Galapagos and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
16 Days/15 Nights
From $5,779 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Galapagos and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu combines two of the most popular destinations in South America. Your tour begins in Quito, which has a well-preserved colonial center and spectacular views of the Andes and nearby volcanoes. You will then travel to the Galapagos Islands for a five day cruise aboard the Galapagos Legend, where you will enjoy plant and animal species that are found nowhere else on Earth. The final part of your tour will be an amazing hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the spectacular mountain top citadel known as the ‘Lost city of the Incas’.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 15 nights (2 nights in Quito, 4 nights on the Galapagos Legend, 2 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, 3 nights on the Inca Trail, and 1 night in Machu Picchu) and 31 meals (15 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 7 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Fernandina Island, Isabela Island, Rábida Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santiago Island, Guayaquil, Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
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 (Tue): Quito.
Day 2 (Wed): City Tour of Quito-Middle of the World.
Following the city tour, you will be driven to the “Middle of the World City” complex, which is located 11 miles north of Quito. Here, you will see the monument of the equatorial line, a 98 ft high stone trapezoidal monument with a brass globe on top. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 3 (Thu): Quito-Baltra Airport-Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz).
Bachas Beach (wet landing). On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds where iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, and salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, you will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”. (Duration: one hour walk / one hour snorkeling/beach time). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Fri): Egas Port (Santiago)-Rabida.
Rabida Island (wet landing). Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home to sea lion colonies; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September plus nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs is done, to observe nesting seabirds. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active. (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Sat): Urbina Bay-Tagus Cove (Isabela).
Tagus Cove. Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where you will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater-lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. You will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where you will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. You will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past. (Duration: 2 hour walk/40-minute dinghy ride/one hour deep water snorkeling). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Sun): Espinosa Point (Fernandina)-Vicente Roca Point (Isabela).
Vicente Roca Point. Experience great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Accessible by water, you take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling. (Duration: one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Mon): Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz)-Baltra Airport-Guayaquil.
After the visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Guayaquil. (B)
Day 8 (Tue): 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 (Wed): Lima-Cusco-City Tour.
Day 10 (Thu): Cusco-Sacred Valley-Awanakancha-Pisac Market-Ollantaytambo.
Note: The Indian market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from October to March, and daily from April to September. On the days of the week that the market is not open, you will be taken to the Inca ruins above the village.
Day 11 (Fri): Cusco-Chilca-Inca Trail.
Day 12 (Sat): Inca Trail-Warmiwañusqa-Pacamayo.
Day 13 (Sun): Inca Trail-Runku Rakay-Sayacmarca-Wiñayhuayna.
Day 14 (Mon): Inca Trail-Inti Punku-Machu Picchu.
Day 15 (Tue): Machu Picchu-Cusco.
Day 16 (Wed): Cusco-Lima.
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 Galapagos Legend.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
- Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- 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.
- Fuel surcharge for the ship ($50).
- 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.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare, domestic airfare within Peru, and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Quito & Galapagos
Group Private: All services included in Quito and Galapagos are operated on a group basis. The city tour of Lima, city tour of Cusco, and the Sacred Valley 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.
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.
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: We require a non-refundable deposit of $1,250 per person plus the cost of the international airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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