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Arrive in Quito or Guayaquil and private transfer to your hotel to get some sleep before embarking on the Galapagos cruise.
Galapagos (Baltra Airport). Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (approx. two- and half -hour flight). Passengers will be picked up at the airport by our guides and taken to the pier to board the boat.
Egas Port (Santiago Island). Wet landing. This visitor site located at the northwestern portion of Santiago Island, and of important geologic interest, features extensive lava flows believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. Egas Port´s black volcanic sandy beach was visited by Darwin in 1835. The unique, truly striking layered terrain is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas that graze on algae beds alongside Sally Light foot crabs. Often you will see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Afternoon: Rábida Island. Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers these unique beaches with incredible landscape; Rábida Island is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting Brown Pelicans are found from July through September and nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can be seen. We will also take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting seabirds, and snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active. Today you will have the option to go snorkeling.
Urbina Bay (Isabela Island). Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Depending on the time of year we may find giant tortoises, large land iguanas and the unusual Flightless Cormorant at their nesting sites and Galapagos Hawks. After the walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, penguins and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plant life that changes depending on the season. We can observe the beautiful colors of plants that attract different insects, birds and reptiles. We will explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo Volcano.
Afternoon: Tagus Cove (Isabela Island). Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.
We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm. tall; the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator. They are monogamous and lay their eggs in small cracks of lava, on the lower parts of the island near the shoreline not reached by the ocean waves.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south on the island. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island). Dry landing. Espinosa Point is the only spot that we visit on Fernandina, and from it we can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. The largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk.
“Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but we encounter Brachy cereus cacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores.
Afternoon: Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island). Great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolívar Channel). We take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold-water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life.
Highlands (Santa Cruz). Dry landing. A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years.
Return to the Galapagos Legend, check out and transfer to the Baltra airport. Return flight to Quito or Guayaquil. International flight may depart after 5pm today to Lima. Overnight in Lima.
A short flight brings us to the famous Inca city of Cuzco. After checking into your hotel, we’ll head out to explore the incredible capital of the Inca Empire. We head to the picturesque Plaza de Armas to the fascinating cathedral to see the colonial influence in the city, and we can admire the stunning architecture of the church and also the native influences subtly woven in into the artwork. Onwards to Qoricancha church, where the colonial and Incan architectures are on display side-by-side directly contrasted with each other. Afterwards we make our way above the city to the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman where we can marvel at the incredible stonework and architecture of the Inca civilization. We head back to Cuzco in the late afternoon.
This morning we take a short and scenic ride in our private transport to Pisac and Ollantaytambo, two important Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. After visiting the site of Pisac, we’ll head down to the colonial town below and visit its famous crafts market. We then continue on to Ollantaytambo. Besides the huge and fascinating ruins above the town, Ollantaytambo is the only Inca village still inhabited today. Walk its narrow streets and peer through huge Inca doorways into courtyards where life has changed little in over 500 years. Afternoon train to Aguas Calientes, below Machu Picchu where we’ll spend the night.
Sunrise at majestic Machu Picchu! Known as one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world, this historic sanctuary is considered one of the seven manmade wonders of the world. After a guided Machu Picchu tour, take your time and enjoy this magnificent place. During peak visiting hours (10-2), try a hike on one of the surrounding Inca trails on Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Return by train and car to Cusco in the evening.
Morning flight to Lima, where upon arrival you set out on your city tour. The city tour lets you explore the wonders of the colonial capital, you visit the famous Plaza de Armas, as well as the impressive Cathedral in the Plaza and the beautiful San Francisco church. You also get a chance to take in some beautiful views of the coast at Parque de Amor. After the city tour, you will be transferred to the airport for your international flight. International flights may depart any time after 5pm.
Machu Picchu & Galapagos is a is a ten-day tour which includes cruise on a ship, walking around ruins and during city tours. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.
On all Southern Crossings tours you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard) who will accompany you to our joining hotel. No bargaining or being swindled by airport taxis.
International flights, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings though we do require that you have a policy, cancellation insurance is advisable. Any medical insurance is acceptable.
In the Galapagos, the following is not included:
We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip, just ask.
This tour includes 3- and 4-star hotels and an internal standard cabin on the ship. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to all 4- or 5-star accommodation or an upgraded cabin.
All travelers to Peru and Ecuador are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency or a bank statement from the bank or printed off the internet are sufficient for proof of funds.
No immunizations are required of travelers to these areas of Ecuador or Peru. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. No areas visited on this trip are malaria or yellow fever risk zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.
One should come well prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 5 to 32 degrees Celsius/40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. A list of things to bring would include:
It is best to bring from home such items as prescription medications, eyewear and care, shoes, unusual film and camera batteries.
For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru and Ecuador, you are allowed 20 kilos (44 lbs.) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.
The climate in sites you will visit is as follows:
Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. Quito and Cuzco: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly. Rain always possible. Temperatures can vary between 40° to 70° Fahrenheit or 5° to 21° Celsius. Machu Picchu: similar to Cuzco, but warmer. Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain. Guayaquil and Galapagos Islands: hot and humid, rain always possible. Galapagos can have a cooler, more moderate climate depending on current conditions. One should come prepared for outdoor activity with temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° Fahrenheit or 21° to 32° Celsius and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain.
The unit of currency in Peru is the nuevo sol. The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
Automatic cash points are available in Lima, Cusco, Quito and Guayaquil. Credit cards and cash are accepted on the Galapagos cruise and in Puerto Ayora. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks (American Express is best, but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Lima and Cusco. For currency, U.S. dollars are recommended and most easily exchanged. Please note that in Peru cash must be untorn. It can be older looking but even the slightest tear on an edge will make it unchangeable.
Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country. Expect to spend about US$5-12 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink in Peru. Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters for example can cost between $5 and $30. Ecuador is about 20% more expensive than Peru and the Galapagos are about 20% more expensive than the rest of Ecuador, although most things you would need to spend money on are included within your cruise package