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First Half Central America Gold Tour
17 days duration (20 days including travel days to and from Central America).
This morning you will make your own way to Sydney International Airport for your flight to Santiago, via Auckland. As you cross the International Date Line you ‘gain’ a day so you will arrive in South America later on Wednesday. You will be met and taken to your luxury hotel for two nights. (Meals Inflight)
This morning we host a very informative tour orientation meeting in which we get to know each other and outline the important aspects of the day-to-day operation of your Inca Gold Tour of Central America. This afternoon we will take you on a city tour of Santiago. We will visit the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), the 16th Century Cathedral, City Hall and National Congress Buildings and the Moneda Presidential Palace. We also see O’Higgins Park, featuring the former Chilean Military Academy and the Santa Lucia Hill where the foundation of Santiago took place in 1542. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner. (BD)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Mexico City.
Mexico is the third largest country in Latin America and the most populous Spanish speaking country in the world. Its geography ranges from swamp to desert; from tropical lowland jungle to high alpine vegetation above the tree line; from thin arid soils to others so rich that they grow three crops a year! Mexico City, founded by the Spaniards in 1521, was built upon the remains of Teotihuacan, the Aztec Capital. On arrival into Mexico City we will be met and taken to our well located luxury hotel for three nights. (BD)
Today we take a comprehensive city and museum tour, visiting the Main Square with its centuries of tradition, the National Palace with its famous murals, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the city’s residential areas and the world famous, National Anthropology Museum. (BL)
Today we drive out of the city to see the spectacular Teotihuacan Pyramids. This vast archaeological site contains some of the world’s most remarkable relics of an ancient civilisation. It is believed to date from around 300 BC and housed 250 000 inhabitants. One of the largest of the pyramids covers almost the same area as the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. On the way back to Mexico City we stop at the Shrine of Guadalupe Virgin, the Patron Saint of the Americas. (BL)
This morning we will be transferred to Mexico City Airport for our short flight to Merida, called the “White City” because of the cleanliness and beauty of its Colonial streets and houses. Many Meridanoes wear immaculate embroidered costumes and speak the language of their Mayan ancestors, as well as Spanish. On arrival in Merida we will undertake a brief city tour before enjoying lunch in this beautiful Colonial setting. We then have time to explore the local markets and maybe acquire some of the specialities of the area. Following our visit to Merida we will be driven to Chichen Itza for a two-night stay. (BLD)
Chichen Itza was the capital of the ancient Mayan Empire. Founded in 432 AD, re-founded in 987 AD and taken over by the Toltecs in the 10th Century, the site is now surrounded by jungle, with iguanas occupying the palaces. Today we will be taken on a very comprehensive tour of the site. We will see the Temple of Tigers and the Ball Court, where the first known ball games were played, as well as the Sacred Cenote, a sacrificial pool, which illustrates the paradox of a civilisation so barbarous and yet so scientifically advanced as to baffle archaeologists. After visiting this amazing site, you will have lunch and then your afternoon is at leisure. (BL)
This morning we will be taken by road to Playa del Carmen for a two-night stay. On arrival, the remainder of the day is at leisure to just relax or enjoy the atmosphere of this newborn Caribbean Riviera where the sun shines brightly and the unpolluted waters are warm and sparkling clear. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening. (BD)
Today enjoy a day at leisure in this idyllic location. Enjoy lunch and dinner at your hotel today. (BLD)
This morning is at leisure in Cancun before we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Havana de Cuba. We will be met on arrival and transferred to our well-appointed and historic hotel for a memorable four-night stay.
Havana, the capital of Cuba, was founded in 1514 by explorer Diego Velazquez. The original city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. With narrow streets and a rich diversity of Colonial buildings, decorative balconies, shuttered windows and museums, Havana is one of the most appealing cities of the Americas. At sunset Havana’s bars and cafes come to life with the rhythm of Salsa and Jazz, embracing all those who stroll her streets. (B)
After breakfast we will be taken on a comprehensive tour of old and new Havana. Our tour includes the Arms Square, the Cathedral and the Museum of the Captain Generals. We also visit the traditional Del Medio Bar (an old haunt of writer Ernest Hemingway) and then have lunch at one of Havana’s most traditional restaurants. Later we visit a well known Cuban rum factory. The remainder of our afternoon is at leisure to further explore the Cuban Capital or perhaps visit the Lenin Botanical Gardens. (BL)
Hemingway lived in Havana for over 20 years, he drank his cocktails in bars and fished off its coast. This was his favourite way to while away the time. His yacht "El Pilar” gave him the feeling of being alive – adventure and challenge in one. His books "To Have and Have Not” and "The Old Man and the Sea” were written in Cuba. Today you will visit the Ernest Hemingway Museum at ‘La Vigia Country House, the last residence where he lived during he’s stay in Cuba. In Finca Vigia, where he lived with his cats and dogs, nothing has changed since his death in 1961, and sometimes one gets the feeling that he could walk in at any moment. You will have time for lunch.
This afternoon you will visit the Cigar Factory where you can see firsthand the process in rolling these world class cigars. (B)
Today is at leisure to further explore Havana, its museums and its unique socialist way of life. This evening we will be taken to La Taverna Restaurant in downtown Havana, to enjoy dinner and a Cuban cabaret. (BD)
This morning we leave Havana and travel via the Che Guevara Memorial and Museum in Santa Clara to the Cuban city of Trinidad. Here we stay for two nights to soak up the atmosphere and history of this relic of early Spanish Colonisation. (BLD)
Trinidad was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 and today this “Museum Town” offers a great Spanish Colonial atmosphere of pastel painted buildings with tiled roof tops, cobbled stone streets, Baroque church towers and wrought iron gates. The classic old American cars and horse drawn carts add to the ambiance of a by-gone era. Today we undertake a tour of the old town of Trinidad with its museums and churches. One of the highlights is a visit to the Borrell Family Mansion. This 1820’s home now houses the Municipal History Museum. There is also a splendid view from the tower overlooking Trinidad. Tonight we have the opportunity to enjoy some typical Cuban Salsa music. (BLD)
The city of Cienfuegos, with its strong French influence depicted in its imposing Neoclassic architecture, sits on beautiful Cienfuegos Bay in the Caribbean Sea. This morning we depart by road to Cienfuegos. On arrival we will take a walking tour of the old city before visiting the romantic and historic La Reina Cemetery, including the graves of Spanish soldiers and broken-hearted lovers. The striking Castillo de Jagua affords good photo opportunities. Punta Gorda is the aristocratic quarter of Cienfuegos and is home to the outlandish Moorish-style Palacio de Valle. This palace was built in 1917 and has a stunning view from its tower and also houses the city’s best seafood restaurant. (BLD)
This morning we are driven from Cienfuegos back to Havana, where we have an early lunch before being taken to the airport where you board your overnight flight to Santiago de Chile. (BL)
On arrival into Santiago early this morning you are met and taken to your hotel for the day. This evening you are taken back to the airport for your flight home. (Meals Inflight)
Today is spent inflight as you re-cross the Date Line and 'lose' one day. (Meals Inflight)
This morning you arrive back home.
All prices are subject to currency fluctuations, additional airline charges and changes in costs from ground suppliers. We reserve the right to vary any part of the tour at our sole discretion as circumstances may require.
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