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Machu Picchu and Galapagos

15 days from £5435pp plus international flights.

The combination of two of the most iconic sites in the world, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, creates a holiday of a lifetime. You'll learn about past civilisations in details that will bring them vividly to life, and have breath-taking close encounters with wildlife, a true privilege.
This is a holiday of two halves, which will enchant and excite in equal measure. In Peru you'll head to Cusco, high in the Andes, once an Inca stronghold,  transformed into a colonial headquarters and now a thriving modern city. It's a great introduction to human history in this region. And that's just for starters. Next it's Machu Picchu. Your first sight of the citadel sitting on a narrow mountain ridge is sure to elicit a gasp of admiration. After a guided tour you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the site for yourself, wandering at will, taking note of small details and picturing the city in its heyday.

Usually we'd leave Machu Picchu as the finale to your holiday, as it's impossible to top, but this trip is an exception. The Galapagos Islands are on almost everybody's wishlist. They're unique and you may have to pinch yourself to believe you're really here! You'll see plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth, some found on only one tiny island. As if that weren't enough, these creatures have little or no fear of man, so you can get incredibly close to wild animals time and again. It's a rare honour and one you'll never tire of.

You'll have experienced, professional guides in both locations, experts in their fields, who will fill you with information and insights and, just as importantly, pass on their passion, bringing their respective world well and truly to life.   

Dining at Ramada Costa del Sol, Lima airport


You'll be met by a local representative on arrival at Lima, who will welcome you to Peru and assist you the short distance to the airport hotel. This is the perfect place to relax after your flight, maybe going for a swim in the indoor pool, treating yourself to a soothing massage in the spa and enjoying a meal in the restaurant.  
Relax in the courtyard at Casa Andina Koricancha


After breakfast you'll walk back into the airport for the morning flight to Cusco. This takes about an hour, and you'll be greeted on arrival and taken to your hotel, Casa Andina Koricancha. The hotel is made up of 2 old colonial mansions and has a lovely central courtyard where you can sit and acclimatise at your leisure. Cusco is some 3,300 metres above sea level and the altitude can make you feel a little tired, so you'll have a free afternoon to take it easy. There are a number of shops and cafes a short stroll away if you feel like exploring or you can simply relax in the courtyard. Breakfast 
Visit Sacsayhuaman near Cusco


After a good night's sleep and some breakfast you'll be ready to explore! Your guide will call for you and take you on a city tour, showing you the main highlights and explaining Cusco's history and culture. You'll also visit the Inca site of Sacsayhuaman on the northern outskirts of the city, a foretaste of what is to come! You'll be dropped off back at the hotel and have the afternoon free to explore the sites of Cusco, rich in history and architecture from both Inca and colonial times. Breakfast
Enjoy views from the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu


This morning you'll take the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu, sitting back in air-conditioned comfort as you watch the scenery of the Sacred Valley through the picture windows. Your guide will travel with your from Cusco, and will set the scene for the sights to come. The journey will take about 3 hours and on arrival you'll take the bus up the steep hillside to the citadel to explore with your guide. No matter how many photos you may have seen, viewing Machu Picchu for yourself is a real thrill, and, combined with the insights of your guide, this will be an absorbing day. Lunch at the nearby Sanctuary Lodge is included for you and tonight you'll be staying at El MaPi at the foot of the mountain. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Spend time exploring the site of Machu Picchu


You'll have a further opportunity to explore Machu Picchu this morning, time to take in the views, soak up the special ambience and capture some memorable photographs. This second visit will give you a chance to take in some of the fine details and visit less busy parts of the site, away from the crowds. The shuttle bus from your hotel and the entrance fee is included. In the afternoon you'll take the train back to Cusco and will be transferred back to your comfy hotel for the night. Breakfast
The lounge at La Casona de la Ronda in Lima


Following breakfast you'll be collected for the drive to the airport and your flights, via Lima, to Quito in neighbouring Ecuador. A local representative will be waiting at the airport for you and will transfer you to your city hotel. La Casona de la Ronda is in the heart of the historic city and is another colonial building with a lovely courtyard and a cosy lounge. You can sit and rest or opt to explore the neighbourhood, as you prefer. Welcome to Ecuador! Breakfast 
See Quito's sites on a guided city tour


This morning you'll have a guided tour of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This will take in both the old and new towns and will provide you with some interesting facts about the city, past and present. The afternoon is free, so you can unwind over a drink in a pavement cafe, browse in local art galleries, shop for souvenirs or take it easy at the hotel. Breakfast
Board Samba for your Galapagos cruise


You'll have breakfast in the hotel before heading to the airport for your flight to Baltra airport in the Galapagos Islands. You'll be met and transferred to your home for the next week, Samba. A classic motor sailing yacht built as a private vessel, she retains a relaxed, informal atmosphere. This afternoon you'll visit Bachas beach for your first island excursion with your naturalist guide. There are lagoons here which attract herons, stilts, lava gulls and flamingos. While on the beach you can spot marine iguanas and the brightly coloured Sally Lightfoot crabs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner    
Sea lion pup at Prince Philip's Steps


Today you'll have 2 excursions on the easterly island of Genovesa. The first landing is at Darwin Bay. Look for sea lions on the shore and a variety of birds including red-footed boobies and great frigate birds. You may also see Darwin's finches, Galapagos doves and mockingbirds. There may be time to enjoy some snorkelling before returning to Samba for lunch. In the afternoon you can climb Prince Philip's Steps to the top of the cliff where many birds soar above your head. The trail turns inland through varied terrain. If you're lucky you may see a short eared owl, the main predator of the island. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Watch bottle-nose dolphins near Marchena


Marchena is today's destination. Samba is the only yacht with authorisation to explore the waters here. Punta Mejia is one of the best snorkelling sites in the Galapagos and you'll have time to enjoy the marine life here this morning. Later you'll head to Playa Negra, named for its black sand, a good place to spot bottle-nose dolphins and where you snorkel round a larva grotto where marine iguanas are often seen. As you head back to the yacht, keep your eyes open for dolphins and whales. Breakfast, lunch, dinner  
Blue-footed booby and chics


Isabela is the largest of the islands. At Punta Albermarle there are mangroves where flightless cormorants nest and in the same place you should see marine iguanas basking in the morning sun. As the heat builds they clamber down the rocks and swim out to sea in search of algae. After lunch you'll have a panga ride at Punta Vicente Roca where you should see penguins, blue-footed boobies and sun fish. You might have time for snorkelling, too, to see corals and watch turtles feeding. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Galapagos mockingbird


Fernandina is the youngest of the islands and the most volcanically active. There are recent lava flows and though the vegetation is sparse the island has plentiful wildlife. You'll see penguins, Sally Lightfoot crabs, flightless cormorants and lots of iguanas as well as sea lions on the beach. You'll follow a walking trail with your guide, enjoying all that you see. This afternoon you'll be back on Isabela. From Urbina Bay your path winds inland, past rock pools. Darwin's finches, yellow warblers and Galapagos mockingbirds are frequently seen here. Look out, too, for large hermit crabs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner 
Panga ride in mangroves at Elizabeth Bay


Today you'll take to the panga for a ride in Elizabeth Bay. The engine will be switched off and in the quietness you'll watch for penguins in the water and on nearby rocks plus various sea birds. You'll glide through a narrow mangrove-lined channel leading to the inner lagoons flanked by large mangroves. Listen for penguins and sea lions, hidden amongst the dense vegetation. This afternoon, landing at Punta Moreno, you'll walk past cacti to reach a lagoon where brightly coloured flamingo feast on brine shrimp. You'll emerge at a point where you'll get panoramic views of three of Isabela's volcanoes and Fernandina Island. Breakfast, lunch, dinner 
Marine iguanas


You'll have an early morning walk on Tintoreras, an islet off Isabela's southern coast, a breeding ground for marine iguanas. Your trail leads along the shoreline and in the coastal grottos you may see reef sharks. Later, having landed at Puerto Villamil, you'll visit the Wetlands - lagoons, swamps and mangoves, for close-up encounters with marine birds. The last visit today is a poignant one, to see the stone wall built by prisoners at the penal colony that existed here from 1945 to 1959, known as the Wall of Tears. Local claim to hear men's cries rising from the stones... This evening you'll have a farewell dinner on board Samba. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Santa Cruz Highlands


You'll be back on Santa Cruz today after an early breakfast for your final shore excursion. Walking in the Highlands you'll see Los Gemelos (twin craters), formed from the implosion of underground chambers. The forest here is home to several species of finches, flycatchers and owls. You'll then take the bus to the airport at Baltra for your flight back to mainland Ecuador where you will connect with your international flight home. Breakfast 
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £5435 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 2017 guide price per person sharing: £5435 using the Beluga yacht.


Meet & greet at Lima Airport; airport transfgers in Cusco and Quito; twin share accommodation; meals as specified; private guided tours of Cusco, Machu Picchu and Quito; entrance fees on tours, including shuttle bus and second entrance fee to Machu Picchu on day 5; Vistadome train to Machu Picchu; Galapagos island excursions as specified with a bilingual naturalist guide; excursion briefings


International flights and taxes; domestic flights within Peru (we can book these for you with your international flights); visas; meals not shown; drinks; Galapagos National Park Fee, currently US$100 but liable to change and to be paid locally in US$, tips, items of a personal nature

Getting there: This holiday starts in Lima and ends in Quito. International return flights from the UK and the necessary domestic flights will cost from around £1000 per person, subject to season and availability. We will be happy to book flights for you. 

Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice

places you will see

places you will see

This famous city was the capital of the Inca empire for three centuries. It is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and to Machu Picchu, and there is much to explore and enjoy in the city itself, including magnificent colonial and Inca architecture, great restaurants, shopping and culture.
Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands
If you are a wildlife lover there is no doubt that the Galapagos Islands are a very special place to visit. With such a list of rare and unique species, and the lack of fear shown by the wildlife, it is truly an incredible experience. But don't just take our word for it!
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
The famous 'Lost City of the Incas’. An unmissable highlight of Peru, reached by walking the challenging Inca Trail, or catching the train to a nearby village.
Quito & the Equator
Quito & the Equator
Quito is at an altitude of 2800m, and since it is only 25km south of the Equator, mostly has very pleasant days and cool nights. The city took its name from the Quitus tribe who lived here in the pre-Colombian era. The equator, which divides the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres and after which Ecuador is named. lies slightly to the north of Quito and is marked by a monument and a museum.

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facts and information

Time: GMT - 6 hours

Flight time: Flights to the Galapagos Islands leave from Quito and touch down in Guayaquil en route, taking about 3 hours from Quito or 2 hours from Guayaquil. The flights land either at Baltra or San Cristobal.

Language: Spanish is the official language in the Galapagos Islands.

Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.


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