Peru and the Galapagos Islands
14 day holiday to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos for £3695pp
Why not combine the amazing history and culture of Peru with the fabulous wildlife of the Galapagos Islands on this great two-week holiday? You'll start off in Peru, with a few days in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco ahead of your trip to Machu Picchu.
Your holiday then continues with a flight up to Ecuador and the colonial grandeur of Quito, which will be the jumping-off point for an amazing island-hopping tour of the Galapagos Islands...
- Day One: Arrival in Lima
- Day Two: Travel to Cusco, the ancient Inca capital
- Day Three: City tour of Cusco
- Day Four: Free day exploring Cusco
- Day Five: Into the Sacred Valley
- Day Six: Tour of Machu Picchu
- Day Seven: Back to Cusco
- Day Eight: Fly to Quito
- Day Nine: Start Galapagos Island-Hopping Tour
- Day Ten: Sea Kayaking and Snorkelling
- Day Eleven: Isabela Island
- Day Twelve: Las Tintoreras and Santa Cruz
- Day Thirteen: Back to Quito
- Day Fourteen: Overnight Flight to UK
Day One – Arrival in Lima
Your holiday in Peru and the Galapagos Islands will begin today with your arrival in Lima. We will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel in the stylish Miraflores area of the city for you to check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may just want to rest, but if you’re feeling up to it then we’d highly recommend taking a walk around the lovely Parque Kennedy and perhaps to one of our recommended restaurants to sample some of Lima’s world-famous cuisine.
Day Two – Travel to Cusco: the Ancient Inca Capital
This morning we will take you back to the airport for a short flight up to Cusco, which was formerly the capital of the Incas. We take you to your hotel and then we have left the rest of the afternoon free for you to explore. Your hotel is centrally-located so although you will still be getting used to the altitude, you are perfectly placed to wander around this unique city, where Spanish colonial buildings stand right next to ancient Inca structures. In the evening it's worth trying out one of the restaurants around the buzzing Plaza de Armas as Cusco has some of the best food and nightlife in South America. (Breakfast included)
Day Three – Tour of Cusco
We’ve kept this morning free to give you chance for a leisurely breakfast and some time to introduce yourself to the city. In the afternoon, we’ll pick you up from your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Cusco. Your tour will be on foot to allow your guide to help you get your bearings and point out the more interesting quirky Inca features you pass by which you don’t get to see from the window of a coach. (B)
- Our walking tour concentrates on giving you plenty of time at our favourite sites, but it does mean we don’t visit absolutely everywhere. If you’d prefer a more conventional guided tour by coach then just let us know – this means you’ll also be able to visit the famous ruins of Sacsayhuaman!
Day Four – Free time in Cusco
We usually like to give people some time to explore on their own, so today is up to you. You could visit the bustling local market, walk up to the bohemian San Blas district with its galleries and jewellers, or perhaps just sit back with a cup of coca tea and get those postcards written... Of course, if you’d prefer something more active then we’d be delighted to make some suggestions. (B)
- If you'd like to fit in some adventure on your holiday to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, how about spending today white-water rafting or mountain-biking?
Day Five - Tour of the Sacred Valley
Today will be spent away from the city as you journey into the Andes for a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba. As you wind your way along one of the beautiful valleys in the world, you will be able to visit the village of Pisac (including its famous market and temple) and the temple-fortress of Ollantaytambo. You really begin to feel the spirit of the Incas as you visit these extraordinary locations. But in many ways this is just preparation for... (B/L)
Day Six - Tour of Machu Picchu
Today is definitely one of the highlights of this holiday to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos as youx set off early in the morning to take the scenic train along the valley of the Urubamba to Machu Picchu, giving you the full afternoon at this breathtaking lost Inca city. Gazing down on this semi-mythical city, high up in the cloud forest is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever. You will stay overnight at a hotel in Aguas Calientes, at the foot of the mountain, so you can relax in the town's famous hot springs. (B)
Day Seven – Return to Cusco
You will have a free morning in Aguas Calientes today, so you can relax and enjoy the hot springs that give the town its name. Alternatively, if you purchase an extra ticket, you can head back up to Machu Picchu to experience sunrise from the sun-gate, or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site. However you choose to spend today, you will return by train to Cusco in the evening. (B)
Day Eight – Fly to Quito
After breakfast this morning we'll pick you up and take you back to the airport for the short flight back to Lima, where you'll board a connecting flight up the Pacific coast to Ecuador. You will arrive in the late afternoon in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, and we will meet you and take you to your hotel so you can get ready to head out and explore some of this lovely city. (B)
Day Nine - Start of your Galapagos Island-Hopping Tour
Your flight from the mainland will touch down on the island of Baltra this morning, and we will pick you up and take you across the Itabaca Strait to Santa Cruz. First of all, we will take you to the secluded and lovely Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, where you can refresh yourselves and drop your luggage. Then, after lunch at the lodge we will head up into the green highlands of Santa Cruz. After driving up into the highlands, we will leave our vehicles behind as we enjoy a short trek through the endemic scalesia forest to the enormous twin collapsed lava craters called Los Gemelos. Along the way we can hope to see some of the local wildlife, such as Darwin’s finches and short-eared owls. From here we will drive on to a private Giant Tortoise Reserve further up in the highlands, where you’ll be able to enjoy the fantastic experience of walking alongside these iconic creatures in their natural surroundings as well as exploring some of the reserve’s extensive lava tunnels. After a full afternoon exploring the highlands, we will return to the lodge for dinner. (Lunch and Dinner Included)
Day Ten - Sea Kayaking and Snorkelling
After breakfast this morning, we will drive you across to the clear waters of the Itabaca Strait. Here those who wish can have a short introduction to sea kayaking with our certified guide before taking to the waves themselves as they kayak around the coast of Santa Cruz. Those who prefer something less strenuous can stay aboard the accompanying boat as we sail around to a popular snorkelling spot, where everyone can enjoy the chance to swim and snorkel along with the local sea lions, green sea turtles and myriad schools of tropical fish.
After returning to the lodge for lunch we will head down to the harbour to sail across to the island of Isabela. This is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and arguably the most impressive of all. Along the way we will hope to see whales, dolphins and manta rays along with many other sea creatures. On arrival here on Isabela we will take you straight to the lovely Isabela Lodge, located right on a beautiful white sand beach and then you will be able to enjoy some relaxation time before an evening briefing from our naturalists. (B/L/D)
Day Eleven – Exploring Isabela
This morning we will drive up through the humid highlands of Isabela and onto the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano – the second largest active crater in the world at a colossal 4 miles across. We will leave our 4x4s about 800m from the crater rim and hike up to the top, from where we have spectacular views back across Isabela. From here we will enjoy a further hike along level ground to a beautiful viewpoint where we will stop for a picnic break. Those who wish can continue on to the otherworldly landscape of Volcan Chico, where you can see the fumaroles and exposed lava formations of this subsidiary volcano. We will then head back to the vehicles and drive on to the Campo Duro organic farm, where we will stop for lunch and then either walk in the grounds or take a short siesta in the farm’s hammocks... After lunch we will drive back down to the coast, where you will have some free time to swim, sunbathe and relax. (B/L/D)
Day Twelve - Las Tintoreras and Back to Santa Cruz
This morning we will take a boat trip out from Isabela to the Las Tintoreras islets, passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins along the way. Here we can walk through jagged lava fields, with their colonies of nesting marine iguanas and sea lions, to a small shallow channel which is a great place to see resting white-tipped reef sharks. The views from here are some of the most beautiful in the Galapagos, with the black lava, the emerald sea and the cloud-capped volcanoes providing some fantastic photo opportunities. At the end of the walk you can swim and snorkel in this warm, shallow bay with the resident sea lions and sea turtles, as well as the (friendly!) reef sharks. After lunch aboard, we will head back to Isabela to collect our things and then sail back across to Santa Cruz. On arrival we will have a short visit to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, where we can learn more about the islands as well as seeing some of the animals that are part of the Station’s captive breeding programmes. We will then head back to the Red Mangrove Lodge to relax and enjoy your final evening here in the Galapagos. (B/L/D)
Day Thirteen - Return to Quito
After breakfast this morning, we will travel back across Santa Cruz to Baltra, where our flight will take us back across the Pacific to Quito. Here we'll meet you and take you back to your hotel so you can get ready to head out and enjoy your last evening on holiday in South America. (B)
Day Fourteen - Last day of your South America Holiday
Sadly, today will be the last day of your holidays to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. Depending on your international flights, you may have some time to explore a little more of Quito, or you may be leaving straight after breakfast, but whatever you’re your flight, we will be there to pick you up and take you to the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flight back to the UK. (B)
Our standard price for this holiday in Peru and the Galapagos Islands is £3695 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and all entrance fees except for the $100 Galapagos National Park fee. It also includes lunch on your Sacred Valley tour, and breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
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