Galápagos Highlights & Peru with Lake Titicaca

16 Day Package from Quito to Lima

Vacation Overview

Local Host

In Quito, Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca; Naturalist in the Galápagos

Meals

Buffet breakfast daily; 7 lunches; 5 three-course dinners

Sightseeing & Activities

Sightseeing with a Local Guide, inside visits, and special features are shown in UPPERCASE

Transportation

As outlined in the day-by-day itinerary and private airport transfers to/from intra-vacation flights; intra-vacation flights not included

Itinerary

 

Day 1 ARRIVE IN QUITO, ECUADOR

Arrive in Quito. Your hotel is available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2 QUITO

Your PRIVATE CITY TOUR showcases the rich legacy left by the Incas and, later, the Spaniards. See Independence Square, dominated by its formidable Cathedral, San Francisco Plaza Church, and the Basilica with its marvelous stained-glass windows.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 QUITO–BALTRA–NORTH SEYMOUR–SANTA CRUZ

Fly to Baltra in the Galápagos. Upon arrival, board a yacht bound for NORTH SEYMOUR, an island teeming with life. You might have to give way to a passing sea lion, marine iguana, or blue-footed boobies that nest here. As you walk along the shore, see large flocks of pelicans in a dive-bomb feeding-frenzy, and one of the largest nesting sites in the Galápagos of the magnificent frigate bird. In the bushes you can see the males up close with their puffed-up scarlet throat sacs. Return to the yacht and begin your journey to the Finch Bay Hotel.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Named after the famous Darwin’s finches abundant in the surroundings, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel offers a private seaside location surrounded by mangroves. Amenities include a bar, lounge, restaurant, outdoor pool, and beachfront access. All rooms offer twin beds, private restroom, and air-conditioning. Guests will enjoy boat excursions to various Galápagos Islands, kayaking, snorkeling, bicycle rides in town, and viewing the local flora and fauna.

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Day 4 SANTA CRUZ. EXCURSION TO THE HIGHLANDS

Transfer to the lush highlands of SANTA CRUZ to a farming area called El Manzanillo on the edge of the GIANT TORTOISE RESERVE. Here, tortoises can be seen grazing year-round, along with woodpecker finches, mockingbirds, and flycatchers. After lunch, visit a local LOCAL FARM where coffee, sugar cane, and cocoa beans are grown, harvested, and prepared. Return to the hotel and perhaps spend time on the private beach.

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Day 5 SANTA CRUZ. EXCURSION TO SANTA FÉ

Board a yacht bound for SANTA FÉ, where you will see the endemic Santa Fé land iguana and the large opuntia cactus forest. The beach area is covered with California sea lions, and the coastline is an excellent location for snorkeling with sea turtles.

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Day 6 SANTA CRUZ. EXCURSION TO DIVINE BAY

Today’s adventure takes you to wildlife rich DIVINE BAY on Santa Cruz Island. Marine Iguanas, herons, noddy terns, blue-footed boobies, and tropicbirds are commonly seen here. You may explore by boat or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can take to the sea by kayak. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, rays, and reef sharks as you cruise the tranquil waters. Return to the hotel for lunch, followed by an afternoon visit to the CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, established to help conserve the Galápagos’ natural habitats and protect the area’s famous giant tortoises.

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Day 7 SANTA CRUZ–BALTRA–GUAYAQUIL–LIMA, PERU

This morning, depart the hotel and visit the TWIN PIT CRATERS, great depressions of volcanic material. Then, fly to Lima.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 8 LIMA

Your included CITY TOUR focuses on Lima’s rich colonial history as well as the modern city. Lima was the bastion of Spanish South America from its founding in 1535 until the independence of the South American republics in the early 19th century. See the Cathedral, where the remains of Francisco Pizarro are sealed in a wooden coffin, and the SANTO DOMINGO CONVENT to see the relics of three famous Peruvian saints—Santa Rosa de Lima, San Martin de Porres, and San Juan Macias.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 LIMA–CUSCO

Fly to Cusco, high in the Andes. Your GUIDED TOUR visits the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, one of the most important temples devoted to worship of the sun. It is said it was covered in gold leaf and filled with golden representations of nature. At Plaza de Armas, see the cathedral before taking a short drive outside the city to the ruins of SACSAYHUAMAN with its intricate stone walls, the amphitheater of KENKO, and the red fortress of PUCA PUCARA.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 10 CUSCO–SACRED VALLEY

Today, a short drive into the Sacred Valley of the Incas brings you to AWANAKANCHA, where you will learn about the importance of the alpaca (llama) for Inca cultures, as well as the ancient weaving techniques. Continue, to the market town of PISAC. Handmade rugs, alpaca sweaters, and jewelry can be bought here at bargain prices. At the other end of the valley is OLLANTAYTAMBO. Here, some of the finest examples of Inca masonry can be seen.

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Day 11 SACRED VALLEY–MACHU PICCHU

Board a TRAIN TRIP bound for MACHU PICCHU and cut a path through the Sacred Valley to this “Lost City of the Incas,” discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. On a GUIDED TOUR, explore this intact fortress with its temple remains, holy houses, and mile-long aqueduct. For hikers, a brisk one-hour walk leads to the Sun Gate, the ancient entrance used by the Incas.

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Day 12 MACHU PICCHU–CUSCO

A morning at leisure allows you to wake up early to see the sunrise over MACHU PICCHU with your included second entrance to the ruins. Return to Cusco by train, where your Local Host will recommend options for your free time. Perhaps visit the Inca Museum or wander through the artisan district of San Blas.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 13 CUSCO–JULIACA–PUNO

Arrive in Juliaca, where you will be transferred to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 14 PUNO. LAKE TITICACA EXCURSION

Today, enjoy a full-day sailing on LAKE TITICACA and take a motorboat to some of the lake’s more unique islands. Start with TAQUILE ISLAND, once part of the Inca Empire and one of the last areas of Peru to be conquered by Spain in the 16th century. The Spanish banned traditional dress on the island, which is why the Spanish peasant dress can still be found today. Next, travel to the fascinating UROS ISLANDS, home to the Uros Indians, who were forced to live on the lake as the Inca Indians pushed farther into their territory. These islands are completely made from reeds, which are continually added to as they disintegrate to the bottom of the lake.

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Day 15 PUNO–SILLUSTANI–JULIACA–LIMA

Depart for Juliaca this morning, visiting the ruins of SILLUSTANI en route. At this pre-Incan burial ground, see where the ancient Aymaras buried their high priests in chullpas, above-ground cylinder-shaped tombs dating back to the 1400s. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Lima, where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 16 LIMA

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Breakfast Breakfast

Vacation Highlights

Sightseeing with a Local Guide, inside visits, and special features are shown in UPPERCASE