|Style||Partially Escorted & Guided
Tour escorts & guides for some segments
|Departures||July – November 2015|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Lima, Pisac Market, Machu Picchu, Koricancha (Cusco), Lake Titicaca & Galapagos Islands.|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, partially 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.|
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; Machu Picchu, the Lost City; and on Peru's border with Bolivia, Lake Titicaca, one of the highest and most beautiful lakes in the world. 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*
|Tue||Mar 31||2015||Fri||Apr 17||2015||$6749||Departed|
|Tue||May 26||2015||Fri||Jun 12||2015||$7199||$6699||Closed|
|Tue||Jul 7||2015||Fri||Jul 24||2015||$7499||$6999||Available|
|Tue||Nov 10||2015||Fri||Nov 27||2015||$7299||$6799||Available|
Please see price details below.*
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|
|Main Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||included|
|Main Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$2400|
|Upper Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$125|
|Upper Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$2700|
|Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$350|
|Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$3025|
|Boat Deck PLUS Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Mar 31, May 26, Nov 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$500|
|Boat Deck PLUS, Single Occupancy|
|Mar 31, May 26, Nov 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$3250|
|Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Mar 31, May 26, Jul 7||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$600|
|Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|Mar 31, May 26, Jul 7||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$3400|
|Paracas Optional Pre-Tour Extension|
|Paracas Pre-Tour Extension||+$999|
|Single Room Supplement||+$149|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
|Ecuador Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$45|
1. Paid locally at the time of departure. Amount is approximate and reflects current exchange rates.
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. 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.
Mar 12, 2015 follows an alternate Galapagos cruise itinerary.
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Lima.Your exciting journey to Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos begins today as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, "City of the Kings", Peru's diverse capital city. Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Lima Miraflores.
Day 2: Lima. Today embark on a city tour of both modern and colonial Lima. See the Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its library and catacombs, and the historical city center, based around the beautiful and sprawling Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas). The grand Cathedral of Lima, the ornate Archbishop's Palace, and the Government Palace also known as the Casa de Pizarro, line the plaza. Both the Government Palace and the cathedral were first built by Francisco Pizarro when he founded the city in 1535 to govern the conquered Incan empire (though both have been rebuilt since). Visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean. Tonight join your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 3: Cusco, Pisac Market & Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 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 overnight. Accommodations: Aranwa Sacred Valley. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Sacred Valley. This morning visit the ancient village of Chinchero and its beautiful colonial church built upon the original foundations of Tupac Yupanqui Palace. Legend has it that Chinchero is the birthplace of the rainbow and perhaps that has something to do with the vibrant textiles that are produce here. You will have time to explore Chinchero’s artisan weaver’s complex, and discover the traditional techniques of weaving, dyeing and spinning. Return to your hotel mid-day and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure enjoying the hotel’s amenities or alternatively, join an optional afternoon excursion to Maras or Moray. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Maras or Moray, $20. Visit Maras or Moray this afternoon on an optional excursion. During the dry season (May through late-November) visit the salt works of Maras, consisting of about 3000 small pools, constructed on a mountain side. The ancient Inca would irrigated these pools with brackish spring water and allow them to evaporate to produce salt for the empire. During the rainy season (late-November through April), visit the archeological site of Moray consisting of enormous terraces in concentric rings which allowed ancient farmers to create diverse microclimates and harvest a variety of crops.
Day 5: 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 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 archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Inca 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. Return to Cusco for overnight. Accommodations: Palacio del Inka Cusco Luxury Collection. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Cusco. After breakfast, the remainder of the morning is at leisure. This afternoon, 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. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Cusco & Puno. After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Juliaca. Upon arrival, board your motor coach and drive to Puno located on the shores of Lake Titicaca (12,500 feet above sea level). Upon arrival in Puno, enjoy some free time to explore the city and grab a bite to eat. Later on, transfer to your deluxe seaside resort for check-in. Accommodations: Libertador Lake Titicaca Puno. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Puno, Lake Titicaca, Uros & Taquile. This morning you'll visit beautiful Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and, according to Andean legend, the birthplace of civilization. Legend holds that Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac, the founders of the Inca Empire, appeared from the deep waters of this lake. A highlight of your tour is a visit to the floating island of Uros, where many of the inhabitants still practice the old traditions of fishing, trapping birds, weaving, sailing and living in houses made of totora reeds which grow abundantly in the lake.
Continue to Taquile, the largest island on the Peruvian side of the lake. Taquileños, the Island locals, are famous for their beautiful woven goods, widely regarded as some of the highest quality handicrafts in Peru. Here, you'll also be able to take in magnificent views of the lake, which looks like an ocean surrounded by mountains. Return to Puno this afternoon. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Puno & Lima. After breakfast, spend the morning at leisure enjoying the hotel’s amenities and amazing views of Lake Titicaca. After check-out, embark on a city tour of Puno starting at the city’s colorful markets. Next, see its beautiful 18th century cathedral located on the main square and other important landmarks along Lima Street, Puno’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. The tour concludes at the Puma Uta viewpoint with a breathtaking panoramic view of Puno and Lake Titicaca. Next, transfer to the airport in the nearby city of Juliaca for a short flight to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to your airport hotel for overnight. Accommodations: Hotel Costa Del Sol Ramada. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Depart Lima, Peru & Arrive Quito Ecuador. Today, make your way back to the airport to board your flight to Ecuador. Arrive in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The high elevation gives it a wonderful spring-like climate despite being very close to the Equator. Your guide will greet you upon arrival and escort you to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Quito.This morning, 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 12: 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, 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. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
The March 12, 2015 departure follows an alternate Galapagos cruise itinerary.
Day 13: 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 14: 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 15: 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 16: 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 17: Quito & Otavalo. This morning, check out from your hotel and then 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.
Later, return to Quito for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 18: Quito/USA. Bid farewell to Quito as you transfer to the airport for your return flight. Your exciting South American adventure comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Quito, Galapagos Cruise - Baltra Island & Santa Cruz. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos Islands, to begin your adventure. Upon arrival, transfer to the dock to board your first-class cruise ship, the M/V Santa Cruz, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.
In the afternoon, disembark on the northern shore of Santa Cruz Island at Las Bachas, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. There will be a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby inlets. Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 13: Galapagos Cruise - Buccaneer Cove & Puerto Egas. After breakfast, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area's distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. View fantastic natural formations such as the "Elephant Rock", "The Bishop" and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling.
Later on, disembark at a beach called Puerto Egas. Enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, head off on a nature walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 14: Galapagos Cruise - Rábida Island & Bartolomé Island. After breakfast, land on Rábida Island's red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic sediment. A walking tour brings you near a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes.
After lunch, disembark at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, enjoy a boat ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, landing at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 15: Galapagos Cruise - Prince Philip Steps & Darwin Bay. The morning starts with a boat ride along the cliffs of Genovesa Island. After landing, there will be a steep climb (90 feet) up Prince Philips Steps to reach a flat plateau. Along the walk, observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. For those not wishing to disembark, enjoy a longer boat ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, swim or snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting lots of fish, including hammerhead sharks.
In the afternoon, land at a beautiful beach on Darwin Bay to enjoy some swimming or snorkeling. Then, take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There's an optional walk over some uneven terrain for dramatic views of the bay, or return to the beach to relax. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 16: Galapagos Cruise - San Cristobal Island & Quito. Your cruise comes to an end as you disembark at San Cristobal 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.
See Day 17 of the tour itinerary above for the continuation of your touring program.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our pre-tour extension to Paracas, Peru. Passengers taking the Paracas Extension will depart the U.S. 2 days before the departure dates shown and join the main tour on Day 1 of the itinerary above.
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Lima & Paracas. Your exciting journey to Peru begins as you depart Miami just after midnight on your flight bound for Lima, "City of the Kings”, Peru's diverse capital city. (You must check-in no later than 9pm of the night before your scheduled departure.) Arrive to Lima early this morning. After customs formalities, you will be met and escorted to Costa del Sol Hotel, located within the airport, for breakfast. Afterwards, depart for Paracas, taking the Pan-American Highway south along the Pacific coast. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel. Accommodations: Hacienda Bahia Paracas. Breakfast provided.
Day 2: Paracas. Enjoy the day at leisure to explore the town of Paracas or enjoy the amenities of your seaside resort. Alternatively, take advantage of an optional excursion and see the famous Nazca Lines. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Nazca Lines Overflight, $240. Enjoy a breathtaking flight over the famous Nazca Lines, one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. Debate surrounds the origin, function, and creators of these large-scale geoglyphs. However, consensus exists on at least two characteristics of these designs—they're pre-Inca, and they're truly fascinating. Because of their large size, the designs are best viewed from above. You'll have the opportunity to experience this superb vantage point on a small plane that flies over the Nazca Lines. After this unforgettable experience, return to Paracas for overnight. (The Nazca Lines flight excursion is subject to weather conditions and availability. This excursion can only be purchased locally.)
Day 3: Ballestas Islands, Paracas & Lima. This morning transfer to Paracas Bay port to board your boat to the Ballestas Islands. As you sail, be on the lookout for the strange cactus-like engravings on the sand cliffs, believed to be created by the designers of the Nazca Lines. Sail along the coast of the Paracas National Reserve, the best shorebird sanctuary in South America. Numerous species of birds populate these islands, including cormorants, gannets, gulls, terns, pelicans, Humboldt penguins and other species, as well as a large colony of sea lions, (The Ballestas Islands boat excursion is subject to weather conditions.) This afternoon, return to Lima, in preparation for the next exciting leg of your journey. Accommodations: Hilton Lima Miraflores. Breakfast provided.
See Day 1 of the tour itinerary above for the continuation of your touring program.
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.
The trip last May to Peru and Ecuador was one of the best vacation experiences I have ever had. The food was excellent and the other 7 couples on the tour were super. Machu Picchu, Lima, Quito, Lake Titicaca, and the Galapagos Islands were all fun to visit. I will be touring with Friendly Planet again this May to Japan.
Arthur Low, Sunnyvale, CA