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In just two action-packed weeks, this trip allows you to explore two of the top attractions in South America, Peru's Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. Your adventure begins in the magnificent Andean highlands of Peru, where you´ll experience the highlights of the impressive Inca Empire and visit the colorful markets of Cusco and Chinchero. Our native guides will take you off the beaten path to visit the legendary Inca ruins of Sacsayhuamán, Ollantaytambo and the finale, the hidden city of Machu Picchu. Next it´s off to the pristine Galapagos for a land-based week of adventures to observe the archipelago´s unique wildlife at close range on hiking trails, while snorkeling, sea kayaking and mountain biking. You'll explore several of the central and southern islands, staying in comfortable hotels and taking advantage of your prime location to experience the unique Galapagos Island culture. For travelers on a schedule, this Peru Ecuador adventure to these countries' most well-known sights makes a unique South America travel odyssey.



 

Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Lima, Peru

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 - Cusco

In the morning, you'll take a 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 3: Explore 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 4: Cusco - Sacred Valley of the Incas

Today you'll take a day-long guided excursion that passes through snowcapped mountains to reach the legendary Sacred Valley of the Incas. Among the sights along the way are Inca agricultural terraces that climb steep valley walls and the ruined temples of Pisac with panoramic views of jagged granite peaks before stopping in the town of the same name. Here you'll visit one of the best textile markets in the Andes and learn about the local Peru culture. Following lunch, you'll travel on to Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), a small town with an impressive Inca fortress. You'll stay overnight at a hotel in Ollantaytambo. (B)

Day 5: Sacred Valley of the Incas - Machu Picchu

This morning you'll have time to enjoy breakfast at the hotel and take a refreshing walking tour of the town and its Inca ruins before heading to the Ollantaytambo train station for today's unforgettable trip. Making its way east, the train follows the Urubamba River into a magnificent cloud forest, arriving at the Aguas Calientes station. Here you'll have a traditional lunch of Peru cuisine before meeting the bus to take you the rest of the way to Machu Picchu (7,875 ft.). You'll spend the afternoon exploring these most famous of Inca ruins, returning in the late afternoon to nearby Aguas Calientes where you'll be spending the night at a local hotel. You'll have time for a soothing soak in the hot springs and a tasty dinner before turning in early to be rested for tomorrow's unforgettable Machu Picchu experience. (B)

Day 6: Machu Picchu - Cusco

Today, you'll have the opportunity to see sunrise at Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive and spend more time among the ruins. You may wish to climb to the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu or take a picturesque walk to the Temple of the Moon. At midday, you'll return to Aguas Calientes for lunch before catching an early afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo. A private van will be waiting at the train station to travel to the collective textile market at Chinchero, where the traditional weaving methods of the Sacred Valley will be explained and you'll see some of the best textiles available in Peru. This is the ideal place for last-minute shopping before returning to your Cusco hotel for the evening. (B)

Day 7: Cusco - Lima - Quito
In the morning, you are transferred to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight to Quito. Upon your arrival in Quito, a Southern Explorations representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. (B)
Day 8: Quito - San Cristobal (El Junco & Cerro Colorado)
In the morning, an SE representative picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island. After arrival and check-in at your comfortable hotel in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Your adventure starts in the San Cristobal Highlands with a visit to El Junco, the only permanent freshwater lake in the Galapagos. Walk around the lake enjoying panoramic views and close encounters with San Cristobal’s native flora and fauna. This Crater Lake is home to frigate birds, common gallinules, white-cheeked pintail ducks and if you’re lucky, you’ll witness the unique ritual of frigate birds washing the salt from their feathers in the lake’s fresh water. Next up is Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, a superb breeding center where tortoises roam free. With your guide, walk amongst wild giant tortoises and learn about conservation efforts to preserve these endangered endemic species. Return to town in the late afternoon and spend the night at a charming San Cristobal hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 9: San Cristobal (Kayaking & Snorkeling)
Transfer to the coastline where your kayaks are waiting for you. Paddle along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, full of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. Keep your eyes out for rays swimming below and marine iguanas perching on lava rocks along the coast. In the afternoon, leave your kayaks and continue exploring by boat. The visiting site will depend on the day of the week, according to Galapagos National Park regulations. You will swim with sea lions and snorkeling all while on the lookout for spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. With luck, you might even see some menacing but harmless hammerhead sharks! (B, L)
Day 10: San Cristobal - Isabela (Biking, Beaches & Tortoises)
This morning, you travel to the small town of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island, the largest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. After arrival, you pick up mountain bikes in Puerto Villamil and begin biking through the town’s sandy streets toward the Wall of Tears. Leaving town and following a sandy coastal path, you enjoy gorgeous views of white sand beaches and the sparkling ocean beyond. A stop at a brackish lagoon provides the opportunity to spot flamingos before turning inland toward a great lookout tower offering expansive views of the town, beaches and the Pacific Ocean. Continue further until you reach the Wall of Tears (Muro de las Lagrimas), a lava rock wall built by prisoners between 1946 and 1959 when Isabela was used as a penal colony. On the way back to town, pass through a manzanillo forest surrounded by wetlands, home to the famous giant pink flamingos a delightful and unexpected sight for Galapagos! The path leads you to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you’ll have the opportunity to see hatchlings and adolescent tortoises up close. Return to your hotel and enjoy a free evening of beach strolling at sunset and dinner at a seaside restaurant. (B,L)
Day 11: Isabela (Sierra Negra Hiking)
Get ready for an exhilarating day - you’re heading up a volcano! Sierra Negra Volcano is one of the island’s most active volcanoes and last erupted in October 2005. As you hike to the perimeter of the caldera, be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands, such as the bright red vermillion flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Once you reach the rim, you’ll be met with a panoramic view that stretches across one the largest calderas in the world. Continue on to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico en route for a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching north of Isabela. On the way back to town, we’ll make a stop at a hacienda local coffee and seasonal fruits. Once you’re back in town, the rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the gorgeous white sand beach of Isabela followed by a beautiful sunset. (B,L)
Day 12: Isabela (Sea Kayaking & Snorkeling)
After breakfast, it’s time to enjoy some time on the water! You’ll slip into ocean kayaks and paddle through a maze of rocky mangrove areas at a place called Tintoreras, a group of small islets south of the town of Puerto Villamil. Here you will see one of the smallest penguin in the world, also endemic to Galapagos. Watch as they perch ashore and whiz by you in the water! Paddle in company of playful sea lions, spotted eagle rays, turtles, iguanas, as well as blue footed boobies and other marine birds, all from your kayak! Next, head to Concha y Perla for another snorkeling opportunity. Spend rest of the day at leisure enjoying the island. You are free to relax, enjoy the beach and even join the locals by giving surfing a try! (B, L)
Day 13: Isabela - Santa Cruz (Tortuga Bay & Visit Artisans)
After bidding a fond farewell to Isabela, we board a public speed boat for a scenic ride to Santa Cruz Island. Upon arrival, you’ll take a short hike through a distinctive dry cacti forest to the stunning, pristine beach of Tortuga Bay. Along the way, you will see many native birds, lizards, and plants. Emerge from the forest onto the spectacular Tortuga Bay, home of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Soft, white, fine sand and pristine turquoise waters welcome us for a perfect and relaxed day. This afternoon, visit artisan workshops including a chocolate shop where you learn about chocolate and the cocoa bean. Ecuador produces some of the world’s finest cocoa, and you´ll taste a wide assortment of chocolates made on-site from raw, local ingredients. (B,L)
Day 14: Santa Cruz (Highlands & Beaches)
After breakfast we head inland to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a misty forested land perfect for Giant Tortoises. Your first stop is at El Chato Natural Reserve, where you hike in search of the iconic Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Spot them taking mud baths in the ponds or trying to cross the forest walking slowly under the vegetation. This is a healthy native forest area that hosts the unique orchid of the islands among other endemic vegetation. Next, had to a highland farm for a locally prepared lunch with the people of Galapagos and learn what life is like for people who were born and raised in this land we consider a wildlife paradise. After lunch, drive back to the coast to Garrapatero Beach to swim, enjoy amazing landscape and bird watching at the ponds next to the sandy area before return to town for the night. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight on your last night in the Enchanted Islands, (B,L,D)
Day 15: Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito
After breakfast you are transferred to Baltra Island, where you bid farewell to the Galapagos and board your return flight to Quito. Upon your afternoon arrival back to mainland Ecuador, an SE representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. If you wish, you may fly home on a red eye flight tonight. Please check with us to ensure the timing works. (B)
Day 16: Quito - Home
An SE representative picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your international flight home, marking the end of SE services. Trip extensions to other regions or extra days can also be arranged. (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 Multisport & Machu Picchu

Pricing
4 or more
$6,190
3 Travelers
$6,390
2 Travelers
$6,590

Internal Airfare:
Airfare Lima/Cusco/Lima: $375
Airfare Lima/Quito: $425
Round Trip Quito / Galapagos: $575

Entrance to Galapagos to National Park: $100 Adult / $50 Child
Galapagos Transit Control Card: $20
Galapagos Christmas Departure Surcharge: $255

Peru Single Supplement: $575
Galapagos Single Supplement: $795
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy. 

Included in tour cost
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Galapagos/Quito
  • All land and sea transportation during the itinerary
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Sea kayaking gear
  • Snorkeling gear
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 Adult/$50 Child)
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)
  • Wetsuit rental, recommended May - November
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Galapagos Multisport & Machu Picchu

Trip Dates
Multiple departures each month. Please contact us for available trip dates.
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available
Quito
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Isabela Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
San Cristobal Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Santa Cruz Island - Puerto Ayora
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Aguas Calientes
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

We had such a wonderful trip. Thanks to Southern Explorations helping to plan every detail.   -Kathleen & Tony V. (Galapagos Island Cruise & Machu Picchu)


I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful experience we had with Marisa and Southern Explorations on our trip to the Galapagos and Peru. Every reservation and transfer and hotel was perfect. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and cannot recommend them highly enough. You are truly in for a perfect trip if you let Southern Explorations help you!   -Shirley and family (Galapagos Island Cruise & Machu Picchu)


Great trip -- we had a wonderful time. Thank you for the help in organizing a wonderful trip.   -Dennis and family (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)


This was the first organized tour that we have ever taken, but now that we have experienced what a great job Southern Explorations does, it will not be the last. We are now spoiled and will expect any other trip we take to measure up to their standards.   -Dan & Randy Busch, Arkansas (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)


We have been home almost a week and are still going through all the photos of our wonderful trip to Peru and Ecuador.  Many amazing sights and many great memories made! Our guide in Machu Picchu not only made sure we saw the highlights and explained a lot about the Andean way of life and the history of the Incas, but also made sure his photo crazy charges had the best places to take photos and time to do so.  He took charge and everything went smoothly and efficiently with tickets, trains, buses etc.  We didn’t have to worry about a thing. The Galapagos trip was also great!  I really liked the boat we chose (The Odyssey) with Lisa’s help.  The cabins and bathrooms were really spacious.  The common areas both inside and on the upper decks were large and had nice outdoor furniture and chaise lounges. Our nature guide was very knowledgeable and attentive.  He made sure we didn’t encounter other groups much on the islands.  The crew was very helpful and attentive.  The food was good and plentiful with a variety of choices.  We saw a ton of animals and birds!  It was a naturalists and photographer’s paradise! All in all, the trip was an amazing experience.  We felt safe and didn’t get sick except for mild altitude sickness. Your staff took care of our every need and we didn’t have to worry about a thing, just relax and learn and see the sights. I would (and already have) highly recommend Southern Explorations to my friends.  You did a great job for us!  It was a once in a life time trip!  (although I do hope to get back to South America and Peru in the future).  Thanks for a job well done! - Alice Chang (Machu Picchu & Odyssey)


We had the trip of a lifetime to Peru and Ecuador. This included visits to Machu Picchu, the Amazon, and the Galápagos Islands.  The guides and drivers were fantastic, as was the food and accommodations everywhere we went.  The itineraries were planned out perfectly with a variety of activities but not overwhelmed.  Kudos! - Brad Hoover (Machu Picchu & Galapagos)
 

We cannot tell you how much we appreciated the extraordinary job Southern Explorations did to coordinate the logistics of the complicated travel arrangements required for our Peru and Galapagos trip (and you did it all on very short notice). The travel, accommodations, and food arrangements were generally seamless and the guides where knowledgeable, resourceful and fun! Thank you for the adventure of a lifetime! - Becky Jessen & Tom Moore (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)


I just wanted to thank whoever set us up with our guide. He was an absolutely incredible guide!! We all felt so blessed to have him with us to show us Peru. He was extremely knowledgeable, organized, prepared, willing to share recommendations for our dinners out, approachable, and warm. Our entire experience was enhanced by his passion for his country, his history, and his people. One more "Thank You" for the experience of a lifetime. I would also like to give a shout out to the Southern Exploration agent. Without exception, every time I called SE to talk with her, about something concerning the trip, she was very helpful, and truly and assisted me in creating a trip that was fashioned to my particular wants and expectations. Thank you for your guidance, it was greatly appreciated. - Ellen & Ronald Blickenstaff, USA (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)

 


 
Our guide was "Johnny on the spot," ensuring that everyone had an opportunity to participate in daily activities or alternatives to the same. We were impressed with his positive attitude, ability to keep us on track through multiple activities, passion for the Galapagos Islands, and the fact that he went above and beyond the call of duty by staying with the group one evening after dinner and taking us to a local pharmacy where some of the individuals in the group who were ill could find OTC medications. - Patria McGee (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Multisport)
 
Our guide in Cusco and Machu Picchu, was one of the best guides I have ever had. He was knowledgeable, accommodating, and gracious. He made the trip extra special with his considerable knowledge. - Mary Helen Smith (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)

We just wanted to let you know we had a great time on this trip. We saw the birds in the Amazon, the Incan history in Cusco/Machu Picchu and all the animals/landscape in Galapagos. The highlights were the macaws in the Amazon, and the dolphins (hundreds), penguins, turtles and birds in the Galapagos. The food was excellent the entire trip. The guides were fantastic.  -Joseph Polli, USA (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)


The all day hike to Machu Picchu was one of the hardest things I've done physically. The guide paced us really well, I always felt safe and nothing could have prepared me for how awesome the view was when we came through the Sun Gate. It was worth every inch of the trek and all the more satisfying that I had worked hard to get there. Breathtaking! Best guide we could have asked for. Thanks Southern Explorations for making this trip of a lifetime everything I'd hoped it could be. - Karin & Michael Johnston, USA (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)

We were amazed how Marissa had it all so organized. We traveled with 4 couples for the first half of the trip and then 4 of us went on our separate way. It all worked perfectly. There was always someone there to meet us and guide us to our next step. All of the guides were great! - Caroline Pettit, Washington (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)

 

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. 

Most Popular Galapagos & Machu Picchu Trips & Tours

Trip Price Days Highlights
Galapagos MultiSport & Active Machu Picchu $6,890 18 Days Lima and Cusco, Peru, Machu Picchu and Inca Trail, Galapagos Islands , Hiking, Rafting & More......
Galapagos, Machu Picchu & Amazon Tour $5,595 15+ Days Amazon Jungle Lodge, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Galapagos Island Cruise
Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Custom Combo Tour $5,095 13+ Days Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Galapagos Island Cruise, Wildlife