15 Days : $9,536 per person inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, superior outside cabins in Galapagos, airfare to and from Galapagos and Galapagos park fees, luxury train to Machu Picchu, all meals, small group naturalist tours in Galapagos, private guides and car and driver on land. International airfare is additional and we can assist. Business Class airfare at special rates is available and highly recommended. This exploration takes us to the islands where Charles Darwin developed his theories of where man came from and to Machu Picchu where Hiram Bingham discovered a lost world that raised more questions than answers about the Incan Empire. These two adventuers are undertaken in complete comfort and commenced in the delightful,colonial treasure of Quito.
Day 1 Depart USA
Today you depart for Quito the Capital of Ecuador one of Latin America's undiscovered gems. Although it absorbs less than 2% of the earth's surface it is home to 17% of its variety of birdlife. Upon arrival in Quito late in the evening you will be met by your driver and escorted to your deluxe hotel.
Day 2 Saquisili Indian Market
After Breakfast you head to Saquisili where it is market day. There are eight plazas in this colorful town filled with locals selling and buying. An excellent opportunity to acquire hand made handicrafts perhaps even a panama hat which, despite its name, is made in Ecuador. After lunch you return to Quito where the rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner is at your hotel this evening.
Day 3 Exploring Quito and the "middle of the world"
After breakfast, your guide will be waiting to take you on a personally escorted tour of this sublime city, arguably the most beautiful in South America with a refreshing spring-like climate dominated by the snow-capped mountain volcanoes. Destroyed by the Inca's themselves to stop the city falling into the hands of Pizarro and his followers, the city was rebuilt as a Spanish colonial masterpiece. You will also have the chance to straddle the line indicating the Equator so you will have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern. This evening you will view the colonial architecture of the city illuminated before dinner at a popular Quito restaurant.
Day 4 Quito/Galapagos
Today your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport where you will take a ninety minute flight west into the Pacific to a group of Islands spread over 19,000 square miles...The Galapagos. Here, the birds and mammals that evolved in isolation never developed a fear of man and provided the natural laboratory for Charles Darwin and his seminal studies on evolution. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Galapagos Explorer II, one of the finest vessels to cruise these waters.
Day 5 Bartholome and Santiago Islands
After breakfast your Zodiac will take you to Bartholome Island for some snorkeling under the watchful eye of Pinnacle rock, a Galapagos landmark. After lunch on board you head to nearby Santiago (also called James) island where you can walk on volcanic flow that was created less than 100 years ago.
Day 6 Isabela and Fernandina Islands
Today you visit Isabela Island, the largest in the Galapagos which is made up of six volcanoes the tallest of which is close to 6,000 feet. Here you will discover the blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins (yes, penguins at the Equator), pink flamingoes, Galapagos seals and the famous giant tortoises. After lunch and a short cruise you visit Fernandina or Narborough Island where you will view Lu Cumbre, a volcano that has erupted ten times over the last 150 years.
Day 7 Santa Cruz Island
Also known as Indefatigable Island, Santa Cruz is the main commercial centre in the Galapagos. Your first visit will be to the mangrove swamps of Cerra Dragon where green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Sharks can be seen. In the afternoon you visit the Charles Darwin Research Station at Puerto Ayora where there is a captive breeding centre for iguanas and the famous giant tortoises.
Day 8 San Cristobal Island/Guayaquil/Lima
After breakfast you arrive in Wreck Bay on San Cristobal Island, the administrative capital of the Galapagos. You depart the ship and are driven to the airport for the flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and a major port not only for Ecuador but for South America. You connect in Guayaquil for a flight to Lima, capital of Peru. You are met by your driver and taken to your luxury hotel, a national monument, and located in San Isidro, Lima's most prestigious area.
Day 9 Cuzco, the three mile high city
After breakfast, your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport for the flight to Cuzco. When you land, you will have gone from sea level in Lima to 11,000 feet in Cuzco making it one of the highest cities in the world. The altitude can make you sick and we recommend that you spend at least a couple of hours resting in your hotel room. To try to do too much, too soon, could spoil the exciting things to come. Once you have rested, you will embark on a private tour of this colonial gem but also offering some intriguing Incan sites nearby. This evening you have dinner in the Pre-Columbian Museum of Art
Day 10 The Urubamba Sacred Valley
This morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel and, along with your driver, you will all head off to the Urubamba Sacred Valley to learn more about the Incan culture. You will visit Chincero, twelve indigenous communities maintaining the old ways. You then visit Nilda Callanaupa's native Indian weaving school where young girls learn to make the complex styles and techniques of their Incan ancestors. We are pleased to offer you a " special" picnic lunch including wine before heading to Ollantaytambo. a typical Incan town. You return to Cuzco to freshen up and then your host will take you to La Cicciolina, considered one of Cuzco's best restaurants and a lot of fun as well
Day 11 The Luxury Train to Machu Picchu
After breakfast, your driver takes you to the station where you board the luxurious Hiram Bingham train operated by Orient-Express. From the champagne upon arrival to the outstanding brunch with fine wines there is no better way to travel to the Lost City. Upon arrival at Machu Picchu you are met by your guide and taken on a private tour of this unique site. The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top, erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu ( meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small ( five square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urumbamba River, the cloud-shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses. After an in-depth exploration you return to our eco-hotel located near the site
Day 12 Exploring the eco-system around Machu Picchu
Today you have the opportunity to discover the fascinating yet fragile ecosystem of the Machu Picchu cloud forest and learn about its many endemic plants and animals. Early risers will be afforded the opportnity for some spectacular bird-watching including sixteen different varieties of hummingbirds. This area is also one of the Orchid Capitals of the world with over 372 different orchids in bloom. From the largest orchid flower in the world, the lady slipper (Phragmipedium caudatum), to species new to science actually discovered in the grounds of your hotel and tiny flowering specimens that can be properly appreciated only through a magnifying glass; there are orchids to amaze both the novice and the expert. After a full day of exploring you are transferred to the station where the Hiram Bingham awaits. As you enjoy a superb dinner with fine wines, you make our way to Cuzco where your driver awaits to deliver you to your hotel
Day 13 Morning in Cuzco, Return to Lima
After breakfast, the morning is at leisure for you to enjoy some personal time, more sightseeing or shopping for Peruvian textiles and handicrafts. After a light lunch your are driven to the airport for the return flight to Lima. Your driver is waiting ti take you to your hotel where you have a chance to freshen up before going to dinner at Chala, one of our favorite Lima restaurants.
Day 14 A Special Lunch and a Special Dinner
Today is the last day of your adventure and your last day in Peru so we want to make it a special one. After a leisurely breakfast your guide will be waiting along with your car and driver who will load your luggage into the car. Your guide will initially take you to the Larco Herrera museum where you will be given a private tour by the Curator. Following the tour you will have lunch in the museum. You will then go on a private tour of the city of Peru seeing both the moden Lima of today and the Lima onf colonial times. As a special farewell treat you will be taken to Casa Aliaga which is located in the centre of Lima with the Presdent's Mansion next door. The Casa Aliaga was built in 1535, on a piece of land given given by Francisco Pizzaro to Geronimo de Aliaga as recognition of his military service during the conquest of Peru. Since then it has been continuously inhabited by members of the Aliaga family who are your hosts this evening. Upon arrival you will have a tour of the mansion by a knowlegeable guide followed by cocktails and a private dinner. After dinner you will be taken to the airport for your flight back to the US which departs a liitle before midnight.
Day 15 Arrive in the USA
Your flight arrives back in the USA at breakfast time.
Available Year Round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Quito, Galapgos Islands, Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu
• Transfers and sightseeing by private helicopter or aircraft as indicated on the itinerary
• Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
• Private Transfers to and from the airport at destination
• All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
•Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
• Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
• Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
• Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
• Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
• Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
• Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest information regarding passports and visa requirements)