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Peru & Galápagos

The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and Darwin’s enchanted islands await on this 16-day journey through the Andes Mountains of Peru and the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador. The adventure begins as you explore the great ruins of Machu Picchu and wander through village markets, where ancient traditions live on in the hearts of the Andean people. Shop and barter, dine on local cuisine, and observe how textiles have been made for centuries. After several days of inland exploration, it will be time to set sail on a luxury boutique yacht in the Galápagos Islands. Here you will experience the islands during 8 days of natural discovery, viewing fascinating landscapes and incredible wildlife along the way. This itinerary combining Peru and Ecuador is a perfect balance of land and sea, with a glimpse through the window to the past.

Itinerary & Adventure Highlights

Day 1: Arrive Lima

Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where you can rest up after your travels. You have an exciting journey ahead, filled with ancient ruins, local markets and the beautiful Andes Mountains!

Day 2: Fly Cusco

Today you will set off in the direction of the Sacred Valley to the town of Pisac, famous for its ruins, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. In the afternoon, you’ll tour the Pisac markets. After tasting a few unique local foods, you will visit the town of Chinchero, an authentic Andean village replete with local character.

Day 3: Sacred Valley

This morning, journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Sacred Valley is often a highlight of any Peru trip, and you will soon see why! Visit the town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been an experimentation nursery focused on modifying different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo, where inhabitants still live according to customs and traditions inherited from their ancestors.

Day 4: Train to Machu Picchu

Follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu. Ancient canals still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your tour of Machu Picchu, you’ll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.

Day 5: Explore Machu Picchu

Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu and listen to the spirits of the city’s past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. Later, you can climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins, or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the late afternoon you’ll return by train to Cusco with your guide.

Day 6: Free day to shop and explore Cusco

Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco’s varied and exciting nightlife. Live folk music and excellent food abounds in Cusco!

Day 7: Peru to Ecuador

Transfer to the airport for your flights from Cusco to one of the Ecuadorian gateway cities of Guayaquil or Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and overnight.

Day 8: Flight to the Galápagos Islands

A Sunday morning commercial flight will whisk you away to the Galápagos Archipelago. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to one of two luxury yachts, the Origin or Theory, your boutique Relais & Chateaux home for the next seven nights. This afternoon you’ll begin your Galápagos cruise, a week filled with mysteries of the natural world.

Day 9-14: Galápagos Island Cruise

You will visit a number of fascinating and diverse islands during your unforgettable Galápagos voyage. Each day you’ll leave the comfort of the yacht and go ashore in your panga (the local word for a dinghy or Zodiacs) to remote areas of the islands for natural history walks through the Galápagos’ unique ecosystems. This is everyone’s chance to photograph strange marine iguanas, snorkel with playful sea lions, marvel at the fascinating seabirds, and just wonder at the unusual landscape of ancient volcanic turmoil. Except for a few settlements, the entire archipelago is a national park, with beaches and meandering footpaths that immerse the visitor in one of the most unique environments in the world.

Day 15: Galápagos Islands to Guayaquil or Quito

This morning you’ll say goodbye to Darwin’s inspiration, as you complete your Galápagos cruise. Transfer back to the airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito for your final night in Ecuador.

Day 16: Depart Ecuador

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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