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Machu Picchu & Galapagos
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At a glance
Discover Peru's 'Lost City of the Incas' and Ecuador's 'Enchanted Isles'
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
End Destination
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All land/sea transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader in Peru and registered naturalist guide in the Galapagos
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Flights between Cuzco and Quito (if booking incl. flights)
  • Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners included. On board Cachalote I, all meals are included and are served in a buffet style. There is a wide choice of food available, including vegetarian options. For the rest of the trip, we visit a variety of cafes and restaurants for any meals which are not included in the itinerary. Hotel breakfasts are generally buffet style and often include a hot dish. We provide a packed lunch on the day we travel to Machu Picchu, whether you are taking the train or taking the optional daywalk along the Inca Trail.

Day 1
Depart London.
We fly overnight to Cuzco, with stops in Madrid and Lima.
Day 2
Arrive Cuzco (3400m); afternoon walking tour.
The group flights arrive in Cuzco (3400m) this morning. The Inca capital is among the most attractive cities in South America, with much of the centre comprising colonial-era buildings with Inca foundations, and it is full of interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian sites. To help acclimatise, we have a relaxed walking tour of the compact Inca capital this afternoon to discover its historic buildings and winding streets.
Day 3
Free day in Cuzco; optional Sacred Valley tour.
Today has been left free for us to explore the city in more detail. You may wish to take an optional visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the incredible ruins at Pisac. Various other optional activities can be arranged from Cuzco - your leader will have the details.
Day 4
Visit Machu Picchu by train; optional daywalk along Inca Trail via Winay Wayna ruins.
This morning we take the train from Cuzco to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records about it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle. We arrive in Aguas Calientes, a lively town in the valley below Machu Picchu, this afternoon, and the rest of the day is free for visits to the hot springs or shopping in the large craft market. For those who wish to walk to Machu Picchu, there is an optional daywalk along a section of the Inca Trail, taking in the ruins of Wiñay Wayna and the Sun Gate. Although this optional walk is available at no extra cost, it must be pre-booked since numbers are strictly limited and you should request this option at the time of booking.
Day 5
Dawn tour of Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco.
Today we take an early bus up to Machu Picchu for a tour of the ruins at their quietest and most evocative (before the day trippers arrive from Cuzco). After free time to explore individually, we then board the train in the afternoon, following the steep-sided and winding Urubamba Valley before we climb up onto the high plateau close to Cuzco.
Day 6
Fly to Quito (2850m); free afternoon.
This morning we depart Cuzco on a flight to Quito via Lima. There is free time to relax and start our exploration of the city, which has one of the best-preserved colonial centres in South America.
Day 7
Quito city tour.
We have a half-day city tour of Quito, one of the smaller and more attractive of the capitals of South America - 2,850m high in the western cordillera of the Andes. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, and as always at altitude, it is a good idea not to do anything too strenuous at first!
Day 8
Fly to Galapagos; visit the Charles Darwin Centre; board boat.
We return to Quito airport for the flight to Galapagos and the island of Baltra via Guayaquil. Our luggage will be taken to the boat, whilst we will take a short ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island where we drive to the highlands to look for wild tortoises. We follow this with a visit to the Charles Darwin Centre, where we can learn about the ecology of the islands and visit the centre's turtle hatchery. After this visit, we board the boat at Puerto Ayora, the island's main town. As we won't see our luggage after landing on Baltra until this evening, please make sure that you bring your camera, sun cream and appropriate clothing: comfortable footwear for some short walks (possibly amongst grass), light clothes, a hat/cap and a light waterproof in case of a shower or mist.
Day 9
Galapagos cruise to discover the unique wildlife of these volcanic islands. Cruise itinerary (itinerary A or B) varies by week - see dates and prices below..
Our Galapagos Cruise alternates between two itineraries and so for the next seven days, your specific itinerary in the Galapagos depends on the departure date of the trip (please ask your sales consultant if unsure). Itinerary A: Walk on the tiny Plazas Islands to see a cactus forest, land iguanas and seabirds, then cruise to the white sand beaches of Santa Fe . Itinerary B: A short walk on the tiny island of Chinese Hat before snorkelling with sea lions (and penguins if lucky!); on to the dark red beach of Isla Rabida to walk amongst spatter cones, pelicans, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies.
Day 10
Galapagos Cruise.
Itinerary A: A day at San Cristobal Island: the white sand beach, Blue-footed boobys and old cone of Cerro Brujo, giant tortoise at Galapaguera and crystal clear waters around the striking spear of Kicker Rock. Itinerary B: We start three days exploring the largest island of Isabela with an exploration of the mangroves at Los Tintoreras and walk to the huge 5-mile wide caldera on Sierra Negra volcano.
Day 11
Galapagos Cruise.
Itinerary A: Swim with sea lions and marine iguanas at the paradisiacal beach at Gardener Bay on Espanola (Hood) Island. In the afternoon, walk amongst Nazca and Blue-footed boobys and nesting Waved Albatross (in season) next to pounding surf at Punta Suarez. Itinerary B: Cruising round Isabela's west side, we're likely to see whales and dolphins. We land at Punta Moreno's swirling fresh lava flows and also explore the islets of Elizabeth Bay with the largest colony of penguins in the Galapagos.
Day 12
Galapagos Cruise.
Itinerary A: At Floreana Island snorkel in the spectacular sunken crater of Devil's Crown amongst thousands of fish. We wil then visit the lagoon at Punta Cormorant (often with flamingos) and Post Office Bay, the mailbox used by 18th Century whalers. Itinerary B: In 1954 Urbina Bay was uplifted 4 metres and we walk here amongst exposed coral heads, wandering giant tortoises and huge land iguanas. We'll then make an afternoon visit to Tagus Cove and Darwin Lake, directly opposite recently active Fernandina Volcano.
Day 13
Galapagos Cruise.
Itinerary A: To Dragon Hill, a nesting site for land iguanas with a large lagoon; dramatic Sullivan Bay with a walk on a huge lava flow only 100 years old before swimming from the white-sand beach in crystal clear waters. Itinerary B: Land at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina in the midst of a huge colony of Marine iguanas; the sea life is very rich here and supports a large sea lion and fur seal colony. We then cross the straights and explore the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela.
Day 14
Galapagos Cruise
Itinerary A: Less-visited Genovesa (also called Tower) Island is home to an abundance of red-footed boobies, fur seals, storm petrels and Short-eared Owls. Here, we look for tropicbirds at Prince William Steps before snorkelling, whilst at Darwin Bay, Galapagos mockingbirds also await. Itinerary B: Excellent birding on Santiago (James) Island at Puerto Egas followed by an afternoon snorkel and a walk amongst incredible volcanic scenery up little Bartolome Island - cones, lava tubes and Pinnacle Rock.
Day 15
Return to Quito
Itinerary A: We explore the mangroves of Turtle Cove at dawn watching marine turtles rising for air; rays and herons fishing from the trees. Itinerary B: An early morning walk on North Seymour amidst Palo Santo trees and blue-footed booby colonies. Both itineraries: After a late breakfast we disembark for the journey back to Baltra to transfer to the airport and the flight back to the mainland. A short stop at Guayaquil is followed by what is often an exciting flight over the volcanoes of the Andes to Quito.
Day 16
Depart Quito.
The tour ends in Quito today with those on group flights boarding their return overnight flight to the UK.
Day 17
Arrive London.
The group flights arrive in London this afternoon.
Prices & Availability
Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos 5/5

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