rooms AU $5,600 Business-class upgrade for long-haul return flights to Mexico City US $4 45 Local payment for tipping, local airport departure taxes & some meals

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details. Please note: the current tour itinerary differs slightly from the itinerary printed in this brochure. Tour costs may change prior to receipt of full payment due to circumstances beyond our control.

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INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL


second half: inca Gold Tour panama, costa rica & Guatemala Second Half of Gold Tour This popular escorted tour takes in the best that Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala have to offer. At eighteen days in length, it also allows people with limited leave to enjoy the luxury and pampering of our Inca Gold Tour of Central America. Mexico Cuba

Mexico City Tikal

Belize

Guatemala

Honduras

Antigua Guatemala City Lake Atitlan

El Salvador Nicaragua

Arenal

Costa Rica

This is an environmentally and culturally exciting tour which takes in the very best sites and is conducted at a leisurely pace to give you time to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere of the areas visited.

San Jose

Manuel Antonio Panama City

Panama

GOLD TOUR HIGHLIGHTS • • • • • • • • • • •

We have the opportunity to see the historic and dynamic cities of Panama City, San Jose, and Antigua. The Maya and Spanish transitions are very visible on this part of the tour, especially in Antigua where one culture has built upon that of the other. We stay in a luxury resort-style hotel near Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, as well as a jungle lodge in the pristine Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. We see one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Atitlan, where we stay for two nights in the lakeside village of Panajachel. We visit Chichicastenango and the famous ruins of Tikal before travelling on to the beautiful Colonial city of Antigua.

Senior Tour Conductor throughout. Expert local tour guides in each location. Panama City, the Panamanian capital. A Panama Canal partial boat transit. The Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica. Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge. Manuel Antonio National Park. Panajachel & Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Chichicastenango & its famous markets. The Mayan Ruins of Tikal. Colonial Antigua, Guatemala.

FINE DINING EXPERIENCES • The Gold Tour includes many meals, with the exception of those during leisure time. This allows you to do what you wish and eat where you like in your free time. On most occasions, lunches and dinners • are not buffet or set menus. We visit local restaurants where you have a wide choice. • 26 superb meals are included in the tour: 14 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches & 4 Dinners, plus a number of meals while inflight.

DAY 1

Thursday Depart Home / Santiago Today you depart on your flight to Santiago in South America. As you cross the Date Line you ‘gain’ a day so you arrive in Chile later the same day. On arrival you will be met and taken to your hotel for the night. This provides the opportunity to acclimatise to the new time zone and also breaks the long flight from Australia to Panama. (Meals Inflight)

DAY 3 to DAY 18 Panama City to Antigua / Santiago / Arrive Home The itinerary for the Gold Tour Second Half is the same as the Gold Tour of Central America from Day 18 to Day 33. Please see pages 8 & 9 of this brochure for the detailed itinerary...

DAY 2

Friday Santiago / Panama City Following a leisurely breakfast you are returned to Santiago Airport for your flight to Panama City.

On arrival into Panama City you are met and taken to your hotel where you stay for two nights. Here at the hotel you meet up with your Tour Conductor and the other members of your Inca Gold Tour. (B & Meals Inflight)

DEPARTURE DATES

FOR SECOND

squirrel monkeys, costa rica

HALF of CA GOLD TOUR*

Departing 15 March 2012

Returning 1st April 2012

Departing 14th March 2013

Returning 31st March 2013

Departing 13th March 2014

Returning 30 th March 2014

th

COSTS

FOR SECOND

HALF of CA GOLD TOUR*

AU$17,476 Per person twin-share departing from Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney AU $3,497 Single room supplement for solo travellers not wishing to share rooms AU $5,600 Business-class upgrade for long-haul return flights to Mexico City US $440 Local payment for tipping, local airport departure taxes & some meals

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details. Please note: the current tour itinerary differs slightly from the itinerary printed in this brochure. Tour costs may change prior to receipt of full payment due to circumstances beyond our control.

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

11


6 days:

Mexico Guanajuato Guadalajara

Morelia

San Miguel de Allende Mexico City

colonial mexico tour Colonial Mexico Tour Extension This tour explores some of the less travelled parts of Mexico. You spend time in a number of significant Colonial centres, including the World Heritage listed city of Morelia, quaint Guadalajara, Guanajuato, boasting the best kept examples of Colonial urban design in Mexico and finally, beautiful San Miguel de Allende. If you enjoy galleries, handicraft shops and potters’ studios, this tour extension is certain not to disappoint!

DAY 1

Mexico City / Morelia This morning you are collected from your hotel in Mexico City and taken by car to the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Morelia. After freshening up at your hotel you are taken on a guided tour of this important Colonial city. Following the tour you have the remainder of the day at leisure.

DAY 2

Morelia / Guadalajara After breakfast you continue by road to Patzcuaro, the former Purepecha Capital, with its unique Colonial buildings.

Following this visit you are driven through the picturesque Michoacan Mountain Range to Guadalajara where you stay for two nights. (B)

DAY 3

Guadalajara – Tequila Region Today you visit to the famous region of Tequila. While in the region you visit a Hacienda and learn about the distillation process for making Tequila, the well known drink originating from this part of Mexico.

Following the visit you continue on to the village of Tlaquepaque, the cradle of Mariachi music and well known for its unique style of hand-made Mexican pottery. Later in the afternoon you return to your hotel in Guadalajara for the night. (B)

DAY 4

Guadalajara / Guanajuato After breakfast you are taken on a half day tour of Guadalajara, which was founded in 1542. During the tour you will marvel at its great civil and religious architecture dating from the 16th and 17th Centuries.

In the afternoon you are taken by road to the interesting city of Guanajuato. (B)

DAY 5

Guanajuato / San Miguel de Allende In the morning you undertake a sightseeing tour to Guanajuato’s Colonial centre, one of the best preserved Colonial areas in Mexico, with its charming streets, squares, imposing monuments and grand Colonial architecture. In the afternoon you are taken to the nearby town of San Miguel de Allende, famous for its galleries and handicraft shops. It is here that you spend the night. (B)

DAY 6

San Miguel de Allende / Mexico City Following breakfast you are driven to the town of Queretaro, which is full of old Colonial charm. After spending time exploring this interesting place you complete your journey to Mexico City, where your tour comes to an end. (B)

colourful lane, guanajuato

COSTS FOR COLONIAL MEXICO EXTENSION* from AU$3,290 Per person twin-share from AU$862 Single room supplement * Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details.

main cathedral, guanajuato

12

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL


7 days:

belize & honduras tour

Mexico

Chan Chich Cayo District

Belize City

Belize Belmopan

Honduras

Copan

Guatemala City

Tegucigalpa

Guatemala El Salvador Nicaragua

Belize & Honduras Tour Extension This tour explores the lesser known parts of Honduras and Belize. Visits include a number of significant ruins, the Belize Botanical Gardens and two remote forest lodges. If you think of Tikal as the New York of the Mayan world, then Copán would be Paris. Just twelve km over the Honduran border, declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1980, Copán is the longestknown and best-researched Mayan city.

DAY 1

Guatemala City / Copan (Honduras) This morning you are collected from your hotel and taken to Guatemala City Airport for your charter flight across Guatemala to the pretty town of Copan Ruinas. Here you are met and taken to the archaeological site at Copan, where you have a guided tour. The site is famous for its intricately carved stelea, amazing hieroglyphic stairway as well as its comprehensive museum. Following the tour you are taken for lunch at the Copan Bird Park just outside of town. After lunch you are taken on a walk in the lush, shady river valley to see a number of beautiful tropical birds. There is the opportunity for a relaxing dip in the bird park’s private river if you wish. When you are ready, you are taken to a local hacienda where you spend the night. (BL)

DAY 2

butterfly, chan chich, belize

Copan / Guatemala City You have the morning at leisure to explore Copan town or just relax at the Hacienda. In the afternoon you are driven to Guatemala City. (You may fly if you wish, at extra cost, but the drive is quite interesting.) (B)

DAY 3

Guatemala City / Cayo District (Belize) This morning you return to Guatemala City Airport for your flight to Belize City. Upon arrival you are met by your guide and taken out of the city for a tour of Xunantunich Ruins and later of the Belize Botanical Gardens. Today you realise you are in the wilds of Central America as you cross the Mopan River on a hand cranked ferry enroute to the Xunantunich Maya archaeology site. Later you undertake a guided exploration of the Belize Botanical Gardens, renowned for its collection of native and exotic plants growing in the Cayo district of western Belize. Following the days activities you are taken to your forest lodge for two nights. (BL)

DAY 4

Cayo District – Caracol Maya Site Following breakfast your guide takes you into the central rainforest area of Belize where you visit the famous site at Caracol. Whilst enjoying the history and architecture of this fascinating site you can also enjoy the birds and wildlife of the tropical setting. After lunch you have a change of scenery as your vehicle climbs into the pine forest region where you explore the Rio Frio Caves and pools. (BL)

DAY 5

Cayo District / Chan Chich Private Reserve This morning you are taken to the local airstrip where you board your charter flight to Chan Chich Lodge. Chan Chich is a small eco-tourist lodge set in the middle of a 130,000 acre private nature reserve, which is adjacent to an additional 245,000 acres of pristine forest. Lodge activities are especially designed for visitors who wish to explore the tropical rainforest yet enjoy the comfortable, modern facilities of the lodge. (BLD)

DAY 6

Chan Chich Private Reserve The area surrounding the lodge contains over 350 bird species, many species of mammals, rare in other parts of Central America and a fantastic variety of plants and trees. Today you can enjoy guided walks and vehicle tours or simply relax in this environment. (BLD)

DAY 7

Chan Chich PR / Belize City Later this morning you are taken to the airstrip for your charter flight to Belize International Airport, where your tour comes to an end. (B)

COSTS FOR BELIZE & HONDURAS EXTENSION* from AU$4,575 Per person twin-share from AU$754 Single room supplement * Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details.

local markets, honduras

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

13


4 nights:

Cartagena Panama City

Panama

Colombia

old cartagena tour Old Cartagena Tour Extension Old Cartagena should not be missed! Besides being a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, it is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in Latin America.

DAY 3

The Colonial heart of Cartagena is a mixture of colourful squares, churches, mansions of former nobles and pastel houses along narrow cobbled streets.

The Cartagena Gold Museum is housed in a beautiful Colonial residence directly in front of the historic Bolivar Plaza. Many valuable pieces from the El Dorado period are on display here, as well as the most complete collection of archaeological pieces from the pre-Hispanic cultures that originally populated the area that is now Colombia.

DAY 1

Arrive Cartagena On arrival into Cartagena Airport you will be met and taken to your hotel, located in the old Colonial sector of Cartagena. Here you stay for four relaxing nights.

DAY 2

Cartagena – San Felipe Castle & Lac Pop Monastery After breakfast you are collected from your hotel and taken on a comprehensive half day city tour of Old Cartagena. You travel through the older residential areas along beautiful Cartagena Bay before reaching the historic Lac Pop Monastery, dating from 1608. As well as the monastery, you visit the nearby Chapel of the Virgin of Lac Candelaria, reputedly a deliverer from plague and a protector against pirates! A panoramic view of the city and Cartagena Harbour will be gained from this point. You then continue on to visit the imposing Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, the largest Spanish fort built in the Americas and considered to be the greatest military engineering work of the New World. (B)

Cartagena – Gold Museum Today you will be taken to visit a number of significant historical attractions of Old Cartagena including the Gold Museum, Rafael Nuñez House and the Santa Catalina Bastion.

Rafael Nuñez House, a spectacular West Indian style mansion, is where one of the most illustrious Cartagenians of all times lived and died. You visit this impressive residence in the El Cabrero neighbourhood. Four times President of Colombia, author of the National Anthem and responsible for the 1886 Constitution, Rafael Nuñez was a most admired citizen of the old city. It is then on to the recently restored Santa Catalina Bastion, located at Las Tenazas Bastion. A fresh water well and armaments from Colonial times can be seen here. (B)

DAY 4

Cartagena Today is completely at leisure to further explore colourful Old Cartagena. (B)

DAY 5

Depart Cartagena This morning after breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport, where your tour ends. (B)

main cathedral, old Cartagena

COSTS FOR OLD CARTAGENA EXTENSION* from AU$1,365 Per person twin-share from AU$924 Single room supplement * Terms and conditions apply. Please see inside of back cover and booking form for full details.

school children, old cartagena

old cartagena street

14

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL


Gold Tour inclusions & exclusions Your Inca Gold Tour includes

• Economy-class group airfares throughout the entire tour. • All ticketed airline taxes & surcharges. • Services of a senior Tour Conductor throughout the tour. • Accommodation in Superior or Luxury-class hotels with private bathroom facilities. • All private airport transfers with local English speaking guides. • All private city and sightseeing tours as described with local English speaking specialist guides. • All admission fees on such tours. • Meals throughout the tour as indicated: (B = breakfast L = lunch D = dinner). • All ground transportation as described in itineraries. • All touring vessels. • Reconfirmation of all onward flights. • Porterage of 1 suitcase per person. • All local airport departure taxes. • Tipping.

HOW TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE ON AN INCA GOLD TOUR ... • Please telephone Inca Tours toll-free on 1800 024 955 to reserve your Gold Tour place. • We will then send you our official Booking Form & Booking Conditions for the tour. Please complete this form and return it with your per person part tour payment of 20% of the tour cost. We will also send you our recommended travel insurance brochure. • On receipt of your deposit and completed booking form, we will send you our extensive Pre-departure Information Booklet regarding visas, medical issues and much more. • Payment of the balance is then required 60 days prior to your Gold Tour departure date. In exceptional circumstances we reserve the right to request part of this payment prior to the 60 days before departure. This part payment would then be required within 7 days. • All tour prices in this brochure are quoted in Australian dollars, based on tariffs, airfares, taxes, surcharges and exchange rates applicable on 1 July 2008. Inca Tours will notify of any price changes when a booking is made and reserves the right to levy a surcharge at any time before the tour deposit is paid.

Not included

• • • •

Items of a personal nature. Passport and Visa costs. Travel insurance. Excess baggage. typical hotel room on the central america gold tour

TAILOR-MADE INCA TOURS FOR NON-GROUP TRAVEL We also specialise in designing tailor-made and personalised Central America, Mexico & Cuba tour itineraries for non-group travel. If the Central America Gold Tour described in this brochure does not suit you, just tell us what parts of the region you would like to see, when you want to travel and we will construct an itinerary to mirror your interests, your timeframe and your budget: long, short, budget or luxury. We also have our Central America Sensations Tour, shorter and more moderately priced than the tour in this brochure. It utilises Superior-class hotels, has guaranteed departures and also a guaranteed tour conductor. Additionally, for information on our fully-escorted Luxury-class South America, Cape to Cairo, India or Scandinavia Gold Tours, please contact us. You won’t be disappointed! *Prices subject to change until tour deposit received.

Thank you for choosing Inca Tours and Feliz viaje!

you will be made very welcome

INCA TOURS ~ EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

15


EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

“Group tours not for you? Please read on.” We also specialise in designing Tailor-made Tours for semi-independent, non-group, private travel. If the Central America Gold Tour described in this brochure does not suit you, just tell us what parts of the region you would like to see, when you want to travel and we’ll construct an itinerary to mirror your interests, your timeframe and your budget.

Central AMERICA Additionally, for information on our fully-escorted, luxury South America, Cape to Cairo, India or Scandinavia Gold Tours, please contact us.

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

india

Central AMERICA nepal & bhutan

south america

Central AMERICA

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

south america

africa

Central AMERICA

peru boliviabrazil argentinapatagonia chile ecuador galapagos & antarctica

r Ove s year 30 nce erie Exp

r Ove s year 30 nce erie Exp

Inca Gold Tours

r Ove s year 30 nce erie Exp

Inca Gold Tours

Inca Gold Tours

Small discerning groups

Small discerning groups

Inca Sensations Tours

for discerning travellers

Luxury, Fully-escorted Guaranteed departures

Luxury, Fully-escorted, Guaranteed departures

Small discerning groups Escorted, Superior-class Guaranteed departures

Luxury, fully-escorted Guaranteed departures

www.incatours.net

www.incatours.net

www.incatours.net

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

india experience

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

south america & antarctica

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL

africa

africa

kenya tanzania south africa

egypt & middle east

namibia botswana rwanda zambia swaziland and egypt

r Ove s year 30 nce erie Exp

Inca Experience Tours Individual departures & Small group tours Guaranteed departure dates

r Ove s year 30 nce erie Exp

Inca Experience Tours

Inca Sensations Tours

Inca Experience Tours

Individual Tailor-made Tour Packages, Cruises & Treks all with Guaranteed Departures

Small discerning groups Escorted, Superior-class Guaranteed departures

Individual Tailor-made Tour Packages, Safaris, Cruises & Small Group Departures

www.incatours.net

YOUR TRAVEL AGENT

INCA TOURS 68 Pacific Highway, Wyong NSW 2259 Australia Tel + 61 2 4351 2133 Fax + 61 2 4351 2526 Toll free from within Australia 1800 024 955 Toll free from New Zealand 0800 222 855 Email sales@incatours.net Web www.incatours.net Licenced Travel Agent No 2TA5698 ABN 28 112 971 838


Central America Gold Tour