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The Best of South America: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu and Easter Island

Program Number: 21567RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/21/2014 - 11/7/2014; 10/6/2015 - 10/24/2015; 10/20/2015 - 11/7/2015; 11/3/2015 - 11/21/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/19/2015; 1/5/2016 - 1/23/2016; 2/16/2016 - 3/5/2016; 3/1/2016 - 3/19/2016; 4/5/2016 - 4/23/2016; 5/3/2016 - 5/21/2016;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: Argentina/Brazil/Peru/Chile/Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Price starting at: $6,894.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 42; 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The pounding waters of Iguazu Falls. Morning sunlight illuminating the ruins of Machu Picchu. Sacred statues guarding the secrets of Easter Island. The tree lined district of Recoleta in bustling Buenos Aires. The natural, ancient and contemporary treasures of South America are a bountiful feast for the senses — learn about these wonders and more during a journey that leads through the best of Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Chile.


• Feel the mist from Iguazu Falls as you explore the waterfall from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.
• Walk along the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• View more than 400 Moai statues in various stages of completion as you explore the mysteries of Easter Island.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Lima (Peru), fly to Cusco, coach to Sacred Valley, 3 nights; train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu/Peru), 1 night; train to Cusco, 2 nights; fly to Lima, fly to Iguazu (Brazil), 3 nights; fly to Buenos Aires (Argentina), 2 nights; fly to Santiago (Chile), 1 night; fly to Easter Island, 3 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.
1 night
Arrival Cusco (Peru)
Coach to Urumbamba Valley
3 nights

Discover Peru’s Sacred Valley — or Urumbamba — and experience the bustling markets in the town of Pisac. Join a local expert for an exploration of the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo, and enjoy dinner at a private hacienda. Walk along the ancient farming paths of the Andean Highlands and get an introduction to the region’s agricultural communities.

Train to Aguas Calientes
1 night

Spend a morning exploring the breathtaking Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, and hear how this ancient city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Train to Cusco
2 nights

With a historian, discover the city of Cusco and explore Korikancha Palace, Church of Santo Domingo and the walled Inca complex of Sacsayhuaman.

Flight to Iguazu Falls (Brazil)
3 nights

Thrill in the beauty of Iguazu Falls as a local expert leads explorations along its Argentine and Brazilian sides. Learn about the biodiversity of the Iguazu rainforest with a naturalist, and observe the inner workings of a local indigenous community. At a local bird park, search for more than 150 Brazilian bird species.

Fly to Buenos Aires (Argentina)
2 nights

Discover the beauty of Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America. Explore the bustling Recoleta district, later learn about the myth of Eva Peron as our local expert introduces the various parts of Buenos Aires.

Flight to Santiago (Chile)
1 night
Flight to Easter Island
3 nights
Overnight flight to the U.S.A.
1 night

The exotic mysteries of Easter Island unfold as you join a local expert for field trips to ceremonial sites of the Rapa Nui. A morning hike to view the petroglyphs at the sacred site of Orongo the site of annual competitions by the Birdman Cult. Later explore Rano Raraku the quarry where the Moai status were carved and marvel at over 400 Moai in various states of completion.

rumbamba Valley: Mountain chalet-style retreat with spa. Aguas Calientes: Modern, centrally located hotel. Cusco: Comfortable hotel located in downtown plaza. Iguazu Falls: Centrally located hotel. Buenos Aires: Centrally located hotel. Santiago: Centrally located hotel. Easter Island: Comfortable rustic hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Jean-Jacques Decoster

Jean-Jacques Decoster is a preeminent scholar and expert on the cultural anthropology, ethnology and ethnohistory of the Andes. Born in France, he studied in his native country and the U.S. before relocating to Peru, where he is now professor of Inca history and Colonial history at the Universidad National San Antonio Abad del Cusco. Jean-Jacques’s areas of study include the relationship between native groups and their environment and bilingual education in rural indigenous communities.
Meals and Lodgings
   Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel
  Urumbaba Valley, Peru 3 nights
   Inkaterri Mapi Pueblo
  Machu Picchu (Aguas Caliente), Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Classic-Cusco Plaza
  Cuzco, Peru 2 nights
   Slaviero Suites Foz do Iguacu
  Iguazu Falls, Brazil 3 nights
   Hotel Intersur Recoleta
  Buenos Aires, Argentina 2 nights
   Atton Hotel Vitacura
  Santiago, Chile 1 night
   Hotel Tea Nui
  Easter Island, Chile 3 nights
 Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 87-room Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, five minutes far from Urubamba , one-hour drive from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and close to Machu Picchu. The Sonesta Posada Yucay is a former 18th century colonial-style monastery and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  Contact info: Plaza Manco || 123 Yucay
Cusco,   Peru
phone: +5184201107
  Room amenities: Guests enjoy Sonesta’s signature service and the comfort of in-room amenities that include: •Television •Heater •Direct-dial telephone for domestic and international calls •Hair dryer upon request •Bath with bathtub •Safe •Equipment for disabled guests, upon request •220-Volt power supply
  Facility amenities: Room Service; Laundry Service; Luggage Storage; Medical Assistance; Private Parking; Assistance with tours and travel including flight, train and transfer confirmation; Currency Exchange; Business Center with Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  na

 Inkaterri Mapi Pueblo
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Take a respite under terra cotta tiled Pueblo roofs crafted by local artisans, amongst lush gardens, artfully landscaped for serenity and solitude. Every hotel casita offers you a privileged space for retreat and repose at the foot of Machu Picchu, with: •Thick alpaca blankets & handmade wool coverlets •Crackling fireplaces •Comfortable spaces for sitting, dining •Spa-style bathrooms Stay in an authentic Andean ambience of barefoot luxury. Accommodations and reservations range from the opulent Villas Inkaterra, with private terraces and plunge pools, plus round-the-clock butler service; to more intimate lodges that provide a perfect sanctuary for simple relaxation.
  Contact info: Andalucía 174
Sacred Valley,   Peru
phone: +5116100400
  Facility amenities: •Daily tea time •Nature center guided walks and adventure •Unu spa sensual, spiritual, soothing •Andean sauna eucalyptus, bamboo, candlelight •Inkaterra gallery gift shop •Free satellite internet access
  Smoking allowed: No

 Casa Andina Classic-Cusco Plaza
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Perfectly convenient: under the colonial arcades of stately Plaza Regocijo & around the corner from Cusco’s beautiful Plaza de Armas. Guests of this hotel can’t get much closer to the restaurants, bars, and shops that mark the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. The hotel is a 10-minute taxi ride from the Cusco airport and 5-minute taxi from Cusco’s train & bus stations.
  Contact info: Portal E Spinar 142
Cusco,   Peru
phone: +51 84 23 1733
  Room amenities: In room safe, cable TV, Free high speed wi-fi internet access, direct dial telephone, hairdryer
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, oxygen available upon request at the reception desk, free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access throughout hotel,small Internet Centers with free high-speed Internet access, ATM machine, laundry service, foreign currency exchange,
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Slaviero Suites Foz do Iguacu
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Slaviero hotel in Foz do Iguaçu has large suites, great location - downtown with easy access to the city main sights – besides an unforgettable panoramic view.
  Contact info: Rua Rui Barbosa, 394
Foz de Iguacu,   Brazil
phone: +4530261800
  Room amenities: All room have a small kitchenette with refrigerator, cable TV and internet.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Intersur Recoleta
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: A hotel designed to enjoy the city through its most representative aspects; gastronomy, the expressiveness of its art, its events and lifestyle. A look that represents the union of the past and future of the city, reflected in the furniture and decor of the hotel, in the combination of colors and materials that present the beauty and memory of the place.
  Contact info: Avenida Callao 1764 Recoleta - C1024AAQ
Buenos Aires, NA  Argentina
phone: +51 (11) 5533-4000
  Room amenities: Cable television, air conditioning, heating, safe deposit box, Wi-Fi internet connection, mini-bar, hair dryer, clock radio, 110 V and 220 V electricity supply, and music.
  Facility amenities: Cable television, air conditioning, heating, safe deposit box, Wi-Fi internet connection, mini-bar, hair dryer, clock radio, 110V and 220V electricity supply, and music.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Atton Hotel Vitacura
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Destined to be one of the city’s most popular “hot spots,” the Hotel Atton Vitacura has taken Santiago by storm since opening its doors in August 2012. Sophisticated and modern, this 20-story masterpiece is a true testament that the finer things in life can come at an affordable rate which is sure to please any traveler. Located walking distance from business distric in Las Condes, and in front of Los Leones Golf Club and with a view of the breathtaking Bicentenario Park, the Atton Vitacura is the only option when it comes to having direct access to all of the wonders of Santiago.
  Contact info: Vitacura 3201
Santiago, NA  Chile
phone: +011 56 2944 7800
  Room amenities: Spacious and Quiet Guest Rooms, View of the Los Leones Golf Course, Personal Desk, King or Queen-size Bed, Studio Rooms Available Upon Request, Free Wi-Fi Internet, Cable TV, Minibar, Climate Control, Heater and A/C, Safe Deposit Box, Telephone, Hair Dryer, Smoking and Interconnected Rooms Available Upon Request, Handicapped Facilities Available.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary Breakfast Buffet, Citadino Restaurant and Bar, Coffee Bar and Cafeteria, Free Wi-Fi, 24-Hour Business Center, 24-Hour Gym Facility, Laundry Service, Sparkling Outside Swimming Pool, Seven Spacious Meeting Rooms, Free Underground Parking, International Security Standards, Gift Shop, Transfer and airport pick up Available Upon Request (Extra cost will apply)
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Tea Nui
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Located just in Hanga, Cabanas y Hotel Tea Nui is close to Ahu Vai Uri, Ahu Kote Riku, and Museo Antropologico Sebastian Englert. Also nearby are Puna Pau and Vinapu. PLEASE NOTE: Hotels in Easter Island are basic by North American Standards, they are clean, safe and well kept but all materials must be brought from the mainland by air or by monthly supply ship. Please set your expectations appropriatly.
  Contact info: Avenida Pont s/n
Hanga Roa,   Chile
phone: +56322551990
  Room amenities: Rooms open to balconies. The 12 guestrooms at Cabanas y Hotel Tea Nui include ceiling fans. All units feature minibars and coffee/tea makers. In addition, amenities available on request include hair dryers and irons/ironing boards.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a coffee shop/café. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning. Complimentary high-speed (wired) Internet access is available in public areas. The staff can arrange tour/ticket assistance and tour assistance. Additional amenities include multilingual staff, a garden, and secure parking. For a surcharge, guests have access to a roundtrip airport shuttle (available on request). Onsite parking is complimentary.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Please contact the hotel We are not able to make additional night reservation for participants.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program begins with dinner and Orientation at the hotel in Sacred Valley (late evening) You will be staying at Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with the transfer to the airport in Rapa Nui You will be staying at Hotel Tea Nui the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Argentina has an entry reciprocity fee for US Citizens. This tax must be paid online prior to entry into Argentina by credit card. The amount is USD160 and is not included in your program cost. The entry fee is valid for multiple entries into Argentina for up to 10 years, or until your passport expires. Currently this fee has not been collected for over-land crossings, but this can be instated by the Argentine Government at any time without notice. To pay this fee online, please follow these directions: 1. Register at and obtain an entry code. You will need to register a username, password, email address, passport information, phone and date of birth. 2. Complete the form including personal and credit card details. This information and the entry code will be sent electronically to the Argentine Government. 3. After payment is processed, print the receipt. 4. Upon arrival in Argentina, the receipt will be scanned by passport control staff and the data will be validated to enable entry to Argentina. It is very important that you remember to print and bring your receipt.
  Parking availability:
No parking available
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Urumbaba Valley
  Nearest city or town:  Ollantaytambo
  Nearest airport:  Cuzco (CUZ)
  Transportation to site: Road Scholar participants traveling with air purchased from Road Scholar recieve a transfer on the group arrival date. Please note that the transfer from Cuzco to the hotel in Sacred Valley can take up to 2 hours. The group arrival transfer is for those on flight LA 2047 LIM-CUZ, Arrives Cusco 10:35AM 22 October 2014. Your group leader, , Marco, will be on this flight with you and you will transfer to the first program hotel together as a group.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Easter Island
  Transportation from site: Road Scholar participants traveling with air purchased from Road Scholar recieve a transfer on the group departure date. The group departure transfer is for those on flight LA 0842 IPC-SCL, Departs Easter Island 1:05PM 06 November 2014. Your group leader, Marco, will be on this flight with you and you will transfer to the airport together as a group.
Elevation Note: Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred valley are all above 12,000 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure from the U.S.
(Tuesday, October 21)
 Depart From: Depart from the US on an overnight flight

Day 2: Arrival Cuzco and Transfer to the Sacred Valley / Orientation and Welcome Dinner
(Wednesday, October 22)
 Morning: From the Cuzco airport take a scenic coach bus ride to Peru's Sacred Valley or Urumbamba.
 Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Check in to the hotel in Urumbamba and enjoy some time to rest and unpack. Later, we will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Presentation "Introduction to Peru": this presentation will provide a foundation for your journey through the beautiful and culturally rich country of Peru - a land where ancient and modern cultures blend seamlessly together.
 Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo / Presentation
(Thursday, October 23)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Presentation “The Rise and Fall of the Inca's ”: Your program lecturer, Jean Jacques Decoster, will detail the history of the Incan society.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Ollantaytambo.
 Afternoon: Field Trip "Ollantaytambo Ruins and Town": Led by your Peruvian Study Leader explore Ollantaytambo fortress and town. Ollantaytambo is an archaeological park to which different functions had been attributed. It is considered a military construction strategically located to protect Cuzco from possible invasions. The town of Ollantaytambo is one of the few cities that still maintain the Inca system of urban planning.
 Dinner: Enjoy a dinner in a Private Hacienda (Private home restaurant).
Accommodations: Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Exploring the Sacred Valley / Andean Countryside and Rural Living
(Friday, October 24)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field Trip "Cuyuni Village Cultural Discovery": Arrive to Cuyuni and explore how local life unfolds in the peaceful Andean Highlands. Drink in the culture during a walk along the ancient farming paths that pass through this primarily agricultural community. At various stops throughout the day, learn about the local agriculture, religious ceremonies, and textile production in this region.
 Lunch: Typical Andean lunch at the restaurant run by the local community.
 Afternoon: This afternoon continue exploring the Andean Community of Cuyuni and return to the hotel to rest and pack.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Sonesta Posada del Inca - Sacred Valley - Yucay Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Train to Machu Picchu Peubla (Aguas Calientes) / Presentation on the History of Machu Picchu
(Saturday, October 25)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field Trip "Sacred Valley Girls Dormatory Project": In Ollantaytambo, learn about this educational initiative to provide secondary schooling opportunities to girls from mountainous communities surrounding the Sacred Valley. Visit with the dorm mother and director of the project.
 Lunch: At the Sacred Valley Project.
 Afternoon: After lunch, take a scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. "Presentation "Intro to Machu Picchu": Your Study Leader will detail the history of the community and ruins of Machu Picchu. Before the presentation, take a brief walking tour of the small community of Aguas Calientes which sits below Machu Picchu and is known for its picturesque countryside, birds and the Mandoor gardens.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Inkaterri Mapi Pueblo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Machu Picchu / Train to Cuzco
(Sunday, October 26)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we beat the crowds and visit Machu Picchu, the most iconic site of the Inca world, and a renowned UNESCO world heritage site. Explore the agricultural and urban sides of Machu Picchu and learn the history of the Incan abandonment of the city and its construction during Spanish conquest in the sixteenth centure.
 Lunch: At Machu Picchu.
 Afternoon: We wrap up our visit of Machu Picchu and take an afternoon train from Machu Picchu to Cuzco. Upon arrival in Cuzco, we check in to our hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Classic-Cusco Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cuzco in Depth
(Monday, October 27)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field Trip "In Depth Discovery of Cuzco": Explore Cuzco with a local expert. Start the morning at the Almudena Cemetery. Later discover the iconic Cathedral. Its construction started in 1560 and finished in 1664. It contains the best manifestations of colonial goldsmith and wood carving, as well as a valuable collection of canvases from the Escuela Cusqueña (Academy of Cusco). Next, take a trip to the Korikancha Palace, which was the most important temple in the Inca Empire. The Korikancha Palace was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God. The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold.
 Lunch: In Cuzco with our historian.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you have a choice to enjoy some down time and relax in Cuzco on the square, do some shopping or some people watching, or make your own way back to the hotel. Alternatively, you can join your Study Leader to enjoy an optional continuation of the morning theme in more depth. This optional exploration will last about 2.5 hours and will involve further walking of up to 2 miles. Discover La Compania church, a Baroque church built in the 17th century. The sacristy holds its most precious treasure: an impressive, 50 pound, 4 foot high monstrance, encrusted with gold and jewels, and crowned with one large mermaid shaped pearl. This monstrance is considered to be the second largest in the world. San Blas: Duing Inca times, San Blas was a settlement for "Mitimaes" (ancient craftsmen of the Inca period) with a special command: yachay, Quechua for "teach and learn." Master craftsmen from all around the Inca Empire shared their knowledge.
 Dinner: On your own.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Classic-Cusco Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Depart Cuzco and Fly to Iguazu Falls, Brazil
(Tuesday, October 28)

Note: Please note that today is a long travel day. The flight from Cuzco to Lima departs at 8:00AM and the flight into Iguassu arrives at 6:10PM. Please note that airline schedules are beyond the control of Road Scholar.

 Breakfast: You will receive a boxed breakfast at the hotel which includes a breakfast sandwich, a juice box, fruit, yogurt, and cake.
 Morning: Early morning transfer to the airport in Cuzco for the flight to Lima, and connection to Iguassu, Brazil.
 Lunch: On your own during the layover at the airport in Lima, Peru.
 Afternoon: Embark on your flight to Iguazu, Brazil.
 Dinner: Late dinner at the hotel in Iguazu Falls.
Accommodations: Slaviero Suites Foz do Iguacu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Iguazu Falls Argentinean Side
(Wednesday, October 29)
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Field Trip "Exploring the Argentine Side of the Falls". The experience of seeing the falls from the Argentine side is completely different than from the Brazilian side and is well worth the experience. Led by a local expert discover the top of the falls.
 Lunch: In the park at one of the local restaurants.
 Afternoon: Field Trip Continues: The paths on the Argentine side are much longer than those on the Brazilian side as the Argentine falls represent 75% of the falls. Later we explore a local Indigenous community to learn about the original local inhabitants.
 Dinner: At the hotel
Accommodations: Slaviero Suites Foz do Iguacu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Iguazu Falls Brazilian Side
(Thursday, October 30)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Presentation "The Atlantic Rain Forest and the Iguazu Biosphere": Led by a local naturalist, learn about the biodiversity and complexity of the Atlantic Rainforest in the Iguazu Basin. Later we leave the hotel for a morning visit to the Brazilian Falls. Led by a local expert, we walk the 1.5 mile paved path along the river bank to view the falls. The walk culminates with a spectacular 360 degree fall view. Be prepared to be wowed and to get wet- bring a plastic poncho.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Field Trip "Exploring the Bird Park": Featuring over 150 species of tropical Brazilian birds, the park is an ideal place to continue to learn about the biodervisty of the region.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Slaviero Suites Foz do Iguacu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Flights to Buenos Aires / Discovering Recoleta
(Friday, October 31)
 Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the hotel in Iguazu.
 Morning: Take a morning flight from Iguazu (Argentinian Side) to Buenos Aires and transfer to the hotel.
 Lunch: On your own at the airport.
 Afternoon: This afternoon discover the architecturally rich neighborhood of Recoleta by bus.
 Dinner: Near the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Intersur Recoleta
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Buenos Aires Discovery
(Saturday, November 1)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we set off with our coach and local expert to explore the San Telmo and La Boca neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.
 Lunch: For lunch today we are joined by local residents who will share what life is like in this beautiful city.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the city or to make your way to the famous Recoleta market, located walking distance from the hotel.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant. Participate in a tango lesson then enjoy a performance by the pros!
Accommodations: Hotel Intersur Recoleta
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Fly from Buenos Aires to Santiago / Discovering Santiago
(Sunday, November 2)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning transfer to the airport to fly to Santiago, Chile.
 Lunch: Late lunch in Santiago.
 Afternoon: Led by a local expert discover the highlights of Santiago, the capital of Chile.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner meet with an expert on Rapa Nui Culture to learn about the culture of this remote Island.
Accommodations: Atton Hotel Vitacura
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Morning lecture / Arrive Easter Island and an Introduction to Rapa Nui
(Monday, November 3)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to Easter Island.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Hanga Roa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon arrival in Easter Island. Check in to the hotel before heading out on your first exploration of this mysterious island. Depart on bus for Field Study of Tahai for an introduction to the famous monoliths of Rapa Nui. Our first stop will be at Ahu Vai Ure, which is topped by 5 moai; Ahu Tahai (AD680); and Ahu Ko te Riku (12th century AD), a 15.5 ft. high 20 ton moai which is topped by a pukao (red scoria top knot). These three ahu, all facing inland, are part of one ceremonial compound which was restored in the 1960’s by the late archaeologist, William Mulloy. Located near Hangaroa at the edge of the ocean, the area also has excellent examples of hare paenga (boat-shaped house foundations), hare moa (chicken houses), umu (earth ovens), occupation caves and a boat ramp. The road along this coast is rough, but there are many ahu in this section of the island. At Hanga Kio`e, a small bay just past town, there are two more ahu restored by Mulloy. Ahu #1, is surmounted by a small moai, and Ahu #2 has a fragment of a statue. They were part of a larger site that includes Ahu Akapu with its solitary moai. The wall of Ahu Akapu originally reached to Ahu #2. Dr. Mulloy’s gravesite is also located at Tahai.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Tea Nui
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Orongo and the History of the Birdman Cult
(Tuesday, November 4)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Arrive and visit Ahu Vinapu. Vinapu is an archaeological site that has raised many questions over the years, because of the similarity in appearance and construction to the pre- Columbian structures found in Cusco, Peru. Located here are the ruins of three notable temples, one of which has unusually finely shaped and fitted walls, constructed of huge stones. This wall is the finest example of stone construction on Rapa Nui. This ahu was also once used as a living site. There is evidence that ancient Rapanui men made use of the shelter created when the moai toppled. The second ahu has an embankment which surrounds the ceremonial area similar to those found in Tahiti, the Cook Islands, and Hawai`i. Mulloy repositioned one of the few known female figures (made of red scoria) in front of the ahu. It is thought to have originally had two heads. Field Study - Ahu Akahanga, with its four ahu, twelve moai of various sizes and shapes, and eight pukao, some carved with petroglyphs, is known as the platform of the king. On the front of the main ahu is red scoria facia carved with petroglyphs. In the rear is the head of an old moai incorporated amongst the stones. This site exhibits at least eight phases of construction over a very long period of time, including an ancient village site with the foundations of boat shaped houses and earth ovens. Field Study at Rano Raraku: As we climb the mountain, we view the quarry from which the massive moai were carved out of the hard basalt. Moai in all stages of production cover its southern flank - unfinished giants still imprisoned in stone, including the largest one ever attempted at 70 feet long! More than 394 moai were in the process of being carved when the work on them mysteriously ceased. The upright moai around the quarry slopes have been partially buried by hundreds of years of silt and erosion. They were placed in the upright position so that the carving of their backs could be completed.
 Lunch: Picnic Lunch in the National Park Picnic Area at Rano Raraku
 Afternoon: Field Study at Tongariki: We drive down the South Coast along the wind and wave carved shoreline, past many collapsed ahu, toppled moai, and fallen stone fences built by the sheep company. Our goal is Tongariki, the largest ahu (temple platform) on the island. Demolished in 1960 by the tremendous force of a Pacific tsunami (tidal wave) generated by an earthquake in Valdivia (southern Chile), Tongariki has recently been restored by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino & Sergio Rapu, with the help of Japanese archaeologists and the Rapa Nui people, so it once again supports its 15 moai. There is evidence that through the years more than thirty statues stood on the ahu (not all at once). Also located here are spectacular petroglyphs of a turtle, a tuna fish, a birdman, faces of the god Makemake, and designs similar to those found on rongo rongo boards. Arrive at Anakena, a beautiful, sheltered, white sand beach surrounded by swaying palm trees; optional swimming available. This beach, the largest in Rapa Nui, is where Hotu Matu`a is said to have beached his canoe and lived in one of several caves while waiting for his boat-shaped house to be completed. While the foundations of an unusually large oval house (82 feet long) are visible nearby, it contained no traces of very early habitation. Legend also indicates that this is the area where the kings and their royal families lived. Field Study at Ahu Nau Nau, a very complex archaeological site located on the hill overlooking the beach. This site includes seven finely carved moai with elaborately decorated backs and at least four levels of ahu construction.
 Dinner: Walk to dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Tea Nui
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Ranu Raraku Crater / Ahu Tongariki / Anakena Beach
(Wednesday, November 5)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: At the narrowest section of the crater rim is Mata Ngarahu, the sacred area reserved only for priests. They lived here and chanted the rongo rongo during the birdman cult ceremonies. Every rock surrounding the doors to their homes has been carved with sacred signs and symbols – 1,785 in all. The most prevalent petroglyphs are 375 birdmen; 195 komari (vulva signs) carved near or on top of birdman signs; and 140 faces of Makemake, the creator god of the island. (NOTE: This area has been closed off indefinitely due to some boulders with petroglyphs eroding and falling into the ocean. Stabilization plans are in process. We will get as close as safely possible to see what petroglyphs we can.) The next site in Orongo is an ancient ahu, fronted by stones containing circular depressions whose use is unknown. Past thought was that they represented a solstice timing device, but it does not function appropriately that way. From the national park, we head to Ana Kai Tangata, which can be translated as “place-eat-men” or an equally valid translation is “place- men-eat,” which could mean a place where men took shelter for meals. Many stones in the area are carved with petroglyphs, including a makemake near the ahu. Legend says that the cave was the site of cannibal feasts during the birdman cult rituals, but no signs, such as remnants of human bone, have ever been found. The cave is known for its ancient paintings of sooty terns flying across the roof. Unfortunately the shale rock on which these were painted is falling in thin slabs, and evidence of the painting will soon no longer exist. Along the path to the cave are manavai (enclosed gardens).
 Morning: Depart on bus for Field Study to the Parque Nacional Rapa Nui to study Rano Kao crater and Orongo Ceremonial Village, two of the truly great sights of Rapa Nui.. The park, which is on the south western point of the triangle, provides spectacular views of the whole island. The ceremonial village, Orongo, is on the seaward edge of the crater of Rano Kao. Rano Kao houses a huge crater lake, a bog filled with native totora reeds floating on fresh water. Until 1853, the Birdman Festival was held at Orongo in the spring of each thousand foot cliff to watch their representatives scramble down and swim almost a mile, through the turbulent shark-infested waters to Motu Nui Islet, one of three small islands located off the point (Of the other two, Moto Iti was a place where obsidian was found and Motu Kao Kao was a desolate rock). Once there, the competitors hid in caves awaiting the return of migrating sooty terns that nested there. The first competitor to find a newly laid egg, swim back, and carry it unbroken up the precipitous cliff, won the race. He, or the man he represented, then became the Birdman, the position of highest status, for the next year. At the edge of this sacred site, hundreds of intricate petroglyphs are carved into massive boulders. In 1974, Dr. William Mulloy reconstructed more than 40 of the Orongo village houses, which were built into the crater rim on a magnificent site where the Rano Kau falls 1,000 feet into the sea. The houses, which all face south, are oval in shape and have thick walls of horizontally overlapping stone slabs, made from a local stone called keho. The wall construction continued into an arched stone roof which was covered with earth. The central slab of the roof was decorated with paintings, some of which still exist today. The doorways were low narrow tunnels. The ceremonial village of Orongo was inhabited only during the birdman ceremonies.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch you have a free afternoon . You may wish to: -- Walk to Padre Sebastian Englert Archaeological Museum for a self-guided tour of this museum and its artifacts, including the only intact white coral moai eye, as well as displays of local geology, flora and fauna -- Shop at the local craft markets such as the Mercado Artesenal near the church or other shops along the main street of Hanga Roa town -- Stop at the local post office and get a stamp in your passport with a unique moai statues stamp. The stamp doesn't have any legal effect - it's just for fun! -- Return to the hotel on your own and pack, relax and prepare for tomorrow's departure.
 Dinner: Rapa Nui Farewell Dinner - Te Ra'ai, a dinner and show which includes dinner cooked in an umu (traditional Rapa Nui earth oven), face-painting Rapa Nui-style, and a traditional Rapa Nui dance show.
Accommodations: Hotel Tea Nui
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Flight from Easter Island to Santiago / Free time in Santiago / Overnight departures to the US.
(Thursday, November 6)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning is at leisure in Rapa Nui. Pack your bags, or take a stroll through Hanga Roa to explore your favorite part of the small town one last time.
 Lunch: Light packed lunch.
 Afternoon: Early afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight home.
 Dinner: Dinner on your flight.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 18: Arrival in the US
(Friday, November 7)

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 Morning: Arrival in the US from overnight flight.
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Suggested Reading List


Author: Regis St. Louis

Description: An excellent, colorful primer to the country and its history, covering the varied landscapes, diverse cultures and regional customs, including carnaval and soccer.

Buenos Aires, A Cultural History

Author: Jason Wilson

Description: An exhilarating, erudite guide to Buenos Aires as it has been portrayed by writers, poets and thinkers; serves well as a guidebook, too, with a street map and detailed neighborhood descriptions.

Cataratas del Iguazu

Author: de Dios

Description: This foldup, laminated card shows seven maps of the falls, Puerto Iguazu, park and region.

Cloud Forest, A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness

Author: Peter Matthiessen

Description: Matthiessen recounts with wit, insight and style his odyssey to the Amazon and Andes, including Machu Picchu and Tierra del Fuego.

Easter Island, the Essential Guide

Author: Kay Sanger

Description: An archaeologist who has worked on Rapa Nui since the 1980s and past president of the Easter Island Foundation, Sanger covers the history, archaeology, people and practicalities of Easter Island in this authoritative guide.

Forgotten Continent

Author: Michael Reid

Description: Economist editor Reid draws on his years in the cities, presidential palaces and shantytowns of Central and South America in this portrait of a region rich in oil, farmland and culture, with consideration on its prospects in the face of globalization.

Inca Trail: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Map

Author: Lima 2000

Description: This fact-filled map shows the whole of the Sacred Valley, from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, on one side, and, on the reverse, the area surrounding the sanctuary in splendid, topographic detail (1:50,000). It's the best map for those making the trek from kilometer 88 to the site and an excellent choice for those exploring by bus or train.

Lonely Planet Buenos Aires

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: The best of Buenos Aires is included in this practical guide, along with a pullout map and insider recommendations on shopping, eating, sleeping and day trips.

Lost City of the Incas

Author: Hiram Bingham

Description: This first-rate adventure story by the man who brought Machu Picchu to the attention of the world 100 years ago is not just a gripping tale of exploration and archaeology, it also sets the scene for any visitor to the site.

Stone Offerings

Author: Mike Torrey

Description: Torrey captures the dramatic setting, solitude and intricate construction of the Inca site of Machu Picchu in 100 striking color photographs taken over a few days at summer and winter solstice.

The Brazilians

Author: Joseph Page

Description: A clear, comprehensive and compelling introduction to Brazil, covering politics, history, economics, ecology, conservation and culture.

The Incas

Author: Carmen Bernard

Description: Featuring archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and chapters on Atahualpa, the Conquistadors and Hiram Bingham, this handy book (previously published as People of the Sun) illuminates the daily life, monuments and history of the Incas.

The Machu Picchu Guidebook

Author: Ruth M. Wright, Alfredo Valencia Zegarra

Description: With maps and site plans, a segment on new discoveries, a wildlife section and a fold-out full color painting of the city as it may have looked during a solstice celebration in 1530.

The Statues That Walked, Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island

Author: Carl Lipo, Terry Hunt

Description: Drawing on archaeological evidence and their own work, Hunt and Lip challenge Jared Diamond's view of eco-catastrophe in this convincing new history of Rapa Nui.

Tropical Nature

Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata

Description: Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

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