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Tour: 17-Day Inca Trail and Galapagos Tour | Galapagos and Inca Trail Combo Tour

  • Machu Picchu
  • Marine Iguana
  • Peruvian Andes
  • Galapagos Kayaks
  • Andes Biking
  • Galapagos Tortoise
Tour Highlights
  • Fully Guided 4-day Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
  • Scenic train ride from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
  • Hike up an active volcano and one of the biggest calderas in the world
  • Guided tours in Lima, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu
  • Snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions in the Galapagos
  • Kayaking and Biking adventures in the Galapagos
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. We’re sure you’ll be interested in checking out attractions such as the Temple of the Sun or Coca Museum. 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 suggest some great places to consider.

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.

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
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 9
Fly to San Cristobal, Downhill Bike Ride, Visit La Loberia

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

This morning we’ll take a short flight to the one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos archipelago, San Cristobal. We’ll land in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a coastal town and the administrative capital of the islands. After sampling some of the local cuisine we’ll head up into the highlands for a scenic downhill bike ride. Starting at a panoramic viewpoint called La Soledad, we’ll bike through the tiny town of El Progreso and five different vegetation zones until we reach a beach called La Loberia. There we’ll be able to watch sea lions sun bathing, playing and vying for our attention. If you can’t wait to get in the water, this is your first opportunity. As the sunsets, we’ll bike back to town and get ready for a welcome dinner at a small local restaurant.

Day 10
Snorkel at Kicker Rock, Visit Interpretation Center

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 find a calm spot near the coast to get our fins wet in search of damselfish, puffer fish, and, hopefully, curious sea lion pups. From there we 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.

There are many beautiful beaches along the coastline of San Cristobal that are accessible only by boat. After our snorkel activities are done, we’ll head to one of these sandy beaches for some fun and exploration. After lunch on board, feel free to spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of birds, crabs and other creatures we may find on the beach. We’ll head back to town late afternoon to visit the Interpretation Center. We’ll learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago from its discovery and what makes it so special, to Charles Darwin’s visit and the present-day efforts to protect this amazing World Heritage site. To culminate the educational afternoon, pick a spot at nearby Playa Mann, or Mann Beach, with the playful sea lions or grab a front row seat at Casa Blanca to toast in the sunset. Dinner is on your own tonight but rest assured we can offer you plenty of suggestions.

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

Day 11
Boat to Floreana and Snorkel, Visit Highlands and Pirate Caves

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

After breakfast, we’ll depart by boat for the least inhabited of the main islands, Floreana. In route, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, whales and the waved albatross. We’ll have a pre-lunch snorkel before going ashore to a black sand beach at the home of the Wittmer’s, one of the islands first settlers. With a population of less than 150 people, Puerto Velasco Ibarra is a sleepy little town but not without its secrecies. You can read up on how life came to be on Floreana and how some lives mysteriously ended. After lunch, take a siesta while listening to the waves or walk along the coast in search of sunbathing iguanas. This afternoon we’ll bus up to the highlands of Floreana to visit the Pirate and Whaler Caves from long ago. We’ll return to town and our beachside accommodation in time to enjoy the day’s last light before heading to the Baronesa for dinner. 

NOTE: Because of the small nature of the hotel and lack of availability, sometimes we are unable to stay and must continue on to Isabela.

Day 12
Boat to Isabela, Visit Pink Flamingos, Visit Giant Tortoise Breeding Center

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

This morning we embark for Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Once we arrive in Puerto Villamil, we’ll take a short walk to a nearby wetland that is home to pink flamingos and pintail ducks. After lunch, we’ll continue with a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon. 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 a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own!

Optional Activity: Wall of Tears

Rent a bike in town then step back in time to visit the Wall of Tears. Built by convicts and still standing over 50 years later, this landmark is a remnant of Isabela’s penal colony past.

If you don’t feel like heading to the Wall of Tears today, you can enjoy the beautiful white sand beach or relax in town. For the evening we’ll head to a local restaurant for a special dinner.

Day 13
Hike Sierra Negra Volcano, Visit Volcan Chico Lava Fields

Breakfast and Lunch Provided.

Lace up your hiking boots; we’re heading up a volcano! Sierra Negra Volcano 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 nine-kilometer view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world. We’ll continue on to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico en route for 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 late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.

Day 14
Kayak in the Bay, Visit Tintoreras, Free afternoon

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

After breakfast we’ll gear up to explore a protected bay and search for the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found north of the Equator. We’ll hop out for a short walk at Tintoreras or Shark Alley, an isolated islet and popular iguana-nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas.

The afternoon is yours to explore the town, sit with the birds and iguanas, head toward your favorite beach bar or visit the Wall of Tears if you haven’t checked it out yet.

Day 15
Visit Charles Darwin Research Station, Visit a Lava Tunnel & Wild Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

We’ll wave goodbye to Isabela this morning as we depart for Santa Cruz Island. After checking in, we’ll hop on a bus bound for the Highlands to explore an underground lava tunnel and visit a ranch. For the first time we’ll be able to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat cooling off in a watering hole or munching away. On the way back to town shout if you want coffee and we’ll make a pit stop at a local distributor for a bag of fresh ground Galapagos coffee, the only product exported from the islands.

After lunch, we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. We’ll learn about the station’s 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.

Optional: Hike out to Tortuga Bay. Tortuga Bay is a gorgeous beach, accessible only by foot and laden with choices. Do you want to swim, sunbath, bodysurf or do all three? After our fun in the sun, we’ll make our way back to town for a special dinner in the Enchanted Islands.

Day 16
Last Minute Activities, Fly to Quito

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided.

Get up early for a final hike or savor your last moments on the island for souvenir shopping – the choice is yours. Maybe head over to the fish market for a fun photo experience, or wander along the waterfront for a last look at the friendly sea lions. Fly back to Quito in the early afternoon.

Day 17
Depart Quito

Breakfast Provided.

You’ll be assisted to the airport to board your flight to Quito, from where you’re free to continue your own travels in Ecuador. If you’re sticking around Ecuador, then consider booking some add-on tours with us, we’re happy to help!

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