Feb. 3-25, 2013
Depart your hometown independently on a commercial flight to Orlando, Florida. Meet your fellow travelers and the expedition staff at a welcome dinner at our fine hotel.
The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Fly to Lima, once a thriving capital in Spain’s New World empire. Arrive in the evening, and enjoy a fine dinner at our hotel.
Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima
We take a local flight to Cusco, center of the Andean world for centuries. See the historic district where Spanish Baroque palaces, a beautiful cathedral, and the grand Plaza de Armas were built directly on foundations laid by the Incas. Marvel at the treasures of the Pre-Colombian Art Museum, where we will meet with master Andean weaver Nilda Callañaupa, who works with traditional weavers throughout Peru to preserve the rich textile arts of this country.
The next day, travel on the luxurious Hiram Bingham train through the spectacularly scenic Urubamba Valley to Machu Picchu. This sacred citadel was abandoned by the Incas, reclaimed by the jungle, and lost to history until it was rediscovered by the explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. Examine the artfully cut stone altars, temples, fountains, staircases, and terraced gardens that make this one of the world’s most extraordinary archaeological treasures.
Hotel Monasterio, Cusco
Alternate - Instead of visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu, head to Northern Peru to visit the temples of Chiclayo and Trujillo, where the richest burial chambers ever found in the Americas were discovered. See where the ancient Moche and Chimu peoples lived, including Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the world. Visit Huaca de la Luna and learn more about this extraordinary site at the National University of Trujillo Archeological Museum. At the Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipán, discover Peru’s ancient Mochica culture.
Costa Del Sol, Chiclayo; Libertador, Trujillo; and Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima
Fly more than 2,300 miles westward across the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island. Scattered with mysterious, colossal stone statues called moai, the island is an open-air museum of the ruins of a lost culture. Since the island was first seen by Europeans on Easter Sunday in 1722, it has been the subject of debate. How did its native people first arrive? What transpired over the centuries? What do the tall, brooding statues mean? Explore many parts of this island—a UNESCO World Heritage site—with renowned archaeologists Claudio Cristino, Edmundo Edwards, and Patricia Vargas, who will reveal the stories behind the moai, ceremonial centers, and petroglyphs.
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa
We continue our voyage across the Pacific, crossing the international date line. We lose a day en route and arrive in Samoa the following afternoon.
Samoa’s beautiful chain of volcanic islands enchanted Robert Louis Stevenson, who called it home and wrote many stories featuring its people, customs, and beliefs. Visit Vailima, Stevenson’s last home, now a museum restored to show the lavish comfort he and his wife enjoyed while they lived in this Polynesian paradise. During dinner at our hotel, enjoy a fia fia—a colorful performance of traditional dance and song.
Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa, Apia
We land in Cairns and transfer to Port Douglas, on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean. From here, venture out to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest known coral reef in the world and home to an exceptionally rich variety of marine life. Visit the northern reaches of the Reef where the fish and coral are the most diverse, to snorkel among the rainbow variety of corals with schools of triggerfish, unicornfish, bumphead parrot fish, and sea turtles.
Sea Temple Resort & Spa, Port Douglas
Alternate - Instead of exploring the Great Barrier Reef, discover the natural wonders of the world’s oldest rain forest—the Daintree—approximately 90 million years older than the Amazon rain forest. Go on a Dreamtime walk in Mossman Gorge with an Aboriginal guide, a member of the Kuku Yalanji group, to learn about his people’s legends and special relationship with this unique tropical environment.
Fly by private jet to Siem Reap, our base for a leisurely exploration of Angkor, the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire and home to one of humankind’s greatest architectural triumphs. Visit the stunningly beautiful Angkor Wat temple complex, and survey its massive towers, carved murals, colonnades, and courtyards that exemplify classic Khmer architecture. At Angkor Thom, explore the famous Bayon Temple and the Terrace of the Elephants; and wander among the ruins of Ta Prohm, still tangled in the thick roots of banyan trees. And, if you wish, you may visit the Kok Dong Primary School to meet local children and teachers. In the evening, enjoy a fine dinner at our historic luxury hotel and see a performance of classical Apsara dance by exquisitely costumed dancers who recall the celestial beings seen in the sculptures of Angkor Wat.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
Alternate - Instead of visiting Angkor Wat, travel by commercial air to Phnom Penh and spend the day exploring Cambodia’s recent history at the Tuol Sleng (Genocide) Museum and Choeung Ek, the infamous “killing fields.” You will also have the option to see Khmer dynasty treasures at the Royal Palace, or the National Museum of Cambodia, or wander the lively and labyrinthine Russian Market.
Return to Angkor in the afternoon of our third day in Cambodia and enjoy a fine dinner and Apsara performance with fellow travelers.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
Board our private jet and fly to Agra, India, site of the famous Taj Mahal. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned this astoundingly beautiful monument in the 17th century as a tribute to the memory of his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. A masterpiece of the Mughal Empire, the monument soars majestically above the banks of the Yamuna River. Wander this enchanting work of art, which incorporates and expands on Persian, Hindu, and Islamic styles. Admire the Taj Mahal’s lovely form among the reflecting pools and gardens that surround it, and examine its intricate mosaics made of precious stones.
Reboard our private jet and fly to Jaipur, the “Pink City,” named for the rose color of its prominent buildings that were painted for a citywide makeover to honor a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876. See the unique Palace of the Winds, an oasis for women of the court who discreetly observed palace activities from behind latticed windows. Visit the sumptuous City Palace and its museum to see royal artworks and artifacts, including exquisite robes, toys from the royal playroom, and antique weaponry. Explore the whimsical Jantar Mantar, an 18th-century observatory with enormous and sculptural astronomical tools. The next day, gather for a gala Rajasthani dinner and traditional entertainment.
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Depart India in the morning and fly by private jet to Tanzania, where no other country on Earth has more land devoted to national parks and game reserves. We land in Kilimanjaro International Airport, where you will transfer to private local aircraft to venture into one of two different areas of Tanzania.
Take a short flight to the Serengeti National Park, site of the most complex and least disturbed ecosystem on Earth. Begin your safari from the moment you land in the bush with a game drive en route to your lodgings. Later, venture deep into the southern edge of the park, where the annual migration is expected to pass during our visit, and be surrounded by the beauty of the land and the staggering concentration of animals. Africa’s densest “big cat” predator populations (lions, cheetahs, and leopards) thrive here. Wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, impala, and giraffe also abound, and although these animals are protected from human hunters, they may not be spared by the “big cats,” as we may witness while exploring this area.
Or descend into the Ngorongoro Crater to observe the permanent population of about 25,000 animals in the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Along with great herds of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra, you may also see the “big five” (rhinoceroses, lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo). Spend your nights here at a lodge perched on the crater’s rim.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Arrive in Luxor and head to the Luxor Museum to view its stunning collection of statues, bas-reliefs, and mummies.
Spend the next morning in the Valley of the Kings, where we visit the tombs of divine pharaohs, including King Tutankhamun. Stop at the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the longest reigning female pharaoh and one of history’s great leaders. See the Colossi of Memnon, two enormous statues that are all that remain of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, who commissioned many of the monuments and temples in Luxor. Visit Medinet Habu, the best-preserved mortuary temple in the area; and gaze up at colorful reliefs detailing the triumphs of Ramses III, often considered the last great pharaoh. Sail the Nile River in a felucca, a traditional sailboat.
Then visit the Great Hypostyle Hall and temples at Karnak, the largest ancient religious site in the world, described by the ancient Egyptians as “the most perfect of places.” In the evening, enjoy a gala dinner.
Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
On our last day in Egypt, we board our private jet and fly to Cairo. Transfer to Gîza to visit the Pyramid—including the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops). After a luncheon in view of the Sphinx, we reboard our private jet and continue on to Morocco.
Note: We expect to visit Egypt as planned; however, if for any reason we are not able to visit Egypt, we will instead visit the wondrous “lost city” of Petra in Jordan or another destination. In any case, we are prepared to ensure an extraordinary experience.
After seeing Gîza’s legendary monuments, we reboard our private jet and fly to Fez, Morocco. Founded in the ninth century, Fez is the most complete medieval Islamic city in the world and continues to be considered the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual capital of Morocco. Visit Fez-el-Bali, a colorful medina and the oldest part of town. Wander this UNESCO World Heritage site, a maze of narrow streets filled with fountains, restored medieval-period madrassas, and mosques, most notably the exquisite Kairouyine Mosque. Peruse the fine wares at bustling souks and hidden fondouks, where Morocco’s traditional arts and crafts flourish. Observe tanners, silk dyers, brass workers, and other skilled artisans who carry on with fascinating centuries-old traditions. Near the medina, at Fez el J’did, view the imposing gates of the Royal Palace that are covered with rich zellige tile work. Enjoy a farewell cocktail party followed by a fine meal of traditional Moroccan delicacies.
Palais Jamai Fes
In the morning, our private jet departs Morocco and returns to Orlando, Florida where we can enjoy a casual meal and a night’s rest before returning home.
Hyatt Regency International Airport, Orlando
Following breakfast, connect with your regularly scheduled commercial flight home.
Limited to 78 Travelers
Double Occupancy: $67,950
Single Supplement: $8,500
For your protection and peace of mind, all payments are secured in a bank escrow account that is fully insured by the U.S. Government.
Hotel Monasterio, Peru
Hotel Monasterio, Peru
Sea Temple Resort & Spa, Australia
Sea Temple Resort & Spa, Australia
Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Cambodia