Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands
|Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands
The past comes alive as you travel from the Land of the Incas to the Galapagos archipelago. This small group tour offers a look into mankinds collective history. Overnight at the base of mysterious Machu Picchu and take advantage of the chance to explore this Lost City twice. Explore the UNESCO Spanish colonial cities of Lima, Quito and Cuzco. Set foot in two hemispheres at the Equatorial Line Monument. After delving into ancient cultures, youll connect with one-of-a-kind wildlife as you cruise the pristine Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin. Throughout your journey in Peru and Ecuador, youll look toward the future and reflect on enchanting days gone by.
Day 1: Lima, Peru – Tour Begins
Welcome to Peru, one of the treasures of South America. The enduring cultures and breathtaking beauty of the Andes await. Travel through this intriguing land visiting some of the worlds most legendary sites, including Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” Arrive late this evening in Lima, the “City of Kings.”
Day 2: Lima
Discover Limas fascinating history during a tour through the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the artwork at San Francisco Monastery and enter the catacombs. View the Government Center, the elegant Cathedral at Plaza de Armas, an abundance of colonial architecture, and the fashionable suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores for insight into the daily life of the Limeos. Then its on to your exclusive visit to the Archbishops Palace to witness the changing of the guard. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers during a welcome dinner with a tasting menu of artfully crafted Peruvian dishes and drinks; you will quickly discover why Peru has been named the worlds top food travel destination four years in a row.
Day 3: Lima – Cuzco – Sacred Valley of the Incas
Fly to Cuzco, in the heart of the Inca civilization. Journey through the Andes to the majestic Sacred Valley of the Incas, the agricultural center of their grand empire. Learn the centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving traditional textiles during a visit to Awana Kancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes. After a short lesson on the local language, stop in Pisac village to browse the colorful handicraft market. Do as the locals do and enjoy a tasting of chicha, a unique regional drink made from maize, at a local pub. Then, head to the Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio where youll get first-hand knowledge on this internationally renowned artist’s techniques and designs, inspired by ancient Peruvian cultures. Settle in this evening at your hotel nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. The rest of the evening is yours; perhaps youll take this opportunity to discover your hotels planetarium to gaze at the stars.
Day 4: Sacred Valley of the Incas – Ollantaytambo- Sacred Valley of the Incas
Experience the lifestyle of the modern Andean people and delve into their culture when you travel to a nearby community and interact with the locals. Youll get a true taste of their daily life when participating in small group workshops that teach you traditional methods of growing, harvesting and weaving. Celebrate their culture as you learn their dances and listen to their musical instruments. This afternoon, visit the spectacular Ollantaytambo archaeological site, the only Incan settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. A uniquely terraced complex topped with carved stone panels, these ruins reflect ancient Incan architecture and heritage. Then, make a stop at the Sacred Valley Brewing Company, a nonprofit brewery created to support a local orphanage. Taste these Andean-inspired beers and learn about their determination to support their community. Tonight, savor an authentic pachamanca dinner, a unique process where food is placed on hot stones and buried in the ground to cook.
Day 5: Sacred Valley of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Climb aboard the Machu Picchu Vistadome train for breathtaking views through domed windows as you ride through the Andes to the Lost City of the Incas. Hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungle, Machu Picchu is considered the most spectacular sight in South America. Spend the afternoon with your guide uncovering the mysteries of these majestic ruins. Tonight, stay at the base of Machu Picchu for a chance to further soak up its atmosphere. Enjoy an exclusive culinary demonstration before enjoying an award-winning tasting menu at your resort.
Day 6: Machu Picchu – Cuzco
With leisure time this morning you may return to Machu Picchu on your own or explore the local markets. Return by Vistadome train to the Sacred Valley and continue to Cuzco, a city that blends Inca and Spanish colonial influences. Before arriving, make a stop at the heralded salt mines of Maras.
Day 7: Cuzco
The morning is yours to relax and acclimate to the altitude. Perhaps youll choose the Cuzco through the Senses optional tour, where youll get hands-on experience with the owner and artist of a local pottery studio, followed by interactive tastings of world-renowned Peruvian coffee and chocolate. This afternoon, the choice is yours on how you will explore Cuzco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. Perhaps youll choose to join a local guide on a walking tour of the city from your hotel. Or, maybe you would prefer to board your coach for a comprehensive tour of the citys main sites. Both tours will take you on a journey through this colonial city where youll experience the architectural legacy visible in the Cathedral, Santo Domingo, the Plaza de Armas, as well as a stop by the central market. Later, gather together and travel above the city to discover the important sacred Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Enjoy a toast at sunset while overlooking the city before arriving at your authentic dinner and folklore show in the heart of Cuzco.
Day 8: Cuzco – Quito, Ecuador
This morning we fly to Quito, Ecuador, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the countrys stunning capital city.
Day 9: Quito
At the start of your city tour, enjoy a special visit to a Children International community center, supported by the Collette Foundation.* Meet some of the children benefiting from the nutritional support and healthy cooking education that is the focus of this groups mission. Learn about Quitos colonial center on a tour featuring the Presidential Palace and 17th-century Church of La Compaa. Savor lunch overlooking the Pululahua volcanic crater. On a one-of-a-kind experience, cross between hemispheres at the Equatorial Line Monument and Museum at the Middle of the World. Spend the rest of the day at leisure discovering Quitos way of life.
Day 10: Quito – San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos – Embark Ship
Fly to beautiful San Cristbal Island, gateway to your Galapagos eco-adventure. After enjoying lunch aboard the m/v Galapagos Legend, arrive at the Port Baquerizo Moreno for an up-close look at the endangered tortoises that call the San Cristbal Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve home. After exploring the island, stargaze from the deck of your ship and toast the wonders of the Galapagos with tropical cocktails.
Day 11: Española Island (Gardner Bay and Suarez Point)
Board your panga to visit Gardner Bay. Guarded by a colony of sea lions, the beach is home to Galapagos hawks and endemic finches. Swim and snorkel with the marine life, including manta rays and white-tipped sharks. Continue on and meander through the volcanic terrain of Suarez Point. During your nature walk, watch for hooded mocking birds, lava lizards, Sally Lightfoot crabs and blue-footed boobies. Venture to count Waved Albatross at the worlds largest colony. Finally, visit the spectacular Soplador (blowhole) where water shoots 75 feet into the air.
Day 12: Floreana Island (Post Office Bay and Cormorant Point)
Land at storied Post Office Bay, named for a barrel left in 1793 by Captain James Colnett as a post office for passing sailors. Continue the tradition and leave a letter for a loved one. Snorkel, if you choose, with green sea turtles or set out to search for Darwins finches and yellow warblers. Sail to Cormorant Point and its olivine green sand beach. Try to spot stingrays and reef sharks in the emerald waters. Learn about the ecosystems unusual plants. You may also observe graceful flamingos or spot a small colony of penguins. Seize another chance to snorkel and swim near playful sea lions!
Day 13: Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station & Highlands)
Visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station and see the giant tortoises from the stations breeding program. Trek through the Santa Cruz highlands to Cerro Chato and find more giant tortoises. Take a break to savor some organic Galapagos coffee before we embark on a walk inside dormant lava tubes to gain insight on how these pristine islands formed. Enjoy time to explore Port Ayora town.
Day 14: Daphne Island – Disembark Ship – Baltra Island – Quito
Garner panoramic views as you circumnavigate Daphne Island. Keep an eye out for marine iguanas, fur seals and crabs teetering along the rocky shore. Bid farewell to the Galapagos and fly back to the magnificent city of Quito. This evening, fall in love with the lights of colonial Quito during a nighttime panoramic tour en route to your farewell dinner. Arrive at one of the citys most historic restaurants to sample some of Ecuadors finest cuisine.
Day 15: Quito – Tour Ends
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.