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Machu Picchu & Galapagos Land-Based Adventure

11 Days | From $3,990


Highlights

  • Enjoy land-based excursions in the Galapagos
  • Swim with Sea Lions and snorkel
  • Explore ancient Inca ruins

Immerse yourself in South America by visiting two of the continent’s most iconic destinations. In Peru, explore Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and other ancient fortresses left behind by the Inca Empire. Then travel to the Galapagos, stay in quaint, eco-friendly lodges, and expose yourself to the flora and fauna that helped Darwin create his theory of evolution.

Contact us to get your free custom made itinerary to fit your precise schedule, budget and interests.

Pricing

  • TRIP LENGTH11 days
  • STARTING AT $3,990 per person
  • DEPARTURE DATES


Included
  • Local Andean Discovery guides
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy
  • All activities per itinerary
  • Airport transfers in private vehicle
  • Most meals
  • Internal flights by Andean Discovery (additional cost)
  • Andean Discovery U.S. and South American staff assistance from start to finish
Not Included
  • International airfare to and from South America
  • $120 per person Galapagos park fees
  • Travel insurance (available upon request)
  • Gratuities

Itinerary
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Detailed Itinerary >>
Arrive in Ecuador

Upon arrival in Guayaquil, Andean Discovery staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. As the economic engine of the country, the port city of Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador.

Overnight: Wyndham Quito Airport

Note: Superior lodging is listed. Please contact us for information about Standard lodging.

Meals: (B)

After your morning flight from Guayaquil to Baltra Island, you will meet your Naturalist Guide and travel to Santa Cruz Island. This afternoon explore the highlands of Santa Cruz. As you ascend, you will travel through several different vegetation zones and witness the landscape become increasingly lush and green by the minute. Here you’ll have the opportunity to view the islands’ most famous reptile: giant Galapagos tortoises in their wild habitat. It’s a real treat to see an endangered species roving in this lush environment! The vegetation of the area includes the Scalesia forest (an endemic giant daisy tree). Birds such as the vermilion flycatcher will delight you with its scarlet feathers against an emerald green forest. Look for Darwin’s finches (most of them from the tree-finch group), particularly the famous Woodpecker Finch. Explore an amazing network of lava tubes, underground tunnels formed by hot liquid rock. The outer part of the tunnels hardened and cooled even as the interior lava continued to flow. Eventually, the flowing interior lava emptied out, leaving hollow cave-like structures. Later this afternoon return to your hotel. Dinner on your own.

Overnight: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn

Meals: (B, L)

Coastal hike to Tortuga Bay and Boat to Isabela Island

This morning we hike 45 minutes through a dry coastal forest and white sand beach to Tortuga Bay, a secluded cove surrounded by mangrove forests. Keep your eyes out for shore birds like Whimbrels, Ruddy Turnstones, Great Blue Herons and endemic Lava Gulls. This afternoon enjoy a guided visit of the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you will learn about current scientific research on the islands and the Station’s mission to ensure the conservation of the environment and biodiversity in the Galapagos Archipelago. The Station is also a tortoise breeding and rearing center. Observe how tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. Later this afternoon, board a speedboat for the two-hour journey to Isabela Island. Finish the day with a refreshing swim in turquoise waters as the sun sets on the horizon. Dinner on your own.

Overnight: Iguana Crossing

Meals: (B, L)

Volcano hike and snorkeling

This morning transfer 13 miles inland to the highlands of Isabela to Sierra Negra, one of the largest volcano craters in the world, measuring 6 miles in diameter and 1,000 feet deep. Steaming fumaroles and the charcoal-black landscape are proof of its recent eruption and ongoing volcanic activity. Embark on a hike around the crater rim and witness lava remains from the eruption in 2005. Opt to extend your hike and visit Chico Volcano, a neighboring crater with lunar-like landscapes, including various formations of petrified lava. (The full hike is 9 miles and takes about 4 hours, and can be tailored to your desired length.) This afternoon opt for a snorkel excursion at Concha de la Perla or relax on your at the beach. Dinner on your own.

Overnight: Iguana Crossing

Meals: (B, L)

Bike along mangrove forests and lagoons

After breakfast, board a small dingy with your guide and travel across the bay to Tintoreras Island. The island is called Tintoreras because it’s a resting place for white-tip reef sharks, Tintoreras in Spanish. On the way, keep your eyes out for Galapagos penguins, which are the smallest species of penguins in the world and endemic to the Galapagos. A short hike allows you to observe one of the largest colonies of marine iguanas in Galapagos, white-tip sharks, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and Blue-footed Boobies. Return to the bay for some spectacular snorkeling with sea lions, rays, and many different species of tropical fish. After lunch, explore an area know as the Los Humedales, a series of coastal pools, lagoons, and endemic mangroves that boast an abundance of birds and native plants. You may choose to either walk or ride mountain bikes through this area. Keep your eyes out for herons, black-necked stilts, Galapagos pintails, and be careful for marine iguanas crossing the road. Make your way to the Wall of Tears, the remains of an old penal colony, and learn about the fascinating human history of the Galapagos. Dinner on your own.

Overnight: Iguana Crossing

Meals: (B, L)

Transfer to Baltra Island Airport and Fly to Lima

Earl rise and departure by boat for Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. From here, you will be transferred to the Baltra Island airport in time for your mid-morning flight to Guayaquil. A light lunch/snack will be served on the flight. Additional lunch and dinner not included. You will have a brief layover before checking in for your 2-hour flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met by Andean Discovery staff and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Lima Airport Wyndham Hotel

Meals: (no meals )

Explore Inca ruins and market in the Sacred Valley

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 and the surrounding mountains, which the Incas have worshipped for centuries.  Learn about the important role of weaving in Peruvian culture and meet the alpacas and llamas from which locals spool their wool, 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: Hacienda Urubamba

Meals: (B, L, D)

Journey by train from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu

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 (included in Superior lodging package). 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 at the Pueblo Hotel. For those who just can’t wait, an optional visit to Machu Picchu can also be scheduled during this time.

Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Meals: (B, L, D)

Privately Guided Tour of Machu Picchu

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

Meals: (B, L)

City Tour of Cusco

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.

Meals: (B)



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