Cruising the Galápagos on board the Santa Cruz II with Peru & 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 QUITO, ECUADOR

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

Day 2 QUITO

Your included 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.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 QUITO–BALTRA (EMBARKATION)–GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Fly to the Galápagos Islands and board the Santa Cruz II. Visit Las Bachas on SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, an important nesting area for the East Pacific green sea turtle. See brackish lagoons just steps away from the sea, a feeding ground for various wading birds—from stilts to flamingos.

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Day 4 CRUISING: SANTIAGO ISLAND

Arrive at Buccaneer Cove on SANTIAGO ISLAND to explore the dramatic coastline inhabited by a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel and take a ride on the panga or the glass-bottom boat. Later, at Puerto Egas—known for its black-sand beach, tuff-stone layers and lava flows—see land and marine birds, as well as a colony of fur sea lions, marine iguanas, and marine turtles.

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Day 5 CRUISING: RÁBIDA & BARTOLOMÉ ISLANDS

Visit RÁBIDA ISLAND with its red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Your Naturalist will point out large colonies of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond occasionally hosts American flamingos. Snorkel from the beach to see the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. At BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND, hike to the summit for a stunning view of Pinnacle Rock. Take a snorkel or a ride on the glass-bottom boat and possibly see Galápagos penguins in tropical waters!

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Day 6 CRUISING: GENOVESA ISLAND

On GENOVESA ISLAND, take a walk up Prince Phillip’s Steps as your Naturalist reveals large colonies of masked boobies, blue- and red-footed boobies, frigatebirds, storm petrels, and short-eared owls. In the afternoon, disembark on a beautiful beach at Darwin Bay to observe frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies, herons, finches, and mockingbirds. Return to the beach for snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming.

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Day 7 CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ (DISEMBARKATION)–BALTRA–QUITO–LIMA, PERU

Disembark at the north shore of Santa Cruz Island for a visit to a TORTOISE RESERVE in the highlands. Here you will see and learn about the Giant Galápagos Tortoises living in the wild and what is been done to help preserve these ancient creatures. Later, fly to Lima, Peru.

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 with its eerie burial crypts and visit 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, previously the Koricancha Temple, 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. In the Plaza de Armas, see the Cathedral before taking a short drive outside the city to the ruins of SACSAYHUAMAN with its intricate stone walls, 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 to 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, where you can buy handmade rugs, alpaca sweaters, and jewelry at bargain prices. Later, visit OLLANTAYTAMBO and see some of the finest examples of Inca masonry.

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Day 11 SACRED VALLEY–MACHU PICCHU

Board a TRAIN 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–SACRED VALLEY–CUSCO

A morning at leisure allows you to wake up early to see the sunrise over MACHU PICCHU with your second included entrance to the ruins. Return to Cusco, 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