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This itinerary has been designed for the active traveler wanting to pack two of South America’s most important attractions—Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands—into one stupendous trip of a lifetime. Instead of just hiking, the trip’s first eight days offer whitewater rafting, zip-lining and mountain biking experiences in this legendary landscape of the Sacred Valley to give you several unique perspectives during your journey. You’ll spend time in colonial Cusco, once the center of the Inca Empire, visit indigenous craft markets and take two excursions to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. Then it’s off to Ecuador for a week-long Galapagos vacation adventure, by land instead of by sea. These diverse Galapagos tours include daily excursions on the central and southern islands of the archipelago, staying in hotels along the way. You’ll get a close-up view of Galapagos wildlife, nature, history and landscapes while enjoying kayaking, mountain biking and hiking. This is an exhilarating and unforgettable combination of Peru tours and travel to the Galapagos.
 

Itinerary
Day 1: Lima, Peru

On your arrival in Lima, you will be met by our representative to accompany you to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours of Lima.

Day 2: Lima - Cusco

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel to go to the airport for a morning flight to Cusco (10,856 ft.). After checking in at your Cusco hotel, today’s Peru travel begins with a guided walking tour through the city’s colorful markets, making stops at the colonial cathedral and the impressive Incan Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) followed by a lunch of regional Peruvian cuisine. You will spend the afternoon in the Inca heartland near Cusco. Among the important sites you’ll visit are Cusco's temples; Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with megalithic stone terraces; the stone Kenko containing subterranean altars; Puka Pukara, a small fortress that once protected the royal complex; and the royal baths of Tambo Machay. You'll return to your hotel for the first of three free evenings in Cusco. (B)

Day 3: Whitewater Rafting

After an early breakfast, your guide takes you to the put-in spot for today’s Peru rafting adventure about an hour away. After a safety briefing, the trip begins with a stretch of modest rapids and calmer waters to practice the basics of river-running technique, passing spectacular Inca ruins and terraces. As you paddle, the guide will describe the remarkable history of these Inca architectural feats. With canyon and scenic views, you pass under an ancient Inca bridge. The rapids will continue to increase in difficulty and size, eventually progressing to Class IV. Before the challenge of the final and largest rapid, you will disembark to scout it with your guides. Once a safe line has been selected, you will return to your rafts to run this adrenaline-filled finale to your Peru river rafting journey. Following lunch, the next stop is Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), a small town with a famous Incan archeological site before returning to your Cusco hotel. (B,L)

Day 4: Hike to Huchuy Cusco

After breakfast, you will go by private van to start today’s Peru trekking excursion that includes an old Inca road and impressive views, as well as an opportunity to learn about local farming techniques and explore some rarely visited Inca ruins. The route moves high above Cusco and the outlying town of Cora, ending at Lake Qoricocha (elevation of 13,780 ft.). The gradually contouring trail climbs to an elevation of 14,107 ft. where some ancient Inca platforms in the hillside are believed to mark the entrance and boundary of the Huchuy Cusco Inca Estate. The rest of today’s terrain is flat or descending, passing herds of llamas and alpacas. The hike passes through the rustic village of Pucamarca and a narrow canyon with an Inca bridge, offering spectacular views of the Sacred Valley. You will stop at a scenic spot for a picnic lunch or snack. Continuing on, a high ridge brings you to the entrance gates of Huchuy Cusco and the ruins themselves. Little is known about this mysterious site which translates to “little Cusco” in the indigenous Quechua language and may have been the country retreat of one of the first Incas. Its three-story storage houses, trapezoid-niched walls, large square, ten-ft terraced walls and hidden location above the Sacred Valley make these ruins fascinating to explore. Afterwards you will hike down to where the van will be waiting to return you to Cusco for a relaxing dinner and evening on your own before turning in at your hotel. (B,L) Hike Details: Approx - 8.2 miles | 6+ Hours Altitude: from 11,385 ft to 14,110 ft.

Day 5: Sacred Valley of the Incas & Ziplining Via Ferrata

This morning you will be picked up at your hotel for today’s Peru tours, stopping in various places along the Sacred Valley to capture some magnificent photos. In about two hours, you will meet up with your local expert guides for the unique experience ahead, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery with extraordinary views of the Sacred Valley below, and lasting most of the day. The Via Ferrata consists of cables and steel ladders drilled into the mountain that give first-time climbers the thrill of ascending a 984-ft rock face protected by a waist and chest harness with a double-carabineer system for maximum safety. Within the Via Ferrata are several zip lines consisting of six connected cables, ranging in length from 300 to 1,650 feet and totaling 6,560 feet. After completing the exciting day’s activities, you will be taken to a hotel in Ollantaytambo to spend the night. (B,L)

Day 6: Mountain Biking in Sacred Valley

An early morning drive gets you to the start of today’s Peru bicycling tour to the indigenous communities of Chequereq and Cruz Pata, the ruins of Moray, the town of Maras and the salt mines of Pichingoto. Your journey ends in Ollantaytambo where you’ll enjoy lunch and have the rest of the day on your own before a last night at your hotel. (B,L)

Day 7: Train to Machu Picchu

On today's Peru travel adventure, you reach your long-anticipated destination, Machu Picchu, symbol of the Inca Empire. To get there, you walk to the train station from your hotel for the picturesque ride along the Urubamba River into a cloud forest before arriving in Aguas Calientes which is the nearest town to Machu Picchu. You'll go by bus the rest of the way to an elevation of 7,875 feet and spend the day exploring the ruins. Afterwards you return to Aguas Calientes, take a soothing soak in the town's famed hot springs and then enjoy a leisurely dinner on your own. You spend the night at a hotel in town. (B) Active Machu Picchu The KM 104 Hike upgrade provides the opportunity for this famous view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate OPTION: INCA TRAIL HIKE KM 104 UPGRADE: $150 Per Person (If permits are available) For really active travelers who can’t imagine exploring Machu Picchu without hiking there via the Inca Trail: You depart on the 8:00 AM train in Ollantaytambo, arriving two hours later at station KM 104. After first registering at the checkpoint, you’ll hike to Winay Wayna, a three-hour Inca Trail hiking segment during which you will see ruins, waterfalls and many varieties of flora and fauna and then spend one to two hours exploring the beautiful Winay Wayna ruins before your final two-hour hike of the day. You will reach Machu Picchu at just the right time, in the late afternoon, when the crowds have thinned. After a short Machu Picchu tour, you will go by bus to Aguas Calientes and spend the night in a charming hotel. Your unscheduled evening gives you time to explore the town and soak in its famed hot springs. (B,L) The KM 104 Hike upgrade provides the opportunity for this famous view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

Day 8: Hike Machu Picchu - Return to Cusco

Rising early to again escape the crowds, you return to the royal citadel to experience what is for most travelers the highlight of their Peru tours, sunrise at Machu Picchu. After exploring the ruins, you'll continue along the Inca Trail on a three to four-hour round-trip hike, ascending another 2,000 feet to the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain for a breathtaking view of the complex and surrounding area that most travelers don’t see. By bus you'll return to Aguas Calientes and take the early afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo where a private van will be waiting. Your next Peru tours take place in Chinchero. You’ll visit the village’s colorful market as well as a community of textile artists who craft original organic pieces according to the techniques of their ancestors. You’ll learn how their wool and alpaca are shorn, spun, dyed and woven into the high-quality creations for which this region is famous. Chinchero is the perfect place to find uniquely Andean souvenirs of one’s travel to Peru. Return to Cusco for a final relaxing evening and overnight at your hotel. (B) Hike Details: Approx - 5.8 miles | 3-4 Hours Altitude: from 7,875 ft. to 10,055 ft.

Day 9: Cusco - Lima - Quito

In the morning, we pick you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your flight to Lima and your connecting international flight to Quito. You will be met there and transferred to your hotel. (B)

Day 10: Quito - San Cristobal (Interpretation Center & Cerro Tijeretas)
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, you'll have lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Interpretation Center and learn about the unique natural and human history of the Galapagos. Hike to Frigate Hill along natural trails formed of lava rocks. The path is surrounded by native plants like Galapagos cotton, Palo Santo, acacia, and cacti, and we will spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches in the vegetation and sea cliffs. Our guides interpret this amazing flora and fauna in the context of the natural history we just learned. We also enjoy scenic views of the rugged coastline and the tranquil town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. End this day at the Bay where Darwin disembarked for the first time in the Galápagos and enjoy your second snorkeling activity with playful sea lions and colorful fish.  Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 11: 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 12: 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 13: Isabela (Sierra Negra Volcano 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 14: 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 15: 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 16: 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 17: 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 18: 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

Specials >> Galapagos & Machu Picchu

Enjoy these Fall travel promotions in Ecuador and the Galapagos during September, October and the...
Take advantage of $100 flights to the Galapagos ($560 value) in early December when you book a...

Galapagos Mutisport & Active Machu Picchu

Pricing
4 or more
$7,175
2-3 Travelers
$8,065

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: $795
Galapagos Single Supplement: $750
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
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil
  • All land and sea transportation during the itinerary
  • All meals on Galapagos cruise
  • Galapagos cruise
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Coca
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Rafting equipment
  • Paddling 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
  • 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)
  • Wetsuit rental, recommended May - November
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Galapagos Mutisport & Active Machu Picchu

Trip Dates
Multiple departures each month. Please contact us for available trip dates.
Monday, January 1, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Available
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
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

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


galapagos sea lions

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)


machu picchu travel

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)


machu picchu hikingThis 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)


machu picchu trekkingWe 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)


machu picchu hikeWe 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.