Discover the Galápagos & Peru
|Resort:||Discover the Galápagos & Peru|
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Day 1 Lima.
Known as the ‘City of the Kings’, Lima is a fascinating blend of colonial history, Hispanic culture and modern skyscrapers. Today, tour its colonial landmarks, including Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and San Francisco Monastery with its splendid 17th century mural-decorated cloisters. Also see the Larco Herrera Museum’s impressive collection of pre-Columbian artefacts. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 2 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley.
Fly to Cusco, a magnificent Andean city, once the Inca capital and now the gateway to some of Peru’s best-known Inca sites. Travel to the Sacred Valley, winding through snow-capped mountains and ancient villages, to see the Kenko amphitheatre, ancient Puca Pucara and the massive Temple of Sacsayhuaman. Next, visit the bustling local market in the aeons-old mountain village of Pisac. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu.
Marvel at the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo followed by a visit a traditional family home before boarding a train that weaves through the lush Urubamba Valley to Machu Picchu. At the site, ascend to the Lost City of the Incas, a phenomenal collection of ruins perched against a breathtaking mountain backdrop and framed by dense jungle. Your guided tour will reveal the secrets and stories behind this sacred site and its best-known structures, including the stupendous Temple of the Sun, Andean Cross and staggered fountains. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Machu Picchu – Cusco.
Enjoy the tranquillity of Machu Picchu this morning with your second included entrance to the ruins. After lunch, return to Ollantaytambo by train and continue to Cusco. (B, L)
Day 5 Cusco.
Delve into the history of the Inca civilisation and its wars with the Spaniards on a tour of Cusco. Marvel at the imposing cathedral and Santo Domingo Monastery before tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 6 Cusco – Quito.
Fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this eclectic city blends a colonial old town with a modern district of office blocks and shopping streets. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant tonight. (B, D)
Day 7 Quito.
Learn about Quito’s history on an included tour of the city’s highlights including the Legislative Palace and its historic stone murals, Independence Plaza, San Francisco Monastery, the Jesuits’ La Compania Church, the impressive paintings at the Workshop & Museum of Oswaldo Guayasamin and the Equatorial Monument, which marks the centre of the world. (B)
Day 8 Quito – excursion to Otavalo.
Visit Otavalo, home to the colourful Plaza de Ponchos artisan market, Latin America’s largest market. Explore the atmospheric maze of multi-hued stalls, which bustle with traditionally dressed Quechua traders, before heading to the indigenous Quechua Indian village of Peguche to visit homes and see exquisite weaved handicrafts being made. Enjoy a home-hosted meal of traditional Andean delicacies before returning to Quito. (B, L)
Day 9 Quito – Baltra Island (for embarkation) – Santa Cruz Island.
Fly to the Galpagos Island of Baltra and board MV Santa Cruz for your four-night cruise. Each day, visit different islands and head ashore with an expert naturalist who will introduce the unique wildlife. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you will see and learn about the rearing and conversation of the endemic giant tortoises. After time exploring Puerto Ayora, embark your ship and settle win with a briefing on the next day’s adventure, followed by a Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Floreana Island.
After breakfast, disembark at Floreana Island to visit historic Post office Bay, which has been serving as a post office for over two centuries. The ‘post office’ is just a barrel where letters are left in hope that other visitors returning home will take letters if the addressee is not far from their own and deliver them or drop them at a normal post office. Next explore the island’s channels by panga or take your first swim with the playful sea lions. This afternoon, join your Naturalist at Cormorant Point on Floreana Island in search of greater flamingos, blue-footed boobies and sea turtles. There is another opportunity for snorkeling or riding in the glass-bottom boat to view reef fish, turtles and even sharks. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Espanla Island.
Today, join your Naturalist for excursions to Gardner Bay and Punta Surez on Espanla Island, one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. Here you will see famous blowhole, as well as unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (Apr – Dec), Nazca and blue-footed boobies and Darwin’s finches. Also look for red, green and black marine iguanas and a rookery of sea lions right at the landing site. This afternoon’s site is prime for snorkeling or kayaking to look for rays, parrot fish, reef sharks and other colourful marine species. (B, L, D)
Day 12 San Cristobal Island.
Wake up at Punta Pitt, the easternmost point in the islands. Your Naturalist leads you from the beach to the top of a volcanic tuff to the only place in the archipelago where all three species of booby exist, nesting next to both types of frigates. This is also an excellent area for panga or kayak rides and snorkelling . At Cerro Brujo this afternoon, walk the same beach that Charles Darwin first walked in September 1835 in search for migratory bird species, including sandpipers, stilts, pelicans and flycatchers. While here, watch for the Chatham (San Cristobal) mockingbird and Chatham lava lizard, both species are endemic to this island and seen nowhere else in the Galpagos. Return to your ship for a captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 13 San Cristobal Island – Quito.
After breakfast, disembark in San Cristobal and head to the airport for your return flight to Quito. This evening, gather with your travel companions for a farewell dinner to celebrate an unforgettable experience. (B, D)
Day 14 Quito – Final day