A world-class team of experts will accompany each expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. Featured below are the experts that will be joining this expedition.
Discover lush rain forests, magnificent mountain ranges, lively cities, and the legacies of mighty civilizations as we explore Central and South America by private jet. From the mysterious temples of the ancient Maya to the alluring grace of Argentina’s tango, and from the thundering rush of Iguaçu Falls to the Caribbean charms of coastal Colombia, experience all the adventure, history, and romance that this diverse region of the world has to offer.
Arrive in Miami and meet experts, staff, and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at our stunning waterfront hotel.
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Fly by private jet to Flores, gateway to the Maya ruins of Tikal—a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tour this ancient city and climb its iconic monuments, including the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the Temple of the Masks. Or choose to visit the Maya ruins at Yaxjá, explore Flores’s colorful town center, or relax at our lakefront hotel. At a gala dinner, meet National Geographic grantee Richard Hansen, director of the Mirador Basin Project. The following day, opt to board a helicopter and fly deep into the jungle to the massive pre-classic Maya metropolis of El Mirador. Here, Dr. Hansen will guide us through his dig site, where researchers are uncovering the city’s elaborate architecture, intricate carvings, and royal burial chambers. Return to our hotel for an evening cruise along Lake Petén.
Camino Real Tikal
Land in Panama City and visit its charming historic center, called Casco Viejo. Then head to the Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Biodiversity to peruse its exhibits highlighting the impact of the Panamanian isthmus on the planet’s biodiversity. Cruise Gatún Lake to Barro Colorado Island for a special visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. For more than 90 years, scientists here have been conducting research on the island’s 115 mammal species, including monkeys, tapirs, and sloths. Barro Colorado is also the site of a National Geographic-supported project that tracks wildlife using wireless technology. Later, discover the ancient Spanish fort of San Lorenzo, a World Heritage site. On our last morning in Panama, board a private boat for a partial transit of the Panama Canal, followed by a birding excursion.
American Trade Hotel or similar
Upon arrival in Lima, set out by local air on one of three excursions. Fly to World Heritage-listed Cusco for a tour that includes the festive Plaza de Armas and the imposing Sacsayhuamán fortress perched above the city. Then travel by train to majestic Machu Picchu. Or journey to the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest commercially navigable lake. Cruise to the floating Uros islands, made entirely of reeds, and visit Taquile Island. Go hiking or biking between the quaint villages of the altiplano, or spot birds along the lakeshore with an expert guide. Alternatively, head to northern Peru to explore the temples of Trujillo and Chiclayo, which harbor some of the richest burial chambers in the Americas. See the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, enjoy a Paso horse exhibition, and explore the archaeological complex of El Brujo.
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas/Titilaka/Libertador Trujillo
Arrive in Rio and transfer to our hotel on Copacabana Beach; then choose from a variety of ways to discover the secrets of this sultry city. Experience colonial Rio on a walking tour; wander the mosaic sidewalk that lines Ipanema beach; get a taste for the city’s famed Carnival festivities during a visit to Samba City; or see Maracanã Stadium, one of soccer’s most famous venues. Take in spectacular panoramas of Guanabara Bay from the city’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, or ride a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. In the evenings, set out on your own to experience Rio’s legendary nightlife.
Belmond Copacabana Palace
Our jet brings us to Punta Arenas, Chile, where we’ll transfer by charter flight to Puerto Natales—gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Settle into the spectacular Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection set on the shores of Lago Sarmiento. During our stay, choose from a variety of ways to explore the surrounding glacier-carved landscapes, including hiking, biking, and horseback-riding excursions. See the staggering horns of the Paine massif, witness thundering waterfalls, and glide amid incandescent icebergs en route to the base of Grey glacier. National Geographic guests of the lodge are also invited to take an exclusive architecture tour of the property for an inside look at its award-winning design.
Fly to Buenos Aires and transfer to our hotel in the stylish Recoleta district. Head outside the city to Estancia Carabassa, and get a glimpse into the gaucho lifestyle during a horseback show and barbecue lunch. Weather permitting, opt to stay for a polo match; or return to the hotel for wine tasting with a sommelier. Spend the following day discovering the highlights of Buenos Aires. Stroll the diverse neighborhoods of the government district, including Plaza de Mayo and multi-colored La Boca. Alternatively, enjoy a private tour of the world-renowned Colón Theater, followed by a visit to Plaza San Martín. Gather in the evening for dinner and a tango performance.
Alvear Palace Hotel
Comprised of hundreds of cascades and spanning nearly two miles across the border of Brazil and Argentina, Iguaçu Falls is one of nature’s most dramatic aquatic displays. View this World Heritage site from every angle: a thrilling Zodiac ride that goes behind the falls, the nature paths on our hotel grounds, or soaring above the surrounding rain forest canopy in a helicopter.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
Cross the Equator en route to Colombia, and land in the Caribbean port of Cartagena. Surrounded by the most extensive fortifications in all of South America and brimming with stunning colonial architecture, this vibrant city was declared a World Heritage site in 1984. Ride a horse-drawn carriage tour through the cobblestone streets of its enchanting colonial center, and enjoy a walking tour of the area. Walk atop the city walls, stroll past multi-hued buildings with flower-draped balconies, and admire vibrant public art. Alternately, savor local flavors during a Cartagena culinary experience. Later, learn about the life and work of Colombian author and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, or take a coffee tour. Enjoy a cocktail cruise on the Caribbean at sunset.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
Our journey ends in Miami, where we’ll celebrate with a festive farewell dinner. The next day, connect with your commercial flight home.
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
This trip has an activity rating of light/moderate; travelers should be in good health; comfortable climbing stairs and walking or standing for extended periods; and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to historic or cultural sites, game drives, or nature walks, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking. A signed medical form from your doctor will be required for participation in certain activities, such as visiting high-altitude areas like Cusco (11,200 feet) and Lake Titicaca (12,500) in Peru. Alternative destinations or activities can be arranged if necessary. Any physical condition requiring special attention, diet, or treatment should be reported when booking so accommodations can be made.
We stay in world-class or best available hotels throughout the expedition.
A top-notch team of experts will accompany each expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life.
Our specially outfitted Boeing 757 is ideally suited for visiting many far-flung destinations in a single expedition, with its long-range capability and ability to land at smaller airports. We set our own schedules, flying direct and avoiding layovers, which allows us the freedom to make the most of our adventures on land.
Configured for only 75 travelers, our jet provides generous seating and allows for excellent access to experts and staff, who use an audio-visual system for informative briefings and lectures.
Our VIP-configured Boeing 757 private jet offers:
• 75 passenger seats in a special 2×2 configuration, instead of the standard 233 seats.
• Beautiful VIP-style leather seating with adjustable leg and headrests and a 45-degree recline. The seats feature special ecomfort™ foam that reduces pressure and stress.
• One of the highest crew-to-traveler ratios in the industry — 1 to 5.
• Spacious cabin with plenty of storage for personal items.
• Spotless and plush interior details.
• Our specially-trained flight crew — including three pilots, expedition chef, catering officer, eight flight attendants, two engineers, and a dedicated luggage handler.
• A dedicated expedition physician who accompanies the group on the jet and on land.
• Operation and maintenance by the award-winning TUI Airways, based in England and winner of the World’s Best Leisure Airline at the 2010 World Airline Awards.
• Audio-visual capabilities with 24 flat-screen monitors for onboard seminars and destination-specific movies and documentaries.
• iPads loaded with trip-related content for use during flights.
• In-seat power outlets and storage space for laptops, digital cameras, and other personal devices
On this expedition, we will stay in some of the world’s finest accommodations. Each one has been chosen for its fine amenities and prime location. In remote areas where choices are limited, we have selected the very best available accommodation to ensure your comfort. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.
Alvear Palace Hotel – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Located in the heart of the fashionable Recoleta neighborhood, Alvear Palace is the grand dame of Buenos Aires hotels. Sumptuous gathering areas are clad in marble, finished with gilded accents, and serviced by a staff of attentive butlers. Each spacious room is fitted with a work desk and lounge area and is equipped with Wi-Fi, a plasma TV, and DVD player. Property amenities include a selection of fine-dining choices and bars as well as a spa with fitness, pool, and wellness areas.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa – Patagonia, Chile
Built into the curve of a bluff along the shores of Lake Sarmiento and offering spectacular views of the Torres del Paine, Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa is a celebration of its stunning natural surroundings. The hotel was selected as a charter member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection and is a model of sustainable tourism, while also providing an exceptional guest experience. Suites have a two-story loft design with floor-to-ceiling windows; Superior rooms feature a large full bathroom; and Standard rooms offer a smaller bathroom. The lodge features a restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine, spacious lounge area with a fireplace, a bar, library, and state-of-the-art spa.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas – Iguaçu National Park, Brazil
The only hotel located in the Brazilian section of Iguaçu National Park, this Portuguese colonial residence is adjacent to the falls, allowing exclusive guest access when the park is closed to outside visitors. Guest rooms are decorated with artisanal fabrics and dark-wood furnishings, and shared spaces include a range of dining areas, as well as an outdoor pool, spa, and lush tropical gardens.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clare – Cartagena, Colombia
Blending colonial architecture with modern comforts, Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena offers spacious rooms, personalized service, and a tranquil spa. The building once served as the Cloister of the Poor Clare Sisters and still maintains historical elements, including crypts, wells, confessionals, paintings, doors, hidden windows, and ceramics. The on-site restaurant serves traditional cuisine infused with international flavors.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $7,895. Transportation by private Boeing 757 jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary, is included in the expedition cost. Airfare to/from Miami, Florida is not included in the expedition cost.
Our specially outfitted Boeing 757 is ideally suited for this extraordinary expedition. Its long-range capabilities and ability to land in smaller airports afford us unmatched flexibility. We set our own schedules, flying direct and avoiding layovers, which allows us the freedom to make the most of our adventures on land. Instead of the standard 233 seats, the jet’s interior has been customized and refitted to accommodate just 75 passengers in two-by-two, VIP-style leather seating.
For your protection, all payments are secured in a bank escrow account. See special terms and conditions for these expeditions.
A US Department of State travel advisory for Guatemala is currently in effect (travel.state.gov). We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will continue to closely monitor events in the region and will alter the itinerary if necessary.