The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the most spectacular and pristine National Parks in the world. Visitors delight in the abundant, unusual, and surprisingly approachable wildlife--from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed boobies. Following the Galapagos, spend a full week in colorful Peru exploring the beautiful Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley), spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, and the cobble-stoned streets of IncaÂ’s Empire capital, Cusco. All departures will have a certified photo instructor onboard.
Day 1: Miami/Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart U.S. and arrive Guayaquil by late evening. If you choose to take the non-stop group flight from Miami, you depart in the early evening with a flying time of approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival, itÂ’s a short drive to the Hotel Hilton ColÃ³n.
Day 2: Guayaquil/GalÃ¡pagos/Embark
After the 1.5-hour flight to the GalÃ¡pagos, youÂ’ll immediately board the ship. Over the course of the week, the exact routing of the trip depends on the National Park Service.
Days 3-8: Exploring the GalÃ¡pagos Islands
While your exact routing depends on the GalÃ¡pagos National Park Service, the following is a representative sample of the islands you may visit during your week on board: North Seymour Have up-close encounters with colonies of nesting blue-footed boobies (seasonal) and magnificent frigate birds, plus sea lion harems. Spot swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, land iguanas and fur seals along the cliffs. You can choose from walks and Zodiac rides. North Seymour and Rabida Enjoy walks, Zodiac forays, or deep-water snorkeling Â— with hundreds of fish, white-tipped reef sharks, rays, eels and more. Visit RabidaÂ’s bright red beach to see wildlife, including a nesting colony of pelicans (seasonal), and GalÃ¡pagos hawks, doves, DarwinÂ’s finches, mocking birds, and more, plus gorgeous scenery. Various walks, kayaking, and snorkeling are on offer. Fernandina Fernandina Island is the youngest island and one of the most pristine tropical islands left on Earth. Look forward to hikes over relatively recent lava flows, and to Cormorant point for marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and intriguing tide pools. Activities also include Zodiac forays and snorkeling, perhaps with sea turtles, penguins, or cormorants. Isabela A small black sand beach, a sea turtle nesting site, offers wonderful morning swimming. Travel on a more challenging hike over a rugged area of shoreline, then inland through a land iguana nesting colony; and a shorter walk within the iguana colony. Walking, birding, kayaking and deep water snorkeling, with Zodiac rides are available. Santiago You can land on one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in GalÃ¡pagos. Go on walks past a salt water lagoon to see shore birds; up a small hill to land bird and endemic vegetation terrain. There are opportunities for snorkeling, plus Zodiac rides and kayaking to Buccaneer Cove. Visit Puerto Egas for a coastal trek to fur seal grottoes, masses of marine iguanas, sea birds, and more against vivid green sea mosses. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling from the beach. Santa Cruz Look for fur seals, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, sea lions and more. Enjoy walks in the El Chato tortoise preserve for encounters with giant tortoises in the wild. Return to sea level and explore bustling Puerto Ayora before embarking the ship. San Cristobal Make a wet landing on a green, olivine beach for a hike and spectacular scenery Â— tuff stone cliffs Â“workedÂ” by sea and wind. Cruises aboard Zodiacs along the coastline reveal blue-footed and red-footed boobies. Kayaking, swimming from the beach and snorkeling from Zodiacs off an islet in the bay are all options here. In the afternoon, there will be more opportunities for snorkeling and Zodiac adventures. In between the sights and activities throughout the Galapagos, life aboard your expedition ship is rich and varied Â— marvelous meals to enjoy in an always-casual ambience. Engaging talks by your Naturalists are part of the daily recap ritual that binds your expedition community and increases the fun. Socializing with staff and fellow guests, or retreating to one of the shipÂ’s nooks and crannies with a good book is always an option. Also, you can enjoy a relaxing massage or revitalizing Wellness treatment.
Day 9: GalÃ¡pagos/Guayaquil/Lima, Peru
You'll leave GalÃ¡pagos this morning and fly to Lima, Peru via Guayaquil, arriving in the early evening. Overnight at your hotel.
Day 10: Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley of the Inca
This morning fly from Lima to Cusco and drive to Awanacancha, a farm where South American camelidae are bred. Enjoy the scenery as you make your way to Pisac - Gateway to the Sacred Valley. Pisac has an Â“old townÂ” and a Â“new townÂ” from the Colonial era. YouÂ’ll visit the local food market before visiting its ruins. Later you check into your hotel, Sol y Luna.
Day 11: Sacred Valley of the Inca
This morning visit the massive Inca stone fortress of Ollantaytambo, thought to be the only remaining example of pre-Columbian urban planning. After lunch at the hotel, the afternoon is at your leisure for exploration and personal discovery. Tonight is a very special night. Dinner is an outdoor event complete with a campfire, BBQ and vibrant dances based on Peruvian folklore performed on stilts. A unique and personal cooking demonstration affords you the opportunity to witness firsthand, the preparation of Peruvian specialties like Ceviche.
Day 12: Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu
After breakfast you take a short ride to the train station for the 1.5-hour ride to Machu Picchu (Â“Old MountainÂ”). At the citadel, Â“The Lost City of the Inca,Â” youÂ’ll first have a guided walk but the real magic is that between 4:30 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. most visitors are gone. By staying over, you share Machu Picchu with only a handful of visitors. Overnight at Orient Express Sanctuary Lodge with only 31 rooms.
Day 13: Machu Picchu
Breakfast at leisure. Enjoy a sunrise walk and hike to the Sun-Gate, the ancient final check point to Machu Picchu, an almost mystical experience for many. The morning is free to explore Machu Picchu and ponder the many mysteries of the Incas. After a train and bus ride, you arrive in Cusco in the late afternoon for two nights at the Orient Express Monasterio Hotel.
Day 14: Cusco, Peru
This morning explore Cusco, the Inca EmpireÂ’s capital. WeÂ’ll also visit the vast Sacsayhuaman Fortress. After lunch at the MAP cafÃ© in the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the rest of the day is open to stroll around the Plaza de Armas. Relax shopping or visit the magnificent 17th-century cathedral built on Inca foundations, the Santo Domingo Convent Â— Koricancha. This evening choose amongst several options for an independent dinner.
Day 15: Cusco/Lima
This morning return to Lima and explore Colonial Lima. Visit the Larco Herrera Museum and its private collection of pre-Columbian art. Stroll the Plaza Mayor. Lunch will follow the traditional Latin American style and be rather late and then you can have a light dinner on your own.
Day 16: Lima/Miami
After breakfast the morning, fly home.