When you arrive in Lima, you will be met by one of our representatives, and taken to your hotel for a nights rest.
From Lima, fly to Cusco, and travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Along the way you will visit the village and ruins of Pisac. After exploring the ruins you will visit the colorful Pisac market where you'll be able to trade with locals for a variety of handicrafts, including woolen alpaca sweaters and ponchos. Lunch will be served in Urubamba, followed by a tour of the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Set off with your guide for Ollantaytambo where you will depart for a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley, into the lost fortress of Machu Picchu. Watch out your window as the barren mountains grow lush
Upon arrival at Machu Picchu Station in Aguas Calientes, you'll be escorted by your guide to the 25-minute 'zig-zag' shuttle bus up the mountain to the ruins. Explore the walls, stairways, temples and terraces of Machu Picchu with intriguing and detailed information from your private guide. After a buffet lunch served at the Sanctuary Lodge, you'll be free to explore this enchanting place on your own. Take a walk to the Sun Gate, or the Inca bridge, and continue to take in the majesty of the ruins.
After exploring you will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes to your hotel, or walk to the Sanctuary Lodge if you are staying there.
In the morning you are free to visit the ruins again. Optional activities include the hike up to the Sun Gate or the climb of Huayna Picchu, a daring yet rewarding hike that will test your head for heights. Or for a slightly more tame hike, (yet just as challenging!) you can climb up Machu Picchu Mountain for some of the best views of the ruins.
In the afternoon, return to the Machu Picchu train station for departure to Cusco. From the Cusco train station, you will be transferred to your hotel in the center of the vibrant and historical city of Cusco.
You will be picked up by your guide from your hotel and set off on a half day tour of Cusco and the nearby Inca ruins. Cusco, the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent, was the capital of the Inca Empire and is considered by many Quechua peoples to be the spiritual center of the world.
Today you will fly to Quito, Ecuador, a city tucked in the highlands, surrounded by volcanoes. Quito is a UNESCO world heritage known for its historic architecture and beautiful scenery.
This morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to the legendary Galapagos Islands. For the next 5 days you will hop island to island experiencing wildlife like you never have before in luxurious and exclusive style. With an island full of turtles, birds, seals and other animals, you are sure to have once-in-a-lifetime sightings throughout your cruise.
PM – Ballena Bay / Edén Islet (Santa Cruz)
Whale Bay is a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals of volcanic origin. The crystals were formed when the magma was still underground. The content is magnesium, iron and silica. A small population of tortoises from Pinzón Island lived at the site, but were probably taken by whalers or previous inhabitants. Opportunity to see marine iguanas and sea birds followed by snorkeling.
AM - Espinosa Point (Fernandina)
At Espinosa Point, you will find the largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk.
PM - Tagus Cove (Isabela)
The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. You will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm. tall; You will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
AM - Vicente Roca Point
Thanks to its location at one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth (Bolivar Channel between Isabela and Fernandina Island), Vicente Roca offers really good opportunities to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds as well as a wide variety of marine life.
PM - Urbina Bay
Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Here, you find giant tortoises, land iguanas and the unusual Flightless Cormorant, sea turtles, sea lions and countless tropical fish. . You will explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo Volcano.
AM - Egas Port
The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron and astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks. Snorkeling here offers rarities such as octopus or squid.
Wet landing. This visitor site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island, and of important geologic interest, features extensive lava flows believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th-century.
AM - El Chato (Santa Cruz Island)
You will reach the Santa Cruz highlands and visit a private farm, Primicias (El Chato), where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat. The road to the reserve is one of the best places to observe land birds. Tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers and Cattle Egrets inhabit the area.
Afterward you will transfer to the airport for your return flight to the mainland. Connect with your international flight home. For morning flights you will spend the night in Quito or Guayaquil.
The experience in the country of Ecuador was memorable and challenging. The trip to the Galapagos went extremely well. The care and service on the boat were exemplary.
We had a wonderful time on out recent vacation with our travel agency to Peru and Ecuador. The Sacred Valley is amazing. The most memorable part of our trip was the time we spent in the Galapagos. Our South America travel agency made sure we were taken care of and had a wonderful trip.
We went to Peru with a group of 16. Our travel designers did a fantastic job keeping our group together and entertained. All of the accommodations were excellent, guides were great, tours were interesting.
When is the best time to go?
Peru and the Galapagos can be enjoyed all year round, however Peru has a rainy season that goes from early December to late March. The Galapagos gets a little cooler from June to November, and the ocean gets a little more turbulent. So the best time to plan a trip to both of these destinations would be either in December (around the holidays) or anywhere from May to July.
Galapagos - Cruise or Hotel?
There are pros and cons to both options.
Cruise itineraries will reach islands too far to reach on day trips from hotels on Santa Cruz Island. So on a cruise you may visits islands (with endemic wildlife) not possible from a hotel.
Considering you do most of your movement while you are sleeping or during downtime, traveling by yacht or catamaran allows you to maximize your daylight hours exploring the islands. At a hotel, you will need to spend a portion of your day traveling to a neighboring island.
Some lodges offer a combination of island-based day excursions and island-hopping programs that spend nights at lodges on other islands, such as Isabela and Floreana.
From hotels you have more spacious rooms and activities not possible on a cruise, such as bicycling, beachcombing or exploring the town of Puerto Ayora. This is in stark contrast to being onboard a boat with limited space.
Cost – many, but not all, hotel packages are less-expensive than cruise packages of the same length.
For those who are prone to sea sickness; a lodge may be the way to go. It doesn’t matter how many islands you visit on a cruise, if you are not able to leave the bathroom of your cabin.
Hotel programs offer any-day arrival and departure. Cruises depart on a set-day schedule.
Some folks just prefer cruises. Traveling by boat will give your experience a sense of romance and adventure that is unparalleled by the hotel counterpart.
Galapagos cruise - what size boat is best?
Yacht, mid-sized boat, large cruise ship. There are advantages to all.
Small yachts offer a more intimate experience, but lack amenities such as deck space and open dining room facilities. On smaller yachts all passengers will eat meals together in a more confined space. However, there is nothing quite like being on a 16-passenger catamaran gazing at the night sky, feeling the steady rhythm of the ocean around you.
Large 90+ passenger cruise ships offer plenty of amenities such as ample deck space, swimming pools, large dining rooms, libraries, more (and roomier) cabins types. But you may lose the sense of open-water sailing.
Mid-sized vessels (36-48 passengers) offer the best of both with added deck space, swimming pools, spacious dining rooms, choice of roomier cabins. But not so large you feel like you’re cruising the Caribbean.
Can I make changes to the itinerary?
Certainly. This itinerary is only a suggestion. We work with a wide selection of hotels and offer a menu of optional excursions in each city. Your trip can be organized around your travel dates. The number of days and nights can be extended. For the Galapagos portion you can choose between a hotel-based package or a cruise. For cruises you can choose between various ships, length of cruise, etc.
Can we hike to Machu Picchu instead of taking the train?
Yes. We offer a full-day hike from Km. 104 to Machu Picchu along the last sections of the Inca Trail. With extra days we offer several multi-day treks along the legendary Inca Trail as well as other trails.
The price is based on 2 travelers. The published price may reduce with parties of 3 or more.