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, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$12,480 to $19,490
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 Galápagos, you’ll immediately board the ship. Over the course of the week, the exact routing of the trip depends on the National Park Service. (B,L,D)
While your exact routing depends on the Galápagos National Park Service, the following is a representative sample of the islands you may visit during your week on board (B,L,D):
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 Galápagos this morning and fly to Lima, Peru. Overnight at the conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel. (B,L)
This morning, fly to Cusco then drive to Moray, a visually stunning Inca site believed to have been an agricultural laboratory where Incan priests would test soils and crops. Dine on Peruvian cuisine for lunch at Parador Moray, overlooking the ruins. En route to the hotel, walk through a colorful, typical local market before an optional visit to the pottery studio Pablo Seminario, featuring ceramics made with ancient Peruvian techniques and designs. Check into Sol y Luna Hotel, a Relaix & Chateau property. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, learn about Peru’s history from National Geographic expert Peter Frost. Visit the massive Inca stone fortress of Ollantaytambo. Visit Casa Orihuela for lunch—a working, family-owned hacienda, then see the family’s private museum filled with colonial artwork and enjoy a demonstration of Peruvian Paso horses accompanied by Marinera dancers and live music. Watch a traditional weaving demonstration by National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa. After dinner at the hotel, watch a folkloric dance performance. (B,L,D)
Enjoy the views from the valley to Machu Picchu via train with large picture windows. Spend the day exploring Machu Picchu’s different structures with your guide—ceremonial religious, astronomical, and agricultural. Overnight at the historic 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (formerly the Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge) with views of the Andes. (B,L,D)
Hike to the Sun Gate this morning, the ancient final checkpoint to Machu Picchu, and watch daybreak over the sacred ruins. The morning is free to explore Machu Picchu on your own or with your guide. After a train and bus ride, visit Awanacancha, where llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas are bred. En route to Cusco, stop at Plaza San Cristobal for photos, offering sweeping views of the colonial part of Cusco. Check into the Belmond Monasterio Hotel for two nights (formerly the Orient-Express Monasterio Hotel). (B,L,D)
Explore the Inca Empire’s capital city of Cusco and visit the magnificent 17th-century cathedral and convent of Koricancha, and the vast Sacsayhuaman fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore Cusco at your leisure this afternoon. Relax, shop, or visit one of the many churches and museums. Dinner is on your own tonight. (B,L)
Return to Lima and visit the Larco Herrera Museum and stroll the Plaza Mayor. Lunch is in traditional Latin American style. Experience the music of the Andes at a presentation of indigenous instruments. Dinner is on your own. Overnight at the Belmond (formerly Orient-Express) Miraflores Park Hotel. (B,L)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on to other adventures. (B)
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.
Shipboard accommodations; one night hotel in Guayaquil; meals and non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, tea, water, soda) aboard the vessel; Galapagos National Park entry fee; transfers to/from group flight; gratuities (except to ship's crew); Galapagos Transit Card; use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and kayaks; services of the ship physician, Expedition Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; port charges and service taxes; Peru Extension: seven hotel nights in Peru; meals as indicated in Peru; porterage; services of local guide and tour leader; gratuities to local guides and drivers; taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; meals not indicated as included; optional extensions; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature, such as laundry, alcoholic beverages and Internet/WiFi; gratuities to ship's crew; 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; $250-$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)