Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands Tours
Peru and Ecuador 12 days package
From $ 6,349 per person
Additional discount available for groups. Single supplement will apply.
- Day 1: Private transfer in Quito, overnight in Quito
- Day 2: Private Scenic tour of Quito, overnight in Quito
- Day 3: Transfer out to Galapagos flight, tickets and Galapagos entrance fee included
- Day 3: Galapagos cruise: 5 Days / 4 Nights cruise on board of Santa Cruz II (1)
- Day 4: Galapagos cruise
- Day 5: Galapagos cruise
- Day 6: Galapagos cruise
- Day 7: Galapagos cruise
- Day 7: Transfer in Guayaquil, overnight in Guayaquil
- Day 8: Private transfer out Guayaquil for international flight – Transfer in at Lima airport, Lima City tour + Larco Museum
- Day 9: Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley, Overnight in the Sacred Valley
- Day 10: Sacred Valley, Overnight in the Sacred Valley
- Day 11: Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu/Cusco, Overnight in Cusco
- Day 12: Cusco/Lima/Transfer out for international flight
( 1 ) You can combine this Peru tour with any of our Galapagos cruises itineraries. Our travel experts will customize your request and send a quote.
- It doesn´t apply with other promotions
- Spaces subject to availabilty
- Exclusively for direct customers
- International flights Guayaquil-Lima not included
- Domestic flight Lima-Cusco-Lima
Restrictions and conditions applies, we’ll send complete information in quotation.
Overview Galapagos information
A bit of Galapagos Islands History
The islands emerged about five million years ago, give or take a million, as a result of violent volcanic action. In geological terms, this should be considered a recent event.
As the young islands were cooling off, say, two million years later, some species gradually arrived. They were live organisms riding on “rafts of vegetation” from the shores of Central and South America. Unusual climatic events, like flooding, can take lots of vegetation rafts eventually to the ocean. Therefore, it is pure chance that allows a raft to eventually reach Galapagos. These early immigrants had to adapt to a peculiar new environment, and simply evolved — slowly — in a different direction from their continental ancestors. And, wonders of nature, they developed into species unique to the islands, with features not seen in their past ancestors.
In fact, when Darwin published his book On The Origin Of The Species, the nineteenth-century thinkers confirmed long held suspicions that species were not immutable, and praised the archipelago as a living laboratory has become the greatest observatory and laboratory of evolution.
Galapagos: Official Discovery
Galapagos: Official Discovery
How many times? You choose…
- When the first human being put a firm foot on an island;
- Centuries later, in 1832, when Ecuador took possession of the archipelago and gave official names to the islands;
- More than a century after that, when Metropolitan Touring developed the concept of responsible tourism, and designed thoughtfully planned itineraries to show the islands’ fragile beauty without harming the natural process of local ecosystems. This is why your travel choice does make a difference.
The first human being in Galapagos was Tomás de Berlanga, a Spanish bishop who was navigating close to the shores of Central America on an apostolic mission in February of 1535. His boat had been stilled by calm winds, and the Panamá Current pushed it southward only to know that the arrival was to some mysterious islands, which had no evident charms. “Birds are so silly,” he wrote the King of Spain, Charles V, “they know not how to flee”. The islands had been officially discovered. It was March 1535.
Eventually, the bishop’s party sailed back to the continent with the first encouraging breeze. The islands were reported to Spain, but no effort was made to colonize them based on the somewhat uninviting descriptions from Berlanga.
Anyway, having arrived less that 500 years ago, humans are some of the newest “living organisms” inhabiting the Galapagos.
Isolated and Remote
Sometimes the Galapagos become invisible, almost illusory at short distances, particularly in the dense veil of early morning. Remember the waters surrounding the islands are a bit cold for tropical standards. This produces a fine mist (known locally as garúa) as cool air invades warmer patches of air. Thus, an early fog can be quite deceiving at telling what’s ahead. This is how the islands picked up the name of Las Encantadas (which can be translated as ‘enchanted’ but also ‘bewitched’): islands that suddenly appeared, as the mist evaporated, and islands that disappeared as the mist engulfed them.
Then, in 1570, a map of the Spanish New World drawn by a Flemish cartographer circulated in the Caribbean, showing the elusive islands, for the first time, with the unpoetic name of Islas de los Galapagos (Islands of the Giant Tortoises). This map, in buccaneer’s hands, was used to maraud up and down the Pacific in the 1600s.
During the 17th century and a good art of the 18th, the astute pirates found in the Galapagos a safe place to hide, repair their vessels, map future raids and stock up on fresh meat, killing tortoises by the thousands. But they apparently left no buried treasures and eventually decided that the Caribbean was more challenging after all.
Late in the 18th century came the whaler fleets that made the archipelago a centre of operations, but after a number of years the whalers, too, left when the profits weren’t worth the costly, lengthy routes. The whalers are, indeed, the human group that leaves the first devastating impact on the islands: thousands of giant tortoises killed, domestic animals introduced. These events will prove later the reasons for having a strong conservation campaign in today’s Galapagos.
In sum, nobody really wanted the Galapagos — until 1832. On February 12th, Colonel Ignacio Hernandez, of Ecuador, with instructions from General Jose de Villamil, planted the Ecuadorian flag on Floreana Island, and took possession of what he named officially Las Islas Galapagos on behalf of his government. Some sixty years later, in 1892, most of the islands received a Spanish name, all related to the Discovery of America.
Galapagos Cruise description
We’re delighted to have you on board for this journey of discovery to some of the most beautiful islands in the Galapagos. Our itinerary together begins on San Cristóbal Island, the capital of the Galapagos Province. From here, we venture east along the northern shores of the island, visiting the fascinating site of Punta Pitt, taking us back to Charles Darwin’s visit of 1835. We then sail west to the central islands of Santa Fe, with its beautiful tranquil bay (great for swimming and snorkelling), before continuing to the wild cliffs of South Plaza with their cactus, land iguanas and stunning marine birds. The following day we visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, the most populous in the archipelago, with a range of activities on offer in the afternoon. Española Island awaits us on our last day, a favourite of many visitors, with its remarkable visitor site of Punta Suárez. Here, we’ll wander along the rugged coastline, home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sealions, marine birds, and even albatross (at certain times of year). In the afternoon, Gardner Bay provides a wonderful setting for a combination of beach-time, swimming or snorkelling. Wherever we sail, whatever we do, all the crew aboard the Santa Cruz will do our utmost to ensure your Galapagos experience is truly, deeply moving and memorable.
The Center of the Andean World
The city of Cusco, navel of the world, was the capital of the Inca´s Empire. The city is known as the archaeological center of the Americas. UNESCO declared Cusco a World Heritage Site in 1983 and its legacy dates back to the 15th century and is attributed to the Inca Pachacutec, who built the city’s most remarkable constructions.
There are 17 colonial churches around Cusco, all of them built above Inca ceremonial temples. This is part of the “religious fusion” currently found in the city. Have you heard about this… come, let us show you.
Located in the southern part of the Andes, Cusco is Peru´s main tourist destination and one of the most important in the Americas. Known by the Incas as the “home of gods” Cusco became the capital of one of the largest pre-Columbian empires: the Tahuantinsuyo.
The city served as a hub for a vast network of roads interconnecting the whole of South America, from the southern part of present–day Colombia to the northern part of what is now Argentina.
The architectural legacy of Cusco dates back to the 15th century including fine stone carving and perfect locking between stone blocks, and the trapezoidal design of entryways. These buildings include Sacsayhuaman, in the upper part of the city; the Korikancha (temple of the sun) on top of which the Spanish built the Santo Domingo convent; and on the street called Hatun Rumiyoc (two blocks from the main square)the wall that includes the famous 12-sided stone. Following the arrival of the Spaniards, Cusco became a mestizo and colonial city featuring splendid colonial constructions, built on top of Inca foundations, and which developed its own mestizo style of architecture and painting that can be seen in the Cathedral and the Compañia de Jesus church.
Furthermore, Cusco is also both a mestizo and colonial city, with splendid churches and manors built from foundations of elaborately carved stone. The local cuisine is also something for the traveler to look forward to, including superb combinations of typical Andean food, such as corn, potatoes and chili pepper, with pork and mutton introduced by the Spanish. With its vast landscapes, rich and fascinating geography, Cusco is, without a doubt, something all travelers long to experience.
Gastronomic Experiences and New Sensations
Lima, was founded in 1535 by the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Today it is the capital of the country and the gateway to the rest of Peru. Lima was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its splendid colonial architecture. Lima is a modern metropolis with a population of over 8 million, ideal for conventions and international meetings, with all the appropriate infrastructure and fully equipped five star hotels.
Housing the best Pre-Hispanic museums in South America, Lima concentrates an assortment of richness of the ancient Peruvians, bringing out the best of each pre-Inca culture into its museums; exposing the northern sculptures and the southern painting techniques.
Since the beginning, Lima was an oasis of culture and elegance in the American Indies. In less than 70 years, Lima was to concentrate all the power and wealth of all trade and cultural activity in the Vice-Royalty: it had, in effect, become the most important city in the Americas. Lima already rivals Mexico as the most important metropolis in the Spanish-America empire, Baroque and Renaissance churches, mansions, palaces, universities and archdioceses filled Lima. The cultural scene positively hummed as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century, when Lima had but a population of just 25,000. At the start of the twentieth century, during the Belle Epoque (1915-1930) the city enjoyed a privileged position once more as one of the most moderns cities on the continent.
Today, Lima is home to a quarter of the country’s population and nearly two-thirds of Peru’s economic and industrial activity.
In the 1940’s, as growing waves of immigrants left the countryside bound for Lima, the capital became a miniature replica of the country itself,- a melting pot of people and cultures.
More than 460 years have passed since its founding as a Spanish city, and Lima today has become synonym of Peru’s mestizo or mixed–blood heritage, one that baffles those in the know and first-time visitors alike. In fact, this quandary is one of Lima’s greatest features. This alchemy of influence is most clearly seen in the city’s innovative cuisine, which gourmets rate as one of the world’s finest. UNESCO meanwhile, ranks Lima’s architecture as a world heritage site, while the city’s inhabitants, fun-loving and skillful, have become experts at adapting to change.
Lima contains fine architecture that should not be missed. Among its principal attractions are the Plaza de Armas, Government Palace, the Cathedral, the Santo Domingo and San Francisco convents, and the garden suburbs of Miraflores and San Isidro.
Lima also boasts some of the best museums in the western hemisphere; the famed Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, containing a priceless collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, one of South America’s finest. The Mujica Gallo Gold Museum and the Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum, housing a vast collection of pre-Inca erotic pottery.
Furthermore, Lima offers tourists superb museums, dozens of art galleries, theater productions and every kind of top-notch cultural exhibition, modern shopping malls and recreational areas, in addition to archaeological and nature attractions.
A Paradise to be Discovered
Just an hour’s drive from Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas or Urubamba Valley, is a setting of picturesque communities, impressive terraces and several important archaeological sites. The valley has been the storehouse for agricultural products for the city of Cusco since Inca times. Its mild weather and particular geography make it ideal for outdoor sports.
Discover the place where the Incas innovated their agricultural techniques and brought to the world the treasure of the Andes: more than three thousand varieties of potatoes.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas was undoubtedly a key area of settlement to the Incas. Its agreeable climate and fertile plains make a rare and fruitful combination for the high Andes. It was also the route to the jungle and therefore an area with access to the fruits and plants of the tropical lowlands. The Sacred Valley served as a buffer zone, protecting Cusco from incursions of the Antis, the fierce jungle tribes who, from time to time, raided the highlands.
Today the Sacred Valley remains a lush agricultural region supplying the city of Cusco with much of its produce such as maize, fruit and vegetables. Today is famous for being home to maize cobs with the largest kernels in the world. The valley includes the area between the Inca communities of Pisac and Ollantaytambo
The Inca Royalty and its Sanctuary
Four hours by train from Cusco, these beautifully preserved ruins consist of an enormous stone city hidden by a spectacular mountain plateau, overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River. Machu Picchu, a mystic place of worship, was also a spot for star-gazing and the private hacienda of the Inca Pachacutec.
Machu Picchu has generated more than just visits… it has touched the soul of every traveler. As a result of a special connection with the people, in July 2007, it was recognized as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Come and discover it.
The Incas built this citadel at the end of the fourteenth century. As centuries passed, the site became totally overgrown by vegetation, and virtually disappeared from site. Hiram Bingham, Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition, rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911.
Recent research compiled by Yale University has revealed that the Machu Picchu Citadel was not, as Hiram Bingham believed, the traditional birthplace of the Inca people, nor was it the final stronghold of the Incas in their losing struggle against the Spanish.
Situated in a enclave on the saddle of a mountain overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River. It consists of two main areas: one agricultural, formed mainly by mountains and food stores, and the other urban, which is noted for its sacred zone, with its temples, squares and royal tombs built with consummate skill. The stairways and canals carved out of stone and recurrent throughout this remarkable archaeological site. Opposite the citadel is the Huayna Picchu Mountain, which can be reached via a winding stone walkway. Necessary precautions must be taken during the rainy season (December through March).