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Iguanas and Incas (16 days / 15 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Quito
v/   Galapagos
v/   Lima
v/   Cusco
v/   Sacred Valley
v/   Machu Picchu
Price from $5,071
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Latin America`s magnificent natural and cultural wonders combined: a 7 night cruise around the Galapagos Islands and a tour of Peru's Machu Picchu and Cuzco.
Day 1:Arrive Quito
Day 2:Quito (city tour)
Day 3:Quito (Otavalo)
Day 4:Quito - Galapagos (Santa Cruz Island) 
Day 5:Galapagos (South Plaza - Santa Fe)
Day 6:Galapagos (San Cristobal)
Day 7:Galapagos (Española)
Day 8:Galapagos (Floreana)
Day 9:Galapagos (Santa Cruz - Santiago)
Day 10:Galapagos (Genovesa)
Day 11:Galapagos - Guayaquil - Lima
Day 12:Lima - Cusco
Day 13:Cuzco -Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 14:Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
Day 15:Machu Picchu - Cuzco
Day 16:Cusco - Fly out from Lima


Hotels used in this tour
(hotels can be changed on request for most tours)
Mercure Quito
Mercure Quito
Quito
Roca 653 Y Amazonas
146 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Novotel Lima
Novotel Lima
Lima
Victor Andres Belaunde 196, Lima
208 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Novotel Cuzco
Novotel Cuzco
Cuzco
San Agustin 239, Esquina Pasaje Santa Monica
99 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley
Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley
Urubamba
5to paradero Yanahuara
85 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Hatuchay Tower
Hatuchay Tower
Machu Picchu
Carretera Puente Ruinas MZ4, Aguas Calientes
42 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Day 1:  Arrive Quito
Upon arrival in Quito transfer from the airport to the hotel. Overnight in Quito
Day 2:  Quito (city tour)
Colonial city tour (Private transportation, bilingual guide, entrance to La Compañía Church, San Francisco Museum, snack, hat factory): due to the beauty and history of colonial Quito, the main emphasis of this tour is given to the old city. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Quito

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 3:  Quito (Otavalo)
Full day private tour to Otavalo Market, drive 2 hours from Quito through attractive scenery to the biggest and most varied of all the Indian markets in the Ecuadorian Andes, followed by lunch at a hacienda. Overnight in Quito

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch)
Day 4:  Quito - Galapagos (Santa Cruz Island) 
Departure from Quito via Guayaquil. Arrival at Baltra airport and transfer by our guide to the yacht M/S Cachalote. Charles Darwin Research Station, observe the giant tortoises that are part of the reproduction program and the world’s most famous tortoise, Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species.

Highlands: After touring the Station, journey into the highlands. A point of interest is the famed lava tunnels, a fun and geologically informative visit.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 5:  Galapagos (South Plaza - Santa Fe)
South Plaza: Observe land and marine iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and many other sea birds. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where we will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.

Santa Fe: Home to a number of endemic species including Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, a variety of finches and one of the four species of Galapagos mockingbirds. Deep-water snorkeling.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 6:  Galapagos (San Cristobal)
Cerro Brujo, Eroding tuff cone which forms cliffs where seabirds are often seen nesting. It looks over a beautiful white sand beach where you can spot sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas.

El Junco is located in the highlands of the island at an altitude of 700m. This lagoon is the only freshwater lake in the Galapagos. The lake and its surrounding comprise a beautiful landscape, typical of the humid zone of this island. El Junco is almost round in shape and 6m deep. You can observe white-cheeked pintail ducks and common gallinules. Vegetation includes miconia bushes and endemic tree ferns

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 7:  Galapagos (Española)
Gardner Bay, spot Galapagos hawks, American oyster catchers, Galapagos doves, hood mockingbirds, 3 species of Darwin finches, yellow Warblers, lava lizards, and marine iguanas.

Suarez Point, explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife. Besides the sea lion colonies, this is a very important site for bird watching.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 8:  Galapagos (Floreana)
Cormorant Point, This island features endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, Galapagos daisies, white sand black mangrove, and holy stick. Spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food.

Post Office, Continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel which reach their destinations for free. Observe the mocking bird of Galapagos, some species of Darwins finches, yellow Warblers, and lava lizards.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 9:  Galapagos (Santa Cruz - Santiago)
Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) a trail takes you through Palo Santo forests, a brackish salt-water lagoon and Opuntia cacti woodland, where we will be hoping to spot land iguanas and feeding flamingos.

Sullivan Bay, on the eastern coast of James Island is Sullivan Bay. There you can admire a large area of fresh pahoehoe (ropey) lava flows dating from an eruption in 1897. A walk over this glazed black rock gives the impression of the still-molten lava, as every ripple, swirl, and bubble in its surface has been preserved. Tiny fragile Mollugi plants can be spotted growing out of fissures as they begin to colonize the arid terrain.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 10:  Galapagos (Genovesa)
We spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species. Genovesa has 2 principal tourist places: Prince Philips Steps and Darwin Bay, this is one of the most famous places to watch animals like: fragate birds, mask boobies, red footed boobies, sea lions and seals. When you practice snorkelling and diving the sea lions and hammerhead sharks will swim beside you. The Prince Philips Steps is an rock with the shape of steps, this place was called of this way because the prince Phillips visited the island genovesa in the 60´s.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 11:  Galapagos - Guayaquil - Lima
Black Turtle Cove, we will take you into a tidal lagoon to see three kinds of mangrove plants, red, white and black. White-tipped sharks, spotted rays, mustard rays and Pacific marine turtles frequent the waters here. Return to Baltra in time for flight to mainland Ecuador. Arrival in Guayaquil and board the flight to Lima where there will be a transfer from the Lima airport to the hotel. Overnight in Lima

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 12:  Lima - Cusco
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco transfer to the hotel. Explore the most magical city, capital of the Inca empire (15th century) on a tour including Plaza Regocijo, Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, Santo Domingo Monastery - the legendary Korikancha Temple - and the old town with its very narrow streets. Drive out of the city to visit the archaeological Inca remains of Tambomachay, Kenko, Puca Pucara and the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman, overlooking Cusco. Overnight in Cuzco.

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 13:  Cuzco -Sacred Valley of the Incas
Drive to the "Sacred Valley of the Incas", a succession of picturesque towns, agricultural terraces, and many archaeological sites, as well as the world´s most famous corn, combine with an exceptional climate to visit Ollantaytambo, the Inca fortress, which guarded the entry of this part of the valley and protected it from possible invasion from the lower jungles. The fortress consists of a series of superimposed terraces of carved stones accessed by long staircases. An opportunity to walk through the quaint streets of the nearby town, the design and foundations of the majority of its buildings date from the Inca era, when it was a strategic military, religious, and agricultural center. Lunch at a nearby inn. Visit Pisac, a lively and colorful Indian market where locals sell or exchange their products, as the ancestors did hundreds years ago. Overnight in Urubamba.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch)
Day 14:  Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
Transfer to Ollanta´s train station to board the Expedition rail coach for a three hours train ride to Machu Picchu, discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. Then make the 25-minute motor coach ascent to "The Lost City of the Incas." This citadel is considered one of the most extraordinary examples of landscape architecture in the world. It straddles a mountain ridge surrounded by lush tropical forest. The guided tour of this fascinating place is an awe-inspiring experience. Visit the Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial and Burial Grounds. Overnight near Machu Picchu.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch)
Day 15:  Machu Picchu - Cuzco
Morning at leisure (no guide included this day). Early rise is recommended to admire Machu Picchu at sunrise, a truly mystical experience. For hiking enthusiasts, going up the Huayna Picchu peak overlooking the site is suggested (optional). Afternoon rail coach transportation to Cusco. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Cuzco.

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 16:  Cusco - Fly out from Lima
Transfer to Cusco airport, assistance on departure flight.

(Included meals: breakfast)
 
Some comments by past clients
 
Umaji C (from India)
Hello, I was initially a little apprehensive about having booked a holiday for all of us with an agency that was randomly picked from thousands on the internet. Also everybody I spoke to was warning me with horror stories of how things can and do go wrong. So I was continuously expecting something or the other to go wrong, but nothing happened.

Everything, and I mean everything went off so smoothly, that (pleasantly) shocked all of us, and in the bargain has done wonders to my family’s perception of my ability to organize things.

Mauricio, your guides took care of the small things (like having a smiling, friendly face meeting you in a far away country, organizing transportation, telling jokes, recommending restaurants, helping with check in and check out, and for my sister recommending shops, etc) so well and so professionally we were put at ease right away. We particularly liked the way the following people took care of us, the lady and driver we met in Quito.

Our guide and the entire crew of Sagitta. The lady we met at Guayaquil, who pointed us to a fantastic restaurant. The gent who met us at Cusco airport, the lady who took us to the Sacred Valley, and the private guide at Machu Picchu. I thought, and I think all of us will agree, these people more than the quality of hotels and flights made our holiday for us.

What can I say about our hotels they were all fantastic bar none. I am glad you recommended these hotels, it made the journey that much more comfortable. Doing both Galapagos and Machu Picchu in such short a time was probably a mistake. It meant going up to 3,000 meters to sea level, up to 3,000 meters, and back to sea level again, in such a short time may not have been such a good idea.

Mauricio, thank you for organizing everything, and I am sure now that we have discovered South America, we’ll want to do more things in that continent. I am sure you’ll be hearing from me in the near future. Thank you again Umaji
 

Itinerary:

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Trip type:
  Shared service
(can be done privately also)
Departures:
   Sunday