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This most scenic of Ecuador Peru eco-tours includes three top South America destinations. You'll marvel at one of civilization's greatest achievements, Machu Picchu, witness the unparalleled biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, one of nature's true wonders, and experience the otherworldly destination of the Galapagos Islands where wildlife rules. In your Andean travels learning about Peru culture, you'll explore the charming colonial town of Cusco, once the center of the Inca Empire and spend time in the magnificent Sacred Valley on your way to the hidden Inca city of Machu Picchu. You'll stay in an indigenous Amazon eco-lodge in a lush rainforest setting. These South America tours kick off with the Galapagos cruise of your choice. Three indelible, distinctly different, experiences, all incorporated into one great trip, truly make the most of your South America travel time.
 

Itinerary
Day 1: Lima

Arrival and transfer to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours to explore the city, including museum visits, and other sites of interests.

Day 2: Lima - Amazon Jungle Lodge

Accommodations at Posada Amazonas OR Hacienda Concepcion depending on availability. A morning transfer gets you to the airport for a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. To reach your accommodations, you'll take a one-hour motorized canoe ride up the Tambopata River. After unpacking and relaxing a bit, you'll be welcomed and receive a briefing about the lodge and Ecotourism Project before the afternoon's amazing Amazon Rainforest activity, climbing the Canopy Tower. The Canopy Tower is a 115-ft scaffold that offers spectacular views of the river and the surrounding Amazon Rainforest. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Amazon Jungle Lodge

Accommodations at Posada Amazonas OR Hacienda Concepcion depending on availability. Early in the morning, you visit the Tres Chimbadas oxbow lake where fascinating wildlife is sure to be found. After breakfast, you'll depart from Posada Amazonas by boat and take a brief walk to the shore followed by a long, easy canoe ride around the lake. Here you may see giant river otters, turtles, hoatzin and wading birds. Returning to the Amazon Rainforest eco-lodge trails, you'll visit a small parakeet clay lick where dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of parakeets congregate on clear days to ingest clay. This afternoon's Amazon Rainforest tours consist of an excursion to the community's ethno-botanical center and a hike along the surrounding trails with a resident guide who will explain the everyday uses of forest resources in medicine, construction, food and fiber. The relaxing evening will be spent at the lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Amazon Jungle Lodge - Cusco

Your Amazon tours end with an early departure downriver to the airport of Pto. Maldonado for the short flight to Cusco, center of the Inca Empire. Your Peru tour begins as Southern Explorations' guides pick you up at the airport, stopping for a quick tour of the colonial Plaza de Armas. From there, you will be taken to your hotel and be free for the rest of the day to explore the city and acclimatize to the altitude (10,856 ft). (B)

Day 5: Cusco

This morning, your Peru travels take you on a guided walking tour through the colorful markets of Cusco, the colonial cathedral and Koricancha, the impressive Temple of the Sun. After a lunch of regional cuisine, depart for an afternoon tour of prominent Inca sights in and around Cusco. You'll see the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, with its megalithic stone terraces; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small Puka Pukara fortress that protected the royal capital from attacks; and the water temple, Tambo Machay. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel to relax or further explore the fascinating mix of Cusco cultures. (B)

Day 6: Cusco - Sacred Valley

Embark on a day-long guided excursion through the Andean countryside of the legendary Sacred Valley, passing Inca terraces along the steep valley walls before reaching the ruins of Pisac temples that offer panoramic views of granite peaks. In the town of Pisac, you'll find bargains at one of the best textile markets in the Andes. After lunch, you reach the small town of Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), to visit its famous Inca fortress and spend the night. (B,L)

Day 7: Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu

You'll enjoy a satisfying breakfast at your hotel before beginning a walking tour of the Ollantaytambo ruins and town. By midmorning, you'll take a leisurely walk from the hotel to the train station at Ollantaytambo. Following the Urubamba River through a scenic cloud forest, you arrive at the station in time for lunch before boarding a bus that will take you to the hidden citadel of Machu Picchu (7,875 ft.). Here you'll spend an unforgettable day, learning about Machu Picchu history as you explore the famous ruins. You'll return in the late afternoon to nearby Aguas Calientes for a soak in the local hot springs, a dinner of Peru cuisine and overnight at a nearby hotel. (B)

Day 8: Machu Picchu - Chinchero Artisan Market - Cusco

If you choose to wake before dawn, you can see a once-in-a-lifetime Machu Picchu sunrise with few other visitors. Your morning will be spent exploring Machu Picchu on your own which might include a climb to the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu or a walk through the lush cloud forest to the Temple of the Moon. You'll return to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then take the mid-afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo. Your private van will travel to the cooperatively run Chinchero Market, source of some of the most remarkable textiles in Peru. Here you'll enjoy an informative session with weavers, learning how they shear, dye, spin and weave using traditional methods. This is a perfect opportunity for last-minute shopping before returning to Cusco and a final evening at the hotel. (B)

Day 9: Cusco - Lima

In the morning you'll be taken to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight to Quito. Arrival and transfer to your Quito hotel. (B)

Day 10: Lima - Galapagos Islands Cruise

Morning transfer to the Quito airport for a flight to the Galapagos Islands to board your cruise. (B,L,D)

Day 11-13: Galapagos Islands Cruise

Here you'll spend exciting days exploring the Galapagos Islands and observing the unique Galapagos wildlife, staying on a comfortable yacht. Itinerary specifics vary based on which Galapagos cruise vessel you select. Please Contact Us to discuss available Galapagos cruise options during your timeframe. (B,L,D)

Day 14: Galapagos Islands - Quito, Ecuador

You return to mainland Ecuador today, landing at Quito's airport then meeting your driver for the transfer to your hotel for the evening. (B)

Day 15: Quito - Home

Transfer to the airport for the international departure home, the end of Southern Explorations services. If you are interested in more Galapagos tours, trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Quito, we would be happy to arrange them. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

PERU

Peru is a diverse country. With beaches, mountains, rainforest and desert, there is no off-season. But it does pay to know a bit about where you're going, and what you'll need on your Peru tour:

The Andes - Though officially part of the dry season, April and May are considered the Andean spring, while June through October marks the Andean summer. Mid-day temperatures range from 70 to 80 F in the sun. Nighttime temperatures in Cusco range in the 40s F and can dip into the 30s F. Weather is usually clear in the morning with clouds accumulating in the afternoon. Rain can happen in any season, so quality rain gear is essential.

The Amazon - A rainforest environment, the Peruvian Amazon has varied weather conditions and frequent unpredictable rain showers. It is generally hot and humid during the day with more comfortable temperatures through the night. Daytime high temperatures average between 82° and 93° F, and the average nighttime low is between 62° and 73°. Nevertheless, in some areas cold fronts can sweep into the Amazon and push daytime high temperatures down to 50° F and nighttime lows to 43° F. Any time of year, one should always be prepared for cooler temperatures and rain showers. Around 80% of the annual average 79 inches of rainfall occurs during the rainy season (December through March) when heavy rain may continue for hours or days.

Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

GALAPAGOS

The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate more temperate year-round. The islands’ equatorial location ensures twelve hours of sunlight daily, all year long. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.

There are two seasons in the Galapagos:

  • The hot or rainy season arrives with the coming of the warm Panama current. The warmest months are December through June with temperatures ranging from 72-90°F (22-32°C), with February and March being the hottest and sunniest. The sea is at its warmest (in the 70°F range) and tends to be calmer during this time. Although the islands receive slightly more rainfall during these months, most of the lower elevations remain quite arid. Expect blue skies and sunshine and with a chance of short afternoon showers.
  • July through November is the dry or garua season, which begins with the arrival of cold ocean currents. One can expect cooler temperatures and a light mist in the morning during these months. The skies are also a bit cloudier and air temperatures a bit cooler, in the range of 60-75°F (15-24°C). The garua is a mist that forms in the highlands, providing moisture and usually tapering off by midday, leaving skies slightly overcast or sunny for the afternoon. The air temperature can be slightly lower, but the Equator is still a warm place to visit. During this time of year a cold ocean current from the south, called the Antarctic Humboldt current, causes the water temperature to drop slightly, ranging from 60°F- 72°F (15-22°C).

Within both seasons, there are other variants, like altitude, that affect the weather.
The lowest point of elevation is sea level and the highest is Wolf Volcano, Isabela Island (5,600ft or 1,710m). There are seven vegetation zones ranging from arid coastal zones to evergreen cloud forests to treeless shrubless pampa zones, all of which are affected by moisture levels, temperature and sunlight. During the garua season, the coast is very dry while the highlands are much wetter. The hot season may or may not have a rainy period which normally lasts four to six weeks, or in the event of El Nino, a longer period. During the hot season, the coastal zones remain arid. Prevailing winds from the southeast keep the southern sides of the major islands much moister then the northern sides, which fall into a rain shadow resulting in the arid zones reaching a much higher elevation. The months of May and December are changeover periods and weather and sea temperatures in these months tend to vary from year to year depending on the change in the water currents. Occasionally, one will feel humidity, predominantly on the south side of major islands. Compared to the humidity levels in the Amazon or the US South, the humidity in the Galapagos is very low and will not disturb activities.

Snorkeling is an activity offered on all Galapagos trips.
Wetsuits, available onboard most cruises and for all land tours, are recommended June through November. Though sea temperatures vary significantly from island to island, generally all travelers will use a wetsuit during this time. Snorkeling in shallow waters offshore or in protective coves tends to be warmer. Waters to the north, near Genovesa are warmed by the Panama Current, whereas snorkeling off the western island of Isabela is always chilly due to the cold Cromwell undercurrent. The Humboldt Current, or the South Equatorial Current, brings cold sub-Antarctic water that flows through the archipelago eight or nine months a year keeping sea temperatures low. One will experience a variance in sea temperatures while snorkeling on any trip during any time of the year. During the hot season, travelers tend to spend more time in the water, especially at midday when the temperatures are the hottest and wildlife is less active. Snorkeling is an optional activity and those who are not interested in snorkeling have other options.

Sea Conditions are a concern of many cruise travelers.
All Galapagos vessels are small; the largest accommodates only 100 passengers. Naturally, some movement will be felt on all vessels regardless of the time of year or the size of the vessel. The seas around the Galapagos are generally shallow and despite being the crossroads of several currents, the waters are not terribly rough. The seas are at their calmest January through April. December, May and June are transitional months during which one will experience relatively calm seas, though it varies year to year depending on the shift in the currents. July through November, one will find choppier seas, with August through October being the roughest. Certain vessels are more stable than others and cabin location can also help avoid seasickness. Most travel is done at night while passengers are sleeping with the only exception being the short midday transit (two hours or less). During the day, vessels dock in calm waters near shore. Passengers spend most of the day on land or snorkeling. These factors lessen the risk of seasickness. We recommend that you bring over-the-counter or prescription motion sickness medication, though many cruisers discover that the seas are much calmer than anticipated. If you are concerned about motion sickness, please contact us for more details on how to select the right vessel for you.
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-671.9
JUL49-670.8
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

LIMA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-790.0
FEB69-800.0
MAR69-800.0
APR67-760.0
MAY63-720.0
JUN61-690.1
JUL60-670.2
AUG60-660.1
SEP60-670.1
OCT60-690.1
NOV62-720.0
DEC64-760.0

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

CUSCO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN44-656.3
FEB44-655.2
MAR43-664.3
APR41-671.8
MAY39-670.3
JUN33-660.1
JUL32-660.2
AUG35-670.3
SEP39-680.9
OCT42-691.9
NOV43-693.1
DEC44-694.7

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

PUNO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN38-625.2
FEB38-624.3
MAR38-623.8
APR33-621.5
MAY25-620.4
JUN19-610.1
JUL18-610.1
AUG22-630.2
SEP29-640.8
OCT33-651.5
NOV35-662.0
DEC37-643.6

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

PUERTO MALDONADO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN71-8813.6
FEB70-8712.8
MAR70-8811.9
APR69-876.1
MAY66-864.2
JUN63-842.3
JUL62-852.2
AUG64-882.5
SEP66-903.9
OCT69-906.5
NOV70-899.3
DEC70-8812.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

Maps

Galapagos, Machu Picchu and Amazon Tour

Pricing
Starting at
$5,595
Cruise Class5D/4N6D/5N8D/7N
Tourist Superior+$5595+$5795+$6295
First Class+$5640+$5940+$6520
Cruise Ship+$6190+$7580+$7495
Luxury Cruise+$6640+$7740+$8240

This tour combines any Galapagos cruise of your choice with our Amazon & Machu Picchu trip  Your trip costs depend on which vessel and cruise duration you select.  Prices listed here are per person starting at rates.

Internal Airfare:
Airfare Lima/Puerto Maldonado/Cusco/Lima: $550
Airfare Lima/Quito: $425
Round Trip Quito/Galapagos: $560
Round Trip Guayaquil/Galapagos: $525

Entrance to Galapagos to National Park $100 Adult / $50 Child
Galapagos Transit Control Card $20

Peru Single Supplement: $715
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy. A single supplement also applies to single travelers in a private cabin on Galapagos cruises. Single travelers willing to share a cabin with another passenger of the same gender can avoid the single supplement on certain vessels.

Included in tour cost
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil
  • All land and sea transportation during the itinerary
  • All meals on Galapagos cruise
  • Ferry ticket
  • Galapagos cruise
  • Local Quito or Guayaquil representative
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Domestic airfare to and from Galapagos Islands
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 Adult/$50 Child)
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)

Galapagos, Machu Picchu and Amazon Tour

Trip Dates
Departure dates depend on the duration of your Galapagos cruise and the boat of your choice. Please contact us for more details.
Friday, January 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Contact Us
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available
Guayaquil
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Quito
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Amazon
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cusco
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lima
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Sacred Valley
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Our group planned this trip 18 months in advance. We are a disparate set of personalities, many of us are well-traveled and research our planned activities. Speaking for our group, and I feel comfortable doing so because everyone has written me stating that our Galapagos Trip was the best of their lives. We cannot say enough about the Grace. Every aspect of the trip was well planned and executed. The food and services were excellent. Our rooms were very well maintained at least twice a day. The facilities served our group of 18 perfectly. We especially liked the daily briefings so that we were aware of what was coming, but the map on the wall in the lounge that was updated twice a day made our experience extremely pleasant. The chef and Michelle could not have been nicer. Both in food and drink served, personality and service. The Captain and crew, especially the Panga crew, were so kind and made our trips easy. And they watched out for us when we were in the water. But best of all were our Naturalists. They made the daily experience a real treat. Both Raffa and Sam were also fun to be with. And to top it off, Raffa gave us a copy of all 500 photos he had taken on his own camera so that his photo dates and the daily drawings on the map made it easy for us to reconstruct the trip. Please express our gratitude to the entire staff of the Grace. - Team Binder (Galapagos onboard the Grace)

We just returned from our Galapagos/Machu Picchu trip and I wanted to send you a note to thank you for planning such a phenomenal trip for us! Juan, our guide, and Boris, our driver, were FANTASTIC! The bus we traveled on was much larger than we anticipated and a great way to travel around!  We cannot say enough nice things about Juan and Boris! They were flexible with our schedule, providing extra time to us when we wanted it at the market in Pisac, able to provide other options for us when a planned activity had to be cancelled due to a mudslide, and even stopped on the side of the road for us to grab some cuy (guinea pig being roasted on a stick in this tiny town we were passing through). There is so much more I could say. Trip of a lifetime! I will definitely recommend you to everyone! - Debbie Cohen (Ocean Spray & Machu Picchu)

We had a great trip - very impressed with Southern Explorations. Jorge, your representative in Quito was super. He was always on time, friendly and informative as well as a great ambassador for his country. All the connections were on time and well planned- would consider another trip with Southern Explorations. - Roger & Pricilla Beaver, Indiana (Galapagos Island Cruise & Amazon Lodge)

I researched both local and website travel agents and Southern Explorations was the only one I found that was both knowledgeable and easy to use. Their rates were also at or below the other websites for quotes on the very same vessels. The ability to use the website and also call to speak to actual people who had been on this trip gave us so much more confidence. We would use Southern Explorations again! Galapagos Islands is the trip of a lifetime! - Susan Mehall, Virginia (Galapagos Island Cruise)

Best trip so far and I have been around the world...I cried when I got off the boat. Jorge was a great guid in Ecuador and one that was perfect for us, not pushy, did anything we wanted. We felt like all were our friends after the trip and really would love to continue to be in touch with them all, as they were super people.  -Kathy Harvey, Massachusetts (Galapagos Island Cruise)

The overall holiday was excellent. The Southern Explorations element was fantastic and the Eclipse could not be faulted, except I ate far too much!  - Natasha Rowlands, UK (Galapagos Island Cruise)


A phenomenal experience that exceeded our expectations. Superb customer service from start to finish. The itinerary allowed us to experience a variety of islands, species and geography. The guides were engaging and informative, we learned a tremendous amount without feeling 'taught'. The ship's crew were friendly and fun while insuring top-notch cleanliness and delicious meals and snacks. It is great to come home and think ‘I wouldn't change a thing- it was perfect'.  - Carol Majewski, New Hampshire (Galapagos Island Cruise)


It’s been about two weeks now since we returned from our wonderful Galapagos adventure. Now that we’ve had time to really reflect upon that wonderful experience we are beginning to realize how truly spectacular and inspirational it was and how much it has enriched our lives and our appreciation thereof. Thus, I am compelled to tell you how much we appreciate your efforts and those of the other fine folks at Southern Explorations including, but not limited to Eric, Justin and Jorge (Quito Rep.). You and your colleagues at Southern Explorations demonstrated your commitment to insuring your customer’s having a well-organized, informative and most enjoyable adventure. I especially appreciate your and your colleagues’ rapid response to our group’s questions and requests during the planning stages of our trip. During that time we made several inquiries about the itinerary, craft, clothing, and onshore accommodations. Without exception, you folks responded, in detail, within 24 hours of each inquiry.I know that you receive evaluations from all your clients and cannot imagine that the vast majority of them are of a most positive nature. Likewise, we returned our original evaluation which reflected our enjoyment of the Galapagos adventure and the excellent service you and Southern Explorations provided to make it happen. However, now that we had more time to truly reflect upon our experience and compare notes with many of our friends about similar experiences, we just want to extend our special thanks to you for an outstanding experience that will make each sunrise a little brighter and each sunset something more to contemplate. Gracias!  - Charlie and Joyce Ault, New Mexico (Galapagos Island Cruise)


Our experience with Southern Explorations has been nothing short of fantastic. My husband and I believe this to be the BEST vacation we have ever taken. The crew of the Athalla II was phenomenal. We were not sure what to expect since this was our first small boat cruise. We are thrilled with all that we saw and accomplished. Our vacation was amazing thanks to you, our Quito guide, the Athala II, her wonderful crew and our Galapagos guide/naturalist.  - Cindy Miller, Maryland (Galapagos Island Cruise)


Our trip to Quito and the Galapagos Islands was the trip of a lifetime and it did not disappoint. Booking through Southern Explorations made it very easy and worry free. It was nice to have someone to pick us up at the airport and drive us to our hotel (I fear we never would have found it!) and to be there for all of our transfers to and from tours and flights. The Galapagos Islands adventure is worth every penny that you have to save to make it happen and if you are a nature lover, you simply must go. - Darcy and Daniel Keep, USA (Galapagos Island Cruise)


I don't believe I've ever felt so taken care of...every step of the way. It was an incredible experience. I highly recommend Southern Explorations and plan to use them for my next excursion...wherever that may be!  -Jan McArdle, California (Galapagos Island Cruise)


My husband and I would like to say how much we enjoyed our family holiday to the Galapagos , and thank you for making all the arrangements for 18 of us. We had an unforgettable experience thanks to Southern Explorations!  - Mary and Tim Stoneman (Galapagos Island Cruise)


Our trip to the Galapagos was more amazing than I could have imagined. The boat, Nemo II, was the perfect size for our family -- and much better than one of the larger ships. My daughter (age 10) loved being on a catamaran - and the crew was very friendly and welcoming to her. The rooms were comfortable and clean with nice bathrooms. We went walking and snorkeling every day - usually two hikes and one snorkel. Our guide was excellent - very knowledgeable and well-spoken. She showed a great deal of pride in the islands and in conservation efforts. My daughter learned more in 1-day than she would have from all 6 days of school that she missed. It was a great trip!  - Molly Stevens and Family (Galapagos Island Cruise)


 


Thank-you for the trip of a life time and I have already recommended you to everyone who asks!  - Wendy Williams, Alberta, Canada (Galapagos Island Cruise & Machu Picchu)


Southern Explorations was great to work with. Customer service and follow up were outstanding.  - Amy Fisher & Deborah Boardman, Virginia (Galapagos Island Cruise)


It's one thing to have a great experience planning and booking the trip - Carrie Beck answered every question gently, helpfully and thoroughly, even providing website links and additional helpful advice beyond my original question. It's another to receive such warm and inspiring follow up - we received a welcome packet with 2 Southern Exploration caps, advice on packing and restaurants in the areas we would visit, as well as websites for the sites during our trip. We were totally prepared for each aspect of the trip. Each person we encountered on the trip surpassed our expectations of service, knowledge, friendliness, and flexibility. Not a single person said "That's not my job." - every single person from the driver who picked us up at the airport to the captain of the Anahi boat pitched in where needed. Each hotel experience was a higher level than we had expected, every restaurant referral was fabulous, even the weather during our stay was wonderful!!! Now THAT'S a great travel company!!!  - Pamela Chaves, New Mexico (Galapagos Island Cruise)


What an incredible experience! From Quito, Ecuador to the cloud forest of Bellavista and on to the Galapagos Islands: Southern Explorations pulled together an amazing package that included a top-notch boat, excellent guides, and delicious food! And of course, we'll never forget the fantastic wildlife.  All in all, it was the best - the trip of a lifetime! For our next trip to Central or South America, we would definitely work with Southern Explorations again! - Aimee and Michael Cossen (Galapagos Eclipse and Bellavista Cloud Forest)

I was very impressed with the organization of our trip.  Everything Southern Explorations was responsible for went smoothly and everything was on schedule.  The Manatee on the Amazon had some initial trouble but it could not have been known or anticipated by SE.  Once again I would like to compliment Jorge on his work.  He made our comings and goings to and from Quito very easy.  If I go to South America again my first call will be to Southern Explorations. Thank you. - Peter Tuck, CA (Corals & Manatee)

Galapagos & Machu Picchu - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We can combine any of our Galapagos tours or cruises with any of our Peru itineraries. In Peru, we do have a few classic itineraries that work for most people such as Experience Machu Picchu, Amazon and Machu Picchu or the Classic Inca Trail, but the options are limitless. In the Galapagos, you will have an amazing experience no matter what islands or visitor sites you see. We ask that travelers first decide the type of trip (land-based or cruise) and travel dates in order to see what is available before focusing on the specific itinerary.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Galapagos and Peru itinerary for you if our existing itineraries are not exactly what you are looking for. You can also check out our extensions in mainland Ecuador and Peru extensions to make additions to our existing trips. Contact an Adventure Travel Coordinator for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to Galapagos & Machu Picchu?
A: Both the Galapagos and Peru are great year-round destinations. Many travelers like to visit Peru between the months of April and October, when the chances of rain are much lower. Avoid the height of summer and the Christmas holiday season for smaller crowds and the best selection of accommodations or cruises.
Q: What is the weather like in Galapagos & Machu Picchu?
A: The Galapagos has a sub-tropical climate with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to high 80s throughout the year. There are two seasons caused by different prevailing ocean currents. The warmer, wetter season runs from December to May, and a cooler, dryer season takes over from June – November. Even in the wet season, rain is generally confined to brief afternoon showers and shouldn’t disrupt your trip.
 
The most traveled section of Peru, where Cusco and Machu Picchu are locate, also has a dry season (April – October) and a rainy season (November – March) with daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 40s. Rainfall and temperatures vary in other regions depending on season and elevation. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like in Galapagos & Machu Picchu?
A: A typical day Galapagos and Machu Picchu will vary from tour to tour, but generally, you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing.  The schedule in the Galapagos is set by the National Park and will include set visitor sites in the morning and afternoon. Your schedule will be more flexible and variable in Peru. A lunch break is included throughout the trip and you’ll retire to your hotel or cruise in the late afternoon with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Galapagos & Machu Picchu?
A: Our trips in both destinations vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you. 
Q: How much time do I need to visit Galapagos & Machu Picchu?
A: We can put together a Galapagos and Peru trip that is as short as 10 days, but we recommend about two weeks in order to have enough time in each destination. 
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: The Galapagos Islands are relatively busy year-round and cruises usually sell out.  Peru is also a popular destination and space at the most desirable hotels fills up quickly. As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. For the best selection of cruises, plan at least six to nine months in advance throughout the year, and a year or more ahead of time for anything over the Christmas holiday season or May through July
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We hire only guides who are native to the destination and are licensed and/or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English, and some also speak indigenous languages. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
 
All guides on Galapagos cruises are freelance and hired directly by the vessels. Guides on any of the cruises we offer will be experienced, fluent in English and hold a degree in a related area. Cruises that are mid-range or above will have the best guides possible. Our more economical options will also have great guides, but they may have a little less experience or have slightly more basic English skills. Please note that many of the best guides in the Galapagos now choose to skip formal certification process that defines the level of each guide because of the high costs and the time it demands. Because of this, the designations of Level I, II, III are no longer an accurate indicator of the quality of your guide.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including boutique hotels and larger business style hotels. Throughout the rest of your trip we work with a combination of historic haciendas, traditional Ecuadorian or Peruvian-style hotels and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: In the Galapagos, this will depend on the type of tour. There is a maximum of 12 travelers on land tours. For a cruise, this will depend on the capacity of the vessel, but there will never be more than 16 travelers to one guide. Most of our Peru tours are private when paired with a Galapagos cruise. The maximum number of travelers on a group tour is eight, unless otherwise noted.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.