Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, & Peru
Overview / Highlights14 NIGHTS / 15 DAYS
You are cordially invited to experience the mysteries and enchantments of Ecuador and Peru. On this tour we visit the highlands of Ecuador boasting varied and dramatic landscapes; a wonderland of snowcapped mountains, volcanic peaks, lakes, hidden valleys with a rich history and culture that mirrors the diverse landscape. We visit the Galapagos Islands, a living testament to evolution, a naturalist’s Eden million years in the making. Next we travel to Peru where the topography is as epic as its history. This is an “Open-Air Museum” arguably with no equal. Here you will wander around colonial cities, visit the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco, explore the lost city of Machu Picchu and ponder the mysteries of lost civilization.
CitiesQuito, Otavalo, Galapagos, Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu
Tour Program Summery Outline
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Adventure / Cosmapolitan Cities / Cruises / Cultural / Eco Tours / FAMILY ADVENTURES / Flora / Historical
Day 1 : Arrival in QuitoDepart Miami aboard your flight to Quito. Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Quito and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 : QuitoAt an altitude of 9,210 feet, surrounded by the snowcapped Andes, this was once the capital of the Inca Empire and a base for the Spanish Conquistadors. The cathedrals and churches are its treasures, especially San Francisco Cathedral, which serves as a showcase for the Indian artist Caspicara. We drive up Panecillo Hill for a breathtaking view of Quito and the Andes. Return to your hotel for overnight. (B)
Day 3 : Quito / OtavaloAfter breakfast, we travel north to the highlands to your hacienda-style Otavalo hotel in the valley. Dinner at your hacienda. (B,L,D)
Day 4 : Otavalo / QuitoAfter breakfast we visit the Otavalo Market, one of South America 's most famous, home to expert craftsmen and weavers. En route, visit the woodcarving center at the village of San Antonio de Ibarra. Following lunch, stop at the village of Calderon to view the traditionally handcrafted bread-dough dolls painted in bright colors. Return to your Quito hotel for overnight. (B,L)
Day 5 : Quito / Galapagos Islands (Bartolome)This morning embark on a remarkable journey to the beginning of time as you transfer to the airport for the 600-mile flight to the Galapagos Archipelago of volcanic islands, five million years in the making. Board the M/V Legend where the crew and naturalist guides acquaint you with the ship and islands you'll encounter. Set sail with a stop at Bartolomé Island for a dry landing. Arriving on this island, passengers will see volcanic formations including lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. After a hike to the summit visitors have an impressive view of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone of Pinnacle Rock. During the ascent travelers will often see a large colony of Marine Iguanas and Lava Lizards. Red Mangroves, Tiquilla, and various cacti all add to the experience. Visitors also enjoy a chance to cool off while snorkeling. Here travelers often see the Galapagos Penguin, Sea Turtles, and White Tipped Sharks from a safe distance. (B,D)
Day 6 : Galapagos Islands (Isabela & Fernandina)Isabela Island – Is the largest island along the Galapagos. This afternoon a dry landing at Tagus Cove. Here we learn more about the eruption of five volcanoes that flowed together to form this land mass. During the walk you will see the largest population of Giant Tortoises (about 4000 -- but difficult to spot). A marked trail leads to Darwin’s salt water lagoon and an excellent view of the lava fields, scoured with unique volcanic formations, As we board our dinghy and make our way back to the slowly to allow viewing of the marine life and with a bit of luck we may be treated to see the Galapagos Penguins at this site. A view of graffiti dating back to the 18-hundreds (believed to be that of pirates and buccaneers) will help visitors appreciate the relationship between the islands and sustainable tourism of today.
Fernandina Island – This afternoon a dry landing at Espinosa Point and begin our stroll across the island’s immense lava field and mangrove forest viewing the largest colony of Marine Iguanas mingling with Sally-light Foot Crabs. Also enjoyed are the Flightless Cormorants nesting sites, the Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Hawks, and Sea Lions. Among the flora and volcanic formations observers will note Brachycereus Cactus, “pa-hoe-hoe” lava, and other unusual lava formations. This is the youngest of the islands and here you will see recent lava flows from a safe distance. (B,L,D)
Day 7 : Galapagos Islands (Santiago & Rabida)Santiago Island – This morning a wet landing along the dark sand beach at Puerto Egas. Most of the landscape is tuff-stone layers and lava flows, a good location for spotting and observing Hunting Herons, Great Blue Herons, Lava Herons, Oyster Catchers, and the Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Here you’ll view Marine Iguanas grazing upon algae beds at low tide sharing space with Red Sally Light-Foot Crabs. Further along we will spot a colony of Fur-Seal swimming in deep pools of cool water called “grottos”. This is an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling in search of Octopuses, Sea Horses, Star Fish and other sea life caught in the small tidal pools. From a safe distance you’ll be able to spot Moray Eels, Hammerhead Sharks, White Tip and Galapagos Sharks, Golden and White Spotted Eagle Rays, Jacks, Wahoo, Tuna, Groupers, Red-Tailed and Dog Snappers, Sea Lions, and Sea Turtles.
Rábida Island – After lunch aboard ship a dry landing at the dark red colored beach of volcanic origin, frequented by sea lions. This is a small island, just over 2 km in width and 400 meters above sea level at its highest point, is one of the most volcanically varied islands in the Galapagos. The island geologically consists of eroded hills and lava emitted from spatter cones that have resulted in the island's striking colors. The reddish beach and steep volcanic slopes give this island a distinctive look. Here a short trail leads to a salt water lagoon where we find small colonies of Flamingos feeding. The brown pelican nests in the mangroves found at the far side of the lagoon. Also to be found are boobies and 9 species of Darwin s finches. A dinghy ride along the reefs provides an excellent opportunity for snorkeling. (B,L,D)
Day 8 : Galapagos Islands (Charles Darwin Station & Santa Cruz Highlands)This morning you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, staffed by international scientist, conducting biological research and conservation projects. Here you can see the giant tortoises that are part of the breeding program.
This afternoon, trek through the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit Cerro Chato, where you can observe the famous giant tortoises. (B,L,D)
Day 9 : Galapagos Islands / Guayaquil / LimaDisembark at Bachas Beach on the north of the island. Here you will be met by bodysurfing sea lions, marine iguanas, and sea turtles. You will have the opportunity of swimming in the white sand beach. Next we head to Baltra´s airport to board our flight to Guayaquil with connecting service to Lima, Peru. Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Lima hotel. (B)
Day 10 : Lima / Cuzco (Pisac Market)Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco. Meeting upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Some time to adjust to the high altitude and then you make your way down Urubamba, the "Sacred Valley of the Incas" to visit Pisac, the colorful Indian market. Here you may bargain for local handicrafts such as woodcarvings, local textiles and jewelry. After lunch, continue to visit the Ollantaytambo Ruins, once an Inca fortress, admired for it's impressive, huge, steep terraces whose design kept Pizarro's soldiers from defeating the Incas at their first attempt and serves as the best surviving example of Inca city planning. Return to Cuzco for overnight. (B, L)
Day 11 : CuzcoFollowing breakfast, a sightseeing tour to the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman, whose gigantic 3-tiered walls are built from 18-foot boulders and weigh over 300 tons. We visit the stone carvings of Kenkco and the royal baths of Tambo Macay. Return to Cuzco and visit the city's colonial section to observe the most important colonial buildings built during the 17th and 18th centuries. (B)
Day 12 : Cuzco / Machu PicchuAfter an early breakfast, we board the train for a 3-1/2 hour journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu. This significant archaeological find is situated along remote mountains, amid a semi-tropical jungle. From the train station, our tour bus will make the ascent to this ancient citadel to explore the complex of temples, altars and more than 200 building. After lunch, free time to explore on your own and overnight at your Machu Picchu hotel. (B,L)
Day 13 : Machu Picchu / CuzcoAfter breakfast, morning free to explore the ruins at leisure. Afternoon train journey back to Cuzco. Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Cuzco and transfer to your hotel for overnight. (B)
Day 14 : Cuzco / LimaMorning flight back to Lima, meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, this colonial city became the political and military capital of the New World until it was declared the capital of Peru in 1821. Afternoon tour of the city includes the historical heart of the city, starting at the Plaza de Armas with its two-tiered water fountain and visit the surrounding Colonial Cathedral, Government Palace and the Court of the Inquisition. Continue to the famous Gold and Arms Museum which houses a priceless collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts as well as a private armory of Miguel Mujica Gallo. Overnight in Lima. (B)
Day 15 : Depart LimaAfter breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight. (B)
Gratuities of any kind; airport departure taxes; meals unless included in the itinerary.
Please inquire about our special airfares on AMERICAN AIRLINES or LAN AIRLINES from other gateway cities.
Snorkeling/Wetsuit equipment rental not included.
Galapagos Park Fee additional.
Cruise itinerary subject to change.