Tour: 13-Day Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands
- Visit the Archaeological Wonder of Machu Picchu
- Enjoy Peruvian and Ecuadorian cuisine and experience Andean culture
- See the famous giant tortoises and marine iguanas in their natural habitat
- Guided tours in Lima, Cusco, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Moray
- Snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions in the Galapagos
- Hike up an active volcano and one of the biggest calderas in the world
It is best to arrive early on the tour start date and, even better, a day or two before to see some of the sights in Lima (and to avoid issues with possible flight delays or lost bags). We can help with any pre-trips and accommodations – just ask!
Arriving in Lima
Upon arrival at the airport in Lima, you will be met by a Galakiwi representative from our team in Peru – look for your name on a sign.
NOTE: Overall, Lima is quite safe but as a popular tourist city, you must be aware of your surroundings. Take precautions to secure your camera and belongings, take licensed taxis around town and travel in groups.
Briefings usually begin at 6:00 PM at your hotel in Lima, but check the sign when you arrive in case the time has changed. If, for some reason, you don’t make it in time for the briefing, instructions will be left for you at the front desk.
Arriving in Cusco
You’ll be with your group on the flight to Cusco. As with Lima, be aware of your surroundings when picking up your luggage and wandering around town in Cusco. Opportunistic thieves are always looking for easy targets, so travel smart.
Flight to Quito from Cusco
You are responsible for arranging your own international flight between Peru and Ecuador on Day 7 of this tour. There are frequent daily flights, which normally stopover in Lima.
Arriving in Quito
After the Peru portion of your tour, upon arrival at the international airport in Quito, you can grab a taxi and make your way to the hotel. There will be taxis waiting and the hotel will be expecting you. It should cost around $25-30USD and you should negotiate a set price BEFORE you get in the taxi. If you have paid for an airport pick-up, a representative will be waiting for you – look for your name on a sign!
When you leave Galapagos, you need to present the stub from your INGALA paper (you filled this out on the way to Galapagos). If you lose that stub, you will have to pay another $20USD for a new one.
If you need assistance booking a trasnfer to the airport in Quito, let us know!
CURRENCY, BILLS & ATM’S – The currency in Peru is Nuevo Sol. There are ATM’s all around town in Lima or Cusco, but they are not always reliable in the smaller towns, so it is best to carry a small supply of cash at all times, just in case. Most, if not all stores will only accept cash and small bills at that.
The currency in Ecuador and the Galapagos is US Dollars. There are ATM’s in San Cristobal and Santa Cruz islands (no ATMs in Floreana or Isabela), but it is best to carry cash into the islands rather than hope the ATM works. Travelers Checks are a safe way to travel with money, but the only way to use them on the islands is to cash them at the bank during weekday hours (and pay a percentage for this service). Most, if not all stores will only accept cash and small bills at that. Make sure all your notes are less than $100 and are in reasonably good condition – the locals and banks aren’t fond of torn or tattered bills.
FEES – The fees you are responsible for paying are as follows:
$20 INGALA FEE – CASH ONLY
This is a visitor control document used to track and moderate tourism and migration to the islands that was implemented in 2006 by the Galapagos National Park. This card is purchased at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil and will need to shown along with your passport upon entering the islands.
$100 GALAPAGOS PARK ENTRANCE FEE – CASH ONLY
This is payable upon entering the Galapagos.
BUDGET – You are responsible for any meals not included in the itinerary. A simple meal in Cusco is $18-30 and a nice meal is $60-80, but there are types of cuisine that can fit into any budget or taste. Peru really is a destination for food lovers, so set aside some budget money for a few nice meals! For meals in Ecuador and the Galapagos, the cost is slightly less than in Peru. An emergency stash of cash is always a good idea too – we recommend at least $300.
TIPPING – 10% is the typical tip in restaurants and is usually included in your bill as a service charge. For drivers, helpers, and crew during your trip, $5-10 a day is customary and included in your tour price. For your leader, $8-12 per day per person is the norm. Tipping is in no way required and entirely at your discretion. It is however of great significance to those who have helped make your tour a success and a great way to express your appreciation for a job well done.
Your guides will have a wealth of information about the history, culture and wildlife of Peru, the Galapagos and the Amazon. They are locals and speak excellent English. There is also on-site support in Lima, Cusco and Quito if you encounter any troubles upon arrival in either Peru or Ecuador. That means that someone is physically there to assist with any challenges that may arise and doubly ensure that your tour is the tour of a lifetime!
We are truly grateful for our wonderful guides – check out Meet Your Guides for more information.
Spending three weeks with fellow travelers from around the world can be exciting and dynamic. At times, it can be a challenge. For the best possible trip, it is important that all passengers adhere to meeting times as a common courtesy. With a small effort on your part and some patience on behalf of your fellow travelers, we are certain that the tour will be enjoyable for all.
In order to enter Peru and Ecuador, you must have a valid passport with more than 6 months validity. You may also need a visa depending on your home country. Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up to date travel requirements. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE PROPER TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of all important documents with you. Even better is to take a picture or scan important documents in a email to yourself (passport, airline ticket, etc).
Bags get lost. Flights get delayed. And the unexpected, well you get the picture. Things happen. Travel insurance is the best way to protect yourself and your investment should a misfortune occur. There are several to choose from and not as expensive as you think. Between 5 and 15 dollars a day will give you peace of mind before and during your trip.
For more information, visit our travel insurance webpage.
Purse-snatchers and pickpockets love to prey on the unsuspecting and obvious tourist. It is best to leave your valuables, extra cash, and passport in room or hotel safe as a precaution, especially in Quito, Ecuador. Please visit our Travel SMART section for more information.
Safety is our first and foremost concern on all of our tours. However, participation in any and all activities is at your own risk. This is an adventurous tour in nature with a variety of activities that carry their own inherent risk.
The best way to adjust to altitude is to take it easy in Cusco and let your body acclimatize before starting any trek or doing any strenuous activities. Eat many small meals and avoid alcohol. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is very important at altitude.
Altitude sickness may cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, insomnia and loss of appetite. Being in “great shape” has no impact on how you’ll be impacted by altitude. If you are concerned about how the altitude may affect you, talk to your doctor before departing on your trip.
This tour includes a relaxing, scenic train ride to and from Aguas Calientes. The benefit of this is arriving refreshed and full of energy for your day at Machu Picchu.
When visiting Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, it is a short bus ride up the mountain. This is often done early in the morning to provide plenty of time to see the ruins without mid-day crowds, or to catch the sun rising above the mountains.
This gives you plenty of time to hike around Machu Picchu, including up to the Sun Gate or over to the Inca Bridge. For people who want to add more hiking to their itinerary, we offer two options:
1-Day Short Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
You have the option to decide to book this in advance, instead of visiting Moray and Maras on Day 4. Starting from the train drop off near Chachabamba, this 10km / 6mile trek has you arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu, just the same as the other Inca Trail hikers do. You pass through various zones of vegetation and pass through impressive Inca sites such as Winay Wayna. Note: This trek requires permits and must be booked months ahead of time.
4-day Classic Inca Trail hike
This is the highlight of our 8-day Peru tour, and the ultimate trekking experience in Peru! You can view and compare each of our Peru adventure options on the Galakiwi website.
On a tour as long and varied as this, packing light can be a challenge. Everything from swimsuits to rain jackets are required. We have a lengthy packing list of required and suggested items that we provide to all travelers when they book a tour.
All information and itineraries are designed to be as informative as possible and are provided in good faith. Due to the temperament of Mother Nature and the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Governments, itineraries may change and activities may be shifted, omitted or replaced without notice. Hotels, activities and transportation are all subject to availability and may change without notice. If we know in advance of any changes, we will do our best to inform you in a timely manner. Our goal is to give you the best possible tour with a safety first mentality. We also must comply with all rules set forth by the national and local governments no matter how convenient or inconvenient they may be. The good news is that we rarely have to change the itinerary drastically and we are very adept at dealing with the challenges of operating in South America. You’re in good hands!