Quite a remarkable trip! This tour of Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands takes you from one of the most biodiverse places on Earth to the enigmatic city that keeps the Inca civilization a source of fascination for people from all over the world.
Prepare to live a one-of-a-kind journey!
Start this ideal travel package at Quito’s fantastic Historic Quarter for well-conserved colonial sites, then continue with the one and only Middle of the World for a tour of the place where both hemispheres meet. You will then set sail on our recently refurbished, state-of-the-art Yacht La Pinta for an unforgettable 5-day cruise in the Galapagos Islands. Next, Peru! The captivating Machu Picchu will bring you closer to one of the most intriguing ancient civilizations of this side of the world. With it, a series of historic cities welcome you: The capital, Lima, Sacred Valley, and Peru’s other top archaeological site, Cuzco.
Aboard Yacht La Pinta:
Islands you’ll visit:
Ecuador is so diverse, there’s plenty of amazing places to visit. In Quito, you’ll stay at Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, the former family residence of one of Ecuador’s most prominent writers, located at the center of the Historic Quarter. Then head on over to the Middle of the World for a private tour. Galapagos follows. Board our recently renovated Yacht La Pinta, with modern accommodations and every facility, for enriching tours, hiking, wildlife observation, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, or glass-bottom boat and panga rides. Next, wondrous Peru! Tour a string of extremely special cities: Lima, Sacred Valley, Cuzco, and, of course, the crown jewel: Machu Picchu. The best trip of your life is waiting for you!
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
A member of our team greets arriving visitors at the airport and assists them with their luggage. Then, it’s off to Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel in Quito’s historic quarter. On the ride over, the guide will provide a brief overview with lots of useful information about Quito and Ecuador.
Day 2: Old Town Quito + Middle of the World
The Historic Center of Quito is full of gems worth visiting. As the most well-preserved old town in all of Latin America, Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! After exploring this part of the city, it’s time to head over to the Middle of the World and learn all about the equator.
Day 3 – Arrive in Galapagos / Transfer to Boat / South Plaza Island
This morning you’re transferred to Quito’s airport to board your flight to Baltra Island, where your next transfer takes you to the nearby dock to board Yacht La Pinta. There’s an introductory briefing and emergency boat drill, you’re assigned to your cabin, and then, lunch. We raise anchor and start sailing to South Plaza Island for the first afternoon outing.
South Plaza Island
The shoreline of this small but spectacular island is made up of turquoise waters, white sand beach and volcanic rocks, where we will walk right by sea lion colonies. A carpet of scarlet-colored sesuvium succulents sits at the base of a large cluster of luminescent-green prickly-pear cacti. The yellow-greyish land iguanas crawl around while seabirds play along the cliffs.
Day 4 – Santa Fe & San Cristobal Islands
Santa Fe Island
This idyllic island is the only place in the world where you can find the bright yellow Santa Fe land iguana. We take the dinghy from Yacht La Pinta over to its white-sand beach, populated with colonies of sea lions, for a walk. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed here, typically found sitting perched atop the salt bushes. Afterward, you can either swim and snorkel along a natural wave barrier. You can also ride aboard Yacht La Pinta’s glass-bottom boat!
Cerro Colorado & Tortoise Breeding Center (San Cristobal Island)
After lunch, we will disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the archipelago’s capital city. Following this, we will take a 40-minute drive over to the island’s southern shore. Once there, at Cerro Colorado, we will visit the Breeding Center for the highly-endangered giant tortoises that amble around a fantastic deciduous forest. This forest is also home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird and the San Cristobal lava lizard.
Day 5 – San Cristobal Island
On this morning, we land at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline, allowing guests to observe frigatebirds plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, you will have the chance to swim along the beach and snorkel, weather permitting.
After lunch, a dinghy ride along the shores will take us over to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coral beach. This is a great site for walking, with rewarding birdwatching opportunities that feature plenty of seabirds and shorebirds. Galapagos sea lions will also be present. History Fact: These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked along back in September of 1835.
Day 6 – Española Island
The morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk across lava terrain to visit the unique seabird colonies that populate this area. Waved albatrosses (visible from April until January), boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and the famous “blowhole” geological formation await! Also, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the red-green-black marine iguanas! Many regard this site as one of the best in all Galapagos. Afterwards, we will head back onboard for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will disembark at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds and finches. You can also choose to simply enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area. Alternatively, you can opt to kayak or take a ride aboard our glass-bottom boat.
Day 7 – Santa Cruz & Baltra Islands / Transfer to Airport / Arrive in Lima / Transfer to Hotel
Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)/Baltra Airport
We disembark at the Puerto Ayora docks in the morning for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station to check out the breeding program for giant tortoises. This gives you a good sense of the Foundation and the National Park’s progress regarding conservation. We take a bus to the opposite coast of Santa Cruz Island for a short ferry ride across the channel to Baltra Island and the airport, to fly back to the mainland.
Arrive in Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport for a brief layover, then fly to Lima.
One of our team members will be there to meet you at Lima International Airport. Transfer to Double Tree El Pardo Hotel, check-in and get all the information and vouchers needed for your time in Peru. Overnight in Lima.
Day 8: Lima City Tour
Today, tour Lima’s historic center for half a day! Visit Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, Government Palace, the Santo Domingo Convent, and the Museum of the Central Reserve Bank, for a view of the different stages of Peruvian art. Then we go to Pueblo Libre District, to a sacred site of the time before the Incas, to Larco Herrera Museum and Hacienda. It holds one of Peru’s best pre-Columbian art collections. Have lunch at the museum’s café and transfer to your hotel!
Overnight in Lima.
Day 9: Sacred Valley Tour
We’ll meet you at the hotel lobby to go to the airport and fly to Cuzco. Upon arrival, we’ll begin touring the Sacred Valley. First up, Awanacancha, the Andean textile center, properly named “the palace of weaving”. Later, see artisans in their natural element at the Pisac Market. Our last stop is Pablo Seminario’s Ceramic Workshop, where you can see ceramics being made. Today is perfect for buying souvenirs and gifts! You’ll have every traditional handicraft on hand. Have a box lunch before transferring to Tambo del Inka Hotel.
Overnight in the Sacred Valley.
Day 10: Sacred Valley Tour
Today starts at Chinchero Town, for impressive views of the Peruvian Andes, and an artisan hub at its main plaza. Maras Salt Pans follows, where the extraction and crystalization of salt from nearby springs makes for colorful terraces everywhere you see! After a buffet lunch at Sacred Valley’s Tunupa Restaurant, we visit Ollantaytambo Fortress, the guardian of the valley, which protected the Incas from tribal invasions. Next, we’ll reach majestic Machu Picchu by train! Arrive at Aguas Calientes, the citadel’s town, and transfer to Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.
Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Day 11: Machu Picchu
This morning we’ll take a bus to get to Machu Picchu in 20 minutes, to begin your private tour. Visit Citadel’s Main Plaza, Circular Tower, Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, and Temple of the Three Windows. Have a buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant in Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. We’ll take a shuttle bus back to Aguas Calientes by the afternoon for the return train to Cuzco. At the station, one of our team members will greet you transfer you to Cuzco Palacio del Inka hotel.
Overnight in Cuzco.
Day 12: Cuzco City Tour / Transfer to Airport / Farewell!
This incredible combined tour ends with a guided tour of Cuzco. Start with the Imperial City, for some more stunning Inca architecture! Regarded as the archaeological capital of South America, you can discover more of this ancient Empire’s history along Cuzco’s stone streets. Meet our representative at the hotel lobby by afternoon to check out and they’ll take you to the Cuzco Airport to board your flight back home.