Ecuador and Peru
15 Days / 14 Nights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Upon arrival at the airport a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and help you in registering. Overnight in Quito.

 
Day 2: Otavalo Indian Market
Breakfast at your hotel. Early morning departure for a drive along the Pan-American Highway to visit one of South America's most famous Indian fairs, the Otavalo Market. En route to the market, a quick stop at Calderon allows the opportunity to see how the popular marzipan "bread dolls" are made and to make "bargain price" purchases of them. Arriving at Otavalo, take a walk through the bustling produce market where the Indians meet to trade among themselves. Continue to the tourist market, which is piled high with colorful ponchos, tapestries, woolen goods, and Indian jewelry. In the afternoon drive to the woodcarving center of San Antonio de Ibarra and to the village of Cotacachi, famous for its leather handicrafts. Lunch is provided en route.Overnight in Quito. (B,L)
 
 
Day 3: Quito / Baltra Island / Cerro Dragon(Santa Cruz Island)
Arrival by plane to Baltra Island and immediate transfer by bus (5 minutes) to the dock to board the MV SANTA CRUZ. Cabin assignment and introductory welcome talk. Later, lunch, and ship's boat drill.
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). A dinghy ride among mangrove-lined islets allows the observation of the dramatic landscape and coastline, an area of amazing past volcanic activity. While exploring the nearby waters, various types of birds can be seen, such as boobies, frigates, pelicans. Quite commonly, the black lava will reveal the presence of marine iguanas. The navigation in shallow turquoise colored water gives the chance to see marine turtles, rays and sharks.
Dry landing and a walk that includes a brackish water lagoon frequented by greater flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and a variety of shore / lagoon birds. Further along the trail, we head to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site of a fairly large number of land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for birdwatching, where Darwin's finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galápagos flycatcher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings. (B,L,D)
 
Day 4: Bartholome Island / Puerto Egas(Santiago Island)
Disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. Great way to start the day. This is a steep climb aided by a wooden staircase; the view from the top is worth the effort. Panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and snorkeling. Chance to snorkel next to Galápagos Penguins. There is also the possibility to ride on the glass bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Lunch on board.
Afternoon outing at Puerto Egas (wet landing). This is a great location to see particularly shore birds, while land birds can be observed a little more inland. The pitch black shores are great places for watching sea birds and their foraging duties. The trail brings us to a colony of the endemic Galápagos fur-sea lions. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon emerald green algae beds. Outstanding snorkeling and swimming from the beach before the walk. ECO Moment and briefing before dinner. Weather permitting, stargazing on deck. (B,L,D)
 
Day 5: Darwin Bay / North Seymour Island / Genovesa Island
Before breakfast, early morning entrance into Darwin Bay. Wet landing at a small white-coralline beach for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly Great frigate birds, red footed and Nazca (masked) boobies, lava gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Later, the trail leads to an area of sharp lava and uneven terrain, but you may return to the beach or continue observing wildlife within the sandy portions of the walk. Those more adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs while looking for colorful tropical fish, and hopefully some Hammerhead Sharks. Lunch on board.
During navigation, spend some time on deck looking for dolphins or possibly whales. This is one of the few uplifted islands in Galápagos. In previous times, this was the ocean's bed. Today's afternoon walk includes a dry landing for a view of the coast and the interior of the island, while exploring colonies of blue footed boobies, Magnificent frigate birds, and swallowtail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. A shorter walk may be also offered. ECO Moment, Naturalist's briefing, and dinner.
As we explore the coastline of Darwin Bay, the cliffs of this eroded caldera will reveal its past geological power, with features like lava tubes where red-billed tropic birds nest, and some odd ones like cactus next to a tropical ocean. Then, disembark (dry landing) on rocks for a steep climb (90 feet) and then a leveled walk for about a mile to the other side of this small island observing large colonies of Nazca (masked) boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and the well camouflaged short-eared owl. ECO Moment, Naturalist's briefing and dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 6: Santa Fe Island / Puerto Ayora(Santa Cruz Island)
Early morning (pre-breakfast) visit to Santa Fé (Barrington) Island. This island, according to the latest geological studies, shows the islands' oldest rocks. The small bay on Santa Fe's northern coast provides one of the most picturesque harbors within the archipelago. A large sea lion colony inhabits most of the surrounding landing site. Follow the trail among a very tall forest of opuntia cacti, where large and somewhat pale land iguanas, that are island endemics, can be seen. A variety of finches and the Galápagos mockingbird abound. Back to the ship for breakfast, as we sail to Santa Cruz Island.
Mid morning disembarkation (dry landing) to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the rearing in captivity program for the giant tortoises. Impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds can be also seen. Then, a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora will allow you to see how Galapagueños live in this magical paradise. We believe that our presence should benefit local communities too. Lunch at beautiful Finch Bay Hotel. In the afternoon drive up to the lush highlands, including the Scalesia (an endemic giant daisy tree) forest and the twin pit craters Los Gemelos. The trip to the highlands includes the islands' most-famous reptile: the giant tortoises in their wild habitat. What a privilege to see an endangered species roving in this lush environment. The vermilion flycatcher will delight all participants with its scarlet feathers against an emerald green forest. Look for the Darwin's finches of the highlands (most of them from the tree-finch group), particularly the famous Woodpecker Finch. Return aboard the MV SANTA CRUZ for tonight's ECO Moment, briefing and dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 7: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno(San Cristobal Island)
Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This small attractive port is the provincial capital of the Galápagos Islands (population 4,000), along a crescent-shaped bay. This morning we visit the breeding center for tortoises (La Galapaguera) at Cerro Colorado, including a 45-minute bus ride. Seeing the semi-saddle back shape of the tortoises can be a great way to understand adaptation to dry-tropical environments. The rewarding fauna of this island may not only be the giant tortoises, since many island-specific endemics are found here. It includes mockingbirds, lava lizards, and the vermilion flycatchers. If time allows, a quick visit to El Junco Lagoon (the only permanent freshwater lagoon of the islands) could bring many surprises. Return to the MV SANTA CRUZ for lunch. Today, new guests will join our voyage.
If you plan not to take our official morning program at San Cristóbal, an "at your own pace option" is to visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center, located in a natural setting, where visitors can obtain information that will help them understand more the natural history of the Galápagos, with a great emphasis on human history and conservation. Afterwards, you can stroll through Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where souvenir shops and Internet cafés welcome world travelers who are willing to catch up with the world, and share the many wonders witnessed so far. Return to the MV SANTA CRUZ for lunch.
Exploring the Coastline of Stephen's Bay, San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island
As we navigate the irregular coastline adjacent to Stephen's Bay, an odd-shaped rock called León Dormido (Sleeping Lion or Kicker Rock) will delight our first contact with this island. Later, our Expedition Staff will carefully select this afternoon's site for some rewarding wildlife observation. Some of the animal highlights to be encountered include a small sea lion colony, whose shores are also home to many sea birds, including frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. The chosen landing beach will offer a coraline white beach, and a little inland walking may give us a close look at Darwin's Finches, and the island endemic San Cristóbal (Chatham) Mockingbird. Lava lizards are also examples of an island endemic species. Great landscape photography. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin sailed and walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galápagos. ECO Moment and briefing on the next day's activities, followed by a welcome cocktail offered by the Captain and dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 8: Gardner Bay / Punta Suarez(Española Island)
After breakfast, disembark at Gardner Bay (wet landing) for a short walk along the whitest coral beach you can possibly imagine. As you walk along the sand, the many tractor-like marks is evidence of sea turtle nesting. There is much to do here, and you can observe the sea lions' behavior, mockingbirds, finches, enjoy the beach, snorkel, or ride the glass-bottom boat around nearby islets. Rewarding snorkeling at these locations. Back on board for lunch.
Afternoon outing at Punta Suarez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April - December), Nazca (masked boobies), and the famous blowhole. Great hike for observing blue-footed boobies, swallowtail gulls, the Hood island mockingbird, red-green-black marine iguanas, and of course a rookery of sea lions right at the landing site. For those planning not to walk the entire trail, there will be a dinghy ride arranged along the coastline of Punta Suarez, followed by a very short walk under easy walking conditions. ECO Moment, briefing and dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 9: Isabela Island / Fernandina Island
Breakfast and disembarkation (wet landing) for a walk at Urbina Bay. This area went through a volcanic uplifting event back in 1954 leaving gaunt marine skeletons, which make the walk remarkably interesting, specially for understanding island colonization. This area is also home to large and very colorful Galápagos land iguanas, and the famous giant tortoises from the population of Alcedo Volcano. Swimming and snorkeling will depend on local sea conditions. Back on board for lunch. As we sail along the Bolívar Channel, astonishing views of the Galápagos' youngest volcanoes can be seen. The nutrient-rich waters of the west can also bring surprises like encountering sea birds feeding, dolphins, and possibly whales.
The afternoon brings us to the youngest island, Fernandina. First, a dinghy ride to observe Galápagos penguins, as well as flightless cormorants and then disembark (dry landing) for a one-mile walk. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness with lots of wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, Fernandina has a very unique environment with the highest density of marine iguanas, sharing their island habitat with sea lions, sally-light foot crabs, and hawks. Lava terrain calls for good walking shoes. Snorkeling at this location depends on local sea conditions, and will be announced by the Expedition Staff. Farewell briefing and dinner. (B,L,D)
 
Day 10: Baltra / Guayaquil / Lima
Arrival to Baltra and transfer by bus to the airport for the flight back to the continent. Flight to Lima.Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you for transferring to your hotel and help you in registering. Overnight in Lima. (B)
 
Day 11: Lima
Breakfast at your hotel. City Tour of Lima and Larco Museum - This half day tour visits both the colonial and modern sections of this "City of Kings." Colonial sites include the lovely Plaza de Armas with its cathedral and palace, and the exquisite Torre Tagle Palace modern day seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In modern Lima, drive along the exclusive residential areas of Miraflores and San Isidro. Continue to the Larco Museum, founded in 1926, it showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Located in a unique vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid, is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and the famous erotic archaeological collection, one of the most visited Peruvian tourist attractions. (B)
 
Day 12: Lima / Cusco
Breakfast at your hotel. Flight to Cusco.Upon arrival at the airport a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and help you in registering.Tour of Cusco and its Ruins – This afternoon tour of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere includes important landmarks of enchanting Cusco and also the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucará, Tampumachay as well as the Sacsayhuaman fortress.Once the center of the Inca civilization, modern Cusco is a delightful combination of Inca and colonial architecture.During the tour, you will visit Cusco´s Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church and the Plaza de Armas. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
 
Day 13: Cusco / Machu Picchu
Breakfast at your hotel. Full day excursion to Machu Picchu with overnight stay – Early wake up for a train ride through the sacred valley of the Urubamba to the “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu. Perched 8,200 feet above the valley, it was hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungles for 400 years until discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911. Archaeologists believe that Inca “Virgins of the Sun” took refuge from the Spanish Conquistadors here.Guided tour of the ruins upon arrival.All transfers are included. Lunch is included.Overnight in the area. (B,L)
 
Day 14: Machu Picchu / Cusco
Breakfast at your hotel. Free morning to enjoy one of the most incredible sights on earth, the ruins of Machu Picchu.Take as much time as you need to study the mysterious ruins, hike the Huayna Picchu, stroll to the Inca Bridge or walk toward the Inca Trail to find the legendary Sun Gate.Afternoon shuttle bus to the train station for your return trip to Cusco.Upon arrival transfer from rail station to hotel.Overnight in Cusco. (B)
 
Day 15: Cusco / Lima / Home
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to the airport for flight to Lima and your connect flight home. (B)
 
 
Included: All airport-hotel-airport transfers, all listed tours and excursions, all tours are guided by licensed bilingual tour guides, all transportation needed (bus, train, boat) for the operation of the itinerary, all entrance fees to places visited, hotel accommodation at indicated hotels, 7 Nights aboard M/V Santa Cruz, meals indicated in the itinerary, baggage handling at airports and hotels, hotel taxes and service charge, 24-hour emergency phone numbers.
Not included: Peru international airport departure tax : $31.00, Peru domestic airport departure tax : $6.82 each city, Expenses of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, bottled water, etc, Tips to tours guides, waiters and bellboys, Galapagos National Park entrance fee, gratuities, bar, gifts and additional items, Services not listed in the itinerary.
Hotels to use:
Category/City
Peru
Ecuador
Lima
Cusco
Machu Picchu
Quito
Tourist Superior
Jose Antonio
Ruinas
Presidente
La Rabida
First Class
Jose Antonio Executive
Picoaga
Hatuchay Tower
Alameda Quito
Deluxe
Plaza del Bosque
Libertador Cusco
Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Hilton Colon
Luxury
Country Club Lima
Monasterio
Sanctuary Lodge
Swissotel
2011 Rates per person:
Tourist Superior: $6298 in double, $7062 in triple, $8990 in single, $9319 in single alone.
First Class: $6478 in double, $7336 in triple, $9422 in single, $9751 in single alone.
Deluxe: $6904 in double, $7607 in triple, $10094 in single, $10423 in single alone.
Luxury: $7587 in double, $8599 in triple, $11418 in single, $11747 in single alone.
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Quito, Galapagos Islands, Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu