Summary : The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the most spectacular and pristine National Parks in the world. Visitors delight in the abundant, unusual, and surprisingly approachable wildlife--from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed boobies. Following the Galapagos, spend a full week in colorful Peru exploring the beautiful Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley), spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, and the cobble-stoned streets of Inca’s Empire capital, Cusco. All departures will have a certified photo instructor onboard.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
Just-Released Offer Receive free round-trip int'l airfare!
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$12,080 to $18,180
Depart U.S. and arrive Guayaquil by late evening. If you choose to take the non-stop group flight from Miami, you depart in the early evening with a flying time of approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival, it’s a short drive to the Hotel Hilton Colón.
After the 1.5-hour flight to the Galapagos, you’ll immediately board the ship. Over the course of the week, the exact routing of the trip depends on the National Park Service.
While your exact routing depends on the Galapagos National Park Service, the following is a representative sample of the islands you may visit during your week on board:
Have up-close encounters with colonies of nesting blue-footed boobies (seasonal) and magnificent frigate birds, plus sea lion harems. Spot swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, land iguanas and fur seals along the cliffs. You can choose from walks and Zodiac rides.
North Seymour and Rabida
Enjoy walks, Zodiac forays, or deep-water snorkeling — with hundreds of fish, white-tipped reef sharks, rays, eels and more. Visit Rabida’s bright red beach to see wildlife, including a nesting colony of pelicans (seasonal), and Galápagos hawks, doves, Darwin’s finches, mocking birds, and more, plus gorgeous scenery. Various walks, kayaking, and snorkeling are on offer.
Fernandina Island is the youngest island and one of the most pristine tropical islands left on Earth. Look forward to hikes over relatively recent lava flows, and to Cormorant point for marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and intriguing tide pools. Activities also include Zodiac forays and snorkeling, perhaps with sea turtles, penguins, or cormorants.
A small black sand beach, a sea turtle nesting site, offers wonderful morning swimming. Travel on a more challenging hike over a rugged area of shoreline, then inland through a land iguana nesting colony; and a shorter walk within the iguana colony. Walking, birding, kayaking and deep water snorkeling, with Zodiac rides are available.
You can land on one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in Galápagos. Go on walks past a salt water lagoon to see shore birds; up a small hill to land bird and endemic vegetation terrain. There are opportunities for snorkeling, plus Zodiac rides and kayaking to Buccaneer Cove. Visit Puerto Egas for a coastal trek to fur seal grottoes, masses of marine iguanas, sea birds, and more against vivid green sea mosses. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling from the beach.
Look for fur seals, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, sea lions and more. Enjoy walks in the El Chato tortoise preserve for encounters with giant tortoises in the wild. Return to sea level and explore bustling Puerto Ayora before embarking the ship.
Make a wet landing on a green, olivine beach for a hike and spectacular scenery — tuff stone cliffs “worked” by sea and wind. Cruises aboard Zodiacs along the coastline reveal blue-footed and red-footed boobies. Kayaking, swimming from the beach and snorkeling from Zodiacs off an islet in the bay are all options here. In the afternoon, there will be more opportunities for snorkeling and Zodiac adventures.
In between the sights and activities throughout the Galapagos, life aboard your expedition ship is rich and varied — marvelous meals to enjoy in an always-casual ambience. Engaging talks by your Naturalists are part of the daily recap ritual that binds your expedition community and increases the fun. Socializing with staff and fellow guests, or retreating to one of the ship’s nooks and crannies with a good book is always an option. Also, you can enjoy a relaxing massage or revitalizing Wellness treatment.
Depart Galapagos this morning and fly to Lima, Peru via Guayaquil, arriving in the early evening. Overnight at your hotel.
This morning fly from Lima to Cusco and drive to Awanacancha, a farm where South American llamas and alpacas are bred. Enjoy an afternoon lecture by Peter Frost. Later, check into your hotel, Sol y Luna.
Peter Frost will join you as you visit the massive Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. Then attend a traditional weaving demonstration by National Geographic grantee Nilda Callanaupa. Enjoy an outdoor lunch with a Paso horse demonstration. Visit a local pottery studio, featuring ceramics made with ancient Peruvian techniques and designs. After dinner, enjoy a folkloric dance performance.
After breakfast, take a short ride to the train station for the 1.5-hour ride to Machu Picchu (“Old Mountain”). At the citadel, “The Lost City of the Inca,” enjoy a guided introduction to the area. Between 4:30 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., most visitors are gone. By staying over, you share the magic of Machu Picchu with only a handful of visitors. Overnight at Orient Express Sanctuary Lodge with only 31 rooms.
Breakfast at leisure. Enjoy a sunrise walk and hike to the Sun-Gate, the ancient final check point to Machu Picchu, an almost mystical experience for many. The morning is free to explore Machu Picchu and ponder the many mysteries of the Incas. After a train and bus ride, you arrive in Cusco in the late afternoon for two nights at the Orient Express Monasterio Hotel.
This morning explore Cusco, the Inca Empire’s capital. Visit the vast Sacsayhuaman Fortress. After lunch at the MAP café in the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the rest of the day is open to stroll around the Plaza de Armas. Relax shopping or visit the magnificent 17th-century cathedral built on Inca foundations, the Santo Domingo Convent — Koricancha. This evening choose amongst several options for an independent dinner.
This morning return to Lima and explore Colonial Lima. Visit the Larco Herrera Museum and its private collection of pre-Columbian art. Stroll the Plaza Mayor. Lunch will follow the traditional Latin American style and be rather late and then you can have a light dinner on your own.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on to other adventures.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos. On select departures, a National Geographic Photographer will join you.
Seven nights’ shipboard accommodations in Galapagos; one night accommodations in Guayaquil at fine hotels; all meals and soft drinks aboard ship; transfers on group flights; Galapagos National Park entry fee; use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits and kayaks; services of ship physician, Expedition Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to local guides and drivers; seven hotel nights in Peru; meals as indicated in Peru; sightseeing; porterage; services of local guide and tour leader; taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare Miami/Guayaquil/Galapagos/Guayaquil/Lima/Cusco/Lima/Miami; extensions; Ecuador and Peru departure tax; passport expenses; baggage/accident/travel protection plan; personal items such as laundry, alcoholic beverages, emails, etc.; meals not indicated as included; discretionary gratuities to Naturalist staff, crew and tour leaders; fuel surcharge may apply.
Airfare between Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands:
The flights between mainland Ecuador (Guayaquil) and the Galapagos Islands are an additional cost. For your cruise security, ExpeditionTrips must reserve these flights for you at the time of cruise booking. Approximate cost (including service fee): $450–$600 per adult; $225-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Machu Picchu, Sally Lightfoot Crab); © Lori Gifford (Peruvian Woman); © Sven-Olof Lindblad (Tortoises, Flamingo); © Michael S. Nolan (Sea Lion); © Amelia Tockston (Llama)