One of the best tours in our roster and in the whole American continent. We have combined the ancient culture of the Inca Empire with the unique experience of sailing the islands of the Galapagos Archipelago. Visit Inca fortresses and temples, admire Andean paintings, meet with local artists in their ateliers, roam around colorful Indian markets, stay in colonial hotels, in monasteries, at the foot of fabled Machu Picchu, snorkel with penguins, sunbathe with sea lions and marine iguanas….
Arrival in Peru's capital city (Lima) After clearing customs and immigration, proceed to the reception area, where our local representative will be holding a board with your name on it. You will be greeted with a “Bienvenidos a Lima” and transferred to your hotel. The Miraflores and San Isidro districts offer excellent restaurants and nightlife options. We recommend you check with the concierge for expert advice on dining venues and nightlife.
On to the ancient Inca capital (Cusco) We get up early to catch a morning flight to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. Upon arrival, a representative will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. You will be greeted with a welcome coca tea (excellent for acclimation) and showed to your room, where we suggest you rest for a few hours. This afternoon we depart on a guided tour of Cusco and the ruins that surround the city including the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the baths of Tambomachay and the ritual sites of Kenko and Puca Pucara. In the city we will visit the cathedral, the Santo Domingo Monastery and other ornate buildings constructed in the most genuine Baroque and Renaissance style. As you visit the different sites, you will be introduced to the interesting history of this amazing city and learn about the Inca way of life and the evolution of the cultural scene after the arrival of the Spaniards. The rest of the day is free to continue exploring the town at your own pace, peruse the local handicraft shops in the San Blas District, or rub elbows with the locals around a pisco sour. (B)
Indigenous Markets and Inca Fortresses (Cusco) This morning depart for the Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, one of the most fertile on the planet. In the heart of the valley, you will stop at an ancient Inca town where locals have been gathering for centuries to barter their products in the central plaza: Pisac. Spend two hours visiting the market, bargaining for Peruvian handicrafts and jewelry and watching the locals barter beans and corn and other produce in their native Quechua language. Then take a short break to sip an Inca Cola with the natives in a bar and immediately depart for Ollantaytambo, a huge fortress strategically located at the entrance of the valley, where the Inca Ollanta was able to stop the Spanish conquistadores in a celebrated battle. As many other Inca remains, Ollanta is both magical and mysterious with its legends and converging energies floating in the air. After touring the ancient village and fortress, return to Cusco for overnight accommodations. (B,L)
In search of the Lost City (Machu Picchu) Early morning departure transfer for the train station, where we board the train bounded for the Lost City of the Incas. You will ride along a flat patched landscape of vegetable orchards and cereal harvests. After dropping off the adventure hikers at km 104, enter the semi-tropical jungle that forms the natural threshold of Machu Picchu. The train ascends into the mountains guided by the Urubamba River, until reaching a small village set in a narrow valley flanked by precipitous peaks, in a landscape of impossible beauty. Machu Picchu, the last refuge of the Inca Virgins of the Sun, the private retreat of the Inca Pachacutec, the lost city found by Hiram Bingham, sits on the saddle of a mountain overlooking the deep canyon. It is time to discover. (B,L,D)
Visit the citadel. Then return to Cusco by train (Cusco) Rising early you will visit the citadel before the hordes of tourists arrive. Then it is free time until the afternoon train departure. Our guide suggests climbing up Huaynu Picchu (the other mountain), visit the Temple of the Moon and the fabulous Inca Bridge or relaxing in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes. Tonight you will overnight in Cusco. (B)
Moving on to Ecuador (Quito) Today leave the land of the Incas in search of new adventures in the neighboring Ecuador. You will be in Quito by the late afternoon, with plenty of time to rest and scout your surroundings. Our local representative will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel and inform you of your program while in Ecuador. (B)
Colonial and Amerindian Art at its best (Quito) In the company of our local guide, set out for a unique visit to Quito’s most precious treasures. The first stop is the recently revamped colonial district, the largest and most beautiful in Latin America. The old quarter is a rich mixture of architectural styles and decorative arts that transports visitors back to the time of the colonies. In the company of our knowledgeable guide we stroll around the quarter, learning about the fascinating history of Ecuador, admiring the rich colonial architecture and paying visits to two of the best representatives of Baroque art in the Americas: La Compañia Church and the Monastery of San Francisco. Later transfer to the Equatorial Monument, which marks the exact middle of the world, where you can stay with one foot in each hemisphere. Also visit the onsite museum, which showcases the different indigenous groups that live in Ecuador. Return to Quito in the late afternoon. Lunch at the Equatorial Monument included. (B,L)
At leisure (Quito) Free day to enjoy the Ecuadorian capital city on your own. Optional tours (at extra cost) include excursions to traditional Indian markets, visits to national parks, rafting, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and birdwatching. (B)
The enchanting Galapagos: Bartholomew (Galapagos) Early this morning a representative transfers us to the airport in time for the two-hour flight to Galapagos. This incredible archipelago is made up of 13 large islands, six smaller ones, and over 40 islets. Its wonders span from the most varied and incredible geological formations, lava flows, blowholes, spatter cones and lava tunnels, to beaches of olive, black, or white sand and the most diverse species of plant life. However the most surprising sight for visitors is perhaps the varied species of animals which inspired Charles Darwin on his visit in 1835: Sea lions, penguins, tortoises, iguanas, several species of marine birds, many of them endemic, and a rich underwater fauna. This afternoon we set sail and begin our explorations with a dry landing at Bartholomew Island. Arriving at this island seems as if you were walking on the moon, the volcanic formations on this island including lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. There is a steep hike to the summit aided by wooden steps, from where you will have an impressive view of the archipelago, including Pinnacle Rock, an eroded tuff cone. On your way to the top admire a large colony of marine iguanas and lava lizards. Later on you may go snorkeling with the possibility of spotting Galapagos penguins, marine tortoises (January through March) and white-tipped sharks. (B,L,D)
Fernandina and Isabela (Galapagos) Today we arrive in Fernandina Island with its black volcanic rocks draped with hundreds of marine iguanas. We disembark at Punta Espinoza where we can observe sea lions dash in and out of the inlets and flightless cormorants walk tipsily along the beaches, joining pelicans and penguins. Later we continue our journey to Isabela, the largest island in Galapagos accounting for half of the total landmass of the archipelago. In Isabela we visit Tagus Cove, a protected natural harbor where centuries ago whalers safely spent the night. Isabela is famous for its large colonies of penguins, Galapagos hawks, frigate birds, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sea turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, white tipped sharks, Galapagos sharks, eels, groupers and snappers. (B,L,D)
Isabela Island (Galapagos) After cruising through the Bolivar Channel for a possible observation of whales and dolphins, we board a dinghy and disembark at Moreno Point (dry landing). Here we take a medium-length walk in search of giant tortoises, brightly colored land iguanas, flamingos and oystercatchers. Later we can swim and snorkel where you can spot hammerhead sharks, white tipped sharks, Galapagos sharks, eels, groupers and snappers. Return on board for lunch. In the afternoon visit Urbina Bay (wet landing), a nesting site for the Brown Pelican and the Flightless Cormorant. (B,L,D)
Santa Cruz Island (Galapagos) Santa Cruz is the second largest island of the archipelago, colonized in the 1920's. We will spend a full day in the island. In the morning enjoy a hike in the lush scenery of the Santa Cruz highlands, where occasionally it is possible to see giant tortoises grazing in the pastures of local farms. Lunch at a typical restaurant. In the afternoon, we will pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station where we can see giant tortoises in captivity and learn about the importance of this station for the survival of the archipelago. Later we will have free time to enjoy the small town of Puerto Ayora and maybe do some shopping. (B,L,D)
Back in the continent (Quito) Our Galapagos odyssey concludes this afternoon, after a morning excursion to Bachas, a lovely beach infested with sea lions and marine iguanas. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the continent. Back in Quito, you have a last opportunity to wander those ancient cobblestone streets and dine on Andean fare. Overnight (B,L)
Depart Ecuador Today our local representative will be transferring you to the airport in time for your departing flight. We wish you a pleasant trip back home and hope to enjoy your company in another exciting adventure very soon. (B)
*Note on itinerary:
Cruise itinerary shown corresponds to MV Legend. Please note that itineraries including other boats may include slight adjustments to accommodate cruise departure dates.
From: $6,700 per person in double occupancy
Departure: Daily year round depending on cruise schedules
Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights
Special departures: We also run this program in 12 and 16-night itineraries using different boats. Please contact us for itineraries and rates.
Type of services: Private services with bilingual guides. Excursions in Galapagos are operated in small groups.
Highlights: Cusco, the ancient Inca Capital; bargaining in Pisac Market; the train ride to Machu Picchu; the Ecuadorian highlands; cruising in Galapagos Archipelago.
Travel documents: American, Canadian and European Union citizens only need a valid passport for stays of up to 30 days.
Inclusions: All ground transportation at the destination; lodging, meals and tours per itinerary; hotel taxes; English-speaking assistance.
Not included: International and/or domestic airfares; airport departure taxes; Galapagos National Park Fee (aprox $100 per person); tips of any kind; incidentals at hotels; any meals not included in the itinerary; alcoholic beverages; souvenirs.
It is the travelers responsibility to have all proper travel documents which can include passports and foreign visas. Learn more here: Passport & Visa Information
Travel Insurance is highly recommended to protect your travel investment and for any emergencies that could occur while traveling. Learn more here: Travel Insurance
All rates are “From Prices”
and correspond to the lowest season in the year.
Expect moderate to high increases for high season
and holiday periods. Low season dates vary from
destination to destination. Please inquire for details.
All rates on this website are per person and based
on double occupancy, unless otherwise indicated.
If a hotel included in a program is not available
at the time of the reservation, we will substitute
it for a hotel of similar category.
Room and cabin upgrades are available at most hotels
and cruises. Please inquire at the time of reservation.
Most programs can be customized.
All itineraries are subject to change without notice.