Day 1 Arrive in Lima
Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Hotel. Settle into your room and rest up for your Peru travel. You have an exciting journey ahead, filled with ancient ruins, local markets and the beautiful Andes Mountains!
Day 2 Fly to Cusco
Andean history comes alive in Cusco. Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas. In the afternoon, tour Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco
, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, visit their center in Chinchero instead). Enjoy a tour of Peru weavers demonstrating their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.
Day 3 Sacred Valley
Journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. The Sacred Valley often becomes one of the highlights of your trip and you soon see why! Test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo.
Day 4 Ollantaytambo Ruins | Train to Machu Picchu
In the morning, visit the under-rated ruins of Ollantaytambo before the larger groups of tourists arrive. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cusco. The ruins feature expansive terraces, giant building blocks and well-preserved architecture. Even the town itself is still laid out as it was during the Inca empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history which still exists within its boundaries.
Board the train late this morning and follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu, Peru. After checking into your hotel and enjoying lunch in Aguas Calientes, enter Machu Picchu and begin exploring this amazing site - the former retreat of Inca kings. Walk along ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After walking amongst the massive complex of ruins, receiving a guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.
Day 5 Free Day at Machu Picchu | Return to Cusco
Today you can return to the ruins at Machu Picchu for further exploration. Depending on your preference in permits, return early with the hope to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu or arrive in time to hike to the top of Huaynapicchu for incredible views of the entire area. Other options within the citadel include the ability to walk the relatively easy routes to the Sun Gate or the Temple of the Moon. Alternatively, just walk among the vast expanse of ruins and listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants. (This basic re-entry permit is included in the cost of this tour. Further permits may require additional costs.)
Once you've had your time in the ruins, return to Aguas Calientes to catch an afternoon train toward Cusco. Settle into your hotel or head out on a famous Cusco culinary adventure.
Day 6 Explore Cusco
Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets for those on Peru holidays, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife. Live folk music and excellent food abounds in Cusco!
Day 7 Fly to Lima | Fly to Quito
Transfer to the airport for your flights from Cusco to Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and overnight in Quito.
Day 8 Fly to Galapagos
An early morning flight from Quito brings you to the Galapagos Archipelago. Upon arrival, you are picked up and transferred to your yacht -- your home for the next seven nights. Each day you leave the comfort of your yacht and go ashore in your panga (the local word for dinghies, Zodiacs, etc.) to remote areas of the islands for natural history walks through the Galapagos's unique ecology. This is everyone's chance to photograph strange marine iguanas, snorkel with playful sea lions, and just wonder at the strange landscape of ancient volcanic turmoil. Except for a few settlements, the entire archipelago is national park, and the beaches and meandering footpaths invite relaxation and fanciful dreams for all enjoying Galapagos cruises.
This afternoon head to the first island on your Galapagos tour and the beginning of a week filled with mysteries of the natural world. Click here
for more details about the Eric/Letty.
Day 9-14 Galapagos
- 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Continue to the next of several stops on your multi-island Galapagos voyage.
Day 15 Galapagos to Quito
This morning say good-bye to Darwin's inspiration. Afterwards, transfer back to the airport for your late morning or early afternoon flight back to Quito.
Connect with your flight home, or add more time to explore Ecuador.