Galapagos, Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and Easter Island
21 Days/20 Nights
From $8,439 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Experience three of the most fascinating destinations in South America on this incredible journey to Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. Enjoy the incomparable natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands on a five day cruise aboard the Santa Cruz II. Observe iguanas, giant tortoises, blue footed boobies and other animals found nowhere else on Earth. Challenge yourself with a four day hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and uncover the mysteries of the Moai statues on Easter Island.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 20 nights (2 nights in Quito, 4 nights on the Santa Cruz II, 2 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, 3 nights on the Inca trail, 1 night in Machu Picchu, 2 nights in Santiago, 3 nights in Easter Island) and 37 meals (20 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 7 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Bartolomé Island, Genovesa Island, Rábida Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santiago Island, Guayaquil, Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Santiago, and Easter Island.
Note: The route and program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters.
Dry Landing: Guests step from the dinghy directly onto rocks or a dock.
Wet Landing: As the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Day 1 (Sat): Quito.
Day 2 (Sun): City Tour of Quito-Equatorial Monument.
Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 3 (Mon): Quito-Baltra Airport-Las Bachas (Santa Cruz).
Las Bachas. This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Tue): Buccaneer Cove-Puerto Egas (Santiago).
Puerto Egas. Once you disembark at the beach, you can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, you head off for a walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and you can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Non-snorkelers can enjoy a longer walk. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Wed): Rabida-Bartolome.
Bartolome. Today’s activities begin with a wet landing on the golden beach of this famous island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkeling and swimming from the beach plus the chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship, you then split into two groups, the first lands for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! The second takes to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline. The groups then swap activities. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Thu): Prince Philip Steps-Darwin Bay (Genovesa).
Darwin Bay. In the afternoon, you land at this beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkeling. Following the dip, you take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Fri): Highlands (Santa Cruz)-Baltra Airport-Guayaquil.
After the visit, passengers will be transferred to Baltra Airport for the flight to Guayaquil. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Guayaquil. (B)
Day 8 (Sat): Guayaquil-Lima-City Tour.
In the afternoon, you will have a city tour of Lima. The tour begins in Miraflores with a stop at the Parque del Amor, a seaside park with a huge statue of a kissing couple and continues with a drive by of the Huaca Huallamarca, a restored adobe pyramid dating from the pre-Inca period located in San Isidro. The next stop is the Plaza de Armas in downtown Lima, where you will visit City Hall (Palacio Municipal), the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), and the Cathedral of Lima. The last stop is the Convent of Santo Domingo. Following the tour, you will be returned to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
Day 9 (Sun): Lima-Cusco-City Tour.
Day 10 (Mon): Cusco-Sacred Valley-Awanakancha-Pisac Market-Ollantaytambo.
Day 11 (Tue): Cusco-Chilca-Inca Trail.
Day 12 (Wed): Inca Trail-Warmiwañusqa-Pacamayo.
Day 13 (Thu): Inca Trail-Runku Rakay-Sayacmarca-Wiñayhuayna.
Day 14 (Fri): Inca Trail-Inti Punku-Machu Picchu.
Day 15 (Sat): Machu Picchu-Cusco.
Day 16 (Sun): Cusco-Lima-Santiago.
Day 17 (Mon): Santiago-City Tour-Winery Tour.
Day 18 (Tue): Santiago-Easter Island.
Day 19 (Wed): Easter Island-Rano Raraku-Anakena Beach.
Day 20 (Thu): Easter Island-Orongo-Ahu Akivi.
Day 21 (Fri): Easter Island-Santiago.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
About the Inca Trail
The Incas built a vast network of roads to communicate with the four regions of their vast empire. The network was called Qapaq Ñan (the sovereign’s highway) or Inca Road, and was made up of stone paths suitable for two or three people with trains of llamas. Rivers were crossed by hanging bridges and the steep slopes were mastered with steps and ramps. There are remains of the Qhapaq Ñan throughout Peru that are still used to this day by local villagers and farmers. One of the most impressive and best preserved roads is the trail that links Cusco and Machu Picchu. Today, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu allows the visitor to step back in time and walk through a variety of eco-systems and dazzling scenery. The length of the 39 kilometers (24 miles) includes unforgettable views, archaeological remains; 400 different species of orchids and begonias, exotic trees like the pisonay, the queñual and innumerable species of fauna in their natural habitat, such as the cock-of-the-rocks, llamas and vicuñas, the white-tailed deer, the vizcacha and, if visitors are lucky, the endangered and vegetarian spectacled bear. The Inca Trail is one of the world’s leading trekking and camping routes. (Source: PromPeru)
A Note About Your Free Day in Machu Picchu
On your free day, you will be on your own. If you choose to revisit Machu Picchu, you will need to purchase a second entrance ticket, which currently costs $74 per person. If you are staying in Aguas Calientes, you will also need to purchase a round-trip bus ticket ($28 per person) for transportation to the site. The first bus departs at 5:30 AM. As an alternative to visiting Machu Picchu again, you can hike Huayna Picchu (a +/- 60 minute hike), or partake in another activity. The cost for hiking Huayna Picchu is $13 (in addition to the second entrance ticket). At the end of the day (mid-late afternoon), you will walk to the train station for the return ride to Poroy train station, where our local representative will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Cusco.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Santa Cruz II.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides, and all other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
- Use of snorkeling equipment and kayaks.
- Double occupancy tents.
- Camping equipment: Bathroom tent, kitchen tent, dining tent, chairs, tables, and comfortable mattresses.
- Cook, porters to carry food, tents, and cooking gear.
- Porters for personal belongings (one for every two passengers).
- Coffee breaks during the trek, first aid kit/oxygen.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and naturalist guides, tour guides, porters, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Bar, gifts, and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Quito & Galapagos
Group Private: In Quito, all transfers are private and the city tour and Middle of the World excursion is a group tour. All services in the Galapagos are operated on a group basis. In Peru, all airport/hotel transfers are private, and the city tour of Lima, city tour of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas excursion are group tours for single passengers and 3 star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodation levels. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike is a group tour. In Santiago, all airport/hotel transfers are private, and the city tour and winery tour are group tours for single passengers and 3 star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodation levels. All services in Easter Island are operated on a group basis for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and are private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations.
Elevations: Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level, Cusco is 10,912 feet, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is 8,944 feet, the Inca Trail varies from 8,528 feet to 13,776 feet, and Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.
IGTOA’S Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund: South American Vacations is an active member of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association). In support of IGTOA’s Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, we contribute $20 for each passenger that we send to the Galapagos Islands. You’ll travel knowing that you support the lasting protection of Galapagos Islands.
Sixty percent of the funding of this program goes directly to the Charles Darwin Foundation for science, conservation, and education. Their work, carried out through the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park, is vital to the preservation of the islands. You can visit their web site to learn more www.darwinfoundation.org. The remainder goes toward IGTOA’s mission of creating a model of responsible and sustainable tourism.
Passport/Visa: For Ecuador, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling. For Peru, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Peruvian embassy in their country before traveling. For Chile, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens (except Greece) require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Greek citizens can stay for up to 60 days. Australian, and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee (considered a multiple entry visa) of $95 and $132 respectively upon arrival (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons). Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Chilean embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of a cabin on this ship for your desired dates of travel. The non-refundable deposits for single, double, and triple passengers are $1,350, $1,450, and $1,450 per person, plus the cost of the airfare (if we arrange it for you).
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