Machu Picchu & Galapagos

This tour will take you to visit the enigmatic citadel Machu Picchu where you will enjoy his absolute and splendid beauty, then continues to Galapagos Islands where on board a cruise you will discover creatures that call the islands home, many found nowhere else in the world, act as if humans are nothing more than annoying paparazzi.

Trip Highlights

  • Best of Peru and Ecuador: Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.
  • The visit to Machu Picchu includes a train ride in superior class and lunch buffet in one of the best restaurants in town.
  • This program will show you our living cultures with which you will share their daily experiences.
  • Cruise to visit the Galapagos Islands.

Schedule by Day

  • Day 1 Lima
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Lima.
  • Day 2 Lima - City tour
    • Our guided visit to Lima allows you to see the Historical Center: Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop's Palace, the City Hall and old streets with colonial mansions and Moorish balconies. You will also visit the historic Santo Domingo Convent, an icon of colonial architecture. The tour goes all the way to modern district of San Isidro and Miraflores, where you’ll appreciate archaeological sites of sacred Inca structures and also, you will observe the Pacific Ocean coast from the vast seafront.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Lima.
    • Included: Breakfast.
  • Day 3 Lima – Cusco
    • Transfer to Lima airport.
    • Upon your arrival at the airport you will be transferred to your hotel.
    • Get to know the city of Cusco, an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and possessor of a style on its own. The tour begins at the Koricancha Temple, an old Incan palace and main center for the worship of the sun god, Inti. Once the Spanish conquered Peru, the Dominican order built a lovely church over top this temple’s foundations: the church of Santo Domingo that is still there today. Your next destination is the Main Square, and then the adventure continues at the Sacsayhuaman Fortress built of enormous stone blocks expertly shaped by the Incas. It is strategically located at the top of a hill overlooking Cusco. What a view of the city! The tour continues with visits to three archeological sites: “Qenko, Puca-Pucara, and Tambomachay”, important religious and administrative centers for the Incas. Finally you will visit an art workshop named “Inkas Expression” that presents artists working on silver pieces and painting in wood. This is an ideal place for the ones who like andean art.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Cusco.
    • Included: Breakfast.
  • Day 4 Cusco – Sacred Valley
    • Discover the best of the Sacred Valley of the Incas through this route starting on the Inca's Balcony, a beautiful terrace with an impressive view of Chinchero, where twelve families still preserve their traditional costums, showing you the ancestral way in which they process the wool, and obtain those vivid colors for their textiles. Afterwards, you will get to Ollantaytambo, one of the most monumental architectural complexes of the ancient Inca Empire, and one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle. Very well known for its “andenes” (terraces dug into the slopes of mountains for agricultural purposes), Ollantaytambo was a highly effective fortress, that also served as a temple. Then, you will continue to the town of Ollantaytambo, “the unique living Inca town”: the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been continuously inhabited since the 13th century.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Sacred Valley.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch.
  • Day 5 Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
    • Transfer to Ollantaytambo train station to take the train ride to Machu Picchu.
    • You will arrive to Aguas Calientes station in Machu Picchu town and then you will be transported by bus to Machu Picchu citadel, one of the most renowned examples of the Inca’s architecture, surrounded by an amazing landscape of lush forest. Lost in history, Machu Picchu was not discovered until 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, but was built in the middle of XV century. The name of the citadel comes from the Quechua language that means “Old Mountain” and apparently was the principal Inca’s Sanctuary.
    • At appropriate time you will enjoy a buffet lunch at a local restaurant in town.
    • Train ride back to Cusco and transfer to the selected hotel
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Cusco.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch.
  • Day 6 Cusco – Lima - Quito
    • Transfer from the hotel to the airport to take your flight to Quito via Lima.
    • Upon arrival reception at the airport and transfer to the hotel.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Quito.
    • Included: Breakfast.
  • Day 7 Quito - City tour
    • Today you will do a 4 hours visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The visit starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. (16 miles) North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Quito.
    • Included: Breakfast.
  • Day 8 Quito – Galapagos Islands
    • Transfer from the hotel to the airport to take the plane to Galapagos.
    • Arrival by plane to San Cristóbal Island and transfer to the M/V Santa Cruz, anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital of the Galápagos Islands. Cabin assignment and lunch. After lunch, introductory talk.
    • Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island).
    • In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Pitt Point is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets.
    • Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island).
    • In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Pitt Point is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets. Expedition plan for Sunday and dinner.
    • Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise at Islas Galapagos.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Day 9 Galapagos Islands
    • Santa Fe Island.
    • After breakfast, a wet landing on a sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right of “Beach Master”, while smaller males masquerading as females make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name with tree-sized trunks! The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Snorkeling and swimming from the beach rounds off the rewarding experience, or if guests prefer, the glass bottom boat for non-snorkelers. Lunch on board.
    • South Plaza Island.
    • Disembark (dry landing) in the channel between North and South Plaza Islands, where the island tilts toward the water, the approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange ‘Sally Lightfoot’ crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide playing with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island. Expedition plan for Monday and dinner.
    • Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise at Islas Galapagos.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Day 10 Galapagos Islands
    • In the morning, you will disembark (dry landing) for your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following your visit, you will board a transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
    • Santa Cruz Island.
    • You will have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader:
    • 1. Trek along trails amid miconia forest in the highlands, home to many elusive birds including the dark-rumped petrel.
    • 2. Mountain bike (mostly downhill) to Garrapatero Beach.
    • 3. Sea kayak and relax on a beautiful, sandy beach.
    • 4. Experience sustainable agriculture in an organic coffee plantation. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the M/V Santa Cruz.
    • Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise at Islas Galapagos.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Day 11 Galapagos Islands
    • Punta Suarez
    • Morning outing at Punta Suárez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls as well as a view of the Galápagos famous “blow-hole”. Among its land birds, the Hood island mockingbird, Galápagos hawks, Galápagos doves and three species of Darwin’s finches are common highlights. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.
    • Española Island
    • In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) at a white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach.
    • Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise at Islas Galapagos.
    • Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Day 12 Galapagos Islands - Quitos
    • Baltra Island.
    • Disembark at Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Quito.
    • Reception at the airport and transfer to the hotel.
    • Overnight at selected hotel at Quito.
    • Included: Breakfast.
  • Day 13 Quito
    • Transfer to the airport for your international flight back home.

Accommodation

  • 2 nights of accommodation in Lima at selected hotel.
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Cusco at selected hotel.
  • 1 night of accommodation in Sacred Valley at selected hotel.
  • 1 night of accommodation in Machu Picchu at selected hotel.
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Quito.
  • 4 nights on board at Santa Cruz Cruise.

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