Day 1: Depart U.S. for Lima, Peru We depart today for the Peruvian capital. Upon arrival tonight we transfer directly to our hotel.
Day 2: Lima This morning we tour the Larco Herrera Museum, whose ceramics collection includes a renowned set of erotic pre-Columbian figures. This afternoon we take a city tour of the Peruvian capital followed by a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. B,D
Day 3: Lima/Cuzco/Sacred Valley Today we fly to Cuzco, where we travel to the beautiful Sacred Valley, a region of Inca sites and indigenous villages. After visiting the Indian market at Pisac, we reach our hotel mid-afternoon with time to relax before dinner tonight. B,L,D
Day 4: Sacred Valley Today we visit the Incan farming town of Chinchero, where residents live much as their ancestors did. Then we explore Ollantaytambo, a living town and site of massive Incan ruins that continue to inspire wonder. Afterward, we attend a native “Offering to the Earth” ceremony. We dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D
Day 5: Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu Early this morning we travel by train for the 1½-hour journey to Aguas Calientes, where we board a bus for Machu Picchu. Our first guided visit of the stunning “Lost City of the Incas” begins late this morning. Thanks to its small size, our group will move nimbly through the ruins and have the leisure to absorb the beauty and mystery of this impressive site. Following our tour, we check in at the 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, just steps from the entrance to the ruins. While most visitors see Machu Picchu on a day trip, we have the rare privilege of spending the night and seeing the ruins after all the tourists have left. B,L,D
Day 6: Machu Picchu/Cuzco Today before the day trippers arrive we begin our second guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Then we return to Aguas Calientes for lunch and free time before our mid-afternoon train to Cuzco. B,L
Day 7: Cuzco This morning we tour the archaeological hub of the Americas, the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and UNESCO World Heritage site. We stop at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, an Incan masterpiece, then enjoy lunch in the home of a gracious Cuzco family. B,L
Day 8: Cuzco/Quito Early today we fly via Lima to Quito, arriving late afternoon. This evening we have a briefing and dinner at our hotel. B,D
Days 9–12: Galapagos Cruising Our Galapagos adventure begins with an early departure on Day 9 for the flight to Baltra or San Cristobal, where we board the privately chartered M/Y Coral II, our home for the next three or four nights (depending on tour departure date). While exact cruise itineraries are subject to the dictates of Galapagos National Park authorities, each cruise features expert Galapagos naturalist guides and the opportunity to see giant Galapagos tortoises, Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions, iguanas, and abundant bird life. On all cruises we also will enjoy opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, panga boat rides, and nature walks. B,L,D daily
Following is a representative sampling of the islands we may visit on our cruise:
Daphne: Prime birdwatching: Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Brown Noddies.
Española: A rich diversity of species at Suarez Point: Nazca Boobies, Blue-footed Boobies, Waved Albatross, sea lions, colorful marine iguanas. Excellent snorkeling at Gardner Bay.
Fernandina: From Tagus Cove we hike to Darwin Lake for deep-water snorkeling with sea turtles and penguins, and a panga ride to observe sea birds. Beautiful volcanic landscape.
Floreana: We find flamingos, migratory birds, and a green-sand beach at Cormorant Point. Behind the flamingo lagoon, we may see nesting sea turtles.
Isabela: The largest island in the chain features as many as 20 species of migratory birds at Humedales, the westernmost port of the Galapagos.
Rabida: Here we stroll a red-sand beach with a large sea lion colony; see some (or all) of the nine species of Darwin’s finches found only here; and catch beautiful views from the island’s highest point.
San Cristóbal: At Pitt Point we see all three species of boobies together: Blue-footed, Red-footed, and Nazca, as well as Magnificent and Great frigate birds and a sea lion colony. We can snorkel and enjoy a panga ride amid the diversity of sea birds.
Santiago: Espumilla Beach features a sea turtle nesting site, mangrove forests, deep-water snorkeling, and beautiful views from the island’s highest point. At Egas Port we search for birds on a guided walk.
Day 13: Galapagos/Quito Today we fly from Baltra or San Cristobal to Quito (via Guayaquil). After checking in at our hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure. B
Day 14: Quito/Depart for U.S. Nestled in a valley surrounded by staggering Andes peaks, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito boasts a large historic center which we discover on today’s tour. We also visit Middle of the World Monument, where we can straddle two hemispheres. We celebrate our adventure at tonight’s farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,L,D
Day 15: Depart for U.S. We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flights to the U.S. B
Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain. Also, there are both wet and dry landings in the Galapagos. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest. In addition, Cuzco’s high altitude (11,150 feet) could pose problems for travelers with certain health conditions. Please consult your physician if you have concerns.
B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included