Marine iguanas, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Machu Picchu and Galapagos Itinerary

A magical combination of human history and natural wonders - Machu Picchu and the Galapagos is a show-stopper!

15 days from £5,505pp plus international flights.

Full itinerary

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Client Rating for Galapagos Islands 5/5 from 106 reviews

Double room at Wyndham Costa Del Sol, Lima Airport, Peru © Wyndham Costa Del Sol

Day 1

Arrive Lima

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 Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel. This is the perfect place to relax after your flight.  

Aerial view over Cusco, Peru © JaneLaws

Day 2

Fly to Cusco

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 for the next two nights, Casa Andina Koricancha. The hotel is made up of two old colonial mansions and has a lovely central courtyard where you can sit and acclimatise at your leisure. Cusco is some 3,300m 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 shops, museums and cafes a short stroll away if you feel like exploring or you can simply relax in the courtyard. 


Sacsayhuaman, Cusco, Peru © GQMarks

Day 3

Cusco city tour and free time

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.


Machu Picchu, Peru © StudioMB,Shutterstock

Day 4

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 three 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

Machu Picchu, Peru © Ivanov,Shutterstock

Day 5

Morning at Machu Picchu. Return to Cusco

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.


Plaza Grande in old town Quito, Ecuador © f11photo,Shutterstock

Day 6

Fly to Quito

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!


Plaza de San Francisco in old town Quito, Ecuador © f11,Shutterstock

Day 7

Quito tour and free time

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.


Snorkelling with turtles in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador © RCarey,Shutterstock

Day 8

Fly to Galapagos. Board Beluga

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 by a guide from your home for the next week, the yacht Beluga, and be transferred to the boat. You meet the crew and enjoy lunch on board as Beluga sails to Santa Cruz. In the afternoon you visit Cerro Dragon, home to a large population of little 'dragons'. otherwise known as land iguanas. You can also hike up the rugged hill to take in the amazing views, or go birdwatching, looking out for Darwin finches, mockingbirds and pintail ducks.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Marine Iguana, Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

Day 9

Santa Fe and South Plaza 

While you sleep the yacht cruises to Santa Fe island, where you can swim and snorkel and watch sea lions. Spot more land iguanas whic are particularly fond of the prickly pear cacti that grow here and keep an eye out for pelicans, frigate birds and mockingbirds. After lunch on board you travel to South Plaza Island, home to a large number of bird species as well as those charismatic land iguanas. The island also has a sea lion colony and fascinating vegetation.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Magnificent frigatebird, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador © Tribes

Day 10

San Cristobal 

This morning you disembark onto the north coast of San Cristobal island, to swim and snorkel on the crescent-shaped beach at the base of Cerro Brujo and if you're lucky you may be joined in the water by rays and turtles. Enjoy the view of the 140ft tall Kicker Rock from here. In the afternoon you head to the only freshwater lake in in the Galapagos. El Junco Lagoon is high in the volcanic mountains, surrounded by ferns and other greenery and home to large numbers of birds. You also visit the pretty little port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the archipelago. 

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Waved albatross on Espanola, Galapagos Islands © BvanSon,Shutterstock

Day 11


Overnight Beluga will make her way to the extreme southeast of the archipelago to Espanola, island. Sea lions doze in the sun on the long beach at Gardner Bay, which is also a popular spot with the local turtles. Following lunch on board you head to Punta Suarez on the western edge of the island. Espanola is the only nesting site for the Galapagos waved albatross, which breed here from April to December. Giant tortoises also live on the island, as do blue-footed and Nazca boobies, red-and-green marine iguanas and Galapagos hawks. You are unlikely to put your camera down much here, but make sure in particular to have it ready for the spectacular blow-hole; when the waves hit just right water spurts high in the air from the hole in the rock.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Galapagos tortoises © Shutterstock

Day 12

Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station 

This is a fascinating and informative day, as you learn about the geology and history of the islands and the conservation projects being conducted here with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. A highlight will be the giant tortoise breeding centre, where you see all sizes, from hatchling to adult. You see more of these charming creatures in the giant tortoise reserve in the Highlands.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Sally Lightfoot crab, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador © GQMarks

Day 13

Sombrero Chino and Santiago 

You start today on Sombrero Chino, an island whose distinctive shape resembles a Chinese conical hat. Red Sally Lightfoot crabs add vibrant colour to the beautiful beach, as do the orange beaks of the oystercatchers. You may be joined as you swim and snorkel by harmless white-tipped reef sharks and just possibly by a Galapagos penguin or two. Then you head to Sullivan Bay, a volcanic site on Santiago with a sparse lunar landscape created by 19th century lava flows which are now being tentatively populated by cacti.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Red-footed booby, Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

Day 14


Beluga and her crew are busy as you sleep, cruising overnight to horseshoe-shaped Genovesa, also known as the bird island. It certainly lives up to its name, with resident and visiting species including Nazca and red-footed boobies, nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls, lava and yellow-crowned herons, storm petrels and red-billed tropicbirds. Watch out also for great frigatebirds particularly in March and April, the time of their courtship display. Take the nature trail from Darwin Bay to the tidal lagoon and enjoy the wonderful view over the bay. You then sail round the island so that you can disembark and ascend the Prince Philip steps which lead up to a plateau from where you should have some spectacular birding and may even see a short-eared owl.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Manta rays in the Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

Day 15

Black Turtle Cove and flight to the mainland 

Your final activity on this memorable holiday is a panga ride in Black Turtle Cove, a stunning mangrove estuary on Santa Cruz. It is forbidden to set foot here, so the panga is the perfect solution. The engine is cut, and silence is observed as your guide navigates through the mangrove forest. There is a good chance of seeing turtles surfacing, rays swimming and pelicans and boobies hunting. After this magical trip it's time to bid farewell to the crew of Beluga before you are transferred to the airport for your flight to the mainland for your international flight home.


Talk to Christine - Travel Consultant

Call:  01473 890499

Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.


Client Rating for Galapagos Islands 5/5 from 106 reviews