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Open up your mind to those dreams and desires that abound within the confines of your imagination. Go and live out your ideals and aspirations on the distant shores of a different country or continent. Come face to face with the world and all its beautiful diversity. This brochure features some of our most popular accommodation, activities and adventure trips all hand picked for you.

WHY CHOOSE STA TRAVEL?

Let us plan your perfect trip!

STA Travel specialise in all those impossibilities that used to seem just a little out of reach. We have a wild enthusiasm for the many weird and wonderful experiences that travel provides. We know that life affirming, extraordinary adventures are within the reach of anyone who has a passport.

Visit statravel.co.uk and get inspired.

For over 30 years we’ve made it our business to open up the world to eager, enthusiastic and adventurous travellers. We are the world’s largest travel company for students and young adults - but whatever your age we are more than happy to show you our unique perspective of planet Earth. Wherever you are in the world you are never far away from one of our incredibly knowledgeable and friendly people. We have hundreds of STA Travel branches all over the world and 24/7 global travel help - an essential backup for all travellers on the move. If you’ve lost your tickets, want to change your dates or just need some local advice help is always at hand... We’ve got thousands of exclusive offers on flights, accommodation, adventure trips and all the essential extras to help you plan your trip. This brochure showcases the best of what we offer in Latin America. Come and talk to us by dropping into one of our 43 UK branches, calling us on 0871 230 8517* or visiting statravel.co.uk *Calls to this number costs 10 pence per minute on a BT landline. Calls from mobiles will cost more, please check with your service provider.

specialists We’ve been selling trips over to this part of the world for donkey’s years. The majority of our consultants have travelled to the destinations in this brochure, and all of them have been expertly trained to give you the best advice. travel blogs Keep your family and friends up to date – build your own travel journal! You can also find out about other people’s travel experiences and see blogs, photos and videos of people on their travels now at statravel.co.uk/blogs podcasts Download our live travel talks directly to your mp3 player and our expert speakers will inspire you to plan your adventures to all parts of the world. travel talks Get advice, anecdotes and tips from our well travelled experts at our in-branch travel talks.


contents 4 5 8 9 10 11 130

Planning your trip travel essentials getting there travel insurance where to stay your adventure booking conditions

12 explore south america 24 34 57 61 69

Peru, bolivia, ecuador & colombia peru bolivia ecuador & galapagos colombia

72 81 88 95

brazil, argentina & chile brazil argentina chile

100 106 115 126

central america costa rica mexico, guatemala & belize cuba

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

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planning your trip where should I go? Think carefully about the places you’d like to visit and what you want to see and experience. Wherever you go prepare to be struck by the unbridled passion and vivacious idealism of the Latin American people. The sheer geographical and ecological diversity of this huge land mass makes every single destination a completely different experience. Choose the alpine peaks, enormous glaciers and icy cold waters of the South, choose verdant Amazonian Jungle or razor dry deserts and breathless mountain trails. Mingle with the beautiful people in the bars and clubs of a lively Latino City or just lie back on an immaculate beach, sip on a cool drink and let the sun regenerate every inch of your body. Whoever you are, whatever you want from Latin America the chances are that we’ll be able to deliver it. So once you’ve flicked through this brochure and drawn up a rough plan, come into your nearest branch and chat to one of our friendly consultants. All of our staff are seasoned travellers, so they’re full of helpful advice, tips and tales about the places that you’re planning to visit. getting around We feature a huge range of wonderful ways to get around this vast continent. Many Latin American countries, especially the more developed ones like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico boast long, scenic, well-maintained roads and loads of well-connected airports. STA Travel take full advantage of all of this to make sure you get around the continent as safely, comfortably and efficiently as possible. Our adventure trips utilise a variety of transportation methods, one day you'll be bumping along an exciting off road track, the next you'll be cruising along a scenic river - or you might simply be using your own two feet, as you trek a timeless trail. If you’re keen to get yourself on one of our fantastic adventure trips, then please don’t be put off if it starts in one place and finishes up in another. We sell ‘open jaw’ tickets - which quite simply allow you to fly in and out of different locations. (see page 8)

money Most countries in Latin America have their own individual currency, but you'll usually be able to get by with American dollars, so it's definitely worth taking some for emergencies. Indeed some countries (Ecudaor in particular) have reverted entirely to using the US Dollar.

Every major town and city in Latin America will have ATMs, so you'll have quick and easy access to your funds with your credit, debit or STA Cash Card (see page 5). We’ll help you work out a budget when you book your trip, but think about where you’ll be going, how long you’ll be away for and what you’ll be doing whilst you are there. Many of our adventure trips include nearly everything you need to survive, so you’ll only need a small amount of money per day to get by. This amount is normally calculated by establishing how many additional activities you want to enjoy and how much shopping, drinking and eating you intend to do whilst you're away. Make sure you book at least your first few nights accommodation before you leave. You'll find that it's quite a bit cheaper, so you'll save yourself lots of cash. You certainly don’t want to find yourself scraping together a few dollars to afford a hotel bed after a long flight.

how can i book?

pick up the phone or call in and see us and make a free appointment with one our very clever consultants

Call: 0871 230 8517 Click: statravel.co.uk Find your closest branch at: statravel.co.uk/branches


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travel essentials travel insurance OK, travel insurance ain’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it could be the most important purchase you make before you take off on your travels. You must take travel insurance before you leave, you will not be able to get travel insurance once you have left the UK. The chances are that you’ll have the time of your life and you’ll return home with a big smile on your sun-bronzed face – but just in case things don’t quite go according to plan it's very wise to have a safety net in place for that extra piece of mind. So if you plan to cycle around colourful city streets, cross a few roads, eat weird and wonderful food, cart your expensive camera or iPod from hostel to hotel or go snorkelling in fish infested phosphorescent waters – then make sure you ask us to organize the right cover for you. See page 9 for the nitty gritty.

health It’s your responsibility to obtain proper and detailed medical advice in good time before departure. We suggest that you check out the excellent Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk for up to date information. Your local GP can also give advice on which vaccinations you’ll need for particular countries. If you’re down in London, you can pop into STA Travel Victoria which has a travel clinic attached. For some places in Latin America you need to be aware of the problems posed by malaria. Carried by those pesky mosquitoes, it's important that you do all you can to prevent being bitten. Insect repellent, mosquito nets and long sleeved tops will all come in handy. If travelling to an affected region its essential that you take the recommended anti-malarial drugs. Generally speaking, these are taken from one week before you travel until one month after you return, but this can vary depending on the type of drug and the country you're visiting. visas Your trip of a lifetime will quickly grind to a screeching halt if you forget to sort out your entrance visas. Please don’t forget to check with the relevant embassy if you need to get a visa for the countries that you plan to visit. Those stopping or transiting in the USA who don’t require a pre-arranged visa must complete an online ESTA. We can sort this out for you - and it’ll only cost £20. Just make sure you ask us to do it at least 72 hours prior to departure.

TRAVEL SAFETY COURSES If you’ve never been away from home for longer than a two week family holiday in the Cotswolds then we strongly recommend you attend a oneday Objective Travel Safety course, which will prepare you for every eventuality. Travelling in Latin America is wild and exciting, but it’s wise to have your wits about you. While very few people run into any serious trouble or problems when they’re away, this course offers you (and your parents) that extra piece of mind. This full day course costs £150, remember you can't put a price on your own safety.

• • • • • • • •

Avoid muggings Deal with dodgy taxi drivers Medical and health advice Where and how to get help Malaria protection Health & injections Eat & drink safely Basic first aid

isic and youth cards Want to take advantage of 1000s of discounts worldwide? If you are a full time student you can buy an ISIC card or a Youth Card (if you’re under 26). The cards are just £9 each and we sell them here at STA Travel. tefl Make the best use of your time away, immerse yourself in a new culture, add to your CV and gain a skill for life. Millions of people are learning English worldwide in the most far flung of places. Why don't you teach English abroad? Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a recognised qualification. Anyone can do it and there is no need for prior teaching experience - just enthusiasm. Learn to teach English as a foreign language either on-line or as part of a weekend course with our Premier TEFL course. Once certified you can then take advantage of one of the many paid teaching opportunities available around the world. Fund your travels and never run out of cash. statravel.i-to-i.com/tefl

STA TRAVEL CASHCARD Don't go anywhere without your STA Travel Cashcard! For just £19.95 (already topped up with 10 quid) this is the perfect way to carry money on your travels without worrying about exchanging currency. You can use the cards like cash, pay any money earned on your travels into the account, and they can even be topped up by someone in the UK - brilliant! statravel.co.uk/cashcard •

This is NOT a credit card. No credit checks are needed. It can be used anywhere where you see the Mastercard acceptance mark - that's over 25 million locations including ATMs.

 op up your card at over 19,500 T PayPoint location worldwide. Online top ups and bank transfers are also great ways to add more money to your card.

Wages, salaries, funds from home and other types of payments can be received with ease – so you’ll always be able to spend straight away.

I f you run out of money - parents, friends and loved ones can top up and keep you going.

Funds are available to share with friends or family by adding them as an authorised user.

Your funds can be managed 24 hours a day online, by text or via an automated telephone service. Funds must be prepaid onto the card before you spend.

Online courses fr £140 Weekend courses fr £168

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


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south America

• Coro

Santa Marta • Cartagena •

• Caracas • Puerto la Cruz

panama

• Ciudad Bolivar

venezuela

• Canaima N.P. Santa Elena •

guyana suriname

Boa Vista •

colombia

french guiana

Otavalo • Quito • • Cayambe • Baños

• Belém

equador

• Cuenca

• Santaém

Manaus •

• Tumbes

• São Luis

• Jericoacoara • Fortaleza

peru

• Manorca

Praia de Pipa •

• Huanchaco

Recife •

• Trujilo

brazil

• Lima • Amazon Jungle • Salvador

Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Pisco • • Cuzco Ica • bolivia Puno • Nazca • • Lake Titicaca Colca Canyon • • La Paz Arequipa • • Cochabamba • Sucre • Potosí Uyuni • Salt Lakes • • San Pedro de Atacama

• Rio de Janeiro Paraty • • Ilha Grande São Paulo •

paraguay

chile

Iguassu Falls •

argentina

Córdoba •

La Serena •

• Mendoza Santiago •

Buenos Aires •

Pucón •

Puerto Montt •

• Salto Rosario •

Uruguay

• Colonia • Montevideo

• Bahia Blanca

• San Carlos de Bariloche

as az rr • Te na as va •L a o Ha io • or a S lR lm • de Pa s • ar in lia • Ju les • P yo ña Ca Vi

La

• El Calafate

Torres del Paine •

cuba

• Cancún • Playa del Carmen Chichén Itzá • • Cozumel Mérida • Uxmal • • Tulum

mexico

• Mexico City • Puebla

Ushuaia • Monte Albán •

• Oaxaca

• Belize City San Ignacio • • Caye Caulker belize Palenque • • Utila Bay Islands • Flores • San Cristobal • La Ceiba • Rio Dulce guatemala

honduras

Panajachel • • Copán Antigua • • Guatemala el salvador

central America

• Tegucigalpa nicaragua

• Granada Monte Verde • • La Fortuna / Arenal San José • • Puerto Viejo

• Panama City

costa rica panama

• Santa Clara


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YOUR ITINERARY FLIGHTS

HOTELS & HOSTELS

ADVENTURE TRIPS

EXTRAS

INSURANCE

TOTAL

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


getting there 8

why fly with sta travel?

How to get the best price

Aside from our great prices, our flight tickets are unique and exclusive. We offer a wide range of products negotiated just for you. We can book just about anything, from simple return tickets to tailor-made complex roundthe-world itineraries. Here's what makes us stand out in the crowd.

We've been helping folk get the best air deals since before the dawn of time…OK, we exaggerate a little, but we have been doing this for over 30 years! This means that our consultants have all the best knowledge and know where to look and what to check. So talk to one of our extremely experienced travel boffins in one of our 43 branches, give us a call or look at our great website and find youself a deal that won’t break the bank. To get started here are a few insider tips to getting the best deal...

WORLD BEATING FARES • STA Travel have the lowest fares with all the leading airlines for students, youths under 26 and teachers, beating any other agent out there. • Fear not, even if you’re not a student, under 26 or a teacher we still have access to price beating air fares for you. • 100% guarantee to beat any airfare. • Travel from your local airport with exclusive fares available from all UK airports. • Splash out and upgrade some or all of your trip to premium economy or business class, all available through STA Travel. NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE • Exclusive sector fares available only through STA Travel allowing you to create your perfect itinerary any where in the world without compromise. • Selected tickets valid for up to 18-month stay. ULTIMATE FLEXIBILITY • Flexibility to alter your travel dates before and after departure. • Flexibility to change your route before and after departure. • Open jaw tickets - fly into one airport and out of another. WORLDWIDE SUPPORT • 24-hour STA Travel help, so wherever you are in the world there'll always be an expert on hand to help with your queries. • Hundreds of STA Travel branches worldwide giving you a personal service as you travel the globe. BOOKING SECURITY • ATOL bonded ensuring extra protection and vital peace of mind FANTASTIC, EXPERIENCED STAFF • Think big, our well experienced travel consultants are invaluable when it comes to booking your trip - they’ve “been there and done it”. Schedule an appointment to pick their brains. • Sign up to our weekly newsletter by visiting statravel.co.uk to guarantee you don’t miss out on our best exclusive offers and the chance to win free flights! SPREAD THE PAYMENTS • Take advantage of our fantastic deposit scheme allowing you secure your dream trip without having to pay in full until closer to your travel date. OPEN UP LATIN AMERICA WITH IBERIA • Connecting through the shining new Madrid airport, Iberia boasts an unrivalled network - no other airline flies into more destinations in Latin America. Check out page 131 for all the fabulous details.

Buy an ISIC, IYTC or ITIC card to be eligible for STA Travel’s special student, youth or teacher fares.

Book early to get the best deal - don’t leave it to the last minute. Many of our best prices are available if you book in advance, once those flights start filling up the price starts to increase.

Be flexible with your travel dates and times, try travelling on a weekday rather than a weekend, include a Saturday night in your itinerary, or go for booking a late night or early morning flight.

The date you leave the UK determines the price of your ticket think about going outside peak times like school holiday periods.

Flying indirect usually works out cheaper than flying directly to your destination, and you can take advantage of a stopover in a city you may not have thought of travelling to. What a bonus!

Add to your experience by travelling by train, tour, or truck between airports - and save the cost of an internal flight.

Round The World We practically invented the concept of flying around the world, so we’ve specially negotiated a huge range of airfares from the leading airlines. These fares along with all our ideas on what to do when you get there makes STA Travel the place to book your round the world trip. Booking these trips gets us just as excited as you are when you plan them! Squeeze every drop of value out of your round the world ticket by adding in a stop or two in Latin America. From salsa in Cuba, wildlife in the Galapagos and the Inca trail in Peru we can get you there. Here are just a couple of ways you can incorporate Latin America into your trip. UK-Lima-overland-Santiago-Auckland-overlandChristchurch-Sydney-Darwin-Bali-Singapore-UK UK-Tokyo-Cairns-overland-Melbourne-Auckland-Santiagooverland-Buenos Aires-Sao Paulo-overland-Rio-UK TOP TIPS • Maximise your travel options by linking up destinations in this vast continent with internal sector fares exclusively available through STA Travel • Get off the beaten track with people in the know, get yourself on an organised trip to ensure you see all the hidden treasures of this wondrous continent If there’s a particular destination that you simply have to visit, then challenge one of our very clever consultants to help you get there. Hop online and make the most of our online planning tool and see the endless possibilities for your trip – statravel.co.uk/rtw


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insurance Leaving on your travels without getting yourself adequately insured is bonkers. So we won’t say this again: Make sure you get Travel Insurance! Just in case the worst happens, the chances are that you haven’t budgeted for millions of pounds worth of hospital and relocation fees. There is no one-size-fits all with travel insurance, each traveller and each trip is unique, this is why we provide more than 18 different types of policy and loads of add-ons, so you can tailor a policy to you and your trip. Think about what type of trip you’ll be having and decide on which type of policy you might need. Our friendly consultants will be able to tell you all about each and every level of cover, or check the policy summaries on our website: statravel.co.uk/insurance what makes us different? Some of the benefits of booking your travel insurance with us… • 24-hour multi-lingual assistance line For medical emergencies, hospital treatment and/or repatriation • 24-hour STA Travel Global Help line Over the phone advice on your travel arrangements • STA Travel Help branches Ready to assist you in over 40 countries worldwide • 3 geographical areas of cover Pay the relevant premium for the area you are travelling to • 3 levels of cover Budget, Standard and Premier - choose the level that suits your trip •

Cover available from 4 days up to 2 years

Policy extensions available up to a maximum of 24 months

• Studying in the US? We cover for those participating in American study programs •

Student Loan cover In case of death or permanent disablement

• Cover for up to 110 adventure sports We cover loads of fantastic adrenalin pumping activities • 7 days FREE winter-sports cover in each single trip policy As long as winter-sports is not the main purpose of your trip •

Earn as you travel - temporary work abroad is covered

annual policies Going on more than one trip this year? Check out the benefits of STA Travel’s Annual Multi-Trip policy. •

Unlimited trips in a 12-month period

Within Europe each trip can be a maximum of 6 weeks, worldwide trips can be a maximum of 60 days each

21 days FREE winter-sports cover

Premier level of cover provided

specialist cover No matter what type of trip you are on, the chances are we have the right cover for you, check out these specialist policies… • Medical Elective Cover For portable medical equipment, needle stick and locally available retroviral drugs • Dedicated Winter Sports Cover For loss, theft or damage to ski equipment, compensation for piste closure and refund of ski-pack due to accident or illness •

Dedicated Sports Trip Cover When sport or adventure activity is the main purpose of your trip

Flight Only Cover Including cancellation and luggage cover for your flight only

• Study Abroad Cover Cover for a 12-month period allowing you up to 3 trips back to the UK in one year add-ons Tailor make your policy and bolt on some extra cover… •

Medical Excess Waiver Waive your responsibility for the first £50 of any medical claim

• USA Transit Cover Medical and luggage cover for those just transiting the US •

Additional electronic / electrical item cover Insure up to two items up to a value of £500 per item.

• Winter Sports add-on Spending more than 7 days but less than 40% of you overall trip on the slopes? • Sports add-on Spending more than 40% of your overall trip cycling, playing rugby or horse trekking? discounts • Up to 25% discounts for groups • Accompanied children aged 3-17 inclusive get 50% OFF • Accompanied infants aged 2 or under get cover FREE of charge principle exclusions • Cover is not provided for any pre-existing medical conditions. • Cover is available to anyone up to and inc. the age of 65 years. • Insurance is available to UK residents, or those who have been in the UK for a minimum of 3 months. • Excesses apply to some areas of STA Travel’s insurance policies. STA Travel Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Information contained on this page was correct at the time of going to print and intends to give an outline of the cover provided by STA Travel’s insurance products. We recommend you read the policy wording in full. Full policy details can be viewed on statravel.co.uk/insurance

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


10

where to stay?

Star ratings are often not the best way to categorise hotels. Depending on what country you’re travelling through – perceptions of each standard can vary quite dramatically. So to make things much easier for you, we’ve decided to give our own, very educated opinion on each hotel and hostel that we feature. We have three very straightforward accommodation categories, STAysimple, STAysmart and STAystylish. Read below for a description of each.

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

For those who want that travelling pound to go further… Clean, comfortable, secure and perfectly adequate, these are no frills budget options. All of our hostels and some of our more basic hotels come under this category.

Perfect for those who demand a little comfort when they travel - and they definitely won't break the bank! All of our STAysmart hotels have been handpicked by us to ensure you get that extra bit of deserved relaxtion.

These are a little bit special. Adjectives such as unique, funky and intimate are definitely very apt. Ordinary, they ain’t, most will boast something really indulgent, such as a spas, saunas, whirlpool baths and private terraces.

The majority of our STAysimple properties have great locations – in the heart of all the action, and many of them boast popular bars and vibrant social scenes. Facilities are generally limited, but this is compensated for by the friendly and helpful staff. Many of these options will have shared bathrooms.

These are modern, international standard hotels, so expect a plethora of great facilities. All rooms will have private bathrooms, air-con and a host of modern amenities. You can also expect loads of great facilities – most will have a pool, gymnasium and a couple of restaurants. STAysmart hotels are ideal for city stopovers.

These hotels are relatively small in size, which means close and personal attention. Superlative service and an unforgettable experience are more or less guaranteed. After a fantastically hectic adventure trip, or an early morning flight, it definitely pays to splash a little cash and book yourself into one of these wonderful hotels.

Some of our favourite STAysimple properties include El Misti Hostel in Rio, Millhouse Hostel in Buenos Aires and the Point Hostel in Cuzco.

Some of our favourite STAysmart properties include Castelar Hotel in Buenos Aires, Inglaterra in Havana and the Cancún Caribe International.

Some of our favourite STAystylish properties include the Duo Boutique in Lima, Hotel del Patio in Santiago and the Pousada Corsário in Búzios.

All accommodation prices - Dorm: per person per night. Single/Twin/Double: per room per night.

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish


your adventure STA Travel partner with leading tour companies who provide fantastic adventures across the globe to give you a variety of styles of travel and experiences to choose from when planning your big trip. They are our ‘perfect partners’ as they share the same passion for travel as we do and we guarantee you will get the cheapest price on their trips through us. our perfect partner for Latin America is G.A.P Adventures.

expect the unexpected That’s the most important advice we can provide about the G.A.P Adventures style of travel. For the most part, you will be travelling in developing countries in areas very different from home – so the best approach is to and keep an open mind. This is the beauty of adventure travel! transportation - mix it up You’ll get the best cross-section of culture. One day you might find yourself squeezing onto the local chicken bus in Guatemala, the next you could be sitting in an air-conditioned private van driving along the coast. Many tours feature flights, and these are all included in the price. Whatever the method, you can be sure it will be more than just a way to get from A to B. unique accommodation - capturing the local essence Often you’ll spend the night in a hotel, other nights camping at high altitude, or on the water aboard a yacht. Perhaps you’ll be staying with a local family in a Peruvian home stay or sleeping on a stunning boat in the Galapagos. Whatever and wherever it is, your accommodation will reflect the local flavour. Rooms are usually based on same-sex twin-share, and solo travellers don’t have to pay extra! diverse food - a big part of the travelling experience One of the great thrills of travel, is sampling the local cuisine and discovering new tastes and flavours. Your trip will give you plenty of chances to feast on the delicacies of the region, whether that’s with the meals included in the tour or when you branch out and discover your own culinary gems. However, when in remote regions such as on an expedition or cruise, most include meals. The food is hearty and fresh and you’ll be amazed at what the cooks and chefs can achieve. See trip details for meal inclusions.

international groups Our adventures are sold all over the world. You’re likely to be travelling with a range of nationalities, exploring new countries and experiencing different cultures with a like-minded but diverse group. your trip leaders Each and every adventure is led by either a group leader or a G.A.P Adventures representative. They enrich your journey, providing practical tips on the regions you are travelling to, while giving you the inside scoop on the culture. They’ll offer handy language tips, make suggestions for things to see and do, recommend great local eateries, and introduce you to their local friends. In a lot of instances the leaders are locals themselves, and if they’re not true locals, chances are they will have travelled through the region countless times and know it like the back of their hand.

18 to 35's Adventures We feature several unforgettable trips for only 18 to 35 yr olds. With accommodation, transport, most meals and sightseeing all included, it’s the perfect way to explore without breaking the bank. And since everyone’s in the same age bracket, there’s always someone ready to get in on the action or share an adventure – whether exploring the lush jungles of the Yucatan, getting glitzy on the Mexican Riviera, or stepping back into time-warped colonial towns, you can be sure that a Contiki Mexico trip will keep it spicy!. 13 days Mexico Grande (see page 116) 9 days Mexico Fiesta (see page 117) 6 days Yucatan Explorer (see page 117)

travel G.A.P Adventures are involved in the Planet Positive Project, which includes planting one million trees in Africa, Asia and latin America. To make this possible, they have partnered with Trees For the Future, an organisation that helps people improve their rural livelihoods through the introduction of environmentally sustainable land management projects focused on tree planting. no local payments! Unlike many other tour companies - G.A.P Adventures do not charge any local payments. The price you to pay to your STA Consultant is the full cost of the tour. You may choose to tip, but that is entirely at your discretion. Please note: For all trips that visit the Galapagos Islands a USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card are payable on arrival to the islands.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

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12

explore south america


13

EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

argentina Given the sheer size of Argentina it's no wonder the gauchos (cowboys) roam free for weeks on end. Aside from the pampas there's a wealth of diverse landscape and experiences to be had. Marvel at the breathtaking elegance of the Iguassu Falls, ski down snow-capped mountains in Bariloche, try out top quality wines from Salta, eat steaks as large as your head in Buenos Aires and journey all the way to Patagonia for further stark contrasts. You'll never want to go home.

bolivia Landlocked Bolivia is over four times bigger than the UK, but its only got a sixth of the population of our little island. This means lots of lovely emptiness. With the world's highest capital city (La Paz), the world's largest salt flat (the Salar de Uyuni), South America's largest Lake (Lake Titicaca) and a very explorable mix of mountains, Amazonian jungle and colourful local markets - you'll soon fall in love with everything about Bolivia. Especially the very friendly people!

brazil Think of South America and think of Rio de Janeiro, with its colourful carnival, Copacabana Beach and the statue of Christ the Redeemer peers over all that lies below. Think of beautiful people and beautiful football, the Amazon Jungle, the magnificent Iguassu Falls, miles and miles of white sandy coastline and stunning beach resorts like Ilha Grande and Salvador. Brazil is home to all of this and much more - prepare to experience everything you've ever dreamed of.

chile With a perfect climate meaning it rarely suffers from rain and instead experiences warm Mediterranean conditions it's not hard to see why people flock to Chile. Find your way to the attractive beaches north of Santiago, step out onto impressive moon-like terrain in the Atacama desert and head down the southern coast to a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. Touch Antarctica and get your head around the chileĂąo Spanish.

colombia The word "Colombia" comes from the name Christopher Columbus, who as a Spanish colonist helps account for its wide ethical diversity. Ecologically too it is classified as one of the world's 18 megadiverse countries. Landscapes range from Andes mountains, Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Even a short trip here will quickly banish the stereotypes of drugs and violence that often sadly dominate the world's press.

ecuador Discover Ecuador and you'll unearth a whole lot more than you ever imagined. Famed for the sensational Galapagos islands, you can sail the crystal clear waters and meet a great variety of species, many of them endemic. Its capital city Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic centre in Latin America. Party on people-filled streets and sample some of the delicious local cuisine.

peru Peru fuses countless cultures from all over the world and from all across time. Lima serves up a multicultural mix of welcoming hospitality, while a trek across the Inca Trail will give you a big breathtaking glimpse of the past - especially when you set your disbelieving eyes on the amazing Machu Picchu. Deep, mysterious and downright fascinating history is everywhere from the prehistoric Nazca Lines to the colonial art and architecture of Cuzco.

uruguay A short hop across the river from Buenos Aires takes you over to Montevideo, the ever intriguing capital of Uruguay. This elegant city boasts the highest quality of life in South America, and a few nights checking out the cafes, bars and restuarants will soon show you why its such a pleasant place to live. Dominated by four large river deltas, the rest of the country boasts beautiful swathes of fertile lowlands and a large splattering of lovely beachside resorts.

venezuela Tropical Venezuela is a country better known in recent times for its President Hugo ChĂĄvez, oil and perhaps the continual winning of the Miss Universe contest. But you'll more likely want to visit to check out the buzzing capital of Caracas and the Angel Falls - the world's highest. Salsa in the cities and bathe on the beautiful beaches. Venezuela's colourful attitude is emphasised in its flag - yellow represents land wealth, blue courage and red - independence from Spain.

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14

discover south america these trips are built back to back with each other, so you choose to travel one segment or piece several together to create your perfect south american journey from anywhere you like! segment 1: andean discovery 16 days, lima to la paz Fr £1,129 see page 28 Tour Code: GAJML Begin your trip in Lima before heading to Pisco. Fly over the Nazca Lines before reaching colonial Arequipa for excursions to the Colca Canyon. Cuzco and the Inca Trail are next on the list! Watching dawn break over Machu Picchu at the end of a four day trek is the experience of a lifetime. Travel to the shores of Lake Titicaca, sail over to the floating Uros islands and stay overnight with a local family. The trip ends in the cultural centre of Bolivia, La Paz. segment 2: the atacama crossing 20 days, la paz to santiago fr £889 see page 96 Tour Code: GAJLS Travel for three weeks through Bolivia and Chile and experience the diversity of each stop. The cultural centre of Bolivia and also the highest capital in the world, La Paz won't disappoint. Continue on to Cochabamba and Sucre before heading to Potosi. Spend the next three days in 4WD vehicles exploring the mountains and blinding white salt flats between Uyuni and the Atacama Desert in Chile. Travel to beachside La Serena before ending the tour in Santiago. segment 3: southern sojourn 13 days, santiago to buenos aires fr £739 see page 80 Tour Code: GAJSB From Santiago, journey through the Andes. Climb a volcano, hike in the mountains or go rafting in Pucon before heading to the gateway of Patagonia in Puerto Montt and Varas. Arrive in stunning Bariloche, known for it’s hiking and bike trails. Travel to vibrant Buenos Aires and catch a tango show or sample the legendary nightlife.

segment 4: in search of iguassu 17 days, buenos aires to rio de janeiro fr £1,099 see page 74 Tour Code: GAJRB Take 17 days to explore Buenos Aires to Rio and everything in between! Cross into Uruguay and travel to the nation’s capital where you'll get a true feel for Uruguayan culture. Relax in the thermal baths of Salto before heading off to Iguassu Falls, which sits on the borders of Brazil Paraguay and Argentina. Explore Paraty, known for it’s colonial architecture and beaches, and move on to Ilha Grande to relax on the beach while sipping caipirinhas. The perfect end to a perfect trip. segment 5: northern brazil highlights 29 days, rio de janeiro to manaus fr £1,679 Tour Code: GASZRN From Afro-Brazilian Bahia to the mighty Amazon and all of the beaches and dunes in between, this trip highlights the best of Northern Brazil. Explore Rio with its world famous beaches and nightlife. Visit Bahia, heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, and follow the coast past historic cities and remote beaches to the mouth of the Amazon. Follow the river to its heart at Manaus, an important trading city of the northern Amazon region and the largest jungle city in the world. In 29 days this trip does it all! segment 6: caribbean amazon connect 14 days, manaus to caracas fr £2,109 Tour Code: GASZNC From the mighty Amazon to the world’s tallest waterfall and the Caribbean coast this trip has your unspoilt beaches, spectacular scenery, and still manages to keep off the beaten path. Starting in Manaus and ending in Caracas, you'll witness the tallest waterfall in the world, loads of uber-interesting wildlife and there'll be time to lie back and relax on a Caribbean beach.

segment 7: above the equator 23 DAYS, caracas to quito fr £1,589 Tour Code: GAJCQ Explore cosmopolitan Caracas, before heading west along the coast to Choroni, the gateway to Henri Pittier National Park. Discover the captivating fishing town of Chichiriviche and visit Moroccoy National Park. Journey into the colonial town of Coro, before crossing into Colombia. Wander around the country’s oldest town, Santa Marta then visit Tayrona National Park. Travelling along the coast, your next stop is Cartagena before heading to Quito. segment 8: ecuador & peru experience 16 DAYS, quito to lima fr £799 Tour Code: GAJQM From the Equator to the jungle to the coastal desert. From Quito, head to the edge of the Amazon to a small town named Coca, your home in the Amazon for the next three days. After all the bird watching, jungle walks and wildlife spotting you can handle, head to Baños, famous for its volcano and thermal springs. Explore Cuenca before continuing to the other side of the border; Peru! End your trip in the “City of Kings”.

our favourites santiago - rio

Sectors 3 & 4 or vice versa fr £1,559 Tour Code: GAJSR

lima - santiago

sectors 1 & 2 or vice versa fr £1,899 Tour Code: GAJMS

rio de janeiro - quito

sectors 5, 6 & 7 or vice versa fr £4,119 Tour Code: GAJRQ

lima - rio de janeiro

sectors 1, 2, 3 & 4 or vice versa fr £3,359 Tour Code: GAJMR


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EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

• Coro

Santa Marta • Cartagena •

• Caracas • Puerto la Cruz

panama

• Ciudad Bolivar

venezuela

• Canaima N.P. Santa Elena •

guyana suriname

Boa Vista •

colombia

french guiana

Otavalo • Quito • • Cayambe • Baños

• Belém

equador

• Cuenca

• Santaém

Manaus •

• Tumbes

• São Luis

• Fortaleza

peru

• Manorca

• Jericoacoara

Praia de Pipa •

• Huanchaco

Recife •

• Trujilo

brazil

• Lima • Amazon Jungle • Salvador

Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Pisco • • Cuzco Ica • bolivia Puno • Nazca • • Lake Titicaca Colca Canyon • • La Paz Arequipa • • Cochabamba • Sucre • Potosí Uyuni • Salt Lakes • • San Pedro de Atacama chile

paraguay

Iguassu Falls •

• Rio de Janeiro Paraty • • Ilha Grande São Paulo •

argentina

• Salto

La Serena •

Uruguay

Santiago •

• Colonia Buenos Aires • • Montevideo

Pucón •

Puerto Montt •

• San Carlos de Bariloche

Lima - La Paz La Paz - Santiago Santiago - Buenos Aires Buenos Aires - Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro - Manaus Manaus - Caracas Caracus - Quito Quito - Lima

Andean Discovery The Atacama crossing southern sojourn in search of iguassu northern brazil highlights caribbean amazon connection above the equator ecuador & peru experience

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16

southern cross 45 DAYS, £2,689 fr

no local payment!

Lima - rio de janeiro So, you like llamas? Learn to love these fluffy furry tykes on a whizzy whirlwind jaunt that takes in some of this continent’s best and brightest bits. You’ll be under the South American spell in no time. From lively Lima to rambunctious Rio this trip has it all. Trek along the Inca Trail for views that’ll leave you breathless - or is that just the altitude? Absorb some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, get out and about on mountain bikes, river rafts, or ride-em-up cowboy - we’ve got horses too. You’ll sail the highest navigable lake with expertly amusing tour guides and you'll get involved with the locals at a homestay and be bleating ‘agua sin gas’ before you know it. Don’t speak Spanish? Try Cetchua instead, the local Peruvian lingo - much more fun as hilarious mistakes are quite simply inevitable. Bright colours are essential-wear for the local people here; they’re miles away from our favourite blacks and blues. So get with the programme, don your new stripy trousers and roll on through the spectacular Bolivan landscape on to bopping Brazil where you can shake your booty right on through til sunrise. And not forgetting a bunch of beautiful tropical islands (sun tan guaranteed), the epic Iguassu Falls and the prehistoric Nazca Lines - you'll indulge in some incredible sightseeing. Learn, experience, explore and before you know it you’ll be right on course for the time of your life. highlights • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Get mystified over El Misti Volcano • Watch Condors’ mighty wingspans • Explore culture rich Cuzco • Journey the vast Colca Canyon • Soak up the spirit of the Sacred Valley • Hike the Inca Trail and ramble over ruins • Sail the world’s highest navigable lake • Live the dream on floating islands • Explore dramatic moon-like terrain • Stand awe-struck on the Salar de Uyuni • Befriend wacky wetlands wildlife • Snorkel crystal clear rivers • Samba in the sun on Copacabana beach

Day 1: ARRIVE LIMA Arrive, relax, explore. Day 2: PISCO Roam round Lima freely this morning before boarding the bus to Pisco - famed for classic Pisco Sour cocktails and the wildlife infested Ballestas Islands. DayS 3-4: Nazca Arise early for your chance to take an optional visit to the Ballestas Islands, before you jump on the bus to Nazca. Why not hop on a teeny tiny plane over the inexplicable desert-imprinted Nazca lines. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its a giant monkey (supposedly a fertility symbol). Tour a Pre-Inca cemetery, complete with pottery, parched bones and 1500 year-old mummies. DayS 5-7: Arequipa / Chivay / colca canyon From Peru’s second-largest city, you’ll spy the shadow of El Misti Volcano creeping over the city’s skyline. Chill out and people-watch before heading to the Colca Canyon on Day 6. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA, it is also home to the mighty Andean Condors whose wing spans reach an impressive10ft. Day 8: Cuzco Touch down in Cuzco and get under the skin of this impressively beautiful colonial city. Check out the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman pronounced Sexy Woman, cobblestone streets (don’t slip over now!) and interesting museums. Day 9: OLLANTAYTAMBO Head down the picturesque Sacred Valley with your fun-loving local guide checking out some of the fascinating Inca empire sites. Spend the evening winding down in the tongue-twister town of Ollantaytambo, tonight’s hat-laying spot.

DayS 10-13: INCA TRAIL to MACHU PICCHU Starting at Km 82 the hike of your life begins. With seriously speedy local porters who’ll give you a run for your money, the trek from start to finish will be worry-free, inspiring and a whole lot of pure clean fun. Feeling on top of the world you’ll reach Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’ just in time for sunrise over Machu Picchu. Spare camera batteries at the ready! A combination of train and van will whip your weary feet back to Cuzco on Day13. (3B, 3L, 3D) DAYS 14-16: CuZCO Tired from the Inca Trail? Not a valid excuse! Get on out there with optional rafting, horse riding and mountain biking. An activity seeker’s dream. DAY 17: PUNO Lots of sights to be seen on the bus today as you pull into Puno. Play spot the traditional clay bull, seen on rooftops – used for protection and prosperity. Drink more lovely coca tea. DAYS 18-19: Lake Titicaca Sail off into the sunset with a trip out to see Taquile, Amantani and Uros Islands. Stay overnight with mamma and papa Peru in one of their typical rural homestay villages. Marvel at the engineering of the floating islands and spoil yourselves on the water-lapping, removal-fromreality silence. Bliss. (B, L, D) DAYS 20-21: La PAZ Wind along the shores of Lake Titicaca until you reach La Paz, Bolivia – the world’s highest capital. A great stop for cheap souvenirs, exotic fruit smoothies and other additional weird and wonderful kit. day 22: uyuni A good old fashioned wheels on-the-bus ride to Uyuni. Meet your soulmate on the next seat.


17

DayS 42- 43: Iiha Grande One of the 65 islands that make up this part of Brazil’s coastline, this’ll be a welcome piece of heaven on earth as you draw near to the end of your trip. Hike through the jungle to waterfalls, soak up the sun on a nearby black sandy beach, hire a boat to secluded coves and swim in the beautifully warm water. Or just hang back with a cold beer in the World Hertiage town centre. DayS 30-31: Santa Cruz / Puerto Suarez Fly into Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s second biggest city, located at the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental. Then overnight train it along to Puerto Suarez, one step closer to brilliant Brazil. DayS 23-25: Uyuni / Salt Lakes Excursion Hop into a groovy 4WD jeep and begin your explorations of the unforgettable Salar de Uyuni, a vast open white space that makes a perfect location for all you creative photographers. Roam this epic and incredible landscape uninterrupted, stepping out on the moon-like terrain and ‘wowing’ over the coloured lagoons. This is once in a life time stuff! (2B, 3L, 2D) Day 26: POTOSÌ Explosive UNESCO World Heritage Potosí has had a tumultuous history as a silver mining centre during colonial times. Be daring and opt to descend down into a working mine for a close-up look at how its all done. Unchanged in decades, if not centuries. DayS 27-29: Sucre Pretty Sucre is home to the Bolivian Government and a winner for self-confessed history geeks. Go get lost in some dinosaur tracks on an optional trip out of the city.

DayS 32-33: CorumbA / Pantanal Eat your heart out wildlife lovers - here, you won’t be disappointed. On a 2 day exploration in jeep and motorised canoe you’ll get back to nature amid the immense Pantanal wetlands. Special guests include macaws, Jabiru storks, giant otters and cracking caimans. Support the anti-poaching efforts. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Day 44: RIO DE JAnEIRO The Cariocas, residents of this glorious city claim “God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio”. Highlights include the fantastic views from Cristo el Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf), Santa Teresa’s coloured steps and the bright high-onlife atmoshpere - equally echoed in the favelas. Day 45: Depart RIO DE JAnEIRO This life defining adventure sadly finishes.

Do it your way

DayS 34-36: Bonito In a word: beautiful. Snorkel in crystal clear rivers and visit underwater caves and waterfalls. Look out for colourful fish or opt for a bit of raucous rafting if you can handle it. A great place for nature lovers and outdoor extremists.

go in reverse

rio de janeiro - lima fr £2,689 Tour Code: GASXRM

Start or finish in lA pAZ rIO DE JANEIRO - lA pAZ 25 days fr £1,589 Tour Code: GASXLR

DayS 37-39: Iguassu falls Spot a cow or two crossing through the vast cattle ranches of Mato Grosso do Sul overnight en route to the magnificent Iguassu Falls. Sit back and stare, soak in the beauty and sheer power of nature unadulterated, or go and get soaked on a high speed boat tour under the spray of the falls. You have been warned!

LA PAZ - RIO DE JANEIRO 25 days fr £1,589 Tour Code: GASXRL

add on the amazon

jungle adventure on days 14-16 fr £3,119 Tour Code: GASJRM

DEPARTURES 2010 FEB MAR - OCT NOV - DEC 2011 JAN - FEB

FRI TUE, FRI FRI FRI

Accommodation: Hotels (34 nts), night buses (3 nts), train (1nt), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt), multi-share tented room with hammocks (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flight, ferry, train, boat, hiking, 4WD truck Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals on the Inca Trail, during homestay, visiting Uyuni Salt Flats and in the Pantanal Budget: Allow USD600 for meals not included Tour Code: GASXMR

stay longer in lima Check out page pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Pisco • • Cuzco • Nazca • Puno bolivia Colca Canyon • Arequipa • La Paz • Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes •

brazil

• Santa Cruz • Sucre

• Pantanal • Bonito

Iguassu Falls •

Ilha Grande / Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

DayS 40-41: Paraty Head over to Paraty, located on Brazil’s ‘Costa Verde (Green Coast). Cobblestones, cafés and cachaça is coupled with a pretty historical centre and the natural beauty of its surroundings. An optional cruise around the beaches and coves will help you appreciate all those cachaça based cocktails just a little better.


18

Bolivia crossing 26 DAYS, £2,019 fr

no local payment!

Buenos Aires - Lima From Buenos Aires to Lima you’ll be enthralled every step of the way. Covering an amazing difference in terrain, travelling by boat, bus and plane, this tour is guaranteed to blow your mind in a way you just can’t feign. Of course, for the less cheesy people out there you’ll still be unbelievably inspired by some truly exceptional landscapes and some serious southern soul warmly radiating from each corner you turn. Start those toes-a-tapping in the tanguerias of Buenos Aires - a cosmopolite’s dream. Take in the expansive vast green Pampas and cross the border into beautiful Bolivia - before you set off on an epic adventure over the Atacama desert and the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. Sail away with me honey on the highest navigable lake in the world, boggle at brightly coloured natural lagoons and cave-in over moon-like territory. Trek the trail of worldy wonder and arrive into Peru’s magnificent Machu Picchu, amidst the breathtaking Andean mountains. Finish up in Lima for a last long-awaited Pisco Sour highlights • Tango in Buenos Aires • Appreciate the Argentinean appetite • Walk on Buzz Aldrin moon-like terrain • Marvel at fantastic coloured lagoons • Stand awe-struck on the Salar de Uyuni • Crack hilarious jokes on Fish Island • Sail the world’s highest navigable lake • Stay with Peruvian padres • Float on magical islands • Discover hidden ancient ruins • Catch sunrise over Machu Picchu • Get colonial in Cuzco • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Live it up in Lima

Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires Where to begin? This vibrant metropolis of never-ending European influences could fill your days forever with its great bars and restaurants alone. Be choosy and head to the colourful neighbourhoods of La Boca and San Telmo (great for the Sunday markets) and pop your head into the huge french-style cemetry in high-class Recoleta. Join in at one of the tanguerias - even learn to dance with a lesson or two. And don’t forget the Bife de Chorizo – Argentinean steak at its absolute best. Mmm mmmm. Days 2-3: Salta From B.A, fly up to to Salta, northern Argentina for some impressive scenery that’ll sufficiently whet your appetite for even better things to come. Banish your fear of heights on a trip out across the mountains following the ‘Train of the Clouds’ route. Once you get back into town tuck your hungry chops into a couple of Empanadas Salteñas – a tasty speciality. Sit back, relax and enjoy a guitar filled evening at a “Peña” folklore show with a good glass of local Argie vino. Days 4-5: San Pedro de Atacama Take a bus a little further north this morning, pogo-sticking over the Chilean border to the small desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama. It’s located on the edge of one of the driest places in the world - perfect then for trying out your best jokes on your newly found friends. They’ll love it...maybe. Opt for action packed activites - biking, horse-riding, and moonboots. You can also head out to the Valley of the Moon. Days 6-8: 4wd Atacama Desert / Uyuni Embark on an journey of epic proportions (ok so you’re not quite the next Indiana Jones, but you’ll soon be pretty close). Get comfy in your 4WD jeep as you drive through some of the most isolated and dramatic geography in South America and the impressive Salar de Uyuni salt flats. A perfect opportunity for photo taking fiends - you won’t believe the contrast of blinding white salt flats, piercing blue skies, and brightly coloured lagoons. Silly poses essential.. Brilliant. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Day 9: Potosí A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tumultous history as a silver mining centre during colonial times. Be daring and decide to descend into a modern-day working mine for a close up look at methods that have hardly changed in decades, if not centuries. Explosive stuff! Day 10: Night Bus to la paz Staying in the Bolivian highlands, travel north to the city of La Paz. Time to snuggle up kids. Days 11-12: La paz Have a wander round the world’s highest capital - get lost in the vast array of shops and markets and if you’re not afraid of being cast under a bad spell venture into the Witches’ Market - where you can pick up some really wacky, weird and wonderful kit. The liveliness and bustle of more than a million Bolivians makes this city pretty unforgettable, as does the altitude! Day 13: La paz / tiahuanaco Go westward hitting Lake Titicaca and wind your way along the shores to Tiahuanaco where you’ll spend most of the day visiting some fantastic ruins - bringing ancient mysteries to life. The remarkable Tiahuanaco people constructed this great ceremonial centre on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca over 1000 years ago. Clever eh? Day 14: PUNO Pull into Puno by bus, travelling through the Altiplano region of Peru, 3830m above sea level. Arrive and explore. Time to write your Granny a postcard and knit an alpaca jumper.


19

EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

Days 15-16: Lake titicaca / taquile Embark on a boat trip to visit the floating islands of Uros. Visit Amantani and Taquile islands and immerse yourself in Peruvian rural life with a homestay in a small local village. Try out your local lingo skills - and boogie into the night with a traditional dance. The costumes are a real winner. Great potential for fun times a plenty to be had and hopefully an awesome sunset or two. Don’t forget your torch. (L, D, B) Days 17-18: Cuzco A full day’s bus trip to Cuzco, it's time for happy snappers to get out their trusty cameras. Dump your clobber at the hotel and set off for a wander about town - markets, cobbles and churches galore. Stop for one of your favourite cups of a coca tea to help that acclimatisation at a café overlooking the main square. Nights can get pretty chilly here so use the bus ride to hatch a cosy plan with fellow groupies.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 04 JAN 25 FEB 15 MAR 15 MAR 29

FINISH JAN 29 FEB 19 MAR 12 APR 09 APR 23

START APR 19 MAY 31 JUN 21 JUL 12 AUG 02 AUG 23

FINISH MAY 14 JUN 25 JUL 16 AUG 06 AUG 27 SEP 19

START SEP 13 OCT 04 NOV 15 DEC 06 DEC 27

FINISH OCT 08 OCT 29 DEC 10 DEC 31 JAN 21

START 2011 JAN 17 FEB 07 FEB 28 MAR 21

FINISH FEB 11 MAR 04 MAR 25 APR 15

Accommodation: Hotels (18 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt), night bus (1 nt), very basic hostels (multi-share) (2 nts). Transport: Public bus, local flight, train, boat, hiking, 4WD truck. Group Size: Max 16 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides. Meals: All meals while hiking the Inca Trail, during homestay & while crossing the Atacama desert Budget: Allow USD370 for meals not included Tour Code: GASXBM

stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53. stay longer in buenos aires Check out pages 90-91.

Day 19: ollantaytambo Head into the Sacred Valley, stopping in the town of Pisac, and then on to pretty Ollantaytambo where you’ll be greeted with some impressive Inca ruins. Spectacular sunsets are frequent against the the looming Andes backdrop. Settle in for the night at a local restaurant with, if you’re lucky, pan-pipe players a plenty. More Pisco Sours for those less fortunate. Days 20-23: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Km 82 marks your once in a lifetime journey launch pad. Over the next few days you’ll cover spectacular scenery, learn brilliant facts-of-theday and bring the Incas to life. You’ll be 100% mesmerised not only by the views but by your team of local porters who’ll race ahead, ready to greet you later with a cup of coca tea and fullon three course meal as you trudge your weary feet into camp. Nice one. Arrive astounded into Machu Picchu from Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’ at sunrise on your last day before heading back to Cuzco by train to celebrate. (3B, 3L, 3D)

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno bolivia La Paz • Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes • paraguay San Pedro de Atacama • • Salta chile

argentina

• Buenos Aires

Day 24: Cuzco Relax, take it easy. Buy another alpaca hat or get active with some white-water rafting or mountain biking. A free day for fun times and maybe a bit of washing - come on, it's been 24 days now. We can smell you from here! Day 25: lima A quick flight returns you to the coast and Peru’s capital, Lima. Celebrate your final evening with one last Pisco Sour. Day 26: depart lima Say adios amigos and put the blueprints in place for your next trip together.

Do it your way go in reverse

LIMA - BUENOS AIRES fr £2,019 Tour Code: GASXMB

Start or finish in LA PAZ BUENOS AIRES - La paz 12 days fr £979 Tour Code: GASXBL

La Paz - buenos aires 12 days fr £979 Tour Code: GASXLB

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


20

southern divide 22 DAYS, £1,709 fr

no local payment!

lima - santiago Peru, Bolivia, Chile. Three different countries, three different cultures. Join us on this trip of a lifetime in a flurry of famous fun as we hop skip and jump our way from one place to another. Absorb the inspirational Inca culture, twist your tongue around the terrific town names, munch on some crazily creative cuisine, and snap your way to happy photo heaven. Add all this to some of South America’s most impressive geography and it’s a trip that’ll tick as many boxes as you’ve got pairs of smelly socks. You’re on to a definite winner with this trip, all in the excellent company of your fellow groovy groupies and gregarious grinning guides. You’ll pander to the Peruvians, become beloved by the Bolivians and chat chirpily with Chileans. We’ve got it all, so come on thrill seekers, get out there and play! Highlights • Live it up in Lima • Sip Pisco Sours til dawn • Jaunt along the Inca Trail • Marvel at Machu Picchu • Get colonial in Cuzco • Sail stunning Lake Titicaca • Meet like-minded fun-junkies • Befriend a baby alpaca • Boggle at Bolivian salt flats • Lap up La Paz’s atmosphere at altitude • Go walking on the (valley of the) moon • Roam the sweet city of Santiago

Day 1: arrive Lima Arrive, relax, explore. Sample ceviche - a citrus marinated seafood dish, and essential Pisco Sours, made from locally produced grape brandy and egg whites. Tastes goood. A great start for getting to know your Southern Divide soulmates. DayS 2-3: Cuzco Head to the airport for an early morning Cuzco flight. Arrive and explore the city - markets, cobbles and churches galore. Acclimatise with a coca tea at one of the cafés overlooking the main square. Get out of town and on to other forms of transport for hair-raising horse riding, mental mountain biking, ridiculous rafting and other possible optional free-time activities. Day 4: ollantaytambo Forget your fear of fluffy furry friends on your way through the Sacred Valley – you’ll meet llamas, alpacas and vicuñas a plenty. Discover other hidden gems as you weave along the river, arriving into the pretty picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. You’ll stop at interesting Inca sites, whetting your appetite for The Trail. Marvel at just how darn clever these people really were as your guide talks you through the steep terrace system and the impressive fortress before heading out for dinner en groupe. Fascinating, and a hide and seek fan’s dream. Day 5: machu picchu / aguas calientes Take the early morning train up to Aguas Calientes, the colourful town at the foot of Machu Picchu’s legendary site. Walk around at leisure with your guide, checking out all the nooks and crannies. Climb up the mighty Huayna Picchu before heading back into town, pretty darn chuffed at having visited one of the new 7 worldly wonders. Check out the thermal baths if time permits.

DayS 6-7: cuzco Choo choo back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and then back to Cuzco by van. Go grab some typical Peruvian grub – roast guinea pig (go on, give it a try) and potato - around 3,000 varieties are grown just in and around the Andes alone. Fact you read it here first. Why not check out another Inca site or two – you’re only here once after all. Try nearby spiritual sites such as Sacsayhuaman (pronounced Sexy Woman) and Tambo Machay. DayS 8-9: PUNo Cameras at the ready for a full day’s travel (and probably a bit of a sleep) to Puno, making your way through the Altiplano region. Join your touring buddies on a boat trip across Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest and most navigable water mass. Visit Taquile island to meet the local people, then head on to the incredible floating islands of Uros. Boat back to town for another night of Punonian fun. DayS 10-11: La paz Road trip! Climb up to the world’s highest capital of La Paz, snaking around the shores of Lake Titicaca and on through some pretty high mountains. Arrive into the city and check out the vast array of shops and markets. A great chance to pick up those last minute souvenirs at some great prices. The hustle and bustle of the city is pretty special. And you won't forget the altitude in a hurry either. DayS 12-13: sucre Fly into Sucre, Bolivia’s official seat of Parliament and home to colonial style Spanish history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been popular for years with some of its earliest inhabitants – check out the 60 million year old dinosaur tracks. Go get lost in them and feel teeny tiny!


21

EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

Day 14: Potosí Explosive Potosí is home to silver mines. Roll up your sleeves and head down deep underground on an optional mine visit where you’ll see modern-day techniques that have barely changed in over a century. Intruiging to the max. Day 15: uyuni Venture down towards Uyuni - in the middle of Bolivia's expansive landscape. Arrive into this small town that clings to the edge of immense salt flats (the world’s biggest and once a giant prehistoric lake) and serves as a well-located spring board to jump off into some phenomenal scenery. Visit the abandonded trains from yesteryear at the Train Cemetery before picking up props from the market and gaining photographic inspiration at one of the town’s few traveller-friendly bars.

DayS 16-17: Salar de Uyuni Excursion Cosy in to your 4WD, and travel through unique lakes, geysers, mud pools and thermal baths. Gaffa tape proves particularly useful for taping up your gob-smacked expressions (all that oohing, ahhing and smiling can get quite tiring). When covered with water the Salar de Uyuni reflects the sky creating truly spectacular photo opportunities. Sense of perspective is strangely distorted, and you can pick up some equally weirdly wonderful salt-themed souvenirs. An experience like no other. (2B, 2L, 2D) DayS 18-19: San Pedro de Atacama Descend almost 3000 metres to the Chilean border and the tiny town of San Pedro de Atacama. Visit the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Its interesting terrain is rugged and brilliant which comes as a stark contrast to the salt flats. Enjoy a tour of the remote Valley of the Moon - astronaut suits and Buzz Aldrin impressions optional.

DayS 20-21: Santiago Fly from Calama to Santiago – Chile’s capital and one of Latin America’s most modern, metropolitan areas - spectacularly surrounded by snowcapped Andes. Head out of town to a winery, take a look around the museums or go for dinner in the trendy area of Bellavista. Day 22: depart Santiago Say goodbye to your mates, then make like a donkey and hit the road.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 16 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 20 APR 17

FINISH FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 13 APR 10 MAY 08

START MAY 08 JUN 12 JUL 03 JUL 24 AUG 14 SEP 04

FINISH MAY 29 JUL 03 JUL 24 AUG 14 SEP 04 SEP 25

START SEP 25 OCT 16 NOV 06 NOV 27 DEC 18

FINISH OCT 16 NOV 06 NOV 27 DEC 18 JAN 08

START 2011 JAN 08 JAN 29 FEB 19 MAR 12

FINISH JAN 29 FEB 19 MAR 12 APR 02

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (21 nts) (may be multi-share) Transport: Local flights, train, boat, bus, 4WD vehicles, hiking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals Included: All meals on the Salar de Uyuni excursion Budget: Allow USD400 for meals not included Tour Code: GASMS

STAY LONGER IN LIMA Check out pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno bolivia La Paz • • Sucre Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes • San Pedro de Atacama • Calama • chile

• Santiago

STAY LONGER IN SANTIAGO Check out page 97.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


22

southern american overland 47 DAYS, £2,629 fr

no local payment!

RIo de janeiro - lima With beat-bopping Brazil, bargainous Bolivia and perfect Peru we’ve coupled together some of the absolute to-die-for bits that this cracking continent has to offer. We’ve also enlisted some of the best talent around to share your epic moments - silly poses a plenty and a whole lot of good clean fun. Kick off with a great night out in Rio that’ll be the spring board for hilarious and outrageous adventure tales - start the memories that only you will have total control over. It's gonna' be thrills every excitable step of the way as you take in some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll probably ever feast your eyes upon. Prepare for canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, Lake Titicaca - the world’s highest navigable water mass, Machu Picchu - one of the new seven Wonders of the World, the Inca Trail - hike of a lifetime, Salar de Uyuni salt-flats – one guidebook’s number one thing to see in the world; not to mention the awesome Andes and the attention grabbing wildlife. All this will be explored and enjoyed in an all singing, all dancing, all-purpose overland truck. Expect a real hands-on adventure! Highlights • Ramble round Rio de Janeiro • Party in Paraty tropical style • Ignite your imagination at Iguassu • Witness wacky wildlife on the Wetlands • Bop your way around Bolivia • Go camera crazy on the Salar de Uyuni • Hunt out the Witches’ Market in La Paz • Stay with a Peruvian family • Sail the world’s highest navigable lake • Cruise the Colca Canyon • Hike the epic Inca Trail • Get colonial in Cuzco • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Live it up in Lima Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro Roll into Rio and rock out raving on your first night of freedom, fun and frolics. Bond with your new buddies and samba your way around the city in a splurge of superb sightseeing.

Days 2-6: Paraty / Curitiba Cruise down the coastal road to Paraty – a colonial gem nestled in the foothills of lush green mountains with a distinct tropical feel. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage site it’s great to just wander around, but you can also boat out into the bay for a peruse of Paraty’s glorious beaches and islands - yeah, it’s a hard life sometimes. On to Curitiba, a University town with a coffee addiction and real sense of vibrancy. It’s also a thoroughfare for Gauchos (cowboys) and their cattle. Yee-hah! (5B, 3L, 3D)

Day 15: Corumbá A bit of well-earned rest and relaxation in the agricultural region of Mato Grosso do Sul. Time to write your granny a postcard and bid Brazil a fond farewell. (B)

Days 7-9: Iguassu Falls Soak up the spray of some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls hopping between the Brazilian and Argentinean borders. Watch each others' jaws drop as you absorb the sheer power of Mother Nature – vast torrents of water bolting into the canyon below. Hop on a boat ride under the spray if you dare! (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 18-19: Santa Cruz ¡Buen día Bolivia! New country, new culture. Head out and explore the second biggest city, taking in the chance to down some budgetfriendly Bolivian beers. (2B)

Days 10-11: Bonito As pretty as its name suggests, this town is firmly on the map of an outdoor activist’s route to heaven. Cosy up in camp for a couple of nights and head out into the wilderness. Snorkel and raft down river, swim in beautiful blue crystal-clear lagoons, spot spectacularly colourful funky fish and spy out some amazing macaws (parrots to you and me). (2B, 2L, 2D) Days 12-14: Pantanal Wildlife wackos: unite! Little-known outside of South America, this epic wetland region, roughly half the size of France is one of the continent’s best places for spotting life that’s as wicked as it is wild. Special guests may include: cabybaras (giant guinea pigs), Howler monkeys (ooh ooh oooooooh), caimans (snappy snap snap), Giant River otters (brilliant), anacondas (ssssss), anteaters and Great Jabiru storks. Ingenious impressionists will have a field day. (3B, 2L, 2D)

Days 16-17: Chochís Camp overnight near to the small time town of San José de Chiquitos. On the way up to Santa Cruz this is a popular travel stop better known for its Jesuit Mission and its status as gateway to the National Parks. (2B, L, 2D)

Days 20-22: Sucre Get out your history hats and wander round this important political post. Meet fellow travellers from years gone by in the shape of some deathdefying (or not as the case may be) dinosaur tracks. Interesante. (3B) Day 23: Potosí Arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Potosí, the highest city of its size in the world and a silver mining centre during colonial times. Daredevils descend! Drop down into the working mines for an eye-opening optional extravaganza. showing off methods barely changed in years. (B) Days 24-27: Uyuni / Salt flats THE moment you’ve been waiting for. Spectacular scenery and more sensational sights - you’ll sure have some jaw-ache to shock your dentist with by the time you shuffle onto your plane back home. Head out in a 4WD over the outrageously impressive Salar de Uyini salt flats, moon-like terrain of the Atacama Desert (astronaut suits optional; funny impersonations obligatory), and fantastic uniquely coloured lagoons. Perfect for posers and keen photographers. (4B, 3L, 2D)


23

go in reverse

LIMA - RIO DE JANEIRO fr £2,629 Tour Code: GASLMR

OTHER OPTIONS

QUITO - RIO DE JANEIRO or vice versa 60 days fr £3,359 Tour Code: GASLQR & GASLRQ quito - La paz or vice versa 32 days fr £1,829 Tour Code: GASLQL & GASLLQ LIMA - La paz or vice versa 19 days fr £1,159 Tour Code: GASLML & GASLLM

Days 28-29: La Paz Get out and about in this busy, bustling city. Hopscotch over cobblestone streets and take it slow as the altitude hogs the limelight and really shows itself off. There's plenty of marvellous markets to keep your magpie eyes transfixed. Buy those all-important alpaca accessories and boggle at the Bolivian’s bizarre bits and bobs. Beware of the witches’ market – or you might come back with more than you bargained for. Dried llama foetus anyone?! Nice. (2B) Days 30-32: Lluquina / Puno Welcome to Peru! Let the perky Punonians show you a thing or two. Prepare for creative crafts from the riverbed reeds, men that know how to knit, and an interesting system of dating with a difference - men and women wear different colours according to their marital status - crafty or just plain cruel?! Step on board a boat for spectacular views over Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Stay overnight with your very own adopted parents - just don’t tell your Mum, she’ll think you’ll never come home… but then she might be on to something - they’re pretty chilled out people here. (B, 3L, 2D)

Day 43: Puerto Inca This beautiful sea shore location is home to great sunsets, a small but rare coastal Inca archeological site and some fab fauna. (B, L, D)

Days 33-39: Cuzco / Inca Trail Crawl into captivating colonial-cum-Inca-inspired Cuzco. Top up your coca tea levels and explore the markets or get out and about mountain biking, horse-riding or river rafting. Meander down the Sacred Valley before embarking on the once-in-a-lifetime, tell the grandkids one day, phenomenal Inca Trail. You’ll be well looked after with your own gregarious guides and pro-plus powered porters zooming on up to camp to pitch your tents - legends, just like the Incas themselves. Cross over Dead Woman’s Pass on Day 2 of the trail at a whopping 4000m above sea level and arrive exhilarated at the Sun Gate to watch sunrise over Machu Picchu on Day 4. An experience like no other, head back to Cuzco for celebrations and sleep. (3B, 4L, 3D)

Days 44-45: Nazca / Huacachina A weird and wonderful collection of unexplained lines etched into the ground causes the Nazca lines to remain one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries. There are a number of theories as to why they exist - but who knows, maybe some giant child from aeons ago just decided to get creative one day. It’s an afternoon of fun starting off in a teeny tiny (optional) plane, and then on to Huacachina for some super-fun sandboarding. Huzzah! (B, 2L, 2D) Day 46: Lima Leap around Lima, catch the colonial centre’s changing of the guard and cracking cathedral catacombs, then grab some grub in Miraflores. Try Ceviche - a lime marinated seafood dish and get emotional over a last Pisco Sour or three.

Day 40: Colca Canyon Heads up. Andean Condors with wingspans that reach 10ft prey over this vast canyon. Beautiful and arid; it’s deeper than its USA rival. Days 41-42: Arequipa Spot El Misti volcano creeping over the skyline and kick back with a cerveza as the stars come out for the night. (B, L)

Day 47: Depart Lima Wow, what a whirl. Get planning which continent you want to conquer next!

DEPARTURES START FINISH 2010 JAN 23 MAR 12

START FINISH FEB 26 APR 15 JUL 03 AUG 20

START FINISH SEP 04 OCT 22 NOV 07 DEC 25

START FINISH 2011 JAN 09 FEB 26

Accommodation: Simple hotels (30 nts), camping (20 nts), basic multi-share or hammocks (5 nts), amazon jungle lodge (2 nts), homestay (2 nts) Transport: Overland truck, train, boat, hiking Group Size: Max 20, Avg 16 Group Leader: Tour leader and driver throughout, local guide Meals: All meals as indicated throughout itinerary Budget: Allow USD700 for meals not included Tour Code: GASLRM

stay longer in rio Check out pages 84-85. STAY LONGER IN LIMA Check out pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • Pisco • • Cuzco • Nazca Puerto Inca • Puno • • Amantani / Taquile Islands Colca Canyon • bolivia Arequipa • La Paz • • Santa Cruz • Sucre Corumba • Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes •

brazil

• Pantanal • Bonito

Iguassu Falls •

Curitiba •

Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

EXPLORE SOUTH AMERICA

Do it your way


24

peru, bolivia, Ecuador & Colombia


25

1

Trek the inca trail Many of our featured adventure trips include the 4 Day Inca Trail, but we've also dedciated a section to it - pages 36-39. The starting point for those wishing to experience the trek is the historic city of Cuzco, deep in the Andean highlands - see page 54.

4

cruise the galapagos islands Situated off the coast of Ecuador, this isolated Island group was the inspiration for Darwin's theory of evolution and are famous for their spectacular wildlife. The Islands feature in some of our adventure trips, but we've also dedicated a section to them - see pages 62-65.

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

top 6 Amazing Experiences

2

3

live the high life in la paz Spectacularly situated in a large valley and surrounded by snow capped peaks - at an altitude of 3,660 metres La Paz is the world's highest capital city. Wander the lively streets, mingle with the ever friendly people and explore the markets. See page 60.

see a sunrise over machu Picchu The fabled finishing point of the Inca Trail - 'The Lost City of the Incas'. All the Inca Trail treks that we feature will take you to these beautiful ruins just as the sun is rising. If you don't fancy the walk - you can always catch a train - see page 38.

5

6

laze on cartagena's beaches Cartagena drips with Caribbean charm everything is drenched in sunshine and everyone seems very chilled-out. With an omnipresent soothing sea breeze - the colonial architecture is sublimely set against the paradisiacal blue waters. Our trip on page 71 takes you there!

drive across amazing salt lakes The Salar de Uyuni is the biggest salt lake in the world. The piercing blue skies and the brilliant white salt combine to create one of world's most impressive visual spectacles. Most of our Bolivia trips will take you there - allowing you to camp out in this stunning landscape.

Average High TempERATURE (ยบC)

6 4 1 2 3 5

City

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Lima

26

26

26

24

22

20

19

18

19

20

22

24

Cuzco

17

17

18

18

19

18

18

18

19

20

19

18

Arequipa

20

20

20

21

21

20

20

20

21

21

21

21

Puerto Maldonado

30

30

31

30

30

30

30

33

33

32

32

30

La Paz

12

13

13

13

13

12

12

13

13

14

15

14

Sucre

19

18

19

19

19

18

18

19

20

20

21

20

Quito

18

18

18

18

18

19

19

19

20

19

19

18

Galapagos Islands

27

28

30

30

27

25

24

24

23

24

25

25

Guayaquil

31

30

31

31

30

29

28

28

30

29

30

31

Bogota

18

18

19

18

18

17

17

17

18

18

18

18

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


26

inca heartland & amazon 21 DAYS, £1,649 fr

no local payment!

Lima - LA paz You'll won't stop smiling from start to finish on this fantastical 21 day forage through some of South America’s most superbly scintillating star attractions. Uncover the mystifying and magical city of Machu Picchu, explore the epic Incacum-colonial city of Cuzco, float away on the utopian floating islands of Uros and drift away into the never-ending sunset on Lake Titicaca you aren't dreaming, this is reality! You’ll be in jazzy-geography heaven and action-man manic meltdown. Who’d have thought you’d ever set foot on Bolivia’s salt flats? Well we did; yeah, we knew. That’s why we came up with this amazing trip for you. Spread your wings like an Andean condor, inhale the fabulous foreign fumes and wake-up in dreamland, switched on and tuned in to new cultures of whizzy wonderment. highlights • Live it up in Lima • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Fly over mysterious Nazca lines • Glimpse soaring Andean condors • Explore the Colca Canyon • Hike the Inca Trail • Check out colonial Cuzco • Amble the Amazon Jungle ��� Sail Lake Titicaca • Lose yourself in La Paz’s mad markets Day1: Arrive Lima Arrive, relax, explore. Repeat if desired. Day 2: Pisco You'll be a potty pisco fan in no time at the home of the Pisco Sour cocktail – one of Peru's claims to fame and best-known exports. Mmm, zingy!

Days 3-4: Nazca Arise early on Day 3 and head out for an optional jaunt to the Ballestas Islands for a peek at some of the wacky wildlife. Then step it up to Nazca, host to bizarre but fascinating geoglyphs drawn in to the desert. Fertility symbols, giant astronomical calendars and spaceship landing areas are just a few of the varied explanations for their existence. Hop on the optional flight to see what you think, then settle in for the night on a bus to Arequipa late on Day 4. Days 5-7: Arequipa / Chivay / Colca Canyon Arrive into Arequipa - known as ‘the White City’ for all its light coloured volcanic rock. Marvel at El Misti volcano then set off Colca Canyon way. Fingers crossed you’ll spy some amazing Andean Condors floating through the deep ravines. Day 8: Cuzco Fly into Cuzco, one of Peru’s most attractive cities. Ask about river rafting, mountain biking and horse-riding, or stick to the city and check out museums, churches and Inca sites. Head up the hill to Sacasayhuaman (pronounced Sexy Woman) or mill around the markets. Day 9: Ollantaytambo Bounce through the Sacred Valley towards Ollantaytambo – a major Inca ruin site that’ll sufficiently whet your appetite for the Inca Trail. Its impressive terraces are ideal for getting lost in, either physically or deep in thought as you try to fathom how they got there in the first place…

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - MAY JUN - DEC 2011 JAN FEB - MAR

MOST TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS TUE, FRI MOST FRIDAYS FRI

Accommodation: Hotels (13 nts), bus (1 nt), jungle lodge (2 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, local flight, canoe, train, boat, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except in the jungle and on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while in the jungle, during homestay and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPJML

cut out the jungle Relax in Cuzco on days 14-15 21 days fr £1,239 Tour Code: GAPXML GO IN REVERSE La Paz - Lima fr £1,649 Tour Code: GABJLM

peru

• Lima

Amazon Jungle •

Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Pisco • • Cuzco Nazca • • Puno Colca Canyon • Arequipa • La Paz •

bolivia

Days 10-13: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Its time to make (personal) history as you head up to Km 82 and start the hike of dreams. You’ll cover around 25 miles, and 3 high passes. The big cheese is known as Dead Woman’s Pass, standing at a height of 4200m (oh yes, over 4km up into the sky). There’s a lot of fun to be had on the way, and you’ll be merrily singing ‘she’ll be coming round the mountain’ in no time at all. On the final day head up in the dark to the ‘Sun Gate’ to catch the sunrise over the Machu Picchu site: enchanting and epic. Wander around with your guide before heading back to Cuzco for the night to rest, shower and celebrate. (3B, 3L, 3D) Days 14-15: Amazon Jungle Amazin’ adventure time. Fly up to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Basin and head out with your guide to explore and explore some more. Travel to the lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area and witness a feathered friend or two in this area famed for the most bird sightings ever. Not bad eh? Strip nature down to its most naked form. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 16: Cuzco Canoe out of the jungle and fly back Cuzco way. Day 17: Puno Cameras and soul-searching novels at the ready for a full day’s travel through the epic Altiplano. Days 18-19: Lake Titicaca From Puno you’ll boat out on to the vast expanse of water that is Lake Titicaca – stopping first at Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant before heading over to Amantani for a spectacular sunset (fingers crossed) and homestay with your Peruvian panpipe-playing parents (don't worry some of them play the drums instead). Catch some rays on the boat the following morning before arriving at the floating Uros Islands where the locals will make you look and feel quite at home. (B, L, D) Day 20: La Paz Cross into Bolivia and climb to La Paz. These days La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (The City of Our Lady of Peace) is more happy hustle and bustle than the quiet town it once was. Try the Witches’ Markets for unanticiapted bargains. Day 21: Depart La Paz That’s all folks. For this time around anyway…


27

15 DAYS, £1,329 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

highlands & amazon adventure no local payment!

Lima - LA paz Stimulate every happy hormone in your body and lose yourself in awe struck wonder as you experience some of Latin America’s most thrilling highlights. Amazonian expeditions, ancient Inca treks and a cruise through a mystical world of floating islands – all pored in a big bubbling pot and spiced with a dash of tongue tingling South American sex appeal. No longer will your bar-room anecdotes revolve around what you watched on telly the night before – or how many chipolata sausages you can eat in under a minute while standing on your head. Beguile your close friends, family and prospective lovers with stories that’ll have them denouncing you as a downright liar – encounters with jungle tribes and amazing wildlife, epiphinal sunrises and sunsets over ethereal landscapes and a constant barrage of the world’s finest scenery. Over 15 days you’ll journey from Peru into Bolivia, the home of Paddington Bear to the home of the highest capital city in the world, La Paz. Make the clever decision to jump on this trip, and you’ll truly never be the same person again. highlights • Experience the Sacred Valley • Explore the Amazon Jungle • Trek the Inca Trail • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu • Cruise across Lake Titicaca • Inhale the dizzying air of La Paz • Check out the ancient sights of Cuzco • Visit the ruins of Tiahuanaco

Day 1: Arrive Lima Arrive into Peru’s capital. Get out and about on the colourful, colonial streets. Days 2-3: Amazon Jungle Fly from the high Andes to Puerto Maldonado, deep in the Amazon lowlands. Travel by motorized canoe to a lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Explore the jungle with the expert local guides and learn about the area’s rich flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for Harpy Eagles, tapirs, jaguars, ocelots and other weird and wonderful indigenous animals. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 4: Cuzco Steeped in history, tradition and legend, Cuzco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture. Inca-built stone walls line most of the streets and you don’t have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. Day 5: Ollantaytambo Travel with your local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas - a lush agricultural region that continues to supply Cuzco with much of its produce. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market. The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Catch your breath and prepare for the hike ahead.

Days 6-9: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Travel this morning to Km 82 and begin a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free, and fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike as you move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. (4B, 3L, 3D) Day 10: Cuzco A free day to relax, shop and explore the sights and sounds of Cuzco. Days 11-12: Puno / Lake Titicaca Enjoy spectacular views of the countryside on a full day of travel from Cuzco to Puno. The next morning head out by boat across Lake Titicaca for a visit to the floating reed islands. You’ll stop at various islands to enjoy the lake’s scenic splendour and meet the friendly local people. Day 13: Puno / La Paz Journey along the shores of Lake Titicaca and through mountains on the scenic trip to the highest capital city in the world - La Paz, Bolivia. Day 14: Tiahuanaco / La Paz Spend most of the day visiting the mysterious ruins of the Tiahuanaco people - a cradle of Inca civilization. Return to La Paz in the evening. Day 15: Depart La Paz Your adventure finishes - leave at any time.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 23 FEB 13 MAR 06 MAR 27

FINISH JAN 16 FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 20 APR 04

START APR 17 MAY 08 MAY 29 JUN 19 JUL 10 JUL 31

FINISH MAY 01 MAY 22 JUN 12 JUL 03 JUL 24 AUG 14

START AUG 21 SEP 11 OCT 02 OCT 23 NOV 13 DEC 04

FINISH SEP 04 SEP 25 OCT 16 NOV 16 NOV 27 DEC 18

START DEC 25 2011 JAN 15 FEB 05 FEB 26 MAR 19

FINISH JAN 08 JAN 29 FEB 19 MAR 12 APR 02

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flight, train, boat, canoe Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while in the jungle and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPHML

peru

• Lima

Amazon Jungle •

Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno

bolivia

La Paz •

Go in reverse La Paz - Lima fr £1,329 Tour Code: GABHLM stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53. stay longer in la paz Check out page 60.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


28

andean discovery 21 DAYS, £1,129 fr

no local payment!

Lima - La Paz Active, awe-inspiring and absolutely amazing pretty much sums up the Andean discovery. You’ll be hopping on all forms of transport, treking up hills, and checking out some truly breath-taking scenery during 21 stupendous days. Get back to nature on the once-in-a-lifetime Inca Trail hike, witness some wacky wildlife, hang out with the locals and make some life-long bonds with your new hiking buddies - Maria style ‘the hills are alive’ singing purely optional. This is also your chance to look ravishing in the season’s musthave item(s) – Alpaca woolly hats/jumpers/socks/ knitted finger puppets/gloves/scarves…you get the idea. A truly do something different tour, this has to be way up there (about 4000m in parts) on the ultimate list of destinations. highlights • Live it up in Lima • Stay with a Peruvian family • Sail the world’s highest navigable lake • Get colonial in Cuzco • Discover hidden ancient Inca ruins • Catch sunrise over Machu Picchu • Watch condors in the Colca Canyon • Grow your love for Llamas • Float on magical Uros Islands • People watch in La Paz Day 1: Lima Arrive, relax and explore. Days 2-4: Pisco / nazca Nazca is home to some rather bizarre but fascinating lines or geoglyphs drawn in to the desert on vast scales. Some resemble animals – ranging amongst other things from hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and fish (time to turn on your creative imaginations). Fertility symbols, giant astronomical calendars and spaceship landing areas are just some of the varied explanations for their existence. Hop on the optional flight to see what you think, and then unwind with a perfect Pisco Sour in Pisco. Head out to the Ballestas Islands the next day for an optional tour to see some crazy wildlife then settle in for the night on a bus to Arequipa. Days 5-8: Arequipa / colca canyon Arequipa is also known as ‘the White City’ due to the light coloured volcanic rock that it’s built on. Marvel at El Misti volcano before setting off to the Colca Canyon the next day. Stay overnight in Chivay and see how many llamas you can count on the way. Look out for awesome Andean Condors floating through the canyon - amazing!

Days 9-11: Cuzco / Ollantaytambo Journey up to Cuzco, one of Peru’s most attractive cities - yeah, we take you to all the best places! Optional wild activities around town include river rafting, mountain biking and horse-riding. There are also some great museums, churches and Inca sites to check out. Head up the hill to Sacasayhuaman - pronounced Sexy Woman, or mill around the markets. Stay overnight in Ollantaytambo – a major Inca ruin site that’ll sufficiently whet your appetite for the Inca Trail. Its impressive steep terraces are ideal for getting lost in, either physically or deep in thought as you try to fathom just how it all managed to get there in the first place…hmmm. Optional tours through the Sacred Valley are also available. Days 12-16: INCA TRAIL It's time to make (personal) history as you head up to Km 82 and begin your once-in-alifetime journey. Over the next few days you’ll cover around 25 miles, crossing no less than 3 high passes. The big cheese is known as Dead Woman’s Pass, standing at 4200m - oh yes, over 4km up into the sky. But there’s a lorra lorra fun to be had on the way, and with a whole team of dedicated stuff-carting porters plus a cheery guide you’ll be merrily singing ‘she’ll be coming round the mountain’ in no time. On the final day you’d better hope you've still got camera battery as you head up to the ‘Sun Gate’ for sunrise over Machu Picchu - enchanting and epic! Wander around with your guide before heading back to Cuzco to rest, shower and celebrate. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 17-19: puno / lake titicaca A jam-packed few days of fun up in the Altiplano region of Peru. Boat out from Puno onto the vast expanse of water that is Lake Titicaca – stopping first at Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant. Take in the extensive blue views before heading over to the island of Amantani where you'll be greeted by your new and improved panpipe-playing Peruvian parents. Witness a spectacular sunset, marvel at the starry sky and enjoy a traditional evening of dinner and dancing. The next morning catch some rays on the boat before arriving at the enthralling floating Uros Islands where the locals will make you look and feel quite at home. Sail back to Puno for a last night of lip-smacking fun. Day 20: La paz Cross the border to Bolivia and climb up to La Paz – the highest city in the world. These days, La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (The City of Our Lady of Peace) is more happy hustle and bustle than the quiet town it once was. Check out the Witches’ Markets and you might get more than you bargained for. Day 21: Depart La paz Depart anytime you want. We like it like that.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 11 JAN 28 FEB 08 FEB 25 MAR 06 MAR 15 MAR 25 APR 05 APR 12 APR 20 APR 27 APR 30

FINISH JAN 31 FEB 17 FEB 28 MAR 17 MAR 26 APR 04 APR 14 APR 25 MAY 02 MAY 10 MAY 17 MAY 20

START MAY 12 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 06 JUN 13 JUN 22 JUL 06 JUL 20 AUG 03 AUG 10 AUG 16 AUG 28 SEP 11

FINISH JUN 01 JUN 11 JUN 18 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 12 JUL 26 AUG 09 AUG 23 AUG 30 SEP 05 SEP 17 OCT 01

START SEP 15 SEP 20 OCT 04 OCT 18 OCT 23 NOV 01 NOV 14 NOV 25 DEC 04 DEC 12 DEC 19 DEC 26

FINISH OCT 05 OCT 10 OCT 24 NOV 07 NOV 12 NOV 21 DEC 04 DEC 15 DEC 24 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 15

START 2011 JAN 03 JAN 09 JAN 20 JAN 28 FEB 07 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 23 JAN 29 FEB 09 FEB 17 FEB 27 MAR 11 MAR 18 APR 01 APR 08 APR 15

Accommodation: Simple hotels (15 nts), buses (1 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, train, local flight, hiking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals while hiking the Inca Trail and homestay Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAJML

GO IN REVERSE La Paz to Lima fr £1,129 Tour Code: GAJLM see more of bolivia & chile 'The Atacama Crossing' - check out page 96.

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • Nazca • Arequipa •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno

bolivia

• La Paz


29

15 DAYS, £1,039 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

inca empire no local payment!

Lima - LA paz So who were these Incas dudes anyway? Pretty clever chaps as it turns out - evidently peppering their prowess all over Peru, just like a wellseasoned pizza. In a flurry of epic engineering, monstrous mathematical genius and downright dynamic management skills, they’d blow any modern graduate scheme applicant right out of the water. Question: 'List one major personal achievement and describe how you did it.' Inca response: 'Hmm…formed part of the greatest empire known on the whole continent and from 1438 to 1533 used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America.' Not bad eh? It kind of says it all. But, whatever: roll up and have some fun, gain some inspiration, and rock on home feeling enlivened and invincible. Get to know these old-time legends and some modern-day ones too on your own bit of conquered South American perfection.

Day 4: Ollantaytambo Forget your fear of fluffy furry friends on your way through the Sacred Valley – you’ll meet llamas, alpacas and vicuñas a plenty. Discover other hidden gems too as you weave along the river, arriving into the pretty picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. You’ll stop at interesting Inca sites, whetting your appetite for The Trail, and marvelling at just how darn clever these people really were. Your guide will talk you through the steep terrace system and the impressive fortress before you head out for dinner en groupe. Fascinating, and a hide and seek fan’s dream.

Day 1: Arrive Lima Land into Lima and lap up some Limeño lifestyle.

Days 5-8: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu At Km 82 ‘we have lift off’. But although the porters have quasi-supersonic powers for speeding on ahead of you with their superhuman strength, you'll will take it slow, soaking up the atmosphere and pausing to check out the Inca sites along the way. Rolling into camp each night you’ll be greeted by some truly exceptional grub, considering you’re almost 4km up into the sky! Arrive chins-on-ground at the Sun Gate on your last day for a (fingers crossed) spectacular sunrise over magical Machu Picchu as the morning mist fades. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 2-3: Cuzco Fly over the soaring Andes into pretty Cuzco. Wander the well-worn cobblestone streets, poke your nose into the churches and marvel at the magnificent museums and markets. Get into the Inca spirit with some roast guinea pig, potatoes and your new favourite beverage - coca tea.

Day 9: Cuzco Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets so you don't have to go far to check out more ruins. It’s a real mans world - proven by aptly named 'Sexy Woman' – go, scuttle, flee: have a look. Or if she's too hot to handle, head out on a biking, horseriding or rafting trip.

highlights • Live it up in Lima • Get colonial in corking Cuzco • Trek the iconic Inca Trail • Explore ancient ruins • Marvel at Machu Picchu's majesty • Sail atop Lake Titicaca • Relax on floating Uros Islands • Lap up La Paz’s atmosphere at altitude

Day 10: Puno Cameras at the ready for a full day’s travel (and probably a bit of a sleep) to Puno, up through the Altiplano region. Days 11-12: Lake Titicaca / Taquile Island Join your touring buddies on a boat trip across Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest most navigable water mass. Visit Taquile island to meet and eat with the local people while floating on the magnificent islands of Uros. Cosy in for the night with your new Peruvian family at a homestay. Look, feel and live the part. (L, B, D) Day 13: La Paz Road trip! Climb to the world’s highest capital, La Paz. Snake around the shores of Lake Titicaca and up on through steep mountains. Arrive in La Paz and check out the hustle and bustle of the markets - great for last minute souvenirs, people watching and realising how unfit you are: altitude overload! Day 14: Tiahuanaco / La Paz The mysterious Tiahuanaco people constructed a great ceremonial centre on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca over 1000 years ago. Spend most of the day visiting these fantastic ruins and play detective as you try to unravel the ancient mysteries for yourselves. Oo-er. Day 15: Depart La Paz Get on down from up high - say ciao for now, see ya later and ba-bye.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 23 FEB 13 MAR 06 MAR 27 APR 17

FINISH JAN 16 FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 20 APR 10 MAY 01

START MAY 08 MAY 29 JUN 19 JUL 10 JUL 31 AUG 21 SEP 11

FINISH MAY 22 JUN 12 JUL 03 JUL 24 AUG 14 SEP 04 SEP 25

START OCT 02 OCT 23 NOV 13 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 25

FINISH OCT 16 NOV 06 NOV 27 DEC 11 DEC 18 JAN 08

START 2011 JAN 15 FEB 05 FEB 26 MAR 19

FINISH JAN 29 FEB 19 MAR 12 APR 02

Accommodation: Hotels (10 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, local flight, train, boat, ferry, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while hiking the Inca Trail and during homestay Budget: Allow USD220 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPIML

go In reverse La Paz - Lima fr £1,039 Tour Code: GABILM

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno

bolivia

• La Paz

stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


30

andean empire 36 DAYS, £1,739 fr

no local payment!

La Paz - Quito Five fantastic weeks, the potential for an infinite number of epic adventures and not a moment wasted. Hop, skip and jump your way to enlightened South American bliss and unravel the inner Andean spirit that is so intrinsic to the people that live here and their ways of life. From boggling Bolivian landscapes through magnificent Peru on a trail of Inca embellishment you’ll find your way up to quirky Quito and equator-straddling Amazonic Ecuador. The Andes form the world’s longest exposed mountain range, and the highest mountain range outside of Asia so be prepared for getting high and mighty as you top heights of up to 4000m on the Inca Trail alone. Views are quite literally breath-taking with the added altitude that’ll set even the fittest (granted, you’re all beautiful, but we mean physically fit) huffing and puffing. Nothing a good cup of coca tea won’t sort out though. Phewf. Get tropical in the jungle and be prepared for some serious jaw-dropping, camera lens-smashing, rip-roaring landscape as you scuttle up, over and around the dizzy heights. Let’s face it – if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up waaay too much room. Hop to it hombre! Highlights • People-watch in La Paz • Take to the water on Lake Titicaca • Stay with a Peruvian family • Float on majestic Uros Islands • Hike the unforgettable Inca Trail • Marvel at magnificent Machu Picchu • Explore the depths of the Colca Canyon • Fly up over the Nazca lines • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Eat seafood and ceviche in Lima • Catch some rays on Peru’s Pacific coast • Cruise colonial Cuenca • Amble around the Amazon • Kick back in quirky Quito

Day 1: arrive La Paz Arrive into La Paz at any time. Chillax to the max as you acclimatise and ponder over whether a welcome beverage combined with altitude will hinder rather than help your quest to become more of a quite literally breath-taking Bolivian babe. Take an optional trip to Tiahuanaco ruins or the Valley of the Moon. Days 2-4: Puno Travel through the Altiplano and pull into Puno. Embark on a float-your-boat type trip to Uros, Amantani and Taquile islands. Immerse yourself in Peruvian rural life with a small local village homestay. Great potential for fun times a plenty and hopefully an awesome sunset or two. Deliberately forget your torch for added hilarity. Days 5-12: Cuzco / Ollantaytambo / Inca Trail Head up, over and out on Operation Andean Alpaca through dramatic landscapes and into Cuzco - the capital of the Inca Empire. Check out the markets, poke your nose into the museums and grab dinner a la roast guinea pig (yes really) before you reach the tongue twister town of Ollantaytambo and leap off into the sunset on your first day of the Inca Trail. Chortle with your fellow campers on a trek to rival all others – hiking magnificent mountains, crossing Dead Woman’s Pass on Day 2, skipping (well, perhaps not quite) along the trail and taking in Inca ruins as you go. Make sure you save your camera batteries for the last day and an epic (fingers crossed) sunrise to end all sunrises over the enchanting and mystical Machu Picchu. Watch the morning mists subside - you've made it! Head back to Cuzco for some deserved revellry and head out river rafting, canoeing, horse-riding or other adrenaline-packed activities - if you think you can handle it. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 13-17: Arequipa / Colca Canyon Travel through the desert-like terrain playing "I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with V..icuña" - Larry the llama’s distant cousin. Arrive into Chivay for a hot soak in the thermal baths and a jolly bit of Peruvian music. Acclimatise and take a short hike around one of the deepest canyons in the world. Look out for the amazing soaring condors whose wingspans reach up to 10ft. Not the best time to wear your dead cattle or deer costume then…erm, no. Nightbus it to Nazca on Day 17. Days 18-19: Nazca / Pisco Nazca is home to some rather bizarre but fascinating lines or geoglyphs drawn in to the desert on vast scales. Some resemble animals – ranging amongst other things from hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and fish - time to turn on those creative imaginations! Fertility symbols, giant astronomical calendars and spaceship landing areas are just some of the varied explanations for their existence. Hop on the optional flight to see what you think, and then unwind with a perfectly Peruvian Pisco Sour in Pisco. Head out to the Ballestas Islands the next day for an optional tour to see some crazy wildlife then settle in for the night on a bus as you make your way up the coast to Lima. Days 20-22: Lima Lap up Lima’s Limeño (the name given to locals from Lima) lifestyle, chic café culture and nutty nightlife. Check out the changing of the guards and the cathedral's corking catacombs. Dine like royalty in a metropolis otherwise known as the 'City of Kings' - try ceviche - a yummy citrus marinated seafood dish. Paraglide over the coast and get mushy under the huge snogging statue in the Parque del Amor (Love Park) – not for the faint hearted…no pun intended!


31

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Days 23-26: Huanchaco / Mancora Hit the city of Trujillo as you head north from Lima along the coast. The city is known for the nearby Chan-Chan ruins and the beach resort town of Huanchaco – your hat resting spot for the evening. Enjoy a deserved day of chilled out sun worshipping with your inflatable baby alpaca (just kidding) in Mancora before heading north across the border. Days 27-28: Cuenca Enter Ecuador! And cruise into Cuenca - a laidback colonial and cultural gem brimming with gripping galleries and mesmerising museums. Jaunt to the Cajas National Park and the ruins of Ingapirca on optional day trips outta town. Days 29-30: Baños A happy hikers heaven! And a great place for other hair-raising activities like mountain biking, horseriding and rafting thanks to its good climate. Enjoy a heavenly dip in the hot springs and relax in anticipation of your imminent jungle-tastic adventure over the next few days.

Days 31-33: Amazon Jungle Homestay In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the [insert new favourite South American animal here] sleeps toniiiight. Yep, you’ll have this song in your head for more than a few days, or alternatively Baloo Bear’s ‘I’m the king of the jungle’ well-known jingo jango. Motor up the edge of the Amazon in a canoe to a local homestay and get out and about witnessing amazing wildlife - armadillos, honey bears, sloths, 60 varieties of bats, tapirs, peccaries, jaguars, monkeys, manatees and oh so much more. There’s basically a whole darn Noah’s Ark out there for you to go crazy over. Amazing! Not forgetting the 1000+ species of birds and 500 species of tree native to this vast area. Monkey around to your heart's content but remember kidnapping is strictly prohibited, no matter how cute they all are - pocket-sized furry friends included. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 34-35: Quito Wander this exciting capital city - explore the countryside in and around this urban jungle. In 1978 UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site, giving it a gorgeous colonial vibe, rich in history and aesthetically easy on the eye. Honk with the horns and breathe in the sights from up on El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf' - a prime viewing spot for surrounding mountains and volcano peaks if you’re geographically so inclined. End the trip of all trips with a brilliant night out crammed to exploding point with fun in the salsotecas, dance clubs and bars that spill out onto the streets. Lick your lips over the local dishes and toast the past five weeks with a celebratory cocktail or two. Wahooo! Day 36: Depart Quito It’s been emotional. Armed with hilarious stories a plenty and many a random souvenir leave town smiling, insightlful and inspired - you’ve just had the indisputable pleasure of visiting a truly beautiful, rich and diverse, maginificent part of the world. Hooray.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 11 JAN 28 FEB 08 FEB 25 MAR 15 APR 05 APR 20

FINISH FEB 15 MAR 04 MAR 15 APR 01 APR 19 MAY 10 MAY 25

START MAY 12 JUN 06 JUN 13 JUN 22 JUL 20 AUG 03 AUG 10 AUG 28

FINISH JUN 16 JUL 11 JUL 18 JUL 27 AUG 24 SEP 07 SEP 14 OCT 02

START OCT 04 OCT 18 NOV 01 NOV 14 NOV 25 DEC 12 DEC 26

FINISH NOV 08 NOV 22 DEC 06 DEC 19 DEC 30 JAN 16 JAN 30

START 2011 JAN 09 JAN 20 JAN 28 FEB 07 FEB 26 MAR 12 MAR 26

FINISH FEB 13 FEB 24 MAR 04 MAR 14 APR 02 APR 16 APR 30

Accommodation: Simple hotels (25 nts), buses (3 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (3 nts), homestay (1 nt) Note: Accommodation can be quite basic/multi-share at times Transport: Public bus, train, local flight, hiking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals while at the jungle lodge, hiking the Inca Trail and homestay Budget: Allow USD650 for meals not included Tour Code: GAJLQ

stay longer in LA PAZ Check out page 60. stay longer in quito Check out page 68.

Quito •

Do it your way

• Amazon • Baños • Cuenca

go in reverse

• Tumbes • Mancora

QUITO - LA PAZ fr £1,739 Tour Code: GAJQL

peru

start or finish in lima lima - quito 16 days fr £799 Tour Code: GAJMQ

• Trujillo

bolivia

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Pisco Nazca • Calca Canyon • Arequipa •

QUITO - LIMA 16 days fr £799 Tour Code: GAJQM

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno La Paz •

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


32

altiplano & amazon 31 DAYS, £2,239 fr

no local payment!

lima - La Paz As diverse as an oversized, kilt wearing chiwawa, idly strolling across the M1 during rush hour while listening to punk music on his ipod – this fantastic 31 day adventure mixes up geographical, ecological and cultural diversity in a huge multi-coloured cement mixer. Kicking off amongst the elegant architecture of Lima and finishing up on the high altitude streets of La Paz - you’ll experience the mesmerising mysticism of the Nazca Lines, the energy sapping, stress busting wonderment of the Inca Trail, the surreal ambience and peaceful communities of Lake Titicaca and the absurdly beautiful and eerily isolated salt flats of Salar Uyuni. Be warned – those who expect to return home ready to throw away their rucksack, buy an estate car, give birth to two kids, start reading the Daily Mail and begin planning their annual holidays to the South of France – think again! This adventure will inspire an insatiable desire to further explore, discover and experience this wonderful world of ours. highlights • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Explore Nazca and a Pre-Incan cemetery • Check out the condors of Colca Canyon • Explore the Sacred Valley • Trek the Inca Trail and ramble over ruins • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu • Explore the Amazon Jungle • Cruise across Lake Titicaca • Inhale the dizzying air of La Paz • Stand awe-struck on the Salar de Uyuni • Learn about Potosi’s mining traditions • Absorb the intoxicating history of Sucre

Day 1: Arrive Lima Arrive at any time - meet your new mates and get out and about on the manic streets of Lima. Day 2: Pisco Take the morning to explore more of Lima before hopping on a bus for a short trip down the coast to Pisco. Walk the town’s lively peatonal (pedestrian avenue) and find a café to sample some Peruvian food, such as ceviche or papa a la huancaina (potatoes with a chilli cheese sauce). Days 3-4: Nazca Arise early if you fancy an optional boat trip to the wildlife abundant Ballestas Islands. Later on you’ll catch a bus, stopping at the huge sand dunes around the colonial town of Ica on your way to one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. The amazing depictions of birds, insects and animals are only truly recognisable from the air - an optional light aircraft trip is easily arranged. On Day 5 you’ll take a tour of the ancient Pre-Inca desert cemetery of Chachiia - with 1500 year old mummies and bones! That evening you’ll jump on the night bus to Arequipa. Day 5: Arequipa 2325m above sea level, Peru’s second-largest city is surrounded by the Andes mountains and lies in the shadow of El Misti Volcano. Sit back in one of the many cafes and enjoy the laid back atmosphere and colonial charms.

Days 6-7: Colca Canyon / Arequipa Enroute to Colca Canyon, you’ll stop at the picturesque village of Chivay, where you can take a dip in the hot thermal baths, watch live Andean music at a peña or go for a llama steak. Upon arrival at Colca Canyon - acclimatise to the altitude by taking a short hike through the stunning landscapes. Take a tour; check out fascinating villages and stop at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where you can spot Andean Condors soaring over the majestic mountains. You’ll return to Arequipa for the night of Day 7. Day 8: Cuzco Fly to Cuzco, the hub of the South American travel network, and a city steeped in history, tradition and legend. Day 9: Ollantaytambo Travel with the local guide through the Sacred Valley and visit ancient Incan sites, including the picturesque town and ruins of Ollantaytambo. Days 10-13: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Travel this morning to Km 82 and begin a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free, and fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike as you move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. Return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, before transferring by van to Cuzco on Day 13. (3B, 3L, 3D)


33

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Days 14-15: Amazon Jungle Fly from the high Andes to Puerto Maldonado, deep in the Amazon lowlands. Travel by motorised canoe to a lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Explore the jungle with the expert local guides and learn about the area’s rich flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for Harpy Eagles, tapirs, jaguars, ocelots and other weird and wonderful indigenous animals. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 16: Cuzco Return to Puerto Maldonado and fly to Cuzco. Take advantage of outdoor activities such as rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking. Day 17: Puno Enjoy spectacular views as you travel from Cuzco to Puno through the high Altiplano region. Days 18-19: Lake Titicaca Take a boat trip to the Taquile, Amantani and Uros Islands, followed by an overnight stay in a small village with a local family. Interact and learn about some amazing cultures. (B, L, D)

Days 20-21: La Paz Journey along the shores of Lake Titicaca to La Paz, Bolivia. Relax and take some free time to explore the highest capital city in the world in the afternoon. Highlights include museums and local markets. Check out the Tiahuanaco ruins, the Valley of the Moon, or Chacaltaya, the highest ski resort in the world.

day 26: Potosí The highest city of its size in the world, Potsoi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 in recognition of its tragic history as a silver mining centre during the time of Spanish colonization. Take an option to descend into a working mine for a close-up look at methods unchanged in decades, if not centuries.

Day 22: Uyuni Take a bus/train trip to Uyuni. Check out the town’s major attraction - The Train Cemetery.

Days 27-29: Sucre Bolivia’s official captial, Sucre oozes historical fascination. Spend your time exploring the fine museums and colonial buildings. Optional activities include a visit to dinosaur footprints, an old tin baron’s mansion, a textile cooperative, mountain biking and hiking.

Day 23-25: Uyuni / Salt Lakes Excursion The next three days are spent exploring the stunning, isolated landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and Chile’s Atacama Desert by 4WD. Piercing blue skies contrast with blinding white salt as you drive across the flat lakebed. Absorb stunning views of the salt-encrusted lakebed surrounded by golden-hued mountains, snowcapped peaks and an endless azure horizon. The numerous geysers, boiling mud pools, thermal baths and Licancabúr volcano, which looms just behind the lagoon, stunningly showcases the region’s volcanic activity. (2B, 3L, 2D)

Day 30: La Paz Transfer to the airport for the flight to La Paz. Soak up the bustling street life one last time. Day 31: Depart La Paz Your adventure finishes up in La Paz. Say farewell to all your travelling buddies.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

Do it your way

TUE, FRI FRI

Accommodation: Hotels (may be multi-share) (22 nts), night buses (2 nts), homestay (1 nt), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts) Transport: Local flights, 4WD vehicles, hiking, public bus, train, boat Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader day 1-30, local rep in La Paz (except in the jungle), local guides Meals: All meals while on the Uyuni Salt Flats excursion, on the Inca Trail, in jungle, and during homestay Budget: Allow USD360 for meals not included Tour Code: GASJML

STAY LONGER IN LIMA

peru

• Amazon • Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Pisco • • Cuzco • Nazca bolivia Puno • Colca Canyon • • La Paz Arequipa •

Check out pages 52-53.

STAY LONGER IN LA PAZ Check out page 60.

• Sucre

go in reverse

LA PAZ - LIMA fr £2,239

Tour Code: GASJLM

cut out the jungle

Relax in cuzco on days 14-15 fr £1,819 Tour Code: GASXML

Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes •

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


34

Iquitos / Amazon • Tarapoto •

peru

• Puerto Maldonado / Amazon

• Lima Machu Picchu • Pisco •

• Nazca

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco Puno •

Currency: Nuevo sole Time Zone: gmt - 5 Price of a beer: 90p Population: 28 MILLION Area: 5 x UK

Colca Canyon • Arequipa •

peru My favourite experience

Nothing stopped me in my tracks more than the incredible beauty and tranquillity of the floating Uros Islands. I couldn’t believe it. The stillest, most awe-inspiring island populated by locals who go about their daily lives surprisingly complete with internet and solar panels - yet without the horrible stress of city life. A floating oasis of perfect serenity in the middle of the biggest lake you’ve ever seen. Amazing!... Sophie, Stamford

The Weather The best time to visit is between April and September when the sunshine hours last longer and the rain stays off. Temperatures drop overnight during these months however - particularly up around Cuzco. You'll also be more than aware of the altitude effects once you pass 3000m or 10,000ft so leave a day or so to acclimatize. Local Grub Weird and wonderful nosh is everywhere. Be sure to try a couple of the 4000 potato varieties that are grown here alone and tuck into tasty roast Cuy - or Guinea Pig as it's more commonly known. Savour delicious Ceviche - a citrus marinated seafood dish - great for dipping tortilla chips into. And don't forget about luscious llama steaks, cusqueña beer, inca kola (it tastes like bubblegum), unavoidable coca tea and refreshing Pisco Sour. cocktails - made for great times.

Useful Info Spanish, is the first language of 83.9% of Peruvians age 5 and older. Several other indigenous languages coexist, the most important of which is Quechua, spoken by 13.2% of the population Useless Info The origin of the name Titicaca is unknown. It has been translated as "Rock Puma", allegedly because of its resemblance to the shape of a puma hunting a rabbit, combining words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara. It is also translated as "Crag of Lead." try before you fly 'Eight feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule in Unknown Peru' by Dervla Murphy follows herself, her 9yr old daughter and a mule who clamber the length of Peru. Their appreciation for scenery, people and the sheer enjoyment of the journey will surely inspire you.


35

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

absolute peru 21 DAYS, £1,499 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: lima A little like the vodka, without the Swedish parentage, Absolute Peru is just the ticket if you’re heading for Absolute Perfection when visiting this great country. Seize the chance to trek the Inca Trail for one of those truly "unmissable", "must-do", "tell-the-grandkids one day" style of adventures. Meet some great like-minded, highly attractive (those walking boots are a winner), fellow camping buds on the various exceptionally exciting activities we have in store for you. Get involved in the local lifestyle at a family homestay, pet an alpaca, paraglide over Lima and sing your Baloo-bear heart out up in the jungle. Overall an awesome in-depth trip, taking in the brightest and best bits that Peru has to offer. In fact, you’d be raving bonkers to miss out. So what are you waiting for? • • • • • • • • • •

Trek the Inca Trail Boggle over epic Andean views Spot Condors deep in the Colca Canyon Sail the world’s highest navigable lake. Watch wildlife on the Islas Ballestas Stay with your very own Peruvian family Get jungle fever in the amazin’ Amazon Float away on Uros Islands Try local Peruvian cuisine Soak away stresses in hot thermal baths

Day 1: Arrive lima Arrive, relax, explore and explore some more. Day 2: pisco Roam round Lima before catching a bus to Pisco, home of ingenious invention the Pisco Sour. Days 3-4: nazca Wildlife wackos will love boating out to the Ballestas Islands for a chance to catch sea lions, penguins and bird-life galore. Then get your fun hats on for an optional bit of sandboarding on the Huacachina sand dunes. Zoom up into the sky on a plane over the mysterious Nazca lines (optional). You’ll also visit a fascinating Pre-Inca cemetery in the Nazca desert with 1500 yearold mummies, bones and pottery. Spooky!

Day 5: arequipa Peru’s second largest colonial city. Surrounded by Andean mountains and El Misti Volcano completing a backdrop close to perfection. Beautiful at sunset. Culture vultures will enjoy the brightly coloured Santa Catalina Monastery. Days 6-7: colca canyon Travel through the desert-like terrain playing "I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with V..icuña" (a relative of the llama). Arrive into Chivay for a hot soak in the thermal baths and a bit of jolly Peruvian music. Look out for the amazing soaring Condors in one of the deepest canyons in the world. Days 8-10: puno / lake titicaca Hop on a bus to Puno, gateway to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Visit Uros, Amantani and Taquile Islands before settling in for the night with your new Peruvian family. Watch the starlit sky. (B, L, D) Days: 11-12: cuzco Chug up to Cuzco through the pretty Peruvian landscape. Visit the impressive churches, wander round the pretty cobbled streets and hit the authentic market – just don’t go crazy now!

Days 13-16: inca trail Km 82 marks your once in a lifetime journey launch pad. Over the next few days you’ll cover some spectacular scenery, learn some great facts-of-the-day and bring the Incas to life. You’ll be 100% mesmerised not only by the views but by your team of local porters who’ll race on one step ahead, ready to greet you later with a cup of coca tea and full-on meal as you trudge your weary feet into camp - legends. Arrive astounded into Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate at dawn on your last day before heading back to Cuzco to celebrate. (3B, 3L, 3D) Day 17: cuzco Rest, repose and relaxation. Oh yes. Days 18-20: amazon jungle Fly up up and away to Puerto Maldonado, deep into the lowlands of the Amazon Jungle. A motorised canoe will whisk you along the river to the Tambopata Rainforest. It holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Jolly around in the jungle with local guides then fly back to Lima. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 21: depart lima Recover from your last night and say toodlepip.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - APR MAY - SEP OCT - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

WED, SAT MON, WED, SAT WED, SAT

peru

WED, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (4 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Local flight, train, van, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPHPT

CUT OUT THE HIKE 'Highlights of Peru' 21 days fr £1,499 Tour Code: GAPHP

• Amazon

• Lima Machu Picchu • Pisco •

• Ollantaytambo

• Cuzco Puno • Colca Canyon • Arequipa • • Nazca

stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53. STAY LONGER iN cuzco Check out page 54.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


36

trek peru Peru is one of the best places in the world to seek out some serious trekking experiences. We feature the awesome Inca Trail, and three other outstanding ways to get out about in the Andes. inca trail Like a long line of crumbs that lead beady eyes to the cookie jar, the Inca trail is an epic once-in-a-lifetime adventure that culminates in the enchanting and mysterious Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu. It’s a destination featuring on most "do before I die" lists and it’s not difficult to see why. In its 26 miles, it manages to combine jaw-dropping mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle, a stunning mix of Inca ruins, and some beautiful flora and fauna. You won’t rush to the finish line either. We let you take your time, inhale the awesome views and tread each step with a reinforced appreciation of nature, the world and life.

lares trek Get off the well worn trail and get treking in some very remote areas. This three day option takes you through the Sacred Valley with views of the snow-capped Cordillera - finishing with a spectacular train ride and tour of Machu Picchu. choquequirao Follow the Apurimac Canyon and hike through seldom-visited wilderness in the shadow of awe-inspiring mountains. This challenging, yet extremely rewarding five day pilgrimage takes you to the Inca fortress of Choquequirao. don't fancy the hike? take a train! Sail through the stunning Sacred Valley on a comfortable train ride on your way to Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu. See page 38 for more details on these trips.

What you need to book.. • Full name (exactly as it is on your passport) • Date of birth • Passport number • Nationality • Date of passport expiry • A smile and set of pearly whites • A love of the great outdoors, hurrah! book early! As a way to preserve the ancient trail and site of Machu Picchu, the Peruvian government has strict regulations governing the flow of travellers, so its best to book early - we recommend at least three months in advance. Reservations cannot be held on the trail and all permits must be bought as far as possible in advance with complete and correct passport info. Modifications cannot be made. Chancachaca 3,400m

Wacawasi 3,800m

anch

a

Sondor

Rio

Pata c

Aguas Calientes • mba

Inti Punku Sun Gate

Chilca KM82

2,700m

3,450m

2,700m

ma yo

Ollantaytambo

Llactapata

Rio

Pac a

Chachabamba Winay Wayna

2,850m

Rio

Uru

bam

ba

Cus

tch a

ca

Inca Steps

Marcacocha 3,400m

2,600m

2,400m

4,520m

Hatunwayqo Pumamarca

ruba

Rio U

Bus to Ruins Machu Picchu

4,220m

Wayruruyoc Pass

Wacawasi Pass

Phuyupatamarca

Rio

3,600m

Inca Tunnel 3,700m

Sayacmarca 3,600m

 Choquequirao

Pacamayo Llullchapampa Runkurakay 3,600m 3,800m

Warmiwanusca Dead Woman’s Pass 4,200m

Inca Trail: Chilca - Machu Piccu Lares Trek: Chancachaca - Ollantaytambo Camp Site Inca Ruins Railway Line Railway Station Rivers

Wayllabamba 3,000m

Rio

a

amb

Urub

• Cuzco 3,535m


37

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Inca discovery 8 DAYS, £609 fr

no local payment!

lima - Cuzco The Inca Trail is much more than a 25mile stroll through the Andes. Get yourself ready for an astonishing four day trek through ancient ruins and mind blowing scenery. Prepare for many a spine tingling moment as you walk with your fellow explorers towards the revered Machu Picchu. Inspiration and life affirmation is around every single corner, and over each hill. Cameras and journals are all well and good, but these are the kind of indelible memories that will never leave you. You'll spend a day enjoying a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, before you head to Ollantaytambo to start your hike. All your food on the Inca Trail is taken care of, and local porters will help make the trek hassle free. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipinku to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu and enjoy a guided tour, before you head back to Cuzco inspired and invigorated. highlights • Live it up in Lima • Fly over the Andes • Get colonial in Cuzco • Trek the Inca Trail • Discover ancient ruins • Marvel at majestic Machu Picchu • Try local Peruvian cuisine • Get active: raft, hike, bike Day 1: Arrive lima Arrive into Lima at anytime. Explore the colonial centre and enjoy optional activities - why not paraglide to infinity and beyond?

Day 2: Cuzco Fly from Lima to Cuzco over the Andes and take in the spectacular views. Acclimatise with a cocoa tea overlooking the beautiful colonial main square. Head to the markets and pick up that sexy Peruvian jumper you've always wanted and as many alpaca woolly hats as you have friends back home. Poke your noses into the museums and churches and try some proper Peruvian fodder - guinea pig and one of the 4000 varieties of potato that are grown in and around the Peruvian Andes. And if time permits, head out of town on a biking, horse-riding or river rafting trip. Action-packed.

Days 4-7: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Launch yourselves off onto this once in a lifetime journey. Cover some spectacular scenery, learn brilliant facts-of-the-day and bring the Incans to life. You’ll be 100% mesmerised not only by the views but by your team of local porters who’ll race on one step ahead, ready to greet you later with a cup of coca tea and full-on three course meal as you trudge your weary feet into camp legends. Arrive chins-on-the-ground into Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate on your last day before heading back to Cuzco by train. (3B, 3L 3D) Day 8: Depart Cuzco Say your fond farewells and hit the road, Jack.

Day 3: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo Get out with the team and explore the Sacred Valley with a local guide. Uncover hidden mysteries at ancient Inca sites - whetting your appetite suitably for the day ahead, journey along the Urubamba river amid the lush agricultural backdrop, potter around the Pisac market and wind up in pretty Ollantaytambo. Spend the evening relaxing ahead of tomorrow's epic adventure.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

DAILY DAILY

Accommodation: Hotels (4 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Local flight, train, van, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPID

START AND FINISH IN LIMA 'Inca Discovery Plus' 9 days fr £799 Tour Code: GAPIM

• Lima

peru

Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco

stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53. STAY LONGER iN cuzco Check out page 54.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


38

INDEPENDENT INCA DISCOVERY

INDEPENDENT LARES TREK

7 DAYS, £519

7 DAYS, £519

fr

no local payment!

fr

no local payment!

start and finish: cuzco

start and finish: cuzco

Delve into the heart of Peru's Inca world: colonial Cuzco, and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Explore the museums, markets, restaurants and ruins of fascinating Cuzco before strapping on those sexy hiking boots to tackle the famous trail. A rite of passage for many visitors to Peru, the Inca Trail is a challenging, 4-day trek from the Sacred Valley floor, up through cloud forest and jungle. Traverse high mountain passes, and finish at the magical 'lost' city of Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the site before heading back to Cuzco by train. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure! GATSPIDN

Avoid the crowds and head off the beaten track! An excellent alternative to the Inca Trail if it's all booked up or if you just fancy escaping the norm. The challenging Lares trek still has all the well-worn features of the Inca Trail - incredible Andean vistas, clean mountain air, indigenous culture and ancient ruins, but follows a different route and lacks all the snap happy people. Sandwich it between the fascinating, colonial city of Cuzco and magical Machu Picchu and you'll probably morph into an actual Inca. Pretty legendary really. GATSPILN

CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK

MACHU PICCHU BY TRAIN

9 DAYS, £609

4 DAYS, £359

fr

no local payment!

fr

no local payment!

lima - cuzco

start and finish: cuzco

Do something different and avoid the crowds out on this active adventure that includes a five day trek to the lost Inca fortress of Choquequirao. Arrive into Lima for a bit of limeño loving lifestyle (a limeño is a resident of Lima), munch on some top notch seafood ceviche and sip an all essential Pisco Sour. Fly up to Cuzco to explore this stunning colonial capital, poking your nose into museums, churches and inca sites, then roam free through the Sacred valley making new furry friends along the way. Set out on foot following the Apurimac Canyon and hike through seldom-visited remote wilderness in the shadow of awe-inspiring snow-capped mountains. GAPIC

Since it's probably the most famous of all pre-Columbian ruins, magnificent Machu Picchu is pretty much on every traveller's lifetime must-see list. So get up there and check it out. Start your adventure in colonial Cuzco, once the epicentre of the Inca Empire, and spend a day exploring the super Spanish, itchingly-interesting wild aspects of the area. The next day hop on board a train and choo choo through the spectacular Urubamba Valley to Machu Picchu, perched on a mountain ridge 600m above the river below. Hang out with a local guide for a detailed site exploration and some free time before heading back to Cuzco. GATSPMTN


39

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

the Inca Trail

the Inca journey

7 DAYS, £459

9 DAYS, £1,039

fr

no local payment!

fr

START AND FINISH: CUZCO

START AND FINISH: LIMA

• • • • •

• • • • •

Charm the Cuzqueñan locals in colonial Cuzco Unravel ancient mysteries in and around the Inca sites Befriend alpacas, llamas and vicuñas Trek the Inca Trail and marvel at magnificent Machu Picchu Drink coca tea overlooking city vistas

Day 1: Arrive cuzco Arrive into colonial Cuzco, a travellers' hub of activity and the contintent's oldest continously inhabited city - steeped in history, tradition and legend. Shuffle over the cobblestones lapping up the atmosphere and altitude. Day 2: sacred valley / ollantaytambo Head out and along the Sacred Valley, exploring Inca ruins on the way and taking in the stunning scenery. Meet a llama or two, then check out the markets in Pisac before arriving into pretty Ollantaytambo ahead of tomorrows adventure. Very exciting! Days 3-6: inca trail to machu picchu At Km 82 you'll begin your epic once-in-a-lifetime journey. Through ups and downs of all sorts (4000m at the highest) you'll witness great flora and fauna, chortle with your comrades and exhaust all your best jokes. Tape your gob-smacked mouth shut (unless you like to munch on flies) as you marvel at the views and look sexy and sweaty in your good looking walking shoes. Optional singing of a Maria style 'the hills are alive' is welcomed but you'll be stunned into silence on your last day as you catch sunrise creeping over the Machu Picchu site. Words are simply not enough... Forget the camera, just stand and absorb. (3B, 3L, 3D)

no local payment!

Get colonial in Cuzco and discover ancient ruins See spectacular flora, fauna and wildlife Trek the Inca Trail and absorb the amazing views Marvel at majestic Machu Picchu over sunrise Soak in hot springs in Aguas Calientes

Day 1: Arrive Lima Arrive into Lima at any time. Mill around Miraflores - a chic neighbourhood where ocean views, Pisco Sours, seafood and coffee abound. Day 2: Cuzco Arrive on an early morning flight. Head into town and admire the colonial architecture. Poke your head into the museums, churches and markets. Day 3: Aguas calientes Hop on board a local train and wind your way through impressive scenery to Aguas Calientes. Soak in the atmosphere and slide into the hot springs. Day 4: machu picchu / cuzco Catch the early morning light that bathes the Machu Picchu site and hang out with your guide as you wander round exploring. Head back to Cuzco. Day 5: cuzco Spend another fab day in Cuzco - get out rafting, biking or horse riding. Days 6-7: Amazon jungle Get into the amazin' Amazon and witness some wacky wildlife. Stay the night in a jungle lodge and get up to some monkey business. (2B,2L,2D).

Day 7: depart Cuzco Check out other corking Cuzco options - horse-riding, mountain biking and river rafting. Buy another alpaca jumper and then say hasta la vista, baby.

Days 8-9: Lima Enjoy a few days in Lima visiting the corking catacombs and colonial centre.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - FEB

2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

DAILY DAILY

Accommodation: Hotels (3 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Train, van, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Local representative in Cuzco, local guide on the Inca Trail Meals: All meals while on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not included Tour Code: GASPIT

cut out the hiking 'Taste of Peru' 10 days fr £1,159 Tour Code: GAPET

peru

Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco

THU THU

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts) Transport: Local flights, train, motorized canoe Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Local guide in Cuzco and at Machu Picchu, local rep in Lima, local guide at jungle lodge Meals: All meals while in the jungle Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not inc. Tour Code: GAPIJ

add on the inca trail 'Amazon to Andes' 12 days, fr £1,289 Tour Code: GAPAA

• Lima

Amazon Jungle •

Machu Picchu •

• Cuzco

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


40

amazon to the andes 12 DAYS, £1,289 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: lima Like every good football match, this 12 day trip is a game of two halves. Taking in both head and tail of this stunning country, you’ll liken it to a well shaken cocktail with a subtle twist of lime, which coincidentally enough is the literal (though far from figurative) translation of your start and finish destination - Lima. Funny and clever, just like our guides. So roll your socks up for some superb trekking adventures that’ll rival any other. Ascend the Andes on the Inca Trail, marvel at the mathematical genius of the Incas and turn up the heat in the Amazonian jungle - where you’ll spend the last few nights of your exotic expedition cosying in with some 2.5 million insect species. Inhale the atmosphere and breathe out your newly acquired love for all things green and furry. You’ll come home feeling refreshed and inspired. This trip will blow your mind and memories in more ways than you can possibly imagine. • • • • • • • •

Enjoy the colonial pleasures of Cuzco Explore the Sacred Valley Discover ancient ruins on the Inca Trail Trek along mystical tracks Watch sunrise over Machu Picchu Take a canoe ride up the Amazon Live the wild wonder of the Rainforest Lap up the Limeño lifestyle

Day 1: Arrive Lima Land into Lima. Lap up some Limeño lifestyle and set foot in chic Miraflores or Barrancas for a tasty meal and priceless pitcher of Pisco. Day 2: Cuzco Take an early morning flight up up and away over the soaring Andes and into the picturesque city of Cuzco. Check into your heavenly hotel and meet your guide. Wander the well-worn cobblestone streets, poking your nose into the churches and marvelling at the magnificent museums and markets. Acclimatise to the altitude with your new favourite drink - coca tea. Also available in a hard candy version.

Day 3: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo I spy with my little eye something beginning with A…lpaca. Yeah. Get to know these furry little fellas as you storm the Sacred Valley whetting your insatiable Inca-interested appetites at ruins along the way. You’ll probably also meet a guinea pig or two – but don’t fall in love too much – your new best friend might end up being on your plate for dinner. Potatoes are also popular for those less adventurous. Onwards onto pretty Ollantaytambo to lay your hat for the night. Days 4-7: Inca Trail At Km 82 ‘we have lift off’. But although the porters have quasi-supersonic powers for speeding on ahead with their superhuman strength, you'll take it slow, soaking up the atmosphere and pausing to check out Inca sites along the way. Dine luxuriously at camp before arriving chins-on-ground at the Sun Gate on your last day for sunrise over mystical Machu Picchu as the morning mist fades. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Day 8: Cuzco Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and celebrate the fact you’ve made it to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Take inspiration from your activities and push your adrenaline to the max with an optional biking bonanza or horse riding trip. Or you might just want to sleep off your hangover. Days 9-10: Amazon Jungle Amazin’ adventure time. Fly to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Basin and out into the jungle with your guide. Hop onto a motorised canoe that’ll transfer you up to the Tambopata Rainforest Area lodge. And as an area famed for the most bird sightings ever, impress your friends back home with just how many wild beauties you can get to know in only a day or two. (2B, 2L, 2D) Days 11-12: Lima Hop on a flight to Lima for a final night out with your comrades. Bop, boogie and say cheery-bye.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - FEB

DAILY DAILY

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (6 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flight, train, boat, canoe, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Local guide in Cuzco and at Machu Piccu, local representative in Lima, local guide in the jungle Meals: All meals while in the jungle and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD120 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPAA

HIKE THE LARES INSTEAD OF THE INCA On days 4-7 choose to trek the Lares Trail. 12 Days fr £1,289 Tour Code: GAPAL STAY LONGER IN LIMA Check out pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima

Amazon •

Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco


41

15 DAYS, £1,469 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

peru panorama no local payment!

start and finish: Lima No Jeremy Vine in sight but true to form this all-encompassing investigative adventure proves interactive, interesting and inspirational. Get under Peru’s cultural skin as you wend your way from one end of the country to another. Full of contrasts - you’ll find out what makes a puro Peruvian tick, practice a Spanish palabra (word) or two, learn to love like a limeño and p.. p.. pickup (or put down) a panpipe. The epic sounds and sights of the Inca Trail, the Amazon and Lake Titicaca will truly leave you breathless - or is that just the altitude?! As imagined, this Peruvian picnic also does what it says on the tin so its time to figure out what all those whizzy bits on your camera are actually for and get committing your magical moments to memory. highlights • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Lap up the Limeño lifestyle • Sail the world’s highest navigable lake • Float on Uros Islands • Stay with Peruvian padres • Inhale Inca influences on the Inca Trail • Marvel in masterful Machu Picchu • Enter the amazin’ Amazon Day 1: lima Arrive at any time. Explore the city and lap up the local limeño lifestyle. Treat yourself to an opening night’s Pisco Sour and make friendships of a lifetime with your fellow travelling troop. Days 2-4: puno / lake titicaca Take an early morning flight to Juliaca and then wiggle your way into Puno, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca. As the highest navigable lake in the world this vast water mass is a prime location for some truly perfect pictures. Beautiful blue as far as the eye can see with impressive glacial spears poking though the clouds in the distance. Visit Taquile and the floating Islands of Uros before the temperatures drop and you cosy in for the night with your new Peruvian padres. (B, L, D) Day 5: cuzco Hit the road a running and head up all snaphappy to Cuzco, one of Peru’s most attractive cities. A marriage made in heaven (well, almost) between the Incas and Spanish colonists makes this city architecturally interesting and very pretty. Shuffle over the cobblestone streets to the markets, step inside the churches and eat your way to potato paradise (there are over 3000 varieties in Peru alone), making this your base for the next few days.

Day 6: ollantaytambo Grow your love for llamas and make a furry friend or two on your way through the Sacred Valley. Discover other hidden gems as you weave along the river, arriving into the pretty picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. You’ll stop at interesting Inca sites, whetting your appetite for The Trail, and marveling at just how darn clever these people really were. Your guide will talk you through the steep terrace system and the impressive fortress before you head out for dinner en groupe. Fascinating stuff, and a hide and seek fan’s dream. Days 7-10: Inca Trail / Machu Picchu Time to make (personal) history as you head up to Km 82 and begin your trek. Over the next few days you’ll cover around 26 miles, with no less than 3 high passes to cross. The mother of all steep bits is known as Dead Woman’s Pass, standing at a height of 4200m (oh yes, an impressive 4km up into the sky). But there’s a lot of fun to be had on the way, and with a whole team of dedicated stuff-carting porters plus a cheery guide you’ll be merrily singing "she’ll be coming round the mountain" in no time. And when you've quite finished gasping and sighing around the dream-like site of Machu Picchu you can choo choo back to Cuzco to celebrate your triumphs and rest your weary legs. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Day 11: cuzco Wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised before heading off on some of the optional trips Cuzco has available. Ride raucous rapids down the Urubamba River, bog off on a bike or saddle up on horseback. 'Sexy Woman' is also only a hillside stroll away - but you might just want to simply sit back, relax and swear you’ll never combine alcohol with altitude ever again. Ouch. Days 12-14: amazon jungle Fly up up and away to Puerto Maldonado, deep into the lowlands of the Amazon Jungle. A motorised canoe will greet you, whisking you along the river to arrive in jungle-style at the Tambopata Rainforest Area. It holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Get tropical with the abundant flora and fauna, wriggle and giggle with the creepy crawlies, and hug just one of the 75,000 types of tree that a typical 1km² contains. Have fun in the jungle with the local guides before flying back to Lima for a last night of freedom. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 15: depart lima Wave bye-bye to your new best buds, and journey off into the sweet sunset. Shed a tear for your loss of those panpipe players, we know you’ll miss them sorely.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - APR MAY - OCT NOV - DEC 2011 JAN FEB MAR

MON, FRI MON, WED, FRI, SUN MON, FRI MON, FRI MON MON,FRI

Accommodation: Hotels (8 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), homestay (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, local flight, train, boat, canoe, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals while in the jungle, on the Inca Trail and during the homestay Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPPP

ADD ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS 'Inca & Darwin Experience' 24 days fr £2,629 Tour Code: GAPP10A

peru

• Lima

Amazon •

Machu Picchu •

• Ollantaytambo • Cuzco Puno •

spend more time in the jungle Add on an extra 3 days in the Amazon 18 days fr £1,889 Tour Code: GAPPB

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


42

peru on a shoestring 15 DAYS, £799 fr

no local payment!

lima - cuzco Panpipes, potatoes, and pisco are not the only all-essential items on a budget friendly potter around Peru. Add into the mix a jaunt up to Machu Picchu along the Inca trail and you'll take home memories that won't escape you for years to come - if not ever. A perfect way to meet some pleasantly playful pals, this little tripette is palpable proof that you can 'do Peru' in two weeks without zooming past it so quick that you miss out on all the magic moments that come part and parcel along the way. Inhale the Andean air, acclimatise to the altitude and set off on an unforgettable journey the Inca's themselves would be proud of, purse strings intact. highlights • Live it up in Lima • Check out the mysterious Nazca lines • Gaze at the condors of Colca Canyon • Get Colonial in Cuzco • Trek the amazing Inca Trail • Camp out on mystical mountain passes • Explore ancient ruins • Marvel at sunrise over Machu Picchu Day 1: Arrive lima Roll up, check in, get out and explore. Wander down town to catch the colonial-style changing of the guard and check out the capitvating catacombs at the cathedral. Stroll along the sea front or jump off a cliff on a tandem paraglide for an ariel view with a difference. Amazing! Days 2-3: nazca / night bus Cruise towards the coast for a sneaky peek at the mysterious Nazca lines - etched into the side of the landscape. Some resemble animals – ranging from hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and fish (time to turn those creative imaginations on). Fertility symbols, giant astronomical calendars and spaceship landing areas are just some of the varied explanations for their existence. Why not hop on an optional teeny tiny plane and see what you reckon.

Days 4-6: arequipa Arrive with the sunshine into Arequipa, a beautifully white city that's surrounded by the Andes and set in the shadow of El Misti Volcano. Spread your wings like the Colca Canyon's resident Andean Condors and get out on a trip that explores its dark deceptive depths; hop on a mountain bike for a wild ride to oblivion or raft down raucous rapids. Day 7: cuzco A city that'll impress you to the max with its pretty combination of colonial-cum-Inca-inspired architecture that'll leave footprints on your soul for years to come. Check out the markets, artisan-style shops and tuck into some local grub - try roast Guinea Pig or go crazy for one of Peru's 3000 potato varieties. Day 8: ollantaytambo Trace your fingers and toes along the Sacred Valley to the quaint tongue-twister town of Ollantaytambo. On the way you'll befriend an alpaca or two, explore some fascinating Inca empire ruins and wind up contented and relaxed ready for your imminent Inca adventure.

Days 9-12: inca-trail to machu picchu Climb ev'ry mountain, Ford ev'ry stream, Follow ev'ry rainbow,'Till you find your dream... And at the risk of putting you off cheese sarnies for life, dreams really will come alive on this epic oncein-a-lifetime trek along one of the most revered trails in the world. With your duracell sponsored bunnies/porters taking care of all the hard-work your attentions can be focused on enjoying the ride, absorbing the atmosphere and inhaling the insanity of the superb views with your fellow companions. Pogo-stick over high passes, skip along streams and arrive astounded at sunrise on your last day to greet the ancient Inca world at the gateway to Machu Picchu. (3B, 3L, 3D) Days 13-14: cuzco A chance to chill-out and party hard on into the aftermath of the Inca Trail. Book on to a biking bonanza, head out onto the Urubamba River for some rapid rafting revellry or hop off horseriding for more excellent adventures, dude. Day 15: depart cuzco It's time to say so long, farewell as you head off into the sunset. It's been emotional.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 APR 03 APR 10 APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15

FINISH JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29

START MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 14 AUG 21 AUG 28 SEP 04 SEP 11

FINISH JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 14 AUG 21 AUG 28 SEP 04 SEP 11 SEP 18 SEP 25

START SEP 18 SEP 25 OCT 02 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 18 DEC 25

FINISH OCT 02 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 18 DEC 25 JAN 01 JAN 08

START 2011 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26 APR 02 APR 09

Accommodation: Simple hotels (may be multi-share) (10 nts), night bus (1 nt), camping (3 nts) Transport: Hiking, public bus, train Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader on days 1-9, local guides while on Inca Trail and local representative on days 13-15 Meals: All meals while on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GASPPS

just A LITTLE MORE COMFORT 'Inca Explorer' 15 days fr £1,359 Tour Code: GAPEI

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Nazca Arequipa •


43

classic peru

10 DAYS, £1,159

lima - cuzco

fr

no local payment!

lima - cuzco • • • • •

Live it up in Lima and learn to love like a Limeño Amble in the Amazon and witness some wicked wildlife Trek the incredible Inca Trail and gasp at the views Discover mysterious Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins Cover colonial Cuzco and get out rafting, riding or biking

Day 1: arrive Lima Arrive into Lima. Wander the city and live the Limeño life. Cocktail anyone? Days 2-3: Amazon rainforest Hop on a plane to Puerto Maldonado. Whizz up the Tambopata River by motorised canoe to the rainforest lodge. Amble outdoors with your guide exploring the rich wildlife, flora and fauna. Tarzan impressions optional. Days 4-5: cuzco Boat your way out of the jungle before taking to the skies on a local flight to Cuzco. Settle in for the night with a cup of coca tea or for all you wild thangs, a Pisco Sour - and wander round the city with your guide. Fact of the day: Cuzco is the longest continually inhabited city on the continent. Days 6-9: inca trail Embark on the once-in-a-lifetime, tell the grandkids one day, epic Inca Trail. Cross Dead Woman’s Pass on Day 2 at a whopping 4000m above sea level and arrive exhilarated at the Sun Gate to watch sunrise over Machu Picchu on Day 4. You’ll be well looked after by a team of gregarious guides and pro-plus powered porters, zooming on ahead of you to pitch your tents at camp - legends like the Incas themselves. An experience like no other, head back to Cuzco for celebrations and sleep. (3B, 4L, 3D)

12 DAYS, £979 fr

• • • • •

no local payment!

Sail Lake Titicaca - the highest navigable lake in the world Float on the magical Uros islands and meet the locals Stay with a Peruvian family and take part in local life Discover the Sacred Valley’s hidden gems Trek the Inca Trail and arrive enchanted at Machu Picchu

Day 1: Arrive Lima Rock up and explore. Check out chic Miraflores for paragliding and Pisco. Days 2-4: Puno / Lake Titicaca Become an Island Girl (or Boy) on a trip over the incredible blue waters of Lake Titicaca. Befriend locals as you settle in for a typical night with your new family and drift off to paradise on the floating Uros islands. (B, L, D) Day 5: Cuzco Head to Cuzco through the Altiplano. Shuffle over well-worn cobblestone streets on a quest to seek out all that is good and Inca. Bargain hunters beware – there are more markets than you have heads to put hats on – all friends included, and copious cafés with views over the square and beyond. Day 6: Ollantaytambo Poke your nose into more enchanting Inca ruins as you travel through the Sacred Valley and on to the tongue-twisting town of Ollantaytambo. Days 7-10: Inca Trail Km 82 marks your once-in-a-lifetime journey launch pad. You’ll be 100% mesmerised not only by the views but by your team of local porters who’ll race on, ready to greet you with sustinence as you trudge your weary feet into camp – hurrah! Arrive astounded into Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate on your last day before choo chooing back to Cuzco. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Day 10: depart cuzco As Arnie puts it almost perfectly: 'Hasta la vista, baby. I'll be back.'

Days 11-12: CUZCO Celebrate, escape on exciting extravaganzas and bid your buddies farewell.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2010 JAN - APR MAY - SEP OCT - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

TUE, FRI TUE, FRI, SUN TUE, FRI TUE, FRI

Accommodation: Comfort hotels (4 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Private van, local flight, train, boat, canoe Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: Continental breakfast daily, all meals while in the jungle and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPSM

cut out the HIKing 'Taste of Peru' 10 days fr £1,159 Tour Code: GAPET

peru

• Lima Amazon • Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco

2010 JAN - APR MAY - OCT NOV - DEC 2011 JAN FEB MAR

MON, FRI MON, WED, FRI, SUN MON, FRI

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco Puno •

MON, FRI MON MON, FRI

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (7 nts), camping (3 nts), homestay (1 nt) Transport: Public buses, local flight, train, boat, hiking Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: All meals on the Inca Trail and during the homestay Budget: Allow USD170 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPPC

stay longer in lima Check out page 52.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

in the shadow of Machu Picchu


44

Quest of the gods 14 DAYS, £1,559 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: lima Now then, we don’t want to get all deep and meaningful on you, but let's just say that if there is a God and he wanted to set up camp somewhere on this little planet of ours, he just might choose Peru. Why? Simple. This fantastic country really has it all - mountains, beaches, epic landscapes, lovely locals, earthy vibes, bright colours, and a heavenly atmosphere. Not to mention angelic alpacas and priestly Pisco! That along with the fact the whole darn place is steeped in amazing Inca history makes it easy to see why it rolls in at Numero Uno on many people’s destination charts. And let's be honest, those Incas had to be pretty godly themselves to build those uber intelligent structures with all that heavy stone in the first place. You might want to take a leaf, or laurel out of their book then. And the best thing?! Not a toga in sight. highlights • Canoe up river in the Amazon Rainforest • Witness wacky jungle wildlife • Hike the Inca Trail and camp in the Andes • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu • Get active: trek, bike, horseride or raft • Discover ancient civilizations • Laugh on Lake Titicaca with the locals • Buy crazy South American clobber Day 1: lima Arrive into Lima. Check out the changing of the guards and the cathedral’s corking catacombs. Days 2-3: amazon Rainforest Me: Tarzan, you: Jane. Get jungle fever as you touch down into Puerto Maldonado at the edge of the Amazon. Jump on a motorised canoe up the Tambopata River to the remote rainforest lodge and unearth your guide’s knowledge as you trundle about exploring. It’s a great chance to see some amazing wildlife - guests include monkeys, giant armadillos, capybaras (think giant guinea pigs) and birds galore. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 4-5: cuzco Head back out of the jungle by canoe before hopping on a plane to Cuzco, right up on high in the Andes. Wander round the city on Day 5 - a cultural epicentre and home to some pretty awesome history. Imagine Colonial vs. Inca and you’re bang on the money. (2B) Days 6-9: inca trail At Km 82 it’s history in the making as you start your once-in-a-lifetime trek along the Inca Trail. You’ll be accompanied by a saintly team of porters and guides who’ll be one step ahead of you on their rocket powered feet. Camp with stunning views of the Andes, get to know your trek team and bring your gaffa tape to help you keep your gormless wide eyed disbelieving gawks to a minimum. On the final day you’ll complete the final stages of the trail in the dark, arriving just in time for sunrise at Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, breathing life into the Machu Picchu world. Pretty incredible. Uncover the Inca’s mysterious realm and learn all the whos, whats, wheres, hows and whys. Make like a tree and leave on a train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy before a chugging back to Cuzco. Fun times. (4B, 3L, 3D)

Day 10: Cuzco Chillax to the max with some Cuzco free time. Do your Christmas shopping or check out another ruin - Sexy Woman is always a bit of fun, if not for the name alone. Adrenaline junkies can opt for other hair-raising activities like mountain biking, white water rafting or horseriding. Ah gawan, you know you want to. Days 11-12: puno / lake titicaca Pull into Puno and head out onto the lake. Meet the celestial islanders (the men on this island know how to knit - they must be seriously sacrosant) and learn how to flirt Peruvian style. Here, hat and skirt colours are used to clearly indicate marital status. Who needs internet dating when you can stand out in all your colourful glory as a spinster. Obvious at least. Genius? Maybe not. Day 13: Lima Lap it up in Lima. Tuck into seafood and ceviche, popular Peruvian potato and down a cold bevvie. Day 14: Depart Lima It’s ciao for now, see ya later. Over and out.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - APR MAY - SEP OCT - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

TUE, FRI TUE, FRI, SUN TUE, FRI TUE, FRI

Accommodation: Comfort hotels (8 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Private van, local flight, train, boat, canoe Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout (except on the Inca Trail), local guides Meals: Continental breakfast daily, all meals while in the jungle and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPQG

ADD ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS 19 days fr £2,799 Tour Code: GAPQ06G cut out the hiking 14 days fr £1,559 Tour Code: GAPEE stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima • Amazon Jungle Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco • Puno


45

16 DAYS, £1,499 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

peru hike, bike & raft no local payment!

start and finish: Lima Calling all thrill seekers! Join us over the next 16 days on a gallavanting gamble around some spectacular South American scenery. About as action-packed and marvellously mental as an overtly outrageous obstacle-hopping orang-utan running along in the wind with a small ferret tucked under one arm, this trip will leave you buzzing from here to Timbuktu on an adventure like no other. It’s time to get sweaty as you boomerang your way a complete 360° starting and finishing up in Lima. You’ll ride raucous rapids, hike your way to happy heaven, bog off on biking bonanzas through epic movie-quality Peruvian landscape and jeronimo into the Manu Cloud Forest for some jungle-tastic, all-inspiring, rainforest mountain biking. Fun on a stick. highlights • Live it up in Lima • Get colonial in Cusco • Ride your way through river rapids • Hike the Inca Trail • See sunrise over Machu Picchu • Rave and roam through rainforest • Witness wacky wildlife • Mobilise on mountain bikes Day 1: arrive lima Let the wild times begin. Arrive and explore; be yourself once more. Let Lima’s urban jungle pick you up and toss you around in a whirlwind of underestimated ecstatic excitement. Day 2: cuzco Jet over to Cuzco on an early morning flight. Get involved and get out there. Seek out the sites and drink up the atmosphere. Wander up to Sexy Woman (shes’s a real corker) and Tambo Machay - another impressive Inca site. Days 3-5: Apurimac Rafting Trip / cuzco Cast off on this 3 day splash fest down the Apurimac river and through the Apurimac canyon - one of the deepest depressions on the whole continent. Thrash your way through rapids and wade your way into wicked wonderment - eyeing up spectacular views on your way. Sleep on the sandy shores of the river on your last night before navigating the appropriately named ‘Tooth Ache’ and ‘Last Laugh’ - then hit the road back to Cuzco. (2B, 3L, 2D).

Days 7-10: Inca Trail / Cuzco At Km 82 it’s ready, steady, go! You’ll certainly feel that adrenaline pump as you take your time to climb the trail gasping quite literally at the epic views and awesome Andean altitude. Hang out with your fellow hiking buddies as you head up to the highest point of the trail - Dead Woman’s Pass. Push on up as your precocious porters speed past you ready to greet your gobsmacked chops with delicious dishes and brilliant banter at the campsite. (3B, 3L, 3D) Day 11: Cuzco Chillax in colonial Cuzco at the markets and museums. Give horse-riding a go or pop off and paraglide if you just can’t get enough of all the gawd-damn breathtaking local landscape. Buy another alpaca hat and shuffle over the cobblestone streets dreaming of times gone by and adventures still to come.

Days 12-14: Manu Cloud Forest Biking Soak in the sweet views and humid air and stand speechless as all of Amazonia unfurls beneath you. From the Ajanacu Pass drop 3550m down into the Manu Cloud Forest, descending the lush slopes of the Andes and arriving into the San Pedro lodge for the night. Pedal past some incredible wildlife and snap some sensational surroundings. Head to ‘Cock of the Rock Lek’ - a mating ground for birds, allowing you to get up close and personal to this wonderful wildlife in their natural habitats. A job no zoo can do justice to. (2B, 3L, 2D) Day 15: lima Take advantage of your last morning in Cuzco. Stock up on souvenirs before returning to Lima for a final night of fun in the capital. Rock on. Day 16: depart lima Say adios amigos and skip off into the sunset with your newly found friends.

DEPARTURES START FINISH 2010 MAY 16 MAY 31 JUN 06 JUN 21

START JUN 27 JUL 18 AUG 08

FINISH JUL 12 AUG 02 AUG 23

START AUG 29 SEP 19 OCT 10

FINISH SEP 13 OCT 04 OCT 25

START FINISH

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (8 nts), camping (5 nts), lodge (may be multishare) (2 nts) Transport: Public buses, local flight, train, bike, rafts, hiking Group Size: Max 12, Avg 8 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals on the Inca Trail, and on the biking and rafting excursions Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAPHB

stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53.

peru

• Lima • Manu Biological Reserve Machu Picchu • • Ollantaytambo Apurimac River • • Cuzco

Day 6: Ollantaytambo Sashay through the Sacred Valley today until you hit the tongue-twisting town of Ollantaytambo. Check out some must-see Inca sites and chill out with the locals before heading out on the Inca Trail tomorrow. Control your excitement!

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


46

Galapagos & peru encompasseD 26 DAYS, £2,359 fr

+ local payment

Quito - lima At some point during this 26 day travelling fantasy you’ll realise there is no turning back. Those black and white ideologies you once blindly followed will mutate into translucent grey. That fixed itinerary through life that many expected you to obediently observe will weave and wind its way into a million possibilities. Any poisoned cynicism that’s hardened itself around your personality will dissolve and swiftly fade away. This is the personification of life-changing travel. Encounters with the gaily coloured blueprints of existence on the Galapagos Islands. Breath sapping treks across ancient lands to a mystical ruined city. Amazonian exploration amongst a cacophony of animal sounds. Simple but beautiful local life on the floating Islands of Lake Titicaca... This adventure is crammed full of revelatory moments - and as you journey from Ecuador deep into Peru your heart and mind will fuse with this stunning swath of Latin America. highlights • Discover the wildlife of the Galapagos • Visit the Darwin Research Station • Swim & snorkel with amazing marine life • Go potty for Pisco Sours • Explore Nazca and a Pre-Incan cemetery • Check out the condors of Colca Canyon • Cruise across Lake Titicaca • Stay with a local Peruvian family • Wander the beautiful streets of Cuzco • Trek the Inca Trail and ramble over ruins • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu • Explore the Amazon Jungle

Day 1: Arrive Quito Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Day 2: Puerto Ayora Jump on an early flight to the Galapagos islands. Upon arrival you are transferred by ferry and bus to Puerto Ayora - where you’ll board your boat and meet your naturalist guide for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Day 3: Floreana island Reach Floreana Island in the morning, learn about the legends and visit Champion Islet. Later in the afternoon you’ll make your way towards Punta Cormorant on the northern part of Floreana. The landing is on a beach of green sand, coloured by olivine crystals. The trail leads to a lake normally inhabited by flamingos and other shore birds and continues to a beach of fine white sand particles known as “Flour Beach”, an important nesting site for turtles. Head around the point to Devil’s Crown - this is the perfect spot to go snorkelling from the boat, as the waters are home to a multitude of colourful fish and sea lions. Day 4: Española island Sail to Gardner bay and Punta Suarez, on Española Island. This is the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, and home to several wildlife species, including masked and Blue-footed Boobies. Take an optional hike to the top of a cliff for spectacular views.

Day 5: Black Turtle Cove / quito Sail to Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. the most populated island within the archipelago. In the morning you’ll visit Black Turtle Cove before you sail to Baltra Island for your return flight to Quito. After checking into your hotel - enjoy one last night out in this historic city. Day 6: Quito / Lima Fly to Lima. This flight is not included - our consultants will happily organise it for you. Day 7: Pisco Catch a bus to Pisco. Spend a night on the town enjoying the famous local drink, the Pisco Sour. Days 8-9: Nazca Arise early if you fancy an optional boat trip to the wildlife abundant Ballestas Islands. Later on you’ll catch a bus, stopping at the huge sand dunes around Ica on your way to one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. The amazing depictions of birds, insects and animals are only truly recognisable from the air - an optional light aircraft trip is easily arranged. On Day 9 you’ll take a tour of the ancient Pre-Inca desert cemetery of Chachiia - with 1500 year old mummies and bones! That evening you’ll jump on the night bus to Arequipa. DAY 10: AREQUIPA 2325m above sea level, Peru’s second-largest city is surrounded by the Andes mountains and lies in the shadow of El Misti Volcano.


47

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA Day 22: Cuzco A free day in Cuzco. Optional activities include horseback riding, mountain biking and white water rafting - or you might simply want to relax and rest your weary legs. Days 11-12: Colca Canyon Enroute to Colca Canyon, you’ll stop at the picturesque village of Chivay, where you can take a dip in the hot thermal baths, watch live Andean music at a peña or go for a llama steak. Upon arrival at Colca Canyon - acclimatise to the altitude by taking a short hike through the stunning landscapes. Take a tour; check out fascinating villages and stop at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where you can spot Andean Condors soaring over the majestic mountains. Days 13-15: Puno / Lake Titicaca Travel to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. At 3830m above sea level, Puno is the highest altitude of any place you sleep on the tour. On the morning of Day 14 you’ll head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. You’ll cruise to Taquile Island via the floating reed islands of the Uros people - before a lovely lunch in a local restaurant and some shopping opportunities in the local weaving cooperatives. You’ll stay that night with a local family - listen to the local music and learn about the ancient traditions. You’ll head back to Puno on Day 15 where you’ll spend another night. (B, L, D)

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 04 JAN 11 JAN 18 JAN 25 FEB 01 FEB 08 FEB 15 FEB 22 MAR 01 MAR 08 MAR 15 MAR 22 MAR 29 APR 05 APR 12 APR 19

FINISH JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26 APR 2 APR 09 APR 16 APR 23 APR 30 MAY 07 MAY 14

START APR 26 MAY 03 MAY 10 MAY 17 MAY 24 MAY 31 JUN 07 JUN 14 JUN 21 JUN 28 JUL 05 JUL 12 JUL 19 JUL 26 AUG 02 AUG 09 AUG 16

FINISH MAY 21 MAY 28 JUN 04 JUN 11 JUN 18 JUN 25 JUL 02 JUL 09 JUL 16 JUL 23 JUL 30 AUG 06 AUG 13 AUG 20 AUG 27 SEP 03 SEP 10

START AUG 23 AUG 30 SEP 06 SEP 13 SEP 20 SEP 27 OCT 04 OCT 11 OCT 18 OCT 25 NOV 01 NOV 08 NOV 15 NOV 22 NOV 29 DEC 06 DEC 13

FINISH SEP 17 SEP 24 OCT 01 OCT 08 OCT 15 OCT 22 OCT 29 NOV 05 NOV 12 NOV 19 NOV 26 DEC 03 DEC 10 DEC 17 DEC 24 DEC 31 JAN 07

START DEC 20 DEC 27 2011 JAN 03 JAN 10 JAN 17 JAN 24 JAN 31 FEB 07 FEB 14 FEB 21 FEB 28 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28

FINISH JAN 14 JAN 21

Days 16-17: Cuzco Enjoy spectacular views of the high Altiplano travelling from Puno to Cuzco. Cuzco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. Strap on a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore the cobblestone streets, museums, markets and churches. Days 18-21: Inca Trail Begin a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free, and fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike as you move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. On the final day of the hike you’ll climb the steps to the Sun Gate overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. When the morning is clear the first views of Machu Picchu are nothing short of startling - as the mist rises off the mountains early in the morning and the famous site appears in front of you. Return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, before transferring by van to Cuzco on Day 21. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Days 23-25: Amazon Jungle Fly from the high Andes to Puerto Maldonado, deep in the Amazon lowlands. Travel by motorized canoe to a lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Explore the jungle with the expert local guides and learn about the area’s rich flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for Harpy Eagles, tapirs, jaguars, ocelots and other weird and wonderful indigenous animals. Later on Day 25 you’ll fly back to Lima for one last Pisco Sour. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 26: Depart Lima This amazing trip comes to an end on Day 26. Start planning your next adventure!

Do it your way stay longer

Galapagos & Absolute Peru 30 days fr £2,759 Tour Code: GAEA10A

• Quito  • Galapagos Islands

JAN 28 FEB 04 FEB 11 FEB 18 FEB 25 MAR 04 MAR 11 MAR 18 MAR 25 APR 01 APR 08 APR 15 APR 22

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (15 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), bus (1 nt), homestay (1 nt), camping (3 nts), motorised yacht (twin share) (3 nts) Transport: Local flights, motorised yacht, van, train, public bus, boat, canoe, zodiacs, taxis. Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Local naturalist guides (certified by the Galapagos National Park) while in the islands Tour leader from Lima onwards, local guides Meals: All meals while in the Galapagos, during the homestay, on the Inca Trail and in the jungle Budget: Allow USD255 for meals not included Please Note: Flight from Quito to Lima must be purchased at time of booking to arrive into Lima on Day 6 Local Payment: USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GAEA06A

peru

• Amazon

• Lima Machu Picchu • Pisco •

• Ollantaytambo

• Cuzco Puno • Colca Canyon • Arequipa • • Nazca

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


48

galapagos & inca discovery 14 DAYS, £1,919 fr

+ local payment

quito - cuzco The vicissitudes of everyday life – all that perceived injustice, all that unfairness, it means nothing now. As you trek your last steps on the Inca Trail to be welcomed by a soothing sunrise over an ancient, lost city – you’ll smile at the triviality of all you once thought important. As you walk with iguanas and swim with sea lions around the islands that gave birth to the theory of evolution you’ll slowly start to understand who you really want to be. All those dreams that were completely out of reach are now graspable. From the capital of Ecuador to the highlands of Peru – this adventure focuses on two of the world’s major must-dos; The Galapagos Islands and the Inca Trail. No amount of hyperbole can do justice to the feelings, thoughts and sensations that this 14 day trip inspires. highlights • Discover the wildlife of the Galapagos • Visit the Darwin Research Station • Swim & snorkel with amazing marine life • Absorb the rich history of Quito • Wander the beautiful streets of Cuzco • Marvel at the inspiring Sacred Valley • Trek the Inca Trail and ramble over ruins • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu Day 1: Arrive Quito Arrive at any time - get out and explore! Day 2: santa cruz Island Catch an early flight to the Galapagos Islands, meet your naturalist guide and transfer to your boat before visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station - see giant tortoises and learn about Darwin’s studies. There’ll also be time to do some shopping and exploring. (B, L, D) Day 3: floreana island Reach Floreana Island in the morning and stop at Post Office Bay. In the afternoon you’ll head to Punta Cormorant on the northern part of the island. Check out the volcanic beaches and colourful flamingos. Around the point, Devil’s Crown is a perfect snorkelling spot. (B, L, D)

Day 4: espaÑola island Sail to Punta Suarez, on Española Island - home to several wildlife species, including masked and Blue-footed Boobies. Take an optional hike to the top of a cliff for spectacular views. Sail in the afternoon to Garner Bay, an excellent swimming and snorkelling site. (B, L, D) Day 5: Santa Fé / Plaza Sur Set sail and reach Santa Fé Island early in the morning. Learn about the prehistoric-looking land iguanas as well as how mangrove trees survive in this harsh environment. In the afternoon visit Plaza Sur - home of a colony of sea lion bachelors. (B, L, D) Day 6: Seymour / Quito Arrive at North Seymour for one last look at frigate birds, Blue-footed Boobies and sea lions - this is a photographers dream. You’ll then fly back to Quito - with time to explore. (B) Day 7: quito / Lima Fly to Lima (not included). Explore the many fine museums of the Peruvian Capital and prepare for the second half of your epic adventure.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 05 JAN 12 JAN 19 JAN 26 FEB 02 FEB 09 FEB 16 FEB 23 MAR 02 MAR 09 MAR 16 MAR 23 MAR 30 APR 06 APR 13 APR 20

FINISH JAN 18 JAN 25 FEB 01 FEB 08 FEB 15 FEB 22 MAR 01 MAR 08 MAR 15 MAR 22 MAR 29 APR 05 APR 12 APR 19 APR 26 MAY 03

START APR 27 MAY 04 MAY 11 MAY 18 MAY 25 JUN 01 JUN 08 JUN 15 JUN 22 JUN 29 JUL 06 JUL 13 JUL 20 JUL 27 AUG 03 AUG 10 AUG 17

FINISH MAY 10 MAY 17 MAY 24 MAY 31 JUN 07 JUN 14 JUN 21 JUN 28 JUL 05 JUL 12 JUL 19 JUL 26 AUG 02 AUG 09 AUG 16 AUG 23 AUG 30

START AUG 24 AUG 31 SEP 07 SEP 14 SEP 21 SEP 28 OCT 05 OCT 12 OCT 19 OCT 26 NOV 02 NOV 09 NOV 16 NOV 23 NOV 30 DEC 07 DEC 14

FINISH SEP 06 SEP 13 SEP 20 SEP 27 OCT 04 OCT 11 OCT 18 OCT 25 NOV 01 NOV 08 NOV 15 NOV 22 NOV 29 DEC 06 DEC 13 DEC 20 DEC 27

START DEC 21 DEC 28 2011 JAN 04 JAN 11 JAN 18 JAN 25 FEB 01 FEB 08 FEB 15 FEB 22 MAR 01 MAR 08 MAR 15 MAR 22 MAR 29

FINISH JAN 03 JAN 10

Day 8: Cuzco Jump on an early flight to Cuzco, the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. Wander the wonderful cobbled streets. Day 9: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo Travel with your local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market. The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Days 10-13: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Travel this morning to Km 82 and begin a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free, and fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike as you move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. (3B, 3L, 3D) Day 14: Depart Cuzco Your amazing adventure sadly finishes.

• Quito  • Galapagos Islands

JAN 17 JAN 24 JAN 31 FEB 07 FEB 14 FEB 21 FEB 28 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28 APR 04 APR 11

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), twin-share cabins on board motorised yacht (4 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Local flight, motorized yacht, van, train, hiking, public bus, zodiacs Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Local Naturalist guide (certified by the Galapagos National Park) while in the islands, tour representative, local guides Meals: All meals while in the Galapagos and on the Inca Trail Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Please Note: Flight from Quito to Lima must be purchased at time of booking to arrive into Lima on Day 7 Local Payment: USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GAED07P

peru

• Lima Machu Picchu • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco •


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18 DAYS, £2,019 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

amazon to the andes & galapagos no local payment!

Lima - quito Presenting the three most amazing wonders of Latin America; the Inca Trail, the Amazon jungle and the Galapagos Islands… The Inca Trail is so seismically inspirational that after just a few footsteps you’ll want to abandon all your worldly possessions, live on a mountaintop and eat roasted guinea pig all day. Trek across ancient trails to the lost city of Machu Picchu and watch the sunrise to end all sunrises… The Amazon Jungle is so extraordinarily verdant and fertile that it’s estimated that just one square kilometre typically contains over 75,000 types of tree and 150,000 species of higher plants. Add to that about 2.5 million insect species, one in five of all the world’s birds and hundreds of mammals, amphibians and reptile species. Explore this seething mass of creation with an expert guide… The Galapagos Islands are so shockingly amazing that some bloke called Charles Darwin went there for a little while and left with the notion that we all used to be monkeys. Cast your disbelieving eyes on a host of weird and wonderful creatures including iguanas, turtles, sealions and Blue-footed Boobies. This 18 day adventure will startle, surprise, astound and delight anyone fortunate enough to join it. highlights • Discover the wildlife of the Galapagos • Visit the Darwin Research Station • Swim & snorkel with amazing marine life • Cruise through the jungle on a canoe • Discover amazing Amazonian animals • Marvel at the inspiring Sacred Valley • Trek the Inca Trail and ramble over ruins • Witness a sunrise over Machu Picchu

Days 4-7: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Travel this morning to Km 82 and begin a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free, and fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike as you move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipunku, the ‘Sun Gate’, to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu and gaze in awe as the early morning mist swirls over the beautiful mountains. (3B, 3L, 3D) Day 8: Cuzco Wander the quaint cobble-stoned streets, explore the truly fascinating museums and absorb the friendly, colonial atmosphere or simply rest your weary legs. For those still feeling active options include rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking. Days 9-10: Amazon Jungle Fly from the Andes to Puerto Maldonado, in the lowlands of the Amazon jungle. Travel by motorised canoe to your lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area - look out for Black Skimmers, Pied Lapwings, Capped herons and Jabiru storks. Once at your lodge explore the jungle with expert local guides and learn about the area's rich flora and fauna. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Day 11: Lima Fly to Lima via Cuzco for a final night in Peru. Down some Pisco Sours and enjoy the city. Day 12: Lima / Quito Your flight to Ecuador's capital; Quito isn't included in your tour price. Ask your consultant who'll happily book this for you. Days 13-16: Galapagos Catch an early flight to Baltra - hook up with you naturalist guide and jump aboard your lovely boat. Over the next 5 days visit the islands of Seymour, Rabida, Isla Santiago, Sombrero Chino, Bartolomé Island, South Plaza and Santa Fe. Travel from the boat to the islands via a small, motorised launch. Explore while learning about the natural history and unique wildlife from your expert guide. Most days you can snorkel among sea lions, or relax on deck. (4B, 4L, 4D) Day 17: Santa Cruz / Quito On your last morning in the Galapagos Islands you'll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about his famed studies and explorations. You'll then fly back to Quito where you can enjoy one last night out. (B) Day 18: depart Quito Your magnificent adventure sadly comes to an end on Day 18 - say your goodbyes.

Day 1: arrive Lima Arrive at any time - and start exploring! Day 2: Cuzco Jump on a very early flight to Cuzco, the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. Relax or explore the Inca spiritual sites of Sacsayhuaman and Tambo Machay. Day 3: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo Travel with your local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas - a lush agricultural region that continues to supply Cuzco with much of its produce. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market. The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Catch your breath and prepare for the hike ahead.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 03 JAN 10 JAN 17 JAN 24 JAN31 FEB 07 FEB 14 FEB 21 FEB 28 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28 APR 04 APR 11 APR 18

FINISH JAN 20 JAN 27 FEB 03 FEB 10 FEB 17 FEB 24 MAR 03 MAR 10 MAR 17 MAR 24 MAR 31 APR 07 APR 14 APR 21 APR 28 MAY 05

START APR 25 MAY 02 MAY 09 MAY 16 MAY 23 MAY 30 JUN 06 JUN 13 JUN 20 JUN 27 JUL 04 JUL 11 JUL 18 JUL 25 AUG 01 AUG 08 AUG 15

FINISH MAY 12 MAY 19 MAY 26 JUN 02 JUN 09 JUN 16 JUN 23 JUN 30 JUL 07 JUL 14 JUL 21 JUL 28 AUG 04 AUG 11 AUG 18 AUG 25 SEP 01

START AUG 22 AUG 29 SEP 05 SEP 12 SEP 19 SEP 26 OCT 03 OCT 10 OCT 17 OCT 24 OCT 31 NOV 07 NOV 14 NOV 21 NOV 28 DEC 05 DEC 12

FINISH SEP 08 SEP 15 SEP 22 SEP 29 OCT 06 OCT 13 OCT 20 OCT 27 NOV 03 NOV 11 NOV 17 NOV 24 DEC 01 DEC 08 DEC 15 DEC 22 DEC 29

START DEC 19 DEC 26 2011 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 02 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27

FINISH JAN 05 JAN 12 JAN 19 JAN 26 FEB 02 FEB 09 FEB 16 FEB 23 MAR 02 MAR 09 MAR 16 MAR 23 MAR 30 APR 06 APR 13

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (8 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), twin-share cabin on board the motorised yacht (4 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flights, train, boat, canoe, hiking, motorized yacht, zodiacs, public bus Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides, local naturalist guide (certified by the Galapagos National Park) Meals: All meals while in the jungle, on the Inca Trail and while in the Galapagos Budget: Allow USD135 for meals not included Please Note: Flight from Lima to Quito must be purchased at time of booking to arrive into Lima on Day 12 Tour Code: GAPA07A

• Quito  • Galapagos Islands peru

• Lima

Amazon Jungle • Machu Picchu • Ollantaytambo • Cuzco •

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


50

hop-on hop-off peru & bolivia It has never been easier to explore Peru and Bolivia. Our fantastic hop-on hop-off bus pass allows you to travel independently in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador while enjoying a range of outstanding adventure activities. Buy one travel pass and create your own personalised itinerary with the freedom to choose where to go, when to depart and how many days you need to properly explore each unique destination. The drivers and guides will be your local friends in a foreign country, giving you local insider tips in every town. Each and every pass includes some or all of the below activities: Paracas: Ballestas Islands Take a speedboat ride to the Ballestas Islands. Check out hundreds of Peruvian Bobbies, pelicans, cormorants and many other native birds. Observe sea lions relaxing on the beach, dolphins swimming playfully through the sea and depending on the time of year, you may well encounter the famous Humboldt Penguins.

• Experience the real Peru and Bolivia and enjoy loads of included cultural, adventure and lifestyle activities. • Travel on a variety of transportation methods and experience the local way of life by travelling on safe local first class public buses. • Daily departures - flexible itineraries with convenient departures everyday. • Choose your starting point, ending point and everywhere in between. •

Travel with lots of like minded travellers and make new friends.

Make unlimited changes to your itinerary as you are travelling - with no time limit to reach your final destination.

Accommodation is not included, but you'll be dropped off at the best hostels and hotels in town.

Ica: Dune Buggy & Sandboarding Head to the desert oasis of La Huacachine and learn the art of sand boarding from an experienced local tour guide in one of the hottest and most amazing landscapes of Peru. Puno: Home Stay Amantani Island Travel by boat for 3.5 hours to Amantani Island where you'll live and learn with a local Quechua family. Share your talents, knowledge or just a friendly conversation with local villagers. There is an approximate USD10 fee for your bed and three tasty meals. Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas Check out the small mountain villages between Puno and Cusco. Pukara, an ancient ceremonial centre oozes Andean culture. La Raya, at 3,540m boasts marvelous views of the snow-capped mountains. Sicuani is a tiny indigenous mountain town. Raqchi is famed for its ancient rituals. And finally, the quaint village of Andahuaylillas is renowned for its fine historic art and its colonial church, known as the 'Sistine Chapel'.

• Lima

peru

Cuzco • Paracas • • Ballestas Island Ica / Huacachina • Nazca •

First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

• Inca Express Puno • Bolivia Copacabana • La Paz • Arequipa •


51

Peru to Bolivia Way

lima - cuzco fr £293 recommended minimum TRIP TIME: 14 DAYS

lima - la paz fr £338 RECommended minimum TRIP TIME: 17 DAYS

included activities Paracas: Ballestas Island Boat ride Ica: Sandboarding Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

included activities Paracas: Ballestas Island Boat ride Ica: Sandboarding Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

• Lima

peru

• Lima

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Paracas • • Ballestas Island Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Ica / Huacachina • Puno • Nazca • Arequipa •

First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

peru

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Paracas • • Ballestas Island Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Ica / Huacachina • Puno • Bolivia Nazca • Copacabana • La Paz • Arequipa • First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

bolivia to peru way

cuzco encounter way

la paz - lima fr £338 Recommended minimum trip time: 17 days

la paz - cuzco fr £153 RECommended minimum TRIP TIME: 6 DAYS

included activities Paracas: Ballestas Island Boat ride Ica: Sandboarding Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

included activities Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

• Lima

peru

peru

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Paracas • • Ballestas Island Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Ica / Huacachina • Puno • Bolivia Nazca • Copacabana • La Paz • Arequipa • First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Puno • Bolivia Copacabana • La Paz • First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

magical inca way

into bolivia way

cuzco - lima fr £293 Recommended minimum trip time: 14 days

cuzco - la paz fr £153 RECommended minimum TRIP TIME: 6 DAYS

included activities Paracas: Ballestas Island Boat ride Ica: Sandboarding Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

included activities Puno: Homestay (2 Days, 1 night at Amatanti Island) Inca Express: Pukara - La Raya - Sicuani - Raqchi - Andahuaylillas

• Lima

peru

peru

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Puno • Bolivia Copacabana • La Paz •

Cuzco • Andahuaylillas • • Raqchi Paracas • • Ballestas Island Sicuani • • La Raya Pukara • Ica / Huacachina • Puno • Nazca •

First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

Arequipa •

First Class Public Bus Tourist Bus

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Mystical Inca Way


52

lima & the coast

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

the point hostel, lima

los girasoles, lima

duo boutique hotel, lima

Set in a colonial house in boho Barranco this fun hostel has a well-stocked bar, great for drinks before you hit the nightlife, only 5mins away. Hang out in the garden or the TV room. There's free wireless, and ping pong and pool tables. STA500

An awesome home from home affordable hotel with free WiFi, free use of barbecue, games room and movie theatre. Inclusive breakfast is served until 11am (for all you late risers!). Some rooms have a terrace or garden attached. STA501

A small minimalist boutique hotel in chic Miraflores newly converted from a family home into a modern and stylish place to stay. There's a gorgeous pool and large bright terrace area. Room service is an added bonus. STA502

fr

£7 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

Spanish Language School Lima 14 days fr £441 • • • • •

2, 3 or 4 weeks' study, 20 hours per week Maximum six students per group Start date every Monday, all year round Stay with a family or other students Weekly cultural and social events

Learn the lingo and enjoy the best that Lima has to offer! When you're not working on your vocab and verbs, explore the nightlife of Miraflores or Barranco. Paraglide over the coast or head down to the beach for some surf. Take part in weekly cultural activities with your fellow classmates. The school is located in one of the many mansions in historic Miraflores. Accommodation: Ranges from cosy home-stays to riotous student residences Meals: 2 meals a day at homestays and self catering in student residences Also Included: Enrolment fees, course materials, certificate of attendance Tour Code: STA503

£44 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST £49 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£55 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST £88 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST


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january 18, 2010 Anniversary of the city of lima february 1 - 15, 2010 Virgin of Candelaria Festival, Puno February 1 - 28, 2010 carnival celebrations april 1 - 30, 2010 Peruvian paso Horse Festival, Lima June 24, 2010 Inti Raymi festival of the sun July 28-29, 2010 Fiestas Patrias (Independence Days) october 18-28, 2010 Lord of Miracles Procession in Lima

STAystylish

STAysimple

STAysmart

casa andina, lima

the point hostel, Máncora

casa andina, nazca

The most legendary 5-star hotel in Miraflores, restyled for the 21st century. Spectacular suites with dazzling views, state-of-the-art technology facilities, indoor pool, sauna, salon & gym. And only 2 blocks from the Parque Central. STA504

A 2 hour flight from Lima, you'll love the white sands and blue waters of Mancora Beach. Swing in a hammock, play football on the beach or go for a swim. Sun, surf, bikinis & beer is the motto of this chilled out bamboo style hostel! STA505

An airy, coastal-style hotel that’s modern with a welcoming rustic touch. The long, open-air patio is lined with balconies, tall palm trees and leafy green plants, giving the hotel a tropical feel. The restaurant overlooks the pool and patio bar. STA506

fr fr

£140 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £140 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£7 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £17 DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£47 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £48 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fly over the nazca lines Full day fr £82 • Panoramic flight over the Nazca lines • Hostel pick up and drop off Hop on board a teeny tiny plane that'll take you up into the skies for your own take on the mysterious Nazca lines. Largely believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 200 BCE and 700 CE, the Nazca Lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert. Some resemble Paracas motifs but there are hundreds of figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks or orcas, llamas, and lizards. The reasons that lie behind their existence vary from representations of ancient gods, landing strips for returning aliens and a form of celestial calendar. See what you think! Tour Code: STA507

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

dates for your diary


54

cuzco

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

The Point Hostel

casa andina koricancha

Casa Andina private collection

Party 'till dawn at this fun hostel. The staff are uber friendly and know where the best nights out are. There’s free internet, free breakfast until 1pm, a pool table, DVD room, cable TV, restaurant, huge garden and very lively bar! STA508

Check out this awesome hotel. There's a great traditional Peruvian restaurant onsite, internet, and much more. The main square is only 3 and a half blocks away and the Koricancha temple is right on your doorstep. STA509

Warm, friendly and elegant, this gorgeous hotel is a beautifully renovated old colonial mansion. It boasts three exclusive courtyards - perfect for spending the evenings sipping the hotel's tasty signature cocktail, Pisco Sours! STA510

fr

£8 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days, fr £190 Start & Finish: cuzco Day 1: cuzco - santa maria Drive along the Sacred Valley to Abra Malaga at 4316m. Cycle down challenging roads, past inca sites and ice-capped mountains.

£74 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £75 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

£118 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £118 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu 2 days, fr £178 Day 3: Inca Trail Feel like Adam and Eve on this exclusive section of the Inca Trail - no other company takes you here. Spy stunning Machu Picchu from the top of Llactapata and train it to Aguas Calientes. Day 4: Machu Picchu to Cuzco Catch sunrise at Machu Picchu. Your guide will leave no stone unturned on Inca history knowledge. Bus it back to Cuzco and celebrate! Departs: daily

Day 2: inca trail Begin walking at dawn, stopping at a quaint restaurant on the way. Reach the Inca Trail walking by the river. Dip into Colcamayo springs.

fr fr

Accommodation: Homestays (with hot water)and hostel in Aguas Calientes (last night) Meals: Included - lunch on the first day through until final lunch in Aguas Calientes on the last day Also included: All transport, bilingual guide, mountain bike with front suspension, gloves and helmet Tour Code: STA511

• • • •

Pick up and drop off in Cuzco Buffet Lunch & English tour guide Entrance to Machu Picchu 1 night's hostel accommodation

Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas... and all in one day! You'll have the opportunity to wander the vibrant colourful artisan markets and a diverse array of archaeological Incan ruins. Early on the second day you'll be up in order to check out the sunrise over Machu Picchu, a once in a lifetime sight! If you're interested in quaint Andean villages and enjoy local markets, then this is the tour for you! Incudes: Aguas Calientes - Payacha hostel with private bathrooms and hot water showers (1n), all transport, 1 lunch Tour code: STA512


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PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

teach english in cuzco

work with orphans in lima

Tambopata Jungle Adventure

4 weeks, fr £930

4 weeks, fr £765

3 days, fr £197

Start & Finish: cuzco

Start & Finish: lima

Start & Finish: puerto maldonada

Teach English in the heart of the old Incan empire. Choose between a state school or technical institute, both of which maintain the traditions of the ancient Quechan way of life, while balancing it with the demands of the modern world. By learning the English language, students can broaden their personal horizons and gain access to better employment opportunities. You'll be working in Cuzco, the archealogical capital of the Americas, and the ideal starting point for trips to Machu Picchu. Your Latin American adventure starts here! IT1

Experience life in Lima's suburbs and share your caring side with young Peruivians. This home has been running for over 100 years and offers much needed care and shelter to 270 young girls who have been abandoned, abused or who have lost their families. Female volunteers who are compassionate, patient and can speak a little Spanish are a precious resource. You'll join a friendly team of psychologists, teachers, doctors and nurses - teaching English, art, cooking, sports and more. IT2

extra weeks fr £110

extra weeks fr £110

accommodation Family-run guesthouse/homestay.

activities Activities depend on volunteer skills. They could include workshops for English, sewing, arts, cosmetics, cooking... Playing sports, assisting with special needs children, or helping teenage mothers with their babies.

meals Breakfast and dinner provided daily.

accommodation Homestay, shared room.

working hours Flexible; Monday to Friday, 5-6 hours per day, all other time is free for you to enjoy Cuzco and its various different activities.

meals 2 meals a day.

activities Teaching English.

also inculded • TEFL certification • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff

working hours Flexible; Monday to Friday 9am to 12:30pm and 3pm to 5pm, all other time is free. Hours at the boys home is Monday to Friday 8am to 1pm or 1pm to 6pm. also inculded • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff

• • • •

3 days in the Amazon Jungle Lodge transfer by Amazonian boat Comfortable bungalow accommodation Fees for National Parks included

Day 1 Check out the town while your permits are being sorted. Head into the jungle on traditional Amazonian boat. Enjoy lunch and relax by the pool before heading out on an afternoon trek. Check out the bird life, medicinal plants, butterflies and other animals. Before dinner you'll head out on a small river night safari with the hopes of spotting the elusive white Caiman. Day 2 Head out at dawn in search of the 'parrot claylick'. There are 5 different species of parrot that feed on the clay - it's reputed to assist in their metabolism. Head back for breakfast and enjoy some free time hanging around the lodge. You'll head out later again on the boat in the direction of "Monkey Island" where Squirrel monkeys, Howler monkeys and Capuchin monkeys run wild! A 5km trek will follow - keep an eye out for Jaguars! Check out the Sandolva Lake where you’ll find giant river otters, Black caimans, piranhas and even anacondas Day 3 After breakfast it's time to say goodbye to the lodge and national park. Leave your monkeys behind and depart with your guide back to the city and onto the airport, homeward-bound. Accommodation: Bungalow at the Corto Maltes Amazonia has a private bathroom with hot water 24 hours and a large terrace with hammocks where you can enjoy the excellent view of Madre de Dios river and the jungle that surrounds the lodge. You'll be sharing a twin-bed bungalow with another fellow traveller Transport: Amazonian boat and airport pick up and drop off Guide: English Speaking Guide Meals: All meals on the trip Also Includes: Entrance fees to sites Please Note: Flights to Puerto Maldonado are not included Tour Code: STA513

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


56

southern peru Lake Titicaca and Islands 2 days, fr £50 departs: daily

STAysimple

STAysmart

The Point Hostel, Arequipa

casa andina plaza, puno

A friendly and relaxed hostel with pool, huge garden and sunny roof-terrace with spectacular volcano views. Make yourself at home in the TV room, kitchen and hostel bar. You're just 5-10 mins from the nightlife and museums. STA516

You'll be wowed by the excellent and really friendly service at this hotel, the superb location only streets away from the main action and the yummy free breakfasts. A real find, you'll feel home from home in no time at all. STA517

fr

£7 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

colca canyon trek 4 days, fr £85 Start & Finish: arequipa

£43 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £43 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

Day 2: Sangalle Valley Walk to the villages of Coshñirhua and Malata known for their fruit trees. Arrive into beautiful, fertile "Sangalle Valley" - close to the Colca river. Lounge in the pools and prepare for a magical evening under the stars, complete with campfire.

departs: daily Day 1: Arequipa / San Juan de Cchucho Head out bright and early through the National Reserve of Pampa Cañahua -a natural reserve for llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Arrive for lunch in the town of Cabanaconde and begin your canyon trek. Spend the evening over dinner with the locals. Stay with one of the local families

Day 3: chivay / arequipa Enjoy a short walk and time in the local village. Absorb the culture then bus it to Cruz del Condor for a truly remarkable sight - the magnificent condors flying through the canyon. Have lunch in Chivay and soak away your stresses in hot springs. Head back to Arequipa late afternoon. Accommodation: 2 nights accommodation in local cabins and under the stars Transport: All transport Group Leader: Fluent in English & Spanish Meals: 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners Tour Code: STA519

• • • •

Pick up and drop off in Puno Traditional food in local settings Boat trip over Lake Titicaca 1 night's homestay accommodation

Sail to beautiful Taquile Island and the famous floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake. Check out the pre-Inca ruins and the locals' colourful textiles - whose culture has hardly changed. You'll probably feel the altitude play games with you as you climb the 533 steps to Taquile's village. Spend the night star-gazing with a local family and share their customs, music, and food. Accommodation: homestay (1n) Transport: Pick up and drop off in Puno, transfer to the port, boat transfers Meals: 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner Also Includes: Entrance fees to all sites Tour Code: STA518


57

bolivia • Sorata • La Paz • Oruro

• Santa Cruz • Sucre

Uyuni • Salt Lakes •

bolivia My favourite experience

When we got to Fish Island on the salt flats, no-one could contain themselves. We stood on top of this hill covered in cacti thousands of years old and all we could see was white. It was completely surreal! Like skating over a vast ice-rink, except of course it’s all salt. Bizarre but very very cool. It's a moment that'll stay with me forever... Sinead, Belfast

The Weather The Andean plateau has an extreme type of tropical highland climate. The most sunshine happens between December and March but so does the most rainfall, even if it is low overall. At altitude (La Paz) temperatures massively drop and don't change much the whole year round. The range of temperatures is vast however, so nights can get pretty chilly, particularly during the dry winter or low-sun period - frost is almost a nightly occurrence. Local Eats Try out the tasty Bolivian savoury salteñas - like smaller versions of the cornish pasty and humitas - sweetened corn meal wrapped inside a corn husk or banana leaf and then boiled or steamed. Go coco for the naturally made smoothies - but ask for them to be made with bottled water to avoid them coming back to haunt you.

Useful Info Some 40,000 years ago, the area that the impressive salt flats cover was part of Lake Minchin, a giant prehistoric lake. When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopó Lake and Uru Uru Lake - and two major salt deserts, Coipasa and Uyuni. Uyuni is roughly 25 times the size of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States. Useless Info Alpacas are not only useful for their wool, but also provide fuel from their dung. Interestingly, males have much tidier and fewer dung piles than females who tend to stand in a line and all go at once. One female approaches the dung pile and begins to urinate and/or defecate, and the rest of the herd often follows. try before you fly Watch 'Che: Part 2' with Benicio Del Toro for seriously stunning scenery.

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PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Currency: BOLIVIANO Time Zone: gmt - 4 Price of a beer: 70P Population: 9.9 MILLION Area: 4.5 x UK


58

bolivia on a shoestring 21 DAYS, £1,069 fr

no local payment!

lima - la paz Authentic, traditional and unspoilt – or at least as close to it as you’re likely to get without dying, spreading your ashes, and becoming part of the landscape yourself. Arguably, this shoestring saunter takes in some of the world’s most spectacular scenery over the course of a mere three weeks. And with most time spent between Peru and Bolivia it’ll be easier on those hard saved pennies which means more room for those all important alpaca woolly jumpers, hammocks and comedy Christmas presents. Where else can you fit in visiting Machu Picchu - one of the new seven worldly wonders, sail one of the biggest and highest lakes on the planet, get under the skin of the crazily colourful local culture, tread some terrific terrain in the Atacama Desert and stand simply speechless on the vast white salt flats in Bolivia? Right here, yep that’s where. So jump to it! highlights • Roam the ruins of Machu Picchu • Get active: raft, ride, mountain bike • Capture the essence of Inca legends • Hop your way up to hikers’ heaven • Explore the world’s highest capital • Walk like Buzz Aldrin on moon terrain • Crack hilarious jokes on Fish Island • Marvel at fantastically coloured lagoons • Stand awe-struck on the Salar de Uyuni • Get pint-sized in dinosaur tracks Day 1: arrive LIMA Arrive. Have a wander. Chill out with a cold beer. Day 2: Cuzco Nice to meet you. A marriage made in heaven (almost) between the Incas and Spanish colonists makes this city architecturally cool. Skip down cobblestone streets to the markets, step inside churches and eat your way to potato paradise. Day 3: machu picchu / cuzco Choo choo to Aguas Calientes and head up to Machu Picchu. Explore all the nooks and crannies with your guide and get under the skin of the Incas. Climb steep Huayana Picchu for a different view back to Cuzco to enjoy the nutty nightlife. Days 4-5: Cuzco Wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised before heading off on some of the optional trips Cuzco has to offer. Ride raucous rapids down the Urubamba River, bog off on a bike or saddle up on horseback. You can also head down Sacred Valley way, see some more interesting Inca sites, or simply sit back, relax and swear you’ll never combine altitude with alcohol ever again.

Days 6-7: puno The highest destination on this trip, Puno weighs in at an impressive 3830m above sea level. It’ll take you a day to get there from Cuzco, followed by a free day to appreciate the sights, sounds and sexy sweaters of the good Punonian people.

Day 13: Bus / train to uyuni Get on a beloved bus to Oruru and then head on to Uyuni by train – let those legs loose! Small and fairly isolated, Uyuni sits on the edge of the astounding, amazing, awesome salt flats – think we’re exaggerating? Just you wait and see.

Days 8-9: isla del sol Welcome to Bolivia and lakeside town, Copacabana. Board a boat to the Isla del Sol, the mythical birthplace of the first Inca and his wife. Lap up the lake’s impressive views and giggle at its name. ‘Titi’ is thought to mean puma.

Days 14-16: uyuni / salt lakes Spend the next 3 days exploring the stunning landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and Chile’s moon-like Atacama Desert in an all singing, all dancing 4WD – actually, no, that’s just the passengers. Carry on along the rugged terrain, spotting flamingos and soaking in thermal baths. (2B, 3L, 2D)

Days 10-11: sorata Sorata is a hiker’s paradiso, since its located half way between the highlands and the jungle. Roll up your socks for a full day’s hike or chill in the colonial town while you enjoy the scenery. Very pleasant times for very pleasant people. That’s just how we roll. Day 12: la paz Heading back from the semi-tropical region of the Yungas, you’ll do a hop skip and a jump to the highest capital in the world: La Paz. Try skiing at the world’s highest ski resort. Grab a fruit smoothie and check out the Witches’ Market for weird and wonderful purchases – dried llama foetus anyone?!

DAYs 17-19: sucre Sucre is fascinating and historic. It’s also home to a few fellow traveller footprints from years gone by – try 60 million years in fact. So go off, explore and jump around the dino tracks. On Day 19 take an overnight bus from Sucre to La Paz, with some free time to finish your superb shoestring sightseeing. DAYs 20-21: La paz Spend a full day enjoying the world’s highest capital. People watch to your heart's content in this culture-rich city before departing on Day 21.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 18 FEB 15 APR 12 MAY 10

FINISH FEB 07 MAR 07 MAY 02 MAY 30

START JUN 07 JUL 05 AUG 02 AUG 30 SEP 27

FINISH JUN 27 JUL 25 AUG 22 SEP 19 OCT 17

START OCT 25 NOV 22 DEC 20

FINISH NOV 14 DEC 12 JAN 09

START 2011 JAN 17 FEB 14 MAR 14

FINISH FEB 06 MAR 06 APR 03

Accommodation: Simple hotels (may be multi-share) (20 nts) Transport: Local Flight, 4WD vehicles, hiking, public bus, train, boat Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Local rep, days 1-2, meet with tour leader on day 3 of tour, local guides Meals: All meals included during the Salt Flats excursion Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GASBBS

want something longer? Peru & Bolivia Experience 30 days fr £1,769 Tour Code: GASPPB stay longer in lima Check out pages 52-53. stay longer in la paz Check out page 60.

peru

• Lima bolivia • Cuzco Puno • • Sorata Isla del Sol • • La Paz • Oruro • Sucre

Uyuni • Salt Lakes •


59

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

bolivia discovery 11 DAYS, £609 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: LA PAZ Still relatively untouched by tourism, Bolivia offers some of the most dramatic scenery the continent has to offer, a tasty local lifestyle and cities rich in cultural and colonial history. And because this marvellous little country remains relatively 'off the beaten track' - there is a whole lot still to be discovered - perfect for curious lust-for-life types like you and your fellow amigos. This 11 day experience is an all round epic adventure of exciting and enthralling encounters - not to mention the altitude that’ll leave an impression on your heart in more ways than one. Phewf! Gawp at the traditional dress, gaze at starlit skies, dance with Bolivian rhythm and enter into a culture just itching to be uncovered. It’s all ‘very naice’ – as Borat himself would agree. So get with the programme and join the Boliviawahweewah magic. highlights • Live La Paz’s local lifestyle • Visit historic Sucre's prehistoric friends • Explore explosive Potosí • Stand awe-struck on the Salar de Uyuni • Crack hilarious jokes on Fish Island • Walk on moon-like terrain zombie style • Marvel at fantastically coloured lagoons • Bag a bargain at colourful markets Day 1: Arrive La Paz Arrive into La Paz. Soak in the spirit of the city and wander up and down its bustling streets. Days 2-4: Sucre Fly me to the moon… or over to Sucre (the actual moon-like bit comes later on). Arrive and take time to explore the city and its often red-hot political presence. Meet travellers from times gone by – just a few 60 million years old, and revel in their footprints – quite literally.

Day 5: Potosí Potosí is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tumultous history and reputation as a silver mining centre during colonial times. Be daring and take the chance to descend into a modernday working mine for a close up look at methods that have hardly changed in decades, if not centuries. Explosive stuff! Days 6-8: Uyuni / Salt Lakes Spend the next three days exploring the stunning landscapes between the Salar de Uyuni and Chile’s Atacama Desert in an all singing, all dancing 4WD vehicle – actually no, that’s just the passengers. Take your sunglasses, the already strong sun bouncing off the whiter than white salt flats is pretty intense, and frazzled eyes ain’t such a good look this coming season. The sights are quite simply astounding; particularly once you hit Fish Island so make sure you’ve charged your camera well - it's a photographer's dream come true. Carry on along the rugged terrain, moon boots and astronaut suit optional. Stop at the incredible coloured lagunas, home to beautiful flamingos standing elegant and proud. Pass geysers, boiling mud pools, thermal baths and the whopping Licancabúr volcano (5960m) that looms in the distance. Cacti lovers will also be in for their share of spiky treats. (2B, 3L, 2D)

Day 9: Night Bus / Train to La Paz Time to cosy up campers, it’s a long night of hilarious anecdotal storytelling ahead. Shuffle up and meet your soulmate on the next seat. Day 10: La Paz A last chance for wacky souvenir shopping and if that’s the order of the day be sure to check out the Witches market for a whole host of weird and wonderful kit. Find potions a plenty for both real and imagined ailments, Walk around the city centre and enjoy your final moments of this interesting, often insane and bizarre city. Day 11: Depart La Paz It's not even a case of swapping numbers or email addresses these days is it? Good old social networking. Say TTFN and upload all those shockingly silly and stupendous photos.

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - FEB

SAT SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (may be multi-share) (9 nts), bus/train (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, train, 4WD truck, local flight Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader from Sucre onwards Meals: Meals while visiting Uyuni Salt Flats Budget: Allow USD150 for meals not included Tour Code: GABBD

go in reverse fr £609 Tour Code: GABBDR add on peru 'Altiplano Expedition' 31 days fr £1,819 Tour Code: GASXML

bolivia

• La Paz • Sucre Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes •

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


60

La paz & the salt flats Downhill Biking YungAs: La Paz to Coroico full day fr £64

STAysimple

STAysmart

hi hostel onkel inn, la paz

hotel el dorado, LA PAZ

A new 'cool' place for 'cool' people. Bright, comfy and clean rooms, there's a roof terrace with a jacuzzi for some great views, TV room, travel agency, kitchen, internet access and bike rental. A top place to bunk down for a few days. STA520

Well located and within easy walking distance of most of the sights this simple hotel is clean and comfortable with friendly staff. Tuck into tasty breakfasts and enjoy great views of the mountains from the front of the hotel. STA521

fr

£10 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £34 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST fr £38 DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr

fr

fr

Crossing the Salt Flats 3 days £135 fr

Uyuni - San Pedro de atacama departs: daily Day 1: uyuni / salar de uyuni Check out the Train Cemetery on your way into the Salar de Uyuni, the biggest salt-flat in the world. Visit the salt mining area and town of Colchani, Bloques de Sal whos residents survive solely from salt processing. Take a look around a salt hotel (yes, made entirely of salt!) and then onto Fish Island - 1000-year-old cacti covered in fossilised coral in the middle of the Salar.

£31 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST £34 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

day 2: salar de uyuni Head south through rugged Andean terrain and past spectacularly colourful lakes. Admire the incredible flamingos and the Arbol de Piedra a stone tree that has been carved out of the howling, sandy winds and go Viscachas spotting. Day 3: pedro de atacama Wake up to bubbling sulphur pools and a geyser. Jump into the hot springs – absolute bliss first thing in the morning. Check out the sensational Laguna Verde - you’ll never have seen anything like it! The green colour of the water is caused by arsenic, lead, copper and other heavy metals. Head onto San Perdro de Atacama, Chile. Accommodation: Simple lodge (2n) Meals: 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners Transport: 4WD Toyota-Landcruiser, 4 - 6 travellers Tour Code: STA523 Also available in reverse - Please enquire for details.

• • • • •

Full-suspension bike, helmet and gloves Transport included Guide driver up-front Free T-shirt in memory of your adventure Traditional lunch

If there's one thing better than cycling in a foreign country, it's cycling downhill in a foreign country. Your guided tour starts at "the Pass/ Cumbre" (4680m) on an impressive 5-6 hours downhill RIDE to Yolosa (800m). It's a controlled, but exciting adventure. From the dry Altiplano into the green Yungas, the scenic entry towards the lowlands of the Amazonia ends in the lovely village-terrace of Coroico. Tour Code: STA522


61

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

galapagos islands Otavalo • Quito • • Machalilla Guayaquil •

• Tena

• Baños • Riobamba • AlausÍ

ecuador

Ecuador

Currency: US DOLLAR Time Zone: GMT - 5 TO - 6 Price of a beer: 75P Population: 13.6 MILLION Area: SAME AS UK

Ecuador & Galapagos

My favourite experience

I remember lying back on the deck of my boat as the sweet breeze of the Pacific cooled the delicious equatorial sunshine. The azzure skies above me were filled with the huge wingspans of at least 100 Frigate Birds. These magnificent creatures soared in pefect silence as they followed our boat through the beautiful blue waters. All the natural wonder of the Galapagos Islands was in harmony and I felt as if I was in heaven... Simon, Ipswich

The Weather Due to Ecuador's geographical diversity local weather patterns vary greatly. The mainland coastal areas and the Galapagos Islands are hot and rainy between January and April, and cool and dryer the rest of the year. In the highlands, the dry season is from June to September and around Christmas, but there are rarely significant periods of rain. The central valley is spring like year round, with temperatures averaging at around 24°C. Over in the Orient (Amazon) expect sticky heat and plenty of rain throughout the year. Local Eats Ecuador does soup better than anyone else. Many eat it every single day. Our particular favourites include Caldo de pata (bolied cow hooves), Locro (cheese, avocado & potatoes) and yaguarlocro (potatoes and blood sprinklings). All are much tastier than they sound.

Useful Info Beware of Ecuador's dizzying altitude. If you're flying straight into Quito (2,800m above sea level) then you might be hit with altitude sickness. Drink lots of water and take it easy for a few days. Useless Info Under Ecuadorian law a woman can be returned to her parents if her husband finds out she is not a virgin on their wedding night. Apply this law to the UK - and no-one would get flippin' married! try before you fly The Galapagos Islands are renowned for being the main inspiration for Charles Darwin and his theory of Evolution. If visiting the islands, and wanting to appear more learned and intelligent than just about everybody else on your trip make sure you read his seminal book 'On the Origin of Species'. It's mindblowingly fascinating.

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62

galapagos islands Snorkel with the sea lions or lie in the sun with the iguanas, it’s up to you. The Galapagos Islands are a haven for some of the world’s most interesting and unique creatures. The isolation of these islands has created a wildlife playground where birds, sea and land animals are more curious and approachable than anywhere else on earth. From the stark, lava fields of Rabida to the rich vegetation and white sand beaches of Santa Cruz - the islands are yours to explore...

Floreana island (Charles) Site of the famous ‘post office barrel’, which was placed there by whalers in the 18th century and is still in use today. Visit Pt. Cormorant, which has a jade green volcanic beach, a lagoon and occasional shore birds and flamingos. Snorkel at Devil’s Crown, a submerged volcanic cone.

santa Fé island (Barrington) Find an endemic species of land iguana and a forest of impressively tall opuntia cacti ‘trees’. The Galapagos mockingbird, magnificent frigatebird, brown pelican and several species of Darwin’s Finches are also commonly sighted.

santa cruz island (Indefatigable) The economic centre of the Galapagos and the most populated island of the archipelago. The Charles Darwin Research Station is a 10 minute walk from Puerto Ayora. Visit the adult and baby Galapagos Tortoises, which are raised at the station. Check out Turtle Bay Beach, a 45 minute walk from Puerto Ayora along a lovely trail. The pristine white sand beach is absolutely stunning!

española (Hood) Prepare for a mighty array of stunning wildlife: Marine Iguanas with copper red patches, sea lions, lava lizards and lots of bird life including finches, boobies and gulls. This is also the only island where Waved Albatross can be seen during breeding season (Apr-Dec).

rabida island (Jervis) This small island’s volcanic rock is covered by Opuntia Cacti, Palo Santo trees and low scrubby bushes. Sea lions abound on the picturesque dark red beach behind which is a flamingo lagoon. The shoreline serves as a resting site for several species of seabirds.

pinta (abingdon is.)

marchena (bindloe is.)

genovesa (tower is.)

san salvador (santiago is.) fernandina (narborough is.)

Baltra rÁbida (Jervis is.) isabela (albemarle is.)

santa cruz (indefatigable is.)

Santa Rosa • • Bellavista santa fÉ (barrington is.)

Santo Tomás • • Puerto Villamil

san cristÓbal (Chatham is.)

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno • • El Progreso

santa maria (floreana is.) • Puerto Velasco Ibarra

espaÑola (hood is.)

Bartolomé island (Bartholomew) This small island perfectly depicts the geological history of the Galapagos. Impressive volcanic scenery can be viewed from the top of Bartolomé (114m), where you will see lava formations, volcanic peaks and moon-like landscapes. north seymour island Perhaps the most best island for photographers. Bird life is abundant and exceptionally close to the trail. The largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds is found here, as well as nesting blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. san cristobal (Chatham) The easternmost island and one of the oldest. The principal town is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the capital of the Galapagos. isabela (Albemarle) Isabela is the largest and most volcanically active island in the archipelago. Mellow out in Puerto Villamil, hang out in a hammock and watch the boobies fly by. Or hike to the tucked-away lagoon that’s home to hundreds of flamingos.


63

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Voyage Galapagos Adventurer II 10 DAYS, £2,019 fr

+ local payment

start and finish: quito If you're looking out for love with a capital L this may just be the place you'll find it. With islands steeped in romantic history and birds and wildlife mating all over the darn place you'll certainly pick up a few wooing tips while you sail away even if you don't meet the man or maiden of your dreams on board ship. Stranger things could happen! Couples aside, you won't fail to be enchanted by the incredible beauty of these islands with their dramatic landscape, rare and stunning wildlife and glorious colours - it's stuff that dreams are surely made of. highlights • Cruise the Galapagos Islands • Sail on board a 75ft motor vessel • Swim and snorkel every day • Spy amazing wild and marine life • Make friends with giant tortoises • Walk on wildy coloured beaches • Hike to magnificent viewpoints • Explore quirky Quito Day 1: arrive quito Arrive and soak in the Ecuadorian ambience. Day 2: san Cristóbal Get up early (if you've even made it to bed) for a morning flight over to the Galapagos Islands. Your naturalist (that's naturalist not naturist) guide will welcome you to paradise aka San Cristóbal, helping you sort yourselves out and get onto the boat. Hang on the beach with your new travelling buddies all afternoon. (B, L, D) Day 3: Española Ahoy m'hearties! Voyage out to Punta Suarez on Isla Española re-enacting Pirates of the Caribbean (although your boat will be way more classy than an old pirate ship!). Enjoy the morning on this southernmost bit of the Galapagos and hang out with the wildlife. Be virtuous and learn all their names - the masked and blue-footed boobies are by far the easiest to remember. Sail in the afternoon to Gardner Bay for swimming and snorkeling. (B, L, D)

Day 4: Floreana Check out Punta Cormorant on the northern part of Floreana - the landing is on a beach of green sand, coloured by volcanic crystals. The trail leads to a lake normally inhabited by flamingos and other wild and wacky birds and continues to a beach of fine white sand particles known as “Flour Beach”, an important nesting site for turtles. Go snorkelling at fish infested Devil's Crown before heading to romantic Post Office Bay in the afternoon. (B, L, D) Day 5: Santa Cruz Wake up in Puerto Ayora. Visit the Charles Darwin Station and check out giant tortoises. Explore the highlands in the afternoon. (B, L, D) Day 6: North Seymour - Chinese Hat Sail to North Seymour, north of Baltra. Snap sea lions, marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, magnificent frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Work with their romance - during mating they offer each other gifts, whistle and honk, stretch their necks towards the sky, spread their wings, and dance showing off their bright blue feet - 'check me out, baby'. Visit excellently named Chinese Hat in the afternoon. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Bartolomé- Black Turtle Cove Arrive at Bartolomé Island early and hop off for a short hike. Discover the island's geological history and witness its dramatic features, including the unusual splatter cones... Interesting. Be lucky and spot the rare Galapagos Penguin - only 800 pairs exist. In the afternoon visit Black turtle cove and snorkel watching out for sharks and marine turtles. (B, L, D) Day 8: Plazas - Santa Fé Visit Plazas island in the morning, then set sail for Santa Fé. Check out the mangroves that manage to survive in their harsh environments, and get cosy with the features and habits of prehistoric-looking marine iguanas. (B, L, D) Day 9: San Cristóbal Reach San Cristóbal and after a hearty breakfast disembark to visit the Interpretation Centre. Fly back to Quito for a last night of revellry with your fellow sea-farers. (B) Day 10: Depart Quito Copy those photos and email addresses. Head off with your chins still on the ground as happy as Larry (whoever he is).

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

WED, SUN WED, SUN

Accommodation: Hotels (2 nts), twin-share cabins on board our motorised yacht (7 nts) Transport: Local flight, motorised yacht, van, zodiacs, public bus Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Local naturalist guide (certified by the Galapagos National Park) while on the islands, representative in Quito Meals: All meals while in the Galapagos Budget: Allow USD80 for meals not included. Drinks and tips while on the yacht are extra Please note: Itinerary varies slightly if departing on a Wednesday Local Payment: USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GAEV10Z

STAY LONGER IN QUITO Check out page 68.

Do it your way 6 dAYS fr

£1,219

3 nights in Galapagos, 2 nights in Quito, Departs Sunday, Tour Code: GAEV06Z

7 dAYS fr

£1,409

4 nights in Galapagos, 2 nights in Quito Departs Wednesday, Tour Code: GAEV07Z

More ways to see the galapagos Ask for our 'Marine' brochure or go online

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


64

Voyage Galapagos adventurer v 10 DAYS, £2,139 fr

+ local payment

start and finish: quito In the nearest chance you'll get to re-enact a wind-swept castaway who spends 30 odd years on a remote tropical island in the middle of nowhere, become your own Robinson Crusoe with this ten day trip. Create your own seafaring tales of gripping action, suspense and mystery. Zoom around the incredible Galapagos Islands - many people's most idealised destination on this entire little planet of ours, and enjoy the comforts of your own 100ft motor-yacht. You'll have heaps of time to soak up the sun on deck, take in the spectacular views and gleam inspiration for that novel you keep meaning to write, making some great friends along the way -animal, mineral or vegetable. Highlights • Cruise the Galapagos Islands • Lie back on the massive outdoor deck • Relax in your crew's capable hands • Snorkel and swim every day • Witness incredbile and rare wildlife • Hike through lush vegetation • Become a bird-spotting expert • Snap some truly spectacular colours

Day 1: arrive quito Arrive, relax, explore. And explore some more. Day 2: Santa Cruz Hop on an early flight to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. When you get there ferry over to the Island of Santa Cruz where you'll meet your naturalist guide. Take a trip up into the highlands and make friends with giant tortoises. (B, L, D) Day 3: Santa Fé / South Plaza Set sail for the island of Santa Fé, also known as Barrington. Santa Fé is well-known as a great place for watching and swimming with sea lions. Sail over to South Plaza in the afternoon - one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos. Witness some amazing land iguanas and walk along a path through a cactus forest to view a combination of both arid land and coastal vegetation. (B, L, D)

Day 4: Cerro Dragon / Bartolomé Today you'll visit Cerro Dragon, located on the Northeast Corner of Isla Santa Cruz. Arrive at Bartolomé Island in the afternoon and become enthralled with the geological history. Your guide will explain its dramatic volcanic features, including the unusual splatter cones. Cross your fingers in the hope you'll spot rare Galapagos Penguins - only 800 pairs exist (B, L, D) Day 5: Rabida / Puerto Egas Cruise to Rabida Island in the morning and visit a salt water lagoon rich in wildlife and vegetation. A large sea lion colony provides great photo opportunities. Spend the afternoon in Puerto Egas visiting the lava rock beaches. (B, L, D) Day 6: Black Turtle Cove / Seymour Located on the second-largest island in the archipelago of Isla Santa Cruz, you'll venture over to the picturesque Black Turtle Cove by panga ride to experience the full splendor of the diverse marine life and birds. In the afternoon continue on to North Seymour, home to abundant animal life including the magnificent frigate bird. Impressive stuff. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Española Head to Gardner Bay for some excellent swimming and snorkeling and then on to Punta Suarezin in the afternoon, on Isla Española. This southernmost island in the Galapagos is home to several wildlife species, including masked and blue-footed boobies - that's a type of bird to those as yet unaware. (B, L, D) Day 8: Floreana Reach Floreana Island and stop at Post Office Bay - a historic site where mariners used to deposit and collect letters from a “post office barrel” sent home by returning sailors. Take your chances and do the same. Cruise towards Punta Cormorant later in the afternoon on the northern part of Floreana and head to Flour Beach, an important nesting site for turtles. Look out for flamingos and the occasional penguin. (B, L, D) Day 9: Santa Cruz / Quito Wake up in Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Fly back to Quito for a last night of fun. (B) Day 10: depart quito Time to go home and make everyone jealous. (B)

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

MON, THU MON, THU

Accommodation: Hotels (2 nts), twin-share cabins on board the motorised yacht (7 nts) Transport: Local flight, motorised yacht, van, zodiacs, public transportation Group Size: Max 20, Avg 15 Group Leader: Local naturalist guide (certified by the Galapagos National Park) while in the Islands., representative in Quito Meals Continental breakfast in Quito, all meals while in the Galapagos Budget: Allow USD80 for meals not included. Drinks and tips while on the yacht are extra Local Payment: USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GAEV10G

STAY LONGER IN QUITO Check out page 68. More ways to see the galapagos Ask for our 'Marine' brochure or go online.

Do it your way 6 DAYS fr

£1,289

3 nights in the Galapagos, 2 nights in Quito Departs Monday, Tour Code: GAEV06G

7 DAYS fr

£1,499

4 nights in the Galapagos, 2 nights in Quito Departs every Thursday, Tour Code: GAEV07G


65

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

land galapagos 10 DAYS, £1,619 fr

+ local payment

start and finish: quito • • • • •

Party til the seacows come home Witness incredible wildlife and friends from the sea Snorkel like you've never snorkelled before in deep blue waters Sample delicious local cuisine and relax in the sun Visit Lonesome George at the Charles Darwin research centre

Day 1: arrive quito Arrive. Head out to a salsoteca or peña for a taste of the vibrant nightlife. Days 2-3: San Cristóbal Island Fly to San Cristóbal Island. Absorb panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and get on your bike heading downhill, stopping at Mann Beach. Check out the sealife in a kayak on Day 3 and explore Kicker Rock - the remains of an underwater volcano rising out of the waters. Snorkel around turtles, mantarays, sharks and penguins. Visit the Interpretation Centre. (2B, 2L, D) Days 4-6: Floreana Island/Isabela Island Set sail for the day to Floreana Island - watching dolphins and albatross. Snorkel your way around Enderby Islet or Champions Bay and Devils Crown. Head up to the highlands - inhabited many moons ago by pirates, whalers, seal hunters and bucaneers. On the way to Isabela Island check out the flamingos in the wetlands and explore the 2nd largest volcano crater in the world. Decide to horseride, surf or hang with Giant Tortoises. (3B, 3L, 2D) Days 7-8: santa cruz Check out the Wall of Tears built by convicts, stop at look-out points, visit natural pools, walk trails, beaches and mangrove swamps. Visit “Tintoreras“ Shark Alley to observe the white tip reef sharks and cop a view of diving blue footed boobies. Enjoy the local cuisine and relax to the max.(2B, 2L, D)

Galapagos on a shoestring 9 DAYS, £1,129 fr

+ local payment

start and finish: quito • • • • •

Grow your sea legs and live the ocean life Witness incredible wildlife on and around the islands Get out on the water in a kayak, snorkel or boat Soak up some deserved sunshine with an ice-cold beer Wake up to sunrise on the beach, never wanting to leave

Day 1: arrive quito Arrive into Quito and check out the city's rich history colonial district. Days 2-3: San Cristóbal Fly to the Island of San Cristóbal. Hop out hiking to the the lookout point of "Las Tijeretas" for some fantastic bird spotting. Spend your free time on the beaches and make a visit to the Interpretation centre. Day 4: santa cruz Feel the wind in your hair on a speedboat to the island of Santa Cruz and the city of Puerto Ayora. Visit the Charles Darwin research centre and get up-close and personal with the Giant Galapagos Land Tortoise. Days 5-7: Isabela Island Head out on board another speedboat to the most volcanically active Galapagos island. Visit the convict-constructed 'Wall of Tears' and get active: surf, snorkel or kayak to your heart's content. Camp for the last two nights, leaving you with brilliant memories to last a lifetime. Day 8: santa cruz / quito Speedboat, bus and plane it back from the islands to Quito and party hard!

Days 9-10: quito Spend your last night revelling like a loco local before leaving town. (2B, L)

Day 9: depart quito Say adios amigos and start planning your next trip away.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

START 2010 JAN 01 JAN 29 FEB 26 MAR 26 APR 23 MAY 21

MOST SATURDAYS MOST SATURDAYS

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts) Transport: Local flight, speed boat, van, pick-up truck, local buses, zodiacs, public bus Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Local naturalist guide while in the Galapagos Islands (certified by the Galapagos National Park), tour rep in Quito Meals: 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 4 Dinners Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not included Local Payment: USD100 Galapagos park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GASEGL

STAY LONGER IN QUITO Check out page 68.

FINISH JAN 09 FEB 06 MAR 06 APR 03 MAY 01 MAY 29

START JUN 18 JUL 02 JUL 16 JUL 30 AUG 13 AUG 27 SEP 10

FINISH JUN 26 JUL 10 JUL 24 AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 04 SEP 18

START OCT 08 NOV 05 DEC 10 2011 JAN 14 FEB 18 MAR 25

FINISH OCT 16 NOV 13 DEC 18 JAN 22 FEB 26 APR 02

Accommodation: Basic hotels (6 nts), camping (2 nts) Transport: Local flight, speed boat, van, pick-up truck, local buses, zodiacs, public bus. Group Size: Max 16, Avg 10 Group Leader: Local naturalist guide for included activities in the Galapagos Islands (certified by the Galapagos National Park), local tour leader, rep in Quito Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD270 for meals not included Local Payment: USD100 park entry fee and USD10 tourist card payable on arrival to the islands Tour Code: GASEGS

SEE THE GALAPAGOS BY YACHT Ask a consultant. Tour Code: GAEV10A

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


66

Inland & amazon 16 DAYS, £1,039 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: Quito Most who visit Ecuador make the massive mistake of concentrating all their energies on the Galapagos Islands, foolishly ignoring all the bewildering beauty that make this little land one of the continent’s true gems. Do this and always live in regret. Ecuador is the wondrous archetype of everything that is irresistibly appealing about Latin America. Straddling the Equator, this outrageously diverse country mixes up spectacular Andean mountain scenery with steamy Amazonian jungle and countless volcanic peculiarities. This 16 day adventure penetrates to the very heart of soul of the country - your experiences will be spine tinglingly real and thrillingly authentic. When you wake up in the heart of the jungle in the home of a local Quichua family, or when you’re meandering through the searing tributaries of the mighty Amazon or when you’re hiking to the base of a volcanic glacier or when your lying back in a bubbling hot spring while staring at a million shimmering stars – you’ll realise that this isn’t your remembrances of a particularly riveting TV documentary or the flickering reminisces of an exotic Hollywood movie. This is now, this is you and this just about as good as it gets. highlights • Laze in Papallacta's natural hot pools • Stay with a Quichua family in the Amazon • Explore the jungle on foot and by canoe • Soak up the volcanic wonder of Baños • Marvel at the Avenue of Volcanoes • Wander the colourful streets of Cuenca • Inhale the exhilarating air of Cayambe • Find a bargain in the markets of Otavalo Day 1: Arrive Quito Arrive into Quito at any time. Day 2: Papallacta Hot Springs In the afternoon you'll jump on a bus for a trip over the Andes on your way to the Amazon. You'll stop in Papallacta for the night - this small village has maybe the best thermal springs in all of Ecuador. Spend the evening soaking in the soothing water and your stunning surrounds. (B). Days 3-4: Amazon Homestay Arise early and descend into the Amazon jungle region. The scenery changes dramatically as you leave the mountains behind and enter lush tropical rainforest. Experience life in the jungle first-hand on a homestay with a local Quichua family, and enjoy the splendid hospitality of these amazing people. Make friends and get a new perspective while experiencing a completely different way of doing things. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 5-6: Jungle Lodge Travel to a jungle lodge located on the Napo River, one of the Amazon's two major tributaries. Explore both on foot and by canoe, and learn about the natural history of the area. There is also an option for an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip. (2B, 2L, 2D) Days 7-8: Baños Return to the mountains and journey to Baños, nestled in the hills of the Andes and renowned for its thermal springs and hot pools. Arise early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains as you lie back in the relaxing waters. Outdoor activity options around Baños include hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Days 9-11: Cuenca/ Quito Head south along the stunning 'Avenue of Volcanoes', through Ecuador's central valley of mountains, to reach the town of Cuenca. This is a full-day trip with spectacular views along the way. Cuenca is perhaps the most beautiful city in Ecuador with its cobblestone streets, busy markets and interesting architecture. Explore the town, hike in Cajas National Park, or visit the nearby Inca ruins of Ingapirca. You'll fly back to Quito for the night of Day 11.

Days 12-13: Cayambe Leave Quito and continue north to the village of Cayambe, famous both for its dairy industry and the snow-capped, extinct volcano of the same name that dominates the town. You'll stay in a 400-year-old hacienda nestled at the base of volcano. If you are feeling energetic, you can travel up to the volcanic glacier and hike back down. Rent horses and head off into the hills, or explore the beautiful property surrounding the hacienda - the choice is yours. Days 14-15: Otavalo / Quito Visit beautiful Otavalo and its famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America, dating back to pre-inca times. The distinctively dressing villagers come from the surrounding countryside every week to sell handmade goods, livestock, fruits and vegetables, and everything else imaginable. On Day 15 you'll return back to Quito for a farewell night out. Day 16: Depart Quito Your adventure finishes where it began, say your tearful goodbyes to your travelling buddies. (B)

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 13 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10

FINISH JAN 17 JAN 31 FEB 14 FEB 28 MAR 14 MAR 28 APR 11 APR 25

START APR 24 MAY 08 MAY 22 JUN 05 JUN 19 JUL 03 JUL 17 JUL 31 AUG 14

FINISH MAY 09 MAY 23 JUN 06 JUN 20 JUL 04 JUL 18 AUG 01 AUG 15 AUG 29

START AUG 28 SEP 11 SEP 25 OCT 09 OCT 23 NOV 06 NOV 20 DEC 04 DEC 18

FINISH SEP 12 SEP 26 OCT 10 OCT 24 NOV 07 NOV 21 DEC 05 DEC 19 JAN 02

START 2011 JAN 01 JAN 15 FEB 05 FEB 19 MAR 05 MAR 19

FINISH JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), simple village cabanas - multishare (2 nts), historic mountain hacienda (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flight, taxis, motorised canoe, 4WD vehicles, pick up truck Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals while in the jungle and during homestay Budget: Allow USD250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAEIA

Add on the Galapagos Islands 'Full Ecuador' fr £2,569 Tour Code: GAEF10P stay longer in quito Check out page 68.

Otavalo •

• Cayambe

Quito •

• Amazon • Baños ecuador

• Cuenca


67

18 DAYS, £609 fr

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

the ecuador experience no local payment!

start and finish: quito This high-octane rollercoaster ride through Latin America’s sexiest little country will leave you head over heels in love with everything Ecuadorian. So on returning home to poor little Britain, get ready to start acting a little oddly. Stifle that strange desire to put your mate's cuddly pet guinea pig in the oven. Hold yourself back from climbing into the nearest duck pond - expecting it to be deliciously warm and bubbly. Don’t start aggressively bartering with the poor lady in BHS to make sure you get a further fiver off your underpants. And as you climb up the hill on your way into work on a sodden Monday morning you really shouldn’t expect nose tingling altitudes or passing lonely llamas. This amazing adventure will put into perfect perspective just how beautiful the rest of the world can be. Humungous highlights include Amazonian exploration with a very knowledgeable guide, a wild train ride through the Devils Nose, a couple of days lazing by the beautiful beaches of Machalilla, dips in and out of the beautiful thermal pools of Baños and countless opportunities to dive head first into a plethora of amazing cultural experiences. Kicking off in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador – this 18 day adventure will pump up every endorphin in your body to breaking point. • • • • • • • •

Explore the Amazon Rainforest Soak up the soothing vibe of Baños Chomp on roast guinea pig in Santa Anita Take a train ride through the Devils Nose Walk the vibrant streets of Guayaquil Enjoy the beachside beauty of Machalilla Learn ancient artistic ways in Peguche Roam the amazing market of Otavalo

Day 1: Arrive Quito Arrive in Quito at any time. Day 2: Tena Travel by bus from Quito to the Amazon jungle region. Notice the scenery and climate change dramatically as you leave the mountains and enter the lush tropical rainforest. Days 3-4: Amazon Visit an indigenous community, experience local traditions and learn about Quichua history and culture. Hike through the rainforest, explore jungle waterfalls and learn about the important uses of a variety of tropical plants. Keep your eyes peeled for armadillos, honey bears, sloths, jaguars, monkeys, manatees, hummingbirds, toucans and much more. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 5-6: Baños Return to the mountains and journey to Baños, nestled in the hills of the Andes and renowned for its thermal springs and hot pools. Arise early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains as you lie back in the relaxing waters. Outdoor activity options around Baños include hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Day 7: Santa Anita The small Quichua community of Santa Anita is located at the foot of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest snow-capped mountain. Stroll through the community or choose from loads of hiking options. Satisfy your appetite afterwards with a local delicacy, "cuy" (guinea pig). (B, L, D) Days 8-9: Riobamba / Alausí Sooner or later every traveller to Ecuador passes through Riobamba, as it lies at the centre of the country’s road network. On clear days you can see all of the local Andean giants, Chimborazo, Carihuairazo, and Tunguragua. You'll spend the night here before descending well over a kilometre on the famous Devil’s Nose train journey through spectacular mountain scenery. Climb up onto the roof for the best views, but be sure to dress warmly!

Day 10: Guayaquil Explore the highlights of Ecuador's largest city and most important port. Check out Bolivar Park, the Old South Market and Barrio de las Penas. Enjoy a night boat ride on the Guayas River. Days 11-12: Coast / Machalilla Your home for the next couple of days will be the beach town of Puerto Lopez. Relax in a beachfront hammock, or explore the area. Visit an archeological site, head to Isla de la Plata to see the nesting Blue-footed Boobies, hike in Machalilla National Park, or go diving, snorkelling or whale watching (seasonal). Days 13-17: Quito / Peguche / Otavalo Travel by night bus to Quito and on to the small community of Peguche. Visit the magnificent Peguche waterfall and learn about local weaving techniques from local artists. The following day you'll go to nearby Otavalo, arriving just in time to experience its lively Saturday market - the largest handicrafts market in South America, dating back to pre-Inca times. You'll return to Quito on Day 17 for a farewell night out. Day 18: Depart Quito Your adventure finishes on Day 18. Say goodbye.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 07 JAN 28 FEB 18 MAR 11 APR 01

FINISH JAN 24 FEB 14 MAR 07 MAR 28 APR 18

START APR 22 MAY 13 JUN 03 JUN 24 JUL 15 AUG 05

FINISH MAY 09 MAY 30 JUN 20 JUL 11 AUG 01 AUG 22

START AUG 26 SEP 16 OCT 07 OCT 28 NOV 18 DEC 09

FINISH SEP 12 OCT 03 OCT 24 NOV 14 DEC 05 DEC 26

START DEC 30 2011 JAN 20 FEB 10 MAR 03 MAR 24

FINISH JAN 16 FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 20 APR 10

Accommodation: Simple hotels (13 nts), Amazon community stay (2 nts), Andean village homestay - may be multi-share (1 nt), night bus (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, train, truck, motorized canoe Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals while in the jungle Budget: Allow USD320 for meals not included Tour Code: GAREE

stay longer in quito Check out page 68.

Otavalo • Quito • • Machalilla Guayaquil •

• Amazon

• Baños • Riobamba • AlausÍ

ecuador

Add on the Galapagos Islands 'Full Ecuador' fr £2,569 Tour Code: GAEF10P

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


68

quito

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

Hostal Jhomana

Rio amazonas

Eugenia hotel

Hostal Jhomana is in Quito's popular Mariscal area close to bars, restaurants and clubs. Its roof terrace is perfect for BBQs or simply admiring the distant Pichincha mountain. There's also a kitchen, TV room and internet. STA524

Located in the busy Mariscal district this hotel offers comfort and relaxation with most rooms having great views over the city below. There are two restaurants - one of which is open 24hours. Perfect for midnight feasts! STA525

Right in the heart of the main cultural and historic attractions of Quito is this new, stylish hotel with delicate and elegant interior details. Previous guests include Miss Puerto Rico 2004. Enjoy the comfy King-size beds. Yes please! STA526

£9 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £16 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST fr £23 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr

fr

£73 TWIN/DOUBLE

fr

fr fr

care for animals in the amazon 2 weeks, fr £595 Start & Finish: quito Work in an animal conservation and rescue centre rehabilitating monkeys, tapirs and birds to be released into the Challari reserve. IT3 activities Wildlife management at the rescue centre (feeding, cleaning etc) improvement of animal cages, maintenance of the park, providing guided tours to tourists around the centre.

£47 TWIN £57 DOUBLE

accommodation Shared room in volunteer house meals Breakfast and lunch is included. working hours You will work Monday to Friday from 6.30am to 4pm, Sunday from 6.30am to 1pm, Saturday off. In your spare time you can trek the jungle, go whitewater rafting or have a go at kayaking. also inculded • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff


69

• Santa Marta (Tayrona N.P.)

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Cartagena • • Tolu

• Bogotá

colombia

Currency: PESO Time Zone: GMT - 5 Price of a beer: 70P Population: 45 MILLION Area: 5 x UK

colombia My favourite experience

Who said Colombia was scary!? Our first night in Bogota was probably the best night of the whole trip. It was carnival time, the city was alive with multitudes of revellers - all looking to enjoy themselves. I was dragged onto a street party by a group of beautiful senoritas. I remember dancing, I remember kissing and I remember feeling happier than I had in years. I woke up the next morning alive with the passion of Colombia... Peter, Ayr

The Weather The weather in Colombia is mostly dependent on how high up you are. The lowlands are generally hot and sticky all year round, while the Andean Highlands are quite a bit cooler - especially at night. Summer (same as UK) temperatures can get very hot, particulary around the Caribbean coastline. Bogota boasts a very pleasant climate all year round, with the driest months being from December through to March. Please bear in mind that all the aforesaid advice could well be made redundant by the wild behaviour of El Niño and La Niña. Local grub A fritanga is a heaped plate of meat - chorizo sausage, ribs, chops, steaks, organs such as heart or kidneys and more in any combination. Served with potatoes and/or fried bananas and fried in a deep saucepan. Vegetarians might want to give this dish a miss.

Useful Info Colombia is the world's largest producer of emeralds, and you'll have many opportunities to buy them. Don't be conned by the many men who stand around the streets, ready to pull envelopes from out of their pockets. Make sure you only buy from a reputable dealer. Useless Info According to a recent study, Colombia was found to have the 2nd happiest people in the world. It was just behind the South Pacific island of Vanatu (population: 209). try before you fly For a virtual snapshot of the colourful landscapes of Colombia and a surreal insight into the passionate ways of its people look no further than the novels of Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. '100 years of Solitude' and 'Love in the time of Cholera' are two of our particular favourites.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


70

bogotÁ

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

Platypus hostel

hotel Excelsior

Hotel Casa de la Botica

A brightly decorated brilliant little hostel located in Bogota's historic La Candelaria district. There's free coffee all day long, kitchen, book exchange, rooftop terrace, private bathrooms and plenty of space for hanging out with fellow travellers. STA527

Located in Zona Rosa, Bogota’s most modern area - you'll have a great selection of the city’s best restaurants, bars, discos and shopping malls close to hand. A small, clean and very comfortable hotel, the perfect Bogota base. STA528

A restored republican house that sits beside La Casa de Nariño, the presidential palace. With a café, restaurant, terrace, balconies and pretty gardens you can be guaranteed a great stay in one of their large and uber comfy rooms. STA529

fr fr

£22 SINGLE, iNC. bREAKFAST £28 DOUBLE, iNC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£102 SINGLE , iNC. bREAKFAST £105 TWIN/DOUBLE, iNC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£118 SINGLE, iNC. bREAKFAST £135 DOUBLE, iNC. bREAKFAST

coffee plantation

welcome to bogotÁ

4 Days, fr £436 double

4 Days, fr £421 double

• • • •

• • • •

3 nights in a local hacienda All breakfasts, dinners and 1 lunch Transfers to and from Maniziales Coffee producing farm tour

Head out of the big city towards coffee growing country and the mountain town of Manizales. This great package includes your transfers from Bogota, accommodation in a traditional hacienda and most of your meals. The big highlight is a trip around a coffee producing farm. Wind up through the hills and enjoy the views of the green carpet of Arabica coffee plantations. Learn about the growing, picking, washing and roasting, before visiting a “trilladora” to see the manual selection process of the coffee grains, and help out with a taste test. STA530

3 night hotel accommodation Excellsior Half day city tour Airport transfer Daily breakfast

Discover the best bits of the city. Staying in the city’s lively Pink Zone you can easily explore the historic, Spanish-influenced area of La Candelaria, Plaza Bolívar, El Libertador, and Capilla del Sagrario. Poke your noses into the arty Museo Botero and realise why Bogotá has become known as "The Athens of South America". Enjoy the wealth of excellent restaurants, the pretty botanical gardens, and the colourful sights and sounds of this Colombian city shrouded in mountains. STA531


71

PERU, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR & COLOMBIA

Colombia highlights 12 DAYS, £1,099 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: bogotÁ Colombia carries quite a few unfair and unfortunate stereotypes – many of which have been responsible for dissuading hordes of fearless travellers from tasting its undeniable beauty. If the world was a fair place Colombia would be labelled as a glorious mix of Latin American and Caribbean cultures inhabited by the most beautiful people on the planet and stuffed full of diverse jungle, magnificent mountains and sun soaked coastal utopias. But the world isn’t that fair – which is why Rio Ferdinand is a multi millionaire and Bruce Forsyth has yet to be given a knighthood. So if you’re looking for a big experience that your average girl/boy in the pub simply won’t be able to compete with, then stop right here and check out this fabulous 12 day adventure. We can promise you intriguing traditional villages and communities, beaches that’ll make you want to stay forever, ancient historical relics, captivating colonial architecture and an almost perfect all year round climate. You’ll be struck by the bright ever changing colours, the constantly smiling faces and the relaxed vibe that pervades every iota of the country. So go visit Colombia before the world wakes up to its astonishing wonder. highlights • Chill out on the Caribbean coast • Wander the sunny streets of Cartagena • Check out the unspoilt charms of Tolu • Tour the San Bernado Islands on a boat • Visit Colombia's oldest city, Santa Maria • Marvel at the ancient village of Pueblito • Explore the diverse wonders of Tayrona • Enjoy a lively night out in Bogotá

Day 1: Arrive Bogotá Arrive in Bogotá at any time. Day 2: Cartagena Enjoy some free time in lively Bogotá before boarding the flight to Cartagena and the Caribbean coast. (B) Days 3-4: Cartagena Experience the Caribbean charm and beauty of this colonial city while learning about its fabled past on an included city tour. Explore Cartagena by foot or take a "chiva" ride at night to get a feeling of this vibrant Colombian city. You can visit the Islas del Rosario National Park with its stunning beaches or soak in the crater of the Totumo mud volcano. Days 5-6: Tolu Tolu is a laid-back beach town that gets very few visitors year round but fills up with Colombian vacationers during local holidays. The town has yet to be fully discovered by foreigners and this adds to its charm. There are several discos with unique local character and many restaurants specialising in seafood. Enjoy an included boat tour of the San Bernardo Islands for fantastic snorkeling opportunities and seafood!

Days 7-10: Santa Marta / Taganga Tayrona National Park Traveling along the coast you'll arrive at Colombia’s oldest city, Santa Marta. This will be your base as you explore the surrounding beaches, villages and Tayrona National Park - renowned for its unique combination of coral formations and jungle vegetation. Take a chance to sleep in hammocks while in the National Park (mosquito nets are provided). You'll visit the preHispanic village of Pueblito while hiking through forests to waterfalls, and lookouts with great views of the Sierra Nevada. Make sure you try the great seafood! (B, L, D) Day 11: Bogotá After breakfast you'll return to Santa Marta to pick up your luggage, before catching a flight back to Colombia's capital city for one final big night on the town. (B) Day 12: Depart Bogotá Your big adventure sadly ends on Day 12.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 30 MAR 06 APR 10

FINISH FEB 10 MAR 17 APR 21

START MAY 15 JUN 19 JUL 24 AUG 28

FINISH MAY 26 JUN 30 AUG 04 SEP 08

START OCT 02 NOV 06 DEC 11

FINISH OCT 13 NOV 17 DEC 22

START 2011 JAN 15 FEB 19 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 26 MAR 02 APR 06

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts), hammock in Tayrona National Park (1 nt) Transport: Bus, local flight, taxi Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 3 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner Budget: Allow USD240 for meals not included Tour Code: GASMCH

• Santa Marta (Tayrona N.P.) Cartagena • • Tolu

stay longer in bogota Check out page 70. • Bogotá colombia

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


72

Brazil, Argentina & Chile


73

1

witness the mighty Iguassu Falls The Iguassu Falls border three different countries; Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay - and they can be viewed from all sides. Many of our adventure trips in this section include a visit to the Falls. We also feature local accommodation on the Argentinian side - see page 89.

4

hang out on brazilian beaches If its beaches you want then its beaches you'll get - and these are definitely some of the best in the world! We've got hotel options by the white sands of IIha Grande, Paraty, Salvador and Buzios - all on page 86. Many of our Brazilian Adventure trips also visit IIha Grande and Paraty.

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

top 6 Amazing Experiences

2

3

touch the beauty of Patagonia Patagonia encompasses the southernmost portion of South America bordering both Argentina and Chile. Untouched mountains, crystal clear lakes, endless forests, rugged wildlife and enormous glaciers - all this and more from pages 92-94.

lose yourself in Rio de janerio Cities don't come much sexier than Rio de Janeiro. Samba with the locals deep into the night, catch a game of footy at the massive Maracana Stadium or learn to surf on some seriously stunning beaches - all these options and more are available on pages 84-85.

5

6

dance all night in buenos Aires Everything about Argentina's capital city oozes sensuality and sophistication. You'll fall in love at least 10 times every single day you spend there as the sultry evenings go from good to sensational. Make the most of all that beautiful provocation and check out pages 90-91.

see the wildlife of the Pantanal This tropical wetland is the world's largest - and is probably already familiar to you through countless wildlife documentaries. Check out giant otters, caimans, Jabiru storks, jaguars, Green iguanas and many more by jumping on one of our adventure trips - see pages 82-83.

Average High TempERATURE (潞C)

5 1 6

4 2

City

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Buenos Aires

29

27

26

22

18

15

14

16

18

21

24

27

Rio Gallegos

18

18

16

12

7

4

3

7

10

13

16

17

Salta

26

25

24

24

20

18

18

21

22

25

26

27

Iguassu Falls

31

31

30

26

23

20

21

22

24

27

28

30

Santiago

29

28

26

22

17

14

13

16

18

21

25

27

San Pedro

14

15

13

11

10

8

7

7

8

10

11

13

Concepci贸n

21

21

20

17

15

13

12

13

15

16

18

20

Salvador

30

30

30

30

29

28

27

27

28

28

29

30

Florianopolis

28

28

27

26

23

21

20

21

21

23

25

27

Rio de Janeiro

32

33

32

30

28

27

27

27

27

28

30

31

3

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


74

in search of iguassu 17 DAYS, £1,099 fr

no local payment!

rio de janeiro - Buenos Aires Like a giant South American sandwich full of all the tastiest titbits you could possibly imagine, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires make great door-stop wedges of bread to whack all the salivating stuff in-between on this fabulous 17 day jaunt around some of the continent’s best and brightest showboats. From the City of God, you’ll pass through tropical islands soaking up sunshine - snorkel, surf and get colonial over a delicious local coffee. Prepare for excitement overload when witnessing the spectacular Iguassu waterfalls, as you'll stradle (count them) a whole three countries' borders. Chillax to the max in some thermal baths before popping into Uruguay to say 'hola' to the locals. Meet some other funky fun-time fanatics on the ferry to the capital of legends that is Buenos Aires. You'll never want to leave, ever. As the wandering whispers suggest, these guys really know how to live it up and keep that happy hearty vibe, So take a page out of their well-thumbed books and let that Latin spirit loose! highlights • Rave it up in Rio • Shake some samba shapes • Chillout with a caipirinha on Copacabana • Snorkel in tropical paradise • P.A.R.T.Y in Paraty • Frolic in Iguassu’s fabulous falls • Relax in thermal baths • Get lost in Montevideo’s mayhem • Go colonial in Colonia • Sail over the Rio del Plata • Eat Argentinean steak • Tango dance in Buenos Aires

Day 1: arrive Rio de Janeiro Arrive at any time. According to the Cariocas (local inhabitants of Rio) ‘God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio.’ It's not difficult to see why they feel this way, with the stunning white beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, sweeping views of the bright blue ocean from way up high on Christ the Redeemer’s shoulders, or sunsets from atop the Sugar Loaf - reached by cable car. And under all that intoxicating colour and seductive samba soul, you’ll have until midday tomorrow to share a caipirinha or two with your new found travelling buddies. Good times. Days 2-4: Ilha Grande Get your groove on as you gun down the Atlantic coast to the port of Angra dos Reis. Hop on board a ferry to take you over to the stunning island of Ilha Grande. You’ll be greeted by boats bobbing along the bay, a stunning lush green mountainous backdrop, and a real chilled out attitude. There are over 100 beaches to choose from, so get your snorkelling shoes on and set out on the surf. Absolute bliss. Days 5-6: Paraty It’s a hard life. More palm trees and sandy shores make up the most part of Paraty – a quaint colonial town with a relaxed friendly feel. Coffee fiends will be in heaven on a trip to a Fazenda – coffee estate, or if you’re more of a cocktailcrazed monkey then have all your cachaça queries quibbled at a local distillery. How do we love thee Brazil? Let us count the ways...

Days 7-10: Iguassu Falls Time to pack up your palms and head over west on a full day’s travel to the spectacular Foz do Iguaçu. Awesome, epic and amazing you’ll be lost for words as you breathe in the warm waterfall vapour and hop over the border to Argentina for a different view or two. Take the opportunity to ride under the huge torrents of thundering water on a speedboat. Speedos purely optional. Day 11: Salto From the border of Brazil, through the awesome atmosphere of Argentina, unleash yourself on Uruguay in the city of Salto for some welcome relaxation at the thermal baths. Cross the impressive Salto Grande hydroelectric dam, and continue the water theme with some wet and wild wizardry at the water park. Days 12-13: Montevideo Arrive into Montevideo – Uruguay’s uber cool capital, renowned for hosting Buenos Aires’ socialites at the weekends at its various happening beachside clubs. Contrasting creativity is interspersed in and around a city that combines art deco and neoclassical buildings along with the historic downtown business district and 80s style skyscrapers. Intermingle with the urban landscape and rave it up on the long stretch of sandy white beach that lies uninterrupted, surrounding the whole city.


75

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

Do it your way go in reverse

BUENOS AIRES - RIO DE JANEIRO fr £X,XXX Tour Code: GAJBR

Day 14: Colonia Step into a remarkably different side of Uruguayan life as you head along to Colonia del Sacramento, a world away from Montevideo’s motorised mayhem. Stroll along the riverfront and up the cobbled streets. Hire a golf buggy and try to remember your left from your right road signs are few and far between, they drive on the wrong side of the road...and there are no traffic lights. It's altogether the perfect setting for that perfect bit of "you've been framed" action - get your cameras at the ready! Rock up to the light house and unwind under a stunning sunset. Drink sangria, tuck into superb seafood and try a bit of the local speciality food - goat. We kid you not.

Days 15-16: Buenos Aires Fancy a swim? Hmm, probably not. Better cross the Rio del Plata by ferry then and find a free page in your passport for yet another stamp as you arrive into Buenos Aires. You can fit a lot in to a couple of days down here so head over to the areas of colourful working-class La Boca, boho-chic San Telmo, high-class Recoleta and party-central Palermo. Tango those twinkle-toes all night long at a Tangueria and order a steak as big as your head. Check out the football at La Bombonera (the chocolate box) - La Boca's famed blue and gold stadium and if there's time head up river and explore Tigre. There are bars, restuarants and boliches (nightclubs) a plenty to dance your last nights away in style.

Day 17: Depart Buenos Aires Don't cry for me Argentina (oh come on, we had to get it in here somewhere). In your finest Evita impression it's time to say adios amigos and leave feeling high on life, inspired and invincible.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 09 JAN 18 JAN 27 FEB 06 FEB 17 FEB 20 FEB 24 FEB 28 MAR 04 MAR 11 MAR 14 MAR 20 MAR 26 APR 05 APR 12 APR 20 APR 27

FINISH JAN 25 FEB 03 FEB 12 FEB 22 MAR 03 MAR 08 MAR 12 MAR 16 MAR 20 MAR 27 MAR 30 APR 05 APR 11 APR 21 APR 28 MAY 06 MAY 13

START MAY 06 MAY 13 MAY 20 MAY 27 JUN 03 JUN 10 JUN 17 JUN 24 JUN 30 JUL 06 JUL 12 JUL 19 JUL 26 AUG 04 AUG 11 AUG 18 AUG 25 SEP 01

FINISH MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 16 JUL 22 JUL 28 AUG 04 AUG 11 AUG 20 AUG 27 SEP 03 SEP 10 SEP 17

START SEP 08 SEP 15 SEP 28 OCT 09 OCT 18 OCT 26 NOV 02 NOV 09 NOV 17 NOV 23 DEC 04 DEC 12 DEC 18 DEC 20 DEC 22 2011 JAN 03 JAN 06

FINISH SEP 24 OCT 01 OCT 14 OCT 25 NOV 03 NOV 11 NOV 18 NOV 25 DEC 03 DEC 09 DEC 20 DEC 28 JAN 01 JAN 05 JAN 07 JAN 19 JAN 22

START JAN 10 JAN 13 JAN 17 JAN 20 JAN 24 JAN 27 JAN 31 FEB 03 FEB 07 FEB 14 FEB 17 FEB 21 FEB 24 MAR 09 MAR 11 MAR 18 MAR 28

FINISH JAN 26 JAN 29 FEB 02 FEB 05 FEB 09 FEB 12 FEB 16 FEB 19 FEB 23 MAR 02 MAR 05 MAR 09 MAR 12 MAR 25 MAR 27 APR 03 APR 13

Accommodation: Simple hotels (14 nts), night Bus (2 nts) - accommodation can be quite basic/multi-share at times Transport: Public bus, train, ferry, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAJRB

brazil

paraguay

São Paulo •

Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro

Iguassu Falls • Argentina

Salto • Colonia • Buenos Aires •

uruguay

• Montevideo

stay longer in buenos aires Check out pages 90-91.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


76

southern highlights 8 DAYS, £1,189 fr

no local payment!

Buenos Aires - rio de janeiro Pack your most colourful clothes and make the crossing between the two headiest cities in South America. With more personality than your granny’s best friend’s donkey’s sister’s dog who’s just gorged itself on chocolate biscuits, you can guarantee that these eight days will be fun-packed to the max with more than a little tropicality thrown in. So get out your itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini, grab a pair of havaianas, don your tango-tapping steel toed shoes and samba it up all the way from Buenos Aires to Rio. Eat the best bits of cow you've ever tasted and make it your perfect excuse to try all the different cocktails these passionate people know how to produce. Meet a magical mermaid or gorgeous gaucho (Argentina’s answer to a cowboy) and sail off into the sunset high on life and full to the brim of excitable energy. highlights • Eat Argentinean steak • Practice Evita style poses • Sip cocktails in stylish Palermo • Watch La Boca play football • Inhale Iguassu’s atmospheric vapour • Border hop to the max • Sunbathe on Brazil’s Costa Verde • Snorkel in deserted coves • Rave to Rio’s samba rhythms • Catch sunset from the Sugar Loaf Day 1: arrive buenos aires Arrive into this glorious city. Check out the plethora of incredible restaurants, see a tango show or check out theatreland. Failing that head to a jazz club, guitar show (peña) or relax in a bar with a glass of excellent Argie vino.

Day 2: buenos aires Delve into the porteño lifestyle and explore this city built on cosmopolitan dreams. From the neighbourhoods of French style, high-class, gallery-filled Recoleta to the La Bombonera football stadium - home of the much loved Boca Juniors. Check out the Sunday San Telmo market and head to Palermo for curb-side cafés. Take a trip around the Evita museum for an insight into her iconic status, and party into the small hours when the locals will only just be waking up! (B) Days 3-4: iguassu falls Get ready for a thunderous applause and the sheer forces of Mother Nature at her most mental as the falls show off their real personalities the closer you get - raging wildly over the side of the cliffs with more furor than a shopper on the first day of a Primark sale. This is one Mother you seriously wouldn’t want to mess with. Stand gob-smacked at the different vantage points, from two countries no less and scare yourself silly wandering the metal fenced walks around the site. Real daredevils can jump onto a speedboat and ride the white waters under the monstrous torrents. Soak in the spray and the electric atmosphere. (2B)

Days 5-6: paraty With all the excitement of the falls well behind you, its time for some relaxation on the sandy shores of Paraty - a stunning coastal town with a distictly tropical feel. Wander the cobblestone streets, hop onto a boat for a trip around the bay, check out the countless islands and kick back with a cool caipirinha watching the world go by. Oh its a hard life for some. (2B) Day 7: rio de janeiro Welcome to the city of soul, samba and sunshine. Be prepared to party hard along the stunning white beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, get high and mighty from the top of the Sugar Loaf and witness Christ the Redeemer standing in all his glory before you with helicopters circling overhead. Check out colonial Santa Teresa and hop-scotch up the coloured steps in Lapa. Take an organised trip into the favelas to live and breathe the rhythms that keep the Carioca (Rio locals) people grooving all day long. (B) Day 8: depart rio de janeiro Soak up that last bit of sun, enjoy one last cocktail and take your new Brazilian husband/ wife/girlfriend/chef/personal cocktail maker home with you. (B)

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 03 JAN 10 JAN 17 JAN 31 FEB 05 FEB 14 FEB 28 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28 APR 11 APR 25

FINISH JAN 10 JAN 17 JAN 24 FEB 07 FEB 12 FEB 21 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28 APR 04 APR 18 MAY 02

START MAY 09 MAY 23 JUN 06 JUN 20 JUN 27 JUL 04 JUL 18 JUL 25 AUG 01 AUG 15 AUG 22 AUG 29 SEP 12 SEP 19

FINISH MAY 16 MAY 30 JUN 13 JUN 27 JUL 04 JUL 11 JUL 25 AUG 01 AUG 08 AUG 22 AUG 29 SEP 05 SEP 19 SEP 26

START SEP 26 OCT 10 OCT 24 NOV 07 NOV 14 NOV 21 NOV 28 DEC 05 DEC 12 DEC 19 DEC 22 DEC 29

FINISH OCT 03 OCT 17 OCT 31 NOV 14 NOV 21 NOV 28 DEC 05 DEC 12 DEC 19 DEC 26 DEC 29 JAN 05

START 2011 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 24 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27

FINISH JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 03 MAR 20 MAR 27 APR 03

Accommodation: Comfort hotels (7 nts) Transport: Private van, local flights, comfortable buses Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 7 Breakfasts Budget: Allow USD350 for meals not included Tour Code: GASBR

go in reverse Rio de Janeiro - Buenos Aires Fr £1,039 Tour Code: GASRB

brazil

paraguay

São Paulo • Iguassu Falls • Argentina

• Buenos Aires

Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro


77

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

brazil & argentina discovery 11 DAYS, £859 fr

no local payment!

rio de janeiro - Buenos Aires From Rio to Buenos Aires you’ll be dancing til the cows come home taking in some terrific sites and visiting some of the most vibrant places on the planet - not that we’re biased…much! Bright splashes of colour coupled with beautiful beaches and tropical islands, not to mention the insatiable thirst for fun and a dusk to dawn nightlife that Brazil has a certain reputation for, you’ll be high on life and happy as Larry (whoever he is) all the way to Argentina. Mid way you’ll be completely mesmerised by the incredible Iguassu falls. Marvel at the sheer power of nature unadulterated before you wiggle your way down to B.A. - Buenos Aires - and get into the porteño's (city local) sexy and seductive spirit. • • • • • • • •

Make friends with Jesus in Rio Samba in the sun on Copacabana beach Indulge your senses on tropical islands Gaze gob-smacked at Iguassu falls Take epic photos a plenty Proudly parade in the Pampas Appreciate the Argentine appetite Tango dance in Buenos Aires

Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro In a super-speedy spin around the city, soak up the sunshine, samba on the sand, and sip caipirinha cocktails til dawn. Alternatively helicopter over Christ the Redeemer, ride a cable car to the top of the Sugar Loaf or be completely random and eat cheese on a stick from a streetstall. Mmm, tasty. Let the locals guide you, enlivening your senses one by one.

Days 2-4: Paraty A hop skip and a jump along Brazil’s emerald coastline will find you rolling into the beautiful colonial city of Paraty. Wander the cobblestone streets, head out on board a boat or go for a stroll barefoot along the beach and feel the sand between your toes - heaven on earth. Take in a historical ‘fazenda’ (coffee estate) or satisfy your curiosity for cachaça – the local liquor – at a distillery. It’s also a great chance to haggle for havaianas and flirt for football shirts at one of the various tourist-friendly markets. Days 5-8: Night bus / Iguassu Falls Hit the road Jack, don't you come back. Well no, do - you'll definitely want to return one day. Bop on overnight to Iguassu. Come armed with bedtime stories and hilarious anecdotes in abundance to entertain your new-found soulmates on board this comfy coach-time cruise. Explore the jaw-dropping sights of Iguassu falls from not one, but two different viewpoints that just so happen to be in different countries. Count those passport stamps! Peer over the edge of the boardwalks and witness the incredible power of nature as the water plunges spectacularly into the vast canyon below.

Days 9-10: Night bus / Buenos Aires Head south overnight to the cosmopolite’s dream that is Buenos Aires. Set out and explore this vibrant metropolis of never-ending European influences that could fill your days forever with its great bars and restaurants alone. Be choosy and head downtown to the colourful neighbourhoods of La Boca, San Telmo - great for Sunday markets, and pop your head into the huge French-style cemetry in high-class Recoleta. Participate at one of the various tanguerias or tango houses - learn the steps with a lesson or two. And don’t forget the Bife de Chorizo – Argie steak at its absolute best! Day 11: Depart Buenos Aires Time to trot like a gaucho, off into the sunset.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 16 FEB 02 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 APR 24 MAY 08

FINISH JAN 26 MAR 02 MAR 09 MAR 23 APR 06 APR 20 MAY 04 MAY 18

START MAY 22 JUN 05 JUN 19 JUL 03 JUL 17 JUL 31 AUG 14 AUG 28 SEP 11

FINISH JUN 01 JUN 15 JUN 29 JUL 13 JUL 27 AUG 10 AUG 24 SEP 07 SEP 21

START SEP 25 OCT 09 OCT 23 NOV 06 NOV 20 DEC 04 DEC 18

FINISH OCT 05 OCT 29 NOV 02 NOV 16 NOV 30 DEC 14 DEC 28

START 2011 JAN 01 JAN 15 JAN 29 FEB 12 FEB 26 MAR 09 MAR 12 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 11 JAN 25 FEB 08 FEB 22 MAR 08 MAR 19 MAR 22 APR 05

Accommodation: Simple hotels (8 nts), night bus (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, van Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GASZAD

GO IN REVERSE: Buenos Aires - Rio de Janeiro fr £859 Tour Code: GASAZD add on a sailing adventure 'Islands and Iguassu' fr £1,189 Tour Code: GASAZV

brazil

paraguay

Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro

Iguassu Falls • Argentina

• Buenos Aires

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


78

iguassu and beyond 15 DAYS, £1,529 fr

no local payment!

Buenos Aires - rio de janeiro Rhythm, soul, colour and unrivalled emotion are just some of the "isn’t the world wonderful" elements you’ll get a handle on over the next 15 days - a far cry from day-to-day life back home in grey normality. Inhale the inspiration, feel the exhillaration that'll sweep you up on high leaving you dangling in the air hoping you remembered to pack your parachute, or at least a spare set of underwear. From the tango-tapping centre of Buenos Aires, across wildlife-central water reserves, to the incredible power and sights of the Iguassu falls, roaming around in tropical waters over and under the ocean, you’ll wind up into Rio – a party-goers paradise. Switch your ipod onto 'samba shuffle', catch some rays, appreciate some deep fascinating culture and meet some super-friendly local people. Learn how to dance the night away right on into dawn - witnessing a couple of spine-tingling sunrises across tropical bays. You'll wonder why it's taken you so long to get here and will be booking your next trip back before you can say caipirinha! highlights • Tango in Buenos Aires • Eat Argentinean steak • Hang out with some wicked wildlife • Frolic in Iguassu’s fabulous falls • P.A.R.T.Y in Paraty • Snorkel in tropical paradise • Boat out into hidden coves and beaches • Rave it up in Rio • Shake some samba shapes • Chillout with caipirinhas on Copacabana Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires Arrive into Buenos Aires and step out into the electric air and a city that hums to the sound of the Tango. Head down to the neighbourhoods of colourful La Boca, boho-chic San Telmo, uber-cool Palermo (you might spot a movie star) and high-class, high-cultured Recoleta. Show off those twinkle toes on your first night out and enjoy some excellent steak washed down well with some fantastic Argie vino.

Days 2-4: Mercedes – Esteros del Iberá Spend a half-day touring your new favourite city, drinking coffee and eating infamous dulce de leche cake before hopping on a night bus to Esteros del Iberá, the largest fresh water reserve in Argentina. Here’s your chance for some fantastic up-close moments next to Howler monkeys, capybara (giant guinea pigs), otters and caymans. (2B, 2L, 2D) Days 5-7: iguassu falls Get your history hats out for a quick stop at the fascinating Jesuit ruins near Posadas before leaping over the Argentinean border and arriving into glorious Brazil. Glimpse the falls from all angles and walk right up to the Devil’s Throat for a shot at what Mother Nature looks like at her angriest and most beautiful. Get wet and wild on a high powered boat under the spray of the falls. Days 8-10: Paraty Palm trees and sandy shores make up the most part of Paraty – a colonial town with a relaxed friendly feel. Reach caffeine heaven at a Fazenda (coffee estate), or if you’re more of a cocktailcrazed monkey then have all your cachaça queries quibbled at a local distillery. How do we love thee Brazil? Let us count the ways…

Days 11-13: Ilha Grande Get your groove on as you gun further up the Atlantic coast to the port of Angra dos Reis. Ferry over to the stunning island of Ilha Grande. King-prawn kebab in one hand, coconut in the other, you’ll be greeted by boats bobbing on the bay, stunning lush green mountainous backdrop, and a real chilled out vibe. There are over 100 beaches to choose from, so get your snorkelling shoes on and set out on the surf. Bliss. Day 14: Rio de Janeiro Arrive into Rio – Brazil’s biggest ocean-side jewel in the crown. According to the Carioca’s (local inhabitants of Rio) ‘God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio.’ It's not difficult to see why they feel this way, with the stunning white beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, sweeping views of the bright blue ocean from way up high on Christ the Redeemer’s shoulders, or sunsets from atop the Sugar Loaf, reached by cable car. And under all that colour and samba soul, it’s the perfect setting for a last caipirinha with your travel buddies. Good times. Day 15: Depart Rio de Janeiro Time to leave. Samba into the sunset feeling high on life, inspired and invincible.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 17 FEB 14 MAR 07 MAR 27 APR 23

FINISH JAN 31 FEB 28 MAR 21 APR 10 MAY 07

START MAY 21 JUN 11 JUL 16 AUG 06 AUG 27 SEP 17

FINISH JUN 04 JUN 25 JUL 30 AUG 20 SEP 10 OCT 01

START OCT 08 OCT 29 NOV 19 DEC 10 DEC 31

FINISH OCT 22 NOV 12 DEC 03 DEC 24 JAN 14

START 2011 JAN 21 FEB 11 MAR 04 MAR 25

FINISH FEB 04 FEB 25 MAR 18 APR 08

Accommodation: Hotels (13 nts), bus (1 nt) Transport: Public and private bus, ferry, taxi Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals while in the Esteros del Iberá Budget: Allow USD280 for meals not included Tour Code: GASABR

RIO CARNIVAL PACKAGES fr £567 See page 84. STAY LONGER IN BUENOS AIRES Check out pages 90-91.

brazil

paraguay

Illha Grande / Paraty • São Paulo •

Iguassu Falls • Argentina

• Mercedes / Esteros del Iberiã

• Buenos Aires

• Rio de Janeiro


79

15 DAYS, £1,989 fr

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

southern explorer no local payment!

santiago - rio de janeiro If you’re short on time but you don't want to compromise on exciting explorations - then this jolly little jaunt might be just what you’re looking for. Uncover three amazing countries, cruise three very different capitals, take in some truly tropical time and marvel at momentous mountains - all of course with an extra large dollop of fun thrown in for good measure. Soak up the Brazilian sun for a little deserved relaxation - cocktail in one hand and snorkel mask in the other. Then get out and active on wet and wild activites like boating under the ravaging waterfalls at Iguassu and hiking atop snowy peaks. An electrifying and allencompassing multi-climate combination of all your favourite things. Let yourself go and get into the flow. highlights • Salsa seductively in Santiago • Quaff quality vino in the Maipo Valley • Admire the Andes in all their splendour • Go skiing in Bariloche (seasonal) • Eat Argentinean steak • Watch football in Buenos Aires • Get wet under Iguassu Falls • P.A.R.T.Y in tropical Paraty paradise • Samba in the sun on Copacabana beach • Roam rambunctious Rio Day 1: Arrive Santiago Arrive into Santiago at any time. If it’s winter bring a jumper – or you might get Chile. Day 2: Santiago Be cool and get down…downtown. Head out for some cracking Chilean vino at different wineries across the Maipu Valley - wander amid the vines and be sociable, knowledgeable and sophisticated all at once. (B) Days 3-4: Puerto Varas Fly up high into the sky and down south to Puerto Varas where you’ll get the chance to hike around the Petrohue region in the hills that surround the Osorno Volcano. Choose to get out to the lakeside villages of Frutillar and expand your horizons just that little bit further. (2B) Days 5-6: Bariloche One of the most beautiful spots in the whole wide....Argentina. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a little bit of Alpine heaven, complete with splendid background and epic action-packed activities. Enjoy a lake cruise to the Blest Arm on Lake Nahuel Huapi and try the local chocolate – it's pretty special. (2B)

Days 7-9: Buenos Aires Touch down in Mi Buenos Aires Querido – as the song goes – ‘My beloved Buenos Aires’, made famous by Carlos Gardel, possibly the most prominent figure in the history of Tango. Explore all the different areas of this wonderful city – hang out with the cool kids in Palermo, get your boho chic on in San Telmo, tap your tango your toes in La Boca and hunt out some ghosts in Recoleta’s impressive cemetery. Kick back with a Quilmes (local beer) and tuck into some steak so juicy you’ll be licking your plate and asking for more more more. (2B) Days 10-11: Iguassu Falls Explore the jaw-dropping sights of Iguassu falls from not one, but two different viewpoints that just so happen to be in different countries. Count those passport stamps! Veer over the edge of the boardwalks and bear witness to nature’s incredible power as the water plunges spectacularly into the vast canyon flowing downbelow. Dare-devils can choose to rock the 'I'm a drowned rat' look after an exhilarating speedboat ride under the spray and vapour of the falls. Wet and wild, you'll be talking about it for weeks to come. (2B)

Days 12-13: Paraty A hop skip and a jump along Brazil’s emerald coastline will find you in the beautiful city of Paraty. Wander the cobblestone streets, head out on board a boat or go for a stroll barefoot along the beach and feel the sand between your toes - heaven on earth. Take in a historical ‘fazenda’ (coffee estate) or satisfy your curiosity for cachaça – the local liquor – at a distillery. It’s also a great chance to haggle for havaianas and flirt for football shirts in the markets. (2B) Day 14: Rio de Janeiro According to the Cariocas (local inhabitants of Rio) ‘God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio.’ It's not difficult to see why they feel this way, with the stunning white beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, sweeping views of the bright blue ocean from way up high on Christ the Redeemer’s shoulders, or sunsets from atop the Sugar Loaf - reached by cable car. Soak in all the chaotic colour and samba soul, and party the night away, sharing a caipirinha or two with your travelling buddies. Good times. (B) Day 15: depart Rio de Janeiro Tear yourself away from tropical paradise. (B)

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 10 JAN 24 FEB 07 FEB 21 MAR 07 MAR 21 APR 04 APR 18

FINISH JAN 24 FEB 07 FEB 21 MAR 07 MAR 21 APR 04 APR 18 MAY 02

START MAY 02 MAY 16 MAY 30 JUN 13 JUN 27 JUL 11 JUL 25 AUG 08 AUG 22

FINISH MAY 16 MAY 30 JUN 13 JUN 27 JUL 11 JUL 25 AUG 08 AUG 22 SEP 05

START SEP 05 SEP 19 OCT 03 OCT 17 OCT 31 NOV 14 NOV 28 DEC 12 DEC 22

FINISH SEP 19 OCT 03 OCT 17 OCT 31 NOV 14 NOV 28 DEC 12 DEC 22 JAN 05

START 2011 JAN 02 JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 13 MAR 13 MAR 27

FINISH

Accommodation: Comfort hotels (14 nts) Transport: First-class buses, local flights, private van Group Size: Max 15, avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 13 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD420 for meals not included Tour Code: GASSR

go in reverse Rio de Janeiro to Santiago fr £1,989 Tour Code: GASRS stay longer in santiago Check out page 97.

brazil

JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 13 FEB 27 MAR 27 APR 10

Paraty paraguay

chile

São Paulo • • • Rio de Janeiro

Iguassu Falls •

• Santiago

• Buenos Aires

Argentina

• San Carlos de Bariloche • Puerto Varas

stay longer in rio Check out pages 84-85.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


80

southern sojourn 13 DAYS, £739 fr

no local payment!

santiago - Buenos Aires Bounce your way from Chile to Argentina on a fantastic flurry of absolute action Prepare for a marathon of mountainous mayhem, a good guzzle of some great gourmet gentility and a spattering here and there of some all-round epic adventure! Enjoy this mix of heady heaven that would give any mixologist a run for their money. Come out the other end feeling as energised as a Duracell bunny, as relaxed as a pair of well-worn jeans and as inspired and in love as Romeo when he met Juliet (just less of the killing, eh - we come in peace). At the end of these very lucky 13 days it’s high up on our betting cards that you’ll never want to leave, so…ummm, don’t. Tack another tour onto the end of this and avoid the journey home for just that little bit longer. Some would say we’re bad influences, others - merely door-openers to the world... highlights • Suck in Santiago’s sophistication • Snap some serious landscape • Raft down raucous rivers • Snowboard into Bariloche (seasonal) • Savour sumptuous seafood • Eat half an Argentinian cow • Quaff quality local wine • Paraglide like an eagle • Tango til your toes drop off • Absorb colourful Buenos Aires Day 1: Arrive Santiago Arrive into Santiago at any time. Head out into the city and explore. Stumble upon the Plaza de Armas and check-out the café culture, wall-towall shops, parks, and leafy suburbs.

Days 2-5: Pucón Get out and about in the fresh air and fill those lungs with what dreams are made of. Get energised with a mind-blowing, stress busting, ‘I’m on top of the world’ style hike in the mountains, don a life-jacket and jump into the nearest river for a bit of rafting action or head onto the slopes for some exhilarating skiing – it’s snow time! Days 6-7: Puerto Montt / Puerto Varas Head further south to the city of Puerto Montt, the gateway for explorers going into the Patagonian wilderness. Head over to the island of Chiloé and chomp your way through some seriously good seafood. Days 8-10: Bariloche Step into quasi-alpine aficionado heaven. Journey through the mountains of Upper Patagonia and arrive into Bariloche, a summer and winter resort town favoured by the Argentines for activities such as hiking, biking, paragliding, lake tours and skiing or snowboarding – snow permitting, obviously. Tuck into some of the local chocolate, famed for its richness, certainly helping to keep the cold out. Marvel at the sensational views.

Days 11-12: Night Bus / Buenos Aires Cosy up amigos, you’ll be heading off on a top-class night bus in no time – seriously, your cramped economy airfares will be put well back into their places on your way back home. Journey through the vast open pampas and arrive into what’s commonly known as the Paris of South America. While this may be a little cliché, the evidence of a multitude of European influences certainly underlies the vibrant personality and seductive soul to this city. Munch out on Argentine steak, with a good dollop of chimichurri sauce and a puré mixto (mixed mash);take in the colourful neighbourhoods of La Boca, San Telmo and Palermo and tap those tango toes all night long in a Tangueria or boliche (nightclub). Atmospheric intoxication is only but inevitable as every Argentine would most definitely agree. Day 13: Depart Buenos Aires Time to depart this wonderous city, if you can possibly bear to tear yourselves away. Well, if it were only up to us…

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 15 JAN 30 FEB 10 FEB 25 MAR 11 MAR 27 APR 11 APR 29 MAY 12

FINISH JAN 14 JAN 27 FEB 11 FEB 22 MAR 09 MAR 23 APR 08 APR 23 MAY 11 MAY 24

START MAY 23 JUN 09 JUN 14 JUN 23 JUL 02 JUL 07 JUL 20 JUL 26 AUG 03 AUG 11 AUG 19

FINISH JUN 04 JUN 21 JUN 26 JUL 05 JUL 14 JUL 19 AUG 01 AUG 07 AUG 15 AUG 23 AUG 31

START AUG 27 SEP 04 SEP 12 SEP 21 SEP 30 OCT 10 OCT 21 NOV 01 NOV 15 NOV 26 DEC 12

FINISH SEP 08 SEP 16 SEP 24 OCT 03 OCT 12 OCT 22 NOV 02 NOV 13 NOV 27 DEC 08 DEC 24

START DEC 27 2011 JAN 11 JAN 27 FEB 04 FEB 20 MAR 07 MAR 16

FINISH JAN 08 JAN 23 FEB 08 FEB 16 MAR 04 MAR 19 MAR 28

Accommodation: Simple hotels (10 nts), night bus (2 nts) Note: Accommodation can be quite basic/multi-share at times Transport: Overland vehicle, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals inc. Budget: Allow USD250 for meals not inc. Tour Code: GAJSB

GO IN REVERSE Buenos Aires to Santiago fr £739 Tour Code: GAJBS STAY LONGER IN buenos aires Check out page 90.

chile

• Santiago

• Buenos Aires

Argentina

• Pucón • San Carlos de Bariloche • Puerto Varas


81

Recife •

brazil Salvador •

• Pantanal • Campo Grande • Bonito

Iguassu Falls •

Paraty • • Rio de Janeiro São Paulo •

Currency: REAL Time Zone: gmt -2 TO -5 Price of a beer: 95P Population: 191 MILLION Area: 35 x UK

brazil My favourite experience

Sunset from the top of Sugar Loaf after a truly epic carnival gave me the most incredible goosebumps. There I was, standing overlooking one of the best cities in the world after an immense week of unforgettable chaos and fun. You could still hear the music pumping. The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to my left, Christ the Redeemer up in front of me on a distant hill, and the lights of the marina beneath my feet... Emma, Warwick

The Weather For a country that's bigger in size than Australia, the climate hardly varies and temperatures stay pretty constant all year round. The Amazon gets the most heat and humidity - and in the October and April wet season you'll still average 5-6hrs of sun everday. In the drier season you'll get more like 9-10hrs. Coasts are cooler due to the sea breeze and only in the far south will you feel a slight temperature drop. Local Eats When you think of Brazil think tropical - so you'll get almost every type of fruit under the sun. Add that to random sticks of cheese grilled with oregano on the beaches, acaci berry smoothies, sensational buffet restaurants where you pay for your food by its weight and the essential coconut and caiphirinia. Feijoada - black beans, huge meat kebabs, and deep fried Coxinhas are also delicious.

Useful Info Mighty sporty types - the Brazilian's are ranked number one in the world for their national football skills. They'll be hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and are contenders to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Useless Info You might be forgiven for thinking that Brazilian beauty is only skin deep. They're probably the most addicted nation in the world to plastic surgery with celebrities and lesser mortals talking openly about their facelifts, wrinkle reductions and bum tucks. try befor you fly Listen to some Samba and Bossa Nova - the most famous Bossa Nova track of all time is probably 'The girl from Ipanema' from the mid-1960s by Antonio Carlos Jobim. It's been covered numerous times since. Feel that rhythm!

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

Natal •

• Amazon Rainforest


82

wonders of brazil 15 DAYS, £1,529 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: rio de janeiro Time to get tropical and samba it up Copacabana style. In a vision of all things colourful and crazy, you’ll get drunk on the party atmosphere alone. Become hopelessly addicted to the embodiment of South American soul that is the Brazilian spirit - setting you well on your way for the ultimate of unanticipated travel tales. Start off in magnificent Rio – a city with a character like no other, and if you just so happen to time your trip around February, make sure you book in for Carnival and the greatest show on earth – the Rio parade. Huge long lines of the city’s samba schools moving to the music til dawn, dressed in outrageously awesome costumes and ingeniously joined to the amazingly detailed and perfectly constructed floats. Add all this on to the continuing topicality that lies in wait for you further down the coast in the haven of coves and golden beaches, transporting you to a world where mermaids do really exist and heaven is a place on earth. Slap on the sunscreen, whip out those flower garlands and shades and groove to the rhythm of these life-loving chilled out people with a passion for partying. highlights • Marvel at Christ the Redeemer • Boogie with a Brazilian bang • Laze in the sun on tropical islands • Sail the Atlantic ocean blue • Snorkel around idyllic islands • Create cachaça based cocktails • Get wet and wild under Iguassu falls • Get back to nature in the Pantanal • Make friends with monkeys • Go coco crazy on Copacabana Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro Arrive into Rio at any time. Order a beer beachside, take in the view, breathe in the sweet air, soak up the sun and get supremely excited about the next few days to come. Day 2: Rio de Janeiro Tour round the city taking in the sensational views from Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf and take a stroll in colonial Santa Teresa. Marvellous.

Days 3-4: Paraty Time to P.A.R.T.Y in Paraty – another gloriously tropical destination. Not quite the congo, but they probably do drink Um Bongo. You’ll want to stay forever and a day, lying under the naturally beautiful surroundings, lazing on heavenly blue shores and drinking locally grown cachaça. See just how much you like it on a cachaça cocktail cruise in and around the beaches and coves. It’s also a home to sugar cane and coffee, making it a caffeine addict's haven. Popular with Brazilian nationals and foreigners alike there's so much to see and do, so get out there and get active! Days 5-8: Iguassu Falls / Night Bus Head inland from the coast on to the Foz do Iguaçu – gateway to the epic Iguassu falls. Prepare for a two-sided border hop from Brazil to Argentina as you soak up the spray from both countries. Daredevils can get close to the falls on a wild and wet power-boat ride, taking in the truly incredible power of Mother Nature as the torrents jet their way into the raging river down into the vast canyon below. Higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria falls you’ll need a dentist appointment to wrench your jaw back together by the time you get back home.

Days 9-10: Bonito Bonito, as its ‘beautiful’ name implies, is a great place for nature lovers. Just outside the Pantanal area, this is water and jungle country where brilliantly coloured fish fill the area’s crystalline rivers. Explore nearby underwater caves and waterfalls, go rafting or snorkelling, or get in some relaxation by the river. Days 11-13: Pantanal Wildlife wackos: unite! Little-known outside of South America, this huge wetland region (half the size of France) is one of the continent’s best places for catching life that’s as wicked as it is wild. Special guests may include: cabybaras (giant guinea pigs), howler monkeys (ooh ooh oooooooh), caimans (snappy snap snap), giant river otters (brilliant!), anacondas (ssssss), anteaters and great Jabiru storks. Ingenious impressionists will have a field day. (3B, 3L, 3D) Day 14: Rio de Janeiro Wrap up your sight-seeing and get out to party! Day 15: depart Rio de Janeiro Stuff your bag full of flip flops, bikinis and football shirts and depart beaming like a super bright bulb with a radically renewed spark.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 23 FEB 20 MAR 06 APR 17

FINISH FEB 06 MAR 06 MAR 20 MAY 01

START MAY 15 JUN 12 JUL 10 AUG 07 SEP 04

FINISH MAY 29 JUN 26 JUL 24 AUG 21 SEP 18

START OCT 02 NOV 06 DEC 11 DEC 24

FINISH OCT 16 NOV 20 DEC 25 JAN 07

START 2011 JAN 22 FEB 12 MAR 09 MAR 26

FINISH FEB 05 FEB 26 MAR 23 APR 09

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts), multi-share tented room with hammocks (3 nts), night bus (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, night bus, internal flight Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guide while in the Pantanal Meals: All meals on Pantanal excursion Budget: Allow USD260 for meals not included Tour Code: GAZWB

Add on a sailing adventure Check out page 87. RIO CARNIVAL PACKAGEs See pages 84-85. stay longer in rIo See pages 84-85.

brazil

• Pantanal • Campo Grande • Bonito

Iguassu Falls •

São Paulo •

Paraty •

• Rio de Janeiro


83

17 DAYS, £1,289 fr

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

brazil Crossing no local payment!

rio de janeiro - la paz If A is for adventure then B is for beautiful Brazil and boggling Bolivia. Over the next 17 days get to know the exhilarating extremes of these two glorious countries – from the indigenous intricacies of the Andes to the wild interior of Brazil and its golden Atlantic beaches. Get off the beaten track a little and check out the more hidden and arguably richer bits either side of these brilliant borders. Get all your senses a tingling as you explore with your eyes, ears, noses, mouths, hands and feet - cartwheels and backflips optional and not an 'I'm a Celebrity' style bushtucker trial or blindfold in sight. Phew! highlights • Drink in Rio’s intoxicating personality • Laze in the sun on tropical islands • Sail the Atlantic Ocean blue • Create cachaça based cocktails • Get wet and wild under Iguassu falls • Get back to nature in the wetlands • Make friends with monkeys • People watch in La Paz Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro Arrive into Rio and in a quick-stop whirlwind whizz, wander this incredible and incomparable city til dawn. Inhale the infectious Latin soul, shake your booty to some samba, bathe in tropical paradise, oh and there’s also that Jesus bloke up on the hill too. Spread that Carioca (Rio resident) love and have some fun. Amazing! Days 2-3: Ilha Grande Escape the city and head down to the coastal island of Ilha Grande. If you’ve ever wondered what paradise looks like, this'll be a pretty close match. Stroll along the sandy beaches or jump head first into the warm Atlantic Ocean. Boat out to hidden coves, hike through the ardent and lush greenery, spot a monkey or two, an armadillo and many a perky parrot. Failing that, just chill Winston and watch the world go by in this truly beautiful part of the planet. Days 4-5: Paraty Time to P.A.R.T.Y in Paraty – another gloriously tropical destination. Not quite the Congo, but they probably do drink Um Bongo. You’ll want to stay forever and a day, lying under its naturally beautiful surroundings, drinking its locally grown cachaça and lazing on its heavenly blue shores. See just how much you like it on a cachaça cocktail cruise in and around the beaches and coves. It’s also a home to sugar cane and coffee making it a coffee addict's haven. A destination popular with Brazilians and foreigners alike.

Days 6-9: Iguassu Falls Head inland to the Foz do Iguaçu – gateway to the epic Iguassu falls. Hop across the border and feel the spray from both sides. Daredevils can get scarily close to the falls on a wet and wild boat ride, taking in the truly incredible force of Mother Nature as the torrents jet their way into the raging river below. Higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria falls you’ll need to call a dentist to wrench your jaw back together. Days 10-11: Bonito As beautiful as its name implies and a great place for water, jungle and nature lovers. Watch brilliantly coloured fish fill the crystalline rivers. Check out underwater caves and waterfalls, go rafting or snorkelling, or re-re-lax by the river.

Days 14-15: Corumbá / Santa Cruz Cross into Bolivia at Corumbá, stopping first in Puerto Suarez. Board an overnight train to Santa Cruz, Bolivia's second largest city. Day 16: La Paz Feel on top of the world in more ways than one as you roll into the world’s highest capital. Buy all sorts of weird and wonderful kit - potions to cure both real and imagined afflictions, all essential baby alpaca finger-puppets, silver, leather and Bolivia's infamous stripy trousers. Day 17: Depart La Paz With a likely hangover to end all hangovers (or is that just the altitude?) head off into the sunset, grinning like a rather misplaced Cheshire cat.

Days 12-13: Pantanal Wildlife wackos: unite! Little-known outside of South America, this vast wetland region is one of the continent’s best wildlife watching spots. Special guests may include: Cabybaras (giant guinea pigs), howler monkeys (ooh ooh oooooooh), caimans (snappy snap snap), giant river otters (brilliant!), anacondas (ssssss), anteaters and great Jabiru storks. Ingenious impressionists will have a field day. (2B, 2L, 2D)

DEPARTURES 2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

SAT SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (11 nts), night bus (2 nts), train (1 nt), multi-share tented room with hammocks (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, local flight, 4WD vehicle, train, optional hiking, ferry Group Size: Max 16 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader Day 1-16, Local rep in La Paz, local guides Meals: Meals while in the Pantanal Budget: Allow USD330 for meals not included Tour Code: GASZRL

go in reverse La Paz - Rio de Janeiro fr £1,289 Tour Code: GASBLR

Bolivia

• La Paz

brazil

• Santa Cruz • Pantanal • Bonito Iguassu Falls •

Rio de Janeiro • • Paraty / Ilha Grande

stAY LONGER IN RIO Check out pages 84-85. STAY LONGER IN la paz Check out page 60.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


84

rio de janeiro

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

1 El misti hostel, copacabana

2 che Lagarto Ipanema

3 rio backpackers, copacabana

5 minutes from Copacabana beach - El Misti has friendly staff, a comfortable setting and laid back atmosphere - perfect for settling down for a while. The professional in-house chef dishes up delicious international food every weekend. STA533

This funky modern hostel has a cool terrace out front for sipping beers and watching the world go by, great tourist services and a friendly chilled vibe. The bar is one of the hottest in town. The top-floor rooms have amazing sea views. STA532

This three-storey hostel has a good chill out TV area with pool table, kitchen, internet and big balcony. It has a great relaxed vibe meaning people often stay longer than planned. Portuguese lessons can also be organised. STA534

fr fr

£9 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £39 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

rio Carnival Package 7 nights, fr £567 • • • • • •

El Misti Hostel, Copacabana 7 nights guaranteed accommodation Check in between: 11 Feb 10 - 14 Feb 10 Daily Breakfast Close to Lapa for street parties Optional organised nightly activities

Welcome to the greatest show on earth. Carnival in Rio is a once-in-a-lifetime experience simply unrivalled by anything else. Be prepared for sleepless nights of epic fun, enough sunshine for a whole year's worth of vitamin D and caiphirinas that'll start flowing out of your ears. Check into this fun hostel, well positioned for partying and seeing out all the must see sights! Check in starts on the 11th of Feb 2010. Tour Code: STA535

fr fr

£11 DORM, inc. breakfast £41 DOUBLE, inc. breakfast

fr

£13 DORM, inc. breakfast


85

dates for your diary February 12 - February 16, 2010 rio carnival!!

MARACANA STADIUM

march 2010 Rio circuit - cycle race

SANTA TERESA

april 1 - april 5, 2010 holy week festivities

SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN

CORCOVADO (CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE) TIJUCA NATIONAL PARK

LAGOA RODRIGO DE FREITAS

2

COPACABANA

1 4 3

6

5

IPANEMA

april 2010 rio boat show June 13 - 29, 2010 Rio bonfire and fireworks festival June 27, 2010 rio marathon September 7, 2010 Brazil Independence day

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

4 bandeirantes, copacabana

5 Mar ipanema

6 Ipanema plaza

A bargain hunter's dream. All rooms have aircon, phone, fridge, radio, cable TV, internet and safe. Laze around the hotel's beautiful outdoor pool, fitness room and sauna and massage centre - sightseeing gets tiring you know! STA536

Location, location, location. 2 blocks from vibrant Ipanema beach this modern hotel is on the doorstep to fun bars, restaurants and classy boutiques. People watch for hours from its street café. All rooms have air-con, and cable TV. STA537

Hang out with the cool kids at this chic Ipanema hotel. With the marble floors, plush lighting, rooftop terrace bar and stunning views of the beach you'll never want to leave. Oh and did we mention the pool and wet and dry saunas?! STA538

fr fr

£77 SINGLE, inc. breakfast £77 TWIN/DOUBLE, inc. breakfast

fr fr

£101 SINGLE, inc. breakfast £112 TWIN/DOUBLE, inc. breakfast

fr fr

£172 SINGLE, INC. BREAKFAST £172 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

tour of a favela

Samba Expedition

'The Big Dude' Tour

half Day, fr £22 Visiting a Favela is a pretty unforgettable experience and sheds a whole different light on the better known glitzy side of Rio. Wander through the streets with your guide, visit a local artist's studio and a school. Meet the real people and sample their home-made cakes. STA539

half Day, fr £20 So what if you've got no timing and the feet of elephant? With a couple of beers inside you and sense of adventure, you'll be dancing like a pro before too long. Shake it like a polaroid picture! (Not included: Energy to dance, skimpy clothes, whacky photos, money for beer). STA541

half Day, fr £23 Hop off on a short hike up the 696m Pedra Bonita. Witness stunning views over Rio, and then drive through Tijuca National Forest where Christ the Redeemer will be waiting at the top. Grab lunch and a beer in Santa Teresa before walking the famous Lapa coloured steps. STA543

Football Game at Maracana Stadium

surf expedition

Favela funk party

half Day, fr £29 Experience the passion of a soccer derby in the infamous Maracana stadium. Join the locals as they beat their drums and blow their trumpets in support of their local team. You'll soon know why Brazil has won the world cup an amazing five times. You can't escape the fever! STA540

half Day, fr £42 After football and beach volleyball, surf is the third popular sport in Rio. With more than 25 beaches in Rio for good waves to practice it's the perfect opportunity to grab a board and head out there. Whether your an old pro or a complete novice, get out on those waves! STA542

£25 Make yourself a caipirinha, don your dancing shoes and groove to your heart's content at one of Rio's finest clubs. Feel like a true Carioca dance, party and drink with the locals. This little beauty includes transport and entry to the club. Wiggle that booty! STA544

fr

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

 ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 15km 


86

beaches of brazil

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

misti chilli hostel, paraty

alpha hostel, salvador

che lagarto, ilha grande

A great beachfront location with an atmosphere that's calm and cool. Chill out in a hammock, feel the breeze and smell the ocean air. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, female dorms are available and there's an awesome TV room. STA547

A 'home away from home' in a safe area that still has a social and lively atmosphere. There's a big kitchen, TV lounge and great games area. Rooms have fans and lockers, and environmentallyfriendly solar-heated showers. STA548

Loud, popular and heaving with travellers this hostel is right on the unspoilt beach, and close to town. Lounge on the balconies, sunbathe in the garden, and party in the bar til dawn. There's also internet, a kitchen and TV lounge. STA545

fr fr

£8 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £31 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£10 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £26 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£11 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £43 DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

STAysimple

STAysmart

aquario pousada, ilha grande

Marazul, salvador

Pousada Corsário, Búzios

A little bit of paradise. with sea-view suites and dorms. A large sun deck offers panoramic views of the island and activities include kayaks, surfing, boats, fishing trips and diving. The restaurant and bar serves up great times. STA546

A simple hotel by the beach close to local restaurants, cafés and nightlife. Small pool and good hearty breakfasts make this a popular pit stop for explorers and passers by. Rooms have cable TV and air-con. STA549

A few hours from Rio in beautiful Buzios - this hotel is quality on a stick. In huge grounds with 2 pools on famous Ossos Beach, rooms are chic and stylish. VIPs have ocean views, whirlpool baths and a private terrace/garden. STA550

fr fr

£16 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £33 DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£66 SINGLE, INC. BREAKFAST £66 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

STAystylish

fr fr

£98 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £123 DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST


87

7 DAYS, £949 fr

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

Brazil Tall Ship Sailing Adventure no local payment!

Rio de Janeiro - paraty • • • • •

Sail exotic landscape and pass mountains dipping into the sea Cruise into Paraty - a UNESCO World Heritage Site Snorkel and slip into inviting blue-green waters Get involved on the workings of the boat See amazing flora and fauna at the Mamanguá Ecological Reserve

Day 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro Arrive in Rio and board the ship of your dreams. Come armed with eyepatches and Pirates of the Caribbean jokes. Get to know your sailing crew. Day 2: Set sail from Rio de Janeiro Embark on your adventure along the Brazilian coast with unbeatable views of Rio's famous horizon. Boat past lush rainforest and long, lonely beaches. Day 3: Ilha Grande, Enseada das Palmas Explore by sea, snorkel, kayak, or foot. Watching the sunset at the Lopes Mendes beach before dinner and drinks on the beach. Perfection on a stick. Day 4: Lagoa Azul, Saco do Ceu Set sail for Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon), Sítio Forte and Saco do Céu. In the evening phosphorescent sea plankton look fantastic in a fluorescent show. Day 5: Mamanguá Ecological Reserve Boat to Mamanguá Ecological Reserve - the only fjord in Brazil. Check out the rainforest flora and fauna before night time festivities on the beach.

paraty 7 DAYS, £48 fr

DORM, INC. BREAKFAST

How do we love thee Brazil, let us count the ways… Tropical paradise awaits those who come to wile away their days in Paraty. 125 miles south of Rio on the Costa Verde (Green coast) this quaint colonial town sits amid a backdrop of lush greenery and the Bocaino mountains. The centre has been named a National Monument with well-preserved buildings and cobblestone pedestrians-only streets. There’s heaps to see and do – get into the hustle and bustle of the markets, explore the sugarcane plantations and hike or take a train through the Atlantica Forest. Or you could spend your time just sittin’ on the dock of the bay, watchin’ the tide roll away… in an excellent homage to Otis Redding. Paraty could well have been his muse. Head out on a boat to secluded coves, snorkel over to the flotillas of islands and soak up some sunshine. Make friends with the monkeys spilling out of all corners and grab an ice-cold beer as you watch spectacular sunsets. A little bit of romance, a lot of relaxation and some very, very good times ahead. Price includes accommodation only.

Day 6: Ilha da Beixiga, arrive Paraty Have a Robinson Crusoe moment on the stunning private island of Ilha da Beixiga. Party in Paraty, famous for seafood, Cachaça, and Bossa Nova Day 7: Depart Paraty Top up your tan and enjoy the colonial charm of this pretty town.

salvador 7 DAYS, £60 fr

DEPARTURES START FINISH 2010 JAN 17 JAN 23 FEB 07 FEB 13

START FEB 28 MAR 14 NOV 07

FINISH MAR 06 MAR 20 NOV 13

START FINISH NOV 28 DEC 04 DEC 18 DEC 25

Accommodation: Single and double berths (multi-share) (6 nts) Transport: 120 ft Brazilian Tall Ship Tocorimé and inflatable shore boat Group Size: Max 16, Avg 12 Group Leader: Captain, first mate, engineer, deck hands, cook, passenger liaison Meals: All meals while on board Budget: Allow USD100 for extras not included, (i.e. alcoholic beverages) Tour Code: GAZVRPT

go in reverse Paraty - Rio Tour Code: GAZVPRT

brazil

Rio de Janeiro • • Ilha Grande

Paraty •

DORM, INC. BREAKFAST

Rumoured to have an even better Carnival scene than Rio, Salvador has earned the name ‘Capital of Joy’ which makes it shoot up on the radar of top destinations to visit if you find yourself down Brazil way. Located in the northern state of Bahia – otherwise known as the ‘Land of the drum’ you’ll be guaranteed some bopping nights out painting the town a rainbow of colours and soaking in some true Brazilian beats. It also pumps in a whole lot of feel-good African-influences – you’ll notice them in the food (think delicious spicy seafood…mmm), music scene, art and architecture. As soon as you arrive you'll want to head out into the surf, dive into the Atlantic Ocean and head up into the rolling hills and mountains for some sensational hiking. Witness the stunning views of the city below and then head back into town and relax on the beach. Wander the city centre and sit out at a cafés dotted along the pretty harbour. You won’t want to stay here for a week – you’ll want to set up camp and call it home. Price includes accommodation only.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


88

Iguassu Falls •

Córdoba • Rosario • • Mendoza • Buenos Aires

argentina • Bahia Blanca

Currency: ARGENTINE PESO Time Zone: gmt - 3 Price of a beer: 85P Population: 40.4 MILLION Area: 11 x UK

• El Calafate

argentina My favourite experience

As soon as I stepped into Buenos Aires I knew I was at home. The cosmopolitan influences hit me straight away – I felt like I was walking the boulevards of Milan, Paris, New York or London - but all rolled into one and filled with unmistakable South American seduction. The atmosphere of the tango halls and bustling San Telmo market was brilliant. Not to mention the nightlife – I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun!.. Emily, Newcastle

The Weather Gloriously hot from November to March, chilly over June, July and August though to the Argentineans' disgust you'll probably still be wearing tshirts while they're all wrapped up in scarves. Further south in Patagonia its reminiscent of the UK - wetter and much cooler. Local grub Meat fiends will be in aboslute heaven - Bife de Chorizo succulent and juicy sirloin steak is a must, accompanied by chimichurri sauce and a puré mixto (mixed mash). There are strong Italian influences too meaning pasta and pizza are the stuff of dreams. Definitely try the sickly sweet dulce de leche - pumped into all sorts of puddings, alfajores and the addictive medialunas (croissants, but better). Wash it all down with some excellent Argie wine: try red Malbec or Bonarda, and white Torrontes or Chardonnay.

Useful Info Think things have been bad for us recently? The Argentineans have known it worse - surviving a deep recession and then complete economic collapse in 2001, they saw their money devalued to be worth a mere third of what it was, practically overnight. So be kind and think before you excitedly exclaim how cheap it is compared to home. Argento means silver in Spanish. Useless Info The stadium home to La Boca one of Argentina's football teams is more commonly known as La Bombonera - or chocolate box; and the city's main stretch of road - the 9 de Julio is the widest boulevard in the world, spanning 110m. try before you fly. Watch 'The Motorcyle Diaries' a biopic film that tells the story of a young Che Guevara on his 1952 journey across South America.


89

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

iguassu falls

STAysimple

STAysmart

hostel inn iguassu

Posada la sorgente

By far the nicest hostel around. This place has an enormous pool, perfect for a cool-down dip after your trundle round the falls. There's a really great and lively bar, 2 pool tables, ping pong and sport fields. All rooms have air-con. STA553

Spoil yourself at the sexy Sorgente. There's a pool fed by mineral springs set in lush gardens, a restaurant, late-night bar and tasty home-made breakfast cakes. The ensuite rooms have kingsized beds, a balcony and pool views STA554

fr fr

£9 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £31 DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£79 SINGLE, INC. BREAKFAST £79 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

Iguassu Falls Experience 4 days fr £280 • • • • •

3 nights stay at La Posada Sorgente Full day tour to the Argentine side Half day Brazilian side tour Transfers to and from accommodation 3 hearty breakfasts included

Witness the sheer power of Mother Nature over these few days and gawk over the local flora and fauna. Make friends with the wildlife and boat out under the spray if you dare. Border hop between Brazil and Argentina and then relax back in the hotel's inviting pool and gardens. Stay up all night chatting to other guests at the bar or go out for dinner at a nearby restaurant. STA555

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


90

buenos aires

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

1 millhouse hostels

2 Hostel suites florida

3 hostel suites palermo

Two amazing party hostels set right in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires. Both have 24hr reception, kitchen, TV and games room, free internet, cafe/bar, individual lockers and happy, friendly staff - just like their guests! STA556

The newest edtion to the Hostel Suites Empire, bang smack in the centre of town. There's free internet, WiFi, a pool table, mini cinema and an alive and kicking bar. All rooms have private bathrooms, heating and air-con. STA557

Some of the best accommodation in town in the city's coolest area. The plush Palermo Suites' rooms are spacious, with wooden floors, modern lighting, stylish beds and cultured décor. All rooms have private bathrooms and lockers. STA558

fr fr

£8 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £31 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£8 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £35 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

spanish on the move

tango package

4 days fr £93

3 days fr £96

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

Learn to speak Spanish Explore the different city zones Discover local bars and restaurants Understand how local culture works Sample the true porteño way of life Less time in the class - more real life

Stay in a top quality city-centre hostel Explore the city of Buenos Aires Eat amazing Argentine steak Shop til you drop in stylish boutiques Hunt for bargains in the markets Tap your tango shoes til dawn

¡Hola! Want to combine city sightseeing with a bit of Spanish lingo learning? Step away from boring classrooms and onto this beautiful city's streets for a lesson/tour with a difference. Explore different neighbourhoods and get under the skin of an Argentine's way of life. More than words, you'll learn about the people, culture and history stopping at coffee shops along the way.

Perfect if you don't have much time - you'll be picked up from the airport whipped into a Tango frenzy. You'll stay at the stylish Hostel Suites Obelisco and spend a night amongst friends and locals at Boca Tango, a colourful show that recreates the lifestyle of city dwellers. Enjoy spectacular dancing and music while you munch on a delicious 3 course meal.

Days 1,2,3 of the course are held between 14:00-17:00 hours. Day 4 is held over dinner at a local restaurant (dinner not included) from 20:00 to 23:00 hours. Tour Code: STA559

Accommodation: Hostel (2n) Meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner Other Inclusions: Airport and tango show transfers, 1 welcome drink , Boca Tango show Tour Code: STA560

fr fr

£11 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £39 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST


91  MINISTRO PISTARINI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 30km 

PALERMO

april, 2010 BAFICI - International indie film fest

6 RETIRO STATION

RECOLETA

1

dates for your diary

august 1-30, 2010 World Tango Championships

2

OBELISK CONGRESO 5 CASA ROSADA

ECOLOGICAL RESERVE

4

PUERTO MADERO SAN TELMO 9 JULY E AVENU

LA BOCA

september 15-october 15, 2010 Pepsi Music Festival October 1-30, 2010 Buenos Aires Jazz Festival november 1 - 30, 2010 Creamfields Buenos Aires November 1 - 30, 2010 La Noche de los Museos - museums stay open til 2am with concerts galore Mid november - mid december annually Argentine Polo Open, Palermo

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

4 The clan house B&B

5 Castelar hotel and spa

6 plaza elegance unique hotel

Step inside a house full of cosy, bright colours and quirky antique furniture. There's a fully functional kitchen, free internet and WiFi, 24hr tea and coffee, and buffet breakfast til 12pm. Sit out on the terrace and relax in the lounge. STA561

Castelar has seen it all and knows how to please. Famous for its superb spa, this is one place you'll want to spoil yourself. Turkish and Finnish saunas are free for guests, and there's also a gym, Zen garden, restaurant, wifi and cable. STA562

Elegance by name, elegant by nature. The rooms are designed to impress with their stylish and exclusive furnishings. The hotel's fine-dining restaurant serves up creative signature cuisine and mouth-watering Argentinian dishes. STA563

fr fr

£25 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £27 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

football match half Day, fr £52 Argentina's passion for football is rivalled only by Brazil. You can't stay in Buenos Aires without someone asking you about Diego Maradona - so tag onto this tour with all your other 'gringo' mates for a mad time in and amongst 1000s of die-hard fans. STA564

fr fr

£86 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £86 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr

£47 SINGLE, INC. BREAKFAST £49 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

tango show with dinner £43 Feel the passion, aggression and flare of Tango while you munch with the locals and friends on a heavenly traditional dinner. Get intimate with Argentina's residents as they show you the beginnings of Tango and dance you through a night of some supreme musical talent. STA565

fr

clubbing night pass

B.A by bike

£10 Buenos Aires has some of the most incredible and downright crazy nightlife on the entire planet. Classy clubs are a feature here, though nights out don't usually start till around 2am (these Argentines are hardcore). Show them how we do it back home and last till dawn in and out of 10 clubs and over 7 nights! STA567

half Day, fr £22 Burn your bike tyres around Buenos Aires' most famous and colourful spots as well as all those nooks and crannies you wouldn't find on your own. A great fun, short and lively way to see the city if you have a spare morning or afternoon up your sleeve. You'll arrive in San Telmo in time for a deserved beverage. Helmet hair included. STA566

fr

fr

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

3


92

patagonia el calafate & torres del paine

ushuaia the end of the world

peninsula valdes

5 days, fr £242

3 days, fr £181

4 days, fr £174

Departs: Daily

Departs: daily

Departs: daily

• • • • • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

Start & Finish: el calafate 4 nights accommodation in El Calafate Daily breakfast Airport or bus station pick up Full day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier Full day trip to Torres Del Paine Free day to enjoy El Calafate

On the other side of the Andes, the spectacular and majestic Torres del Paine National Park is just waiting to be explored. Its imposing peaks form a dramatic background to it vast coloured lakes and hostile vegetation. This superb package offers you the chance to explore Perito Moreno Glacier. You'll hike and truck your way through some quite startling scenery and you'll witness some of the most amazing wildlife you are likely to see in your life. All that fresh air is likely to make you sleepy - and you'll have very comfy bed to return to in the evening. STA568

Start & Finish: ushuaia 2 nights accommodation in Ushuaia Daily breakfast and lunch on Day 2 Airport or bus station pick up Full day trip to Tierra del Fuego Take a boat trip into the Beagle Channel

Tierra del Fuego is the southern-most tip of the Americas and as close as civilisation has got to the snowy desert of Antarctica. This three-day adventure allows you to explore Argentina's most valued wildlife and immerse yourself in an ancient culture. Enjoy treks, boat trips, canoe tours and the nightly freedom to make your trip into anything you want it to be! STA569 Please note: On day 2, the full day excursion of trekking and canoeing in the Tierra del Fuego National Park is only guaranteed to operate from 3rd October until 10th April each year. During the winter this is not possible.

Choose from three accommodation options

Choose from three accommodation options

STAysimple fr £181 Mixed dorms at the 'Free Style Hostel' or similar..

STAysimple fr £242 Calafate Hostel, Hostel del Glaciar Libertador or similar depending on availability.

STAysmart fr £336 Hosteria Mirabeagle, Hosteria Macondo, Hosteria Peninsula Antartica or similar.

STAysmart fr £606 Patagonia Queen, Kalken, Hosteria Rincon de los Suenos or similar depending on availability.

STAystylish fr £412 Luxury rooms in the decadent Mil819 or Hotel Tierra de Leyendas.

STAystylish fr £983 Esplendor Calafate or Design Suites.

whales & penguins Start & Finish: Puerto Madryn 3 nts. accommodation in Puerto Madryn 2 breakfasts Airport or bus station pick up Peninsula Valdes penguin rockery Punta Tombo Penguin Rockery

Check out amazing Peninsula Valdés a.k.a. 'The Sanctuary of Nature' - where magnificent marine creatures such as Orcas, Southern Right whales, Elephant seals, Sea lions and the Magellan penguin swim in serenity. This trip combines the local earthly attractions with full day visits to the Punta Tombo Penguin Rockery, Peninsula Valdés and Puerto Piramides. You'll also have the pleasure of staying in the quintessential Argentinian town of Puerto Madryn. STA570 Please note: Punta Tombo can only be visited between mid-September and mid-April. During the rest of the year, the tour will set out for Gaiman and Trelew, with a beach-stop at Playa Unión and Port Rawson - where you can appreciate spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife.

Choose from three accommodation options: STAysimple fr £174 El Gualicho Hostel, Posada del Catalejo; Hostel Che Patagonia or Hostel Viajeros STAysmart fr £573 Villa Piren, Hosteria Las Maras, Hotel Tolosa, Solar de la Costa or Hotel Bahia Nueva. STAystylish fr £998 Exclusive boutique accommodation at Territorio Hotel or similar depending on availability.


93

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

patagonia experience 11 DAYS, £1,249 fr

no local payment!

start & finish: Ushuaia Latin America ain’t all about sexy salsa dancing, steamy jungle expeditions, moonlight mojitos and oversized sombreros. Down on the southern tip of the continent stretching across both Chile and Argentina lies an icy wilderness unrivalled in its sheer dramatic beauty. Patagonia is the continent’s true treasure, and is ideal for those who want a travelling experience stripped naked of clichés, commonality and any kind of uncouth interference from vulgar commercialism. Everything down here is nothing short of magnificent. You’ll enter a trance like state of virtual bliss as you gaze at the panoramic views from the slopes of behemothic snow shrouded mountains. You’ll be struck down with awestruck bewilderment as you watch the enormous chunks of ice drop from the Perito Moreno Glacier into the deep green waters below. You’ll feel like you’re wandering around a deserted heaven as you hike past the resplendent scenery of Torres del Paine National Park while reclusive condors and searching eagles swoop down in search of their unfortunate prey. And you’ll be forgiven for feeling a joyful kind of fear as you travel by boat amongst the intimidating icebergs of Grey Glacier. Over 11 days you’ll come to realise how fortunate you are to be experiencing Patagonia. highlights • See the third largest ice field on earth • Enjoy the views from Laguna Los Tres • Witness the falling ice of Moreno Glacier • Spot condors, eagles and flamingos • Hike between ethereal granite towers • Marvel at unique indigenous animals • Cruise among the icebergs of Lake Pehoe • Enjoy a lively night out in Ushuaia

Day 1: Arrive Ushuaia Arrive in Ushuaia at any time. Days 2-3: El Chaltén / Glacier N.P. Fly south over lofty peaks to the town of El Calafate and transfer on to El Chalten. From your base in El Chaltén you'll take a full-day hike amongst the spiralling granite peaks of Glacier National Park's northern tip - also home to the third largest ice field on earth. Hike to Laguna de Los Tres to fully appreciate majestic Cerro Fitzroy/Chaltén (3441m) and to Laguna Torre for inspiring Patagonian views. Days 4-5: El Calafate / Moreno Glacier Return to El Calafate, on the shores of Lago Argentino. A spectacular drive west through lofty mountain peaks takes you to the Moreno Glacier, within Glacier National Park. During the trip you may spot condors, rheas, eagles or flamingos - but the real star of the day is the glacier itself, located at the southern terminus of Glacier National Park. Sliding down from atop the southern continental ice field, Moreno's 60m wall of ice sporadically chokes off the narrow Canal de los Tempanos (Channel of Ice Bergs) creating a natural ice dam, which eventually explodes in a dynamic display of force.

Days 6-9: Torres del Paine N.P. Travel south across the border into Chile to the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. Here, the landscape conforms to every stereotype of the rough beauty of Patagonia: breathtaking views of the three pink granite towers, French Valley and its glaciers, as well as the region’s unique wildlife, such as vicuña, rheas and Patagonian hares. Travel by boat on Lake Pehoe amongst the icebergs of Grey Glacier You can even hike on the glacier itself. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 10: Ushuaia Back to Ushuaia for one more night on the town. Day 11: Depart Ushuaia Your Patagonian adventure finishes on Day 11.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 10 JAN 24 FEB 07

FINISH JAN 20 FEB 03 FEB 17

START FEB 21 MAR 07 MAR 21 APR 04

FINISH MAR 03 MAR 17 MAR 31 APR 14

START OCT 17 NOV 14 DEC 12

FINISH OCT 27 NOV 24 DEC 22

START 2011 JAN 09 FEB 13 MAR 06

FINISH JAN 19 FEB 23 MAR 16

Accommodation: Simple hotels (8 nts) - may be multi-share, camping (2 nts) Transport: Local buses, plane, hiking Group Size: Max 12, Avg 8 Group Leader: Tour Leader throughout, local guides Meals: Meals included while camping in Torres del Paine Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GASAPP

why not check out antarctica? Ask for our 'Marine' brochure or go online. start and finish santiago 'Essential Patagonia' fr £1,349 Tour Code: GASCEP

argentina

El Chaltén • • El Calafate Puerto Natales • chile

• Ushuaia

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


94

end of the earth 15 DAYS, £1,539 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: buenos aires There is something unspeakably stunning about Patagonia. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on our planet – say it quietly but many of us at STA Travel would put if firmly at number one. Try your best to imagine a seemingly endless succession of snow capped craggy mountains, divided by shimmering lakes and enormous glaciers, inhabited by very few humans, but roamed by many penguins, subterranean rodents, cougars and all kinds of magnificent bird life. For those who worship the ‘Great Outdoors’, this is just about as good as it gets. The air is crisp, clean and wonderfully exhilarating, the waters are icily cold, but fresh and full of life, the night skies are alive with a silent orchestra of the most vividly radiant stars. This stupendous adventure will fly you back and forth from Buenos Aires straight into this heavenly wilderness. Amongst many other big highlights - you’ll take a two day camping excursion to Torres del Paine National Park, you’ll hike through Glacier National Park, you’ll cruise through the islands and inlets of Beagle Channel and you’ll witness the incredible moving ice of Morneo Glacier. Prepare for personal fulfilment, ephemeral enjoyment and a big wide smile that’ll stay etched on you face throughout the 15 days of this trip, and beyond. highlights • See the third largest ice field on earth • Enjoy the views from Laguna Los Tres • Witness the falling ice of Moreno Glacier • Marvel at unique indigenous animals • Hike between ethereal granite towers • Hang out with the penguins at Otway • Cruise the waters of the Beagle Channel • Enjoy a sultry sexy night in Buenos Aires

Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires Arrive in Buenos Aires at any time. Days 2-3: El Chaltén / Glacier N.P. Fly south to the Province of Santa Cruz and the town of El Calafate before transferring overland to El Chaltén. Enjoy a full-day hike within Glacier National Park’s northern end, where granite pinnacles spiral upward into the sky from the third largest ice field on earth. Hike to Laguna de Los Tres to fully appreciate majestic Cerro Fitzroy/Chaltén (3441 m), and to Laguna Torre for inspiring views of the magical peaks and glaciers. Return to to El Calafate in the late afternoon of Day 4. Days 4-5: El Calafate / Moreno Glacier Return to El Calafate, on the shores of Lago Argentino. A spectacular drive west through lofty mounatin peaks takes you to the Moreno Glacier, within Glacier National Park. Druing the trip you may spot condors, rheas, eagles or flamingos - but the real star of the day is the glacier itself, located at the southern terminus of Glacier National Park. Sliding down from atop the southern continental ice field, Moreno's 60m wall of ice sporadically chokes off the narrow Canal de los Tempanos (Channel of Ice Bergs) creating a natural ice dam, which eventually explodes in a dynamic display of force.

Days 6-9: Torres del Paine N.P. Continue the journey south along the unpaved road to the border of Chile. Spend a relaxing evening in scenic Puerto Natales before the trip to spectacular Paine National Park. Spend the next two nights camping among the dramatic granite pillars that dominate the landscape. From the campsite, take day hikes and check out some of the striking scenery of this protected area, home to amazing wildlife - herds of guanacos, majestic condors, flocks of pink flamingos and large Patagonian hares. Return to Puerto Natales on the afternoon of day 9. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 10: Punta Arenas Punta Arenas is Chile's southernmost city. You will have time to explore and visit a penguin colony at Otway Sound. Days 11-13: Ushuaia / Beagle Channel The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia is your base for a cruise of the the Beagle Channel. Check out the amazing marine wildlife. Day 14: Buenos Aires Fly back to Buenos Aires. Why not visit a tango show and finish off your trip in style. Day 15: Depart Buenos Aires Your adventure sadly finishes. Say goodbye!

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 04 JAN 09 JAN 11 JAN 16 JAN 18 JAN 23 JAN 25 JAN 30 FEB 01 FEB 06 FEB 08 FEB 13 FEB 15 FEB 20 FEB 22 FEB 27

FINISH JAN 16 JAN 18 JAN 23 JAN 25 JAN 30 FEB 01 FEB 06 FEB 08 FEB 13 FEB 15 FEB 20 FEB 22 FEB 27 MAR 01 MAR 06 MAR 08 MAR 13

START MAR 01 MAR 06 MAR 08 MAR 13 MAR 15 MAR 20 MAR 22 MAR 27 MAR 29 APR 03 OCT 16 OCT 18 OCT 23 OCT 25 OCT 30 NOV 01 NOV 06 NOV 08

FINISH MAR 15 MAR 20 MAR 22 MAR 27 MAR 29 APR 03 APR 05 APR 10 APR 12 APR 17 OCT 30 NOV 01 NOV 06 NOV 08 NOV 13 NOV 15 NOV 20 NOV 22

START NOV 13 NOV 15 NOV 20 NOV 22 NOV 27 NOV 29 DEC 04 DEC 12 DEC 11 DEC 13 DEC 18 DEC 20 DEC 25 DEC 27 2011 JAN 01 JAN 03 JAN 08

FINISH NOV 27 NOV 29 DEC 04 DEC 06 DEC 11 DEC 13 DEC 18 DEC 20 DEC 25 DEC 27 JAN 01 JAN 03 JAN 08 JAN 10 JAN 15 JAN 17 JAN 22

START JAN 10 JAN 15 JAN 17 JAN 22 JAN 24 JAN 29 JAN 31 FEB 05 FEB 07 FEB 12 FEB 14 FEB 19 FEB 21 FEB 26 FEB 28 MAR 05 MAR 07 MAR 12

FINISH JAN 24 JAN 29 JAN 31 FEB 05 FEB 07 FEB 12 FEB 14 FEB 19 FEB 21 FEB 26 FEB 28 MAR 05 MAR 07 MAR 12 MAR 14 MAR 19 MAR 21 MAR 26

Accommodation: Hotels (10 nts), multi-share dorms (2 nts), camping (2 nts). Transport: Public bus, van, local flights, boat Group Size: Max 12 Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD380 for meals not included Tour Code: GASAPE

why not check out antarctica? Ask for our 'Marine' brochure or go online.

• Buenos Aires

chile argentina

El Chaltén •

• El Calafate

Puerto Natales • Puerta Arenas • • Ushuaia


Arica •

95

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

Calama •

chile

Santiago •

Puerto Varas •

Currency: PESO Time Zone: gmt - 4 Price of a beer: £1.40 Population: 17 MILLION Area: 3 x UK

Torres del Paine • Punta Arenas •

chile My favourite experience

The incredible sights of some of southern Chile's landscape was an experience like no other. Trekking through the Torres del Paine national park with the huge great granite pillars dominating the landscape in the distance was spectacular. You really felt out in the wilderness and realised how small we are in this big wide world full of wonderful scenery. You have to go there, photos just don't do it justice... Sarah, London

The Weather Chile's remarkable shape makes weather forecasting rather tricky. Santiago and the central area boasts a Mediterranean style climate - with hot summers (December - March) and short, cool winters (June - September). The wonders of the South like Torres del Paine and the Lakes District are best explored in the summer - in some cases this is the only time you can venture down there. In the far north of the country, the Atacama Desert is accesible all year round - just make sure you prepare for extremes of hot and cold in the summer between day and night. Local grub Chile is dominated by its elongated Pacific coastline - which means its seafood is particularly special. Make sure you sample the deep fried conger eel, parmesan cheese raisor clams, abalone bread pudding and the delicious sea squirts.

Useful Info Chilean history is dominated by 'The Liberator' - Bernardo O'Higgins. He defeated the Spanish in 1817 and won independence for his country. You'll see his strange name (he was the illegitimate son of an Irishman) emblazoned across street signs and monuments throughout the country. Useless Info The town of Calama in the Atacama Desert has never experienced any kind of rainfall. It is officially the driest place on Earth. You should be safe to leave your raincoat at home. try before you flY The 2004 film 'Machuca' is centred around the events before the brutal 1973 revolution led by General Augusto Pinochet. Told from the perspective of two young boys both from different sides of the social spectrum - you'll learn about the political passions that still resonate in Chile today.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


96

the atacama crossing 20 DAYS, £889 fr

no local payment!

la paz - santiago Transport your mind, body and soul to Bolivia and through Chile on this unforgettable mash-up of magical mountains and moon-like terrain. Mystical magnificent moments will stay with you like a teenage tattoo for years and years to come - a reminder of youth, freedom and an uninterrupted life philosophy. Nothing will prepare you for some of our little lonely planet’s most impressive and fantastic scenery and truly awesome landscapes. Geography geeks will go wild and the rest of you will struggle to pick your thudding chins up off the ground. Be on top of the world both physically and emotionally in Bolivia – starting in the world’s highest capital of La Paz, and roaming through its wild and rugged environment down to Santiago in Chile. You’ll have perma-goosebumps all over and that won’t be just from the dropping overnight temperatures common to these countries. This really is spine tingling, once a lifetime stuff, and it's here and now for anyone with the bravado and down right good sense to take it on. highlights • People watch in La Paz • Drink chicha in Cochabamaba • Polish up your politics in Sucre • Dig out your dynamite in Potosí • Stand awe-struck on the Uyuni Salt Flats • Snap your way to paparazzi paradise • Moon-walk in the Atacama Desert • Explore San Pedro's opulent oasis • Swim in pretty beachside La Serena • Wine and dine in sultry Santiago Day 1: Arrive La Paz Arrive into La Paz at anytime. Acclimatise and explore the cobbled streets. Day 2: La Paz The highest capital in the whole wide world. Enter into the hustle and bustle on foot – though be aware of altitude adapted super steep hills. It’s all too easy to get intertwined in the markets – finding oddities and wacky kit galore – and needless to say you’ll be totally spell-bound by the enchanting Witches’ Market. Days 3-4: Cochabamba / Nightbus No sign of the Loch Ness monster here – but staying in the highlands, you’ll head south to Cochabamba, famous for its spring-like climate and Chicha – a fermented drink made from maize. Fact-finders will love exploring the museums and having a run around the other interesting sights of this pretty city. Then snore your way to Sucre.

Days 5-7: Sucre Sucre is fascinating and historic. It’s also home to a few fellow traveller footprints from years gone by – try 60 million years in fact. So go off explore and jump around the dino tracks. Ross a la Friends would certainly be doing a victory dance. The town also offers museums a plenty and an array of colonial buildings. On Day19 take another wheels-on-the-night-bus to La Paz. Days 8-9: Potosí A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tumultous history as a silver mining centre during colonial times. Be daring and descend into a modern-day mine for a close up look at methods that have hardly changed in centuries. Explosive stuff! Days 10-12: Uyini / 4WD Desert Crossing Embark on an journey of epic proportions (ok so you’re not quite the next Indiana Jones, but you'll be pretty close). Get comfy in a 4WD and cruise through the impressive Salar de Uyuni in some of the most isolated and dramatic geography in South America. A perfect opportunity for keen photgraphers, you won’t believe the contrast of blinding white salt flats, piercing blue skies, brightly coloured lagoons and moon-like territory. Brilliant. (2B, 3L, 2D)

Days 13-15: San Pedro de Atacama Take a bus further south this morning to the small desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, on the edge of the driest place in the world - the Atacama Desert. Perfect for deadpan comics. Ha. Days 16-17: La Serena Hit the road a running, head out on the highway, looking for adventure? Well you’re on the right (music) track then. Ahem! After a bit of a busride, you’ll reach the northern beachside city of La Serena. Attractive and colonial - choose to sun-worship (the Incas prayed to a Sun God, and they were awfully clever people), edge into the Elqui Valley, see how they pump out that pisco, or star-gaze into infinity, planning your next trip into extra-terrestrial realms... Maybe one day! Days 18-19: Santiago Santiago is a fun-seekers playground and the perfect destination to finish off your adventure. Visit museums, parks, and vibrant neighbourhoods. Day trip it to vineyards, Andean ski resorts, Chile’s top beach resorts, or Isla Negra - poet Pablo Neruda’s seaside home. Day 20: Depart Santiago Curtsey, bow and say chau chau.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 11 JAN 16 JAN 22 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 08 MAR 13 MAR 23

FINISH JAN 30 FEB 04 FEB 10 FEB 18 FEB 25 MAR 04 MAR 11 MAR 18 MAR 27 APR 01 APR 11

START MAR 31 APR 10 APR 23 MAY 04 MAY 21 MAY 26 JUN 04 JUN 13 JUN 18 JUL 01 JUL 07 JUL 15

FINISH APR 19 APR 29 MAY 12 MAY 23 JUN 09 JUN 14 JUN 23 JUL 02 JUL 07 JUL 20 JUL 26 AUG 03

START JUL 23 JUL 31 AUG 08 AUG 16 AUG 24 SEP 02 SEP 11 SEP 21 OCT 02 OCT 13 OCT 27 NOV 07

FINISH AUG 11 AUG 19 AUG 27 SEP 04 SEP 12 SEP 21 SEP 30 OCT 10 OCT 21 NOV 01 NOV 15 NOV 26

START NOV 23 DEC 08 DEC 23 2011 JAN 08 JAN 16 FEB 01 FEB 16 FEB 25 MAR 28

FINISH DEC 12 DEC 27 JAN 11 JAN 27 FEB 04 FEB 20 MAR 07 MAR 16 APR 16

Accommodation: Simple hotels (17 nts), night buses (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, 4WD truck Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: All meals on the desert crossing excursion Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAJLS

go in reverse Santiago - La Paz fr £889 Tour Code: GAJSL STAY LONGER IN SANTIAGO Check out page 97.

bolivia

La Paz • Potosí • Uyuni • Salt Lakes • San Pedro de Atacama • Antofagasta • chile

La Serena • Santiago •

• Cochabamba • Sucre


97

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

santiago & south

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

che lagarto

la casa roja

hotel del patio

Just a 5 minute walk from the main bus terminal, right in the city centre - but still boasting a beautiful patio and garden. Facilities include several lovely common rooms, a fully refurbished kitchen and free Internet and Wi-Fi. STA571

Centrally situated in the Barrio Brazil quarter - this very social Santiago hot-spot features BBQs, live music nights, wine tastings and theme parties. With a pool, outdoor jacuzzi, bar & loads of communal room - you'll love it here! STA572

This lovely little hotel boasts an outdoor terrace overlooking the buzzing Patio Bellavista. Enjoy a drink and absorb the electric atmosphere. The colourful rooms have luxury marble bathrooms, free WiFi and flash flat screen TVs. STA573

fr fr

£10 DORM, INC. BREAKFAST £26 DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

torres del paine 7 days, fr £889 santiago - puerto natales • • • •

Enjoy 4 days of spectacular hiking Absorb the dramatic beauty of Patagonia Complete the full 'W' trek Check out snow capped peaks & glaciers

fr fr

£11 DORM £28 DOUBLE

fr fr

£92 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £107 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

Spanish Language School Santiago 14+ Days, fr £441 Days 3-6: Torres del Paine N.P. Hiking and camping in this spectacular park is what this trip is all about. Rumours of the rough beauty of Patagonia are all true. Prepare for breathtaking views of the 'Towers', French Valley and its glaciers, as well as the region's unique wildlife, such as vicuña, rheas, and Patagonian hare. You'll return to Puerto Natales in the afternoon of Day 6. (3B, 3L, 3D)

Day 1 Arrive Santiago Arrive in Santiago at any time - and go explore.

Day 7 Depart Puerto Natales Your adventure ends - depart at any time..

Day 2 Puerto Natales Fly south to Punta Arenas and travel to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine,

Departs: Selected Saturdays Accommodation: Simple hotels (3 nts), camping (3 nts) Transport: Public bus, van, internal flight, catamaran, hiking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Local rep in Santiago, local guide in Torres del Paine Meals Included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners Budget: Allow USD100 for meals not inc. Tour Code: GASCPD

• • • • •

12 levels of study, 2+ weeks 20 hours tuition per week Start date every Monday, all year round Stay with a family or other students Weekly cultural and social events

Learn Spanish in one of the world's sexiest cities. The ECELA staff make the lingo easy to learn and you'll study in a style that suits you. And when you're not in the classroom, party with fellow students at your own private pad, cosy up with a friendly family, head off out to a vineyard or enjoy a day of beach bumming. Accommodation: Ranges from cosy home-stays to riotous student residences Meals: 2 a day at homestays Other Inclusions: Enrolment fees, course materials, certificate of attendance Tour Code: STA574

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


98

hop-on hop-off chile From the bone dry deserts, deserted beaches and stunning national parks of the North to the apline utopias, mystical forests and volcanic landscapes of the South - Chile has so much going on, over such a massive area. So the biggest problem is - how the heck do you get from one place to another and get off the beaten track?... Well as usual, we have the answer. Presenting a transport network specially designed to meet the needs of independent travellers. You can get off the bus at any of the places along the route and catch another bus a few days later. You will have the freedom to do your own thing and spend as much time as you like at all the places along the route.

• Get away from the "gringo trail" to the places only the locals know about. • All of the guides speak English and Spanish. They will provide you with as much, or as little, help as you require. • Your pass allows you to start and finish your trip wherever you want, with no time limit to complete the chosen route. • The lovely buses seat up to 17 people, with enough room for all your bags. • Accommodation is not included, but you will be taken to the best hostels in town.

lake district 7 DAYS, £155 fr

chile

Pichilemu • Santa Cruz •

Chillán • • Salto el Laja Waterfall

no local payment!

Valdivia •

departs santiago every thursday all year round & sundays, feb-mar only Day 1: Santiago - pichilemu Start off with a 220 km drive south. On the way you'll visit the ancient village of Pomaire. Later, you'll stop at the Rapel Dam, a hydro electric complex with an artificial lake. In the afternoon arrive in Pichilemu - renowned for its surfing, the city is a harmonious blend of aristocratic history, natural beauty and urban modernity. Day 2: pichilemu - pucon The longest driving day (707 km) is broken by a visit to the small but wealthy city of Santa Cruzcheck out the.eclectic collection of the Museo de Colchagua, built in 1995 by a local millionaire who made his fortune as an arms dealer! After the long ride, you'll arrive in Pucón where you will spend a minium of two nights. Day 3: full day in pucon Pucón, southern Chile's tourist capital, is stunningly located between the shores of beautiful Villarrica Lake and the Andean foothills. It boasts a ski resort, natural hot springs, fab restaurants and a 4 km long lakeside beach. Day 4: pucon - valdiva Drive along the scenic 'Seven Lake Road', visiting the lakeside towns of Coñaripe and Panguipulli. Arrive in Valdivia around lunchtime - one of the most beautiful cities in Chile. Founded in 1552, at the union of 3 rivers - check out the old Spanish fortress, the famous local brewery and the local fish market with its resident sea lions.

• Santiago • Balduzzi Winery

• Pucon Villarrica Lake & Volcano • Puerto Varas • Llanquihue Lake

Day 5: valdiva - puerto montt - puerto varas A 210 km drive to Puerto Montt - the departure point for the 4 day ferry trip to Puerto Natales, the closest city to Torres del Paine National Park. You'll follow the coastline road until the Angelmo fish market - stop to eat at their wellknown fresh seafood restaurants, before heading to the lovely peaceful city of Puerto Varas. Day 6: puerto varas to salto del laja waterfalls Drive along the shores of the Llanquihue Lake, were you'll stop for stunning views of the picture perfect Osorno Volcano and the pretty lakeside towns. Arrive at the spectacular Salto del Laja Waterfalls, where you'll spend the night. Day 7: salto del laja waterfalls to santiago On your 450 km drive back to Santiago you'll stop in at the renowned Viña Balduzzi. Located in the middle of a 100-acre vineyard and still family owned, the winery is celebrated for its reserve and late harvest wines. 1 day pass: fr £47 2 day pass: fr £73 3 day pass: fr £92 4 day pass: fr £108 5 day pass: fr £124 6 day pass: fr £139 7 day pass: fr £155

• Puerto Natales • Punta Arenas


99

BRAZIL, ARGENTINA & CHILE

atacama desert 10 DAYS, £228 fr

no local payment!

departs Santiago on Saturdays and from San Pedro on Fridays Day 1: SANTIAGO TO LA SERENA Leave Santiago stopping first in Pichidangui, a sleepy fishing village with a large beach. Continue north passing through Coquimbo and arrive in La Serena in the mid afternoon. As well as being a very popular beach resort, La Serena is the second oldest city in Chile. Day 2: PICHILEMU TO PUCON The longest drive is broken by a visit to the small but wealthy city of Santa Cruz. You'll see the eclectic collection of the Museo de Colchagua, built in 1995 by a local millionaire who made his fortune as an arms dealer! Arrive in Pucón where you'll spend a minimum of two nights. Day 3: DAY AT BAHIA INGLESA BEACH A free day on the beach! During the day you'll drive to nearby Caldera to have a look around, go to the post office, supermarket and internet cafe. In the evening enjoy a communal BBQ (asado), prepared by the legendary cook-drivers. Day 4: BAHIA INGLESA TO ANTOFAGASTA Cross the driest part of the Atacama Desert where some meteorological stations have not registered any rain in over 50 years. During the day you'll stop at the creepy cemetery of Oficina Alemania, an old nitrate mining operation. You'll also make a stop at the prominent Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert) sculpture. Just north of Antofagasta, you'll watch the sun set behind Monumento Natural La Portada, the huge arched shaped rock formation that sits in the ocean. Return to Antofagasta for the night. Day 5: ANTOFAGASTA TO SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA Head north for about 70 km to Baquedano and visit the 19th century steam engine cemetery. From here you'll leave the motorway onto a saltpaved road, running over the Tropic of Capricorn until you see the Salar de Atacama. Plenty of time is available for taking pictures here. After crossing the Salar, you'll get to the small oasis village of Peine. Relax in the refreshing rock pools and continue to the Reserva Nacional los Flamencos. Watch the sunset over the Laguna Chaxa - a flamingo breeding site, before heading to San Pedro de Atacama.

• Valle de la Luna chile

Antofagasta •

• Peine Oasis

Pan de Azucar N.P. • Bahia Inglesa • Pinguino de Humbold N.P. •

Day 6: DAY IN SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA The morning is free to explore, while in the afternoon the bus will take you to the prehispanic ruins of the village of Tulor. You'll explore some eery salt caves before viewing the spectacular sunset from Valle de la Luna over the nearby volcanoes. Day 7: SAN PEDRO TO PAN DE AZUCAR NATIONAL PARK After an early departure to pick up provisions in Calama, you'll stop at the ghost town of Chacabuco. Once a prosperous nitrate mining town and later a prison camp during the Pinochet dictatorship, it is completely abandoned now. Continue on to the Pan de Azucar National Park where you'll spend the night, either camping on the beach or staying in cabin. Day 8: PAN DE AZUCAR N.P. TO VICUÑA In the morning you'll have time to explore the secluded beaches of the National Park before driving the 580 km to the Elqui Valley. You will be based in Vicuña for the next two nights. Day 9: DAY IN THE ELQUI VALLEY From Vicuña you'll drive to Pisco Elqui where inexpensive horseback riding can be arranged. You'll also visit a Pisco distillery. At night marvel at the astonishingly clear skies from the Mamalluca Observatory. Experience a guided astronomy tour that includes a telescopic observation of the night skies.

La Serena •

• Pisco Elqui

Fray Jorge N.P. • • Santiago

Day 10: VICUÑA TO SANTIAGO Leave Vicuña and visit the cloud-hidden Fray Jorge National Park. This unique pocket of rain forest, in the coastal highland area is also in the middle of the desert! In addition to the exuberant flora, there are several rare species of mammals, reptiles and bird life, unique to Chile. You'll arrive in Santiago several hours later. 1 day pass: fr £59 2 day pass: fr £92 3 day pass: fr £118 4 day pass: fr £136 5 day pass: fr £151 6 day pass: fr £166 7 day pass: fr £181 8 day pass: fr £197 9 day pass: fr £212 10 day pass: fr £228

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


100

central america


101

1

Sunbathe on the caribbean coast With some of the most spectacularly blue waters and purest white beaches, enjoy paradise on earth in one of Mexico's coastal towns. You'll be enchanted by the fish and dazzled by the long panoramic unspoilt beauty. There are a whole host of activities to keep you busy.

4

snorkel with sharks in belize Scare all the folks back home with your tales of swimming with sharks and giant stingrays. You can also dive the blue hole here reputed to be one of the world's top dive sites... ever. Failing that snorkel with beautifully coloured fish, coral and marine life. See page 124.

CENTRAL AMERICA

top 6 Amazing Experiences

2

3

smoke a fat cigar in havana Soak in the carribean way of life with a trip to Cuba. Learn to salsa, speak spanish and mix a mean cuba libre. Get out and about into this country's brilliantly cultural depths. Our tours will have you booking flights back the day you leave. See pages 126-129 for further inspiration.

look after turtles in costa rica Costa Rica has some of the most impressively colourful wildlife you'll ever witness. Be virtuous and help out with the turtles, make friends with a banana thief (monkey), look out for panthers and marvel at the magnitude of the flora and fauna. So many species, so little time!

5

6

be a surfing pro in Costa Rica Get adventurous on one of our active jaunts around this country full of glorious beaches and secluded coves. Work around the ocean's best swells and tides and discover some epic terrain on bike or foot. A country for thrill-seekers and sun junkies alike. See pages 110 & 114.

check out mexican mayan ruins Witness incredible architecture and intelligence from civilizations gone by. Most of our trips take in either Palenque, Tulúm, Chichén Itzá or the Teotihuacán Pyramids - all set in and amongst truly stunning locations. Some do all five. Check out p103 and 120 for more details.

Average High TempERATURE (ºC) 3 5

1 4

City

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F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Mexico City D.F

21

22

24

25

26

24

23

23

22

22

22

21

Cancún

27

27

28

29

31

31

32

32

31

30

28

27

San Cristóbal

14

14

16

17

17

18

17

17

17

16

15

14

Acapulco

30

30

30

30

31

31

31

31

31

31

31

31

Belize City

26

26

28

29

30

30

30

30

30

28

27

26

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

25

26

28

29

29

27

27

27

27

26

25

24

Guatemala City

22

23

25

25

25

23

23

23

22

22

22

22

San José

23

24

26

26

26

26

25

25

26

25

25

23

Tamarindo

33

34

34

35

35

34

34

34

33

33

32

33

Havana

25

26

27

28

30

31

31

31

31

29

27

26

2 6

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


102

discover central america • Cancún • Playa del Carmen Chichén Itzá • • Cozumel Mérida • Uxmal • • Tulum

mexico

• Mexico City • Puebla

• Chetumal San Ignacio •

Palenque • • Oaxaca Monte Albán • • San Cristobal Tuxtla Gutierrez • de las Casas

• Belize City • Caye Caulker

belize

• Flores • Rio Dulce

guatemala

• Utila Bay Islands • La Ceiba

honduras

Panajachel • • Copán Antigua • • Guatemala el salvador

• Tegucigalpa nicaragua

• Granada • Ometepe Island Monte Verde • • La Fortuna / Arenal San José • • Puerto Viejo • Panama City costa rica • Bocas del Toro Boquete • panama • Santa Clara

Mexico - Cancún Cancún - Antigua Antigua - San José San José - Panama City

MEXICO ANCIENT CIVILIZATION MAYAN SUN VOLCANO TRAIL PANAMA EXPERIENCE

these trips are built back to back with each other, so choose to travel one segment or piece a few together to create your perfect central american journey from anywhere you like! segment 1: mexican ancient civilisation 15 DAYS, mexico city to cancun Fr £599 see page 120 Tour Code: GAMCM Start off in the metropolis that is Mexico City (or D.F as it's known to the locals) and head down through the pretty towns of Puebla and Oaxaca, stopping at the markets and meeting the local people. Check out the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban, the highland town of San Cristobál and the Mayan site of Palenque deep in the jungle, before winding up through the Yucután peninsular where you'll get the chance to visit impressive Chichén Itzá and colonial Merida. Finish this segment perfectly by lying on the idyllic Caribbean coast complete with stunning bright blue warm sea, and dazzling white sand.

segment 2: mayan sun 16 DAYS, cancun to antigua fr £639 see page 103 Tour Code: GACMCA Over the next few weeks, make your way through Belize, stopping at your own paradise island of Caye Caulker where the motto is 'go slow'. Get in some top snorkelling and diving before heading further south into Guatemala. Visit the Tikal ruins, colourful town of Flores on Lake Petén Itzá and distinguish the contrasting sides of the Caribbean coast, colonial Antigua and Chichicastenango - another Mayan centre. segment 3: volcano trail 17 DAYS, antigua to san jose fr £739 see page 104 Tour Code: GAJSG Step into Honduras and soak in the beauty. Plunge into the crystal clear waters on the island of Utila and explore the temples and statues of Copán. In Nicaragua find epic natural beauty, lovely locals and a quaint colonial charm mixed in with volcanic temperament and serene lakes.

segment 4: panama experience 14 DAYS, san jose to panama city fr £579 Tour Code: GACRSP Cross into Costa Rica known for its beautiful flora and fauna. Trek through the Cloud forest and rainforest and bird watch, horseride or mountain bike over the impressive terrain. You'll witness infinite numbers of mammals, plants and birds. Try all the outdoor activities and groove to the Calypso beat, passing Santa Clara on the Pacific coast, checking out the world famous canal and arriving into the capital - Panama city.

our favourites cancun - san jose

sectors 2 & 3 or vice versa fr £1,249 Tour Code: GAJCS & GAJSC

mexico city - san jose sectors 1, 2 & 3 or vice versa fr £1,829 Tour Code: GAJXS & GAJSX


103

16 DAYS, £639 fr

CENTRAL AMERICA

mayan sun no local payment!

Cancún - Antigua Arrrrrrrrriiba! Time to shake those maracas as you head off out on this colourful coco-crazy cavort where you can’t but help keep a permasmile stuck to your face - ooh, show us those pearly whites! Everything you’ve ever imagined and more – take to the Caribbean coast, do a reverse Buzz Lightyear and dive your way to infinity and beyond. Wander the coastal and colonial towns with only a pair of flip-flops and a flower in your hair - ok so you might want a bikini or pair of shorts too – whatever floats your jet-ski. Meet other like-minded lovers of the Latin lifestyle and make all your friends back home infinitely jealous of your swimming with shark tales, salsa lessons, magnificent Mayan ruin adventures, and mouth watering margaritas. Trace your way through ancient civilizations and dance til the fat marine toad sings. What are you waiting for?! highlights • Go coco-crazy in Cancún • Snorkel in crystal clear Caribbean water • Kayak and windsurf to holistic heaven • Marvel at Mayan ruins • Salsa with a sexy señorita • Swim with nurse sharks and stingrays • Dive world-class sites and the Blue Hole • Savour sumptuous seafood • Chill out with a Guatemalan coffee • Explore important Antigua Day 1: Arrive Cancún, Mexico Step out into the heat and humidity and breathe in all things tropical. Have some crazy coco fun! Days 2-3: Playa del Carmen Playing on the playa (beach) is just one of the infinite options in this sunny resort town on the Mayan Riviera. Snorkel among the mangroves, dive into underground caverns, swim with turtles, or simply soak up the sol with a cool margarita to hand. Catch a bus to stunning Tulúm, a little further down the coast - and party into the night in one of the beachside bars. Days 4-5: Caye Caulker As you step out of your speedy-gonzalez motor boat onto the teeny tiny island of Caye Caulker your feet’ll hit the ‘Go Slow’ sign, etched into the ground beneath you. Kick back with a beer on the pier, munch on lip-smacking lobster to your heart’s content and wake up to a delicious breakfasts of home-made island banana cake and coffee. Groove to the totally chilled out reggae that pumps through every islander’s soul and veins, hire canoes - capsizing spectacularly before you can say Bob Marley’s your uncle and forget your fears on a swim out with giant stingrays and nurse sharks. Phewf!

Days 6-7: San Ignacio Time to get your action-man costumes on friends. This little town offers many an adrenaline-junkie jaunt: hike, canoe, horseride, go caving or swim in the Mountain Pine Ridge. Days 8-9: Flores, Guatemala Settle in for a spectacular sunset in this picturesque town by Lake Petén Itzá. Swim, live the laid-back life and tick the Tikal box – one of the biggest and best ruins in the Mayan world. Days 10-11: Rio Dulce Today, you will mostly be exploring dense jungle and rapacious river. Hop on a lancha and coast down the river, dipping into the water like a human sized sherbet dib dab. Drop your anchor in the Garifuna town of Livingston for a delicious taste of Caribbean food, culture and music. Day 12: Antigua Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Once upon a time, Antigua was the most important city in all of Central America as the seat of the Spanish Colonial Government. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site complete with cobblestones and pretty architecture. Stop for a coffee and watch the volcanoes puffing away on the horizon.

Days 13-14: Chichicastenango / Panajachel / Lake Atitlán Welcome to shoppers paradise as you go visit the famous stalls of Chichicastenango. Here a simple ‘por favor’ or ‘gracias’ will earn you points and a toothy smile. Watch these modern Mayas move and make an effort to hunt a bargain in the local markets. Head to Lake Atitlán – for a heavenly combo of unusual natural beauty and traditional cutlure. Tread Panajachel paved streets and taste its old world flavour. Boat out onto the lake for a bit of romance, or choose a kayak, windsurf or home-grown dorsal fin for alternative acquatic arrangements. Days 15: Antigua Back to the Viejo Capital for a mill about the markets, and further explorations. Sit in Central Park – a great place to see and be seen. Go nutty at a macadamia plantation and find your inner appreciation for quality textiles. Magpies will go mad for glistening jade jewellry and glints of silver coming from the local shops and stalls. Salsa the night away with a hot local or fellow tireless travelling trouper. Day 16: Depart Antigua Tear yourselves away, vowing to return one day.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 13 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 27 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 17 MAR 20 MAR 27

FINISH JAN 17 JAN 24 JAN 28 JAN 31 FEB 07 FEB 11 FEB 14 FEB 21 FEB 28 MAR 07 MAR 14 MAR 21 MAR 28 APR 01 APR 04 APR 11

START MAR 31 APR 03 APR 10 APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17

FINISH APR 15 APR 18 APR 25 MAY 02 MAY 09 MAY 16 MAY 23 MAY 30 JUN 06 JUN 13 JUN 20 JUN 27 JUL 04 JUL 11 JUL 18 JUL 25 AUG 01

START JUL 21 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 04 AUG 07 AUG 14 AUG 21 AUG 28 SEP 04 SEP 11 SEP 18 SEP 25 OCT 02 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30

FINISH AUG 05 AUG 08 AUG 15 AUG 19 AUG 22 AUG 29 SEP 05 SEP 12 SEP 19 SEP 26 OCT 03 OCT 10 OCT 17 OCT 24 OCT 31 NOV 07 NOV 14

START NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 15 DEC 18 DEC 25 DEC 29 2011 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 12 JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 26

FINISH NOV 21 NOV 28 DEC 05 DEC 12 DEC 19 DEC 26 DEC 30 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 13 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 27 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 10

Accommodation: Simple hotels (16 nts) Transport: Public bus, boat, van Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GACMCA

• Cancún • Playa del Carmen • Cozumel mexico

• Tulum

• Chetumal Belize City • • Caye Caulker San Ignacio • belize

Flores • guatemala

Panajachel • Antigua •

• Rio Dulce

• Guatemala City

go in reverse antigua - cancun fr £639 Tour Code: GACGAC

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


104

volcano trail 17 DAYS, £739 fr

no local payment!

san José - antigua This 17 day epic adventure to the hot spots of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica will make you erupt with joy. This scintillating swathe of Central America bubbles with bountiful vivacity – turn another corner and see a new, outlandish, but unquestionably beautiful example of life. As you’re hiking through sticky rainforest, you may well come to face to face with a monkey or three. As you walk through the cool, cloud forests around Monteverde, you might just catch a glimpse of the resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful and elusive birds in the world. As you cross Lake Nicaragua keep your eyes peeled for the world’s only species of freshwater shark. As you wander the grandiose streets of Granada watch the ways of the fascinating people that call this beautiful city their home. And as you scuba dive or snorkel through the aquamarine waters around the second largest barrier reef in the world, prepare for encounters with all kinds of marine life. Add to all of this the ever grumbling, the ever truculent and the ever intriguing presence of many big, scary volcanoes. highlights • Take a night hike around Arenal Volcano • Inhale the mountain air of Monteverde • Check out the weird wildlife of Ometepe • Wander the historic streets of Granada • Check out the capital city of Tegucigalpa • Snorkel the warm waters of Utila • Wander the fascinating ruins of Copan • Hit the vibrant nightlife of Antigua

Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive in San José at any time - and get ready! Days 2-3: La Fortuna / Arenal La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for exploration. You'll take an unforgettable night hike around the base of the volcano to see the top glowing an eerie red, accompanied by a soundtrack of monkeys. Try a full day of whitewater rafting, go horseback riding, tour the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, or relax and soak in the nearby hot springs. Days 4-5: Monteverde, Costa Rica Travelling into the cool cloud forest and rainforests of Monteverde gives you a glimpse of the lush ecosystems of Costa Rica. Spend two days exploring Monteverde and the Forest Reserve, truly a nature lover's paradise. Optional activities include the Sky Walk (a series of suspension bridges through the jungle canopy), a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line. Days 6-7: Ometepe, Nicaragua Cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry and arrive at Ometepe Island. Two towering volcanoes dominate the landscape. Take an optional hike up Maderas Volcano or just enjoy the beach and jungle swimming hole. The wildlife on this island is abundant and includes several species of monkeys and green parrots.

Days 8-10: Granada Granada’s colonial charm is complimented by the surrounding active volcanoes and lakes, making day trips a fun and easy option. Hike, cruise, or just explore the city’s markets and museums. Day 11: Tegucigalpa After a day of Nicaraguan and Honduran bus surfing, you'll have the evening to check out Honduras' capital city, Tegucigalpa. Days 12-14: Utila, The Bay Islands A scuba diving haven, Utila is a Caribbean-style island with a lively community atmosphere. Boasting the second largest barrier reef in the world, the crystal blue waters invite swimming, diving and snorkelling. Alternatively, just lie back and relax on the beautiful white sand beaches. Day 15: Copán Walk through Copán's grassy plazas and gaze at the intricately carved and decorated monuments and statues. Huge carved faces eerily stare at you from the ancient walls. Day 16: Antigua The former capital of Guatemala - enjoy the architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Day 17: Depart Antigua Things finish up on Day 17. Say your goodbyes.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 06 JAN 13 JAN 20 JAN 27 FEB 03 FEB 10 FEB 17 FEB 24 MAR 03 MAR 10 MAR 17 MAR 24 MAR 31 APR 07 APR 14 APR 21

FINISH JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26 APR 02 APR 09 APR 16 APR 23 APR 30 MAY 07

START APR 28 MAY 05 MAY 12 MAY 19 MAY 26 JUN 02 JUN 09 JUN 16 JUN 23 JUN 30 JUL 07 JUL 14 JUL 21 JUL 28 AUG 04 AUG 11 AUG 18

FINISH MAY 14 MAY 21 MAY 28 JUN 04 JUN 11 JUN 18 JUN 25 JUL 02 JUL 09 JUL 16 JUL 23 JUL 30 AUG 06 AUG 13 AUG 20 AUG 27 SEP 03

START AUG 25 SEP 01 SEP 08 SEP 15 SEP 22 SEP 29 OCT 06 OCT 13 OCT 20 OCT 27 NOV 03 NOV 10 NOV 17 NOV 24 DEC 01 DEC 08 DEC 15

FINISH SEP 10 SEP 17 SEP 24 OCT 01 OCT 08 OCT 15 OCT 22 OCT 29 NOV 05 NOV 12 NOV 19 NOV 26 DEC 03 DEC 10 DEC 17 DEC 24 DEC 31

START DEC 22 DEC 29 2011 JAN 05 JAN 12 JAN 19 JAN 26 FEB 02 FEB 09 FEB 16 FEB 23 MAR 02 MAR 09 MAR 16 MAR 23 MAR 30

FINISH JAN 07 JAN 14 JAN 21 JAN 28 FEB 04 FEB 11 FEB 18 FEB 25 MAR 04 MAR 11 MAR 18 MAR 25 APR 01 APR 08 APR 15

Accommodation: Simple hotels - may be multi-share (16 nts) Transport: Public bus, boat, van, taxi Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD350 for meals not included Tour Code: GAJSG

go in reverse Antigua - San Jose fr £739 Tour Code: GAJGS

• Utila Bay Islands • La Ceiba guatemala

honduras

• Copán • Antigua • Guatemala

• Tegucigalpa nicaragua

• Granada Ometepe Island • • La Fortuna/Arenal Monteverde • San Jose • costa rica


105

21 DAYS, £1,079 fr

CENTRAL AMERICA

volcano adventure no local payment!

antigua - san José There is always something out there to learn, to discover, to enjoy… There shouldn’t ever come a time when you feel you’ve become the best of who you can be. There will always be another skill to master, another challenge to conquer, another destination left unexplored. This 21 day adventure will appease even the most seasoned of travellers. As wise a human being as you may consider yourself, we know that this expedition through the wild, pulsating heart of Central America will tweak new pangs of idealism and spark flames of passion and wonder. Taking in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, the unadulterated diversity of each day is nothing short of startling. A cornucopia of amazing cultures and thousands of years of fiery history coexists with the very best that the natural world has to offer; tropical rainforests, crystal blue ocean waters, utopian beaches, menacing volcanoes and a plethora of all kinds of weird and wonderful wildlife. Those who have the imagination, intelligence and bravado to book themselves aboard this trip will forever be inspired by what they witness. highlights • Learn to salsa dance in Guatemala • Enjoy a guided visit of Copan Ruins • Swim the beautiful blue seas of Roatan • Absorb the history of Leon and Granada • Check out the weird wildlife of Ometepe • Relax in the sunshine of San Juan del Sur • Enjoy a tour of a cloud forest reserve • Take a night hike around Arenal Volcano Day 1: Arrive Antigua Arrive in Antigua at any time and go exploring. Day 2: Antigua Enjoy the beautiful architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a mountain bike ride out into the countryside or explore the markets, shops and museums within the city. Days 3-4: Copán Walk through grassy plazas filled with intricately carved and decorated monuments, statues and staircases at the unique Mayan ruins of Copán. Huge carved faces stare at you from ancient walls and bring the place eerily to life. Days 5-7: Roatan Travel through the hills, arrive at the coast and ferry across to paradise. The Caribbean-style island of Roatan is a scuba diving haven and is famous for its marine treasures. Crystal Blue waters invite swimming, diving and snorkelling. Or just sit back on the beach and relax.

Days 8-9: León Jump aboard an internal flight to Tegucigalpa and continue on to politically progressive León. This was the nation's capital from the colonial period until 1857. Many well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings and churches line the streets, along with the largest cathedral in Central America. Optional activities include volcano boarding or a trip to the nearby beaches. Days 10-11: Granada Visit Masaya Volcano on your way to Granada Nicaragua's oldest colonial city. Walk or bike the city’s historic avenues and visit the impressive cathedral, the bustling market or the Convento de San Francisco, a museum complex housing festival masks and a collection of 2,000-year old statues. Optional activities include a scenic boat trip or guided kayak excursions among the 365 little islands (isletas) of Lake Nicaragua. Days 12-13: Ometepe Travel to San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua where you'll board the ferry for Ometepe Island. This unspoiled island paradise was formed out of the lava flowing in between two volcanoes, Madera (1394m) and Concepción (1610m). This is a nature lover’s dream with abundant wildlife. Take a walk through its lush forest and keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys and green parrots.

Days 14-15: San Juan del Sur San Juan del Sur is set on a stunning horseshoeshaped cove, where hiking, fishing, biking, surfing and sunset sailing are just some of the possible activities. Why not take a short boat ride to the deserted beaches of Playa Remanso or Playa Majagual. In the evenings enjoy the relaxed seaside nightlife with the friendly locals. Days 16-17: Monteverde Travel into the cool cloud forest of Monteverde for a glimpse of the lush ecosystems of Costa Rica. Optional activities include horse riding en route from La Fortuna to Monteverde, sky walks, a butterfly garden, and a canopy zip-line tour. Inhale the gloriously fresh mountain air. Days 18-19: La Fortuna La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for exploration. A night hike around the volcano is an unforgettable adventure. Try a full day of whitewater rafting, go horseback riding, tour the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, or relax and soak in hot springs. Day 20: San José Return to San José in the evening and enjoy one last night out on the town. Day 21: Depart San José Things sadly come to an end on Day 21.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 12 FEB 02 MAR 02 MAR 30 APR 27

FINISH FEB 01 FEB 22 MAR 22 APR 19 MAY 17

START MAY 25 JUN 15 JUL 06 JUL 20 AUG 10 AUG 31

FINISH JUN 14 JUL 05 JUL 26 AUG 09 AUG 30 SEP 20

START SEP 28 OCT 26 NOV 16 DEC 14 2011 JAN 04

FINISH OCT 18 NOV 15 DEC 06 JAN 03

START JAN 25 FEB 15 MAR 15

FINISH FEB 14 MAR 07 APR 04

JAN 24

Accommodation: Hotels and beach hotels (20 nts) Transport: Taxis, public bus, van, ferry, internal flight Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD500 for meals not included Tour Code: GACGAS

go in reverse San Jose - Antigua fr £1,079 Tour Code: GACRSA stay longer in san jose Check out page 112.

• Utila Bay Islands guatemala

• Antigua

honduras

• Copán

• Tegucigalpa nicaragua

• Leon Managua • • Granada • Ometepe Island San Juan del Sur • • La Fortuna/Arenal Monteverde • San Jose • costa rica

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106

La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano) •

• Sarapiqui • Monteverde • Puerto Viejo de Limon & Cahuita • El Roble Tamarindo, Conchal & Flamingo • • San José Tambor • • Jaco • Manuel Antono Playa Potero •

costa rica

Currency: COSTA RICAN COLÓN Time Zone: GMT - 6 Price of a beer: 90P Population: 4.5 MILLION Area: 1/5th of UK (2 X Wales)

costa rica My favourite experience

I couldn't believe the wildlife - we saw bugs, frogs and lizards everywhere! And there were snakes, crocodiles in the lagoon that came up to the beach, and amazing giant turtles. There were monkeys always hanging around where we were staying and loads of screaming noises... huge spiders... and so many birds... I think we even spotted a panther on the beach one night but that's not necessarily normal!... Ruth, Swansea

The Weather Situated well within the tropics, but north of the equator, Costa Rica has a typically tropical climate with high temperatures all year round at low altitudes. At altitude temperatures significantly drop San José has much cooler nights than at sea level and the days are less hot and humid. Fortunately, Costa Rica is rarely affected by hurricanes or tropical storms. Local grub Beans and rice, rice and beans, you're gonna love them - otherwise known as gallo pinto or burra. There's a heavy reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables - try the plantain and sweetcorn based dishes, and you'll probably turn into a banana while you're there. Buzz around on the local coffee traditional coffee breaks are usually at around 3:00pm. For something a little stronger, drink guaro, the local liquor, and granizados.

Useful Info Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the greenest country in the world. The HPI measures how much of the Earth's resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result. In 2007 the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. Useless Info Costa Rica literally translates as "Rich Coast" It became the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army in 1948. Locals are known as Ticos. try before you fly Re-live those childhood moments and watch Jurassic Park all over again. It's a little-known fact that it was filmed here. And you can practice your dinosaur impressions too. Rooooaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


107

CENTRAL AMERICA

costa rica adventure 16 DAYS, £799 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: san José One of the most biologically diverse countries in the world – a true Garden of Eden. Distinctive for its rainforest, rushing rivers, pristine beaches and towering volcanoes, you’ll truly feel off the beaten track on this brilliant 16 day adventure that takes you all around the beautiful little Central America country of Costa Rica. Travelling with a small group of merry companions, you’ll experience things that’ll transport your subconscious to a place of contented reverie. The sheer ecological beauty of all that you see will leave you contemplative, philosophical, bemused, amazed, but ultimately very, very happy. Your feet will perhaps tread where none have gone before as you explore steamy virgin rainforest. Your ears will try and absorb the crazed cries of howler monkeys as you trek around the base of an active volcano. Your skin will moisten in the misty mountain air as you ride a horse through an incomprehensibly surreal cloud forest. And your body will bask in the resplendent rays of the most becalming sunshine as you lay back on stunning white sandy beaches. Prepare to fall madly in love with the magic of Costa Rica. HIGHLIGHTS • Bask on exotic Caribbean beaches • Take a boat tour of Tortuguero N.P. • Explore Rara Avis Rainforest • Hike around the base of Arenal Volcano • Soak yourself in bubbling hot springs • Horseback ride through Monteverde • Absorb the wonder of a cloud forest • Snorkel the warm waters around Quepos Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive in San José at any time - and go exploring. Days 2-3: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Begin with a bus ride over the scenic mountains to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca's white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. Many optional activities are available, including bike rentals, snorkelling, and hiking in Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

Day 4: Tortuguero National Park Take a morning boat ride to Tortuguero, with spectacular wildlife viewing en route. The beaches here are nesting grounds of the enormous Green and Leatherback sea turtles. Days 5-6: Rara Avis The journey is half the adventure as you begin by travelling along two rivers, the Tortuguero and the La Suerte. Back on land you'll board a van, then a unimog (all-terrain truck), then a tractor-drawn cart - eventually arriving at your special jungle oasis. You'll enter the primary rainforest bordering Braulio Carrillo National Park, where at 700m above sea level, the climate is generally cool year-round. A naturalist guide leads you along nature trails, a butterfly farm and swimming spots at the twin waterfalls. There is also the option to climb to a viewing platform 30m above the jungle floor. (2B, 1L, 2D) Days 7-9: La Fortuna / Arenal La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for area explorations. Take a night hike around the base of the Arenal Volcano, accompanied by the sounds of monkeys and the distant rumbling of the volcano. Other optional activities include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, waterfall canyoneering (rappelling), a boat tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, or a relaxing soak in hot springs.

Days 10-12: Monteverde Climb into the misty mountain air of the Monteverde cloud forest region. Weather permitting, do a 2 hour guided horse tour through coffee fields and forests. Spend a couple of days exploring the town and a cloud forest reserve, a true nature lover's paradise. Optional activities include a trail of suspended bridges through the canopy, a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line. Days 13-14: Quepos / Manuel Antonio Quepos is a small Pacific town perfect for relaxing at the end of your tour. A short distance away, Manuel Antonio National Park offers excellent hiking, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife. There are beautiful white sand beaches and the warm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing. The nightlife in the area is also some of the best in the country. Day 15: San José Return to San José for some last-minute shopping and a final night on the town. Day 16: Depart San José Your big adventure sadly ends on Day 16.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 04 JAN 09 JAN 11 JAN 16 JAN 18 JAN 23 JAN 25 JAN 30 FEB 01 FEB 06 FEB 08 FEB 13 FEB 15 FEB 20 FEB 22 FEB 27 MAR 01 MAR 06 MAR 08 MAR 13

FINISH JAN 17 JAN 19 JAN 24 JAN 26 JAN 31 FEB 02 FEB 07 FEB 09 FEB 14 FEB 16 FEB 21 FEB 23 FEB 28 MAR 02 MAR 07 MAR 09 MAR 14 MAR 16 MAR 21 MAR 23 MAR 28

START MAR 15 MAR 20 MAR 22 MAR 27 MAR 29 APR 03 APR 05 APR 10 APR 12 APR 17 APR 19 APR 24 APR 26 MAY 01 MAY 03 MAY 08 MAY 10 MAY 15 MAY 17 MAY 22 MAY 24 MAY 29

FINISH MAR 30 APR 04 APR 06 APR 11 APR 13 APR 18 APR 20 APR 25 APR 27 MAY 02 MAY 04 MAY 09 MAY 11 MAY 16 MAY 18 MAY 23 MAY 25 MAY 30 JUN 01 JUN 06 JUN 08 JUN 13

START MAY 31 JUN 05 JUN 07 JUN 12 JUN 14 JUN 19 JUN 21 JUN 26 JUN 28 JUL 03 JUL 05 JUL 10 JUL 12 JUL 17 JUL 19 JUL 24 JUL 26 JUL 31 AUG 02 AUG 07 AUG 09 AUG 14

FINISH JUN 15 JUN 20 JUN 22 JUN 27 JUN 29 JUL 04 JUL 06 JUL 11 JUL 13 JUL 18 JUL 20 JUL 25 JUL 27 AUG 01 AUG 03 AUG 08 AUG 10 AUG 15 AUG 17 AUG 22 AUG 24 AUG 29

START AUG 16 AUG 21 AUG 23 AUG 28 AUG 30 SEP 04 SEP 06 SEP 11 SEP 13 SEP 18 SEP 20 SEP 25 SEP 27 OCT 02 OCT 04 OCT 09 OCT 11 OCT 16 OCT 18 OCT 23 OCT 25 OCT 30

FINISH AUG 31 SEP 05 SEP 07 SEP 12 SEP 14 SEP 19 SEP 21 SEP 26 SEP 28 OCT 03 OCT 05 OCT 10 OCT 12 OCT 17 OCT 19 OCT 24 OCT 26 OCT 31 NOV 02 NOV 07 NOV 09 NOV 14

Rara Avis La Fortuna/Arenal • • Tortuguero N.P. • Monteverde • • Limon San José • • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Manuel Antonio • costa rica

Accommodation: Hotels/inns (13 nts), multi-share lodge (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, tractor, van, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD210 for meals not included Tour Code: GACRA

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


108

costa rica hike, bike & raft 15 DAYS, £999 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: san José Physical activity makes people happy - as far as we know that’s a scientific fact. Costa Rica makes people happy – that ain’t scientifically proven, but the professors here at STA Travel are 100% sure it's true. So mix this all together and what do you get? Nothing less than ecstatic, jubilant and beautiful serenity… Which is more or less the meaning of life. So for a fulfilling, contented and complete existence you simply have to book yourself on this 15 day ‘rock and roll’ ride through Costa Rica. This amazing adventure includes four days of hiking through the jaw dropping La Danta Private Reserve, three days of rafting on the Reventazon and Pacuare rivers, horseback riding on your way to the cloud forests of Monteverde and a session or two on the saddle as you cycle over lava fields. Just reading about it may well precipitate a glorious, excitable sweat. There is possibly no better country in the world for getting out and about amongst Mother Nature, simply because she presents her best work in the landscapes and creatures of Costa Rica. Mountains, forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, rainforest, monkeys, sea turtles, parrots – you name it Costa Rica has it and this adventure will definitely deliver it. HIGHLIGHTS • Hike through beautifully lush rainforest • Stay at a rustic rainforest lodge • Raft down exotic rivers • Cycle across lava fields • Soak in the hot springs of La Fortuna • Ride horseback around Arenal Lake • Take a tour of a cloud forest reserve • Witness remarkable wildlife

Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive in San José at any time - and go exploring. Days 2-5: La Danta / Guápiles Embark on a 4 day/3 night excursion deep into the jungle, using a rustic lodge situated in the heart of the rainforest as your base. You'll hike remote and unspoiled primary forest located in the central volcanic mountain range on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Hike along the rainforest and enjoy the view of different waterfalls, including one that’s 150 metres high. Opportunities to see wildlife abound and if you’re really lucky, you may catch a glimpse of an endangered species such as tapir, puma or jaguar. Return each afternoon to the comfort and safety of the lodge - located near one of the many beautiful waterfalls cascading down the rim of the canyon, the lodge provides a spectacular view of the canopy and the seemingly never-ending rainforest. (4B, 3L, 3D) Days 6-7: River Rafting Your rafting adventure begins with a trip down the thrilling Reventazon River. The next day you'll set off on the Pacuare River, known for its spectacular canyons and virgin rainforest. Afternoons and evenings are spent at a remote tent camp. Revel in the strange sounds of the jungle animals and the rare trees and flora surrounding you. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 8-10: Arenal / La Fortuna At the base of the magnificent Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna has much to offer the adventurous traveller. You'll have a free day to take advantage of the town’s exciting activities that include biking, kayaking, rappelling, hiking the Arenal Volcano, hiking to one of the many waterfalls and, of course, enjoying a frosty beverage in the swim-up bar at the local hot springs. On one morning, you'll bike through unsealed roads, over lava fields and through lovely scenery. Another day, you'll enjoy a bike ride to la Fortuna waterfall and take a dip in a swimming hole. (2L) Days 11-13: Monteverde Travel by jeep, boat and van to Monteverde where you'll enjoy a 2hr guided horse back tour through coffee fields and forests. Whilst in Monteverde you'll also experience a guided tour of the Reserve in Monteverde Cloud Forest, a bird lover's paradise. You'll have free time to explore the area, go on the Sky Walk, try the famous canopy zip-line or check out the butterfly garden. Marvel at the teeming wildlife. Day 14: San José Return to San José for your final evening and a farewell night out on the town. Day 15: Depart San José Your adventure finishes where it started.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 13 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 20

FINISH JAN 30 FEB 13 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 20 APR 03

START APR 10 APR 24 MAY 08 MAY 15 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUL 10

FINISH APR 24 MAY 08 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 24

START JUL 24 AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 25 OCT 30 NOV 06 DEC 04

FINISH AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 04 OCT 09 NOV 13 NOV 20 DEC 18

START DEC 11 DEC 18 2011 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 26 MAR 05

FINISH DEC 25 JAN 01 FEB 05 FEB 12 MAR 12 MAR 19

Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (10 nts), jungle lodge - no electricity (4 nts) Transport: Public bus, private van, bike, boat, rafts, hiking Group Size: Max 12, Avg 8 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners Budget: Allow USD250 for meals not included Tour Code: GACHB

fancy some surfing? 'Costa Rica Kayaks and Surf' fr £739 Tour Code: GACRKS STAY LONGER IN SAN JOSÉ Check out page 112

La Fortuna/Arenal • • Braulio Carillo / La Danta Monteverde • • Pacuare River San José • costa rica


109

CENTRAL AMERICA

Basic costa rica 14 DAYS, £519 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: san José This 14 day frolic gets you going: out and about, up, down, loop the loop, inside and outside. Throwing you up in the air like an experienced trapeze artist, you’ll come back down to earth giddy with active exhilaration. Costa Rica is famed for its happy and healthy attitude and this couldn’t be brought to you better lest it be bottled into a magic potion that you could dab on at lowly periods back in the bleak, grey United K. Hop off hiking, get on a horse and run as fast you can into the wilderness. Swim in fantastically blue waters, absorbing the paradisiacal quantity and beauty of the local wildlife and wade through the plethora of plants and brightly coloured orchids. On this trip out you'll get deep into the heart of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, skip care-free along the black and white sandy beaches, snorkel vibrant reefs, eat coconuts with monkeys and drift off into dreamland with the sound of far off volcanoes and birds cawing in the background.

Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive into hot and sticky San José. Get out and explore the city and people watch.

highlights • Salsa the night away in San José • Hike to hot and happy heaven • Snorkel in crystal clear waters • Devour delicious Caribbean fodder • Relax in magma-heated hot springs • Inhale tropical air in the Cloud Forest • Spot awesome looking birds • Learn to surf

Days 5-7: Arenal / La Fortuna La Fortuna sits at the foot of still-active Arenal Volcano. Escape into the dark on a night hike around its base and listen to the sounds of the monkeys and the distant rumbling of the volcano. Check out other activities like white water rafting, horse riding, a tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Relax to the max in magmaheated hot springs.

Days 2-3: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Take a bus ride down through the mountains to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. Stand stunned on Puerto Viejo's white and black sandy beaches and breathe in the exotic tropical vegetation. Rent a bike, snorkel or hike through Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge then dance the night away to reggae and calypso, taste flavourful Afro-Caribbean cuisine and succumb completely to the natural beauty of this tropical paradise Day 4: Cahuita Continue north to Cahuita, a laid back Caribbean town with gorgeous beaches and a great national park. Hike the park's trails, snorkel vibrant reefs, make mates with the monkeys and soak up some serious sun.

Days 8-9: Monteverde Travel from Lake Arenal up an alluring green mountain road into the misty mountain air of the Monteverde cloud forest. Explore the town and a nearby cloud forest reserve - bird lover's might actually explode with excitement! This unique community has several co-operatives worth visiting. Be a daredevil on the Sky Walk, visit the pretty butterfly garden and play Tarzan on a zipline canopy tour. Days 10-12: Playa Sámara Head on to beautiful Playa Sámara on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula and spend time doing nothing on the long white sandy beach. Actionistas can swim and snorkel in pristine waters or learn to surf at one of the surf schools. Very cool. Day 13: San José Return to San José for a final night on the town. Day 14: Depart San José Leave at anytime - energised and alive!

DEPARTURES START 2010 MAR 21 APR 18 MAY 16

FINISH APR 03 MAY 01 MAY 29

START JUN 20 JUL 18 AUG 15 SEP 19

FINISH JUL 03 JUL 31 AUG 28 OCT 02

START OCT 17 NOV 21 DEC 19

FINISH OCT 30 DEC 04 JAN 01

START 2011 JAN 16 FEB 20 MAR 20

FINISH JAN 29 MAR 05 APR 02

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guest houses (13 nts) (may be multi-share) Transport: Local bus, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD350 for meals not included. Tour Code: GACRCR

stay longer in san josÉ Check out page 112.

La Fortuna • • Cahuita Playas del Coco • • • San José • Puerto Viejo Sámara • costa rica de Talamanca Monteverde

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


110

costa rica quest 9 DAYS, £469 fr

no local payment!

9 DAYS, £639

start and finish: san José • • • • •

costa rica volcanoes & surf fr

Hike around the base of the still active Arenal Volcano Ride horseback along the lake front at Monteverde Take a guided tour of a fascinating cloud forest reserve Explore the superb trails in Manuel Antonio National Park Lie back on the white sandy beaches of Queops

Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive in San José at any time - and get yourself out and about. Days 2-3: La Fortuna / Arenal La Fortuna is an excellent base to start exploring the area. Take an unforgettable hike around the base of the still-active Arenal Volcano, accompanied by the sounds of monkeys and the distant rumbling of the volcano. Optional activities include white water rafting, horseback riding, a boat tour of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge or a relaxing soak in hot springs. Days 4-5: Monteverde Inhale the cool mountain air of Monteverde. Enjoy a 2 hour guided tour on horseback and spend a couple of days exploring the town and a cloud forest reserve, a true bird lover's paradise. Optional activities include the Sky Walk, a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line. Days 6-7: Quepos / Manuel Antonio National Park Quepos is one of Costa Rica's best known beach towns and the stunning Manuel Antonio National Park is only a few minutes away. The tropical vegetation, abrupt headlands and well-maintained trail systems offer superb hiking and wildlife viewing, while the warm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, sea kayaking, boogie boarding, and surfing.

no local payment!

start and finish: san José • • • • •

Experience a night hike around the base of a still-active volcano Inhale the cool mountain air and explore a Cloud Forest Reserve Mountain bike along the lakefront to Monteverde Learn to surf on the waves of Costa Rica's Pacific coastline Enjoy a fabulous night in the bars and clubs of San Jose

Day 1: Arrive San José Arrive in San José at any time - and head out for a wander. Days 2-3: La Fortuna / Arenal Drive through the mountains to La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano. A night hike around the volcano is an unforgettable adventure. Try a full day of whitewater rafting, go horseback riding, tour the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge or soak in the nearby hot springs. Days 4-5: Monteverde Travel by van, boat and mountain bike along the lakefront to the cool mountain air of Monteverde. Spend a couple of days exploring the town and a Cloud Forest Reserve. Optional activities include the Sky Walk, a butterfly garden (cooler than it sounds!) and a thrilling canopy zip line. Days 6-7: Playa Hermosa Learn to surf at the Zopilote Surf Camp, located on Playa Hermosa de Cobano, on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Check out hidden and well-known spots - there are waves for beginners and pros alike. (2B, 2D)

Day 8: San José A local bus takes you back to San José for one final night on the town.

Day 8: San José Squeeze in a morning surf before taking a local bus back to San José. Arrive in the evening, in time to head out for one final night on the town.

Day 9: Depart San José Your adventure comes to a finish on Day 9, say your tearful goodbyes.

Day 9: Depart San José Your trip comes to an end on the morning of Day 9.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2010 JAN - DEC 2011 JAN - MAR

START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 13 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 APR 24 MAY 08 MAY 22

WED, SAT WED, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (8 nts) Transport: Public bus, van, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not inc. Tour Code: GACRQ

STAY LONGER IN SAN JOSE Check out page 112.

• La Fortuna/Arenal Monteverde • costa rica San José • Manuel Antonio •

FINISH JAN 10 JAN 24 FEB 07 FEB 21 MAR 07 MAR 21 APR 04 APR 18 MAY 02 MAY 16 MAY 30

START JUN 05 JUN 19 JUL 03 JUL 17 JUL 31 AUG 14 AUG 28 SEP 11 SEP 25 OCT 09 OCT 23 NOV 06

FINISH JUN 13 JUN 27 JUL 11 JUL 25 AUG 08 AUG 22 SEP 05 SEP 19 OCT 03 OCT 17 OCT 31 NOV 14

START NOV 20 DEC 04 DEC 18 2011 JAN 01 15 JAN JAN 29 FEB 12 FEB 26 MAR 12 MAR 26

FINISH NOV 28 DEC 12 DEC 26 JAN 09 JAN 23 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), beach front house - may be multi-share with private bathrooms (2 nts) Transport: Public bus, van, boat, mountain bike, surfboard Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides, local surf instructors Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD210 for meals not inc. Tour Code: GACRVS

• La Fortuna/Arenal Monteverde • costa rica San José • Playa Hermosa •


Costa Rica is stunning and wild topical wonderland that offers an unlimited amount of adventurous activities...learn to surf, hike a volcano or take a dip in some natural hot springs! Our fantastic bus passes give you the freedom to see Costa Rica your way! Experience the real Costa Rica and create your own personalised itinerary. Choose where you want to go, when you want to depart, how many routes you wish to purchase and which free activities you want to do. Connections operate to and from each destination listed on the map.

• La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano) • Sarapiqui Playa Potero • • Monteverde • Puerto Viejo de Limon & Cahuita Coco Beach & Ocotal • • El Roble • Manzanillo Tamarindo, Conchal & Flamingo • • San José Tambor • • Jaco Papagayo Gulf •

costa rica

• Manuel Antono

YOUR hop-on hop-off PASS • Choose 4, 5, 6 or 7 transfers between a selection of 18 exciting destinations. •

Choose from daily departure dates with flexibility to change your itinerary as you travel your route

Door to door accommodation pick-up and drop-off on all routes.

All passes are valid for up to one month.

Choose 2 out of the 3 included activities (see below).

arenal: volcano hike & hotsprings The tour begins with an enchanting walk through tropical rainforest accompanied by our naturalist guide, while you observe monkeys, toucans and sloths before arriving at the active area of the Arenal Volcano. At the hot springs enjoy a well deserved bath of hot water minerals, whilst enjoying the breath-taking view of the Volcano. san jose: white water rafting This adrenaline pumping trip begins when the river drops steeply from the Costa Rican mountains and charges through pristine jungle gorges. It then winds around rocky curves to take you on a wild, adventurous ride back to sea level waters. monteverde: zip-line adventure This cool and thrilling adventure allows you to explore the marvels of a virgin rainforest from its canopy, indulge in the cloud forest's amazing flora and fauna, including a wide variety of mammals and exotic birds. Enjoy the spectacular Cost Rican rainforest, 300 feet above the forest floor.

4 shuttles & 2 activities: fr £280 5 shuttles & 2 activities: fr £317 6 shuttles & 2 activities: fr £352 7 shuttles & 2 activities: fr £387

Choose one of the following popular itineraries or select any route you like from the big map above. 4 shuttles Recommended min. trip time: 6 days San jose - La fortuna (arenal volcano) - puerto viejo - manuel antonio san jose 5 shuttles Recommended min. trip time: 10 days San jose - manuel antonio - tamarindo - monteverde - la fortuna (arenal Volcano) - san jose 6 shuttles Recommended min. trip time: 13 days San jose - manuel antonio montezuma - tamarindo - monteverde - la fortuna (arenal volcano) san jose 7 shuttles Recommended min. trip time: 15 days San jose - manuel antonio monteverde - tamarindo - la fortuna (arenal volcano) - sarapiqui puerto viejo - san jose

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

CENTRAL AMERICA

hop-on hop-off costa rica

111


112

San José costa rica nature paradise STAysmart

STAysmart

taylor inn

hotel vesuvio

Just a few minutes from the Commercial centre of San José, this hotel is small and pleasant. The National Theatre, Gold Museum and other attractions in the city are nearby and you can relax on its pretty patio with your breakfast.STA576

A small and charming hotel within an old colonial house in the heart of the historic Barrio Amon. Free continental breakfast, internet and room service is available. Each lovely room boasts a private bathroom and cable TV. STA575

fr fr

£47 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £56 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

fr fr

£52 SINGLE , INC. BREAKFAST £60 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. BREAKFAST

Costa Rica Adrenalin 8 days, fr £800 Start & Finish: san josÉ

Day 4: arenal volcano Feel the red-hot heat, ash clouds and grumbles. Relax in the thermal springs before dinner.

departs: every saturday Day 1: Arrive San JosÉ Arrive into town at anytime - and go exploring. Days 2-3: turrialba Head to Turrialba for waterfall rappelling, canopy zip lining and walking on hanging bridges! Horseride through coffee plantations and white water raft down the stunning Pacuare River.

Days 5-7: tamarindo beach Head to the coast on an awesome scenic drive. Lap up the tropical life. Beach it, snorkel, surf or just chill out in your own little bit of paradise. Day 8: Depart san josÉ Make your way back to San José’s airport about a 5 hour drive. Make sure your outward flight departs after 4pm to get there in time. Accommodation: Simple hotels (7n) Meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 2 dinners Guide: Guide for activities, guided Arenal Volcano hike, tour to the Eco Thermal Waters Tour Code: STA577

8 days, fr £676 Start & Finish: san josÉ departs: every saturday Days 1-2: San JosÉ / arenal volcano From the airport you'll head to the impressive Arenal Volcano – winding through lush scenery on your way there. Unwind in the evening and explore the volcano the next day. Check out the activities - hot springs, waterfall rappelling, horse riding, volcano hikes and wildlife tours. Days 3-4: monteverde Onwards and upwards to Costa Rica's cloud forest – home to some incredible flora and fauna. The area is acclaimed as one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges in the New World Tropics. Arrive by jeep-boat-jeep and take a jumper – it can get chilly up high. Spend time exploring, zip-lining through forest canopies, wandering coffee plantations, or horseriding. Days 5-7: manuel antonio n.P. Welcome to fantastic rain forest, coral reefs and beaches - the most beautiful in the country. The forest is home to abundant wildlife - sloths, iguanas, and squirrel monkeys. Beach it, snorkel, take boat trips out to the reefs, meander the markets, sample local and scrumptious coffee or go diving. Failing that, just relax! Day 8: depart san josé Depart from the airport - arriving around 4pm. Accommodation: Simple hotels (7n) Meals: 4 breakfasts Transport: Between towns/ cities and to and from the airport in San Jose Tour Code: STA578


113

CENTRAL AMERICA

pacific ocean build homes teach for local english in turtle costa rica conservatioN families 1 week, fr £545

1 week, fr £595

4 weeks, fr £765

Start & Finish: san josÉ

Start & Finish: san josÉ

Start & Finish: san josÉ

A chance to do something really different, that helps the wider world and lets you see some sun. At a specialised marine turtle conservation project in one of three locations on the Pacific coast (Ostional, Mata Palo or Buena Vista), you'll help with the day to day preservation of the endangered leatherback turtle species. Help with the preparation of hatcheries, beach clearance and get out on those night patrols. The leatherback turtles are considered critically endangered - over 80% of the population was lost in the last 10 years. You'll receive marine turtle training so you can help out with research and data collection. In your free time make your way over to Panama or chill out in a locals bar. IT4

If you want to immerse yourself in the laidback Costa Rican culture while making a real difference to the lives of local people, then this particular project will be right up your street. Grab the chance to work closely with Costa Rican families helping them to build homes that will really improve their quality of life. Hundreds of thousands of people in Costa Rica live in substandard housing that doesn't have adequate sanitation or safe weather protection. Help the ongoing efforts to help improve this situation and make friends for life in the process. You'll make a significant, noticeable and immediate impact. Its also a great base from which you can soak up the sun and explore the wonderfully tropical landscapes. IT5

In Costa Rica, as in most countries in the world, it’s the rural areas that need volunteers the most; outside the cities resources tend to dry up and children are left with far less opportunities. Luckily for you, rural Costa Rica is also home to some of the most inspiring scenery this side of the National Geographic channel and these schools in particular provide a stunning backdrop to your time here. They are located in the small village of San Carlos in the Central Valley, close to Volcano Arenal - listen to those rumbles! Rural schools in Costa Rica don't have any English teachers so you'll be a sight for sore eyes for the children and they’re guaranteed to make the most of you! IT6

extra weeks fr £195

activities Turtle beach patrols, monitoring nests and recording data. accommodation Various shared accommodation, basic and clean with cold water. meals 3 meals a day. working hours Flexible; 5 to 6 days a week, a mix of day and night work, with shift durations between 2 to 8 hours. All other time is free also inculded • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff

extra weeks fr £150

activities Get involved in all aspects of the building depending on what stage the building is at. Help build septic tanks, lay floors, dig trenches and put up roofs. Work out in the sun! accommodation Homestay. Shared rooms. meals 3 meals a day. working hours Flexible; Monday to Friday up to 8 hours a day, all other time is free. also inculded • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff

extra weeks fr £140

activities Teaching English and other subjects. accommodation Single room in homestay. meals 3 meals a day. working hours Flexible; 5 days per week which may include Saturday, all other time is free. also inculded • TEFL certification • Airport pickup • Orientation • 24/7 support from local staff

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


114

tamarindo surf school Surf & Bike 8 days, fr £503

8 days, fr £503

Departs: daily

Departs: daily

• • • • •

• • • • •

Start & Finish: Liberia Airport

STAysimple

blue trailz hostel At the back of the Blue Trailz surf shop in the centre of town, this small hostel is adorned with surf boards and splattered with sand. Private rooms have kitchenettes, air-con, private bathrooms, TVs, and a balcony or patio. STA579 fr fr

£7 DORM £26 TWIN

5 surf lessons Video-taped surf lesson analysis Stay right on the beach Understand waves, safety and surf rules Free T-shirt

Developed for first time surfers, you'll learn the basics of how to control your board to get out and start surfing with confidence. Your bilingual instructors will talk you through all the board shapes and the all important safety aspects. Enjoy a tasty BBQ on the last night. Accommodation: Dorm or private room (7n) Meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 dinner Also Includes: 5 surf lessons, surf board rental, surf lesson analysis, t-shirt, airport pick up and drop off Tour Code: STA580

WAYRA Language School 8+ days fr £271 • • • • •

1 week - 3months study 20 lessons per week Start date every Monday, all year round Stay with a family or other students Weekly cultural and social events

Immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica and come away with more than the ability to conjugate at this friendly school right by the beach. Build your Spanish knowledge from real experiences - chat to locals, learn about nature reserves and head into local towns. And when you're not in the classroom, beautiful Tamarindo beach is your backyard - swim in the sea, snooze in the sun and soak in the Spanish! Inclusions: 20 hrs per week spanish lessons, enrolment fees, course material, certificate of attendance Meals: 2x daily in a homestay Tour Code: STA582

Start & Finish: Liberia Airport 3 surf lessons 2 bike rides Meet amazing wildlife Free T-shirt Airport Pick up and drop off

Combine two amazing high-adrenalin sports with this surf and mountain biking package. The week is designed for beginner surfers and intermediate to advanced mountain bikers.Tuition includes basic training, safety rules and a guide/teacher around the impressive biking trails. Accommodation: Dorm or private room (7n) Also Includes: 3 surf lessons, surf board rental, 2 bike rides, bike hire, airport pick up and drop off Meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 dinner Tour Code: STA581


115

CENTRAL AMERICA

mexico • Cancún • Playa del Carmen Chichén Itzá • Mérida • • Cozumel Uxmal • • Tulum • Mexico City • Puebla

• Chetumal Belize City• • Caye Caulker

Palenque • • Oaxaca Monte Albán • • San Cristobal Tuxtla Gutierrez • de las Casas

Belize

BELIZE

Currency: BELIZE DOLLAR Time Zone: gmt - 6 Price of a beer: £1.20 Population: 320,000 Area: 1/10th of UK

• Flores / Tikal • Lanquin

Antigua •

GUATEMALA

Mexico

Currency: PESO Time Zone: gmt -8 to -6 Price of a beer: 85P Population: 111 MILLION Area: 8 x UK

Guatemala

Currency: QUETZAL Time Zone: gmt - 6 Price of a beer: £1.15 Population: 13 MILLION Area: 1/2 of UK

Mexico, Guatemala & Belize My favourite experience

Caye Caulker was the best! When we got off the boat onto the island Vicki went off diving into the Blue Hole and I went out snorkelling with massive stingrays and nurse sharks. Pretty scary stuff but equally amazing – there’s just so much to see. We spent a couple of days chilling out on the piers, drank cocktails and ordered some seriously juicy lobster – I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. Take me back tomorrow, please!... Lucy, Bristol

The Weather Tropical, hot, gloriously sunny and humid. That generally sums it up. But beware of the dropping temperatures up in the highlands and in Mexico City - it makes the nights worthy of wrapping up. Beware of tropical storm season from August to October - this is the period when you are most at risk from hurricanes. May to October gets the most sunshine but also the most rainfall. Guatemala City is almost entirely dry from November to April Local grub Forget the greasy coloured food that passes for Mexican and Central American at home. Here you can munch on freshly made guacamole, try mole poblano (a chocolatey based savoury sauce), drink mojitos til dawn and eat as much seafood as you can physically stomach. Try the local ceviche too - it's delicious. Beans and rice are also big staples.

Useful Info Belize used to be known as British Honduras, it's the only country in Central America where English is the official language and you'll find the Queen's head on its banknotes. Useless Info Maize is pretty important to the Mayan people, not only is there a Maize god, but Mayan mythology states that in creation their first ancestors were made from maize dough. The maize is usually personified as a woman, but earlier on the male Tonsured Maize God also doubled as a Tonsured Cacao God, with cacao pods growing from his body. Sweetcorn and chocolate. These guys were ingenious! try before you fly Watch 'Sin nombre' by newbie director Cary Fukunaga. It showcases love, intense emotion, and the extreme violence of Mexico's fascinating gang culture.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


116

18-35 yrs

mexico grande 13 DAYS, £1,165 fr

no local payment!

mexico city - cancun Specifically designed for those lucky people aged 18-35 only – this amazing trip includes just about everything – so you can concentrate on having the time of your life. Prepare for 13 days of perfectly fused fun and adventure that takes in two quite different, but equally astonishing chunks of magical Mexico. You’re never too far away from the coast – which means you’ll be exposed to beautiful sunshine, beautiful people and lots of beautiful bars, clubs and cafes. You’ll travel in an ultra modern, air-conditioned coach as you and your merry band of fellow fun seekers check out the white sands of the Mexican Riviera, the bold broodiness of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the mystical ruins of Chichen Itza and the non stop action of Cancún and Playa Del Carmen. Throughout your adventure you’ll stay in lovely twin-share accommodation and thrown into the total price is your flight from Mexico City to Merida. highlights • Stay every night in comfy hotels • Enjoy loads of included local meals • Dedicated crew to show you the way • Hang out on Mexico's very best beaches • Float through the canals of Xochimilco • Experience a guided tour of Chichen Itza • Party until the sun comes up in Cancun • Walking tour through Colonial Morelia Day 1: Mexico City to Morelia Leave Mexico’s capital behind. Arrive in Morelia with its fascinating colonial architecture and picturesque streets. Try some delicious local food and head out for a night on the town. (D) Day 2: Morelia / Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo Head south to the sunny Mexican Riviera and pull your chins back off the ground after scoping out the view of the long stretches of white sandy beaches. Kick back with a cocktail in Ixtapa. (B) Day 3: Ixtapa Stroll along the Pacfic Ocean shores or check out some more authentic ambience in a nearby fishing village. The warm waters are perfect for snorkelling, kayaking & catching your lunch. (B, D)

Day 4: Ixtapa to Acapulco Head towards the bright lights and old-school ritzy glamour of Acapulco Bay. Watch the famous death-defying cliff divers and when the sun sets soak up the experience of the nightlife in Mexico’s number one party town. (B) Day 5: Acapulco Get out and peruse the traditional open air markets. Meet some friendly locals and then head down to the beach to relax. Wrap your chops around some lip-smacking seafood, or watch the sunset on an optional party cruise. (B) Day 6: Acapulco to Taxco Wind up into the Sierra Madre Mountains and find the quaint, stucco buildings of Taxco nestled in the hills. Bargain hunters beware – this is a dangerously good silver shopping spot! (B, D) Day 7: Taxco to Mexico City Return to Mexico City and visit the unique floating gardens & markets of Xochimilco. Head off through “The City of Palaces” where you’ll see a multitude of ancient ruins and interesting colonial-influenced, yet modern architecture. (B) Day 8: Mexico City Start the day with an excursion to remarkable ancient Teotihuacan pyramids and ruins. The day is then yours to jump into the city’s highly energised atmosphere! Wander the sidewalk cafés, bazaars, boutiques and museums. (B, D)

Day 9: Mexico City to Merida via Uxmal Leave behind the urban colossus of Mexico City and fly to the beautiful white-stone city of Merida. Make a quick trip to Uxmal, with its magnificent ancient pyramids & temples. Then head back to Merida for a tour around the city’s gorgeous buildings, palaces & haciendas. (B, D) Day 10: Merida / Cancún / Chichén Itzá Take a captivating journey through Mayan history on a guided tour at Chichén Itzá – a spectacular ancient ceremonial centre. Stop in the modern mega-resort of Cancún after lunch with its endless shopping, nightlife and plethora of tropical outdoor activities. (B) Day 11: Cancún & Playa del Carmen Enjoy a day trip to the glorious caribbean playground of Playa del Carmen. Snorkel the azure waters, hang out in the open-air cafes or take a ferry to the island of Cozumel and hire a scooter or golf buggy. (B) Day 12: Cancún Soak up all the Cancún action you can - swim through a jungle lagoon, learn to scuba dive, or day trip it to an eco-archeological park. Then party your last night away til dawn at one of the very many great bars and clubs. (B, D) Day 13: Depart Cancún This morning the tour ends and it’s time to say farewell to your new friends. (B)

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 09 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03

FINISH JAN 21 MAR 18 APR 01 APR 15

START APR 17 MAY 08 MAY 22 JUN 05 JUN 12

FINISH APR 29 MAY 20 JUN 03 JUN 17 JUN 24

START JUL 03 JUL 17 NOV 06 DEC 04

FINISH JUL 15 JUL 29 NOV 18 DEC 16

START 2011 JAN 15 MAR 05 MAR 19

FINISH JAN 27 MAR 17 MAR 31

Accommodation: Twin-share hotels (12n) Transport: Modern air-con coach, internal flight from Mexico City to Merida Group Leader: Tour manager and driver Meals: 12 breakfasts, 6 dinners Tour Code: COMEXC

Mérida •

Playa del Carmen

• Morelia • Mexico City • Taxco

VALUE TRIP! comfy hotel accommodation enjoy loads of great meals Transport in modern air-con coach fly from mexico city to merida

• Ixtapa • Acapulco

Cancún • •

mexico


117

CENTRAL AMERICA

18-35 yrs

18-35 yrs

MEXICAN FIESTA 9 DAYS, £1,065 fr

YUCATAN EXPLORER 6 DAYS, £1,245

no local payment!

fr

start and finish: mexico city

Mexico city - cancún

• • • • •

• • • • •

Travel & relax in comfort with modern coaches and comfy hotels Taste the local cuisine with included meals Enjoy the bazaars, musems and Cafes in Mexico City Buy silver trinkets in Taxco Float around Xochimilco's gardens and markets

no local payment!

Go coco crazy in the spring break capital of Cancún Guided sightseeing tour of fascinating Mayan ruins Admire the architecture in colonial Merida Soak up the sun, snorkel and dive in Playa del Carmen Try great local seafood and magical mojitos

Day 1: Mexico City to Morelia Enjoy Morelia's lovely colonial architecture and picturesque streets.(D)

Day 1: Arrive Mexico City Check in and spend the afternoon exploring this historic City. (D)

Day 2: Morelia to Ixtapa via Zihuatanejo Go west to the sunny Mexican Riviera. Kick back admiring the beaches. (B)

Day 2: Mexico City to Merida via Uxmal Head out of the city and fly to the pretty white-stone city of Merida. Make a quick trip to Uxmal's magnificent ancient pyramids and temples. Get back for a tour of Merida's gorgeous buildings, palaces and haciendas. (B, D)

Day 3: Ixtapa Kayak along the city shores or snorkel round smaller beach villages.(B, D) Day 4: Ixtapa to Acapulco Soak in the views and as the sun sets, enjoy Acapulco's epic nightlife. (B) Day 5: Acapulco Drop by the markets, chomp on seafood, or set sail on a party cruise. (B) Day 6: Acapulco to Taxco Travel into the Sierra Madre Mountains to the silver town of Taxco. (B)

Day 3: Merida to Cancún via Chichén Itzá Take a captivating journey through Mayan history on a guided tour of Chichén Itzá – a spectacular ancient ceremonial center. After lunch, stop in caribbean Cancún for endless shopping, nightlife and outdoor activities. (B) Day 4: Cancún & Play del Carmen Day trip it to the glorious beach-side playground of Playa del Carmen. Fill your day snorkeling the azure waters and hanging out in open-air cafés. (B)

Day 7: Taxco to Mexico City Visit the floating gardens and markets of Xochimilco then check “The City of Palaces” for a multitude of ancient ruins and interesting architecture. (B)

Day 5: Cancún Catch all the Cancún action you can today - swim through a jungle lagoon, learn to dive, or day trip it to an eco-archeological park. Celebrate your last night out together at the legendary bars and dance til dawn. (B).

Days 8 -9: Mexico City Enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere and then say adios amigos on day 9..

Day 6: Depart Cancún Your trip has sadly come to an end. Time to leave this colourful city.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

START 2009 DEC 05 2010 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03 APR 17

FINISH DEC 12 MAR 14 MAR 28 APR 11 APR 25

START MAY 08 MAY 22 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUL 03 JUL 17 NOV 06

FINISH MAY 16 MAY 30 JUN 13 JUN 20 JUL 11 JUL 29 NOV 18

START DEC 04 2011 JAN 15 MAR 05 MAR 13

FINISH DEC 10 JAN 23 MAR 13 MAR 27

Accommodation: Twin-share hotels (8n) Transport: Modern air-con coach Group Leader: Tour manager and driver throughout Meals: 8 breakfasts, 4 dinners Tour Code: COMEX2

• Morelia • Mexico City • Taxco mexico

• Ixtapa • Acapulco

START 2010 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 APR 24 MAY 15 MAY 29

FINISH MAR 18 APR 01 APR 15 APR 29 MAY 20 JUN 03

START JUN 12 JUN 19 JUL 10 JUL 24 NOV 13 DEC 11

FINISH JUN 17 JUN 24 JUL 15 JUL 29 NOV 18 DEC 16

START 2011 JAN 22 MAR 12 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 27 MAR 17 MAR 31

Cancún • • Mérida • Playa del Carmen

Accommodation: Twin-share hotels (5n) Transport: Modern air-con coach, flight from Mexico City to Merida Group Leader: Tour manager and driver throughout Meals: 5 breakfasts, 3 dinners Tour Code: COMEX3

Value trip!

VALUE TRIP!

sTAY IN COMFY HOTEL ACCOMMODATION ENJOY LOADS OF GREAT MEALS Transport in modern air-con coach

STAY IN COMFY HOTEL ACCOMMODATION ENJOY LOADS OF GREAT MEALS Transport in modern air-con coach FLY FROM MEXICO CITY TO MERIDA

• Mexico City mexico

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


118

mayan adventure 22 DAYS, £1,069 fr

no local payment!

Cancún - Playa del Carmen Make friends with the Mayans on this stunning 22 day trip over and under some lovely Latin landmarks. We've got more magnificent moments in store than your camera has memory, so here's hoping the blink-of an eye all equipped modern-technology makes it on to market sharpish. Unleash the inner adventurer and backflip, cartwheel and spring-board into a swiming pool sized splurge of fun. There'll be an occasional crash-mat to let you lazily bask under the sizzling sun, but for the most part you'll be whizzing off out on fun-time activities, partying like a bat out of hell and having a jolly good Mexican laugh with your new found amigos. highlights • Go coco-crazy in Cancún • Snorkel in crystal clear Caribbean water • Marvel at Mayan ruins • Make mayhem in the markets • Swim with nurse sharks and stingrays • Rock to reggae rhythms • Chill out with a Guatemalan coffee • Kayak and windsurf to holistic heaven • Dive in world-class open water • Salsa with a sexy señorita Day 1: Arrive Cancún Arrive into Cancún. Explore the city’s plethora of street-side bars and cafés. Prime every single sense as you absorb all the beautiful craziness around you. Welcome to Mexico! Days 2-3: Chichén Itzá / Mérida Stop at the fascinating and famous Mayan pyramids and ruins of Chichén Itzá – one of the recently voted new 7 Wonders of the World don’t you know. Learn about this ancient civilization’s interesting way of life before moving on to the city of Mérida. Wander the pretty plazas, and open markets – perfect for sombrero-shaped souvenirs and hammocks you have nowhere to hang. Bask under the Yucatan sun and sit back with a coffee at an outdoor café admiring the colonial architecture. If you prefer to leave the culture vultures to it back in Mérida’s magical museums, escape the city and dive into a nearby cenote (water sink hole) for a swim.

Days 4-5: Palenque Go on a gob-smacking gallivant around the ruins of Palenque – home to the mummified remains of Lord Pakal and jam-packed full of flora and fauna. Enjoy running up and down all the stone steps and soak in the rainforest’s radiance. Pack your bathers for a cool down under the Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls 45 minutes away. Set in the middle of lush jungle, jump into the plunge pools and take note of the somewhat ambiguous and therefore perhaps deliberately hilarious no-pushing-in signs. Optional daytrippers can check out other ethereal ruins on the Guatemalan border. Tell the folks back home you’ve got jungle fever so you’ll have to stay away til you’ve made at least a 100% recovery. Massive shame. Days 6-7: San Cristobal de las Casas Trundle along to San Cristobal de las Casas for yet another side to the Mexican way of life. High up in the hills, this town experiences a cooler climate than other areas, yet is by no means less colourful or full of life. More marvellous markets will greet you extending out along the main streets, and you can choose to take a speedboat ride along the vast gorge nearby for views and birdspottings a plenty. Visit outlying villages for an insight into modern-day Mayan life.

Days 8-12: Guatemalan Highlands Tread Panajachel paved streets and taste its old world flavour. Head out onto the lake by boat, kayak, windsurf or human dorsal fin and admire the smokin’ volcanoes in the distance. Visit the Sunday market of Chichicastenango, a cultural experience not to be missed – made better with an additional peppering of p’s and g’s (por favor and gracias) to help your barganacious powers come to the fore. On to colonial Antigua for more hair-raising activities -climb a volcano or mountain bike through the countryside for more fun times and hilarious anecdotes. Days 13-14: Flores / Tikal Settle in for a spectacular sunset in this picturesque town by Lake Petén Itzá. Swim, live the laid-back life and tick the Tikal box – one of the biggest and best ruins in the Mayan world. Days 15-16: San Ignacio, Belize Time to get your action-man costumes on - oh yeah, you better Belieze it! This little town offers many an adrenaline-junkie jolly jaunt. Hop to it on a hike, canoe or horse. Duck down low on a caving trip or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area for a swim in its inviting pools and rivers. There's loads to do in this utterly stunning little chunk of Latin America.


119

CENTRAL AMERICA

Days 17-19: Caye Caulker As you step out of your speedy-gonzalez motor boat onto the teeny tiny island of Caye Caulker your feet’ll hit the ‘Go Slow’ sign, etched into the ground beneath you. Feel the wind in your hair as you kick back with a beer on the pier, munch lobster and other fruit from the ocean. Wake up to a breakfast of home-made island banana cake, drink delicious coffee and groove to the totally chilled out reggae that pumps through every islander’s brain and veins. Hire canoes and capsize spectacularly before you can say Bob Marley’s your uncle and forget your fears on a swim with giant stingrays and nurse sharks at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Days 20-21: Playa del Carmen Playing on the playa (beach) is just one of the infinite options in this sunny resort town on the Mayan Riviera. Snorkel among the mangroves, dive into underground caverns, swim with turtles, or simply soak up the sol with a cool margarita to hand. Catch a combi (bus) to the stunning seaside Mayan ruins of Tulúm, a little further down the coast. Party into the night in one of the beachside bars and look good with the cream of the Mexican crop.

Day 22: Depart Playa del Carmen Say adios amigos to your new-found friends and head home making everyone jealous of your bronzed body and fabulous freckles.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03 APR 17 MAY 01

FINISH JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 APR 24 MAY 08 MAY 22

START MAY 15 JUN 05 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 14 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 14 AUG 21

FINISH JUN 05 JUN 26 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 04 AUG 07 AUG 14 AUG 21 AUG 28 SEP 04 SEP 11

START AUG 28 SEP 04 SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 16 NOV 06 NOV 20 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 18 DEC 25

FINISH SEP 18 SEP 25 OCT 09 OCT 23 NOV 06 NOV 27 DEC 11 DEC 25 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 15

START 2011 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 19 MAR 05 MAR 19

FINISH

Accommodation: Hotels (21 nts) (May be multi-share) Transport: Public bus, van, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals Included: No Meals Included Budget: Allow USD500 for meals not included Tour Code: GACAM

stay longer in cancun Check out page 125.

Chichen Itzá • Mérida •

JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 12 MAR 26 APR 09

mexico

• Cancún • Playa del Carmen • Cozumel

• Chetumal Belize City • • Caye Caulker Palenque •

San Ignacio • Tikal •

Do it your way need something shorter? 'Yucatan panorama' check out page 121 10 days fr £609 Tour Code: GAMYP

belize

• San Cristobal Flores • de las Casas guatemala Chichcastenango • Panajachel • Antigua • • Guatemala City

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120

mexican ancient Civilizations 15 DAYS, £599 fr

no local payment!

Cancún - mexico city Get under the Mayan’s, Aztec’s and Zapotec’s skins - experience their fascinating culture and witness their intriguing ways of life on this two week trip from Cancún to Mexico City. Start off with some well deserved relaxation and snorkelling in crystal clear waters along the Caribbean coast. Roll up to the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Chichen Itza – one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and visit the nearby underground sinkholes for a quick dip. Explore colonial Merida and wander the cobbled streets - relax with some Mexican coffee, people watch and absorb the myriad of bright colours. Discover the impressive and beautiful sights of Palenque, set deep within the jungle, wander the markets in San Cristobal and salsa until sunrise in Oaxaca. By the time your trip comes to an end you'll be armed with countless adventure stories - prepare to make you mates back home wilt with green-eyed envy. Good times. highlights • Go coco-crazy in Cancún • Play on the playa in Playa del Carmen • Snorkel in cenotes • Chew your way round Chichén Itzá • Get jungle fever in Palenque • Salsa it up in San Cristóbal • Make marvellous mates in Mérida • Wake up in wacky Oaxaca • Don stripy shawls and silly sombreros • Meddle in the markets in Mexico City Day 1: Arrive Cancún Step into the sunshine and head down town for a quick cool down courtesy of an ice-cold beverage. Celebrate your first evening out and set the standard for your mad Mexican moments. Days 2-3: Playa del Carmen Run into the warm Caribbean sea, snorkel and flippers a go-go, or for an ariel view of this beautiful part of the Mayan Riviera shoot off paragliding into the bluer than blue skies. Dive into underground caverns to escape the heat or simply sunbathe on the city's sexy sultry shores. Grab the chance for a stylish bite to eat at one of Playa del Carmen's cool bars and restaurants.

Days 4-5: Mérida Check out the legendary Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá on your way across the Yucatan state to Mérida. Explore the colonial centre on foot or in a horse-drawn carriage, take a trip to the Uxmal ruins, visit Progreso beach or spend the night doing your best to dance like the locals! Days 6-7: Palenque Hit the highway and travel through the states of Campeche and Tabasco to cheery Chiapas - set deep in the jungle. From here you can explore Palenque - one of the most stunning Mayan sites in Mexico, hidden in and amongst gorgeous flora and profuse wildlife. Watch out for that tree! Days 8-10: San Cristóbal de las Casas Known for its ties to the Zapatista revolution, San Cristóbal is an architectural and cultural wonder. Take a tripette (spanglish for quick trip) to a traditional village to experience day-to-day life. Learn how locals combine traditional beliefs and modern religion with intriguing results. Days 11-12: Oaxaca We love Oaxaca. The colourful and lively markets and the impressive Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban are just two of many many reasons to visit wonderful Oaxaca. Go bananas for handicrafts and souvenirs, philosophise over a couple of beers, and salsa til you see sunrise.

Day 13: Puebla After a short drive on one of Mexico’s comfortable buses you'll hit Puebla, famous for its hand-painted tiles, unique handicrafts, more mouth-watering Mole Poblano (yum) and rich colonial history. Heaven on a stick. Day 14: Mexico City Go up, down, in, out, over, under, round and about the world's biggest city and see if you can't get a little bit dizzy. Check out the impressive Palacio de Bellas Artes building, head into the silver markets and go further afield on a visit to the Teotihuacán pyramids - slap on that suncream and heave yourself up under the altitude! Tuck into a last night full of fresh guacamole and moreish mojitos with your mad and merry Mexican mates. Day 15: Depart Mexico City Depart with smiley faces and silly sombreros.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03

FINISH JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20 APR 03 APR 17

START APR 17 MAY 01 MAY 15 MAY 29 JUN 12 JUN 26 JUL 10 JUL 24 AUG 07 AUG 21

FINISH MAY 01 MAY 15 MAY 29 JUN 12 JUN 26 JUL 10 JUL 24 AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 04

START SEP 04 SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 16 OCT 30 NOV 13 NOV 27 DEC 11 DEC 25

FINISH SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 16 OCT 30 NOV 13 NOV 27 DEC 11 DEC 25 JAN 08

START 2011 JAN 08 JAN 22 FEB 05 FEB 19 MAR 05 MAR 19

FINISH JAN 22 FEB 05 FEB 19 MAR 05 MAR 19 APR 02

Accommodation: Basic hotels/guest houses (13 nts) (may be multi-share), night bus (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, van Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD375 for meals not included Tour Code: GAMCM

go in reverse Mexico City - Cancún fr £599 Tour Code: stay longer in cancÚn Check out page 125. Stay longer in mexico city Check out page 125.

GAMMC

Playa del Carmen Cancún • • Mérida • Cozumel • • Chichen Itzá Uxmal • • Mexico City • Puebla

mexico

Palenque • • Oaxaca Monte Albán • Tuxtla Gutierrez • • San Cristobal de las Casas


121

CENTRAL AMERICA

yucatan panorama 10 DAYS, £609 fr

no local payment!

Cancún - Isla Mujeres Become everyone’s favourite gringo on this short but sweet mooch round Mehicooo at its most colourful. Don your whacky sombrero, get your margarita order in and sit soaking up the sun on the whiter than white sand. But don’t be fooled - the plastic-fantastic, cactus-sporting, dodgy moustache, stripy-rug wearing AngloMexicano type (you know, that guy guilty of serving you tequila til you spew out his dip-dyed greasy food) is all but rarely seen here. Instead, get to know the true culture of one of Mexico’s exceptionally diverse regions. Eat the real food; meet the real people. Become Elton John’s Island Girl on Isla Mujeres (literally: the Island of Women – calm down lads) and meet your very own Tarzan or Jane whilst playing hide and seek in Palenque's jungle-set ruins. highlights • Go coco crazy in Cancún • Check out fascinating Chichén Itzá • Marvel at mystical Mayan majesty • Poke your head around Palenque • Rally round sub-tropical rainforest • Soak up some seductive Caribbean sun • Set foot on Tulúm’s pristine beaches • Snorkel and swim in turquoise water • Meet like-minded lovers of Latin life • Sail a sunset cruise on Isla Mujeres

Days 5-7: Palenque Go on a gob-smacking gallivant around the ruins of Palenque – home to the mummified remains of Lord Pakal. Enjoy running up and down all the stone steps and soak in the rainforest’s radiance. Pack your bathers for a cool-down under the Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls, 45 minutes away. Set in the middle of lush jungle, jump into the plunge pools and take note of the somewhat ambiguous and therefore perhaps deliberately hilarious don't-push-people-in-the-water signs. Optional day-trippers can check out other ethereal ruins on the Guatemalan border. Tell the folks back home you’ve got jungle fever meaning you’ll have to stay away til you’ve made at least a 100% recovery. Day 8: Tulúm Travel further up the Caribbean coast, to Tulúm – a ludicrously stunning, long white stretch of open beach, free from hefty hotels and large scale development (let’s sure hope it stays that way). With more fascinating ruins at one end, be virtuous in the cooler part of the morning and then settle in with a coconut on the beach in the afternoon. Snorkel, swim and feel the sand between your toes. Bring sunglasses to stop your eyes popping out of your head over its mind-boggling beauty – we exaggerate not.

Day 9: Isla Mujeres Head up to Puerto Juarez and take a ferry over to Isla Mujeres for the night – a pretty little island off the Cancún coast. Hire a golf buggy and scoot off exploring. Visit a bird sanctuary and bask with a beer on the beautiful beaches. Set sail on a sunset cruise and watch the stars come out to play. Dine out at one of the yummy local restaurants and salsa your last night away with your group of new-found soulmates under the softly swaying palm trees. Happy days. Day 10: Depart Isla Mujeres Time for a last bit of market shopping before you hop back over to the mainland on a 30 minute ferry. Souvenir suckers beware – remember you will actually have to get all your worldy goods home again somehow – so shun those silver dishes, ceramic plates and coloured water jugs. What were you thinking?!

Day 1: Arrive Cancún Arrive anytime, breathe in the sweet air - and humidity. Order yourself something suitably cold. Days 2-4: Chichén Itzá / Mérida Stop at the fascinating and famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá – one of the recently voted new 7 Wonders of the World don’t you know. Learn about this ancient civilization’s interesting way of life before moving on to the city of Mérida. Wander the pretty plazas, and open markets, perfect for sombrero-shaped souvenirs, hammocks you have no-where to hang, and multi-coloured blankets that’ll look ‘just perfect’ next to your pink flamingo hat-stand back home. Really?! Sit back with a coffee at an outdoor café and admire the architecture, or escape the city and dive into a nearby cenote (water sink hole) for a swim if you prefer to leave the culture vultures to it back in Mérida’s magical museums.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 09 FEB 06 FEB 20 MAR 13 APR 03

FINISH JAN 18 FEB 15 MAR 01 MAR 22 APR 12

START MAY 01 MAY 29 JUN 26 JUL 17 AUG 07 AUG 21

FINISH MAY 10 JUN 07 JUL 15 JUL 26 AUG 16 AUG 30

START SEP 04 OCT 02 OCT 30 NOV 27 DEC 18 DEC 25

FINISH SEP 13 0CT 11 NOV 08 DEC 06 DEC 27 JAN 03

START 2011 JAN 08 FEB 05 MAR 05

FINISH JAN 17 FEB 14 MAR 14

Accommodation: Hotels (8 nts) may be multi-share), night bus (1 nt) Transport: Public bus, ferry Group Size: Max 15, Avg 8 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD 250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAMYP

Mérida •

Cancún • • Isla Mujeres • Chichen Itzá • Tulum

mexico

need something shorter 'Yucután Quest', see page 124. 8 days fr £399 Tour Code: GACMYQ

Palenque •

stay longer in cancÚn Check out page 125.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517


122

hop-on hop-off central america • See the real Mexico and Central America and enjoy loads of included cultural, adventure and lifestyle activities.

Set off to discover lost cities and ancient civilisations. Bask in the warm sunshine and marvel at the natural beauty of the stunning Caribbean beaches, mountain temples, jungle ruins, volcanoes and waterfalls.

• Travel on a variety of transportation methods and experience the local way of life on safe local first class public buses.

Buy one travel pass and create your own personalised itinerary with the freedom to choose where to go, when to depart and how many days you want to spend exploring each unique destination. Each pass comes with at least one or more included activities - check out our favourites below...

• Daily departures - flexible itineraries with convenient departures everyday. • Choose your starting point, ending point and everywhere in between.

Included activities - our favourites

Travel with lots of like minded travellers and make new friends.

Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo Meander through the peaceful canals on a 1 hour kayak ride and a 1 hour trajinera boat ride.

Make unlimited changes to your schedule as you travel

Antigua Pacaya Volcano Trek Witness a flowing river of lava, check out the erupting volcano and walk in dry lava. Mayan Experience Home Stay Stay with a local Guatemalan family for the night and sample local food and drinks. Tikal Sunrise Adventure Trek through animal infested jungle to an ancient Mayan temple for a stunning misty sunrise. Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour Spot crocodiles, wild birds and beautiful plants on a boat journey through this historic canyon.

ROutE

Rec. min. trip time

Price

Mexico City to San Jose via Panajachel or vice versa

17 Days

£374

Mexico City to San Jose via Cancun or vice versa

30 Days

£560

Cancun to San Jose via Belize or vice versa

15 Days

£313

Cancun to San Jose via San Cristobal or vice versa

18 Days

£377

Antigua to San Jose or vice versa

5 Days

£157

Mexico City to Cancun via Puerto Escondido or vice versa

8-10 Days

£292

Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala & Belize or vice versa

12-14 Days

£390

Cancun round trip via Antigua

15 Days

£380

Cancun round trip via Flores

12 Days

£246

Cancun to Antigua via Belize

9 Days

£159

Fully Monty: Mexico, Guatemala & Belize Pass

27 Days

£573

Fully Monty: Mexico Pass

20 Days

£407

full mexico & central america ways

central america sampler ways

mexico city - costa rica via cancun or vice versa, fr £560 Recommended min. trip time: 30 days

mexico city - costa rica via panajachel or vice versa, fr £374 Recommended min. trip time: 17 days

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Mexico City: Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo / Mexico City Walking Tour Oaxaca: Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall, Mitla ruins, Tule Tree & Mescal Factory San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour San Cristobal - Palenque: Agua Azul Waterfalls / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Palenque Ruins Panajachel: Mayan Experience Home Stay: 1 night, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast with local family Antigua: Pacaya Active Lava volcano trek Flores: Tikal Sunirse Adventure

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Mexico City: Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo / Mexico City Walking Tour Oaxaca: Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall, Mitla ruins, Tule Tree & Mescal Factory San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour San Cristobal - Palenque: Agua Azul Waterfalls / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Palenque Ruins Panajachel: Mayan Experience Home Stay: 1 night, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast with local family Antigua: Pacaya Active Lava volcano trek

• Cancún

Merida •

mexico

• Mexico City San Cristóbal •

• Belize City

belize

Oaxaca •

• Flores / Tikal

Puerto Escandida •

• Lanquin

guatemala honduras

Antigua •

nicaragua

• San Salvador • Managua

el salvador

Oaxaca • Puerto Escandida •

• Mexico City Palenque •

costa rica

• San José

San Cristóbal •

guatemala

Panajachel • Antigua •

honduras

nicaragua

• San Salvador • Managua

el salvador

mexico

costa rica

• San José


123

little mayan Ways

mexico city - cancun via puerto escondido, fr £292 Recommended min. trip time: 8-10 days

start & finish: cancun, fr £246 Recommended min. trip time: 12 days

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Mexico City: Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo / Mexico City Walking Tour Oaxaca: Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall, Mitla ruins, Tule Tree & Mescal Factory San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour San Cristobal - Palenque: Agua Azul Waterfalls / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Palenque Ruins Merida - Cancun: Chichen Itza Ruins

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Merida: Chichen-Itza Ruins Palenque - San Cristobal: Palenque Ruins / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Agua Azul Waterfalls Flores: Tikal Sunirse Tour

• Cancún

• Cancún

Merida •

mexico

• Mexico City • Belize City

Oaxaca • Puerto Escandida •

mexico

belize

San Cristóbal •

Pallenque •

• Flores / Tikal

guatemala • Lanquin Panajachel • Antigua • • Guatemala City

• Belize City

belize

• Flores / Tikal

guatemala

Real Bamba Ways

Into guatemala ways

mexico city - cancun via guatemala & belize, fr £390 Recommended min. trip time: 12-14 days

cancun - antigua via belize, fr £159 Recommended min. trip time: 8 days

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Mexico City: Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo / Mexico City Walking Tour Oaxaca: Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall, Mitla ruins, Tule Tree & Mescal Factory San Cristobal - Palenque: Agua Azul Waterfalls / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Palenque Ruins San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour Panajachel: Mayan Experience Home Stay: 1 night, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast with local family Antigua: Pacaya Active Lava volcano trek Flores: Tikal Sunirse Adventure

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Flores: Tikal Sunrise Tour Antigua: Pacaya Active Lava volcano trek

• Cancún mexico

• Cancún mexico

• Mexico City • Belize City

Oaxaca •

• Belize City

belize

San Cristóbal •

belize

• Flores / Tikal

• Flores / Tikal

guatemala • Lanquin Panajachel • Antigua • • Guatemala City

• Lanquin

guatemala

Antigua •

Big Mayan Ways

Full Monty Mexico Pass

Start & finish: choose cancun or antigua, fr £380 Recommended min. trip time: 15 days

Start & Finish: Choose Mexico city or cancun, fr £407 Recommended min. trip time: 20 days

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Merida: Chichen Itza Ruins Palenque - San Cristobel: Palenque Ruins / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Agua Azul Waterfalls San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour Panajachel: Mayan Experience Home Stay: 1 night, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast with local family Antigua: Pacaya Active Lava Volcano Trek Flores: Tikal Sunrise Adventure

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Mexico City: Xochimilco Kayak & Frida Kahlo / Mexico City Walking Tour Oaxaca: Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall, Mitla ruins, Tule Tree & Mescal Factory San Cristobal: Sumidero Canyon Boat Tour San Cristobal - Palenque: Agua Azul Waterfalls / Misol-Ha Waterfall / Palenque Ruins Merida - Cancun: Chichen Itza Ruins

Merida •

• Cancún

Merida •

mexico

Mexico City •

mexico

Pallenque • San Cristóbal •

• Belize City

belize

• Flores / Tikal

guatemala • Lanquin

• Veracruz

Oaxaca • Puerto Escandida •

• Cancún

Palenque • San Cristóbal •

Panajachel • Antigua •

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

CENTRAL AMERICA

Chido Ways


124

Mexico city & Yucatan beaches

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

Hostel amigo, mexico city

moneda hostel, mexico city

poc-na hostel, isla mujeres

A 350 yr old building on a safe street in downtown Mexico City - walking distance to city attractions and metro. Free breakfast, internet, TV lounge, games room and money exchange. A great place for meeting others. Tequila! STA583

Cool and friendly, this hostel offers a fun atmosphere great location and good facilities. Check out the bar and rooftop terrace for breakfast or a beer and make your trip fun filled. Free breakfast, internet, and tour desk. STA584

A great little hostel with loads going on. There's a big outdoor bar that serves up excellent cocktails and yummy food. It's set right on the beach so you only have to roll out of bed in the morning to catch some palm shaded rays. STA585

fr

£12 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £28 SINGLE, INC. bREAKFAST fr £28 TWIN, INC. bREAKFAST

fr

fr

fr

fr

£10 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST

£8 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £18 DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

Soléxico Language school playa del carmen 7+ Days, fr £285

STAysmart

STAysmart

mayan hostel, cancÚn

caribe international, cancÚn

The perfect location for endless beaches, clubs, bars and restaurants. This friendly, family-run hostel has free internet, 24hr reception, tour desk and a great rooftop terrace. Some of the smart dorms have thatched roofs. STA586

A great hotel, with excellent facilities. There's a tropically set swimming pool, trendy hotel bar 'D'Bohemios' - great for cocktails, and an open air restaurant, 'La Pergola Caribeña'. You're bang in the centre - 10 mins from the beach. STA587

fr fr

£8 DORM, INC. bREAKFAST £25 TWIN, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

£34 SINGLE £34 TWIN/DOUBLE

• • • • •

5 people per class maximum 15 - 25 lessons per week Start date every Monday, all year round Live an authentic Latin lifestyle Weekly cultural and social events

Immerse yourself in Mexico! Soak up some Spanish in one of Mexico's stunning beach resorts - and return home with excellent Spanish and a wonderful tan! When you're not working on your vocab and verbs, explore the white sandy beaches, the shady palm trees and the crystal clear waters. There's loads to see and do, so what are you waiting for. Tick it off your list! Accommodation: Ranges from cosy home-stays to riotous student residences Meals: 2 Meals a day at homestays Other Inclusions: Enrolment fees, course materials, certificate of attendance Tour Code: STA588


125

SAIL BELIZE

8 DAYS, £399

7 DAYS, £609

fr

no local payment!

fr

no local payment!

Cancún - playa del carmen

start and finish: aMBERGRIS CAYE

• • • • •

• • • • •

Go coco crazy in Cancún Soak up the sultry Caribbean sun Get colonial in pretty Mérida Snorkel crystal clear waters in Playa del Carmen Marvel at mystifying Chichén Itzá

Day 1: Arrive Cancún Arrive into Cancún, breathe in the humidity and sweet tropical air. Grab a cold beer from one of the bars downtown and head out for a wild night of fun with your new touring buddies. Days 2-4: Mérida Move away from Cancún and on to the city of Mérida. Wander the pretty plazas and open air markets - perfect for buying sombrero-shaped souvenirs, hammocks you have no-where to hang, and a whole wardrobe full of multi-coloured blankets. Sit back with a coffee at an outdoor café and admire the architecture, or escape the city and dive into a nearby cenote (water sink hole) for a swim if you prefer to leave the culture vultures to it back in Mérida’s museums. Days 5-7: Chichén Itzá / Playa del Carmen Stop at the fascinating and famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá – one of the recently voted new 7 Wonders of the World don’t you know. Learn about this ancient civilization’s interesting way of life before heading on to Playa del Carmen, a beach-lover's paradise. Snorkel your way around the bay, head up parasailing for a superb aerial view or cross over to Cozumel on the ferry for a scooter ride with a difference around the island. If nightlife is more your thing then you won't be disappointed - party the night away in one of the beachside bars and look good with the cream of the Mexican crop. Mojito anyone?

Sail the crystal clear Caribbean sea Snorkel with brightly coloured fish and coral reef Head out on the waters to fish for your supper Check out some impressive marine life Camp under the stars and munch on delicious seafood

Day 1: san pedro, ambergris caye Meet in San Pedro at 9am and set sail for Turneffe Island on your first day on the water. Turneffe Island is 30 miles long - maybe a little too far to snorkel the whole way round but you can certainly try. Try your hand at flat fishing, and put your flippers on for some spectacular wall diving. (L, D) Days 2-3: Lighthouse reef / half moon caye Sail to Lighthouse Reef and snorkel the incredible reef that encircles the Blue Hole - arguably one of the world's best dive spots. Cruise over to visit the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument looking out for red-footed boobies. Hang out in the evening around a campfire with a lighthouse beer, study the stars and tell epic adventure stories. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 4-5: glover's reef marine reserve Bask on the white sandy beaches of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Relax under a palm tree and snorkel til you can swim no more. Marvel over patches of coral reef, shipwrecks and brightly coloured marine life. Get back on board and head on to one of the Southern Cayes. Set up camp and watch the sun go down. (2B, 2L, 2D) Day 6: water caye / tobacco caye / goff's caye Spend the morning living the easy life on Water Caye and Tobacco Caye. Sail over to Goff's Caye in the afternoon - a sand bar with enough coconut palms to keep you and your pals sweet for a lifetime.(B, L, D)

Day 8: Depart Playa del Carmen Spend your final day a few miles down coast in Tulúm - possibly the most beautiful beach in the whole of Mexico. Say cheery bye to your amigos.

Day 7: depart ambergris caye Make the final leg of your journey sailing from English Caye, St. George's Caye, Caye Chapel and to the brilliant 'go slow' Caye Caulker. (B, L)

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

START 2010 MAR 14 MAR 28 APR 11 APR 25 MAY 09 MAY 23 JUN 06 JUN 20 JUL 04

FINISH MAR 21 APR 04 APR 18 MAY 02 MAY 16 MAY 30 JUN 13 JUN 27 JUL 11

START JUL 18 AUG 01 AUG 15 SEP 05 SEP 19 OCT 10 OCT 24 NOV 07 NOV 21 DEC 05

FINISH JUL 25 AUG 08 AUG 22 SEP 12 SEP 26 OCT 17 OCT 31 NOV 14 NOV 28 DEC 12

START DEC 19 2011 JAN 02 JAN 16 JAN 30 FEB 20 MAR 06 MAR 20

FINISH DEC 26 JAN 09 JAN 23 FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27

Playa del Carmen Mérida •

Cancún • • • Chichen Itzá

mexico

START 2010 MAR 20 APR 24 MAY 22 JAN 19

FINISH MAR 26 APR 30 MAY 28 JUN 25

START NOV 20 DEC 11 2011 JAN 01 JAN 22

FINISH NOV 26 DEC 17

START FEB 12 MAR 05 MAR 26

FINISH FEB 18 MAR 11 APR 01

JAN 07 JAN 28

Accommodation: Camping (6 nts) Transport: Small sailboat Group Size: Max 8, Avg 6 Group Leader: Experienced sailboat captain Meals: 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners Budget: Allow USD50 for meals not included Tour Code: GACBSB

• San Pedro / Ambergris Caye Goff's Caye • • Lighthouse Reef belize

Accommodation: Hotels (7 nts) Transport: Public bus, taxi Group Size: Max 15, Avg 8 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD200 for meals not included Tour Code: GACMYQ

stay longer in Cancún Check out page 125.

Visit statravel.co.uk or call 0871 230 8517

CENTRAL AMERICA

yucatan quest


126

as az rr Te s • a L io oa na • or lR va S • de Ha a • ar lm • Pa as • Pin La Juli es • al yo iñ Ca V

cuba

Currency: CUBAN PESO Time Zone: gmt - 5 Price of a beer: 95P Population: 11.5 MILLION Area: 1/2 OF UK (5 x WALES)

cuba My favourite experience

I’ve never relaxed anywhere as much as I managed to in Cuba. I won't forget how chilled out I felt as I sat back in a downtown Havana bar and watched the endlessly fascinating locals people pass me by. In one hand I had a cool mojito, in the other a fine cigar. In the background the distinctive sounds of Cuban Son music kept my foot tapping as the day slowly became night. Whenever I feel stress, I think back to then and smile... Will, Putney

The Weather With its gentle northeasterly trade winds - Cuba boasts a humid subtropical climate and is generally very warm all year round. 70% of the the yearly rain falls during the summer season (May - October) when temperatures can get rather hot. Winter is usually much drier, with things getting quite a bit cooler in the evenings - especially between December and March. Local grub Available for just over 10p on most street corners - you'll eventually come to love the unique, almost sour taste of Peso Pizza. With fluffy dough, crispy crusts, a big splattering of tomato sauce and slathers of stinky cheese - first impressions of this hot steaming speciality may not have you rushing back for more. But we guarantee that you'll munch your way through many, many more on your travels through Cuba.

Useful Info Cuba has two currencies - Moneda Nacional which locals use and one specifically for tourists, Pesos Convertible (CUC). Make sure you don't get the two confused as CUC is worth 26 times more! Useless Info There have been a total of 638 attempts on Fidel Castro's life - some of which have included exploding molloscs and toxic cigars. try before you fly Anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Cuban culture has to learn a little bit more about the Cuban revolutiuon and the antics of Che Guevara. For a fun and fascinating way to do this - check out Benicio del Toro's startling performance in Che Part 1. Filmed entirely in Spanish, it tells the story of Che Guevara's key role in overthrowing Fulgencio Batista's oppressive dictatorship.


127

cycle cuba

8 DAYS, £549

8 DAYS, £639

fr

no local payment!

fr

no local payment!

start and finish: havana

start and finish: havana

• • • • •

• • • • •

Enjoy the many outdoor activities around Vinales Be charmed by the pirate legends of Maria La Gorda Experience a stunning sunset cruise Take a tour of the world famous Robaina Tobacco Plantation Explore the waterfalls and coffee plantaions of Soroa

CENTRAL AMERICA

cuba libre

Visit a traditional cigar factory in Pinar del Rio Absorb the unpoilt coastal beauty around Cayo Jutias Check out the verdant green lands around Soroa Ride past scenically splendid mountains to Las Terrazas Enjoy a facinating city tour of Havana

Day 1: Arrive Havana Arrive in Havana at any time and get out and about in this colourful city.

Day 1: Arrive Havana Arrive in Havana at any time - get exploring this wonderful city.

Days 2-3: Viñales Take a bus to the village of Viñales - surrounded by limestone pincushion hills. This haven for outdoor activities includes plenty of opportunities for cave exploration, hiking, biking and horseback riding. Or simply sit back and enjoy the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields below.

Day 2: Pinar del Río / Viñales This is cigar country, so a visit to a tobacco factory is a must. Spend the afternoon cycling around the pincushion hills and fields of Viñales. (B, L, D)

Days 4-5: María La Gorda Isolated and serene, María La Gorda is located in western Cuba, on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula. The area is filled with legends of pirates, old cannons and buried treasures. Maria La Gorda is famed for its clear seabed, home to many species of coral and tropical fish. Enjoy the water, the beach and the amazing sunsets in this Cuban paradise. Experience a sunset sail (subject to weather conditions) and snorkel as you wait for the sun to set. Days 6-7: Soroa Learn the secrets of the Cuban tobacco industry during a visit to the world-famous Robaina Tobacco Plantation, owned by Don Alejandro Robaina since 1950. Stop at the lush mountain resort of Soroa, known as the “rainbow of Cuba,” because the area receives a lot of rainfall resulting in the growth of tall trees and orchids. There are plenty of coffee plantations, waterfalls and natural springs to explore. Continue on to Havana for one last night and maybe one last dance in the capital.

Day 3: Cayo Jutías Take in the stunning scenery as you cycle past dramatic mountain vistas. This coastal route ends at a beautiful unspoiled white beach. (B, L, D) Day 4: La Palma Cycle over Jagua Vieja road to La Palma. Enjoy a break for a picnic lunch, and make your way back to Valle de Ancón. (B, L, D) Day 5: Cueva de los Portales / Soroa Follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara as you visit the Cueva de los Portales. Continue cycling the Carretera Central to beautiful Soroa. (B, L, D) Day 6: Las Terrazas Take a morning ride past majestic mountains and beautiful scenery to Las Terrazas, Cuba's first UNESCO-sanctioned biosphere reserve. (B, L, D) Day 7: Havana Head east back to the capital. Enjoy a farewell night out. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Depart Havana Your Cuban adventure comes to an end on the morning of Day 8.

Day 8: Depart Havana Time to rest your weary legs - you adventure comes to an end. (B)

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

FINISH JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27 APR 03 APR 10

START APR 10 APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17

FINISH APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24

START JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 04 SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27

FINISH JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 21 AUG 28 SEP 11 SEP 25 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04

Accommodation: Hotels and/or homestays (7 nts) Transport: Private van Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow CUC160 for meals not included Tour Code: GACCL

Havana • Soroa • • Las Terrazas cuba Viñales • • Maria la Gorda

START 2010 JAN 16 FEB 06 FEB 27 MAR 20 APR 03 APR 17 MAY 8 MAY 29

FINISH JAN 23 FEB 13 MAR 06 MAR 27 APR 10 APR 24 MAY 15 JUN 05

START JUN 19 JUL 10 JUL 31 AUG 21 SEP 11 OCT 02 OCT 23 NOV 13 DEC 04

FINISH JUN 26 JUL 17 AUG 7 AUG 28 SEP 18 OCT 09 OCT 30 NOV 20 DEC 11

START DEC 18 DEC 25 2011 JAN 15 FEB 05 FEB 26 MAR 19

FINISH DEC 25 JAN 01 JAN 22 FEB 12 MAR 05 MAR 26

as az rr Te io • as a L lR na • oro de va • • S ar Ha a • m l in Pa ias • • P La Jul les a yo iñ Ca V

START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27 APR 03

cuba

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), basic cabin (1 nt) Transport: Air-conditioned microbus, bike Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners Budget: Allow CUC60 for meals not included Tour Code: GACCB

stay longer in havana See page 129.

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128

cuba colonial 15 DAYS, £979 fr

no local payment!

start and finish: havana Fabled Cuba remains a solitary outpost of socialist expression against the capitalist might of the western world. You’ll step off the plane into a world that consumerism has barely touched. Che Guevarra’s revolutionary spirit still burns strongly through Cuban culture. You can sense his almost mystical influence pervading every strand of society. Raw history screams at you from just about every angle. The Spanish influences of yesteryear are still evident in the colonial architecture, impassioned Catholicism and flamboyant music and dance. Added to this is the quite remarkable scenery – every village and town seems to have been perfectly positioned against a green mountainous landscape or an exquisite coastal panorama. This quite awesome adventure whisks you around the island and takes you to some places that time seems to have simply forgotten about. Starting in Havana you’ll saunter along to Baracoa on the far easterly tip with a frolicsome group of fellow explorers before you fly on back to where you started. So light up a big fat Cuban cigar and enjoy the multiple pleasures of this beautiful Caribbean Island. • • • • • • • •

Pay your respects to Che in Santa Clara Snorkel and swim in Playa Ancón Learn to salsa dance in Trinidad Wander the winding streets of Camaguey Inhale the history of Santiago De Cuba Listen to Pirate legends in Baracoa Explore the mounatins around El Yunque Enjoy a wild night out in Havana

Day 1: Arrive Havana Arrive in Havana at any time - and get exploring. Day 2: Santa Clara Heading east along the island, arrive in Santa Clara, a key city in the Revolution. Santa Clara is probably most well-known as the home of the statue of Ernesto Che Guevara at the Plaza de la Revolución. The remains of Che and his comrades, who fell in Bolivia, are interred in the mausoleum at this site.

Days 3-5: Trinidad Continue onward to the colonial city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988, and home to many beautiful Spanish-style churches and some truly impressive museums. Explore Playa Ancón, with it's long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches - an ideal spot to snorkel or swim. Get into the musical culture of Trinidad with two included salsa lessons. Day 6: Camagüey Lying about halfway between Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey is known for its colonial past and its tinajones - large clay receptacles for holding water. Also a university town, it has a rich tradition in music and literature. Explore the narrow winding streets. Days 7-9: Santiago de Cuba Go east along the Carretera Central to Santiago de Cuba, known as the Cradle of the Revolution. This is the province where Castro began the struggle against the Batista régime. Santiago is also the home of traditional son rhythms, which gave birth to salsa music. There are many museums, colonial churches and historical buildings worth exploring, such as the Moncada Barracks, the site of Fidel Castro's first major attack on a key Batista government military garrison. Also included is a visit to Castillo del Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Days 10-12: Baracoa Situated on a beautiful bay with the mountains of the Sierra del Purial in the background, Baracoa was the first settlement founded by Diego Velázquez in 1512 and was only accessible be sea until the 1960s. The quaint town boasts beautiful historic buildings, including forts built to withstand pirate raids. Surrounding Baracoa, the mountains and black sand beaches beckon to outdoor enthusiasts, with optional hiking excursions near El Yunque. Days 13-14: Baracoa / Havana On Day 13 depart Baracoa for your flight to Havana. One of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1982. It contains a wealth of colonial architecture, and the old city and streets around the malecon (ocean-side walkway) are best discovered on a walking tour. Take a salsa or music lesson, rent a vintage car or take a carriage ride through the old city. You'll spend your last night relaxing at the bars and clubs while listening to Cuba’s mesmerizing musical rhythms. Smoke a cigar and kick back. Day 15: Depart Havana Things finish up on Day 15, say a sad farewell.

DEPARTURES START 2010 JAN 02 JAN 09 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27 APR 03 APR 10

FINISH JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 FEB 06 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 MAR 06 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27 APR 03 APR 10 APR 17 APR 24

START APR 17 APR 24 MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31

FINISH MAY 01 MAY 08 MAY 15 MAY 22 MAY 29 JUN 05 JUN 12 JUN 19 JUN 26 JUL 03 JUL 10 JUL 17 JUL 24 JUL 31 AUG 07 AUG 14

START AUG 07 AUG 21 SEP 04 SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 09 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 18

FINISH AUG 21 SEP 04 SEP 18 OCT 02 OCT 16 OCT 23 OCT 30 NOV 06 NOV 13 NOV 20 NOV 27 DEC 04 DEC 11 DEC 18 DEC 25 JAN 01

START DEC 25 2011 JAN 01 JAN 08 JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26

FINISH JAN 08 JAN 15 JAN 22 JAN 29 FEB 05 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26 MAR 05 MAR 12 MAR 19 MAR 26 APR 02 APR 09

Accommodation: Hotels and/or homestays (14 nts) Transport: Private van, taxis, local flight Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow CUC375 for meals not included Tour Code: GACCC

for the full cuban experience Combine this with the Cuba Libre. Check out page 127.

Havana • Santa Clara • Trinidad •

cuba

Camagúey •

Baracoa •

Santiago de Cuba •


129

CENTRAL AMERICA

havana

STAysimple

STAysimple

Hotel Islazul Lincoln, Havana

Hotel Islazul Lido, havana

Simple yet full of personality this spotless hotel is excellent value for money. Breakfast is served in the top-floor restaurant, with views out over the crumbling grandeur of the city below. All rooms have air-con and private bathrooms. STA589

Brilliantly located in the old quarter, within easy reach of all the major sights of Havana. This hotel is just across the street from the city university. It has every facility you can think of, a peaceful vibe and friendly service. STA591

£22 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST fr £38 DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST fr

£23 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST fr £35 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr

Essence of Havana FULL Day, fr £45 Visit the smoky charm of Old Havana (or Habana Vieja). Drink in the rum, revolution, cigars, chevvies, Spanish colonial architecture and the `habaneros' way of life. This full day tour will take you right through this Caribbean city suspended in time and steeped in history. STA593

half day walking tour

STAysmart

STAysmart

Plaza Havana

Inglaterra Havana

This grand hotel has kept its colonial style glamour from the turn of the century. In the classiest area, it's a 100m walk from the Old Town. Relax with a fat cigar on the Fausto terrace bar on the top floor. Great facilities. STA590

Sip mojitos and people watch on the terrace at this old Havana institution that's been named a National Monument. It has old school charm with stained glass windows, carved ceilings and colourful mosaics. Breakfast is included. STA592 fr

£42 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST fr £57 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST fr

fr

£42 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST £57 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

half Day, fr £19 Taking in the essential sights of Old Havana, this tour captures the colonial spirit of Cuba's remarkable capital city. Stop at the impressive Museum of Revolution in the former Presidential Palace, learn more about the life of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and watch cigars being made. STA594

old american car drive FULL Day, fr £63 For a city tour with a difference why not cruise the streets and sights of Havana in style. Tuck into a delicious 3 course lunch at a beautiful colonial restaurant that overlooks the historic Cathedral square and hop into a chauffeur driven old school American car. Brilliant! STA595

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130

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131

Iberia are one of Europe's leading airlines and have been around since 1927 (was flying even invented then?). In that time over 750 million passengers have been lucky enough to fly with them - many of which have made use of their unrivalled network in Latin America. explore latin america Connecting through the shining new Madrid airport, Iberia boasts an unrivalled network - no other airline flies into more destinations in Latin America. So whether you want to live the high life in the 'City of God' or head into the jungles and highlands of Peru - Iberia can get you there! Check out the huge map and start dreaming. unrivalled reliability Iberia boast one of the most modern fleets of aircraft in Europe - and when it comes to punctuality they're up there as one of the best. All this adds up to a smoother and more satisfying flying experience. exclusive flexible fares Anyone can take advantage of our fantastic Iberia fares - but if you're a student holding an ISIC card or a young adult under the age of 26 - you get an even better deal with our exclusive and specially tailored fares. These allow you to stay for up to one year and change your return date once over there free of charge. comfy cabins and great service Longhaul Economy cabins feature the following: •

An enhanced complimentary meal service, with new dishes, larger portions and higher-quality ingredients

A free bar and snack service available throughout the flight

The best Spanish and International cinema - sit back and relax

Free personal headphones - choose between a wide range of music

In-flight pillows and blankets

Merida

Santo Domingo • Havana • • Cancún Mexico City DF • S.Pedro Sula • Acapulco • • Oaxaca Guatemala • • San Salvador • • Managua • San José • Caracas Panamá • • Cartagena Medellin • Cali • • Bogota Quito • Guayaquil •

• Iquitos

• Manaus

• Belem • Natal • Recife

Piura • Trujillo • Lima • Cuzco • Arequipa •

fly locally - regional connections If you live outside of London, there's no need to battle traffic jams and train delays to hook up with your Iberia flight. Fly from a host of airports all over the UK into Heathrow, and jump onto your onward flight with a minimum of stress.

• La Paz

• Salvador Brasília •

• Rio de Janeiro Sao Paulo • Salta • Asunción • • Iguassu Falls

Easter Island •

• Córdoba Santiago • • Mendoza Buenos Aires • • Montevideo Concepción • Puerto Montt •

fly in even more style Iberia offers Business Class cabins on all of their flights into Latin America. If you fancy something extremely special ask one of our consultants.

• Iberia Direct Flight (from Madrid) • Iberia Partner Airlines

Punta Arenas •

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