Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting expedition to Peru & Ecuador begins this evening as you depart on your overnight flight.
Day 2: Arrive Peru. Morning arrival in Peru's capital, Lima. Here, connect for a short flight to Cuzco, the fabled capital of the Inca Empire, perched at about 11,000 feet above sea level. On arrival, journey to the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley has amazing landscapes of fertile land, mystical ruins and indigenous villages. Arrive at your hotel located in the quaint village of Yucay and surrounded by lush gardens. This evening your tour director hosts a welcome dinner and orientation. Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay Hotel (D)
Day 3: Pisac Market & Sacred Valley Excursion. On today's included excursion journey to the town of Pisac located on the bank of the Urubamba River. Here, visit the bustling and colorful Indian market where many beautiful crafts are traded. After lunch at a charming country estate continue to Ollantaytambo and visit the splendid ruins of this massive ancient fortress. The village below is a fine example of the Incas incredible urban planning skills. Return to Yucay later this afternoon. (B,L)
Day 4: Machu Picchu. Embark on a two-day expedition to Machu Picchu. Ride aboard the deluxe VistaDome train through the lush Urubamba Valley passing through stunning scenery. Arrive at "The Lost City of the Incas", rediscovered by accident in 1911 by Hiram Bingham in the foggy mountain jungle. The beauty of its location and the genius construction make Machu Picchu the jewel of all Inca settlements. With a local expert explore the mystery and beauty of this amazing site and learn about the fascinating story of Machu Picchu. While most visitors leave Machu Picchu in the afternoon you'll stay in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes and enjoy some free time to further discover the mystical ruins and absorb the beauty of this enchanting site. El Mapi Hotel. (B,D)
Day 5: Machu Picchu/Cuzco. Today you may return to Machu Picchu to explore and photograph at your own pace. To this day nobody can explain how the Incas managed to transport the huge blocks of limestone for the city's construction onto the mountain top. You'll also visit quaint Aguas Calientes before your afternoon train ride back to Ollantaytambo Station. Arrive in Cuzco this evening and transfer to your hotel, superbly located in the heart of the old town. Novotel Hotel. (B)
Day 6: Cuzco. Cuzco is a vibrant town, dotted with archaeological sites. On a guided morning tour visit the main Inca and Colonial monuments. See the Plaza de Armas, center of the Inca Empire and the impressive 16th century cathedral, built on the ruins of the Inca Palace. You'll also see the exceptionally crafted and most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire, the Temple of the Sun in Koricancha. In the old town view magnificently restored colonial buildings. The afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace. Tonight savor dinner complete with a colorful folklore show. (B,D)
Day 7: Cuzco/Lima. Today board a short morning flight to Lima, known as the City of Kings and the center of the Spanish Empire in the New World for three centuries after Pizarro's conquest. Today, Lima is Peru's capital. After checking into your upscale hotel enjoy a guided afternoon tour of both colonial and modern Lima, founded in 1535 and later dominated by the Inca nation. See the historical center and the San Francisco Church as well as Plaza de Armas and the Government Palace. Later, see the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean. Casa Andina Select Miraflores Hotel. (B)
Day 8: Lima/Guayaquil (Ecuador). Today fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and main seaport, renowned for its "Caribbean soul". Your Ecuador tour director will greet you and escort you to your city-center hotel. In the afternoon enjoy a guided walking tour of this tropical metropolis. You will visit the pleasant Parque Simon Bolívar with its Cathedral and see the Palacio Municipal and the Governor’s Palace. Continue with a stroll along the Río Guayas and appreciate the beautiful Malecón, the city’s delightful promenade. En route back to your hotel view the Monument of La Rotonda dedicated to Simon Bolivar and San Martin, considered the Liberators of South America. The balance of the day is at leisure. Unipark Hotel. (B)
Day 9: Guayaquil/
San Cristobal Island.
Over the next five days cruise along and visit the enchanted Galapagos Islands, where you'll see a variety of exotic wildlife. This morning, fly from Guayaquil to San Cristobal, the gateway to the islands. Board your upscale cruise boat, your base while exploring the islands and enjoy a welcome lunch onboard. This afternoon enjoy a guided shore excursion to the easternmost tip of San Cristobal, Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone. Walk along the trail and savor spectacular views of the shoreline below. This is the only site in the Galapagos where three species of boobies as well as two types of frigate birds can be found. Later, you’ll have a chance to swim and snorkel at the nearby white-sand beach. Reboard the ship. MV Santa Cruz. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Fe Island/South Plaza Island. After breakfast, disembark your ship near Santa Fe Island one of the oldest islands of the archipelago. Its age and isolation have allowed several endemic animals to evolve, including species of land iguanas, rice rats and geckos. Board a dinghy over to Bahia Barrington, a small tranquil bay where you can observe green sea turtles and where spotted eagle rays cruise over the sandy bottom while brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies rest on the rocks. Furthermore, you can see Nazca boobies and magnificent frigate birds.
Sea lions are the most obvious sight on Santa Fe Island, with two large colonies on the beaches and pups often playing with snorkelers in the bay. Other underwater encounters may include marine iguanas, sea urchins and different species of fish. Enjoy some free time to swim, snorkel or ride the glass bottom boat. After lunch sail to nearby South Plaza Island. This island is an uplifted slab of sea floor, rather than a volcanic island. It rises from a flat northern edge and tilts gently up to steep cliffs on the southern end. Although South Plaza is a small island, it supports an amazing variety of wildlife. Upon landing on the island you may see sea lions playing in the shallow water, as well as marine iguanas and sally light foot crabs. Walking along the trail with your naturalist, view cracks in the brittle lava that provide nesting sites for seabirds like the red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls, common noddies, blue-footed boobies and occasionally Nazca boobies. Brown pelicans and magnificent frigate birds can also be seen here. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Galapagos Cruise: Charles Darwin Station/ Santa Cruz Island. This morning dock in Santa Cruz Island and visit the fascinating Darwin Station where you'll learn about the conservation efforts and research conducted on the island. The station is a breeding and rearing center where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. Stroll among an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest where endemic land birds can be seen. You will also see giant tortoises from different islands. The tiny turtle babies are affectionately being cared for and as soon as they are old and strong enough prepared for their repatriation. After lunch onboard you may choose from several included optional activities. You may join a trek along trails amid the miconia forests in the highlands or visit an organic coffee plantation. Return to the boat for dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Galapagos Cruise: Española Island/Punta Suarez/Gardner Bay. Today you’ll visit Española Island, located at the southeastern edge of the archipelago. Several unique species and subspecies have evolved here, including the Hood Giant Tortoise, whose rescue from the brink of extinction is a great success story for Galapagos and the Charles Darwin Station captive breeding program on Santa Cruz Island. Because of its great variety of sea birds Española is especially popular among birdwatchers. You may encounter masked and blue-footed boobies, Galapagos doves, red-billed tropicbird, mocking birds, swallowed-tailed gulls and, most important, the waved albatross. You guided morning visit is to Suarez Point on Española Island western end. Here, learn about lava terrain while crossing inactive lava fields. Aside from the sea lion colonies, this is a great site for bird watching. You may spot marine iguanas, lava lizards and colorful Sally Light Foot Crabs. You may also encounter a large colony of Waved Albatross. Later, visit the famous blowhole, where water shoots high into the air.
After lunch onboard land at Gardner Bay situated on the northern side of Española Island and enjoy a guided visit to the beach that is one of the most magnificent in the Galapagos and is home to many sea lion colonies. Here you may also spot Galapagos hawks, American oystercatchers, Galapagos doves, Hood mockingbirds that are endemic to this island, three species of Darwin finches and yellow warblers, lava lizards and marine iguanas. It is also a great beach for swimming and snorkeling. Snorkelers in the turquoise colored water may encounter many of the Galapagos marine species such as king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays and white tipped reef sharks. Return to the boat for your final dinner onboard. (B,L,D)
Day 13: Galapagos Cruise: Baltra Island/Quito. This morning bid farewell to your cruise boat, its wonderful crew and the magnificent Galapagos Islands as you disembark in Baltra Island and fly to Quito, the colonial capital of Ecuador, located just 15 miles from the equator and surrounded by ice-capped volcanoes. Enjoy a brief orientation tour en route to your deluxe, conveniently located hotel. Hilton Colon Hotel. (B)
Day 14: Otavalo Excursion. On today's guided excursion to the Ecuadorian countryside, descend into spectacular Guayllabamba Gorge before arriving at Otavalo, a sprawling Indian market. Here, you'll find unique handicrafts made by the indigenous locals. Later, visit the small town of Cotacachi, Ecuador's center of leatherworks. Return to Quito later this afternoon. (B)
Day 15: Quito. On a guided morning tour of Quito learn about its colonial past, history and culture. Visit the old town and see the Church of San Francisco, the first religious building constructed in South America by the Spanish. See La Compania, the city’s most ornate church. Admire the spectacular views of the Valley of Tumbaco. On a clear day see the impressive volcanoes surrounding the city. Afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace. This evening savor a farewell dinner at a famous local restaurant. After dinner transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight. (B,D)
Day 16: Arrive USA. Your memorable journey ends as you arrive Miami this morning.
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YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
|Tour prices now
INCLUDE airfare taxes,
fees & fuel surcharges
- Round trip airfare from Miami via LAN Airlines
- Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- Intra-South America flights, ground transportation and transfers
- Accommodations at First Class hotels with private bath
- Four-night Galapagos Cruise aboard
MV Santa Cruz
- Galapagos Park fee
- 26 meals: 13 breakfasts (B), 5 lunches (L), 8 dinners (D)
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours and shore excursions
- Professional English-speaking tour directors
Important travelers note
The high altitudes reached on this trip (Cuzco is at 11000 feet above sea level) and the amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, requires that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. We strongly suggest that you consult a physician regarding any concerns prior to making a reservation.
About Machu Picchu
Known throughout the world for its amazing ruins and stunning location high in the mountains, Machu Picchu was accidentally discovered in 1911 by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham. The beauty of its location and the genius construction make Machu Picchu – "lost city of the Incas" – the archaeological jewel of South America. Machu Picchu´s remains are comparatively well preserved because the Spaniards never reached the city. It was buried in the jungle for centuries, and even after its 1911 rediscovery, the city remained inaccessible until the 1940s, when an archaeological expedition working at the site discovered the Inca Trail cutting through the valley below. While most visitors spend only a few hours here, you’ll stay overnight and have ample time to absorb the mystery and beauty of this amazing, not-to-be-missed site!
About MV Santa Cruz
The elegant M/V Santa Cruz is a first class cruiser especially adapted for Galapagos Cruises. The ship can accommodate up to about 90 guests in ocean-facing cabins located on three passenger decks.
Cabins on the main deck have portholes and cabins on the upper and boat decks have either rectangular or round panoramic window. Cabins are well appointed and have a private bath with shower and two lower beds ("Twin Cabin"). A few cabins on the boat deck have one double bed ("Double Cabin").
The ship is air-conditioned throughout and has ample public facilities including a sundeck, Jacuzzi, observation platform, bar, lounge and a library.
The elegant single-seating restaurant serves delicious continental cuisine. Snorkeling equipment and glass-bottom boat are also available. There are several expert naturalists on board to enrich your visit to the Galapagos Islands.
See MV Santa Cruz website for additional pictures and description.