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Tour: 15-Day Inca Trail and Galapagos

  • Kicker Rock
  • Galapagos Kayaking
  • Sea Lions on the Beach
  • Machu Picchu
  • Inca Bridge Hike
  • Machu Picchu
  • Galapagos Biking
  • Galapagos Hiking
Tour Highlights
  • Fully Guided 4-day Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
  • Guided tours in Lima, Cusco, Pisac, Ollantaytambo
  • Optional Kayaking, SUP and Biking adventures in the Galapagos
  • Enjoy Peruvian and Ecuadorian cuisine and experience Andean culture
  • Snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions in the Galapagos
  • Hike up an active volcano and one of the biggest calderas in the world
Contact To Book

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Lima, Welcome Briefing and Group Dinner

Dinner Provided.

Welcome to Peru! Lima is a city that can boast a beautiful coastline and a number of interesting, lively neighborhoods to explore. Some are known for nightlife, others for history and culture. There is a lot to see in the capital of Peru, so why not arrive a day or two early and let us take you on a bike tour or food tour? 

Information about the welcome dinner will be posted in your hotel lobby, but it generally takes place around 6pm, followed by a tasty dinner in a city that has restaurants to rival the best of any other South American country.

Day 2
Lima City Tour, fly to Cusco, free time in Cusco

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Start the day with an easy guided walk around part of Lima. The city has an abundance of great architecture, with old colonial buildings and plenty of churches and museums that will give you a great introduction into the history and culture of Peru.

After the leisurely morning tour, we’ll grab a bite to eat and head off to the airport as we head to Cusco! Upon arriving in Cusco, you’ll first notice the thin air as the city is at 3400m / 11154ft. Up here there is a strong coca culture, where people drink coca tea and chew coca leaves – it helps some people deal with the altitude, so give it a try if you’re up for it!

We encourage you to take it slow and easy today, as you need to let your body acclimatize. With that said, you have free time late this afternoon and evening to explore town. Remember to drink some water or coca tea to help yourself acclimatize.

Day 3
Sacred Valley: Pisac and Awanakancha, Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Do you know the difference between alpacas, llamas and vicunas? With a visit to Awanakancha you’ll see, and learn about the differences between these domesticated and wild camelids of South America. See how alpaca textiles are made and learn how to spot the difference between the real deal, and the fake stuff (very helpful if you’re planning to buy some Peruvian wool clothing!)

Exploring historic Inca sites, you’ll venture off to Pisac, an impressive town that is also home to Incan ruins by the same name. The Inca ruins are split into four areas at Pisac, atop a hilltop, overlooking the Urubamba Valley. Impressive terraced, hillsides are found here, an ingenious agricultural solution that allowed the Incas to grow numerous crops in otherwise steep, harsh terrain. At the ruins, you’ll visit the citadel and the Temple of the Sun, among other highlights.

Back in Ollantaytambo, you’ll have time to explore the terraced fortress, which dominates the landscape above the town. There are also great shopping opportunities here, with artwork, handicrafts and sculptures available at the town market and in many shops.

Day 4
Inca Trail Day 1: Km82 to Wayllabamba

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided

An early morning start today, as will be typical for most of the Inca Trail days. We’ll get started around 5am for the 3-hour bus journey to Piscacucho, where the Inca Trail begins. Upon arrival at the Km82 marker, we’ll take some group photos and start the trek! This starting point is at 2200m / 8856ft above sea level. As we cross the Urubamba River, the adventure begins. 

Slow and steady is the key to success on the Inca Trail. We start with a flat trail alongside the River, with Miskay being the first Inca attraction. As we steadily climb over the coming hours, Llactapata will be seen across the river in the distance. The final destination of the trek today is Wayllabamba, where we’ll camp for the night. We’ll cover about 12km / 7.5miles today. Finishing at 3000m / 9840ft the elevation gain today isn’t too much, but rest up as tomorrow is the tough day! 

Note: Inca Trail permits require bookings many months ahead of time. For people who want to hike in the Andes of Peru but do not book early enough, we’re happy to offer the Lares Trek and Salkantay Trek options. Also, be aware that the Classic Inca Trail is closed every February for maintenance.

Day 5
Inca Trail Day 2: Wayllabamba to Pacamayo

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided

A 6am start gets us going on what most people consider the toughest, and most rewarding, day on the Inca Trail. Pack light, but pack a few extra candies, chocolates and energy boosting supplies today, as it is a full day of at least 7 hours of trekking.

After a hearty morning meal, our ascent towards the infamous Dead Woman’s Pass (Abra Warmihuañusca), our first mountain pass of the trek, which is the highest point of the trail at 4200m / 13776ft. it is about 9km of continuous ascending to get there. From lush valley scenery to cloud forest to puna grasslands you’ll transition across various vegetation zones today, giving you different views of the Andes.

Along the way, if you take time to stop and look around, you may spot some llamas, alpacas or even hummingbirds. You’ll also notice how the vegetation changes to become sparser, with stunted growth trees such as the queuna dominating by the time you reach the mountain pass.

Soak up the beauty of the Andes at the pass, and then enjoy a relatively easier trek for the rest of the day, as you descend into the Pacamayo Valley and your campsite for the night. Be sure to fuel your body tonight and stay hydrated! Pacamayo lies at 3600m / 11808ft; the trek today is about 11km / 6.9miles but is considerably more strenuous than on Day 1 of the Inca Trail.

Day 6
Inca Trail Day 3: Pacamayo to Wiñaywayna

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided

By now your body has adapted to the altitude and challenges of trekking in the Andes, so you can relax and enjoy the views a little more, and maybe take time for some scenic photos. Today has plenty of ascents and descents, meaning it can also be grueling on your knees and legs, especially if parts of the trail are wet or muddy.

Beautiful scenery, thanks to crossing two mountain passes today, will keep things interesting. It is a total of 16km / 10miles of hiking, the longest distance covered on any day of the trek. After an early morning start the first highlight is the archaeological site of Runkurakay located at 3800m / 12464ft, which once served as an Inca watchtower. Shortly after, you cross mountain pass #2 named Abra Runkurakay (the same as the ruins) located at 3970m / 13022ft above sea level.

From the mountain pass, we head down towards the Black Lagoon, through the cloud forest. This is a good area to watch for interesting flora and fauna of the Andes. The next stop is perhaps one of the most interesting along the Inca Trail – Sayacmarca. This fortress at 3624m / 11887ft has an impressive location and was actually first built by the Qulla people, enemies of the Incas.

A fairly easy ascent towards the third, and final, mountain pass of the trail gets us to Abra Phuyupatamarca at 3700m / 12136ft. Before the pass, this part of the trail showcases some of the best Inca craftsmanship in creating these trails in the mountains, where rocks are carved and placed to fit perfectly along narrow ledges in such remote locations. Truly impressive! There is even an Inca tunnel before arriving at the mountain pass, and thereafter, the ruins which are also called Phuyupatamarca.

If Sayacmarca was one of the most interesting Inca sites along the trail, then Phuyupatamarca is definitely the best preserved. This often cloud-enshrouded complex has a way of sparking your imagination and bringing to life the mystery and magic of what the Inca civilization accomplished. It’s our last big rest stop before moving on to our campsite for the night.

Stone stairs and trails carved into the mountains take us to Winay Wayna, an impressive complex of religious and agricultural to the Incas. Depending how tired you are, feel free to explore these ruins as we settle in for the evening. Depending how the weather has been, it is often a more relaxed feeling at camp tonight. We’re now at 2650m / 8692ft, an altitude lower than where we started on Day 1 of the trek. Tomorrow is Machu Picchu day, so try to get some sleep ahead of the early morning departure!

Day 7
Inca Trail Day 4: Wiñaywayna to Machu Picchu

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

It’s a 4am wakeup call today, as the early birds get the best potential view of Machu Picchu, which is only a about one hour away. You’ll feel like the stone trails clinging to the Andean hillsides are like a red carpet laid out for your arrival at this special site. As the excitement increases, the trail opens up and you arrive at Inti Punku, also called the Sun Gate, for your first sight of Machu Picchu! From here, we head down to the main gate to drop off of bags and explore the Inca ruins with an early morning guided tour.

You made it - the Lost City of the Incas! One of the world’s most majestic landscapes, Machu Picchu is a place unlike any other. Have your camera batteries fully charged, as today you’ll be taking a ton of photos. Entering through the Main Gate, you’ll have the entire Machu Picchu complex open up before your eyes. Your guide will explain the importance of each area of the main part of the site, including the Temple of the Condor, Observatory, Ceremonial Rock and Temple of the Three Windows. 

Afterwards, you’ll have some time to explore at your leisure or head into Aguas Calientes to soak in the hot springs or grab some food. An afternoon train ride back to Cusco finishes off this day of excitement. You’ll surely want to get together for a final dinner with your group, and celebrate your accomplishments!

Optional: If you want to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, these extensions to the Machu Picchu archaeological site require additional permits and must be requested at time of booking.

Day 8
Cusco Walking Tour, free time in City

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Start the day with an easy guided walk around town. Travelers often say Cusco is their favorite city in Peru, and we can’t argue with that! You’ll quickly fall in love with the cobblestone streets, inviting cafes, museums and lively Plaza de Armas (main square) of this old colonial city. Your guide will point out all of the important attractions such as the Temple of the Sun and you’ll learn about the history of Cusco. After the walk, you’re free to explore the rest of the city on your own or talk to your guide about booking a tour to some nearby Inca sites such as Sacsayhuaman and Chinchero. If you’re looking for a typical Peruvian meal and drink, some lomo saltado and a Pisco Sour will do the job, your guide will be happy to point out some great places to check out.

Day 9
Fly from Cusco, Peru to Quito, Ecuador. Dinner out in Quito.

Breakfast and Dinner Provided.

Say farewell to Peru and hello to Ecuador! Do some final shopping in the early morning for Peruvian handicrafts and souvenirs, then head to the airport for your flight to Quito. There will be a welcoming dinner in the evening in Quito, to prepare you for the Galapagos adventure ahead. If you arrive with time to spare, head to the Old Town to stroll through the magnificent cathedrals and take in the colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf,' is located high atop a hill in the Old Town and is a major Quito attraction boasting a panoramic view of the city. Museums are scattered throughout the New and Old Town as well as local artisan markets that are great for picking up souvenirs. The New Town is teeming with cafes and restaurants and is a vibrant mix of locals, expats, and fellow travelers. New Town and Old Town are easily accessible by trolley or taxi.

Day 10
Arrive Santa Cruz, Visit Highlands, Explore Town

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

This morning, you’ll fly to Santa Cruz or Baltra to be exact. This little island off the coast of Santa Cruz is home to the airport. Your guide will be waiting for you and the adventure will begin right away! As you make your way to Puerto Ayora, the capital of Santa Cruz, you’ll begin your first activity with a stop in the highlands to visit a private giant tortoise reserve. You’ll be able to see these massive creatures in their natural habitat cooling off in a watering hole or munching away. You’ll also have the chance to explore some nearby lava tunnels and gain a better appreciation of the natural forces that created these islands.

You’ll continue on to Puerto Ayora, and after a quick check-in, head out to explore town. Santa Cruz is the most populated of all the islands and its bustling port city is the tourist capital of Galapagos. Tonight, your guide will lead you to the Calle de los Kioskos (Kiosks Street). This little back street is closed down each night as the small stall restaurants set up table and chairs in the middle of the street for open-air dining. If you’re looking for where the locals eat, look no further!

Day 11
Visit Tortuga Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station, Public Boat to Isabela

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

This morning we’ll take a short walk that ends in white sand and luscious waves. Tortuga Bay is a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot and laden with choices. Do you want to swim, sunbathe, bodysurf or do all three? A leisurely 45-minute path leads to the beach area and along the way you may spot lava lizards and birds in the surrounding trees.

Upon arrival at the first soft, white sandy beach, you’ll be greeted by some perfect surf. Further along you can reach Tortuga Bay, a calm bay that is sheltered by mangroves and ideal for swimming, sometimes friendly baby sharks can be seen here too! There’s a nice walk through a cactus forest, a chance to spot nesting blue-footed boobies or massive marine iguanas.

We’ll head back to town in time for a quick visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. We’ll learn about the stations successes in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. From the collection of the eggs to the age of release, we’ll observe how the giant tortoises are raised and readied for life on their own.  CDRS is optional.

After lunch, we’ll hop on board for our boat ride to Isabela Island – the largest island in the Archipelago. After check-in, we’ll go for a stroll through the picturesque town of Puerto Villamil. Along its white sand beach we’re sure to find the perfect spot to toast in our first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.

Day 12
Hike Sierra Negra Volcano and Volcan Chico, Optional Kayak

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Lace up your hiking boots – we’re hiking up a volcano! Sierra Negra is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos; its last eruption was in October 2005. As we hike to the perimeter of the caldera, we’ll be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands like the bright red Vermillion Flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Once we reach the rim, we’ll be met with a 9km view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world.

We’ll continue around the rim, stopping at various lookouts along the way, en route to Volcan Chico. Volcano vents dot the landscape and colorful minerals can be found in some lava rocks. Both “aa” and “pahoehoe” lava flows have occurred here, creating an otherworldly-looking landscape. We’ll cross fields of lava and small lava tunnels until we reach a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching to the north of Isabela.

After enjoying a hearty sense of accomplishment, we’ll make our way back to town in early afternoon. You are free to take it easy or partake in an optional activity - a leisurely kayak around the sheltered bay area of Puerto Villamil. Galapagos penguins (the only penguin found north of the equator), sea turtles and rays frequent these shallow waters and blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and pelicans may be seen resting along the shore and in some nearby mangrove trees.

If you prefer, you also have the option to rent a bike and head to the Wall of Tears. Return to town just in time for a sunset dip before your independent dinner. As always, your guide will be more than happy to help you find a local spot to dine.

Day 13
Visit Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, Fly to San Cristobal, Visit La Loberia

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

After breakfast, we’ll head off for a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon. If we’re lucky, we’ll see some pink flamingos along the way! This mangrove-lined path will lead us to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where we’ll see giant tortoises in all stages of development. The center has almost one thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own!

This afternoon, you’ll take an early flight to the island of San Cristobal, the oldest and eastern-most island of the Galapagos archipelago. You’ll arrive just in time for lunch before you head out for your first activity: a visit to La Loberia. 

La “Loberia” is an area frequented by sea lions. In other words, it’s a sea lion hang out! There we’ll be able to watch sea lions sunbathing and vying for our attention. They play, they nap and sometimes, they pose for pictures! If you’re keen for a swim, hop on in.

On the way back to town, your guide will point out their favorite spots to dine.

Day 14
Snorkel at Kicker Rock, Optional Bike Ride or SUP

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Today we take to the water to get a glimpse of the underwater world of Galapagos. First, we’ll cruise along the coast in our boat identifying shore birds like the great frigate and famous blue-footed booby. Then we’ll drop anchor for an introductory snorkel where we’ll get our fins wet in search of damselfish, puffer fish, and, hopefully, curious sea lion pups. 

Next, we’ll continue to Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido as it’s known by the locals, to explore the final remains of a tuff cone rising over 143 meters out of the ocean. If Kicker Rock were a building, it would have almost 50 floors! Along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation, we’ll be on the hunt for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and, with any luck, a Galapagos Shark or two. Don’t worry: they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them!

A beautiful beach accessible only by boat will be our final stop. After lunch on board, feel free to spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of Kicker Rock in the distance.

We’ll head back to town late afternoon and have some time to explore town. Perhaps you’ll want to grab a sunset beer or cocktail by the waterfront and watch the spectacular sunset. Another optional activity is to grab a bike and explore town, or head out into the bay with a member of our local staff for some SUP fun!

Tonight, we head to one of our favorite spots for some open air dining. It’ll be a well-deserved farewell feast as this is the last night in the Enchanted Islands!

DIVING: Occasionally, the option to dive is available.  Please inquire in advance.

Day 15
Optional Visit to Interpretation Center & Tijeretas, Depart San Cristobal for Quito

Breakfast Provided.

Squeeze in some souvenir shopping, head to the beach for one last swim or visit the Interpretation Center to learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago. This educational center explains how the islands were discovered and what makes them so special. You can learn about Charles Darwin’s visit and the present day efforts to protect this amazing World Heritage site. There’s a short hike to Tijeretas, a panoramic lookout over the town and Kicker Rock, for those who are interested.

This afternoon, you’ll fly back to the mainland to continue your travels home. If you’ve got more time to explore Ecuador, we’ll happily help you find some day tours to take you around the rest of the country.

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