Combine a once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos with a tour of the natural highlights of Peru including Cusco and Machu Picchu. You also get to cruise along the mighty Amazon river on this amazing tour.
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Baltra Island - Arrival by plane to Baltra Island and immediate transfer by bus (5 minutes) to the dock to board the MV SANTA CRUZ. Cabin assignment and introductory welcome talk. Later, lunch, and ship’s boat drill. All activities on board will be announced via our P.A. system.
Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island) -
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Dry landing and a walk that includes a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings, and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a natural nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for bird watching, where Darwin’s finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galápagos flycatcher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings. Tonight our expedition plan will reveal the interesting sites of the day ahead. Welcome cocktail and dinner.
Bartolomé Island - Disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. Great way to start the day. This is a steep climb aided by a wooden staircase; the view from the top is worth the effort. Dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and snorkeling. Chance to snorkel next to Galápagos Penguins. There is also the possibility to ride on the glass bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Lunch on board.
Puerto Egas (Santiago (James) Island)- Afternoon outing at Puerto Egas (wet landing). This is a great location to see particularly shore birds, while land birds can be observed a little more inland. The pitch black shores are great places for watching sea birds and their foraging duties. The trail brings us to a colony of the endemic Galápagos fur seals. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon emerald green algae beds. Outstanding snorkeling and swimming from the beach before the walk. Briefing. Weather permitting, stargazing on deck.
Rabida Island (Jervis)- Disembark at Rabida Island (wet landing) on a red colored beach , due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A gratifying stroll along the beach of this small island (1.9 sq mi) allows the observation of a large colony of seas lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin´s Finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green saltbush, is a salt pond where at time Greater Flamingos migrate to. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combinations of underwater species and submarine landscapes. During navigation to our next island, we will keep our eyes open for dolphins.
North Seymour Island - Today´s afternoon stats with a dry landing for a view of the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, one of the uplifted islands in Galapagos Archipielago. The trail leads guests to explore colonies of blue footed boobies, Magnificent frigate birds, and swallow-tail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. Vegetation is made up of cacti, Palo Santo trees and Salt Bushes. Expedition plan for tomorrow’s outings.
Charles Darwin Research Station - Charles Darwin Research Station and the rearing in captivity program for the giant tortoises. Here we witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. Impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds can be also seen. Then, a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora will allow you to see how Galapagueños live in this magical paradise. Browse in the many handcraft shops. Return aboard the MV SANTA CRUZ for tonight’s expedition plan for next day’s adventure.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island) - Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This small attractive port is the provincial capital of the Galápagos Islands (population 4,000), along a crescent-shaped bay. It was this very same island that Charles Darwin first visited, back in September 1835. Visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center, located in a natural setting, where it allows visitors to obtain information that will help them understand more the natural history of the Galápagos, with a great emphasis on human history and conservation. Afterwards, you can stroll through Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where souvenir shops and Internet cafés welcome world travelers who are willing to catch up with the world, and share the many wonders witnessed, before heading back to the mainland. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent.
Sacred Valley: Andean Culture - Upon arrival in Cusco the capital of the Inca’s Empire transfer with assistance to the hotel in Sacred Valley of the Incas. On the route to the valley you will take a chance to stop at Awanacancha to observe traditional Andean weaving and to see the four types of camel-related Andean animals – llamas, guanacos, alpacas and vicunas. Alpacas have thick wool and is the most commonly used while the vicunas are small and delicate with fur considered the finest. Awanacancha is a weaving center with the goal to keep alive the traditional textile arts. Here you can meet these four types of camelids, learn about the harvesting of the different wools and the natural dying techniques and have a chance to see native weavers from different areas showing their different weaving styles. Afterwards, an exquisite lunch at a local restaurant in the Valley that will prove a wonderful experience for all your senses. In the afternoon passing through the Towns of Calca and Urubamba, we visit the Inca Fortress and Citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to guard the entrance to this part of the Valley, and protect it from possible invasion from the tribes in the Lower jungle. Overnight in the Sacred Valley.
Machu Picchu - The salt mines of Maras are an arrangement of terraces, where salt is gathered in small pools, which are filled by hot spring waters containing an astonishing percentage of salt. These springs have been exploited since Inca times. It proves to be an unforgettable experience when you see the sun reflected on the hundreds of white salt pools. Moray is something very different. Four natural depressions in the landscape were used by the Incas to build terraces that served them as a botanical laboratory to improve their harvest. The circular-shaped terraces still remain intact.After enjoying a delightful lunch at a local restaurant in the Sacred Valley, you will take the Vistadome train that will take you to the Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu. In the afternoon you will have free time to experience the Spa facilities offered by your hotel on your own*. Enjoy your dinner and recover your energy with an overnight in Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes). The next day starts with an early morning rise to take the first bus up to Machu Picchu and enjoy a once in a lifetime experience: contemplate the dawn at “The Lost City of the Incas”. This great mountain-top city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911, is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built by the Incas on the summit of "Machu Picchu" (Old Peak), overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba river in a semi-tropical area 120 Km. (75 miles) from the city of Cuzco at 3,400 m.a.s.l (11,155 f.a.s.l). It sits on a mountain site of extraordinary beauty, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest; Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, with its giant walls, terraces and ramps, which appear as though they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. Machu Picchu is also one of the Inca's best kept secrets, since they did not leave written records and Spanish chronicles make no mention of the citadel, it remains a mystery.
Upon arrival, participate in a guided tour of the Citadel, visiting the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds. After the excursion you will have free time to stroll around the archaeological site on your own.
Iquitos: The Amazon Cruise -
Breakfast on board with selected ingredients and fruits from the region. We wake-up and we already are in the Pacaya Samiria, declared by the Government as National Reserve, to protect the bio-diversity of the region. After breakfast, we will explore the eco-systems of the area. We can experience a Belluda Stream exploration or Jungle walks (depends of the season.) Aboard the skiffs, we will explore the black water stream and start learning about the rainforest. It’s also a good spot to see the beautiful morpho butterfly that flaps lazily along open corridors through forest or along river edges of lowland forest on sunny days. Hiking at the community of Yanallpa affords excellent opportunities for spotting transitional species such as the snail kite, black tailed ant bird, manikins, tanagers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, nun birds, orioles, blackbirds, etc.
After lunch, we will explore the Dorado River and its abundant wildlife, where you will also experience an unforgettable encounter with gray and pink river dolphins. Enjoy a unique opportunity to swim among the dolphins. Relax during the Happy Hour and continue with dinner. Overnight on board.
Next morning we will cruise in our skiffs along a lake called Atun Poza, where we will surprise several species of egrets, herons, hawks, long-legged neotropical cormorants fishing for their dinner, and unusual and loud horned screamers. We will also have a chance to explore other black water lagoons linked to this huge lake, were wattled jacanas compete with a wide variety of spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, beetles, etc. living along the grassy edges and lily pads of freshwater swamps and marshes. After lunch, we have reached our main goal, the Pacaya River, at the very heart of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Aboard our comfortable skiffs, we will explore magnificent views and wildlife opportunities, experiencing spectacular rainforest wilderness, while searching for different species of monkeys, such as small family groups of red howler monkeys, the largest in the Amazon basin, with its bright rust-colored fur and long prehensile tail. Spectacled and black caimans are found in these pristine waters, and our guides will point them out to you. After the night safari, calm your appetite with a wonderful dinner.
A full day by day itinerary will be provided by the tour operator when you make an enquiry about this holiday.
- Accommodation in twin room
- Cruise around the Galapagos Islands
- Cruise on the River Amazon
- Tips and personal expenses eg visas
- Travel to Quito and from Lima.
Prices per person, based on 2 people traveling - please submit an enquiry to receive a personalized itinerary and costs.
|Sunday – Arrival to Quito|
|Monday – Friday – Galapagos Islands (M/V Santa Cruz) (B/L/D) - Baltra Island and Santa Cruz|
|Bartolomé Island and Puerto Egas (Santiago (James) Island)|
|Rabida Island (Jervis) and North Seymour Island|
|Highlands of Santa Cruz Island and Charles Darwin Research Station|
|Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island)|
|Saturday - Lima – Sacred Valley: Andean Textures and flavors (B/L/-)|
|Sunday - Maras and Moray – Machu Picchu: Exclusive jewels of the Sacred Valle (B/L/D)|
|Monday – Machu Picchu: A place to label your soul (B/L/-)|
|Tuesday – Cusco – Lima: Charging an intense energy (B/-/-)|
|Wednesday - Cusco - Lima – Iquitos: Nature explorer´s discovery (B/-/D)|
|Thursday – Iquitos (B/L/D)|
|Friday – Iquitos (B/L/D)|
|Saturday – Iquitos (B/L/D)|
|Sunday – Iquitos – Lima- Depart (B)|