Experience some of the most stunning destinations in Latin America, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this tour package! You’ll journey to Ecuador and the Galapagos, with a stop in Quito. You’ll enjoy The Galapagos Islands through the most immersive and complete itinerary aboard our Expedition Vessel. Your journey then takes you through the most amazing destinations Peru has to offer: Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and of course, Machu Picchu.
Aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise:
Venture to Ecuador’s most iconic destinations with this tour package! Your journey starts in the beautiful city of Quito, nestled in the Andes mountain range. History, culture, and impressive architecture are some of the features you’ll get to enjoy during your stay in the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After this, you’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime as you fly to the Galapagos Islands, a pristine destination teeming with wildlife, nature, and unparalleled volcanic settings. Aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise, you’ll be able to thoroughly explore this destination thanks to comprehensive itineraries and knowledgeable guides certified by the Galapagos National Park!
Day 1: Quito
Welcome to Quito, one of the earliest UNESCO World Heritage Sights! You’ll take a transfer to your hotel in Quito – Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel. During the ride, you will receive an introduction to Quito and Ecuador along with valuable information regarding your stay in the country while you get your first take on this stunning country.
Day 2: Quito’s Historic Center and Middle of the World
Quito’s Historic Center is the largest and most well-preserved Colonial Quarter in Latin America. You will take a leisurely stroll through the Plaza de la Independencia, where you can gaze at the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace.
After that, we will visit the La Compañia and admire its golden interior before continuing onwards to the San Francisco Church and Convent – one of the largest colonial structures in the Americas.
Then you’ll head to the Middle of the World and get to place each of your feet on both hemispheres!
Day 3: Baltra and Cerro Dragon
You will arrive at Baltra Island via plane in the morning and then transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise.
The north shore of Santa Cruz Island is dominated by the impressive vision of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The first part of the hike passes by a brackish-water lagoon that’s frequented by shorebirds and American flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the Galapagos, as well as a chance to check out some land iguanas.
Day 4: Punta Vicente Roca and Punta Espinoza
After breakfast, you will get to explore the coast by dinghy, all while your naturalist guides explain the dramatic geology of the surrounding area. This site is also a nesting place for numerous Galapagos iconic species, such as flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, and boobies. Weather permitting, you will get the chance to snorkel alongside the cliffs of this area that are rich in marine life.
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring Fernandina, the youngest island in the Galapagos Islands. The complete absence of introduced animals is one of its biggest draws, as Fernandina boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas. Other Galapagos iconic species found here include sea lions, Sally lightfoot crabs, hawks, penguins and flightless cormorants.
Day 5: Puerto Ayora and the Highlands
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) at Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Station consists of a giant tortoise Breeding Center and an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest that is home to many land birds. The Station also serves as the headquarters for scientific investigation and conservation efforts, as well as the Galapagos National Park administration. Following this visit, we will board a private transport to head up and enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, which is an entirely different ecosystem.
You will have several options to choose from in the afternoon, these of which will be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, guests will return to Puerto Ayora and hop back aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise.
Day 6: Baroness Tower + Post Office Bay and Champion Islet + Cormorant Point
After breakfast, a dinghy ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. Afterward, you will get to experience Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana Island. Later on, we will land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the Galapagos Islands for over two centuries. It is here that you will be invited to leave your very own postcard and/or take postcards that have been left by other visitors (for you to hand-deliver to their addressee)! Snorkeling activities are offered right off the beach. Afterward, we will head back aboard for lunch.
Following lunch and a break, you will be invited to hop aboard the dinghies (for snorkeling) or the glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet – an extinct shield volcano that’s regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos Islands. From there, it’s onwards to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on an olivine-crystal beach for a leisurely walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species – such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and other birds – tend to gather. After this, we will continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).
Day 7: Baltra Island
You will disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland.
Marvel at some of Peru’s most impressive gems. The first leg of this trip will take you to Lima, also known as “The City of Kings”. Here, you’ll get to learn more about Lima’s fascinating colonial history and get a taste of Peru’s cutting-edge gastronomy. Up next, we’ll take you to Cuzco, the heart of the ancient Inca Empire!
In Sacred Valley, you’ll get a sense of what Andean culture is all about: warmth, heritage, and cordiality. Later, after exploring this valley, you’ll start making your way to Peru’s crowning jewel, the lost city of Machu Picchu!
Day 8: Lima’s Historic Center
On this day, you’ll experience a half-day tour of Lima’s historic center: Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, Government Palace, the Santo Domingo Convent, and the Museum of the Central Reserve Bank, which displays various eras of Peruvian art.
The tour continues over at the Larco Herrera Museum and Hacienda, where you’ll get to admire one of the best collections of pre-Columbian art in the country. You’ll also get to walk around the hacienda itself, which was built over a sacred pre-Incan site that is located in the Pueblo Libre District. Afterward, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch at the museum’s café.
Day 9: Cuzco and the Sacred Valley
Our representative will meet you in the hotel lobby and it’s off to the airport to catch your flight to Cuzco. Once you arrive in Cuzco, you’ll begin your tour of the Sacred Valley.
Today we visit the Andean textile center Awanacancha, which means, “the palace of weaving.” Here, you’ll learn about the dyeing techniques that have been used for hundreds of years. Next, we’ll head to the Sacred Valley’s Pisac Market, where regional artisans gather to exchange, buy, and sell products. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and barter for all the typical handicrafts from this area.
Our last stop is Pablo Seminario’s Ceramic Workshop, where you can observe the ceramics process.
Day 10: Maras Salt Pans, Chichero Village, and the Ollantaytambo Fortress
This day begins with a tour of Chinchero Town. Here, you’ll get to amaze yourself with the picturesque views that surround this authentic slice of the Andes Mountains. On weekends, the main plaza of the town becomes a hub for artisans to gather and sell their wares.
Following that, we’ll head to the Maras Salt Pans. This impressive site offers visitors breathtaking views that consist of countless terraces where salt (which is extracted from nearby springs) is produced. It takes about a month for the terraces to produce thick, crystalized salt that varies in color.
After a delicious lunch buffet at the Tunupa Restaurant in the Sacred Valley, we’ll head onwards to the Ollantaytambo Fortress. This fantastic site was constructed with the purpose of guarding the valley and preventing invasions from other tribes. Here, you’ll get to learn about some of the most important aspects of the Inca Empire’s history and culture.
After this visit, we’ll transfer you to the train station where you’ll begin your journey to majestic Machu Picchu.
Day 11: Machu Picchu Citadel
On this morning, you’ll hop aboard a bus that will take you on a 20-minute ride to Machu Picchu.
Once you get there, you’ll begin a guided tour of the Citadel’s Main Plaza, Circular Tower, Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, and Temple of the Three Windows.
A buffet-style lunch is included at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge’s Tinkuy Restaurant.
In the afternoon, a shuttle bus will take us back to Aguas Calientes in time to catch your return train. Our representatives will greet you at the train station and transfer you to Cuzco Palacio del Inka hotel in Cuzco.
Day 12: Cuzco
Today, enjoy a guided tour of Cuzco, the Imperial City, and admire the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. Walking along the city’s stone streets is perhaps the best way to discover why this is regarded as the archaeological capital of South America.
In the afternoon, our representative will meet you at the hotel lobby and assist you with checking out before taking you to the Cuzco airport for you to catch your flight back home.
Please note: ETICA Empresa Turistica Internacional C.A. reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement without prior notice should the closing price of West Texas Intermediate Fuel increase above $70 per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index). In the event a fuel supplement is charged, ETICA Empresa Turistica Internacional C.A. will have sole discretion to apply the supplementary charge to both existing and new bookings, regardless of whether such bookings have been paid in full. Such supplementary charges are not included in the cruise fare. The fuel supplement charge will not exceed $25.00 per passenger per day.