- Cruise the Galapagos for 5 days
- Stay in a Sacred Valley mountain lodge
- Enjoy a private tour of Machu Picchu
- Participate in a Pachamanca Ceremony
An itinerary that combines two of Latin America’s most iconic destinations: Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.
Wind your way through ancient Inca streets and temples in Machu Picchu Peru before heading out to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
From sandy sunbathing sea lions to dancing Blue Footed boobies, and colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs scrambling over volcanic rocks, the Galapagos is a sight to behold.
Contact us to create your custom made itinerary that fits YOUR schedule, budget and interests.
- TRIP LENGTH12 days
- STARTING AT$4,990 per person
- DEPARTURE DATESEvery Wednesday
- Local Andean Discovery guides
- 4-night / 5-day Galapagos wildlife cruise
- Accommodations based on double occupancy
- All activities per itinerary
- Airport transfers in private vehicle
- Most meals
- Andean Discovery U.S. and South American staff assistance from start to finish
- International airfare to and from South America
- $120 per person Galapagos park fees
- Travel insurance (available upon request)
Often referred to as the economic engine of the country, Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador and the nation’s most important port. Upon arrival in Guayaquil, Andean Discovery staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Overnight: Guayaquil Wyndham Hotel
Note: Superior lodging is listed. Please contact us for information about Standard lodging.
After breakfast, an Andean Discovery staff member will transfer you to the airport for your morning flight to San Cristóbal Island. The easternmost and one of the oldest islands, San Cristobal is known as the capital of the Galapagos. The first stop this afternoon is the Interpretation Center, where you will have an overview of the human and natural history of the Galapagos Islands. Learn about the volcanic origins of the archipelago, the islands’ first settlers, and ongoing conservations efforts. Continue on a walk through the coastal zone to Tijeretas Bay, where it is possible to observe both species of Frigate Birds, Magnificent and Great, in the same bird colony. Return to Mann Beach and observe playful sea lions make their way to shore.
Board the Galapagos Legend and get settled into your home for the next four nights. You can explore the five decks, swimming pool, library, and exercise room.
Overnight: Galapagos Legend (B,L,D)
Morning: Gardner Bay, Gardner & Osborn islets
A colony of sea lions will greet you as you land on a white coral beach. Here, there are no trails, which makes it perfect for relaxing and spotting wildlife from the shore. Birders can look for Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers and three species of Darwin’s finches. Grab a snorkel to meet a variety of marine life: king angelfish, Creole fish, damselfish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.
Afternoon: Suárez Point
Suarez Point will offer a host of photographic opportunities with its magnificent blowhole and beautiful volcanic geography. The area is famous for blue-footed boobies and albatrosses. You will see more sea lions and seabirds including Española mockingbird and the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird. You may also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs. A vigorous hike will bring you among the nesting grounds of Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies. This island also hosts the breeding site of nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses, which is especially exciting during mating season
Overnight: Galapagos Legend (B, L, D)
Morning: Post Office Bay
In the 18th century, sailors passing through Floreana Island would use a wooden barrel as informal post office to send and take letters with them to their destinations. You can continue the 1793 tradition, started by Captain James Colnett, by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel and sorting through left mail to deliver at home. It may take weeks, months, even years to receive your letter or it might even beat you home.
Post Office Bay provides the chance to snorkel with green pacific sea turtles and playful sea lions. Also enjoy the island’s famous endemic vegetation including scalesia villosa, lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort.
Afternoon: Cormorant Point, Devil’s Crown, Champion Islet
You will know you’ve reached Coromorant Point because of the unusual “Green Beach” caused by olivine crystals in the sand. We hike from the black mangrove beds to one of the largest flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. The trail continues to a white coral beach, which is also an important Green Pacific Sea Turtle nesting site. Watch your step, as stingrays often hide in the sand. From the beach, one can spot blue-footed Boobies diving into the water and small reef sharks scavenging for food. “Four Sand Beach” marks the end of our trail, and we head back to our landing point. Watch for the residential colony of penguins that occasionally make an appearance.
Overnight: Galapagos Legend (B, L, D)
Morning: Santa Cruz Highlands
From Puerto Ayora, you will take a 45-minute bus ride to the lush, green Santa Cruz highlands, a striking contrast to the dry, lower islands. The highlands house a natural reserve with giant Galapagos tortoises that can weigh between 500 and 600 pounds and can live up to 150-200 years. Approaching these enormous and slow-moving reptiles in their natural habitat is a highlight of any Galapagos trip. For another surreal experience, you can walk through a half-mile of underground lava tubes.
Afternoon: Charles Darwin Research Station
This afternoon enjoy a guided visit of the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you will learn about current scientific research and their mission to ensure the conservation of the Galapagos Archipelago. Learn about the Station’s tortoise breeding and rearing center. Observe how tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. You can also wander around a prickly-pear cactus forest and find a variety of Darwin’s finches and other land birds. You will have some free time this afternoon to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Overnight: Galapagos Legend (B, L, D)
After waking up for your final morning on the boat, you will circumnavigate the islet of Daphne. Most tourists are restricted from visiting these islands but from the boat, you can admire the eroded tuff cone formation created by successive volcanic activity. Researchers are also interested in these islands because of the large variety of birds: Darwin’s finches, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls and Brown Noddies.
Afterwards, you will be transported to the airport for your flight to Lima via Guayaquil. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met by Andean Discovery staff and transferred to your hotel, conveniently located just steps from the Lima airport.
Overnight: Lima Airport Wyndham (B)
The capital of the Inca Empire awaits! This morning, Andean Discovery staff will assist with your check-in for the spectacular one-hour flight over the Andes Mountains to Cusco. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your local Andean Discovery guide and driver and begin the journey toward the Sacred Valley. Extending from Cusco to the intriguing 15th-century city of Machu Picchu and surrounded by the Andes, the Sacred Valley is home to archeological sites and small towns alike. Prepare to experience this balance of what was and what is—ancient civilization and modern life.
The first stop is Sacsayhuaman, featuring some of the largest and most impressive stonework of the Incas. Marvel at the massive limestone boulders and ponder how the Incas transported, carved, and meticulously positioned the stones so that not even a sheet of paper fit between them. Next, visit a Quechua community and participate in a ceremonial offering to Mother Earth. Learn about the important role of weaving in Peruvian culture before continuing your descent into the Sacred Valley. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a private estate and peruse its fine collection of Inca and colonial artifacts. Later this afternoon, you’ll check in to your room at an Andean paradise with fragrant gardens and mountain views.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Lodge and Spa (B, L, D)
This morning. head to Moray, an important Inca ruins site whose multi-terraced architecture made it an advanced bio-agricultural laboratory in its time. The changes in altitude between levels allowed for experimentation with different conditions, and ultimately allowed the Inca to perfect their farming techniques.
We’ll then visit a rural Quechua village and participate in a Pachamanca ceremony with community members. This revered tradition pays homage to Mother Earth by cooking meats and produce in a baking hole underground using heat from stones that have been left in the fire. Enjoy delicious local potatoes, lamb, chicken, corn, beans, and cheese, and learn about how this custom celebrates the fertility of the earth. After lunch, we head to the incredible salt ponds of Maras. Since before the Inca, this mountainside cascade of thermal springs has provided salt for the area’s residents. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and relax on your own.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Lodge and Spa (B, L, D)
This morning continue down the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, home to the royal estate of the ninth Inca, Pachacuti, one of the most important Inca rulers because of his role in expanding the empire throughout South America. Today, Ollantaytambo is thought to be the only remaining example of pre-Colombian urban planning. It still retains the original street plan and foundations designed by the Incas. Later this morning, experience one of the world’s great train rides as you embark on the journey to Machu Picchu. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views as the mighty Urubamba River carves its way through the Andean peaks outside your window. Descend into the cloud forest and arrive in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Our staff will assist you to your boutique eco-lodge, Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, situated in 13 acres of cloud forest garden along the Urubamba River. This afternoon is free to spend as you desire, with opportunities to visit thermal hot springs, a natural sweat lodge sauna, and a serene orchid pavilion. For those who just can’t wait, an optional visit to Machu Picchu can also be scheduled during this time. (Additional cost for extra Machu Picchu visit today and must be booked at least 30 days in advance.)
Overnight: Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B, L, D)
Take a short bus ride through tropical mountain forests to reach Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. Flanked by steep Andean peaks on all sides and the mighty Urubamba River gorge below, it’s no wonder the Spanish were never able to find this secret Incan hideaway. Journey back in time with a walking tour through the complex and learn about the mysterious origins of this other-worldly citadel, which once served as a private retreat for Inca royals and their families. Marvel at the intricate and sophisticated stonework of its dwellings, sculptures, terraces and waterways, all of which make Machu Picchu one of the greatest architectural achievements of all time. Visit the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Plaza, and the famous Intihuatana stone, a sacred stone carved by the Inca to mark the solstice and determine the beginning and end of each agricultural year. After exploring Machu Picchu, relax and watch the clouds of mist roll in over the mountains or opt for an exhilarating hike up to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an unparalleled aerial view of the ruins. Return to Cusco this evening. Dinner on your own.
Overnight: Palacio del Inka (B, L)
This morning you will explore Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire and known as the “Navel of the World” in the Quechua language. Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas fill the streets, proof that this ancient culture is still vibrant today. Meet your guide and wander down cobbled walkways admiring the architecture, a unique blend of Inca and Spanish influences. The first stop is a local, open-air market where Cusqueños buy their produce, meats, and cheeses. Discover exotic fruits, and several varieties of Quinoa, the Andean superfood, as well as unusual items like guinea pig and live frogs. Sample local delicacies, such as Chuta bread, which is cooked in traditional wood-burning ovens. Later this morning, visit the Coricancha, a temple dedicated to the sun that was once covered in sheets of gold and filled with golden figures and statues.
This afternoon enjoy some free time to explore Cusco on your own. Explore the colorful artisan shops of the San Blas neighborhood and search for the famed twelve sided stone. Lunch and dinner not included. Later this afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, check in for your international flight.
Optional activity: Time permitting, you may choose to visit the market with a professional chef, who will show you how to select the best ingredients and give you a cooking class to prepare a traditional recipe. This activity must be requested in advance for an additional cost.
Ideally located within Jorge Chavez International Airport, the Lima Airport Wyndham Hotel offers guests first class comfort and service.
The charming Sol & Luna Boutique Spa is set amidst blooming flowers and a backdrop of canyon walls.
This boutique, luxury eco-lodge is located just steps from the train station in Aguas Calientes, but it's a world apart.
This modern hotel provides superior comfort and facilities for your stay in Ecuador's capital city.
Located in the historic center of Cusco, this storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries is a comfortable and luxurious location to lay your head.
A 100 passenger first class Galapagos Cruise Ship that provides luxury without formality.
Spend an extra night in Lima, founded in 1535 by the ruthless Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Enjoy a city tour of the colonial Lima, including the Plaza de Armas, Presidential Palace, and 17th Century Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its Sevillian tile work.
Hike on the Inca Trail to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, on this epic one-day journey. Sleep in eco-lodges instead of camping.