24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from January – June 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Lima, Pisac Market, Machu Picchu, Koricancha (Cusco), Quito & the Galapagos Islands.|
|Themes||Active, History & Culture, Nature & Wildlife|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops. The Galapagos cruise portion of this tour may have up to 90 passegners on board.|
Join us on a fascinating voyage of discovery as we visit some of the most splendid and awesome sites in South America. In Peru, you’ll see Lima, the City of Kings; Cusco, the ancient Incan capital; and Machu Picchu, the Lost City. In Ecuador, you’ll visit Quito, the lovely colonial capital city and UNESCO World Heritage site; Otavalo, with its colorful, charming market that is known throughout the world; and then cruise the Galapagos Islands, the magical place that inspired Charles Darwin to propose his theory of evolution. And while there are no compromises in the quality of the hotels and the scope of touring included in our program, it's yours for a price that's as amazing as the trip itself!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Fri||Jan 8||2016||Fri||Jan 22||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||Feb 5||2016||Fri||Feb 19||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||Feb 19||2016||Fri||Mar 4||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||Apr 15||2016||Fri||Apr 29||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||May 13||2016||Fri||May 27||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||May 27||2016||Fri||Jun 10||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
|Fri||Jun 10||2016||Fri||Jun 24||2016||$6599||$5999||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Optionals & Upgrades|
|Rooming Selection / Cabin Categories|
|Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Horizon Deck||included|
Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Expedition Deck ON REQUEST
Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Panorama Deck ON REQUEST
|Double Occupancy, Darwin Suite, Panorama Deck ON REQUEST||+$700|
|Single Occupancy, Voyager Sgl Cabin, Horizon Deck ON REQUEST||+$2000|
|Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Horizon Deck||+$3750|
|Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Expedition Deck ON REQUEST||+$4000|
Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Panorama Deck ON REQUEST
|Peru Optional Excursions|
|Machu Picchu 2nd Visit||+$80|
|Machu Picchu 2nd Visit Plus Huayna Picchu Entrance|
|All other departures||+$95|
|Tipon & Andahuaylillas Excursion||+$66|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
|All other departures||included|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)|
|All other departures||+$225|
|Los Angeles (LAX)|
|All other departures||+$300|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 105 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Lima. Your exciting journey to Peru begins today as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, Peru's diverse capital city, "City of the Kings." Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Atton San Isidro.
Passengers departing New York (JFK) must check-in the night before the listed departure dates for their overnight flights arriving in the morning of Day 1. An additional hotel night is included to guarantee rooms will be ready for early check-in. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Day 2: Lima. After breakfast, your exploration begins with a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, boasting one of the greatest private collections of pre-Columbian artifacts. Its permanent exhibition includes a variety of colorful textiles, ceramics and jewelry, but perhaps its most interesting collection consists of ancient erotic artifacts. Next, enjoy some free time for lunch before embarking on a panoramic tour of Lima, driving by the Monastery of San Francisco, the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of Lima, the ornate Archbishop’s Palace and other buildings. You will also visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Breakfast provided.
Note: For the Mar 23, 2016 departure, the Cathedral of Lima will be closed due to Easter.
Day 3: Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire (11,000 feet above sea level). Upon arrival, travel to nearby Pisac, a picturesque Andean village with a wonderful market. Here you'll have a chance to buy locally made ponchos, sweaters and other handcrafted clothing, ceramics and hand-painted beads. Enjoy browsing the "locals" section of the market, where villagers come from miles around, dressed in their traditional clothing, to barter and sell their produce.
Continue to Ollantaytambo (3,000 feet above sea level), located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. The temple area is at the top of a series of steep terraces which helped provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. Afterwards, check in to your hotel for dinner and overnight. Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Machu Picchu. It's a short drive from your hotel to the Ollanta railroad station where you'll board the Vistadome train that will take you through the lush Urubamba Valley, passing through stunning scenery en route to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular and enigmatic archaeological sites in the world. (8,000 feet above sea level)
Unknown to the outside world until archaeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Incan Empire. Believed to have served as a country retreat town for Inca nobility, the complex consists of giant walls, terraces, and ramps constructed from precisely cut rock formations. This impressive architectural feat, in combination with its breathtaking natural setting amid mist-covered green mountains above the rushing Urubamba River, makes for a visually stunning, and even mystical, experience. Enjoy the remainder of the day and evening in Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu. Accommodations: Casa Andina Classic Machu Picchu. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Machu Picchu & Cusco. Early this morning, there will be an opportunity to independently visit Machu Picchu for a second time, and for the more adventurous, to test their limits with a climb to Huayna Picchu, the sharp peak which towers above the citadel. (Entrance to Machu Picchu: $80 per person. Entrance to Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu: $95 per person. Price includes reserved ticket and roundtrip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Please contact us to reserve this option in advance as availability is limited.) This afternoon, journey back to Ollanta station by Vistadome train, then continue to Cusco by motor coach. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel for overnight. Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Cusco. After breakfast, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Cusco. You'll see the Plaza de Armas, center of the Inca Empire, where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the conquest of Cusco. Here, you'll visit Cusco's beautiful 16th century cathedral. Then, just a few blocks away, you will discover the ruins of the Koricancha, an important temple built to honor Inti, the Incan sun god. When the conquistadors first arrived in Cusco, the temple was covered in sheets of solid-gold and adorned with golden statues, but within months of their arrival, the temple was stripped and the gold plundered as treasure for Spain.
Next, continue to the Sacsayhuaman fortress, an emblematic Inca construction built in the 15th century. The size of the fortress and its massive stones are remarkable, and the manner in which they were transported, cut, and laid is still a mystery. Next, travel to Puka Pukara, also known as the "red fortress", which is thought to have been a military stronghold. It has many rooms, courtyards, bathrooms, aqueducts, and towers to explore. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure or take advantage of an optional excursion to Tipon & Oropesa. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Tipon & Andahuaylillas, $66. This afternoon’s optional excursion begins with a scenic drive to Tipon, an impressive complex located 15 miles outside of Cusco. Tipon is an ancient marvel of engineering consisting of twelve agricultural terraces and an advanced irrigation system that is still used by the local population to this day. Next, continue to Andahuaylillas and visit the Church of San Pedro Apostol, considered the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas” because of its ornate gold-leaf altar and beautiful artwork adorning its ceiling and walls.
Day 7: Cusco, Lima & Quito, Ecuador. Today bid adiós to Peru as you transfer to the airport in Cusco for your flight via Lima to Quito, Ecuador's capital city (9,500 feet above sea level). Upon arrival and after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Quito. Today, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Quito. Arguably one of the loveliest of all South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha. Begin your walking tour at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and the Archbishops’ Palace. The next stop, La Compañía de Jesús, has an ornate and richly sculptured facade and interior, with colored columns, 10-sided altars, and gilded balconies. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito's oldest church and the largest colonial building constructed in Latin America.
Next, drive 16 miles north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument, the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"), commemorating the exact place where Charles Marie de la Condamine established the Equator, where you can stand with one foot in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Quito, Galpagos Cruise - San Cristobal & Punta Pitt. Transfer to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island, gateway to the Galapagos Islands to begin your adventure. Upon arrival, transfer to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to board your first-class cruise ship, the M/V Santa Cruz II, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.
In the afternoon, disembark on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, and walk along the trail with spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, and you may be lucky enough to view all three! After a walk along the trail, weather permitting, there will be a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets. Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz II. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 10: Galapagos Cruise - Sante Fe Island & South Plaza Island. After breakfast, take a dinghy to Sante Fe Island, where you'll find an idyllic sandy white beach populated by many sea lion harems. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Here, you may snorkel and swim from the beach, or explore the water from a glass-bottomed boat.
After lunch on board and a chance to rest, disembark in the South Plaza Island channel, where turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. A carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. You may see yellow-grey land iguanas patiently waiting for pears to drop. Along the coastline you may find sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and shearwaters glide above, playing with the thermals. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 11: Galapagos Cruise - Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora & Darwin Research Station.In the morning, disembark (dry landing) to visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoises within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, also home to many land birds. The Research Station is the headquarters of scientific exploration, conservation and the National Park administration. Later, board our transport to travel to the cooler highlands of the island, a completely different ecosystem, to enjoy lunch.
This afternoon, there are several options to choose from, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader:
1)Trek along trails amid the miconia forests in the highlands, home to many elusive birds including the dark-rumped petrel.
2) Mountain bike (mostly downhill) to Garrapatero Beach.
3) Sea kayak and relax on a beautiful, sandy beach.
4) Experience sustainable agriculture at an organic coffee plantation.
At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the M/V Santa Cruz. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 12: Galapagos Cruise - Española (or Hood) Island, Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay. This morning, enjoy an exciting walk at Punta Suarez, to see its colonies of unique sea birds, including waved albatrosses (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tail gulls. You'll also see the famous Galapagos "blow-hole," and keep an eye out for the famous marine iguanas with their interesting red, green and black coloration. Return to the ship for lunch on board.
In the afternoon, the picturesque white coral beach of Gardner Bay provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches. Enjoy an opportunity to snorkel or ride aboard a glass-bottomed boat. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 13: Galapagos Cruise, Baltra Island & Quito.Your cruise comes to an end as you disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 14: Quito & Otavalo. This morning, set out on the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo. After driving through dramatic Andean scenery, arrive at the famous Indian fair and the textile market of Otavalo, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America.
The beauty of Otavalo lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians. Unlike other indigenous groups who have given up their traditional dress for modern jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are true to their ancestral cultural heritage, and are still easily identified by their distinctive dress. Women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals. Stroll by their many stalls filled with ponchos, scarves, blankets, hats, handbags and more, and observe as the Otavaleños barter in silence.
Then proceed to Peguche, a nearby Indian village, where local artisans weave in their homes. Learn about their culture and everyday life. Later, return to Quito for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 15: Quito/USA. Today, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Your Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos adventure comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
Dry landing: guests step from a dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as a dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
We took the trip to Ecuador in October. Absolutely fabulous trip, planning, lodging, food, transportation. Our tour guide, Patricio, could not have been a better guide. I would take the trip again in a minute!
Ann Ritchie, Midland, TX