Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 7 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Lima and a farewell dinner in Cusco
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Peru
Arrive in Lima, where you will be met by your Tour Director.
Day 2 Lima
This afternoon, your Local Guide focuses on the city’s colonial heritage during a walking TOUR. Start at the Plaza de Armas to see the Government Palace and the cathedral. From here, stroll to the venerable SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY with its splendid 17th-century cloister murals. For a special treat, stop at a LOCAL PERUVIAN FOOD MARKET to get a real taste of life for the local people. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at one of Lima’s Peruvian restaurants with your fellow traveling companions.
Day 3 Lima–Cusco–Sacred Valley
Fly to Cusco, the impressive Andean city that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Head into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will have lunch and experience an El Pago a la Tierra, or MOTHER EARTH CEREMONY, performed by a local shaman. These ceremonies thanking Mother Earth and asking for good health and safe travels have been practiced in Peru since before the arrival of the Incas. Next, stop at AWANAKANCHA to meet local families who preserve the ancient technique of Pre-Columbian weaving using South American camelid fibers. Here is your chance to get up close to the various camelids, including alpaca, llama, guanaco, and vicuña, indigenous to the region. Continue to PISAC, an old mountain village where you will have free time to shop its famous market for local wares such as alpaca sweaters and blankets, jewelry, or hand-painted ornamental dishes and vases. Stay in the Sacred Valley tonight, and enjoy a special dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu
This morning, visit the Inca Fortress of OLLANTAYTAMBO, followed by the opportunity to visit a HOME, meet some of the locals, and experience their way of life. Next, board the Vistadome TRAIN for a short journey through the lush Urubamba Valley. Then, transfer to a motorcoach for the ascent to legendary MACHU PICCHU, the “Lost City of the Incas,” high above the steep valley overlaid with dense tropical jungle. Your Local Guide will bring you closer to the lives and mysteries still hidden in these amazing structures built by the pre-Columbian masters of this sacred land. Tonight, stay at a nearby hotel.
Day 5 Machu Picchu–Cusco
Your entrance to MACHU PICCHU is included for a second day. Enjoy the tranquility of the morning, with free time to wander the ruins at your own pace and experience the magic that is Machu Picchu. After lunch, return to the Sacred Valley by TRAIN and continue on to Cusco.
Day 6 Cusco
This morning, learn more about the Incas and their struggle against invading Spaniards on your Cusco city TOUR, with visits to the imposing CATHEDRAL and the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY. Also visit the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN, perched on a hillside overlooking Cusco. It remains unfathomable how and when this fortress of gigantic stones—with some blocks weighing more than 350 tons—was built. The remainder of your day is free to explore at your leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7 Cusco–Lima–Quito, Ecuador
Fly to Quito, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 8 Quito
On a city tour, see INDEPENDENCE SQUARE with its CATHEDRAL and SAN FRANCISCO PLAZA CHURCH, and the BASILICA.
Day 9 Quito–Baltra–Santa Cruz (Embarkation)–Cruising
Fly to Baltra and transfer to SANTA CRUZ Island and the highlands. While here, visit a private FARM where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat. You can also explore lava tubes and pit craters. Board the Galápagos Legend for your 3-night CRUISE.
Day 10 Cruising: Santiago & Bartolome Islands
Wake up at SANTIAGO and Puerto Egas, once a buccaneer supply base. Watch for yellow-crowned night herons, Darwin’s finches, iguanas, and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Encounter a Galápagos fur seal grotto, one of the few places in the archipelago where fur seals can be seen. From here you can swim and snorkel in search of octopus, sea horses, starfish, and other sea life. After lunch on board, visit BARTOLOMÉ to discover a fascinating moonscape formed by volcanic parasitic cones. Take a hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands. Bartolomé offers some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago, thanks to clear waters and abundant sea life.
Day 11 Cruising: Santa Cruz & North Seymour Islands
Back at SANTA CRUZ, walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos are often found. Climb DRAGON HILL, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galápagos doves. At NORTH SEYMOUR, walk amid large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in-depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles. You will also encounter sea lions and land iguanas.
Day 12 Cruising: Baltra (Disembarkation)–Guayaquil
After breakfast, fly to Guayaquil, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 13 Guayaquil
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.