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Image by Sebastian Tapia Huerta
 Ariodante Travel Luxury


The Spanish Conquistadors

The incredible saga of the Spanish Conquest of the Indies moved by the insatiable thirst for gold of the conquistadors.
The story of eradicated civilisations and how their traditions and culture manage to prevail. 



It all started in 1492 with a man many thought was crazy. A man that opened a new chapter in history when he sailed with 90 men on board of 3 ships and, 61 days later, discovered what will be called: the New World.

This is a tale of intrepid explorers that conquered a continent while destroying countless civilisations in their quest for gold. A story where legends and history blend to become an incredible journey of more than six months through Europe and Latin America, exploring archaeological and natural sites.

Cartagena - Colombia

Christopher Columbus forever changed the course of history when he discovered the New World in 1492. After him, many explorers went to America to conquer those new lands full of gold and other riches. We created this unimaginable Sabbatical to follow in the footsteps of Columbus and the Spanish Conquistadors.


Our several-month-long sabbatical started in Genoa with an apparently simple question: who was Christopher Columbus? During the next three weeks, we found out the question is all but simple as it had us embarking on a thrilling historical treasure hunt through Italy, Spain and Portugal to discover who Columbus really was, where was he from and even if Columbus was his real name. 


After a trip onboard a replica of Columbus’ caravel in Spain, we flew to the Bahamas and then Cuba. One by one, we explored the journeys of the most famous Spanish Conquistadors to discover the Pre-Columbian civilisations they eradicated, such as the Aztecs (and Mayas before them), Muiscas, Cambebas, Incas (and Tiwanakus before them) and meet with their descendants to explore the side of “the loser”, the one that usually gets obliterated when two cultures clash.


From Cuba to Mexico (and Guatemala), we explored the trips of Herman Cortez and Pedro de Alvarado. In Peru, we followed Francisco Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca Empire and the thirst for gold of Lope de Aguirre, the Madman of El Dorado. Diego de Almagro, explorer of Chile. Vasco Nuñes de Balboa and the discovery of the Pacific, Francisco de Orellana and his expedition to the Amazon River and many others.

Image by Danny van Dijk
Nao Victoria


For this sabbatical, we created several intertwined storylines to follow the most important conquistadors' journey and discover the civilisations they destroyed. To achieve this, we needed to bring several historians and archaeologists into our team to help us get everything right.

In Europe, we created a thrilling historical treasure hunt to discover the true origins of Columbus by confronting several conflicting theories and then gathering historical evidence to support them all.

In the Americas, we explored newly discovered archaeological sites in Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Colombia and created a gigantic expedition to search for El Dorado by using submarines to dive into the lakes of the legends. Finally, north of Colombia, we went on an underwater exploration to find the shipwreck of a 16th-century Spanish galleon that sank outside Cartagena.


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