Machu Picchu and Galapagos Island (13 Days)

1st day: Lima


Upon your arrival reception at the airport and transfer to the selected Hotel.

Overnight at the selected hotel.


2nd day: Lima


LIMA CITY TOUR (COLONIAL AND MODERN):

Guided visit through Lima’s Historical Center: the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), the Government Palace, the Archbishop's Palace, the City Hall and old streets with colonial mansions and Moorish balconies. You will also visit the San Francisco Convent, which has the most magnificent collection of colonial art in America. The tour will continue through the most traditional residential areas of Lima, including San Isidro, Miraflores and LarcoMar, a shopping center of international thematic attractions which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. 

Overnight at the selected hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast.


3rd day: Lima/Cusco

At the suitable time, private transportation to the airport.
Airline ticket to Cusco.
Upon arrival to Cusco, you will be met and taken to your hotel. There will be free time available to rest and get used to the altitude.
CITY TOUR AND NEIGHBOURING RUINS:
City tour for 3 hours through the beautiful Cusco city and its nearby ruins. The Tour will show you the amazing city of Cusco colonial built on the foundations of the Inca palaces. You will visit the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun, where you can appreciate the incredible masonry of the Incas, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral with its carved woodworks, altars and paintings. Then you will be driven to the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, to the underground cave and temple of Qenqo and to Tambomachay, known as the Baths of the Inca. Finally you will visit the Misminay Exhibit, Misminay is a native community of Cusco, there you will be able to appreciate their beautiful handcrafts.
Overnight at selected hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast.

4th day: Cusco/Sacred Valley

PISAC MARKET AND OLLANTAYTAMBO: Full day Sacred Valley excursion. 31 km (19 miles) far from Cusco is Pisac, at the entrance of the Sacred Valley. Visit the colorful market that on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays a craft fair takes place where you can buy beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs. Lunch will be served in a local restaurant. The tour continues towards Ollantaytambo, an archaeological site that the Incas built as a fort and includes a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: Araqama Ayllu, the religious and worship zone, and Qosqo Ayllu, the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative center with probable military functions due to the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts. The town of Ollantaytambo is called a Living-Inca-Town, since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. This excursion will finish around 3:00 in the afternoon, after which you will be transferred to your hotel. During your trip, you will stop to visit the Wildlife Rescue Center fo Cochahuasi. This project is dedicated to rescue and rehabilitate endangered species. You will have the chance to admire those rescued animals they will never return to nature, as well as to know how to elaborate "chicha" a traditional Inka beverage and to learn of the life style of the villagers from the Sacred Valley.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch.


5th: Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu


Transfer to the train station.
MACHU PICCHU VISIT:

Arrival by Vistadome class train to Machu Picchu ruins. From Aguas Calientes station you will be transported by bus to the top of the mountain and to the citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the most renowned examples of Inca architecture. The city of Machu Picchu is the department of Cusco's most important tourist attraction and one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. Discovered in 1911 by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, this city is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of scenic architecture in the world, built at the top of a granite mountain. The Incas, using ingenious engineering techniques, were able to transport heavy stone blocks up the mountain side, and once there, they used their excellent masonry skills to produce amazingly polished stones that fit together perfectly. After two hours guided visit in the ruins, you will have lunch at a restaurant of the area
. Shared service is during your trip by train; after that, a private guide will assist you through the visit in Machu Picchu from the train station.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch.

6th: Machu Picchu/Cusco


SECOND DAY IN MACHU PICCHU:

Transfer from Aguas Calientes town to Machu Picchu fortress for enjoying this wonder of the world for second time. You will also be able to climb the Huayna Picchu, the mountain in front of the Machu Picchu and see the fortress from the top with a spectacular view. The guide is not included in this second entrance.
At the appointed time, you should return to the station to take your train ride to Cusco. Luggage porters from your hotel to the station are available for free. The ride lasts for four hours. Shared Service.

Sacred Valley
:
Transfer from Ollanta Station in the Sacred Valley to Cusco Hotel.

Overnight at the Selected Hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast


7th: Cusco/Lima/Guayaquil


Transfer from the hotel to the airport.

Flight to Lima city.

Lima
:
Air ticket to Guayaquil

Guayaquil
:
Transfer from the Airport to the selected Hotel

Overnight at the selected hotel.

Meals included : Breakfast.

8th day: Guyaquil / Galapagos Island


Transfer from the hotel to the airport.

Flight from Guayaquil to Galapagos.

Galapagos Island
:
SAN CRISTÓBAL ISLAND, LEÓN DORMIDO Y CERRO BRUJO:

Arrival by plane to San Cristobal Island and transfer to the MV SANTA CRUZ, which will be anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital of the Galapagos Islands. Cabin assignment and lunch. After lunch, introductory welcome talk and boat drill.Sail around Kicker Rock; rising 144 meters from the ocean, it is a spectacular rock formation off the northwest coast of San Cristobal. It is a volcanic tuff cone, of which just a minimum portion is left, as it has been eroded by thousands of years of sea and wind forces. Sea lions and fur sea lions may be observed too. The surrounding waters are clear for underwater viewing of rock walls and marine life. Afterwards, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers will bring us to Cerro Brujo's white coraline beach . Wet landing. The area will show us good views of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds, and some shore birds. Also, look for Galapagos sea lions. The beach is a great open walking area, with rewarding bird watching. Highlights ashore include the Chatham (San Cristobal) Mockingbird, Chatham Lava Lizard; both species are endemic to this island and seen nowhere else in Galapagos. Back on board for an ECO Moment and briefing on the next day's activities, followed by a cocktail offered by the Captain and dinner.

Overnight at Santa Cruz Galapagos Cruise

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

9th day: Galapagos Island


PUNTA SUAREZ ISLAND:

Morning outing at Punta Suarez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca (masked boobies), blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous blowhole. Among its landbirds, the Hood island mockingbird, and three species of Darwin's finches are common highlights. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas, and of course a rookery of sea lions right at the landing site. For those planning not to walk the entire trail, there will be a dinghy ride arranged along the coastline of Punta Suarez, followed by a very short walk under easy walking conditions. Back on board for lunch. Disembark at Punta Cormorant (wet landing) at an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species like Greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others may be observed. This outing also includes a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night for nesting (from December to May). Snorkeling can take place from the beach, and for those experienced marine enthusiasts, Devil's Crown can be an option. Non-snorkelers can enjoy an introduction to the Marine Reserve on the glass-bottom boat. ECO Moment, briefing and dinner.

Overnight at Santa Cruz Galapagos Cruise.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


10th day: Galapagos Island


FERNANDINA ISLAND, PUNTA ESPINOZA, CANAL BOLIVAR, BAHÍA URBINA
This morning brings us to the youngest island, Fernandina. First, a dinghy ride to observe Galapagos penguins as well as flightless cormorants. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness with lots of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their island habitat with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, and hawks. Lava terrain calls for good walking shoes. Snorkeling at this location depends on local sea conditions, and will be announced by the Expedition Staff. Back on board for lunch. As we sail along the Bolívar Channel, astonishing views of the Galápagos' youngest volcanoes can be seen. The nutrient-rich waters of the west can also bring surprises like encountering sea birds feeding, dolphins, and possibly whales.Afternoon disembarkation (wet landing) for a walk at Urbina Bay. This area went through a volcanic uplifting event back in 1954 leaving gaunt marine skeletons, which make the walk remarkably interesting, specially for understanding island colonization. This area is also home to large and very colorful Galápagos land iguanas, and with some luck, we may even find giant tortoises from the wild population of Alcedo Volcano. A refreshing swim can be accomplished after the walk. Farewell briefing and dinner.

Overnight at Santa Cruz Galapagos Cruise.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

11th day: Galapagos Island / Quito

CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, ITABACA CHANNEL AND BALTRA ISLAND:

Visiting the famous Charles Darwin Research Station will be certainly a rewarding adventure for this morning's program. We arrive at the Itabaca Channel, between the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz and disembark at the public dock (dry landing) for a 30-minute bus ride along the highlands in route to Puerto Ayora where changes in vegetation can be witnessed. Upon arrival, we proceed to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the rearing in captivity program for the famous giant tortoises. Here we will get to understand the conservation efforts promoted by this institution, and stroll among an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest where endemic land birds can be seen. After an hour visit, return via the same route to cross the Itabaca Channel by ferry and take the bus to Baltra Island airport in time for the 12h15 flight back to the continent.

Quito
:
Flight from Galapagos to Quito
.
Reception at the airport and transfer to the selected Hotel
.
Overnight at the Selected Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast.

12th day: Quito


SCENIC TOUR AND MIDDLE OF THE WORLD:
A 4 hours visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The visit starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. (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 at Selected Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast.

13th day: Quito / home

Transportation to the airport for your international departure flight.
Meals included: Breakfast.