In this itinerary you will enjoy the very best of Ecuador, starting in Quito, its capital, the four days in the impressive Galapagos Islands, and to end up with this unique trip, you will travel to Peru, to visit its renowned gastronomical capital city, Lima and its millenary Machu Picchu citadel, recently named as a New World Wonder.

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SHARED EXPERIENCES

Day 01 Quito

Reception at the airport and transfer to the selected hotel.

Day 02 Quito

SCENIC TOUR AND MIDDLE OF THE WORLD

A 4 hours visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The visit starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. (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. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator.

Overnight in Quito

Included: Breakfast

Day 03 Quito

MONDAY

Flight from Quito to Galapagos.

BALTRA ISLAND

Morning arrival to Baltra Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.

LAS BACHAS (SANTA CRUZ ISLAND)

After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that morphed to “Bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach (wet landing), with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome Cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.

Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 04

TUESDAY
BUCCANEER COVE (JAMES ISLAND)

After breakfast, enjoy a coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove. Learn about the history of Santiago Island, its relevance for the whalers, pirates and early researchers, including Darwin’s epic voyage in 1835, and the conservation projects aimed at eradicating feral species (a fence stretched along the rocky outcrop is visible to save native plants from the once existing enormous goat population). Today the island is free of feral goats, and the cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkelling too! Lunch on board.

PUERTO EGAS (JAMES ISLAND)

Wet landing for a mid-length walk. Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows. This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and there is a colony of fur-sea lions. Opportunity for snorkelling and swimming from the beach after the walk. Expedition plan for Wednesday and dinner.

Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 05

WEDNESDAY
RÁBIDA ISLAND (JERVIS)

Disembark at Rábida Island (wet landing) on a red-coloured beach, due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A gratifying stroll along the beach of this small island (1.9 sq. mi.) allows the observation of a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green saltbush, is a salt pond where at times greater flamingos migrate. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat. During navigation to our next island, dolphins are often spotted. Lunch on board.

BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND

Disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase resting platforms and handrails; the view from the top is worth the effort. Dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, then time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and some snorkelling, possibly with Galápagos penguins, or else a ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Expedition plan for Thursday and dinner.

Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 06

THURSDAY
PRINCE PHILIP'S STEPS (TOWER/GENOVESA ISLAND)

The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, we can snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting lots of fish, including hammerhead sharks.

DARWIN BAY (TOWER/GENOVESA ISLAND)

In the afternoon, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour, or join us in a Glass Bottom boat ride. Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.

Overnight at M/N Santa Cruz Cruise

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 07

FRIDAY
PUERTO BAQUERIZO MORENO (SAN CRISTÓBAL (CHATHAM)     ISLAND)

After breakfast, optional departure to see the breeding programme of giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado. Learn about his endangered species, and its promising recovery. This site is 45 minutes by bus, on the south shore of San Cristóbal Island. Return to town and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Flight from Galapagos to Quito. Reception at the airport and transfer to the selected Hotel.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast

Day 8 Quito - Lima

Transfer from the hotel to the airport. Upon your arrival, reception at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at Allpa Hotel

Included: Breakfast

Day 09 Lima – Cusco

Transfer to Lima airport. Flight to Cusco city. Transfer from the hotel to the airport.

CUSCO CITY TOUR & RUINS

The tour will show you the amazing colonial city built on the foundations of the Inca Empire. In the first stop you will visit the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun, also known as the ancient Incas’ palace, then you will continue the visit to the Main Square where you will also appreciate the Cathedral admired by the carved woodworks, altars and paintings that posses. To continue with this tour you will be driven to the Inca fortress of Sacsahuamán important sample of the military architecture of that time, then you will visit some archeological places such as Kenko’s Temple and Tambomachay which is known as the Inca Baths’. Finally, you will visit “Inka´s Expression” art workshop, this visit will allow passengers to admire how the local artisans create wonderful silver pieces, paintings and wood carvings.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast

Day 10 Cusco - Valle Sagrado

PISAC MARKET & OLLANTAYTAMBO

Full day excursion through the scenic landscape of Urubamba Valley; known as the “Incas Sacred Valley". You will arrive to the Pisac town and you will see the colorful Pisac Market, where the local Indians meet to sell their merchandise, keeping the tradition as they have done it for centuries. The tour continues to the Ollantaytambo town where you will climb up to the imposing Inca fortress at the top of the mountain. Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.

Overnight at selected hotel.

Included: Breakfast, lunch

Day 11 Valle Sagrado - Machu Picchu

Transfer to the train station.

VISIT TO MACHU PICCHU

You will take the Vistadome Train and arrive to Aguas Calientes Station in Machu-Picchu and then you will be transported by bus to Machu Picchu citadel, one of the most renowned examples of the Inca’s architecture, surrounded by an amazing landscape of lush forest. Lost in history, Machu Picchu was not discovered until 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, but was built in the middle of XV century. The name of the citadel comes from the Quechua language that means “Old Mountain” and apparently was the principal Inca’s Sanctuary. After a guided visit of the ruins, you will have a self-service lunch at Mapi Sanctuary. Private Service.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 12 Machu Picchu

SECOND DAY MACHU PICCHU & HUAYNAPICCHU

You can make a second visit to Machu Picchu. If you are adventurous, you might enjoy of the adrenaline of ascending the Huayna Picchu which means “Young Mountain”, here you will visit the Temple of the Moon and what is worthwhile is the amazing view from the entire valley and Machu Picchu, therefore you can have an awesome photograph from the full sight of the citadel.

At the appointed time, you should return to the station to take your train ride to Cusco. Luggage porters from your hotel to the station are available for free. The ride lasts for four hours. Transfer from Ollanta station to your hotel in Cusco.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast

Day 13 Cuzco - Lima

Transfer from the hotel to the airport. Flight to Lima city. Upon your arrival, reception at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

LIMA CITY TOUR

Our guided visit allows you to see Lima Historical Center: The Main Square, The Government Palace, The Archbishop's Palace, The City Hall and traditional streets with colonial mansions and moorish balconies. You will also visit an icon of the colonial architecture: The historic convent of San Francisco. The tour continues all the way to the residential and business districts of Lima such as San Isidro, where you’ll have a stop at Huaca Huallamarca, a pre Incan pyramid made out of adobe. To end up this beautiful tour you will visit the touristic district of Miraflores, considered a symbol of the modern Lima where you will visit the “Parque del Amor” (Park of Love) where you will appreciate a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the famous sculpt located in the middle of the park called “The Kiss”.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast

Day 14 Lima

Transfer to Lima airport.

Overnight

Included: Breakfast

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