Peru Tour and Galapagos Islands Cruise — Day by Day


Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Day 1

Arrive in Lima, Perú

Fly from your home city to Lima, Perú. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and overnight.

Hotel: Miraflores Park Hotel or Hotel B

Day 2

Day 2


Lima is a large city with a population of over 9 million in its metropolitan area. It also has flower gardens, great plazas, huge cathedrals, elegant colonial homes, fine museums, surfing, hopping nightlife, unique cuisine, and excellent hotels and restaurants. We tour historic Lima, including the Plaza de Armas, where you'll see elegant carved wooden balconies and colonial architecture.

We visit the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History which has one of the largest collections of Pre-Hispanic art and relics including exceptionally well preserved mummies. From here we proceed to Museo Larco to see an impressive collection of pottery, gold and silver.

Now with our work for the day almost completed, we have earned a sumptuous lunch that will take care of both you and the rest of the afternoon! We return to the hotel for the night. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Hotel: Miraflores Park Hotel or Hotel B, BL

Day 3

Day 3

Pisac - Sacred Valley of the Incas

A quick flight over the snow-covered Andes brings you to Cusco, your gateway to the Sacred Valley. Your first stop on the way to Urubamba Valley is at the fountains of Tambo Machay outside of Cusco. After a scenic ride through rich fields of quinoa and amaranth, you descend into the scenic Urubamba Valley, cross the river and drive high above the valley floor to explore the ruins of the Inca Fortress of Pisac.

After the visit to the Fortress, there is a short stop to explore the typical, indigenous village of Pisac. If you are inclined, you may hike down from the Fortress through the terraces to the village where we will meet you. Further down the valley, you will arrive for lunch at Hacienda Huayoccari, an elegant farmhouse filled with exquisite antiques and art located in the hills above the Sacred Valley. Following lunch you continue through the valley to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the gardens, spa and property.

Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba, BLD

Day 4

Day 4

Ollantaytambo, Chinchero Market

You begin the day with a visit to the spectacular temple-fortress and village of Ollantaytambo, a site that is little changed from the days of the Incas.

From here you climb out of the valley to a very scenic 12,000-ft. plain en route to the Sunday Indian market at Chinchero. There you can see how the local population shops for the week. You may find a few things that you simply must have!

Next, you will view a weaving demonstration orchestrated by Nilda Challañaupa, the founder, and director of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. This organization is dedicated to preserving ancient textile designs and weaving techniques from all over the Andes. Some designs are more than 2000 years old and were thought to have been lost. Textiles created at the Center may be available for purchase.

You return to your hotel for a late lunch and possibly a Peruvian Paso horse show. 

Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba, BLD

Day 5

Day 5

Train to Machu Picchu, introduction to the site

You catch the early train in Ollantaytambo for one of the most breathtaking rail journeys in the world. The rail line follows the river down the impressive Canyon of the Vilcanota to the foot of Machu Picchu.

Your accommodations are at the lovely riverside Machu Picchu Pueblo, a short stroll from the Aguas Calientes train station. Following check-in, you will board a bus and head up to the archaeologicalsite of Machu Picchu. It is an amazing ride including 22 switch backs.

You start your exploration of Machu Picchu with an orientation stroll around the site. This will give a rough sense of the layout of the ruins. After lunch you will enjoy an extended guided walking tour.

Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo; Sanctuary Lodge by request, BLD

Day 6

Day 6

Machu Picchu, optional mountain hikes

As the site opens at sunrise, you'll have an early breakfast and catch the bus up to the ruins. Mist often shrouds the major peaks and floats onto the valley. The rising sun casts a golden glow into this fantasy land; it is not to be missed at this hour. 

There is an optional (weather-dependent) challenging hike up Machu Picchu Mountain—a 5-6 hour round trip scenic workout! It's a steady climb, gentle stairs all the way up. The view of the site is awe inspiring. Your camera will give you astounding images. It's one of the most spectacular picnic sites you may ever enjoy.


There's another optional hike up a steep trail, hidden in crevasses and bushes that leads to the top of Huayna Picchu, the slender granite peak that appears in every photo of Machu Picchu. On top, the view of Machu Picchu, the archaeological site, the surrounding valleys and snow capped peaks is truly breath taking. The climb is impressive and requires no more than 1.5 - 2 hours, even if you are a very slow hiker. It is a challenging hike, not for everyone, but the reward of reaching the summit is one of the greatest views in the world! The descent is relatively quick and easy, but steep, and leads straight to lunch!

After lunch you'll have the option for further guided exploration of the ruins or you may also hike up to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu, explore the Inca Bridge.

Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo; Sanctuary Lodge by request, BLD

Day 7

Day 7

Machu Picchu, train to Cusco

This morning, you'll board the morning train to Ollantaytambo where you transfer by van to Cusco—the Center of the Inca Universe  (alt. 11,200 feet). Inca means "ruler," or "king" - an equivalent to the Roman Caesars.

After check-in, you begin your walking exploration of Cusco, walking along streets where the Incas and later the Spaniards walked.

In the course of the day you will visit Coricancha, the partially restored Temple of the Sun at the center of the Inca Universe, where the gold-covered walls were stripped by the Conquistadors. Along narrow cobblestone streets, you pass walls of stone so precisely fitted that they remain in superb condition centuries later, even after many earthquakes. You may look into the University, churches and shops that face onto the Plaza de Armas.

Hotel: El Monasterio del Cusco or La Casona, BLD

Day 8

Day 8

Cusco, Sacsayhuaman

You visit the bustling Cusco "Mercado Central", a traditional market were you will get a sense of the daily rhythm of Cuzqueño life. From open air stalls, everything from coca leaves, carrots, rubber boots, jeans, padlocks, beef, live chickens and ducks, to cuys (guinea pigs), Band-Aids, and a range of familiar and unfamiliar fruits and vegetables are sold -sometimes for cash, sometimes in the traditional manner-barter.

Later you view an archbishop's private collection of colonial and Indian art. After lunch you will visit the Inca Historical Museum for a fine overview of the history of the Inca Empire from its beginning to its demise.

In the late afternoon you will venture up to Sacsayhuaman to explore the spectacular ceremonial and "parade" grounds used by the Incas for major celebrations, pageants and sporting events. Inti Raymi, the Incan "Festival of the Sun," is still celebrated here on June 24. Cusco fills with colorfully dressed, chicha-drinking Indians from villages all over the Andes, who come for this week-long festival of folk-dance competitions, pageantry and renowned debauchery.

You will be treated to a special ceremony with plants and herbs conducted by a shaman before your return to Cusco.

Hotel: El Monasterio del Cusco or La Casona, BLD

Day 9

Day 9

Cuzco to Guayaquil

Fly from Cusco to Lima and then on to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and overnight.

Hotel: Oro Verde Hotel, B

Day 10

Day 10

To the Galapagos—Santa Cruz Island

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Baltra, Galapagos. We transfer to the Island of Santa Cruz where we travel with our naturalist in a spacious air conditioned vehicle up into the highland rainforest.

We'll have lunch then explore the Santa Cruz highlands to view endemic Galapagos plant species and visit lava tubes and sinkholes. We'll hike through tall grasses among the grazing tortoises.

Depending on the season, we will be staying in the highlands or along the coast at either Royal Palm Resort, Galapagos Safari Camp, Finch Bay Eco Hotel, or Angermyer Waterfront Inn.

Hotel: Santa Cruz Hotel, BLD

Day 11

Day 11

Puerto Ayora, Darwin Station, board our yacht

We stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learn about conservation issues and the tortoise and iguana hatching and rearing programs. We'll even get to view some of the tiny hatchlings. Afterwards we lunch in Puerto Ayora. We board Integrity or Reina Silvia mid to late afternoon in Academy Bay.

Yacht: Integrity or Reina Silvia, BLD

Days 12-17

Days 12-17

Exploring the Galapagos Islands

We live aboard our spacious yacht for a week, spending as much time ashore as the Park rules permit. With our licensed, INCA selected Class III naturalist, we learn about the birds and animals, geology, marine life and oceanic systems of the Galapagos Islands. We swim and snorkel with tropical fish, sea lions and sometimes with penguins!

Detailed cruising routes can be found on each yacht's page.

Yacht: Integrity or Reina Silvia, BLD

Day 18

Day 18

Galapagos to Quito to home or onward adventures

From our anchorage in the Baltra harbor, we say "adios" to the yacht and its dedicated crew, and adjourn to the Baltra airport to await our mid-morning flight to the Ecuador mainland and Quito. On arrival, we transfer to the Wyndham Quito Airport hotel to relax and freshen up before your transfer back to the terminal for check-in to your homeward bound flight. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Meals: B


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