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I have been designing trips to my home country of Ecuador for over 20 years. Traveling itself has always felt like magic to me: my mind is always on travel, but my heart is forever in the Galapagos as it never fails to surprise me.
Latin America Specialist
- from $9,471 PP
- 12 Nights
- Year round
- 12 hours from London / 7 hours New York
Visit Ecuador and Peru on this tour that brings you to two amazing world wonders: the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. It all starts in Peru’s capital city of Lima followed by a flight to Cusco where you’ll explore the Sacred Valley and hop on the famous glass-ceiling trail to visit the “Lost City” of Machu Picchu and its remarkable Inca ruins, including the Temple of the Sun, with an expert private guide. Traveling to Quito, Ecuador, you’ll catch a flight to the Galapagos where an elegant motor yacht waits to bring you on an island-hopping adventure, complete with a naturalist guide (top-level 3 certified). There will be daily excursions, including opportunities to snorkel and hike, evening lectures, and more. Of course, the highlight is coming face-to-face with animals like the Galapagos tortoise, sea lions, marine and land iguanas, fur seals, penguins, and blue-footed boobies.
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- Explore traditional villages, a farm with camelids and a weaving centre
- Discover ancient salt mines
- Visit Machu Picchu by train and explore with an expert guide
- Guided hike to the Sun Gate
- Sightseeing tour of Cusco and monuments in its surrounds
- Tour Quito’s UNESCO-listed historic centre
- Fly to the Galapagos, exploring Santa Cruz, Floreana and San Cristobal
- Snorkel with sea lions and other marine creatures
- Support local economies while discovering more of an authentic, local vibe
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Lima: Arrival into Peru
Your adventure begins with your arrival in Lima, the capital city of Peru. As South America’s unofficial gastronomic capital, if your flight doesn’t get in too late you might want to sample some of the mouth-watering cuisines. Some of the favorites include the national dish, ceviche, and Lomo Saltado, a beef stir fry made with classic Peruvian ingredients. If you’re up for experiencing the lively nightlife, you’ll find plenty of options to do just that or get a good night’s sleep, resting for your journey to the Sacred Valley tomorrow.
Day 2 Cusco: Camelids & Ancient Traditions
The private transfer brings you back to Lima’s airport for the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Along the way, a private guide will lead you on a tour of Awanacancha, a farm and weaving center that aims to keep the tradition of textile arts alive. It involves 14 local active communities, with weaving the primary activity in each one as it has been for centuries. You’ll see guanacos, vicunas, alpacas, and llamas, with the vicunas delicate and small, known for their wool that’s considered the finest of all four camelids. Afterward, visit Ollantaytambo, the oldest inhabited Inca town.
Day 3 Sacred Valley: Inca Villages & Salt Mines
A private guide brings you to the Sacred Valley where your exploits include visits to the Inca villages of Moray, Maras, and Chinchero, the latter of which rises 12,500 feet, providing fabulous Urubamba Mountain views. It hosts a popular market with an Inca wall bordering it featuring large niches that were once part of an Inca Palace, while an approximately 400-year-old adobe church rises above. At the ancient salt mines near Maras, saltwater springs flow from the hill, where you’ll see Inca-built terraces designed for capturing the water and harvesting the salt. Discover more in Maray, with its massive circular Inca agricultural terraces.
Day 4 Machu Picchu: Discover the Bucket-List Ruins
Early this morning, transfer to the train station, boarding the Vistadome to Aguas Calientes, a gateway to Machu Picchu. Constructed around 1450, abandoned only a century later during the Spanish conquest, an expert guide will lead you through the site that was forgotten for hundreds of years until historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered it on an archaeological expedition guided by local villagers. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, you’ll see classical Inca-style buildings like the Temple of the Sun in its Sacred District. Unwind with a cup of locally made coffee and then enjoy pampering treatments at the Unu Spa.
Day 5 Cusco: Machu Picchu Hike
This morning you’ll head back to the ruins on foot, hiking to the Sun Gate, Intipuku. Made up of a pair of large stones corresponding to the summer and winter solstices illuminated by sunbeams on those dates every year, they also provide stunning views of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. After the 2- to 3-hour trek, you’ll hop aboard the Vistadome train to Poroy Station where our driver will meet you for transfer to your hotel in Cusco, the Inca Empire’s ancient capital. This beautiful city was the epicenter of the famous Inca network of roads that linked all points in the empire.
Day 6 Cusco: Sightseeing Tour of Cusco, Qenqo, Puca Pucara & More
A guided half-day this morning will bring you to the sights of Cusco, including the Temple of Sun, Korikancha, the most important temple of the Inca Empire which provides a fine example of the Inca’s remarkable stonework. Marvel at the displays of priceless colonial art in the baroque-style 17th-century Cusco Cathedral and then visit monuments in the area that surrounds the city. That includes Sacsayhuaman, a fortress that was built using extraordinary measures with rocks from a quarry located nearby. Finish this memorable tour by visiting Puca Pucara, Qenqo, and the Inca bath of Tambomachay, where a ceremony for the water was held.
Day 7 Quito: Travel from Cusco to Quito via Lima
After discovering many of Cusco’s delights, it’s time to move on to Ecuador. A private transfer will bring you to the Cusco airport where you’ll catch your flight to Quito with a connection in Limo. Once you arrive at Quito airport, you’ll be welcomed to the capital city by our driver for transfer to your hotel in the UNESCO-listed historic center, one of Latin America’s most well-preserved old towns. The entire city, spread across an Andean valley surrounded by soaring volcanic peaks is enough to make your jaw drop, but the remarkable colonial buildings perfectly complement the striking natural beauty.
Day 8 Quito: Old Town Tour & a Stunning View over the City
Join a guided tour to see and learn about Quito’s most impressive buildings, gaining an understanding of why it was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover priceless colonial treasures and magnificent architecture, including San Francisco Church, as old as the city itself with its 16th-century architecture and museum of religious art that contains some 3,500 works. Marvel at the seven tons of glittering gold in La Compañía and visit the area’s bustling hub, Independence Plaza which hosts Quito’s cathedral and the Presidential Palace. The grand finale is a spectacular view of the city and surrounding mountains from Panecillo Hill.
Day 9 Baltra, Galapagos: Board Your Yacht & Visit El Chato Tortoise Reserve
Taking a private transfer back to Quito’s airport this morning, you’ll catch your flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos. Once there, our driver will be there to greet you for a private transfer to the yacht where you’ll begin your exploration of this unique archipelago. After getting settled in, you’ll enjoy an excursion to El Chato Tortoise Reserve to enjoy close encounters with giant tortoises roaming wild during the dry season. Avid birders will love it too as it’s a great spot to watch for Darwin’s finches, paint-billed crakes, Galapagos rails, yellow warblers, and occasionally short-eared owls.
Day 10 Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos: Dragon Hill & Beautiful Bachas Beach
Dragon Hill is your next destination, located on Santa Cruz Island. It’s filled with vegetation, including a forest of holy stick trees (bursaries), which is home to many different bird species like Galapagos doves, Darwin finches, and mockingbirds. By taking a walking trail that winds along a beach, you’ll reach the lagoon lookout where you can watch land iguanas, flamingos, and pintail ducks. This afternoon, visit Bachas Beach with a floating pier that’s one of the few remains of the presence of World War II in the archipelago. You might also spot sea turtles, Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs, flamingos, and other impressive birds.
Day 11 Floreana Island, Galapagos: Post Office Bay & Cormorant Point
This morning begins with a visit to Post Office Bay on Floreana Island. In the 1700s, whalers who passed through the islands placed a wooden barrel here that was used as a mailbox. Visitors have kept the tradition going by leaving addressed postcards in it and bringing back mail that was addressed to their home countries to have it delivered. Afterward, visit the large lagoon at Cormorant Point, best known for its flamingos although other birds like white-cheeked pintails and common stilts are also spotted. The colorful beaches here include a green stretch due to the sand’s high concentration of olivine crystals.
Day 12 Espanola Island, Galapagos: Suarez Point & Gardner Bay
Visit Suarez Point (Punta Suarez), known as one of the few places to see the rare waved albatross, an endemic species that only makes its home here, using the cliff to launch off. You’re also likely to see blue-footed boobies in large numbers, Nazca boobies, lava lizards, sea lions, and the unique red and green “Christmas” iguanas, while the famous blowhole that skyrockets water and provides a great photo-op. Later at Gardner Bay, the breeding site for nearly all 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses in the world, snorkel or watch the many sea lions on the pristine white sand beach.
Day 13 San Cristobal, Galapagos: The Interpretation Center & End of the journey
The final day of your trip brings you to the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal Island, which was opened in the late 1990s. It showcases displays on human and natural history as well as conservation aimed to represent the efforts made to protect the natural environment and wildlife by controlling the number of tourists and the population. Afterward, a shared transfer brings you to the island’s airport to catch a flight to Quito followed by a connecting flight home. If you’d prefer to extend your journey, our travel experts can help make it happen.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
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