Discover the best of Ecuador and Peru with this adventure that combines an island-hopping adventure through the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands with a historically and culturally rich exploration of Peru’s Sacred Valley and cities. It’s not every trip that you can have multiple up-close encounters with wildlife you can find nowhere else on earth and walk through the ancient ruins of one of the world’s greatest wonders. But on our Galapagos Islands and Peru adventure, you can experience once-in-a-lifetime adventures that appear to be a world apart, but which are in truth a short flight away.
We customize each Galapagos Islands and Peru Adventure for you, from the trip length and accommodations to the special interest activities that are on your must-see list. The suggested itinerary below serves as a starting point so that we can transform our Galapagos Islands and Peru Adventure to your handcrafted journey.
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Arrive in Galapagos
Your Galapagos trip begins as you fly into Baltra, where a Galapagos Unbound representative greets you at the airport. A short cruise away is Puerto Ayora, the capital of Santa Cruz Island, where you head up into the lush highlands for an exclusive visit to a giant Galapagos tortoise reserve. See these immense and long-lived creatures cooling off in a local watering hole or searching for some greens. Then, see what natural wonders lay below the surface as you explore nearby lava tunnels.
This afternoon, head to Puerto Ayora where you check-in to your hotel before setting off to explore the most populated city in the Galapagos Islands. A highlight of your city tour is the Calle de los Kioskos, or Kiosks Street, where you can eat where the locals eat. Closed down each night, Kiosks Street comes alive as restaurants set up tables and chairs in the street for outside dining.
Visit Tortuga Bay, Optional Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, Cruise to Isabela
After breakfast, see more of the Galapagos sites with a walk to the white sand beach of Tortuga Bay. Accessible only by foot, Tortuga Bay offers a variety of activities: swimming, sunbathing, bodysurfing and wildlife watching are all available here. Friendly baby sharks enjoy swimming in the peaceful, mangrove-lined bay, and blue-footed boobies and salt-spitting marine iguanas can be found in the nearby cactus forest.
Spend as much time as you wish at Tortuga Bay before returning to Puerto Ayora. For those who wish, head to the Charles Darwin Research Station where you learn about the station’s ongoing conservation efforts to repopulate the archipelago with the at-risk land iguanas and several species of the endangered giant Galapagos tortoise. Witness how the giant tortoises grow and are prepared for the wild from an unhatched egg, baby tortoise to a mature adult.
After lunch, cruise to the largest island in the archipelago: Isabela Island. Explore picturesque Puerto Villamil and watch the setting sun splash the white sand beach with color before dinner.
Note: It’s sometimes possible to surf or boogie board at Tortuga Bay. Please inform your guide if this is an activity you’re interest in ahead of time.
Hike Sierro Negro Volcano and Volcan Chico*, Optional Sea Kayak
Today, witness the Galapagos’ volcanic heritage up close as you hike up Sierra Negra, one of the most active volcanoes within the Galapagos archipelago. Trek up to Sierra Negra’s caldera, keeping an eye out for Galapagos birds only found in these highlands such as the red Vermillion Flychatcher and the short-eared owl. Relax up at top as you take in the panoramic views available from the lofty rim.
Continue your hike around the rim as you continue to nearby Volcan Chico*. As you walk amongst both “aa” and “pahoehoe” lava flows, you can also see volcanic vents that perforate the surrounding landscape and colorful minerals that add depths of pigmentation to the lava rocks. Your otherworldly hike leads you to a lookout where you can see extensive views that stretch to the northern tip of Isabela.
A return hike takes you back to town by early afternoon, after which you are free to relax or set off on another adventure. One option is to take a kayak through the becalmed bay of Puerto Villamin. Galapagos penguins, rays and sea turtles can be found enjoying the peaceful waters while blue-footed penguins, frigatebirds, pelicans and more can be seen flitting along the shore or in and out of the mangrove trees. Or, if you wish to discover some of the Galapagos Island’s history, you can rent a bike and pedal to the Wall of Tears, where island-bound convicts once labored to construct a wall out of volcanic rock. Enjoy an independent dinner in town this evening.
Note: As of January 17, 2018, the Volcan Chico portion of the hike is closed due to volcanic activity and is expected to open when safe for visitor access.
Visit Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, Fly to San Cristóbal, Visit La Loberia
This morning, enjoy a relaxed stroll along a coastal lagoon where pink flamingoes can often be found among the mangroves. The path leads you to a Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you can witness nearly 1,000 giant Galapagos tortoises in all stages of their development as they prepare for the wild.
After, take a short flight to San Cristóbal Island, the easternmost island of the Galapagos archipelago and also the oldest. Stop for lunch before setting off to La Loberia, where the sea lions are known to hang out. Watch the sea lions getting some sun, playing in the water or barking at one another. If you’re up for it, hop on in to swim with some sea lions. This evening, enjoy another evening exploring on your own and discovering one of the favorite local restaurants.
Snorkel at Kicker Rock, Elective Bike Ride
Explore the underwater world of the Galapagos Islands today. As you cruise to your first snorkel spot, look out for frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. Then, drop anchor and get your first glimpse of tropical fish such as puffer fish, damselfish and some sea lion pups that might be hanging around.
Next up is your snorkel hotspot of the day: Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido. This tuff cone that juts from the ocean is a beloved hangout for sea turtles, chocolate chip starfish, Galapagos sharks and spotted eagle rays. Swim alongside these incredible creatures before returning to town by late afternoon. Take some time to enjoy the sunset with a beverage of your choice or hop on a bike to explore the town before rejoining for a group dinner at one of our favorite restaurants with open-air dining. Enjoy this final evening in the Enchanted Islands.
Elective Visit to Tijeretas and Charles Darwin Interpretation Center, Travel to Guayaquil and Lima
Spend your final day in the Galapagos Islands as you choose, with souvenir shopping, a final swim or a visit to the Charles Darwin Interpretation Center, or a short hike to the lookout of Tijeretas as options for your morning activity. This afternoon, fly to mainland Ecuador to meet your flight to Lima. Upon landing, our Galapagos Unbound representative greets you and transfers you to the hotel. Enjoy an evening in Lima’s incredible gastronomy scene as you prepare for your morning flight to Cusco.
Travel to Cusco, Explore Sacred Valley Incan Ruins
Take an early morning flight to Cusco, where you are met with another Galapagos Unbound representative and taken to the Sacred Valley. During the drive, enjoy the passing andeans views and look out for the Pucara Bulls perched on the roofs of Andean houses—an amulet meant to bring weath to the households.
Upon arrival in the Sacred Valley, stop at the colorful artisan market of Pisac, where locals from communities throughout the valley come to sell their wares, share their craftsmanship and interact with their neighbors. After, continue to Urubamba where you relax with lunch and a presentation of the famous Peruvian Paso Horse before continuing to the Incan ruins of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo embodies the best of Incan urban planning and is a marvel with its extensive military, astronomical and religious complex. Explore the site, wonder at the massive boulders weighing nearly 60 metric tons once relocated here by the Incas and enjoy your first introduction to Ecuador’s fascinating history. Your evening takes you to your hotel in the Sacred Valley, where you can relax with a delicious Ecuadorian meal.
Visit Wiñay Wayna
After breakfast, a brief train ride from Ollanta takes you to the trailhead from which you will begin your hike to the archaeological site of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. Taking approximately 4 hours, this worthwhile trek takes you to the agricultural center of Wiñay Wayna with its countless terraces, urban district and religious district. Take your time to explore this multifaceted site before continuing on to Inti Punku, or “The Sun Gate.” From here, you can take in panoramic views of Machu Picchu lying off in the distance.
A return shuttle takes you back down to the village of Machu Picchu, where you can relax from your long day and look forward to tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Visit Machu Piccu, Hike Huayna Picchu Mountain
This morning, explore one of the world’s greatest wonders: Machu Picchu. A guided tour enriches your experience as you learn more about Machu Picchu’s mysteries and captivating past. After your visit to Machu Picchu, you have two options for your afternoon’s adventures.
If you wish, you may continue to the Sanctuary where you begin your trek up Huayna Picchu. The lesser-known climb takes you up a rock staircase where stunning views greet you at every turn. Climb through a narrow tunnel to reach the peak, where you take a breath and take in the photo-hungry views of neighboring Machu Picchu and the verdant jungle that surrounds it. Many say that Huaya Picchu’s views rival those found at Machu Picchu itself! After, a return shuttle takes you down to the Villages of Aguas Calientes.
If you don’t wish to hike Huayna Picchu, you continue to Montaña Machu Picchu, located to the southwest of Machu Picchu’s citadel. Standing tall at 10,007 feet above sea level, this mountian trek affords incredible views of Machu Picchu and the encircling mountains. From here you can appreciate how well Machu Picchu mingles with its natural environment as well see the towering Andean peaks and serpentine Urubamba River that comprise the vista. Beyond the impressive views, the summit also offers insight into Incan history, as Inca priests once performed rituals and greetings to Salkantay Apu here. After you explore this site, take a return shuttle to the village of Aguas Calientes.
Relax and indulge in another independent night of exploration in the village.
Today takes you to the culturally and historically rich Cusco. A city tour takes you to Cusco’s fascinating historical monuments from both the Incan and Spanish Empires. Your tour includes stop at the Main Square, known as Huacaypata or the Warrior’s Square to the Incas, as well as the Cathedral. The Cathedral was once the Incan temple of Suntur Wasi before the church of El Triunfo was built over it. Continue to the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, built by Spanish Dominicans upon the foundations of the Incan temple of the Sun, or Koricancha. Constructed to worship the sun, Koricancha was once placed in sheets of gold according to chroniclers.
You also have the opportunity to explore the historical wonders outside of city limits as you make your way to Sacsayhuaman, a massive Incan fortress constructed on three extensive platforms, as well as the Incan baths of Tambomachay. Marvel at the massive stone block carved in the form of a puma and learn about how the Inca’s worshipped water here. Your tour concludes at Puca Pucará, whose purpose as a military and administrative stronghold is visible in its terraces and turrets, vaulted niches and many passages.
Spend the afternoon and evening exploring Cusco independently.
Fly to Lima; Return Flight Home
After a final Ecuadorian breakfast, fly to Lima to meet your return international flight home.
Dates & Rates
- 2 Guests - $5450 per person
- 4 Guests - $5150 per person
- 6+ Guests - $4950 per person
*Please note, this itinerary provides a representation of the Galapagos and Peru adventures we can create. We would love to help design the perfect tour just for you! Please contact an Adventure Consultant today to get started.
- 5 Nights Standard Accommodation
- All Land and Sea Transport in Galapagos
- Naturalist Guide Authorized by the GNP
- All activity fees
- Bikes, Sea Kayaks and Snorkeling Equipment
- Drinking water
Galapagos Not Included:
- All flights International and Domestic
- $100 park entry fee - cash only
- $20 ingala fee - cash only
- 3 evening meals (budget $5-$15 per person per meal)
- $10 Isabela Arrival Tax- cash only
- Drinks other than water
- Tips for local support crew
- Tips for tour leaders/guides
- Optional Diving (Please inquire in advance)
- Tours & activities in this itinerary Private or Regulars are stated in each day.
- Always Transfers are private in city airports.
- Entrance fees during our visits are all inclusive.
- English speaking guide is specified each day of the tour
- Meals are specified each day (including vegan, vegetarian or special requirements)
- Accommodation and type of rooms as stated in this itinerary
Peru Not Included:
- Services not specified in the programme, extra expenses and tips.
- Lunch (2nd day)
Mini Trek Tourist:
- Transportation from your Hotel to the train Station
- Train Tourist Class to Km 104 where the Trek starts.
- Entrance to the Inca trail and Machu Picchu.
- Specialized English-speaking local Trek guide.
- 1 Box lunch (1st day)
- 1 Snack
- One way shuttle Bus: Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes (Day 1).
- Round trip Shuttle Bus: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes (Day 2).
- Train Tourist Class from Aguas Calientes - Poroy
- Transportation from Train Station Cusco (Poroy) to your hotel
- Oxygen bottle and first-aid kit.
FAQ & More
Where are the Galapagos Islands located?
The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) are a Province of Ecuador located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast and are located directly on the equator.
When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?
Whenever your schedule allows! Because it’s on the equator, air temperatures don’t change a lot. However water temperature does fluctuate as much as ten degrees during the year. The cooler Humboldt Current comes up from Antarctica from May to September/October and the sea is cooler and tends to be rougher at this time of year. Cooler water temperatures mean you generally see more sea life because there is more food for the animals that depend on the planktons and other sea nourishment. From November to April, the cooler Panama Current flows from the north and brings warmer water. The sea tends to be calmer at this time of year. If you’re going on our land-based tour then rough water is less of a concern. If you’re doing a cruise, and you are prone to seasickness, you might want to consider coming in the November to April time frame.
For a month to month comparison of weather and wildlife check out our Galapagos Calendar.
Do you arrange international air?
We do not arrange international air travel but we do have a great air travel specialist we refer you to if you’d like.
Will we have to exchange any money before we travel to Ecuador and Peru.
Ecuador uses the US dollar which was adopted as the official currency in 2000. Be sure to bring cash bills in good condition because bills with markings or tears won’t be accepted. There are also ATM machines in the larger towns. It’s a good idea to alert your bank that you’ll be traveling out of the country so they don’t stop the transactions.
In Peru, the official currency is the Peruvian Sol, although the US dollar is widely accepted at many places. ATMs are also widely available.
Do I need a visa to visit Peru or Ecuador?
All that's required for your entry into either country is a valid passport, no less than six months from expiration.
Do I need any medications or vaccinations to visit Peru, Ecuador or the Galapagos?
There are no medications or vaccinations required for trips to either country. In Peru, we recommend Malaria treatment and Yellow Fever immunization if you plan to spend extended time in remote parts of the Amazon. There is also the consideration of altitude in Peru. We believe acclimation is very valuable, but you may want to take prescribed medication if you think this will be an issue for you. Most altitude complications are solved with lots of water, a slower pace of elevation, and oxygen.
Should I purchase travel insurance before my trip?
Travel insurance is recommended to protect your trip as well as your belongings and scheduling should any unforeseen events arise. Guests must provide their own travel insurance. If you decide not to purchase travel insurance then you are directly responsible for your own belongings and wellbeing. Our guides will always be around to help you should any situation arise, however when it comes to paying for any medical expenses or additional flights due to airline cancellations, you will be responsible for these.
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