Galapagos and Machu Picchu with 7 Day Santa Cruz II Cruise
15 Days/14 Nights
From $7,889 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
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 seven day cruise aboard the Santa Cruz 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 14 nights (2 nights in Quito, 6 nights on the Galapagos Legend, 2 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, and 1 night in Machu Picchu), and 28 meals (14 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 6 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Bartolomé Island, Española Island, Mosquera Islet, North Seymour Island, San Cristóbal Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Fe Island, South Plaza 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 (Wed): Quito.
Day 2 (Thu): 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 (Fri): Quito-Baltra Airport-Mosquera.
Mosquera. After lunch and your introductory briefing on board, Santa Cruz II will relocate only four nautical miles from Baltra, next to Mosquera Islet, a small volcanic uplift between Baltra and North Seymour. The island is a long and narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs. Our groups will approach the island from its western shore, a long shallow reef, the perfect rookery for young sea lions. After a wet landing, our guides will lead you past the sea lion colonies, where you will learn more about the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos. The walk is easy as it is restricted to a few hundred meters of flat sandy dunes. This will also be a great opportunity for an introduction to snorkeling. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Sat): Puerto Baquerizo Moreno-Cerro Colorado Breeding Center-Punta Pitt (San Cristobal).
Punta Pitt. In the afternoon, you disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. You can walk or enjoy a panga ride along the coast. Opportunity for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Sun): Santa Fe-South Plaza.
South Plaza Island. Following lunch and a rest, you disembark (dry landing) in this channel, whose turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline, one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide, playing with the thermals. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Mon): Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station-Optional Excursions (Santa Cruz).
Santa Cruz Island. There are several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, you return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Tue): Punta Suarez-Gardner Bay-Osborn Islet (Espanola).
Gardner Bay-Osborn Islet (wet landing). In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby islet of Osborn provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches as you relax. You can expect great snorkeling in this area. Opportunity for swimming and kayaking as well. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8 (Wed): Eden Islet (Santa Cruz)-North Seymour.
North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing (dry landing), usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9 (Thu): Baltra Aiport-Guayaquil.
Day 10 (Fri): 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 11 (Sat): Lima-Cusco-City Tour.
Day 12 (Sun): 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 13 (Mon): Cusco-Machu Picchu.
Day 14 (Tue): Machu Picchu-Cusco.
Day 15 (Wed): Cusco-Lima.
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.
- 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/V Santa Cruz II.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Excursion to Machu Picchu via Vistadome train and other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
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 guides (suggested $20/day for the crew and $10/day for the guide).
- 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.
Quito & Galapagos
Group/Private: All transfers in Quito 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 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: Call or email us to confirm the availability of the ship and airfare for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,250 (Single passengers) or $1,350 (Double/Triple passengers) plus the cost of the airfare (if we arrange it for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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