Highlights of Peru and Ecuador
If we had to pick two absolutely "must see" destinations in South America they would undoubtedly be the incredible Incan ruins of Machu Picchu and the naturalist's paradise of the Galapagos Islands. For this incredible itinerary we've added an unexpected twist; a visit to the Ecuadorian Amazon for three days ...Read Full Description
- Cusco, Peru; Ecuador; Galapagos, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Machu Picchu, Peru; Otavalo, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
- Trip Length:
- 17 days
- Best Time to Go:
- April, May, June, July, August, September, October
- Recommended for:
Adults (21 - 24)
Adults (25 - 29)
Adults (30 - 39)
Adults (40 - 64)
Family Trip, Summer Vacation, Trip Around the World
Detailed Trip Description
If we had to pick two absolutely "must see" destinations in South America they would undoubtedly be the incredible Incan ruins of Machu Picchu and the naturalist's paradise of the Galapagos Islands. For this incredible itinerary we've added an unexpected twist; a visit to the Ecuadorian Amazon for three days of guided exploration with the Huaorani, an indigenous group who still live deep within the rainforest as they have for centuries.
Day 1 - Quito
Arrival into Quito and transferred to your hotel. Free day to explore city.
Upon arrival in Quito you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to a very centrally located and comfortable guesthouse in a fantastic neighborhood full of shops, cafes and galleries.
Day 2 - Quito
Free day to explore Quito.
Today is a free day to explore the city on your own.
Day 3 - Otavalo
Today be met at the hotel and taken on a full day tour of the famous marketplace of Otavalo.
Today after breakfast you’ll be met at the hotel and taken on a full day tour of the famous marketplace of Otavalo, a largely indigenous town in Imbabura Province located in a valley surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. The indigenous Otavaliños are famous for the weaving of textiles, usually made of wool, and the market is a great place to shop for sweaters, hats, ponchos and shawls.
Day 4 - Ecuador
Depart Quito and begin your journey into the Amazon Basin.
This morning after breakfast you’ll be met at the hotel to begin the drive to Shell, an oil company outpost containing the last airport before entering the Amazon Basin. The drive winds past Ecuador’s famous volcanoes before driving down through a variety of towns known for the products that they sell including a town called “pants” and a town called “ice cream”. After arriving at Shell you’ll board a small charter plane for the 50 minute flight into Huaorani Territory. Upon arrival at the small Amazonian village of Quehueriono you’ll be greeted by your Huaorani hosts and taken by dugout canoe up one of the tributaries of the mighty Amazon River to the lodge, perched on the banks of the river in dense tropical rainforest. This is truly exploring at its best!
Day 5-7 - Ecuador
Spend the next three days with Huaorani People exploring the Amazon.
The next three days will be spent exploring the Amazon River with your hosts, the Huaorani, and your naturalist-guides. This is the true Amazon and is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 8 - Ecuador
Depart Amazon and Huaorani People and head back to Quito.
Today you’ll continue to travel upriver until you reach the edge of the Huaorani Territory and the beginning of Ecuador’s oil fields. The contrast between the living untouched Amazon and the over-developed industrial oil fields can be shocking but truly shows what happens when industry is left unchecked in the rainforest. After lunch you’ll transfer to the airport for the short flight back to Quito. Upon arrival you’ll check-in to a small boutique guesthouse in a very central location.
Day 9 - Galapagos
Leave mainland Ecuador and fly to the island of Baltra. From there depart on a 4 day cruise exploring the islands of the Galapagos.
This morning you’ll be met at the airport for the flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival in Baltra you will board a beautiful small expedition vessel for a 4 Day/3 Night cruise through the Islands. Your first stop is Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, with the largest population of the 4 inhabited islands (approx 10.000). Santa Cruz is also the only island where six different zones of vegetation can be seen: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia, and Pampa Zones. The Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park offices are based here and you’ll have an opportunity to visit the research center and hike the highlands in the afternoon. The station is also a tortoise breeding and rearing centre, where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats.
Day 10 - Galapagos
Spend the day exploring Isabela Island and its surrounding islands.
This morning you’ll arrive at Isabela Island, a very large island whose surface almost covers half of the land mass of the Galapagos archipelago. Found on this island is Punta Morena, a young volcanic landscape with numerous fresh-water pools where Flamingos, Bahama Ducks and other birds unite. About 40 kms away you’ll find Punta Morena and the mangrove area of Elisabeth Bay and its off-shore islands. Here you can see little dwarf penguins as well as schools of manta rays, turtles and other huge pelagic fish including whale-sharks.
Day 11 - Galapagos
Today will be your last full day spent in the islands. Take time to hike the summit of Bartolme Island as well as walk about the many bird colonies of North Seymour Island.
This morning before breakfast, disembark at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. This is a steep climb is aided by a wooden staircase and although strenuous the view from the top is definitely worth the effort. Return to the boat for breakfast followed by a panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock before heading to the beach for a last day of snorkeling with sea lions and Galapagos Penguins. This afternoon is an outing on North Seymour (dry landing) for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island observing bird colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.
Day 12 - Galapagos
Today depart the Galapagos and head back to Quito where you will enjoy one more night before making your way to Peru.
This morning you’ll arrive on San Cristobal Island. After breakfast and a visit to the Interpretation Centre at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight back to the continent. Upon arrival you will be transferred back your hotel for another night before your departure for Peru.
Day 13 - Quito
This morning you will depart Quito and fly to Cusco to begin your Peruvian excursion.
This morning you’ll be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your onward flight. Upon arrival in Cusco you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to a beautiful traditional hotel located right in Cusco’s famous city center. The rest of the day and evening are free to explore the city or rest and acclimatize.
Day 14 - Cusco
Spend the day getting acclimated to the elevation of Cusco and have the day free to explore the city.
Today is a free day to explore the beautiful city of Cusco, do some shopping or simply relax in preparation for the trip to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
Day 15 - Machu Picchu
Enjoy a train ride through the high Andes as you make your way to Machu Picchu.
This morning after breakfast you’ll be met at the hotel and transferred to the train station for the beautiful ride up to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival you’ll check into a beautiful lodge known for the world-class quality of it’s excursions, rooms and food. Under the guidance of one of the hotel’s expert guides you can explore the mysteries of Machu Picchu until dinner time.
Day 16 - Machu Picchu
Take in the sights and history of Machu Picchu as you explore the ruins before riding the train back to Cusco.
The day begins with an early morning visit to the fabled ruins and you’ll have plenty of time to explore in both guided and individual exploration. In the afternoon you’ll return to Cusco by train and the evening is free to relax.
Day 15 - Lima
Leisurely morning and afternoon before catching your flight out of Peru.
The morning and early afternoon are free to do some last minute shopping or relaxing before being transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima and home.
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