Trip reference number: ITN-GAL002
Trip Operator: Rainbow Tours
Start your adventure on board the M/V Evolution which offers two 7-night itineraries that cruise through different areas of the Galapagos Islands. Each island is totally unique, offering varied landscapes from tropical forests to volcanic scenery. Which ever itinerary you choose, you are certain to leave the Galapagos Islands with a better understanding of Darwin's theory of Evolution, and memories that with stay with you forever. Nowhere else in the world will you experience such varied scenery and get so close to such a large number of unique creatures and birdlife, a cruise through the Galapagos Islands is a truly life changing experience.
Continue onto the highlands of Peru and the magical site of Machu Picchu which was once covered in dense forest before its discovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Visit the tranquil Sacred Valley where you can immerse yourself in a host of activities or just relax in the beautiful surroundings with a spa treatment. Finish your luxury trip with a few days in the Inca capital of Cuzco for complete historical immersion and a host of modern restaurants serving Peruvian cuisine.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your daytime flight to Guayaquil on the coast of Ecuador. After the long journey relax at the Hilton Colon.
Day 3 Today, depart from Guayaquil and take a short flight to Baltra where you will board the M/V Evolution. Enjoy lunch before visiting Whaler Bay; a striking green sand cove where you will see a great variety of birdlife and marine iguanas. Whaler Bay is a fantastic place for snorkelling. In the evening enjoy cocktails and dinner on board.
Day 4 This morning you will visit Punta Vicenta Roca on Isabela Island. Here you will find some of the best snorkelling opportunities in the Galapagos Islands and you may be lucky enough to spot sea lions, penguins, turtles and hundreds of colourful fish. In the afternoon visit the home of La Cumbre volcano, Fernandina Island. At Punta Espinosa you will find unique species including flightless cormorants, marine iguanas and Galapagos Hawks.
Day 5 Today you will experience your first wet landing, hop into a few inches of water and walk to the warm, sandy shore. Stroll along 3 miles of uplifted marine reef to the home of giant tortoises and giant land iguanas. Spend the afternoon at Tagus Cove where you can take the trail through dry vegetation around Darwin Lake. Once you reach the end of the trail you are rewarded with incredible views of the yachts anchorage.
Day 6 Today you will have the opportunity to spot one of the most famous landmarks and highlights on any cruise in the Galapagos. Here sea lions can be seen on the beach while Galapagos penguins nest in the bush and swim in the sea. Those who trek to Bartolome’s summit can enjoy excellent views of Pinnacle Rock and the beach below. In the afternoon visit James Bay, landing on a black sand beach where you will find intriguing eroded rock formations. Trek along a trail which leads through crystal clear grottos and broken lava tubes to the home of fur seals, sea lions and marine iguanas. .
Day 7 Visit Las Bachus where the white coral beach is a major egg laying site for sea turtles. The area is also home to marine iguanas and flamingos. Spend the afternoon at Dragon Hill, one of the best spots on the islands to see land iguanas. Another highlight includes visiting a forest of endemic Scalesia trees of which there are only 400 left in the world.
Day 8 This island is the second largest in the Galapagos and is one of the few that is inhabited by humans. Puerto Avora is the capital and it is here you can find the Charles Darwin Research Station which was also home to Lonesome George. In the afternoon visit the highlands and the tortoise reserve where you will find giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
Day 9 This is the southern most of the Galapagos Islands and one of the most popular because of its incredible variety of flora and fauna as well as the largest variety of marine iguanas across the islands. You will see masked and Blue-footed boobies and you may even be lucky enough to see the famous waved albatross. In the afternoon visit Gardner Bay where sea turtles swim in the ocean and colonies of sea lions laze around on the beach.
Day 10 Before you Galapagos Islands Expedtion ends and you head bacj to mainland Ecuador you will have time to visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre on San Cristobal Island. Follow a short trail to find great and magnificent frigates in the same colony. Return to Guayaquil and spend a night at the Hilton Colon.
Day 11 Fly from Guayaquil to Cuzco via Lima to start your Peru adventure. On arrival to the Inca capital you will be transferred to the Sacred Valley which is at a lower elevation than Cuzco, which makes for a gentler acclimatization to the altitude. The Valley has a mild climate within a dramatic setting of mountains, valley and meadows Overnight at the Rio Sagradro, an Orient Express hotel where you can adjust to Peruvian life, enjoy the fresh local food and take a relaxing massage in the spa.
Day 12 The Sacred Valley is well-suited for a variety of outdoor activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, rafting, paragliding, walking and trekking. If you prefer visit the local markets and haggle for traditional Peruvian souvenirs.
Day 13 From the train station at Ollantaytambo embark the Vistadome train service to Aguas Calientes. With large scenic windows experience the unsurpassed views and photographic opportunities from the comfort of your seat! Once you arrive to this ancient citadel your guide will bring Machu Picchu alive with a host of stories and history about the Inca era.
Day 14 Return to Machu Picchu to further explore this majestic Inca city. You can also climb the peak of Huayna Picchu, the backdrop to the area, for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and an area which was once covered with jungle until it’s discovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Afternoon return by train to Poroy and transfer to Cuzco where you will stay at the beautiful Inkaterra La Casona, converted from a 16th century mansion house. Boasting colonial furnishing and contemporary comforts this is an ideal choice on the peaceful Plaza las Nazaranes.
Day 15 Cuzco was built on the foundations of an Inca Palace around AD1100. As part of your half day city tour visit the Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) for the impressive Inca masonry, the Plaza de Armas overlooked by the Cathedral with it’s carved woodworks, alters and paintings. Finish with a visit to the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman which overlooks the city of Cuzco. Afternoon at leisure for further exploration of the city.
Day 16 Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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