On this tailor-made journey of the Best of Peru and Ecuador you will discover the Galapagos Islands, considered as one of the most wonderful creations of nature. As well as Machu Picchu, an iconic ruin from the Inca Empire, one of the wisest and organized ancient cultures of the World.
This is a suggested itinerary. All Tailor-Made journeys can be customised to suit. Add in additional highlights, spend more time in areas of particular interest to you, or extend your journey to visit other regions of South America.
Day 1: Lima
Day 2: Lima
Day 3: Lima - Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 4: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 5: Sacred valley of the Incas - Machu Picchu
Day 6: Machu Picchu - Cusco
Day 7: Cusco
Day 8: Cusco - Quito
Day 9: Quito
Day 10: Quito - Galapagos Islands
Day 11: Galapagos Islands
Day 12: Galapagos Island
Day 13: Galapagos Islands - Guayaquil or Quito
Arrive to Lima today.
Lima, capital of Peru, which was founded by the great conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and soon became the capital of the extensive and tremendously wealthy Peruvian Vice Regency of Spain. By the end of the 16th Century it had grown into a city of fine palaces and churches and was the cultural center of the southern hemisphere. Today, Lima still retains the essence of the Spanish colonialism.
Upon arrival to Lima, you will be welcomed outside of Customs by an English-speaking assistant holding a sign with your name on it. This representative will direct you to your awaiting vehicle and driver, and accompany you to your hotel to assist with check-in.(Private Transfer)
Note: Medical "Assist Card" insurance for the entire journey within Peru, with 24 hours medical assistance is provided to assist any relevant issues with altitude or any sickness.
This morning, embark on a city tour of Lima.
See the plazas, colonial buildings with ornate balconies, colonial churches and mansions, gems of Ibero-American architecture including the 17th century San Francisco Monastery. Modern Lima is a mix of architectural styles and beautiful gardens, especially Miraflores and San Isidro, popular commercial districts with excellent shops, art galleries and restaurants. Visit Love Park in the Miraflores district and admire its view of the Pacific Ocean, and then head to Huaca Pucllana, the adobe pyramid that was ancient Lima’s ceremonial heart. Next, drive through the district of San Isidro, the financial center of the city, and then on to the city’s main square, Plaza Mayor, where you’ll see the Government Palace and Lima’s town hall. (B.) (Private Tour
LIMA – SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
This morning we transfer you to the airport for your departing flight to Cusco.
On arrival to Cusco you will be met at the airport by a local representative who will transport you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas (8,500 feet elevation), a long, fertile river valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks that lies between Cusco (11,000 feet elevation) and Machu Picchu (8,000 feet elevation). Starting here helps you adjust to the high altitude of the Andes and is a great way to see how the local people continue to live in the traditional Andean manner.
After check-in, you can relax in the peaceful garden surroundings of your country hotel as you settle in and acclimatise to the altitude. (B.) (Private Tour) (Private Transfer)
Note: Due to the altitude, we recommend that you avoid any strenuous activity for the remainder of the day. We suggest that you rest for one to two hours after checking in to your hotel, prior to commencement of any physical activity. To further reduce the effects of altitude sickness, we recommend you also drink plenty of fluids: water, fruit juices, herbal tea or the local 'mate de coca'. It is highly recommended to avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
Remember: Altitude affects each person differently so symptoms may vary greatly, so please be alert to any possible symptoms and if in any doubt seek medical advice.
SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
Today we discover the best of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
You will head towards Moray, a fascinating archaeological site in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Its huge concentric terraces were used by the Incas as a botanical laboratory.
Then, you will visit the Andean Misminay community, where your local hosts will welcome you with music and dancing, invite you to experience a bit of their daily life activities and serve you a delicious meal made with native products.
After experiencing living culture in Misminay, you will continue to Ollantaytambo, where you can visit the archaeological complex of the same name, one of the largest in Peru, strategically located on top of a
Afterwards, you will descend to the town of Ollantaytambo, which stands out for maintaining the Inca urban planning as part of its original urban layout, with some buildings and narrow stone streets. Here you can tour the town and visit the local market. (B.) (Shared Guide)
Note: This evening, pack an overnight bag for your stay at Machu Picchu, your main luggage will be transferred back to Cuzco and placed in secure storage and will be made available to you when you check in to the hotel. You must carry your passport with you. When packing your bag please bear in mind the below luggage requirements for Peru Rail passengers travelling to Machu Picchu: Each Passenger is allowed to carry only light baggage on board the train, with a maximum weight of and measuring 157cm (length + height + width) due to limited space availability.
SACRED VALLEY – MACHU PICCHU
Awaiting you today is by far and away one of the high points in world tourism: Machu Picchu, where you will definitely have an experience you will never forget.
You will be transferred from your hotel to the train station in Ollantaytambo this morning. Your luggage will be collected and transferred to your hotel in Cuzco for storage while you are at Machu Picchu. We recommend you do not leave valuables in your luggage.
Board the Vistadome Train to Aguas Calientes; a 90 minute journey. The Vistadome is the ideal train for those who want to be in contact with the environment and appreciate the wonderful journey to Machu Picchu. Surrounded entirely by glass and wagons with large panoramic windows offering incomparable scenic views and numerous opportunities to capture amazing pictures, Vistadome travellers feel connected and part of the impressive landscape of Peru. Perurail provide travellers on board personalized and first level service to give them an unforgettable life experience.
Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes train station one of our local staff will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name/s on it.
After a short briefing, explaining about your full day tour inclusions & timings you will be introduced to your expert guide for the rest of the day. At this point your luggage will be taken by a porter to your hotel. Your guide will walk with you for about 5 min to catch a bus, which takes 30 minutes to reach Machu Picchu (buses depart every 10 minutes and the first bus departs 05:30)
A 2 hours 30 minutes guided tour of the ruins will have you wondering about the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this citadel and what drove them to build it on a mountain-top. Excavations have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing, but no gold. The same precise stonework as in other Incan sites in evident. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold the secret of its destruction as the Incas left no written record.
You will visit following points in Machu Picchu:
02 Ceremonial Baths
03 Inka House
04 Temple of the Sun
05 Botanical Garden
06 Square of the Temples
09 Sacred rock
10 Temple of the Condor
11 Agricultural Zone
The guided tour will end a few meters from the Machu Picchu exit. It is not allowed to return on the way that has already been visited.
At the proper time, you should exit the citadel and enjoy your buffet style lunch at the Sanctuary Hotel.
Your return mini-bus transfer to Aguas Calientes is included; buses leave approximately every 15 minutes. The village of Aguas Calientes is very small; on arrival please ask for directions to your hotel. Most properties are within a 5- 10 minute walk from the bus terminal. Your luggage will be made available to you after you have checked in.
Tonight enjoy a la carte dinner.
Please note: if you would like to climb Wayna Picchu the next morning (the mountain that rises over the ruins) you will need to let us know as the number are restricted.
The climb to Huayna Picchu is considered one of the best short hikes in the world. Reaching its summit is a great feat and will be the greatest adventure of your life, climbing its zigzag paths and stairways carved in stone, you can test your physique and the temper of your nerves. But once at its summit you will feel a great sense of satisfaction and peace, the view of Machu Picchu and its surroundings is spectacular and unique. Also in the mountain Huayna Picchu you will be able to find excellent Inca remains, like their viewpoints, rooms and platforms; You can also see the magnificent Temple of the Moon, an attraction that can only be seen climbing Huayna Picchu.
There are 2 entry schedules for the Huayna Picchu Climb. From 07:00 - 08:00 or 10:00 - 11:00.
We highly recommend booking the first entry as the views are spectacular.
As per the regulations of your ticket you are entitled to 4 hours within the citadel. The trek will take approximately 3 hours, so you will another hour to explore the Machu. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide) (Private Transfer)
MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO
Return to Machu Picchu this morning to continue your unguided exploration of this extensive site; your return mini-bus tickets and entry to Machu Picchu are included. We recommend rising early and taking one of the first buses; the ruins are much quieter in the morning and seeing the mist clear as dawn breaks is a wonderful sight.
There are many things to see and do at the site, including the hike to Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun.
Morning visitors to Machu Picchu must leave the ruins by 12pm.
Take a mini-bus back to Aguas Calientes and have some free time for lunch or visiting the souvenir shops. Please make sure you allow enough time to collect your luggage from your hotel before returning to the train station to take the afternoon Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Cuzco, where the bulk of your luggage will be waiting.
You will have the balance of the day free to relax and explore this historic city.
Cusco is another of the highlights of a trip to Peru, a fascinating city built on the foundations of the former Incan capital. You can observe massive Incan walls along many of the streets of the city. The city has a vibrant atmosphere and many excellent restaurants. (B.) (Private Transfer)
Note: you MUST bring the previous day’s ticket to enter Machu Picchu today without a guide.
You will visit the city of Cusco, known as the Imperial City and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Here you will start your tour at the iconic San Pedro market, a local market where you can explore the colors, flavors and traditions of modern Cusco.
The visit continues with the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and cult center of the Sun God, above which the order of the Dominicans built a church, which remains standing to this day.
You will continue ascending to the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture.
Afterwards, you will explore Q’enqo archeological site, where important Inca ceremonies took place.
Finally, you will arrive to the Plaza de Armas (main square), where you will visit the Cathedral, the most important temple in the city.
Once the city tour is completed the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights (B.) (Shared Guide)
Note: Make the most use of your ticket called "Boleto Turistico" that was included on your Cusco city tour program. This boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket) gives you entry to 16 places: Saqsayhuaman -Q ́enqo -Pukapukara - Tambomachay -The Cathedral -San Blas -Museo de Arte Conteporaneo - Museo de Arte Popular -Museo de Sitio Qoricancha -Museo Histórico Regional -Parque Arquelógico de Pisaq -Ollantaytambo -Tipón (See Oropesa-pages) - Pikillaqta - Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo Danzas Folklorica - The ticket gives you entry for one visit at each place.
Some of these places are visited during your city tour. However, on your free time in Cuzco you will be able to use this Bolesto Turistico to visit the rest of the museums, churches and sites.
On the backside of the ticket you will find information about opening and closing times and some telephone numbers etc. You will also find a map of the central parts of Cuzco (where the old parts that form a Puma are marked), and a little map that gives you a hint on where some places outside Cuzco are located (Machu Picchu, Chinchero, Pisaq, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, etc.)
Please keep this ticket "Boleto Turistico" until the end of your stay in Cuzco area. You will need it to gain entry to different local touristic attractions. If you misplaced it will attract new charges.
CUSCO – QUITO
Today at we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Quito.
On arrival to Quito, Ecuador’s colonial capital, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B.) (Private Transfer)
This morning, your guide and transportation will pick you up and take you on a-comprehensive walking tour of the Colonial District of Quito.
On this tour you will visit some of the most famous squares, churches and colonial buildings of the city including the Independence Plaza where you can admire the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace. Furthermore, you'll visit the San Francisco Church and the Basilica of Quito, the oldest Church in South America made almost completely out of volcanic stone. Then head to the 'Panecillo Mirador', the most famous hill of Quito, where you can take pictures of both colonial and modern Quito.
While walking through the city your guide will help you appreciate the eventful past of Ecuador including the Inca Empire, the Spanish invasion, and its push towards independence.
Return to your hotel with the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
(B.) (Private Tour)
QUITO – GALAPAGOS ISLAND
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.
On Arrival at Baltra Airporta naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra. By inflatable dinghy you will be taken to the yacht.
Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach, where a population of sea lions can be found. You can also observe several species of shorebirds. Along the rocks are commonly running Red Lava crabs or Sally light-foot crabs.(B. L. D.) (Private Transfer) (Shared Guide)
AM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)
This bay has origin when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers: red footed-boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area.
Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching includes sightings of sharp-Beaked Finches, large Cactus and ground finches, Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.
PM: Prince Phillip’s Steps (Genovesa)
El Barranco is located at the southern part of Darwin Bay and it is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. Passengers will climb to a plateau that is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of Masked boobies and Red-Footed boobies in the trees; Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls have found the ideal place for nesting in the lava flows.(B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
AM: South Plaza
South Plaza is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found on other islands. Throughout the island there are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.
PM: Santa Fe
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift, which explains why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands Iguanas of the islands. After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail many salt bushes can be seen as well as giant prickly pear cactus. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.(B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS - GUAYQUIL or QUITO
AM: Witch Hill & Kicker Rock (San Cristobal)
Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill) is a beautiful beach made of white coral and volcanic ash. It is located along the north coast of San Cristobal, the island where Charles Darwin first arrived in September 1835. Cerro Brujo is an eroded tuff cone and several parts are composed of the a’a’ lava type. In this fascinating landscape you can observe sea lions, as well as different sea birds, finches and warblers. The sheltered bay is popular for young sea turtles and rays. The salt water pools behind the sand dunes were used as a salt mine in the past.
After visiting Cerro Brujo you will continue by yacht to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). This huge ‘cathedral’ of rock is an old lava cone, now split in two. On the rocks many blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigate birds are to be found. The snorkeling is great here, with good opportunities for seeing sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, tropical fish and the Galapagos shark.
Transfer to San Cristobal airport for your flight to Ecuador mainland. On arrival to Guayaquil or Quito your tour comes to an end.(B.) (Shared Guide) (Private Transfer)
The below hand-picked properties feature good location, superior service, and all facilities necessary for a comfortable stay.
- Lima: Hotel Arawi – Miraflores
- Sacred Valley of the Incas: Hotel Pakaritampu
- Aguas Calientes: Mapi by Inkaterra
- Cusco: Double Tree by Hilton
- Quito: Hotel Reina Isabel
- Galapagos Islands: Yacht Solaris
- Hotel accommodation quoted in lead-in hotel guest rooms unless specified otherwise
- Hotels can easily be changed at the customer request. We have a wide selection so you can be assured of a great place to stay
- Galapagos Islands Cruise. We have several Galapagos Islands cruises and itineraries that you can choose from, please let us know if you wish to change the selected yacht for other vessel orprogram
- Occasionally due to circumstances out of our control, hotels quoted may not be available at the time of booking. In these circumstances when hotels are unavailable, South America Tours Pty Ltd will provide the best possible alternative.
- Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary:
(B.) = Breakfast
(L.) = Lunch
(D.) = Dinner
- All transport, sightseeing and excursions as per the itinerary unless specified otherwise:
(Private Transfer) = Your own exclusive driver. No queuing for taxis, no stopping en route at tour booking agencies. All private transfers / transport is operated on a private basis – i.e., you won’t be sharing with others
(Private Tour) = Your own, personal tour guide and an exclusive vehicle
(Shared Guide) = Meet other like-minded travelers and share the services of a guide / vehicle during the plan sightseeing activity. Typical group size is around 10 travelers.
- Parks and monuments entrance fees
- Professional English speaking local guides throughout
- Service charges and taxes.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- International and internal flights.
- Internal flights needed: Lima – Cusco / Cusco – Quito / Quito – Galapagos Islands / Galapagos Islands – Guayaquil or Quito.
- We can purchase these flights on your behalf.
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD $100 per person, subject to change) and Transit Control Card (USD $20 per person, subject to change)
- Tourist Visas are not included
- Travel insurance
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included, phone calls, laundry, tips, alcohol, etc.