Peru and the Galapagos
archaeological sites, spectacular Andean scenery and unique wildlife
A 16 day journey combining two of South America's most iconic attractions: Peru's stunning Andean scenery, colourful markets and the one-time Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, and the nature and wildlife paradise of the Galapagos islands.
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Peru: The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Days 1-3: Met on arrival in Cusco and driven (90 minutes) to the picturesque Sacred Valley for three nights. The perfect place to acclimatise, this wide and fertile valley lies at around 2,800m above sea-level and is well-positioned for a wide range of activities: there are lively local markets and impressive ruins, and for the more active plenty of trekking, rafting, riding and mountain biking. Spend a full day exploring the Inca town and market of Pisac and the fortress town of Ollantaytambo.
Day 4: The morning train from Ollantaytambo takes you alongside the rushing Urubamba river to the small town of Aguas Calientes, where shuttle buses take visitors to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. After a guided tour of the site, spend the night either by the ruins or in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Cusco - the Inca heartland
Days 5-6: The following day return to Cusco by train for two nights in this friendly and vibrant city, considered by the Inca the 'navel of the earth'. The cobbled streets are home to good restaurants, fine museums, and a host of Inca and colonial architecture. Take a guided half day tour of the city, including visits to Koricancha and the Cathedral, then continue to the nearby sites of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Puka Pukara.
Ecuador: Quito and the northern markets
Days 7-8: Fly to Quito (via Lima) for two nights in this beautifully-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site, the colonial centre of which can easily be explored on foot. Take a guided tour of the city and visit the official Equator monument and museum with a local guide.
Galapagos - the enchanted islands
Days 9-15: Morning flight to the Galapagos. 7 nights in the islands - see our Galapagos itineraries for possibilities, either on a boat or a combination of land and sea.
Day 16: Fly back to the Ecuadorean mainland for onward connections.
This is a very condensed itinerary! If you really want to visit both Peru and the Galapagos in one trip, both of which are varied and fascinating destinations in their own right, then you really need more time, ideally 3-4 weeks. For example, in Peru you could include Lake Titicaca or the Nasca lines, while in Ecuador you could spend more time around Quito: two hours' drive north is the market town of Otavalo, famous for its Saturday animal market and to the south is the impressive Cotopaxi volcano and national park - a wonderful setting for walking and riding.
Price includes all accommodation except for the 7 nights in the Galapagos.
Depending on flight schedules, it may be necessary to spend a night in Lima at the start of the trip.
In the following section you will see our suggested options for possible accommodation.
The estimated flight cost included in this itinerary (assuming international flights from the UK plus any internal flights that are necessary) is £1,280 per person.
Standard - £3,850 (not including the Galapagos cruise)
- Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel - close to the main square and full of character.
- Hotel Sol y Luna - in the heart of the Sacred Valley, the pretty casitas are positioned in beautiful gardens.
- Inkaterra Machu Picchu - in Aguas Calientes. The property has lovely grounds which are full of orchids.
- Patio Andaluz - perfectly positioned to explore Quito's historical centre.
Price and validity notes
We have tried to give you as accurate an idea of prices as possible, including meals where appropriate (but not when there are good local options so you don't pay for a meal that you might not want), accommodation, transfers, and any tours we have included.
All prices are per person based on two people sharing a room and are intended as a guide (local high or low seasons can cause some variation). All prices were correct when published but may vary with exchange rate fluctuations, fuel surcharges, or changes in the general economic situation.