Arrive in tropical Guayaquil, gateway to the Galápagos, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Guayaquil | Baltra, the Galápagos
Fly to the remote Galápagos island of Baltra, where you join your naturalist guide for the ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island. Disembark and drive up into the island’s mist-shrouded highlands in search of giant tortoises. Continue on to Puerto Ayora and board ‘La Pinta,’ your expedition ship for your four-night cruise through the Galápagos’ northern islands. ‘La Pinta’ is built for adventure, offering spacious cabins, floor-to-ceiling windows and a comfortable atmosphere. The vessel is ecologically sound and comes equipped with pangas (rubber rafts), a glass-bottom boat and sea kayaks that allow for independent exploration. Tonight, dine on board. (Note: On select dates, your cruise follows an alternate route, visiting the Galápagos’ eastern islands).
Cruising the Galápagos | Eden & Sombrero Chino
After breakfast, get fitted for your wetsuit and snorkeling gear. Then, Ride Like a Local, boarding a panga for a shore excursion to Eden Islet, a biodiverse enclave secluded off Santa Cruz. Here, observe the island’s iconic blue-footed boobies. Take this opportunity to snorkel the reef or view marine life aboard a glass-bottom boat. Back aboard ‘La Pinta,’ cruise onward to Sombrero Chino, yet another secluded islet of the Galápagos archipelago. Disembark your panga to hike wilderness trails, swim in a sandy cove, and snorkel among white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins.
Cruising the Galápagos | Bartolomé & Santiago Islands
Disembark on Bartolomé Island to hike the volcanic terrain leading to its summit. After a panga ride to visit the penguins of Pinnacle Rock, snorkel the reef, relax on the beach or take in the local marine life aboard a glass-bottom boat. Later, swim or snorkel along the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay.
Cruising the Galápagos | Genovesa Island
This morning, hike and snorkel Genovesa Island, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Explore Darwin Bay, snorkeling along the cliffs or paddling out in sea kayaks. View the island’s cliffs before disembarking to climb the steep, rocky pass of Prince Phillip’s Steps. Your ascent leads to a clifftop frequented by Nazca boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and the elusive short-eared owl.
Guayaquil & Lima, Peru | Begin a Peruvian Adventure
Disembark ‘La Pinta’ at Baltra Island, where you transfer to the airport to fly to mainland Ecuador, and then, take a connecting flight to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Cusco | Sacred Valley
Fly to Cusco, located more than 11,000 feet above sea level, where you are met and transferred to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En route, visit Awana Kancha, a center where South American camelids, such as llamas and alpacas, are bred. Learn about the valuable fibers created from their coats. Then, visit the beautiful Hacienda Sarapampa, where you will enjoy a Chef’s Table experience. Sit down to lunch with the owner, who cordially shares his family’s history in farming and shows you around the farm.
Sacred Valley | Like a Journey Back in Time
Today, visit Moray, a fascinating archaeological site comprising a series of concentric agricultural terraces, some almost 500 feet deep. Then, journey to a remote village seemingly frozen in time, where you experience ancient agricultural methods used for centuries in a challenging Andean mountain environment, on an A&K-exclusive experience. Afterward, stop for lunch at Rancho Wayra, where you are treated to a spectacular equestrian performance of Paso horses, and marvel at the graceful gait of these elegant animals. Return to your hotel to enjoy a relaxing Scenic Sundowner before dinner.
Machu Picchu | Bingham’s Stunning Find
Begin your day with a visit to the imposing fortress of Ollantaytambo, with its massive stone terraces that hug the mountain slopes. Next, Ride Like a Local by train, journeying deep into the Andes toward Machu Picchu and gazing out at the spectacular Peruvian countryside. Once on-site, explore the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu, guided by a local expert. Overlooking the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century at the height of the Inca Empire. Although this “Lost City” was revealed to the rest of the world by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911, its location was long known to locals. Its original purpose, however, remains a matter of some conjecture, as the Incas left no written records. As you wander amid the age-old stone walls, picture life as it might have been in this mystical citadel, set some 8,000 feet above sea level. Tonight, stay in the only hotel on-site, designed to echo the soaring natural surroundings.
Machu Picchu | Walk the Spectacular Ruins
Rise with the sun and join your expert guide to walk through Machu Picchu in the early morning mist before the crowds arrive. After your explorations, bid adieu to this “Lost City of the Incas” and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Ollantaytambo by train, savoring incomparable views of the mountain scenery that surrounds you. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in Cusco, a 400-year-old architectural treasure that was once a monastery. Tonight, relax or stroll this ancient Incan capital on your own.
Cusco | Design Your Day
This morning, discover Cusco on a city excursion that includes the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Temple, a Dominican church built on the foundations of the Koricancha, the Incas’ principal religious building. Later, visit the well-preserved ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a testament to Incan architectural skill. Compiled from colossal stones, the largest of which may weigh as much as 200 tons, the walls were cut and placed together with incredible precision and without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place. Back in Cusco, stop for lunch at a local restaurant near the plaza. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Visit the San Blas Neighborhood, a unique, bohemian enclave where you find the workshops of artisans.
Stroll San Pedro Market and Visit the Inca Museum, for a taste of local fruits and cheese, and a glimpse into history.
Join a Photographer in Cusco who helps you capture authentic images of the city’s architecture and people.
Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at the elegant MAP Café.
Relax on a morning at leisure in Cusco. Later today, fly to Lima and connect with your homebound flight.
‘La Pinta’ is a stylish expedition vessel ideal for small-group exploration. The ship and its shore excursions are shared with other passengers.
Customize This Journey
If you would like to customize this itinerary and create a Tailor Made Journey just for you and your companions, click here to inquire, or speak to your travel professional.
PREFER THE EASTERN ISLANDS ROUTE?
View the itinerary for the version of this journey that visits the Galápagos’ eastern islands.