Depart to Quito. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel.
Galapagos and Machu Picchu with 5 Day Coral I and II Cruise
13 Days/12 Nights
From $4,289 per person
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Galapagos and Machu Picchu are 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 Coral I & II, where you will enjoy plant and animal species that are found nowhere else on Earth. The final part of your tour will take you to Peru to see Machu Picchu, the spectacular mountain top citadel known as the ‘Lost city of the Incas’.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 12 nights (2 nights in Quito, 4 nights on the Coral I & II, 2 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, and 1 night in Machu Picchu), and 22 meals (12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
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.
In the morning, you will have a city tour of Quito. You will explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, and visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compania and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. You will drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan and finish the morning at the Panecillo hillside, with its breathtaking views of the old and modern parts of the city.
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)
Departure from Quito to Baltra (2.5 hours flight). Arriving in Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
Eden Islet/Ballena Bay. Off the western coast of Santa Cruz, Eden Islet offers opportunities to see Nazca and Blue-footed boobies, Reef sharks, and Endemic Salemas, either from the dinghy or during snorkeling.
Wet landing in Ballena (Whale) Bay, this is a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals of volcanic origin. The crystals were formed when the magma was still underground. The content is magnesium, iron, and silica. Small populations of tortoises from Pinzón Island lived at the site but were probably taken by whalers or previous inhabitants. Opportunity to see marine iguanas and sea birds followed by snorkeling. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Vicente Roca Point is a promontory with two protected turquoise coves on either side of the remains of a tuff cone. One of them, the Bolivar Channel (one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth), is accessible from the sea by water-filled subterranean passages, so it is a marine-only visitor site with really great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the West offer an abundant food supply for marine species that supports a wide variety of marine life like: Red-lipped batfish, Seahorses, Frogfish, Nudibranchs and Octopi; the Mola mola or Sunfish, have also been spotted close to the rock walls.
It is common to observe groups of dolphins, Sea Lions, and tunas feeding here. The geological formations here are very impressive; a sheer cliff provides the perfect setting for a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds, to name a few, we have: the Noddies, Brown pelicans, Galapagos Penguins, and Flightless Cormorants. Marine birds such as Pelicans or Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once in these waters. There are whale-watching opportunities during the cold season (May-December) while navigating from Vicente Roca Point to Espinosa Point.
Espinosa Point (dry landing) is the only spot that we visit on Fernandina, and from it, we can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. The largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk.
“Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but we encounter Brachycereuscacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Urbina Bay. Wet landing on a volcanic black beach. Depending on the season, we may find Giant tortoises, Land iguanas, and the unusual Flightless Cormorant. After a short walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with Sea turtles, Sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plant life that changes depending on the season. We can observe the beautiful colors of plants that attract different insects, birds, and reptiles. We will explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo Volcano. There are whale-watching opportunities during the cold season (May-December) while navigating from Urbina Bay to Tagus Cove.
Tagus Cove. Dry landing on Isabela, the Galapagos’ largest Island, where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that formed it. The trail leads to Darwin salt-water Crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. This is a great site to see land birds such as Galapagos Hawks, Ground and Tree finches, Large-billed flycatchers and Yellow warblers.
We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of Seabirds such as Blue-footed boobies, Brown Noddies, Terns, Flightless Cormorants and, depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins (which are about 35 cm tall).
Most of the Galapagos penguins live on this Western portion of Isabela, others are scattered further South on the Island; they are the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the Equator. Moreover, they lay their eggs in small cracks of lava, on the lower parts of the island near the shoreline so the ocean waves won’t reach them. Finally, we will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water.
Graffiti believed to have been left by19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past. Many names of the early visitors to this site, pirates, and whalers, are written on the cliffs along the shore. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Wet landing on a beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835. Salt Mines visitor site has an important history, on 1683; William Ambrose Cowley visited this place and named the bay with the English name of James. British buccaneers anchored in this whole area during the 1600s since it was a good place to provide them with water, tortoises, and salt from the salt-lake that locates down into the crater.
The first part of Egas Port trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is partially uneven terrain, comprised of volcanic basaltic rock that lies on the shoreline and takes you to the best tidal pool areas in the Galapagos that are populated by Fur Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds including the Galapagos hawk and the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Snorkeling in this place is a highlight, astounding array of marine wildlife, including Lobsters, Starfish, and Marine iguanas graze on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Snorkeling also offers rarities such as Octopus or Squid. At this visitor site, you can observe the two species of sea lions: Fur “seals” and Galapagos Sea Lions. You can watch colonies of Endemic Fur Seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks.
Sullivan Bay (wet landing). This visitor site located at the Southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest and features extensive Pahoehoe lava flows, believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the inland section of the trail and in the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear. You will also find Mollugo plants and their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves growing out of the fissures. Walking on the lava is breathtaking, this flow is geologically very young, the magma formed is flat but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling, and other eruptions make it look like it just solidified. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Dry landing. We will reach the Santa Cruz highlands and visit a private farm and natural tortoise reserve “El Chato” / “Primicias”, where Giant Tortoises are found in their natural habitat, as well as land birds such as Tree and Ground Finches, Vermillion Flycatchers, Paint-billed Crakes, Yellow Warblers and Cattle Egrets. The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems, life, and geology. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense forests of the highlands that emerge from a light fog. Often, tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the agricultural zone. Land birds can also be observed along the excursion. This visit is actually of important interest for birdwatchers since they can observe almost every land bird present on the island.
After visiting the Highlands, you will go straight to the airport for the return flight to Quito, and then Lima, Peru. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
In the afternoon, you will have a city tour of Lima. You will visit downtown Lima and see several examples of the Spanish architecture of the colonial period including the Plaza de Armas, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the Church of San Francisco and Catacombs. After that, you will see Huaca Huallamarca, a restored adobe pyramid dating from the pre-Inca period located in San Isidro. You will tour the upscale residential and commercial district of Miraflores and see the Parque del Amor, a seaside park with a huge statue of a kissing couple, before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Lima. (B)
Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Because of the high altitude (10,912 feet above sea level), we recommend that you rest for a short period. In the afternoon, you will have a city tour that includes a walk-through of the Cathedral, the Koricancha (‘site of gold’), typical streets, and the four ruins that surround the city: the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, Kenko, Puca Pucara, and Tampumachay. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Today you will have a full-day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The tour begins at Awanakancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes, where you can observe traditional textile dyeing and weaving techniques and the four types of camelids that are native to the region. You will also visit the Indian artisan market in Pisac and have lunch at a local restaurant (included). The last stop is the impressive Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo that served as both a fortress and ceremonial center, and is the site of a short-lived victory by the Incas over the Spanish. Overnight in Cusco. (B,L)
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.
Early morning transfer to the train station for the ride to Machu Picchu, ‘the Lost City of the Incas’ (7,900 feet). This mountaintop citadel, which served as both a center of worship and an astronomic observatory, is located in the middle of the cloud forest overlooking the Urubamba River. There are both agricultural and urban areas constructed with the precision stonework that the Incas are known for. The agricultural area consists of terraces and food storehouses, and the urban area contains temples, squares, and royal tombs. Guided tour followed by lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. (B,L)
This is a free day to explore Machu Picchu on your own. You may want to hike Huayna Picchu or enjoy another activity. Mid-afternoon, you will depart from Machu Picchu by train to Poroy Station in the Sacred Valley, and then be taken to your hotel in Cusco. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Lima and your final destination. Depending upon the time of your departure flight from Lima, you can choose to leave Cusco on a mid-afternoon flight to Lima and stay at the airport until your flight departs, or leave Cusco on a morning flight to Lima, pay for a day use hotel and transfers to and from the airport to rest before your flight and enjoy your last day in Lima. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
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.
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until December 10, 2016.
- The Single and Double prices are based on a Standard Plus Cabin and the Triple prices are based on a Junior Cabin.
- Room/cabin upgrades and additional nights in each destination are available upon request.
- Machu Picchu Pueblo, Casa del Sol Machu Picchu, and Sanctuary Lodge accommodations include breakfast and dinner.
- Upgrade to the Hiram Bingham train, which operates every day except Sunday, is available for $700 per person.
- Oxygenated rooms are available at the Monasterio for an additional $50 per room per day.
- Holy Week, Inti Raymi Festival, and Christmas week surcharges may apply.
Alternating Monday departures throughout the year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including service fees and taxes.
- Accommodations on board the M/Y Coral I and II.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
- Excursion to Machu Picchu including overnight stay and transportation via Vistadome train.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Fuel surcharge for the ship ($90).
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- 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.
First Class – Coral I and II
4 Star – Sol de Oro Hotel & Suites
5 Star – J.W. Marriott Hotel Lima
Deluxe – Miraflores Park Hotel
3 Star – Casa Andina Classic Cusco Plaza
4 Star – Hotel Novotel Cusco
5 Star – Libertador Palacio del Inka
Deluxe – Hotel Monasterio
Group Private: All services included in Quito and Galapagos are operated on a group basis. In Peru, all transfers are private, and the city tours of Lima and Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas excursion, and Machu Picchu guided tour are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and 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, 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 $1,000 per person plus the cost of the airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.