The blog for you to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY!!!!!

We’ll feature up to 3 destinations every two weeks. If you don’t want to do a package deal then have no fear because we can do most independently for you or what used to be call an ON YOUR OWN package.

 

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It's never been easier to sail from SO Cal for Autumn of this year.  Many cruise lines with many itineraries and many lengths to choose from. Come on pick a cruise and contact us to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY.

GREAT GETAWAYS

Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$1,049
+ $147.24 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$899
+ $142.29 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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More Details 

Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$899
+ $142.29 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$1,109
+ $147.24 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$177
+ $107.21 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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5-Day West Coast Getaway with San Francisco

  
Starting At:$369
+ $160.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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16-Day Hawaiian Islands

  
Starting At:$999
+ $185.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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7-Day Classic California Coast

  
Starting At:$569
+ $200.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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7-Day Classic California Coast

  
Starting At:$539
+ $215.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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5-Day Cabo San Lucas Getaway

  
Starting At:$299
+ $95.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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5-Day West Coast Getaway with San Francisco

  
Starting At:$369
+ $165.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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7-Day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez

  
Starting At:$449
+ $110.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Diamond Princess
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7-Day Love Boat Themed Cruise to Mexico

  
Starting At:$599
+ $145.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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15-Day Hawaiian Islands

  
Starting At:$1,179
+ $225.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Sapphire Princess
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15-Day Hawaiian Islands

  
Starting At:$1,149
+ $225.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Sapphire Princess
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10-Day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez

  
Starting At:$699
+ $160.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Sapphire Princess
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15-Day Hawaiian Islands

  
Starting At:$1,199
+ $185.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Crown Princess
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Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$188
+ $108.44 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Cabo Overnight Cruise

 
Starting At:$398
+ $122.95 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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5-day Cruise to Mexican Riviera: Cabo & Ensenada from Los Angeles, California on Norwegian Bliss

  
Starting At:$285.35
+ $159.32 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Bliss
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Enjoy five days of fun in the sun as you cruise the Mexican Riviera aboard one of our newest ships, Norwegian Bliss. Marvel at El Arco, the dramatic rock formation that is Cabo San Lucas’s signature landmark and a popular gathering spot for sea lions. Take a tour of Baja California’s oldest winery in Ensenada and stop at the market to pick up some local crafts. Then it’s back to Los Angeles, where mammoths roam the La Brea Tar Pits and celebrities stroll Rodeo Drive.
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Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$177
+ $107.25 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Catalina & Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$198
+ $119.53 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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15-Day Hawaiian Islands

  
Starting At:$1,399
+ $195.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Sapphire Princess
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4-Day West Coast Getaway with San Diego

  
Starting At:$329
+ $153.01 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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7-Day Mexican Riviera

  
Starting At:$799
+ $120.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Koningsdam
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5-Day Mexican Riviera

  
Starting At:$399
+ $110.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Koningsdam
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7-Day Classic California Coast

  
Starting At:$999
+ $210.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Koningsdam
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Mexican Riviera

  
Starting At:$699
+ $145.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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Classic California Coast

  
Starting At:$579
+ $228.01 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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Mexican Riviera

  
Starting At:$549
+ $145.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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Cabo San Lucas Getaway

  
Starting At:$369
+ $125.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Discovery Princess
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Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan Cruise

 
Starting At:$499
+ $132.47 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Cabo Overnight Cruise

 
Starting At:$448
+ $118.38 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan Cruise

 
Starting At:$529
+ $133.73 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Catalina & Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$158
+ $120.43 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Cabo & Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$498
+ $131.81 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$249
+ $106.39 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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More Details 

Ensenada Cruise

 
Starting At:$158
+ $107.21 taxes/fees
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
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More Details 

5-day Cruise to Mexican Riviera: Cabo & Ensenada from Los Angeles, California on Norwegian Bliss

  
Starting At:$389.35
+ $159.32 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Bliss
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Enjoy five days of fun in the sun as you cruise the Mexican Riviera aboard one of our newest ships, Norwegian Bliss. Marvel at El Arco, the dramatic rock formation that is Cabo San Lucas’s signature landmark and a popular gathering spot for sea lions. Take a tour of Baja California’s oldest winery in Ensenada and stop at the market to pick up some local crafts. Then it’s back to Los Angeles, where mammoths roam the La Brea Tar Pits and celebrities stroll Rodeo Drive.
More Details 

7-day Cruise to Mexican Riviera: Cabo & Puerto Vallarta from Los Angeles, California on Norwegian Bliss

  
Starting At:$844.35
+ $179.60 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Bliss
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Spice up your vacation with margaritas, guacamole, and authentic Mexican tacos as you cruise through the Pacific Ocean aboard Norwegian Bliss, one of our newest and most incredible ships. Galivant along Lover’s Beach or dare to run through Divorce Beach near Land’s End in Cabo, the choice is yours! Visit the capital of Mariachi Music in Puerto Vallarta and get to know Mazatlán, one of the most unique destinations in Mexico, with plenty of opportunities to island-hop.
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AUTUMN ADVENTURES

Celebrity Cruises returns to California this fall from Los Angeles.

Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$1,049
+ $147.24 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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More Details 

Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$899
+ $142.29 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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More Details 

Mexican Riviera Holiday Cruise

 
Starting At:$1,199
+ $137.42 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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Mexican Riviera Holiday Cruise

 
Starting At:$1,199
+ $142.60 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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More Details 

Mexican Riviera Cruise

 
Starting At:$899
+ $142.29 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Solstice
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======================================================================

Let's head South to the land of the Incas!

Peru and Equidor are the countries where Inca's built their empire centuries ago. Ready for an adventure?

Places of Peru

Dubbed the “Land of the Incas” because it was once home to the expansive Inca Empire, Peru was conquered and colonized by Spain in the 16th century. Peru today is an outstanding travel spot with archaeological remains, colonial architecture and spectacular natural beauty. Let Getaway Cruises ‘n Tours help plan an awesome South American vacation to Peru. 

 

Here are few highlights worth checking out….

 

Puno is a port city on the shores of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano of Peru. Despite its picturesque hillside setting, the city itself is a ramshackle collection of mostly unfinished modern buildings. Its biggest attraction is as a departure point for the famous floating islands on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca.

 

Trujillo is a moderately large city in Northwestern Peru, near the Pacific Coast. The city was founded in 1534 among 4 Chimu settlements to enable the Spanish to ally with them against the Incas. Trujillo is close to the pre-Columbian site of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the ancient world and the beach resort of Huanchaco.

 

The Nazca Desert occupies a strip along the northern Pacific coast on a high arid plateau. The famous Nazca Lines are located between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. Created between 200 BC and 700 AD the figures range from simple lines to stylized spiders, monkeys, lizards and human figures. The dry, windless, stable climate of the Nazca Desert has helped keep the lines uncovered to the present day. Tour agents in Nazca offer round flights in a Cessna to view the lines. There is also an observation tower along the Pan-American highway with a view of three of the figures.

 

Iquitos is a unique city in that it is the largest city in the world inaccessible by roads, leaving planes and boats as the primary ways of entrance. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most popular places to visit in Peru. Because of its location on the banks of the Amazon River in northeastern Peru, Iquitos is the gateway to exploring the Amazon. There are several tour companies and boat operations that assist people in exploring the Peruvian Amazon. Some of the most popular attractions along the river include butterfly farms, animal orphanages and protected nature reserves.

 

As Peru’s capital and largest city, Lima is a sprawling metropolis constituting an architectural blend of pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern infrastructure. The city was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and offers a rich history as well as exceptional food, a vibrant culture and lively nightlife. Lima’s historic district features the most interesting attractions with old churches, monasteries, Spanish palaces and one of the oldest universities in the Americas. Beaches at the north and south ends of the city are popular crowd-pullers, such as the popular Miraflores suburb that has an abundance of hotels and restaurants.

 

Once the heartland of the Inca Empire, The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes, close to Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. The region contains numerous archaeological remains and villages including the Inca cities of Písac and Ollantaytambo.

 

One of Peru’s most visited cities, Arequipa is surrounded by three picturesque volcanoes in the country’s Southern Coastal region. Arequipa embodies a rich mix of the indigenous and Spanish colonial cultures. Examples of Spanish colonial architecture can be found throughout the center of the city. Among the most significant of these is the Santa Catalina Convent, which is often described as a city within a city because of its charming streets, colorful buildings and flowers. Arequipa is also the gateway to Peru’s most visited natural attraction, the Colca Canyon.

 

Often serving as a popular base to explore nearby famous ruins like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Located in southeastern Peru, Cusco one of Peru’s most important tourist destinations. A city steeped in history, Cusco features many well-preserved buildings dating back to Inca and Spanish colonial times. The heart of the city is the main square, the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by restaurants, cafes and churches. Just outside the city limits is an important Inca site known as Sacsayhuaman, an enormous walled complex constructed of large limestone boulders.

 

As Peru’s most popular tourist attraction and one of the world’s most famous archaeological wonders, Machu Picchu is located 7,000 feet (2,100 meters) above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Although this magnificent Inca site provokes more mysteries than facts, it is believed that Machu Picchu was first built around the middle of the 15th century as a military fortress then later used as an estate for Inca royalty. Visitors can explore Machu Picchu and see well-preserved buildings that include houses, temples, fountains and baths in addition to agricultural terraces and evidence of an irrigation system.

 

It’s moving to Fall and Winter time, since their seasons are opposite of ours in the North America. So, the best time to go is upcoming.

 

If you would rather not receive these updates, please and we will remove you from our list.

 

This email has been brought to you by:
Getaway Cruises n Tours
2063 Main Street PMB 513
925-679-8428

BILL

CST:2052490-50

All prices and sailings subject to availability.

 

31-Day South America, Inca & Panama Canal Discovery

Starting at: $2,039

+ $1,102.00 taxes/fees

Ship: Oosterdam

 

 

South America Expedition Cruise - Machu Picchu & Galápagos

Starting at: $9,573

Ship: ms Santa Cruz II

 

 

From The Inca Empire To The Peruvian Amazon With The Nazca Lines

Starting at: $6,456

Ship: Delfin III

 

 

Peru & Galapagos by Yacht

Starting at: $6,399

 

 

Panama & Scenic South America

Starting at: $7,995

Ship: Viking Polaris

 

 

16-Night Central & South America Voyage

Starting at: $3,299

+ $287.27 taxes/fees

Ship: Azamara Onward

 

 

Diverse Cultures of South America with Machu Picchu

Starting at: $4,975

Ship: MS Fram

 

 

 

 

 

If you would rather not receive these updates, please and we will remove you from our list.

 

This email has been brought to you by:
Getaway Cruises n Tours
2063 Main Street PMB 513
925-679-8428

BILL

CST:2052490-50

All prices and sailings subject to availability.

 

31-Day South America, Inca & Panama Canal Discovery

Starting at: $2,039

+ $1,102.00 taxes/fees

Ship: Oosterdam

 

 

South America Expedition Cruise - Machu Picchu & Galápagos

Starting at: $9,573

Ship: ms Santa Cruz II

 

 

From The Inca Empire To The Peruvian Amazon With The Nazca Lines

Starting at: $6,456

Ship: Delfin III

 

 

Peru & Galapagos by Yacht

Starting at: $6,399

 

 

Panama & Scenic South America

Starting at: $7,995

Ship: Viking Polaris

 

 

16-Night Central & South America Voyage

Starting at: $3,299

+ $287.27 taxes/fees

Ship: Azamara Onward

 

 

Diverse Cultures of South America with Machu Picchu

Starting at: $4,975

Ship: MS Fram

 

 

Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration (2023)

Starting at: $15,499

Ship: Aria Amazon

 

 

From The Inca Empire To The Peruvian Amazon With Galápagos Cruise

Starting at: $10,378

Ship: Delfin III

 

 

Peru, Panama & Palms

Starting at: $4,649

Ship: Marina

 

Places to Visit in Ecuador

 

Named for the equator than runs through the country, Ecuador is a country that offers something for everyone. This begins with almost 1,000 miles of coastline with great beaches, thence to the Andes Mountains and tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin.

It even extends out to the remote Galapagos Islands with its fantastic wildlife. In between, visitors will find large cities offering luxurious amenities as well as small native villages known for their colorful markets. An overview of the best places to visit in Ecuador:

 

Mindo 

Mindo offers environmentally conscious travelers the best of two bio-diversified ecosystems: the tropical Andes and the Chocoan lowlands. Here, visitors will see cloud forests, farmlands, three major rivers and hundreds of streams. One of Ecuador’s most popular tourist destinations, Mindo provides a wide variety of outdoor activities ranging from rafting and bird-watching to mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Travelers who prefer less strenuous activities may enjoy learning about chocolate from the cocoa bean to the finished product at El Quetzal del Mindo, a chocolatier.

 

Salinas

Salinas is the westernmost city in Ecuador, sitting on the Pacific Ocean, which makes it popular with surfers and yachters. Ecuador’s most popular beach resort city offers some great beaches. It is known as Little Miami Beach because of its high-rise condominiums dotting the shoreline. It also is home to La Chocolatera, which has nothing to do with chocolate, but is a beach where turtles lay their eggs, which means tourists need permission to enter. The best time to enjoy Salinas is December, early January. On summer weekends it gets unbearably packed, while from April to November it can be overcast and dreary.

 

Quilotoa Loop

Hikers who enjoy trekking through the backcountry surely will enjoy the Quilotoa loop, a trail that takes visitors through several of Ecuador’s remote Andean villages. Hiking the loop can take up to four days, but can be done in less time if hikers take a bus between points, though they’d be missing out on some ancient trails if they did this. The views of a crater lake in Quilotoa are nothing short of spectacular. Villages host colorful markets throughout the week, with Sanquisili’s Thursday market considered one of the best.

 

Riobamba 

Riobamba, a city in the Andean highlands, is notable for a couple of reasons. One is its proximity to Chimaborazo, Ecuador’s highest mountain that stands 6,268 meters (20,564 feet) above sea level. It’s popular with hikers who often begin the trek at 1 a.m. in order to watch the sun rise. Secondly, it’s the starting point for the spectacular train ride to Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) that passes through both mountains and cloud forests. Riobamba hosts a market on Saturdays that is more authentic than other markets in Ecuador because it’s aimed at locals

 

Baños

The small city of Baños lies at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua. Named after the hot springs fed by the thermal waters of the volcano, Baños is one of the most popular places to visit in Ecuador. Known as the “Gateway to the Amazon,” Baños is a favorite departure point for jungle tours. Waterfalls cascading thousands of feet down deep river gorges attract sightseers as well. The thunderous Pailon de Diablo waterfall, surging over a gorge where the Rio Verde and Rio Pastaza meet, is the most impressive.

 

Otavalo 

Otavalo is home to one of the most colorful, important weekly markets in the Andes. It’s the place to go for traditional handmade craft items, including the exquisite textiles the city is famous for, leather goods and jewelry. The market has been going on for centuries, since even before the Incas. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with Ecuadorans wearing their traditional clothing and snow-covered mountains as a backdrop. The main market takes place on Saturdays, but travelers may be able to find handcrafts at other times in the Plaza de los Ponchos.

 

Quito 

At 2,800 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level, the Ecuadoran capital of Quito is the highest capital city in the world. This cosmopolitan city of 2.2 million people is located in an active volcano section of the Andes. Quito has one of the largest and best preserved historic districts in South America. Founded in 1534, it contains no fewer than 20 Catholic churches from the colonial era and despite intensive restoration, the old town retains the vibrant working class and indigenous character that has always defined it. Carondolet Palace, the seat of Ecuador’s government, is located in the historic area.

 

Galapagos Islands

The 19 islands that make up the Galapagos Islands are home to unique wildlife not found anywhere else in the world. They’re best known as the site that inspired Charles Darwin to come up with his theory of evolution after visiting there in 1835. Located about 1,000 km (600 miles) offshore Ecuador, the Galapagos are home to such diverse species as giant tortoises, marine tortoises, flightless cormorants, and a variety of finches and mockingbirds. Cruises are the only way to explore the islands. There are a great number of tour operations working out of Quito and Guayaquil with boat options ranging from small yachts to luxury cruise ships.

 

 

Cotopaxi Volcano

The Cotopaxi Province boasts one of the most dazzling landscapes in Ecuador. Every picture makes it seem like you are on the set of a movie. On a clear day, the vast Cotopaxi Volcano, which is the second-highest summit in Ecuador and arguably the highest active volcano in the world, can be seen. Its snow-capped peak contrasts against the blue sky and green landscape. Our favorite hostels, Cuscungo Cotopaxi Hostel and Secret Garden Cotopaxi offer hiking excursions to the Cotopaxi glacier and up Volcán Pasachoa. It also rents out mountain biking and offers plenty of hammocks for lounging in the peaceful surroundings. The alternative option for those not interested in scaling the volcano is to do a similar climb on the back of a horse. A pretty lengthy horseback ride will take you up the Ruminahui Mountain where you can get a closer look at the volcano. You can also visit the Cotopaxi Volcano as a day-trip from Quito. Or even better, spend a few days in this majestic region to view the volcanoes and hop on a train trip to the Devil’s Nose!

 

Cuyabeno National Reserve

When it comes to the ecological gems of the Amazon, the Cuyabeno National Reserve is the most popular spot for travelers. A diverse section of jungle, it is home to an incredible amount of flora and fauna. Over 450 species of fish and over 500 species of birds have been recorded here, including the hoatzin, one of the strangest birds of the Amazon forest – it looks kind of like a small, brown-and-white striped turkey, and the harpy eagle, the largest and most powerful bird of prey in the Americas.

There are several lodges and tour operators that offer you the chance to get up close and personal with these creatures, as well as an opportunity to observe the native communities that still make their home here. Plus there’s nothing quite like traveling by canoe, deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador,

 

Cuenca

Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site bursting with history and colonial-style architecture, including 52 churches, one for every Sunday of the year. Cuenca was the second largest city in the Incan empire before the Spanish arrived. Before the Incas, the city was inhabited by the Cañari, who arrived around 550 AD. Drop by one of the many museums and you can see both Incan and Cañari artifacts, as well as the remains of certain Incan and Cañari structures. It’s a must see for its colonial charm, easy-going vibe, and it’s delicious international fare. 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would rather not receive these updates, please and we will remove you from our list.

 

This email has been brought to you by:
Getaway Cruises n Tours
2063 Main Street PMB 513
925-679-8428

BILL

CST:2052490-50

All prices and sailings subject to availability.

 

Tailor Made Bolivia: Lake Titicaca & the Uyuni Salt Flats

Starting at: $4,295

 

 

Highlights of Peru with Peruvian Amazon and Galápagos Legend North and Central Cruise

Starting at: $7,921

 

 

 

 

Highlights of Peru with Galápagos Legend North and Central Cruise

Starting at: $6,827

 

 

 

 

Peru Explorer

Starting at: $4,999

 

 

Peru: From Lima to Lake Titicaca

Starting at: $2,799

 

 

Premium Peru in Depth with Ica Valley

Starting at: $6,498

 

 

Legacy Of The Incas

Starting at: $5,144

 

 

Peru Splendors With Peru's Amazon, Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Starting at: $4,888

 

 

Peru Splendors With Peru's Amazon

Starting at: $3,846

 

 

Peru Escape

Starting at: $1,572

 

 

12 Day Amazon Lodge & Machu Picchu Highlights

Starting at: $6,072

 

 

===================== CITY SPOTLIGHT

City of Cuzco

Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city.

 

Former capital city of the Incas, Cusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of the old Inca city became the foundation for the Spanish architecture you see today, and many of the stone walls that line the streets were built by the Incas. Earthquakes rocked Cusco in 1650, 1950, and 1986, and through each one, the Inca stonework on which later buildings were set survived, while the colonial and other buildings crumbled above. After each earthquake, Cusco rebuilt its churches and historical buildings.

 

Most tourists who come to Cusco head to Machu Picchu and the other nearby Inca centers, but it's well worth spending some time exploring the city itself to discover its many attractions. Most are around the Plaza de Armas and surrounding streets, which is where you'll also find restaurants, hotels, and shopping. Follow streets uphill from the northeast end of the Plaza de Armas into the stone-paved streets of the San Blas district. In this picturesque little neighborhood, you'll discover small shops and restaurants frequented by locals as well as visitors who prefer to stay in this quieter neighborhood with fine views over the entire city.

 

The church of Santo Domingo is built on the ruins of the famous Inca site of Coricancha, the Templo del Sol or Temple of the Sun. Coricancha (Q'orikancha in Quechua) means "golden courtyard," and its walls were once lined with sheets of solid gold. Statues and ornaments of gold decorated the interior and a large golden disc reflected the sun, casting a brilliant light on the temple. All this was stripped by the conquistadors soon after they arrived in Cusco, and most of the gold was melted down. All that remains today of the once glorious Coricancha is the fine Inca stonework, which forms the foundation of the church of Santo Domingo. From both inside and outside, you can see the impressive six-meter-high curved wall at one end of the church. Unlike much of the Spanish architecture, the Inca wall has withstood the major earthquakes that rocked Cusco in 1650, 1950, and 1986.

 

The massive fortified complex of Sacsayhuaman is the most significant ruin in Cusco, and is close enough to the historic center that you can walk there. Many tourists stop to see it on the way to Pisac. Sacsayhuaman is thought to have both military and religious significance. Cusco was designed in the shape of a puma, with Sacsayhuaman as the head. Three ramparts of zigzagging defense walls extend for almost 300 meters, forming the teeth of the puma.

 

Compania de Jesus, usually called La Compania, is a Jesuit church built in the 16th century. It was badly damaged by the 1650 earthquake but was rebuilt and finished in the late 1660s. La Compania was the source of considerable controversy when it was built, because its grandeur threatened to surpass that of the cathedral in the same square. The bishop of Cusco complained about the church's lavish design and the argument was finally brought to Pope Paul III to arbitrate. The Pope sided with the bishop, but by the time word of his decision reached Cusco, the Jesuits had almost completed La Compania. So the Pope's decision had little effect, and La Compania's impressively ornate Baroque façade still rivals the cathedral. It is particularly beautiful when illuminated at night. But even the ornate façade doesn't prepare you for the magnificent gold altarpiece studded with polychrome statues. La Compania is built on the foundations of the palace of Huayna Capac, the last ruler of the united Inca Empire, whose rule extended over much of present-day Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and southwestern Colombia.

 

The Plaza de Armas has been the heart of Cusco from the time of the Inca Empire, when the square was called Huacaypata or Aucaypata. The cathedral, on the northeast side of the Plaza de Armas is the main attraction, and you'll often find both locals and tourists relaxing on its steps. On one side of the cathedral is the church of Jesus Maria and on the other is El Triunfo. The southeastern side of the main square is dominated by the church of La Compania, which is easily mistaken for the cathedral because of its ornate façade. However, it is smaller and lacks the grand stairs in front. The other two sides of the Plaza de Armas are lined with colonial arcades. The center of the square is a place to rest on the benches and admire the gardens and fountain in the center as you watch daily life in Cusco. The plaza is especially lively and beautiful at night, with people strolling about and the buildings lit with spotlights

The best museum in Cusco for those interested in the Incas, Museo Inka is housed in the ornate 16th-century Spanish Admiral's House, a building worth the visit in its own right. The house, which belonged to Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado, was built on Inca foundations. It was damaged severely in both the 1650 and 1950 earthquakes but has been repaired and is one of the most impressive colonial houses in Cusco. The collections focus on the Incas, from the rise of their culture to the Conquest and its impact on Peruvian cultures. Displayed are ceramics, textiles, metal and gold work, jewelry, mummies, and skulls that show an early surgical method of trepanning. Especially interesting are the 450 carved and painted wood cups known as queros, the largest collection in the world. During the busiest tourist season, local weavers from the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco demonstrate and sell their impressive work in the courtyard.

 

The San Blas neighborhood rises on a hill to the northeast of the Plaza de Armas. The area is known for its cobbled, narrow streets filled with small art galleries and artisan workshops, as they have been since Inca times. This area comes to life in the evenings when the shops and restaurants open, but San Blas Plaza is lively all day on Saturday, when it is filled with colorful market stalls. At the end of the plaza is the adobe church of San Blas, from 1562, with an ornate gold Baroque altar and an exceptional pulpit carved from a single tree. Legend holds that the skull upon which the sculpture of St. Paul rests its foot is that of the pulpit's creator. A terrace above the plaza offers good views across the red-tile rooftops of Cusco.