Location: Peru, Ecuador
Duration: 25 Days
Type: Peru Tours Packages
Destinations: Lima, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Puerto Maldonado (Jungle lodge) Tambopata, Galapagos Cruise
From the desert to the Andes Mountains to the Amazon jungle to the Galapagos Islands, this is the itinerary everyone desires but few experience.
Visit all of Peru’s different elevations, terrains and eco systems followed by an unforgettable, small, intimate Galapagos cruise. Chose between a 5 or 8 day cruise to see the Galapagos Islands, each very different from the other. Cruise itineraries differ per yacht.
After you clear immigrations, retrieve your luggage and pass through customs you will be greeted in the airport terminal and taken by private car to Miraflores, Lima to check in to your hotel. Overnight Lima.
In the afternoon you will be greeted in your hotel and taken to enjoy the private Lima “The City of the Kings” tour. Visit the Plaza Mayor Lima and the 16th century Cathedral of gold, followed by a tour of the catacombs at the Convento San Francisco.
The tour comes to a close in one of the most beautiful residential districts in Lima, Miraflores. There you will visit the only pre-Inca ruin remaining there, Huaca Pucllana, constructed in the 2nd century AD. Overnight Lima.
After breakfast check out and bring everything with you. You will be greeted in your hotel and taken by private car to the Lima airport for your 90 minute flight to Juliaca. You will be met in the airport and driven by private car to your Puno hotel. Normally this is a 40 minute drive but today you can stop to see the chulpas of Sillustani on the way from Juliaca to Puno. Chulpas are circular tombs that signify the circle of life. Overnight Puno.
After an excellent breakfast you will be taking the Lake Titicaca motor yacht tour on Lake Titicaca to visit the floating man-made Islands of Uros. Bring water and snacks with you this day. Here you will meet, up-close the citizens who have preserved their old traditions and still live on the water.
The motor yacht tour then continues to the island of Taquile. Only the men weave on Taquile and you will see no dogs there. Typical lunch included on Taquile of fresh lake trout or a vegetarian option. In the late afternoon return to your hotel by boat. Long boat ride today so bring a book and brimmed hats. Overnight Puno.
After breakfast check out and bring everything with you. Water and meals are included today. You will not be returning to Puno. You will be greeted in your hotel and taken by private car to the Puno train station for the Andean Explorer train to Cusco. This ride will take you through Peru’s high altiplano to elevations over 12,000 feet. In Cusco you will be greeted and taken by private car to check in to your hotel. Overnight Cusco. (B, meals on train)
In the afternoon you will be met at your hotel for the unforgettable Cusco City Tour by private car. Water will be provided today in the car. Visit the temple of the sun (Koricancha). Afterwards you will go north (20 minutes) to visit the ancient ceremonial sites of the Incas just outside of Cusco: the megalithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Pucapucara. After completion of the tour you will be returned to your hotel. Overnight Cusco.
After breakfast check out, store your luggage with the hotel and get a claim check. You will be picked up at your hotel to begin your tour of the beautiful Sacred Valley.
Water will provided in the car and lunch is included today. This ride will bring you through the land of the Incas. Stop at agricultural center of Moray where groups and seeds were developed. Next stop at the salt terraces of Salineros. Finally in Ollantaytambo, where you will be staying tonight, scale the wall that the Incas used to defend the Sacred Valley to the north. Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Bring everything with you this day. You will not be returning to this hotel. In the afternoon walk 5 minute downhill (left out of the hotel) to the train station to board your train to Aguas Calientes. You will be met by your guide and escorted to your hotel then visit Machu Picchu this day with your guide. Overnight Aguas Calientes.
You can take the bus up to Machu Picchu this day at 5:30 AM if you wish. Take water and maybe a few snacks for energy with you up to Machu Picchu. Arrive early to see the sunrise from inside the park if you wish. Hike to the Sun gate or the Inca Bridge (2 hours). When finished, take the bus (buses run continuously ) back down to Aguas Calientes (20 minutes).
Take everything with you today to head back to Cusco by train and bus. Walk to the Aguas Calientes train station in time for your train. You will be greeted in the Wanchaq station and driven to your hotel (3 minutes). Overnight Cusco.
Today visit the water works site of Tipon where the Inca kept their summer estates. This is a marvelous place that few tourists visit. Overnight Cusco.
Check out of your hotel and take everything with you this day. You will not be returning to Cusco. You will be greeted in your hotel and taken to the Cusco airport for your 30 minute flight east into the Amazon. In Puerto Maldonado you will be greeted in the airport and taken by group van and long boat to check in to the lodge. Lodge greeting, welcome beverage and check in. For the next 4 days you will be able to select various jungle excursions to participate in listed below.
After breakfast check out and take everything with you. Transfer to the airport by longboat and van for domestic flight to Lima where you will be greeted and taken by private car to your hotel to check in. Overnight Lima.
After breakfast check out and bring everything with you. You will be taken to the airport by private car in time for your departing flight. You will be met in Guayaquil and taken to your hotel to checkin. (B)
In the morning checkout and bring your luggage with you. You will be taken to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos. The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 1 1⁄2 hours on a Boeing 727. Upon arrival at Baltra travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100. Guide will meet you, collect your luggage and and transfer you motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ to take you to your yacht where our crew will welcome you on board. After your lunch , you will have your first visit.
Sunday Afternoon: PM: Bachas Beach
Las Bachas is a white sand beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles, and the name Las Bachas refers to the indentations left in the sand by laying turtles or departing hatchlings. On the sandy white beaches of Las Bachas we will get a close look at a sea turtle nesting area and a lake frequented by leggy pink flamingos and other migratory birds. Bachas is located at the northwest part of Santa Cruz Island, it is a a small but in the winter season a very colorful uplifted island just off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island.
South Plaza has a unique landscape of Sesuvium plants and Opuntia cacti and provides some of the most interesting plant and wildlife observation spots in Galapagos. Land iguanas are easily seen from the trail, normally lazing in the shade of the cacti. Swallow-tailed gulls and frigate birds use the rising air off the sea to glide effortlessly over the escarpment. Towards the far end of the island a ‘bachelor colony’ of male sea lions can be observed. You will eat lunch anchored close to the rocky seashore inhabited by a large colony of playful sea lions. (B,L,D)
The turquoise water of the stunning bay where you will be anchored offers the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions. You will land on the sandy beach of a beautiful protected bay where you will be greeted by colonies of sea lions. A short circular trail takes you along the cliff edge where you can most likely spot the iguanas as well as many lava lizards and even the Galapagos Hawk.
The trail brings you back round onto a second beach that is also inhabited by sea lions and blue footed boobies sit on the rocks. Snorkel in the bay with sea lions and admire the many species of reef fish and occasionally sea turtle and rays. Lunch will be served whilst still anchored in the bay. On this tour look out for: Sea lions, Land iguanas, Lava lizards, Swallow- tailed gulls, Lava gulls, Shearwaters, Storm petrels, Marine iguanas, Great frigate birds, Blue footed boobies, Brown noddie terns, Brown pelicans, White tip sharks, Sting rays, sea turtles. (B,L,D)
One of the oldest of the islands, Hood is small and flat with no visible volcanic crater or vent.
Punta Suarez is one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago, with a long list of species found along its cliffs and sand or pebble beaches. In addition to five species of nesting seabirds there are the curious and bold Hood Island mockingbirds, Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. Several types of reptiles, including the brilliantly colored marine iguana and the oversized lava lizard, are unique to this island. When heavy swells are running, Punta Suarez is also the site of a spectacular blowhole, with thundering spray shooting 30 yards into the air.
Tuesday Afternoon: PM: Hood (Española) Island—Gardner Bay
Gardner Bay is on the eastern shore and has a magnificent beach. This beach is frequented by a transient colony of sea lions, and is a major. (B,L,D)
Nesting site for marine turtles. Around the small islets nearby, snorkelers will find lots of fish and sometimes turtles and sharks. On a trail leading to the western tip of the island you’ll pass the only nesting sites in the Galapagos of the waved albatross, huge birds with a 6-foot wingspan. These huge birds nest here from April to December and represent the majority of the world’s population of this species. (B,L,D)
AM: Floreana Island—Punta Cormorant
Punta Cormorant offers two highly contrasting beaches; the landing beach is of volcanic origin and is composed of olivine crystals, giving it a greenish tinge. At the end of the short trail is a carbonate beach of very fine white sand, formed by the erosion of coral skeletons; it is a nesting site for green sea turtles. Between these two beaches is a salt lagoon frequented by flamingoes, pintails, stilts, and other wading birds. An old eroded volcanic cone called Devil’s Crown is a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, and frigates and it is not uncommon to see red-billed tropicbirds in rocky crevices. The center of the crown is an outstanding snorkeling spot full of sea lions and colorful fish.
Wednesday Afternoon: PM: Floreana—Post Office Bay / Devil’s Crown
Wet landing on a greenish colored sand beach. Passengers will hike a well marked trail beginning in the Black Mangrove beds heading towards the back of the lagoon. The large, brackish lagoon holds one of the biggest populations of flamingos in the Galápagos.This island is best known for its endemic plant life, such as the Galápagos millwork, Passion flower, and unique button mangrove.
Novice snorkelers can practice back on the main beach where the sea lions are playful while experienced snorkelers can roam the waters around Devils Crown, which is an old eroded volcanic cone and popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, and frigates and it is not uncommon to see red- billed tropicbirds in rocky crevices. The center of Devil’s Crown is an outstanding snorkeling spot full of sea lions and colorful fish. (B,L,D)
This morning we will visit at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Founded in 1959 at the centennial celebration of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the research station has an international team of scientists that studies the biology and conservation of the Galápagos Islands.
The station conducts captive breeding program of giant tortoises, and we’ll see the hatchlings of several subspecies that have been brought back from near-extinction. This will be a good chance to get a close photograph of the largest of our planet’s tortoises. Afterward there should still be time to stroll the quiet streets of Puerto Ayora (pop. 10,000), buy souvenirs, mail postcards and absorb the local charm of the social heart of the Galápagos Islands.
Thursday Afternoon: PM: Santa Cruz Island: Highlands
During your visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, you will walk through tunnels formed by rivers of red hot lava, gaze down into giant pit craters formed by collapsed magma chambers, trek through lush green cloud forest observing many colorful species of birds, and, seek out giant Galapagos Tortoises in the wild The two gigantic pit craters offer another dramatic and exciting insight into the formation of these islands. Nestled in a cloud forest in the highlands of Santa Cruz this visitors site offers great bird watching, plant identification and nature trails. Los Gemelos are in fact surface magma chambers that were once filled with red hot, liquid magma. This magma was expelled or drained away leaving huge empty chambers just below the land surface. Over time, the ceilings of these caverns weakened and collapsed leaving two enormous holes in the forest that had grown over the top of them. You ́ll see the lush green forest of endemic Scalesia and Galapagos Guava Trees is a cool and refreshing change from the heat of the coast.
The forest is shrouded in clouds (or garua, a light mist) most of the year and so lush green vegetation is abundant as are a wide variety of birds including the bright red Vermillion Flycatcher, many species of Darwin Finches, Galapagos Doves and Yellow Warblers. You ́ll have the opportunity to see a Galapagos Giant Tortoise in it’s natural habitat. These enormous creatures roam freely between the national park areas and the agricultural zone. This visit offers the ideal opportunity to view these ancient creatures munching on lush green vegetation or wallowing in the mud of the seasonal pools that attract them from the lowlands during the dry winter season. Many bird species may be observed too, including migratory shore birds at certain times of year! (B,L,D)
Disembark and make a wet landing on the mesmerizing red beaches of Rabida Island. Walk along the beach past sea lions, marine iguanas and a variety of birds, including mockingbirds, yellow warblers and Darwin’s finches. Continue inland to the island’s unique saltwater pond to search for the island’s famous bright pink flamingos. There may also be time to snorkel and relax on the Bartolome Island itself is famous for it’s ‘Pinnacle Rock’ – probably the most photographed volcanic formation in the islands.
Climb up a long wooden staircase comprising 360+ steps to the viewpoint on the summit that offers breathtaking views to nearly all the central islands in Galapagos archipelago. A short dinghy ride after the walk will allow you to photograph the Galapagos Penguins that live along the coastline. The orange beach and surrounding coastline is great for swimming and snorkeling and there is the opportunity of seeing penguins, sea lions, rays, reef fish and white-tipped reef sharks. Lunch will be served with one of the most amazing volcanic backdrops found anywhere in Galapagos archipelago. On this tour look out for: Penguins, Lava lizards, Snakes, Marine iguanas, Frigate birds, Blue footed boobies, Brown noddie terns, Brown pelicans, White tip sharks, Sting rays, Sea turtles. (B,L,D).
Tower is a collapsed volcano and ships sail directly into its large breached caldera to anchor at the foot of the steep crater walls. Tower attracts vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest and breed: great frigate birds, red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels. A trail leads from a coral beach past tidal lagoons where lava gulls and yellow-crowned night herons are seen, then along the low shrubs populated by frigates and boobies, and eventually to a cliff edge where seabirds soar.
Saturday Afternoon: PM: Tower (Genovasa) Island—Prince Philip’s Steps
A second trail called Prince Philip Steps, leads to an open area for masked boobies, frigates, and red-footed boobies. At the end of this trail are thousands of band-rumped storm petrels at the cliff’s edge, where they nest in crevices. Short-eared owls can sometimes be seen here, hunting the storm petrels during daylight hours. Located slightly to the north of the airport island of Baltra, North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of the uplift caused by magma build up below.
It is covered with low, bushy vegetation and contains the largest colony of Magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos islands. Land iguanas are common here too. There is also a population of blue-footed boobies that perform an amusing courtship dance when nesting conditions are right, making this one of the highlights of the visit. Transfer to Baltra to take your plane to Guayaquil and connecting international flight home. (B)
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