Ultimate Ecuador & Peru Highlights

Experience the highlights and hidden treasures of Ecuador, Galapagos and Peru with an epic 28 day adventure! This custom journey offers you the chance to catch a glimpse into the local culture and explore the wonders of this historical mecca. Your journey begins on the mainland, learning about the colonial history of Quito and traversing the wonders of the countryside. From there, your custom expedition will guide you through one of the world's premiere nature and wildlife destinations in the Galapagos. Every day of your voyage will offer new adventures and memories, as you observe the wildlife in their natural habitat and investigate the magic of the underwater world through a variety of activities and excursions. Next, venture to Peru to discover centuries of architecture as you trek from lodge to lodge along the Andes Mountains, on a route that will end at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. This is your chance to be captivated, as you relish in the mystery, understand the history and embrace the adventure. So, grab your gear and get packing!

Daily Itinerary

1: Quito Arrival

Quito Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda

Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival at the airport in Quito, you will be greeted by your English speaking driver, who will transfer you directly to your hotel. This will make for an easy and comfortable start to your adventure. Check into your room and enjoy the rest of the day free at your leisure to get settled and ease into your exploration at a relaxing pace. (This service is on a private basis.)

Quito

Ecuador is all about history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is one of the most well preserved Spanish colonial cities in all of South America and is an essential part of every Ecuador trip. This distinction was recognized in 1978 when Quito became designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Since then, visitors to the city have been delighted by its stunning old cathedrals, colonial plazas, and countless other highlights.

2: Quito

Quito
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Half Day Colonial City Tour
  • Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda
  • Meals: B

Half Day Colonial City Tour

Ecuador is all about history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. The best place to start any exploration of Ecuador, is Colonial Quito. Given the narrow, cobblestone streets and interesting sights at every corner, the historic beauty of Quito is best experienced on a walking tour. Today, you will embark on a private guided excursion to discover all of the highlights and hidden gems that this city has to offer!

You will begin your exploration with a stroll around the main plaza. The colonial heart of the city, you will have the chance to admire and learn all about the government buildings here. Spend some time in awe of the beautifully decorated churches and detailed steeples that were constructed during the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the chance to visit a 16th century monastery. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site. Once you have covered the main boulevards and classic sites of this colonial gem, you will continue on for a stop at the Panecillo hill. This hill overlooks Quito and boasts a 45 meter tall aluminum statue of the Virgin Mary. This impressive monument is visible from most parts of Quito, though is even more breathtaking so see from up close! It is said to be the only Madonna statue in the world that displays angel wings. (This service is on a private basis.)

3: Quito - Otavalo

Quito - Otavalo
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Otavalo Program
  • Accommodation: Casa Mojanda
  • Meals: B, L, D

Otavalo Program

We leave Quito early in the morning, after a hearty breakfast. The mornings are usually spectacularly clear and crisp in the high mountains and the 90 minute drive to our destination (more than 2,000 meters - 3,200 ft - above the sea level ) is full of breathtaking vistas. This is a region surrounded by majestic mountain ranges only 40 miles wide, full of fertile valleys and scenic beauty, inhabited by a kind people anxious to show you the customs and cultural heritage that make them so distinct.

We start our trek high atop Yanahurco hill at 3,900 mtrs (Quichua name that means Black hill) and head downhill to Mojada’s biggest crater lake at 3,734 mts). The trails down to the lagoon are all “chaquiñanes” which are trails created by local people, possibly used by the locals to connect with Quito years ago. Arriving at the crater lake, we will walk around it and explore its well preserved and protected ecosystem of high grassland and shrubland, known locally as paramo.

Our first day of trekking will be approximately 4-5 hours. For those with less time, there is an optional shorter hike either a half-loop of the crater lake or a climb from the crater lake up to the peak of Fuya Fuya (4261 mtrs). This is a non-technical but steep climb of approximately 3 hours.

Altitudes:
• Highest Point on Trek: 3961 m.s.n.m
• Crater Lake: 3732 m.s.n.m
• Optional Mountain Fuya: 4261 m.s.n.m
• Lowest Point at Lodge: 2943 m.s.n.m

4: Otavalo - San Pablo Lake

Otavalo - San Pablo Lake
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Otavalo Market & Indigenous Communities Hike
  • Accommodation: Medina del Lago
  • Meals: B, L, D

Otavalo Market & Indigenous Communities Hike

Today the adventure continues as we pass the Mojanda community on their traditional pathways connecting to the city of Otavalo and make our first stop at the food market. What better way to understand a culture than by learning about their food! We will explore the market and learn about the different crops which are produced in the surrounding farmlands which we will be exploring over the next few days. Our expert guides will inspire you with information on the colorful, tasteful fruits and vegetables while interacting with the “caseras”.

From the food market, we head into the heart of this bustling city market - the Plaza de Ponchos, the biggest Indian market famous for its craft work. Our recommendation: wander and explore it on your own, interact and get a feeling for it. Our guides will be there to assist you in your exploration. After Otavalo, we will travel back in time to the small communities that surround this big busy commercial town and whose farmers, ranchers and craftspeople make the Otavalo market what it is.

First we will explore the community of Peguche and then continue along the path to a a beautiful 50 ft. (18 m) waterfall which is also an Indigenous Ceremonial Site due to the purification baths held here a couple days prior the Inti Raymi celebration. Then the hike continue to the town of Agato where we will be hosted by an incredible family that preserves the tradition of weaving on a backstrap loom. Sadly, this art form is slowly dying so be inspired and help us support the conservation of this art! The quality of the items produced at the workshop is clearly superior to many of the machine-woven products you may find in the market and your purchase goes direct into the efforts of this community to revive this ancient art.

In the second part of the day we will explore a more rural area as we hike above these communities learning about small-scale agriculture, an important part of life in the valley. Meet people that continue to farm their land and learn about the products you saw earlier in the market, especially grain crops, like quinoa. The scenery is gorgeous and from this vantage point in the foothills of Imbabura, you can see all the places we hiked through in the morning. If it's a clear day you can even see Cotacachi Volcano. At the end of the trail, our supporting vehicle will be waiting for us.

Altitudes:
• Start of the trail: 2943 m.s.n.m
• Otavalo Market: 2582 m.s.n.m
• Peguche Waterfall: 2612 m.s.n.m
• Highest Point Trekking: 2832 m.s.n.m

5: Otavalo - Zuleta

Otavalo - Zuleta
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Hacienda Zuleta Arrival
  • Accommodation: Hacienda Zuleta
  • Meals: B, L, D

Hacienda Zuleta Arrival

Today we leave toward another indigenous valley with an interesting story of a Hacienda that became a community. After a quick transfer to the beginning of our trail, we will trek for around 4-5 hours, witnessing what a son of a liberal reformer and a wealthy, land-owning mother accomplished during his lifetime that no landowner in Ecuador had ever done before and perhaps has never done since. Our guide will teach us about the amazing and inspiring Plaza family story and our work with the local community of Zuleta to help develop one of the best ecotourism destinations in the northern Andes of Ecuador.

This agricultural area is famed for its traditional embroidery, dairy products, alpaca farming and highland crops such as wheat, maize, potatoes, lentils and quinoa. “Zuletenos” and “Zuletenas” are known to keep their culture and traditions - keep an eye out for the way the locals dress here and how different it is from the traditional Otavalo clothing.

Altitudes:
• Start of the trail: 3044 m.s.n.m
• Highest Point: 3115 m.s.n.m
• Zuleta Community: 2892 m.s.n.m

Lunch will be prepared in a local’s home that kindly accepted to share his home and life with us and give us a cooking class! We will be using the different ingredients we have been learning about for the past few days.

6: Quito - Coca - Amazon

Quito - Coca - Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Hacienda Activies
  • Transportation: Airport Transfers
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Tour: Amazon Arrival & Activities
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D
Domestic Flight
Quito - Coca
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

Hacienda Activies

After breakfast you may visit the organic garden, feed baby calves, count sheep, talk to the vaqueros, enjoy the embroidery museum, or relax in the garden before leaving towards the Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve for a three hour hike at Cuicocha Lake, a deep-blue crater lake on the lower southern flanks of Mount Cotacachi.

Afterwards, you will wave goodbye to beautiful countryside as you embark to a different region of Ecuador. Today, you will be transferred from Otavalo to the airport in Quito in good time to board your domestic flight to Coca, where your Amazon Adventure will kick off! (This service is on a private basis).

Amazon Arrival & Activities

Your journey today begins with a short 40 minute flight from Quito to Coca. Upon arrival in Coca, you will be greeted by a staff member and transferred to the banks of the Napo River. There, your bilingual guide will give you a safety precautions briefing, before taking off on a 2.5 hour boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River! As you cruise the waters, you will get your first real taste of the Amazon as you admire the passing ancestral communities and fascinating flora and fauna. Observe the birds flying overhead, herons, egrets, vultures and mire, while enjoying delicious packed lunch. Your motorized canoe ride will be followed by a 15 minute walk through flooded forest and 20 minute canoe paddle across the beautiful Challuacocha Lake. Once you have arrived at the lodge, you will be greeted with refreshing cold drinks and snacks, before you are welcome to get settled in your cabin.

After getting settled in, you may want to take off on a short hike on the nearby trails. This will allow you to get acquainted with the sights, smells and sounds of the Amazon jungle. As you enter the forest, sunlight is immediately filtered and you are faced with a million shades of green. A symphony of insect song fills the air, and our senses are instantly heightened. You might see one of the forest’s 13 species of primate, birds, frogs, or extraordinary flora. The walk is one of discovery, and immediately tunes us in to the richness of Amazon ecosystem. After plenty of time to explore, you will return to the lodge, where a delicious dinner will be prepared for you. A bilingual guide will present a briefing tonight about Amazonia, while you enjoy Ecuadorian beers, spirits and cocktails. You may want to head out onto the lagoon later this evening too, in search of the nocturnal wildlife, paddling silently through the black waters! (This service is on a group basis.)

7: Amazon

Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Observation Tower & Rainforest Walk
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Observation Tower & Rainforest Walk

After breakfast at the lodge, you set out for a full day of adventure in the rainforest. You will take a long hike to learn about the plants, animals and people of the Amazon. You will discover medicinal uses for the rainforest’s many plant species, search for impossibly small species of frog and startlingly large insect species, keep your eyes open for primates high in the forest canopy, and learn about the Sani culture. You will also hone your blow gun skills to understand survival hunting techniques.

After a full morning, you will enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest in a special spot chosen by your guide. Following lunch, you will make your way to the lagoon system where you will set out on kayaks for an afternoon of paddling. A stop at Sani Lodge’s Observation Tower is a highlight. You will wind your way up a 36 meter (108 ft) high staircase to the wooden observatory perched at the top of the forest canopy in majestic kapok (aka ‘God’s Hand) tree. The exhilaration of standing above the entire forest is quickly overtaken by the excitement of spotting some of the 565 registered species of birds. With some luck, there is also a chance to spot howler or squirrel monkeys or even sloths resting high in the canopy. The wildlife viewing from above is an entirely different perspective, and gives a chance to discover some of the Amazon’s biodiversity that can be difficult if not impossible to see from the ground. After getting your fill of wildlife watching from the tower, you walk back to your kayaks for a (1 hour) recreational paddle back to the lodge. You will enjoy another delicious chef-prepared dinner before retiring for the night. (This service is on a group basis.)

8: Amazon

Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Yasuni National Park Exploration & Sani Community Visit
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Yasuni National Park Exploration & Sani Community Visit

After an early breakfast, you will depart for a visit to Yasuni National Park. This 9,620 sq km park is Ecuador’s largest mainland park and is a Unesco designated international biosphere reserve. The park was untouched by the last ice age, resulting in a thriving and diverse pool of species, and it is one of the last true wildernesses in Ecuador. You will walk in the park, observing its flora and fauna and make your way to a viewing blind near one of the park’s famous clay licks. There you might be lucky to see parrots and parakeets. They visit most mornings to eat clay that aids their digestion of unripe seeds and fruits. You might see mealy Amazon, yellow-crowned, orange-winged and blue-headed parrots among others.

After your morning in Yasuni, you will visit the local Sani community. Here, you will learn about and support their women’s project, the community turtle breeding work, and also participate in a cooking class, which will become your traditional lunch. Spending time with the Sani women in the kitchen allows for a special glimpse into their culture and customs, and also insight into our many commonalities. You enjoy a very special, very local lunch in the community. Your cultural exchange and exploration continues after lunch, when we will hike back to the lodge on a “camino vecinal” (minor road/community path) accompanied by our guide and a member of the local community. On your hike, you will get first-hand insight into local life while the Napo River flows by our side towards the Atlantic Ocean. You will learn about the local’s architecture, see their farming activities, their lifestyle, discover plants in the rainforest that are used for medicine, and more.

You will return to the lodge in the late afternoon for a well-deserved dinner. Optional night walk in the rain forest to see myriad insect, spider and frog species come to life in their nocturnal habitat. (This service is on a group basis.)

9: Amazon - Coca - Quito

Amazon - Coca - Quito
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Reality Tour & Amazon Departure
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Transportation: Airport Transfers
  • Accommodation: Quito Polo Club
  • Meals: B
Domestic Flight
Coca - Quito
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

Reality Tour & Amazon Departure

Following breakfast this morning, you will head back to Coca to catch your flight back to Quito. Sadly, your adventure through the wonders of Ecuador is coming to an end.

You will be transferred to the Napo River where your boat journey awaits. As you travel up the Napo River, you will learn about some of the challenges that local communities and ecotourism ventures face with the intense pressure that extractive industries place on the Amazon. You will then be returned to the airport in Coca, with plenty of time to board your onward flight back to Quito. (This service is on a group basis.)

Upon arrival back in Quito, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel, to spend the rest of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Quito

Ecuador is all about history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is one of the most well preserved Spanish colonial cities in all of South America and is an essential part of every Ecuador trip. This distinction was recognized in 1978 when Quito became designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Since then, visitors to the city have been delighted by its stunning old cathedrals, colonial plazas, and countless other highlights.

10: Quito - Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island

Quito - Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Tour: Galapagos Arrival
  • Accommodation: Galapagos Magic Tented Camp
  • Meals: B, L, D
Domestic Flight
Quito - Galapagos
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Quito and transferred to the airport in good time for your flight to the Galapagos. (This service is on a private basis.)

Galapagos Arrival

Welcome to the Galapagos! Upon arrival at the Baltra airport, you will be met by an expert local guide for your transfer to Santa Cruz Island. This journey involves overland public transport, as no private vehicles are permitted, to the Itabaca Channel and a short crossing on the public ferry. From there, your adventure truly begins, with a visit to the impressive Los Gemelos craters and a look at the highland Galapagos tortoises.

In the early afternoon, enjoy a specially prepared lunch en route to the town of Puerto Ayora. There, a private speed boat will be waiting to take you on a two hour ride to the island of Floreana. Floreana's peaceful island, is home to the Galapagos’ smallest population, only 150 people! It is also the least developed and most natural of the four inhabited islands. Once a pirates’ lair, Floreana was the first inhabited island in the Galapagos and descendants of the original population still live there, together with the mysterious tales and legends that surround their ancestors.

11: Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Tour of Neighboring Islands
  • Accommodation: Galapagos Magic Tented Camp
  • Meals: B, L, D

Tour of Neighboring Islands

Today you'll embark on a yacht cruise excursion to Seymour Island. Just north of Baltra, Seymour is a low island consisting of uplifted sub marine lava. The dry landing on black basaltic lava can be slippery. After a short climb over the "lava pillows", the rest of the trail is flat and easy. The landing is rich in wildlife: sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls, tropicbirds, brown noddy terns, and pelicans all live here. The trail is a large loop, we will head clockwise along the shore, before heading inland to visit the booby colony.

Along the shore, you'll traverse a wide expanse of sand criss-crossed with marine iguana trails. The reptiles nest here, so be careful where you tread. Some of the islands finest waves pound a boulder beach on your left, and young sea lions can often be spotted body surfing here. To the west, there are great views of Daphne Major and Minor islands.

To the right of the trail are saltbush clumps on which the magnificent frigate birds nest. A side trail takes you inland to the breeding area. It can be a bit rocky here, so watch your step. Finally you will come upon the blue footed booby nesting place. During courtship, they spend hours handing nesting materials (twigs and small stones) to each other, but never actually construct a nest. The area where the eggs are laid is marked by a ring of white guano. The palo santo trees are endemic to this area, and while they may look dead during the garua season, after the rains in February they turn green overnight. Other endemic plants include Opuntia cactus, Croton, Castela, and Sesuvium. On rare occasions large land iguanas are seen under the shady bush. Originally from Baltra, they were brought over by scientists many years ago to see if they would survive a different environment.

After your day of exploration, you'll return to Santa Cruz and have the rest of the evening at your leisure.

12: Santa Cruz - Floreana

Santa Cruz - Floreana
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Hiking, Kayaking, Paddling & La Loberia
  • Accommodation: Floreana Lava Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Hiking, Kayaking, Paddling & La Loberia

Floreana Island is home to the Galapagos’ smallest human population, only 150 people, and is also the least developed and most natural of the four inhabited islands. Once a pirates’ lair, Floreana was the first inhabited island in the Galapagos and descendants of the original population still live here amid the mysterious tales and legends that surround their ancestors.

On Floreana today, you will have the chance to enjoy hiking, learning about the fascinating history of the local people, and seeing some of the Galapagos special wildlife (giant tortoises, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, sea lions, and petrels). You leave Santa Cruz early in the morning for a 2 hour speed boat crossing to Floreana. Upon arrival, you check in at the lodge overlooking the Galapagos’ most beautiful and secluded bay. After getting settled, you can walk or paddle (kayaks or stand up paddle boards) to the nearby Black Beach for some snorkeling. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant that is part of a community tourism initiative program.

In the afternoon, you will embark on the kayaks or stand up paddle boards and cross the Bay in front of the lodge to explore La Loberia (a sea lion breeding ground), where you will enjoy more snorkeling and swimming in the warm, calm and bright water with sea turtles, sea lions, spectacular rays and lots of shimmering fishes. Later, you will return to the lodge, either by walking or paddling, for a nice warm shower and to celebrate another incredible day in the Galapagos with a perfect sunset. Dinner will be at a different local restaurant in the village. Weather permitting this evening, you may want to join in on the sparkling star gazing activity, before a great night's rest at the Lava Lodge.

13: Floreana Island

Floreana Island
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Floreana Highlands Exploration
  • Accommodation: Floreana Lava Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Floreana Highlands Exploration

After breakfast this morning, explore the Floreana highlands by open-air bus (chiva). This is an unbeatable, historic and comfortable way to admire the island. Along the way, your Naturalist Guide will point out various wildlife and teach you about the rich history of Floreana's first inhabitants, such as the Wittmers, the ‘Baroness’, and the pirates that once visited here. You will also learn about the "Enigma of Floreana", involving the mysterious deaths of several of the Island's inhabitants...a riddle that has never been solved.

Up in the highlands, you will reach Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven), where you will hop off the bus to begin hiking. Making your way to this historic site, explore the pirate caves and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. You can also expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. Leaving Asilo de Paz, you will continue through a rural area, where the local people grow produce for their own consumption. This is a fascinating example of how the island inhabitants survive in this remote location. Over the years, they were able to develop an understanding of the local environment and now work to preserve their unique agricultural knowledge. Back on the coast, you will be able to watch the extraordinary behavior of the frigate birds who ‘dance’, as they wash their salty wings in the fresh water. With a little bit of luck, you may even be able to see males puffing up the red pouches on their chests, in an attempt to attract the females.

From La Primavera, you will ride the chiva back down towards Las Palmas. This is where the Island’s first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. Arriving in 1926, this German physician believed that with a combination of exercise and the right vegetarian diet, he would live to be 150 years old. He didn't, but his story is one of the many strange episodes that is still talked about on the island. En route, you can admire the spectacular views of the Floreana shoreline, and on arrival, sit down to a tasty BBQ. Back at the lodge in the afternoon, you will have time for more marine exploration, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

14: Floreana Island - Isabela Island

Floreana Island - Isabela Island
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Tintoreras Islands & Tortoise Breeding Center
  • Accommodation: IsaMar Hotel
  • Meals: B, L, D

Tintoreras Islands & Tortoise Breeding Center

Today, you will embark on an early morning speed boat and transfer to Isabela Island. Check into your charming hotel, to drop off your belongings and freshen up, before your exploration continues. There is still so much to do and see in the Galapagos!

Your Isabela adventure begins with a tour of the Tintoreras. This is a group of small islands near the village of Puerto Villamil, that are named after the white tipped ‘Tintoreras’ reef sharks, who swim in these calm waters. An entire Galapagos experience concentrated in one area, you will see almost all of the archipelago’s iconic wildlife here. From white tipped sharks, sea lions, turtles and rays, to penguins, and of course pelicans and blue footed boobies. You will also have the chance to snorkel in the bay, but don’t be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water!

In the afternoon, you will walk from your hotel to the local giant tortoise-breeding center for your next excursion. Along the way, you may catch a glimpse of pink flamingos feeding in the lake. At the Center, your guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing these giant slow moving creatures, back into the wild. The breeding center is an important conservation tool and it is here, that the islands’ giant tortoise population is presently recovering.

15: Isabela Island

Isabela Island
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sierra Negra Volcano & Volcan Chico
  • Accommodation: IsaMar Hotel
  • Meals: B, L, D

Sierra Negra Volcano & Volcan Chico

Volcanic eruptions created all of the islands in the Galapagos, and today you will have the chance to see this geologic process first-hand. Isabela island is one of the youngest and most volcanically-active islands in all of the archipelago.

Make the most of this full day adventure, exploring and admiring the Isabela highlands. Your guiding will begin with a hike up to the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, followed by the rim of the Volcan Chico. This fascinating walk usually starts off with some morning fog and drizzle, which can add to the volcano's mysterious character. However, when you reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, you will see why the excursion is so worth the journey! This crater, the second largest in the world, after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, offer views so expansive, that photos simply cannot do justice. Take the time to simply soak up and appreciate this overwhelming sight before your eyes, while you are there to see it for yourself.

Later on, continue towards Volcan Chico. You may get the feeling that you are walking on Mars, but while the landscape appears to desolate, a closer look will reveal small lizards, scurrying about among the rocks. From there, head under the shade of a lovely “jaboncillo” tree, where you will enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. While you relax, marvel at the spectacular views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island. In the distance, you will even be able to spot Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. On a full and happy stomach, continue back down to complete your day of hiking (16 km in total). You will be rewarded with some time for heavenly relaxation on the beaches of Puerto Villamil!

16: Isabela - San Cristóbal Island - Lima

Isabela - San Cristóbal Island - Lima
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Galapagos Departure
  • Accommodation: Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport
  • Meals: B

Galapagos Departure

It is time to say goodbye to the enchanted islands, and after an early breakfast, you will pay a quick visit to the Interpretation Center located at the northern edge of town. The Center provides great information about this fascinating archipelago, including the natural history of the Islands’ as well as the impact of humans on the ecosystem. You will also learn about the efforts to conserve the Galapagos and the challenges facing the Islands. From there, you will transfer to the airport in good time to board your flight to Lima, where your voyage continues!

Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival in Lima, you will make your own way to your accommodation by foot. You will be staying at a close by airport hotel, for your ease and convenience. Get settled into your room and enjoy a good night's rest, before it's back to the airport tomorrow morning.

Lima

Lima was once considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. Over the past decade, Lima has been transformed to recapture its colonial history and charm. The three most popular areas are Downtown Lima, Miraflores and Barranco. Downtown Lima is where the Main Square is located, which includes the historical Presidential Palace, the monastery Santo Domingo and the 16th Century Cathedral. This square is the cornerstone of Lima’s foundation, from where avenues expanded and enhanced the growth of the city. The suburbs of Miraflores and Barranco are the focus of Lima’s action, nightlife and fine shopping. This gastronomic destination also features exceptional restaurants and fascinating museums, dedicated to archaeology, history and chocolate production.

17: Lima - Cusco

Lima - Cusco
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: El Mercado
  • Meals: B

After checking out of your hotel in Lima this morning, you will walk your own way back to the airport in good time to catch your domestic flight to Cusco.

Upon arrival at the Cusco Airport, you will be greeted by your driver, who will be holding a sign with your name on it for easy identification. They will assist you in the transfer directly to your hotel, for a smooth and easy start to the Peruvian portion of your adventure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Check into your room, make yourself comfortable and spend your first evening in Cusco getting acclimated to the high altitude!

Cusco

Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro's men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing--and its substantial tourist-fueled night life.

18: Cusco

Cusco
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: El Mercado
  • Meals: B

Enjoy this free day at your leisure in Cusco . You may want to enjoy a coffee on one of the balconies overlooking the Plaza de Armas, or wander through the streets of San Blas in the historical district. Have fun making memories, as you prepare yourself for the voyage of a lifetime!

19: Cusco

Cusco
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sacred Valley Full Day Tour
  • Accommodation: El Mercado
  • Meals: B, L

Sacred Valley Full Day Tour

Today’s tour first takes you to the picturesque village of Pisac, by the banks of the Urubamba River. The village is best known for its well-preserved Incan ruins, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The lower slopes of the surrounding mountains feature impressive-looking agricultural terraces dating from Inca times. Pisac has a famous open-air market on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, which invites the visitor to explore the quaint village’s sleepy streets.

Your visit then takes you to Urubamba, a small town located by the eponymous river under the snow-capped peaks of Mount Chicón. Here, you will stop to enjoy a delicious traditional Peruvian lunch. Next, you will visit the town of Ollantaytambo, which boasts an impressive archaeological site and well-preserved Inca town structure. This was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec who conquered the region, built the town and the ceremonial center. Ollantaytambo dates from the late 15th century and has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. Overlooking the town is the archaeological complex, a ceremonial center built by the Incas on a steep hill.

On your way back to Cusco, you will visit the town of Chinchero, which comprises mainly mud brick (adobe) houses, and where locals go about their business in traditional dress. The town’s main square has some unique features such as the characteristic Inca wall with its massive trapezoidal niches. The nearby colonial church also has a very interesting, intricate interior, with Cusco School-style paintings covering a large part of its walls. After you day of exploration, you will be transferred back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

20: Cusco - Salkantay Lodge

Cusco - Salkantay Lodge
Daily Summary
  • Tour: On the Way to Soraypampa
  • Accommodation: Salkantay Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

On the Way to Soraypampa

Early this morning at 7:00 AM, you will be picked up in Cusco by a guide and driver and driven to the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. En route, you will visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hours from Cusco).

After leaving Limatambo, you will pass through the mountain village of Mollepata, where you will stop for a short coffee break, before ascending a winding mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by vehicle). Here, you will begin your trek to Soraypampa on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for you to continue to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley—Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270 m (20,600 ft), the highest in the region.

Upon arrival, you will receive a warm welcome by the friendly staff as you are shown to your rooms and have time to wash-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner. Overnight at Salkantay Lodge (3,869 m/12,690 ft).

Trek time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
Difficulty: Moderate
Option: Guests who do not wish to trek, may be transported to the lodge by vehicle (This service is on a group basis.)

21: Salkantay Lodge

Salkantay Lodge
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Hike to Lake Humantay
  • Accommodation: Salkantay Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Hike to Lake Humantay

Today presents another opportunity to gauge your altitude-acclimatization with a half day hike to Lake Humantay. After breakfast, you begin an ascent up the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a half later, you will be stunned to see the turquoise water of the lake.

Here you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot and be part of a traditional offering to “Pachamama” (Mother Earth). After your descent back to the lodge, the staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. The second half of your day is spent at leisure. You may opt to soak in our outdoor jacuzzi, indulge in a relaxing massage or even take a long nap.

Trek time: Approximately 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Please Note: While the morning hike to Lake Humantay is optional, we strongly recommend your participation in preparation for tomorrow's strenuous hike. (This service is on a group basis.)

22: Salkantay Lodge - Wayra Lodge

Salkantay Lodge - Wayra Lodge
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Crossing the Salkantay Pass
  • Accommodation: Wayra Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Crossing the Salkantay Pass

You will begin your trek up the Rio Blanco valley early this morning, circling Humantay Peak. As you gradually make your way up the mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek (4,636 m/15,213 ft).

What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog. After a very welcome hot picnic lunch, you will continue down through bucolic rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus as you take your final steps to the Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay (3,906 m/12,812 ft.).

Trek time: Approximately 7 hours
Difficulty: Challenging, crossing a 4,640m (15,213 ft) mountain pass (This service is on a group basis.)

23: Wayra Lodge - Colpa Lodge

Wayra Lodge - Colpa Lodge
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Descending into the Cloud Forest
  • Accommodation: Colpa Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Descending into the Cloud Forest

After a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge, you continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through the increasingly verdant scenery. Today you will see more of the local people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences.

At lunchtime, you will arrive at Colpa Lodge (2,870 m/9,414 ft), located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers. You are greeted by the staff with a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you.

Trek time: Approximately 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (This service is on a group basis.)

24: Colpa Lodge - Lucma Lodge

Colpa Lodge - Lucma Lodge
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
  • Accommodation: Lucma Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Following the Santa Teresa River Valley

Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa River valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards. After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for one hour before we meet an MLP vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” that leads us to Lucma Lodge (2,135 m/7,003 ft).

On the way, you will visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in that area that produces some of the best organic coffee in the world. In Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

Trek time: Approximately 6 hours (including lunch)
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Optional Activity (Please note that ziplining is not included in the trip cost and is subject to additional fees. If you would like to participate in this optional activity, please inform your travel consultant in advance):
- Zip Lining in Santa Teresa: This is a full day activity which replaces the trek. Operated by Cola de Mono. (This service is on a group basis.)

25: Lucma Lodge - Machu Picchu Pueblo

Lucma Lodge - Machu Picchu Pueblo
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Exploring Llactapata Pass
  • Accommodation: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
  • Meals: B, L, D

Exploring Llactapata Pass

During a 2-3 hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps, you will get a sense of what hiking through the rainforest would be like. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974 ft), you will be delighted to see a southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins.

Enjoy your lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views. The final descent takes you through lush bamboo forests, until you end the day’s hike at the Hidroelectrica train station. A one-hour scenic train ride delivers you to your final stop, the town of Aguas Calientes (1,900 m. - 6,332 ft.) at the base of Machu Picchu.

Enjoy your overnight stay at the fantastic Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel. Rated by Travel + Leisure as ‘one of the ten best hotels in South America’, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is an intimate 85-cottage luxury hotel surrounded by 12 secluded acres of exquisite beauty. With its sublime Spa services and a first-class restaurant that overlooks the stunning Vilcanota River, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel provides a tranquil retreat.

Trek time: Approximately 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging (This service is on a group basis.)

26: Machu Picchu - Cusco

Machu Picchu - Cusco
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary
  • Transportation (Train): Peru Rail
  • Transportation: Train Station Transfer
  • Accommodation: El Mercado
  • Meals: B, L
Peru Rail
Machu Picchu Pueblo - Ollantaytambo
Train: Vistadome
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary

This morning, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. Upon arrival, you'll enjoy an introductory guided tour of the majestic ruins. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins.

Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu (subject to availability at time of booking), the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs. After an overwhelming adventure, you will meet with your guide and ride the return shuttle down to Machu Picchu Pueblo for a late lunch, before catching the train to Ollantaytambo. The ride from Machu Picchu Pueblo to Ollantaytambo takes about 1.5 hours. Upon arrival, a vehicle will drive you the additional 1.5 hours back to Cusco, where you will be dropped off at your hotel within the city. (This service is on a group basis.)

27: Cusco Departure

Cusco Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Sadly, your journey through the wonders of Ecuador and Peru must come to an end today. However, you will be leaving with unforgettable memories and the experience of a lifetime! After checking out of the hotel, you will meet your driver and head to the airport, in good time to board your departure flight. (This service is on a private basis.)

We hope you had an incredible trip and we wish you safe and pleasant travels onward!

Accommodation

La Casona de la Ronda

La Casona de la Ronda

The lovely La Casona de La Ronda Boutique Hotel is nestled within the historical center of Quito's Old Town. This peaceful property offers an oasis of tranquility, whether you are just kicking off your adventure through Ecuador, or enjoying your final days. The friendly staff at the hotel ensure a personalized and inviting experience, that offers you your very own home away from home. The hotel's charming design includes many similar characteristics to the bustling city streets of Quito. Boasting a colonial style and beautiful artwork, you will feel as though you've stepped back in time.

Casa Mojanda

Casa Mojanda

At the lovely Casa Mojanda you will be able to immerse yourself in a splendid natural setting and learn about the area's thriving indigenous culture. The Lodge's eight guest cottages are built in traditional style, with compacted earth, wood and other natural materials. Each cottage has a garden and a private terrace with spectacular mountain vistas. The kitchen on property is also a major attraction. Here, you will enjoy home cooked meals based on traditional Ecuadorian and international recipes, prepared with fresh organic products and grains, directly from the farm.

Medina del Lago

Medina del Lago

Hotel Medina Del Lago is set in Otavalo, 18 km from Ibarra. The hotel has a spa centre and hot tub, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site. Some units feature a private bathroom with a spa bath, while others have bathrobes and slippers. Certain rooms have a seating area where you can relax. Some rooms include views of the mountain or lake. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. Hotel Medina Del Lago features free WiFi throughout the property. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels is available.

Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta

Cradled in an Andean valley at 9,600' above sea level and only two hours north of Quito, the historic Hacienda Zuleta offers guests a raw and authentic experience steeped in four centuries of Ecuadorian history and tradition. The working farm sprawls over 4,000 acres and has been owned and operated by the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, former president of Ecuador, for over 100 years. Guests are warmly welcomed in the historic home, which features antique gardens, family heirlooms, hand-embroidered linens and cozy fireplaces in each of the 15 guest rooms. A unique condor and bear conservation project, pre-Incan burial mounds, indigenous handicraft cooperatives and a working farm, are all tied into Zuleta's sustainable community tourism initiatives, which you can thoroughly explore on foot, horseback, bike and vehicle.

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge is the only jungle lodge in Ecuador that is 100% owned and operated by the indigenous Kichwa community of Sani Isla. On the banks of a stunning lagoon, and surrounded by pristine rainforest, packed with monkeys, manatees, sloths, and over 550 types of birds, this superb jungle lodge is a perfect base to explore the Amazon jungle by day and enjoy some real comfort by night. Sani Lodge emphasize quality rather than quantity, and thereby offering you a more intimate experience with the amazon rainforest. Sani Lodge is attended by its owners all the time, so profits stays in the community and it helps to improve in healthcare and education! This will guarantee that all the visitors have a real cultural experience with much more wildlife all while helping the local community.

Quito Polo Club

Quito Polo Club

Nestled in the green mountains of the Ecuadorian highlands and a world apart from the bustling center of Ecuador's Capital, the Quito Polo Club is an Andean dream. Located in the small neighborhood of La Palma in Puembo, the Quito Polo Club is surrounded by acres of green lawns, the Andes mountains, and is conveniently only 20 minutes from Quito's international airport. Live the experience of staying at a luxury hotel focused on polo. Boasting 20 hectares of land, this is an ideal spot for riding adventures and outdoor activities. If your passion is polo or you want to learn to play, there is a horse-rental service or private classes on offer through the hotel. Vaulted ceilings throughout the hotel compliment large windows overlooking verdant gardens, to give room interiors plenty of natural light. Guest rooms include complimentary wifi, a flat screen television, private patio and marble en suite bathroom.

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

The Galapagos Magic Tented Camp is a tortoise camp, perched in the highlands of Santa Cruz and surrounded by a Scalesia forest and volcanic caves. This is the native habitat for wild tortoises, where you will be able to enjoy an intimate encounter with nature. The areas around the campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen roaming around property from June through February. During the months of March, April and May the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes remain, so keep your eyes out!

Floreana Lava Lodge

Floreana Lava Lodge

Formerly the Red Mangrove Lodge, and located in Puerto Velasco Ibarra, the Lava Lodge is built entirely of pine wood from the mainland man made forests. This lodge is situated in front of the ocean, on a unique black lava surface. Ten independent small cabins are each equipped with one twin size bed and a bunk bed, which can host up to three people each. Each cabin has its own bathroom, front porch, reading and shaded area, to offer you privacy and enjoyment of the outdoors, as you observe the scenic sea views.

IsaMar Hotel

IsaMar Hotel

The lovely IsaMar Hotel is separated from the sparkling blue ocean only by a broad, soft white sand strip. Lined with palm trees that sway in the breeze, the tropical atmosphere and relaxing views of Isabela’s beautiful beachfront will never get old. The property's idyllic location offers guests sweeping views of Pacific waves and boats bobbing on the water. This picturesque Galapagos retreat is within walking distance to the tortoise breeding center, the flamingo lagoon, several water activities and the sandy streets of town, where you can find bakeries, restaurants and bars. IsaMar’s rooms are the perfect base for exploring Isabela’s wonders. Hearty meals are available to keep your energy up for nearby hikes and water activities, and the outdoor social areas are perfect for taking a siesta, reading a book or stargazing late into the evenings.

Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport

Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport

The Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport is Lima's most convenient airport hotel, perfect for travelers en route to other destinations. Its exceptionally easy location, directly across the street from the airport, makes it the obvious choice. Without needing to worry about the stress of a long drive to the airport, you will be able to relax in comfort and enjoy a pleasurable stay. The hotel boasts 130 guest rooms and suites, with quality service and lovely facilities.

El Mercado

El Mercado

El Mercado is located in the heart of Cusco and offers exceptional customer service, to ensure you are able to get the very most out of your stay. "Mercado" is the Spanish word for "market", and El Mercado occupies the premises of a former market, located only a couple of blocks from Cusco’s main Plaza de Armas. A market is an expression of a town’s culture and traditions, a space where these may be appreciated, fostered and protected. Visiting a market is an effective way of obtaining a deep and lasting impression of a city. Just as the countryside’s best products are brought to a market, El Mercado brings the magic of the Apus—the spirits of the mountains—to the city. At El Mercado, you can expect to receive exceptional service and warm Peruvian hospitality.

Salkantay Lodge

Salkantay Lodge

Named after the peak at the head of its valley, the Salkantay Lodge is the perfect resting place for hikers along the Peruvian "Camino Real." Featuring an outdoor jacuzzi and spectacular dining, this lodge will usually serve as a starting point for much longer treks. However, it remains a magnificent lodge to spend a few days in and explore the surrounding mountain passes and river valleys.

Wayra Lodge

Wayra Lodge

"Wayra" means wind, and this lodge is named as the Place Where Wind Lives or Rests. For most hikers trekking the Andes Mountains, that is what this place will truly feel like after a long day's hike. Clean, comfortable rooms will greet you along with warm and friendly staff, who will prepare delicious dinner and breakfast for you daily.

Colpa Lodge

Colpa Lodge

At Colpa Lodge, the staff is continuously cooking magnificent Peruvian-style meals for any trekkers who might come and go. The outdoor jacuzzi offers stunning views of the surround snowcapped peaks. Nearby the hotel, orchid trails and river walks are available for any hikers that are not fully exhausted from their day's hike!

Lucma Lodge

Lucma Lodge

Set in a beautifully kept avocado orchard, this lodge offers a rare luxury in an alpine environment near Llactapata Pass, on the recently restored Llactapata Inca Trail. This lodge offers warm, comfortable beds for weary travelers, and delicious meals to accompany them.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (elevation: 6,232ft- 1,900m.), perfectly compliments a visit to Machu Picchu, providing you with a deeper understanding of why the Incas chose this hidden location in the Andean cloud forest to build their marvelous citadel. Nestled among 12-acres on the outskirts of Machu Picchu Pueblo, it is also a peaceful haven away from the tourist crowds that are inevitably a fixture of any visit to Machu Picchu. The lodge is laid out like a traditional Andean Village. You will follow stone pathways to your room, crossing gurgling water channels within a cloud forest dripping with exotic orchids and buzzing with colorful hummingbirds. The property was designed in traditional Andean style, using local materials of stone, adobe, stucco and eucalyptus. The expansive grounds offer a perfect refuge for bird watching and trained naturalist guides can also lead you on a variety of thematic nature walks in the morning and afternoon.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 14,853 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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