Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands Tours
Peru and Ecuador 11-day package
Explore the best of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador followed by a trip to Peru visiting Cusco, the Sacred Valley and the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu.
Day by day
Day 1: Arrive to Quito/ Transfer to Hotel
Welcome to Quito, Ecuador! You will be greeted at the airport by a member of our staff who will assist you with your luggage. You’ll take a transfer to your hotel in Quito–Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel. During the ride, you will receive a brief introduction to Quito and Ecuador along with valuable information regarding your stay in the country.
Day 2: Quito City Tour
A private scenic tour of Quito and the Middle of the World will be followed by an enjoyable lunch at a nearby spot overlooking the majestic and mesmerizing Pululahua Crater.
Overnight in Quito at Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel.
Day 3: Arrive to Galapagos/ Transfer to Boat/ Dragon Hill
Transfer to Quito’s airport, fly to Galapagos, and board the Santa Cruz II (with a 5-Day/4-Night Western itinerary).
Arrive at Baltra Island by plane, transfer to the dock, and board the Santa Cruz II. Following an onboard introductory briefing, we partake in an emergency boat drill. Afterward, receive your cabin assignment and enjoy lunch.
Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
The fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) on Santa Cruz’ north shore feature a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and American flamingos. Further inland, iguanas abound as the trail offers beautiful views of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago.
Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca/ Punta Espinoza
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, explore the coast by dinghy while your naturalist guides explain the dramatic geology of the area. This site is a nesting place for flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, and boobies. Weather permitting, snorkeling alongside the cliffs offers a chance to see rich marine life and, perhaps, green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).
Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
In the afternoon, explore the archipelago’s youngest island, Fernandina. The complete absence of introduced animals is one of its biggest draws along with marine iguanas, sea lions, Sally lightfoot crabs, hawks, penguins and flightless cormorants.
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island
Puerto Ayora & the Charles Darwin Research Station
We disembark at Puerto Ayora for a morning tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station–a giant tortoise Breeding Center and prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. The site hosts many scientific research and conservation efforts, along with National Park administrative offices. Post visit, we will board a private transport to enjoy lunch in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, which feature an entirely different ecosystem.
Several options are discussed with your Expedition Leader in advance of the afternoon’s activities. Afterward, guests will return to Puerto Ayora and hop aboard the Santa Cruz II.
Day 6: Floreana Island/ Champion Islet
Baroness Tower + Post Office Bay
After breakfast, take a dinghy ride through the north shore of Floreana. Experience Baroness Cove and visit Post Office Bay where you can leave a postcard in the historic barrel or take one left by someone else to hand-deliver to the addressee!
Champion Islet + Cormorant Point
After lunch, explore the wonders of Champion Islet by glass-bottom boat or by snorkeling. This extinct shield volcano is a fascinating underwater spot. Next, head to Cormorant Point for a wet landing on an olivine-crystal beach and a leisurely walk to a lagoon where American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and other birds tend to gather.
Day 7: Galapagos/ Arrive to Lima/ Transfer to Hotel
Baltra Island Airport Transfer + Guayaquil
Disembark at Baltra Island and fly to Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport. Following a brief layover, catch your flight to Lima.
Transfer Lima Airport / Hotel (private)
Upon arriving at Lima International Airport, our representative will meet you and you’ll take a transfer to your hotel where they will assist you with check-in and provide you with all the information and vouchers you will need for your time in Peru. Overnight in Lima.
Day 8: Lima City Tour
Half day Colonial & Modern Lima City tour (private)
Today features a guided sightseeing tour of Lima’s historic center: Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, Government Palace, City Hall, the Cathedral of Lima and its Religious Art Museum (closed Sundays and Saturday afternoons–on these days, we visit Santo Domingo Convent instead) as well as San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground catacombs.
The Districts of San Isidro and Miraflores follow, amid visits to several parks and a stop at the sacred Incan cultural center of Huaca Pucllana, built in the II Century A.C.
Love Park, located on the cliffs of Miraflores, offers a romantic view of the Pacific at sunset.
Overnight in Lima.
Day 9: Sacred Valley Tour
Our representative meets you in the hotel lobby and it’s off to the airport to catch your next flight.
Full-day: Awanacancha Textile Center, Pisac Market, Pablo Seminario Ceramic Workshop (private)
Today we visit the Andean textile center Awanacancha, which means, “the palace of weaving”. Here you learn about dyeing techniques used for hundreds of years. Next, head to the Sacred Valley’s Pisac Markets, where regional artisans gather to exchange, buy, and sell products. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and barter for all the typical handicrafts found in Cusco.
Our last stop is Pablo Seminario’s Ceramic Workshop, where you can observe the ceramics process and perhaps meet artist Pablo Seminario, as this is his year-round studio.
Box lunch is included on this day. Overnight in the Sacred Valley.
Day 10: Machu Picchu
Full-day: Excursion to Machu Picchu via roundtrip train (private)
Transfer to the train station and journey to the Citadel of Machu Picchu, the great mountain-top city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911.
A 20-minute bus ride to the Lost City of the Incas is followed by a guided tour of the Citadel’s Main Plaza, Circular Tower, Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, and Temple of the Three Windows.
A buffet-style lunch is included at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge’s Tinkuy Restaurant.
An afternoon shuttle bus takes you to Aguas Calientes in time to catch your return train. Our representatives welcome you at the train station and escort you to the hotel by transfer. Overnight in Cuzco.
Day 11: Cuzco City Tour/ Transfer to Airport/ Farewell!
Half-day: Cuzco walking City tour (private)
Today, enjoy a guided tour of Cusco, the Imperial City, and admire the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. Walking along the city’s stone streets is perhaps the best way to discover why this is regarded as the archaeological capital of South America.
In the afternoon, our representative will meet you at the hotel lobby and assist you with check-out before getting you to Cuzco Airport in time to catch your next flight.
Lima Airport assistance (private)
Upon arriving at Lima International Airport, our representative will assist you with your connecting flight.
*You can combine this Peru tour with any of our Galapagos cruises itineraries. Our travel experts will customize your request and send you a quote.
- Subject to availability
- Based on double accommodation in a Horizon Explorer cabin
- All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice
- Rates valid for 2019: except on Inti Raymi dates (June 22/27), Christmas & New Year (December 23/January 03) and any other National or
- Religious Holidays which may have special rates. Please verify with your Destination Expert.
- Restrictions apply
- Galapagos itineraries are subject to change due to weather conditions, logistical reasons, guests´ safety or Galapagos National Park
- Please be aware that you can combine this Package with any of our Galapagos Cruise itineraries. Our Destination Experts will customize the package based on your request and send you a quote.
- Subject to availability- Luxury double room
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 than 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 part 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 center 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
The small cruise ship Santa Cruz II has the capacity for 90 guests; ample and luxurious social spaces so you can enjoy and relax; and excellent food and service from our crew. It’s one of the very few cruises in the Galapagos Islands that has a doctor on board 24/7 for your safety; as well as an expedition photographer who will be there to capture your visit and the nearness with the amazing nature that characterizes the Galapagos Islands.
Our itineraries on the Santa Cruz II take in the length and breadth of the Galapagos. Tailored to view as many of the islands’ Galapagos Big15 as possible while meeting National Park rules, all options provide explorers with a safe, active, fun, and educational experience.
The Center of the Andean World
The city of Cuzco, the navel of the world according to the Inca, was the capital of the Inca Empire. The city is known as the archaeological center of the Americas. UNESCO declared Cuzco 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 Cuzco, 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, Cuzco is Peru´s main tourist destination and one of the most important in the Americas. Known by the Incas as the “home of gods” Cuzco 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 Cuzco 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, Cuzco 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, Cuzco 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, Cuzco is, without a doubt, something all travelers long to experience.
A Paradise to be Discovered
Just an hour’s drive from Cuzco, 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 Cuzco 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 Cuzco 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 Cuzco 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 Cuzco, 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).