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Highlights of Peru plus Galapagos

19 Days FROM AUD 9,499

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Overview

Discover the highlights of Peru and the Galapagos on this 19 day journey across two of South America’s most fascinating countries. Peru overflows with history, culture and folklore, set in a wild and rugged landscape that ranges from the frozen peaks of the Andes to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin and to Lake Titicaca with its floating reed islands. Explore the capital Lima; wander the narrow streets of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and travel through the Sacred Valley to the jewel in the crown - the legendary Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas and one of Peru’s twelve UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From the ruins of ancient civilisations to the indigenous tribes and rich biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, Peru will captivate you. The journey continues to neighbouring Ecuador and its capital Quito, the largest historical old town in the Americas. From here a short flight takes you to the wildlife rich Galapagos Islands where you cruise between the islands that inspired the theories and writings of Charles Darwin. Rugged, strikingly beautiful, fragile and sometimes bizarre with its own unique species - the Galapagos archipelago is unlike any other place on Planet Earth.
Breath-taking scenery, fascinating wildlife, historical treasures and a vibrant culture are all blended together to make this tour an unforgettable experience.

Trip Code: LATSHPG

Location: Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Lima

Today you will be collected from your hotel for your tour of Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’. On the city tour you will visit a number of well-known sites including the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Santo Domingo Convent and the Plaza de Armas.This is a chance to appreciate Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past. On completion of this tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Lima - City Tour

Lima, the capital of Peru, sits on the country's arid Pacific coast. Founded in 1535, its colonial centre is well preserved, but today Lima is a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities. The city is home to the various museums including the Museo Larco that houses a collection of pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la Nación, tracing the history of Peru’s ancient civilizations. Lima is known as the “gastronomical capital of the Americas”, encompassing specialties from ceviche and traditional coastal cooking to refined global fare. It even boasts several of the top restaurants in the world.

Lima

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Enroute to your hotel, visit the pre-Inca burial ground of Sillustani. You will have time to wander through the remarkable tombs built from volcanic stone. Known as Chullpas, these funerary towers reach heights of up to 12 metres. Overlooking the beautiful Lake Umayo, Sillustani is considered to be one of the most important necropolises in the world. On completion of the tour you will be taken to your hotel.

Transfer Juliaca Airport to Puno via Sillustani Ro

Early this morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the port to board a fully equipped speedboat with on board service to visit various islands on Lake Titicaca. First stop is Taquile Island where you will explore a scenic and less touristy area. Enjoy time on a pristine sandy beach to relax and feel the serenity of Lake Titicaca. We then hike along a pre-Inca trail with spectacular landscapes of the island, visiting families of weavers to learn about their textile art and symbolism. In 2005, "Taquile and its Textile Art" were proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. After three hours on Taquile, board the speedboat for a short journey to the community of Santa Maria-Llachon, on the tip of the Capachica Peninsula. This is a picturesque off the beaten track destination. We are welcomed by the small Quechua speaking community and introduced to an intensive cultural experience, observing the traditions of the community and participating in an ancient ceremony to learn about their magical world. Experience the preparation of "Pachamanca", a traditional way of cooking meat, fish and potatoes using underground ovens, and one of the main dishes of Peruvian cuisine. Enjoy these delicacies in a small, but scenic restaurant (included in tour price). For the more adventurous there is an optional kayak along the coast of Llachon. After lunch we leave Santa Maria and arrive at a remote area of the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca to explore Uros Ccapi. These are considered to be the last authentic floating islands, less commercial and little visited. The Uros are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in South America. There are optional tours in reed boats before we depart back to Puno. On arrival at the port, you will be transferred to your hotel. Please note this is small group tour.

Please note there is a minimum number of passengers requested to operate this tour from December to March, if the required number of passengers is not reached we will offer you a similar alternative. Please also note that between the months of January and March the ceremony of "Pachamama" will be subject to weather conditions.

Titicaca Uncover by Speed Boat

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to either the bus or train station for your journey from Puno to Cusco.

Transfer from Puno hotel to bus or train station

The spectacular journey from Puno to Cusco takes you across the Altiplano and you will travel accompanied by an English-speaking guide. The drive takes you through sleepy Andean villages and past spectacular snowcapped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. Lunch is included and you will arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening. The approximate journey will take ten hours.

Puno to Cusco

On arrival at Cusco bus or train station, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it, to transfer you to your hotel.

Arrival transfer in Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel for a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo (giant rock), the ancient site of Puca Pucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay. On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Included in your tour price is the BTG (Tourist Ticket of Cusco). Please note this is a small group tour.

Cusco - City Tour

This morning you will be collected from your hotel for full day of exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market. The colonial village of Pisac sits at the base of the spectacular Pisac Ruins – a hilltop Inca citadel and fortress with impressive agricultural terracing. On market days Pisac comes alive with locals from nearby hillside villages in traditional dress selling local fruit and vegetables as well as handicrafts. There is free time to wander the colourful market stalls before a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue your journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo. The town, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning and was the scene of a rare Inca victory over the invading Spanish. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to the train station in Ollantaytambo to take the train to Aguas Calientes. Lunch is included.

Sacred Valley Tour

Travel from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu in this comfortable train, and let your feet have rest. Enjoy an authentic Andean experience, while relaxing in modern and comfortable interior design illuminated by Latin American music. Comfortable seats with tables in front to share the journey with friends and partake of a refreshing beverage. On-board services includes a fun and refreshing selection of drinks prepared using Andean herbs and fruits, all of which boast revitalising properties to fill you with energy and keep you ready for the next adventure waiting ahead of you.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes

Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site, located 2,430 metres above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. It is the most famous of all Inca sites, but it was not until 1911 that it was brought to the world’s attention by the American historian Hiram Bingham. The Incas abandoned the city just prior to Spanish colonisation, the city was never pillaged and as a result the ruins are still in fantastic condition. With its location on a dramatic ridgeline surrounded by sheer cliffs and the Urubamba River on three sides, the city of Machu Picchu is a remarkable place to visit. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007 it was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The tour starts with a bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. You will be astonished at your first view of Machu Picchu, a stunning display of ancient architecture with incredible surroundings. Enjoy a guided shared tour of the ruins and monuments such as the Main Square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Cemeteries. Return by bus to Aguas Calientes village.

Please be aware that your tour of Machu Picchu does not include an entry permit to Huayna Picchu (the iconic hill behind the Machu Picchu ruins). If you want to climb Huayna Picchu then you need to pre-book your permit with at least 3 months in advance. Please contact your travel specialist if you would like to do this.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour

This afternoon travel by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

360 Machu Picchu Train: Mapi - Ollanta PM

Transfer from Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley to Cusco.

Private Transfer Ollantaytambo - Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival at Puerto Maldonado Airport, you will be met by a representative of Refugio Amazonas to begin the journey to Refugio. Enroute we will stop at the local office so that you can repack your luggage and only take what is required for the next four days. The rest will be stored securely in the office. Continue by road and a two and a half hour boat journey to Refugio Amazonas, located in a 200-hectare private reserve. The boat ride from the Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas takes us past the Infierno Community and the Tambopata National Reserve checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. A boxed lunch is provided to eat along the way.
On arrival you will be welcomed to the lodge and given a brief orientation. After dinner at the lodge there is the option to join a night walk when most of the animals are active but sometimes difficult to see. The frogs are easier to see with their fascinating shapes and colours and fascinating sounds.

Puerto Maldonado - Refugio Amazonas

After breakfast venture out onto the lake by canoe or catamaran, looking for wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman, horned screamers, macaws and otters that are sometimes seen in the area. Back on land, a 30 minute walk from the lodge takes you to the 25 metre scaffolding canopy tower, complete with staircase running through the middle and providing safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built on high ground to give views of the primary rainforest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. Enjoy excellent views across the canopy and look for toucans, macaws and raptors.
After lunch you will visit a farm to learn about local agriculture and Amazonian crops before an ethnobotanical tour to learn about the medicinal uses of the various plants and trees of the region. In the evening, Refugio Amazonas staff offer lectures covering topics such as conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.

Refugio Amazonas

Enjoy a trip to Gamitana Creek, located 25 minutes by boat from the Inkaterra lodge. For one and a half hours, explore the rainforest along the banks of a winding, dark-water creek that is home to many piranha, caiman, turtles and birds, until the Sanipanga landing point. Navigate your way back downstream, observing the abundant flora and Fauna along the way. You will return to Gamitana Farm to do a short guided tour to see how local farmers grow fruits and vegetables. Return to the lodge for lunch.

After lunch, walk along the lodge trails to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Rainforest Garden just around the cabanas. This interesting native garden was started by the locals more than ten years ago showcasing native plants, trees and orchids. An in-depth explanation familiarizes you with the traditional use and highly interesting benefits of the plants and trees used for construction including those that were used for building the lodge, as well as native clothing accessories. Then consider the Rainforest by Night excursion through the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve at night for an approximately 2-hour excursion. Biological activity differs greatly between night and day in the Amazonian ecosystem. Venture into the forest and experience the mystery of the animal activity that awakens in the rainforest after dark, enhancing animal resources to create new adaptation mechanisms. Listen to nocturnal forest sounds and spot species that only emerge at night.

Return to the lodge.

Amazon activites

After breakfast, return to Puerto Maldonado for your departure flight. Depending on airline schedules, this may require a dawn departure.

Please note schedule of activities are subject to change without notice.

Refugio Amazonas – Puerto Maldonado

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only. This service includes a Spanish speaking driver only.

Arrival transfer in Lima

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Quito

Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city, a short distance from the Equator and with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is known for its stunning colonial architecture and art-work. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.

Quito

This morning you will be collected from your hotel to commence a colonial city tour of Quito exploring the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical old town in the Americas. Visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compañía and iconic San Francisco which have stunning multi-ethnic designs and cultural heritage. We then travel by road to the Equatorial Monument, 25km (16 miles) north of Quito, which marks the exact middle of the World, Latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. A certificate for having crossed the Equator is issued to each guest. The surrounding, volcanic scenery is stunning and you can choose to either visit the Ethnographic Museum or the Inti Ñan Museum, both located near the site of the monument. On completion of the tour, you will be returned to your hotel. Please note this is a private tour that includes a local English speaking guide.

Quito - City Tour and the Equator

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

Take a morning flight to the Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil Airport. The flight from Quito to the Galapagos is approximately 2 ½ hours and from Guayaquil it is approximately 1 ½ hours. On arrival at Baltra Airport, you will be met by your naturalist guide who will collect your luggage and escort you to the harbour where you will board the M/C Seaman Journey.

PM: Interpretation Centre
Opened to the public in 1998, the Interpretation Centre is set in exuberant gardens with stunning ocean views. The Interpretation Centre presents a complete and documented history of the Galapagos, its flora, fauna and ecosystems. It focuses on the history of the archipelago from its volcanic origins to the present day with information on both the geological and human history as well as conservation facts and natural history.

Fly to the Galapagos -Embark on the Seaman Journey

AM: Galapaguera

The Galapaguera was built to increase the population of the Galapagos tortoise that is under threat from introduced species such as wild goats and cats. It is a breeding station and sanctuary for giant tortoises and provides a good place in which to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.

San Cristobal Island is the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago. It has some endemic species including the San Cristobal mockingbird, San Cristobal lava lizard, leaf-toed gecko and turtles. The beach is large and serves as a nesting site for sea turtles. The females lay their eggs in the sand dunes between January and May.

PM: Cerro Brujo

Cerro Brujo is a beautiful white coral sand beach, with good swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise waters. It is home to a colony of sea lions and blue-footed boobies and there are great egrets and great blue herons in the lagoon behind the beach. Nazca boobies, frigate birds and shore birds can also be observed. This is the first coast where Charles Darwin went ashore in 1835.

The salt water pools behind the sand dunes were used by the fishermen as a salt mine in order to preserve food for the local population. Here you may see the Chatham mockingbird and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both species being endemic to the island and unique to this area. You may also spot Galapagos turtles and with luck the small bird known as the Pájaro Brujo in Spanish, an endemic species from San Cristobal Island. The vegetation on the island includes candelabrum cacti and carob trees.

Located on the north coast of Isla San Cristobal, Cerro Brujo is a peaceful place with white sand and crystal water, a perfect combination for an incredible visit.

San Cristobal Island on board the Seaman Journey

AM: Gardner Bay

Española Island is the southernmost of the Galapagos Islands and one of the oldest, and due to its isolation it has a large number of endemic species including the Española mockingbird, Española lava lizard and the waved albatross.

Located on the north-eastern coast of Española Island (or Hood Island as it was named by the English), Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. The beach attracts many sea lions and you may see sharks as well as green sea turtles in the crystal clear ocean waters.

PM: Suarez Point

This beautiful site on the ocean front is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. The large waved albatrosses breed on the island and use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, where waves crash into a lava fissure, creating a blowhole that spurts water 30-50 metres into the air. Suarez Point presents wonderful photographic opportunities.

Espanola Island on board the Seaman Journey

AM: Cormorant Point

Cormorant Point on Floreana Island probably offers one of the largest and best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. It is situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various other species of shorebirds to observe including common stilts, white-cheeked pintail ducks, large-billed flycatchers, finches and other migratory birds. There are two distinct beaches: “Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and “Flour Beach” which is made up of fine, pulverized coral. Green sea turtles nest on Flour Beach and several species of rays can be seen in the waters.

PM: Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout

Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed here by the crew of a whaling ship in the 18th century. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. This area was also the site of a failed colonization effort by Norwegians in 1926. At the north of the island we ascend an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, you can see the landscape from the coastline at Enderby Islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and the wide forest of Palo Santo.

Floreana Island on board the Seaman Journey

AM: Charles Darwin Station

Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (turtle from Pinta), and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.

After the morning excursion you will be taken to the airport for your flight to the mainland.

Transfer to Baltra Airport
Flight to Quito or Guayaquil

Friday: Santa Cruz Island

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Quito

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination
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Pricing & date

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Important Information

  • Accommodation with breakfast everyday

    All airport transfers

    Tours as stated on the itinerary

    Meals as stated on the itinerary, all meals during your stay in the Amazon and during the Galapagos Cruise.

    5 days onboard the Seaman Journey, Galapagos Cruise

    Domestic flights 

  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.