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
Just-Released Offer Free International Airfare
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$13,440 to $20,100
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 in Guayaquil, it’s a short drive to the Hotel del Parque, a restored 19th-century building nestled within the secluded haven of Parque Histórico’s lush botanical gardens.
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 Galapagos 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 Galapagos. 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. Overnight at the conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel.
This morning board your flight over the Andes to Cusco. Upon arrival, drive through the fabled and fertile Urubamba Valley to Moray—a visually stunning Inca site known for its agricultural terraces. After lunch and an opportunity to experience a local market, check-in at Sol y Luna for two nights. This serene Relais & Chateaux hotel entices with individual adobe casitas set in a verdant garden.
Spend the day exploring the archaeological sites and culture of the Sacred Valley in the company of National Geographic expert Peter Frost, who has lived and worked in Peru for decades. He (or occasionally a colleague, if he is in the field) joins you for a talk at the hotel and continues with the group to Ollantaytambo, where massive stone walls stand sentry over a thriving Inca community. Lunch is nearby at a working, family-owned hacienda. Here you are also treated to a show of Peruvian Paso horses, and National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa, founder of El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco, joins us to demonstrate Inca weaving traditions. Dinner tonight is at the hotel.
This morning marvel at the tropical Andean scenery and life along the river from the panoramic windows on the train to Machu Picchu—the Inca royal retreat famously introduced to the world by Hiram Bingham in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. Set at less than 8,000 feet, the sanctuary is set in tropical mountain forest with diverse birds and orchids. Check-in at the historic 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, adjacent to the World Heritage site, with the leisure to explore over the two days in the company of your hand-picked tour director and local guides. Linger after day-visitors are long gone. Lunch and dinner is at the Hotel's private Tampu Restaurant.
Awaken this morning at Machu Picchu, where your options include an early hike to the Sun Gate, the ancient final checkpoint to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail. After lunch, return through the valley to Cusco, center of the Inca universe and a burgeoning Andean cultural capital. Check-in at the Belmond Hotel Monasterio for two nights in the ancient heart of Cusco. Like many colonial-era buildings, your hotel—founded as a monastery in 1592—stands atop a fountain in the Inca-carved stone.
Explore the magnificently ornate 17th-century cathedral and Plaza de Armas, the sacred Inca Temple of the Sun and other treasures of Cusco this morning. Visit nearby Sacsayhuaman, where impressive terrace walls, some of the finest stonework you've seen yet, command views over the city. Relax, shop, or visit Cusco's many churches and museums this afternoon. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Return to vibrant, coastal Lima this morning, where on a tour you'll stroll the Plaza Mayor and delight in a private farewell lunch with a special musical presentation at Casa Aliaga—in the same family for 17 generations. After a visit to the extraordinary Larco Museum, dedicated to pre-Columbian art, check-in at your hotel, set along a fashionable seaside promenade. Dinner is 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 is not responsible for itinerary changes.
National Geographic Global Explorers:
Kids and teens will develop the mindset of an explorer through a range of cool activities: recording wildlife, plant, and undersea sightings in their Field Notebook, using photos, video, drawing and more to tell a story about the wonders they'll encounter, snorkeling with sea lions, and earning their Zodiac "driver's license!" Plus, National Geographic certified field educators—a brand-new addition to our expedition team—will help optimize Galápagos' daily learning opportunities.
Lindblad-National Geographic 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.
Optional Pre-Trip Extension: Tropical Andes (Mashpi Lodge) & Colonial Quito
Before your Galapagos adventure, discover the lesser-known wonders of mainland Ecuador on this six-day adventure in the Andes. Explore Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site, from the comfort of historic Casa Gangotena on Plaza San Francisco. See dazzling colonial churches and bustling traditional local markets. Then immerse yourself in the heart of the Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots, at Mashpi Lodge. 6 Days from $2,390 per person. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Shipboard accommodations; one pre-cruise hotel night and one post-cruise hotel night in Guayaquil; meals and non-alcoholic drinks (coffee, tea, water, soda) aboard the vessel; most alcoholic beverages aboard the ship (2019 voyages only); Galapagos National Park entry fee; transfers between Guayaquil airport/Hotel de Parque; gratuities (excludes ship's crew); Galapagos Transit Card; one hour of Wi-Fi per person/per day (2019 voyages only); use of snorkeling equipment, wetsuits and kayaks; services of the Expedition Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; port charges and service taxes. Peru inclusions: hotel nights and meals in Peru as per the itinerary, 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; travel insurance; items of a personal nature, such as laundry, premium alcoholic beverages and Internet/Wi-Fi beyond what is mentioned as included; 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): $500-$700 per adult; $350-$450 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).
Photos: © Lori Gifford (Peruvian Woman); © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Machu Picchu, Sally Lightfoot Crab); © Sven-Olof Lindblad (Tortoises, Flamingo); © Lindblad Expeditions (Frigatebird); © Cindy Manning (Boys Snorkeling with Turtle); © Michael S. Nolan (Sea Lion, Snorkel with Penguin); © Amelia Tockston (Llama)