Peru, Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands
If you had to pick just two places to visit in South America, there’s no doubt that a tour of Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands should be top of your list.
These two destinations are not only unique to South America, but also in the entire world. With the Galapagos featuring wildlife found nowhere else on Earth, and the marvel that is Machu Picchu perched atop a cloud forest-clad mountain, together they hold the promise of a life-changing vacation.
The tour, in addition to Machu Picchu, gives you the option to visit Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire as well as the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas. You can take a train to Machu Picchu or hike there, on the Inca Trail. In the Galapagos, the minimum cruise duration is 4 days, and this can be extended to 5 or 8 days. Or you can stay in a hotel on the Islands and explore from there – land-based.
Tip: Each cruise ship visits different islands, so if you have somewhere in particular on your Galapagos Islands bucket list, be sure and let us know!
All our Machu Picchu and Galapagos trips are fully customizable and can be personalized to fit your own needs and trip duration. The following sample itinerary suggests a 10-day vacation, but this can be extended as needed.
Sample Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Lima, Peru
We know that you’ll be tired from traveling, so we’ll meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Day 2: Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Today you fly from Lima over the Andes to arrive at the Inca capital of Cusco – 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, we’ll pick you up and take you to stay in the Sacred Valley, located at a lower and more manageable altitude to acclimatize. If there’s time, we’ll stop by the town and markets at Chincheros, before arriving at your hotel.
Day 3: Sacred Valley Tour
Today you’ll join a small group or private vehicle for a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, accompanied by a professional, English-speaking guide. You’ll have the chance to visit the markets at Pisac – the most famous in the Valley – with wares from local vendors, and if there’s time, the ruins above the town. With a lunch break included, you’ll also visit the village and ruins of Ollantaytambo – a special Inca fortress with a unique history … and the departing point for trains to Machu Picchu.
Day 4: Machu Picchu by train
You’ll catch a train to Machu Picchu, arriving in plenty of time to explore this staggering archeological and engineering masterpiece. After a guided tour you’ll have some time to enjoy the site at your leisure – walking to the Inca Bridge or the Sun Gate, taking more photos, or simply sitting in quiet contemplation. In the afternoon, you’ll catch a train back to Cusco.
Option: You can choose to spend an extra night in nearby Aguas Calientes, visiting Machu Picchu again the following day, or to climb the peak of Huayna Picchu.
Day 5: Cusco – Lima
In the morning, you’ll have some free time in Cusco to visit the Cathedral or Qoricancha (the Sun Temple). In the afternoon, we’ll take you to the airport for your flight to Lima.
Day 6: Lima – Guayaquil
You fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador for the second part of your unforgettable journey – the Galapagos Islands!
Day 7-10: Galapagos Islands Cruise
After a short flight, you arrive in the Galapagos Islands, whose legendary status in natural history needs little introduction.
You’ll be met and transferred to your ship to begin your next adventure – a 4 day cruise of the Galapagos Islands (can be extended to 5 or 8 days). You can choose between larger, more stable vessels that hold 90-100 passengers or smaller, more intimate yachts (16-20 passengers). We’ll help you choose the ship that suits your preferred traveling style.
Whatever your choice, you’ll have a comfortable cabin, excellent food throughout and, most importantly, a knowledgeable naturalist guide who will fascinate you with the Galapagos incredible history. Itineraries vary depending on the cruise ship but every day you’ll have two excursions – boarding a panga (motorized raft) to go ashore and walk with your guide through mangrove, cactus forest and beaches.
Typical cruises include:
- Walking in the highlands of Santa Cruz or San Cristobal with giant tortoises.
- Snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles, sharks, sea lions and Galapagos penguins.
- Watching sea lions rolling around alongside land and sea iguanas.
- Listening to your local expert guide tell strange stories of the early inhabitants of Floreana Island.
- Spotting flamingoes, albatross and the famous boobies.
Day 10: Final Day Galapagos – Home
After a morning excursion, you head back to the airport to fly to mainland Ecuador and then on to your connection home.
All our tours are customised and leave on any day. Please contact us for your own personalised tour program.